Tier 1 Escort


Ship Classes: Rapier, Saber, Ushaan

Bridge Officer Stations:
  • 2 Tactical
  • 1 Engineering
  • 1 Science

Consoles:
  • 2 Tactical
  • 1 Engineering
  • 1 Science

Weapon Slots:
  • 3 Forward
  • 1 Aft

Stats
  • Hull: 11,250
  • Crew: 50
  • Impulse Speed: 20
  • Turn Rate: 16

Pros: The escort is the fastest and most maneuverable ship available. It also has sole access to heavy cannons, which pack a good punch. Its extra tactical console and officer augment that firepower even further.

Cons: With the weakest hull and shields, the escort is fragile. The maneuverability helps you keep shields alive, but that hull cannot take a beating. Also, Tier 1 escorts don't at all resemble the distinctive saucer-and-nacelles look of most Federation ships, which can be a downer from an aesthetic standpoint.

Analysis: I chose the Tier 1 escort as my starship at level 11. I've had a soft spot for the Defiant since its introduction, so naturally I wanted to try my hand at the fast, fiery escort. The actual Defiant class isn't available until Tier 3, but it's still a great ship type to play.

The three forward weapon slots favor my preferred style of PvE combat, which is to remain mostly stationary and pick off opponents from range. But the shields drop awfully fast that way, so movement is pretty essential after a point.

Tier 1 Science Vessel

Ship Classes: Aurora, Nova, Quasar

Bridge Officer Stations:
  • 1 Tactical
  • 1 Engineering
  • 2 Science

Consoles:
  • 1 Tactical
  • 1 Engineering
  • 2 Science

Weapon Slots:
  • 2 Forward
  • 2 Aft

Stats
  • Hull: 13,500
  • Crew: 100
  • Impulse Speed: 15
  • Turn Rate: 11

Pros: Reliance on buffs and debuffs sometimes lends itself to gameplay more active than just zapping enemies with phasers and torpedoes. The emphasis on science officers and consoles strengthens hull- and shield-healing abilities, which is nice when you're getting your sea legs.

Cons: Weaker than an escort for pure firepower and more fragile than a cruiser.

Analysis: I didn't try out a science vessel until Tier 2, but I totally dug it. I hesitated mainly because I couldn't see where the science vessel fit. At such an early level, I didn't see much need for the finesse of debuffing and healing, especially at the expense of firepower.

But science vessels are just as capable solo as escorts or cruisers, and popping various buffs and debuffs can add a little more engagement to space combat -- especially now that we can set all weapons to auto-fire. And while they're slightly slower than escorts, science vessels still handle nicely.

Tier 1 Cruiser

Ship Classes: Constitution, Excalibur, Vesper

Bridge Officer Stations:
  • 1 Tactical
  • 2 Engineering
  • 1 Science

Consoles:
  • 1 Tactical
  • 2 Engineering
  • 1 Science

Weapon Slots:
  • 2 Forward
  • 2 Aft

Stats
  • Hull: 16,250
  • Crew: 400
  • Impulse Speed: 15
  • Turn Rate: 8

Pros: These things are tanks -- they take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. The extra engineering console gives you room to pump its turn rate a bit with a couple RCS Accelerators. They also get the classic Enterprise look.

Cons: These things are tanks -- they are slow, slow, slow. With a turn rate half that of the escort, all the engineering consoles in the world can't make these babies turn on a $100 bill, let alone on a dime.

Analysis: I'm conflicted about cruisers. I didn't try one until Tier 3, and I do not care for it at all. For someone who prefers the zippy movement of escorts and science vessels, the cruiser's maneuverability is torturous.

But with various iconic Enterprise incarnations available to the cruiser line, I want to like them. I really do. And don't get me wrong, plenty of people love their cruisers. So if you like the idea of being a powerful but sluggish warhorse, have at it!

One Last Thing

While I hope my input has been helpful, remember that the point of all this is to have fun. If you're set on flying around in an Enterprise lookalike as soon as possible, then get that cruiser! If flying circles around your enemies sounds like your thing, even if it means you might get blown up more often, then snag an escort!

Each ship type is perfectly capable of soloing 10 levels until your next free ship, so your choice in the long run boils down to personal preference. And whichever starship you choose, make sure you customize the heck out of it! With each free ship comes a free ship customization on the first floor of the Shipyard, so get cracking. Enjoy boldly going in a ship no one has seen before.


Public Access