Episode Six: “The Pathfinder: A Little Ship That Could”
In this lighthearted episode of Trek Tech, I will go into a ship that I find very epic and though it is not a carrier, it is a real treat to fly!
My love for Carriers is well known. Everyone in my fleet has faced my “Uber Carrier” and what was left of their ship is still floating somewhere in sector space. However, this love of carriers was recently put to the test due to a little incident that happened while I was testing a build from one of my alternate toons to get some additional information for the Starship Traits post I was working on at the time (see Trek Tech’s Starship Traits post).
I have a fleet mate – let’s call him “Kitty”, due to his love of the Caitian race and also due to the fact that it was his Caitian toon that agreed to be my Guinea pig, yet again, to assist me in testing abilities so I could adequately write about them. So Kitty and I go into PvP and my build is working as planned. I am doing well, getting in plenty of kills, and basically proving that the two starship traits I was testing at the time were the bomb. However, things were about to “get real” during the 7th round (at this time the score was 6-0 in my favor). In the middle of the 7th round, I began to notice that my power was gone from my subsystems, that I was continually being proc’ed, and I could not use any of my Bridge Officer skills to boot. It was infuriating, to say the least! My ship would just be sitting there dead in space while my crew and myself watched as Kitty, whose hull was at 20 percent, would fly away at high rates of speed, while I was stuck in space with no power and/or abilities to pursue him. I literally was sitting dead in space while my prey just up and went away and I could do nothing about it!
So, being a good captain, I yell at my Science officer, “What can we do to fend off all these constant proc’s?” She turns her head, looks at me with a smirk, and states, “I could activate a Science Team, which should provide adequate resistance to the proc’s. However, capt’n, I don’t have the ability anymore because you decided I did not need it and you took it away from me”. I was at a loss. Why did I do this? Why can I not stop these procs? What can I do to defend my ship and my crew?
As you all have guessed by now, I could do nothing to save my ship and crew without Science Team. Kitty’s hit and run tactics were starting to have a drastic and demoralizing effect on my ship and crew. Over and over again, kitty would hit and run my poor carrier without Science Team. Proc after proc hit my ship and I watched as my hull started drastically decreasing….80 percent….70 percent, so on and so forth. 20 seconds pass by, 30 seconds pass. My hull is at 40 percent! I am still being proc’ed… no power to weapons, no abilities to push, my worthless ship just sitting there and all I could do was sit in my captain’s chair and watch the horror unfold. I was being pounded by a little ship a quarter of my size and there was nothing I could do to correct my error in judgment.
After a few minutes of Kitty’s hit, placate, and run tactic, I started to have a glimmer of hope. It turns out that, while Kitty was getting me down to 40 percent hull, I was not dying during these attacks, just getting lower in hull. When Kitty would fly away to recover from his damage, I was able to recover part of my hull damage with my Engineering Team and Hazard Emitters. That is, after the proc’s finally lifted. Thinking I could continue to survive this onslaught, I was just about ready to call round 7 a stalemate, but Kitty, as it turns out, would have other plans for round 7. Kitty came back for yet another of his by-now-very-predictable hit, placate, and run passes on my ship, but this time it would be a much different outcome. After being placated yet again and sitting there helpless, I noticed that Kitty decided he had had enough of me not blowing up, so he launched his final coup-de-gras attack, the death blow that finally ended round 7 – his Aero Shuttle!
That Aero Shuttle, with additional bonus Phaser proc’s, continued to pound away and knock out the systems on what was now a useless hulk of a ship drifting in space. After about 40 seconds of the Areo shuttle proc’ing me and Kitty pounding me relentlessly, the inevitable happened – my carrier exploded into a million pieces and the only thing I could hear before I blinked into nonexistence was my science officer yelling, “Damn you sir, you’ve killed us all!” If this death shocks you readers out there, don’t worry, it still shocks me that one of my prized carriers fell in PvP!
(I placate this PvP player just as I was placated by Kitty, end result was the same the same)
After the PvP battle was over and my testing was done, I looked at the scoreboard and it showed a score of 15 wins and 1 death. Deep in my heart I knew that, no matter how well I did, Kitty could tell everyone he was able to destroy me in PvP, and that is just what he did. I tried to argue to unsympathetic fleet mates that he was level 60 and I was using a level 51 toon with no upgraded consoles, but it didn’t work. The fleet sided with him and I had to sit there in shame. Not until I started hearing comments like “you are Q and you don’t die no matter what” and “Stop using excuses, face it….he killed you” did I realize I needed to learn more about this ship that defeated me. So, without further ado, let’s look at this Pathfinder Starship.
(My Pathfinder Build)
The Pathfinder is a Tier 6 Long-Range Science Vessel (1) which is obtained from the C-Store. This ship has an impressive Bridge Officer layout with unlimited possibilities. The Pathfinder comes slotted with the following Bridge Officer Stations:
1. Lieutenant Tactical slot
2. Lieutenant Intelligence/Engineer slot
3. Commander Science slot
4. Lieutenant Commander Science slot
5. Universal Lieutenant slot.
Those station slots are just the beginning of the epic features the Pathfinder has in its arsenal. Here is a basic list of some of the modifiers and additional features found on the Pathfinder:
1. 36k Hull (level 60)
2. 1.3 Shield Modifier
3. 12 Degrees Per Second Turn Rate
4. .17 Impulse Modifier
5. +15 to Aux Power
6. Subsystem Targeting Ability
7. Sensor Analysis
8. A Secondary Deflector
9. Aero Shuttle
The list of features on the Pathfinder is truly out of this world, but there is one particular feature I would like to bring to your attention: the Aero Shuttle.
(Pathfinder with Aero Shuttle above)
The Aero Shuttle is a pet that is found only on the Pathfinder, via the Aero Pet Console. It carries with it two main features that cripple your foe faster than the time it takes to say “What The Frak” (WTF). The first ability, “Offensives Science Abilities,” is a skill that does not really have a detailed list of what particular abilities are used, but I have noticed that it does use Viral Matrix, Tractor Beam and Jam Sensors, to name a few. On a side note, people in the STO forums have also claimed that the Aero Shuttle uses Gravity Well, though I have not seen it used by the shuttle as of yet (As usual, if you have any additional experience with the Aero Shuttle, please leave a comment below). The second ability of the Aero Shuttle is that it comes with a “Special Phaser Beam Array” that has a greater chance to knock your systems offline, and let me tell you – it sure does!
(Aero Shuttle placating right after launch and firing phasers)
With all the abilities and features listed above, it is hard to believe that there is yet one more epic feature this little ship has that has not been addressed, which is the ability to use consoles to upgrade your ship and shuttle abilities. That’s right, you can use those consoles found on your other two Long Range Science Vessels to upgrade your Pathfinder and Aero Shuttle. Here’s how.
First, you need to obtain all 3 consoles found on the following Long Range Science Vessels. They are:
1. The Nadeon Detonator, found on the Long Range Science Vessel Refit (2)
2. The Ablative Generator, found on the Long Rang Science Vessel Retrofit (3)
3. The Aero Shuttle, found on the Tier 6 Long Range Science Vessel (1)
Once you have all the consoles from the other science vessels, the following set bonuses are awarded to your ship and shuttle:
1. The two set bonus offers you “Advanced Shield Stabilizers” which upgrades shield regeneration by giving you +15 to Starship Shield Emitters and increases your shield hit point performance by giving you 5 percent Maximum Shield Capacity.
2. The three set bonus upgrades your Aero Shuttle’s torpedo to a “Photonic Shockwave” torpedo.
(My Upgraded Viral Torpedo in Action)
(Aero Shuttle’s Viral Torp in Action)
There is no doubt about it, this ship is just plain epic! You can take out the toughest of opponents with your Science and Aero Shuttle placate skills and still have enough fire power to finish the job with the Lieutenant Tactical Bridge Officer slot, while using the Lieutenant Universal slot as Tactical Bridge Officer slot, as well. I have successfully destroyed every fleet member in 1v1 PvP with this ship and it is very powerful. I recommend this ship to all you Science players as it will augment your DPS greatly. With that being said, however, I would also like to recommend that Engineers and Tactical Officers also take a look at this ship. I have been just as successful using this ship with my Tactical and Engineer Captains.
(PvP Sensor Analysis in Action)
In Conclusion, this ship is as powerful as it is nimble and comes with an impressive list of modifiers and abilities. The Pathfinder can get into a battle, placate and damage an enemy, then withdraw at a high rate of speed, leaving your opponent cursing you as you withdraw, leaving their ship dead in space! The placating and knocking systems offline is second to none and I assure you, if set up correctly, the Pathfinder will give any enemy cause for concern!
(Sensor Analysis and Aero Shuttle Proc)
Update: I love the Pathfinder and tend to get into it from time to time. I am undefeated in 1v1 PvP combat with the Pathfinder; however, in 2v1 combat or 3v1 combat, I cannot survive long due to the lower hull. Once Kitty swoops in and turns off all my system power and then stops me dead in my tracks with what I lovingly call his “frak up skills,” Duncan, another equally epic PvP player, will descend like a vulture and finish me off. It turns out that I do need my uber carrier, with its increase in hull and hangar pets, to last in a PvP match and continue to do damage to my opponents while I sit placated. So, though I love this ship and do well in it, for PvP matches I am forced to get back into my “Uber Carrier”, making sure that I never again leave space dock without my trusty Science Team ability.
Trek Teck Notes: Special Thanks to @Nerfrocket for proof reading and a very special thanks to “Kitty” (@captainfan84) for always PvP’ing me every time I ask!
1. Information used on the Pathfinder’s abilities and features was found here: http://www.arcgames.com/en/games/star-trek-online/news/detail/9005093-intrepid-class-starship
2. Information on the Long Range Refit is found here: http://sto.gamepedia.com/Long_Range_Science_Vessel_Refit
3. Information on the Long Range Science Vessel is found here: http://sto.gamepedia.com/Long_Range_Science_Vessel_Retrofit
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