Why do almost all special weapons have no real effect?

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posted on March 6th, 2017, 2:48 pm
Am I the only one who noticed that almost all special weapons are in fact useless because - aside from the visual effect - they are not causing real effects?

I play FO every day and only with FED faction. And I noticed very quick the difference between A2 and FO when it comes to use special weapons. the following list shows my experiece with FED special weapons:

Saber - this Impulse-something-Weapon does nothing I can see. It doesn't matter if it is activated or not.

Monsoon - the "proximity torpedo" seems do to nothing more than an normal torpedo. I can't see any special damage on the target.

Intrepid - the tricobald-torpedo only causes minimal more damage than phaser fire in combination with normal torpedos.

Nova - Fleet supply is one of the little number of special weapons that has a real notatable effect.

Akira - The shield reload calles "Defense Patterns" is a nice idea, but helps only after battles. Furthermore the reload of the shields is not much faster than on the normal status.

Canaveral - I never build that ship because I never saw any effect of its three special weapons.

Norway - "Emergency Power"never works. At least I can't see. "Plasma Coil" looks nice and that's all. Even with 20 Novas putting there super hot plasma-whatever in huge swarm of enemy ships, it just does nothing to them. "Assault Mode" causes only very little inceased battle abilities.

Excelsior II - "Guided Quantum Torpedo". I don't get it: Topedoes that are safely hit their target is a special weapon?

Remoore - Aside that the ship is the only real ugly among the FED ships, its special weapons are like the most others useless. All of them.

Avalon - the fighters look nice, for sure. but they are mostly destroyed before fireing a single shot. And even if they make it to fire, they cannot cause any noteworthy damage.

Defiant - "Critical Shot". Critical? The Guide says "A direct hit kills the enemy's weapon systems and deals high damage. Short range. Lasts 12 seconds." I used the weapons several times but I never ever saw a destroyed or deactivated weaponssystem on the target. Also the "high damage" I can't see.

Sovereign - "Distortion Field" "The engines of up to five nearby enemies will stop functioning" Yes they do. For one or two seconds. Nothing more.

Phalanx - "Hypercharge Magnan Emitter" Ok, it works. But where exactly is the difference between Magnan Phaser an normal ones (except that it is a little stronger?)

Teutoburg - "Tricobalt Carpet" same here like with the Intrepid. Effect is only little bigger than a normal torpedo.


So, all together, only Nova class seems to have a useful special weapon. Even though I don't play the other factions actively , I noticed some visual effects that also have obviously no further consequences. The Borg often use something like partical dust against my units (no Idea from which class it comes from) but the system of the 'dusty target' seems not to be affected. Klingons use on one ship a tactical tractor beam (or something), but - surprise - it seems do to nothing.

I do not miss A2 because FO is in so many ways better, of course. But unfortunatly not in special weapons. I miss the highly effective weapons like "chain reaction pulsar" of Akira class or "corbimit reflector" of Sovereign. Or the "Polaron Torpedo" of the Vor'cha class that deactivated on of its targets systems.

So, the final question is: Is there a way to higly increase the effects of the special weapons on FO?
posted on March 8th, 2017, 7:02 pm
I'm not fond of several Fed special weapons, but they are more useful than you make them out to be. I'll address your points on a case-by-case basis:

Saber -- makes the ship slightly faster and makes some pulse and torpedo attacks miss it. Makes the ship last slightly longer into the mid-game, but if you've not won by that point their overall fragility will work against them.

Monsoon and Intrepid -- their abilities are best used as a "snipe" against a heavily damaged ship to guarantee the kill before they cloak or otherwise escape. Intrepid's Tricobolt Torpedo works best for this due to its extended range; it's bonus damage vs stations is largely irrelevant for use against them though. It's noteworthy that the devs announced that they will remove these abilities in the (unreleased and abandoned) 4.0 release; I think they decided that Feds should not have such a snipe ability in the early game where individual ship losses can quickly snowball into a match loss. Less of an impact in vs AI matches as losses don't really snowball for them.

Nova -- I'm not fond of the Nova's ability as, for three uses of it, you're spending the supplies that can build another Nova or pretty much an Akira.

Akira -- The effect of its special is pretty much useless; however, clever timing of it will force torpedos and pulse attacks targeted on that unit to miss, and force enemies to revaluate their target priority. This can create a window of opportunity or the Akira to escape while screened by other Fed units.

Canaveral -- Agreed that its specials are aweful. EC3M is useless. Sensor Synergy does nothing a scout can't do. Sensor Blackout does nothing against AI opponent.

Norway -- Emergency Power does work, but the micro is way too fiddly especially compared to special weapon energy recharging Romulan specials. Plasma Coil was heavily nerfed in the past after Fed players abused it to obliterate whole fleets at once. Assault Mode does work, but if a Fed player wants to relegate Norways to a plain combat role they may as well have built Intreprids or Monsoons.

Excelsior II -- Torpedos have a miss change against medium and small ships (generally cruisers and destroyers respectively, though there are exceptions), so a special that guarantees hits is valuable. The Mayson Avatar version even grants bonus damage to Battleships. However, the loss of ability to maneuver kills the special's use.

Remore -- Vector Calculation is apparently unimplemented. Point Defense is terrible. However, Precise Volley is fantastic. It strips shields from tough opponents like Warbirds. Five of them nuke the shields of a Tavara down to virtually nothing.

Avalon -- The fighters are a screening tool. The damage they absorb is pure mitigation against your fleet, plus, against AI at least, they can confuse the enemy fleet and keep it out of range for long enough for your long-range ships (including the Avalons) to get a few unanswered licks in.

Defiant -- its special is a precision tool for disabling weapons on specific dangerous enemy ships. On Romulans it disables cloak and cancels an in-progress cloak. Also, because of the way subsystem damage and disabling works, if a subsystem is working but has taken damage is disabled, that subsystem becomes destroyed until fixed. In conjunction with shield-crushing and shield-bypassing damage (eg Remore's Precision Volley, or the special torpedoes that officer Akiras get), it's possible to neuter high impact vessels and even superships almost as soon as they appear.

Sovereign -- Like the specials on the Monsoon and Intrepid, it's best used to force losses on ships that are retreating. Also, see the Defiant note for how it can interact with shield-bypassing damage.

Phalanx -- The Magnan Phaser inflicts light damage across an area of effect. The special is a toggled fire-mode that makes it fire 5x more often for as long as triggered, with no downside. As the damage from the Magnan is relatively light, it's best used in groups.

Teutoburg -- It's a ship that has generated a lot of debate, with the majority opinion being that it's a highly specialized anti-turtling tool that has very little effect. You're generally better using warp-in slots on a regular Warp-In or a Descent.

I do think that, overall, Fed special weapons are relatively weak, but do have some interesting synergies and some unintended but exploitable effects. I have some theories why they were designed that way, but they're not particularly credible so won't bother explaining them.

Finally, yes, it's possible to change the strength of those effects. See Guide: Modding.
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