After all the refits, the seven modified vessels were returned into service without much public notice and were stationed on stand-by close to the Romulan Neutral Zone. Just in case, if all the Romulan production lately should not just happen to be a big economic operation.
Yes, you are right! The Steamrunner is back in business and will be available as a buildable ship. In fact, it's the first vessel of the Offensive Profile (I talked about the profiles in an earlier newspost) a Federation player can get. It is armed with strong long range armament offering impressive burst-fire potential to snipe hostile attackers before they can pose a threat to your fleet.
Later on, its special ability also makes it an attractive vessel even if you did not choose to focus on it, as it is armed with the Distortion Device. This might sound familiar from the old Sovereign ability and - in fact - it is a good example of the way the new techtrees works. Many special abilities were shuffled or redone in order to give vessels multiple usages. The distortion device allows the Steamrunner to shut down the engines of a target vessel over long range. This is particular useful if you face single hostile units, like battleships, and want to pin them down in order to separate them from their defensive escort. This allows the Steamrunner to work well as a support to your fleet even if you just have one or two of them and did not chose to use them as your primary source of damage. That's true for most aspect of gameplay now. We try hard to build techtrees, mechanics and abilities that give you a lot of valid options for playing a certain faction, as we think that's most of the fun in a strategy game!
Another interesting point about Offensive Vessels: all offensive vessels have a chance to deal area damage on their attack volleys. These attacks - you might call them fatal or critical volleys - allow a fleet with a good offensive support to shred through multiple hostiles at once AND damage vulnerable ships even while shooting at the defensive lead ship. This underlines the character of offensive units: they are your teeth, while allround units are the most robust ships, much less likely to lose subsystems, but not offering as much staying power as a defensive ship or area damage and raw firepower like an offensive ship would.
Here are some screenshots of a Starfleet exercising maneuver involving the new Steamrunner.
That's it for today with our small sneak peak. CU next post!