So I upgraded my ride yesterday, both virtually, and in real life.
In real life, I traded in my van, in its seventh year of life, and replaced it with something a little smaller and sportier.
Yeah, I’m still a family guy, and even though we now have a different family car to serve our travel needs, that didn’t mean our second car was going to be a speed demon. Still, the Suzuki is wildly underrated. Which is just fine with me, because that means its also wildly underpriced, especially in the slightly used market, which where I picked this one up at.
However, that does not mean I am bound by the same restrictions in my virtual life, now does it? I haven’t checked into STO in awhile, but I knew that some new ships were on the horizon for this Season, and my patience paid off. And, quite frankly, Cryptic/Perfect World delivered in spades. Behold the new Heavy Escort Carrier (HEC), the Armitage Class.
Now, high praise needs to be given. From the launch of STO, a great deal of grumbling went on in the community that the deeply popular Akira class was only a tier two ship. The upside was that you could get into one fairly early on. The downside was that it was impossibly outmatched at endgame, and thus could not be your sweet ride for life. So kudos for finally stepping up and putting it alongside the other canonical ship retrofits for endgame awesome.
But double kudos because Cryptic actually called up the original designer of the Akira, Alex Jaeger, and talked to him about the intentions of his design. And, as most fans know, Alex had always planned for the Akira to be a warship, either a carrier or a heavy missile boat. Either way, it was supposed to be big, bad, and nasty. We got to see a few moments of them in action during First Contact/DS9, but on the whole they have gone criminally neglected in the IP.
So Cryptic saw this as a great opportunity to bring Alex’s vision to life. They worked with him to come up with a new exterior design, taking design cues from the Akira as well as their own next generation ships. And they gave it a hangar bay, so that it could in fact be a little bit of a carrier. But the final part was a little tricky for game balance reasons – how do you make it a missile boat? Well the solution was in the special console. Technically its a point defense system; in reality, its a special ability that launches torpedoes at the six closest enemies. It has a high cooldown (3 minutes), but when paired with your actual torp weapons, provides a nice DPS boost, as well as the cool factor of filling the space in a 360 arc around your vessel with lots of shiny red torps.
Now, the best thing about ships in STO is the ship configurator/customizer. So not only can you make that new Heavy Escort Carrier look like the new design, you can make it look like the original Akira if you are feeling nostalgic, or even mix and match, as creative types like me are want to do. So in the end, I’d like to show you my other new ride.
And since I don’t play around, my HEC has not one, not two, but three sets of Dual Heavy Cannons, of the plasma variety, because plasma fire. If you survived the first pass, I’m sure my rear-facing torp tubes and the Peregrine class fighters will finish the job.
Bonus pro-tip: All STO ships except the HEC are on sale for 20% off through July 2nd. Go get some.