It’s been almost a year since the release of the Legacy of Romulus expansion to Star Trek Online, which introduced the player-base to a third faction: Romulans. With the third faction came an entire ship family, the warbird, and new styles of play. Amid these new ships also came some interesting ideas from Cryptic about how space battles proceed. One of these ships is the Romulan tier five T’var Light Warbird Retrofit.
While the T’varo Retrofit has the handling and feel of a high-powered escort, it’s actually an extremely versatile vessel that allows it to fill a multitude of roles. Depending on how the captain chooses to seat BOFFs and what consoles are slotted (at 3x3x3 for the C-Store version) it can be outfitted for numerous warbird playstyles.
Interested in captaining one of these interesting, exotic weapons of warfare? Look no further than this review.
The T’varo Light Warbird Retrofit is available from the Cryptic C-Store for 2,000 ZEN ($20 USD). Alternatively it is also available from the Legacy of Romulus Legacy Pack ($159.99 USD) and the Starter Pack ($24.99 USD).
This is a C-Store ship and as a result it comes with a special console and comparatively nice features. There is also a Fleet version available from a Tier I shipyard for 200,000 EC and four Fleet Ship Modules (2,000 ZEN total). It only costs one module if the player already has the T’varo Retrofit C-Store variant.
The T’varo Retrofit is a revamp of earlier light warbirds that give it a very thin profile, talon-like nacelles, and an overall dagger-like appearance. The hull is greenish (with a few costume options) and the nacelles have a green glow that provides the knife-like edge to their exterior. It’s a fairly small ship compared the many of the other vessels seen in Star Trek Online, but it packs a lot of punch in its small hull.
The design doesn’t immediately scream Romulan when looking at it, but the design choices common to Romulan ships are still apparent. A single-flat saucer-like engineering-hull combined with raised nacelles that looks like a sleeker-more-modernized version of the T’liss.
The T’varo looks like it’s dressed up in leather boots, spiked collar, and a leather vest for a night out on the town that might just involve a close-quarters knife fight with high-energy plasma weaponry.
The handling review of a ship in Star Trek Online is broken up into three parts: maneuverability, armament, and armor. The T’varo Retrofit Warbird can be destribed as a “dagger that slides between the ribs of the enemy,” because it’s narrow profile, high turn rate, and high speed give it an agility that’s not common in dogfights. With three Tactical consoles (four in the Fleet version), a Commander Tactical BOFF, and a four-tree gun layout it falls into a space between escorts and birds-of-prey.
Hull Strength: 27,000
Shield Modifier: 0.9
Weapons: 4 Fore, 3 Aft
Device Slots: 2
Bridge Officer Stations: 1 Commander Tactical, 1 Ensign Tactical, 1 Lieutenant Engineering, 1 Lieutenant Science, 1 Lieutenant Commander Universal
Console Modifications: 3 Tactical, 3 Engineering, 3 Science
Base Turn Rate: 18 degrees per second
Impulse Modifier: 0.2
+10 Weapon Subsystems, +5 Engine Subsystems
Console – Universal – Plasma Destabilizer
Can Equip Cannons
Singularity Warp Core
Romulan Enhanced Battle Cloaking Device
Players will find themselves with a variety of play style options provided by the Lt. Commander Universal BOFF slot, the Enhanced Battle Cloak (see below), and Romulan Singularity powers. The T’varo fills the role of an escort nicely with cannons or beams; but it can also make an excellent hit-and-run ambusher that can appear out of nowhere, unleash hell, and then accelerate out of range to vanish again for another pass.
The T’varo Retrofit features an interesting built-in capability: it can fire torpedoes under cloak with the Enhanced Battle Cloak. The EBC, however, comes with a mild flaw in that while firing torpedoes the T’varo is visible (and can be fired upon) for three seconds. During this time the T’varo has no shields and thus a torpedo hit can be devastating. The other massive advantage to EBC is that many BOFF abilities can be triggered without breaking cloak.
The ship also comes with one extremely interesting console (described in full below) the Plasma Destabilizer that fires a ruby-red destructible projectile with massive damage and a big area of effect.
When it comes down to it, the T’varo’s armor is paper-thin—this ship is a fragile butterfly amidst the battlefield, relying heavily on Singularity powers, Engineering abilities, and sheer speed to survive. The Retrofit sports only 27,000 hull points, giving it the weakest hull of any tier 5 Romulan ship (only the Aquarius Destroyer and Birds-of-Prey have weaker hulls). Like many escorts, most T’varo captains will rely on high defense values from high speed flight and the possibility of cloak to escape from too much attention.
The Plasma Destabilizer comes with the T’varo Retrofit and provides the ability to fire a destabilized plasma mega-torpedo. It is basically a giant red ball of loving-death that sails balefully towards a nearby target and explodes for massive area damage and delivers a red plasma fire to affected targets. The base damage of the torpedo is 19,454 kinetic damage delivered in a 2.5km radius; and it leaves behind a plasma fire that inflicts 309.9 plasma damage per second to hull for 15 seconds.
The Singularity Stabilizer (second in the set) comes from T’varo Light Warbird (tier 1 Romulan ship available for 500 ZEN.) Its ability delivers fast Singularity charge and will re-enable the Singularity charge meter if it’s currently on cooldown.
The set gives a +10% projectile damage bonus.
The T’varo Retrofit is a solid warbird with tight steering and a cloak—but also the fragility that comes with most Romulan warbirds. It’s extremely low time-on-target makes it an idea for escort builds that make use of forward facing cannon (coupled with ambush and hit-and-run tactics) but it can also make a passible beam-build escort as well.
With a Commander Tactical BOFF and a Lt. Commander Universal, the T’varo Retrofit can be turned into a weapon of mass aggression with very little effort. The Ensign Tactical can be saved for a Tactical Team spot and the rest freed up for sheer firepower—but the Lt. Commander Universal also means that captains have a lot of leeway in choosing a load out.
Two Tactical BOFFs also leaves more than one copy of Cannon Rapid Fire available—and/or a space for Scatter Volley for cone AoE damage. The T’varo is a little bit light on the hull and armor, but can make up for it in sheer alacrity on the battlefield, Attack Pattern: Omega can come in handy along with other defense enhancements.
Three Tactical consoles (four in the Fleet version) means a fair amount of space to put damage enhancement consoles.
As for beamscorts, the Tactical BOFF layout makes it possible to use Beam Overload to great effect along with Directed Energy Modulation and Fire At Will—however, since most Romulan captains will be using Romulan Plasma anyway the hull-melting proc may take care of shield penetration on its own.
Due to the presence of the Enhanced Battle Cloak the T’varo is considered a likely candidate for torpedo boats—i.e. a ship designed entirely around launching torpedoes from all its front-arc weapon slots.
The major flaw in this style of play, however, is the three second vulnerability. Since torpedoes have a short shared-cooldown for firing cycles this means that during a torpedo fusillade the T’varo could remain uncloaked (and without shields) for an extended amount of time. Some sort of hull damage resistance or mitigation may be needed to stay alive if the T’varo comes under fire.
Multiple sets provide extra torpedo damage that can be of excellent use on a T’varo. The above Plasma Destabilizer coupled with the Singularity Stabilizer gives +10% projectile damage (not to mention yet-another-torpedo); the two-set bonus from Adapted M.A.C.O. provides +25% damage; and the two-set bonus from Reman/Romulan Prototype upgrades heavy plasma torpedoes.
The T’varo Light Warbird Retrofit is not for the faint of heart—especially noting the purchase price of 2,000 ZEN.
It’s a highly capable escort that can be built into a multitude of roles that fit the Romulan expected tactics from front-line source of DPS to ambush hit-and-run or even a highly capable torpedo-boat that can fire from cloak. With Enhanced Battle Cloak the T’varo Retrofit is indeed a knife between the ribs of enemy squadrons.
Combined with many different consoles and sets from the Legacy of Romulus expansion the T’varo can be a firepower powerhouse or a thief-in-the-night however a captain wants to fly her. The vessel is good looking, and can be quite fun and compelling to fly just like an expensive sports car. And, just like an expensive sports car, the fragile nature of the ship also means a captain needs to pay a lot more attention to what’s happening on the battlefield.
With the big-red torpedo of love, enhanced battle cloak, and enough firepower to level a planet, the T’varo Retrofit is a must for any Romulan captain who wants to try out a glass-cannon with serrated edges.