In this short tutorial (no its not going to be short) I'd like to share my knowledge about ship builds and DPS in STO.
This is of course not going to be the ultimate guide for DPS but it might give you some ideas how I achieve some of these high DPS numbers.
At this point I need to say that this guide wont be 100% correct. Fact is that it is based on my knowledge and considering that I am not doing +100k DPS yet means that I still have some stuff to learn.
I know how hard and frustrating it can be to look at other players which do these crazy DPS numbers while the own DPS is still pretty low.
For a very long period of time in STO I had around 6k dps... not more.
Reaching 10k DPS was beyond my knowledge and when I finally reached the 10k DPS limit it was absolutely not imaginable how other players did 30k DPS or more.
It took me alot of time to reach 20k dps and then 30k dps... and then I was stuck again.
I had to realize that it is a step by step procedure to gather the knowledge to improve the DPS.
Either that or you have a fancy guide that explains everything to you.
This is going to be such a guide.
Ill try to cover pretty much everything you need to know.
As you can see here I am using the new T6 Science Star Cruiser.
I am not using a tactical ship as you would assume when it comes to DPS generation.
Fact is that pretty much every ship in the game is able to generate high DPS rates. However, T5-U or T6 would of course be a bit better than lower Tier ships due to their better console and boff layouts.
The difference between Science cruiser and its tactical counterpart is that this one here has more sci consoles and an additional sci boff slot while the tactical version has less sci console slots but more tactical slots and an aditional tactical boff slot.
In the end their performance is relative equal while the science version is a bit better as it can compensate the lack of tactical consoles (which increase the weapon damage) by using an extra ability called "Sensor Analysis".
Only Science ships have this ability which is a pretty impressive Debuff on a single target.
Science ship NEED this debuff because by default Science ships have less weapon slots (usually only 6 o 7) and of course they lack tactical consoles. The "Sensor Analysis" compensates this disadvantage of the science ships.
The only Science ships which 8 weapons are the ones that count towards the Flagships (Odyssey, Scimitar, Bortasqu and their new T6 versions).
While I am already explaining Sci vs. Tac I also want to mention that the difference between your Captain career is not that important at all.
All three paths have their advantages. Tacs can use an "Attack pattern Alpha" and they can use "Go down Fighting" which are impressive. Engineers have an ability that transfers power into subsystems (EPS Power Transfer) which is really awesome because alot power in the subsystems mean that you can create alot of DPS. Engineers also have a "Engineering Fleet" which is a good heal ability. Heal is good because then you dont need heals from other sources (e.g. traits) and you can go more offensive on these sources.
Science Captains have fairly large debuff abilities which in the end also lead to impressive DPS (I'll explain debuffs later in this guide).
Point is, no matter what kind of ship type you have and no matter what kind of Captain you are, you can create impressive DPS amounts. There is no "best" way.
Ok, lets get back to the image above.
There you can see my current loadout of my T6 Science Star Cruiser.
Console Slots are Engineering, Science and Tactical slots.
There are a few simple rules on the layout of these slots.
- The tactical slots are ONLY for tactical consoles.
More specifically they are for the "Vulnerability Locators" from the Fleet Spire. These are by far the best Tactical consoles in the game. Period! If you have 5 tactical slots then you fill them with 5 locator consoles. There is no alternative to that.
Because the locators improve your base weapon damage and your critical chance by an amount that you can not improve elsewhere. And getting a high crit chance is what you should aim for because thats where alot of DPS comes from.
Of course there are also tac consoles which improve your critical severity. But crit severity wont help you much if your chance to apply that damage is 0 (or low). Your goal should be to get a crit chance of 25%-30% in combat. Thats good. Thats why you should use Locators in your tactical slots.
My crit chance rate as seen on the pic below is about 21% out of combat (26-30% in combat).
- You can see that I have 4 plasma consoles in my science slots. That's the way to go.
Plasma consoles have been nerfed massively in the past... multiple times. Today, they are still the best science consoles available.
Which types of plasma consoles you take depends on what you want to do.
Do you take "nullifiers" which reduce your threat generation by 75% (each) or do you take the plasma consoles which increase your threat generation instead?
If you want to deal DPS then I would advice you to take the nullifiers which reduce your threat because much DPS also means that you are generating alot of threat and that might make you the primary target of the NPCs. If you do alot DPS your heals are usually very week. You need to reduce the threat in order to survive.
If you intent to be a threat tank then you probably dont deal much DPS but your heals are strong. In that case you can take the plasma consoles which increase your threat. You can support your team this way and also use abilities and traits which require alot of threat (e.g. the "Reciprocy" trait decreases your Boff ability cooldowns if the enemies fire at you and miss you; without high threat NPCs dont fire on you and this trait wouldnt work well; The reduction of cooldown from this trait in return and improve your DPS because you can apply damage dealing Buffs more often.)
High threat or low threat can be both good, depending on what you want to do.
The embassy plasma consoles also come with different mods.
There are mods that make sense and some that done make sense.
- [Flow] This is the one that I use because flow improves my power levels which in return improve my DPS (high power = DPS).
- [Emit] This one is for tanks which require strong shields. It does not improve your DPS but it might keep you alive.
- [PartG] Particle generators are something for the science players which generate their DPS via exotic damage (Gravity wells, tractor beam repulsors, etc.). Exotic Damage can (if done correctly) deal as much DPS as normal Crit builds. But at this point I actually dont want to cover exotic damage builds here since they are complicated and a bit confusing.
In my eyes [Flow] is the one that a normal player that wants to do DPS should focus on.
- Last but not least we have the engineering console slots. Cruisers by default have many of them.
These are for engineering consoles (e.g. Neutronium Alloys from the Fleet mine) or (if you want to deal DPS) for universal consoles.
At this point I have to say that it is better to use Universal consoles than Engineering consoles (unless you have no other way to survive in combat).
What good universal consoles can be used?
Pretty much everything that adds something to your damage values, preferably consoles which have Crit Damage or Crit serverity boosts.
- Bioneural Infusion Circuits
- Tachyokinetic Converter
- Assimilated module (very good in combination with the kinetic cutting beam -> ill explain that later)
- Zero Point Energy Conduit
- Nukara Particle Converter (not as useful as the others but stil a valid option)
- Conductive RCS Accelerator [EPS] (improves your power levels + turn rate buff)
- Exotic Particle Field Exciter [EPS] (improves your power levels + PartG buff)
- Regenerative Integrity Field (a very strong hull heal from Astika)
- Shield Absorptive Frequency Generator (a very strong shield heal from Valdore)
However, there is one Universal console that you have to have. The Plasmonic Leech.
Plasmonic Leech is the best console in the entire game. Pretty much ALL high DPS builds are based on that console.
Because every hit with Directed Energy Weapons (Beams+Cannons) lets this console fill up your ships power levels.
With this console slotted, with each weapon hit you receive power to your subsystems. This in return improves your shield hardness, it improves your flight speed and turn rate, it improves your weapon damage and it also improves your auxillary systems.
It is the ultimate buff for your ship systems.
Plasmonic Leech is a very expensive console but its worth every Energy Credit spent on it.
Before you think about buying anything else... buy the Leech.
As Fed/Rom you can buy it at the exchange or get as rare drop from a Lockbox. As KDF/Rom player you can get the Leech from the Vandal Destroyer (a T3 C-store ship -> so its not that expensive).
It is the first Universal console you should go for.
- The tactical slots are ONLY for tactical consoles.
These are right above the Console slots.
They don't play such a big role when it comes to DPS.
Many ships only have 2 device slots and most devices can be exchanged.
e.g. You can take this Red Matter Capacitor (if you dont have one) and replace it with a Weapons Battery.
There are a good amount of different working options you can use there.
You can use Shield Batteries, Aux Batteries, Combat Pets from the Embassy, Deuterium Surplus... etc.
I btw. have an extremely rare and also very expensive "Rechargable Shield Battery". That one has cost me 40mio EC and it does exactly the same what normal Shield batteries do. It has exactly the same stats as a normal one that you can buy at ESD for 1000 EC. The only difference is that my Battery never gets consumed.
Ok... for 40mio EC you can buy MANY normal batteries. But hey, I am lazy and I have the money.
Its a luxury good that easily can be replaced by something else.
You see, devices are exchangable and don't have to be expensive at all.
With using a high Tier cruiser I have a 4/4 weapon layout. Four in the front and four in the rear section of the ship.
I use beam arrays because cruisers are slow turning and require weapons with wide firing arcs.
It is too hard for a slow ship to keep a moving target infront of you if you use Cannons or Dual Beam Banks.
So for slow ships Beam Arrays. For fast ships Cannons and Dual Beam Banks are valid options (sometimes even the better option).
Beam arrays have a 250° firing arc, which results in an overlapping area for the rear and forward Beams of 70° at the sides of the ship. Beam array builds are made for broadsiding your targets.
The first thing you should do when creating a ship build is thinking about which kind of weapons you want.
Because when you buy tactical consoles then they have to fit to your Weapon type.
It makes absolutely no sense to use Antiproton [AP] Vulnerability Locators if you use plasma weapons.
Your tactical consoles have to perfectly fit to your Weapon type.
That is also the reason why you have to decide for a Weapon type instead of mixing Antiproton weapons with Phasers, Plasma beams or distruptors. Your tactical consoles can only buff one type of weapon. If you have other types of weapons then they won't receive the damage boost from your tactical consoles.
So make your choice and stick to it.
What options do you have?
- Phasers: In my eyes still an option but only for PVP; Phasers have a 2.5% chance to disable enemy subsystems for a short duration and thats pretty annoying to PVP opponents.
- Plasma: Plasma weapons used to be the best weapons in the game because of their plasma burn damage. That is not true anymore. But there are plasma damage buffing univeral consoles (I believe the Zero Point Energy Conduit) which can improve your damage. One problem with plasma weapons is that they dont work well together with the Science plasma consoles from the embassy. These science console add a plasma explosion to all weapon types except plasma weapons. Plasma weapons only receive an improved plasma burn damage (damage over time) from these consoles. That isn't as good as the plasma explosions that the other weapon types get.
- Tetryon: Tetryon weapons do extra shield damage. They can drain shields pretty fast. They are impressive against heavy shielded enemies... not so good when the shields are already down. I consider tetryon a good weapon type but they have lost a bit their value considering how many traits, specialization tree abilities and also the upcoming new skill tree changes focus on "shield penetration".
- Polaron: Polaron weapons are probably a bit underrated by most players. Polaron weapons have a chance to drain up to 25 power from ALL enemy subsystems. That means enemies will lose shield power, weapon power, flight speed, turn rate... etc.
- Disruptor: Klingon Disruptor weapons are deadly. They are deadly for the fact that they have the chance to reduce the damage resistance of the target by -10 for 15 seconds. Damage resistence debuffs mean that your weapons deal more damage on the enemy. I use disruptors on my KDF toons and they work very well.
- Antiproton: Antiproton weapons are currently considered to be the best weapons for high crit builds (I already told you to improve your crit chance).
Unlike other weapon types Antiproton weapons dont have a special Proc (like weapon disable, shield drain or damage resist debuff). Antiproton instead have a default crit severity bonus of 20%.
So why is that special/good?
Well, every weapon type can get 5 weapon modifieres with increasing rarity.
A Common weapon (white) has no weapon mod at all.
An Uncommon weapon (green) gets its first weapon Mod (e.g. a [CrtD])
Rare weapons (blue) have 2 weapon mods (e.g. [CrtD]x2 or [CrtD] + [Acc])
Very rare weapons have 3 mods... Ultra rare have 4 mods... Epic weapons have 5 mods.
The 5th weapon mod at EPIC is always a [AC/DM] which is a 10% accuracy and 10% damage bonus.
Now imagine that you have an ultra rare (or epic) antiproton weapon with [CrtD]x4. That means your antiproton weapon gets 4 times 20% Crit severy bonus from the weapon modifiers + another 20% just because it is an Antiproton weapon with a build in CrtD. That adds up to a 100% damage bonus on all Critical hits (which is still 20% more than all other weapon types can receive).
That is a massive DPS bonus IF your crit chance is high enough (thats why you take vulnerability locators in your tactical console slots).
So Antiproton weapons with [CrtD]x4 are pretty much an overkill and they are extremely hard to get. You need to craft these weaspons and then upgrade them... and if you have bad luck the upgrade goes wrong and the weapon you get is probably just a [crtD]x + [acc]x2.
There are alternatives to [crtD]x4.
[CrtD]x3 + [Pen] has almost the same damage output (in some cases even better).
Meanwhile you can also go for [CrtD]x3 + [Dmg] as the Dmg modifier got a massive improvement last year.
Even combinations with [CrtD]x2 + [Pen] + [Dmg] are possible.
There is a crit calculator on the net where you can check which combination fits best to you.
STO Magical Mystery Weapon Crit Advisor
As you can see I am using a Kinetic Cutting beam.
I am at the moment thinking about replacing it because it is actually a crap weapon for my build.
It creates not even 50% of the damage that my other weapons do.
But why did I use it in first place?
- This weapon does not need any energy. Energy costs = 0. Thats great. Every ship build that suffers problems with weapon power should have a kinetic cutting beam. (I am at a point where this does not play a bit role anymore)
- Next to the 0 energy costs for this weapon it also has a 2set bonus in combination with the assimilated module (from the Omega Reputation). That set bonus is the "Omega Weapon Amplifier" which adds a 2.5% chance (per weapon fire) to increase my weapon power by +10 and add 500 Current Weapon Power Resistance for 3 seconds, + 500 Maximum power resistance for 3 seconds.
With other words for every few seconds my weapons drain less energy.
That of course requires a bit explanation (which I will do in the EPS section below).
Ship equipment consists of 5 parts.
- Secondary Deflectors (only on science ships)
- Impulse Engines
- Warp Cores/Singulary Cores
Now I could tell you about all the different options you have. That would take a few weeks.
Instead I simply tell you what you should do any why you should do it.
For the ship equipment you of course want to take one Space sets.
The Iconian set is by far the best set available when it comes to creating DPS.
Each part of the set has very nice stats but combined the set bonus is what makes the Iconian set so special.
The 2 set bonus is a shield regeneration which is ok to have.
But what you want is the 3 set bonus. That bonus has a 5% chance to get +15% All Energy Damage for 8 sec to Allies within 10km (Allies includes YOU). This bonus can stack up to 3 times, that means the damage bonus can reach 45% (per player). And this bonus reaches 45% very easy and fast.
Now 45% per player is 225% for the team (if all have the iconian set -> which i think is very often the case meanwhile).
Ok, and now lets get back to realistic numbers.
"Energy Damage" is a Cat1 power (all damage buff and debuff were put into different categories; Cat1 is the category with the lowest impact on the outgoing damage). That means that during the damage calculation for each shot this bonus is applied at the very beginning of that calculation. This causes diminishing returns, as this bonus is applied to the base damage of a weapon instead at the end of the calculation after other bonuses already have been added to the damage.
Mathematically the 45% damage bonus per player might end up as only 5% bonus damage in the output when the damage calculation is done.
But even if its only 5% difference to your normal DPS output... you have to multiply it by 5 (5 players with the iconian set). 25% extra damage from a space set is nice. No other set can do that.
The iconian set also has a 4 set bonus if you use all parts.
Its an ability you can activate and which effects the entire team.
+33% All Damage for 30 sec
+20% Maximum Hull for 30 sec
+10% Flight Speed for 30 sec
This ability has a cooldown of... dunno... 2mins (pretty long).
It is again a nice boost on top... especially if all players activate it.
I personally dont use the 4 piece set.
The bonus is nice but it is limited to only 30secs uptime. In my eyes the cooldown is too long to be effective.
So I only use a 3 piece set.
Now there are different possibilities how to use the Iconinan set for the 3 piece bonus.
- You can use the Iconian Deflector, the Iconian Shield, the Iconian Warp Core and the Romulan Impulse Engines like I do.
That makes sense if you are Attack Pattern frequently (like I do). The Romulan Impulse Engines have a bonus to Attack Patterns. Thats my reason to use this combination.
However, it would be best if your Iconian Warp Core (or Singulary Core) has Epic quality (or at least Ultra rare).
ALL Cores from the Reputation system get the [AMP] modifier when they are upgraded to ultra rare.
Whats so special about [AMP]?
[AMP] means that you get +3.3% All Damage for each sub-system with 75 or more power.
If you manage to keep all your 4 subsystem over 75 power (thats not that hard) you will get 4x 3.3% damage bonus.
Thats why your Warp Core or your Singularity Core ALWAYS should have [AMP].
- Second possibility is that you take the Iconian Deflector, the Iconian Impulse Engines, the Iconian Shield and either an "Elite Plasma Integrated Warp Core" or a "Thoron Infused Singulary Core" from the Fleet Embassy.
Both exist in multiple versions which have the [AMP] modifier.
Both have a 10% resistence rate on Power levels and a 66% improvement on the base regeneration of power levels -> that means your Power levels drain 10% less and restore a bit faster (take a look at the EPS guide).
How to upgrade items?
Its hard not to see that everything I have on my ship has Epic quality.
It was a long way to get there.
My advice is... when you start upgrading stuff then start with the tactical consoles and then the science consoles.
Console upgrades are relative cheap compared to e.g. the Iconian equipment set.
The upgrade on tac consoles and then also on plasma consoles leads to a clear improvement of your DPS. The boost you get from these consoles at higher quality grades is quiet noticable.
Many high DPS players dont have everthing at Epic... often it is enough to have items at ultra rare. The step to epic is very huge when it comes down to the costs for such upgrades. Often ultra rare is enough to make good progress.
Epic is really for maxing it out.
Unless you upgrade reputation items, upgrades always require luck.
If you upgrade a weapon from very rare to ultra rare you dont know which modifier you get. You can have luck and get something useful or you can get pure crap.
If you want to craft antiproton weapons with specific modifiers then I suggest you craft them as MK II versions first.
Rarity upgrades on MK II weapons are much cheaper than on MK XII weapons.
You can throw in a superior beam upgrade and an upgrade accelerator and have like 3-4 chances for a rarity upgrade.
If you try the same on a MK XII weapon you will have to invest multiple superior upgrades and accelerators just to get one upgrade chance.
If you have enough EC you can also check if you can find upgraded weapons on the exchange. Search for the modifiers that you want.
When I started to upgrade my items it took me ages to get what I want.
Today the chances to get a good modifier is much higher (because most crap modifiers have been removed from crafting which increased the chances to get something good) and even the selection of good modifiers is much better today.
With the upcoming Romulan Admiralty Campaign you even have the chance to earn additional upgrades as reward.
Upgrades on the exchange also are not that expensive anymore and with the additional EC income from the Admiralty system you can afford these upgrades.
Upgrading items has become much easier than it used to be.
Lets talk about EPS (thats probably the point where I will confuse you).
My explanation here is not going to be 100% correct. If I explain it correctly and detailed you probably will close the browser window.
Ive posted a somewhat more detailed guide about EPS a few months ago if you are interested in all the details.
So whats the deal about EPS?
EPS = DPS.
EPS is the rate at which energy flows back into your subsystems.
This also includes your weapon power. The more weapon power you have, the more damage your weapons will deal.
A weapon that fires when you have 125 weapon power is dealing alot more damage than a weapon that fires at 100 weapon power or below.
Having high energy levels should be your goal and EPS is the way how achieve this.
[extrabox]Weapons which fire at 50 weapon power have 0% damage bonus.
Weapons which fire at 100 weapon power have 100% damage bonus.
Weapons which fire at 125 weapon power have 150% damage bonus.[/extrabox]
Beam weapons drain -10 weapon energy per fire cycle. (Turrets -7; Dual Heavy Cannons -12)
The first weapon to fire in such a cyle is always free (it does not consume any power).
In my example I use 8 beams and weapon cycle looks like this:
[extrabox]Antiproton weapon 1 = 0 power drain (because the first is free)
Antiproton weapon 2 = -10 weapon power
Antiproton weapon 3 = -10 weapon power
Antiproton weapon 4 = -10 weapon power
Antiproton weapon 5 = -10 weapon power
Antiproton weapon 6 = -10 weapon power
Antiproton weapon 7 = -10 weapon power
Kinetic Cutting beam = 0 weapon power[/extrabox]
That means I lose 60 weapon power when firing all my weapons. That is much and has to be compensated.
There are multiple ways to do that.
- A Plasmonic Leech clearly helps as it drains power from enemy ships on every weapon hit.
- Maco shields can drain power.
- EPS Power transfer (when you are an Engineer)
- Emergency Power to Weapons
- High EPS rates are clearly the way to go. I have marked on the first image above what my EPS rate looks like. I have 309%.
The EPS rate shows how much power per second flows back into your subsystems. The higher your EPS rate, the better you can deal with the power loss per weapon cycle. And the more power you have on your weapons the more damage will you deal.
It is important to keep your weapon power always above 110-115. Everything above 100 massively increases your weapon damage. Optimum of course is a weapon power of 125.
So my EPS rate shows 309% which results in 15.5/sec.
15.5 is the amount of power that flows back into my weapon systems per second.
So in my example above I fired the first weapon cycle and lost 60 weapon power this way.
A complete weapon cycle last 5 seconds while there are 4 shots per weapon and the last second of the cycle is a 1 second cooldown.
EPS brings back my weapon power at currently 15.5 per second.
Now a mechanic that you probably already have heard of kicks in. The weapon power overcap.
The overcap for beam weapons is 4 x EPS.
That means in my exampe 4 x 15.5 = 62.
That is the amount of weapon power I can restore per fire cycle.
So each fire cycle I lose 60 weapon power and I restore 62 weapon power because of my EPS.
The example above might seem like everything is fine. Yes.
Lets simply look at another example.
[extrabox]Same ship... but this time I use the cruiser commands to reduce the weapon power by 25%.
First weapon does not consume power... the next 6 weapons consume 7.5 power and the cutting beam is free.[/extrabox]
[extrabox]6 x 7.5 = a total consumption of 45 weapon power.[/extrabox]
[extrabox]And now lets simply assume I would NOT use a "Conductive RCS Accelerator" in one of my Engineering console slots. That would reduce my EPS rate by 100% down to 209% which is 10.5/sec.
Overcap for beam weapons is 4 (for cannons it is lower because the weapon cycle is faster).[/extrabox]
[extrabox]4 x 10.5 = 42[/extrabox]
[extrabox]All of a sudden I consume more power than can flow back into my subsystem.
Now... lets assume that we use Beam Fire at Will. BFAW does 5 shots instead of only 4 during one weapon cycle. That effectively increases your weapon power costs by 25%.
Your total power consumption is back to 60 while without the RCS console you only gain 42 power back. Thats a problem.
With each cycle you lose weapon power this way... and your weapons will produce less damage.[/extrabox]
EPS = DPS
- You can use batteries to compenstate such power problems.
- You can use a Leech to gain the missing weapon power.
- You can use a "kinetic cutting beam" in combination with the "assimilated module" console which enabled the Omega Weapons Amplifier that eventually reduces your weapon power costs for a short duration.
- You can use the Supremacy Trait to fill your power levels.
- You can use a Maco shield adds power to your subsystems when you get missed by enemy fire (Note: Maco shield + Leech do not work together).
- You could use the Greedy Emitters Trait from the Nandi (Ferengi ship) if you use specific science boff abilities.
- If you fly in a Cruiser you can also use the Cruiser commands to reduce the weapon power costs by 25%.
- You can use the "Conductive RCS Accelerator" in order to boost your EPS rates by 100%.
- There are many other consoles or ship equipment which improve the EPS rates. You have to play around with it a bit.
Where you can get such a Conductive RCS Accelerator?
You can craft it or you can buy it from the exchange.
Important is that you use one with [EPS] modifier. There are other modifiers available... you dont need the others.
[EPS] is what you need.
If you can't afford this console... there are cheap EPS consoles on the exchange. They also provide +100% EPS but don't have the RCS component which actually is a turn rate buff.
Make sure that the first weapon in your fire cycles is NOT the kinetic cutting beam. The first weapon in a cycle has to be a weapon that by default would consume power.
How can you decide which weapon fires first?
In space you have an interface in the middle of the screen showing your weapons.
You can right-click these weapons to become active autofire weapons (they get a green frame around them). The first one you make green is the first one that will fire during a fire cycle.
[heading]Bridge Officer Stations[/heading]
The Stations are the heart of your ship.
Here you decide which kind of ship build you actually want to use.
This is a very important part of the game and there are so many possible variations setups here.
What players sometimes forget is that the choice of Bridge Officers for these Stations is as important as the abilities that they have.
For a Romulan player the choice is pretty simple.
Romulans could fill their stations with the "Superior Romulan Operatives" from the Fleet Embassy.
Romulans are the only race which can use this specific type of Boff as tactical, engineering and science version.
Federation and Klingons can only use these "Superior Romulan Operatives" (SRO) on tactical stations.
Special about these SROs is that they improve the Critical Chance and the Critical Severity of your ship weapons by a very large amount. This is a massive DPS boost.
Since Klingon and Federation players don't have the option to use SROs on their Engineering and Science Stations they will have to rely on other Boffs.
Long time ago people filled these Stations with Boffs that had the "Efficient" Trait. On KDF side Letheans had such Traits. On Fed side there were Saurians with that Trait. Next to that there was and still is the possiblity to get Liberated Borg with "Efficient" Trait.
"Efficient" improves your power levels on subsystems with low power. Generally a good idea. The problem is that the improvement of these low power subsystems was only very small and as I explained above there are better ways to keep your power levels high.
Klingons have the option to fill the remaining Stations with Nausicaan Boffs. These come with the "Pirate" Trait which grants a 10% damage bonus. Thats pretty good.
The Federation is a bit more limited on that but there are options you can use to get the stations filled with useful Boffs.
- You can get a KDF Bridge Officer once you have reach Tier 4 of Diplomacy. Preferably you take an Engineering Nausicaan with Pirate Trait.
- On one of the Delta Rising missions you have the chance to recruit a Hierarchy Science Bridge Officer. This one also has a Pirate Trait.
- For a few months meanwhile there is also a Krenim Boff available from the Fleet Research Lab. This one has the ability to improve the recharge speeds of non-weapon abilities by 20% and the recharge speed of engineering abilities by 10% (which can stack up to 3 times).
My suggestion: make a good choice on your Bridge Officers. They are worth it.
This is my current Station layout:
So how does this fit together?
Lets start with something simple. The Science Abilities.
- I have a Transfer Shield Strength in my Ens slot which gives me a small shield heal and a shield regeneration over time. Alternative to that you can also use Science Team which instantly gives you a relative big shield heal.
The difference a matter of taste actually. "Science team" gives an instant heal while the heal from "Transfer shield strength" is a bit higher but takes more time to apply.
- The Lt. Station has a "Hazard Emiter". This is an ability you have to have. Not only that it heals you over time, it also removes plasma burn from your ship which is very important in STFs.
- On my Lt. Cmdr. Slot I have a Feedback Pulse which throws a bit of the incoming damage back to the attacker. Personally I have to say that this ability does not make any sense if you are not creating alot of threat. If your threat is too low you wont get attacked and therefore you cant throw any damage back to the attacker. Gravity wells certainly are a good replacement for most people. For me the Feedback pulse works in most situations. I cause alot of thread. And since I am in a slow Flagship cruiser I really have problems to use a Gravity Well since Gravity Wells need to be fired from the front arc of the ship. With a cruiser I am broadsiding my enemies... I dont have them in my front arc.
Lets head over to my engineering Station:
- It starts with an engineering team which is an ordinary hull heal. Thats always good to have.
- I have two copies of Emergency Power to Weapons. Two copies because they have a duplicate cooldown of 30 seconds and a run-time of 30seconds. So this specific ability is always running and buffs my power levels and my outgoing damage.
Alternative to that you can also use one copy of Emergency Power to Shields and one copy of Emergency Power to Weapons. The shared cooldown between these 2 ablities is 45 seconds. You can use Duty Officers (Damage Control Engineers) to reduce this cooldown to 30seconds. So you can get the damage buff and also the shield buff every 30 seconds. That is actually more efficient but the limited tactical station slots forced me to sacrifice that option for something else.
- The Cmdr. station is filled with a "Directed Energy Modulation". Personally I have mixed feelings about this ability. It can be good but only if you have a specific Duty Officer for it. The ability itself allows a specific amount of damage to penetrate enemy shields. That amount is small and if enemies dont have any shields there is nothing to penetrate. I generate about 1k DPS from this skill. Thats in my eyes a joke considering its a Commander ability.
But how can it still be useful?
There is a Duty Officer called "Marion Frances Dulmur". This guy adds 200 resistance to Weapon Subsystem Energy Drain for 8sec everytime you activate a Directed Energy Modulation. This helps you to keep your weapon power high and that in return improves your weapon damage. So whatever DPS number you see in the combat parser... thats only half of the truth.
Next to that there is no other useful Engineering Commander ability.
Tactical Stations, thats where it gets interesting because thats where lots of damage is coming from.
There is a general rule to follow here: Always use two copies of an ability.
Because when you activate one ability the 2nd copy of it will go on duplicate cooldown which is lower than the normal cooldown of that ability. This way you can use the ability more frequently and this will increase your damage output.
e.g. If you have only one copy of Beam Fire at Will that ability will go on 30 seconds cooldown before you can use it again.
If you have two copies of Beam Fire at Will, you can activate the duplicate version of that ability already after 20 seconds.
Two copies of an ability is a rule you might consider.
I break this rule regulary.
As you can see I only have one copy of Tactical Team and also just one copy of the Attack Pattern Beta.
I can reduce the cooldowns of these abilities in different ways.
I have two Conn Duty Officers which allow me to recude the cooldown of the Tactical Team by 8 seconds per Duty officer. The normal cooldown of Tactical Team is 30 seconds.
30 seconds - 2 x 8 seconds = 15 seconds (math sucks, I know... why not 14? Because 15 is the minimal posible cooldown of that ability, you can not lower it below that).
For Attack Patterns I can use something similar. I can make use of Zemok Duty Officers to get the cooldown reduces.
Next to that can I as Tactical Captain use the "Tactical Initiative" ability which reduces the cooldowns of tactical abilities.
I also can use Traits to get cooldowns reduced (e.g. Reciprocy).
There are many ways to get cooldown reductions down. The best way of course is by using Duty officers.
Use two copies of the same ability to get your cooldown reduction or try to find a different way to get the cooldowns reduced if you just use one copy of an ability.
Thats the most important part about the Tactical stations.
Lets take a look at the abilities that I have used.
There are three types of tactical abilities. Damage buffs, weapon buffs and debuffs.
- I have two Kemocite laced weaponry abilities in my Ensign slots. Kemocite is a weapon buff which add an explosion to your weapons when they hit a target. That explosion used to be pretty strong in the past but has been nerfed massively.
Today I deal about 1k DPS with the Kemocite explosions. That is not much.
Kemocite has another effect. It causes a damage resistence debuff of -10 to the hit targets. Debuffs to damage resistence belong to the biggest sources of damage, because then your main weapons will deal alot more damage (in the damage calculates your enemies will have less resistance to incoming damage or in best case even a negative damage resistence which results in a massive boost of damage).
Kemocite is one of the most expensive abilities on the market. The Mk I version costs about 120mio EC, higher Mk version might be cheaper. But you dont want higher versions... nobody wants a Kemo III because these higher slots are reserved for other more important abilities.
- I have a copy of the Tactical Team which is one of the most useful skills in the game. Tactical Team is like Kemocite an ability that you want to have in an Ensign Station. The benefit of higher versions of that ability are not high enough to sacrifice abilities like Attack Pattern or Beam Fire at Will.
Tactical team is a damage buff as it improves your weapon and projectile skills for 10 seconds.
It also removes bording parties and tactical debuffs (Kemocite or Attack Pattern Beta).
Most important however, is the fact that it distributes power to the shield facing which currently is receiving damage. With other words it moves your shield energy to the side of the ship where you get hit.
That an impressive and important ability that you have to use on EVERY build.
- I also use an Attack Pattern Beta. You could also use an Attack Pattern Omega on your builds.
Omega improves your outgoing damage (+ flight speed etc.).
Beta decreases the damage resistence of your enemies (which also improves your damage).
I have on the same ship a loadout with attack pattern Omega + Beta.
In the build I currently use I only have Beta.
The problem with Omega is... its cooldowns are longer. You need two copies of attack pattern to reduce this cooldown.
- Beam Fire at Will is a weapon enhancing ability. It improves how the weapon works.
BFAW fires 5 shots at your primary target and 5 shots at random targets.
BFAW does this attack over a duration of 2 fire cyles. That also means that it does 5 shots per cycle instead of the usual 4 shots.
Overall you 32% increase of damage for an activated BFAW II (40% for BFAW III). That is a massive buff.
You should try to combine this buff with the debuff from the Attack Pattern Beta is possible in order to deal additional damage.
The Cannon Build counterpart to BFAW is Cannon Scatter Volley.
- I have a Transfer Shield Strength in my Ens slot which gives me a small shield heal and a shield regeneration over time. Alternative to that you can also use Science Team which instantly gives you a relative big shield heal.
Duty Officers have become more and more important in the game.
Especially their ability to reduce cooldown for specific Bridge Officer Skills makes them very interesting and important to use.
Some Duty officers also have buffing effects on abilities and weapons.
- Technician Officer -(SPACE) Recharge time on bridge officer abilities reduced (used on Aux2bat builds)
- CON Officer – (SPACE) Reduce Recharge Time for Attack Patterns Beta, Delta, and Omega (Zemok Jenro)
- CON Officer – (SPACE) Reduce Recharge Time for Tactical Team and Buff
- Damage Control Engineer – Chance to reduce the recharge time for Emergency Power to subsystem abilities.
- Energy Weapons – (SPACE) Chance To Reduce the time to recharge when using Beam Special Attacks (BFAW/BO)
- Energy Weapons – (SPACE) Chance To Reduce the time to recharge when using Cannon Special Attacks (CSV/RF)
- Maintenance Engineer – (SPACE) Additional Buffs Applied Based on type of Battery Activated
- System Engineer – (SPACE) Reduces Weapons Subsystem Energy Drain while using Directed Energy Modulation
- Quartermaster – (SPACE) Recharge Time Reduced on all Batteries
- Space Warfare Specialist – (SPACE) Space Increase Damage vs – Borg (or other Races)
This is just small selection of Doffs. There are more with other good abilities.
Traits can be used very flexible. Every few months new Traits are introduced and many different combinations are possible depending on your Equipment, Stations, Duty Officers and Captain Specializations.
I want to show you a the selection of traits that I currently use.
[subheading]Personal Space Traits[/subheading]
[subheading]Space Reputation Traits[/subheading]
Since there is an upcoming revamp of the entire skill system I don't really want to cover which skill are best to take.
At this point it does not make much sense to explain something that in a few weeks will be outdated.
However, below you can find my current skill layout.
I will update this part of the guide as soon I really know what the skill revamp has to offer and which skills to pick when season 11.5 gets released.
The Captain Specialization is a big deal when it comes to improving your combat.
The Specialization trees offer many bonuses for dealing damage and also avoiding damage.
You have to select from:
For me the choices are pretty clear.
Intelligence is my primary spec tree as it offers a very large amount of really useful bonuses.
Pilot is my secondary spec tree as the first 15 bonuses of that tree clearly help with running the ship. (you can only use the first 15 bonuses of a secondary tree)
The Commando tree is only for ground combat. The bonuses are good but actually I don't need anything additional on ground.
The Command spec tree in my eyes is not the best option. It offers a mix of bonuses around torpedo skills and other skills that I barely use. There might be ship builds that can make use of that but it's really nothing for me.
Nearly nobody thinks about Accolades when DPS is discussed.
People consider Accolades very often as useless crap that has been abbandoned.
Fact however is that there are still Kill Accolades.
Kill Accolades are awared once you have destroyed 200 ships of a specific race (e.g. 200 Borg ships).
When you have been awarded with such an Accolade then you will deal 2% additional damage against that specific race.
It's not much but every little step bring you a bit close to your goal.
Not long ago I uploaded my complete keybind and macro settings.
These will are working relative good but are not perfect.
Biggest problem with keybinds is that abilities which are on global cooldown will lock out the weapon fire cycles.
Long time ago the Hilbert Space bar keybind was published and many players still use it.
Thats probably the biggest mistake that you can do.
Problem with that spacebar keybind is that it has a redistribute shields in it.
Redistribute shields has an activation time of 1 sec IIRC and can be activated every 3 seconds.
During that 1 second activation time you are not able to activate other boff abilities and you are not even able to fire weapons.
Activating abilities (all which have an activation time) will set you on global cooldown for the duration of that activation time.
You cant activate anything else during that time... and this global cooldown also prevents that you can fire weapons.
Hilbert guide spacebar keybind: throw it away!
The keybind I have uploaded is a bit better... but not perfect (it still locks weapon fire from time to time but by for not that excessive as the normal spacebar keybind).
How to prevent that abilities can interfer with your weapon cycles?
Well, actually thats relative simple to answer.
Only activate Boff/Captain abilities when your weapon cycles are already running.
When exactly is that?
It's exactly when this display shows numbers on it. The numbers indicate that a weapon is active and firing for the duration displayed.
As long these numbers are in there you can activate your abilities without risking to lock out the weapon cycles.
How exactly your keybinds look in the end... if you activate a few skills manually or if you use something more complicated (like I do) is your choice.
Just remember, active your stuff while the weapon cycles are running.
Piloting is very important when you want to deal good damage.
Piloting does not only mean to be in the right place at the right time. Piloting also means to know plan your attacks and react on changing situations.
I'll give you a few examples you might want to consider.
- I've mentioned to use the Intelligence and Pilot Captain Specializations. You might want to take a closer look at the skills in there. You will notice that there are many Specs which grant additional flanking damage or additional damage on rear arcs of your enemies.
Piloting means to make use of that.
How can you tell whats the rear arc, the flanking arc of a Borg Cube? I mean... no matter from which side you look at it... it looks the same... it's a Cube.
Well, when you select that Cube you will see a shematic display of it at top of your screen. And there you will see a little... really tiny blue arrow that indicates where exactly you have to hit the Cube to do max. damage.
Now you only have to fly to the right position to hit the Cube at exactly that spot.
- Piloting also means that you think about when you use which of your Captain and Boff abilities.
When you start ISA it makes absolutely no sense to activate all your buffs when you attack the first Cube that is directly infront of the Transwarp Hub. That Cube is so weak that it dies from just by using a Attack Pattern Omega/Beta + BFAW. More you don't need at this point.
Activate your good buffs at the Nanite Transformers. There you need the DPS.
- Piloting also means to focus on the screen, focus on the battlefield. Don't try to activate abilities with your mouse on the trays. That only costs you time and distracts you from the important events in a mission. Use keybinds, get familiar with them.
- Follow the commonly known strategies of a mission. Don't go right on ISA when all other team members go to the left Transformer... etc.
I hope that this guide will help you to understand a few mechanics behind the game and that you can improve your damage output and get access to the elite content of the game.
If you have question... if you want to add something... or if you find a mistake (that is certainly possible on such a complicated topic) then leave a comment below.
We can discuss about it and see if we can do improvements.