A set of basic guidelines for designing an energy-weapons ship build.
These ten guidelines are designed to apply broadly to the most common types of builds, which use energy weapons as their primary damage source (and which may also include, optionally, a single projectile weapon).
Energy weapons (in Star Trek Online) meaning both beam-type weapons and cannon-type weapons (cannons being energy-burst weapons; they do not fire a projectile).
As you will see, this guide is very general, and there is still a lot of room for customization within these guidelines.
Please note that many of these guidelines are NOT applicable to two less-common build types:
1) exotic damage based builds (focused on damage from Science BOFF abilities)
2) kinetic damage based builds (focused on damage from torpedoes)
Both of these build styles will often use multiple projectile weapons and will not emphasize damage from energy weapons (if, in fact, they use any).
Deliberately left out: any discussion of DOFFs, weapon mods, or power/cooldown management (including Aux2Bat), as those are more build-specific than this list is designed to be.
Some of these guidelines can be bent or broken successfully, but think about it first. Following these (provided that the equipment is of an adequate mark and rarity level) will result in a ship that can easily produce the damage needed in any normal-difficulty and many advanced-difficulty situations.
Guidelines #1 to #4 – Weapons
1. All energy weapons should have the same “damage type”. (There are six: Phaser, Disruptor, Plasma, Antiproton, Polaron, Tetryon.) This is usually named in the item name, but some are deceptively named, so check the tooltips.
NOTE: all six types share the same base damage scale, they just have different additional special effects, meaning that there is not one type that is inherently better than the others.
Some ships have built-in (or console) weapons of a specific type, and in those cases, you should probably match that type.
2. All energy weapons should be EITHER beam-style OR cannon-style. (Turrets are cannons.)
NOTE: This is due to the efficiency of Bridge Officer weapon mode skills; on ships that have extremely high amounts of tactical officer seating, it may not be necessary.
NOTE: If using a T6 ship with Miracle Worker BOFF seating, it may be preferable to use one 360 aft weapon of the opposite style (a turret or an omni-beam), to trigger “Mixed Armaments Synergy”. This is, however, not necessary if you are also using a projectile weapon.
3. 360-degree weapons, if used, should be used in aft slots only.
NOTE: the tooltips on omni-directional beam weapons are deceptive. Although they say “one per ship”, there are actually three categories, and you may use one of each. (Energy-type beams that are part of a set, energy-type beams that are NOT part of a set, and the Omega reputation kinetic beam.) FYI: The Morphogenic Polaron Energy Weapon from “Home” counts as an omni-directional beam weapon.
4. You should use only one projectile (torpedo) weapon, placed in the far right forward slot (they work slightly better there, due to a combination of the autofire game mechanic and the effects of different weapon styles), or none at all. This weapon should be part of a set with a useful bonus, the appropriate energy torpedo, the Wide Angle Quantum, or the Particle Emission Plasma.
Guideline #5 – Tactical and Universal Console Slots
5. All Tactical and Universal console slots should be used ONLY for Tactical consoles with weapon damage boosting effects. These include ONLY:
– standard craftable/lootable energy-specific Tactical consoles (Phaser Relay, Disruptor Coil, etc.).
– Fleet Spire vendor Tactical consoles (Vulnerability Locator and/or Exploiter), and/or Fleet Colony vendor Tactical consoles, with the appropriate energy weapon damage-type as the chosen mod.
– the Counter-Command Tactical Console, Chronometric Capacitor, or similar (episode/reputation reward consoles which are specifically tactical AND part of a set AND include energy-specific weapon boosters).
– the Discovery reputation tactical console. (While it’s not type specific, the +Critical Hit Chance is very good.)
Any energy-specific boosts (most of the consoles on this list) should be chosen to MATCH your chosen weapon damage type (for example, +Phaser type if using Phaser type weapons, +Disruptor if using Disruptor weapons, etc.).
DO NOT use +Beam or +Cannon type tactical consoles. They are inherently less efficient than the energy-specific consoles.
DO NOT use Tactical or Universal console slots for Universal consoles (those can be placed in Science and Engineering slots).
Guidelines #6 to #8 – Bridge Officer Abilities
6. Tactical BOFF abilities should include Tactical Team. Your top two Tactical BOFF abilities should be some combination of: either Beam Fire at Will OR Cannon Scatter Volley (depending on chosen weapon style), and an Attack Pattern (Beta, Delta, or Omega). Third-highest should be Torpedo Spread, if you have chosen to use a torpedo and have room for four or more Tactical abilities.
(If you are lacking in Tactical BOFF space, the Starship Trait “Entwined Tactical Matrices” can be used to add a Torpedo Spread effect to your energy-weapon BOFF skills.)
7. Science BOFF abilities should always include Science Team and if you have room for them, Hazard Emitters and/or Polarize Hull.
8. Engineering BOFF abilities should always include Engineering Team and, if you have room for it, Emergency Power to Weapons.
Guideline #9 – Other Ship Equipment
9. Seek out equipment (universal consoles, science consoles, engineering consoles, deflectors, shields, impulse engines, warp engines) which have some of the following boosters: +All Damage, +Damage for your chosen weapon types, +Critical Hit Chance, +Critical Severity, +Turn Rate, + Power Transfer Rate, +All Damage Resistance, +Hull Capacity, +Shield Capacity, -Weapon Energy Cost, +Weapon Firing Speed, -Bridge Officer Cooldown. In some cases, these stats can also be found as 2-piece or 3-piece set bonuses.
Of special note: Fleet Colony deflectors, and any warp core with a +Power Transfer Rate modifier.
NOTE: STO thrives on synergy. There is not a single piece of equipment, a single ship, etcetera, that is “the best”. For best results, you will want to find the things that contribute the most to your build choices. For example, a +Phaser Damage bonus is not useful if your weapons are not Phaser type, but could be rather useful if they are…
Guideline #10 – Bridge Officers
10. All active BOFFs should have a “space” personal trait. (Bridge Officers have four personal traits, but many have four ground traits… these are not desirable for use on your ship, but may be retained for Away Team duties.)
The best such trait is “Superior Romulan Operative” (“SRO”), which is often (not always) found on Romulan faction BOFFs; Romulan captains can easily get enough to run an all-SRO bridge crew. However, for non-Romulan captains, they must be obtained from a Fleet Embassy vendor, where only Tactical BOFFs are available with this trait (specifically, only the blue-quality male, though you may purchase multiple copies). This means that non-Romulan captains will need to look at BOFFs with other space traits to fill Science and Engineering seats.
Jem’Hadar Vanguard BOFFs (from the Gamma expansion pack) have a space trait, “Engineered Soldier” (Space), which is effectively a combination of half-strength SRO and a weapon-only damage boost. This is the second-best space trait after SRO, and for non-Romulans, the Science and Engineer JHVs are the best available options for their seats. NOTE: this trait is not found on standard Jem’Hadar officers (the episode reward one and the ones given to starting Jem’Hadar characters), which only have ground traits.
Other useful space traits include:
– “Pirate”. Klingon captains can easily get many of these, as Nausicaans always come with this trait; Federation captains may get one Nausicaan BOFF as a reward for reaching 100,000 Diplomacy duty officer points. There is also an episode-reward officer, the Hierarchy Science officer (Delta episode “Alliances”) who has both “Pirate” and “Efficient”, making him the best free Bridge Officer in the game (for non-Romulan captains). (As such, I recommend that Federation captains use the diplomacy reward to claim a Nausicaan Engineer.)
– “Kentari Ferocity”. Available only on Kentari BOFFs, purchased from Fleet Colony, not stackable (so only get one).
– “Temporal Engineering”, “Temporal Applied Sciences”, “Temporal Tactics”. Found on profession appropriate Krenim BOFFs, purchased from Fleet Research Lab.
(That is not a complete list.)
Other BOFFs with an assortment of other space traits are available via duty officer recruiting assignments (random BOFFs with “Efficient” are available for both factions, and Human Fed officers come with “Leadership”) or via fleet vendors (especially at the Embassy, K-13, and Colony), and also via the CStore (individually or included in purchasable expansion packs). NOTE: K-13 Human officers come with “Leadership”, while other K-13 officers do not.
My recommendations are as follows:
Romulan-faction captain: Use Romulan faction officers with SRO only.
Klingon-faction (or allied Dominion) captain: Use Romulan faction Tactical officers with SRO. Science and Engineering seats should first be filled with Jem’Hadar Vanguard (if available), then the Hierarchy Science Officer. Fill all remaining seats with Nausicaans.
Federation-faction (or allied Dominion) captain: Use Romulan faction Tactical officers with SRO. Science and Engineering seats should first be filled with Jem’Hadar Vanguard (if available), then the Hierarchy Science Officer. If you have a remaining Engineering seat, use the diplomacy-reward Nausicaan Engineer. If any seats remain vacant, then look for officers with other useful space traits.
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