NOOB Guide to STF's
Or alternatively, "How not to be a NOOB".
First, so as not to waste anyone's time, the purpose of this guide is to help NEW STF players that are looking to run STF's for the FIRST time on NORMAL difficulty. Have you been playing for a while, but just never did the STFs, and don't want to be called 'Noob'? Or are you a returning player, and aren't familiar with the F2P changes? Then read on as this is for you. Although I've found that most STO players are friendly, all it takes is for one person to berate you, tell you to 'L2P', and take all the fun out of it. For all you veterans STFers out there, feel free to just move along... nothing new here. (But feel free to add suggestions/corrections to this thread. :D)
Also, this guide is not intended to go into detailed strategies and tactics. There won't be long laundry lists of things to bring. Just the bare essentials and the basics of what to do. For more advanced strategies, there are other more in-depth guides such as these:
Elite STF Guide
What are STFs?
"Special Task Force" (STF) missions are the end game 5-man team missions in STO. They involve the Borg, and are broken into 6 missions: "Infected" space and ground, "Cure" space and ground, "Khitomer Accord" space and ground. If you are new, I recommend starting out with the Space missions, Infected being the easiest (least likely to fail). Space missions take an average of 15-30 minutes to complete depending on the team. Ground missions take an average of 25-35 minutes to complete depending on the team. With Season 7, they have been given names.
Why do I want to run STFs?
They are part of the content in STO. As someone who is always looking for new content, it's an obvious thing to try out. They actually can be quite fun (at least the first several times you run them). They are also a source of Omega marks. If you plan on leveling your reputation or purchasing gear in the Omega store, you will need Omega marks. And don't forget, you get dilithium too.
How do I get the missions?
STF's are no longer stand alone missions. Instead, they are accessed through the que system. You have to be at least level 44. Click the PVE que icon under your minimap, select the mission you want to play, and 'join' the que. It requires 5 people to start. You can also form a private instance if you have 4 other friends. Both Fed and Klingon can join the que, and in contrast to most other missions in the game, cross-faction teaming IS allowed. WARNING: If this is your first time running an STF, please DO NOT que up for Elite versions of them. You are sure to get some grief if you enter an elite version, and you don't go prepared knowing what to do. Elite STFs are not the same as regular missions set on elite difficulty. They require a high level of teamwork to complete, and are more than just beefed up borg. Do yourself (and the others on your team) a favor and run the normal versions a few times first to get a feel for what's involved.
What's the 'Objective'?
For each STF, there is a primary objective and an Optional objective. Completing the primary is what gets you your reward. The optional objective is usually timed, having to complete a certain task within a certain time limit for success. Successful completion of the optional objective will get you bonus Omega marks (15 for space missions, 22 for ground missions). Details about the objectives for each STF is found below.
A word about gear.
For Normal difficulty missions (which is what this guide is about), gear is not critically important. Uncommon mark X gear or better will suffice. Of course, the better the weapons, the faster the mission will go. All the space missions are fairly heavily dependent on DPS, so the more ships using cannons, the faster the missions will go. A nice guide for building an escort for STFs can be found here.
For ground missions, make ABSOLUTELY sure you bring a remodulator with you, and equip it. Not bringing one is a SURE FIRE way of getting <facepalms> from your team mates, and also probably a few 'choice' comments and complaints as well. This is easily preventable if you replicate one (for free) from your ship replicator. Also, bring a stack of Large Hypos. And make sure you have a good kit. There is absolutely NO reason NOT to have at least at a minimum a rare Mark IX kit. They are available from a vendor at DS9 for energy credits (No dilithium needed). I actually recommend getting all of them for your class, and keep them handy to switch in/out.
STF rewards do not work like standard missions where you hail your contact and collect your reward. Instead, at the end of the mission, each person gets a bag of loot. (Don't forget to collect it). Each bag contains a number of Omega Marks, Dilithium, and usually a random piece of gear. (Running elite will also get you a Borg Neuro Processor(s) which is used in the store). There is a chance that each borg will drop a piece of loot as well. All these borg drops are subject to the need/greed system. Proper etiquette dictates that you choose "greed" for most things, and "need" only if you actually are going to use the item. Wanting something so you can sell it on the exchange is not really a legitimate "need".
Note: The following information applies to gear obtainable in Season 6, not season 7. Now, the gear is obtained via the Omega Reputation system, and they no longer drop directly from STFs. However, I have kept the information here as it still provides some info on the gear should you be interested in buying them from the reputation store.
There are 4 special gear sets (per faction) that can be obtained from these STFs, plus the old 'legacy' borg set. Each set contains 3 pieces, and give special bonuses if all 3 are equipped. The gear sets are as follows:
Omega Force -
And NEW for Season 7 is the Adapted MACO and Honor Guard set, available at T5 Omega reputation. These sets are basically the Fed/KDF counterpart sets. So the Adpated MACO set includes the gear and stats of the Klingon Honor Guard set. The Adapted Honor Guard set includes the gear and stats of the Fed MACO set. Are you a KDF player that wishes to get a MACO set? Then the Adapted Honor Guard is the set for you. Are you a Fed player that wants the Honor guard set? Then get the Adapted MACO set. Each adapted set comes with a variation of the respective costume (sold separately).
STF Missions. What do I do so I don't look clueless?
Below, I try to outline what the basic objectives for each STF are. Keep in mind that these are just the basics of what you need to know, and are not intended to be detailed walkthroughs. Advanced strategies and detailed tactics are beyond the scope of this guide, but I've posted links you can look at above. I've presented these in the order of difficulty (at least in my opinion). I've also highlighted certain things with "Noob Tip:" as things especially important to do or not do in order to avoid garnering that label.
Also, there is a good chance that you will be grouped with an experienced player. Noob Tip: Read the chat and listen to instructions. Things will go much smoother if everyone does this.
Infected Space (Conduit)
I list this one first as this STF is probably the easiest to complete. There is no failure criteria.
Images: Gate and Transformers, Gate and Left Transformer, Transformer with Generators healing it
Summary: Kill cube and 2 spheres. Go to one side of the gate and destroy generators, then destroy transformer. Repeat on other side. Destroy tactical cube and gate. Win.
Cure Space (Found)
Again, there are probably other tactics and tips, but I've outlined the basic strategy on what to do in a Normal PUG.
Each docking area is controlled by a single cube. The cube is being healed by 2 sets of nanite probes. Noob Tip: Do NOT attack the cube until the nanite probes are destroyed. You will not be able to damage it as long as the probes are healing it. One set of probes (the upper ones) are healing the cube. The other set (the lower ones) are healing the upper set of probes. So kill the lower ones first, then the upper ones, then the cube.
Images: Cube and docking area
For the person protecting the Kang, destroy all incoming borg NPCs. Heal the Kang if necessary. YES, the Kang CAN be healed. If you are a cruiser, you should have some heals available to throw on the Kang. If you don't, you really need to take a closer look at your build.
Summary: 1 person guards Kang, 4 people destroy the borg. Shoot lower nanite probes, then upper nanite probes, then the cube. Repeat for all 3 areas. Then destroy the carrier. Win!
Khitomer Accord Space (Vortex)
Images: Time portal and Left Transwarp Gate, Time portal and Right Transwarp Gate
Summary: 1 person at right gate, 4 people at left gate. For the 4 person group on the left, destroy the generators, then the transformer. Repeat on other side of gate. Then destroy gate. While doing all this, keep an eye on probes that spawn. The 1 person at right gate just shoots the probes. When the left gate is destroyed, go to the right gate and repeat process. Then destroy dreadnaught.
Two Four Six Eight, Why should I remodulate?
Before moving on to the ground missions, a word about borg adaptation and remodulating your weapons. Like in the shows, borg on STF ground missions will adapt to your weapon type after you shoot at them a certain number of times (can be as little as 4 shots). Once they have adapted, you will only deal 1 damage with each shot. When this happens, there will be an icon next to your avatar indicating that they have adapted. Also, if you keep shooting at them, the word "ADAPTED" can be seen above their head in green font. They will adapt to the energy type that you are using (phaser, polaron, tetryon, etc), so if you switch to a different weapon with a different energy type, you can continue to damage them. So it's helpful to have a weapon with a different energy type on switch.
Eventually, the borg will adapt to your other weapon as well, and this is when you will have to remodulate. First make sure that your remodulator is equipped in one of your device slots, and that it appears in your power tray. When the borg have adapted to both your weapons, hit the remodulate button. It will take ~5 seconds to do this. While you are remodulating, you cannot sprint, shoot, or use any kit powers, so make sure you find some cover if you are forced to remodulate during combat. Remodulating will get rid of the borg adaptation on both your weapons.
A few things to keep in mind.
Khitomer Accord Ground (Stasis)
Images: 2 of the 6 Power Relays
Summary: Fight your way to relay room. Clear the room. 1 person goes to the shield room to deactivate the shields while the other 4 destroy the 6 power relays. Overload the IMRs. Defeat Tosk and friends. Win!
Infected Ground (Manus)
This STF has one of the harder optional objectives to complete successfully. As before, bring a remodulator.
When you get to Rebecca's chamber, the team should designate 3 people who will be activating the consoles. These consoles need to be activated simultaneously by 3 people. Do not volunteer if you have never done it before. But if you are picked anyway, just follow the other 2 from corner to corner and activate the consoles when they do (you should hear a console activation sound effect). Do the same at each of the corners. Once this is done, the main shield around the main generator will drop. Destroy it, and Rebecca will spawn. Defeat Rebecca. Just a note about Rebecca's attacks - she uses a chain attack. The attack will bounce from 1 player to another if they are within range of each other, doing more damage each time it bounces. So best to spread out around the room. For more advanced strategies, see the links above or the wiki.
Images: Officer being assimilated, Rebecca's room
Summary: Follow your team through the starbase. Kill workers first if your team is trying to complete the optional. Kill the mini-boss Manus of Borg. Make your way down to the last room. Activate the 3 consoles at each corner of the room. Destroy generator. Defeat Rebecca. Win.
Cure Ground (Applied)
This STF is arguably the hardest of the STFs, mainly due to the insane damage that the boss does at the end. I recommend that this be the last STF to try. Oh, and did I mention to bring a remodulator?
To destroy the turrets, you need to shoot them down to a certain amount of health. They will then put up cover shields and 'mini'-turrets, and start regenerating. During this time, someone has to get up next to it, and plant charges next to it. Noob-Tip: While someone is planting the charges, you should shoot the 'mini'-turrets to take agro off of him/her. If not, the shots from the mini-turrets will interrupt the person planting the charges.
Currently, many feel that the boss Armek is overpowered with his chain lightning attack. There are many strategies floating around in various threads. The most common being a medic tanking him with a melee weapon. Another common technique is the 'pulsewave' technique (basically, everyone equip a pulsewave, and engage at point-blank/melee range)
Images: Borg turret, Transformer and Borg turret
Summary: Activate the transformers to take the forcefields down. Kill borg and turrets along the way. Defeat Armek (hopefully). Win.
As I had mentioned above, this guide is not meant to go into advanced strategies, which is something that will be needed if you are eventually going to be running the Elite versions. Instead, look in this excellent thread by Naldoran here.
--- Deleted My Post ---
A great guide.
A well-needed read for anyone new to STF-missions.
Without reading through this guide at least once, you're prone to create at least one facepalm for every mission you take on.
It feels much more comfortable to enter a mission if avoiding a lot of these errors.
Well thought out guide that explains a lot, and so forth and so on. ;)
Capt Zab Judah
P.S my rank is Lt.4
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