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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2 Preparation
02-13-2010, 08:00 AM

These are some general guidelines only. For detailed analyses of ship-specific or career-specific loadouts, be sure to check out the relevant forums (including Combat forum).
  • Game Settings
    Keybinds. Make sure you group and keybind all your abilities in easy-to-reach and easy-to-remember places. Also keybind your power level presets. Most importantly, get to know your self-target and team-target keybinds (F1 through F5), which can be re-mapped in the Key Binds game options menu.

    Target-announce keybind, to announce focus fire targets to your team:
    /bind <key> <chat channel> <msg> $target
    /bind t team TARGET: $target

    Assist keybind, to target your target's current target:
    /bind <key> assist
    /bind g assist

    Target-by-name keybind, to target a specific player by name:
    /bind <key> target <player full 'short name', including spaces>
    /bind F1 target Matt Dravis

    Disable Auto-Fire. Auto-fire is a certain way to kill your allies if the enemy uses Scramble Sensors. It will also lower overall DPS if you load many beams. Rely on manual fire in PVP.

    Disable Auto-Assist. Auto-assist is a certain way to buff your enemies if the enemy uses Scramble Sensors. It can also result in accidental waste of buffs, since auto-assist automatically targets the target of your current target. Rely on explicit targeting, using keybinds or mouse-clicks, before applying a buff.

    Disable Object Auto-Target. If you use auto-target, turn off object auto-targeting so that it will safely ignore non-player objects. You need to be able to target enemy players quickly; if you want to target an object for whatever reason, use your mouse. Note that this currently does not prevent TAB targeting from cycling through non-player objects, so mouse-click targeting (or name-explicit keybinding) is still preferred.

    CombatLog. Enable your CombatLog before going into battle. This creates an open file in \Star Trek Online\Live\logs\GameClient\ named combat.log, which you can review later. A text parser is recommended, such as the open-source CombatLogParser created by another player.

    To enable CombatLog, enter the following console command into the Chat window:
    /combatlog 1

    The disable logging, enter the following console command into the Chat window:
    /combatlog 0

  • Bridge Officer Loadout
    Survival Loadout. Every single member of your team must have at least one self-survival ability. Most important is a shield regeneration ability, such as Emergency Power to Shields, Transfer Shield Strength, or Reverse Shield Polarity. Be sure to load a hull regeneration ability as well, such as Hazard Emitters or AUX to SIF (Structural Integrity Field). Other useful survival abilities include: Engineering Team, Science Team, Attack Pattern Omega.

    Support Loadout. Every single member of your team must have at least one heal-ally or buff ability. These include: Extend Shields, Transfer Shields, Engineering Team, Science Team, Hazard Emitters, Attack Pattern Delta. Learn what systems they use, their cooldown timers, and what to use/rotate when. Remember that some abilities have shorter ranges than others.

    DPS/CC Loadout. Torpedo High Yield is a must. If you can support AOE, go for energy draining or movement impairing abilities, such as Tyken's Rift and Gravity Well. If you find enemies on low hull escaping regularly, pick up Tractor Beam. For cloak detection/counter, pick up Sensor Scan (Science captain ability), Charged Particle Burst, Eject Warp Plasma.

    It is useful to have several bridge officers in reserve with different abilities, to adapt to different enemy teams. For example, keep Charged Particle Burst on a backup Science officer, in case you find the enemy team using primarily carrier deployables.

    Lastly, check out faithborn's Comprehensive List of Counters to see what abilities you might want to slot. If you find yourself being hit with Viral Matrix all the time, for example, this list will point you to Science Team and Attack Pattern Omega.

  • Console Loadout
    At least 1 EPS Flow Regulator (for weapon recharge and quick power preset switching). RCS for turn rate if you have a problem with maneuverability (cruisers!). Resistance if you do not have as many survival abilities. Tactical consoles that play to your weapon skill strengths. Science consoles -- be sure to boost points in whatever ability you primarily use (e.g., +Emitters/Hazard for Hazard Emitters; +Deflectors/Deflector Field for Feedback Pulse; etc.).

    Again, keep some backup consoles in Inventory, in case you want to switch your loadout mid-match.

  • Weapons Loadout
    Initially, go with whatever you are skilled in. In general, plasma (High Yield) and tricobalt torpedoes seem to be the worst choices due to their destructibility, but there are tactics revolving around point-blank bomber strafing runs.

    Think carefully about what firing arcs you will be using most of the time, based on your ship type, style of play, group complement, and expected enemy complement. Also give careful consideration to the energy drain of certain weapons. If you find enemies on your tail more often than not, loading heavy weapons (e.g., aforementioned tricobalt) in your aft slots might be a good deterrent and great surprise for your assailants.

    Lastly, it is a good idea to keep different weapons in Inventory, in case your enemy is stacking resistance specific to your weapon type.

  • Power Level Presets
    Customise power levels (frequently referred to as 'subsystems') in order to play to your strengths or augment your weaknesses. Weapon power affects energy weapon damage output, and it provides a buffer against power consumption from energy weapons. Shield power affects regeneration rate (one tick per 6 seconds) and, more importantly, shield damage resistance (bonus = current shield power / 5). Engine power affects speed rating (which, in turn, affects Defense rating against enemy Accuracy) and turn rate. AUX power affects stealth and stealth detection ratings, and certain abilities (mostly Science).

    Load EPS Flow Regulator consoles so you can switch quickly between power presets mid-combat when needed. For example, enemy subsystem warfare will drain power from subsystems, requiring you to divert power to the affected subsystem in order to keep its power above 0; once power reaches 0, the subsystem is disabled.

    Another need to change power levels mid-combat, arises from the effect that certain power levels have on certain abilities. Some abilities' magnitude and/or duration can be dynamically modified by power throughout their duration, while other abilities' magnitude and/or duration are modified by the power level only at initial activation of the ability. Get to know the different bridge officer abilities (as stated above), so that you can plan and modify your power levels accordingly.

  • Player Career Balance
    If you find yourself in very imbalanced random teams (aka 'PUGs' or pick-up groups), then team up with other PVPers before joining a queue. Ensure you have at least 1 of each career. More often than not, this means Science captains and science vessels are in highest demand due to their cloak detection/counters.

  • Communication
    Text (Team chat) works fine against most teams, but against well-organised premades who use voice chat, this may not be sufficient, especially at higher tiers when you will encounter heavy crowd-control (e.g., Viral Matrix, Subnucleonic Beam). Consider using voice chat. Mumble is the best quality voice chat currently available, and it is completely free and open-source.

    Remember that the more often you play with the same team, the less explicit communication you will need to coordinate and work effectively. So your best bet is to get a group of friends together and play together as much as possible. It's fun.


Last Updated: 18 Nov 2010