Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 The Ground Playbook
02-25-2011, 01:25 AM
I'm getting sick and tired of people whining about ground combat. RAAAAWWWWRRRRR!

"OMG: Ground combat takes forever!"
"OMG: That Swordmaster one shot me!"
"OMG: My BOs are idiots!"


So... I will try to help these misguided souls.

This thread is concerned with solo players running ground PvE missions with 4 bridge officers (BOs).

Rules:
Don't talk about The Ground Playbook.
Don't play ground on Advanced or Elite.
Ground PvP is off this thread's topic.
STFs are off this thread's topic.
Devs who restrict the numbers of BOs in missions shall be booed loudly should they dare to make themselves known here.

Table of Contents
Post 1: Introduction
Post 2: Let Go of Expose Weapons
Post 3: Tactical BOs Suck!
Post 4: BO Management
Post 5: Tactical Captain's Playbook
Post 6: Engineer Captain's Playbook
Post 7: Science Captain's Playbook
Post 8: Getting Other People To Train Your BOs
Post 9: Ground Skills Worth Spec'ing Into
Post 10: Other Ground Buttons You Should Push Even Though They're Not Interesting Choices
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2 Let Go Of Expose Weapons
02-25-2011, 01:28 AM
But AA! I like the wide bolt spread! It makes me look like Chuck Norris!

They also make you do less damage, by design. Expose weapons aren't supposed to hit hard; they're supposed to get exposes (gasp). And maybe some crowd control.

Some players advocate having one expose weapon and quickly switching to an exploit weapon in case of an expose proc. But then what do you do for the rest of the time besides crouch and shoot?

You and your BOs have powers which can get exposes.

The only place you can put exploits is in your weapon slots. So put exploits there! Tons of them!

Use 5 sniper rifles for you and your four BOs. Your second weapon should be a splitbeam in cases of multiple exposed enemies in one arc.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3 Tactical BOs suck!
02-25-2011, 01:30 AM
Redshirts! Redshirts! I gotta have more redshirts so they can die for me!

Dying for you is about all they're good for. Here is a power-by-power dismantling of ground tactical BOs.

Draw Fire Sucks: Any competent captain will generate enough threat to outshine this.

Focus Fire Sucks: You actually have to click the button yourself to make your BO use this power. And there's no way to make a keybind for a BO power.

Leg Sweep Sucks: Sure, let's run TOWARD the superpowerful swordmasters and Borg Drones to use this melee attack! That sounds like an awesome idea!

Photon Grenade Sucks: Yeah, if you time it right, you can get a flank without much effort. Good when you're the tactical captain who uses it just before a sniper shot. Bad when your BOs spam it while your exploits are on cooldown.

Lunge Sucks: See Leg Sweep.

Smoke Grenade Sucks: It's possible to construct a ground tactical BO in the spirit of the Operative kit by including rank 1 of this power. Once your initial ambush is used up, the bang of that BO is spent for that fight.

Suppressing Fire Sucks: Decent when there's only one mob you're fighting. Which is never. Ground mobs always come in packs.

Target Optics Sucks: The damage buff only applies to the BO using this power, leaving the rest of the away team in the dark.

Fire on my Mark (ground) Sucks: Tricorder Scan provides the same debuff and makes stealth units in the area easier to see. FoMM's stealth debuff only applies to its target.

Overwatch Sucks: Anyone making a minimal effort to get flanking bonuses will probably step outside the AoE. Your BOs will always try to get flanking bonuses (unless waypointed).

Plasma Grenade Sucks: Mobs don't spam enough turrets to make this worth having, and the AI is good about not standing in the green fire. If there's a turret you have to kill (Cryonic Mortar, etc.), have your BOs target it with their sniper rifles.

Stealth Module Sucks: If you have to scan something, this buff will fall off and you'll be visible. See Smoke Grenade.

Ambush Sucks: See Smoke Grenade. Will draw agro and break before use if used midfight.

Stun Grenade Sucks: Okay, it actually doesn't. But this power is rank 1 in the Commander slot so each ground tactical BO can only use one.

That is all the powers available to ground tactical BOs, and they're all bad.

NO TACTICAL BOs ON AWAY TEAMS.

(Somewhat justified dissent is in post 37)
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4 BO Management
02-25-2011, 01:32 AM
But I don't wanna spec into ground skills! (even though I complain about ground taking too long)

You don't have to. Find someone who does know the BO powers you want for the play you want to use and have them train your BOs. You're looking for Gravimetric Shift 3, Tricorder Scan 3, Medical Tricorder 3, Shield Recharge 3, or Phaser Turret 3.

If you're ever shopping around for new BOs, look for these racials:

Ground Racials:
Exposer Prefers: Lucky, Soldier, Telepathic, Warrior, Limited Telepathy
Medic Prefers: Empathetic
(For details, see post #29)

Your BOs are good at:
Spamming things
Healing (the computer's reflexes are better than yours)

All BOs should be geared out with the highest capacity personal shields you can find and a sniper rifle. I prefer a plasma sniper rifle just in case the DoT sets a mob with Shield Recharge on fire, but the energy type you choose makes little difference. Armor choice also makes little difference but it's included for completeness.

My plays work toward these strengths. The recommended play for each captain is in its own color.

I mention several BO types in the playbook by special names I made up. Here are the details on each of them:

Exposer: A science BO with: Tachyon Harmonic 1, Stasis Field 1, Gravimetric Shift 3, & Tricorder Scan 3. Armor: Integrated Targeting Armor
All these powers are expose attacks. Gravimetric Shift & Stasis Field will impede oncoming hostiles while Tricorder Scan provides a massive damage resistance debuff. These powers, when combined with the exploit attack of a sniper/splitbeam rifle, are effective at incinerating enemies.

Turret: An engineer BO with: Shield Recharge 1, Phaser Turret 1, 2, & 3. Armor: Polyalloy Weave
Several of these will overwhelm oncoming hostiles in a cannonade of epic proportions. Beware of plasma grenades!

Medic: A science BO with: Hypospray - Dylovene 1, Medical Tricorder 2 & 3, & Vascular Regenerator 3. Armor: Polyalloy Weave
This BO will keep the others alive.

Shield: An engineer BO with: Shield Recharge 1, 2, & 3, & Reroute Power to Shields 3. Armor: Polyalloy Weave
Shield Recharge 3 is almost impossible to find among players. Reroute Power to Shields is a self-heal that makes sure that Shield Recharge gets cast on the other BOs where it belongs. Enemies that attack someone with Reroute Power to Shields on them may become exposed as well. Reroute Power to Shields 3 can be found on uncommon or better BO candidates on the Exchange.

Here are some general tactics based on the type of play you choose. Read the playbook first, and then come back here for the tactics:

Redwood, Pine, & Willow Tactics:

Wear Polyalloy Weave armor. Waypoint your BOs in a pocket about 40 meters away from the hostiles. Deploy all turrets, including yours. Then attack the enemies yourself while the BOs stay in the forest. Run back to the forest. The BOs will replace any destroyed turrets.

Against races which use AoE damage grenades (Romulans, Remans, & Breen), spread out the forest. Waypoint the BOs in one location and deploy the first set of turrets. Then move them a slight distance away so the turrets are no longer stacking on each other so an AoE grenade doesn't hit the entire forest all at once. Keep doing this until all turrets are spread out slightly. Then unwaypoint your BOs out of the forest and pull hostiles into range the forest. But seriously, don't play a Redwood, Pine, nor Willow against these races. Forest fires are bad.

Inferno, Fire, & Ember Tactics:

Wear Integrated Targeting Armor. If you're in an indoor map, waypoint your exposers on the tight side of the corridor leading into the room of hostiles (if possible). If you're running a Safety (or Snow) variant, waypoint the medic (and shield) behind the exposers. This will funnel the enemies into a very tight area so a Gravimetric Shift will be more likely to stop them all. This isn't possible on an outdoor map, but you can still set up a line of your exposers between the mobs and the medic (and shield).
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5 Tactical Captain's Playbook
02-25-2011, 01:34 AM
There's only one kit, you clueless redshirt: Squad Leader! Rally Cry is an incredible buff that only tactical captains can have. You also get a photon grenade that you can time for maximum effect. Spec into your rifles, pet your T8 damage tribble, and give 'em hell. Tactical BOs are useless, but your superior damage makes you the premier leader of an away team.

Tactical Captain's Playbook (legend):

Inferno:
Kit: Squad Leader
Exposer x4
An all-out offensive, with only your [Large Hypo]s to save you. Not recommended but will hit like a meteor.

Safety Fire:
Kit: Squad Leader
Exposer x3
Medic
This is the best away team in existence. Still hits brutally hard, and now you have the unparalleled reflexes of a BO with healing powers to save you.


Snow Ember:
Kit: Squad Leader
Exposer x2
Medic
Shield
The more exposers you take out of your group, the slower combat will go. But you also last longer against oncoming damage from hostiles, especially since this group has six heals. This play is not recommended, but may be necessary depending on circumstances.

Redwood:
Kit: Squad Leader
Turret x4
The trees! They are calling to you! But forest fires are bad, and you can do better than turrets with your damage.

Safety Pine:
Kit: Squad Leader
Turret x3
Medic
A smaller and slightly less flammable Redwood. But still, you can do better than turrets.

Snow Willow:
Kit: Squad Leader
Turret x2
Medic
Shield
The more turrets you take out of your group, the slower combat will go. But you also last longer against oncoming damage from hostiles, especially since this group has six heals. This play is not recommended, but may be necessary depending on circumstances.

Whiteout:
Kit: Squad Leader
Medic x2
Shield x2
Whiteouts stop all activity, including your own. This play has nearly no offense whatsoever and should only be used in extreme circumstances. Crouch, set your CAMT for every enemy you try to kill, and pray.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6 Engineer Captain's Playbook
02-25-2011, 01:35 AM
/groan You had to pick the one class that doesn't have the damage of a tactical captain, nor the Holy Book of Exposes that a science captain can preach from, didn't you? No matter! You can still dominate! You have Phaser Turret 3!

There are two kits. Equipment Technician features two competent exposes, Fuse Armor & Weapons Malfunction, and also includes the only shield heal in the game, Shield Recharge. The other choice is Bunker Fabrication. Bunker Fabrication gives you a phaser turret as well. But the real winner on Bunker Fabrication is Force Field Dome, which keeps enemies out of your forest!

Engineer Captain's Playbook (legend):

Mist Redwood: (video by @gongo88)
Kit: Bunker Fabrication
Turret x4
An all-out defensive. Deploy all 13 turrets from ~40m away, and then pull. Only you can prevent forest fires. Not recommended with all the mob powers that ignore shields.

Safety Mist Pine:
Kit: Bunker Fabrication
Turret x3
Medic
Deploy all 10 turrets from ~40m away. Deploy the Force Field Dome in the forest just before the pull. Then pull. Profit. And remember: Only you can prevent forest fires.


Snow Mist Willow:
Kit: Bunker Fabrication
Turret x2
Medic
Shield
The more turrets you take out of your group, the slower combat will go. But you also last longer against oncoming damage from hostiles, especially since this group has six heals. This play is not recommended, but may be necessary depending on circumstances.

Eng Inferno:
Kit: Equipment Technician
Exposer x4
An all-out offensive, with only your [Large Hypo] and Shield Recharge to save you. Not recommended.

Eng Safety Inferno:
Kit: Equipment Technician
Exposer x3
Medic
You can put together a first-rate expose team as an engineer, but a science captain does it just a little bit better.

Snow Ember:
Kit: Equipment Technician
Exposer x2
Medic
Shield
The more exposers you take out of your group, the slower combat will go. But you also last longer against oncoming damage from hostiles, especially since this group has seven heals. This play is not recommended, but may be necessary depending on circumstances.

Whiteout:
Kit: Equipment Technician
Medic x2
Shield x2
Whiteouts stop all activity, including your own. This play has nearly no offense whatsoever and should only be used in extreme circumstances. Crouch, set your CAMT for every enemy you try to kill, and pray.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7 It really works
04-29-2011, 04:31 AM
Thank you Thank you.
After applying the suggestions in this playbook, my ground combat has significantly improved to the point where it feels I'm ploughing them thru with a bulldozer. Thank you.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
05-01-2011, 08:49 AM
Just FYI, I can train the 3 science powers listed here on the Fed side and the two engineering ones listed on the KDF side.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
05-05-2011, 09:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhem99 View Post
Thank you Thank you.
After applying the suggestions in this playbook, my ground combat has significantly improved to the point where it feels I'm ploughing them thru with a bulldozer. Thank you.
Steamrolling ground FTW
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
03-01-2011, 02:38 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by AzureAlliance View Post
Redshirts! Redshirts! I gotta have more redshirts so they can die for me!

Dying for you is about all they're good for. Here is a power-by-power dismantling of ground tactical BOs.
Okay, I'm going to beg to differ with some of this stuff.

Quote:
Draw Fire Sucks: Any competent captain will generate enough threat to outshine this.
Draw Fire might not be great for threat generation but it also adds defense to the rest of the team. If you've built a Tactical BO for pure defense this can be a handy slot filler. I built different away teams for fun to see how they work. One of my Tactical Officers is specced purely for "security" work and this adds to other powers that debuff enemy attacks and away team defense. The duration (for me) is pretty short with an overlong recharge so I double up on it for this guy. Buying the right Captain skills would improve it.

Quote:
Leg Sweep Sucks: Sure, let's run TOWARD the superpowerful swordmasters and Borg Drones to use this melee attack! That sounds like an awesome idea!.
Leg Sweep is a great power for tactical BOs. All those annoying enemies that rush you? Watch 'em bounce if you've got a melee specialty BO (two leg sweeps/two lunges and a melee weapon). Those bosses/Lts that give you a hard time? That melee specialist is a fire-and-forget missile of destruction assuming you've got a halfway competent medic around to heal him (extra credit for you if he also buffs).

I have two melee specialists and one is usually on any away team. One's pure DPS (my Gorn "bodyguard" with his bat'leth) and another is unstoppable (hold/knockback/slow resists on my Bajoran "duellist" with her sword). Give them physical boosting armor and shields that either reflect damage or knockdown foes when the meleer is hit for added aggro holding.

They aren't tanks in the MMO sense but they will hold the attention of anyone they're beating up on and if that foe is forced into melee they might not be doing something more damaging.

In addition to melee specialists, I have a pair of generalist Security officers. They've each got Lunge, Leg Sweep, Overwatch (one has I and one has II so they'll stack), and Target Optics (II on one and III on the other). Just letting your guys run around willy-nilly can be silly (though at times it's handy as they'll create flanking opportunities for each other and you don't want your guys in a fixed position if they're going facing plasma grenades). You want to keep your team together. Group waypoint them. Find a good spot and stick 'em there.

Having these two in place with staggered Overwatches which also stack with mine (Overwatch III on my Squad Commander Kit) makes for very strong local defenses. Target Optics boosts damage noticeably as I've invested in it on my character, maxed it out in fact, so the duration comes close to matching the recharge time. Lastly, those leg sweeps and lunges matter. When a knockdown or an overwatch pulse (three of them pulsing, mind you) triggers an expose that lunge can come in handy if their rifles aren't ready to Exploit. And dual leg sweeps from the guys keep enemies that rush flat on their backs.

Quote:
Photon Grenade Sucks: Yeah, if you time it right, you can get a flank without much effort. Good when you're the tactical captain who uses it just before a sniper shot. Bad when your BOs spam it while your exploits are on cooldown.
I love Photon grenades and not just for exposes! They're ranged legsweeps. If the enemies are falling down they're not shooting at you. I've got a dedicated grenadier/heavy weapons guy (big old Andorian the size of a small mountain) with damage boosting gear and nothing but three ranks of photon grenades and Target Optics III. Things just bounce when he's in play. His heavy weapon strips shields (photons do more damage on unshielded targets), exploits and does an AOE (split stream/cone) attack. When things aren't bouncing.

Quote:
Lunge Sucks: See Leg Sweep.
This may be more situational. If you're a Tactical character who has bought up all the melee skills this will be reflected in how much damage your BOs do (recharge time for powers etc). My melee specialists who are kitted out for melee can do serious damage in close combat and ignoring shields. I'll be handling some problem on one side of the map, look over, and find an enemy officer with nearly full shields and only a sliver of health. Oh, right, I sicc'd the Gorn on him.

Quote:
Smoke Grenade Sucks: It's possible to construct a ground tactical BO in the spirit of the Operative kit by including rank 1 of this power. Once your initial ambush is used up, the bang of that BO is spent for that fight.
Smoke grenade is of marginal use for stealth but what it also does is reduce the range of an enemy's vision. So if for some reason you want to bring him in closer, Smoke will do that. Back when I used the Close Combat Kit a great deal I found smoke handy for bringing my targets in without me having to chase after them. These days I'm all about Squad Leader though so I just send out a melee officer to deal with "stand off" enemies.

It's not useless but there are better powers.

Quote:
Target Optics Sucks: The damage buff only applies to the BO using this power, leaving the rest of the away team in the dark.
If you've got the right BO with the right gear and the right weapon, and it doesn't hurt if you're a Tactical Officer that's invested in Target Optic related skills, then it's very much worthwhile. Damage ramps up considerably with higher ranking TOs but it might only be noticeable if you've already gone the additional steps and picked up damage boosting gear and weapons that offer serious Crit chance and multiplier boosts. Many of my BOs use this. One of my favorite little games is to see how much damage my Breen sniper has managed to do with his Sniper Shot in any given encounter (Yes, the Breen has unrelated issues but he still gets a shot off now and then). He's gone well over 2k before. But it's not a regular thing.

Quote:
Overwatch Sucks: Anyone making a minimal effort to get flanking bonuses will probably step outside the AoE. Your BOs will always try to get flanking bonuses (unless waypointed).
Hello? Of course you're waypointing your BOs. Group waypointing them. The only time you don't is when an enemy has Plasma grenades or you're sending a melee officer out to kick some boss/lt. tail. Overwatch stacks at different levels. So if you have an officer with I and another officer with II and yourself with III, well, holy bounding overwatch, batman. Suddenly your little group is quite tough. At least it works well for me. Tactical Officer, lots of points spent on ground combat skills. But I'd assume it might work for anyone to a lesser extent.
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