Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 345
# 1 New Scientist
09-11-2013, 08:59 AM
OK, I've maxed out a Tac, and am turning my attention to my Sci alt, who I actually started with first time I played STO, but left languishing in the interim.

So some tips and tricks for playing Sci would be appreciated. Let me see if I'm getting things right.

Sci is kind of equivalent to "magic user", so it has an alternative power source, equivalent to "mana", and that is Aux power. Is it helpful to think this way, or is it misleading?

If so, then theoretically I would want to make a build with maxed Sci powers, especially the "exotic damage" one, and set my power settings to high Aux all the time, right?

But: here's my quandary. The Sci powers seem to be on extremely long cooldowns. So it seems to me hardly worth running with Aux high, why not run with weapons high as usual and just use the Sci powers with an Aux battery for an Alpha strike (at the moment I'm experimenting with debuffing the mobs, then hitting them with Gravity Well, then when the Aux battery runs out, lay on with beams and torps.

Is it actually possible and advisable to play with maxed Aux and Shields, say, and using only Science powers for damage? I can't see offhand how that would be better than just using the Aux battery for an alpha and then going normal, as I'm doing now, but if anybody knows please do enlighten me!

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Join Date: Sep 2012
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# 2
09-11-2013, 11:30 AM
Science powers were fantastic once upon a time. These days not so much sadly. Be prepared to contribute a lot less to your group in a science ship then you could in an escort or cruiser.

That Aside science is still fun, and still useful in pvp.

As you noted a lot of science powers suffer from very long cool downs and short durations. Your going to need very rare duty officers. Doffs can help cut recharge times or enhance the effects of your science powers, given the sorry state of those powers you really do need the doffs.

It used to be that the best thing you could do for a group in PVE was bring along a couple of gravity wells. Sucking a large group of enemy ships together not only groups them up for members of your group using AoE damage, it also creates chain reactions. Once the first ship suffers a warp core breach you can expect the others to follow suit due to their proximity.

Sadly most high end PVE content is no longer susceptible to this tactic as so many enemies use emergency power to engines and speed right out of the well.

In PvP Gravity Well is an effective way to deal with cloaked ships, mines, platforms, pets and targetable torpedoes. However Tractor beam repulsors will often do this better. Do not expect a Gravity well to pull any one in PvP. most equipment at max level grants a large enough inertial dampener bonus that people will be completely immune to the pull even without using resistance abilities.

Viral matrix has no practical use in PvE. The short duration of viral matrix is cut shorter by the resistance of NPC boss ships to disables. Using it on lesser ships is pointless as you destroy those ships quickly any way and will likely destroy a half dozen more before you can use viral matrix again.

In PvP Viral Matrix is very useful. While the duration is short it is long enough to create a moment of vulnerability that a high DPS friend can exploit. (if it cuts their aux their tanking abilities wont work effectively, if it cuts their engines they are easier to hit and your more likely to crit, if it cuts their weapons mid alpha strike then you can piss them off)

Photonic shockwave is not useful for PvE. Like viral matrix it suffers from the resistance of boss ships to disables. If you want an ability to push your enemies tractor beam repulsers are much better.

In PvP Photonic shockwave is useful. Not for the push but for the stun. If you are in a science ship and not flying with friends on voice chat don't bother as the disable time is short. If you are using it with a high alpha strike or DPS ship, or if you can co-ordinate efficiently with some one then the short duration disable can be exploited to pop your enemy.

Tyken's Rift is completely useless in PvP or PvE. Forget its description or what the tooltip claims. It does virtually nothing at all.

Jam Sensors is potentially useful for PvP if you have a single escort making your life miserable. However it does nothing to help your team, and you would usually be better off using something to tank that escort or make it dead rather then by jamming its sensors.

Mask Energy Signature has no real use in PvE. In PvP it is an effective defense against being the victim of an alpha strike from cloak.

Tractor beam is excellent in PvP, provided your target isn't sporting any of the many ways to grant themselves complete immunity to it. Chances are any one good enough to give you trouble will be immune but some times people do leave themselves vulnerable and when they do you can mess them up.

Unlike a gravity well tractor beams actually effect people in pvp. They do what they say on the tin. A guy in a tractor beam has no defense stat, can not effectively co-ordinate with their team and certainly cant put you in their best firing arc if you don't let them.

In PvE tractor beams are not amazingly usefull if you run with just one. Boss ships do not need to be tractored and lesser ships die quickly any way. If you stack two tractor beam abilities then you can use them often enough to be usefull against emergency power to engine spamming enemies.

Also note that a tractor beam duty officer adds shield drain to tractor beam making it a useful addition to a drain build. (the amount of drain is effected by your flow capacitors)

Charged Particle Burst is situational useful. If your in PvP with people using battle cloaks to escape destruction this is one skill to help foil them. Personally I prefer tractor beam repulsors to deal with cloaked ships but charged particle burst can be enhanced with both a DoT and a placate effect by doffs.

In PvE there are better ways to damage your enemies shields and disrupting cloak is only usefull in a couple of situations.

Feedback Pulse is a good way to discourage some one from shooting you, or to outright kill fools. However many escorts will be able to tank the damage and may chose to just keep ripping up your hull. The biggest downside to this ability is that it is completely up to your enemy if they want to take damage from it or not.

In PvE Feedback pulse is less useful on a science ship as the big bad boss ships will usually be targeting a well set up escort or cruiser instead of you.

Energy Siphon is best thought of as a buff for you first and a debuff for your enemies 2nd. With a full rack of flow capacitor consoles you can expect your science ship to gain 50pts of power to each of your subsystems (200pts total!) when you use this. Sadly the drain on your enemy is usually mitigated a lot by their power insulators but this is still usfull in both pve and pvp.

Tachyon beam is to be avoided on ships that are not pumping up both their flow capacitors and their auxiliary power. However if you are building a drain boat two tachyon beams, two tractor beams and two energy syphon's is the offensive ability load out of choice for a science ship. Complement this with hyper plasma torpedo spam, mines and other projectiles and you probably have the most effective science ship build that is currently possible without aux cannons.

Scramble sensors has an extremely short duration and an extremely long cool down. This renders it all but useless in most situations. However there is a duty officer which adds a debuff to your targets ability cool down timers. If you make use of this duty officer scramble sensors can make a huge difference to your teams ability to brake a tough tank in PvP.

Photonic officer is the solution to a science officers cool down woes. Aux to battery technician builds are usually less effective as the Science captain probably doesn't want to give up the ability to fire off aux power dependent abilities when they are needed in order to have those abilities available more often when they don't.

I still usually avoid photonic officer as you can not stack it with itself (it shares a cool down) and its own lengthy cool down does leave you with gaps when your abilities aren't recharging as quickly as they could if you had simply doubled them up. That said if you are working with fewer ability slots or want a build with a greater variety of abilities then this is a slot well spent.

Tractor beam repulsors are the Swiss army knife of Science. Two of these abilities on a ship gives you grater up time then down. They will take out incoming targetable projectiles and mines, rip up fighter pets, show you where cloaked ships are whilst eating away at their hull, screw up peoples ability to maneuver in PvP and really piss off tactical captains who pop all their alpha strike abilities a moment before you push their target out of range.

The tanky science abilities work well and as advertised so I shall not take the time to describe them. However I will point out that science heals do not go all the way to commander level as engineering ones do. If for some reason you want to make a dedicated healing ship do not use a science ship A cruiser with a Science ability slot is much better.

Last edited by pwstolemyname; 09-11-2013 at 11:37 AM.
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# 3
09-11-2013, 11:54 AM
Wow, thanks for the informative, if somewhat depressing write-up!
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# 4
09-11-2013, 12:18 PM
Originally Posted by pwstolemyname View Post
Science powers were fantastic once upon a time. These days not so much sadly. etc (what a long post! )
Mostly agree (though I can't speak for the PVP stuff), but do have to disagree on Tractor and TBR in PVE. Not like 'oh you're wrong you sux!' so much as overlooked points.

Tractor beam, even just one, makes a wonderful toy for so many PVE thing. On a cloaked ship, you can pick your area of attack, decloak and hold your target there, and since there's no dodging you can flatten them as easily as a tac before moving on to engaging the rest of the group. Its good to have against those obnoxious EPTE enemies since it slows them down considerably. It never misses, so it can be used for popping borg high-yield torps. It can lock a target next to his exploding friend. It can slow down a boss' turn-in-place rate to make it easier to focus on a single facing or keep their big weapons pointed in the wrong direction. I could go on and on and on. Just so many uses for an ensign-level power with a mere 30 second cooldown, if I'm on a ship with 5 or more sci slots, Tractor WILL be in there somewhere. Its too useful to pass up.

Second on TBR, you didn't mention how much you can screw up your teammates if you use it badly in PVE. Someone loads up their alpha on Donatra and you send her flying 10km away, or a team is lining up their CSVs on a Raptor wave in CSE but you scatter the nicely-clustered targets to the four winds, your teammates are NOT going to be happy with you. That said it still has some fun tricks, like how big unthrowable bosses (CE, Cubes) just float there as you pour on the direct-to-hull damage for the full duration. Its a good power, just that if youre trigger-happy with it you'll cause as many headaches as you solve.
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# 5
09-11-2013, 01:40 PM
Originally Posted by reginamala78 View Post
Mostly agree (though I can't speak for the PVP stuff), but do have to disagree on Tractor and TBR in PVE. Not like 'oh you're wrong you sux!' so much as overlooked points....

...Tractor beam...
There is so much to say about the state of science and its uses right now that I did skip through things pretty quickly. Despite being as long as it is, it certainly is not comprehensive. Your quite right about the uses of a tractor beam. My descriptions of the abilities usefulness are from a somewhat biased position.

I have 54 bridge officers. That's the most you can buy on a single character before your locked out of buying more slots. Possibly the max is lower without veteran rewards, I don't know if its a purchase limit or a total limit.

At any rate I have that many bridge officers because I have a lot of ships I use with a single science captain that I use in many configurations. I test the effectiveness of abilities and ability combinations in controlled ways against a stop watch, using the same character, with the same skill build, in order to ascertain the usefulness of abilities under real gameplay conditions.

You cant trust the tooltips in STO, they often give a quite misleading impressions of what you can achieve, either due to resistance and power mechanics that they do not account for, bugs in the code which have gone unfixed for a long time or the piloting style of the user.

As I am flying with heavily optimized builds comprised of the best equipment my time to destroy enemies is very quick. Thus my assessment of a 30 second recharge on a tractor beam is too long, I will most likely be on my 3rd or 4th enemy by the time that tractor beam has recharged.

My case is not representative of most peoples however so Reginamala is quite right to call me out. Without my advantages a 30 second recharge is no doubt well worth it.

Originally Posted by reginamala78 View Post

...Second on TBR...
Originally Posted by pwstolemyname View Post
...and really piss off tactical captains who pop all their alpha strike abilities a moment before you push their target out of range.
I probably should have elaborated a little more on that rather then just throwing it in to a sentence on PvP. My bad there. Raginamala is once again quite right to have pointed this out. As fantastically useful as tractor beam repulsors are you must be very situationaly aware to avoid disrupting the rest of your team.
Join Date: Sep 2013
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# 6
09-11-2013, 04:03 PM
Ok, thinking about it, I do want to make my Sci build as different from my Tac build as possible, but given the limitations you're talking about for most of the variety/cool abilities, I think I'll aim for the full Aux Tractor/Tachyon/Siphon/Projectiles build you mentioned. At the moment, I'm only Cmdr, and I've been mixing my build up using GW1 (which I'm sad to hear is not as effective as it could be, as I've been having fun with it at low level solo PvE), Tractor and Tachyon (with HE1 of course); so thinking about how to plan it out from here:-

I presume for that type of build I would have to leave out any specialization in Energy Weapons and go for projectiles only, loading up on torps and mines? Also, for the Sci powers themselves, leave out any of the other specialized Sci (e.g. the gravi-whatsis, the particle-whatsis, the higher placate, confuse, etc., ones) abilities, and just pump up Flow Capacitors (with Deflector to match), and double up consoles, etc. (to match)? And presumably use the extra sp to go with all the "standard" Eng skills I'd have on my Tac? Also use an overcharged Warp Core for the extra Aux?

Again, any advice greatly appreciated. TIA
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# 7
09-11-2013, 07:38 PM

This is a drain and burn build for a reconnaissance science vessel (free ship at lvl 40). I would highly recommend using a wells, vesta or intrepid instead as these ships would enable you to give up the torpedo high yield and aux to structural for another energy syphon and polarize hull.

Make sure you take the time to acquire 3 very rare projectile duty officers. and a very rare tractor beam duty officer. Without these to add shield drain to your tractor and increase the rate at which you can fire torpedoes you wont come close to the dps output you could achieve with energy weapons.

If you have access to a good fleet you should defiantly exchange the flow capacitor consoles with embassy ones.

I have included the captain skills I would chose for your science character. Unlike a tactical captain I do not recommend over specializing. Cryptic ocasionaly nerf or change science skills, over specialization in any specific build puts you at greater risk of needing a respect. Also the effectiveness of some science abilities (principally disables) is hard caped. past a certain point it doesn't mater how many points you put into stunning some one, they wont be stunned for a second more, no matter what your tool tip claims.

Also when it comes down to it, the effectiveness of min maxing in sto is a lot less then people would have you believe. If your not working on an alpha strike build then min/maxing anything is probably costing you more then your gaining.

Take that science captain and remove the projectile weapon specialization skill points he has. put him in a tactical escort and take him into an elite STF. if you know what your doing you can still out dps most of the random maximized tactical characters you encounter and out endure most of the random maximized engineers you encounter. Skill points loose out to know how and experience almost every time. They only really matter when your competition knows as much as you do. Then they can make the difference.

I have lost count of the number of times I have heard 'I need to respect my build its not optimized enough' after I defeat some one in a dual, using my own generalist build (more generalized then the one I have given you).

Last edited by pwstolemyname; 09-11-2013 at 07:45 PM.
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# 8
09-12-2013, 06:56 AM
This is a drain and burn build for a reconnaissance science vessel (free ship at lvl 40). I would highly recommend using a wells, vesta or intrepid instead as these ships would enable you to give up the torpedo high yield and aux to structural for another energy syphon and polarize hull.
Thank you very much for your helpful and thorough advice! I've started building towards this.
Join Date: Jun 2012
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# 9
09-12-2013, 12:49 PM
I put together something similar but not quite the same, just because some options are always better, then you take the bits you like and make your own. Yay for variety.

Some Notes

I tried to build intentionally cheaper than stolemyname's setup, no fleet or rep gear, and the only pricey/rare hardware on the ship being the Leech (Its SOOOOOO worth it). Plus when you get access to the fancy gear, it just swaps in and becomes icing on the cake. I imagine his setup would beat mine, but mine is intentionally much easier acquire, set up, and use. Lexus vs Ferrari, basically.

I left two of the BOFF lots empty for personal tailoring. The Lt Tac could easily be Overload 2, High Yield 2, Spread 2, or APB1, depending on how you intend to play it. Likewise, any of the Emergency Power To X abilities would work well in the open Ensign Eng slot, particularly if you threw on a pair of Damage Control doffs.

Sci BOFF powers I went with two Siphon 2s rather than a single 3, to keep energy levels up constantly (plus I'm OCD and the idea of packing a 3 and a 2 makes me twitch). Dropped to a single tractor beam but added TBR. Plus you could easily give the other sci officer a different Cmdr skill and swap the two positions mid fight, depending on which skill is most appropriate at the moment, for times then TBR would be a bad idea compared to say GW or PSW. No Tachyon Beam though, as my own attempts at using it have never been worth the slot. Better to strip their shields either by eating the power or blasting the facing IMO.

Weapons, not a fan of mines and too impatient for plasma travel times and burns (personal preference), so put on a pair of quantum torps for straight-up kinetic damage, plus polaron turrets to add to the drain. The quantums teamed up with a pair of purple projectile doffs (free from so many places) and turn into a machine gun of torpedo fire; my personal record is 13 in a row before missing a proc. Plus Quantums just look nice with the Polarons besides.

Skills, I likewise agree with stolemyname's philosophy of not over-speccing into things, though a few skills are useful enough and cheap enough to push to 9 without really messing with the rest. Some of the skills are also only kinda useful on this build, but it means that if you decide to rebuild around the upcoming Gravity Well adjustments or go into a sci-scort or whatever, you don't have to respec. Just my personal design approach is all.

So yeah, not arguing with other people, just presenting another point of view. Hope you find a setup that works well for ya.

Last edited by reginamala78; 09-12-2013 at 12:55 PM.
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# 10
09-12-2013, 03:45 PM
Originally Posted by reginamala78 View Post

...Build advice and stuff....
Honestly this is a perfectly workable build and definatly good advice. Reginamala knows what they are talking about.

The choice of two energy syphon's is certainly right for a sci build using energy weapons as this one is and it certainly has all the tools your going to need for elite content.

The choice of tractor beam repulsors is also quite right for a budget build. They have far more uses then a regular tractor beam. The choice of two tractors In my build is to make best use of the tractor beam duty officer who will not add shield drain to tractor beam repulsors.

The choice to go with mines in my build is once again down to the duty officers. With three VR projectile duty officers the romulan hyper plasma torpedo launcher is going to keeping the global torpedo launcher cool down (1 second) going most of the time. One more plasma torpedo launcher on the front could be utilized but adding more makes little sense.

I have toyed with adding launchers aft but as I am spending all my time facing the target spamming hyper plasma at it they rarely get any use. Adding more turrets is an option but but with only 1 energy syphon and all the tactical console slots boosting projectile damage turrets are mostly just their to shoot down projectiles, while the beam array is there for subsystem targeting.

The plasma mine launcher has a relatively short cool down when compared to other mines so using more then one dosnt cut that many seconds between re-use. the nukara and tractor mines both have long recharge times but are both good when they do launch.

My build is not a budget build. I put it on a budget ship, but its something to work towards. Reginamala's build is a very worthy one to use while working to obtain the parts for it.

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