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Thanks SO MUCH for all your support, and we'll see you in-game!
hopefully the last iteration of these threads, i tend not to get banned after all.
this thread should be a 1 stop shop for all your pvp questions. are cruisers seemingly now a joke? is this escorts online? are sci ships completely underpowered and worthless?
first of all, anyone who would make any of these claims is wrong, and is no one you should listen to or get any advice from. all 3 of these ships types have their primary roles, and in a proper team all 3 are invaluable. this is a game, its not a strict adaptation of canon, so you have to focus on what works in game, not what worked in the show.
second of all, no one is cheating or hacking, they really are just that much better at it then you. but thats the reason for this thread, to level the playing field so you can properly compete and have fun. because theres nothing in STO more fun then the space PVP, you will look at the pve you have enjoyed for so long very differently after you truly get the hang of pvp.
"I should be facerolling Escorts and bops with my Ship of the line! This isn't canon!" This is a common variation on frustrated pvpers. Often times they will post what appears to be an indepth analyisis even as to "just what makes Escorts and bops OP" When frankly, they couldn't be more wrong. The first question to ask, is a Cruiser a DPS Ship? The answer is as follows. While there are a couple of exceptions to the rule, by and large...
Nope unless you are following a fairly narrow Tac Cruiser build your job isn't dps (and then with a tac cruiser the best ones in my opinion, treat damage at best as an equal partner to the ships native role fedside). Your role is support, first and foremost as a cruiser. You have to keep your team mates alive through the alpha strikes coming in from the klingon attacks / enemy escorts (FvF if the latter). Once you keep your team mate alive (most likely an Escort since those are almost always priority one in pvp to kill, they are the squishiest fedside. Though, I often target Gal X's first, as nothing is so clearly a Noob Pilot as someone in any Galaxy Class Variant) then your enemy you'll find has alot less damage for around thirty seconds or so afterwards, in which case it's a slow build up back up, which is far more managable with healing.
Throughout this thread I will post various builds (others are welcome to post builds as well) that I recommend for use in pvp. NOTE if it works in pvp it will ROFLSTOMP any and all pve.
Cruisers are actually the hardest ships to kill when built properly, due to having very high native damage reduction, shield strength and hull points. Especially engineering cruisers, as they have access to a host of self heal capability that other classes do not have. When the pilot of a cruiser doesn't suck, he doesn't become a high priority/easy quick kill. Use powers like Emergency Power to Shields 2, and 1, Engineering team 2 and 3, Aux to structural integrity field 3, Extend Shields 2, Reverse Shield Polarity1, and if you are a Tac, Emergency Power to Weapons1, or if you are an engineer or sci captain, Emergency Power to Aux1. For tactical slots, run Tactical Team1, and either Attack Pattern Delta1, or Tactical team 1, and Beam Overload2. (if you are a tac) Science powers, Hazard Emitters1/Polarize Hull1, and Transfer Shield strength2, or two transfer shield strengths. (1 and 2)
If you have an extra ensign slot, you might as well throw target engines there to assist in controlling enemy movement.
If you have the following powers on your ship remove them immediately because they are utterly worthless. Emergency Power to Weapons 2 and up. Emergency to Aux 2 and up, Emergency to Engines 2 and up. Aux to Battery 2. Boarding Party 1 and up, Aceton Field 1 and up. Aux to Inertial Dampeners 2 (1 is just as good as 2 is), Jam Sensors, Scramble Sensors (not really worthless but it's not a cruiser power by any means), Tachyon Beam1 or 2, (1 is terrible and you do not have the turn rate to make 2 work) Energy Siphon1, Torpedo High Yield 1 or 2 *again you don't really have the turn rate for this one, and only tacs really get the miles out of this use Torp Spread instead great for Escorts though* Beam Overload1 (only good for killing shuttles... BO2 is much better)
Power levels should be weapons /25 Shields /75, Engines /25 Aux /75 for healing configuration, and if you are running emergency to weapons instead of aux, weapons /75 shields /75 engines /25 aux /25
That's just a sample fairly standard healcruiser build it works great with the Assault Cruiser, and the gal X (as much as anything can work with that ugly, and horrible ship seriously gtfo out of it ASAP the Galaxy X is a terrible ship. It's not as bad as it used to be but it's still the worst cruiser in the game. It's a Vanity Item at best and a Bullseye creator at worst as no other ship in the game clearly marks you as a Noob as a Gal X.. cause everyone that has experience avoids it, and the Gal Retrofit like the black plague) star cruisers I'll cover later. There's a few other more advanced build options you can run, but this is a good one to learn on as it has plenty of healing for team mates, (and heal your team mates! if you save them all for yourself you are only getting your allies killed!) The Excelsior is a damage ship, but is best employed by Tactical and Science captains. Engineers need not apply unless you enjoy wasting your time. (as Engineer captains do not do DPS, nor do they do Debuffing like science captains do)
Emergency powers are the lifeblood of a good fedcruiser, as they enable you to greatly boost your power level for whatever emergency to X you are running at the time. Emergency Power to Shields can be chained one after another (which is why so many ships seem ''invincible'' to you) Tactical team makes all but the most fiercesome anti proton beam overload 3 crit a complete joke, even if your emergency power to shields isn't up at the time. Reverse shield polarity is used as an oh crap button when you have already given away your transfer shield strengths to a team mate and you are almost out of shields. (it's especially useful just after you get sub nucleaonic beamed, and you pop a shield battery with it. Then you can usually save Rotate Shield freq if you are an engineer for the second sub nuc if it's coming and chances are someone's given you a sci team to clear the debuff, and an emergency power is probably also ready at that point) you should always always always if possible have an emergency power to shields up.
And yes you can run two emergency powers at the same time if they are for different subsystems.
When running at the /75 powers I mentioned emergency power 2, is enough to put your shields at full strength, which boosts your shield regen, and it's native damage reduction, it also has the pleasant side effect of almost maxing out your extend shields' damage reduction bonus. While emergency 1 almost kicks everything to capacity as well.
Devices I recommend keeping the following handy. Shield Batteries, (or rechargeable shield battery if you can get one) Weapon Battery, Subspace field modulator, and Aux Battery. Shield Batteries are for when you have been Sub Nucleaonic beamed. This gets your shield power right back up to 125 and gives a small shield heal in the process. For Engies this makes them even more frustrating to kill since often you can then save rotate shield frequency for either being nucced again, or just for use as your shield strength falls to roughly half. For Tacs and Sci it's a straight up life saver. Weapon batteries are to be used when a target is near death (if you aren't using emergency power to weapons1 or if it's cooldown is active), so you can cram that last little bit of DPS into the target to hopefully down it before they can get heals.
Subspace field modulators are good for when you are being focus fired and a shield is near critical, it increases both your damage resistance and your Defense Score, Aux Batteries are for when you are running weapon power bias (ie thats one of your /75s) or for when your EPTA (emergency power to aux1) is off, and you need that -extra- bit of healing to save someone's life.
Don't forget to put Distribute Shield power somewhere you can easily keep hitting it, when the enemy starts attacking you. Most people keybind it to the space bar, but honestly I shield tank worse then I run it there, because it throws off the rhythm of the shield distribution when damage comes in. Sure it's more micro intensive than what most people do, but honestly it pays dividends especially when tac team is on cool down. (and now you all know my secret for shield tanking... I'm doomed)
Also, pay attention to your positioning relative to the other players on your team. Cruisers should either be in the middle where they can put their extend shields outwards, or circling slowly behind the Escorts on the outside edge of combat, and adjust your throttle as you go along. Also, I recommend you move throttle control to the mouse scroll wheel. That lets you pull off fancy moves, like the reverse flat spin which is very difficult if not impossible with the default bind of it being on your keyboard, this also frees up your fingers so they can more easily hit the number rows and keep fighting, or frees up the default throttle keys for staple abilities so you do not have to hunt the keyboard and never leave WASD.
For example when I'm at a buddies place, and I need my sto fix and I forget to take my Razer Naga with me (which really is worth the investment if you plan on playing alot of mmos and rts games) I bind whatever my emergency power to shields is, (third ability, on the top row usually) to Q, and the second emergency power to shields to E.
Speaking of, if you really want to get serious in pvp without springing for a razer naga you might want to consider a keyboard layout different from the standard WASD+ Numbers and start binding various abilities to other keys, like the aformentioned E and Q. Some other good non number keys to bind powers to are also C, X, Z, V and B, just to cite some examples. This means you never leave total control over your ship, while you are hitting powers. Which is one of the reasons the Razer Naga is just so good. All the numbers are on the side of the mouse leaving your other hand free for actually moving about, hitting push to talk keys, firing weapons etc.
To change your control scheme press Escape, hit options, and click on the tab for keybinds. Begin arranging as desired.
I also recommend heavily regardless of what you do for ability activation running the 3 row power tray instead of the default one with the silly pictures of your bridge crew. The default tray is completely useless in pvp, wastes time in searching for abilities, and even worse clutters up your screen. Also, practice using the numbers instead of mouse clicking abilities. It saves your mouse for healing allies then or clicking through enemy targets.
Hi everyone, some of you that have been paying attention the last few months have probably seen one of my three Cruiser Threads in this section.
I also play Science off and on.
The first important question to ask about Science, is what is it exactly that Science does well and why.
Science's primary role is crowd control. Even in it's most aggressive setup sci ships are built around Zone Denial, Shutdowns, and Debuffs. How a sci ship accomplishes this varies ship to ship and build to build.
Before we break into how some of these work, I'm going to take a moment to explain what crowd control and the subsequent terms actually are.
Zone Denial: This one is fairly straight forward. Zone denial is setting up an area so that it is either more difficult for the enemy to be effective in, making it impossible for them to access. Usually this is done via damage dealing area of effect. Examples of this include, Gravity Well, Tractor Beam Repulsors, Warp Plasma.
Shutdowns, are abilities that prevent the use of another, or disable a subsystem. Examples include Target Subsystem, Viral Matrix, Plasmonic Leech. Some shutdowns are also Debuffs. Tractor Beam
Debuffs: simply put Debuffs inflict a negative status effect on your target. Or remove enemy buffs. Examples include, Attack Pattern Beta, SubNucleaonic Beam, Target Subsystems, Chroniton Proc, Warp Plasma.
Each of these has to be balanced to some degree to healing as well. Healing is often considered the secondary role of science captains. (mind Tac Scis are expected to do less of this than Engi sci, or Sci Sci captains)
Doffs, are also at times extremely critical with sci ships. While for Escorts, and Cruisers they make you simply more of what you already were, for a sci captain they can potentially completely redefine your build, and how it is executed in pvp.
Gear: Sci are like everything else, gear is of secondary importance to your competency, power selection, and specialization. However a few pieces of gear go quite a long way to helping you. 3 Borg is always a great standby. (as you'll see in future builds to come)
Power Settings, this one really depends on the sci methodology you are going for. Me? I'm a Full To Guns man myself. the more energy DPS your team is cranking out the better. There are also myriads of sci abilities that for damage dealing and zone denial aux isn't as important as it used to be on.
But most traditional sci run aux and shield power bias.
Powers to Avoid: Charged particle burst. Right now everyone and their brother (that didn't do a drunken spec...) has Power Insulators. This is giving them a 75 percent resist to all shield drain attacks.
Tachyon Beam. For above reason.
Energy Siphon. 1 the drain is pitiful at best as is the boost.
Boarding Party. Worthless ability, take it off your ship. It literally does almost nothing, thanks to Tac team, AOE fire and it being a very crappy power to start with.
Jam Sensors: Anything you could think to slot other than another trash power would be better than this. Heal will save you more than JS will.
EPTA2, 1 is just as good as 2 is. EPTW2, same deal as EPTA. (and only certain sci builds should even bother with either in the first place)
Mask energy Signature. This power is not worth a boff slot. It should be an option on every ship instead.
Scramble Sensors. It's mind numbingly easy to resist, it's easily cleared by one of the most common shield heals in the game, it does nothing to npcs (not even torps or mines!). It's just a stupid mechanic.
Jam Sensors, anything this does to save you a heal will do better.
this post is going to be going over some quick and dirty ability tray layouts that I've found to be quite effective while in a cruiser.
Definition and term Row Through, in the context of this post Row Through, is a reference to the optimum speed and accuracy that you can rifle through your bridge officer skills without having to backtrack. Rowing Through, tremendously can affect your reaction times and ability to appropriately respond.
The first thing I want to mention is there isn't any one layout that will work for everyone every time. The biggest piece of advice I can give you (before showing you examples) is to find a configuration that can allow you to "row" through your powers quickly and effectively with minimal searching. Some people put their emergency powers right next to one another, or one above the other, same with Sci Teams etc. Some people (like myself) prefer a gap between Emergency powers, as the ability won't be needed till later and it sets up a clean visual way of showing which emergency power is which in terms of Priority.
Some people like putting their second emergency power system near the relevant bridge officer skills. (like EPTW1 next to FAW or Beam Overload, EPTA1 next to Transfer shield strength, or Hazard Emitters). As you can successively just roll from one ability to another.
Some people like all their emergency powers together.
The important thing is that you experiment, and practice with each layout you try until you find one that you can "row through" not only the fastest, but repeatedly Every Time. Anyone that's a veteran to pvp (regardless of game type.. FPS, MMO, RTS, Racing, Flight Sim etc) can tell you crap can happen incredibly quickly so it's best to have your powers, and abilities straightened out to something that is as user friendly to you as possible.
The optimum Row Through time I have found is all of your abilities fired off or at least clicked in 4 seconds or less. This will make you more than fast enough to deal with whatever happens in live combat.
it is very important to not have to spend any amount of time hunting for the right power, and intuitive layout is a must, and key binds, but thats for later
first few rows on the far left i have tactical and offensive abilities, to the right of them i have holds, debuffs and power increasing skills. next to those its shield heals, and to the right of that hull heals. then its evasive, batteries, and anything else thats left.
this is a link to what weapons energy can do for your damage. there is no hard cap for weapons energy at 125, 125 is mearly the damage modifier cap. when shots take 12, 10, or 8 energy, if that weapon does not drain you below 125, it will fire at the 125 damage modifier. every shot that wont drain you below 125 will. the result is your energy wont be drained as low as a whole from a lot of energy weapons, and the higher you can keep your weapons energy, the more damage you will do during fireing cycles.
this guide is tailor made for the new player, giving you all the basic information that you wouldn't necessarily even learn from playing the game for years. documentation and instruction on what to actually do and how to set yourself up is poor with regard to STO, theres such a wide variety of things you can do, and the pve in game is so easy, it basically rewards you for doing it wrong. gleam all you can from this, and go from there.
The Space Healing Compendium
this is an excellent right up on how to put together a good healing character and ship, the primary purpose of a cruiser.
key binds are most useful for activating all the abilites in a certain row. I for example, place all the skills i want to keep cycling at all time in row 4, and have a key bind that activates all those abilities in sequence every time the key is pressed. on that key bind, i also have the fire all energy weapons, and distribute all shields command attached to it too.
i have another key bind for all my tactical abilities too, to quickly fire them all off in preparation for an alpha strike. thats in my row 5.
all these abilities i still have on my tray as well, so at the very least i know they are working. most of the time you want to hold off on fireing all your tac buffs until you have several off cooldown to stack, so its not the best to just spam the key bind when ever APA cools down.
i received some useful feedback on my builds from someone who looked at them, they had no idea what any of the acronyms mean. so here they all are long form, i will link this post to all my builds for a quick reference to what means what. anyone else feel free to do the same.
AtB parred with tech doffs lowers all running cooldowns every time you use it. now that AtB is no longer on the EPtX cooldown system, you can use 2 copies, and 2 different EPtX skills. this leads to... perhaps overpowered builds on certain ships.
to get good mileage you need 3 purple tech. 3 blue are easy to get, and are better then nothing wile you slowly add more purple. with only 1 AtB, anything less then 3 purples will leave gaps in your EPtS up time though. you can get unlimited purple from doffing b'tran support criticals, and 1 from the tier 4 engineering doff store on fed side.
1 AtB is good, it lowers the cool down of every running cooldown. kills your aux for 10 seconds though. AtB used to be on the same cooldowns with the EPtX skills, now its on the AtS and AtD cooldowns. so you can now run 2 EPtX skills without interference from AtB itself, and have full up time with them.
theres another thing thing you can comfortably do now, run 2 AtBs. you can actually just use 2 purple tech doffs with 2 AtB, you will get the same effect as you would get from using 3 with 1 copy of AtB, but you wont be able to use AtB every 10 seconds. at least this is the conclusion i reached when staring at all my abilities cycling for 10 minutes trying to figure out definitively whats going on. at the very least, the EPtX skills do fine with 2 tech doffs and 2 AtB.
but, if you use 3 tech doffs with 2 AtB, every single one of your abilities will basically be lowered down to global before you have a chance to use them again. 2 AtB cycle every 10 seconds with 3 tech doffs, so its energy buff is basically always on, though the result of the energy buff will vary greatly, the Aux doesn't instantly recharge.
i use a copy of EPtA with 2 AtB, because AtB does not seem to always take the aux granted by EPtA. so you basically always have some aux, not always very much, but some. enough for abilities like HE, TB, and your cloaking device to work at all. also, carry aux batts, an aux bat +HE2=1000+ healing a tic. though your aux based heals will be mauch weaker, its like you have 2 copies of them. so even using it with crap aux will give you good overall healing.
AtB, and 2 AtB is not for every ship. only cruisers tend to have 2 TL level eng stations anyway. escorts with a COM and LTC/LT tac already can have 2 of every tactical power they need easily, and its not worth giveing up an ET2, EPtS2, AtS1 or RSP1 for AtB, especially if you also rely on HE and TSS for heals.
AtB does not help healers, as it leaves your aux in the toilet. your best heals rely on it, and periods without good aux wont make you very useful.
the main use for 2 AtB is on tactical captain, tactical focused cruisers. the 2 or 3 tac powers you can have at their global now, and you can use skills like RSP, DEM, and EWP very often. also TB and the sci heals. the vet ship with its wide variety of station powers is excellent with 2AtB too
the orb, nebula and vesta can use 2 AtB and they are sci ships, but remember any sci skill that is aux dependent will be crippled. TBR for damage, VM, ST3, these are all good aux less skills these ships can use, and use at their global.