Example: Which is better? 3 energy weapon + 1 torpedo console, or 4 energy consoles
OR: Running 3 energy weapon consoles and putting a universal console in tactical (something like the borg console which can go anywhere). Moving that borg console from wherever it was before (engineering/science) frees up that slot for more survivability.
Thanks that makes more sense. I'm still trying to figure out the simple stuff. Like what dps even stands for. What is a starship flow capacitor? Disrupter, phaser, kinetic damages - what does what? Etc. I'm sure I'll catch on. When I used to go to conventions (a loonnng time ago) They used to sell official tech books for the ships. I shoulda picked up a few.
DPS - Damage per second. In other words, how much damage you can put out. This is used in different contexts - for instance, "spike" DPS is typically considered a capability of escorts, which means they can put out a lot of it at one time but can't sustain the assault (because of endurance), whereas cruisers usually put out "pressure" DPS, which means a cruiser can afford to sit there and just keep hammering at an opponent. Although "pressure" DPS is in absolute terms usually lower than "spike" DPS, the actual amount of damage generated in an engagement may be greater.
Kinetic damage - torpedo damage. This can be 4x as damaging against bare hull with no modifiers as it would be with energy.
Phaser - Able to do a PROC ("Programmed Random OCcurrance") of disabling one subsystem at random for 2.5 seconds. The subsystems it can affect are those that are covered with your power bars (weapons, shields, engines and aux) and for those 2.5 seconds are the equivalent of that power going down to zero. Your biggest fear when being attacked with phasers, and your greatest hope when attacking with them, is that this will drop an opponent's shields just long enough to end the fight extremely quickly.
Disruptors - They have a proc of weakening the hull's damage resistance.
Other energy types, which differ by their proc (each with a 2.5% chance of occurring with each hit):
Tetryon - Proc that drains all shield facings on the target by a certain amount.
Polaron - Proc that drains enemy ship power.
Plasma - Proc that causes a "plasma fire" (when your ship is covered in glowing, damaging gas, which you have to wait for it to go out, or use Hazard Emitters).
Antiproton - Not so much a proc as an inherent property of increasing critical hits. You could say their proc is "HIT /HARDER/," which, considering antiproton is the stuff that they use for photon torpedo fuel/explosive, makes sense.
What the "best damage type" is, at least for energy weapons, is a bit of a holy war. IMO, polarons and tetryons probably aren't all that great if you're not spec'd into flow capacitors (see below). Phasers are good and solid. Antiproton has traditionally been considered the "end game" energy type of choice, though this has faded as of late, although the outrageous prices haven't dropped any, and they're probably best if you're already set up for lots of crits (spec'd into Targeting Systems and Energy Weapons Specialization, have Attack Patterns Alpha and Omega, etc.). A lot of people like disruptors, because their proc does not require another stat (polaron, tetryon), does not require the enemy's shield to be up (tetryon), does not require special abilities (antiproton), and is a predictable effect that can be taken advantage of by teammates.
Myself, I prefer phasers (Fed), disruptors (KDF) and antiprotons, though I'll probably get my sci polarons or tetryons whenever I get to leveling him up.
Almost nobody likes plasma. The proc is nearly useless against a strong end-game ship, although the weapons aren't too bad while leveling. Simple problem is a plasma fire just doesn't do enough to have much effect unless your opponent's hull is only a few points away from collapsing anyway. I have heard it sucks less these days but I wouldn't count on it.
Starship Flow Capacitors - This is a stat that determines how well power-draining attacks and abilities work. I believe the most important of these are tetryon weapons, polaron weapons, and possibly the KDF leech power, which escapes me at the moment. Generally don't spec into this stat unless you know what you're doing.
The tech manuals won't do you a whole lot of good outside of terminology - inhaling 300 pages of abstract science combined with artistic license does not sit well with most of the people STO is trying to court as customers that aren't already die-hard Trek nerds (in which case, you'll never make any of them happy).