Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 The Ground Playbook
02-25-2011, 02:25 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, 02:28 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, 02:30 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, 02:32 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, 02:34 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, 02:35 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 Science Captain's Playbook
02-25-2011, 02:36 AM
You are the bringer of the ultimate weapons of exposes: Gravimetric Shift 3 & Tricorder Scan 3. Medical Tricorder 3 is nice too. I beg you to learn these powers so that you might teach others.

There are two kits: Medic, with 4 heals. And Geophysicist, with 4 exposes. You'd rather use Geophysicist since a BO is a better healer than you are.

Science Captain's Playbook (legend):

Max Inferno:
Kit: Geophysicist
Exposer x4
The ultimate offensive, with only a [Large Hypo] to save you. 20 exposes! But it may not be enough to keep you alive.

Safety Inferno:
Kit: Geophysicist
Exposer x3
Medic
Only Max Inferno has more exposes. But this play includes a medic to keep you alive.


Snow Fire:
Kit: Geophysicist
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.

Safety Redwood:
Kit: Medic
Turret x4
The ultimate defensive! This play has heals, making it greater than Mist Redwood.

Snow Pine:
Kit: Medic
Turret x3
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 seven heals.

Whiteout:
Kit: Geophysicist
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
"OMG AA. You want me to spec into ground skills? Space is moar fun!

Like, imma tac. So I don't get any of those powers you're obsessed with!
Like, imma eng. And I'm too lazy to learn Phaser Turret 3!
Like, imma sci. I've got too many space powerz to spec into!

And nobody can teach powers from more than one profession!

Whoa whoa whoa! Calm down! You can get other people to help you.

Other people to help you.

Other people.

To help you.

I know it's a novel concept in STO where it's usually just you, your BOs, and your ship.

Here's how it works:
Find an engineer or science captain who knows the powers you want.
Unequip all items from the commissioned BOs you want trained.
Trade the engineer or science captain, and drag the BOs name into the trade window.
The engineer or science captain should train your BOs.
Then the engineer or science captain will trade you the BOs back.
Reequip the BOs items.

There. You now have your rank 3 ground powers.

"OMG AA. Like I got this uber Reman BO. He's got this awesome cape.

But when I go to trade him, I can't. I hate Cryptic! Imma cancel my sub!!!!!! /RAGEQUIT"


Seriously! Calm down! Fit out your Reman/other untradeable BO like this:

Untradeable Exposer:
Gravimetric Shift 1
Tricorder Scan 1
Tachyon Harmonic 3
Stasis Field 3

Any science BO with these powers may be considered an exposer, but the powers I listed originally are better for an exposer. It's a little expensive since Tachyon Harmonic 3 & Stasis Field 3 have to be bought from the Exchange, but this is the best an engineer or tactical captain who has the Reman can do.

"OMG AA. Like I thought you were smart!. I've had thiz Eng Borg BO for ages and you haven't said anything at all! I hate you!!!"

You know what? I'm not even going to try to calm you anymore. Here's how you set this BO up from the Power Store:

Untradeable Turret:
Shield Recharge 1
Phaser Turret 1
Phaser Turret 2
Support Drone 1
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9 Ground Skills Worth Spec'ing Into
02-25-2011, 02:39 AM
Tactical:
Assault Training
Soldier
Firearms (all these buff rifle damage)


Engineering:
Personal Shields Engineering (unlocks Shield Recharge 3)
Turrets (unlocks Phaser Turret 3)


Science:
Physiology (unlocks Medical Tricorder 3)
Xenobiology (unlocks Tricorder Scan 3)
Exogeology (unlocks Gravimetric Shift 3)
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
Tier 8 Tribbles:
Give a [Tribble (zin)] to all shield, medic, & turret BOs. Give a [Tribble (nei)] or [Tribble (har)] to all exposer BOs.

Crouching:
Buffs your weapon damage and debuffs oncoming damage. Unless you're running to start a flank or escape a fire, you should always be crouched.

Crew Attack My Target: CAMT
Orders all your BOs to shoot whatever enemy you have selected when you push this button. This is not a power, it's just a button to push. Doesn't work with turrets or security escorts.

Obviously, the captain-inherent powers that captains get regardless of kit should be at least on one's ground bars:
Tactician Captain:
Target Optics: Use every cooldown, or line it up with your other damage buffs for even more carnage.
Fire on my Mark (ground): Cast on the most difficult hostile in an enemy pack.
Security Escort: Summons a pair of almost useless redshirts to fight at the side of whichever friendly you choose.
Tactical Initiative: Don't use on a turret BO; the old turret will just despawn. Try to cast this into a cluster of friendly exposers for maximum effect.
Strike Team: Line up this long-cooldown damage buff with other damage buffs.


Engineer Captain:
Reroute Power to Shields: A powerful self-only shield heal. Use when shields are taking damage.
Cover Shield: Can be used before a pull from a room into a corridor to further restrict the movement of hostiles, making AoEs like Gravimetric Shift & Tachyon Harmonic more effective.
Seeker Drone: Active only during battles. If activated before a pull, the drone will wander foolishly into the oncoming mobs, be isolated, and easily destroyed.
Orbital Strike: Like Photon Grenade. Except interruptable. With a stupidly long cooldown and pathetic damage. Set the images of ownage orbital strikes you saw in Cutting the Cord aside. Orbital Strike sucks.
Engineeing Proficiency: This is good for its shield resist.


Scientist Captain:
Tricorder Scan: A powerful damage resistance debuff. Use this power with an enemy targeted every chance you get.
Nanoprobe Infestation: Cast this power on the hostile that will be attacked later in the fight. Don't waste it on the first target. This power needs time to spread to other hostiles.
Neural Neutralizer: Cast only in case of melee'ing hostiles.
Dampening Field: Wait until hostiles have found where they're going to be standing for the fight.
Scientific Aptitude: Good when hostiles bring lots of Gravimetric Shifts of their own.
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