Greetings, I'm going to open a thread with the basis of theorycrafting towards PvE Tanking. I was a tank on WoW for about 4 years and I have grown more and more interest to start playing on this game.
To the point. Tanking;
Threat and Aggro Control.
Ideally I would pick engineer to be a tank due to the abilities you get with the character, RSF, Miracle etc. Also the ability to teach your bridge officers Engineering Team III, EPtS III and APtSI III. These I find mandatory and a large crew with plenty of crew lose reduction a fundamental in keeping your boat sailing and shooting.
Some things however do bother me though. The lack of Energy weapons ideally to help reduce damage or attract targets.
Now I would be trying to AE as much as possible, even if it were just small bursts. In this case I would definately be using;
Beam Array - Fire At Will I (on two seperate bridge officers)
The Why: Two great reasons, while your squad focuses onto your primary target, you can tag and focus incoming fire from secondary targets and deter incoming heavy torpedo's, Mines, Auxiliary craft.
What makes this better than anything else?: The cooldown. Fully Trained BA: FaW I, will have a 30second Cooldown with a 15 internal CD and also lasts for 15 seconds, with about a 0.1-0.3 sec Downtime (Click to Server Lag) you will have this up litterally 98% of the time. With that 2% not getting in the way to cause error.
What Energy Type:
Phaser - Random subsystem offline for 5 seconds
Your main goal here is to really want to shut weapons off for 5 seconds which would actually be a 0.625% chance of happening per shot.
Engine's is also an okay, it could move you out of their torpedo arcs which brings the value up to 1.25% Interest.
Disruptor - Useless to tanking, it may help generate threat but it would also increase everyone's threat. :/
Plasma - Okay extra DoT damage equals extra substained threat. But nothing directly effecting our survivability.
Tetryon - Again mainly DPS concern, but even worse worry due to the forecoming shield nerf in season 4. This and Transphasic Torpedo's will become obsolete unless they change them.
Polaron - Now this helps quite alot. The pink beams get me, howabout a light blue? > anyways -25 to all power at 2.5% chance per shot. That is a reduction on weapons which reduces how much damage taken by energy weapons, moving from torpedo arcs and reducing science, aswell reducing the shield regeneration, it's helpful to everyone.
Anti-Proton - Just a bonus crit chance and crit damage. In tanking crit is very unimportant. Maybe for procs but you don't get crit triggered procs in this game (yet, or as we know of) it helps threat like tetryon, disruptor, and plasma but drains alot on energy skills.
So to the point, The best weapons would be Phaser and Polaron
Phaser takes the cake unfortunately unless you are not worried about threat, go with polaron, due to the skill bonus.
Projectiles are iffy in most cases and really are oppotunistic. So it would be mainly the effects we want to look at as 90% of the time you will be fighting broad side.
Photon - 50% to minus 20 crew..
This is more ideal to PvP or to reduce a target's healing rate.
Quantum - 20% to minus 10 crew
Same thing as Photon
Plasma - Adds DoT
Increases threat generation, ideal if you want a hard burst of threat when given oppotunity.
Transphasic - Shield peneration
Great for threat and damage, but not helpful towards survival.
Chroniton - Direct and Speed Change frozen
Hmm PvP oriented but great to help towards kiting or getting out of torp arcs.
Tricobalt - Large AE with Stun
Ideally this would be very circumstancial, very good when used sparingly. Using it as an opening attack on a large squad, instantly grabbing ae and stunning them to slow damage income onto your ship. Defensively it can be used to give you a breather maybe when retreating to get health.
In this case, Tricobalt device earns the cake, why? It gives breathing space aswell as great aggro management. It attunes to your lack of oppotunity with torpedo arc and acts like an <Data Generation's Profanity> Button.
So Polaron/phaser and Tricobalt Device, you can maintain aggro and gain alot of survivability. Ideally for tanking that is the way you should go.
Polaron has a 7.5% chance of being useful per hit (effects 4 systems at 2.5% chance, shields being not a concern to the tank)
Phaser' has a 1.95% chance of having a useful proc
Phaser deals more damage due to the small skill points required to buff it.
Basic Shields - Balanced
Regenerative Shields - Lower Cap, Faster restoration
Covariant - Larger Cap, Slow restoration
Resilient - Slightly smaller cap and regeneration but 5% bleedthrough absorbtion.
Basic - Ideal for anyone but doesn't offer any special gifts to the battle.
Regenerative shields - Very bad, with a small shield cap you could lose your shields faster. Relying on your cooldowns and your healer to maintain your shields is what you would be best worrying about. Instead of a small permanent HoT.
Covariant - Big shield pool, more time to allow CD's to refresh.
Resilient - reduces bleed through but also reduces regen and cap. Even worse for season 4 due to the lack of shield strength, there will be very little use for the absorb.
Covariant is the best case here
Regenerative is for healers and support, and Escorts.
What engine?- Hyper Impulse, more efficent at higher speeds and you don't need turn rate.
What is my flight path and where should I go?
First off, always at maximum speed, this increases your defense, reducing the likelyhood of you being hit.
Secondly this allows you to move in and out of weapon arcs quicker, also fighting broad side with the target you can circle each other like a Ying Yang.
+5 to all systems (shields and aux?)
larger hull strength (take less damage)
faster hull regen (Duhh)
Spinal Lance (Great for opening threat)
Cloaking Device (Sneak up, get 2.2KM infront of enemy squad, smack with tricobalt and spinal lance)
That extra tactical slot to add the constant BA - FaW I
How do I get the Dreadnaught? Recruit 5 players to STO or pay 2000 atari points.
Tactical 1 - Borg Module - Extra weapon power to maintain phasers and increased hull repair (also required for set)
Tactical 2 - Oberth Console - +25 energy to shields and auxilary. I need to say no more here
Engineer 1 - Inertial Dampeners - Keep your crew alive.
Engineer 2 - Inertial Dampeners - Keep your crew alive. (a third will involk diminish returns)
Engineer 3 - Neutronium Alloy - Energy and Kinetic Damage reduction to hull
Engineer 4 - Neutronium Alloy - Energy and Kinetic Damage reduction to hull
Science 1 - Biofunction - Helps heal crew to help heal your hull
Science 2 - Biofunction - Helps heal crew to help heal your hull
For science some would say Consoles for Hazard emitters. No you won't need anymore as it would be overhealling. Remember in tanking instances you will have a healer. Hazart Emitters are recommended to have and will be discussed down below.
BIG NOTE: Borg Set is great for tanking due to it's set bonuses (all of them) they should be your top priority. So 500 day veterans will only focus on aqquired 5 consoles and 8 weapons. Rest can go toward your away teams.
In the recommended ship you will have Cmd Engineer, LT.Cmd Engineer, LT Science and tactical and En Tactical.
Commander Engineer -
4> Auxiliary Power to Structural III - Hull repair and hull damage reduction. Cooldown ability when needing to soak alot of damage.
3>Engineering Team III - Boosts all engineering skills, and provides a Hull instant heal. Should be used on Cooldown to also support your RSP and Emergency Powers
2>Reverse Shield Polarity - Turn incoming damage to heals, Brilliant!
1>Emergency Power to Engines - Escape button, will allow you to move away from the attacker and have a chance to regenerate some damage if you fall too close to being beaten. Also good at dodging exploding ships.
Lieutenant Commander Engineer -
3>Emergency Power to Shields III - Instant Shield Heal, and Shield Power boost. Basic and needed.
2>Reverse Shield Polarity - Turn incoming damage to heals, Another One? Brilliant!
1>Emergency Power to Auxilary I - Boosts science and your Auxiliary Power to Structural III. Shouldn't complain.
2>Hazard Emitters - Regenerates Hull, great, hull regen when you need it.
1> Many choices -
- Polarise hull - Cuts Tractor Beams and reduces incoming energy damage to hull. Ideally.
- Science Team - Heals shields instantly and boosts your Hazard Emitters. Good but conflicts with your team cooldowns.
- Tractor Beam - Losing aggro? Lock it's position, aim, Lance and tricobalt.
- Mask energy signature - useless since we got cloak!
- Jam sensors - briefly reduces damage done to you by one target. Risky.
Choose either of the above, but I would go for Polarise Hull, you got the borg tractor beam from the borg set which also acts as a power drain.
2> Tactical Team II - Regenerate Crew and remove boarding parties. Seriously, boarding parties really mess you up when they take out your shields
1>Beam Array - Fire at will - Detterence and AE attack.
1> Beam Array - Fire at will - Detterence and AE attack. 2 of these is 100% (98%) up time.
Rotate Shield Frequency - Shield HoT and reduces damage done to shields. Can't go wrong
EPS power transfer - Amazing, more power to all systems and helps to get your weapon energy to recover faster too
Nadion Inversion - People complain about this ability, but quite frankly, tie this with spinal phaser lance whenever and it helps alot.
Miracle worker - restores hull and subsystems.
Engineering Fleet- Team wide Boosts damage resistance, Warp Core training, and Starship Engineering Training.
Evasive manuevers - Get out of a torpedo arcs and chance to be missed. Good retreat too
Brace for Impact - reduces kinetic damage and crew loss
Ramming Speed - Quick escape or direct damage (latter being a dangerous choice)
Abandon Ship - Self Destruct, suicide, not really all that good for tanking at all
Polaron energy drain is also just a 2.5 % proc, and the energy drain is very low and recovers quickly. Even having only 1/4 the chance for a weapon subsystem disable seems better to me. The points spent on more expensive weapons can be used to boost your tanking ability more. Ultimately, weapon choice has little effect on your ability to draw aggro.
If you really want to tank, always use two Emergency Power to Shields. (In fact, there is little reason to not run two of them regardless of your assumed role, as it just gives you the biggest "bang for buck" in terms of defense). 2 EPtS means you're protected 100 % of the time (when the first EPtS runs out, you can activate the second.) You probably don't need EPtS3, not even at Elite, and might rather have Engineering Team 3 in that spot. It is so great because shield resistances rock. It means you take less damage the entire team, which means even a little healing provides great benefits. (That is also why Extend Shields is a very interesting power if you're a healer)
Emergency Power to Auxiliary can be good for your Science powers and your Aux2SIF
While Emergency Power to Engines provides a nice speed buff and all - if you already run 2 EPtS, it's probably never available when you really could use it, so I wouldn't bother. Better to equip an Engine Battery and the Hydrogen Fuel thingies from the Alhena Daily.
Considering that you're "tank", Emergency Power to Weapons might help you draw aggro.
Something like 2 EPTA1 or 2 EPTW1, 2 EPTS2, 2 ET3 and 1 AUX2SIF sounds like a solid selection, and also allows you to provide solid healing when you couldn't draw enough aggro. Of course, having an RSP 1 in the mix might also be nice as your panic button, in which case you might sacrifice an EPTA/W1 for an EPTS1 and an EPTS2 with an RSP.
Particularly looking towards the Borg, having a few powerful hull heals and hull resistance buffs is a good idea - you can't negate all shield neutralizers.
Science comes with a lot of "utility" powers for Ensign and Lt. level powers - It is highly recommended to have 2 or 3 Science Officers with differing selections of powers and pick one appropriate to the enemy you fight.
Science Team for enemies with Subnucleonic Beam and maybe enemies with Jam Sensors (not strictly required for the latter, as it doesn't really affect your tanking that much.)
Polarize Hull: If the enemy has Tractor Beams. Though honestly - if you're a tank, you can probably also tank through the short time tractors force you stationary.
Hazard Emitters for Borg Shield Drain and generally great for hull healing.
Transfer Shield Strength: Genereally great for shield healing if the enemy doesn't have it.
Photonic Shockwave: Only available if you're in a Science Vessel, but this is an AOE that will force enemies to briefly stop firing. This can buy you or allies under pressure some time. If you try to tank in a Science Vessel, this could help you.)
No reason to use Tactical Team 2, TT1 clears boarding parties just as well as TT2, and the automatic shield distribution feature also seems to have no notable differences. You probably help your team more with a higher ranking BFAW. If you go Assault Cruiser, you might even want to run two (though you might then also choose to use less Engineering Teams and could shuffle around your EPtS and RSPs). This allows you to optimize your shield and shield healing most of the time.
Beam Fire At Will is excellent to draw aggro though, and if you can run two of them, even better.
Equipment & Set Choices
Mixing the Borg Set but replacing the Borg regenerative shields with a Covariant shield array seems the best choice overall. You get a notable free (yet random) shield and hull heal and decent shield capacity.
--- General Note ---
This paragraph applies to all ship classes at all tiers regardless of whether you want to tank or not:
As mentioned earlier, shield resistances rock, so look into Emergency Power to Shields, Transfer Shield Strength, Rotate Shield Frequency and Science Fleet. (The latter two are mutually exclusive choices as they are Captain abilities). These powers are used "preemptively", e.g. in expectation of high incoming damage, not afterwards.
Also, distributing shield power is important, so also remember to distribute shields (press in the middle of the shield UI in case you didn't know), and Tactical Team.
As the thread title and the forum indicates - Tanking is PvE only. Don't try just to be a "tank" in PvP, you must also bring something useful to the table for the rest of the team - be it significant damage output or healing abilities, if your only talent is not ever dying, the enemy will figure that out and pick someone that dies little easier and is a threat. But: Every ship needs the ability to last a while in combat, and if only long enough to run evasive maneuvers and battle cloak (or until the healer has time for you.) So some basic understanding is required.
Also, for PvE - If you really focus _all_ your power choices into tanking into a Cruiser, you might never ever die in PvE (including Elite difficulty, or in Fleet Actions and DSEs fighting against the Flagship with its aiding ships), but you might have more fun and quicker combats if you spend more resources on your offense.
The fastest way to get through PvE space combat is an Escort with lots of offensive buffs, 2 Emergency Power to Shields and a Hazard Emitter.
For an in depth discussion on tanking and healing particularly (but also damage output), II created a Foundry mission. Simply search for my name in the Foundry and you should find it quickly. It not only contains a mission scenario where you might be able to test your skills, but the mission also contains a lot of text explaining the powers involved and when or why to use them.