Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,040
This is a guide to creating an "optimised" Federation toon that will be effective in PvE and PvP. The guide will primarily be focused on space, but there will be ground discussion. Note that a lot of this will be personal opinion, but you can't really go wrong in following it.



-=Contents=-

Basics
-Bonus defense
-Accuracy
-Shields
-Bridge officer traits
-Bridge officer skills
1. Creating Your Toon (intro)
2. The first ten level slog in the light cruiser (intro)
3. Bridge Officers
-Spot 1 - Healer
-Spot 2 - DPS
-Spot 3 - DPS/Tankish
-Spot 4 - Shield healer/fabricator
4. Ship Selection
-PvE wise
-PvP wise
-Escort notes
- Tactical Escort retrofit
- Patrol Escort
- Advanced Escort
- Heavy Escort Carrier
-Cruiser notes
- Galaxy-X
- Odyssey
- Galaxy-R
- Excelsior
- Regent
- Assault Cruiser
-Science Ship notes
- Long Range Science Vessel retrofit
5. Equipping your ship
-Equipment Sets
-Device recommendations
-Engineering consoles recommendations
-Science consoles recommendations
-Tactical consoles recommendations
6. Ship Weapons
-Weapons
- Mine Launcher
- Turret
- Beam Array
- Cannon
- Torpedo Launcher
- Dual Beam Bank
- Dual Cannons
- Dual Heavy Cannons
-Energy Types
- Phaser
- Disruptor
- Polaron
- Tetryon
- Plasma
- Antiproton
-Projectile Types
- Quantum
- Photon
- Chroniton
- Transphasic
- Plasma
- Tricobalt
- Weapon Mods
- Acc
- CrtD
- CrtH
- Dmg
- Borg
More to come...
-----------------------------------------------------

Basics

First the basics, a lot of which will be covered in other guides, but here's a simplified detailing of them.

Bonus defense:-
Bonus defense is basically your ships ability to dodge incoming fire. This rating is modified by your speed, passive skills(like the elusive trait, Aegis engine etc) and active skills, such as attack pattern omega. I can not overstate how important this rating is, as there's no better way to tank incoming fire then it simply not hitting you.

Accuracy:-
The counter to bonus defense. If your accuracy exceeds the targets bonus defense, the overflow goes towards criticals. Not an especially important stat when facing NPCs who move at a snail pace, but becomes very important in PvP.

Shields:-
Shield tanking, like hull tanking, comes in three forms - spike healing, heal over time and resists. For the most part I suspect everyone knows the basic skills involved in shield tanking so I won't bore you. I will however mention a couple of things you might not be aware of.

Passive shield regen is very much based on power. With shield power at 79, a Maco shield Mk XII (innate regen rate of 182) will recharge you shields 394.5 points every 6 seconds, while at 124 shield power it'll regen at 721.5 every 6 seconds. Shield emitter amplifiers give a percentage bonus based on your actual recharge rate and stack with no diminishing returns. An 721.5 actual shield regen with a shield emitter amp that gives a bonus of 13.1%, will give you an extra 94.5 shield regen.

Passive shield resists are also based on power, so basically when you cast emergency power to shields (EPTS) the increase in power also increases your shield resistance, along with the stated shield resist percentage boost given by EPTS.

Then there's shield redistribution. Redistributing you shields can be a life saver.

Finally there's the tanking skill called tactical team, which quickly auto-redistributes shields, strengthening shield facings under attack. This skill is a MUST HAVE for PvP (otherwise you'll likely pop in seconds without it) and is very useful for less general PvE (like STFs, defending freighters in Starbase Blockade etc).

Bridge Officer traits:-
Different races have different traits that are innate to their species. Bajorans have spiritual, Klingons have warrior, humans have teamwork etc. They also have secondary traits, which are largely random from Boff to Boff and are dependent on the Boffs rarity. A common Boff for example could have basic peak health and basic stubborn, will a purple Boff could have superior peak health and superior stubborn.

There are Boffs with space based traits, but efficient only gives a super tiny boost to subsystems at low settings and leadership doesn't work.

Bridge Officer skills:-

Bridge officer skills are available in three ways. Most are trainable by the bridge officer trainer. Some are only available via Boffs that are pre-trained n the skill and some are only trainable by a player captain of that career.

1. Creating Your Toon (intro)

First pick alien as this allows you to pick up to four traits.

Here are some recommended traits. Traits marked "*" are very highly recommended, almost must haves if doing PvP.

*Elusive - Increases bonus defense by 10
*Accurate - Increases accuracy by 10 (equivalent to a weapon ACC mod)
Techie - Increase in hull repair (useful for healers/engineers)
efficient - Increase in power for subsystems on a low setting.
Warp theorist - Increase in power for all subsystems

If you still want to play it as a human don't worry, the toon can be customized to look totally human.


2. The first ten level slog in the light cruiser (intro)

The first ten levels is a bit slow, mostly due to the ineptness of the light cruiser. If you have the resources, buy 1 disruptor dual heavy cannons mk II, 1 disruptor turret, 1 disruptor induction coil console mk II and 1 quantum torpedo mk II. That should pretty much cut down any NPC in seconds, even when the torp is unbuffed.

Also if you have access to one, a hyper impulse engine can be a real help when you put power to engines and hit evasive.

That should speed up the leveling to a certain extent.

3. Bridge Officers - Assembling your away team team

Hookay, this is going to be a bit more indepth and primarily focused on ground.

I'd personally recommend not using the Jem'Hadar boff unless you're going to go to the extra effort of using him tactfully. By the time he's activated shroud, got up to the target and deactivated it, you'd have killed the mob already.

Here is my personal opinion on what's best for an away team.

Device wise I'd give all of them the remodulator, for when you go up against the Borg. I'd also give the IDIC tribble to a tactical boff.

Spot 1 - Healer (Science - Human)
Traits
- Leadership
- Teamwork
- Superior Peak Health (higher HP and some resist to hazards I believe)
- Superior Resilient (higher damage resists)
Skills
- Medical Tricorder 1
- Medical Tricorder 2
- Vascular Regenerator 2
- Nanite Health Monitor 1
Weapon - Preferably NOT something that has a long firing animation (like a minigun), since you want them to be healing you.
Notes:-
The traits were picked to give the Boff the greatest survivability, therefore helping to ensure teams survival.


Spot 2 - DPS (Tactical - Human)
Traits
- Leadership
- Teamwork
- Superior lucky (increase in crit chance)
- Superior resilient
Skills
- Photon grenade 1
- Target Optics 1
- Fire On My Mark 1
- Target Optics 3 (trainable by a tactical captain)
Weapon - Minigun
Notes:-
Due to AI fickleness, I've not equipped any of my away team with a pulsewave as the damage it deals decreases drastically over range. The only time I would equip them so is when facing the Borg.


Spot 3 - DPS/Tankish (Tactical - Klingon)
Traits
- Honourable (increased resistance and threat generation)
- Warrior (increased damage)
- Superior Surefooted (resistant to knockbacks)
- Superior Lucky
Skills
- Photon grenade 1
- Target Optics 1
- Fire On My Mark 1
- Target Optics 3
Weapon - Minigun
Notes:-
The Klingon makes for a nice tank, getting aggro and being a nice damage dealer.


Spot 4 - Shield healer/fabricator (Engineer - Human)
Traits
- Leadership
- Teamwork
- Superior lucky
- Superior peak health
Skills
- Shield regen 1
- Shield regen 2
- Quantum mortar fabrication 1
- Phaser turret fabrication 3 (trainable by an engineer captain)
Weapon - Minigun
Notes:-
This Boff's main task is to keep your team's personal shields up. For the most part the fabrication skills should be disabled except for bosses and sections where you bunker down, since by the time they've been fabricated a normal mob will most likely be dead. This goes especially for the quantum mortar (hence why it's only tier 1).

If you have them all equipped with a MACO two piece set (which gives them a shield heal skill), you could probably kick the engineer from the team or give them more useful skills.



4. Ship Selection

PvE wise:-
I'm just going to come out and say it - the escort is the best ship in STO. The majority of STO is very DPS focused, especially the STFs. In fact in STFS a cruiser is the worst ship type to bring out of escort/science/cruiser/carrier. Yes yes, I'm sure your tactical cruiser build is awesome and does super damage, I've done it as well, but it'll not do as well as a well armed escort. It's damage, speed, turnrate and non-glass-cannon nature makes PvE content super super easy.

Certainly if you're trying to speed level an alt toon the escort is inarguabley the best, letting you speed through PvE content.

PvP wise:-
Here the choice is a little harder, since PvP is where the games mechanics are at it's extremes. Basically pick the ship that best meets your role. If you're a healer, pick a science ship or cruiser, DPS - Escort, debuffer/crowd control - Science ship.

Escort notes:-
Pretty much any Fed escort is a good choice.
- Tactical Escort retrofit - Good for those who are focused on alpha stikes and who are comfortable using their maneuverability for tanking. It's cloak, while useless in PvE is very useful in PvP.
- Patrol Escort - Good for those who want to tank via more conventional means (2x emergency power to shields). Probably the best escort choice for an engineer.
- Advanced Escort - Good for those who want to focus on science powers.
- Heavy Escort Carrier - With Lt Cmdr engineer station, it's danubes and shield regen units, it makes for a very versitile ship and probably the best fed ship for Starbase Blockade (being able to dispense damage and heal the freighter with Extend shields 1, Aux2SIF2 and it's shield repair units)

Cruiser notes:-
- Galaxy-X - Due to it's poor turnrate and outdated stats this is a bad choice of ship for PvP, especially for those new to fighting other players. In PvE though it's probably one of the best Fed cruisers available due to it's spinal lance and ability to equip dual heavy cannons.
- Odyssey - For PvP this ship makes for an awful DPS cruiser (but then they all do), but it's a great heal boat and due to it's stats can tank quite a bit of damage. It's major let down is it's turnrate. If you're going to be a healer and do PvP (and frankly, being a healer is the only reason to fly a cruiser into PvP), this is the ship to pick.
- Galaxy-R - Do not fly this ship. It offers no real advantages and it's saucer separation ability is a pretty worthless gimmick.
- Excelsior - The Fed cruiser with the highest turnrate and probably the closest the feds will come to having a DPS cruiser for PvP.
- Regent - If it wasn't for the slightly lower turnrate, I'd actually put this above the excelsior in terms of a DPS cruiser.
- Assault Cruiser - The only "free" cruiser I can recommend, being the "best" free cruiser for both PvE and PvP.

Science Ship notes:-
- Long Range Science Vessel retrofit (intrepid) - minus the fleet ships, this is the best science ship you can fly. Good turnrate, 8 science stations (science being the only boff powers that don't have useless ensign powers), ablative armour console. The other science ships are good, but this ship has it all.


5. Equipping your ship

Equipment Sets:-
You'll want to make use of the special equipment sets available, the outright best being a 3-piece Borg set and a MACO shield (since the Borg shield is pretty rubbish). The 3 piece borg set will give you both a hull and shield heal that procs on a regular basis, so regular in fact that you can rely on it to a certain extent for heals and is one of the many reasons the escort isn't a glass cannon.

-Optimal set-
Borg deflector (retro STF equipment)
Borg engine (retro STF equipment)
MACO shield (STF equipment)
Borg universal console - "Assimilated" mission in the Undine arc

As for the other sets, the MACO set bonuses are pretty poor while the Omega set is a little better with it's Tetryon Glider (which provides an extra shield drain attack for you weapons). Aegis set gives a bonus to you bonus defense and builds up resists to energy weapons. The Breen, Jem'Hadar and Reman sets just don't come close to measuring up to the Borg set.


Device recommendations:-
- Deuterium surplus - consumable item that gives a huge buff to speed. Acquired via the Alhena daily in Eta Eridani.
- Subspace field modulator - Defense buff item, gotten from "Skirmish"
- Batteries - Acquired via vendors

Engineering consoles recommendations:-
- Neutronium armour - A general damage resist console that resists all energy and kinetic damage. Due to diminishing returns, there's not much point in taking more then two. If you're in a ship with more then two engineering console slots, use one for the borg universal console.

Science consoles recommendations:-
- Field generator - Increases your shield capacity and has no diminishing returns. Only available at level 45+

Tactical consoles recommendations:-
- Specific damage boosting console related to the weapon type you use.

Don't bother equipping crew preservation consoles, the crew stat is virtually meaningless. Certainly it isn't important enough to warrant a console slot.

6. Ship Weapons

This will be another long one.

For starters you should always use energy weapons of the same type, since general energy weapon damage boosting consoles boost less then those of a specific type. To mix up weapon types is called "rainbow" and is usually frowned on due to this loss in DPS. The only real reason you'd want to be a rainbow boat is if your ship is soley focused on procs.

Ship weapon damage will usually be connected to firing arcs. The smaller the arc the more the damage.

Cannon type weapon damage are more adversely affected by range then beam types.

Weapons:-
Mine Launcher - Drops targettable mines. These mines won't be instantly active, requiring a very short period to arm.

Turret - 360 degree firing arc - The least power energy weapon, but very useful in adding forward DPS in no broadsiding builds.

Beam Array - 270 degree firing arc - Pretty much the bread and butter of a cruiser build. Unless you're a tactical captain, these weapons don't do much damage and against even escorts they'll probably just end up tickling them.

Cannon - 180 degree firing arc - Unbuffed I'd say these are weaker then beams, but when buffed by a cannon rapid fire skill will vastly outperform them. Their biggest flaw is that they don't have much in the way of spike or burst damage. When buffed with cannon rapid fire these weapons work well with directed energy modulation.

Torpedo Launcher - 90 degree firing arc - Great vs NPC hull, useless vs shields. Due to how easy it is to shield tank in PvP, how quickly player ships move and turn and the time it takes for a torpedo to reach it's target, I'd personally advise against using them on anything but an escort. Even then, I'd say go for a dual beam bank instead.

Dual Beam Bank - 90 degree firing arc - Best buffed with beam overload and used as part of an alpha strike or spike damage. It's benefit over torpedoes is that it's instant. The power drain caused by a beam overload can be mitigated by EPS flow regulator console. Unbuffed they'll do much less damage then a buffed single cannon.

Dual Cannons - 45 degree firing arc - powerful cannon weapon with high firing rate. Does less damage then a dual heavy cannon.

Dual Heavy Cannons - 45 degree firing arc - This is one of the main reasons people want you to bring an escort into the PvE queues. These things will pop cruiser NPCs in seconds even when unbuffed. Despite the fact each shot drains more power then a dual cannon, due to it's firing rate it'll actually drain LESS power, making them far more efficient. Also when these things crit, they can do much more damage then a torp and since they fire more then a torpedo you'll probably get more burst damage out DHCs then a torp.


Energy Types:-

To be honest if you're only going to PvE, energy types aren't all that important or useful. At the end of the day, the procs are really only useful against targets that take some time to kill.

Phaser - Chance to randomly disable a subsystem - the basic Fed weapon type. It's disable can be very useful, but due to how random it is it can't be relied upon to lower the targets shields. It is deadly however when there are enough phasers hitting a single target to cause procs to happen reliably.

Disruptor - Chance to reduce damage resistance

Polaron - Chance to reduce power levels - Useful as part of a drain build.

Tetryon - Chance to do unresistable shield damage - Rather worthless proc. The shield reduction is so small that a player ships passive shield regen will counter it quickly.

Plasma - Chance to set the target on fire and deal damage over time (DoT) - Due to all the STF shields having resistance to plasma, this weapon type should not be used in PvP. PvE wise you'll probably kill the target before the DoT causes any meaningful damage. The only real benefit to using plasma is it's real cheap on the exchange.

Antiproton - No procs, but all antiproton weapons have +10 Critical severity - For PvP these are pretty bad due to none of them having more then one Acc mod, which means egainst more mobile targets they'll miss much more. At first glance this type appears to be great for PvE, but again due to the lack of choice they're not good.


Projectile Types:-
Quantum - Outside of Tricobalts, this is the most damaging projectile type.

Photon - A little less damaging then quantums.

Chroniton - The main reason to use this type is the slow proc.

Transphasic - Deals greater bleedthrough damage through shields. Outside of the tricobalt, this is the only projectile type to be of any real use in PvP, even though it's one of the least damaging torps. Not much use in PvE though, since you'll be able to lower a NPCs shield facing with ease.

Plasma - Like plasma energy weapons, it has a DoT proc. Unlike plasma energy weapons, the damage type isn't resisted by STF shields.

Tricobalt - Very high damage dealing. The main negative to this type is the long cooldown times and targetable projectiles.

Weapon Mods:-
Acc - +10 increase in accuracy - This is the number one mod you want for PvP, the more the better. Without it, a lot of your shots will simply miss, even vs ships that are only moving at half speed. If your accuracy well and truly exceeds the targets bonus defense, the overflow goes towards your crit chance and damage. Due to how much of a must have for PvP this mod is, I won't bother to mention PvP when it comes to the other weapon mods. Pretty useless for PvE.

CrtD - +20% critical severity - Fantastic on high damage dealing weapons like Dual Heavy Cannons and torpedos (dual heavy cannons that crit for 10,000 ftw). Not so useful on low damage weapons (who cares if a turret crits for 1,000).

CrtH - +1% crictical chance - Recommendations similar to CrtD.

Dmg - Increase in damage that is proportional to the damage the weapon already deals - The increase isn't worth much and you'll end up doing far more damage with a DHC that has [CrtD]x3. It's a useful mod on less damage dealing weapons that have a greater firing rate (say turrets).

Borg - Good Vs Borg - To be honest I'm not sure how useful this proc ACTUALLY is. It seems to rarely proc, while my CrtDx2 CrtH DHC's crit enough to more then make up for the lack of a Borg proc.
Previously Alendiak
Daizen - Lvl 52 Engineer - Eclipse
Selia - Lvl 60 Tactical - Eclipse

Last edited by orondis; 10-16-2012 at 01:56 PM.
Captain
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,289
# 2
10-16-2012, 11:48 AM
great guide, I really wish I saw the part about the traits before I made my first character awhile back. Console stuff is really important here too.

Although I disagree with the Oddy not working as dps cruiser, mine does as much as a regent or excelsior in pvp, managed to kill a fleet torkaht with it 1 on 1 using 4x single cannons 4x turrets. Takes a lot of evasive manuver doff max impulse thrusters and engine performance skill and running 50 power to engines and i don't have much problem putting stuff in 180 degree firing arc. Most players are trying to stay out of escorts firing arc not cruiser. Oddy has advantage of more tactical boff when using the LTC universal as tactical.
It also can run APO1 and still have 2 cannon skills.

I guess not everyone can make a slugish ship like that work though, depends on play style.
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 999
# 3
10-16-2012, 09:18 PM
Good work Orondis. This isn't a bad guide for those in need of a little help. If I may I would like to expand upon Orondis' advice with regard to sets though.

The Borg set with a MACO shield is indeed a fantastic combination. But 'Outright best' is slightly miss-leading. There is a lot more to a set then its set bonus, but I think a lot of the time that is all people look at when choosing between them. I feel this is a mistake.

Lets look at the stats on the Deflectors and Engines, so often ignored. I will be comparing them at Mk XII as 'Outright best' is what we are looking for. Starting with the Engines:

Flight speed:

MACO 12.5
Omega 12
Borg 11

Flight turn rate:

MACO 6.4
Omega 5.1
Borg 4.8

Of those two stats all three engines share Maco clearly leads. But each engine also has some additional bonuses of its own.

Maco:

+8.8 Starship Driver Coil
Retain 25% speed even when engine systems are disabled.
Speeds in excess of warp 14 possible in sector space dependant upon driver coil Speed.

Omega:

100% recharge time reduction to slipstream drive.

Borg:

+5 engine Power Setting
Increases maximum warp speed in sector space to 14.

So having compared the engines I would personally rank MACO as the clear winner. Wether Omega or Borg engines take second place is going to be dependant on how much you value +5 engine power.

Next up, Deflectors.

Finding the best deflector arrays for you is not as clear as comparing the stats on engines. Not all deflectors benefit all abilities.

If you don't use a tractor beam, repulsors, gravity well or another ability that uses the graviton generator skill then a bonus to it on your deflector serves no benefit to you at all.

On the other hand a deflector with a bonus to power insulators will benefit you regardless of what abilities you use, but only if your enemy uses abilities on you that would drain your shields or power.

A stat by stat comparison of the deflector arrays is therefore a little pointless. There can be no clear 'Outright best', there is only the 'Outright best for the job you want to do'.

The omega deflector will help a ship trying to do damage more then the other two, but the degree to which it does will be dependant upon weather you make use of the abilities it boosts.

The same goes for the MACO deflector which will help a ship trying to tank damage more than the other two, but again the degree to which it does will be dependant upon your choice of abilities.

The Borg deflector is clearly the under dog when comparing the size of the stat bonuses on the other two. But it does boast +5 to auxilery power, which may compensate for the smaller stats to some extent, and boost abilities that the other two deflectors deflectors would not help at all.

Shields are the one component I do see people comparing based on the merits of their stats quite often. The community consensus is, that apart from very rarely seen builds specialized in shield regeneration. The MACO shield is as good as it gets.

This is true. The point of taking the time to compare stats and find the best equipment to use, is to tackle the hardest content and most experienced pvpers in the game. In both cassess the biggest threat to you is high alpha damage.

This makes shield capacity, shield bleed through, shield absorption and damage resistances the stats of importance. The regeneration of the omega and borg sets is fantastic, but elite content and pvp will put you in situations where it can be very difficult to stay alive long enough to benefit from it.

This isn't to say its impossible to make better use out of an omega or Borg shield. Players have done it, and you could to. But for non specific purposes and tactics the MACO shield is the shield of choice.

So that's my contribution to the big, Borg V MACO V Omega debate. It has gone on for a long time now, and mine will not be the final word. But when listening to peoples advice on the forums and in zone chat bear in mind that most opinions are based not upon the stats or set bonesses, but upon the fact that people worked hard to get what they got, and are now unwilling to believe that what they chose may not have been the best choice.

Common knowledge: Pick Omega for Damage, Pick MACO for Tanking, Pick a Borg and Maco combination to be more elite than those people who just use one set.

Common knowledge isn't worth very much. The MACO set can help you contribute more damage then the Omega set if it helps you avoid spending more time waiting to re-spawn. The Omega set can save you from more damage if it helps you reduce the number of enemies firing on you more quickly, and the Borg set... well the Borg set is good value for the time investment it takes to get it.

Chose the set, or combination of set pieces that best benefits abilities you want to use. If after looking at the stats you can not work out which that is, use the MACO set. It will do a good job of keeping you alive while you learn.

Last edited by pwstolemyname; 10-16-2012 at 09:26 PM.
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 999
# 4
10-16-2012, 09:49 PM
Sorry Orondis, noticed a couple more points that could be expanded upon in your section on projectiles.

Quantum: Highest alpha strike damage torpedo outside of tricobalts. Benefits from being impossible to shoot down and a more favourable recharge rate.

Photon: Highest DPS torpedo. Not recommended for slow turning ships but outperforms Quantum torpedos if the enemy is kept consistently within their firing arc.

Plasma: A good choice for rarely seen dedicated torpedo boats, And for science or healing ships that run with minimum weapons power. The plasma fire DoT component of this torpedo takes effect and damages a ships hull regardless of the status of its shields. This allows you to do damage (If not fantastic amounts) in excess of that a ship could normally achieve with energy weapons whilst weapons power is set to minimum. (Such ship builds are a gimmick more than anything, but can be fun.)
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