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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 86
# 1 A Guide to Torpedo Boats
10-06-2013, 03:28 AM
Not sure if this is the right forum for this, but after having spent a lot of time in torpedo boats, I've decided to write up a guide about them. This "guide" is kinda rough, and I spew a few opinions out there, but I just wanted to lay out some of my thought in writing, so to hopefully give others a better idea on how torp boats function, and to dispel some myths and misconceptions about these kinds of builds.

EDIT: I am soon to be updating this thread for new S8/S9 stuff, see my post here.

----WALL OF TEXT ALERT----
Skip to the last post if you are averse to dense prose.


Firstly, I'd like to set down a bit of terminology, so there's no confusion as to what I'm actually talking about.

____Hitscanning Torpedoes: I personally consider the "untargettable" torpedoes (basically where hit/miss is decided on torpedo launch) to be "hitscanning" torps. Yes it's not an entirely accurate word choice, but I prefer it to saying "untargettable" all the time. Of course, the "targettable" torps I'll define to be the opposite of hitscanning ones (can be shot down mid flight, have their own tiny hit points).

Now as to what a torpedo boat actually is:

____Torpedo Boat (Weak Definition, aka Weak-Torpedo boat): a ship which uses no fewer than 4 weapon slots as projectiles OR a ship which uses no fewer than all its forward weapon slots as torpedoes. The idea of this kind of ship is, naturally, to be constantly throwing out projectiles as opposed to energy weapons. The term "torpedo boat" is actually a slight misnomer, since mines can become and integral part of a torpedo ship. In reality we ought to call them "projectile boats."

____Torpedo Boat (Strong Definition, aka Strong-Torpedo boat): a ship which uses no more than 1 energy-based weapon. Why only 1 energy based weapon? So that science ships can use their innate subsystem targeting abilities Other than that case, it's all torpedoes and mines.

Any ship that does not match at least the weak definition I do not consider to be a true torpedo boat. I just have to shake my head whenever I hear the pilot of an Armitage with just 2 photon torpedoes call his/her ship a "torpedo boat". If you're sporting 2 (or maybe 3 if you're a non-sci ship) projectiles, I'd consider you to be "projectile heavy", though in reality you're probably still using energy weapons for the majority of your damage

This guide is going to be advocating builds which are Strong-Torpedo Boats (torp boats according to the strong definition) for both PvE and PvP, though I may be mostly speaking in terms of . For the rest of this guide, you can assume "torpedo boat" to mean a Strong-Torpedo boat. Do note that the term "Strong-" or "Weak-" Torpedo boat is not a qualified judgement to the effectiveness of these builds; it's just a way of specifying more general and specific cases and definitions of torpedo boats.



The Pros and Cons of Torp Boats:

Because of STO's game mechanics, torpedoes, and by extension torp boats, have some inherent features to them, both good and bad, which should be weighed before one makes the decision to fly a torp boat;

Cons:


____Shields: any ship shields have an innate 75% base resistance to kinetic damage, no matter how small or how large your target's shield facing is. And that's just for PvE targets; in PvP, shied tanking ships can stack on even more resistances to jack that number up well into the 90s. Most torp boats can find a way to deal with this dilemma, but in general requires more intellectual investment on the part of the captain to get their ship working effectively compared to an energy weapon user. This is arguably the greatest hindrance in the effectiveness in an all-torpedo build. Should this be the case? Probably not, and many (including myself) have some ideas on how to make this mechanic better. But dealing with this issue, not arguing about it, will be the purpose of this guide. To get a sense for just how bad torpedoes have it, virusdancer's post has a more in-depth analysis about it.

____Crowd control and science: given that many heavy torpedoes are targettable, torp boat attacks are susceptible to may forms of spam and crowd control; torpedo spread, cannon scatter volley, beam fire at will from Aux2Bat cruisers, etc. Science ships in particular have the greatest set of CC tools at their arsenal (gravity well, photonic shockwave, tractor repulsors, etc.), making them the greatest counter to torpedo ships. In addition to this and the other ways you can get screwed up by a sci, science ships in PvP tend to be particularly geared toward anti-cloaking, and can vastly reduce the effectiveness of enhanced battle cloaking torp-BoPs. One science ship in particular, the Vesta, could be considered a "Nightmare" ship in regards to being anti-torpedo, specifically because of its Multi-Dimensional graviton shield, which acts as a feedback pulse for torpedoes, and its Fermion field ability, which is basically and AoE hazard emitters.

____Time and Teamplay: make no mistake, torpedo boats can kill, in both PvP and PvE; that's something to which I can personally testify. Anyone who says otherwise (torp boats are gimmicky, just a novelty, etc.) is just flat out wrong. Now that being said, not all situations are tactically welcoming to a torpedo ship. In other words, given the above stated abundance of counters, an enemy team in PvP can shut down your DPS much more effectively than if you were an energy weapons user. This will require you to pick and choose who and when you ought to attack. Specifically, you ought to choose situations where your target is by itself. Also, if you're not geared specifically to spike damage only, it seems torp ships need a bit more time to kill opponents than energy weapon users. Naturally, the more time you spend attacking someone, the more likely it becomes that other players will arrive to assist him in killing you (as opposed to being by himself, which is what you want), so this is another challenge with which torp boats must contend.

____Blowback and Uncontrollable Damage: many heavy torpedoes have AoE damage, and as a result are of great danger to both the player and the enemy. An unskilled torp boat pilot can quite often kill himself before he kills his enemy. Even if you do damage yourself and live, many torps have debuffing effects which can leave you slightly worse off than before. This can mostly be remedied by good piloting and proper configuration of consoles and abilities. However, the potential for epic suicide always exists; you could make a mistake in piloting, or some cruiser will land a BS shot on your Destabilized plasma torpedo, or something else could happen which can lead to your death. Something else to consider is that, while spewing out torpedoes can have awesome damage, that damage can be hard to control. An energy weapon ship can easily turn off his damage at a moment's notice. Torpedoes, on the other hand, can change targets mid-flight, leave lingering DoTs, etc. As a result, torpedo damage is simply harder to control, so doing things like ISE where timing and coordination are important can be a bit harder, and you are also likely to draw unwanted aggro from NPCs because of an errant torpedo.


Pros:


____Minmaxing: being a torpedo pilot means you no longer have to invest into skill points in energy weapons or into maximizing weapons power. This will allow to consolidate you ship power into shields, engines, and aux, and allows you to spec yourself more effectively into other areas. The value of this is obvious for science captains: playing a torp boats means you never have to play the Aux vs Weapons power game, and thus allows you be a better sci. Of course, minmaxing is valuable to other ships and captains as well.

____The Pitfalls of Energy Weapons: because energy weapons aren't perfect, right? One of the pains of running with energy weapons is dealing with the self-inflicted power drain and the reduction in DPS that comes with it. Having to deal with weapons drain and cycling between energy configurations becomes almost irrelevant to a torp boat. Issues like the specialized resistances built into Fleet and Reputation shields and abilities like Feedback pulse and Aceton Assimilators also become more irrelevant (unless you're fighting a Vesta). Lastly, in terms of the cost in EC/Dilithium, maxing out your doffs/consoles/weapons/gear is actually cheaper to do for torp boats than it is for energy boats. Highest level energy weapons and related doffs can go for tens of millions of EC on the exchange, or for thousands of Dilithium at Fleet Holdings and Reputation stores, where some special projectiles and related doffs can be earned from the plots for free.

____Teamplay: conversely, a torpedo boat on your allied team can be immensely helpful if you all have good teamwork. It's often the case in PvP that a group of energy users can dedicate itself to punching a hole in a target's shields, while the torp captain sneaks in a group of hard-hitting torpedoes. Regardless of who's doing the damage, some torps are capable of applying debuffs that can be of great utility to a team. Torp boats are great credits to a team in ESTFs also, against shielded and unshielded targets alike.

____Novelty and a New Challenge: because frankly, energy weapons can be kind of a drag sometimes. Sure, they're effective alright, but in the long run you don't get to completely enjoy what you're doing, because you're always having to look at your power level, or your cooldowns, to keep those buff cycles and weapon power going. Sure, you can button mash it, but once you're there, you can just camp out someplace and let your weapons do the pounding. It gets... a little boring, at least to me. For me at least, torp boats provide a different challenge. They challenge you, for one thing, to actually find a way to be effective. Sometimes it's not just the weapons you equip; the order in which you launch torpedoes and mines play a big role. Torp boats also less about button mashing and more about being a good pilot, planning deadly attack runs that also don't kill you in the process. Most importantly, they let you immerse yourself in the role of the captain, letting you revel in your glorious victories and rage at your epic failures (and suicides). Of course, the notion of just machine gunning out torps is just intrinsically appealing as well.


Who Should Fly Torpedo Boats?:


Basically, anyone who really wants to can try out a torpedo boat, although they tend to be best suited to two kinds of situations:

Science captains, or captains in science ships: obviously, a science captain and a science ship get the greatest benefit of going exclusively projectile, because then there's no more need to keep weapons power up. Thus scis can focus on their ships' innate stealth detection, captain abilities, sci boff abilities, etc., while their weapons are always at maximum performance.

Captains flying Enhanced Battle Cloaking Birds of Prey: and by this I specifically mean the Klingon T5 B'rel and the Romulan T5 T'varo. Being able to launch torpedoes and activate abilities without turning off your cloak is just too tempting an idea to ignore. I'll talk more on these later, but basically these ships can minmax even more than regular starships.

On the flip side, there are some situations in which a torp boat would not work as well:

Engineering captains: now I'm not saying an engineering captains shouldn't try out torp ships, but they're not ideal for them either. I say this because Engineer Captain abilities are geared more specifically toward maintaining power levels and stopping weapons power drain (specifically EPS Power transfer and Nadion Inversion). Since these problems are not really an issue in torp boats, these powers will be going to waste. Science and Tactical captains are better choices for torpedo boats, because Tacs can squeeze the most damage out of their torps, and Scis receive the most benefit from using torps (high Aux power), plus all of their Captain abilities still maintain utility in one form or another.

Ships that are too slow, or too heavy in Tac or Engi Boffs: because a torp ship can get by using fewer Boff abilities than more balanced Energy + Projectile ships (you'll probably need no more than 2 torp abilities and no more than 1 Dispersal pattern), using a ship like the Defiant would be too wasteful in terms of boff slots. Engineering heavy ships are also not particularly good for torp boats. This is because some Engineering Boff powers are relevant only to boosting energy weapons or managing power levels (DEM, EPTX, Aux2Bat), which are obviously of less use in torp boats. Also, engi-heavy ships tend to be slow to turn, and thus cannot make use of the 90 degree firing arcs of torpedoes. For example, the Galaxy class would probably not be a good torpedo boat. There are exceptions to this rule, however; ships like the D'kora, Galor, Monbosh, and many KDF battlecruisers can be suited to the torp boat role because of their superior turns and/or more flexible Boff stations.

I know that there are those of you who would advocate Weak-Torpedo Boat builds, and I do not dispute the effectiveness of those builds on certain ships and captains. However, such builds, and the general interaction and usage of torpedoes with energy weapons, will not be the focus of this guide. This guide is generally meant to be a resource to T'varo/B'rel captains, science captains, and tac captains who want to try science and go sci-heavy. From my standpoint, a science ship can be proficient at energy weapons, but doing so may sacrifice some of his build options and some of the fun science abilities that sci ships were meant to do. Using Strong-Torpedo boat builds on science ships alleviates this problem, allowing the sci-inclined to do just about anything they want with their abilities.

Last edited by icepiraka; 04-19-2014 at 01:54 PM.
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 86
# 2
10-06-2013, 03:30 AM
Solving the Continuous Fire Problem (or About Projectile Weapons DOFFs):


This is just a small review of Projectile Weapon DOFFs, read past this if you already know about them.

Torpedo cooldowns can range from a short 1 second to a lengthy 45 seconds (or more, depending upon your definition of what counts as a torpedo). The 8 second cooldown on quantums, however, is a good average to measure against. Regardless of this, all torpedoes have a 1sec global cooldown, so launching one will set all others on a short 1sec cooldown. On top of a .5sec activation time, this means torpedoes cannot be launched more frequently than once every 1.5 seconds.

So suppose I wanted to set 3 forward firing quantum torpedoes on autofire. As I attack an enemy, I launch the first quantum, the next 1.5sec later, and the third 1.5sec after that. Now I have a problem, because my first quantum still has 5 seconds left on its cooldown timer. Ideally, I wouldn't want this to happen; I'd prefer it if I could fire once every 1.5sec indefinitely.

In order to accomplish this, I need Projectile Weapons DOFFs (actually I need a specific variant of this DOFF, since there are multiple PWoffs which do different things). A very rare PWoff can provide torpedoes with a 20% chance to reduce cooldowns by 5 seconds. This applies to almost all torpedoes, and includes the torpedo that triggered the proc. You can equip up to three of these DOFFs on your ship. Not that this does not add to a 60% chance to reduce cooldown. It's actually something called a Bernoulli trial; basically you're flipping 3 coins each with a 20% chance of heads (or in this case, 5sec cooldown reduction). The math works out so that you actually have a .488 (48.8%) probability of your DOFFs reducing torpedo cooldowns by at least 5 seconds (you DOFFs can actually proc twice or thrice, for 10s and 15s of cooldown reduction, but the probability of this is fairly low, so well ignore these cases).

So now apply these DOFFs to the above case with our three quantums, so now each torp has a .488 chance at cooldown reduction. If I start shooting torpedoes now, what are the chances that my 1st torpedo will be ready to launch after I fire my third? This is actually another Bernoulli trial. Across three torpedoes with this setup, you basically have about an .866 (86.6%) chance to reduce your torpedoes' cooldowns by 5 seconds. These are very good chances, allowing you to fire quantums almost continuously. It's not always perfect, you will get a few gaps in firing every now and then, but it's a significant step up in DPS.

How did I get such numbers you say? I used http://stattrek.com/online-calculator/binomial.aspx to compute those Binomial/Benoulli trials. As DOFFs and other STO procs are very much a game of Bernoulli trials, this is a useful tool to anyone who wants to do some theorizing on his/her builds. In conclusion, you typically want to have 3 purple PWoffs. They're not to costly to get; you can get one for free in the Nimbus storyline, and I believe you can by the other 2 from the T3 Omega Reputation store. Of course, your build could be different from others; if you're specifically using low cooldown torps, or your torps have a passive cooldown-reducing bonus applied to them, and you suspect that you could get away with less than 3 PWoffs, feel free to run the numbers yourself in the linked calculator. One fewer PWoff is another DOFF slot you could use somewhere else.


Solving the Shield Resilience Problem:


Now things get interesting. Like I said before, shields have an innate 75% resistance to kinetic damage. Resistance cannot drop below this value, and can be added to by shield power, abilities, etc. It's a significant problem for those who use torpedoes, and is probably the single greatest deterrent to a pure kinetic weapons build. Again, this probably should not be the case game mechanic-wise, but it's not an insurmountable problem, though it may require some inventiveness on the part of the player in order to be effective.

An obvious solution would be to fly a weak-torpedo boat, sprinkling energy fire on a shield facing to help bring it down. Of course, this defeats the purpose of trying to minmax, and I said I would only be discussing strong-torpedo boats, so that option will not be considered. Otherwise (and assuming you actually want a ship that is trying to put out some kills), there are three conceivable options on dealing with shields:

____Shield-Slamming: this method would obviously have to fall to tac-oriented ships and tactical captains. Simply put, this method means you have to try to jack up you damage and crit rates sky high, and hope that your projectiles can either slam down shields by brute force (because shields aren't 100% resistant, right?) or crit high enough so that the bleedthrough kills your target. I don't have much experience trying out this method, and it seems like it could work well enough on NPCs. In PvP, well, that may be a different story (though I do know that well placed tricobalt crits can do nasty things). This tactic can be generalized into simply delivering heavy spiking projectile blows

____Shield Draining: obviously a method that would fall to the scientifically-apt starships and captains (a science-heavy ship which has a hangar could have some added benefits). The point of this would be to assist your torpedoes by draining your target's shields low enough for your torpedoes to punch through. This is also not something I've tried, but word has it that the Flow Caps vs. Power Insulators problem makes shied drains, like torps vs. shields, another one of those things whose effectiveness is (surprise surprise) somewhat sketchy (though maybe if you put the two together you'll get something effective). This tactic can be generalized to "weaking your target" with all around science drains, disables, shield-bypassing abilities and other such debuffs.

____Shield-Bypassing: the most common, widely used, and successful method as far as I know, which can be accomplished by tacs and scis alike. Such a method relies on the heavy usage of those torpedoes with innate shield-bypassing damage, namely Plasmas and Transphasics. The choice is up to you, but I generally tend to think that Transphasics are for tacs, Plasmas are for scis. Being able to use abilities with other added shield-bypassing effects would also be beneficial (basically most things buffed by Particle Gens). The effectiveness of shield-bypassing torpedoes, contrary to a few detractors, has been undeniably proven in PvE and PvP.

Given the freedom provided to you skill point-wise by not using energy weapons, you can and should be utilizing at least two of the above methods.

Last edited by icepiraka; 10-06-2013 at 03:52 AM.
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 86
# 3
10-06-2013, 03:31 AM
Meet the Torpedoes (and Mines):


Here I'm going to talk about all the specific torpedoes in STO and analyze their usefulness (I'll mention mines too, though most of the focus will be on the torpedoes). For the purposes of this guide, I'll classify torpedoes into four types: standard, heavy, exotic, and supertorpedoes.



1. Standard Torpedoes: These are 5 of the 6 "basic" torpedo types in the game. They have different special features, but all share the common features of average cooldowns, no shared cooldowns with duplicate torpedoes, they are all "hitscanning", and can all be received "cheaply" (in other words, bought with EC or found as random drops). For most of these reasons, tricobalts, the 6th basic torpedo, is what I consider a heavy torpedo. Generally speaking, these torps launched with TS create a hitscanning torpedo spread with a 100% chance to hit multiple targets, and HY generates a salvo of hitscanning torps with increased damage on each torp in the salvo (the exception being plasma torps). It is worth noting that it is probably not worthwhile to buy the fleet variants of these weapons.

____Photons: 6s cooldown. The most basic torpedo, does decent damage and has a low cooldown. This torp is typically classified as the highest "DPS" of the basic torpedoes, because it puts out the most damage in the shortest time when kept on autofire. However, such an ascertainment doesn't take PWoffs into account, meaning that in a typical torp boat setting, photons are outperformed by quantums. There exists a special variant of the photon called the Bio-Molecular Warhead, which is a mission reward in the Romulan campaign. It basically has extra crew-killing potential and deals greater damage vs. Undine, though this is not much more in terms of utility than what a basic photon does (but it is green-colored, so it's quite novel in that respect). Photon mines are similar, but have an added 20% shield penetration.

____Quantums: 8s cooldown. Deals more damage than a photon. It's the bread and butter ?highest DPV? torpedo for standard escorts and the like. For torp boats, it's more or less superior to photons. You could consider it to be the most "anti-shield torpedo" (if you can forgive the potential oxymoron), because of the fact that it's the most damaging torpedo that has a high probability of hitting the target. A special variant of this, the Wide-Angle Quantum Torpedo, can be received on federation toons from the C-Store Regent class cruiser. It's basically a quantum with a 180% firing arc (contrary to the standard 90% for other torpedoes). However, it's a 1 per ship weapon, so it does not bring enough to the table for it to be useful on our torpedo ships. Quantum mines are similar to the torps, and like photon mines, have an added 20% shield penetration.

____Chronitons: 10s cooldown. Deals less damage than a photon, but has a 33% chance to reduce flight speed and turn rate for 10 seconds (might be affected by Graviton Gens, but I'm not sure). As a utility torp, this one can be interesting if you wanted to troll the fast moving escorts by removing their defense, but this doesn't do a whole lot to you personally in terms of trying to boost your damage. Chroniton mines are similar, but they have an increased 80% chance per mine to slow a target.

____Plasmas: 8s cooldown. Deals less immediate damage than a photon, but has a 100% chance to apply a shield-bypassing plasma fire DoT. This combined with the immediate kinetic damage adds to a bit more damage than what a photon deals. These plasma fires can stack, so launching may of these plasmas can cook a ship's hitpoints quite quickly. This makes plasmas one of the go-to torpedoes for many torpedo ships. However, these plasma fires are cleansed by Hazard Emitters, a very common BOFF ability. HY plasmas are different than the HYs of other torps in that it creates a giant, targettable, slow moving plasma which does much higher damage as well as a DoT. Plasma mines also apply these DoTs, so they can pile on quite nicely with the fires created by your torpedoes.

____Transphasics: 10s cooldown. Deals the lowest damage of the standard torps, but has an added 40% shield penetration. Under tactical buffs, this bleedthrough can be quite potent, making trannies the other obvious choice for torp boats. There is a special variant of the called the Rapid-Reload Transphasic Torpedo, which is a mission reward from the Breen feature episodes. It's essentially a normal transphasic but with an 8s cooldown, which is great because if you use three transphasic torps, the odds of there being gaps in your torpedo firing decreases. Transphasic mines have their penetration increased up to 80%, making them incredibly useful.



2. Heavy Torpedoes: These projectiles are distinct from the standard torpedoes in that they have a shared cooldown on duplicates of the same or similar torpedoes. They have more unique functions, have longer cooldowns, but can still be received cheaply (tricobalts are bought with EC, the others are free from mission rewards). The fact that these torps have shared cooldowns (and because you cannot reduce cooldowns beyond the shared coldown time) means that while these torps do benefit from PWoffs, they benefit the least from them. In other words, while you can equip more than one of these torpedoes, you really should not have more than one of them. I'll explain the reasoning for this later, but just know that too many of these projectiles is a bad thing.

____Tricobalts: 30s cooldown, 15s shared cooldown with duplicate torpedoes, 5s system cooldown on other tricobalt-based projectiles (notably mines). Trics are targettable torpedoes, have a huge damage and a large AoE blast, and also disable the target for 2 seconds (affected by Subspace Decompiler skill). TS causes this torp to launch 1 tricobalt for each target in range up to a certain number of targets. HY modifies the tricobalt into a heavy variant, whose detonation creates a huge subspace rift which disables weapons and auxiliary of any target in the rift for as long as the rift lasts (again affected by Subspace Decomp.) This is the 6th basic torpedo type, a real oddball, whose utility seems to be in question by many in the community. They are difficult to use for sure, but the disabling rift on the HY variant can be boosted to effectively act as a "mini-Viral Matrix," which can come in very handy in leaving your target vulnerable to further attack. In my opinion, the disabling effect means tricobalts have great utility, at least to me. The mega crits of the tricobalts can be pretty devastating as well. Tricobalt mines are similar to the HY torpedoes in that they can also create subspace rifts (though not a 100% chance per mine). Tric mines are also quite lethal if you can land hits with them; a well placed tric crit can spell certain death to almost any ship, PvP or otherwise.

____Hargh'pengs (people have such a hard time spelling this one!): 15s cooldown, 10s shared cooldown with duplicates. A purple hitscanning torpedo which acts as a strange hybrid of quantum, plasma, and transphasic torpedo. A successful hit with this torp applies a radiation DoT on the target, like a plasma fire. After a certain amount of time has elapsed, and if the radiation has not been cleansed by HE or the like, the radiation "detonates," causing instant damage to the target's hull (about as much as a torpedo hit against bare hull) and creating an AoE shockwave. The exact damage of the DoT and detonation isn't clear (the tooltips aren't exactly forthcoming in this regard), but they are significant, and the radiation fires can stack. Overall, this torpedo is a hilarious one to use mainly because of the low health kills offered from detonations, but the damage and utility it provides is hard to pass up. However, the torp is only boosted by generic Warhead Yield consoles (but they don't boost the DoT), and is not modified by TS or HY. It is also worth noting that the Hargh'peng has no [acc] modifiers, so it can miss quite epically against high-defense targets like escorts. This torpedo is also the fastest torpedo in the game, so assuming it does hit, it is an ideal "tag you're it!" torpedo for landing instant damage. No mine variant of this torp exists. This torp can be received as a mission reward or from a successful DOFF assignment.

____Breen Transphasic Clusters: 45s cooldown, 15s shared cooldown on duplicates. Technically a mine delivery system instead of a torpedo; the Breen Cluster creates a targettable "cluster" torpedo which, when it reaches the target, deploys 10 transphasic mines with 40% shield penetration. These mines immediately lock on and move to destroy the target. This is the king of Transphasic projectiles, a real monster, known for delivering mega crits. If you're not using this, and you're not trying to be a pure-Plasma ship, there's something wrong with you. Since this torpedo actually delivers mines, it is boosted by mine damage-boosting consoles and item sets, not torpedo damage-boosting (though it's still affected by Transphasic compressors, as expected). This torp is not modified by TS or HY. This torpedo can be received from the Breen feature episodes. Given the short-ish shared cooldown this torp has compared to it's normal cooldown, you could theoretically get away with having two of these torpedoes, but absolutely no more than that.

____Tractor Beam Mines: Yes, these are technically not torpedoes, but they are worth mentioning here. These mines do not detonate like other mines. Instead they act as miniature tractor beam platforms, locking on to any hostile ships they can for a limited amount of time. I believe these tractor beams are boosted by both Graviton Gens and Subspace Decomp. These mines, when used effectively, can prove to be an effective trap in PvP and PvE, though they fall to the same counters as normal tractor beams. It is worth noting that these mines only seem to lock on to actively hostile targets (in other words, don't try to use them to stop probes in KASE, it won't work). These mines are received from the Romulan feature episodes. You are limited to 1 of these launchers per character.

Last edited by icepiraka; 10-09-2013 at 01:55 PM.
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 86
# 4
10-06-2013, 03:32 AM
3. Exotic Torpedoes: Another diverse group of projectiles, each with their own special tricks, but they have the common features of being limited to 1 per ship (hence "exotic"), and they all have fairly steep costs (either a lot of Dilithium and grinding for reputation torps, or a fair cost of Lobi crystals for some specialty torpedoes). They also have a bit more varied cooldowns, but mostly shorter than those of heavy torpedoes, and most of them have no shared cooldowns at all. These torps have no mine variants, but there are specialty mines which I will discuss here.

____Omega Plasma Torpedo: The mechanics of this torpedo are a little different than others. This torp contains a "clip" of 5 hitscanning torpedoes, which can be expended at the 1sec global torpedo cooldown until the clip is emptied. Ammo is regenerated at a rate of 1 every 6 seconds (right now, this mechanic is bugged, giving the torp an infinite ammo supply). These torps don't do too much damage on their own, and they neither cause nor are not affected by PWoff procs. The real purpose of the Omega plasma is to use it as a sink for HY and TS, which cause this torp to go into slightly longer cooldowns. TS creates the standard hitscanning plasma torpedo spread. HY creates a special heavy Omega plasma torpedo. This heavy torpedo is basically the "V'ger" torp that the Borg use. It's essentially a free tricobalt for whenever you have a HY ability ready; it does nearly equal damage to tricobalts, minus the disable and with reduced AoE, plus the plasma DoT. Also, if this torps lands a killing blow, or a target dies with the DoT of this torp active, the target will simply be enveloped in plasma and then vanish, like in ST:TMP (warp core breach? What warp core breach?). For a pure-plasma torp boat, this is a great addition. If you do intend to use this torp on autofire, it should be on the lowest firing priority. This torp can be claimed at T4 Omega Reputation.

____Romulan Hyper-Plasma Torpedo: 8s cooldown. This torp launches a salvo of three targettable plasma torpedoes, which all together sum to greater damage than the stock plasma, plus multiple plasma fires. HY will beef up the damage of these three torps, while TS launches 2 targettable torpedoes at a certain number of targets in range. Though this torpedo launches a salvo of multiple torps, you only need to be in firing arc long enough for the first to fire. With the PWoffs you're bound to have, you will be spewing out a ridiculous amount of torpedoes and plasma fires, making this torp the king of plasma. Many prefer to use this torp as a "siege weapon" in STFs because of the general slowness and vulnerability to CC of targettable torps. If you are clever enough, however, you can make this torp put out some nasty pressure in PvP as well. I just love it when some cocky escort pilot flies at normal speed while I launch these plasmas, so sure they won't catch up to him. Then I land a tractor beam on him, and he gets slammed by up to 20 plasma torps. Good times (that scene from Galaxy Quest comes to mind...). If you want your dose of plasma, don't pass this torpedo up. Can be claimed at T4 Romulan Reputation.

____Nukara Web Mines: A truly nasty weapon, these mines, when they detonate, trap the target in a web cocoon, stunning the target for a short time and dealing a large amount of shield-penetrating ?physical? damage (as opposed to kinetic damage). As such, these mines are not boosted by mine damage consoles. They are, however, influenced by you Aux power level (a good thing for a torp boat, since you're probably already at high Aux). Also, the stun is boosted by Subspace Decomp., and the web effect can be removed by Engineering Team. Many people seem split on the effectiveness of these web mines. Some find them pitiful, others find them to be cheese and OP. My opinion? If you are specced into them like a torp boat should, and use dispersal patterns, these mines add real muscle to your damage, outperforming just about any other mine (a good thing for you as a projectile user, but possibly a bad thing for mines in general). Use with care, however, as you might risk upsetting your opponents in PvP. Also, note that in game combat parsing, the damage of these mines are not "owned" by you, meaning these mines can be a detriment if you are farming Ker'rat or want the top spot in PvEs which drop very rare gear. These can be claimed up reaching T4 Nukara Reputation.

____Temporal Disruption Device (TDD): 20s cooldown. More or less a glorified chroniton, this torp launches a targettable projectile with near-tricobalt damage and is guaranteed to slow the target. TS launches one of these devices at multiple targets. HY creates a heavy Temporal device which slows up to 3 targets in a 5k radius. On impact, this HY device creates a temporal rift, slowing targets within the anomaly and adding time to their cooldown timers (acting like a mini-Subnuke basically). The duration of the anomaly is boosted by Subspace Decomp. A very cool torp with a neat HY utility. If you happen to have the Tachyokinetc console, this torp should (I believe the bug was fixed) get a nice set piece bonus. In terms of putting out raw damage on continuous autofire, the TDD outperforms tricobalts because it has a shorter cooldown, and because it has no shared cooldown, meaning DOFFs can reduce the TDD's cooldown all the way down to the global 1 second. Costs 200 Lobi.

____Ferengi Missile Launcher: 2s cooldown. Another odd ship weapon, while this is considered a "missile," it's technically another hitscanning torpedo. TS creates a hitscanning spread, while HY creates a salvo of missiles. The damage of this torpedo is, I believe, boosted by Warhead Yield consoles. However, you will in no way be using this launcher for damage output, because these missiles provide next to none of that. Because this torpedo has the shortest cooldown of any torp, the real function of it would be to act as a "proc engine," forcing your DOFFs to reduce cooldowns on your heavier torps more regularly. For example, this torp pairs off greatly with a torpedo like the TDD, since constantly firing the missiles will reduce the TDD's cooldown greatly. As such, the Ferengi missile should be on the lowest firing priority whenever it is on autofire. The missiles also have a 180 degree firing arc, which can be good for a few reasons, though it requires you to be careful lest you want the Ferengi missiles to "eat" you HY and TS abilities. Costs 200 Lobi.

____Ferengi Tachyon Mines: these mines are quite different from other mines in that they technically do more damage. They instead drain the shields of any target inside of their explosion radius (boosted by Flow Capacitors and resisted by Power Insulators) and weaken shield resistance by 2.5% per mine. This value alone is not particularly significant, but it stacks with more mines, so the shield debuff becomes quite powerful when these mines are launched with dispersal patterns. This shield-weakening also applies to torpedo hits (but does not cut down the innate 75% base resistance). If you're trying to minmax a shied-draining and shield-slamming torpedo boat, these mines would be a worthwhile addition to your arsenal. Costs 200 Lobi.

____Elachi Subspace Torpedo: 10s cooldown, 5s shared cooldown on other Tricobalt types (the Elachi torp is technically a variant of a tricobalt torpedo). This torp is a hitscanning torpedo with a 10% for a short 2s disable (boosted by Subspace Decomp.). TS creates a hitscanning spread which also has a chance to disable (not 100%), and HY creates a targettable heavy torpedo with an almost 100% chance for a short disable. This torpedo is, more or less, a "safer" tricobalt, though in my opinion, the only thing special about this torpedo is its high crit severity (though torps aren't exactly lacking in that department). In terms of actually disabling your target, this torpedo is more or less pathetic; tricobalts vastly outperform this Elachi torp in terms of disabling utility. Should that be case? Probably not; I'd say the disable chance should be brought on par with the Chroniton proc and the HY upgrade should create a special disabling anomaly superior to tricobalts (I'm talking to you Cryptic!). For torpedo captains, I'd pass this one up. Costs 200 Lobi.

____Tholian Thermionic Torpedo: 10s cooldown. This hitscanning torp has a 15% chance to drain engine and weapon power (boosted by Flow Caps, resisted by Power Insulators). TS creates a hitscanning spread with a chance to drain, and HY creates a heavy targettable torpedo which has near guaranteed chance to drain. These can only be obtained from Tholian Lobi and Lockbox ships, the Orb Weaver, Recluse, and Widow fighter, making them the most expensive torpedo in the game. But given the weakness of power drains, the pathetic-ness of a 15% proc, and the fact you can only have one of these, makes these torps also the most useless in the game. Unless you really want to make a torp boat out of an Orb Weaver (because you're crazy of you want to try it with a Recluse), you should pass this one up.



4. Supertorpedoes: these "torpedoes" are in a league of their own. They are part of a larger classification of weapons I call "superweapons"; these are basically glorified weapons (deal mostly common damage types, are boosted by appropriate consoles) which are locked into console abilities. The energy weapon equivalent of these console-weapons would be things like the Bortasqu' Autocannon, the Vesta Quantum Field Focus Phaser, and the Thunderchild Phaser/Disruptor Point-Defense system (note that I'm kinda excluding the DTS lotus from veteran ships and Battle Module 3000 swarm missiles from this definition). The general mantra of these weapons is epic damage with equally epic cooldowns. I will discuss the issue with using these weapons, but for now just take care when considering building a torp boat around these supertorpedoes; it might not necessarily be worth it. These torpedoes are not, or ?are not supposed to? be affected by PWoffs.

____Torpedo Point-Defense System: 180s cooldown. Available from and usable only by the Armitage Heavy Escort Carrier. Basically a glorified torpedo spread, it launches salvos of 6 photon torpedoes at up to 8 targets within its firing range.

____Shrapnel Torpedo Launcher: 180s cooldown. Available from and only usable on Tal Shiar lockbox ships. Essentially launches a number of hitscanning, shield-penetrating torpedoes. The total sum of these torpedoes is seemingly high, though it becomes reduced in the way the damage spreads itself out amongst multiple targets in its firing range.

____Destabilized Plasma Torpedo: 120s cooldown. Available from and only usable on T'varo light warbirds. Launches a gigantic, targettable, TOS style red plasma torpedo of death. This torpedo has a 2.5k explosion radius, can only be fired from 2.5k away, and applies a damage resistance debuff as well as the normal plasma DoT and the epic damage. The 2pc T'varo console set reduces this torpedo's cooldown to 96 seconds. Overall a great weapon for the Romulan BoPs, if not rather deadly to use, since it can be blown up mid-flight, though it has a ridiculously high defense value to compensate for this. It used to be affected by PWoffs, but this has been fixed (why Cryptic why?). In spite of this, the 96s cooldown still makes this a viable weapon.

____Bio-Neural Warhead: 60s cooldown, 5s cooldown on other tricobalt projectiles (this torp is also a tricobalt type torpedo). This warhead is obtainable from the Qorgh Raptor Refit on the KDF side, and from a console pack from the Dominion lockbox on the Fed side, and us usable on any starship. This warhead is actually a suicide pet in the way it flies and the fact that it has it's own personal shields and antiproton turret. Assuming it hits, this warhead inflicts heavy tricobalt damage minus the disable. I say "assuming" because the warhead, if launched from a rear weapon slot, has to make a large U-turn before flying into its target, and the antiproton turret tends to stir up aggro in NPC and attracts the attention of smarter pilots in PvP, who will attempt to shoot it down. This weapon also has a minimum range of 2.5k.

Last edited by icepiraka; 10-09-2013 at 02:01 PM.
Lieutenant
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 86
# 5
10-06-2013, 03:33 AM
Build Philosophy and Design:

Now I'll discuss some generalized considerations of torp boat builds and strategies, and where I hope to dispel certain myths about torp boats and torpedoes in general. It should be obvious that you should be shooting for minmaxing whenever possible. You obviously should not be speccing into Energy Weapons, Energy Weapon Specialization, and Starship Weapon Performance, and instead you'd put points into Projectile Weapons and, if you can afford it, Projectile Weapon Specialization. This will allow you to max up other areas of interest, like certain science skills if you want more of that, or engineering skills if you feel you struggle a lot with your power levels. Specializing in a specific torpedo type is nice, but not always necessary. It's a good idea to conceptualize what exactly your entire build will look like before you go through the effort of leveling up or respeccing your toon.


Plasma vs. Tranphasic: you may have the feeling that the only real viable torpedo types for torp boats are plasmas and transphasics. To an extent, that is correct, and I say that solely because these torpedoes do the best job at circumventing the Shied-Resilience problem. So an obvious question to ask is, if you are specializing in one torpedo type, should you choose Plasma or Transphasic? Some of the detractors of these torps might say something like plasma is for PvE, transphasic is for PvP, or comment about neither of them have any effectiveness due to certain counters, though I believe none of that.

In my opinion, it really depends upon if you are a tactical or science captain (sorry, I've been ignoring you engies, but I'm just operating under the assumption that you aren't building torpedo boats). From some of the tests I've run, I think plasma actually outpaces the DPS of transphasics by a small margin. If that were the only consideration, the obvious choice would be plasma. However, the problem with plasma is that it's damage output is quite uncontrollable, meaning the damage can run away from you quite quickly if you're not careful (speaking in STF terms, where timing and coordination is key), and it can also be curtailed swiftly (speaking in PvP terms, where everyone has Hazard Emitters that can swiftly wipe away plasma fire). Honestly, the runaway damage of plasma isn't a huge deal in STFs if you know how to fly your ship and have a sense for how long you should be shooting your torpedoes.

The PvP aspect is the biggest trouble with plasma, and science has the only ways of solving it; Subnucleonic beam is key here, since it will instantly allow you to counter you opponent's Hazard Emitters so you can continue to cook their hull with plasma. Also, sci BOFFs have the monopoly on abilities that can disable or disrupt aux-based healing. Lastly, the strongest plasma torpedo, the Romulan Hyper-Plasma, is targettable and can be shot down quite swiftly with concentrated AoE and CC weapons fire. But those same sci abilities for disabling and disrupting aux-based healing, among other tings, can also be used to protect your vulnerable torpedoes until they make contact.

Tacs tend to have few if none of these abilities, so transphasics are the logical choice. While possibly not quite as damaging as plasma in continuous firing, transphasics are reliable and consistent, allowing the tactical captain to do the things that tacs do best: jacking up damage to ridiculous proportions. Also, transphasics tend to be more well-designed for spiking roles (namely the Breen Cluster torpedo), so they synergize great with tac captains and escorts. Conclusion: trannies for tacs, plasmas for scis. Engies, God help you.


Spiking vs. Continuous Fire: Among other criticisms I hear of torp boats are things like "Oh, they're just spiking gimmicks for PvP," or to the contrary, "Oh, they're just tools for hammering down shieldless targets in STFs." Both of these claims are dead wrong, and I and certainly others here have the experience to prove it. But this does bring up a valid question about ship setups: should I go for continuous fire or for spiking? Both ideas have their merits; spiking can provide those satisfying quick kills, where continuous fire provides the consistency and dependability of pressure damage, both of which can have value in PvP and PvE. One could argue that it's a matter of what captain you are, what torpedo types you're using, etc. But really, these two opposite strategies are actually quite complimentary, and you should be shooting for both spiking and continuous fire strategies in your weapons.

While specializing in one strategy can make sense, it actually leaves you unable to handle certain scenarios. Consider PvE: if I'm pure continuous fire, I'll chip away at those stationary objects just fine, but am I sure I can out-DPS that Borg Negh'var and kill him before he kills me? Or if I'm spiking, I can kill cubes and Negh'vars just fine, but are all these long cooldowns making me a credit to team when we start hammering those gateways? Now consider PvP: if I'm spiking, my spiking-strike (my generalized word for Alpha-strike for any captain) could fail. If I have no followup, who's to say my opponent won't heal away the damage before I strike again? But if I'm rolling out continuous fire, what if my opponent out-tanks my damage, or shoots down a fair number of my torpedoes? Wouldn't I need a spiking-strike to rattle him and soften him up? Sometimes, too much specialization and minmaxing is a bad thing.

Aiming for both spiking and continuous fire more or less eliminates these concerns and allows you to adapt to any situation, from crushing Bugships at one moment to going toe-to-toe with Tactical Cubes the next moment. In general, you should set up you weapons in this manner:

*Three fore weapons set on continuous autofire (if you have a 4th weapon slot, it's usage is up to you)

*All aft weapons set to creating spiking-strikes.

Though I'll talk more about them later, yes, this exact same philosophy will apply to EBCing ships, contrary to what many might believe.

High Yield vs. Torpedo Spread: Another common question I've seen is whether to choose between HY or TS. Many tend to lean towards HY, and I more or less have to agree, but I think it may still depend upon the torpedoes you are using.

If you are loaded with targettable heavy and exotic torpedoes, HY is the best, because it tends to beef up these torps to their maximum damage potential, and sometimes grants unique utility to certain torpedoes (namely the anomalies from tricobalts and TDD). TS, on the other hand, demands that multiple targets be in range, otherwise TS will only fire one or two torpedoes with these launchers. HY also has the advantage of being useful at rank 1, where TS seems to only have impact at rank 3. If you are trying for a pure plasma or pure transphasic ship, where most of your torpedoes are certainly hitscanning, you can certainly try TS3.

It just so happens that TS goes the furthest with transphasics and plasmas; a TS from a stock transphasic will make the entire spread transphasic, and each torp in a plasma TS has a chance to create plasma fire, so one hit from a TS can instantly paint on multiple plasma fires. TS on hitscanning torps also has the benefit of 100% chance to hit, being useful against both single and multiple targets, and provides an easy way to clean the area of the spam which runs so rampant these days. If you're heavy on standard hitscanning torps, give TS3 a try. Otherwise, sticking with dual HY is a solid choice. The STO wiki pages on Torpedo Spread and High Yield can provide more precise numbers on what these abilities do.

Last edited by icepiraka; 10-09-2013 at 02:20 PM.
Lieutenant
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 86
# 6
10-06-2013, 03:34 AM
Using Multiple Heavy Torpedoes: Now I know it's tempting to try out a build with 2 tricobalts, or 2 Hargh'pengs, or even 3 Breen Clusters. Don't! Don't do it. You should not have more than 1 of each of those torpedoes. You might get away with two if you want a 1 fore 1 aft torpedo setup, but definitely no more than that. It drives me up the wall when I see ships with three Breen Clusters, two Tricobalts and a Hargh'peng all in one. That is not a solution for good damage, and here's why:

Suppose I have a ship with the 3 PWoffs and 4 forward weapons, two are tricobalts and the other two are photons. The intention here would be to fire a tricobalt at the shortest theoretical cooldown (the 15s shared cooldown) instead of waiting a full 30s. The function of the two photons would be simply to proc the DOFFs. While you will be firing a tricobalt once every 15 seconds with this setup, it is most often the case that the DOFFs will reduce the cooldown on the first tric you fire until it is equal to the cooldown of the other tric in shared cooldown. The result is that you never fire your other tricobalt, and thus it is dead weight, a significant gimp in you own DPS.

The solution is to get rid of it, and just use one tricobalt. Sure, you might not always reduce your cooldown to the theoretical 15 seconds, but you'll mostly be close enough for the difference to be miniscule. On top of that, you will be upgrading your raw damage by swapping out those two photons for, say, three quantums. A similar argument could be made for using multiple different heavy torps together, or for using multiple tricobalt-type projectiles. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than 1 of each of these torps, and no more than 1 of any heavy torpedo in a forward weapons slot (unless you are really trying for pure spiking, which you shouldn't as I've stated earlier).

Autofire, Targettable Torpedoes, and Misfires: I've often seen comments on the forums where people use targettable torps and say something to the effect of "WTF torps just misfired! Is it a bug?" There is a game mechanic at work here, which may or may not be considered faulty. But I would not consider it a bug given its consistency, and I'll go ahead and make the claim that misfires on targettable torpedoes are 100% pilot error.

The reason torpedoes "misfire" is because the player is attempting to launch them (by autofire or manual activation) while your ship is oriented such that your target is lying just on the border of your firing arc, or you target is moving in and out of your arc just at that very moment. When I say "arc" this can mean your actual firing arc or can also refer to moving in and out of maximum weapons range (or minimum range for the Bio-Neural warhead and DPT). For hitscanning torpedoes, this is not an issue; the launcher will just spaz out until you either commit to having your target in or out of your firing arc, with no ill effect. On targettable torpedoes, like the Breen, Romulan, or tricobalt launchers, it's quite often the case that no torpedo will be launched, but your torp's cooldown will be triggered anyway, forcing you to wait until your next opportunity to fire. This is a misfire, and while a game mechanic is at work here, theoretically (as in if we were absolutely perfect captains which made no mistakes in piloting), such misfires can be completely circumvented by certain methods:

*Never put targettable torps on autofire. You can avoid accidental misfires that way, but of course for torpedo boats this can be detrimental to damage on your autofiring lineup, since torps like the TDD and the Romulan Plasma can be just too irresistable to keep off autofire.

*Learn 2 Fly. Or in other words, don't be afraid to turn off that autofire when you're moving into your weapons' firing arc. Learn 2 Keybind would be a good idea for accomplishing this.

*Use a "Hitscan Condom" (forgive the innuendo, I'm a lonely guy). In other words, you want to arrange your autofire so that a hitscanning torpedo always fires before any targettable torpedoes you have on autofire. Putting a stock plasma, transphasic, or Hargh'peng at the top of your firing priority would work, though not 100% of the time. The theoretical best Hitscan Condom is the Ferengi Missile Launcher (you'd never think this torp is so useful, but it is!); because of its fast reload and 180 degree arc, even though it is (ought to be) the last weapon in your firing lineup, it will almost always fire first until your higher-priority torpedoes are absolutely inside of their firing arcs.

Of course, we're humans and therefore not perfect; we're bound to make some mistake which allows our torps to misfire. But knowing the cause of misfires allows us to be better captains by avoiding them much more often.



Mines and the (in)Existence of "Minelayers": So far I've only provided a cursory look at mines, though being the spiking-type weapons they are (and they just so happen to be aft weapons, so they do not violate my above suggested weapon arrangement), they can be an essential component to any torpedo build.

Chances are that you will probably want to use some sort of mines on your ship, but given the lack of diversity in mines, some mines become obviously more useful than others. If you shooting for pure transphasics, use transphasic mines. If you want pure plasma, use plasma mines. If you want to hold your target still, use tractor beam mines. If you want some disables and have orgasmic cravings for instakills, use Tric mines. If you're minmaxing shield drains, use the Ferengi Tachyon mines. Unless you're shooting for a real shield-slamming type of build, photon and quantum mines will be of little use, and chroniton mines are more or less outdone by tractor beam mines. Of course, Nukara Web mines, because they combine the disables of trics with a ridiculous shield-penetrating strength, make them arguably the king of mines, usable on practically any torpedo boat.

So how many mines should you have? Probably one launcher at most, but if you can spare the space, two would be fine, but definitely no more than that. This brings up a question which I myself have pondered a bit, and that is "can we make Minelayer ships?" For me, a "Minelayer" would be a ship that, similar to a torpedo boat, would be able to launch a mine or a group of mines at a rate of once every 1.5 seconds. Indeed the DOFFs for such a build do exist (the other variant of PWoffs which give a 20% chance to reduce mine cooldowns by up to 5 seconds), sadly such a hypothetical build cannot exist for multiple reasons:

*Mines are aft weapons only, meaning you cannot be fully "kitted-out" in mines.

*Mines are most optimally used whenever you have a Dispersal Pattern ready, which is only possible once every 15 seconds.

*The game will only allow you to spawn a finite and very limited number of mines.

*Most importantly, all mine launcher have a long global cooldown when activating other mines (I believe it is no less than 10 seconds), so DOFFs would only go so far in reducing the cooldowns of these mines.

So you won't be mining the Bajoran Wormhole like Captain Sisko in DS9. Would such a build be cool? Heck yes (though I'd image people would complain about the inherent "spam" of such a build, which is a valid concern), but as it stands, mines fit the role of spiking damage only, along with the rest of the heavy and exotic torpedoes.

Last edited by icepiraka; 10-09-2013 at 02:24 PM.
Lieutenant
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 86
# 7
10-06-2013, 03:34 AM
The Question of Supertorpedoes: What I'm about to say here can probably be generalized to all ?Superweapons? (Bortasqu' Autocannon, Qunatum Focus Field Phaser, etc.) Cryptic seems to have a big fetish with throwing out new fancy console-based weapons (in our case, torpedoes) in the hopes of getting all our money. Be careful, however, when considering building a torpedo boat around a supertorpedo alone; ship stats and other set bonuses should also come into play when making a decision.

The Bio-Neural warhead, if used correctly, is a devastating weapon which can be fired ?relatively quickly?, and using one won't cut into your choice of actual console slots. Also, the T'varo DPT is great, but only because of the 2pc bonus, and that fact that the 2pc bonus acts reflexively upon the DPT, allowing you to fire it repeatedly within a reasonable timeframe. By comparison, building a torpedo boat around the Armitage's photon point defense console might not be a good idea, not only because HECs are probably not well suited to the task of torp boats, but also because the opportunity to deploy one decently damaging spike every 180 seconds might not be worth the opportunity cost of, say, having another Field Generator or Neutronium Alloy or another tactical console.

Should this be the case? No, I don't think so, and I say the same for all STO superweapons. (I'm about to rant here, because yes, I am pissed of because of the "fix" to the T'varo DPT using PWoffs, which I believed made a decent torpedo into a great torpedo). Cryptic, if you don't want DOFFs to effect superweapons, fine. But if you want us to actually buy them, you need to give us some incentive; they need to be actually fun and useful. What I propose is this:

*Make the cooldown on superweapons no greater than 90 seconds. Many could even be reduced to 60 seconds or shorter.

*Make it so that all superweapons utilize an actual weapons slot instead of a console slot.

Essentially, I'm proposing that all superweapons should be made in the image of the Bio-Neural Warhead. Of course, such a change might not exactly apply to something the the veteran ship DTS Lotus or Ferengi swarm missiles (though similar reductions in cooldowns might be useful here too), and obviously should not apply to something like the Subspace Integration Circuit. Nevertheless, making such changes to the Armitage photons, Bortasqu' Autocannon, etc. would make these abilities enjoyable to use and truly useful, and their usage would become a question of spike vs. continuous damage instead of spike with very long cooldowns vs. survivability or other critical console choices.



The Dogs of War: the B'rel and T'varo: In case you didn't know, the Enhanced Battle Cloak allows these two starships to launch all non-energy weapons and abilities without deactivating their cloak. This advantage gives these starships a unique sort of playstyle, which involves even further minmaxing than what you can do on other torpedo boats. A good way to play these ships for torpedo boats is to not spec into Shield Emitters and Shield Systems (in addition to not speccing into Energy Weapons, etc.), and to solely concentrate in defense tanking, hull resistance and hull regeneration. This would imply something to the effect of dual PH, dual HE, and if you can afford it, Aux2SIF and dual APD. Also, you should have no fewer than two Neutronium consoles on your ship. In terms of your defense, that is provided by your EBC, so no need to worry too much about that.

Many people prefer to play these ships as pure spiking/Alpha-strikers. While those can be devastating from time to time, I personally don't like that philosophy, because you can't always depend upon your strike being consistently effective. Like I said before, I try to shoot for a balance of both spike and continuous autofire. It's worth noting that, when you use continuous fire on these ships, you will notice a quirk of EBC; while using torpedoes and some abilities will not deactivate your cloak, they will ?uncloak? you in a sense. In other words, your stealth value will drop to 0 whenever you fire torpedoes and launch certain abilities.

While this may seem immediately unappealing to a lot of players, it's important to know that while you may lose your stealth value in this manner, your extremely elevated defense and damage bonus will remain active at all times your cloak is active. This is they key to defense tanking; even though you are exposed and taking fire, many of your target's shots will "miss," and rest you should be able to tank and heal away. Of course, some of you will complain something to the effect of "But, but, but those nasty scis will tap me with their decloaking abilities! I can't defense tank like that!" Well guess what? Any sci worth his stuff will try to decloak you the instant you fire off any torpedo or ability, regardless of how much you may try to stay hidden. Sometimes he doesn't even need you to decloak before he detects you. So just grow a pair and don't be afraid to fight in the open! That being said, you should keep EBC on at all times. If you ever lose your cloak, and feel that you do not have control of the situation, by all means GTFO and try again when you think you have the tactical advantage.

Now a natural question is "B'rel or T'varo?" Many would argue toward the superiority of the T'varo, and for good reasons. Ignoring Romulan BOFFs and the survivability provided by Singularity Abilities, the biggest advantage of the T'varo over the B'rel is its C-Store console 2pc bonus, which provides +10% in projectile damage (torpedoes and mines) and 20% projectile cooldown reduction(torpedoes and mines), which is huge for torpedo boats (though it means any torps with shared cooldown now receive even less benefit from DOFFs). The advantage of the B'rel would have to be the freedom you have in choosing your BOFFs, allowing you to go more sci-heavy into drains, disables, and other such things that complement a torpedo build that the tac-heavy T'varo cannot provide, though a tac or sci could easily use either to great success.

This topic can help provide more insight on the long and illustrious role of the B'rel as a torp boat.

Last edited by icepiraka; 10-09-2013 at 02:37 PM.
Lieutenant
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 86
# 8
10-06-2013, 03:35 AM
Gearing Up:

Now that all this hypothetical stuff about weapons is out of way, we can start thinking about how you will want to gear up your ship in other ways.

The Ship: Ship choice is largely a case of what type of ship you're considering, what bonuses it has, or also just which ship do you like the most. That being said, some ships are more suited to torp-boating then others. Too few tac slots, and you can't use any TS/HY/Dispersal Patterns. Too few sci slots, and you have fewer options for controlling and manipulating your target. When it comes to picking a ship, I generally tend to look at three requirements;

The ship must have:

*A decent turn rate (so perhaps not a fat bucket like the Vo'quv),

*No fewer than 3 tac BOFF abilities (in other words, at least 1 Ens. + Lt. Tac OR 1 Lt. Cmdr. Tac), and

*No fewer than 3 sci BOFF abilities.

Exceptions to these rules can be made, but in general these are the guidelines I typically follow.

Skill Points: These will naturally be in accordance with whatever abilities you want to use. From a minmaxing perspective, you would obviously not want to put points into Energy Weapons, Shield Emitters and Systems if you are a B'rel/T'varo, or any skills your build won't be using. Of course, we can't predict the future of the game and what Cryptic will do, so it may obviously be smart to give yourself a bit of leeway when it comes to spending your skill points if you're not certain you wish to stick with one particular playstyle. This should be obvious, but the Projectile Weapons skill naturally applies to all damages related to projectiles: Kinetic impact, DoTs, Secondary Detonations, but not to things like disables or drains.

DOFFs: Obviously, you want 3 of your DOFFs to be PWoffs, and if you are in a cloaker, an Aux Power while Cloaked Technician would be a good thing to have. Other than that, the choice of your remaining 2 DOFFs is up to what abilities you intend to use.

BOFF abilities: these are also up to you in accordance to the build that you want to create. That being said, TB is a must if you use a lot of slower exotic torpedoes like the Romulan Hyper-Plasma. Should you happen to be blessed (or cursed, depending upon your outlook) with a ship with many tac slots, be aware that while the utility of APO is great (can be logical for Alpha-striking), it is not the only alternative; in the long run, dual APD and APB go a long way to weakening your target, making your bleedthrough hits more devastating than if you had buffed them with APO. If you know your torpedoes are going to be consistently hitting, APB would be a good option. Otherwise, APD is good too, especially since the resistance it provides is great for hull-tanking T'varos and B'rels, and it more or less acts as a direct counter to an opponent's APB.

Shield/Engine/Deflector sets: two sets stand out from the rest for torpedo boats: The Breen Set and the AMACO/KHG set. Some of the items in the Breen set could be considered more or less meh, but the 2pc bonus of the Breen set is increased damage to all transphasic projectiles (torps and mines including the Breen cluster), which makes it worthwhile if you are minmaxing for pure transphasic damage. Otherwise, the damage bonus to all torpedoes (but not mines, including the Breen cluster) of the 2pc AMACO/KHG makes it king for torpedo boats. The individual items in this set are also quite good in their own right; the deflector is great for almost any science you're bound to do, the power bonuses of the engine are great, and the engine itself is hard to take offline, and the shield effectively grants you "virtual defense," which is just great overall. A common thing for science ships to do would be to equip the KHG 2pc engine and deflector, and use a shield like the MACO or Fleet Shield. You could also go for the complete 3pc AMACO/KHG for Mask Energy Field, which will let you conceal all of your targettable torpedoes for a brief time. A valuable trick I've noticed with MEF is that, if you can afford the Embassy BOFFs, the Romulan Operative trait will reduce the cooldown on MEF, allowing you to deploy it more frequently (arguably what some would call another testament to the OP-ness of Romulans).

Since the general capacity and regen properties of shields are irrelevant for hull-tanking T'varos and B'rels, you'll mostly be using the shield which gives any special property or which satisfies whatever 2pc bonus you need. For example, you could go 2pc KHG Engine/Deflector, plus a different shield like the Jem'Hadar shield, or just use the KHG shield and deflector, allowing you to use a possible Hyper-Impulse engine. The complete 3pc is good for a T'varo/B'rel as well, just because every item in the set is great. However, do not use MEF on the T'varo/B'rel. Unlike EBC, MEF's defense bonus drops whenever you attack, completely destroying your ability to defense tank.

A common mistake I see is people considering the 2pc Reman/Romulan set for faster HY plasma. This is a bad idea, because the speed boost itself isn't that great, and it applies to HY plasma only (so it will not work with non-HY Romulan plasma), and not on any other sort of targettable or hitscanning torpedo, HY or otherwise.

Warp Cores: Again, similar guidelines as before, you only want to use cores that have valuable power and skill point bonuses to you. So a core which provides or transfers power to weapons would naturally be useless, and on the T'varo/Brel, so would one that provided them to shields.

Devices: Subspace Field Modulator and Nimbus Distress call are good choices. The rest, should you have the slots and want to use them, can be batteries of your choosing. For the T'varo/B'rel, if you can afford constantly crafting/buying them, Jevonite Hardpoints are an excellent device to have. The bonus they provide to your total hitpoints is great for hull-tanking. I've tried torpedo satellite turrets, and I honestly believe they are too flimsy to be of any use.

Consoles: you can generally follow similar guidelines as you would other builds. Fleet consoles are nice, Assimilated Module and Zero-Point Conduit are nice, Lobi consoles (Rule 62 stands out here) are nice if you can afford them, etc. Two universal consoles are worth noting, as they are specifically designed for use with Standard torpedo types and tricobalts: Nadeon Detonator and Ionized Gas sensor. The Nadeon console upgrades you torpedo into a mobile photonic shockwave, whose detonation will also deploy the properties of that torpedo in addition to the brief disable. Ionized console upgrades a torpedo into an Emission Seeking torpedo, which will seek out (very slowly) cloaked ships and disable the cloak of a ship upon contact. These consoles, while seemingly nifty, don't add a whole lot to a build unless you are really trying to minmax in disables or stealth detection.

Weapons: If you truly find that subsystem targetting will help you take your opponent's shields offline in your science ship, by all means slap on a beam array. This would be the maximum number of energy weapons you should ever use. I personally have never used subsystem targetting, so I cannot attest to its usefulness, though the idea makes me a bit uneasy, since it is one less weapon slot which could be churning out some alternative torpedo or mine based damage or functionality. Your choice of torpedoes is up to what your build is trying to do, but spiking aft, continuous fire forward is a good general weapons arrangement. Also, you'll want to balance the cooldowns of the fore-firing weapons to be about 8-10 seconds ideally. If cooldowns are too high, you get gaps in firing. Too low, and some torps never fire. Also, the torpedoes you want to fire most often should be at highest autofire priority, and those you can afford to have fire less frequently, or those that must only fire only after all others have fired (Omega plasma and Ferengi missile), should be at the lowest firing priority. Torps with shared cooldowns should be kept to a minimum in forward slots.

It's always good to think about the order in which you are firing your other torpedoes. If you are a fan of the pure spiking Tac B'rel, a classic weapons configuration is a Tricobalt, Breen Cluster, Quantum, and Hargh'peng torpedoes. These would be fired in that respective order: HY Tricobalt First, then Cluster, the Quantum Torpedo spread (this involves a sort of double-tap loading of BOFF abilities), and lastly the Hargh'peng. This firing order plays off the varying speeds of these torpedoes, resulting in all of these torps hitting the target within a very close timeframe. Also, if the user has been tactically buffed enough and if the target is relatively unaware of you, the Quantum TS and Hargh'peng should hit first and hit hard enough to smack down a shield facing, leaving the Tricobalt and Breen Cluster, which are the last to hit, to go to work on the hull. This sort of analysis is valuable, for spiking ships or torp boats in general, and you should always think "what is this torpedo doing, in and of itself and relative to my other torpedoes?"

Last edited by icepiraka; 10-09-2013 at 06:13 PM.
Lieutenant
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 86
# 9
10-06-2013, 03:36 AM
Tactics in PvP:

Because if you are a decently skilled player, you should be able to fight NPCs and tank damage just as well as any other well-specced man in an STF. PvP, IMO, is where the real challenge lies. Your basic strategy is to keep cycling your spiking and continuous fire weapons, all while throwing out science abilities as often as your can. Ideally, save your longest cooldown abilities for when your opponent has blown most of his survivability tricks, then give him all you got. If you're a plasma sci, always save Subnuke until he pops his HE. Just be relentless (what others might call "annoying"), and you'll bring him down eventually.

The big problem with torpedo boats is that, in terms of damage output, they are very much duelist starships, especially due to the vulnerability of targettable torps, demanding that you and your opponent be alone long enough for you to wear him down and kill him. This can become a problem when someone can easily call for backup, or have a team ready to fight against you. This means that torp boats naturally have the greatest success in Kerrat warzone and in Capture and Hold, where the general chaos of these modes means it's harder for the entire enemy team to wise up to you, and because you have a much higher probability of finding stragglers away from the main groups. That's not to say that torp boats can't function in Arena, though the enemy is likely to be much more coordinated at suppressing your damage, so reliance on your own team becomes crucial.

____vs. Escorts, Raptors, and Battlecruisers: Escort types, being the weakest of ships, are naturally the easiest to kill. Sometimes it's hard to stay out of his forward firing arc, but if you build your ship well, you should be able to survive most of his damage. An escort's survivability is generally encapsuled by the number of tactical BOFF slots he has. Eventually, his limited bag of defensive tricks will run out, and he'll become helpless, and easy kill. Battlecruisers often play similarly to escorts, making them just bigger, fatter escorts with more ?survivability? but fewer defensive tricks.
vs. Raiders: basically weaker escorts, but Battle Cloak gives them great elusiveness. His alpha-strike can be devastating, but properly defended against if you keep your ears open. If you can ensure he stays out of cloak, he's as good as dead.

____vs. Warbirds: these guys are interesting, since they are essentially tougher escorts dressed up with the elusiveness and spiking potential of raiders, plus the added advantage of the survivability tricks of singularity warp cores. They can be weak, but to defeat them, you need to be able to crush them swiftly or ensure he eventually expends his larger bag of tricks. Harder, but not impossible. Having a wingman can be helpful here, unless you are a sci specced for snooping.

____vs. Conventional Cruisers: ah yes, A2B with FAW, DEM, and APB. Fun times. Seriously, a skilled cruiser captain can be a pain to deal with when he is both hitting you hard and suppressing the majority of your torpedo damage. The key to these guys to either find a crack in his defense cycle or create one with extensive disabling sci skills. Once that's done, a cruiser can become almost as weak as an escort, especially if he is A2B, since his Aux based healing is next-to-worthless.

____.vs Carriers: Somewhat similar to conventional cruisers, except potentially less significant in damage and more significant in healing. The biggest trouble with carriers are the pets, which can be annoying and can get in the way of your targettable torpedoes. If you feel you cannot ignore the pets, try to clean them up first before killing the main target. Also, if you are in a T'varo, B'rel, do not engage a JHDC with Attack Ship pets unless you can absolutely kill all of them first. Those pets will use antiproton sweep whenever it pleases them, making it near impossible for you to remain cloaked.

____vs. Other Torpedo Boats; basically this comes down to who has the better build/gear/etc. and who is the better pilot. I find, however, that this is a rare event (though perhaps not for long, if this guide is as useful as I hope it is).

____vs. Science Ships: Nightmare ships, especially that Vesta! Science tends to be the best defense against other science, and also the best defense against targettable torpedoes. A good sci can also spell doom to a T'varo or B'rel. He may not be big on damage, but his high shield modifier and his surely high aux-healing make him the toughest nut to crack. With the plethora of disables that scis can use, he's the ultimate trollmaster, who can leave you helpless until the cavalry come to wipe you out. With him, it is absolutely critical that you and him remain by yourselves if you intend to kill him. The key to science, however, is that sci abilities are mainly restricted to a forward firing arc, so you should always engage him from the sides or the rear, and never from his front. If you're not a T'varo or B'rel, then you're likely another sci, in which case it's a matter of who can perform the best sci.

Last edited by icepiraka; 10-06-2013 at 03:41 AM.
Lieutenant
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 86
# 10
10-06-2013, 03:37 AM
Final Thoughts; Torpedo Boats as a System:

All of this brings to mind a larger general idea about torpedo ships: given the linked nature of torpedoes because of system, shared and global cooldowns, your weapons on a whole are an interconnected system, combining a wide variety of unique functions. The performance of your torpedo boat, DPS wise or otherwise, is very much dependent upon how well these torpedoes and functions work together.

This is where projectiles differ from energy weapons, and by extension, where torpedo boats differ from energy boats. While mixing and matching certain energy weapons can be of some significance, the fact that because each energy weapon (ignoring weapons drain here) can fire and basically act independently of all other energy weapons, swapping out one single weapon or mixing and matching certain specific weapons can be accomplished without huge losses in DPS or the performance of your ship (relatively speaking that is; I'm not advocating rainbow boats here!).

For example, combining standard, fleet, Elachi, nanite, plasma hybrid, polarized, and spiral wave disruptor types will give you a wide variation of functionalities without being specialized in one thing, but that's about it. In the long run, having so many varying weapons is irrelevant because they are all disruptor types, and your damage isn't hugely impacted by this mixing as opposed to, say, just sticking with standard disruptors. Another example would be DBBs vs DHCs. If you have, say, 4 DHCs and you swap out one for a DBB, you lose a bit of damage from the DHC in exchange for some of the functionality of the DBB. Unless you are in a Alpha-striking build where such a difference can be critical (BO crit vs. just CRF), your damage may be affected, but not in a drastically huge manner.

Torpedo boats, on the other hand, are a system, where the impact of one torp (no pun intended) can influence the damage, functions, and even the ability to continuously fire of all the rest. My point is that you should be keenly aware of what functions your different projectiles are bringing to the table. The best way to know if your torp build is good (especially if you're like me and you like to mix and match exotic types) is to go out in combat (I personally like Tau Dewa patrols as a starting point), launch your projectiles, observe the firing patterns, and get a sense for how everything works together. Diversity, unlike in energy weapon builds, can be great, but only if the synergy between weapons is great.

In case you hate dense prose, here's a general recap on tips for torp boats for the TLDRers:

*3 Purple PWoffs are the key to continuously firing torpedoes.

*Torp boats are best on tacs and scis on sci heavy ships.

*Have a plan to either eliminate shields with abilities or brute force or bypass shields with correct abilities and torps.

*Know your torpedoes and understand how they work together. Torpedoes are an interconnected system, whose functionality should be analyzed whenever possible, in field tests or from good use of math (binomial calculator is helpful).

*Generally speaking, plasma is for sci, transphasic is for tacs.

*Fore weapons should be autofire, aft ones should be spiking. Only 1 energy weapon if you want to use subsystem targetting.

*HY is usually better than TS.

*Don't use duplicates of torpedoes which have shared cooldowns (ties into general functioning of torpedoes as a whole).

*Misfires are caused when torps are activated on the edges of firing arcs. Avoid using targettable torps on autofire, or use protection whenever necessary if you do.

*Mines are great, but some are greater than others. True ?minelayers? cannot exist.

*"Superweapons" are not necessarily worth it in some cases.

*T'varos and B'rels are great torp ships, though you should spec them for hull and defense tanking.

*Breen and KHG sets are better than the rest.

*Know the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your opponents. Torp boats work their best when alone with their targets.


If I made any sort of mistake in this guide, or if I missed something (which I think I probably did), please feel free to point it out.

Now go forth, and be deadly with torpedoes (and mines)!
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