For awhile now, Star Trek Online isn’t a much in the shuttle combat area. Recently they provided players with a shuttle instance which rewards Fleet Marks and Romulan Marks. I’ve dropped into a few matches and realized my tiny Delta Class shuttle was way underpowered to fight the new new enemy, the Elachi. With the new enemy, I had to refit my shuttle for solid combat. I might as we shed on light on a few builds I’ve created and inspire some of you to create ships that can be a beastly damage dealing machine.
With shuttles, it seems very limiting to create something that can pull out a hefty punch. Shuttles and fighters are dubious against heavier targets but it comes back to the fundamental concepts of specialization or your spec. Each MMO follows these specializations regardless of a class structure. When creating a spec, keep it to a few simple rules:
Agility and firing speed can be critical when you have the lowest health in the team. The other person can have the hardest hitting weapons; but if you can pull out more damage in a short amount of time, you can easily turn a bad situation to a good one. When all else fails, a tactical withdrawal may be necessary to regroup and re-engage the enemy. In the latter case, you will need speed to run while the former requires speed for quick encounters.
In Star Trek Online, speed is separated into 3 sets; cooldowns, engines and DPS. DPS for most games is simple, Damage Per Second. The faster you can throw torpedoes or cannonade those cruisers, the quicker the enemy will fall. Engines doesn’t refer to the items in the game, though partly related. The speed you can turn and run can help determine how well you can keep the enemy exposed long enough to deliver the critical blows. There are consoles and skills available to increase engine speed and even subsystem power. Though overlooked, having a strong engine subsystem can prevent death through precisely timed disengagements to make repairs. Having the necessary set of buffs and debuffs ready throughout combat can be extremely helpful in a pinch when it comes to weakening or strengthening a position. Having alternating tactics or skills here would be helpful in situations when you have to stay in a firefight longer than you would expect.
Utilize abilities like Evasive Maneuvers in situations where you need to reaquire a target. If you are caught in a cooldown with this, you might want to consider RCS Accelerators to boost your turn rate. As well having a stack of Deuterium Surplus can mitigate Evasive and even provide enough distance to make the repairs you need.
From my experience in game, I usually use Evasive Maneuvers for certain situations like closing into my target or needing to back away a chaotic situation. I also receive a lot of deuterium surplus which can double or triple the distance you will get from Evasive Maneuvers. As a personal rule I try and keep debuffs at a minimum and focus on repair skills and offensive buffs like Tactical team. I keep a minimum of two Tac Teams ready to help rebalance shields and provide a small damage buff. At the same time, I try and maintain one shield healing skill at all times in case my shields drop under 50%. Emergency Power to Shields is my main skill for that though some of my ships have this and Science Team. The major skills I keep on me aside from those is Tractor Beam and some skills that augment the efficiency of a few skills I have. So skills to make skills better rather than having a large splattering of skills.
This is the section about hull and HP maintenance. I covered shields in the speed portiona bit, but here it’s all about resistances and triage. Tanking is a powerful thing, but in PvE it has another dimension. Considering you are one ship of any size and shape, you are the only target and therefore vulnerable. Having a teammate by your side or even increasing your group size can be beneficial through NPC’s you can cast or spawn.
If you have it, Photonic Fleet is a power skill to get a lot of baddies off your tail despite the health of these holographic ships. It’s a bit of room for you to focus on healing or taking on a specific target without the other team pounding on your hull. Do or don’t, you will need additional support whether you are in a group or not. Directly, focus on healing through healing buffs like Reverse Polarity, Science Team, Engineering Team and Extend Shields. They’re only a few I’ve listed here to get you started. It would be advisable to pick skills that can target friendly ships as well than those can you can only heal you since the biggest asset you have is the teammates you have.
Out of combat, you have a lot of consoles which increase resistances to energy types as well as increasing resistance to holds and placates. For the latter, Inertial Dampeners help prevent you for standing around. weapon resistance is a disadvantage at times but with the right ship, your resistance to certain or all energy types can be as high as 40% or more. Hull Plating increases specifc energy resistance while alloys resist kinetic attacks. The trade off is you may have to specialize the ship to be more resistant to certain types or have an overall resistance lower than other kinds of Hull Plating since some Hull Plating consoles resist more than two energy types at a cost of a lower resistance.
As a science officer, I have access to Photonic Fleet. However since they can be easily wrecked, I depend on mostly buffs and consoles to ensure I stay in the fight longer. At the moment I don’t operate with Hull Plating so I have to defend myself with quick short bursts followed by self healing or Tac Team provided by one of my Bridge Officers. Before I use a skill to heal shields and hull when I’m getting battered, I usually use my Enhanced Plasma Manifold to increase the effectiveness of defensive buffs like Brace for Impact and Scattering Field. The Manifold is available if you purchased the Oberth Class Light Science Vessel.
Lastly, knowing what you can do. Having abilities is one thing, but how you optimize the use of them can increase the effectiveness of other skills especially stackable skills which can be used in sync with other players or skills. Having a variety of skills can give you a fun time in splitting between playing defensively an offensively. The draw back is your character would be less effective than a specialized character. It would be like a hockey player who players both a left wing and defense. It would be like spending 78 cents in a bottle of cola then realizing it gave you a stomach ache because it was pretty old (true story).
As I said before, focus a few skills you will need rather than spreading out to try and over your bases. If you have the Zen, spend it on ships with consoles you need rather than ships you will find handy. Such consoles as Enhanced Plasma Manifold and Transwarp Computer provide either an active or passive boost to a skill or a subsystem. Stick towards abilities that would benefit you and a team like heals and AoE buffs as well as sticking to stats that specifically buff the weapons you use such as Rapid Fire for cannons and High Yield for torpedoes.
Since I command an escort for a starship, I rely on my nimble speed to position my forward cannons. Because of this fact, I load my skills to exploit my fire arc to maximize damage. So I have Scattering Volley for a cone AoE buff on my cannons, Rapid Fire for precise and quick shots with Spread and High Yield working respectively with torpedoes. Couple with these skills I have a Transwarp Computer to increase warp core efficiency to allow more power to subsystems as well as ensuring my weapons subsystem is powered beyond 100 to maintain high damage potential. Whenever I need to heal, I stick toward two abilities supported by Enhanced Plasma Manifold which boosts shield and auxiliary so I can use Scattering Field or Brace For Impact when I need to hang on until I can heal again.
For now, let us focus on the ship rather than allocating skills. The offers a larger variety of ship specialized weapons, which are:
- DPS (Phasers, Photon torpedoes and mines)
- AoE (Tricobalt Devices and Plasma mines and torpedoes)
- DoT (Plasma weapons)
- “Shield Busters” (Tetryon energy weapons)
- “Subsystem Disabler” (Polaron and Phasers)
- “Ship Slowers” (Chroniton torpedoes and mines)
- Damage dealers (Quantum and Transphasic weapons, Tricobalt devices)
Now to build a ship. You can set it up three ways; energy and kinetics, all kinetics or all energy. All kinetics can provide the highest damage but at the same time suffer a long cooldown and may be ineffective against shielded opponents. All energy is the opposite, it has good potential to drop shields but some aren’t that great in taking down the hull. Recommended is a mix of energy and kinetic since you have the option of shield dropping and damage dealing. Pick one energy type, having a ship firing skittles and rainbows does not mean it’s powerful but rather inefficient in the use of your ship. Stick to one energy type so the consoles you choose of the tactical consoles would be optimal for those weapons. Next part is easy, assigning BOFFs and consoles. Under tactical consoles, focus on boosting your energy weapons the most since kinetic weapons are fairly powerful with a potential of 1000 damage and higher. I would recommend at least a console for your kinetic weapons and the rest for your energy weapons. Science consoles aren’t necessary though it would be good to launch with something ready. Either shield regeneration or universal consoles work best here, also recommended is Inertial Dampeners to increase resistance to holds, confuse and placates. Under engineering consoles, Either armour would be handy or subsystem power. Would be noteworthy that you should study which skills will use which subsystem so you can allocate enough power to maximize output when you use the skill. You can also use engineering consoles to boost power to a certain subsystem. If you have more universal consoles, it’s not recommended to put them in engineering unless you are absolute that your combat style is purely offensive.
Onto ship items, I prefer end game ship sets because of the fact the set bonuses do provide some incentive to build towards a certain type of ship. If you are wanting a ship with a lot of shielding, go with the Assimilated Borg set because of it’s auto-regenerative ability when you have a two piece set; the full set also regenerates shields. The MACO provides less shielding but resistance to subsystem drains. Aegis allows for a passive 10% defense with one of the most powerful shields only beaten by the shield in the Assimilated Borg set. At the moment, all other ship item sets provide a passive damage boost to certain energy types.
Shuttles on the other hand are much more picky in terms of what you can do; however the principles are the same if not limited. Pick how you want to play it, then gather the items to assemble it. In the case of shuttles, it’s important to keep note that you weapons and shields are top priority. You will need a lot of defence while your weapons need to hit as hard as fast as you can get them. Which leads me into my Delta Class build.
Starting off, I stripped off all my components; deflector, shields and impulse engines were reallocated to another ship as well as all the consoles and weapons. At this time, the most powerful weapons I had we on the Isaac Brock; my Tactical Escort. I decided to cannibalize the Cutting Beam and the console so I would maintain the first set bonus. However the beam relies on kinetic damage and is highly inaccurate against fighters and shuttles.So I looked into the final piece of this puzzle, the complimentary Omega Plasma Torpedo Launcher which is one of the fastest with DoT due to it being Plasma energy as well. After a trial test, I noticed the torpedoes are great so I looked into Plasma weapons until I found the Romulan Hyper-Plasma Torpedo Launcher. This launcher sends out 3 destructible torpedoes which if they aren’t shot down, hits the target as well as AoE plasma to other units nearby. Since I had the console from this set as well, I could send 7.8% more plasma damage than just my torpedoes alone. Since the Delta Class shuttles have the highest hull points in all the shuttles. However to ensure it can keep up being a sharp poisonous spearhead, I’ve attached the Assimilated Borg Technology set so I have high shield capacity while having my shields a random chance to heal upon being hit. Under the one tactical console I have an Ambiplasma Envelope that requires an upgrade to a MK XII variant so I can maximize the damage further. The Delta Shuttle comes with a Science and Universal Ensign Bridge Officer slots which I’ve taken the liberty into having Emergency Power to Weapons and Tachyon Beam. First off to increase damage and secondly to provide as much power to help my teammates drop shields while my torpedo’s plasma is slowly burning the hull down (a two pronged attack of sorts).
I’ve field tested the design a few times and has shown a lot of promise despite not having the most powerful Ambiplasma Envelope in the game. This kinetic combo shoots fast to compensate for damage but powerful enough to act as a anti-fighter shuttle to destroy small escorting craft in Atmosphere Assault. I haven’t tried it in The Vault yet but hopefully in time, I’ll pit it against the Romulans there.
Until next time, keep calm and build ships!