Star Trek Online has been out now on PS4 and Xbone for almost seven months, and over the course of the last seven months, myself and several others that I play regularly with have worked and researched on how to build good ships for running elite and advanced queues. in that time we have tested a myriad of things – as much as it is possible to do so – as well as talked to our PC counterparts about what works and what doesn’t. This post will attempt to disclose as much information as possible without being entirely complicated – there is enough complicated math on the STO Builds Reddit for those who are so inclined. Two reasons for this – math can be fun, but not everyone wants to do it for a video game (plus the math has already been done by those one PC who have been doing this for years), plus, we do not have a parser on the console version of this game, meaning it is hard to verify numbers and what works versus what doesn’t.
First, a disclaimer: I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about all types of builds in STO, nor do I claim to be an expert. I do know, however, what has worked for me and many others in terms of building a ship for elite queues such as Hive Space Elite (Onslaught) and other difficult queues.
Also, there will be a video to go along with this in the near future.
Building From the Ground Up
First – decide what you want to build. Do you want a broadside beam boat, a fast escort, a space magic science build or do you want to be able to tank a lot of damage? Some of these types merge together in the current meta, but some don’t, so you need to have an idea of what you want to do before spending resources and time to get to the end point.
- A broadsiding beam boat can be “tanky,” do a lot of damage and also put out a little space magic
- An escort, though being able to run either dual beam banks or cannons, will (more then likely) never be a tank ship and not have a lot in the area of science
- A science boat can be a beam boat as well – usually having a decent turn radius, but probably wont be the tank in a group
These are not “rules” that cannot be broken, but some simple truths that are typical across the board. In the end, you may find a niche with a certain ship that most people don’t see, and in that case, run with it.
Second – decide on a damage type. If you want beams/cannons, pick a type damage and stick with it – whether it be Antiproton, Tetryon, Plasma, etc, pick it and stick with it. I wouldn’t change from my choice until I have that one particular type picked and built up, unless there is a very good reason. Advanced Note: Antiproton and Disruptor are consider “tier one” damage types, followed by Romulan Plasma, then everything else – however, all damage types have the ability to kill and be viable for end game.
If going science – pick EPG (exotic particle damage) or DrainX (Drain) and mix ctrlX (control) in with it. Balancing between the three is near impossible for an effective build, but balancing between two – either EPG and DrainX with ctrlX is very possible. Pure science builds can be fun – though sometimes more complicated. With weapons, you have two choices -pure science, relying solely on your science abilities, or beam boat with more science then you could do on a cruiser or an escort – both are viable for end game.
Once you have these choices made, you are ready to start your build.
Beams / Cannons
Unless you are going for a pure science build – in which case you will probably want to build set pieces, these will be your bread and butter. The best beams or cannons are crafted, with the following mods: ]crtd], [dmg] and [pen]. A typical “god” roll for a beam is [crtdx3] [pen] or [dmgx3] [pen]. The only way to get the [pen] mod is through crafting, so if you are going with reputation weapons, i.e. Romulan plasma, go with something like [crtdx2] [dmg] and vice versa.
Reputation / Mission Sets
First, look at shields/engine/deflector/warp core (singularity core for Romulans). Iconian is considered the best in slot for DPS, and it also provides you with hot restarts for offline subsystems as well as giving you a little defense. Sol Defense (a three piece set) with an Elite Fleet Warp Corp (go with AMP) fits the bill nicely for a little more survivability in lieu of the more damage the Iconian set an provide. That being said, other sets and other pieces can provide weapon damage bonuses depending for what type of weapon damage you have chosen – for example, the Jem’Hadar set provides bonuses to Polaron.
Other reputation and mission sets, depending on what you are building, are also viable – Terran Task Force, Solanae, etc can provide boosts for your build. A two piece MACO set if you are building a torpedo boat, for example, is a must, with either a Counter-Command or Terran Task Force Deflector. Though we are not going to talk about “off builds” in this article, I wanted to mention them simply to get you to go in and do some of your own research into the sets are available, especially if your goal is Iconian, but you need something in the meantime. Just because you don’t have Iconian does not mean you cannot run elite queues, and in the end, based upon your set up, you may even be more effective.
Reputation / Mission Pieces
- Kinetic Cutting Beam (w/ Assimilated Module Console) is a must for beam or cannon builds. Gives a weapons that has a 360 degree arc plus helps with weapon power management
- Terran Disruptor Array / Dual Heavy Cannons – works for all types of damage builds
I feel this is where most people get confused or make their mistakes. Because of that, I am going to start with the simple ones. Note: This is based off of the current meta, I will try to note what may or will change once space balancing is brought to console in the weeks and months ahead.
- Plasma-Generating Amplifiers with EPG*
- Note: This will change once space balance goes live, however, unless it hits tomorrow or last week, getting the fleet credits for these are easy and I would recommend going for it
- Amplifiers and EPG because you will most likely be running Feedback Pulse (which will also change once space balance hits). If you are not running FBP, then Nullifers are okay.
- If you are planning on tanking – ShHeal is a good mod to give you extra heals. Again, run Amplifiers for threat, and I would still run FBP even though you are not running EPG.
- Science Builds: Restorative/Exotic Particle Focusers from the Research Lab with EPG / CtrlX or CtrlX / Drain depending on what you are running
- There is also a crafted console, the Exotic Particle Exciter which with good mods is a very good console for science builds
- Plasma-Generating Amplifiers with EPG*
- Damage bonus based on your weapon type
- An example: Mag Regulators for an Antiproton build
- Fleet Vulnerability Locators and Exploiters with damage bonus based on energy type
- Exploiters give crit severity and locators give crit chance – for most builds crit chance is desired with the attempt to keep a 1:5 / crit chance:crit severity (i.e. 20:100 or 25:125) being considered optimal based on the math from PC
- Note: If you are running an Antiproton build with the Terran Disruptor for its proc, running beam damage instead of +ap is acceptable, and considered by many to be the optimal way to run. Either way, you are looking at a 2-3% change in total DPS output, which is you are running 100k DPS is only 2-3k total.
- Science builds: Run universal consoles, either from set pieces or otherwise to boost your exotic damage or drain capabilities UNLESS your purpose is to have a beam boat with high science output
- Damage bonus based on your weapon type
- Bioneural Infusion Circuits (200 Lobi)
- Assimilated Module (Omega Reputation)
- Plasmonic Leech (lock box or Vandal Destroyer on KDF side)
- Timeline Stabilizer (Krenim Science Vessel – Anniversary Ship)
- Conductive RCS w/ EPS (Crafted)
- Energy Boosting Consoles: Polymorphic Probe Array (AP), etc if they are universals
- Science Console Notes:
Note: If you are still leveling and don’t have access to these consoles, simply try to find ones that will give you the same type of benefits that you are looking for : EPS (power managment), weapons damage, and crit
Bridge Officer Abilities
Now that we have our weapons, engines and consoles, lets look at BOFF abilities for your crew stations. Every ship is different, and often what sets one ship apart from another, or all the rest, is its crew station layout. Instead of giving you a layout based on what ships I use, I am simply going to list abilities that are useful.
- Other Abilities
Specializations and Active Space Duty Officers
Important note: We pick both of these for extra damage and for cool down reduction of abilities
Primary: Temporal or Intel (Temporal currently preferred
Note: This will probably change once space balance hits, it is best to keep putting points in the other specializations as well, except Commando unless you also run ground queues
Active Space Duty Officers
This can be very situational and build dependent. You will want duty officers that reduce specific cool downs, such as those for tactical abilities (beam officer and conn officer for tac team 1), science abilities (such as deflector officer), etc. You can also choose specific DOFFs that contribute extra damage to certain enemy types depending on what queue you may be running. Once i find a good reference for DOFF choices – for it would be an entire article if I wrote something up, I will add the link here.
Cool Down Reduction
Note: The strategy below will change once space balance hits, so I will include links to other means of cool down reduction
- Attrition Warfare
- End of Strategist specialization tree, can be reached before level 60
- Requires a hull heal “on demand,” meaning place the hull heal on your bar
- i.e. Engineering Team or Auxiliary Power to Structural Integrity Field (best)
- Can be triggered every 20 seconds, brings cool downs on bridge officer abilities close to global (hence using a DOFF or two to reduce it further)
- Sequence: Beginning of queue / instance: Hit Threatening Stance (just once, it is a toggle – only hit it again if you die and resurrect) – Hit BOFF ability, i.e. Fire at Will, then hit hull heal, i.e. Aux2SIF. Cool down will go from 30 seconds to 20 second (19 if you are slow like me) – note: global is 15 seconds for FAW.
- Note: Make sure to wait 20 seconds again before hitting hull heal
- MAJOR POINT: This works best if EVERYONE is using Attrition Warfare, aka Threatening Stance for CDR, simply because then no one will pull more threatthen anyone else would normally in a queue. If you use this in a PUG run, you stand a good chance of dying unless you are a tank build built for a beating. If you are going to be a part of scheduled queues with fleet mates or friends, try to make sure most of you are running this.
- Other CDRs
Space and Starship Traits
What I currently run on my Kelvin Intel Dreadnought build:
|Starship Traits||Space Reputation|
|1||Emergency Weapons Cycle||1||Advanced Engines|
|3||All Hands on Deck||3||Precision|
|4||Target Rich Environment||4||Advanced Targeting Systems|
|5||Enhanced Feedback Pulse||5||Enhanced Armor Penetration|
|Space Traits||Active Reputation|
|2||Point Blank Shot||2|
|4||Self Modulating Fire||4|
This is not meant to be a guide to end all guides – there are a thousand different way to build your ship. The purpose of this guide is to give a guideline in how to make your build effective for advanced and elite queues. Keep in mind, just because you are highly effective in advanced queues or can breeze through Korfez Elite, does not mean you will have an easy time of it in Hive Space Elite – by any means – and that is what this guide is meant to do. it is also meant to give you some things to think about and to give you the knowledge of what to look for and what is important when building your boat.
A lot of this will change once space balance hits – but for consoles that good be months away. Once it does hit (hopefully before thanks to it hitting there before us) this guide will be updated to include that information. I have to thank members of my own fleet in helping to test and also for information. Also, the other members of the SHOW STO Wednesday video/pod cast for their invaluable input and advice.
Also, this does not effectively cover science builds, turret builds, torpedo builds or tank builds.
Lastly, this guide is not perfect, nor is it, or will it be, complete. I will continue to add and subtract as needed in the coming days, weeks and months.