Continuing the look at roles in STO, today we’re going to look at the good old fashioned damage deal, or as it’s sometimes referred, DPS.
1. Your Player Captain
Tactical- Finally, the Tactical captain gets to make good use of his talents. All of Tactical’s abilities are valuable for boosting the amount of damage you deal. Attack Pattern Alpha provides a direct boost to damage and crit chance, Fire on My Mark reduces your enemies damage reduction (increasing your damage against them), Tactical Initiative allows you to use those ever important BO abilities faster and Go Down Fighting can greatly increase your damage if you are heavily damaged (which will happen easily if you are also flying an escort).
Engineer- EPS Power Transfer is once against useful for it’s power boost but long neglected Nadion Inversion finds it’s place in a damage dealing role. By reducing the energy drain of your weapons, Nadion Inversion allows you keep firing them at full power. This is especially useful on a cruiser fully loaded with beam array. It is all to easy to get to a point where you are doing less damage with more weapons due to energy drain.
Science- The science captain’s abilities provide for some help with damage dealing. Sensor Scan helps you find cloaked ships but also puts a damage resistance debuff on enemies. So a cloaked ship identified has less damage reduction and no shields, allowing you a good counter-alpha strike against them. Additionally, Photonic Fleet grants you some ships to help bring more firepower to bear.
2. Ship Type
Escort- Damage dealing is where escorts shine. With just as many fore weapons as a cruiser, and the ability to wield powerful canons, escorts can dish out the hurt. They also come equipped with lots of tactical BO’s giving them the most access to offensive powers. They may be weak in hull, but they also can be fast, allowing them to perform powerful hit and run strikes.
Of special mention is the mother of all escorts, the Defiant class refit. The cloaking device gives a nice damage buff immediately after decloaking, which can give you a devastating alpha strike.
Cruiser- Despite having the most weapon slots at top level (8), cruisers typically can not dish out as much burst damage as escorts. But they can hang in the fight longer, giving them more long term damage. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to take someone down is the burst as sustained damage can be healed.
While I normally don’t want to devolve into too many specific classes, in terms of Damage, three classes warrant a more detailed look. The first is the Excelsior class. The only cruiser with a Lt. Commander tactical slot, you have access to some very nice BO abilities you wouldn’t normally have (Fire at Will 3, Torpedo High Yield 3 for example). This can give you a nice bump in power.
Next up, is the Galaxy class refit. The ability to separate the saucer essentially turns the drive section into an escorts, with the saucer flying around providing bonus damage. You still can’t wield cannons though.
The final cruiser to look at is the Galaxy-X Dreadnaught. The powerful phaser spinal lance can pack a nice powerful punch, even if it’s got quite a recharge timer. Combined with the cloaking device and it’s ability to wield cannons, you can get a very powerful alpha strike attack. Unfortunately, it still suffers from horrendous maneuverability, making the cannons difficult to bring to bear.
Science- Unfortunately, science ships really suffer in the damage dealing category. With only 6 weapons, they do not have the output compared to the other ships. The high level science BO’s can provide some great abilities to help compensate, however. They also have the special advantage of innately having access to all four Beam Fire at (Subsystem) 1, which is essentially four free tactical BO skills.
3. Ship Equipment
The biggest things that effect your damage is your weapons. We’ll take a brief look at different options available to you (Damage Type, Energy Weapons, Projectile Weapons and Tactical Consoles).
Damage Type- One nice thing about STO is that there is no single uber damage type. Equivalent Phasers and Polaron weapons all do the same DPS. The difference is the secondary effect (and the skill point cost, but that looks to be changing soonish).
- Phasers- Has a chance of disabling a subsystem on an enemy ship. It’s random, but occasionally you’ll get luck and bring their shields down just when you have a High Yield Torpedo ready or shut down their weapons just when you really need a moment to heal.
- Disruptors- Reduces damage resistance. It’s not a huge reduction, but anything helps. Great against those ships with lots of damage reduction that you just can’t scratch.
- Tetryon- Arguably the weakest special effect, these reduce a targets shields. This does not seem to scale well, and it’s not hard to wipe away a shield facing if you’re dishing damage right. But they are a pretty blue.
- Plasma- Chance to apply a plasma DoT. It’s not huge, but it does bypass shields. It can be cleared with Hazard Emitters, but bonus damage is bonus damage.
- Polaron- Offers a chance to reduces power to all subsystems. This can be incredibly useful when combined with certain BO abilities.
- Antiproton- Increases critical chance and critical severity. The only effect that directly has a chance to increase the amount of damage you do.
- Photon- Slight increased to crit chance. Also has the quickest refire rate at 6 seconds. Best overall DPS, if you can fire them continuously, which is hard to do with torpedoes.
- Quantum- Slight boost to crit severity and the highest overall damage (after Tricobalt). Slower firing than photons at 8 seconds, they are better for burst damage.
- Plasma- Can add a fire DoT effect to your target, which is great for bypassing shields. The High Yield version of these is pretty useless since it can be shot down, but used with Torpedo Spread, can hit a whole group ships with plasma fire.
- Transphasic- Sadly, these torpedoes are underpowered. With enhanced shield penetration, they should be very useful for getting through those ships that can keep their shields up. But their reduced over all damage and slow firing rate negates the penetration. Though, for a retrofit Bird of Prey, using nothing but torpedoes and firing a high yield wave of them while still cloaked, the penetration finds value.
- Chroniton- Can bring your target to a halt but reducing their speed and turning rate by 100%. Useful for stopping that annoying escort that won’t stay still.
- Tricobalt- Very powerful with AoE damage. However, they suffer from a really long reload and can be shot down like high yield plasma. But if you time it right, can do a ton of damage.
Weapon Type- There are four main types of weapons: Beams, Canons, Torpedoes and Mines.
- Beams- Beam weapons are your Star Trek staple. They provide a very wide firing arc which is very useful for cruisers. They do less DPS than some others but are great for broadsides.
- Canons- Canons are your best energy weapon for burst damage. Dual Canons and Dual Heavy Canons can put out a lot of damage. Turrets do much less damage, but have a 360 degree arc so can hit from any angle.
- Torpedoes- Even though I put the different torpedoes above into the Damage Type category, all torpedoes do Kinetic Damage. They are great for hitting a hull that is unprotected by shields.
- Mines- Mines have questionable direct damage value, but can be a great way for increasing your odds of getting a secondary effect to trigger. A net of chroniton mines has a good chance of slowing someone down.
Tactical Consoles- There are a couple different ways to go for consoles. If you are using all one energy damage type, it’s best to go with all of that type (Phaser Relays for example). If you are using a mixed set of damage types, but only one weapon type (all turrets, but one of each energy type), you might want to use Prefire Chamber.
4. Bridge Officer Abilities
Tactical Officers- Most tactical powers are useful, but three biggest categories are:
- Damage Yield- This directly increases the damage of an attack: Torpedo High Yield, Cannon Rapid Fire, Beam Overload
- AoE- This turns a single attack into something that hits many: Torpedo Spread, Cannon Scatter Volley, Fire at Will, Dispersal Pattern
- Attack Pattern- These either increase damage directly (Omega) or decrease damage resistance of your target (Beta and Delta).
Engineering Officers- The engineering line doesn’t have a lot to offer for damage increase. The best candidates are Eject Warp Plasma and Directed Energy Modulation. EWP releases a stream of plasma behind you which can cause good damage to a target’s hull. DEM adds additional damage to energy weapons that penetrates shields and deals direct hull damage.
Science Officers- Science officers suffer the most for direct damage increases. While many of their abilities do deal damage, the amount is usually minor and secondary to the other effects of the ability. Gravity Well and Photonic Shockwave fit into those category. While they do Kinetic damage, it’s easily negated by shields and it’s the disable and tractor effect that are more useful.
The best damage boosters mainly affect shields. Charged Particle Burst and Tachyon Beam can do wonders for completely training a target of shield power.
Ship: Defiant Class Refit
Loadout: Complete Borg, 3x Dual Heavy Antiprotons Cannons and 1 Quantum Torpedo front, 2x Antiproton Turrets and 1 Quantum Mine
Commander Tactical- Cannon Rapid Fire 3, Torpedo High Yield 3, Cannon Rapid Fire 1, Torpedo High Yield 1
Lt. Commander Tactical- Dispersal Pattern Beta 2, Attack Pattern Beta 1, Tactical Team 1
Lieutenant Engineering- Directed Energy Modulation 1, Engineering Team 1
Lieutenant Science- Hazard Emitters 2, Polarize Hull Plating 1
Ensign Tactical- Torpedo Spread 1
With this build, your best tactic is to approach while cloaked. Trigger your high yield torpedo and Dispersal Pattern before you attack, so that it’s cool down is almost ready. Then, just before you decloak activate your Attack Patterns, Cannon Rapid Fire DEM and Polarize Hull so that you unload with everything as soon as you are visible. Make a pass firing everything, dropping your mines shortly before you flying past. You want to time it so that they deploy, and activate while the target’s shield you just decimated is facing them.
STO: The Tank
STO: The Healer
STO: The Damage Dealer
STO: Crowd Control