The Casual Player’s Guide to Performing in Delta Rising

The Casual Player’s Guide to Delta Rising

Delta Rising, the second expansion to Star Trek Online, introduced a slew of changes. The level-cap increase from 50 to 60, Tier 6 Ships, MK 14 gear, and harder queues have really changed the pace of gameplay. Unfortunately for more casual players, the progression has left some of us feeling as if we’re stuck at level 20 while only the hard-core players are truly max-level. So we’re starting a Command School series to help you refocus your attention on your Skills and Gear and – ultimately – help you to feel confident when joining missions like the new Advanced and Elite Queues.

Let’s be honest with each other here…. Yes, this is going to be about increasing your DPS (or “Damage Per Second”) output — in part — but you don’t need to be a tactical Captain in a Scimitar to bring your game-play to the next level. Don’t lose sight of science abilities like the ever popular Gravity Well or Viral Matrix to help debuff those enemies while still being able to dish out some serious damage.

First, you should familiarize yourself with parsing. With just a single command in the chat window, Star Trek Online will begin to log your combats. It will record your weapons fire, your incoming damage, your accuracy, and much more. Unfortunately, this text file is impossible to sift through without the help of a third-party program. Right now, the defacto Combat Log Reader is one built in Java by Lea@omegashoker. A few others are hovering around, and you can always visit our original How-To-Parse video on YouTube.  This is useful even if you aren’t trying to set DPS records as you can see things like what % of your weapons fire hits (if it’s low maybe you need more Accuracy, for example).

Prior to Delta Rising, there were players already pushing DPS beyond 30,000.  Regardless, to be a contributing player in things like Borg STFs – prior to Delta Rising – players were fine as long as they were doing above three to five thousand. However, with the queue revamps in Delta Rising, players should really be aiming to perform closer to an average of 10,000 DPS or better.

This guide is not intended to thoroughly min-max your character or get you to 30k+. This guide is designed to give you a foundation that will help you set new goals, revisit your Captain Skills, and help you progress to a new level of gameplay required of Delta Rising content. Cryptic Developers weren’t kidding when they said you’d want MK 14 gear to participate in Elite Queues.  But… what gear should you consider worth upgrading?!  We’ll get into that eventually too.

Let’s first start with your Captain’s Skills — the very core of your success. Consider these skills like the structural frame of your home. If you reinforce one corner of the house, but not the other… your house might come crashing down. Same principle with your Captain’s Skills…   If you don’t pay close attention and just start throwing points in skills without reading the tool-tips, you’ll find that you’re just not going to perform as well as if you just focused your talents.

Here is a link to a build by @SarcasmDetector. He is not only a consistently high performing Captain but, also someone who has spent countless hours helping others (including Priority One Podcast) with our builds.  Let’s decompile these skills section by section…

CAPTAIN SKILLS

— Tactical Systems —

First, take note that this build invest points strictly in Starship Energy Weapons and does not share points with Projectiles. Now, for many of you, not loading torpedoes on your starship breaks the immersion of being a Starfleet Captain. Unfortunately, if you want the most return on investment when spending skill-points, you really should consider choosing one or the other. If you must have a torpedo on your ship, try sacrificing only one weapon slot. However, be aware that you will also sacrifice up to 5,000 DPS by doing so.

Captain Secrets…But, you’re running a ship that can cloak… Why shouldn’t you invest in Starship Stealth?! Your actual cloaking device grants you enough stealth to give you a nearly perfect cloak vs NPCs. Investing points into stealth is generally considered overkill and would not provide you any return on your investment. Furthermore, since Starfleet Cloaks are not Battle-cloaks, they are not often very useful in PvE queue content or nearly any content for that matter. They are mostly just a novelty that can be used during solo missions for fun or on your initial attack for the Ambush bonus to damage.
NOTE:

  • Energy weapons deal moderate but equal amounts of damage to shields and hull. Projectiles deal high kinetic damage but only shine when direct contact to hull is made when an enemies shields are down. Just remember an action sequence from Star Trek… when shields were down, a torpedo would devastate a ship. With shields up, torpedoes can be absorbed. If Kirk wanted the Reliant’s shields down in Wrath of Khan — so should you (if you’re using projectiles).
  • Don’t take points away from Starship Energy Weapons under the assumption that it will balance out DPS between the two weapons types. Focus is the key to performance in STO and splitting your points will lead to splitting your Bridge Officer powers, Consoles and Duty Officers as well, leading to a very inefficient build for queues.  Remember that non-queue content is much easier so if you want to switch to a more canon loadout after a challenging team mission it’s not necessary to be heavily specced into it.
TERMS:You will hear the terms “Beam Boats” or “Torpedo Boats” thrown around. In either case, that Captain has focused their skills on either Energy Weapons or Projectiles.

— Engineering Systems —

Impulse thrusters are maxed for the best possible speed and turn rate.  While great for the typical escort captain of course, this also helps heavier ships maneuver effectively to complete objectives.  Electro-Plasma Systems helps your weapons power recharge faster from the energy drain of firing multiple energy weapons, increasing DPS.  By investing points in skills like Starship Electro-Plasma Systems & Warp Core Potential, you will see the most return on investment when using powers like Emergency Power to Shields (EPtS), Weapons (EPtW), etc.

One would think – by the description – that Driver Coil only affects your speed when traveling in Sector Space. However, that is not the case. Driver Coil increases the speed-bonus of the abilities [Evasive Maneuvers] and [Attack Pattern Omega].

Starship Flow Capacitors! Why on earth would anyone other than a Science Captain want to invest points in this skill? Well, it is because of a Universal Console that can benefit every ship called – Plasmonic Leech. This console uses your energy weapons to drain power from your target and transfers that power to you, boosting ALL your subsystems! Don’t have it? Do whatever you can to get it! You can find it selling in the exchange or the Tal Shiar Lockbox if you are a Federation player and on the Nausicaan Vandal Destroyer if you are KDF.Starship Shield Emitters & Starship Shield Systems are important. When it comes to defense in queues, you’ll find it can be very challenging to keep your shields up against Advanced and Elite foes if you start taking fire. Just think back to TNG episodes where the Enterprise came under heavy fire — shield capacity sometimes dropped in no time even on the flagships of the fleet, and having shields down was potentially catastrophic.  The longer your shields stay up, the longer you’ll stay alive.

— Ground Skills —

We’re not going to spend too much time on this right now. Many players (like Cookie!) have two characters, one for Ground combat and another for Space combat.  If you’re more like Jayce and mostly focus on one character, the above distribution of skills will certainly help keep a Tactical captain afloat on the ground.

SUMMARY

You’ll notice that the skill layout above leaves you with 51,000 remaining points. This is for you to experiment with. For example, you may want to invest points in a skill like Starship Particle Generators if you are piloting a ship that can support the Bridge Officer Ability “Gravity Well.” However, here is a list of Captain Skills you will want to avoid if you are working with this guide:

  • Starship Stealth
  • Starship Projectile Weapons
  • Starship Projectile Weapon Specialization
  • Starship Subsystem Repair
  • Starship Power Insulators
  • Starship Inertial Dampeners
  • Starship Sensors
  • Starship Countermeasure Systems
  • Starship Subspace Decompiler

Otherwise feel free to tinker with either of the two points arrays we’ve included!  Obviously a Torpedo-focused build, someone who does more PVP, and certain types of Science ships will use some of these skills but they are beyond our scope for now.

PERSONAL TRAITS

Barring potentially very expensive Lockbox traits from Genetic Resequencers, fill up on your Space Traits. More importantly, don’t go half-space/half-ground! Take the time to switch when going from space combat to ground combat!  Reaching level 15 in Beam crafting will grant you Beam Barrage. Level 15 in the Science School will grant you Particle Manipulator. Both are worth having. Engineers would find it hard to resist Grace Under Fire; which is available at Level 15 in Engineering School. Inspirational Leader from the Elachi Lockbox is fantastic though, again, often very expensive.  Fluidic Cocoon, Biotech Patch, Pattern Recognition and Intense Focus all have lots of potential depending how much EC you have or how lucky you’ve been pulling Genetic Resequencers from Lockboxes!

If you’re a Romulan, enjoy your Romulan Operative trait! Otherwise, unless you are an Alien, Bolian or a Liberated Borg your captains will be limited in which space traits they have access to naturally.  Aliens get one additional slot in lieu of a racial trait which many find advantageous (though several races like Joined Trill and Nausicaans do get Space bonuses as part of their racial attributes).

CONSOLES

Below are some must have consoles for ANY ship:

Captain Secrets…Generally, you want to slot consoles that improve your Critical Chance and Severity. Learn more about “Critical Damage” here.

WEAPONS

No, no to Rainbows!

That’s right! The general rule is to stick with one Energy Weapon type at time. Avoid mixing Phasers with Disruptors or Plasmas with Antiprotons. Generally, the “‘ol faithful” of energy types is Antiproton. This is because of their bonus to Critical Severity. Nevertheless, feel free to explore any energy type, so long as you stick to one at a time and use matching Consoles – Tactical – Vulnerability Locator.

Dual Heavy Cannons vs Beams vs Dual Beam Banks

At the time of this writing Beams are the way to go. Ideally, Dual Beam Banks although they require better piloting strategy than Beam Arrays. Here is an explanation from user @jarvisandalfred, a moderator of reddit’s r/STObuilds. “Thanks to game mechanics such as how [weapons power] over-capping interacts with beam-type weapons and non cannon-type weapons, damage fall-off over distance, and the fact that [Fire At Will] is an Ensign [and] Lt. Commander ability, while [Cannon Scatter Volley] is a Lieutenant and Commander ability.”

In other words, Fire at Will (FAW) I & II can be loaded together on more ships than Cannon Scatter Volley (CSV) I & II. Additionally, a weapon’s effectiveness against an enemy drops the farther you are from the target. Cannons, you must stay close or lose most of your damage. Beams, you can get away with some distance when necessary.

If you must have a torpedo, some ships have a “spare” Bridge Officer station to support an ability like Torpedo Spread. The [SHIP NAME] is a good example.

NOTE:There are some ships in the game that you are going to want to use a specific energy weapon type. For instance: You are going to want to use phasers on something like the Fleet Patrol Escort Refit (the Tempest) because of the “Rail-Gun” weapon. The Chimera (a Veteran Ship) also has a unique phaser weapon. Therefore, you want to use phasers and phaser enhancing consoles as well.

BRIDGE OFFICERS

There are dozens of Bridge Officer abilities and hundreds of ships to chose from. There are even more combinations of Bridge Officer seatings and their associated powers. However, below is a breakdown of must have abilities where applicable (in pairs where possible,  though sometimes Duty Officers can reduce that need):

  • Attack Pattern Omega
  • Attack Pattern Beta
  • Tactical Team
  • Fire At Will or Surgical Strikes
  • Hazard Emitters
  • Emergency Power to Weapons
  • Directed Energy Modulation
  • Override Subsystem Safeties

Here are some Bridge Officer Abilities you can live without in the type of builds discussed here:

  • Attack Pattern Delta
  • Target -X- Subsystems
  • Boarding Party
  • Dispersal Patterns
  • Torpedo abilities
  • Eject Warp Plasma
  • Aceton Beam
  • Mask Energy Signature

Additionally, you’re going to want a certain species of Bridge Officers. Unfortunately, this might also break your immersion. In an ideal setup a Federation Captain might have a human with Leadership, a Nausicaan via Diplomacy with Pirate, and a Hierarchy with Pirate and Efficient two Male (Blue Quality) Superior Romulan Operatives from your Fleet Embassy.  KDF can stack more Pirates and Romulans more Operatives.

DUTY OFFICERS

Technicians are a must have if you want to try an Aux to Batt build, using Auxiliary Power to the Emergency Batteries to not only dump Aux power into your other subsystems but also, due to the Technicians’ ability, reducing the cooldown times on all of your Bridge Officer abilities.  Support Colonization Efforts in the B’tran Cluster will get you Very Rare quality Liberated Borg Technicians on a crit, and a Benzite one is available from your homeworld Recruiting contact at Engineering 4.  You’ll want 3 if you go this route.

For those who have the Delta Operations Pack, Agent Nerul has a useful defensive ability, healing hull damage to your ship every time you fire weapons.

Hamlet and some other Conn Officers can reduce the cooldown time on Tactical Team, allowing you to only run one copy of the power but still maximize uptime.  Two VRs usually works well.

Zemok Jenro (Fed)/Rugal Ghenro(KDF) reduce the cooldown of Attack Patterns Beta, Delta and Omega by 15%, which is excellent but these two are usually very expensive.

Space Warfare Specialists give +10% damage vs. specific races, whether Voth, Borg, Undine, etc.  Highly useful to swap in before a run where you know who you’ll be fighting.

Marion Frances Dulmur is usually too pricey to be worth his effect, but if you have one he is great to use with Directed Energy Modulation as he’ll reduce the power drain of your weapons for 8 seconds anytime you use DEM.

Warp Core Engineers have an ability that boosts all subsystem power levels anytime you use an Emergency Power to X ability, which are staple powers.

Damage Control Engineers can reduce the cooldown on your EPtX abilities, allowing you with 2 or 3 of these DOffs to run just one copy of each EPtX desired.

STARSHIP TRAITS

— FEDERATION — — ROMULANS
All Hands on Deck – Captains recharge 5% Sci abilities 10% on use of TacBoff(He, TSS)
Supremacy    +20 All subsystem power
Reciprocity – Tactical Bridge Officer reduction on miss Tactical Retreat
  • Desperate repairs – burst heal
  • Battle Ready – defense bonus
  • Pedal to the Metal – up to 10% bonus Damage all full throttle, mostly for Beam Array builds.
  • Radiant nanite cloud – 25% increased healing effectiveness
  • Pedal to the Metal – up to 10% bonus Damage all full throttle, mostly for Beam Array builds.
  • Warp Shadow Decoy – Warp Shadow on cloaking

Mini-Guide to Episode Gear

Beams: Fluid Dynamics in the Borg Advance storyline offers Antiproton Beam Array Mk X and is repeatable for more (you’ll want 5 for the Breen Sarr Theln Carrier, 7 for the Kobali Samsar Cruiser for example)

Warp Core: Sphere of Influence at the beginning of the Solanae Dyson Sphere storyline can be run twice, once for a 360 degree Antiproton beam for your sixth slot and once for a Warp Core.

(These two form a set for bonus Antiproton damage.)

Deflector, Impulse Engine, Shield Array: A Step Between Stars in the Solanae Dyson Sphere storyline can be run three times for the three set pieces, which are perfectly adequate for beginning high level content.

Devices: You’ll want the Subspace Field Modulator from Skirmish in the Devidian story arc, and some batteries!

Hangars (If appropriate): Just use the pets the ship came with for now! They are decent and it will be costly to get elite pets.

Tactical Consoles: Use cheap Antiproton damage consoles or get Beam damage consoles from either of these missions: Klingon War: Secret Orders or Cardassian Struggle: Suspect

Science Consoles: Reunion in the Delta Quadrant can be run for Field Generator Mk XIIIs

Engineering Consoles: Reunion can be also be run for Neutronium Alloy Consoles, and if you have Universal Consoles to equip you’ll want them here as armor consoles have diminishing returns.

Author Links to Remeber

Special Thanks…

 

 

19 Comments ON " The Casual Player’s Guide to Performing in D... "
  • alt_example

    Marcase March 30, 2015 at 7:07 am - Reply

    Besides the usual parsers, there’s also the very user friendly http://www.sto-dps.tk (which will update itself when S10 goes live).

    Regarding spec points, I have to disagree with putting 9 points in Driver Coil; use no more than 3 if you absolutely want to, because the benefit is marginal (two words – Deuterium surplus) compared to putting the remaining 6 points elsewhere.
    Personally I’d put those 6 in say, Threat control, for the admittedly small bonus in PVE (and even less in PVP, but it’s still a bonus).

    Speaking of, Deuterium Surplus is a good consumable for (starting) players; easy repeatable mission (Alhena) with dili and said Deuterium for that extra boost.

    Good guide, looking fwd to the next chapter 🙂

    • alt_example

      Jayce April 1, 2015 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      Ah, it should have been mentioned that Driver Coils also reduces the power level drain you’ll have as at Full Impulse. Probably more of the reason it was included in that build, though all the stated information is correct. I’ve gone with and without it, YMMV of course. Good call on the Deuterium Surplus, always nice to have.

  • alt_example

    GavinRuneblade April 1, 2015 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Is it just my computer’s formatting or do you only have traits for Fed and Romulans? No love for the KDF?

    Excellent article, I’ll be sending a few friends who are new to the game over to read this one. Thanks!

  • alt_example

    Azurian April 1, 2015 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    I’m disappointed this is all about making a DPS build.

    Star Trek Online use to be the type of game anyone could fly any ship they love with any build and still enjoy the game. But now STO is full of peer pressure where you have to have certain ships, with certain BOFFS and Traits, with certain equipment. All for the sake of D P S.

    • alt_example

      Jayce April 2, 2015 at 8:19 am - Reply

      It’s not as difficult as it’s made out to be hit the basic DPS requirements for some of the Advanced queues. Certainly people have done it in all kinds of interesting and offbeat builds. This article provides templates and some lists of things that are beneficial to players not having success. No one, for almost any content, needs to be doing top tier DPS League numbers. Those guys are playing the game the way they enjoy and anyone else is free to do the same.

      That said, there is no way we could write a guide on “How to Build to Your Unique Playstyle”. By definition that’s something unique and personal. But by learning what works for specific purposes like DPS, you can then make informed choices about what to include and not to include to your personal preference and comfort level.

      I’ve done fine in ISA for example and CCA with a Vaadwaur Astika Battlecruiser built just around its default equipment swapped for purple versions. It has torpedoes fore and aft, a beam array fore and two aft, a single cannon, dual cannon and aft turret. As a result, I have a mix of beam, cannon and torpedo abilities on the ship in an odd configuration. So it can be done, but I’m certainly not going to write that build up in a guide for people to learn from. You have to learn basics first.

      I’ve never played an MMO where there was as vocal a community of players negative towards being good at the “game” meaning the mechanics. It’s much less of a DPS race than people think, and it’s much easier to get a mid-range DPS (which is all virtually all the content needs) than people think. DPS isn’t something evil that people chase after. You needed a certain minimal DPS pre-DR to complete timed objectives in time also. It’s just math — how many hit points does something have vs how much time do you have to finish the match, divided by the number of players. If as a group you aren’t over that number, you can’t do it. Many games have this.

    • alt_example

      GavinRuneblade April 13, 2015 at 4:35 pm - Reply

      There is another way to look at this. Everyone has to do some amount of damage in MMOs. In no MMO can you “heal the bad guy to death” or “emote at them until they win” or even “keep getting hit until the bad guy gives up and lets you win”. However, the more efficiently you can reach the minimum damage needed to progress in the game at a rate you personally find fun, the more equipment and skill slots you have available to do the wacky and different things that are fun.

      You don’t need to do the exact same thing as everyone else. You don’t have to go “ALL DPS OR GO HOME”. But you can be efficient about the damage you need to have, and thus be crazy with the rest of your resources and still contribute to a team.

  • alt_example

    Cookiecupcakes April 1, 2015 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Thanks guys for all the work you put into this, it was actually very helpful to me. I learned a lot!

  • alt_example

    Berthulf April 2, 2015 at 4:52 am - Reply

    Unfortunately, Azurian, the peer pressure is there for a reason. I remember not having to worry too much about forcing a DPS build on my ships, however, Cryptic continue to equate difficulty with making the bad guys harder to kill. This, in turn, forces the player base to push for more dps in order to tackle the higher level PvE queues.

    Please don’t mistake me here, I loathe this method and refuse to play Elite PvE queues as a result, but that choice is for each individual to make. I wish Cryptic had kept their word when they said that difficulty wasn’t going to be restricted to tougher enemies and that they had brought in alternatives (such as better disabling abilities and objectives that don’t purely revolve around killing ‘bad guy’ ships), but they haven’t.

    Also, don’t confuse the peer pressure with condescension or elitism. Most players are happy to advise and do what they can to help each other raise their DPS bars/goals and, whilst this can be overwhelming, these players are just trying to help. I won’t deny there are trolls and bullies in STO (they get everywhere and even Rentakill can’t stop that), but most players aren’t trying to get you down when they push the DPS issue, they’re trying to educate.

  • alt_example

    Hayden Jones April 6, 2015 at 6:13 am - Reply

    I’m reading and using the guide, thanks for your help.

  • alt_example

    Mz April 8, 2015 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Beams: Fluid Dynamics in the Borg Advance storyline offers Antiproton Beam Array Mk X
    the antiproton rewards for ‘Fluid Dynamics’ cap out at mk11 after lv50

    Science Consoles: Reunion in the Delta Quadrant can be run for Field Generator Mk XIIIs
    mk13s only drop on first playthrough, on replays only mk12 drop.

    • alt_example

      Mz April 8, 2015 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      excellent article btw thanks all! 😀

  • alt_example

    GavinRuneblade April 15, 2015 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Virus Dancer posted the below chart you might wish to add to your article. It shows what percentage of your weapon damage you deal based on range from target:

    Range / Beams / Cannons
    0km / 100% / 100%
    1km / 100% / 100%
    2km / 96% / 95%
    3km / 92% / 85.7%
    4km / 88% / 80%
    5km / 84% / 72.5%
    6km / 80% / 65%
    7km / 76% / 57.5%
    8km / 72% / 50%
    9km / 68% / 42.5%
    10km / 64% / 40%

    In other words, if your build is able to deal 20kdps, but you’re at 10km range, you’re only going to do ~13k. And if you are using cannons, only ~8k.

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