The Wonderful World of Warp Cores

Last year when STO launched the Legacy of Romulus game update they added the ability to swap out a ship’s warp core. Now captains have an additional ability to tailor their ship for a specific play style.

Warp cores come in four basic varieties and the standard rarity levels of other in-game equipment. As you all likely know, the Romulans use a warp core based on a singularity power source and all the others use an anti-matter reactor for power. The anti-matter types of cores feature an engineering based design while the singularity cores are science based. All of the basic cores feature the same varieties which are as follows:

  • Standard
  • Hyper
  • Overcharged
  • Field Stabilizing

Standard cores are what comes “standard” on new ships. They do not offer the extra passive boost to maximum power like the other three categories do. Hyper cores offer a boost in max power to the engines. Overcharged offers a maximum boost in weapons power and Field Stabilizing offers a max boost to shield power. In each case the max is raised from 125 to 130. In addition there are a number of passive and active abilities available to various warp cores and depending on rarity there can be as many as four modifiers. I won’t go over all the possible modifiers because the list is extensive but things like a 7.5% of weapon power boost to auxiliary power are common. This feature and the others like it offer a boost to a power source equal to 7.5% of the current power level in another system. This does not come at the expense of the primary system, it is a BONUS boost to the secondary system.

I prefer to take a boost from weapons power to another system since weapons are usually charged up high when in combat, regardless of your career path. Captains geared to tanking may choose taking the boost from auxiliary or shields. You want to take the boost from the system that will have the highest power levels when in combat, that makes the boost as big as possible.

elite-fleet-coreThere are also special warp cores, crafted warp cores and fleet warp cores. The fleet cores are ultra rare and offer amazing bonuses. The crafted cores are different in that they offer either a 15% power drain resistance buff or a 100% power regeneration buff.

Take a look at this fleet elite warp core I have loaded on my Fleet Tactical Escort Retrofit. This warp core adds a tremendous amount of power to any ship. The reason I like the W-S or W-A is because my weapons on this ship in attack mode routinely cap the 125. So I am getting a +10 boost to shields on top of the standard 7.5 boost. Coupled with all the other gear on that ship the static combat ready power levels are 125 W, 85 S, 60 E, and 80 A. I get an extra damage boost of 9.9% because I have 3 power systems in +75!

obeliskThere is another core that I like and you can get it for FREE! The Obelisk Subspace Rift Warp Core. This core is acquired as a prize for completing the mission, “Sphere of Influence”. You can repeat this mission as many times as you want. First time through will take 45 minutes to an hour. Subsequent trips can be done in less than 30 minutes. The mission will reward either the warp core or the omnidirectional anti-proton beam array. You definitely want that too. If you ever decide to purchase the Advanced Obelisk Carrier for 800 Lobi or a bunch of credits on the exchange, you can get the third piece of the “Ancient Technology Set”. The first two pieces are free and together they create a 10% boost in all anti-proton damage! I have a dozen sets of these! This Obelisk core is heavy on science. With plus ten to max auxiliary you can run auxiliary power at 135. This could be great for stealth fanatics! It is also handy for many buffs and science attacks that use auxillary power.

There are dozens of different warp core and singularity cores to consider and believe me when I say the right one can make a very noticeable difference in survivability, or damage output or even a little of both! Warp cores are beginning to become available in the reputation system as well. The Counter Command has a powerful warp core as part of its four piece space set.

Don’t overlook the importance of a good warp core. This is the heart of your ship!

 

Tactical Captains and Battle Cruisers

I have written about Tactical Captains in Cruisers (Click here). But what about battle cruisers? STO began with battle cruisers being the exclusive for the KDF. After all, Klingons are warriors and they aren’t flying around the galaxy looking for quantum anomalies. The closest thing that Starfleet had to a battle cruiser prior to the Legacy of Romulus update was the Advanced Heavy Cruiser Retrofit (Excelsior). This ship had a nice 8 degree turn rate and stout cruiser tanking. It still was not the match for a KDF battle cruiser in terms of offensive power. The battle cruiser class gives up some tanking in exchange for firepower and damage output.

The Breen Chel Grett (I wrote about this here) was the best battle cruiser a feddie could fly until the launch of the Avenger last fall. This brought the first true battle cruiser to Starfleet. Tactical captains are generally well suited to escort ships. Battle cruisers however seem to be a great fit as well. My top toon is Admiral Sager and he is a tactical officer with just about every perk available in the game. I really enjoy flying battle cruisers with him. My top KDF toon is Roddicka and she flies raiders, raptors and battle cruisers with equal tenacity.

Lately, Admiral Sager has been completing the daily Crystalline Entity missions in his Fleet Avenger battle cruiser. I feel like he could take that shard slinging SOB down by himself in that ship! Well, without the swarming hordes of Tholians of course ;) Even the absorpsion blasts don’t phase the Admiral in his Fleet Avenger. He can go toe to toe until that beast is crystalline dust. I think I have a pretty good build on that one.

avenger

The Admiral’s Fleet Avenger is generally setup like shown above. It has all anti-proton weapons. It is one of my hybrid cannon/beam setups. Two beam arrays in the back including the omnidirectional obelisk unit which is outstanding. This Avenger has 65k hull and 16,300 per shield facing. It can really take a beating. I do wish these Avengers could turn at 10 or 11 instead of 9 degrees, but I really do feel this ship is great under the command of a tactical captain. This ship is equipped with mostly fleet grade weapons and consoles so it is well stacked.

stations

This ship is so tough that I am able to utilize the universal Lieutenant station with a tactical officer and still tank like NORAD’s underground bunker. This toon has over twenty BOFFs including eight tactical officers. I can really customize the BOFF setup on this Avenger for any mission set.

power

Static power levels for combat without any temporary boosts are impressive due to a combination of passive bonuses from Accolades, DOFFs, Equipment and the Admiral’s abilities.

I have given a fair amount of thought to the notion of an ideal one character one ship setup and a tactical captain in a battle cruiser is a solid contender for best all round one-off. Many people who play Star Trek Online spend unholy hordes of real world cash buying ships and special packages. I am included among these borderline psychotic players ;) But many people want to enjoy the F2P aspect and I have a few characters myself that I have built with minimal Zen.

People looking to get the fullest experience with as little out-of-pocket expenses and maybe even minimal grinding should strongly consider playing a tactical captain and ending up in a battle cruiser. If you want to play KDF this is easy since Chancellor J’mpok will offer ships up to level 40 at no charge. Included at each tier is a very respectable battle cruiser. The KDF is the ideal faction for building a battle cruiser captain. The Romulans have a strange ship selection, however Romulans can choose to align with the KDF and then have access to all those KDF battle cruisers. That said, if I am playing a Romulan I really want to fly those Rommy ships :D

For the feds, things are bit dicey playing a tactical captain in a battle cruiser. At tier two Admiral Quinn’s token buys you a limited selection. For tac captains it is really either the Cruiser or Escort. Tier two cruisers don’t offer much in tactical seating, just a single Ensign chair. Eeck! Maybe taking the escort here is wise since it is actually a kick ass little ship that turns on a dime and struts around like a rooster in a hen-house with those three weapons bays up front. At tier 3 the heavy cruiser turns decent at 8 degrees/sec and upgrades the tactical seat to a LT. You could also choose to drop some Zen and get the Advanced Heavy Cruiser. You can make like Sulu in the Excelsior! So far decent setups and all are free, compliments of Starfleet. Tier 4 becomes a problem as the cruiser at this level is big and slow on the corner. The Tactical Escort might be a good choice here but if you have built your captain for battle cruisers this tier will suck. It is only ten levels, it will go fast ;) Just do a bunch of patrol missions and get to Rear Admiral pronto.

It is here at level forty that a Federation Tactical Captain can really start playing the battle cruiser role. The Breen Chel Grett has been available the last two years during Q’s Winter Event. This is a fabulous battle cruiser type ship with near escort turning ability and solid tanking. There is also the Assault Cruiser that can be acquired with Admiral Quinn’s final token. The Mirror Universe Heavy Cruiser Retrofit is also easily attainable for very little coin on the exchange. These two ships are not really battle cruisers but they are pretty decent turning and tend to have stronger hulls.

Any person planning on playing STO as a one character only player will spend far more time at the end game than getting to level 50 (or soon 60). So building your character to perform well at level 50 and beyond is the best bet. Based on my experience with my nine STO toons, I think the following (In no particular order) are the best all round “one toon for all” end game setups for tactical captains in a battle cruiser.

chart

OK, time to get back out there and finish the Crystalline Castastrophe Special Event :)

 

 

 

Delta Rising Next Month!

Cryptic is planning another major expansion of the game that promises to be nearly as epic as the Legacy of Romulus expansion was a little more than a year ago. There is also suggestions that a plethora of new content will stream onto the Holodeck server at least through the Anniversary event in February.

The two biggest changes appear to be the increase in level cap to 60 allowing for players to ultimately make full Admiral or “Fleet Admiral”. Along with this increased level will be a new Tier 6 for ships. The a preview of the first eight ships has been released in a Cryptic banner ad on the launcher. The ad announces the new Delta Pack which is available now for purchase for 12,500 Zen or US $125.00. The Delta pack shows a preview of the eight ships and some super cool new BOFFs and DOFFs. Of course buying the pack now still requires you to wait until the launch of Delta Rising to use the goodies. I will be thinking about it over the next couple of weeks. Below is a list of the upcoming tier 6 ships.

fed kdf-rom

Assuming the ships are worth 3,000 Zen each means the Delta Pack is a sweet deal. That is, if you want all eight ships. I am not sure how many characters I will be able to push out to 60 and thus do I have a realistic need for all eight tier 6 ships.

So far the word on the street is that tier 5 ships will still be good enough for all but the most challenging level 60 content. Cryptic has indicated that players will be able to upgrade their tier 5 ships through the use of tokens available for purchase in the C-store. This will save players the frustration of having a bunch of useless 2,500 zen ships in the hangar.  They have also indicated that upgrading LOBI store ships may be at no charge. No price for the tokens has been announced, but rumors suggest pricing in the 500 to 1000 Zen range. The upgrade will not make the old tier 5 ship quite as good as the new tier 6 but should be enough to be competitive in any of the new and more difficult content coming in Delta Rising.

Tim Russ will be reprising his role from season 8 as commander of Voyager and Garret Wang will be Captain Kim of the USS Rhode Island. Hey look a promotion! There is also going to be voice roles with Jeri Ryan (7 of Nine), Ethan Phillips (Neelix) and Robert Picardo (The Doctor).

There is quite a lot more coming with specialists and ship traits. The ships will level up with the character between 50-60. New Mark XIII and XIV gear has been announced as well. There is so much new stuff, so get ready!

The latest I have heard is that the ability to command multiple ships under the Fleet Admiral has been nixed. :( But that aside, this expansion should be a very exciting opportunity for us all. OK, Time to get online and pick up a Crystal Shard…