I have touched on torpedoes before (see ‘quick to nerf’) , but I think it’s time to have another look. Many more torpedoes have been introduced and some are pretty damn cool! So on this Cinco de Mayo, we go all in on ‘el torpedo’.
There are many options in STO for torpedoes. In general there are five basic torpedo types and all five have similar functionality. Shown is the base DPV (Yield), DOT, DPS and reload time of Mk XII common varieties.
- Photon Torpedo (2980) (0) (458) (6)
- Quantum Torpedo (3313) (0) (390) (8)
- Plasma Torpedo (2338) (187) (275) (8)
- Transphasic Torpedo (2155) (0) (205) (10)
- Chroniton Torpedo (2551) (0) (241) (10)
These five basic types of torpedoes each offer a little different effect but they all work essentially the same. Photons are the fastest reloading torpedoes and have the second highest yield and highest base DPS. Quantums have the highest yield and the second highest base DPS. Plasma torpedoes have the fourth highest yield but do additional damage over time in the form of shield ignoring plasma fires. This brings the total yield closer to the chroniton range but well short of photon. Plasma and Quantum torpedoes have an 8 second reload vs. 6 seconds for photons. Transphasic torpedoes have the lowest yield of the five, but offer the special ability to “phase” through the shields doing a bonus 40% shield penetration. The math is a bit wonky but instead of the more standard 10% or 5% “bleed through depending on the shield type transphasic torpedoes will bleed through at 46% or 43% (against resilient shields). These can be effective against a highly shielded ship with a weak hull such as science ships. Chroniton torpedoes have the third highest yield but less DPS than plasma as they have no lingering DOT and a longer reload. Their special feature is a 33% chance to slow the target. When using these with ‘spread’ you will nearly always trigger the speed and turn rate debuff.
The most powerful of the basic five torpedo types depends on how you define powerful. essentially it comes down to two, Quantum Torpedoes have the highest yield of the five standard types, but Photon Torpedoes have the highest DPS as they are a little lower yield but reload faster. It should be noted that the DPV is sometime better as this is the actual impact damage, The DPS is based on the reload time. Torpedoes are not a weapon designed for continuous sustained damage so Quantums tend to hold an edge for some players.
These torpedoes can be used with BOFF abilities such as High Yield and Torpedo Spread. Torpedo spread will create several groups of torpedos that will lock on to multiple enemies and deliver a powerful AOE damage. The five basic classes of torpedoes will respond the same under ‘spread’ with the exception of how many torpedoes are in each group. The group size and max targets is dictated by the level of the BOFF ability. Quantum torpedoes due to their high yield send a reduced number of torpedoes versus the other types.
High yield produces two projectiles that lock onto your target and hit with a powerful upgraded amount of force. This is direct targeted damage rather than AOE damage. There is a significant difference in how Plasma torpedoes are effected when using the High Yield ability. The plasma torpedo under High Yield becomes a ‘Heavy Torpedo’. it is a single slow-moving targetable projectile that does substantially more damage when it hits but can be shot down or pushed away by various effects such as tractor beam repulsors, etc. The plasma high yield is also dangerous as it can damage the attacker as well as the enemy.
The important thing to remember about nearly all torpedoes, is that the base damage is Kinetic. Shields are very effective against kinetic damage. Essentially only 25% of torpedo damage is applied against shields. So a torpedo attack that delivers 3000 damage looks like this against a standard shield facing. Shield takes 90% and 10% “bleeds” through, so 2700 to shield, 300 to hull. The shield shrugs off 75% of kinetic damage so only 675 is applied to shields and then all the shields resistances and buffs, etc. further diminish the damage to the shield. The bleed through 300 points of damage then faces what ever hull resistances are in place based on consoles, and the toon’s resists and buffs. With the exception of transphasic torpedoes shields are going to essentially neuter your epic alpha torpedo attack. That same scenario with transphasic looks like this. 3000 damage, 1620 to shields with only 25% as damaging to shields thus 405 damage to shields (minus the aforementioned additional buffs and resistances). 1380 bleeds through the hull where the ships innate resistances and buffs continue to erode the damage. None the less transphasic torpedoes are highly effective against shielded targets. Plasma torpedoes also offer some shield penetration in the sense that the DOT plasma fires ignore shields.
The best approach for torpedoes is to use energy weapons and shield drain tactics against the shields and try to hit the ship’s exposed hull with a face load of evil kinetic damage. Even though most ship’s hulls will have around 50% resistance based on the character’s setup or NPCs default, having the shield down exposes the hull to the full effect of the torpedo’s yield; those yield numbers are pretty scary! A Mk XIV quantum torpedo has a base damage in common form of over 5000 DPV. With a typical captain’s buffs that will swell to well over 10,000. Send a high yield version with the high yield BOFF ability and 20,000 plus damage is pretty easy with a common grade torpedo, seriously VERY easy. You nail an exposed hull with 20-30k damage and even a highly resistant ship’s captain is gonna say “OUCH”.
There are a number of specialty torpedoes some of which utilize one of the five basic types and a few that use a different type of energy output. Two of the oldest specialty torpedoes in STO are the Tricolbalt and Hargh’peng torpedoes. The tricobalt torpedo is the ‘nuclear option’. This thing hits hard, rhinoceros hard. The base damage of a Mk XII common grade tricobalt is 14,300 which makes a comparable quantum at 3313, seem like a love tap. The 30 second recharge time keeps the DPS relatively low at 238. Tricobalt torpedoes are further nerfed in that they are always targetable. When using them with BOFF abilities they are nerfed again; spread will limit a max of one torpedo per target up to a total of four if using Torpedo Spread III. High Yield will create a more powerful version that moves even slower. The high yield does have a chance to create an anomaly that will disable all nearby ships.
The Hargh’peng is received during the doomsday machine mission. This thing kicks the shit out of that Doomsday Machine with a base 10,000 point bonus damage against it. It’s doomsday Kryptonite. It is less desirable against other enemies despite having a little more base kinetic punch than a comparable Quantum. The torpedo is not affected at all by the BOFF abilities HY and TS. There is no damage type console buff for it either (I think a generic torpedo buff console will work however). It is further nerfed with a long 15 second reload time. It does offer a powerful dot radiation damage that ignores shields and is stronger than a plasma fire. If the enemy does not remove the radiation effect with Hazard Emitters or similar debuff, it will create a shield ignoring secondary explosion after 15 seconds. This torpedo not only looks cool when it is fired with a purple comet appearance, but it could be a good choice on a ship that has very limited tactical seating. Without the need for torpedo buffs the tac officer can utilize other effective abilities while getting a lot of power out of the unaided torpedo.
There are at least 20 other specialty torpedoes that are mostly base derivatives of one of the five basic torpedo types. A few that stand out are the Plasmatic Biomatter (plasma)and Crystaline Antiproton torpedoes both of which use a specific energy for damage rather than kinetic which is unusual. This allows the torpedoes to hit ships just as energy weapons do and avoiding the shield’s 75% kinetic resistance.
The Gravimetric Photon launcher is part of the Protonic set in the Dyson reputation. It offers photon torpedoes with an extra 33% chance to open a gravimetric rift that pulls very nearby ships towards it and does damage.
The Terran Torpedo launcher utilizes photon technology to produce a powerful yield. It also enjoys an increase in damage as the enemy’s hull is damaged. At 25% hull the torpedo is yielding double damage! I wrote about the matching Terran energy weapons here. The torpedo also has a 33% chance to apply a stack of withering radiation that lasts 60 seconds. Up to five stacks can be applied simultaneously
The Resonant transphasic launcher is part of the ordnance set offered in the “Blood of the Ancients” mission. Completing the mission three times is required to get all three pieces. This is a transphasic launcher that has a 33% chance to disperse a disruption wave over 2km that does physical damage.
The Omega Torpedo launcher has the highest torpedo DPS in the game. It loads 5 at a time and can fires them once per second then there is a few seconds delay and the five are loaded again. With proper DOFF setup it can effectively crank out one torpedo every second indefinitely. You always have a torpedo ready when you need to use spread or high yield, never waiting on reload
The Romulan Hyper-Plasma is another outstanding unit. This sends a triplet of torpedoes with every launch and it reloads faster than a regular plasma launcher. The three are slightly weaker torpedoes and they are targetable. Using high yield sends three heavy plasma torpedoes and spread send groups of three to multiple targets. The down side to this torpedo launch machine is that the torpedoes can damage the attacker. Careful😉 I sometimes mount this on the rear so I am moving away from the torpedoes and avoid taking damage.
The Advanced Radiant is part of the Radiant armaments reputation set and the standard versions are available in the reputation store for dilithium. These are Quantum units that offer a 33% chance to add 1000 stackable temporary hit points (15 seconds). The advanced version also has a 33% chance to chain up to two additional targets in a 5km sphere with shield ignoring radiation damage. These advanced radiant and standard radiant torpedoes can be a benefit to ships with either weak shields or hull by routinely triggering a temporary hull point boost!
Then there is the Neutronic launcher that is part of the Delta Alliance ordnance set. This thing is quantum strong and offers a 3 km sphere of radiation damage that also knocks all enemies power levels by 25 points and reduces power transfer rates by 17% for 6 seconds. It is slightly nerfed with a slower 15 second reload and reduced torpedo spread volume. This is probably the ballsiest launcher in the game. Its ability to crush the soul of your enemies is notably fantastic. The big radiation sphere lets the other enemies in the area know, they’re next.
There is one torpedo that I really wish they would offer as a rare or very rare. The Herald transphasic torpedo launcher comes as standard common Mk X equipment on any Herald ship. It could be such a boss unit if it were upgradeable or if it were offered in a very rare variety and a higher mark level. I still use it on my Herald Baltim Heavy Raider. It has a 25% proc that gain 7% energy weapon damage for 20 seconds with up to 3 stacks available. If you fire a torpedo spread into the maximum number of ships you will almost certainly get all three stacks right away. 21% bonus damage for 20 seconds. Oh that could have been such a boss unit.
OK take the poll, what’s your fav? I like the Omega, Hyper and Neutronic the best.