Many space-RPG games have tried many different formulas for space-combat. Games like Eve: Online and Star Wars: Galaxies have their own versions of space combat and missions. Star Trek Online has taken a completely different view on space combat.
Space combat in STO is much slower than what the majority of us are used to. It is more similar to that of Sid Meier’s Pirates than X-Wing Versus Tie Fighter. As the staff at Cryptic Studios would say, it is modeled after “tall ships” combat. Given that it is slower, the majority of the combat takes a more strategic approach. With Koinqq you get multiple strategies that are going to help you with your gaming experience.
The first thing to be discussed about space combat is power management. There are four systems in which you can apply power to in Star Trek Online: Weapons, Shields, Engines, and Auxiliary. Increasing power to weapons will increase the damage you deal. Increasing power to shields will decrease the amount of damage you take. Obviously, increasing power to engines will increase speed and increasing Auxiliary power will increase the rate of damage repair.
There are presets that allow you to change power levels but even with the presets, it still takes time to reallocate power to the different systems. Ergo, a little planning goes a long way when going into battle, especially when battling multiple bogeys.
Weapon Types and Slots
The general consensus from Cryptic staff and Beta testers, energy weapons are best for taking down shields, following up with a salvo of torpedoes to do massive damage to an enemy’s hull. When starting out with your light cruiser, you have two forward weapon slots and one aft weapon slot. Typically, most people I have talked to have been putting one phaser bank both fore and aft while keeping a torpedo launcher in the second forward slot. The layout of your weapons will determine your attack strategy.
Phasers have a 75% arc rotation. This means a phaser bank on the forward weapon slot can hit anywhere from extreme port, going foreward, and extreme starboard. Most players like the phaser layout of “one forward and one aft” because when they face an opponent broadside, they can hit their target with both phasers.
Torpedoes have (as expected) a smaller firing axis. For this reason, most people like to have a torpedo bank forward. Many people prefer to encircle their opponent with their broadside exposed so that they can inflict maximum phaser damage. After the shields are down, they swoop in for the torpedo-loaded kill.
Shields are divided into four sections: fore and aft, port and starboard. Each of these shields is independent in the sense that you can have your forward shields up and your aft shields dropped. It is because of this that when one of your shields are getting low, it is prudent to change your orientation with respect to the bogey which is firing on you.
There are rumors about disposable, one-time use items for shield boosts and other such things.
There are many different ways to fight and that will be determined by a number of factors such as what type of ships you fly, how many enemy ships are in the vicinity, what special abilities you have, and how you have laid your weapons out. There are pros and cons to every strategy. I read one beta journal, describing an all-phaser approach to fighting where he would simply pound away at an opponent’s shields while maintaining a decent amount of distance between his ship and the enemy.
This strategy could be even more effective by increasing weapon and shield power, sacrificing engines and auxiliary. However, this strategy would be dangerous to use in the presence of two or more bogeys.
Another strategy that I have considered is using the forward weapon slots for phaser and the aft slot for a torpedo launcher. This is a hit-and-run strategy in where weapons and engines are the most important thing to have as much power as possible invested. Close the distance to enemy ship while pounding one side of their shields with phaser fire. As their shields start to collapse, begin banking to pull a U-Turn. Once their shield is down, your aft end should be facing them allowing you to fire a torpedo at relatively close range causing considerable damage.
Again, this would not be an incredibly useful tactic against multiple foes on multiple attack vectors but try it out and see how you like it.
Star Trek Online is a new game with a lot of promise. The potential for this game is limitless and so are the battle strategies for space combat. The best advice I can offer to anyone who is looking to playing this game once the Beta is over is to experiment. Try out different strategies and weapon layouts. Find your style in the game and build your ship to your style.