Monday, March 15, 2010

Gearing Your Ship for Admiral

You've fought your way through throngs of Klingons, Gorn, Naussicans, Romulans, Cardassians and Jem'Hadar, now your about to begin your assault on the Borg.

But wait.... I still only have Mark VIII ship weapons and consoles, that wont even scratch a cube's hull let alone damage or destroy one.

There is a simple and basic strategy for making sure that you start off in your new Admiral level ship with only the best, full Mark X Weapons and Consoles.

The concept is simple, when you hit Capt 7 talk to Lt. Crom Hana and grab the mission to explore the Zenas Expanse. Drop everything and high tail it for the expanse, spam it untill you cant spam anymore, complete a single system mission (patrol or stand alone) outside of the expanse then pick up the mission again and spam the expanse, ect, ect...

I know what your thinking: "Ugh!! Not another Explore mission." But do not fret. This Mission is your best friend as it will provide you with Badges of Exploration 5th Order. These Badges are what you use on Sol Spacedock to purchase Mk X Weapons and Consoles. The weapons only cost 63 Badges each and the consoles cost 43 badges each, one heck of a bargan considering you get 75 badges per mission completion.

To completely outfit your Ship with MK X weapons varies by ship type. Science ships will take 6 mission completions to outfit the 6 weapon slots, Escorts take 7 runs and Cruisers will take 8.

Once your cocked, locked and ready to rock - Go show those borg who's boss!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Content is on the way!!!

This is the moment that we ALL have been waiting for. The first major content patch (Season One - Common Ground) and the next daily raidisode (STF: The Cure) are comming this Thursday the 18th.

I will breifly highlight some of the gems from "Season One - Common Ground."

1. Respeccing is finally here
2. Purchasable C-Store items (New ship variants, More Character
Slots, ect...)
3. More PvP content
4. New skills

And much, much more.

The new daily Raidisode, STF: The Cure, is another borg themed daily that is sure to bring a great challenge to players.

I know that ALL of us are looking forward to Thursday and diving into all this new content with reckless abandon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The "Infected" Raidisode Revisited

Ok, here is the latest information I have on the “Infected” Raidisode from Cryptic. First the general release information is as follows:

STF: Infected
Starfleet has lost contact with one of its star bases. More than 400 officers could be lost, including a key member of Starfleet's Borg Task Force. Infiltrate the base and take the fight to the Borg!

• Retake the Sibiran system and shut down a transwarp conduit being used by the Borg
to establish a foothold in the Gamma Orionis Sector Block.
• Investigate the strange new nanovirus the Borg are using to assimilate entire
worlds at alarming speeds.
• Retake Starbase 89 before its fully taken over by the Borg, and save what is left
of the Starfleet personnel that are still there.
• Locate Captain Ogen’s Strike Team and Rebecca Simmons, the lead Borg Task Force
researcher working on a cure for the nanovirus. Both went deep into the Borg
infected starbase and haven’t reported back in quite some time.
• It’s a five-man mission. Players will not be able to complete it without teaming
up with other players.
• The mission spans space and ground gameplay.
• Applies to level 43 +

Group makeup is VERY important for a smooth run. I will amend my previous assumptions by stating that “ideally” you will want to have 2 engineering and 2 science admirals for this encounter (the fifth slot is basically your wildcard, first come first served). One of the science admirals should be healing and the other should be on CC and debuffing (but still have a healing kit with them). The engineer’s should have medical and shield generators, support drones are also not a bad idea as they provide extra damage and more targets for the drones to attack.

You begin the encounter by beaming onto Starbase 82. After exiting the transporter room you find a barricade manned by what is left of the Starfleet personnel, a last stand against the Borg that have overrun the station. One of the officers starts you off by asking that you find out what has become of Commander Ogen.

The next 30-45 minutes will be spent fighting your way through what seems like and endless horde of drones. Your first objective in each room/corridor is to locate the Borg’s “Interlink Node.” With this active the drones will not die, they will simply shut down for a short time (approx 20 to 30 seconds) then reactivate. This will mean the death of you and your team. It is important to note that some rooms have 2 interlink nodes so both will have to be taken out. Each main room has 2 squads of Borg drones, one that is stationary and another that is mobile. Pulling both is dangerous but can be done if the interlink nodes are taken out quickly. Pulling one squad at a time, however, is the preferred method of progression through this part.

Once you pass the main rooms you will come to a corridor that leads deeper into the station. Use your CC abilities (Gravimetric Shift for instance) to lock down the drones so that you can quickly locate and dispatch the interlink nodes.

The last room before you find Commander Ogen has 3 interlink nodes in it, 2 facing the door you enter through and one on the opposite side of the room. Simply focus fire on both of the interlink nodes in the entrance then take out the drones that attack. Set up positions once inside to either side of the room, take out the interlink node and the drones there. The last corridor is a bit trickier as the interlink node is around the corner and up on a ledge to the left over the drones heads.

You are now at the first “boss,” Commander Ogen. There are 2 interlink nodes in the room, one visible as you approach the door and one to the left of the platform that Ogen is on. Take out the first interlink node and the drones it is supporting and enter just inside the room. Then take out the second interlink node and Ogen’s drones, but do NOT attack Ogen. Once his drones are all dead, begin your assault on Ogen, when you get him to around half life combat stops and he starts a brief monologue. This will provide your team a short window of opportunity to exit the room where you entered. Once Ogen is finished talking, the room will fill with Drones again. There are new interlink nodes teleported in as well, one to the left of the entrance by the wall and the other near Ogen. Simply take out the interlink nodes and the drones and fight your way to Ogen again using the same strategy as before.

Once Ogen is down you will need to access the 3 computer terminals to the right of his platform. The terminals need to be activated simultaneously to bring down the forcefield blocking your path deeper into the station.

Next are more drone encounters that will lead you to the final room. Just rinse and repeat previous strategy to get through this part.

The final room is a royal pain. There are 5 raised locations in the room, one in each corner and a central platform. The floor is covered in some kind of gas that will kill in 2 seconds flat, so don’t fall in. Also, if someone dies and releases they will be locked out of the room by a forcefield. This means that your team will most likely have to wipe and start over, so be careful.

The four corner platforms each have a generator and 3 computer terminals. These generators are protecting the shield generator on the center platform. There are drones all over the room, three on each of the corner platforms, four on the center platform and two on each on the left side and rear connecting platforms. The center shield generator is protecting Rebecca Simmons, now an assimilated mega drone (for lack of a better description). Rebecca is on a platform to the right side of the room.

Stay on your toes in here as the drones tend to respawn VERY quickly.

You will need to get your team to one of the corner platforms, clear the drones from it and then get into position. Two of the 3 terminals are exposed so the operators will need cover. The engineer’s will need to throw up a couple of “Cover Shields” to protect the operators then resume taking the agro from the drones on the center platform. The other three team members need to activate the terminals simultaneously to shut down that generator. Then you repeat the same procedure for the other 3 generators.

Once the 4 generators are disabled the shield generator on the central platform is exposed. Destroy this Generator to release Rebecca and start the final encounter of the run (before doing this though make sure that the science admiral assigned to CC switches to his healing kit if he hasn’t already done so). Rebecca will fly, yes fly, from her perch and spout a short monologue about how you will be assimilated. Our team stayed on the last corner platform and engaged her there (however, next time we will try to engage her from the platform that she came from as there are no drones there to respawn and add to the anarchy of the fight). The healers will have their hands full keeping the team alive so the engineer’s will need to have their medical and shield generators out and running. Rebecca’s heavy attack can all but one shot a player so keep everyone up as best as you can. Other than that this is a basic tank and spank.

Congrats!!! You have stopped the Borg from claiming Starbase 82. Until tomorrow, that is, when you get to do it all again (insert evil laugh here).

Friday, March 5, 2010

"The Infected" Raidisode - A First Look

At first glance, this Raid is a well thought out and put together episode that will provide a welcome challenge for groups looking for more difficult upper level content.

The first part of this episode consists of space combat centered around the destruction of a borg transwarp hub that is guarded by 3 borg nodes and a host of borg ships ranging from groups of 8-10 probes, 4-5 spheres and a final trifecta of two cubes and a tactical cube.

We have yet to complete this raid, but we did start the second phase which is a ground mission on starbase 82 where you have to fight your way through throngs of borg drones. The trick to this first part is taking out the interlink nodes that will prevent the borg from being destroyed. Then you need to target the medical drones, elite tactical drones, tactical drones then reg drones and proto-drones.

Group makeup for the initial space combat portion should go as follows: ideally you will need 2 science ships (hopefully each with scramble targeting sensors to keep the borg ships occupied amongst themselves) and at least one cruiser to take the onslaught of damage comming at the group. Past those needs, the last 2 slots should ideally be filled by 2 escorts for the heavy hitting damage to eliminate targets quickly. Two escorts are not neccisarry howver for this part just recommended.

Initial impressions for the ground phase seems to suggest the need for 2 science captains - one for healing and the other for CC of the borg drones; an engineer for tanking and fortifications and one tactical officer for, of course, DPS. For the last slot it shouldn't matter who you bring as long as those initial roles/slots are filled. Weapons loadout for the captains is important as well. The science captains should have at least 1 weapon with expose ability if not both of thier weapons slots. In reverse the tactical officer/officers should have at least 1 exploit weapon, if not 2, for the quick dispatching of enemy drones.

My personal preference for weapons is any "Split Beam" rifle as they have the highest exploit dps. As for expose weapons, again my preference is "Stun Pistols" as they not only have a chance to expose the target but they also prevent target action for a few seconds buying time for your team. Energy type for these weapons is simply personal preference based on individual play style.

As we finish this raid we will bring more information about this raid to you and the strategies to use to beat the most nefarious of all the Federation's enemies.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Abilities, Skills and Consoles Oh My!

Okay. I have seen there is ALOT of confusion when it comes to abilities, skills and consoles and how they interact with each other.

The following information is from “The Engines Cannae’ Take it!”

What Affects What

All ships, space weapons and most abilities are affected by three different skills, and the bonus from each skill stacks. In most cases, each ship, weapon or ability is affected by one Lieutenant (Tier 1) skill, one Lt Commander (Tier 2) skill, and one Commander, Captain or Admiral (Tier 3, 4 or 5) skill.

For example, the damage of a phaser beam array is boosted by Starship Energy Weapons Training (Tier 1), Starship Beam Weapons (Tier 2) and Starship Phaser Weapons (Tier 3), while the speed, turn rate and hull strength of an Assault Cruiser is affected by Starship Command (Tier 1), Cruiser Captain (Tier 2) and Assault Cruiser Captain (Tier 5).

In the case of the ship and weapon skills, then, it’s normally fairly easy to see which three skills will affect something. In the case of abilities, you can see which skills affect them by opening the Ability window (press ‘P’), selecting the skill and reading the information on the right-hand side.

For example, the Emergency Power to Weapons I ability is affected by your Starship Warp Core Training (T1), Starship Weapon System Maintenance (T2) and Starship Weapon Efficiency (T3) skills

Now at the moment this is how things are, but, as we are all aware, things RARELY stay one way for long, especially in the gaming world.

Cryptic has already made statements that the skills tree will be modified in the near future in relation to the starship skills and how they interact with one another. Here is an excerpt from the post on the STO main site “Ask Cryptic: Skills.”

Liquidisim: The starship skills such as Heavy Escort, do those carry thru to higher level ships such as fleet escort. If they apply only to t3 ships, then there is no point in having those skills come endgame.

There is hardly no point, though these skills currently become less useful in the endgame. However, we are in the process of changing this. All ship skills will grant some bonus to the ship above it. So an Assault Cruiser will benefit from Starship Captain, Cruiser Captain, Heavy Cruiser Captain, Exploration Cruiser Captain and Assault Cruiser Captain, but it will get the most benefit from Assault Cruiser Captain Skill. So if you want to maximize your Assault Cruiser, you will need all those skills. Note, the Assault Cruiser will not gain any benefit from the Star Cruiser Captain skill and vice-versa. The bonuses only affect ships upwards along the tree, not laterally

I for one am happy they decided to make purchasing the lower end ship skills worthwhile. As it stands right now, taking them is pretty much a waste of points better used in other skills.

Consoles, like skills, enhance your bridge officers' space abilities as well as your own. Most of these are pretty self explanatory, such as “Console – Tactical – Phaser Relay.” now this will obviously enhance your ship’s phaser weapons. Let’s go over the 3 different types of consoles available and how to choose the best one for you.

Tactical consoles are by far the easiest to figure out. Simple look at what weapons systems you have on your ship and choose your console accordingly. Easy peesy. If you mix and match different energy weapon systems you can take a balanced approach and get a console for each system so that all are enhanced.

Engineering consoles are pretty much a matter of player preference. If you like more shields get a straight boost to your shield array with “Console – Engineering – Field Emitter” or get a shield regeneration boost with “Console – Engineering – Shield Emitter Amplifier.” If you want more turn rate get “Console – Engineering – RCS Accelerator.” Whatever your particular play style is you are pretty much free to choose.

Now with that said there are a few exceptions. First up is “Console – Engineering – EPS Flow Regulator.” This is a MUST have for every ship as it quickly distributes power across your ships systems so you can go full shields while you get your enemy in your sights then quickly go to full weapons. Another exception is for escort class ships. Given that they have limited shielding that can be torn down in a single volley from an opposing ship they need a little extra help. The “armor” consoles will provide extra energy weapon resistance (Console – Engineering – Ablative Hull Armor), extra kinetic damage resistance (Console – Engineering – Monotanium Alloy) or a combination of energy & kinetic resistances (Console – Engineering – Neutronium Alloy). In my opinion these are a must have for every escort captain in some form or combination.

I saved the best for last, Science consoles. These seem to give players the most trouble. However they are pretty much like the tactical consoles. Simply match up the console to the ability. Some examples are: “Console – Science – Tomographic Imager” – this enhances your Tyken’s Rift and Gravity Well; “Console – Science – Astrometric Imaging Scanner” – this currently only seems to affect your Charged Particle Burst; and, “Console – Science – Multi-Spectro Scanner” – will enhance Jam Sensors, Sensor Scan and Mask Energy Signature.

Science consoles can get confusing because they tend to overlap each other with one console covering multiple abilities vs. the engineering and tactical consoles that tend to be more specific in what they affect. A good rule of thumb is to look up the abilities that you use and note what skills affect those abilities, then choose the corresponding console to amplify that ability.
Now all Cryptic need to create is the "Console - Universal - Charmin" so we can wipe those pesky klingons from the galaxy, lol.