Ground Combat in the Current Century

Hello everyone,

in today’s post we would like to discuss and go through some builds and general advice for Ground Builds. This guide is by no means a set of definitive “only use this and do that” instructions, but should give you some pointers on what is good and what isn’t.

Skill Tree

There aren’t many options here – just go for maximum damage! This goes for every profession: Science, Engineering, Tactical.

The choices for spending points are as follows:

  • 2 points: Device Expertise
  • 4 points: Improved Aim
  • 6 points: take the one you prefer, you don’t melee often at all so it won’t matter that much
  • 8 points: Improved Flank Damage
  • 10 points: Offensive Mastery

Personal Traits, Reputation Trait Choices and Specializations

There are some choices here, so here’s a list of good Personal Traits.

Personal Traits:

  • Hive Mind (Exchange/Lockbox)
  • Vicious (Exchange/Lockbox)
  • Terran Vision (Exchange/Lockbox)
  • Berserker (Exchange/Lockbox)
  • Dulce Et Decorum Est (Exchange/Lockbox)
  • Brutal Impetus (Exchange/Lockbox)
  • Technophile (Kit R&D Level 15)
  • Creative (Free, only some species)
  • Lucky (Free, only some species)
  • Soldier (Free, only some species)
  • Sniper (Exchange/Lockbox)

Situational / Profession Specific Traits

  • Strike Team Specialist (Free, Tactical only)
  • Field Researcher (Free, Science only)
  • Adrenal Release (Exchange/Lockbox, Good for DPS Runs)
  • Bombardier (Exchange/Lockbox, mainly for Engineers – Boosts Kinetic Damage)

Reputation Traits

  • Deadly Aim (Dyson T1)
  • Lethality (Romulan T1)
  • Mental Acuity (8472 T1)
  • Magnified Armaments (Gamma T3)
  • Personal Energy Amplifier (Iconian T1)
  • Emergency Personal Cloaking Device (Terran T3, Best for NTTE DPS Runs)

Active Ground Reputation

  • Defiance (Dyson T5)
  • One Little Ship (Gamma T5)
  • Piezo-Electric Perimeter Snare (Lukari T5)
  • Choice of 1 or 2 other Active Traits


  • Primary: Temporal Operative (for the +50 KPerf Passive Bonus)
  • Secondary: Commando
  • You can also run Intel Primary for the Precision Offensive (Active Ability)

Equipment and Gear for all Professions

In this category there is some flexibility, depending on what you want to do.

A General Ground STF setup you can use anywhere:

  • Kit Frame: Risian Kit Frame [KPerf]x3 [Proc] (Summer Store) – how you get this is described below!
  • Body Armor: Burnham’s CQC (Environmental) Armor (Discovery Reputation)
  • Personal Shield: Na’kuhl Temporal Operative  Personal Shield (“Temporal Front” Mission Reward)
  • Secondary Weapon: Na’kuhl Temporal Operative Assault (“Temporal Front” Mission Reward)

And a more DPS-oriented setup:

  • Kit Frame: Delta Kit Frame [CrtH] [KPerf]x2 (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Body Armor: Burnham’s CQC (Environmental) Armor (Discovery Reputation)
  • Personal Shield: Elite Fleet Colony Personal Shield [Cap]x2 [Ene] [ShldCrit] (Fleet Colony)
  • Secondary Weapon: Any (Good) Weapon of you Choice


  • Phaser Full Auto Rifle (Dsc) (Lobi Store)
  • Advanced Herald Antiproton Beam Projector (Lobi Store)
  • Plasma Wide Beam Rifle (Vendor (Dyson Joint Command / New Romulus), Exchange)
  • Boolean Heavy Assault Cannon (Lobi Store)
  • Replica Thompson Submachine Gun (Event Reward/Store) – against Borg


  • Gambling Device (Exchange, Lobi Store)
  • Kit Overbooster (Exchange, Kit R&D) – use these like there’s no tomorrow
  • Ketracel White (if you are a Jem’Hadar)

Usable Combat  Pets:

Personally, I am not really a fan of pets but go ahead if you have free device slots

  • Event Targ
  • C-Store Targ
  • Exocomp

Duty Officers:

  • Assault Squad Officer: Change for stacking Crit Chance on firing Ranged weapons (Rare ones are enough)
  • Assault Squad Officer: Change for stacking Crit Severity on firing Ranged weapons (Rare ones are enough)
  • Biochemist: Recharge time reduced on all Stims, Shield Charges and Power Cells (works for Kit Overboosters too)
  • Warfare Specialist – Space: Elder Malik’itan (from Gamma Recruitment, gives Buff for ground too)

Universal Kit Modules:

  • Agony Field Generator (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Crystal Prism (Event Reward)
  • Echo Papa Drone (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Ambush Turret Fabrication (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Chain Conduit Capacitor (Exchange / Lockbox)

Profession-specific Equipment


Kit Modules:

  • Chroniton Mine Barrier (Exchange / Crafted)
  • Cloaked Mine Barrier (Gamma Rep T2)
  • Gravitational Juncture (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Transphasic Bomb (Exchange / Crafted)
  • Explosive Drone (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Photon Grenade Launcher (23c.)  (Exchange / Crafted)

Duty Officers:

  • Fabrication Engineer: Change to beam in an additional Support Drone
  • Security Officer: Your Chroniton Mine Barrier has a chance to Hold targets


Kit Modules:

  • Cold Fusion Flash (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Exothermic Induction Field (Exchange / Crafted)
  • Endothermic Induction (Winter Event Store)
  • Seismic Agitation Field (Summer Event Store)
  • Harmonic Resonance Device  (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Chronometric Diffusion (Dilithium Store, Temporal Operative)

Duty Officers:

  • Explosive Expert: Chance for Exothermic Induction Field to fire projectiles


Kit Modules:

  • Ambush (Exchange / Crafted)
  • Motivation (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Rally Cry (Exchange / Crafted)
  • Motion Accelerator (Exchange / Crafted)
  • Trajectory Bending (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Mudd’s Time Device (Discovery T4)
  • Protomatter Muntion Deployment (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Graviton Spike (Summer Event Store)

Duty Officers:

  • Sensors Officer: Target Optics debuffs enemy Damage Resistance
    • Names: Fed: Fova Gedel / KDF: Gern Kul
  • Assault Squad Officer: Ambush has a chance to re-apply when consumed by outgoing damage
  • Security Officer: Chance to beam down an additional Security Escort when using Security Team

Example Builds

Feli’s Lazy-Mode Tactical Build

Kit Modules:

  • Crystal Prisms (Event) / Ambush Turret Fabrication (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Agony Field Generator (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Echo Papa 607 Drone System (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Ambush (Exchange / Crafted)
  • Rally Cry (Exchange / Crafted)

Tiberius’ “No Weapon Required” Tactical Build

Kit Modules:

  • Mudd’s Time Device (Discovery Rep T4)
  • Motion Accelerator (Exchange / Crafted) or Ambush (Exchange / Crafted) or Crystal Prisms (Event)
  • Chain Conduit Capacitor (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Motivation (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Agony Field Genererator (Exchange / Lockbox)

Make sure to always activate the modules in this order! Important: Be sure to let one Agony Gen do it’s job before you deploy another.

Tirius’ Max-NTTE-DPS Tactical

Kit Modules:

  • Protomatter Munition Deployment (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Bio-Essence Transfer (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Agony Field Generator (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Ambush (Exchange / Crafted)
  • Recursive Affliction IV (Dil Store, Temporal Op)


  • Kit Frame: Risian Kit [KPerf]x3 [Proc]
  • Body Armor: Burnham’s CQC (Environmental) Armor (Discovery Reputation)
  • Personal Shield: Romulan Operative Combat Armor (Episode Reward: Survivor)
  • Primary Weapon: Phaser Full Auto Rifle (Dsc) (Lobi Store)
  • Secondary Weapon: Polaron Covert-Ops Compression Pistol (Episode Reward: Survivor)

Important: This build is not designed to run ground tours etc, it is specifically tuned to get maximum DPS in NTTE

Soludor’s Max-BHE-DPS Engineer

Kit Modules:

  • Chroniton Mine Barrier (Exchange / Crafted)
  • Cloaked Mine Barrier (Gamma Rep T2)
  • Gravitational Juncture (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Transphasic Bomb (Exchange / Crafted)
  • Agony Field Generator (Exchange / Lockbox)


  • Kit Frame: Delta Kit Frame [CrtH] [KPerf]x2 (Exchange / Lockbox)
  • Body Armor: Burnham’s CQC Armor (Discovery Reputation)
  • Personal Shield: Elite Fleet Colony Personal Shield [Cap]x2 [Ene] [ShldCrit] (Fleet Colony)
  • Primary Weapon: Phaser Full Auto Rifle (Dsc) (Lobi Store)
  • Secondary Weapon: Advanced Herald Antiproton Beam Projector (Lobi Store)

Important:  You can run this build in general ground content, but keep in mind that it was specifically crafted to get maximum DPS in BHE

Here is a video of it in action: Bug Hunt Elite – 16k DPS Engineer Run – YouTube

Miscellaneous Notes

How to get a Risian Kit Frame with perfect mods

Here’s a list of steps to take to get a Risian Kit [KPerf]x3 [Proc]

  1. Buy the Kit Frame in the Summer Store
  2. Put it in the upgrade window once (do not upgrade it) – this makes it re-engineerable
  3. Re-Engineer the 2 random mods (not [Proc]) to [KPerf]
    • you should now have Risian Kit [KPerf]x2 [Proc] (Very Rare)
  4. Upgrade the Kit Frame to UR/Epic
    • the UR Mod will always be [KPerf]
  5. Congrats, you now have a Risian Kit [KPerf]x3 [Proc]

Tips for High-DPS Runs

  • Get a team together, your team should focus on buffing you and debuffing the enemies
  • There are some Buff-Items you can get from e.g. Winter Store, Summer Store, DOff Assignments, …; Here is a list of some of them
    • Nog’s Nog / Deka Tea Loaf: +10% Bonus All Damage
    • Bajoran Mojito: +10 Kit Performance
    • Tribble Kebab / Baked Tribble: +2.5%/+3% Bonus All Damage
    • Ferasan Chag Grass: +2% Crit Chance
    • Dosi Rotgut: +20 Crit Severity
    • Prototype Ketracel Stimulant: +7.5% All Damage
    • Elite Power Cell – Antiproton Carrier Wave: +20 Crit Severity, Antiproton damage to attacks
    • Fleet Ground Skill Boost – Elite Training: +10 to all Ground Skills

How to get more than 3 Trays on ground

  1. (In-Game) Save your current UI-Layout to a file with /ui_save_file <name>
  2. Open the just save file in a text editor of your choice (it should be saved under your STO Install’s Live Directory)
  3. Find this block, for me its about 50 lines above the end of the file (it might look a bit different depending on your settings)

    Region Ground

    Buffscalehud 1.300000
    Traymode 3
    Version 1

    The easiest way to find it, is to search for Region Ground

  4. Change the number after Traymode to the number of trays you would like and save the file
  5. (In-Game) Load the UI-File with /ui_load_file <name>


18 comments to Ground Combat in the Current Century

  • Riko  says:

    Great guide, but there’s one thing I didn’t get – why Disco EV suit? Aren’t standard armor better with higher energy resistance?

    • felisean  says:

      they are with the resistance. usualy you dont need that resistance tho and by using the ev suit in general you’re suited for whatever will come. if you have trouble surviving with the ev suit you could use the normal armor for most stuff and the ev suit for stuff like nukara

      feel free to join our discord to ask us such questions directly 🙂

  • Jim  says:

    What are the recommended ground BOFF skills for the various classes?

    • borgdp010  says:

      My personal favourite: Temporal Operative (easy esp. when you have Jem’Hadar since pre-trained).
      most of the abilities do physical dmg so your enemies shields are irrelevant.
      There is only one Mission “Broken Circle” (to my knowledge) where you actually need to drain shields on an enemy (M’Tara if I recall).
      On Na’kul for example you DON’T want to drain shields but kill them with physical damage.

      The default temporal operative skills on a boff are “good enough” for most situations:
      Degeneration: physical damage
      Uncertainity Burst: AOE confuse – NPC attack each other instead of you and your crew
      Chronometic Diffusion: phys dmg, – all dmg for enemies, -run speed (useful for next ability)…
      Paradox bomb: pull enemies together (= gravity well on ground) and phys dmg

      Above are “good enough” for most situations.

  • Hellspawny  says:

    I’d use Engs or Scis with AoE skills, Temp or Command Spec. Pick a low level heal and 3 offensive skills i.e.
    Eng: Shield Heal, Photon or Quantum Mortar, Hammer and Anvil, Take Cover or Strat Analysis
    Sci: Medical Tricorder, Cold Fusion Flash, Seismic Agitation, Paradox Bomb
    Tac: Photon Grenade, Graviton Spike, Hammer and Anvil, Take Cover or Strat Analysis

  • Lumilian  says:

    Just as a note. Exothermic and endothermic induction field can’t be used together. A disclaimer there might be good for new players.

  • Lantzhole  says:

    Photon Grenade Launcher (23c.) comes from the K-13 vendor and not Exchange/Lockbox – correct me if I’m wrong?

  • Sylvia  says:

    What about the Privateer’s Combat Armor from the Lobi store? It gives +40.4 Kit Performance and +40.4 Kit Readiness. I use it on all my characters for their ground builds!

  • Rich  says:

    Any idea on if the new event ground set will replace anything?

    • Tiberius  says:

      Currently, a lot of things are still broken in the Kuumarke set: the 2p bonus sometimes doesn’t work, a lot of things are broken in the 3p, and everything doesn’t work in the 4p (except the +50 KPerf). Even with the individual set pieces, there are still things that don’t work as they should.

      Potentially the new set could be a very good one, especially because the kit module also does quite reasonable damage. In addition, you get completely new ways to obtain the individual set bonuses (especially the 2p). However, this can only be finally rated if it is fixed at some point. Then there would be various possibilities of the combination of Kuumarke 2p (or 3p or 4p), Na’kuhl 2p, Burnham Armor and Colony Shield..

      • Rich  says:

        Just curious if this has been fixed and reevaluated yet

        • Tiberius  says:

          We tested the set again yesterday. It’s not bad, however 3p and 4p still don’t work properly. The 2p is nice, but bad to control. In general, it’s definitely not a bad set, even if we decided (as of now) not to use it in team-based DPS runs.

  • whick1978  says:

    Does Kperf improves the crits that come from the tac kit modules? I’m thinking other kit frames may be better for tac like the Delta. Also, Ball Lighting universal kit modules from summer store is very nice.

    • Hellspawny  says:

      Kperf improves your damage output. This applies to both crits and non-crits.

  • Ryare@Sythron  says:

    Seems with the more recent updates th additional ground hotbars tricks no longer work… 12 years and they finally deleted it >.<

    Has anyone found a new work around to get 4+ ground hotbars?

    • Tiberius  says:

      The function was deactivated by Cryptic because there were players who entered an insanely high number and thus made the corresponding character unplayable. Currently there is no possibility to increase the number of trays. Since this change was communicated by Cryptic as “temporary”, there is still a little bit of hope that this will come back at some point.

    • SaulBlaze  says:

      With so many bugs that have not been fixed in over a decade, they chose to fix one that was actually useful. The insanity!!!

    • Mike  says:

      So rather than use an IF statement to limit the traymade value upon file loading (IF traymode 10, THEN 10, ELSE x) they decded to nuke the entire UI save/load functionality!? Sounds like Cryptic.

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