Science Ships in the Current Century

 

Due to the high demand for science ship builds, here is a brief overview of what is currently in vogue. One fair warning: only read on and recreate one of the builds if you want to invest hundreds of millions of energy credits, piles of Lobi and thousands of Zen.

Science ships are able to dish out incredible amounts of damage to groups, especially in elite queues.  Unlike cruisers or escorts their main sources of damage are:

  1. Bridge officer skills
  2. Clicky abilities from consoles
  3. Secondary deflector
  4. Weapons

The following builds are based exactly on this order. 

Captain class
A common mistake is to link the captain’s profession to the class of the ships when it comes to terms of maximum efficiency. This might work in other MMOs, but in STO it’s Tactical > rest. So if you want to create an EPG build from scratch, choose Tac for your character. I’d use an alien Romulan. 10 personal trait slots and 5 (cheap) bridge officers with the superior operative trait. Choose a Fed alien for the better-looking ship or a KDF alien if you want to save some hundred million ECs. Want to play a Sci captain? Why not. Eng? Better not, this class currently gets most out of direct energy builds.

Let’s start with a highly specialized skill tree:

We use 27 points in Tac, so you can choose all but 3 skill nodes. Since we’ll focus on torpedo weapons, your energy weapons are more or less for the set bonuses, traits, and procs. I’d skip the last point for them and add one to defensive Maneuvering which adds a little to your defense which might be useful if you stand still. If you think you need every bit of energy damage, get Advanced Weapon Training instead. The only other selection we make on the Lieutenant level is Advanced Hull Capacity. We need hull points for Tyler’s Duality.

The picks for the LtC level are pretty obvious. We need some points for Tac and all the nice Sci stuff we can get. Unlike builds with energy weapons, we don’t need EPS here. I like fast ships, so all in impulse speed. If you don’t need that, put 3 points in something you like (i.e. Long Range Targeting, Shield Resistance etc.)

On the Commander level, we take the Tac stuff and add a single point to Hull Plating. Our sole concession to damage resistance. 

Captain skills are pretty simple, too. All Tac, maximum EPG for Sci and energy for our subsystems. Offensive subsystem tuning isn’t necessary, you may put it into Improved Warp Core Potential.

Admiral skills, no surprise here, all Tac and War Core Potential. Tactical captains don’t really need Advanced Tactical Readiness, put it into energy weapons.

Unlocks: all CrtH, Battery Expertise, Max Hull, Threat Control and full Focused Frenzy.

Specializations

Temporal Operative as primary gets us +50 EPG, Continuity and a lot of useful other buffs. Strategist is the recommended secondary spec. 


Ships

The best science ship you can get your hands on at the moment is the Verne Temporal Science Vessel. It offers the unique combination of a great bridge officer layout and one of the best universal consoles for EPG builds. Don’t stop spending ECs right there, also get the Aeon Timeship for the best-looking skin. For KDF it’s the Qul’poH, Romulans choose the Sui’Mor. Bad news, no Aeon skin for them. 
If you don’t want to spend your money on an infinity price ship, take the Lukari Dranuur Scout Ship. It’s cheap, has raider flanking and a great BO setup. But sadly no backstep console.


Starship Mastery Traits

The traits are the reason why EPG ships perform so well in today’s metagame

For explanation: Three of those traits buff you exotic damage. That includes bridge officer abilities, stuff that consoles do and secondary effects/procs from your weapons and your secondary deflector. SIA is an almost broken ability if used correctly. IPO also helps your cooldown management. 

Strike from Shadows is also quite popular for EPG builds.

Personal Traits

Here we have all the nice ones we use on our energy builds plus some dedicated to EPG stuff.

Highly recommended

  • Particle Manipulator (most important, Level 15 Sci R&D)
  • Fleet Coordinator (free)
  • Inspirational Leader (exchange or Infinity Lockbox)
  • Duelist’s Favor (exchange or Infinity Lockbox) – more interesting for cannon builds
  • Into the Breach (exchange or Infinity Lockbox)
  • Terran Targeting Systems (exchange or Infinity Lockbox)
  • Adaptive Offense
  • Enlightened
  • Unconventional Systems
  • Context is for Kings (exchange or Infinity Lockbox)
  • Anchored

Recommended race/profession-specific

  • A Good Day to Die (Exchange or Infinity Lockbox) –  Must-have for Tacs
  • Conservation of Energy – Must-have for Scis
  • EPS Overload (free) – Kinda must-have for Engs
  • Photonic Reinforcement (exchange or Infinity Lockbox) – Good for Sci Captains
  • Romulan Operative (free) – Only for Romulans
  • Psychological Warfare – If you want to increase your Gravity Well’s crowd control effect, consider using this one

Space Reputation 

Pick 5 from this list

  • Advanced Targeting Systems (Dyson T2)  +16% CrtD on Rank I or +20% CrtD on Rank II
  • Precision (Romulan T2)  +4% CrtH (I) or +5% CrtH (II)
  • Tyler’s Duality (Discovery T4)  +CrtH depending on your hull capacity
  • Auxiliary Power Configuration – Offense (Nukara T4) Bonus damage scaling with Aux power
  • Particle Generator Amplifier (Iconian T2) 5% / 6,25% Bonus exotic damage 
  • Chrono Capacitor Array (Temporal T2) for better cooldowns

DOFFs

In general, we recommend DOFFs that increase your exotic damage and CrtH & CrtD

Also useful:

  • 46 of 47 for reducing CDs, fits perfectly into this build
  • a very rare Gravimetric Scientist for aftershock Gravity Wells

Ship Setup

Weapons:

Deflector / Engine / Warpcore / Shield

This setup is preferred for missions where you actually move around

Consoles

Alternatives:

  • Exotic Particle Focuser
    39.4 EPG, 26.3 Control. 25% chance: +6% Exotic Damage Bonus for 30 sec (Stacks up to 5 times) when using any Exotic Damage ability. Great on paper, but the it activates on the final tick. 
    We use a lot of DoT abilities, so this console often triggers too late to be useful.
  • Entangled Quantum Bombardment
    Very strong EPG clicky.
  • Cascading Subatomic Disruptions
    Nice active ability, cheap for KDF. Fed needs the Mirror Escort Carrier from the Infinity Lock Box
  • Isometric Charge
    Great active ability but no passives. Cheap for all.
  • Temporal Vortex Probe
    Very decent active ability, useful but not that great passives.
  • Cutting Tractor Beam
    Adds bonus damage for your damage consoles. Has some bugs/glitches. Don’t use it.

Devices

Pick three

So, in the end, the ship should look like this. Remember that these are sample builds. You should adjust the setup for ISE / HSE or whatever mission you want to play.

First one is a Tac/Rom, second a Sci/Fed.

Bridge Officers

What applies to energy weapon builds works well with EPG builds, too.
Superior Operatives > Kentari > Jem’Hadar Vanguard > Hierarchy > Nausicaan > Krenim or Astrophysicist (i.e. Holo Spock and Weyoun)

So if you’re using the Alien Rom, it’s 5 Superior Operatives.
On a Fed it’s

  • 1 Superior Operative for the Tac station, 2 Vanguards (Eng, Sci), 1 Hierarchy, 1 Kentari (Sci) or i.e.
  • 1 Superior Operative for the Tac station, 1 Hierarchy, 1 Nausicaan Sci (Diplomacy T4 BO), either 1 Astrophysicist and 1 Kentari (Eng) or 1 Kentari (Sci) 1 Krenim (Eng) 

For KDF it’s

  • 1 Superior Operative for the Tac station, 2 Vanguards (Eng, Sci), 1 Hierarchy, 1 Kentari (Sci) or i.e.
  • 1 Superior Operative for the Tac station, 1 Hierarchy, 2 Nausicaan Sci and 1 Kentari (Eng) 

BO Skills

This is one way to set up the skills

We use just one engineering skill (Emergency Power to Auxiliary) for the Doff(s) and Assimilated Power Conduits. Fire at Will and Scatter Volley trigger ETW.

This means we can use 11 different science or temporal abilities for total destruction. Let’s see how it actually works. We can divide these skills into 4 categories: Anomalies, trigger for the secondary deflector, pure damage, and utility.
The only one that falls in the last category is Photonic Officer. We need it for buffing, cooldown management and to trigger SIA. Anomalies are skills that have a lasting AoE effect. Gravity Well is pretty obvious. As is Subspace Vortex, Chronometric Inversion Field and Timeline Collapse. Oddly enough Very Cold in Space is also an anomaly. 
The secondary deflector ist triggered by Destabilizing Resonance Beam, Charged Particle Burst and Structural Analysis.
Delayed Overload Cascade is an awesome damage ability but has to be timed correctly. Only use it if you’re absolutely sure that it will destroy all those pesky targets. Otherwise, you’ll have Borg Spheres flying around everywhere. 

You may also use Recursive Shearing which is a great single target damage ability, i.e. for the final Tac cube in ISE. Feel free to play around with the skills, Delayed Overload Cascade III is also definitely worth a try.

Playing with this build is pretty simple. Fly to a group of enemies and activate your abilities until they are gone:

  • Stack up procs for the Morphogenic set by chaining CSV and FAW
  • Activate EPtA to buff up and select the target with the most hit points
  • Activate Chronometric Inversion Field and Timeline Collapse for your first two anomalies
  • Use Plasma Storm (only if it’s worth using, i.e. at the start of ISE / HSE) and Gravity Well and Subspace Vortex. We now have 5 anomalies, SIA is triggered twice.
  • Wait for more enemies get sucked into the Well and activate Very Cold In Space. 6 anomalies, triggered once more. 
  • Now it’s time for CPB, DRB, Structural Analysis and if it’s ok to use DOC. 
  • Add more fun by using your damage-dealing console abilities. 
  • Reduce CDs with Temporal Backstep and Temporal Negotiator. 
  • Repeat.

Learn how many abilities are actually needed to kill a group of enemies. Don’t waste your active console abilities on NPCs with low HPs. Watch your cooldowns. Sometimes it’s a good idea to leave out one temporal ability at the start for 46 of 47’s ability. Time your Temporal Backstep wisely.

And don’t forget to select

Keybinds

It’s not a bright idea to use an all-in-one bind for the space bar with these builds. At least not for your Sci abilities. But you may bind all those skills to one key that you want to run all the time, i.e. Photonic Officer, EPtA, FAW and CSV. 

Personally I find it very convenient to have the skills sorted bound to keys.

I.e. you could map Timeline Collapse and Chronometric Inversion Field to one key, in this case, they are in row 2 and 3

/bind 2 “+trayexecbytraywithbackup 1 1 2 1 $$”

Or you create your own activation order and map those skills to keys 1, 2, 3, … this makes it easier to hit the right one instead of clicking frantically with your mouse.

 

STO Academy Link:

Here’s a similar build on STOAcademy EPG Verne

Additional help

Join the veterans and experts on our Discord: Click me! Select EPG as your role and join the subchannel!

 

Version 0.12
03/24/2020 – Hellspawny – Basics 
03/25/2020 – Hellspawny – 1st Draft
03/26/2020 – Hellspawny – not finished but good enough to publish
03/30/2020 – Hellspawny – added some stuff suggested by AJ and Marcus/
04/16/2020 – Hellspawny – added Temporal Vortex Probe

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37 comments to Science Ships in the Current Century

  • Jodmos  says:

    Whats bugged/gliched about the Cutting Tractor Beam console?

    • Hellspawny  says:

      Some abilities add too many stacks and not all damage consolse are buffed by it.

      • Jodmos  says:

        Is there a list of what consoles it doesn’t buff?

        • Hellspawny  says:

          No. But Plasma Storm and Multi-Target Tractor Arrays are some of them.

  • Aj  says:

    Very nice write up!!
    I would defenetly include 27 of 47 as an option to, on etm setup i’d def take 27 over another EptA doff. Chrono-Capacitor Array can be a nice option to esp on pure sci setup, since the cdr methods ain’t instant except 46 and continuity ofc.

    • Hellspawny  says:

      Thanks. I’ll add 27. I like him more on a Jugger but he’s good on almost any build. CDs are a problem, Chrono Capacitor might indeed help. That’s also the reason why I picked the Bolstered and not the Innervated engine.

  • @Naebliss  says:

    Hi i have a free ship token but wich of the C-store ships would give me the most value for my money?
    Spore-Infused Anomalies (SIA) <– i think this one?
    Exotic Modulation
    Entwined Tactical Matrices (ETW)

    Then i have saved some money to maybe pick one of the below LObi options:

    Assimilated Power-Conduits
    Improved Photonic Officer (IPO) <– i think this one?

    thx your help!

    • Hellspawny  says:

      I’d definitely get SIA first. Then IPO. The remaining traits just buff your damage, but those two are needed to get things rolling. ETW is nice for torpedos and spreads, but not essential. Without ETM I’d also suggest turning the tac station into another sci and try to get even more anomalies and activations for them. Advanced Temporal Defense Chroniton Torpedo Launcher could be an alternative for the Gravimetric torp as it helps with cooldowns. 46 of 47 is pricy. I’ll probably add a Sci only build in a few days, just need to find a good replacement for the Morphogenic set.

  • @Naebliss  says:

    k nice thx again!

  • @Naebliss  says:

    I have another Q, somebody pointed me to the trait from the paradox ship : Unstable anomalies
    Upon expiration of Gravity Well, Tyken’s Rift, Chronometric Inversion Field or Timeline Collapse:
    (Applies to up to 5 foes within 5 km):
    ____ Kinetic Damage (Ignores Shields)
    -20% Accuracy Rating
    -28.6% All Damage

    Would this stack with the spore infused trait? If the spore infused is so very good , why isnt this one? (I never heard much about it?)

    • acht472  says:

      There are several reasons why:
      1. The Paradox trait is triggered on expiration of the anomaly. With the build shown above, you have 5 anomalies, that means it would trigger 5 times. The Spore Infused anomalies are triggered per sci skill used. Again with the build above: when placed in correct order, you can trigger SIA 34 times by activating every BO Skill ONCE!
      2. Most foes are already dead before the anomaly explodes.
      3. At least when I’m reading the ingame-tooltip there is no word about that unstable anomalies ignores shields. That means: the kinetic dmg is mostlikely absorbed and drastically reduced by shields, while the electrical dmg from SIA is not.

    • LooTx  says:

      spore infused ist NOT a good trait. its just needed if you like to paddling your dps in higher numbers. most of the damage only affects the shields, not the hull. therefore you can say that this skill is useless. Same applies to plasmastorm module. those 900 lobis for the console is just loosing your lobis. dont waste your lobis on it nor your zen for the trait. there are better options, then do buy for something which only damages shields.

      • felisean  says:

        dps wise those are super strong so yea.. 😉

  • @Naebliss  says:

    Ah ok thx for the info!

  • Weaselone  says:

    Thanks for all the details. Not sure I can replicate this, but it’s a good introduction and gives me some traits, equipment to prioritize.

    • borgdp010  says:

      url links seem to be broken – so again.

      Thanks Hellspany for this amazing article.
      It really gave me a few good ideas to improve my discount build since there is no necessity to spend billions of EC and tons of lobi 😀

      I’m surprised that
      https://sto.gamepedia.com/Trait:_Improved_Gravity_Well
      is not part of the recommendation.
      IGW is the most useful anomaly to keep enemies together (for 40sec so permanent uptime) and have the core breaches trigger secondary explosions (IMHO more powerful than any dmg you would deal yourself).

      Also you can “stear” your anomalies (with Temporal Operative Spec) toward your desired enemies even if they are more than 20km away.
      Personally I pick the weakest ship to kill (for fast kill and core breach), apply EptA, iGW3, VCiS3 and then Sensor lock on the on biggest most war away ship (within 10km) to “stear” anomalies towards it. iGW/VCiS/core breaches take care of ships to kill (BotBS Adv as reference).

      Did i miss something with the
      https://sto.gamepedia.com/Console_-_Universal_-_Multi-Target_Tractor_Arrays
      ? Current description both on web/ingame says only +13.3 Control Expertise amongst other (rather useless) stuff.

      For discount builds 4 Lab Particle focusser!, Gravity Well 3, Very Cold in Space 3/1 (2x for 15 sec cycle) on any decent sci ship (with Temporal mechanics if possible) are good enough to Resheeve the Envoy (aka Battle of the Binary Stars) and give T’Kuvma’s band of aggressors are very good beating.

      • Delta  says:

        Could you post a link to your budget version of this build? Would love to fly something like this, but don’t have the time to farm all of the EC/Zen/Lobi it would require.

  • @Naebliss  says:

    Hi here i am again 🙂
    I dont see the EPG on this console, is it a write mistake?

    Multi-Target Tractor Arrays
    Great damage console, this time it’s cheap for Feds & friends. 78.8 EPG, 26.2% maximum shield capacity

    Still building and gathering stuff but thx!

    • felisean  says:

      the damage from that console is just super high. just use it 🙂

      • borgdp010  says:

        hey feli.
        I finally wound it:
        The description of the multi tractor arrays with: 78.8 EPG, 26.2% maximum shield capacity belongs to the field exiter with EPD mod instead.
        a cheap variant would be exiter with CTRLX mod with still 39,4 epg/ctrlx skill (ctrlx boosts graw well range).

  • Deanna  says:

    What should power levels be on this?

    • Hellspawny  says:

      Max Aux, min Weapons. Rest goes to shields and engines. If you need more speed, choose the later. I prefer shields.

  • Bill  says:

    Would this work for the Legendary Temporal Operative Science Vessel or do you have other thoughts?

    • Hellspawny  says:

      It will work, too. But you’ll trade 2 Sci or Temp skills to trigger SIA or create anomalies for i.e. Kemocite III and Let it Go I.

  • Bill  says:

    Prefect, I will be using a couple different starship traits Temporal anchor and improved gravity well

  • IX  says:

    Hello!
    Great build, great ideas, thank you for it.
    2 questions though – you recommend Auxiliary Ejection Assembly, but say the Temporal Vortex Probe’s passives are “meh”. That confused me a bit.

    Secondly, how do you heal your ship? I mostly play solo and I need shield and hull heals desperately (science team, eng team).

    Cheers

    • Hellspawny  says:

      About those two consoles: The difference is the word bonus. AEA has +19% bonus exotic damage. Temporal Vortex Probe just 19% exotic damage. Just an example with in-game values. My Gravity Well III has a tooltip value of 3,031.9 kinetic damage. With AEA it’s 3,397.3. TVP gives me a value of 3,136.4. It’s still a good console. And it’s passives are ok. Have to change that wording. 🙂

      Healing could be an issue. You rely on Continuity (from Temporal spec), DPRM and Temporal Backstep. But actually, in most cases it’s enough to get you through a mission.

      • IX  says:

        Thanks for the clarification! I wasn’t aware of these sublte differences 🙂

  • anon  says:

    Why not replace the CPB (a PBAoE) with Tyken’s Rift as another anomaly for SIA that also triggers the deteriorating secondary deflector? Is it because of the shared system lockout with GW?

    • Hellspawny  says:

      The problem with the GW / TR combo is indeed the shared lockout. You can use CPB a few seconds after you pulled together the npcs but have to wait 15 seconds for TR. In that time a lot of potential targets will cease to exist.

      GW / TR might be useful in HSE or with builds that lack proper CD management. There’s a gravimetric scientist doff that will reduce the remaining cooldown on any damaging non-weapon Bridge Officer abilities, when you activate Gravity Well or Tyken’s Rift. But the VR one will go for ~50m. Sadly not a real budget build choice.

      • anon  says:

        Cheaper option would be the standard deflector officer DOFF with an after-use chance (25% at VR, up to 3) to immediately reduce the CD (VR: to 50% of normal) of all your deflector abilities which both GW and TR are. Probably doesn’t help with the shared lockout either, but don’t you want staggered use of science abilies for SIA anyway?

        My biggest gripe with CPB (PSW as well) has always been the point blank aspect, especially when you also want to keep some distance to channel DRB for its full duration (and not get hit by explosions). But I guess the CRB radius is big enough for most cases?

        • Hellspawny  says:

          Yeah, you must be pretty close for CPB to get really effective. If not, it’s at least another trigger for SIA.

  • Rensha1  says:

    As a Sci(kdf) capt can I drop Dynamic Power Redistributor Module and replace it with something more sciencey.

    • felisean  says:

      not sure why you wanna drop one of your major damage buff clickys and survival skills…
      seriously, as a kdf cpt its cheap and its one of the best consoles the game has. i would NOT drop it at all 😉

  • Rensha1  says:

    Just thought it was more for a Tac Capt, but WILL now weld it on my ship lol

    • felisean  says:

      as long as ist “+x% (bonus) all damage” its good for everyone 😉

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