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Recommended BO Space Abilities

Out of all the things that differentiate your character from every other, Bridge Officer abilities are probably the most important ones. The types of weapons you use, ship you have and skills you picked are very important, but having the right abilities which you can use in combat is invaluable.

There are dozens of different abilities you can choose and no doubt all are useful. But since you can have only so few of them, it’s recommended to use the ones best suited for a variety of situations you will find yourself in, and not just the ones which will be used rarely. The best abilities are the ones giving you more survivability and damage, and aren’t specific for PvP or PvE encounters, therefore try to pick those. Fortunately for you I tested quite a few and while I certainly don’t know if you’ll like my setup, I can try to give you some pointers so you can see what works for me.

You can find a full list of bridge officer abilities on sto-intel wiki!

Recommended Abilities

Tactical Officer

  • Torpedo: High Yield – torpedoes are found on every ship in the universe, and this ability will make sure they hit even harder. Definitely one of my favorite skills.
  • Attack Pattern Omega – this abiilty will buff you with an increased turn rate, useful for any kind of ship for sure. Additionally, you will be immune slows and snares.
  • Beam: Target Shields Subsystems – when activated, your next beam attack will drain a small amount of your targets shields and sometimes disable them for a short duration as well. You could alternatively take Target Weapons Subsystems, which does the same only for weapon subsystems.
  • Cannon: Rapid Fire - when activated, your cannons will start blasting your target more frequently resulting in a much higher damage output. If you’re captaining an Escort ship this is a must have.

There aren’t many other highly recommended abilities for tactical officers, but if you need more Tactical Team and Beam Overload are good choices.

Engineering Officer

  • Emergency Power to Weapons/Shields – take whichever you prefer. Being a tactical officer and having (almost) enough DPS I prefer more power in shields but it’s up to you. If you put enough skills in these abilities the cooldown is as long as the buff lasts, meaning you can have it active all the time.
  • Reverse Shield Polarity – one of the best abilities you can have if you ask me. While it’s active any energy weapon damage you receive will heal your shields — for the duration you’re almost invincible.
  • Engineering Team – repairs your hull and provides a chance to repair damaged ships subsystems.

There aren’t any other engineering BO abilities which I think are as useful as these above.

Science Officer

  • Polarize Hull – my favorite science ability. While active, you are immune to Tractor Beams, but the best part is the high damage reduction it provides. Considering the cooldown is only half a minute and it lasts 15 seconds, you can fire it up all the time.
  • Jam Sensors – by activating this ability enemies won’t be able to target you for the duration. What else is there to say.
  • Science Team – Science Team provides a quick heal to your shields and a damage resistance buff. Additionally, it has a chance to remove science debuffs on you (such as aforementioned Jam Sensors).
  • Tractor Beam – some players like it, some don’t. As I already mentioned I usually run with an escort ship and being able to hold my opponents in place is invaluable for maximizing DPS.

Viral Matrix, Feedback Pulse and Scramble Sensors are supposedly very good as well, but I have yet to try it personally. The four abilities above are more than good enough for me.

All of these abilities are just the ones I found to be most effective in most situations and are by no means a must have. It’s just a way for new players to figure out which ones are best, especially for PvE leveling. I’m sure the situation is different in PvP but I’m afraid I only played about a dozen encounters so far.

If you want to find out more detailed info about skills to figure out how to best distribute them be sure to read the basic skills info and after that this excellent skills guide. If you didn’t know where to start with BO abilities, I hope this article helps. Now go distribute those skills where it counts!

How Skills Work – The Basics

The excellent The engines cannae take it blog recently posted a beginners guide for STO which among other things contains very useful information about skills, a very useful resource for new players. You can read the part of the article which is specific to skills right here so be sure to familiarize yourself with the basics before you go ahead and plan your skills.

Your captain can purchase in a wide variety of skills, which provide bonuses to various aspects of your character. Skills are purchased with skill points (SP), the STO version of experience points which are gained by completing missions and fighting opponents.

Skill Groups and Tiers

The Skills in STO are arranged into groups by similar function and tiers by rank. For example, the Starship Energy Weapons group contains skills that increase your effectiveness with energy weapons (beams and cannons) in space combat:

Within the group, the skills are arrange into 5 tiers according to the minimum rank required to purchase the skill, from left to right. Thus a captain can purchase the Starship Energy Weapons Training skill at Lieutenant (Tier 1, far left), but must be promoted to Lt Commander before being able to buy the Starship Beam Weapons and Starship Cannon Weapons skills (Tier 2, second from left), and all the way to Admiral before being able to access the Starship Antiproton Weapons and Starship Polaron Weapons skills (Tier 5, far right).

Note that there is no rigid skill ‘tree’ in STO - you do not, for example, need to buy Starship Energy Weapons Training before you can buy Starship Beam Weapons or Starship Cannon Weapons. The only restrictions are your captain’s rank and available unspent skill points.

All captains have access to the following skill groups:

  • Starfleet Training
  • Starship Energy Weapons
  • Starship Projectile Weapons
  • Starship Engineering
  • Starship Operations

In addition, each class has a unique skill group:

  • Tactical captains get the Tactical Officer group
  • Engineer captains get the Engineering Officer group
  • Science captains get the Science Officer group

Skill Levels and Costs

All skills in STO have 9 levels. Your captain starts with no levels in any skills, and purchases skill levels with skill points.

The cost of a skill level depends on the tier of the skill:

Skill Tier SP per Skill Level
1 (Lieutenant) 100
2 (Lt Commander) 200
3 (Commander) 300
4 (Captain) 400
5 (Admiral) 500

How Skills Work – The Basics

Each level in a skill grants a bonus to specific aspects of your character. For example, the Starship Energy Weapons Training skill increases the damage of all energy weapons on your ship. The more levels you have in the skill, the greater the damage bonus.

The effects of the different skills can be broadly broken down according to the skill groups:

  • Starfleet Training skills either increase the speed, turn rate and hull strength of ships (the ‘Command’ and ‘Captain’ skills) or increase the effectiveness of your bridge officer’s ground abilities and some space abilities (the ‘Team Leader’ skills)
  • Starship Energy Weapons skills boost the damage done by energy weapons
  • Starship Projectile Weapons skills boost the damage done by projectile weapons
  • Starship Engineering skills generally boost the effectiveness of Engineer abilities, although some also have secondary effects on your ship’s power generation and repair rate
  • Starship Operations skills generally boost the effectiveness of Science abilities
  • The class-specific Tactical/Engineering/Science Officer skills boost the effectiveness of your captain’s ground abilities

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:

For more advanced details on how skills function, how their bonuses are calculated and a lot of numbers, see the Skills Guide article.

STO Planner Released

After several weeks of fiddling around STO Planner is finally released to the public!

This tool allows you to plan your character skills ahead. It’s especially important since there’s currently no reset option in game, so wasting points is definitely not good. This skills planner is inspired by Durakken’s STO character builder which is missing one very important feature: saving skills. StoPlanner enables you to save the skills you selected permanently so you can review and change them later as you wish, and best of all you can share and discuss them with your friends.

If you find any bugs or have suggestions feel free to use the contact form and I’ll do what I can.