Let's ask on the Star Trek Online Forums!
In Star Trek Online, the MMORPG from Cryptic Studios, many players fly different ships. Whether you're a Science Captain, Engineer, or Tactical officer, space combat in STO is one of the more unique examples so far in the MMO market. As such, it is also one that was made in such a way that Player vs. Player and Player vs. Environment lines blur.
So, where does a new player in STO go to find help? You might be surprised if I told you some of the best resources for that information are the PVPers! One such PVPer has made two separate threads, with goals mostly to help the PVPers fly their ship classes better, and he was willing to answer some questions concerning one of those threads. His name on the Forums, is Mavairo, and the thread in question is How to build a Sci that can make people throw stuff at their screens, a follow up to his other thread labeled The Cruiser Thread 3.0, in which discusses helping Cruiser Pilots in PVP, which will be featured in a future article.
So, with that said, here is the interview with Mavario. I hope that everyone enjoys the answers as much as I did!
How about you tell us a little bit about your self and your relationship with Star Trek Online?
Mavario: Well, truth be told. I'm not a Trekkie, no really I'm not! My initial relationship started when a friend let me play his closed beta. I've always loved the ships of Star Trek. The game-play was rather unique, so I decided I'd check it out. I played because initially it made a good impression for me. After a while, (a fellow player by the name of) Bigredjedi got me into PvP. Which consequently introduced me to the PvP community in STO. No matter how bad the game gets, I keep around because of those guys. The relationship feels more like a bad marriage I suppose now. You know you should leave it, but there's still some part of you that hopes I guess. *Laughs*
What made you decide to create the thread you labeled How to build a Sci that can make people throw stuff at their screens”?
Mavario: It was a lot of the same reasons I made the ultimate cruiser thread really. There were at the time a lot of people pronouncing Science as dead. I frankly did not see it that way, even if science is right now a little underpowered as a whole. Science is what wins Pre-made fights at the end of the day, both Federation vs. Klingon, Klingon vs. Klingon, and Federation vs. Federation. It's not as easy as spamming Charged Particle Burst and Tachyon beam like it was before, but it's effects are undeniable. Really though it came to the fact that originally I'd planned on finally kicking the habit of STO, and I wanted to pass the knowledge I'd gained to the community as a whole rather than training people privately and hoping they spread it out.
What do you feel is necessary to use by Science ships these days, since the Skill revamp back in January?
Mavario: Because without science on the field, healing can and will flat out dominate the battlefield. The only thing holding back the wagon wheel extend Directed Energy Modulation cruisers, is Science. DPS from Escorts just isn't up to the level of being able to take on Cruiser teams without Viral Matrixes, Tractor Beam Repulsions, Tyken’s Rifts, and Subnucleonic Beams.
Which Captain class do you feel provides the biggest benefit to a science ship, and why? (Science, Engineer, or Tactical)
Mavairo: Science, no question. There are a few people that say "But it has no bonuses to being in a sci ship!" but that's where they are wrong really. Sci captains don't rely on Doing Damage to being useful on the battlefield. Sci Captains rely on de-buffs and crowd control aspects to do the job the most effectively and efficiently as possible, the said de-buffs are the only way to defeat Healing in STO at the end of the day. While a Tactical captain in a sci ship can generate fairly impressive numbers, compared to say a Federation cruiser, it pales compared to what that same tactical captain could do in an Escort. Science captains, also are great secondary healers thanks to science fleet and scattering field. They don't have to hold 1 or 2 heals in the bag to themselves during Crunch Time necessarily. Engineer sci captains, well that is just another way of being a heal bot. Because the engineer brings so little to STO in general these days.
Which Science ship would you recommend for some one who just reached max level, and why?
Mavairo: Well the first Tier 5 ship I always recommend for new sci players is the Recon sci vessel. It's incredibly agile, it's very flexible, and can carry 2 tac teams and leave room for a Lieutenant power, like Torpedo Spread, Beam Overload 2, or Fire At Will 2. I recommend a new sci start out with double transfer shield strength 2 and 2 tac teams till they get used to shield tanking. Once they do, they can move down to just one Tactical Team fairly safely. The Recon being so Aggressive as a sci ship also helps teach you the best uses for your nukes, de-buffs and Crowd Control. It gives you the most firing solutions out of any sci ship barring the Fleet Nova.
Do you feel there are any under used gems in STO today for science ships?
Mavairo: Right now, I think the best most underused ability, has to Tyken's Rift 3 once you get the Gravimetric Scientist Duty Officer for it. The drain is very reliable when the doff procs, and two ships cranking it is terrifying to deal with. Other than that I suppose, the old stand by of Tractor Beam Repulsors. A lot of people do not understand that ability and how to best utilize it, they use it at the wrong time, a few times and after that it leaves a bad taste in the mouth and they abandon it.
What do you feel are the best generic Duty Officer combination for a Science ship, and why?
Mavairo: Off hand, I would say two Development Lab Scientists of blue and purple quality, two Shield Distribution officers, and either a tractor beam officer (for TBR), or a torpedo officer.
Which science powers do you feel have been the most neglected with the current state of the game in both PVE and PVP?
Mavairo: As much as I would love to say Charged Particle Burst and Tachyon Beam, the honor of most neglected and sad ability is Jam Sensors. Talk about a useless skill against anything other than complete rookies. Everything it does, another skill will do better. Boosting survival? Transfer Shield Strength, Hazards, or Sci Team will do better. Reducing the power of a coming alpha or burning a sci team? Scramble Sensors beats it, as does TBR, even Tractor Beam. A close second I suppose would be Charged Particle Burst and Tachyon Beam, as at least Gravity Well when doffed up, is still useful in PvE, and in carrier heavy matches. In PvE the mobs are so pathetic you should never need it in the first place.
What do you feel is the best gear for a science ship these days? All beams, All Kinetic (Torpedoes and Mines), or a mix of some sort of the two?
Mavairo: For Tac Sci I prefer all energy weapons, and an overload 2 on a duel beam bank (or 3). For Sci sci, I like all energy weapons, for the sheer proc value. (which is why my sci sci tends towards polaron and tetryon weapons). A straight up Kinetic Sci is still viable, but you need to pick the right torpedoes, and have the duty officers to make it work. I do have a sci sci presently though that has 5 beams and a chroniton torp launcher, just for the proc on the torpedo.
How important is it to use the right Deflector and Consoles for a Science ship to perform well these days?
Mavairo: For me, it's all about the Consoles, the benefits of the deflector come secondary at best to a given Set Item bonus from the Special Task Forces. Either you can fill your shields, or save your bacon with a Borg proc. Or you can contribute to shield stripping people dry.
What about the universal consoles you can get by buying ships from the Zen Store, do you feel there are any that perform better on a science ship then others?
Mavairo: Anti-Matter Spread is always an obvious choice, since it gives so much value for no specialization on the tree. I would say the Jump Console surprisingly enough is also a lot of fun on a sci ship. Nothing like getting a surprise sub nuke from the rear when you thought you had escaped his sci wrath. Klink side, things get more interesting of course, as Plasmonic Leech is a de facto console over there. Barrier Field is also a lot more fun than it should be, as is Vent Theta Radiation for the slow. I tend to put my Zen Consoles in my engineering slots. Field Generators, and Sci Skill boosters are just too important to give up.
What about for Fleet Missions? How should a Science vessel be played with in the newest Content released by STO?
Mavairo: Gravity Well 3, and Tractor Replusors 2 are your friends. I recommend 2 copies of TBR2 actually. Otherwise, stack up on heals, and feed transports and star bases constantly. I use TBR2 as the opener once the ships spawn in, and kick them far away from the friendly units. Then I snare them with Grav Well 3. If the doff procs so much the better. If it's the cargo transport mission they will get to safety, long before your friendly takes damage.
Finally, what advice would you give to new Science Officer Pilots of Science ships?
Mavairo: Sci is the hardest to learn straight out of the gate. The reason for this, is learning how to time your SNB strikes. Learn to time it's use with your team mates, focus firing and friendly tac captains alpha strike runs. You need to deprive your targets of the heals that come in to save them if at all possible. I recommend using Viral Matrix on the enemy healer if you have it, and then hitting TBR. Coordinate with the Escort, push evasive maneuvers, and push the enemy victim away from everyone but you and the escort and hopefully your team mates. as his defense buffs start coming up, Sub Nuke them off as the tac alphas.
I really recommend looking through my Science thread to start off with to get a general idea of what you want to do. Whatever it is you decide to do, go full bore. Halfsies do not work in STO, especially on sci ships right now. Other than that, it gets better. There will be times when you swear to God you did nothing to help kill everyone and your tac buddies were just murdering their way through (and it's probably true). But it's not due to a lack of potency of your own ship.
Most players in STO are...well not that good. They are so Not Good, that often your de-buffs don't really affect them all that much because theydo not have a proper defensive buff rotation, or offensive rotation going in the first place that removing it affects anything. Once you get into the swing of things though, against Good Players, people will start cussing and swearing at you. When they start giving you hate tells about how you are nothing but a sci spammer, you're doing something right. Keep it going.