back to Starship Basics, Ten Ton Hammer’s guide to
starship knowledge for style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online.
Starship combat is at the heart of style="font-style: italic;">STO
as that many missions require you to defeat enemy forces in the cold
confines of space, but also in that you do all your traveling via
starship and can have unfriendly encounters at almost any time. Plus,
starship combat is one of the coolest aspects of the Trek universe.
Don’t tell me that you didn’t get excited in style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek II
when the Enterprise blew off one of the Reliant’s warp
nacelles, rendering Khan’s ship severely disabled! Or that
you didn’t enjoy the fleet actions that took place in style="font-style: italic;">Deep Space Nine
whenever the Dominion showed up? Of course, there have been some lame
starship fights, such as in style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek: Insurrection
when the Enterprise defeated the enemy by essentially farting on their
spaceships? Purge your mind of such lame acts and focus on the
gloriously cool space combats that permeate the rest of the shows and

In the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/sto/features/guides/starship_basics_introduction"
target="_blank">first installment
of Starship Basics, we discussed the various terminology and stats of
your starship. In this more advanced class, we will discuss the weapons
that a starship can use to wreak vengeance upon the enemy. Weapons are
one of the two principal components of your starship, shields being the
other, in that if you can’t damage your enemy, then your
mighty starship is as dangerous as a fluffy tribble…which is
not at all!

Overall, there are three different types of weapon that a starship can
wield: beam weapons, mines, and torpedoes. Each of those specific
weapons have differing versions and can inflict various types of
effects upon enemy ships based upon their damage type.

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Not everybody is friendly out there.

of Damage

All weapons do damage, no matter if they are beam or torpedo. However,
there are different damage types. The main difference between types is
that a shield that is specifically geared towards one damage type takes
less damage (usually 20%) from a weapon that inflicts that type of
damage. An example would be that you’re shooting at an enemy
ship using your phasers. If the enemy ship had a shield that was geared
towards phasers, you would inflict less damage than you would if you
were shooting at him using disruptors. When you start out in style="font-style: italic;">STO,
you’ll be limited to phaser and disruptor weapons. As you
gain in level, weapons that use other damage types will become
available to you. Overall, there are usually ten levels associated with
most weapons, listed as Mark I through Mark X. The higher the mark of
the weapon, the more damage it does, but it requires a higher character
level to use. Listed below are the various damage types.

  • style="font-weight: bold;">Phaser : [Pha]
    – Standard Federation weapon, but able to be used by all
    factions. Has a 2.5% chance to disable a subsystem for 5 seconds.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Disruptor : [Dis]
    – Standard Klingon/bad guy weapon, but able to be used by all
    factions. Has a 2.5% chance of -10% damage resistance for 15 seconds.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Plasma : [Pla]
    – Normally used by Romulans and the Borg. Has a 2.5% chance
    of causing additional plasma damage over 15 seconds (scales up with the
    weapon level).
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Tetryon : [Tet]
    – These weapons aren’t specifically used by any one
    faction, but are available to all. Has a 2.5% chance of reducing all
    shields by 80.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Polaron : [Pol]
    – This type becomes available at the Captain rank. Has a 2.5%
    chance of reducing all power levels by 25.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Antiproton : [Ap]
    – Mainly used for end-game weapons, Antiproton weapons have
    an additional critical chance.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Kinetic : [Kin]
    – Kinetic damage is inflicted by torpedoes and mines. While
    torpedoes and mines might use different types of warheads (Quantum,
    Plasma, etc.), they all do kinetic damage.

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45 degree firing arc


You can place weapons in either the forward weapons slots or aft
weapons slot on your starship. However, just because you place a weapon
in a forward slot doesn’t mean that it will only fire
straight ahead. Each weapon has an arc, expressed in degrees, where it
can shoot at enemy ships. A weapon that has a 250 degree arc can shoot
to the front and sides of the ship. A weapon that has a 90 degree arc
can only shoot at ships directly in front of your starship. On a side
note, a weapon that has a small arc (45 or 90 degrees) can shoot enemy
starships directly in front of you. If they get too high or too low in
relation to your starship, you will be unable to shoot them. Keep the
nose of your ship pointed at the enemy to keep a continuous stream of
fire upon them.


Beam weapons are the standard weapons of any starship and encompass
many different types. Each style of beam weapons inflicts a certain
type of damage (phaser, disruptor, plasma, tetryon, and polaron). Beam
weapons have arcs ranging from 45 degrees to a full 360 degrees and can
be placed in either the forward or aft weapon slots. Beam weapons have
a range of 10 kilometers. The different types of beam weapons are:

  • style="font-weight: bold;">Array
    – The most standard type of beam weapon. They have a wide
    firing arc, which means that you can give a broadside to an enemy ship
    using the forward and aft weapons if they are both arrays. They have a
    250 degree firing arc.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Dual Array
    – Two weapons stacked into a single array. They inflict more
    damage than an array, but have a smaller firing arc of 90 degrees.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Cannon
    – Inflicts heavier damage than an array and has a firing arc
    of 180 degrees.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Dual Cannon
    – Inflicts more damage than a cannon, but at the cost of
    having an even more limited firing arc of 45 degrees and increased
    energy usage.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Dual Heavy Cannon
    – These weapons inflict more damage than dual cannons, but
    use more energy and have a firing arc of 45 degrees. They also have a
    +10 critical severity buff.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Turret
    – Turrets inflict the least damage of the beam weapons, but
    they have the bonus of having a full 360 degree firing arc, which means
    that they can hit any ship within range at all times. These are great
    to put in your aft weapon slots if you like to do a bull charge at your
    enemies as that you’ll be firing with all your forward
    weapons and your aft mounted turrets will be hitting too.

Normal beam weapons can be used by any ship. However, cannons above
Mark IV can only be used on Escorts. Beam weapons use energy, so the
greater the number of beam weapons that you have on a ship, plus the
faster the rate of fire, the more quickly you will drain power from
your weapons.

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That ship is a big one!


Torpedoes can be mounted in either the forward or aft weapon slots for
your starship. Torpedoes have a 10 kilometer range and have a recharge
timer. All torpedoes have a 90 degree firing arc. Torpedoes are not
effective against shields as that they lose their kinetic energy
(damage) when they impact ship shields. Torpedoes are best used to hit
a ship when their shields drop and you can directly hit the hull. In
addition, if you fire one torpedo, all other torpedo launchers will
begin to recharge and thus be unable to fire which means that you
can’t fire two or more torpedoes at the same time. However,
there is a skill, Torpedo Salvo, which can fire multiple torpedoes from
a single launcher.  Torpedoes inflict kinetic damage and also
have the warhead damage type which has various effects as listed below.

  • style="font-weight: bold;">Photon
    – The standard torpedo which has a 6 second timer. They have
    a 50% chance to inflict -20 Able Crew to the enemy ship.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Quantum
    – This type of torpedo has an 8 second timer and travels
    faster than the other torpedo types. Quantum torpedoes have a 10%
    chance to inflict -10 Alive Crew to the enemy ship.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Plasma
    – Plasma torpedoes have an 8 second timer and they can
    inflict a damage over time (DoT) debuff to an enemy ship.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Chroniton
    – Chroniton torpedoes have a 10 second timer, but they slow
    down an enemy ship, reducing their flight speed and turn rate by 100%
    for 10 seconds.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Transphasic
    – This type of torpedo has a recharge time of 10 seconds and
    has a chance to bypass ship shields.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Tricobalt
    – These Mark X torpedoes inflict the most damage of all
    torpedoes, but have a recharge timer of 30 seconds. They also have a
    chance to disable the enemy ship for 2 seconds.


Mines are passive weapons and have no real firing arc. When used, you
will launch 5 mines behind your ship. The mines will remain stationary
until an enemy comes within 4 kilometers of them, at which point they
will fly towards the enemy and detonate. If you are fighting several
ships, the mines might attack different ships depending upon the range
between the ships and the individual mines. Ship mines can also be
targeted and destroyed by a single beam weapon shot. Mines can only go
in the aft weapon slots.

  • style="font-weight: bold;">Photon
    – These mines have a +2 Critical Chance.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Quantum
    – These mines have a +20 Critical Severity.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Plasma
    – These mines have a chance to inflict Damage over Time (DoT)
    to an enemy ship.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Transphasic
    – These mines have a +2 Critical Chance.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Chroniton
    – Chroniton mines reduce flight speed and turn rate by 100%
    for 10 seconds.

During the course of your travels, you might come across rare weapon
drops. These rare weapons can include additional bonuses to either
accuracy (Acc), Critical Severity (CrtD), or Critical Chance (CrtH), or
a combination of all three. The accuracy bonus is 0.1%, the Critical
Severity bonus is +20, and the Critical Chance bonus is 2%. The bonuses
can stack. An example would be that you find a rare phaser array that
gives [CrtH]x2, which would translate into a Critical Chance bonus of

As you can see, there are three basic weapons for a starship: beam
weapons, torpedoes, and mines. Each type of weapon can inflict various
damage types, impacting the enemy in different ways. How you choose to
arm your ship is a matter of personal preference and fighting style.
Foremost, always make sure to upgrade your weapons whenever you get the
chance. Aside from that, it’s all up to you. If you like to
draw your enemies close to you, then use mines to create a minefield
and lure the bad guys into your web of death. If you like to maneuver
heavily, then use normal phaser arrays to maximize your broadsides as
you fly around your opponent. If you like to charge ahead with guns
blazing, then load up on cannons in the forward weapon slots and
turrets in the aft slots to maximize your damage output as you hit
attack speed. Remember, there’s no one way to destroy a
Federation….I mean, there’s no one way to skin a
cat! How you choose to deal doom to your adversaries is up to you.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Star Trek Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016