Star Trek Online: Guide to Gear Bonuses

In Star Trek Online the gear comes fast and furious.

In Star Trek Online the gear comes fast and furious. Rarely do a few loot drops go by where something of value doesn’t show up. Can you tell if the gear you just got is an upgrade with a quick glance at the primary bonuses? To help out, the gear has the primary bonus abbreviated and included in the title of the gear. Sometimes this is a big help, other times it can be confusing. STO is not shy on acronyms and abbreviations, so this guide is here to help peal back the layers of mystery (cue the deep thought music). 

If gear you're looking for isn't dropping, don't be afraid to go shopping at the exchange. Read through the rest of this article to know what you're looking at though.
The exchange.

Gear Scaling

The gear scales similar to skills in STO as players increase in rank. There are various MK designations for the gear denoting its uberness relative to others (i.e. a MK III will be better than an MK II). Likewise, the gear designations will scale upwards and have a “big brother” as the bonuses ratchet up. This is important if you find gear bonuses that compliment your character because you’ll be able to upgrade from something like a Personal Armor MK I [HP] to a Personal Armor MK II [HP]. For those keeping score at home, the set bonus is the letters inside the brackets “[]” and in this case it’s HP which raises the hit points of the wearer. To highlight how confusing it can be, I’ve seen over twenty abbreviations for gear bonuses.

More HP is better than Less HP.


The letters in the brackets sometimes make perfect sense like the case above, “[HP]” is rather intuitive for longtime MMOG players and can be recognized for improving health. Many others aren’t so user friendly (can you guess what [CrtH] might be? Answers are below). There are some trends among the different types of bonuses though. 

Shields and Armor Trends

When looking at shields (both personal armor and starship shields), the letters in the brackets almost always show which type of damage will be reduced; [Pha] means the shields/armor are primarily phaser damage reduction shields. The two exceptions are Cap and Reg which indicate gear that will enhance the shield/armor capacity and regeneration respectively.

When it comes to shields and armor bonuses, the more the better obviously. At the beginning of a career, captains should just be happy to wear whatever they can get their hands on. Later on the damage-type mitigation will become more important. Don’t dwell on it too much, by the time you’ll need to know how to offset incoming damage types you’ll have plenty of gear to choose from.

Dishing out the [Crts]

When it comes to doling out damage, there are a couple of key bonus letters you’ll want to know, namely [CrtD] Critical Hit Severity, and [CrtH] Critical Hit Chance. Getting some additional [Acc] Accuracy is good too, but depending on the career (tactical), crits are where the action is. These abbreviations work for both ship weapons and personal weapons. For personal weapons, there will also be [DoT] Damage over Time, and [KB] Knock Backs which help depending on your skill sets and desired playstyle.


Giving it all she’s got

The starship engine bonuses are much straighter forward. There are only a few that I’ve found so far, and they include: [Aux] for added auxiliary power, [Full] for higher Full Impulse Speed, [Spd] for increased speed, and last but not least [Turn] for better turning rate. Depending on which aspect of space flight is important to your career, any of these bonuses might be beneficial. As a tactical fighter I’m a big fan of turning followed by speed. Being able to keep my prey in my frontal damage cone means a shorter fight, a much shorter fight.

Matching the Shoes with the Belt

STO offers quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to playstyle. Just because you chose Engineer doesn’t mean you can’t load up on some tactical skills and CrtH gear and go kick some Gorn behind. One thing I would recommend though is to figure out complimentary sets for the different aspects of the game. If you find yourself in a tank situation (engineering) and have CrtH weapon bonuses, you may want to trade that out for more of KB, DoT or even ACC bonus. Crit happens, but when possible try and align the gear bonuses with a primary objective.

The bonuses are fairly straight forward when it comes to determining the best bonus per group role (tank, healer, DPS), but learning the STO vernacular is the key to unlocking the mystery. The important thing to note however is that the abbreviations are merely for convenience. If a player reads the tool tip for the gear selected, the stats will quite clearly illustrate which bonuses are the primary benefits.

Most of the primary abbreviations have been included in this guide; however there are more currently in the game and the list will grow as the game grows. Have you found any that have stumped you? Have you found the bonuses to be congruent with the group role (i.e. tank bonuses on tank gear)? I’m sure the theorycrafters are grinding through the various permutations to determine the optimal builds, but for the rest of us, we should have a fairly good grasp of what we’ll find out in the far reaches.

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