back, cadets, to the latest installment of Starship Basics.
Since starship combat is the very heart of style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online,
it would have been nice if Cryptic had fully explained all the various
aspects of starships and space combat within the game to the players.
Alas, Cryptic must have been infiltrated by shape shifter spies from
the Dominion, since many aspects of starship combat are not clearly
explained, leaving the players scratching their heads, exclaiming,
“What does that do? How does this work?” Well, Ten
Ton Hammer is here to help with the Starship Basics guides. Plus,
learning the ins and outs of starship combat are now agonizer free!
(Unless you’re from the Mirror, Mirror universe, in which
case the agonizer is mandatory.)

In the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/sto/features/guides/starship_basics_introduction"
Starship Basics, we discussed the basic ship terminology and stats.
Following that introduction, the second article in Starship Basics
focused on the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/sto/features/guides/starship_basics_weapons"
that a starship can bring to bear on their
enemies. For this session, we’ll turn our attention to the
shields and the impulse engines, both of which are crucial to starship

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/84874"> src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/84874"
alt="star trek online space combat picture"
style="border: 0px solid ; width: 250px; height: 188px;">

My prime directive is death!


Your ship shields are probably the second most important item for your
ship after weapons. Shields absorb damage from enemy attacks, thus
allowing your shiny new ship not to get any nasty holes shot through
it. Your ship has shields on all four sides: fore, aft, left, and
right. Whenever a shield is dropped, any damage taken is applied
directly to your ship’s hull. In addition, most shields have
a “bleedthrough” percentage, usually 10%, which
means that an enemy attack will result in that percentage of damage
bypassing the shields and impacting the hull. Shields have two defining
characteristics: the amount of damage that they can take and the
regeneration rate of the shield. A shield will regenerate over time;
the only problem is surviving long enough to allow them to do so.

Like every other starship equipment item, shields are rated from Mark I
to Mark X. The higher the rating, the better the shield. There is more
than one type of shield that a starship captain can choose from. Here
are the shield options:

  • style="font-weight: bold;">Shield Array
    – This is the standard, balanced shield type for a starship.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Covariant Shield Array
    – This shield has a 25% higher capacity than the standard
    shield array, but regenerates 25% slower.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Regenerative Shield Array
    – This type of shield has a 15% lower capacity than a
    standard shield array, but regenerates 25% faster.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Resilient Shield Array
    – This type of shield has a 5% lower capacity than a standard
    shield array, but has a 5% absorption rate and a 5% bleedthrough, as
    opposed to the standard 10%. The 5% absorption rate means that the
    enemy damage is reduced by 5% when hitting that shield.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Paratrinic Shield Array
    – This shield, that uses alien technology, is a special
    mission reward. The Paratrinic Shield Array has a higher capacity of a
    Covariant Shield Array, but has an even slower regeneration rate.

In addition to the various shield types, there are also other modifiers
that may impact the shield’s performance. These modifiers are:

  • style="font-weight: bold;">Cap
    – increases the Maximum Capacity by 10%.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Reg
    – increases Shield Regeneration by 10%.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Dis
    – disruptor weapon damage is reduced by 20%.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Pha
    – phaser weapon damage is reduced by 20%.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Pla
    – plasma weapon damage is reduced by 20%.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Pol
    – reduces polaron weapon damage by 20%.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Tet
    – reduces tetryon weapon damage by 20%.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Ap
    – reduces antiproton weapon damage by 20%.

Rarer shield drops could have from one to three modifiers attached to
them. Modifiers can stack, so if you see [Pha]x2, that means a
reduction in phaser damage by 40%.

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/84875"> src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/84875"
alt="star trek online space combat picture"
style="border: 0px solid ; width: 599px; height: 449px;">

Torpedoes away!


Impulse engines are the ship’s engines that you use in
encounters, not for warping around the galaxy looking for tribbles. The
impulse engines impact three things that define your
starship’s movement: the normal flight speed, the turn rate,
and the full impulse flight speed. Normal flight speed is just that,
the maximum flight speed that you can attain in combat. The turn rate
is how quickly your ship can turn, which is vital in keeping your heavy
weapons bearing on the target. Finally, full impulse flight speed is
the maximum speed you can fly in full impulse mode, which is what you
use when you’re traveling from one fight to another within a
system or when you’re exploring for crafting materials.

As with every other component of your starship, there are different
types of impulse engines. In addition, impulse engines are also ranked
on a scale from Mark I to Mark X. Just like all items, the higher the
mark number, the better the item is. The various impulse engine types

  • style="font-weight: bold;">Impulse Engines
    – These are the standard impulse engines and are efficient at
    any power level. They are also balanced in terms of turn rate and
    flight speed.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Combat Impulse Engines
    – These engines are more efficient at lower power settings
    and have a better flight speed than standard impulse engines.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Hyper-Impulse Engines
    – These engines are more efficient with high power
    requirements. They have the best maximum speed, but are slower at lower
    power levels.

Impulse engines can also have modifiers which enhance their
performance. As with weapons and shields, impulse engines can have from
one to three modifiers, depending upon the rarity of the drop. These
modifiers can stack. Impulse engine modifiers are:

  • style="font-weight: bold;">Spd
    – This modifier adds +1 to the Flight Speed.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Turn
    – This modifier adds +1 to the Turn Rate of your starship.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Full
    – This modifier adds the plus of the Mark rank and seven to
    the Full Impulse Flight Speed. An example would be Impulse Engines Mark
    VI [Spd], which would add 7 plus 6 (the Mark rank) for a total of 13
    added to the Full Impulse Flight Speed.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Aux
    – This adds a thrusters bonus. You have 25% movement if your
    engines are disabled.

href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/84876"> src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/84876"
alt="star trek online space combat picture"
style="border: 0px solid ; width: 250px; height: 188px;">

In Starfleet, we kill more things by 9am than most people kill in one

As you can see, both shield and impulse engines have a huge impact upon
your starship. Your style of combat, and what kind of foes
you face on
a regular basis, will determine what type of shield to pick. Do you
want a higher capacity one to take lots of punishment, but recharge
very slowly, or go with one that has a lesser capacity, but recharge
more quickly? If you want to dart back and forth against your foes,
you’ll be more comfortable with a quickly recharging shield,
plus impulse engines that allow you turn quickly and get away when
things get too hot. If your style is more of the plodding toe-to-toe
slugfest, higher capacity shields and engines that thrive on incredible
demands of power would be more to your liking.

Remember, in style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online,
your character build is really your starship in that you’ll
be doing most of your fighting in space. Your choice of ship, weapons,
shields, and engines will all be determined by your play style and how
you wish to accomplish your goals. All you need to do is to choose a
path and then boldly go killing where nobody has killed before, all
while drinking a mint julep in your captain’s chair!

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

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016