Star Trek Online Ship Power Beginner’s Guide

Star Trek Online Ship Power Beginner’s Guide by fuzun

Part I

I was among the first group of Closed Beta testers so I’ve got a bit of knowledge I can share about a Ship’s power and how to squeeze every megawatt of power from the Warp Core. So this is my Beginner’s Guide to Ship Power. I’m not going to cover everything about a Starship in details. I’m going to assume you have a basic familiarity your ship. I’m also going to touch upon certain aspect of ship combat that deal with ship’s power.

Section I – The Basics

We don’t have any power, Captain. Main and Auxiliary power are offline.

First off a ship’s power is the foundation for everything you do on your ship. If you don’t have any power, you can do nothing at all. Secondly no matter how many terragigahugeunit-watts of power your Warp Core can provide, it’s never enough. So you have to distribute power to the subsystems of your ship depending on need.

All of the systems on a ships are divided into 4 groups of Subsystems: Weapons, Shields, Engine, and Auxiliary Systems. Anything that can do direct damage are classified as weapons. Shields (aka Deflector Shields) are your main protection to prevent damage from Weapons. Engine is basically how fast you can travel and how fast the ship can turn. Auxiliary Systems are everything else. It’s the Deflector/Tractor Beam (push/pull/hold ships), Emitters (which can buff/debuff targets in various ways), Sensors (how well you can sense other ships or prevent them from seeing you).

Obviously the more power a subsystem has the better they perform. Weapons will do do more damage. Shield will regenerate faster and resist damage better. Engine allows you to travel faster and turn quicker. Auxiliary allow better Buff/Debuff. (Note: Not all Auxiliary Systems are affected by Auxiliary Power settings. But if your Auxiliary Systems power drops to zero, all Auxiliary Systems will not work. The Seaon 1.2 update has made a lot abilites now dependent on Auxiliary Power. Check your abilites/power infor in the ‘P’ower window to see they now are dependent on Auxiliary Systems power.)

How do I power my ship’s systems?

I’m glad you asked. You ship is primarily powered by your ship’s Warp Core (a matter/anti-matter reactor. No? Sigh. The big glowy thing in engineering.) There isn’t any real device or item in the game which is a Warp Core. It’s an intrinsic part of your ship.

The Base Total Power of you ship is represented by 200 units. You distribute these 200 units to each Subsystem. The rules you have to follow are as follows. You allocate units in groups of 5. And you must allocate at least 25 units to a subsystem. And you can allocate no more then 100 units to a Subsystem. So you could run all four Subsystems at 50. Or one Subsystem at 100, another at 50 and the other two at 25. Or two subsystems at 75 and there other two at 25. Well you get the picture.

How do I manage my ships power?

Your ship’s power management console is located to the right of the throttle bar at the bottom center of the screen. Most of the console is taken up by the power displays for each Subsystem. In order, (in order) the indicators are for Weapons, Shield, Engine and Auxiliary Systems. Each indicator shows what the power allocation is set to. And also how much actual power actually is in each Subsystem. (More on this below)

At the top of the console there are 4 buttons which represent 4 default power allocations schemes/modes: Attack, Defense, Speed, and Balanced. (And from now on I will refer to power distributions as 50/50/50/50 which in order are Weapons, Shields, Engine and Auxiliary). Attack profile is for maximum weapon damage and moderate shield regen (100/50/25/25). Defense is maximum shield regenerate and moderate weapons damage (50/100/25/25). Speed is for maximum speed/turning rate and moderate auxiliary systems (25/25/100/50). Balanced is moderate (aka base) performance for each Subsystem (50/50/50/50).

You select the power distribution icons and that will change the power allocated to each subsystem. As I previously mentioned the power indicator show the power allocation and the actually power in each subsystem. When power allocation changes, you’ll see the amount of power increase/decrease to the new allocated levels. However the change in power levels is not instantaneous. The power levels take time to reach their new levels. Otherwise you would be blowing out plasma conduits all over your ship.

Custom Power Profiles
The power distribution console has 3 different display modes. You select the mode by clicking in the icon that looks like tiled windows. Mode 1 is a numeric display for the power indicators. Mode 2 is a bar graph for the power indicators. Mode 3 is a bar graph display as well. But Mode 3 also allows you to manually tweak the power distribution settings. You can click and drag the power indicators. The other subsystem indicators will change in response. To lock a power settings for a subsystem. Click on the small locks icon on top of the subsystem power indicator. Don’t lock more then 2 otherwise you won’t be able to change power allocations. Below the Power Present icons are two buttons which allow you reset the power allocation back to the current Present defaults. And the other button allows you to save the current power allocation for the current Preset profile.

Power Transfer Rate
Power Transfer Rate is how fast your actual power levels change when you shift power allocations. The default rate is 5 units per second. Power Transfer Rate can be increased with a certain Engineering Console (EPS Flow Regulator). At lower levels you can get consoles which increase the rate by +20. A the high end you can get consoles of +90% and a bit higher. In battle being able to shift power allocations quickly can sometimes be crucial in combat. (You shields are weakening and another two Cruisers are bearing down on you. You need to go defensive to build shield strength while you teams mates finish off the current group of ships.).

Note: EPS Flow Regulators have been reduced in magnitude again with the Season 1.2 update. But don’t panic, if you know what that would imply about weapon power. But weapon power drain mechanics have changed. I’ll address them in the weapon power section.

Section II – How do I squeeze some more power from my Warp Core?

A Starfleet Officer with the right training, the right equipment and/or the ship can get more power of their Warp Core and Subsystems. This means that you can actually go above base power level allocated to a Subsystem. You can even go above the normal maximum allocation level 100.

All of the skill power setting bonuses stack with the Equipment and Ship Bonuses. If you take everything together you can have the following examples. An Escort with a +5 power settings Console can run 120/53/32/32 in Attack profile. A Science with a +5 AUX console ould be running be running 53/100/32/47 in Defense profile or 53/53/53/68 in Balanced Mode. A Cruiser with a set of four different consoles Warp Core Train and Theorist and could be running 63/63/63/63 in Balanced.

Also there is a cap on the usable about of power. Usable total power on a subsystem is capped at 125. You can boost the power level higher then 125, only only 125 is usable.

Ship Bonuses
As I mentioned the type of ship can have more efficient Subsystems which will affect base power settings. These bonuses vary according to the ship type. But they, in general, fall in line with what the ship type is best at.

Federation Ships:

  • Escorts – +15 Weapons
  • Cruisers – +5 Weapons, +5 Shields, +5 Engines, +5 Auxiliary Systems
  • Science Vessels – +15 Auxiliary Systems

Klingon Ships:

  • Battlecruisers – +10 Weapons, +10 Engines
  • Raiders (Bird of Prey) – +15 Weapons
  • Raptors – +15 Weapons
  • Carriers – +5 Weapons, +5 Auxiliary Systems
  • Orion Cruiser – +5 Weapons, +5 Shields, +5 Engines, +5 Auxiliary Systems
  • Gorn Fleet Support – +15 Auxiliary Systems
  • Nausicaan Siege Destroyer – +10 Weapons, +5 Shields, +5 Engines

Equipment Bonuses
The right equipment can also increase power settings. There are various Engineering Consoles which can add a bonus to one or more individual Subsystems. The lower level Consoles can at +1.5 – +2.5 to a single subsystem. Higher end consoles go all the way to +6. If you have the Console slots on the ships, you can have multiple consoles of the same type of Console. The Console bonuses do stack with all other power setting bonus.

Also another source of extra temporary power are Ships Batteries for the various subsystems. A battery is a device that can be equipped on your ship. The battery will appear as a Power icon on your hot tray and ‘P’owers window. When you use a battery, the appropriate subsystem get’s a +75 power setting bonus for 3 seconds. It’s only a short duration, but they can get you out of a pinch if power drops to zero. This is still subject to the power level cap of 125.

And I would be negligent if I didn’t mention the (rare) Efficient Impulse Engine Mk IV. It’s one of the possible rewards in the second half of the “City on the Edge of Never” episodic mission. And got changes in en equipment revamp. Instead of adding +5 power to Weapons, Shields and Auxiliary Systems Subsystems. The extra power now works similar to how the Subsystem Efficiency skills work. It’s +5 power at power setting 25 for Weapons, Shields and Auxiliary Systems. And it decreases to 0 at power setting 75 for Weapons, Shields and Auxiliary Systems Subsystems.

Equipment Sets There are two new Starship equipment sets which give power setting bonuses. I won’t go into much detail beyond their power setting bonuses. These equipment sets are different in they give a special bonus for have 2 or more pieces of the set equipped.

Aegis Set The Aegis Set is a 3 piece set that is created via Crafting. The Aegis Hyper Impuse Engine gives at +5 Engine Subsystem power setting bonus.

Borg Assimilated Set The Borg Assimilated is a 4 set that is obtained by completing the PvE mission Assimilated and the STF Infect, The Cure and The Khitomer Accords. Each piece of the set will a +5 power setting Bonus to one of the 4 Subsystems (Weapons, Shields, Engines, Auxiliary Systems).

Skill Bonuses
A ships Captain with the right training can squeeze more power from the Warp Core and make Subsystems run better. There are Efficiency Skills which make Subsystems run more efficient at lower power levels (<75). And there are Performance skills which get better performance out of a Subsystem. Like other skill groups, there are three tiers of power related Captain skills. But they don’t work work or stack exactly like other skills as explain below.

Part II

Section III – Power Related Skills

Starship Warp Core Training
Right off there is Starship Warp Core Training which is the base power skill. It’s the Tier one power skill. It’s a cheap skill points-wise. But since it affects a lot of systems, it only gives a max bonus of +18%.

This skill can grant power setting bonuses to systems running at low power (i.e. <75). The lesser the power allocation the bigger the bonus will be. At Rank 2, you can get a +2 Bonus to a Subsystem at 25, and a +1 Bonus to a Subsystem at 50. Warp Core Training by itself will grant a maximum bonus at Rank 6 of +4 for a setting of 25, and a bonus of +2 for 50.

(Note: I’m only giving specific examples of 25 and 50 as those are the most common low power settings. There is an actually a formula behind the scenes which I’ll got to later. The bonuses are rounded for display purposes in the game client. All of those .5s to add up )

If you take the character trait Warp Core Theorist, you get a +10 skill bonus. That stacks with Starship Warp Core Training, and you can get bigger bonuses for power settings. At Warp Core Training Rank 9 plus Warp Core Theorist, you can be a +7 power setting bonus at 25 and a +3 power setting bonus at 50. So you could potentially have power levels in Attack 100/53/32/32. Defense 53/100/32/32, Speed 32/32/100/53, Balanced 53/53/53/53.

A handy chart.

Base Power Setting
Rank Skill | w/ Theorist
50 25 | 50 25

1 +6 | +0 +1 | +2 +4
2 +10 | +1 +2 | +2 +4
3 +12 | +1 +3 | +3 +5
4 +14 | +1 +3 | +3 +6
5 +15 | +1 +3 | +3 +6
6 +16 | +2 +4 | +3 +6
7 +17 | +2 +4 | +3 +6
8 +17.5 | +2 +4 | +3 +6
9 +18 | +2 +4 | +3 +7

The formula is
1/200 * WCT * (75 – PS)

where WCT is the Warp Core Training skills bonus (not rank it is the % value) + Warp Core Theorist bonus.

PS is the base power allocation to the subsystem (i.e. 25 – 100)

I hope this isn’t too hard to read. The darned web browsers eat the extra spaces. The first column is the skill Rank of Starship Warp Core Training. The second column is the skill values that rank gives. The next four columns are the actual power settings bonuses that you receive. The first set of power setting bonuses are what you receive at power settings of 50 and 25. The last two columns are the power setting bonuses with the Warp Core Theorist trait.

Efficiency Skills

The Efficiency set of skills is the second tier of power skills. There is one skill for each of the ships four subsystems. They are Commander rank skills. Each skills is a bit more specialized than the Tier one Starship Warp Core Training. The are more expensive in skill points. But they do give a bigger max bonus: +32%.

The Efficiency skills work very similarly to Starship Warp Core Training in that they give a power setting bonus at low power levels (<75). The lower the power allocation to a subsystem the higher the power setting bonus.

And there are 2 different traits that work with the Efficiency Skills. One for players is Efficient Captain. It gives a +10% Efficiency skill bonus for each of the 4 Subsystem of the ships. And there is a Bridge Officers trait called Efficient which gives a +5% Efficiency Skill bonus to all of the ships subsystems.

Since there are so many variables, I’m just going to give a player derived formula for the Efficiency bonus (With many thanks to TBBle).

ES/300 * (75-PS)

Where ES is the total Efficiency skills bonus (the % value not the rank) include all bonuses
PS is the power allocation of the subsystem (25 – 100).

I can see that your eyes are glazing over. Ok here is some hard examples on what you can expect. With rank 9 in a Subsystem Efficiency Skills, a player captain with the Efficient Captain trait and one Bridge Officers with the Efficient trait, you can get +11 power setting bonus at power level 25 or +5 power setting bonus at power level 50.

Performance Skills

The Performance skills are quite powerful which is probably why they are Captain and Admiral rank skills. The skills are very expense in terms of skill points. But for the right system and ship, they are priceless.

These skills grant a flat power setting bonus regardless of the power allocation to the subsystem. These skills in every way act like an Engineering Subsystem Power Consoles. These skills will allow power settings to exceed 100. And like other power setting bonuses they do stack with the rest.

Unlike the power skills the formula for Performance skills is quite simple. (Thanks to Binkenstein.)

PS / 5.21

Where PS is the Performance Skills bonus (the % value not the rank of the kill)

But if you want a quick rule thumb. Performance bonus == skill Rank. So +9 power setting bonus at Performance rank 9.

Other Miscellaneous Skills

There are other skills which can temporarily boost ship power levels directly or other ship power skills. I won’t go into much detail as there are many of the skills, but I will highlight some of the more common skills.

Emergency Power To skills. In addition to other effects, these skills increase the power setting of the subsystem for 30 seconds. You get all of the benefits of the higher power level.

Note: The Team skills used to provide 30 seconds of various skill bonuses. But with the Season 1.2 update, the duration is how 5 seconds. Five seconds isn’t much time for addition power. So I’m dropping the discusion of them my guide.

Where can I see what my bonuses are?

Another good question. One thing very nice includes in the UI improvements is that all of of the passive skills and bonuses you character has are now displayed. They are under the Passive tab of the status window for your character (‘hit J’ -> Select your -> Status tab). This tab shows ALL of you bonuses including all of those power settings bonuses you get from skills. You’ll set the power setting bonuses for each subsystem for each captain skill: i.e. Starships Warp Core Training: Weapons, Weapon System Efficiency, Weapon System Performance, etc. And to top it off, each of the bonuses change in real time as you alter you subsystem power allocations.

Part III

Section III – Subsystems and Power and You

Power levels affect the performance of the various subsystems. In general, the higher the power, the better the performance of the system. The general rule of thumb for subsystem power levels is as follows. At power level 25, the system is on, but just barely functional. Power settings 50 is the base performance level of the subsystem (i.e. 1x). Power level of 75 is 2x the base. Power level 100 is 3x the base. And Power level 125 is 4x the base.

Weapon Subsystem
Another aspect of Power Transfer Rate is the Weapon subsystem. Energy weapons (i.e. Phaser Array, Dual Beam Arrays, Cannon, etc) draw off of a power capacitor (or energy reservoir) which is also your Weapon Power level. Also the amount of damage your energy weapons do it directly proportional to the current level of Weapon Power. This is a very important part of ship combat management as explained below.

The size of the Weapons Capacitor is your current Weapon power setting. As energy weapons fire they draw energy from the weapons capacitor. For every addition weapon you fire, it draws 10 energy (This does vary a bit from weapon to weapon) from you Weapons power. For example, if you have Weapon power setting of 100 and you fire 2 Phaser Arrays, that will draw down you Weapon power to 90. Four Phaser Arrays would draw down Weapon Power to 70.

OK with the Season 1.2 update to the game. The weapon power drain mechanics have changed. The rate at which the power to the weapon capacitor has changed. Power no longer returns at the power transfer rate. Weapon power now returns instantly after the fire cycle of a weapon completes.

What does this mean? Well it means the dependence on EPS Flow Regulator Engineering consoles is gone. If you want to, you can do with any EPS Flow Reg. console. It will not affect your weapon damage per second at all. It frees up one, two, or potentially 3 Engineering Console slots. There are a lot of nice consoles your can choose from: Subsystem Power consoles, Hull Repair consoles, or even, gasp, Hull Armor.

However, if you are one that likes to after your power settings in battle, EPS Flow Reg. consoles are still useful. One will give you a nice boost. And two consoles should be more then enough for someone who depends on switching power around.

Shields Subsystem

Your Deflector Shields (or just Shields) are your primary defence again enemy weapon fire. In general, shields have 2 attributes. First is Capacity. That is the amount of damage that the Shield can absorb. Each shot diminishes the shield’s damage capacity. When a shield facing capacity is depleted, your ship’s hull is now open to direct weapon damage. The second attribute is Regeneration Rate. This is the rate at shield your shield’s damage capacity is replenished.

What does Ships power have to do with shields? Well other than being on, The shield Subsystem power level affects the Shield’s Regeneration Rate. At power level 25, the shields are up and provide protection. But there is zero shield regeneration. At power level 50, the shields the shield base regeneration rate. At power level 75, the shields have 2x the regeneration rate, and so forth accord to the general rules given above.

A recent change is that shields also have a certain amount of damage resistance vs damage to the shields. This reduces the amount of damage done to the shield itself (i.e it’s Capcity as discussed above). This shield damage resistance does not reduce the amount of damage done to the hull. The amount of damage resistance is directly proportional to the Shield Power Level. The formula as stated by the devs is: Power level / 500 (or PL / 5 if you prefer percentages). So damage resistance is 5% at power level 25, 10% at level 50, 15% at level 75, 20% at level 100, and a maximum of 25% at level 125.

Also note that a lot of the shield buffing powers also add a certain amount of shield damage resistance too. The shield damage resistance bonuses are additive. Which means up to Season 2.0 one could have 100% shield damage resistance. That is perfect shields which took zero damage. With the coming of the Season 2 update, shield damage resistance now has a cap of 75%. And that means that Shields will always be taking some amount of damage.

Engine Subsystem

Power for the engine subsystem is simple. The higher the engine power level the faster your max speed is at full throttle. And the better your ship’s turning rate. With zero engine power, your ship is quite literally a sitting target. You can’t move, and you can’t turn except at a snail’s pace. One combat aspect that player don’t generally know about is Defence. Going faster means you are harder to hit. At Impulse Factor 20, your ship have 25% Defence from speed. The maximum amount of defence from speed tops out at 50% at roughly Impulse Factor 35.

Full Impulse
Full Impulse is a special throttle mode which gives a massive boost to sublight speed. Full Impulse diverts all ship’s power to the Engine Subsystem. Your power settings go to 5/5/100/5. When you exit Full Impulse, your Subsystems power levels have to build back up to their nominal levels at the Power Transfer Rate. At the default Power Transfer Rate, it will take 24 second for a subsystem to build from power level 5 to power level 125

Something to bear in mind. If you are a run and gun type that Full Impulse’s into weapon range and open’s fire, you aren’t going to be very effective. Your Energy Weapons and Shields are going to be barely functional at power level 5. You effectively are shining a flashlight on the target and your Shields are paper thin with no regneration.

Auxiliary Systems

Auxiliary Systems are basically everything else. But not everything is affect by the Auxiliary System power level. Many Science Officers abilities are affected by Auxiliary Power level. For example, the amount of shield power that is drain buy Tachyon Beam ability is proportional to the Auxiliary Systems power level. Auxiliary power also affects certain Engineering abilities, as well, including ships hull repair. In short the higher Auxiliary power the better the skills are or the faster things happen. Don’t neglect your Auxiliary Systems, they may just save your ship and crew when you least expect it.

Note: In the Season 1.2 many more abilities are now dependent on Auxiliary Systems power level. Most of the healing abilities (hull and shield) are dependent on Aux power. Auxiliary Systems power has become just as important as other power levels. And the scaling factor has changed for from the previous builds. Now efficacy (strength) of skills is a linear scale at 100% at power level 100 down to 50% at power level 25. And pushing Auxiliary Systems does make the abilities stronger than normal.

Another major system new tied into Auxiliary Power Level are Klingon Carrier’s (the Vo’quv and Kar’Fi classes) Hanger Bays. Hanger bays require Auxiliary Power to launch fighter (an other things). The vessel recharge times are tied to Auxiliary Power level as well. The old hanger recharge times (bsaed on vessel type) are based on have Auxiliary Power at 100. Auxiliary Power of 115 shaved approx 8% off of total recharge times. Auxiliary Power of 15 increase Recharge times by one third (i.e. +1/3).

Section IV – What does it all mean?

Well I saw right off that a ship’s power was very important. And I’m a mini-maxer at heart. So it was natural I drifted towards maximizing ship power. My first character that I creating during head start is a Tactical Captain now a Rear Admiral/5 in a Reconnaissance Science Vessel. I invested very heavily in all of the ship power skills, and a couple key Engineering Consoles (EPS Flow Relay and +6 Shield Subsyatem power). But I have not invested in the Auxiliary Systems Performance skill. This what you can achieve if you really try:


Note: Custom (Balance) is because I’m a Science ship

As you can plainly see, my ship’s performance levels in any mode is 2 or 3 times better than a base ship.

Section V

PatricianVetinari has a most excellent Ship Power Calculator. It’s a spread sheet that will allow you to play “What if…?”. You can tweak, prod and poke at things to get a feeling of how every thing interacts. The more optimum power settings are sometimes not the most obvious settings.

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