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Ship customization in Star Trek Online is not limited to merely changing the appearance of your ship. You can also use a myriad of weapon combinations, as well as many different science, engineering, and tactical consoles. With several different variations in energy weapons alone, it can be tough to keep track of all the weapon types in the game.
This basic overview will introduce you to the different types of energy weapons, torpedoes, and mines in the game. How you equip your ship is up to you, and most need a bit of trial and error to decide which combinations work best for them, but we can at least give you a good idea of what you're getting yourself into.
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In Star Trek Online, Torpedoes are the perfect weapon for finishing off a wounded enemy. After you've drained their shields with your energy weapons, a well-timed salvo of torpedoes against the bare hull can do massive damage to an enemy ship. They are capable of damaging shields, but their effectiveness is greatly diminished when not used directly against the hull.
All types of torpedoes fit this basic function, the major difference between them is reload time and overall individual damage. Photon Torpedoes, for example, reload quickly and can be fired more often, but tend to do less damage individually. Quantum Torpedoes take a long time to reload but make up for it by doing massive damage with each strike.
Each type of Torpedo (Quantum, Photon, Chroniton, Plasma, Transphasic, etc) functions a little differently, so experiment with the different types to see which works best for your ship.
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Mines, like torpedoes, come in a variety of types (Quantum, Chroniton, Plasma, Photon, Transphasic, etc). Each functions the same basic way: setting five mines of a certain level at a time before a short recharge window. After recharging, five more mines will be placed. These mines spread out and take a few seconds to activate, and then pursue any enemy ship which comes into close proximity.
Leading an enemy into a field of well-placed mines can spell massive damage for their ship. They're also a good option for players who want to deal good damage to enemies but don't want to worry about lining up torpedo shots. Simply set your mines on auto fire and enter combat normally, the ship-seeking mines will do the rest.
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Energy Weapons in Star Trek Online fall into several different categories (disruptors, plasma, phasers, etc), but there are five basic types that are the same, regardless of the type of energy being fired from them. The basic trade off with energy weapons is firing arc versus damage. Weapons that do the most damage tend to do so only when firing straight ahead, while those that have wide firing arcs allowing for broadside (turning sideways to fire front and rear energy weapons simultaneously) tactics tend to have limited individual DPS.
Energy weapons tend to be best against shields, though the more powerful options can tear through a ships's hull quite quickly.
The most powerful energy weapons are the Dual (Phaser, Disruptor, etc) Cannons. These weapons are limited to non-science ships only, and have a tiny, 45 degree firing arc, pretty much limiting you to firing straight ahead. Dual Cannons do the most overall DPS, but you tend to take a beating on the forward shields while using them, as you can't turn the ship and keep firing on the enemy.
Second in overall DPS are the Dual (Phaser, Disruptor, etc) Beam Banks. These beam weapons have a slightly wider firing arc, 90 degrees, and are accordingly a bit easier to keep trained on an enemy while you maneuver. You're still limited to mostly frontal assaults with these weapons, however.
Third in overall DPS are the Cannons. These projectile-firing weapons have a much wider 180 degree firing arc, allowing you to fire straight ahead and to both sides with equal effectiveness. Cannons have limited broadside potential when combined with Arrays that overlap their firing arc, but this can be a bit tricky, as the angle has to be almost perfect.
Arrays have the second-lowest DPS, but make up for it with their wide 250 degree firing arcs. With Arrays equipped both fore and aft, it's very possible to keep your ship sideways and be constantly firing all of your Phasers simultaneously. So, while their individual DPS may be low, the fact that you can fire twice as many at once makes them an invaluable addition to many ships.
Lowest in terms of overall DPS are the Turrets. Correspondingly, they have a full 360 degree firing arc. Many players who equip Cannons or Dual Beam Banks with forward-fire only equip Turrets in their rear slots to augment their overall forward-firing potential. You can slot Turrets anywhere you want, front or back, it doesn't matter because they can strike at any angle.
Equipping too many energy weapons can drain your weapon power very quickly. Keep this in mind when setting up your ship.
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Weapons are just one of the many types of components you can fit onto your ship in Star Trek Online. Most captains know that a good weapon setup can easily spell the difference between life and death in the cold, silent blackness of space.
Choose your weapons carefully, however, and you should have little trouble in your quest to seek out new life and new civilizations.