ROB's Guide to become an Ace Pilot in Star Trek Online

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ROB's Guide to become an Ace Pilot in Star Trek Online

Post by StarFoxMaster64 on Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:12 pm

ROB's Guide to being an Ace Pilot
Guide for Star Trek Online
Written by Robotic Operating Buddy @starfoxmaster64
NOTE: This guide is made based on the Federation ships, some things may be different for the Romulan Republic or Klingon Empire
This is the forum version, for better experience I do recommend the downloadable version. Get it here: Web Page for Guide

What does it mean to be a Pilot?
Being a Pilot user in Star Trek Online is not just a secondary set of abilities anymore, due to recent updates people can now become masters of Piloting and be very dangerous with a full skill tree. As a primary pilot, I can tell you the abilities at fully mastered rock. A Pilot in STO is basically the dogfighter of the group, their objective is to get down and dirty with the enemies while being a pain to take down with their evasive maneuvers. Pilot abilities allow the user to increase their defense, agility, and maneuvers so they can get their kill quick, and get out. With that being said, this guide is to teach people how to become an Ace Pilot, there is a lot to go over so if you plan on reading the whole thing grab a cup of Earl Grey tea and let's get started.
Ships
So of course the most important thing with any set of skills is to know what ships to get. Specializations work best with the newest set of ships from Tier 6, as most of them come with a Specialization seat. Pilots mix well though with ships that can use their abilities to their full potential so you have to be careful which ship you choose with pilot abilities. In this section I will go over some of the more common ships to choose from, and explain which ones work best with the Pilot abilities.

Tactical Pilot Escort [T6]

Recommended for: Tactical Players
Is it worth buying?: Yes
The Tactical Pilot Escort is the crown jewel of the Pilot Escort pack. The bridge officer layout is made to do full damage, making it the leader pilot escorts. It comes with built in mastery which at level 5, allows the user to fire small torpedoes every 4-5 seconds at anything in their forward arc. The Tactical variant is the most popular on the market, and with pilot specialization, can make a deadly combination. The Tactical Pilot is best known for massive DPS(Damage per Second), and when actually playing the "escort" role delivers a punch while helping it's wingmen. I recommend this ship to Tactical players who are a fan of escorts.
Science Pilot Escort [T6]

Recommended for: Tactical or Science Players
Is it worth buying?: Yes
The Science Pilot Escort is the number Two Pilot of the Pilot Escort squad. The Science is a bit different from the Tactical, as it's made more to trap its enemies. Like any Tactical/Science hybrid, equipping a Gravity Well on this ship is a great idea. The Science's mastery comes with a boosted armor penetration at level 5, allowing it to be more of a interceptor compared to the tactical variant. I recommend this to Tactical or Science players who fly escorts, Science players can make big use of this ship as well.

Engineering Pilot Escort [T6]

Recommended for: Tactical or Engineer Players
Is it worth buying?: Sort of, depends if you want to tank as an escort.
The Engineering Pilot Escort is considered the weakest of the Pilot Squad but actually is quite useful. The Engineering has boosted Engineering Bridge Officer layouts, allowing it to tank its enemies. At level 5 mastery, it gains a health regeneration bonus. The role of the engineer variant is to use its speed to just tank a group of enemies. Adding some shield boosts, can make this ship rush into a group and just be pounded as it delivers a punch back. Plus with the boosted tactical, you can't go wrong. This ship mainly works for Engineer players, as they can still tank but also deliver a punch.
NOTE:  I do not recommend any of the Pilot consoles. They are OK but not great, save the space for better consoles.
Heavy Escort Carrier [T6]

Recommended for: Tactical or Engineer Players
Is it worth buying?: Sort of, depends on the player.
The Heavy Escort Carrier returns in Tier 6, and it comes with a pilot seat. The Heavy Escort Carrier is quite known for being a slower escort but with carrier abilities. The difference between the T5-U and T6 is the trait (Coordinated Assault, which when player uses beam overload or cannon rapid fire, the pets do too), and the pilot seat. However the big issue is the pilot seat, it's placed on the Engineer slot. The Pilot Specialization works best with Tactical and Science, Engineering not so much. The major reason this is a slight issue is because the Heavy Escort Carrier is slower so it has to tank a bit more, so using pilot bridge officer abilities may be harder if you want it to survive longer. At least it has a Lieutenant universal seat though, so maybe you can place another engineer if you want to tank. Overall it's a good ship but I don't recommend if you're looking for a good Pilot layout, this ship is more of a pilot Hybrid.
Ferengi Nandi Warship [T6]

Recommend for: All players
Is it worth owning?: Yes
The Nandi is definitely a interesting specimen. Most pilots are escorts, but this one is a destroyer. The Nandi warship is considered the best all-around Pilot hybrid. The Ship is a bit of an advanced destroyer, it's set to be a tactical variant but thanks to the pilot abilities and set up, can tank and science as well. The level 5 mastery is OK but not super, it's only worth keeping if you have nothing else, lowering energy weapons power usage and raising subsystem power levels when a few science abilities are used. This ship was introduced around the time of the Pilot Escort and Specialization update and is considered one of the best pilot ships and event ships of all time. Honestly it is, this ship works for anyone. It can deliver a massive punch while also being an interceptor or a tank (if equipped right). However it is an event ship so it's hard to get a hold of one so maybe one day it will return.

Other recommended ships
I could go on about each ship but the above is the most average ships you can get. There are also the Xindi Heavy Escort Carrier, and ships that can still use the pilot skill tree well. Some T5-U ships can make great use of the Pilot tree such as the Odyssey, or any escort. However here is a list of my recommendations below for any other ship
Any escort class (T5-U or T6)
Cruisers also use these well depending which one, the command battlecruisers not so much but an example the odyssey uses them well.
Science ships I don't recommend pilot primary, but secondary, for science I recommend a Intelligence Primary, (Command primary for engineers).

The Skill Tree
The Pilot skill tree is a necessary part into become an ace pilot, the skill tree as you level it up increases turn rate at a maximum 40%, it's good to max it out for the best abilities, especially to be called an Ace. The Pilot Skill tree is divided into four tiers, in which I give four different topics.
NOTE: To use tier 1 and 2 abilities you must have Pilot under Secondary, to use Tier 3 and 4 abilities you must have Pilot under Primary.




Tier 1: Rookie

Maneuvering Thrusters I & II: This is a good skill to have, when engines are offline you still have 25% or 50% of the power, as well has a turn rate boost when the ship is stopped.
Attack Pattern Expertise I & II: This is a pretty simple ability but useful, any attack pattern gives you temporary hit points for 15 seconds.
Back her Off!: Great for ships who need to reverse a lot, especially escorts, you gain a flight speed bonus while in reverse as well as 20% defense while active.
Eat My Dust I & II: This ability is decent to have, when hit on rear arc you can a defense bonus every 2 seconds it's hit. This is good if you're being chased by an enemy, a maximum of 20% defense bonus.
Desperate Flight I & II: A good thing to have for pilot escorts, it gives you bonus turn rate and speed as hull decreases, giving it more agility as you lose health, or in smash brothers terms "Agility in Crisis".
Reckless Abandon: This is something everyone should have, when activating Evasive Maneuvers you are immune to movement-impairing effects, this helps a lot especially for tractor beams.


Tier 2: Pilot

Rock and Roll: Considered one of the best pilot abilities, Rock and Roll makes you immune to everything as you roll out of everything. This is a great defense ability, and encourages the Star Fox line "Do a barrel roll!"
All Shook Up I & II: This makes Rock and Roll more useful, adding a defense bonus after Rock and Roll for 10 seconds, up to 20%.
Magic Carpet Ride I & II: Another Rock and Roll bonus, you gain up to 20% more turn rate after rock and roll is complete.

Tier 3: Veteran

Turn the Other Cheek I, II, & III: A great pilot ability, whenever you take damage to shields the opposite side gains a defense bonus, up to 20% at level 3.
Thick of It I & II: If turn the other cheek is active on all sides you are invincible for up to 4 seconds, this is a very popular ability for pilot ships because during this time they can't take any damage, making them very difficult to kill.
Danger Zone: A basic skill, needed to start the other tree you gain +2% damage per foe in a 2.0 km radius.
Wing man: A bonus to danger zone, it adds damage per foe as well as friendly by 2% per one in a 2.0 km radius.
Scratch the Paint: Pilots get a bit full of themselves sometimes, getting too close to ships. This helps them survive that, one of my favorite skills when a ship's warp core explodes near you, you are immune to that warp core explosion damage. However use it wisely, it can only happen every 60 seconds.
Impulse Drafting I & II: Another bonus to Danger zone it adds a 2% defense bonus to each damage bonus as well.






Tier 4: Ace

Bob and Weave: Whenever you are missed by an enemy you gain a +2% critical severity bonus up to 20% for 30 seconds. The buff is removed on a successful Critical hit.
Lone Wolf I & II: I call this the advanced tactical team, you get a 50% defense bonus as well as shield distribution for 10 seconds, as well as a placate foes bonus.
Shield Scraping I & II: A interesting skill, running into a enemy ship and "scraping" their shields with yours drains their shields, and also gives a damage bonus to the user vs shields. fair warning you can only do this per foe every 10 seconds.
Throughout the tree you can unlock more abilities and unlocks, a important thing to remember, Pedal to the Metal and the Improved version are very good traits, giving a 10% or 20% damage bonus at max power. You can also get other unlocks, such as bridge officer abilities and crafting.  
Bridge Officer Abilities
I won't go into full detail for each part but will summarize each ability and if I recommend it. Please note these do require both a Officer with this specialization and a ship with a Pilot seat.
Attack Pattern Lambda: I don't recommend this much, the foe does get some debuffs on hit but this attack pattern increases accuracy which isn't really needed, I recommend using Omega with a tactical instead.
Deploy Countermeasures: A decent ability but not great, it just destroys targetable projectiles. It can also confuse the enemy sometimes and you do get kinetic damage immunity.
Lock Trajectory: At 50% throttle you can activate this to double or more your turn rate, a basic ability but not really needed unless you don't fly at full speed.
Pilot Team: I only recommend this if you have a pilot ship, this ability drastically improves your speed and turn rate, making you very fast. You're also immune to movement debuffs for 2 seconds upon activation.
Clean Getaway: An ok ability, this just resets aggro and boosts speed in case you need to get away, good for those who need a good escape plan.
Fly Her Apart: Another ok ability you gain a speed bonus but in return you lose HP per second, hence the term "fly her apart" the ship falls apart due to intense speeds. I don't recommend this one.
Hold Together: Due to the lack of defense for a pilot I highly recommend this ability, it's like hazard emitters it repairs hull slowly over time for a short time. You also get damage resistance and at 100% throttle you can remove hazard debuffs.
Reinforcements Squadron: I actually find this the most useless pilot ability, it calls in fighters but they die way too easily making them useless, I don't recommend this, I say stick to hangar pets on your carriers.
Coolant Ignition: Kind of like the plasma leak for engineers, this allows you to just debuff opponents speed by 99% they also take plasma damage but not as much as the engineer one.
Reroute Reserves to Weapons: A decent ability, this uses your engine power and increases firerate but be careful, it can take your engines offline, the last thing you need in a pilot.
Subspace Boom: A basic ability, it just creates a rift that debuffs the enemies speed and defense  but there is no backfire for the player so it's pretty standard.
Form Up: Good for players who are always in groups, gives a damage bonus to you and each ally in a 5 km radius, up to 30%, it teleports the pilot to the nearest player. It wears off if you get too far.



NOTE: I recommend putting Pilot Specialization on either Tactical or Science Officers, they use them the best from what I've experienced.
Basic Pilot Set Ups
In this last section I will go over how most pilots are basically set up, note this does depend on the user and what they are comfortable flying with as well.
For this we will use my pilot escort as the example, a lot of it depends on the user but this is how I do it, using a similar build will help. The image below is my set up, we will go through it step by step.


Fore Weapons: Due to most pilots being forward oriented, the best thing is to use forward based weapons. An array set up can work too but not as effective. I run 4 x Radiant Antiproton beam banks, and 1 Neutronic Torpedo. It's set up to be massive damage on hit, and with fire at will, beam overload, torpedo spread, and torpedo high yield, it does some massive damage.
Deflector: The Deflector is pretty easy, mainly just go with what you work best with. I recommend the Nukara or Iconian deflector, but it's basically your choice.
Impulse: You want an impulse engine that works with the ship, combats work but I strongly recommend the advanced Romulan prototype from Romulan reputation. They can heal you at full impulse and just work so well with this ship.
Warp: Warp cores are never something I fully focus on as it really depends what the user wants. However if you can I do recommend a fleet warp core as it can increase the ships effectiveness and even damage in some cases.
Shields: Shields are big on the pilot as it needs some good defense. I recommend the Nukara or Iconian shields as they can help defend against most types of enemies the most, however if you have a different preference that works better that's fine too.
Aft Weapons: Due to the ships forward arc I strongly recommend some 360 degree weapons. They do less damage but this allows full force shooting forward, I use a cutting beam and an antiproton beam with 360' firing and it helps wonders.
Devices: Not really needed to be discussed, devices depend on the user, I do recommend a shield battery for boosted defense but the rest is up to you.
Engineering Consoles: As you can see I run mostly universals, but I do recommend an RCS console to boost turn rate, making the ship even faster. The other two are the Assimilated console, and the Zero Point energy conduit.
Science Consoles: A plasma generating weapons signature from fleet is a must, increasing ship effectiveness. I also recommend a plasmonic leech and a Temporal Disentanglement Suite (from Iconian storyline).
Tactical Consoles: DAMAGE! NOTHING ELSE JUST BOOSTED DAMAGE NO EXCUSES! If you can get Vulnerability locators from fleet to increase critical hit chance, otherwise just use mag regulators temporarily. NOTE: Make sure you get the one that suits your weapon's technology! Example I run Antiproton boosts.
Conclusion
Well that's the end of my guide to being an Ace Pilot. I may update this every so often and if I do I will let people know. If you used this I thank you for using it. I hope it helped at least a little. Now you know what it takes to become an Ace Pilot for Star Trek Online, see you in the skies!



Credits
Guide written by ROB@starfoxmaster64.
This guide is to give advice on the Pilot ships for Star Trek Online, it is not intended for profit.
Version 1.0

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Robotic Operating Buddy, Tactical/Ace Pilot Specialist
SuperFX, Engineering Romulan
Andross, Mad Science Klingon


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StarFoxMaster64
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