Captain's Log: Class spotlight - Science

Star Trek Online medical patch
Captain's Log, Stardate 65150.3...

Hello, computer (and players)! McCoy, Crusher, Bashir, the EMH and Phlox are all known for their amazing medical skills throughout the many series of Star Trek. While some of these Doctors were the most beloved characters in all of the franchise, Science officers seem to be a rare item in the Star Trek Online universe. Although Science is the least commonly played career, many who do venture into the field have rewarding gaming experiences due to the different sub-careers they can spec into.

This week's Captain's Log introduces the first installment in a three-part series that will span the next few weeks -- each entry will focus on a different class and provide some great information that you will be able to reference the next time you roll a new character. Whether you prefer to provide support through healing, debuffs, or powerful expose attacks that leave your enemies vulnerable to vaporization, this spotlight on Science captains has something for everyone. Continue past the jump for information of some of my favorite skills for Science officers.

Ensign, warp 10! Let's get those medical tricorders ready for use...

Before we continue on, I would like to mention that the following abilities are simply those that I enjoy using and have found effective in my style of gameplay. While some of the space abilities can actually be used by any career type and depend on the class of ship being flown, they are all Science abilities that have rank levels exclusively trained by Science captains who have maxed our particular skill tree blocks. As for the ground abilities, they have varying ranks that are available through a science kit or training to a Bridge Officer.

Star Trek Online screenshot
Space abilities

Photonic Shock Wave: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Science captain who has maxed out her Photonic Theory skill tree block. When the skill is activated, your ship will release a blast that knocks back any enemies in range, disables their systems for a few moments, and inflicts a small amount of kinetic damage. This ability seems to be the flavor-of-the-month in STO at the moment; almost every player PvPing has this ability. If used at the right time, it could provide enough of an edge to win a battle.

Charged Particle Burst: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Science captain who has maxed out his Astrometrics skill tree block. This ability is great when you are playing against Klingons or Federation ships that have cloaking technology. This ability will disable an enemy's cloaking device and damage its shields, providing an opportune time to let your torpedoes rip through an opponent's hull.

Scramble Sensors: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Science captain who has maxed out her Starship Sensor Probes skill tree block. A widely used skill in both PvP and PvE, Scramble Sensors is an AoE attack that causes an enemy's allies to become targetable by the enemy for a duration of time. This is great against opponents that are heavy on AoE attacks of their own, for they end up heavily damaging their own teammates.

Feedback Pulse: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Science captain who has maxed out his Starship Deflector Field skill tree block. Arguably one of the best Science abilities (especially if you are using rank III while running high auxiliary power levels), this flavor-of-the-year skill fires energy pulses at an attacking ship every time its their energy weapons hit you. The great thing about these pulses is that they go straight through the enemy's shields to its hull.

Hazard Emitters: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Science captain who has maxed out her Starship Hazard System skill tree block. If you are flying a ship that is being used for support/healing, having Hazard Emitters are crucial -- these provide a primary and strong form of healing your own hull or that of an ally. Like Feedback Pulse, this ability becomes more effective when you are running higher auxiliary power levels.

Jam Sensors: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Science captain who has maxed out his Starship Sensor skill tree block. When you're battling a foe one-on-one, this ability can be a lifesaver. As soon as Jam Sensors is activated on an enemy, that enemy can no longer target you for a certain period of time. While this can almost be seen as cloaking for a few moments, your enemy can get rid of the debuff by activating its Science Team ability -- this may also come in handy for yourself the next time you are attacked with this ability.

Star Trek Online screenshot
Ground abilities

Medical Tricorder: With its quick cooldown timer and large healing effect, the Medical Tricorder ability is easily a Science captain's best friend when he's in a support/healing role. This ability restores a percentage of an ally's health points, similar to the effects of a Hypo Spray, and can be used on yourself or another ally.

Nanite Health Monitor: The Nanite Health Monitor is a monitoring power that activates on yourself or an ally when health points fall below a certain level. While the healing strength is smaller than the Medical Tricorder, it has three charges that will automatically be used on the character it was put on or a nearby ally whose health is falling.

Triage: Triage is an AoE healing ability that is similar in strength to the Medical Tricorder. While it has a much longer cool down, it can prove to be extremely handy when allies are standing around each other and are in grave peril. I love to use this in combination with a Tactical captain ally using the Tactical Initiative ability (resets most cooldowns).

Tachyon Harmonic: This ability is commonly used by Science captains who are running a buff/debuff role. When it's activated, a cone attack strikes targeted enemies and does severe damage to their personal shields. This ability will also instantly destroy any forcefield.

Exothermic Induction Field: Formally called Thermal Vent, this is one of the Science captain's best powers in terms of visuals. When it's activated, an enemy is engulfed in flames that inflict fire damage and root, which is great for crowd control, especially against the Borg. My favorite way to use this is to activate it on a group of drones and then have an Engineering captain take them out with her Orbital Strike. Can anyone say "one-shot AoE?"

Hyperonic Radiation: Like the previous ability, this too is great against the Borg or groups of enemies. When activated, this power will infect one enemy, causing it to take damage over time, and then spread to other enemies that are within a certain proximity. When Borg nodes existed, this would almost destroy all nodes nearby.

Well, Captains, we have come to the end of this week's log entry. I am very excited to continue these class spotlights and fill you in on some of my favorite abilities for each career choice. Also, I am thrilled to let you all know that the STO livestream will be returning next week, so tune in to our Livestream channel next Friday, September 2nd, at 2 p.m. EDT to watch a group of friends and me run through the Khitomer Accord STF. As we attempt to beat our best time of 80 minutes, I will also be running on my Science captain to show off some of the above skills.

Until next time, let me know what you think are the best space and ground science skills by commenting below or sending me an email at brandon@massively.com.

Computer, terminate recording.

Boldly going where no one has gone before, Brandon Felczer transmits Captain's Log through Subspace right to your PADD every Thursday. Join him as he discusses the latest news, gossip, and dev interviews about Star Trek Online. Hailing frequencies are always open to his bridge through brandon@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.