Captain's Log: Class spotlight - Tactical

Star Trek Online tactical patch
Captain's Log, Stardate 65168.1...

Hello, computer (and players)! Welcome to Captain's Log and the second installment in a three-part series focusing on the classes within Star Trek Online. After exploring some of the amazing powers available to those who roll a Science captain, we shift our focus away from support and healing this week to dive into the realm of DPS. While this realm can be filled with members of all three classes, Tactical captains, if specced correctly, take the trophy each and every time.

Ever since the game launched early last year, my main toon has always been a Tactical captain. During the time I leveled up, I tested out different types of ships at each rank. While flying a science ship as a Tactical captain was fun during the early stages of leveling, I would definitely suggest flying an escort, or if you must, a cruiser, when you first make it to Rear Admiral. I am sure there are some Tacticals out there flying Science classes, but I feel that the Bridge Officer stations equipped on escorts allow the best Tactical abilities to come into play. But enough about telling you what to do -- let's move onto talking about some of the best attack powers in the game.

Ensign, warp 10! It's time to help our reads unload some DPS on their next enemy...

Oh! One last thing before we continue on: As I did last week, 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 Tactical abilities that have rank levels exclusively trained by Tactical captains who have maxed out particular skill tree blocks. As for the ground abilities, they have varying ranks that are available through a tactical kit or training to become a Bridge Officer.

Space abilities

Torpedo High Yield: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Tactical captain who has maxed out his Starship Torpedo Weapons skill tree block. Activating this power massively (pun intended) increases the damage done by a torpedo volley. Because of the cooldown, you will want to make sure to hit this ability at the opportune time. I suggest waiting for when you have a clear shot of hitting an enemy vessel with its shields out.

Cannon Rapid Fire: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Tactical captain who has maxed out her Starship Cannon Weapons skill tree block. While not every ship can run Dual Heavy cannons, to many players' surprise, every class can run Single Cannons. Pairing either of those weapon types up with this ability is sure to increase your odds of winning your next PvP or PvE fight. Honestly, I don't leave Spacedock without it.

Tactical Team: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Tactical captain who has maxed out his Security skill tree block. Sadly, this ability is one of the most underused team abilities -- even I did not start using this ability until very recently. To my surprise, once I finally started using it, I learned that it is one of the best abilities, as it removes tactical debuffs, increases your weapons' DPS, and distributes shield strength. If you are not using it yet, I'll be awaiting your "zomg thank you" email.

Attack Pattern Omega: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Tactical captain who has maxed out her Starship Battle Strategy skill tree block. While not everyone prefers to run attack patterns, if you do, I suggest this one. When activated, your ship receives a damage buff and resistance, a boost in speed, and increased maneuverability.

Attack Pattern Beta: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Tactical captain who has maxed out his Starship Combat Maneuvers skill tree block. Like the last power, this attack pattern is a great alternative as you can also use it to target an enemy. The ship it is applied to will have decreased damage resistance and stealth strength.

Beam Array Fire at Will: This skill can be trained in the highest rank by any Tactical captain who has maxed out her Starship Beam Weapons skill tree block. If you prefer to fly cruisers or beam boats, this power is a must. When it's activated, your beam arrays fire off in rapid succession at random targets. This can prove great for those looking to tank by grabbing the attention of enemy support fighters or destroying fields of mines.

Ground abilities

Motion Accelerator: While Tactical officers can pack quite the punch in combat, they are not as long lasting as their Engineer or Science counterparts. One way to evade your enemies, or run like hell, is to activate this ability. While it will break roots and holds, it will also increase your run speed so you can get out of harm's way. A power like this works great against the Borg.

Stun Grenade: Another power that works great against the Borg is this one. While it does provide for a form of crowd control through its strong hold ability, a Stun Grenade will also do a small amount of kinetic damage against unsuspecting enemies.

Stealth Module: While I only suggest that you use this power if you are fully specced into the skills trees that affect it (Special Forces, Close Combat Training, and Stealth), Stealth Module is similar to a personal cloaking device. Some of my best kills have been when I have sneaked up on an enemy while the module was active and then disabling it right before unleashing my array of ground weapons.

Overwatch: Although I am all about the DPS, having this kit power is great as it provides a damage resistance buff and the chance to expose an enemy who is firing on you. If I am running with multiple Tactical officers, I like to have at least one of them running the Squad Leader kit that contains this power.

Rally Cry: Rally Cry is another support ability that is included in the Squad Leader kit. Once activated, it provides a health and damage bonus to the allies around you. This can prove handy if you are not running with a Medic or are in different parts of the map (i.e., the final room in Infected).

Suppressing Fire: When this power is activated while an enemy is targeted, that opponent receives a damage debuff and a decrease to his run speed; this provides yet another way to escape enemy fire.

Well, Captains, we have come to the end of this week's log entry. On the third and final installment of this series, we will take a look at Engineers and the abilities they have at their disposal; depending on what news we get from Cryptic in the next several days, you may even see it as early as next week! As a reminder, I am going to be livestreaming STO this Friday, September 2nd, at 2 p.m. EDT. I hope you tune into our Livestream channel as I will be leading a group of friends through the last of the Borg STFs, Khitomer Accord. I am even more excited about the run because we are attempting to complete it in less than 80 minutes -- a record time for me.

Until next time, let me know what you think are the best space and ground tactical skills by commenting below or sending me an email to 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.