Out of all the things that differentiate your character from every other, Bridge Officer abilities are probably the most important ones. The types of weapons you use, ship you have and skills you picked are very important, but having the right abilities which you can use in combat is invaluable.
There are dozens of different abilities you can choose and no doubt all are useful. But since you can have only so few of them, it’s recommended to use the ones best suited for a variety of situations you will find yourself in, and not just the ones which will be used rarely. The best abilities are the ones giving you more survivability and damage, and aren’t specific for PvP or PvE encounters, therefore try to pick those. Fortunately for you I tested quite a few and while I certainly don’t know if you’ll like my setup, I can try to give you some pointers so you can see what works for me.
You can find a full list of bridge officer abilities on sto-intel wiki!
- Torpedo: High Yield – torpedoes are found on every ship in the universe, and this ability will make sure they hit even harder. Definitely one of my favorite skills.
- Attack Pattern Omega – this ability will buff you with an increased turn rate, useful for any kind of ship for sure. Additionally, you will be immune slows and snares.
- Beam: Target Shields Subsystems – when activated, your next beam attack will drain a small amount of your targets shields and sometimes disable them for a short duration as well. You could alternatively take Target Weapons Subsystems, which does the same only for weapon subsystems.
- Cannon: Rapid Fire – when activated, your cannons will start blasting your target more frequently resulting in a much higher damage output. If you’re captaining an Escort ship this is a must have.
There aren’t many other highly recommended abilities for tactical officers, but if you need more Tactical Team and Beam Overload are good choices.
- Emergency Power to Weapons/Shields – take whichever you prefer. Being a tactical officer and having (almost) enough DPS I prefer more power in shields but it’s up to you. If you put enough skills in these abilities the cooldown is as long as the buff lasts, meaning you can have it active all the time.
- Reverse Shield Polarity – one of the best abilities you can have if you ask me. While it’s active any energy weapon damage you receive will heal your shields — for the duration you’re almost invincible.
- Engineering Team – repairs your hull and provides a chance to repair damaged ships subsystems.
There aren’t any other engineering BO abilities which I think are as useful as these above.
- Polarize Hull – my favorite science ability. While active, you are immune to Tractor Beams, but the best part is the high damage reduction it provides. Considering the cooldown is only half a minute and it lasts 15 seconds, you can fire it up all the time.
- Jam Sensors – by activating this ability enemies won’t be able to target you for the duration. What else is there to say.
- Science Team – Science Team provides a quick heal to your shields and a damage resistance buff. Additionally, it has a chance to remove science debuffs on you (such as aforementioned Jam Sensors).
- Tractor Beam – some players like it, some don’t. As I already mentioned I usually run with an escort ship and being able to hold my opponents in place is invaluable for maximizing DPS.
Viral Matrix, Feedback Pulse and Scramble Sensors are supposedly very good as well, but I have yet to try it personally. The four abilities above are more than good enough for me.
All of these abilities are just the ones I found to be most effective in most situations and are by no means a must have. It’s just a way for new players to figure out which ones are best, especially for PvE leveling. I’m sure the situation is different in PvP but I’m afraid I only played about a dozen encounters so far.
If you want to find out more detailed info about skills to figure out how to best distribute them be sure to read the basic skills info and after that this excellent skills guide. If you didn’t know where to start with BO abilities, I hope this article helps. Now go distribute those skills where it counts!