Building a Better Bridge Officer Roster in #STO

Star Trek Online recently changed how bridge officers (BOFFs) learn and use skills: any single officer can learn all skills, has a default set used when first stationed on a ship, and remember any combination of active skills in each starship loadout. This is a great improvement, and it allows captains to build better, shorter BOFF rosters. In response to a question on reddit, I posted the following more as a way to think through building a better roster than a TLDR response to the OP:

I’m still playing with the recent changes to BOFF training and trying to figure things out, but it definitely reduces the number of BOFFs you need to cover all the skills. I wish I could return the extra BOFF slots I bought now! Here’s how I’m redesigning my BOFF roster based on these changes:

For space, I think you need 4 of each career to cover the maximum number of stations you could have for each career, and IIRC no ship has more than 1 CMDR or LCDR station of any single career. So my plan for each career is train one BOFF to have all skills, one to have all skills to up to LCDR, and two to have all skills up to LT. That should cut down on the dilithium costs of making manuals or scrolling the BOFFs on the exchange. Ideally these BOFFs should all have space traits, so by default human (their trait does indeed stack again) and then swap in aliens with better space traits as they are acquired.

For ground, you may want a few extra BOFFs based on their role and racial ground traits; i.e., damage dealing traits for dps/tactical officers and damage resisting traits for tank/engineers. Of special note, some races (e.g., Betazoid) have a threat reduction trait that is good for healers, and some races (e.g., Human) have ground traits that benefit the whole team. The value of threat generation traits is debatable: no BOFF can tank a target your captain attacks, but such traits can help them hold threat over other BOFFs like your healer/SCI while your captain’s attention is elsewhere.

With the 4-each for space, you can already create any combination of landing party (all one career or any mix), so more ground BOFFs is really optional. I tend towards landing parties of 2 SCI, 1 TAC, and 1 ENG; one SCI is for offense and the other is the medic, so I’m thinking of adding 4 BOFFs based on ground traits to the 12 for space as my default, then suppressing my inner min/maxer and using the space BOFFs to build specialty landing parties.

The other consideration here is that, without the station mechanic, any BOFF on a landing party could use any skill, so I’d train my default landing party BOFFs in all skills and likely substitutes in all skills available from the trainer (i.e., no crafted/dilithium-costing skills). The EC cost of trainer manuals is low enough that over time I’ll probably train every BOFF in every skill available from trainers.

Finally, for alts I will probably target 12 BOFFs total, 3 of each career for space (fully space trained to 1 CMDR, 1 LCDR, and 1 LT) and 1 of each career for ground (fully ground trained to CMDR). Needing 4 of any one career in space is really an edge case; I could do that in a Bird of Prey but never have because I always want at least some of each career’s abilities.

Music is Murder: The Myth of Moderate Minstrel DPS

Another one of those Minstrel versus Rune-keeper threads showed up in the forums recently. I saw several responses that echoed this notion that rune-keeper DPS was superior and Minstrels only had moderate DPS output. My recent experience with running up new characters on Laurelin doesn’t match that “common wisdom”.

Rune-keeper Epic Conclusion
Boom goes the dynamite! But only after reaching maximum dagor attunement.

It may be different at end-game, but the burst damage a minstrel can do–and now sustain–seems to eclipse a rune-keeper’s DPS in the middle levels. I just ran a minstrel and a rune-keeper through getting their legendary pages: Both started at 39. Both ended at 41. I could clear the Bitter Stair or Skathmur with the minstrel much faster than the rune-keeper.

Part of this comes from a fundamental difference in the classes: Healing and damage are front-loaded bursts for minstrels where rune-keepers are end-loaded over time. Moving through the areas, my rune-keeper required more positioning and preparation like dropping my rune of restoration and building up over-time heals before and in the beginning of combat; the minstrel just ran from mob to mob blasting them and self-healing only when needed. Mobs didn’t last long enough for over-time DPS or critical/devastating hits to result in faster kills for the rune-keeper.

This isn’t really new; the Minstrel’s makeover in Update 6 was amazing, and it’s been a struggle deciding to keep the rune-keeper as my main because the minstrel is so fun. What is new is power management. Before the power revamp, I would have to moderate my skills use and use Anthem of Composure for power regeneration rather than Anthem of the Free Peoples for morale regeneration–the latter being critical when tackling that four-mob cluster of orcs and Angmarim in Skathmur. This time around, I could spam codas and never run out of power.

Instrument of War
Instrument of War

In long fights, the rune-keeper may do more DPS over time, but in short fights the minstrel’s consistent burst damage and lack of power issues will blow through landscape content faster, at least at the middle levels.

Camenecium On My.LOTRO – Rune-keeper Traits

In response to a question in the Rune-keeper forums [How do you trait?]:

For my rune-keeper’s traits, I tend to default to a two-of-each approach for set bonuses and choose the third based on what I think I might be doing that night. (If I know I’m going to spend the whole session in a particular role, I’ll trait 2/5 plus the legendary capstone.) The goal is versatility and minimal retraiting for PUG skirmishes.

  • Beneditions of Peace: Linnod of Peace, Writ of Well-being
  • Cleansing Fires: Conflagration of Runes, Essence of Flame
  • Solitary Thunder: Closing Remarks, Confounding Principles
  • Legendary: Martial Training, You Shall Fall to Our Wrath, Steady Hands or Capstone

I pick my final trait from these three depending on the situation:

  • Harsh Debate (solo DPS)
  • Tale of Rage (group DPS)
  • Memorable Prose (healing)

Assuming you’re soloing, I’d recommend swapping out Rune of Endurance for Writ of Well-being. I always keep at least two Benedictions of Peace slotted so I can drop a Rune of Restoration at any attunement, and I choose traits for those two slots whose benefits don’t depend on having Nestad attunement.

The only real benefit from Rune of Endurance when solo is the rock’s increased morale. Being able to drop another rock at any time reduces the value of that effect. Writ of Well-being reduces your primary any-attunement (self) heal’s cooldown and makes it tier down rather than completely expire if you fail to refresh it. That’s equally handy in groups.

via Camenecium On My.LOTRO – Rune-keeper Traits.