Guest Blogger Hera: The Photon and Proton Science Pilot Escort Build

Lootcritter here: Hera offered to provide a kinetic build example after a few conversations about her success with it.  I’ve had requests for build advice, and while i’m happy with what I can do, offering a look at how others reach their goals  gives me an opportunity to learn as well.   In the coming months I will be offering other builds specifically for new players getting into Star Trek Online for the first time. To kick that off, Hera has provided her kinetic build for the blog.

icarus earth

Hera’s Photon and Proton Science Pilot Escort Build

With so many fronts having come and gone along with so many different strategies ideas were constantly being created and discarded.  One such concept was the Icarus class redesign, the NX Maiden….

A bit of RP to start us off – Hello!  I am Hera one of Lootcritter’s fans and a builder of weird ships.  He has been so kind as to accept my offer of a guest post about my latest build – The Photon and Proton Science Pilot Escort!  it should be a fun build for an old hand wanting to try something new or a new player carving their niche.

At the end of this article will be a link to the STO Academy skill builder with the ship details in depth.  It does require several reputations to get the gear – but at least it’s something you can steadily work toward not like the lockbox lottery.

Ship – Icarus Pilot Science Ship (also Jaeih Warbird for Romulan and Klavek Raptor for Klingon)

  • Source: Zen Store (Remember you can turn Dil into Zen)
  • Tier 6
  • Shield Mod: 1.05
  • Hull (Lvl 60) 38,800
  • Weapons 5 fore / 2 aft
  • Consoles: 5 Tac, 2 Eng, 4 Sci
  • Stations: Com Tac/Pilot, Lt Tac, Lt Eng/Pilot, Lt Com Sci, Lt Universal
  • Turn: 20
  • Impulse: .24
  • Inertia: 75
  • Bonus Power: +10 Weapons and Engines
  • Special: Pilot Maneuvers

You can see by looking at the stats she is a solid ship.  But the main reason I was drawn to this ship is the maneuvers and the level 3 science power.  Gravity wells and an easier time keeping things in my forward arc just sounded too delicious.  I’m also using the console from the tactical pilot ship – the Mercury Class Pilot Escort because the 2 set boosts useful stats and a swarm of  microprojectile missiles is just fun.

icarus spacedock


Starting with the forward weapons I have:
 Enhanced Bio-Molecular Photon Torpedo Launcher (Counter Command Reputation Project)
 Terran Task Force Photon Torpedo Launcher (Terran task Force Reputation Project)
 Bio-Molecular Photon Torpedo Launcher (Counter Command Rep Box or Rep Store)

 Gravimetric Photon Torpedo Launcher (Dyson Joint Command Reputation Project)
 Experimental Proton Weapon (Dyson Joint Command Reputation Project)

The Proton weapon is one of two weapons with its damage type and I find it exceptionally useful against the monster of the moment STO throws at us – because no one has resistance to its damage type.  Rge beam is also exceptionally good at knocking down shields.  The 4 torpedos cycle nicely with the build and remain on cooldown firing a torpedo every 1-2 seconds.  The net effect is that when you use a torpedo spread it will fire off almost instantly – so make sure to use Tactical Team and other buffs first! 🙂

Romulans have another interesting option – the Disrupting Photon Torpedo from the quest Mind Games.  Sadly it is no longer available to any other faction.

Now in the aft weapons I have:

Vaadwaur Polaron Turret (Vaadwaur Lockbox or exchange)

Bio-Molecular Photon Mine Launcher (Counter Command Rep Box or Rep Store)

The photon mines are boosted by the tactical consoles and an energy less way to add a bit of damage.  Other second weapon options would be a nice disruptor omni-beam or additional Vaadwaur turret.  You see the weapons here aren’t here for the damage they deal as much as the debuffs they provide.  The Vaadwaur turret has a 2.5% chance to make the target’s shields weaker to energy and torpedoes.


Starfleet Elite Force set (M.A.C.O. – Task Force Omega Reputation Projects)

All three of them are solid items but what I’m after is their set bonus.  At 2 it gives a 5% faster recharge speed on powers.  At 3 they give a Heavy Graviton Beam.  This is boosted by Aux Power and sciency skills stuff and has a bit of a knockback making it a devastating and  fun way to snack enemies around.  In fact many things on this ship happen to boost its exotic damage…

Warp Core

Temporal Phase Overcharged Warp Core (Quest Reward – Butterfly)

The click power boosts Aux energy – a nice bonus!  But its real delight is that when its active your bridge officer skills get a 50% recharge reduction.  and as icing on the cake it will repair disabled Aux if it happens to you.  Upgrade to [AMP] for hard hitting delights.


Delita Alliance Reinforcements (Quest reward Broken Circle)

I wanted to make sure to mention this because its such a potent item and can be readily gotten in game.

icarus spacedock 3

Tactical Consoles

Auto Targeting Module [Photon] Dyson Joint Command Rep Box or Rep Store) x5

These give +20% Photon +15% Proton and +2.5% accuracy at MK 12.  The net effect is your forward weapons (and mine) all hit much harder without having to dip into the fleet consoles.  I tried using ones that didn’t boost my proton damage but it didn’t feel as fluid to play – your millage may vary.

An option is to get the Tactical Console from the Surface Tension mission.  It will boost Radiation and Photon damage 26.2% and give you an option of using the reputation turret in your aft weapon slot giving you the 3-piece ability ‘Heavy Bio-Molecular Turret Barrage’.  It damages every foe in 5m, gives them radiation damage and slows them with the incubation effect.  It’s a huge amount of fun but I ended up dropping it because I’m feeling overwhelmed with buttons.  i might pick it up again if I swap out my core with one I wont use the boon of.

Science Consoles

Spatial Sinkhole Generator (Pilot Ship Console)

Micro-projectile Barrage Launcher (Pilot Ship Console)

Proton Particle Stabilizer (Dyson Joint Command Reputation Project)

Temporal Disentanglement Suite (Mission Reward – Butterfly)

The Spatial Sinkhole Generator boosts exotic damage (and we do a lot of that here) and pulls ships together in a sort of small gravity well effect crushing them a bit.  Its mostly here for the fun effect and the nice boosts the 2 piece give you with the pilot consoles.
Micro-projectile Barrage Launcher fires a cone of missiles that auto target with a fast cooldown.  It can be annoying to use when the speed ramps up since triggering it counts as a weapon use and your photons don’t rest but if you hit it a few times the game will realize what you want to do.  But best of all its passive gives mines and torpedoes +25% damage.

With both of the pilot consoles together you also get +10% crit severity, +2.5% accuracy, and 24% reduction in bridge officer skill recharge.

Proton Particle Stabilizer boosts proton weapon damage and as a part of its set adds many tasty boosts.
Only the Temporal console is a real science console the rest can go wherever in sci and engineering.  The TDS gives more aux power, shield capacity, crit and crit severity based on aux levels – and reduces damage to shields by 3%!  It’s not the best console out there but it’s really great in so many areas I love using it.  Also having this console and the warp core happens to boost Tetryon damage in case you have a Tetryon turret with a sweet debuff <.<

Engineering Consoles

Constriction Anchor (Vaadwaur Lockbox or exchange)

Adds 23.7% exotic damage and makes a drone that crushes your enemies.  A fine addition.

Ferrofluid Hydraulic Assembly (Terran Task Force Reputation)

This exciting console gives -.5 sec shared torpedo recharge time.  It also gives a set bonus with the photon torpedo that adds 13% projectile weapon damage.  The 3 piece requires the use of a disruptor beam – and may be worth slotting it in the aft or reworking the build to a disruptor/photon style.

Bridge Officers

Lt Universal – Engineering

Endothermic Inhibitor Beam 1

Emergency Power to Aux 2

This is just a fill in station with whatever you think you need more of.  I happen to like the Aux boost to gravity well’s range and damage and got the Endothermic ability in Q’s winter wonderland.


Commander Tactical/Pilot

Tactical Team 1

Torpedo Spread 3

Focused Assault 3

I don’t often use pilot skills in my builds so there is a lot of fun to be had there.  Id keep the Torpedo Spread and Tactical Teams regardless of what you play with their too vital to the build.  I only have one torpedo spread because the few seconds I was gaining by a level 2 skill didn’t seem worth putting my level 3 skill on longer cooldown.

Lt Tactical;
Tactical Team 1

Beam Overload 2

Having your tactical team up and raring to go is vital for damage builds so I run two copies of it.  Beam overload seems like a better overall boost than having a Tactical Team 2 and the way it makes the Proton beam blast foes is a joy.


Lt Engineering/Pilot

Engineering Team 1

Aux Power to Structural Integrity Field 1

I went with Engineering Team instead of Aux to Shields because having 3 aux powers just gets messy and Aux to SIF is a great boon to keeping hulls together.  I may swap back to Aux to Shields 2 eventually but for now it’s working as intended.


Lt Commander Science

Science Team 1

Transfer Shield Strength 2

Gravity Well 1

One of the most fun things in this build is the science abilities.  Two shield heals since engineering has two hull heals and Gravity well to hold targets in place and squeeeeeeeze em with sciency hugs!

Captain Skill Notes;

I wanted all of the science skills, even boosted healing, so I ended up with nearly everything in that tree.  Engineering gives some power boosting and skill refresh while tactical gets the lion’s share of my remaining points.  I’m not sure how vital each tac skill is but I tried to build reasonably using the rule of thumb about 9 Points in a skill form the old system.


Specialization Notes;

My primary is Intel – maxed out for the flanking bonus and added survivability.

My secondary is Command – the beam and torpedy synergy in it is excellent at low levels.  also you have a bunch of healing and you get more damage when your group is healthy 🙂


Conservation of Energy (Sci officer Trait)

Kinetic Precision

Particle Manipulator (Science Crafting Trait)

Photonic Capacitor (Sci Officer Trait)

Positive Feedback Loop (Lockbox Genetic Resequencer – Space Trait: Positive Feedback Loop)

Inelastic Collisions (Shield Crafting Trait)

Fleet Coordinator



Projectile Training

Everyone’s skills are a bit different – these happen to be the ones I have and like using.  Positive Feedback Loop is a fantastic skill that adds +10% exotic damage to your next exotic damage ability (Stacking 3 times) and your exotic damage adds +10% to your next heal (Stacking 3 times).  At worst you get +10% to them.  if you can hit a couple of buttons in a row you get a whopping +30% on that graviton beam or gravity well.  😉

If your serious about exotic damage get the Particle Manipulator trait it adds +crit and crit severity to all exotic abilities.


Ship Traits;
Weapon System Synergy (Lifetime sub ship trait)

Every time a directed weapon (turret/beam on this ship) is activated you add a charge for your torpedoes to hit harder.

All Hands on Deck (Command Battlecruiser trait)

Activating a tac/command ability reduces the cooldown on science/captain abilities.

Emitter Synergy (Scryer Intel Ship Trait)

Activating a tac/intel ability gives a bonus to exotic damage and healing.

Improved Command Frequency (Command Skill Tree Ship Trait)

Fleet Support No longer takes low hull to use and its cooldown is 5 minutes.  Not vital but super cool and the ships do impressive damage.

Improved Predictive Algorithms (Intelligence Skill Tree Ship Trait)

Gives stacking bonus accuracy and with there being a bit of crit in bonus accuracy it doesn’t seem too bad.


Reputation Traits;

Torpedo Prefire Sequence

Plus torp damage

Advanced Targeting Systems

Plus crit severity.


Plus critical chance

Auxiliary Power Configuration – Offense (Nukera Strikeforce Rep)

Plus damage and accuracy based on aux power level.

Omega Kinetic Sheering (Omega Taskforce Rep)

Torpedo’s and Mines do an additional 40% of damage to targets hull as a shield penetrating DoT.  Damage dealt over 6 seconds.



Ch’zilti’la Biochemist (reduces Threat after exotic damage)
Gravametric Scientist (aftershock gravity wells)
Projectile Weapons officers x3 (Reduce Torpedo Cooldowns)

** = Updated tested the Terran Task Force Disruptor in the aft and using the 3 piece secondary torpedo launchers found it to be incredibly punishing.  Especially since these torpedoes seem to be just as buffed up as the original.


Just to rough up the console numbers you can get about at MK 14.

+13.3 projectile damage

+80% photon +25.6

+25% torpedo

+74% proton

+13.7% accuracy

+5.5% crit

+10% crit with photons

+30% crit severity

+31.2% exotic damage

Playing casually I’m pulling about 30k DPS 🙂






DPS checked with STO-Nexus combat log reader.  User friendly and easy to use.\
Crystaline Entity Advanced

  • 20k
  • 24K

Infected: the Conduit Advanced

  • 27k
  • 31k

Khitomer Vortex Advanced

  • 22k
  • 17k

Temporal Marauders Queue

  • 13k


USS Maiden

Pilot job: Science Officer

Intel (Maxed) primary Command (Maxed) secondary

Science skill tree focused 27 points

Ship Traits: all Hands on Deck, Improved Command frequency, Emitter Synergy, Improved Predictive Algorithms, Weapon System Synergy



4 thoughts on “Guest Blogger Hera: The Photon and Proton Science Pilot Escort Build

  1. Interesting, I use a similar build but with the, temporal torp, neutronic, chronometric, harpeng and a torp of your choice can be a quick cd or a transphasic torp or vaadwaur cluster. on the rear chronometric Omni beam, and a turret accx3 anything with a good debuff use a normal one heavies are pointless as they fire slow and as stated above (rear weps are almost redundant just used for debuffs unless you put the chronmetric heavy on for the 4 piece which is actually worth it alongside the torp for the 50% shield bleed through.) I have played with torp builds a fair bit and the harpeng is key to cool downs as it doesn’t share with any other torps, plus its actually quite powerful maxed out (and pretty looking.)
    I think you are wasting a slot for the torp doffs you don’t need three with photons they have a 6-7 sec cd and with 4 up front that leaves a two sec break to fill I think you should take one off see if it makes any difference and then take another off, i’m sure you’ll find it will work with one for photons???(but iv never tried them) also I get the feeling bio torp on spread is not good it is designed to be a HY torp I have seen massive hits using that on HY3 with overwhelming force on, but I always slap that on the rear so it punches them in the face after doing a rapid fire fly by on a cannon build? I must also say the terran console 0.5 shared cd is worthless I have tried it on multiple builds and it does absolutely nothing apart from gives you the two piece damage, again not worth it as when you check the damage boost in space it gives you barely any extra dps for a waste of a slot.? I also think your boff stations are a little all over the place? why not try……..
    lt eng: structural collapse 1 (exothermic useless as your a torp boat you don’t damage shields you do kenetic which structural helps with?), aux to damp 2 (with doff to raise defence by 35%)
    com tac/pilot: pilot team 1, kemocite laced weps, torp spread or HY3
    Lt Tac: tac team1, BO2 (with super wep ingenuity)
    Lt Eng/Pilot: emergency power to engines1 (you need speed for defence) hold together1 (best healer in the game)
    lt com sci: HE1, tractor beam or tachyon beam (honestly it rips shields apart), Grav well.
    I would also suggest to perhaps put on BFAW2 or 1 instead of BO if you have supremacy for the power boost, and have a plasmonic leach on as this ship has no intel for a overwhelm emitters skill to boost you up.
    consoles tac: 3 torp MKIV, pol/torp console you get with the chronimetric and the tachyon converter for the 2 piece (boosts your chron torp)
    sci consoles: Exotic Particle Field Exciter ( r&d version), Temporal Disentanglement Suite, plasma leach, neutronic console
    Eng: RCS Accelerator( r&d version ) Rule 62 (lobi ferengi console)

    “The big key to all builds which seems to be a secret in this game is to use the emergency power to dampeners with boff and the aux boosting defence trait, with higher aux you do not need any defence consoles they make no difference with the above two already on and aux around 70 you will always have a base of around 50% in all defences with these two(with a second here and there where it drops slightly)”

    Then you want to go and slap on all the torp boosting extras like the 2 piece maco, pre fire trait, and no more than 2 torp cd boffs 3 makes no difference. also use the 2 piece terran engines and warp core for another power boost (im sure there are better mixes but this is off the top of my head)
    Honestly I could go on and on and I have 3 or 4 different versions of torp builds for difference scenarios ( pvp and STF) what I have given here are the basics to build on, TBH the pilot ship is not the best torp boat, you should try the krenim temporal that thing as a torp boat it is a beast, or even the new BUG ship it has command seats so for torps it actually works…..if it only had 5 weps up front 😦

    Right im done now should have been working but instead sat here writing this, loot critter matey if you ever want me to right a build guide for something different im game, I spend my days making weird and wonderful builds, I spit on high dps beam spamming builds and refuse to use them as they are a recipe build and take no skill what so ever only timing my nan could get 50k DPS with a scimitar ( I know as half my fleet have them and all they do is sit by a cube and press space bar lol boring )
    I do hope someone reads this and gains something from it as I have been there, clueless spending too much time counting dps point changes and swapping out stuff to get better defence and power levels.
    But always remember, have fun and keep on trekking.
    Regards, Ross DD


    1. Lots of really great advice in there.

      Id agree with taking a torp Doff away – perhaps even both of them. The skill revamp really changed things.

      The Terran console means torps spend less time locking each other out and makes it work into a rhythm where Im firing about one torp a second. The 3 is insanely OP – so much so Im working on it with my plasma torp build losing 2 rear weapon slots.

      I dont own any lockbox Boff skills. Since I have some 40 characters I havent tried to get them.

      I dont have the super weapon skill – Ill look into it.

      Emergency Power to Engines wouldnt help how I fly. I’ll look into hold together. Ive not looked into the pilot skills much – I have to admit their introduction still bugs me.

      I like my rep consoles for tac consoles. If I was super cereal about squeezing every point of DPS into torps at the expense of nice proton damage I might – but the build makes both work.

      With my torps cycling like a madman Im having a problem getting my micro barrage to fire so I’ll be reevaluating the pilot consoles.

      I like sticking to one type of torpedos – photons. Mixing damage types makes it harder to pull off. Not the point of the build 🙂

      Endothermic Inhibitor Beam causes shields to take more damage (remember photons damage has to hit shields first) and does exotic damage – something this build boosts.

      I dont have supremacy or a plasmonic leech. While I have the 2 peice to make the Experimental Proton fire with FaW I like using it to down shields and smash large ships with my torpedos doing area damage.

      I dont own the Rule 62 on this character. Its a nice console. As maneuveralble as this ship is I dont think I want an RCS any more than I want to use the pilot tree. I’ll be oversteering all the time.

      The Adapted MACO would boost torpedo damage, just that. The 3 peice tractor beam does an incredible amount of exotic damage and fits the build more.

      You have some really great points. Just going toward a different goal than I was. Ive seen a great deal of dismissal of a torpedo boat being 1) viable or 2) flexible. This ship manages to do both.

      Have fun!


  2. Cool, I was under the impression you fly a different style was just giving my ten pennies worth.
    I will definitely try the exo beam out as i was thinking as torps dont really do shield damage then it made it redundant but if you say it works then im gonna test that out. anyone who dismisses a torp boat is crazy, yes i admit it looks as though your not doing a lot as your not spamming beams all over the shop BUT you and me both know when you have a swarm of ships stuck in your grav well and a torp spread hits and everything procs like mad your screen just fills with bright yellow high damage numbers and when the smoke clears everything has vanished lol.
    Honestly though try it with slow moving torps too, when you watch a transphasic cluster, temporal on high yield all about to hit a pack of baddies stuck in your grav well and you have the command ability that gives you the extra high yield, the three piece from the terran that makes you fire an extra torp and the ship trait which gives you two high yields. It is a thing of beauty a string of high yielded torps all about to hit all at the same time BOOM!!! damage off the scale nothing survives and gates as they have no shields just evaporate 🙂
    It is hard to write comments on a persons blog without coming across as a no it all or just sounding like your slagging the persons build off, truly thats not the case at all and i was a happy bunny when i saw someone actually doing a torp build as they are so underrated. But it would be nice if one of the actual experts could post more detail about builds. I have played for nearly 3 years now (daily) i have done thousands of builds, spent a year loving and only doing PVP (until all the changes now it sucks and is only for feedback pulsing, tractor beam repulsing, invulnerable console spamming cheese balls lol ) and i have watched hours of you tube vids on so called High DPS or PVP builds and after wasting my time watching them i came to realize……………most of them are noobs and haven’t really got a clue lol.
    I find it almost an insult to new people when you watch someone stating they are an expert at the game, only to find out they rate their expertise from STF’s only and have never tried PVP. STF’s are not a worthy test of skill in my books, they are pattern based always the same and i for one can fly any STF (not on elite) without having a single heal or and defense boosting consoles and not even come near to dying (half the time im not even watching, just have a macro on space bar spamming all my stuff doing the grind). god there i go sounding all pompous again, darn it lol all im saying is i want to watch a you tube build video for a change and go WOW! that really is a good build and solid advice from a true player, not a wishy washy cannon beam mix build with mark X weps on a T5 ship claiming he has massive DPS and survive-ability lol its just not on in my books. If I knew i wasnt an expert i would go round trying to teach people how to suck at games these people should be burnt at the stake as STO heretics lol. Its seems to be the curse of this game though, when you watch a so called expert showing you how to play Day-Z or COD they are actually blooming good at the game and definitely show you a trick or two but STO no chance nooooobs all the way 🙂 I am even subscribed to a few of the so called famous STO you tubers (not saying any names) and even they just talk crap for like and hour and a half and in the end you realize it is just rubbish their theories on builds make no sense???
    OK i am done rabbiting on again, on a side note im in the middle of trying a photon and proton build now so if youv done one thing its inspired an old STO vet to try something new (if you want i can post what i tried and compare?)
    Ross DD


  3. Awesome, let me know how it works for you. The build was originally developed for my Dyson Sci vessel 5U. One reason I tried it on te pilot ship is being able to scoot round so things are in better firing angles is super useful and fun!
    Ive been working on a transphasic build off and on. Im thinking I might use the command cruiser ships for it. or some other whacky ship 🙂


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