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There is always a better use of an ability slot than...

pwstolemynamepwstolemyname Member Posts: 1,417 Arc User
Some bridge officer abilities in STO could be described as 'newbie bait'. By this I mean, that no matter what your trying to set your ship up to do, there is always a better ability to use for the job.

The Builds, Powers, and Game Mechanics section of the forums doesn't get much attention these days, but I would like to invite those that do check hear, to share which powers they feel fall into this category, why they feel that way about said powers, and what they would use instead.

Todays patch notes included: "Resolved an issue that caused Photonic Shockwave and some similar abilities to repel foes more than intended." So Photonic Shockwave is the ability that I would like to get the ball rolling with.

As it stands the ability suffers from doing too many things, and doing none of them well. Those things are:
  • Disable.
  • Knockback.
  • Exotic Damage.

The disable, like all disables is too short to really qualify. Thanks to resistances its always shorter then the few seconds that the tool tip promises so it is more accurate to describe the disabled as an interrupt, which is just about its only use, to interrupt channeled abilities. Sadly the need to interrupt abilities in STO is very rare, and when a situation dose arise, there is often a better counter, or the target may be out of range of PSW.

The Knockback is very minor indeed. In fact for any scenario in which a knockback is required tractor beam repulsors is always better. There is a doff which claims to increase the effectiveness of the knockback. I tested said doff with a friend when it was released. It makes no effective difference to the knockback distances PSW provides.

The Exotic Damage component also losses out the tractor beam repulsors, gravity well and subspace vortex, destabilizing resonance beam and probably others as well.

How would I make photonic shockwave stand out against its competition? I would increase the knockback to make it strong enough to push a ship out of weapons range. This would give it grate utility. I could drop a gravity well on the target after knocking it away and keep it out of the fight for a while, as well as drag other enemies to it. I can currently do the same thing with tractor beam repulsors and a speed boost, but that can be tricky to control, so I would prefer this. Its usefulness would still be very situational. But I feel it would be better then we have now.


  • borg0vermindborg0vermind Member Posts: 346 Arc User
    The point of such abilities is to be generalist not specialized.

    And I consider them fine because in the case of Photonic Shockwave it can prove quite useful:

    - can safe you from an execution, as even 1-2 sec may matter to save your ship
    - can clean-sweep around you of various things like damaged fighters
    - can help team-mates or even you attack targets easier

    As for the 'out of weapons range part' I would definitely not want photonic shockwave to push enemies out of my fire range. I still have to destroy them. Sending them away is illogical in most cases. Temp disable is way better.

    A grav-well drop could be nice to have as bonus for it but that defeats the purpose of a shockwave. What I'd actually do is add a probability for a GW to occur over one of the touched targets and that % to be directly proportional to the number of targets. Example: 10% chance to occur for 1 hit target, 20% for 2 and so forth.
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