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Best Beam Weapons ?

What is the best beam weapons ? Comparing, say, phaser damage to polaron damage doesn't help much. Which is the most powerful beam weapon in the game ? Are turrets really weaker than, say, beam arrays ?

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  • rattler2rattler2 Member Posts: 53,754 Community Moderator
    There really is no god tier beam array, or any weapon. As long as you synergize your damage types and weapon types, you can get the most out of just about anything. Its all about how you build it and what supports what.

    And yes on their own a turret is weaker than a beam array. However turrets have a 360 arc, and work best with cannon builds as they benefit from cannon BOff abilities.

    The best layout for a cannon build is to have dual/dual heavy cannons up front and turrets in the back. If you want to throw a torpedo up front, you can.
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  • davefenestratordavefenestrator Member Posts: 9,087 Arc User
    edited August 2020
    Cannons are harder to aim than beam arrays because the firing arc is 45 degrees instead of 270, so you normally only want that on a tactical ship that's nimble not a sluggish cruiser.

    Beam type: I pick mine based on the visuals. Mark XIV -any type- beats Mark XIII -any type- and any Mark XIV type is good enough for elite content if the setup for rest of your gear and bridge officer powers is decent.

    Don't think you have to only have one captain fly one ship with one gear set. For me a lot of the fun of the game is having different captains fly different themed ships with different setups.

    If you haven't created Romulan and KDF captains yet, doing that would let you try different ship types as you level up, and you'll also get to play the faction-specific story episodes.
  • seaofsorrowsseaofsorrows Member Posts: 10,303 Arc User
    There actually is a 'best beam,' it's the Terran Task Force Phaser Beam array. This usually proves to be the most powerful single beam in the game.. and you are limited to one per ship. If you mean beams that you can use multiple copies of, the Sensor-Linked Phasers are still near the top.

    And yes, Beams are more powerful then Turrets. But regular beams are not omni-directional, there are 'omni beams' but they are restricted on how many you can use. Turrets are usually used in Cannon builds and Cannons are considerably more powerful then beams. As said above, the Cannon style ships are harder to fly but have a higher payoff.

    Both build styles are perfectly viable and up to you which one you want to use.
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  • spiritbornspiritborn Member Posts: 3,228 Arc User
    edited August 2020
    It should be noted that what is best with beams only really matters if you're chasing DPS and there's no "must have" beams that are clearly and significantly superior at all levels of play.
  • seaofsorrowsseaofsorrows Member Posts: 10,303 Arc User
    edited August 2020
    spiritborn wrote: »
    It should be noted that what is best with beams only really matters if you're chasing DPS and there's no "must have" beams that are clearly and significantly superior at all levels of play.

    It's a weapon.. they're designed to do damage.

    The one that does the most damage is objectively the 'best.' I am not sure how else you would rate the quality of an item who's sole purpose is doing damage.

    No one ever said it was essential, the question was just which one was 'best,' and the Terran Task Force is 'best.'
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  • alcyoneserenealcyoneserene Member Posts: 2,308 Arc User
    I like DHC/turrets with CRF on anything that can support them, including carriers. Yes it works fine if you build and pilot them properly.

    Slow sluggish ships have the tankiness to handle lower defenses from not moving as much and soaking up direct hits.

    My heavy ships make use of Aux2Damp, boosting aux before using it, shifting to engine, completing the turn, and maintaining distance from targets. Those with battle cloak like the Valkis have additional turn potential plus decloak ambush bonuses. Evasive maneuvers on low cooldown also very useful to evade or reposition quick.

    As much as I try to fit in a projectile, it just adds nothing: on the front you lose a powerful DHC, on rear you rarely have a target in range with drained shields. Even energy projectiles with 4 or 5 tac console slots and THY2 or 3 feel weak even on crits in comparison to sustained cannon fire that melts both shields and hull equally. Same with EPG boosted gravimetric or plasma torps unless it's on a science vessel.

    Seaofsorrows' experience sounds spot on from what I heard about recently. That beam may also come in a disruptor variant. I know coalition disruptors were nerfed in some way, but in a team with disruptors I imagine they should still be good, and I do use them. Elachi disruptors are quite old but I enjoy using them (as cannons). The most recent thing I've uncovered assuming it is still valid is different plasma types, if they have a DoT plasma damage, stacks on the same target. So far this has not been all that successful but still need to test it more.

    For standard beams the Over mod I find really fun, and unless anything's changed, if you use FAW the BO1 should now apply all at once to all beams at the end of that cycle that also boosts its chances. I know Pen is sought after though I'm not sure how it holds up considering more easy sources of debuffs on targets, and considering shields that beams chew through should have separate resistances (hardness, shield subsystem power levels) than hulls, so unless someone can clarify, I find Over or Rapid mods superior.
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  • szerontzurszerontzur Member Posts: 2,590 Arc User
    The new Ba'ul Beams are quite good due to their refraction(unlike Nukara Tetryon, the Ba'ul Beams ALWAYS refract, and do so at much further ranges). The Ba'ul Cannons are also quite interesting due to the extremely high velocity of their beam-like projectiles.

    That said, don't stress too much over damage type or variant types of them. For most people, as long as you pick a damage type and focus on it, you'll do just fine. Weapon type is also primarily a preference thing(cannons can be a bit harder to use, but are better at concentrating damage); you can do 'good' with almost anything. Elite Difficulty content is a different animal, but it's also beyond most of the playerbase's interest and performance, as a whole.
  • seaofsorrowsseaofsorrows Member Posts: 10,303 Arc User
    szerontzur wrote: »
    The new Ba'ul Beams are quite good due to their refraction(unlike Nukara Tetryon, the Ba'ul Beams ALWAYS refract, and do so at much further ranges). The Ba'ul Cannons are also quite interesting due to the extremely high velocity of their beam-like projectiles.

    That said, don't stress too much over damage type or variant types of them. For most people, as long as you pick a damage type and focus on it, you'll do just fine. Weapon type is also primarily a preference thing(cannons can be a bit harder to use, but are better at concentrating damage); you can do 'good' with almost anything. Elite Difficulty content is a different animal, but it's also beyond most of the playerbase's interest and performance, as a whole.

    I would agree with all of this.

    Best not to worry too much about the 'best' just go with getting an effective build and you should be more then fine. If you then later want to tweak that build to start getting more performance, then you can start swapping in the expensive consoles, traits and things that are considered 'top tier.' For the vast majority of the player base, it's mostly unnecessary and you can do just fine with a basic build that's well put together.
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  • westmetalswestmetals Member Posts: 5,932 Arc User
    To note: the six energy types actually use identical damage scaling for "standard" (craftable/lootable) weapons.

    I.E. a purple quality Phaser Beam Array Mk XII [Dmg]x3, vs. a Polaron Beam Array Mk XII [Dmg]x3, vs. an Antiproton Beam Array Mk XII [Dmg]x3... all will have the exact same damage.

    The differences come in with the non-standard weapons, and with the availability of set bonuses and non-tactical consoles, which are not equally available for all types.
  • jslynjslyn Member Posts: 1,721 Arc User
    edited August 2020
    My advice:

    Unless you are going for the best DPS, it does not matter which type of beam array that you use. Pick one that you like, which one looks and/or sounds the nicest to you.

    And yes, Turrets are weaker than other energy weapon types. Do not mistake that for being unusable. You can clear anything in the game using them. If you want to fly a ship that has a Turret in every weapon slot, you can do that and not have a problem. I have done it for fun and I am sure that many others have, too. Just remember that Turrets count as cannons when setting Bridge Officer abilities.


    That said, the Terran Task Force Beam Array is the best Array because it becomes more powerful the closer to death your enemy is. You can only equip one of them. The best Beam Weapon might be a Lance or a Lotus, and those are built-in weapons on specific ships (the Galaxy-X/Yamato Dreadnought Cruiser in the Store and the veteran Heavy Destroyer from Lifetime Subs).

  • voodoopokeyvoodoopokey Member Posts: 228 Arc User
    szerontzur wrote: »
    The new Ba'ul Beams are quite good due to their refraction(unlike Nukara Tetryon, the Ba'ul Beams ALWAYS refract, and do so at much further ranges).

    The Ba'ul Antiproton Beams are absolutely my new go-to for beams. It is well worth picking up the Ba'ul Lobi set as well as it significantly improves the beam type, essentially quadrupling the overall refraction damage (doubles the refraction from 5% to 10% of damage, and doubles the number of beams that refract). Additionally each beam (initial and 1 or 2 refracted) has an independent chance to proc Kemocite Laced Weapons, which means the per-attack chance goes from 10% to about 27% (again, assuming 3 targets available).

    For a FAW beam boat, I'd go so far as to say it's the best possible setup at the moment. Less impressive against a single, heavy target... but that's usually true of beams, and certainly where something like the Terran Task-Force beam shines.
    szerontzur wrote: »
    The Ba'ul Cannons are also quite interesting due to the extremely high velocity of their beam-like projectiles.

    I briefly tried the ba'ul cannons and they didn't seem to do much refracting compared to the beams... at least it didn't seem that each projectile was refracting, while each beam from the beams did. Have you seen different?
  • foxrockssocksfoxrockssocks Member Posts: 2,388 Arc User
    westmetals wrote: »
    To note: the six energy types actually use identical damage scaling for "standard" (craftable/lootable) weapons.

    I.E. a purple quality Phaser Beam Array Mk XII [Dmg]x3, vs. a Polaron Beam Array Mk XII [Dmg]x3, vs. an Antiproton Beam Array Mk XII [Dmg]x3... all will have the exact same damage.

    The differences come in with the non-standard weapons, and with the availability of set bonuses and non-tactical consoles, which are not equally available for all types.

    Well, actually, default AP beams do more damage than other beams due to the built in critd modifier compared to very rare proc rates for other beams. The more crit you have the bigger the gap, and we can get far more crit chance these days than in 2010.

    However, with all the variant flavors, and the different set options, there are more possibilities that have their own advantages that can be leveraged one way or another to the point where I'd still generally agree that it doesn't really make much difference what flavor you use.
  • westmetalswestmetals Member Posts: 5,932 Arc User
    edited August 2020
    westmetals wrote: »
    To note: the six energy types actually use identical damage scaling for "standard" (craftable/lootable) weapons.

    I.E. a purple quality Phaser Beam Array Mk XII [Dmg]x3, vs. a Polaron Beam Array Mk XII [Dmg]x3, vs. an Antiproton Beam Array Mk XII [Dmg]x3... all will have the exact same damage.

    The differences come in with the non-standard weapons, and with the availability of set bonuses and non-tactical consoles, which are not equally available for all types.

    Well, actually, default AP beams do more damage than other beams due to the built in critd modifier compared to very rare proc rates for other beams. The more crit you have the bigger the gap, and we can get far more crit chance these days than in 2010.

    However, with all the variant flavors, and the different set options, there are more possibilities that have their own advantages that can be leveraged one way or another to the point where I'd still generally agree that it doesn't really make much difference what flavor you use.

    I meant the base damage number (as shown in the tooltip). Over time, yes, you're correct, but the CrtD only comes into play when critting. You could also make a similar argument for plasma due to the fire proc.

    But your comments about crits gets into my general point about the differences between the types - being influenced by set bonuses and non-tactical consoles, etc., which provide bonuses and are not equally available for all types, and also the unequal availability of non-standard weapons.
  • alcyoneserenealcyoneserene Member Posts: 2,308 Arc User
    The experimental plasma or disruptor beam from the romulan reputation I believe should be a pretty good choice as it does not drain weapon power and still benefits from it and respective damage type boosters.

    While some beam weapon types are clearly superior, there's no shortage of those I'd call inferior if not for the set bonuses and such.

    Protonic polaron would be a bad type, useful only against Voth, boosted by obsoleted tactical consoles.

    Phaser proc I'd call bad as the disable is so rare and does not help destroy anything except for a very brief indirect defensive bonus.

    Another type boosts your own shield hardness which I'd call bad unless you have nothing in shields as I believe there's a stacking limit or bug preventing shields from getting really hard.

    There's some subtypes that give some healing but again I'd say it's a bad choice overshadowed by the superior fleet colony types for tanking purposes. I have some elite fleet phasers for shield healing and I can't say they work very well at all even on shield tanks.

    Not really sure where plasma sits, but it's kind of an expensive choice given the plasma energy torpedo is locked behind the lobi store character bound, and I believe the plasma omni to place alongside the crafted one is as well.
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  • voodoopokeyvoodoopokey Member Posts: 228 Arc User
    Protonic polaron would be a bad type, useful only against Voth, boosted by obsoleted tactical consoles.

    I heavily disagree with this assessment. If anything, I find protonic polaron to be one of the best polaron weapon types. Yes, proton damage is hard to boost, but protonic polaron weapons deal shield-ignoring damage on proc, and the proc is a) per shot, not per firing cycle and b) more frequent based on your critH (it passes the usual 2.5% at 10% critH).
    Not really sure where plasma sits, but it's kind of an expensive choice given the plasma energy torpedo is locked behind the lobi store character bound, and I believe the plasma omni to place alongside the crafted one is as well.

    Plasma is one of the harder energy types to boost as it hasn't been given the console bonus love that most other energy types have. You can completely fill your ship consoles with bonuses to most energy types.. I'm not sure that's possible with plasma.
  • szerontzurszerontzur Member Posts: 2,590 Arc User
    Plasma is one of the harder energy types to boost as it hasn't been given the console bonus love that most other energy types have. You can completely fill your ship consoles with bonuses to most energy types.. I'm not sure that's possible with plasma.

    You can get double-synergy with the Na'kuhl ship consoles, but those are restricted to those ships(which honestly haven't aged very well - Acheros only has 3 tac consoles; Tadaari only has a 4/2 weapon layout). Otherwise, you've got the Standalone Ka'kuhl Uni console on the exchange for Cat1 and a few semi-decent reptuation options. Altamid Lobi Set is pretty nice, but doesn't offer Cat1 or 2 bonuses.
  • iamjmphiamjmph Member Posts: 201 Arc User
    szerontzur wrote: »
    The new Ba'ul Beams are quite good due to their refraction(unlike Nukara Tetryon, the Ba'ul Beams ALWAYS refract, and do so at much further ranges). The Ba'ul Cannons are also quite interesting due to the extremely high velocity of their beam-like projectiles.

    That said, don't stress too much over damage type or variant types of them. For most people, as long as you pick a damage type and focus on it, you'll do just fine. Weapon type is also primarily a preference thing(cannons can be a bit harder to use, but are better at concentrating damage); you can do 'good' with almost anything. Elite Difficulty content is a different animal, but it's also beyond most of the playerbase's interest and performance, as a whole.

    It also looks amazing if you use FAW while surrounded.... I like Pulse phasers, have multiple toons using them but thats mostly because all phasers have the same base damage and Pulse are orange
  • fleetcaptain5#1134 fleetcaptain5 Member Posts: 2,645 Arc User
    The ones that you think look best.
    [4:46] [Combat {self}] Your Haymaker deals 23337 (9049) Physical Damage(Critical) to Spawnmother

    [3/25 10:41][Combat (Self)]Your Haymaker deals 26187 (10692) Physical Damage(Critical) to Orinoco.
  • fleetcaptain5#1134 fleetcaptain5 Member Posts: 2,645 Arc User
    spiritborn wrote: »
    It should be noted that what is best with beams only really matters if you're chasing DPS and there's no "must have" beams that are clearly and significantly superior at all levels of play.

    It's a weapon.. they're designed to do damage.

    The one that does the most damage is objectively the 'best.' I am not sure how else you would rate the quality of an item who's sole purpose is doing damage.

    No one ever said it was essential, the question was just which one was 'best,' and the Terran Task Force is 'best.'

    Doing damage is players' source of fun. But their fun can depend on other things, like visual effects of weapons.

    From an in-game perspective, yes, a weapon is meant to deal damage. For the human player of course, more things can matter. Then 'best' thus becomes subjective and more complicated than just 'what does the most damage'?

    Granted, the OP did also ask about the most powerful weapon.
    [4:46] [Combat {self}] Your Haymaker deals 23337 (9049) Physical Damage(Critical) to Spawnmother

    [3/25 10:41][Combat (Self)]Your Haymaker deals 26187 (10692) Physical Damage(Critical) to Orinoco.
  • alcyoneserenealcyoneserene Member Posts: 2,308 Arc User
    I heavily disagree with this assessment. If anything, I find protonic polaron to be one of the best polaron weapon types.
    Very interesting, appreciate the info. I have a full protonic/exotic Harpia but haven't taken it out in a long time. It was tricky to find out protonic weapon damage is only boosted by tac consoles, while protonic-exotic by proton sci consoles, both of which were sub-par even back then when I built it for fun. I'll have to fly it again and see how it does but I'm glad it's not junk then.
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  • peterconnorfirstpeterconnorfirst Member Posts: 6,200 Arc User
    > @fleetcaptain5#1134 said:
    > (Quote)
    >
    > Doing damage is players' source of fun. But their fun can depend on other things, like visual effects of weapons.
    >
    > From an in-game perspective, yes, a weapon is meant to deal damage. For the human player of course, more things can matter. Then 'best' thus becomes subjective and more complicated than just 'what does the most damage'?
    >
    > Granted, the OP did also ask about the most powerful weapon.

    Think key words like „damage“, „powerful“ and „weaker“ clarified that the OP did not mean visuals. 😏

    Here is the guide to beam builds of the league. Well written and comprehensive on the matter OP.

    https://www.sto-league.com/beam-ships-in-the-current-century/
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  • voodoopokeyvoodoopokey Member Posts: 228 Arc User
    Very interesting, appreciate the info. I have a full protonic/exotic Harpia but haven't taken it out in a long time. It was tricky to find out protonic weapon damage is only boosted by tac consoles, while protonic-exotic by proton sci consoles, both of which were sub-par even back then when I built it for fun. I'll have to fly it again and see how it does but I'm glad it's not junk then.

    Or don't even worry about boosting the proton damage; focus on boosting the polaron damage and CritH as usual. The protonic damage is part of the additional weapon proc - a portion of the weapon that normally has a roughly 2.5% chance per cycle of happening and rarely does any direct damage, especially with polaron weapons. The per-shot, critH boosted chance for protonics is just extra shield-ignoring damage. It doesn't matter if it isn't huge per-instance damage.

    If you're making a build based on DrainX then things like dominion polarons are obviously more useful... but if you're not heavy on the drain, there aren't many superior forms of polaron weapon especially combined with some decent CritH.
  • fleetcaptain5#1134 fleetcaptain5 Member Posts: 2,645 Arc User
    > @fleetcaptain5#1134 said:
    > (Quote)
    >
    > Doing damage is players' source of fun. But their fun can depend on other things, like visual effects of weapons.
    >
    > From an in-game perspective, yes, a weapon is meant to deal damage. For the human player of course, more things can matter. Then 'best' thus becomes subjective and more complicated than just 'what does the most damage'?
    >
    > Granted, the OP did also ask about the most powerful weapon.

    Think key words like „damage“, „powerful“ and „weaker“ clarified that the OP did not mean visuals. 😏

    Here is the guide to beam builds of the league. Well written and comprehensive on the matter OP.

    https://www.sto-league.com/beam-ships-in-the-current-century/

    True, that's why I had to point out that aesthetics are an important element of what's the best weapon :D
    [4:46] [Combat {self}] Your Haymaker deals 23337 (9049) Physical Damage(Critical) to Spawnmother

    [3/25 10:41][Combat (Self)]Your Haymaker deals 26187 (10692) Physical Damage(Critical) to Orinoco.
  • westmetalswestmetals Member Posts: 5,932 Arc User
    > @fleetcaptain5#1134 said:
    > (Quote)
    >
    > Doing damage is players' source of fun. But their fun can depend on other things, like visual effects of weapons.
    >
    > From an in-game perspective, yes, a weapon is meant to deal damage. For the human player of course, more things can matter. Then 'best' thus becomes subjective and more complicated than just 'what does the most damage'?
    >
    > Granted, the OP did also ask about the most powerful weapon.

    Think key words like „damage“, „powerful“ and „weaker“ clarified that the OP did not mean visuals. 😏

    Here is the guide to beam builds of the league. Well written and comprehensive on the matter OP.

    https://www.sto-league.com/beam-ships-in-the-current-century/

    Interesting that this list doesn't separate out the universal consoles by energy type, and also doesn't consistently list the universals even when they offer nearly identical bonuses.

    For example the Crystalline Absorption Matrix, Polymorphic Probes, Voth Phase Decoy, and Aligned Antiproton Shielding are all universals and all give roughly the same AP damage, but two of them are on the list and two are not.
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