“Not yet, sir.”
“Come on, come on.”
“She’ll fly apart!”
“Fly her apart then!”
- Captain Hikaru Sulu and Helmsman Lojur
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Although all starship weapons in Star Trek: Online have the same maximum range of 10km, it’s been mentioned several times by the developers that different weapons are affected by range at different rates. This article presents the results of in-game testing done to determine what those differences actually are.
(If you’re not interested in tables of numbers, you can skip to the Energy Weapons Summary section for the results of the testing.)
Note: Testing Method
All the test results detailed below were achieved by finding stationary, unshielded targets in missions (defence turrets, mining facilities and the like), firing on them multiple times with a single weapon at a given range, averaging the results, then moving to a new range and repeating the process. A few things to bear in mind:
- The average damage listed is ‘per strike’ – for example, a beam array ‘strikes’ four times each time it’s fired
- All weapons used were common (white) versions, with no special bonuses
- Within each test, weapon power settings and captain skills were kept constant – the only thing that changed was the range
- Each attack was followed by a pause of a few seconds to make sure that the current weapon power level was at maximum before firing again
- As I don’t have a log analyser or anything similar, the sample sizes were not very large. As such, the average damage has been rounded to the nearest integer, and all results should be treated as approximate
Average damage of a phaser beam array at different ranges:
Putting that into a visual form gives:
Allowing for a margin of error in the data, then, it appears that beam weapons do maximum damage up to 1km, and then start to drop by around 4% damage per km, down to about 65% damage at 10km.
I haven’t yet done extensive testing with dual beams or other damage types, but some quick comparisons of damage at 10km and 1km with a variety suggests that all beam weapons are affected by range in a similar fashion.
Average damage of a dual phaser cannon at different ranges:
Putting that into a visual form gives:
I haven’t yet done extensive testing with cannons, dual heavy cannons, or other damage types, but some quick comparisons of damage at 1km, 2km and 10km with a variety suggests that all cannon weapons are affected by range in a similar fashion.
I haven’t been able to do extensive testing yet, but a comparison of turret damage at 1km, 2km and 10km suggests that they are affected by range in exactly the same way as cannons, which matches with dev statements that turrets are counted as cannons for the purposes of range.
Energy Weapon Summary
Based on the testing done so far:
- The damage done by all energy weapons (beams and cannons, including turrets) is affected by the range to the target
- Beam weapons are less affected by range than cannons (including turrets)
- Beam weapons deal full damage up to 1km, then start to suffer a range penalty of around 4% damage per km, down to a minimum of around 65% damage at 10km
- Cannon weapons (including turrets) deal full damage up to 2km, then start to suffer a range penalty of around 8% per km, down to a minimum of around 35% damage at 10km
- The damage listed on an energy weapon’s tooltip in the weapons tray or on your hotbar is based on minimum range (1km or less for beams, 2km or less for cannons, including turrets)
As I’m a sucker for graphs, here’s a comparison of how beam and cannon weapons appear to perform over range:
This is particularly important when using abilities that boost weapon damage in general (such as Emergency Power to Weapons or Tactical Team) and cannons in particular (such as Cannon: Rapid Fire).
As all these abilities modify your current weapon damage, and that damage is significantly reduced by range, triggering them at long range in a cannon or turret-armed ship can waste a lot of their potential benefit – in general, it’s better to wait until you’ve closed to within 4-5km or less.
I haven’t managed to do much testing of torpedoes, for the simple reason that they do so much damage against unshielded stationary targets that they tend to be destroyed after only a few shots, making it rather laborious to get enough damage values for comparison.
The data I have gathered would tend to suggest that torpedo damage is unaffected by range (or affected to such a small degree that it’s within the margins of error for the sample size I have so far).
I can’t escape a sneaking suspicion that torpedo damage could be affected by ‘time to target’ – in other words, the longer it takes a torp to connect, the less damage it does when it gets there. If this is the case, it would probably require testing against fast-moving targets to confirm, as the time it takes for a torp to hit a stationary target when fired from 10km may not be enough for this effect to become particularly noticeable. Of course, this is pure speculation on my behalf at this time.
However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the accuracy of torpedoes may be affected by range.
Range and Accuracy
It’s clear that the Star Trek: Online space combat system has some form of ‘to hit’ check – attacks from both players and NPCs can result in a miss, there are weapons and traits that give accuracy bonuses, high speed is supposed to make you harder to hit, and abilities like Evasive Maneuvers give defence buffs.
Unfortunately, what’s not clear at the moment is how this system works, and whether range plays a part in it (although I rather suspect it does). I’m very much hoping that one of the devs will provide an overview at some point.
My impression so far is that ‘base accuracy’ is 100%. At no point in any of the testing done for this article did an energy weapon or torpedo fired from a stationary ship at a stationary target result in a ‘miss’ – every single shot connected, regardless of range.