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Offline Lord Baha, God of Pie

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Guide for doing STFs
« on: June 06, 2012, 07:43:46 PM »
First, so as not to waste anyone's time, the purpose of this guide is to help NEW STF players that are looking to run STF's for the FIRST time on NORMAL difficulty. Have you been playing for a while, but just never did the STFs, and don't want to be called 'Noob'? Or are you a returning player, and aren't familiar with the F2P changes? Then read on as this is for you. Although I've found that most STO players are friendly, all it takes is for one person to berate you, tell you to 'L2P', and take all the fun out of it. For all you veterans STFers out there, feel free to just move along... nothing new here. (But feel free to add suggestions/corrections to this thread. )

Also, this guide is not intended to go into detailed strategies and tactics. There won't be long laundry lists of things to bring. Just the bare essentials and the basics of what to do. For more advanced strategies, there are other more in-depth guides such as these:
Elite STF Guide

What are STFs?
"Special Task Force" (STF) missions are the end game 5-man team missions in STO. They involve the Borg, and are broken into 6 missions: "Infected" space and ground, "Cure" space and ground, "Khitomer Accord" space and ground. If you are new, I recommend starting out with the Space missions, Infected being the easiest (least likely to fail). Space missions take an average of 15-30 minutes to complete depending on the team. Ground missions take an average of 25-35 minutes to complete depending on the team.

Why do I want to run STFs?
They are part of the content in STO. As someone who is always looking for new content, it's an obvious thing to try out. They actually can be quite fun (at least the first several times you run them). Also, you can get some decent gear and gear sets by running them. (More on this later). Also, depending on the gear that you get, there are also Costume unlocks available. And, of course, there are accolades and title unlocks as well. And don't forget, you get dilithium too.

How do I get the missions?
STF's are no longer stand alone missions. Instead, they are accessed through the que system. You have to be at least level 44. Click the PVE que icon under your minimap, select the mission you want to play, and 'join' the que. It requires 5 people to start. You can also form a private instance if you have 4 other friends. Both Fed and Klingon can join the que, and in contrast to most other missions in the game, cross-faction teaming IS allowed. WARNING: If this is your first time running an STF, please DO NOT que up for Elite versions of them. You are sure to get some grief if you enter an elite version, and you don't go prepared knowing what to do. Elite STFs are not the same as regular missions set on elite difficulty. They require a high level of teamwork to complete, and are more than just beefed up borg. Do yourself (and the others on your team) a favor and run the normal versions a few times first to get a feel for what's involved.

What's the 'Objective'?
For each STF, there is a primary objective and an Optional objective. Completing the primary is what gets you your reward. The optional objective is usually timed, having to complete a certain task within a certain time limit for success. Successful completion of the optional objective will get you a chance at additional rewards. Details about the objectives for each STF is found below.

A word about gear.
For Normal difficulty missions (which is what this guide is about), gear is not critically important. Uncommon mark X gear or better will suffice. Of course, the better the weapons, the faster the mission will go. All the space missions are fairly heavily dependent on DPS, so the more ships using cannons, the faster the missions will go. A nice guide for building an escort for STFs can be found here.

For ground missions, make ABSOLUTELY sure you bring a remodulator with you, and equip it. Not bringing one is a SURE FIRE way of getting <facepalms> from your team mates, and also probably a few 'choice' comments and complaints as well. This is easily preventable if you replicate one (for free) from your ship replicator. Also, bring a stack of Large Hypos. And make sure you have a good kit. There is absolutely NO reason NOT to have at least at a minimum a rare Mark IX kit. They are available from a vendor at DS9 for energy credits (No dilithium needed). I actually recommend getting all of them for your class, and keep them handy to switch in/out.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 07:54:52 PM by bahamut8591 »

Offline Lord Baha, God of Pie

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Re: Guide for doing STFs
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2012, 07:44:13 PM »
STF rewards do not work like standard missions where you hail your contact and collect your reward. Instead, at the end of the mission, each person gets a bag of loot. (Don't forget to collect it). There is an additional bag of loot which is shared if you complete the optional objectives. There is a chance that each borg will drop a piece of loot as well. All these borg drops are subject to the need/greed system. Proper etiquette dictates that you choose "greed" for most things, and "need" only if you actually are going to use the item. Wanting something so you can sell it on the exchange is not really a legitimate "need".

There are 4 special gear sets (per faction) that can be obtained from these STFs, plus the old 'legacy' borg set. Each set contains 3 pieces, and give special bonuses if all 3 are equipped. There is also purple mark XI gear (non-set) which can be obtained. The weapons on these have [Borg] modifiers on them which have a chance on doing extra damage to the borg. The gear sets are as follows:

  •     M.A.C.O. Space set (Fed only)
  •     M.A.C.O. Ground set (Fed only)
  •     Honor Guard Space set (KDF only)
  •     Honor Guard Ground set (KDF only)
  •     Omega Force Space Set (Both Fed and KDF)
  •     Omega Force Ground Set (Both Fed and KDF)
Each of these sets come in Mark X (recruit), XI (veteran), and XII (elite) versions. OK, you can stop salivating now. Stats on the ground sets can be found on post #24 on page 3 of this thread (Thank you nPoon). In addition, there are title and costume unlocks with obtaining some of these sets:

Omega Force -

  • Omega Force Initiate - Title Unlock - Play any STF segment ground or space once.
  •     Omega Force Recruit - Title / Costume Unlock - Collect all three pieces Mark X Omega Ground Gear.
  •     Omega Force Veteran - Title / Costume Unlock - Collect all three pieces Mark XI Omega Ground Gear.
  •     Omega Force Operative -Title / Costume Unlock - Collect all three pieces Mark XII Omega Ground Gear.

M.A.C.O. -

  • M.A.C.O. Initiate - Title Only - Play any STF segment ground or space once.
  •     M.A.C.O. Recruit - Title Only - Collect all three pieces Mark X M.A.C.O. Ground Gear.
  •     M.A.C.O. Veteran - Title / Costume Unlock - Collect all three pieces Mark XI M.A.C.O. Ground Gear.
  •     M.A.C.O. Commando -Title / Costume Unlock - Collect all three pieces Mark XII M.A.C.O. Ground Gear.
  •     M.A.C.O. Team Specialist - Title Only - All Optional Objectives on "Normal" difficulty once on every STF Segment.
  •     M.A.C.O. Team Commander - Title Only - All Optional Objectives on "Elite" difficulty once on every STF Segment.

Honor Guard -

  •     Honor Guard Initiate - Title Only - Play any STF segment ground or space once.
  •     Honor Guard Recruit - Title Only - Collect all three pieces Mark X Honor Guard Ground Gear.
  •     Honor Guard Veteran - Title / Costume Unlock - Collect all three pieces Mark XI Honor Guard Ground Gear.
  •     Honor Guard Elite -Title / Costume Unlock - Collect all three pieces Mark XII Honor Guard Ground Gear.
  •     Honor Guard Specialist - Title Only - All Optional Objectives on "Normal" difficulty once on every STF Segment.
  •     Honor Guard Commander - Title Only - All Optional Objectives on "Elite" difficulty once on every STF Segment.

Images: Mark XI MACO, Mark X Omega, Mark XI Omega, Mark XI Honor Guard. Also, you must have the full set - personal shield, armor, and weapon - to unlock the costume, and the set must be the same mark level (so 2 mark XI pieces with 1 mark X piece will not unlock anything). Once you unlock the costume, you can get it at any tailor.

What the heck are these EDC thingys?
All STFs award at least 1 "Encrypted Data Chip" (EDC) in your loot bag. This is the main 'currency' for the STF gear. You can trade these in at DS9. At first glance, the system seems overly complicated. But the reason for the system is to maximize flexibility in getting the gear you actually want, as opposed to a random drop system where you may get a random loot that isn't what you were looking/hoping for. It allows you to work towards your goal of getting the gear you want. Once you get used to it, you will find that it's not that hard to understand. Here is a sticky that explains it in more detail.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 08:08:35 PM by bahamut8591 »

Offline Lord Baha, God of Pie

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Re: Guide for doing STFs
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2012, 07:44:46 PM »
STF Missions. What do I do so I don't look clueless?

Below, I try to outline what the basic objectives for each STF are. Keep in mind that these are just the basics of what you need to know, and are not intended to be detailed walkthroughs. Advanced strategies and detailed tactics are beyond the scope of this guide, but I've posted links you can look at above. I've presented these in the order of difficulty (at least in my opinion). I've also highlighted certain things with ` as things especially important to do or not do in order to avoid garnering that label.
Also, there is a good chance that you will be grouped with an experienced player. Noob Tip: Read the chat and listen to instructions. Things will go much smoother if everyone does this.

Infected Space
I list this one first as this STF is probably the easiest to complete. There is no failure criteria.

  •    Primary Objective: Clear the area of all borg, including the destruction of the borg transwarp gate.
  •    Optional Objective: Do not allow the Transformers to be healed. Complete primary objective within 15 minutes.
  •    Failure Criteria: None.

The first thing to do here is to kill the 1 cube and 2 spheres. Easy. Then you will notice the transwarp gate with a Nanite Transformer on each side. The transformers are each surrounded by 4 smaller Nanite Generators. The generators heal the transformer. The transformers heal the main gate. It is basically a chain of healing going on. Noob Tip: Do NOT shoot the main gate until the transformers are destroyed. You cannot damage the gate while the transformers are keeping it healed. Not to mention that the gate will shoot back at you, and it can hit pretty hard. Noob Tip: Stick together as a group. If everyone is going over to hit the left side first, go with them. Don't go off on your own and head to the right side. You will need to destroy the generators first. As you do this, Nanite probes and Nanite spheres will start coming through the gate. If they get too close to the transformer, they will heal it. If this happens, the optional objective is failed.
Images: Gate and Transformers, Gate and Left Transformer, Transformer with Generators healing it.

Summary: Kill cube and 2 spheres. Go to one side of the gate and destroy generators, then destroy transformer. Repeat on other side. Destroy tactical cube and gate. Win.

Cure Space
Again, there are probably other tactics and tips, but I've outlined the basic strategy on what to do in a Normal PUG.

  •     Primary Objective: Protect the IKS Kang. Clear area of all borg. Destroy the borg carrier.
  •     Optional Objective: Do not let IKS Kang health drop below 75%. Clear the area of borg within 15 minutes.
  •     Failure Criteria: The missions fails (ie you do not get any rewards) if the IKS Kang is destroyed.

There are 3 borg docking areas that need to be destroyed. At the same time, the IKS Kang has been disabled and will be under attack. 1 person needs to guard the Kang while the other 4 go and destroy the docking areas. Most PUGs that I have been in will go to the right-most area first. Noob Tip: Do NOT try to destroy the center docking area first. Either do left or right first, but not the center. It makes it harder for the person guarding to be flying back and forth.

Each docking area is controlled by a single cube. The cube is being healed by 2 sets of nanite probes. Noob Tip: Do NOT attack the cube until the nanite probes are destroyed. You will not be able to damage it as long as the probes are healing it. One set of probes (the upper ones) are healing the cube. The other set (the lower ones) are healing the upper set of probes. So kill the lower ones first, then the upper ones, then the cube.
Images: Cube and docking area

For the person protecting the Kang, destroy all incoming borg NPCs. Heal the Kang if necessary. YES, the Kang CAN be healed. If you are a cruiser, you should have some heals available to throw on the Kang. If you don't, you really need to take a closer look at your build.

Summary: 1 person guards Kang, 4 people destroy the borg. Shoot lower nanite probes, then upper nanite probes, then the cube. Repeat for all 3 areas. Then destroy the carrier. Win!

Khitomer Accord Space

  • Primary Objective: Destroy the 2 Transwarp gates. Destroy the assimilated dreadnaught.
  •     Optional Objective: Do not let ANY probes enter the time portal. Destroy the 2 transwarp gates within 15 minutes.
  •     Failure criteria: The mission fails if 10 probes enter the time portal.

This mission is similar to Infected where you need to destroy a transwarp gate, except now there are 2 of them. Each of them has a similar set up with Nanite transformers and Nanite generators keeping everything healed up. In addition, groups of probes come out of each gate about every minute or so. These probes make a beeline towards the time portal in the center of the map, and they need to be destroyed before they can reach it. The most fool-proof set up is to have 4 people working on the left gate, and 1 person at the right gate. The 1 person at the right should only shoot the probes. If you start destroying the generators, spheres will spawn in addition to the probes. For the inexperienced, this can lead to failure. Noob Tip: If you are the designated person to guard a gate by yourself, just shoot the probes. Do NOT destroy any of the generators yet. Wait until the other gate is destroyed, and the rest of the team joins you.
Images: Time portal and Left Transwarp Gate, Time portal and Right Transwarp Gate

Summary: 1 person at right gate, 4 people at left gate. For the 4 person group on the left, destroy the generators, then the transformer. Repeat on other side of gate. Then destroy gate. While doing all this, keep an eye on probes that spawn. The 1 person at right gate just shoots the probes. When the left gate is destroyed, go to the right gate and repeat process. Then destroy dreadnaught.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 08:21:25 PM by bahamut8591 »

Offline Lord Baha, God of Pie

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Re: Guide for doing STFs
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2012, 07:49:19 PM »
Two Four Six Eight, Why should I remodulate?
Before moving on to the ground missions, a word about borg adaptation and remodulating your weapons. Like in the shows, borg on STF ground missions will adapt to your weapon type after you shoot at them a certain number of times (can be as little as 4 shots). Once they have adapted, you will only deal 1 damage with each shot. When this happens, there will be an icon next to your avatar indicating that they have adapted. Also, if you keep shooting at them, the word "ADAPTED" can be seen above their head in green font. They will adapt to the energy type that you are using (phaser, polaron, tetryon, etc), so if you switch to a different weapon with a different energy type, you can continue to damage them. So it's helpful to have a weapon with a different energy type on switch.

Eventually, the borg will adapt to your other weapon as well, and this is when you will have to remodulate. First make sure that your remodulator is equipped in one of your device slots, and that it appears in your power tray. When the borg have adapted to both your weapons, hit the remodulate button. It will take ~5 seconds to do this. While you are remodulating, you cannot sprint, shoot, or use any kit powers, so make sure you find some cover if you are forced to remodulate during combat. Remodulating will get rid of the borg adaptation on both your weapons.

A few things to keep in mind.

    The borg adapt on a 'per shot' basis. The more shots your weapon fires, the sooner they will adapt. Noob Tip: As a general rule, don't use dual pistols or mini-guns against the borg.(Recent changes have made this slightly less of a problem, but these weapons are still frowned upon by experienced players)
    The borg adaptation occurs for each person separately. Even if everyone is using phasers, each player has his/her own phaser adaptation.
    Every shot 'counts' as a shot no matter which borg you shoot (they are a collective, after all). Shooting the same borg 5 times counts the same as shooting 5 different borg 1 time each.
    The shot count carries over from each encounter. So if you fired 3 shots in the last encounter, you are 3 shots closer to adaptation for the next group of borg you fight. Therefore, it's a good idea to remodulate in-between each group of borg you fight to reset your internal 'adaptation counter', even if they haven't adapted yet.
    The word "ADAPTED" only appears for the person who is adapted to. If you see it, it means the borg have adapted to your current weapon. You will not be able to see it for your team mates. The only way to tell if your team mate has been adapted to is to look at the buff/debuff icons next to his/her avatar. If you see the icon in between combat, it may be worth a gentle /tell to remind them to remodulate.

Khitomer Accord Ground

    Primary Objective: Destroy 2 IMRs. Kill Tosk of Borg and his minions.
    Optional Objective: Destroy the 2 IMRs within 10 minutes.
    Failure criteria: None.

Noob Tip: Bring a remodulator. If this is your first time, I recommend staying in the back and following the group. You will be following a winding undergro und tunnel until you get to a large room with 3 levels that have 2 power relays on each level (total of 6). When you are approaching the room, the timer for the optional objective will start to countdown. First thing to do when you enter the room is to clear it of borg. Noob Tip: Do NOT activate any borg devices if you do not know what it does. Once the room is cleared, 1 person will be the 'shield deactivator' and beam to another room. This should be an experienced person that does this. The rest of the group will stay in the main room and destroy the power relays when the shield gets deactivated. Do this with each of the 6 relays. Noob Tip: When each relay is destroyed, you do not have to kill all the borg that spawn. You can simply run to the next relay. Taking time to kill all the spawn will often lead to failure of the optional objective because of time running out. Next, overload the IMR's (one is on the top floor, the other is outside the room). Then proceed down the hallway to the boss room. Easiest boss strategy that I know of is to draw Tosk of borg out of the room, and fight him in the hallway. After defeating him, defeat the rest of the borg in the room.
Images: 2 of the 6 Power Relays

Summary: Fight your way to relay room. Clear the room. 1 person goes to the shield room to deactivate the shields while the other 4 destroy the 6 power relays. Overload the IMRs. Defeat Tosk and friends. Win!

Infected Ground
This STF has one of the harder optional objectives to complete successfully. As before, bring a remodulator.

    Primary Objective: Clear the area of all borg. Defeat Manus of Borg. Defeat Rebecca Simmons.
    Optional Objective: Save all 10 Starfleet officers from assimilation within 15 minutes.
    Failure Criteria: None

Noob Tip: Do NOT talk to the Catian NPC standing near the transporter pad. Doing so starts the timer for the optional objective. Just follow the rest of the group, and let someone else talk to the NPC. Do NOT go ahead of the group. If you get too close to the next room, the Starfleet officers will start to get assimilated. Once the assimilation starts, you have about 10 seconds to save them. If you don't save them, the optional objective will be failed. Best to just stay in the back of the group, and wait for someone else to agro the borg. In some of the rooms, there will be 2 officers to save. In these rooms, you may need to help save them. Hopefully, your team will communicate this. To save them, kill the workers that are assimilating them.

When you get to Rebecca's chamber, the team should designate 3 people who will be activating the consoles. These consoles need to be activated simultaneously by 3 people. Do not volunteer if you have never done it before. But if you are picked anyway, just follow the other 2 from corner to corner and activate the consoles when they do (you should hear a console activation sound effect). Do the same at each of the corners. Once this is done, the main shield around the main generator will drop. Destroy it, and Rebecca will spawn. Defeat Rebecca. For more advanced strategies, see the links above or the wiki.
Images: Officer being assimilated, Rebecca's room

Summary: Follow your team through the starbase. Kill workers first if your team is trying to complete the optional. Kill the mini-boss Manus of Borg. Make your way down to the last room. Activate the 3 consoles at each corner of the room. Destroy generator. Defeat Rebecca. Win.

Cure Ground
This STF is arguably the hardest of the STFs, mainly due to the insane damage that the boss does at the end. I recommend that this be the last STF to try. Oh, and did I mention to bring a remodulator?

    Primary Objective: Save all Klingon captives. Collect genetic samples. Defeat Armek of Borg.
    Optional Objective: Destroy all borg turrets within 15 minutes.
    Failure Criteria: None.

There are 3 forcefield gates that you need to get past. To deactivate each gate, you need to activate a series transformers, 1 after another. The final one in each series will lower the force field. When a transformer is activated, worker drones and/or turrets will be activated to try and stop you. Your job is to stop the worker drones from turning off the transformers. The optional objective is to blow up the turrets. Noob Tip: Don't activate the transformers prematurely if you don't know what to expect. Activating the transformer usually will spawn workers or activate a turret. You don't want to do that if your team is not ready.

To destroy the turrets, you need to shoot them down to a certain amount of health. They will then put up cover shields and 'mini'-turrets, and start regenerating. During this time, someone has to get up next to it, and plant charges next to it. Noob-Tip: While someone is planting the charges, you should shoot the 'mini'-turrets to take agro off of him/her. If not, the shots from the mini-turrets will interrupt the person planting the charges.

Currently, many feel that the boss Armek is overpowered with his chain lightning attack. There are many strategies floating around in various threads. The most common being a medic tanking him with a melee weapon.
Images: Borg turret, Transformer and Borg turret

Summary: Activate the transformers to take the forcefields down. Kill borg and turrets along the way. Defeat Armek (hopefully). Win.

Advanced Strategies
As I had mentioned above, this guide is not meant to go into advanced strategies, which is something that will be needed if you are eventually going to be running the Elite versions. Some of these strategies are posted down below by various people in this thread. Some strategies on getting the optional objectives on Elite can be found at the top of page 4 (thanks Naldoran), or by clicking here.