Dil Farming – sure, why not?

Fleet mine holding

Let’s face it – every MMO is a grindfest, and STO is definitely not an exception.  Amongst all the in-game currencies, dilithium (aka “dil”) is the most coveted and most difficult to obtain.  Or is it?  If there is one event that dil farmers were born for it is the Dilithium Bonus weekend.  During this event, all dil rewards are increased by 50%, with some increased by 100%.

Setting up mining and contraband dil farm

Resources needed:

  1. as many level-9 toons as you can get (both Fed and KDF).
  2. minimum of 25 contraband per toon. To obtain contraband, you can:
  3. purchase in bulk off the exchange by searching for “contraband” and selecting “sort by ascending price per unit (expensive but can be done immediately).
  4. do select doff missions or marauding missions on KDF toons (time-consuming but inexpensive).
  5. if available, a minimum of 5 VIP mining vouchers per toon for the Vlugta asteroid mine field located in the Alpha quadrant. Unfortunately, these vouchers can only be obtained by opening lock boxes.
  6. an environmental suit.

So how does this work? First, you’ll need to move all your farming toons (which shall now be referred to as “farmers”) to Deep Space 9 located next to Bajor in the Alpha quadrant.

Place all your farmers in the vicinity of the Security Officer on Deep Space 9.  On the evening before the dil bonus weekend event begins, accept the “turn over confiscated contraband” doff mission.  Collect the results the next day once the event starts and accept the same doff mission again.

Reward before event: 2000 dil.  Reward during event: 3000 dil.

If you have VIP mining claims, fly your farmers to the dilithium mine on the Vlugta asteroid located in the Bajor sector.

Vlugta-on-map-1

The night before the event begins, talk to Isihl and accept the “rich dilithium claim” mission.  However, do not run the mission.  Instead, wait until the event begins.

Isihl-1

Once the event begins, you can go to the rich dilithium vein by activating your environmental suit.  Go talk to the FDMAA agent and accept the mining mission.  You will need to score at least 700 points in order to maximize your reward.  Once done, leave your farmers there until the next day in order to repeat this process.

Vlugta-ground

Reward before event: 5000 dil. Reward during event: 10000 dil.

[EDIT]: I forgot that you can mine on the Vlugta asteroid as well. I just ran this mission during the dil bonus weekend event, so I’ve got accurate numbers for the result of completing it.  Basically, talk to Isihl and take the “asteroid mining” mission.  You can use the same trick of picking up the mission the night before the event, just like the VIP mining mission.  You’ll have to mine at five locations as indicated on your mini-map.  Each mining mini-game will also reward you with a small amount of common and uncommon crafting materials.  Once done, go back to the airlock and talk ti Isihl in order to complete the mission.

Reward before event: 1350 dil.  Reward duing event: 2025 dil max.

If you do not have VIP mining claims, then you can fly over to the “Dilithium Fleet Mine Holdings” located in the Bajor sector as well.

Fleet-mine-map

Once you’ve beamed to the surface of your fleet’s mine holding, talk to the Miner Shift Manager who will offer you three missions: mine impure, rich, and pure dilithium crystals.

Fleet-mine-holding-map

Once accepted and you’ve activated your environmental suit, you’ll see their locations on the map.  Go to them and perform the mini-game.  Again, a minimum score of 700 will maximize your results.

Fleet-mine-holding-dude-dialogue

pure-dil-fail

There are four colors of mineable dil crystals: pink, gold, blue, and green.  The Miner Shift Manager can provide you with information about the different colored crystals.  However, it is irrelevant since they all provide the same reward of 200 dil before the event.  You will find a total of ten such mining locations.  There is also one bonus dil mining mission located to the northeast of the mining station, which rewards (prior to the event) 480 dil. Be careful with this one because you may fall into an abyss and get stuck.

Make sure to use the navigation points to fly to each.

pur-dil-fly-out

I can’t give you an exact number for these rewards during the bonus dil weekend since I typically don’t do this mission.  Why?  It’s time-consuming (about 15 – 20 minutes per toon).  So the following bonus reward numbers may be off.

[EDIT]: I just ran these mining missions during the dil bonus weekend event. I’ve updated the rewards numbers below.

Reward before event: 2480 dil.  Reward during event: 5010 Wow!!!

Now for the next day, you’ll do the “rich dilithium claim” or the “dilithium fleet mine holding” missions and then fly to Deep Space 9 and accept the “turn over confiscated contraband” doff project with the Security Officer.  For each day of the event, you’ll repeat this process in the opposite order.  If you move any toons from their end locations, remember to put them back before you log out.

Setting up a doff mission dil farm (courtesy of @Foxman86)    

There are many options for setting up a doff dil farm since every doff mission provides a small dil reward.  However, some may provide more than others.  Undoubtedly, the “turn over confiscated contraband” doff mission provides the largest reward.  However the leader of the 101st Fleet, Aaron Lawford@Foxman86, recently informed me of some he does on a regular basis: Daily Research and Development doff missions from the Assignment Officer.  The Assignment Officer is located in the development lab on your fleet’s R&D holding.

RD-map-for-doff-dil-mission

RD-Doff-dude

You’ll have several to select, but you’ll only be able to do one at a time.  However, there’s a twenty-hour cooldown, so this would make a good daily mission.  Personally, I haven’t done these doff missions during the dil bonus weekend event, so the following numbers are an estimate.

RD-doff-menu-selection

Reward before event: 1200 dil.  Reward during event: 1800 dil (est.)

Another good dil doff mission can be found on your very own ship if you go talk to the Science Officer on your engineering deck.  You can get there by visiting your bridge and then take the turbolift to the engineering deck.

ship-interior-map

You will see three doff missions on the menu. On the first window, you’ll see a menu, so select the mission titled “special projects.  A second menu will appear. The one you want to do is the first one – “data sample analysis.” You’ll be presented with four doff missions that require data samples – something that you likely have lots of taking up inventory/bank-slot space.

third-menu

The good thing about these projects is the cooldown: three have a six-hour cooldown and one an eight-hour cooldown. Each project rewards 250 dil.

Reward before event: 1000 dil.  Rward during eveng: 1500 dil (est.)

Task Force Operations farm

STO recently re-did the old STF’s into the new Task Force Operations (TFO’s).   Granted, we all know the risks of running these with random players, so do so at your own risk.  As always, it is best to do these missions with friends, as well as fleet- and armada-mates.  Make sure to put a call out for others to join you either in your fleet’s chat channel or the Equator Alliance (EA) chat channel.  You could also use the Armada chat channel, but we prefer to use the EA chat channel since it is a cross-faction channel. If you need an invite to this channel, send me an email (@CaptainPetey) and I’ll add you to the channel.

When it comes to rewards, these vary depending on how successful is your team.  Hence, I won’t post dil results for TFO’s.  However, it is worthy to note that some are much easier and faster to complete. These include Crystalline Catastrophe Advanced (CCA), Infected: the conduit (otherwise known as Infected Space Advanced – ISA), and Federation Fleet Alert (FFA).  Each has a 30-minute cooldown, so you can keep running these on your toons as often as you’d like.  Your rewards can also vary depending on if you’ve received your daily bonus for CCA or ISA (or any other Borg-related TFO).

Setting up an Admiralty farm (courtesy of @ISS Voyager)

Well, we’ve saved the best for last. Recently, I was chatting with the fleet leader of the Terran Empire 1st. Fleet, Antonio@ISS Voyager.  He shared with me information on his Admiralty dil farm.  He’s agreed to provide us with details on what sounds like the most profitable dil farm in STO.  I will share it with you here as soon as I receive his contribution to this article.

Delta-v: Engine Efficiency

RamilliesSpeed

Soon I’m going to be posting my build for the USS Ramillies, but before that, I want to talk about an aspect of power management that some may not realise.

Efficiency, and how it’s applied.

‘Efficiency’, as a term of game mechanics, refers to a starship’s effective overall subsystem power levels against the amount of base investment that is needed to produce that number.

Subsystem power is one of the least-taught and most important parts of a ship’s performance, as it affects absolutely every last facet of its key characteristics, abilities, and skills that you use. A starship has four major subsystems – weapons, shields, engines, and auxilliary – and the amount of power that is available to each of these subsystems directly determines how effective each area of your ship is.

In general terms:

The weapons subsystem affects the damage output of all directed energy weapons (cannons, beams).

The shields subsystem affects both your shields’ innate ‘hardness’ (how much damage they can reduce through resistance) and regeneration rates.

The engines subsystem affects your speed and maneuverability (and consequently, your ability to evade certain AOE debuffs such as gravity well.)

The auxilliary subsystem affects the performance of your scientific abilities (such as the aforementioned gravity well, or perhaps sensor sweep) in addition to the effectiveness of many resistance heals and immunities – including Aux to Structural, Hazard Emitters, and Polarize Hull.

Each subsystem has a minimum power setting of 15 and a maximum power setting of 100.

Overall, a starship has – base – 200 units of power to distribute across its subsystems in whatever configuration its captain wants. By default, each subsystem will have 50 units of power in each of its four subsystems. Furthermore, the base stats of a piece of equipment will always display its expect performance against that 100 mark. If you have less than 100 power in a subsystem, then your equipment will not perform as well as its tooltip and stats suggests it can, but if you have more than that, then it can and will exceed its listed statistics.

Without using certain bonus modifiers (such as warp cores that may increase a subsystem’s power cap, or bridge officer abilities such as Overload Subsystem Safeties), a subsystem’s power can go no higher than a setting 125. With a maximum power investment of 100 – this is where the importance of efficiency becomes apparent, as it is the only way you will be able to maximise the performance of your systems and equipment.

If you invest in efficiency at all, you will see your starship’s subsystems can read well above the levels at which you’ve set them to. As a rule, all efficiency is subject to diminishing returns: the less energy you put into a subsystem, the greater the bonus power you will receive in that section. This bonus number decreases as you approach a power level of 75, and after that point – you receive no further bonus at all.

In a perfect world, your starship could have 125 power in each of its four subsystems and would perform exceedingly well in every aspect of its operations. Given finite power supply however, you will always be forced to weigh up your mission priorities, and compromises must be made.

It would be almost pointless to put efficiency skills into weapons, if that is a subsystem that is constantly run at over 75 power. Naturally, you’re better off spending that skill point on another system you intend to sacrifice – such as engines. (Sacrificing engine power to squeeze more out of weapons or auxilliary is a very common choice, and more often than not leads to engines running with a minimum of power.)

Power management is a discussion unto itself, and efficiency is a huge part of it, but the mechanics of efficiency have a tendency to guid other build decisions when the same word is used. In particular; with engines.

I have often heard it said that there is no point in running a hyper impulse engine that is ‘efficient at high power levels’ when there is no bonus to efficiency above 75 power. This is simply false.

There are – with a couple of unusual exceptions – three basic engine types in Star Trek Online.

Standard impulse engines are advertised as having no efficiency modifiers whatsoever and perform at a flat rate commensurate to the amount of power they are provided.

Combat impulse engines, the game tells us, are ‘efficient at low power levels’, suggesting that they provide better performance at low power levels than other engines.

Hyper impulse engines are similarly ‘efficient at high power levels’.

Given what we know about efficiency and power management in STO, with diminishing returns and disappearing bonuses at high power levels, how does that affect your choice of engines? The fact that there is no efficiency bonus above 75 power would suggest that there is very limited benefit to running hyper-impulse engines which benefit from ‘high power levels’, right?

If you assume ‘efficiency’ is governed by the same rules across the board, you would be wrong.

The same diminishing returns that affect your subsystem efficiencies have absolutely nothing to do with the performance of your engines, no matter what type you have chosen. And this can be demonstrated through testing.

Power12

The above is a graph charted using my build for the USS Ramillies, using standard Mk XIV (common!) impulse engines of each of the three types.

Engines.png

I used common (white), non-reputation engines for this test because – free of modifiers – they are a control that won’t be affected by more esoteric statistics, including [spd] modifiers or other rarity bonuses. This is as close to raw engine data as I can get without datamining, with stepped increases in power to assess performance figures. (Displayed across the bottom, with the ‘real’ power figure against the base power figure)

The vertical axis displays the ship’s registered impulse speed at the indicated power level.

I tried this test with Mk X, Mk XI, XII, Mk XIII and Mk XIV engines, expecting that perhaps higher marks could have different efficiency ratings. Surprisingly, the graph ended up identical in profile, and the pattern was repeated in each series.
The blue series is the standard impulse engine. The red series is the combat impulse engine, and the green series is the hyper impulse engine.

The combat impulse engines reach their ‘best’ power-thrust ratio at about 56 power, while hyper combat impulse engines begin accelerating more sharply past about 90.

In every single case: the point of equilibrium in efficiency for impulse engines is a flat number of 60. At this mark, all three engines perform identically in every respect.

Above 60 power, then the clear winner in all conditions is the hyper-impulse engine.

What can be concluded from this?

How much importance you put in your raw power levels is going to dramatically influence what engine you should be favouring. I’m going to go into power a lot more with the Ramillies and Reprisal builds, but the short answer is this:

If your engine power – through efficiency or choice – runs higher than 60 during combat (the time that matters most) then you you will get more benefit from a hyper or standard impulse engine mthan you will from a combat impulse engine, in all conceivable circumstances.

At endgame, it is unlikely that you will have less than 60 subsystem power as a Federation captain, and even less likely if you are an escort pilot running Emergency Power to Engines as a speed tanking skill. It is very difficult to recommend combat impulse engines when pursuing a Starfleet build.

During levelling, it becomes very easy indeed to recommend combat impulse engines. With limited power to invest, and very few efficiency skills, every point matters and combat impulse engines are an excellent choice between about levels one and 40.

Romulan captains (faced with Warbirds that have less power potential than equivalent Federation and Klingon ships due to the reduced power output of singularity cores) will likely find more utility from combat impulse engines.

As a final thought – just how dramatic is the difference between a Mk XIV common engine and a Mk XIV reputation engine, such as the Iconian resistance hyper-impulse engine?

Power11

It’s significant, and at a glance,  the purple line (Iconian Engine) shows just how much better reputation gear can be over its basic equivalents.

Next time, I’ll talk about power and how it factors into the Ramillies and Reprisal as a basic requirement of design.