Above 300K

Last Modified: 17 May 2023

Achieving 300K DPS on an Elite parsing map like Infected: The Conduit or Hive Onslaught (ISE, HSE) is a monumental achievement that eclipses what most players can achieve. Most players are not playing Elite difficulty and generally a certain amount of coordination is required to even fly Elite parsing maps. So first, congratulations on the achievement. You're in a select group of players just by achieving that record. The median DPS on Infected: The Conduit Advanced was something like 40K DPS in late 2022, so your build is about eight times more powerful than the average player in the TFO system, depending on how much help you needed to get that 300K DPS.

Why does 300K matter?

If 100K is the entryway into Elite content, 300K signifies a different milestone: the ability to succeed on any Elite map without being a detriment to your team. The hardest maps in the game are maps like Dranuur Gauntlet Elite, Khitomer Space Elite (due to the hard timegate), and Battle of Korfez, and with a team of 300K builds and players you can generally beat them depending on the types of builds, piloting, and a little RNG, especially on Korfez. If there's any milestone where from a performance perspective in space PvE you can be considered to have "beaten the game," 300K is it. Congratulations!

That said, if you got there on the backs of extremely supportive team compositions feeding you damage and debuffs, you may want to consider your prowess with a grain of salt. You're in for a rude surprise if you take a glass cannon build that doesn't quite instagib everything on Elite onto a spread-out map with high enemy DPS like Herald Sphere. 

Regardless, congratulations! 300K is a significant accomplishment and it's worth celebrating. 

What do I do next?

In terms of DPS chasing above 300K, once you reach that point, decide if you want to keep going. You don't "need" more DPS to beat anything in the game and 95% of the game's content doesn't even need that much damage. If your goal is to do well on any content in the game, you're there. It's perfectly valid to stop chasing, stop spending, and find contentment in "beating the game." Honestly, more casual players could do quite well to hit 100K with a basic build or a theme build and still experience 99% of the game's content while feeling like you're playing on godmode. If you're starting to feel burned out on STO and the game feels more grind then fun, then stop and take a break!

However, if you're in it for the challenge or to prove a point or if you're a DPS addict, there's generally three routes you can go:

Build Other Things

How did you get your 300K? Was it on a cannon boat? Cool, now consider trying science. What about torpedoes? Tanking? Want to help other players hit new records? Maybe you could consider building a support. There are many other types of build spaces you can explore, so maybe something else might be interesting to you. Of course, these other types tend to have different build needs and thus expenses to excel with them. This works to Cryptic's favor, but if you're okay with investing resources into other flavors of ships, there's a lot more than just energy (and yes, we know everyone starts with energy). You can even explore more thematic builds like a "canon" build or something truly absurd like tanking Hive Elite in a Risian corvette. Yes, it's been done successfully and no we don't recommend it given the high amount of resources and piloting skill needed to do the job along with favorable team compositions. It . . . barely worked. Just be forewarned that the more unorthodox or more themed rules you place on your build, the harder it will be to hit those same heights unless you really know how to use the game's mechanics

Anyways, there are many other options and types of ship builds to consider, so consider building other ships or a different type of build on the same ship if you're so inclined and the seating supports it. This site has three very different Lexington builds, for example. 

Even MOAR Numbers

Of course, there's nothing stopping you from chasing the numbers even harder in your current setup. However, be aware that it starts to get harder above 300K. For one, you've hopefully solved a lot of the most common gear and piloting issues or else you've been completely carried by your team composition and/or credit card. If it's the latter, fixing the gear and piloting problems will probably increase your DPS by 50% and will be the most important area of improvement.

If it's the former, though, your life starts to become more difficult as the improvement curve for piloting and gear starts to look logarithmic. For you non-math people, that means it takes more time and potentially expense and gear tweaks to obtain the same results

In other words, the most basic improvements had an obvious and major impact. Stuff like not slotting Emergency Power to Weapons makes a big difference on an energy build and is easily fixable. Piloting practices like not flying circles around tac cubes and focusing on the flanking facing have a large impact on your effectiveness. As you advance up the rungs of the DPS ladder, most improvements to gear and piloting tend to have individually smaller impact. You've sorted the big problems, now it's time to fine-tune. If you're just following guides and build tutorials, that will somewhat limit how much exploration you can do without spending resources. For example, is it better to have Improved Critical Systems or Heart of Sol? You can either acquire both traits and do a bunch of testing, or else you need to start looking into mathematical resources like our DPS calculators or asking folks who are more in the know about mechanics. Either way, gear optimization is a common path to chasing the numbers harder. 

That optimization may quickly become very expensive if you're following build guides that use multiple lockbox ships, consoles, or traits. Most commonly recommended are what can be snarkily referred to as the "MetaFour:"

These are all very powerful items that each come from a Lockbox ship worth over 100 USD and it gets worse when they're paired with other pricey items as well. You don't "need" those to chase the numbers harder. For example, our example Arbiter doesn't use any of them and does 450K. However, they provide relatively large jumps in power if you have them and work on pretty much any offensive build, so they're commonly recommended and used. The best-in-slot gear doesn't all come from super-expensive items, but a lot of it does, and that adds up quickly. It also becomes inefficient in that having the pricey toys does not guarantee performance. 

This is also where we should recall the not-so-scientific graph from our FAQ, where team composition starts to matter more on these high-parsing runs. It's not that gear and piloting don't matter, it's that team comp starts to have relatively higher impact on your performance as piloting and gear become more "solved" and/or optimal.

All of our builds on STOBETTER do much, much better with a favorable composition for those parsing maps. We try to make them not dependent on having such circumstances, but it's not controversial to say that a favorable composition helps raise the ceiling for a build--the floor is determined by your gear and especially piloting. Here's an example team composition:

This is why DPS runs are frequently coordinated on DPS chat channels in game, in private Discords, or in fleet channels. It's much easier to chase a new record if you're coordinated. Even in DPS channel runs, I've loaded into a map as the third Surgical Strikes builds and pretty quickly realized I wasn't going to set a personal best since we're all trying to do the same thing. In order to chase the numbers in a non-solo fashion, you'll find it a much easier road to climb if you can find a group of players, preferably with some tanks and supports, that you can coordinate and team with. 

Do Other Content

Once you get on the DPS wagon, it's very easy to forget that other space PvE maps besides ISE/HSE exist. However, there are lots of other piloting challenges that will force you to work harder, or at least differently, so if those 2 maps are getting stale, remember that there are a lot more and most of them are fun. If you have a serial aversion to Procyon V or Tzenkethi Front, they are much more enjoyable even on Elite when you roll a team of 300K players onto those maps. They have more failure conditions, but the approach is more flexible when you have Elite-capable DPS. 

We also admit that this heading could also lead you to try your hand at mastering ground content or PvP; your results and interest may vary! And there's always Space Barbie as well!

Whatever you choose to do, don't forget to give yourself a good pat on the back for mastering 300K. Best of luck to whatever challenge you decide to tackle next!