Fleet Norway Command Strike Wing Escort
Build Overview and Focus
Last Updated May 2023
This build is a transfer, or promotion if you will, of my previous Fleet Malachowski support to a newer and more capable platform, the Fleet Norway class. There were a few reasons for the change. The first is that the Norway, having a Commander Tactical seat, could slot Attack Pattern Beta III. Secondly, it has secondary Intel seating for Ionic Turbulence. It retains full Command, providing Inspiration abilities for the team, just like the Malachowski, and still has the hangar and Gravity Well. Lastly, since it's a Strike Wing Escort, it has an Experimental Weapon, which I used to slot Graviton Implosion Charges for additional target grouping and -resistance effects. As a reminder, this build is geared for supporting projectile and exotic builds. If you want to look at the previous iteration of this build, you can find it here but it's no longer being updated or supported (or flown), and is retired after having assisted with 28 records in ISE and 10 in HSE. This ship has taken its place and role and continues to do so excellently.
Introduction to Support
Support builds in STO are not generally healers but rather buff/debuff ships designed to help teammates reach new DPS thresholds. Support builds by their very nature are not intended to be DPS machines in their own right and are typically geared for Elite content only; Advanced is too easy/fast for a support build to really shine. Supports and tanks have this in common; it's not that they can't function on Normal or Advanced, but they only truly serve a needed purpose on Elite.
In combination with a tank (often with supportive aspects of the build), supports are often what allows the super high-end DPSers to achieve new heights, as once you get above 300K DPS, team composition really starts mattering, and having a good support will frequently make the difference between an average DPS parse and a record-breaking one. This particular ship is geared towards buffing allied projectile/kinetic and EPG builds as both types have a fair amount of common aspects that are influenced by the ally buffs and enemy debuffs that this ship brings to the table.
Some would contend that support DPS needs to be much lower for a true high-end support. That statement is correct, but should be qualified. Since "DPS" stands for damage per second, the support build's own preferred DPS will depend on how strong are the DPS builds it's supporting. If you're supporting players less than 400K or 500K, then it's to their benefit to bring enough DPS to accelerate the parsed run. Bringing a 75K or 100K support build to a run filled with 150-300K players will not increase their DPS substantially, despite the buffs and debuffs offered because the map simply takes too long to complete. To that end, my support builds are designed to be:
Elite-capable in their own right, which means 200K DPS. It's easier to bring DPS down than to pull it up. I'll talk more about how to do that in each section if you're trying to support higher-end players.
Versatile as opposed to highly-specialized for specific builds. The Bjerknes is designed to help EPG or Projectile builds more, but is NOT designed around the super high-end meta that currently has only 1 DPS player using projectiles and mines and thus doesn't accommodate other players using hangar pets or torpedoes. I'm not willing to constrain myself that much. There is a guide covering such builds in depth here.
Lastly, supports cannot salvage poor builds or poor piloting. Support builds make good builds and good pilots look great. The record-breaking builds at the highest levels of the DPS League are made possible by having really strong support builds amplifying their performance further. Support is a selfless, team-centric build type that succeeds from carrying others to new heights, but they still have to put in the work to make a competent build and fly it well. Rejoice when your teammates achieve even greater success and celebrate having a part in it.
We measure supports in two other methods besides DPS: the maximum percentage of debuff (% DB), where the parse measures how much an enemy's resistance was reduced based on the initial hit, and the number of personal bests assisted with for allies (PBA).
I wanted a full Command ship to give allies buffs with Inspiration abilities. I also sought a hangar for ally-buffing pets as well as enough science seating to support at least Gravity Well I. Having Commander Tactical for Attack Pattern Beta) as well as Auxiliary to Battery for Cold-hearted was critical as well, and secondary Intel seating provides access to Ionic Turbulence. Lastly, I wanted a healthy dose of tactical seating. Out of those selection criteria, the Valdres/Fleet Norway fit the bill the best.
Vilhelm Bjerknes was a Norwegian mathematician known for achievements in the area of weather forecasting, devising the basis of equations used in meteorology and son of another famous Norwegian physicist, Carl Bjerknes. The translational force on bubbles in a sound wave is named after the younger Bjerknes. He also described the fundamental interaction between fluid dynamics and thermodynamics.
ISA: 211K / 267% DB
ISE: 243K / 318% DB, 2 PBA
HSE: 248K / 255% DB, 5 PBA
Using the EZRA rubric, this build would cost 769.40 USD to replicate. That is far more than what I spent on STO to make it. If the cost looks daunting, don't worry! Lower-budget alternatives are provided below.
Elite Captain/T6X upgrade, all fleet unlocks
1 Lockbox ship (Mirror Engle)
0 Legendary, Promo R&D or Lobi ships
May 2023: Moved build to Fleet Norway from Fleet Malachowski
Torpedoes: Might as well start with the controversial one. "No torpedoes on nannies!!11" If we had a comments section, this would be likely the first one. Let's talk about why that's the conventional wisdom. The highest-end ISE runs want to feed a single DPS player all the Concentrate Firepower procs possible to maximize DPS from torpedoes, so nobody else will run torpedoes in a truly-coordinated run. That's the prevailing wisdom.
I'm not building around super-high-end players. I don't build around the assumption that everyone is trying to funnel DPS into a single projectile user. I've supported players up to 870K but we're not hitting the top of the leaderboards nor is that level of coordinated build efficiency and minmaxing something I'm trying to achieve. A more uncoordinated environment dilutes the effectiveness of Concentrate Firepower donation if others are summoning beacons, fighters, firing torpedoes, etc.
The Bjerknes is designed to help not just projectile builds but also exotic builds which benefit less from grabbing every single Concentrate Firepower proc. Certainly they're nice to have, but also carry the risk of helping your allies blow themselves up with Heavy Gravimetric Torpedoes. To that end, slotting a torpedo has other benefits for such builds, namely...
Between the Delphic Torpedo (up to -30 All DRR with Spread I), the Gamma Deflector (-15 kinetic DRR), Resonating Payload Modifications (up to -25 physical/kinetic DRR), guaranteed Kemocite procs (-12.5 at rank II) there's a considerable amount of additional debuff being spread around by me using this particular torpedo. Omega Kinetic Shearing is a guaranteed proc of Atrophied Defenses for a further -10 DRR.
Without a torpedo and a spread and also not tanking, it's hard to maintain reasonable uptime for Fire at Will. A torpedo solves that problem by allowing me to use Entwined Tactical Matrices for 100% uptime on FAW, spreading debuffs like Cold-Hearted (-50) and Attack Pattern Beta II (-40 DRR) with greater uptime.
Torpedoes are fun and immersive.
That said, if you would rather build a support without a torpedo so as to better donate Concentrate Firepower, unslot the torpedo, Resonating Payload Modification (use Into the Breach instead), Omega Kinetic Shearing (Magnified Firepower is probably the replacement), and Entwined Tactical Matrices (Improved Critical Systems, Unconventional Tactics, or Electrified Anomalies on the cheap, Superior Area Denial/Jubilant Cadence on the expensive), and deal with the loss of uptime on Fire at Will. The torpedo spread could be replaced with a second copy of it to handle that problem.
Plasma: If I didn't have the Altamid Omni, Polaron or Phaser would be an easy replacement, with using both the Advanced Gamma Inhibiting Turret / Omni since they stack. Pulse Phasers serve a similar role as the Altamid beams and would also benefit more from the Deconstructive Resonance Emitter I'm using. If Phaser, adjust tactical consoles to the appropriate flavor.
Drive Train: The Gamma 4-piece is nothing special, but the 3-piece gives team-wide 10% Kinetic damage while retaining the Tilly Shield for its damage to shields.
If you can't get Elite Alliance Fighter Squadrons, Elite Class C Shuttles unlocked via C-store ships like the Earhart or Buran work just fine, as do the Mirror Shuttles from the Lexington.
Alternate energy types: See the weapons section.
Everything else is activated manually. The various debuff consoles and exotics are used and timed manually as they need to be strategically used for best effect and not just spammed.
Numbers are from record ISE. The team composition was 1 heavy tank, 2 supports, 1 kinetic DPS, and 1 CSV DPS.
You might think that 243K is a little high for a support and you'd probably be correct for a truly high-end build. That said, I still supported an ally up to 675K, so if you're boosting players below 1M, the extra DPS speeding up the run can be helpful. However, to better support for a high-end DPS run, it's relatively easy to lower your DPS without changing the build too much to handle other maps on Elite.
Don't summon ANY distress beacons like Nimbus/Delta/Hur'q Beacon, drops 5K.
Don't use the Anti-Time singularity or Refracting Tetryon Cascade (drops another 9.5K)
Replace the Fek'Ihri Torment Engine with another supportive console (drops 4.5K DPS + whatever the +plasma and radiation are worth for energy weapons and various radiation sources)
With minimal build modifications, the DPS is lowered from 237 down to 218, but if that's still too much selfish DPS, consider not upgrading your weapons beyond Mk XII.
My criteria for this ship was it was to be a full command ship (for Inspiration abilities) with a hangar and LtCmdr Science to support Gravity Well. While conventional wisdom for min-maxed support builds is that Gravity Well III is essential for maximum radius/pull, recent research has shown that at 332 CtrlX, the difference between a Gravity Well I and a Gravity Well III is 7.98 vs 10.64km. That's significant, but only truly matters if you're supporting projectile builds using small AOE torpedoes and Isolytic Tears. The Fleet Hiawatha would be a substitute, but you will have to give up Let It Go in favor of another science ability and drop Ionic Turbulence as well. Of course you would also drop some weapons to pick up another bay of Elite Alliance Fighter Squadrons.
On the more expensive end, the Dhailkhina Command Strike Wing Warbird can adapt this build entirely. The previous Fleet Malachowski that I was using could still be used for this build, but you'll lose APB3 and Ionic Turbulence in favor of another Engineering or Command ability, like Rally Point Marker. Lastly, you could use a Merian for this, but you'll trade Ionic Turbulence for Tractor Beam. The Legendary Verity Command Dreadnought Cruiser would do the same.