Core Assault Queue (Experience and Guide)

Have you run the new PvEvP queues yet? Currently there are two of these “Wargame Scenarios”, one Ground queue called Binary Circuit, and a space one called Core Assault. Fungi-skully wrangled me into trying both this past weekend, and it’s been an interesting experience. I thought I’d post about the space queue, and offer a little bit of a guide to anyone who’s not yet experienced with it.

Why the space queue and not the ground one? Chalk it up to simple bias; STO ground combat has always felt like filler material to me, and I’m sure it didn’t help that our PUG team failed spectacularly during my one and only run of Binary Circuit.

I do like the concept of these wargame scenarios – the teams are mainly racing against each other, and real hardcore PvP only happens at the final point of the mission… if it happens at all. The end goal of Core Assault is to get to the final room as quickly as you can, and destroy the opposing team’s Regulator Core — fighting the opposing team is incidental to the goal. The fact that killing each other is explicitly NOT the goal here, the mission introduces some interesting options — if the opposing team has a headstart on your Regulator Core, your team can choose to engage the other team in hopes of stopping their progress, or go for their core and hope your DPS can catch you up, or split the team up, etc.

There are reports of trolls camping at the opposing team’s spawn point and insta-killing respawning players, which is definitely an A-Hole thing to do because THAT IS NOT THE GOAL OF THE GAME. Yeah, they’re just out to ruin people’s fun and enjoyment, hence, TROLLS. I’ve run this queue about seven or eight times this past weekend and was fortunate enough not to run into this situation, but Cryptic definitely needs to fix this problem before it kills off player interest.

Since I haven’t personally encountered this, the queue has been mostly fun for me. I don’t like PvP, but this queue is as close to PvP as it can without making me hate it; I think one of the big reasons is the puzzle stages discourage going into the queue with strictly PvP builds (unless it’s a premade team, but that’s a different story). In fact, I found that the biggest roadblock to a successful run is not the imbalance of PvP combat, but clueless PUGs on YOUR TEAM who won’t listen (remember that run, Jay?). I know others have already written up guides for this STF, but here’s another one just in case.

Quick Guide to Core Assault

The STF itself really isn’t that complicated. It consists of two opposing teams of 5 players, and each team needs to unlock three doors consecutively to enter the final Core Room. Once in the Core Room, each team tries to take out the opposing team’s Regulator Core, so the sooner you can there the better.

There are five possible “puzzles” that are randomly chosen for each of the three doors.

Swarm – This is the simplest “puzzle”, because it’s really not a puzzle. It’s just a swarm of enemy ships that you need to destroy ASAP to unlock the door. Very straight forward.

Jack in a Box – Almost as simple as Swarm, the only thing you do different is you want to stay within the big white box while killing enemies. The door unlocks quicker if more of your team stays within the box… and it’s amazing how some PUGs don’t grasp something this simple.

Combination Lock – This is arguably the most annoying puzzle. It’s essentially “Match the Symbol” – the team has to fly around the room and trigger the next consequential symbol that matches what’s displayed on the door. Each consequential string is 5 symbols long and there are 3 strings in total, which means this puzzle usually takes the longest to complete. Small, maneuverable ships are best suited here to hit the triggers.

The biggest issue with this puzzle for me is that it can be difficult to see the randomly located triggers, especially when there is a lot of pew-pewing and explosions going on.

Relay – This is where things start to get real hairy for PUGs. In a Relay run your team has to pick up a Charge at the starting Relay point (the big green thing pulsing on the left wall as you enter the room) and deliver it at the door. You’ll know you have a Charge on you because your ship gets this weird static-charged look on your hull. I think the team needs to complete a delivery run 5 times for the door to unlock?

The biggest problem with this puzzle is if someone picks up a Charge and doesn’t know to deliver it to the door, or purposefully trolling, then your team is hooped.

Tractor Pull – Supposedly simple — there are 2 to 4 big honking slider knobs around the door. All the team needs to do is to park one ship at each knob, a tractor beam will trigger automatically to slide the knob down to open position. Wait for the progress bar to complete, and you’re through.

Except… obviously that’s too difficult for some PUGs. Jay and I had a run that had 4 knobs, and 2 PUGGers who were clueless and not listening to chat. Yeah, I don’t need to do the math for you.

WHAT TO DO/NOT TO DO – A couple of quick advice.


  • If you don’t know what’s going on, ask. Or at the very least, read the chatbox.
  • If you can’t read, observe what the others are doing.


  • Don’t try to heal your team’s core — trust me, I tried, it’s pointless. That thing has a crap-ton of hit points and your heals are teeny in comparison.
  • Until this is fixed, don’t be a jackass and spawn-camp the opposing team. It pisses off other players and ruins their fun. And Heidy will judge you.

The best part about this queue is that the rewards for winning and losing aren’t that big of a difference, maybe in the neighborhood of 18-25 marks on Advanced. A clueless PUG or a troll on your team will cost you more than the opposing team winning!

P.S. This is also a message for Jay — last night a newbie player PM’d me out of the blues, wanting to join Cong’s fleet. Instead I pointed her to your fleet, after spending half an hour helping her out with advice. So if you or your other officers are around tonight, maybe send her a fleet invite if you’re okay with it?


15 thoughts on “Core Assault Queue (Experience and Guide)

  1. I remember that run we did all too well. That was highly annoying. That’s why I don’t think I’d want to do it in a PUG ever again. Those other two guys in our team were not only clueless, they weren’t even listening to us. No more PUGs in that queue for me. Especially since my ship’s still not quite doing the DPS I need it to do in order to get it done efficiently. Cryptic nerfed so many things that it effectively rendered my build nearly useless. And of course those who’ve been exploiting the system are finding other ways to exploit it, just as I’ve been telling people all along. I’ll try re-spec-ing and see if that helps.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve done some further testing this past weekend, and it feels like the beamboats aren’t actually too affected by the rebalancing. The only changes I made to my beamboats were on traits, swapping in a couple of Accuracy-boosting traits to compensate for BFAW accuracy nerfs. I haven’t done any Captain Respec because most of my toons already had the Accuracy skill at level 2 or 3.

      Still not sure why Cannon CSV is so noticeably worse than BFAW though, since they were both hit with the accuracy nerf. I took T’Leia’s Mercury out for another test last night at Japori, and it yielded the same result as Cong’s BOP run — CSVs were missing so badly I couldn’t destroy the heavier warbirds on a single pass.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, and that’s another thing. My main ship, my Kelvin Connie, hasn’t been too adversely affected by the mega-nerf, and actually seems a bit stronger in some ways. My main character (Scott) might need a few minor tweaks and adjustments to his skills and traits setup, but that’s about it.

        My Qin raptor, on the other hand, on the KDF side, is a whole ‘nother matter. It’s got a disruptor cannon/turret setup that’s been nerfed to oblivion and is now pretty much useless. Thanks, Cryptic. 😦

        So I’ll probably have to completely re-spec Kai (my Klingon) and maybe swap out a few things on that ship for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. By default cannons are weaker at range, less than before but still some, unless you buy the skills that make them equal to beams. CSV has an AoE and a damage boost, but FAW also has a firing rate increase and a bigger AoE with the damage boost. It is still a straight up superior power, though the distance has definitely closed.
        FAW shooting more and in wider aoe means that it lands more hits than CSV. Also beams shoot more times per cycle so any given miss is less severe (missing 1 of 8 shots is only 12.5%) than when a cannon misses one of its two shots thus loses 50% of the whole cycle. Finally, there are lots of buffs for beam damage, and lots of buffs for turn rate for cannons. One helps one doesn’t. I really wish the devs would balance this.

        What I found on my cannon builds is that taking advantage of the defense mods from enemy speed is really useful. Dropping an enemy to 0 speed means 0 defense. This increases accuracy by a huge margin. Tractor beams are good, gravity well is good, and so are drains, which are currently very popular and effective. Reduce the enemy to 0 move and you won’t be missing.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. That’s a good explanation. Unfortunately both of my cannon-escorts are tactical pilot escorts, so no access to Gravity Wells. and tractor beams only work on single targets. The current buff to Drain may make that option more viable, but neither of my escort captains are specc’ed nor geared for draining.

        I’m now looking at rebuilding their ships with DBBs and beam arrays, possibly with different platforms.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. And regarding the fleet, thank you so much for pointing that new player toward our fleet. You’re awesome. 🙂

    I’ll ask our fleet admirals about it and see what they say. If you haven’t done so already, please send them a mail in game, or just PM them directly if they’re on. I’ll go on Discord and ask them about it. We would welcome new players but I want to run this by them first, per our fleet rules.

    Thank you for letting me know and I’ll pass this on. 🙂

    Scott (formerly Jay)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, if I see you on I’ll point the newbie to you, and you can sort it out with your fellow fleet officers.

      On an unrelated note, because my toons are spread out among so many fleets, I imagine most of the time I’m not hearing your fleet channel. That’s why I have my private channel for my friends, so if your fleet has a dedicated chat channel for non-fleet members too, maybe I should be on that as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I’ll be happy to help new members out if needed. That’s what I’m here for. 🙂

        We don’t have a dedicated fleet channel in STO, but that’s a good idea and it’s something I’ll ask our fleet admirals about next time I speak with them.

        Honestly our fleet is so small at this point that we’ve just been teaming up and using team chat for in-game chat. I do have my own private chat channel in STO if you’d like to use that in the meantime. We can talk about it in more detail next time I’m on. 🙂


  3. And thank you so much for putting this guide together. When we went thru it that time, it was only my second time so I’m admittedly still pretty clueless too. But this is very helpful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. DISCLAIMER: Yes this comment is very late. I was bored and reading old posts.

    Anyway, I see you(like many players) dislike ground combat. I completely understand. The default ground controls are horrid. Here’s what I did to make ground combat a way better experience. You might know all this already, but here goes:

    1: Turn on auto-fire. You have to enable this in the settings but it is well worth it. My captain auto-fires at targets and I worry about ability activations.

    2: Play Eng or Sci. Unlike space combat, I find tacs horribly lacking in ground combat experiences. Engis and scis get so many cool abilities. For example, my Sci runs:
    Paradox bomb
    Anti-time entanglement
    Exo-thermic induction
    Neutronic radiation
    Nanite health monitor

    Active first 4 abilities in that order, watch everything die. I hardly even use my weapon.

    3. Crouch and Aim! Good use of crouch and aiming will greatly increase ground performance. ( You can get 100% dodge chance with crouching, the omega shields, and a trait.)

    4. Just for fun. Make a Melee TAC boff. For example:
    Motion accelerator
    Draw fire
    Smoke grenade
    This boff will charge into enemies, draw all the aggro and maybe even live through it. It’s probably not ideal, but it is fun to watch them fight! One of my favorite moments in sto was in the Dyson adventure zone. I was pinned by one of the dinos and my tac officer proceeded to DROP KICK IT SO HARD IT VAPORIZED. he was promoted to first officer right then and there.


    1. I don’t dislike ground combat per se, I just find it far less interesting than space combat because you have very limited choices of what can be done. With a handful of exceptions (such as specific objectives in STFs), it doesn’t really matter too much what you do either; I mean, killing an enemy in 6 seconds rather than 8 isn’t such a huge improvement in ground combat that I’d worry too much about it.

      About the Melee Tac Boff idea: I do usually give my Tac Boffs a couple of grenades and Lunge and Motion Acc wherever I can, just to watch them drop kick everything to death. I also love it when my Gorn toon bites an enemy so hard he vaporizes them – we’re talking about xenomorph level of acid spit here!


  5. That’s probably the reason I enjoy ground combat. There really is a “meta” or “DPS league” like there is in space. Most of my friends I started the game with quit playing some time ago, and the fleets we started are now dead or full of strangers. Ground being more casual as a whole is great for someone running solo most of the time.

    I’ve never thought of using a Gorn before! I usually run all Pirates for my kdf boffs. A Gorn in the 8472 rep armor would look very xenomorph-y…..must try.

    Off topic, but did you have any opinions on Alien Covenant?


    1. No opinions on Alien Covenant… mainly because I wasn’t aware of this as a thing! O_O I had to Google to find out what it is, duh. I had to refrain from reading the Wiki entry cuz I’ll likely watch it at some point. No spoilers!

      If most of your STO friends are gone, you can come hang out with us if our schedules line up. I mostly play solo myself but most days I run team stuff with some of my friends. What’s your handle in game?


      1. You should certainly see it, and Prometheus if you haven’t all ready. They are both prequels to the original Alien.

        Anyway, would definitely be down for teaming up. My handle is @stoicthevast( yes I liked that movie.) should warn you, never done elite queues. Didnt want to pug them due to the nature of randoms online.


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