EPG 101 - A Full guide by @Vyperwoo
This is an overview of how to set up an effective Control and Damage build based on your Exotic Particle Generation instead of weapon damage.
Despite popular opinion, setting up competitive EPG builds can be easier and cheaper than Energy-based builds. Here are some basics to keep in mind when setting up EPG.
Secondary Deflector This can account for more than half your damage on some builds, however, you need to pick the right one. Also, keep in mind, only Science ships have Secondary deflectors. There are a lot of Science themed cruisers, dreadnoughts, carriers, and escorts, but they don't include a secondary deflector. You need to pick one based on how you plan on playing. Right now, Deteriorating is your best bet for PVE., while Inhibiting is the way to go for PVP. You should slot at a minimum, 3 bridge officer abilities to trigger it. You only need to slot the 1st level, usually, ensign, to trigger them. Here is a list from STO Wiki listing the secondary deflectors and what will trigger them.
EPG, Control, and Critical Severity
These 3 skills are your bread and butter for
Science builds. EPG will increase your
damage and can be stacked over 600 without
a cap. Control, however, has an effective cap of
400. Try and increase these with consoles,
sets, traits, and abilities as you are gearing.
Control is the skill that your pull and hold go
off of to get enemies into your gravity well.
Critical Severity is often overlooked, this
increases damage better than anything else
in my opinion. Once you get this type of build rolling
you will critically hit on over half of your Science abilities,
which means the more critical severity you have the
more damage you will do.
Cool Down Reduction
This is a very often overlooked aspect of every
build in this game, not just EPG. With EPG this can be accomplished with a lot less resources than other types of builds, but you have to give up one of your coveted Science ability slots to pick up, Photonic Officer. Without any expensive lobi starship traits, this can be accomplished by slotting Photonic Officer 2 in a lt Cmdr bridge officer slot. This isn't enough to get you to global though, so you will need to add some more cooldown reduction elsewhere. You can slot the chronometric capacitor from space reputation and either a console or 2 that reduces bridge officer recharge, or you can add some Readiness from your Skills. You want your science abilities firing as fast as they can to trigger the Secondary Deflector.
Exotic Damage and Control Abilities
These are your big damage dealers, and setup abilities to maximize your exotic damage. You should slot the highest level of Gravity Well you can, 95% of the time it should be Gravity Well 3, this will take up your Commander Science bridge officer slot. The next few that I will list are only available off the exchange. They are not mandatory for builds but they will add a significant amount of damage. Slot them as high as you can with your remaining open Science Bridge Officer slots.
Very Cold in Space, available from the winter store
or exchange. Creates an AOE cold field at your
target location with a radius of 3km. This damage
also applies a damage over time (dot) to all targets
affected. This is a huge source of damage when
everything is stuck in your gravity well.
Subspace Vortex, available from infinity lockbox or
exchange. Creates an AOE kinetic field at your
target location with a radius of 3km. This damage
is also applied as a dot to all targets.
Keep in mind, if you hit the ability again it will
teleport you to the vortex, usually not ideal. This is
another huge source of damage.
There are bridge officer abilities available for the
speciality seating of your ship. There are very few
abilities outside of the Temporal Specialization
however, that is worth combining with your science
abilities for damage purposes. Timeline Collapse
and Chronometric Inversion Field are 2 very strong
damaging abilities from the temporal specialization,
if you have a lt or higher seat available, either of
these will enhance your damage. As you start to
pick up traits, this changes, but until then stick with
your bread and butter science abilities to trigger the
Secondary Deflector for damage.
You can not do damage if you are dead. You will draw enemy attention by using EPG abilities. Hazard emitters and polarize hull are 2 defensive Science abilities that scale off your Aux power. Hazard emitters will heal you and cleanse your debuffs, while polarize hull will increase your overall damage reduction, and break tractor beams when activated. If you have a temporal seat, Causal Reversion is one of the best heals in the game and also cleanses debuffs. Engineering abilities such as Engineering team, Aux to Structural, and Reverse shield Polarity are also vital abilities to staying alive. Depending on your characters career choice, you also have captain abilities that can help keep you alive. Captain abilities are on a longer cooldown but they don't cost a bridge officer slot to use them. Cycle these abilities when you are taking damage so you can stay in the fight and continue to control and damage your enemies.
Weapons and Tactical abilities
This is very important to increase your damage, but in the beginning, it's not as important as cycling your science abilities to trigger the Secondary Deflector. Most ships will have at least a LT. tactical slot. You shouldn't dedicate too much effort at first to enhancing these but later on this can really increase your damage. Abilities like tactical team, attack pattern beta, torpedo spread and/or fire at will, all are tactical abilities you look at in the beginning.
There are 2 science weapon set options that are mission rewards. Morphogenesis Armaments from the Home mission, and Chronometric Calculations Set from Time and Tide. Either one of these sets gives a good bonus and will only tie up 2 of your weapon slots and a tactical console slot. Take the time to read all the set bonus information on these, the Morphogenic set especially, requires 3 tactical abilities to be cycled for maximum bonus. Consoles
This is where you can make or break a Science build. At first you don't have to dedicate too much to this. Pickup consoles that increase your tank and that offer exotic damage bonus. Picking up science consoles that increase control and epg will also add damage to your setup. Down the road, this becomes very important and I will go over it at the end.
As mentioned before, you want a Science ship to maximize your damage as they are the only ships that come with a Secondary deflector slot. Temporal seating is also very helpful but not necessary. You want 4 or 5 Science console slots also, these slots will give the ability to boost your EPG and Control more than any of the other console slots. Traits, Reputation, and R&D If you are just starting a character this can take a long time. Reputation can take 2-3 months to max, and R&D is about a month. You don't need these maxed however to start. Level 2 in reputation will unlock weapons and between 2 and 5 you will unlock everything else. Level 15 R&D provides the best trait in the game for Science/Epg builds with Particle Manipulator. This ability causes your secondary deflector to crit at a very high rate when your EPG is at or above 250. Also at level 10 in R&D you can craft Particle Field Exciters Science Consoles. I say consoles, in that you will most likely have to craft a bunch to get the particular mod you want unless you are extremely lucky.
With traits you want to focus on ones that increase your EPG, control, crit severity, cool down, and/or defense. This can get overwhelming, keep in mind that you can still be very effective with very little investment in traits. If you are willing to invest right out of the gate, invest in the Summerville science ship from the C store. It is a nice ship to level with, but it gives the most important starship trait for EPG, in Spore Infused Anomalies. This trait is what you should build your ship around. It is that good.
This varies widely between fleet members I have talked too. However one constant thing is you want to max Control, EPG, and at least get the first box for Drain. Most of the tactical abilities enhance weapon damage so keep that in mind, but you can make a very effective setup using any combination of skills as long as you take the before mentioned Science skills.
This concludes the basics of EPG/Science building. I hope it helps, I am sure I overlooked some things, but this was just meant to be a beginners guide.
Pick a Deteriorating Secondary Deflector Cycle 3 science abilities to trigger the secondary
Get Spore Infused Anomalies from the Summerville (3k Zen)
Get your RnD to 15 and slot Particle Manipulator (or just start as a Jem Hadar Science)
Increase Crit Severity and EPG as high as you can,
Increase control to no more than 400
Take the highest level of Gravity Well to hold your enemies in place
Add defense to stay alive, preferably not using any of your Science boff seating to do so
These 7 things will have you destroying normal and advanced content, and costs about 3k zen, and a few days worth of work, less if you have an established toon or more money to throw at the game.
Special Thanks to those that have helped me directly and indirectly with this guide and EPG in General:
Mike (SRS Elite) Mauler (Knight) Matt (TFR Maco) Thor (Bjartmar) Matt (Doody) Jess (Mselvkitties) Thorn (Ellarion) Jerry (jerryoc) Crunch and Whispers. I apologize if I forgot anyone.