As with a lot of other things in Star Trek Online, your ship’s weapons can be highly customized as well. You can’t change their looks or bonuses, but you can choose from a variety of different weaponry and each has its good and bad sides.
The weapons in Star Trek fall into one of five categories: Beam weapons, Torpedoes, Mines, Turrets and Cannons. I’ll attempt to clarify the differences of each one and give some advice why some are better than others.
Beam weapons can be either Phasers or Disruptors. Phasers are commonly used by Federation players and most of them have a chance to disable your opponents ship subsystem such as engines or shields for a short time. Disruptors are typically used by the Klingon faction players and have a different bonus, a chance to debuff your enemy in which case he will receive some extra damage for a short amount of time. It’s completely up to the player to decide which ones to use. One important thing you must keep an eye out when choosing which beam weapon to use is its firing arc: some have really narrow arcs of 45 degrees and are called Dual, while others have wider firing arcs, up to 250 degrees. If you’re using a slow ship such as a cruiser you will have a hard time facing most opponents so it’s recommended to use beam weapons with 250 degree arcs.
Torpedoes are extremely potent weapons which deal massive damage when your opponents shields are down. They come with a variety of damage types, such as Quantum torpedoes, Photon torpedoes and several others. They move rather slowly so it’s important to time it right, preferably they should hit your targets the moment their shields are depleted, otherwise they might recharge them fast or turn other side of their ship towards you. There are also Heavy Plasma Torpedoes, which move even slower than regular ones. They deal massive amount of damage even through shields, however your enemies can target and destroy them before they reach the ship.
Mines are typically used in aft weapon slots to battle quick slot online and maneuverable Escort ships which always attempt to attack you from behind. With the right skills, mines can be quite efficient.
Turrets deal really small damage, however their upside is they fire constantly in any direction. Players usually equip those in rear weapon slots and try to face their opponents with heavy forward weapons. Even though the damage of turrets is nowhere near compared to other weapons, as mentioned they continuously fire in a 360 degree arc and can be quite helpful.
Cannons are the most powerful weapons for depleting shields but can only be used on Escort ship. If you ride a Cruiser or a Science vessel you will not be able to use cannons, however you can captain an Escort ship even if you chose another class. Typically, players use cannons in forward weapon slots and use Dual Cannons with a 45 degree firing arc since those do the most damage. They can deplete your enemies shields very quickly in which case a few torpedoes should quickly finish them off.
Cannons, Turrets and Beam weapons also come with different damage types: Tetryon, Plasma and several others. My personal choice are plasma based weapons, at least for now. Cruiser and Science ship captains will probably want to go with strong beam weapons with wide firing arcs, while Escort ship captains should always use cannons. It’s completely up to the player to choose which weapons to use. There’s no rules to using weapons and many different combinations work well together so don’t be afraid to experiment.