Hello to those interested in Star Trek Online. Here’s a bit of a FAQ to tell you what you need to know about the game. If you are interested in playing, why not join the Rock, Paper, Starship fleet on the Federation side. We have pleasant people and goodies you can eventually earn. It’s pretty nice, y’know?
What is STO?
-It’s an MMO(RPG) where you play as a captain of a starship for 3D combat as well as venturing on foot in fairly typical MMO combat.
What do you do in it?
-You fly around in your spaceship and walk around planets and various ground locals and level up doing story-line missions which include a fair amount of conversations and combat. You can also enter PvE instances (Task Forces) where you’ll be tasked with completing various combat encounters that require team-work to complete.
In making a character, what do I need to know?
- There are two factions, the Federation and Klingons, as well as one sub-faction, the Romulan Republic. As a Romulan player, at level 10 you will have a mission that will permanently align you with the Federation or Klingons and allow access to the amenities these factions have at disposal. Functionally, the factions play out very similarly, the most obvious difference being in ship design and available hubs. Note that in order to join the Rock, Paper, Starship fleet (the equivalent in other MMOs being a guild) you will need to be playing either a Federation or Federation-aligned Romulan character.
I have to pick a class for my character, help!
- There are three classes to choose from: Tactical (pure damage focus and the easiest to attain high damage with), Engineer (strong innate survivability) and Science (strong abilities to counter and weaken enemies). Whilst you are permanently locked into your class, there are no real skill-tree restrictions, although some classes will be better at different things, as suggested by their class strength.
Does this class system have any further impact?
- Yes. As you progress through the game you will get access to Bridge Officers. They, like you, come with Tactical, Engineer or Science varieties and in space will provide the majority of abilities you will be using, as suggested above: Tactical Bridge Officers augment your weapons, depending on what you’re using, as well as your starship itself; Engineering Bridge Officers provide primary healing capabilities for your ship and others and are generally defensive in nature, but also have the means of boosting your ships capabilities in various ways; Science Bridge Officers have some healing, but also provide crowd-control abilities, as well as reducing enemy strength. On the ground, Tactical will once again provide various tools to deal damage, Engineers can provide fabrications that support the team as well as doing damage and Science provide primary healing and similarly weakening of enemies.
You mentioned ships?
- There are three primary types of ships that generally correspond to the above classes. Escorts have a tactical focus and are often able to provide the biggest source of damage and whilst agile, are not able to take too many hits. Cruisers have an engineering focus and are capable of withstanding numerous hits and dishing out almost as much as they take, as well as providing team benefits for allied craft near by. Science ships have an unsurprisingly science focus and whilst moderately agile and able to withstand damage, they have limited weapons. Within each type there are variations, such as cruisers with a more damage-orientated focus, those that go the other way and become indestructible juggernauts, as well as science ships with stronger tactical capabilities and escorts that have strong defences at the sacrifice of some agility. There are additional types of craft too that will open up as you proceed into the game. It is important to note that despite the class system and ship typings seemingly pairing up, there is no restriction as to what type of ship a player can use. It is not uncommon to see tactical officers in cruisers to get the benefit of strong damage and defences, for instance.
And what about the ground?
- Each class has two sets of abilities they can draw from. Tactical officers have abilities that enhance their own damage and their teams. Engineers can provide fortifications that provide damage and support or abilities that provides a more mobile fighting set-up. Science officers have abilities to heal and assist team-mates and others to damage and weaken foes. Players gain access to a variety of abilities and can pick from these pools for an adaptive play-style. Your bridge officers use from a similar set of abilities, so you can build a team around what you want to do. Through single player missions you will be supported by your bridge officers, but in Task Forces or teams with other players, you will be unable to use your bridge officers and instead be relying on your team mates to make an efficient team.
Do I have to play space and ground?
- The majority of story missions have a mixture of the two, however all of the Task Forces are dedicated space or ground. Once you reach end-game at the current level cap, 60, you will be able to properly dedicate yourself to improving and completing one or both.
How long does it take to get to max level?
- Broadly speaking, each story mission will provide you with one level. The missions are generally split between those before the most recent expansion, Delta Rising, and those after. Completion of every mission before Delta Rising’s start should get you into the mid 50s, depending on how many additional activities you do in the mean-time. From level 50, the xp required to level up dramatically increases so you may need to ‘fill in the gaps’ in-between some missions, but once you reach level 60 there are no further restrictions to playing missions, apart from completing previous necessary missions as part of a story chain. Missions vary in length though, so it’s hard to say how long it’ll take you. From start to 60, probably a month, less if you’re dedicated, more if you’re not as much.
It’s a free-to-play game. Uh oh?
- It’s not too bad, generally speaking. There are some FTP MMO trappings in the game, but you can absolutely play through the story content, reach the level cap and compete at the high-end difficulty without paying a single penny, but obviously there are advantages to paying, chiefly in buying certain ships that might come with certain powerful abilities that particularly excel at their given task. That said, there is also little competitive playing, so any bought advantages are mostly personal. Do expect to see the Zen icon, the game’s pay-for currency, in a lot of places though.
Is there anything I definitely need from the shop?
- Some people will suggest subscribing for a month to get some benefits, but you don’t even need to do that. However, you can convert one type of in-game currency, Dilithium, into Zen. With this, you can buy the ability to expand the maximum amount of Energy Credits, the main game currency for buying items, from a quite restrictive amount to an almost unreachable high value. This is perhaps the only ‘necessary’ pay-for item from the game’s shop, although you could make arguments for others too, none have quite a big a impact.
What benefits are there to joining a fleet?
-Space can be quite lonely, so it’s always good to communicate with people. That said, if you need help, most of us in the fleet now have been playing it for a while so have a good idea of what’s going on, or can direct you to somewhere that can help further. In addition, a lot of high-end equipment comes from being in a fleet, so it is worth joining one and you can guarantee that even if Rock Paper Starship’s progression isn’t too fast, we are all good and nice people.
Who do I contact to get involved with the fleet?
-You can search for us using the in-game fleet finder, and as mentioned we are called Rock, Paper, Starship. That said, if you do get in-game and want to communicate with someone directly, my handle is Odan@The_JG_Man and you can contact me via a private message or via the in-game mail system.
Is there any other communication system I should know about?
- Well Zone chat isn’t great, but the game does support custom communication channels. One of them, RedditChat, is made up of people who frequent the Star Trek Online subreddit and is full of many pleasant and deeply knowledgeable people who will provide help on request and actively seek to play with others. Consider joining it early on!
Where do I get STO from?
-It has a loader you can get from ARC, but you can also download it through Steam.