So, the end-game stuff takes a little bit of time to fill out given there’s a considerable amount of ground to cover. This post discusses the Reputation and Specialization systems. After an hour though, I’m a bit bored, so I’ll come back and provide more links for play-styles (damage, tank, etc.) and item building at a later point.
When is the end-game in STO?
-It’s sort of split. The level cap is 60 so then will be your focus on beating end-game instances, but a lot of what comes into building the end-game starts at level 50.
What happens at level 50?
-Regardless of faction, you’ll gain access to the Reputation and Specialization systems. These provide further flexibility to your play-style and provide unique rewards that are not attainable elsewhere.
What is the Reputation System and how does it work?
-Doing certain actions in-game, depending on where you are, allow you to gain Marks and Elite Marks/Tokens for a faction, for instance Task Force Omega. As you progress through each organisation’s reputation system you’ll gain access to four pairs of traits and a final trait that provides access to a special ability. In addition, each tier opens access to items specific to that organisation, such as unique ship consoles and ground kit modules. Each organisation has its own ship equipment set (engines, deflector and shields, some additionally have warp or singularity cores), technology set (a console and two weapons) and ground set (shields, armour and weapon) which will become fully attainable upon completing the fifth tier.
Why are there two different types of marks?
-Your standard marks are used to progress with the reputation, whilst the elite tokens are more specifically for use in requisitioning the equipment from that organisation, although you will also need the standard marks for those too.
How do you complete the reputation?
-There are two projects you can fill-in, in much the same way as fleet holdings, that progress with an organisation’s reputation. There is a 20 hour project that provides 2,500 reputation and a one hour project that provides 200, however you can only gain reputation from these one hour projects three times in a 20 hour period. Tier 1 is 5,000 reputation, tier 2 is 12,500, tier 3 is 32,500, tier 4 is 60,000 and tier 5 is at 100,000. You will also need to complete a short project once you reach a tier to unlock it and proceed. On starting the projects you are rewarded with a requisition box appropriate for the tier you are working on, rewarding you with an assorted item from that organisation. On completion, you are awarded with a small amount of dilithium ore.
Once you have reached tier 5 you unlock access to a Sponsorship Token. This enables you to exchange some marks for an item that you can transfer to another character on your account that will enable that character to reduce the costs of completing all the projects in half.
How do the traits work?
-Like your character traits, you’re given specific slots for traits earned through the reputation system. Each tier generally has an offensive and defensive trait based around the same theme, with two pairs being for space and two for ground. Without any other character upgrades, you can equip 4 space and 4 ground traits at any time and they can consist of any combination of all the traits at once. Similarly, you gain access to 4 slots for the unique tier 5 abilities.
How do I obtain the marks?
-There are a variety of methods you can follow to obtain both standard and elite marks. Every Special Task Force is associated with at least one reputation organisation with the exception of Fleet Actions. For organisations that do have elite marks, you can obtain one on successful completion of an advanced difficulty STF and two on an elite, regardless of it being a space or ground STF. (In addition, every STF offers the choice to instead obtain fleet marks if you’d prefer them.)
Is it better to focus on one reputation at a time?
-It depends on your play-style. Your first instance of obtaining a set of marks in a 20 hour period will provide a bonus amount of marks. This single amount is enough to complete each day’s 20-hour project and some methods of obtaining marks can be completed quickly, however this method will not allow you to build up the amount of marks required to purchase most of the items available to you that that organisation will provide as you progress through it. If you are unsure as to how to gear yourself out, consider ‘spreading yourself thin’, whilst if there is a particular set you want you may be best progressing with that one specifically. It is worth noting though that at tier 1 you gain access to a unique console, so it may be worth getting to that point at any rate.
Where do I go for further information on the Reputation System?
-Check out here, and be sure to look at all the break-downs for each organisation.
What is the Specialization System?
-After level 50, each time you level up you will gain a Specialisation Token and past level 60, you will keep earning these for each time you would have otherwise levelled up. In essence, the specialisation system is an alternative levelling system. At time of writing, there are four specializations: Command, Intelligence, Pilot and Commando.
How does it work?
-Each specialization tree has 30 skills in, where each skill requires one token to unlock, with the exception of Commando which has 15. Similarly, all can be primary or secondary specializations with the exception of Commando, which is secondary only. A specialization marked as primary will provide access to all its skills, whilst a secondary will only provide access to its top 15. Each specialization tree also has an innate buff that increases per point applied. So long as that specialization is active as a primary or secondary, you will still benefit from that buff. You must, however, have at least one point in a specialization to benefit from its buff.
With 15 points applied to a specialization you will gain access to a ship trait (the same kind you get from filling a Tier 6 ship’s mastery package) that is permanently unlocked regardless of what specialization you have currently selected. Once the tree is completed, you will gain access to an enhanced version of this trait. In addition, the skill at the top of the second and fourth tiers tend to be particularly beneficial.
So what’s the point of all this?
-The specializations enhance or allow certain play-styles and other than having to only have two selected at one time, they provide only benefits to you. For instance, one skill may provide you with a specific ability to dodge all forms of damage in your ship for a few seconds, another enhancing a team’s ability ability to flank and expose targets on the ground and another allowing you to knock-over targets you run past on the ground.
As you progress through a skill tree, you also unlock the access to other abilities, such as (universal) kit modules for yourself and training kits for your bridge officers whom you can also specialize, although the latter can also be obtained from the exchange.
What is the Command specialization?
-Command focuses on the benefits of being in a team and generally provides buffs for you and team-mates and debuffs for the enemy. Generally considered to be better for those who prefer ground combat, especially as the space parts tend to benefit from the use of projectile weapons which aren’t too hot in the meta at the moment.
What is the Intelligence specialization?
-Possibly the best primary specialization available at the moment, Intelligence tries to reduce debuffs on yourself, as well as inflicting some back at an enemy target. As a primary, this greatly benefits both ground and space activities.
What is the Pilot specialization?
-Benefiting space actions only, the Pilot tree focuses on movement and engaging at speed in your ship. The Pilot tree is notable for its second tier skill Rock’n’Roll, an ability that renders a craft immune to all damage for a few seconds.
What is the Commando specialization and why is it secondary only?
-Commando benefits all ground actions. Unlike the Pilot tree, which also started as a secondary only with 15 skill points, it wasn’t decided how Commando could benefit from extension. Nevertheless, what is available is still very useful and once completed still provides a ship trait.
Is there a preferred combination of specializations?
-It really depends on how you play. If you don’t touch ground, consider going Pilot/Intelligence. If, however, you vary your actions, you may want to go between Intelligence/Pilot and Intelligence/Commando. As noted, Command in space works better if you have a projectile, so depending on your ship’s weapon configuration, you may benefit more or less from Command.
For instance, on my main character with fully completed Intelligence, Pilot and Commando, I keep Intelligence as a primary and swap between Pilot and Commando for secondary depending on what I will be doing.
Is there any other way to gain a specialization token?
-When a Featured Episode is running, the first completion of it each week per account provides a choice box between a Technology Upgrade and a Specialization Token. The box you then pick is bound to account to be freely exchanged to the character you wish to apply it to.
Wait, if there are 30 skill points in Command, Pilot and Intelligence and 15 in Commando, that’s going to take a long time to complete!
-Yes. It’s a grind. Whilst the reputation system is a grind, you can control where you wish to put your efforts. Given the experience points required to level up increases after level 50, getting to a theoretical level 165 will take a considerable amount of time, even if you are trying for the most efficient experience earning opportunities available. With this in mind, it is best that you pick what specializations you wish to use in advance, especially considering that you cannot reset and reallocate your progress in any way.
You mentioned bridge officers earlier, how do they play a part?
-In your Research and Development page, you’ll notice the Officer Training tab. This school of development allows you to create training manuals for your bridge officers, providing them with abilities. As you progress through the Command, Intelligence and Pilot specializations you can create manuals allowing them to train in that specialization and for specific abilities within it. These specialization abilities can only be used in bridge officer stations on tier 6 ships, so long as the specialization and class lines up. For example, an Engineer/Command bridge officer cannot be used in a Science/Command slot, whilst a Science/Intelligence bridge officer would be able to, however they would not be able to use their Intelligence abilities.
Is there any other way to obtain bridge officers with specializations?
-You can obtain a Kobali Engineering/Command officer in the mission ‘Dust to Dust’ through good map exploration during the maze section, a Hierarchy Science/Intelligence officer for completing the mission and ‘Alliances’ and you’ll be granted a ‘Specialization Qualification: Pilot’ token after completing the mission ‘Delta Flight’.
Tier 6 ships? Does this mean I can’t fly a Tier 6 ship if I don’t have the specializations they have access to?
-Not at all! You can still fly any type of ship in the game. Whilst all tier 6 ships have at least one seat that has one of these dual arrangements, you do not need to use the specialization aspect for yourself or your bridge officer to fly them. For instance, despite being named the Command Battlecruisers (typically Engineering focused), you can fly them as a Tactical officer that has a primary specialization of Pilot and a secondary of Intelligence.
Where can I go for more information on the Specialization system?
-Check out here.