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week in our Star
Trek Online
Beta Journal
we’re going to discuss character
progression up
through the ranks, or as I’ve heard in some circles
“how do I get to pew pew
end game stuff?”  STO
is billed as a
skills-based system rather than experience based. We’ll talk
about what this
means and then how that translates into progression as we stroll
through this
week’s beta chat.

style="">I Got Mad Skillz

a skills-based systems means in the simplest term that
the player chooses where progression occurs (i.e. choose to improve
instead of accuracy) rather than a pre-set value that is added once
character hits a threshold (once X amount of experience points are
gained, the
character gains 2 strength). 
There are
no “experience points” per se in the game.
Characters are rewarded with skill
points that can then be used to improve the skills they desire.

style="">Where is the Ding?
What’s my rank?

thing you won’t hear in STO is “Ding”
since there is no
“leveling up” that we may be used to in other
games. If a player chooses to not
spend skill points, then he/she would never reach the next rank. Before
delve too deeply into this, we should discuss ranks and grades (in lieu

start at the rank of Ensign and quickly work up to
Lieutenant during the tutorial mission chain. Here is the complete
of ranks:

  • Ensign

  • Lieutenant

  • Lieutenant Commander

  • Commander

  • Captain

  • Admiral

the exception of Ensign, each of the above ranks has 10
grades, meaning a Commander Grade 3 is of a higher skill level than a
Grade 2. With 5 main ranks and 10 grades in each, dare I say there are
“levels” in this game?

on, we need to discuss the idea of skill points in
more detail. For those of us that are used to hearing the ding and
automatically receiving new skills (or going to train for them),
we’ll need to
get used to spending the points as they are awarded. Each mission
provides some
nice rewards so in essence you get to “ding”
everywhere and then spend your
points right when you get them, no need to go train.

style="">Skill selection set
to huge.

skill selection is somewhat daunting at first because
there are so many good choices. I won’t go into details until
we get closer to
launch, but I spent some serious time trying to spec out my first skill
allocations. Luckily the first skill point decisions are very broad and
skill boost will enhance a number of things. Later on the skills become
and more acute with very specific skill improvements, so
we’re lucky that they
start off gentle.

time: during my latest run-through of the early
mission chains I gathered skill points and put them all into one area
and hit
the maximum. As I spent those points my grade increased so I went from
Grade 4 to Lieutenant Grade 5. It wasn’t important that I
spent my points in
one area, just that I had to spend a certain number of points in total
to reach
the next grade. Reaching Grade 5 increased the amount of points I could
put into
my chosen skill so I could again spend more points and max that bar

worry, the progression bar in the user interface
spells out the next grade requirements and skills quite well so
you’ll never be
in the dark on where you are and what you need. Yes, you still have a
bar on
the screen that fills up showing your progression.

style="">But that’s not all
you get!

addition to the skill points received for rewards, the
bridge officers will also be receiving skill points that players
allocate for
them. Similar to hunter pets in World
the bridge officers can
be spec’d in a way to compliment a
player’s captain. Bridge officers go significantly beyond in
their progression
and support of the captain, but it’s the closest thing I
could think of to help

like your characters, the bridge officers will also be
able to earn promotions to higher ranks provided certain criteria are
Doing so will open up the next highest tier of skills for that
officer, but as you’ll get far fewer skill points to spend on
your bridge
officers than you do for your character, you’ll want to pick
and choose wisely which
of them you’d like to aim for promoting first.

style="">Characters are like
snowflakes. no two will be the same.

the amount of character customization and the skill
point system (and let’s add in the bridge officer skill point
system), it will
be quite rare indeed for two players to have the same setup. The
options for
variation are just too vast. I’m certain that the min/maxers
will try and parse
the best skill spec, but if the player choices don’t make
them different then
the kits they get and equip certainly will. We’ll go into
kits in the upcoming
weeks, but they enhance skills or make up for deficiencies quite nicely.

sure there is going to be significant
to determine the optimal
skill layout and bridge officer specs but the reality is that the game
is meant
to be played the way you want to play. I’m on the fence for
how I’ll spend my

most games I like to play hybrids which in STO would mean
I’d spend points in multiple categories and round out my
retinue with my bridge
captain support. I may be more specific this time around though and go
down one path to optimize that specific skill. I have lots to think
about until
the game launches in less than a month. Are you going to be a purist or
generalist when you start racking up skill points?

Looking for more Star
Trek Online
content? Be sure to
check out the href="">latest
videos released by Crytpic href="">.
We also have an
excellent href="">FAQ
covering numerous aspects of gameplay, from combat to crafting and

Also, be sure to beam down to
our href="">Star
Trek Online
and join in on the discussions. Whether you want to voice your opinions
on the latest STO news or just want to share some of your awesome
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Trek Online
forums are the place
to be!

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016