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Ten Ton Hammer's Star Trek Online FAQ

Posted Tue, May 11, 2010 by jeffprime

If you’re interested in learning more about Cryptic Studios’ Star Trek Online, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled the currently known information about the game into a handy FAQ which covers everything from general gameplay and crafting to social networking and beyond. Simply click on any of the questions below and learn all there is to know about the game’s systems and mechanics.

Do you have a question that you don’t see an answer for listed here? Be sure to ask it in our forums and it may even make it into a future update!

General Information

  • Who is developing Star Trek Online?

    Star Trek Online is being developed by Cryptic Studios, which is known for previous titles such as City of Heroes and Champions Online.

  • When was Star Trek Online launched?

    February 2, 2010

  • Does Star Trek Online include micro-transactions?

    Yes, there are cosmetic items available but nothing that will provide in-game advancement to players, and many items offered through the C-Store will be available in-game as well.

  • Is Star Trek Online Windows 7 compatible?

    Yes, STO does run on Windows 7.

  • Are there separate servers or a single universe?

    There is a single server for the game, but many instances. The good news is that the single server is set to accommodate both North American and European players. You can also easily change what instance you are in..

  • Does the game support game controllers?

    Officially, not yet. However, it is possible to use a 360 controller by manually setting keybinds in the options menu within the game.

  • Is there integrated voice chat?

    Not currently.

  • Can players create or use User Interface addons?

    As of yet, the answer is no. Portions of the UI will, however, be open for modification such as the various HUD elements.

  • Are key binding and macros supported?

    Key binding is supported, with standard MMOG keybindings included as a default. Currently, there is no easy macro support in STO.

  • How many levels are in the game?

    Currently, there are a grand total of 50 levels in Star Trek Online. There are five ranks (Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, Commander, Captain, and Rear Admiral) and each rank has 10 grades (levels). For example: being level 16 would make you a 6th grade Lieutenant Commander.

Lore Connect

  • What is the time setting for the game?

    The game is set 30 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, so around 2409. The game is set in the Star Trek universe’s “standard timeline” and is not affected by the latest Star Trek movie, where an alternate timeline was created.

  • Does the peace treaty between the Federation and Klingon Empire still exist?

    No, it has dissolved and the Federation and Klingon Empire are standing at the brink of all out war as explained in a Ten Ton Hammer exclusive interview with Cryptic Studios.

    “By 2409, the Khitomer Accords have been dissolved; the Klingons and Federation are at war again. Romulus has been destroyed which you saw in the new movie. The Romulans are trying to rebuild and figure out where their place in the galaxy is. The Borg, who have not been seen in a long time, are starting to reassert themselves. Some lesser known enemies that people just weren't expecting are popping back up. So it's all kind of combining for a time of turmoil for the alpha and beta quadrants where instead of everything working out, everything is starting to fall apart again.”

  • Are the Federation and Klingon Empire the only two factions in the game?

    No, but players will only be able to create player characters that are aligned with the Federation or Klingon Empire factions. To create a Klingon character, the player must have a Federation character that is at least a Lieutenant grade 5.

  • Can players create their own custom race, and if so how does that fit into the lore of the Star Trek universe?

    Yes, players will be able to create their very own custom race using the robust character creation tools. In terms of how this fits into the lore:

    “In DS9, if they're not from a Federation planet, they have to have a recommendation from a Starfleet captain. Starfleet's going to be looking at expanding those rules in the 30 years between Nemesis and 2409 just to be more inclusive of who can be in Starfleet.

    We've also never gotten a full list of the planets that are Federation members. We've gotten some of the top ones, but we haven't seen a comprehensive list so there's always the possibility that some of these custom races may be from Federation planets that just haven't appeared on a show.”

  • Will players meet and interact with famous Star Trek characters?

    The time of the game is set beyond the "sell by" date of the characters we all know and love, but be on the lookout for their children and grandchildren. One example is Miral Paris, who is the daughter of Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres of the Voyager series.

  • How is Leonard Nimoy associated with the game?

    Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Spock (as if you didn’t know!), provides voice-over narration for different parts of the game, normally when you travel to a new Sector.

Gameplay

  • Where does the action occur; can I kill stuff on the ground as well as in space?

    Missions can take place in space or on the ground, with many mission arcs containing some combination of both.

  • How many playable factions are there to choose from?

    Players can only create Federation or Klingon Empire characters at the present time. In addition, the player must have a Federation of at least Lieutenant grade 5 to create a Klingon character.

  • Does exploration play a role in Star Trek Online? Can players be able to go where no man has gone before?

    Yes, players will be able to go where no man has gone before. Cryptic has created the Genesis System, which created random systems and worlds for players to explore and have adventures.

  • Are there special travel options available to players?

    Yes, players can use the Transwarp ability, based upon technology brought back by Voyager from the Borgs. Using this ability will warp the player back to the Earth Spacedock (if Federation) or Qo'noS (if Klingon Empire). This ability has a 30 minute cooldown before it can be used again. If you do not see it in your tray, open up your powers/abilities menu by hitting ‘P’ and dragging the Transwarp icon down to your tray.

  • Speaking of travel, does Star Trek Online feature ground vehicles?

    Ground vehicles are not featured in Star Trek Online at the present time, unless you count feet!

  • Can players upgrade their ships?

    Absolutely! There are many different ways to upgrade your ship cosmetically and in functionality. You can modify your ship’s appearance by paying a fee for each change, usually hull, saucer, and nacelles. To increase the abilities of your ship, you can upgrade the various systems, such as engines, shields, weapons, and the bridge consoles.

  • Do ships fly at a set speed or can players control that aspect of gameplay directly in some way?

    You can definitely affect your travel speed beyond ship upgrades. During flight, players can transfer power from other systems to boost their speed or transfer power to thrusters for a greater turning radius. In addition, certain abilities may grant a temporary increase in speed, turning radius, and engine power.

    “There are basically three different speed that you move in Star Trek Online. You travel at warp speed, and whenever you're at warp, you're in the astrometric view. That is, you're never in system space travelling at warp speed. Your fast mode when you're in system space is full impulse. It's kind of like putting all of your energy into your engines and so that, you know, you can fly around at faster speed. You can go between points of interest within a system, you can go out and explore that system at a little bit higher rate.

    That being said, when you are at full impulse, all your power's to your engine, so you have very little to your shields, and none to your weapons. And transferring power over to them takes time, so you don't full impulse into combat. You pretty much full impulse kind of right out of range, let your systems charge back up again, and then go into combat. But, during combat, you're going at less than quarter impulse when you're going into combat. You can change your throttle, you can change your speed, you can still transfer energy to your engines so that you end up going faster. You get to the encounter, and then figure out how fast you're going to go to get into battle.“

  • Can I fly from my bridge just like in the movies and TV shows?

    No, you cannot do so. In space the view is set to third-person so players won't be able to control movement directly from the ship's bridge. Players can zoom in close to view the ship, but the "positional aspect" of space combat requires a more holistic view of the area.

  • What is the bridge used for?

    Currently, you can use the bridge of your ship as a meeting place to see and talk to other players. You can go to your bridge by first clicking on the triangle icon (listed as “More”) on the right side of the mini-map and clicking “Visit the Bridge” option. You can invite other players from anywhere in the universe to join you on your bridge; they do not have to be close by to your ship. Cryptic has stated that they have more plans for bridges in the future.

  • Does Star Trek Online have PvP?

    Yes, Star Trek Online has both ground and space based PvP. Space PvP between Federation and Klingon takes place in the Eta Eridani Sector Block, while Klingon versus Klingon takes place in the Omega Leonis. You can also join a queue to enter into PvP. To join a queue, click on the triangle icon (called “More”) on the right side of your mini-map and select “Join PvP Queue.” A list of events will be shown and you will be able to join any one that you wish. Most PvP scenarios require at least 5 players per side before they will begin.

  • Are instances used in the game?

    Most of the PvE content is instanced content. The vast majority of the content is a 5 player limit instance. For example: if you have a mission to go to a specific sector and defeat any enemy ships interfering with Federation mining operations, other players can join in the same instance as you. When you enter that specific system, if another player (or players) are already there, their actions will count towards your goal of completing the mission. The same is true if another player joins you while you are in the middle of your mission. Note that you do not have to team up as a group to complete the mission. A maximum of 5 players can be in the same instance before another instance for that system is created for new players.

  • Does the endgame content include raids of some sort?

    Yes, there are 5 man raids, called Special Task Force missions (originally called raidisodes) and require a 5 player team. You will not be able to do any of these raids solo. In addition, they require a rank of Rear Admiral or Brigadier General to get the mission. Enemies found in the STFs range from level 45 to level 47. Cryptic is considering 10 man and 25 main STFs in the future, depending upon feedback from the 5 man STFs.

  • Are there crowd control type mechanics in combat?

    Tractor beams and other hold abilities are available in space combat. One such example is the Viral Matrix ability, which immobilizes a starship. Ships are like sharks so they must keep moving and try to avoid immobilization or risk rapid shield depletion. Crowd control abilities also play a role in ground combat, such as the Draw Fire or Suppressing Fire abilities.

  • Can I escape from combat situations if things get out of hand in space or ground combat?

    Yes, you can do so, but you have to run really far away from combat, which isn’t always possible. If you are engaged in space combat, you can warp out of the system if you manage to get away. On the ground, you can beam out back to your bridge.

  • Is there loot in Star Trek Online, and if so, how is it be distributed?

    “We end up doing kind of loot sharing whenever a drop happens. There's round robin and chancing based on the level discrepancies between players. The loot basically drops for a certain person within the group. And they can deal with trading or not trading, but we kind of round robin it so that it's kind of a fair loot drop. So I'm not going to be able to steal your loot.”

  • Is Star Trek Online an item-centric game?

    Star Trek Online isn’t a totally item-centric game. Items that you loot, get from drops or buy from vendors do have an impact on your character, but your main abilities stem from the skills that you purchase in the game. That being said, always make sure to equip the best possible items that you have at your disposal.

    “It's more item-centric than Cryptic has done in the past, but the design approach is that character development and away team development would be the primary focus. So as you get better ships, it improves your baseline as you go up levels. As you advance and improve your skills, you become more and more powerful. The items are meant more to augment and be hooks for that. Items are still very important, but it's not a design to make them a central focus of the game.”

  • Do players have a bank vault or account-wide vault of some sort?

    Players have both a bank vault and their own personal inventory. As the player’s character gets higher levels, more slots are added to the bank vault and the inventory. Items within the bank can be retrieved from any bank location. Items from the character’s personal inventory can be given to the player’s character, any of the bridge officers, or to the player’s ship. If you find yourself running out of room, give some items to your bridge officers to carry until you get to a bank. As for bank accounts being account-wide, they are currently not.

  • How do players personalize their characters in terms of skills or abilities?

    Players can personalize their characters by spending skill points. These skill points are spent in a variety of skills, and having a certain level within a skill will unlock an ability that the player can use, such as Attack Pattern Alpha. Certain abilities are only available to certain classes, such as Tactical or Science.

    Players can also spend sill points on their bridge officers to have them increase their skills and unlock abilities.

    “Our characters are a bit more complex than the average MMOG in that you as a player are playing your own Captain but then you are also responsible for your Bridge Officers as well as your crew on your entire starship. This means that any given moment that you are playing, you are improving all those assets. You have a personal career choice as a Captain, which can be Tactical, Engineer or Science. As you develop your character and acquire bridge officers they will also be either Tactical officer, Engineering officers and Science officers that you are developing.”

  • Can players group up for ground combat and be part of the away team?

    Yes, they can. You can have up to 5 people in your away team, which can be any combination of players and bridge officers. For example: you and a friend are grouped together. When you go to beam down, 2 slots are held for you and your friend. You fill the remaining 3 slots from bridge officers from your crews.

  • Will the traditional MMOG trinity of Healer, Tank and DPS classes exist in group situations?

    The answer to that question is both yes and no. The Tactical officer is built along the lines of a DPS, the Science officer is similar to a healer, and the Engineer is close to a tank, but there are some differences. The line of the holy trinity is blurred somewhat in STO in that all 3 specialties can be really personalized by their skill choices. Following a Tactical path with abilities and skills that enhance your damage with phasers will make you a better DPS than an Engineer or Science officer, but neither of those two other classes will be totally gimped in combat compared to a Tactical officer. Overall, the holy trinity is a shadow of itself in STO, but you can see the influence upon the three careers.

    “The roles are a little more blurred for Star Trek, certainly everyone is a capable DPS player, and you have to have that. Everyone has the ability to access and equip their ground characters with various weapons, there is not really weapon restrictions as to “oh you’re a science officer so you have to use this,” everyone has a wide variety of ground weapons and therefore everyone is dealing out a good deal of DPS. Now depending on your career choice and the abilities you get from that you augment that in different ways. A tactical officer does end up augmenting a lot of their capability with more damage and variety of delivering damage. The engineer is more about survival, I wouldn’t call him a tank, but it’s more about survival. The engineer, depending on which career branch you follow, that is a control, debuff and can potentially offer heals if you follow the doctor branch. In terms of strict ok you’re the tank you’re going to grab all the agro and then were going to burn it down in a kill order, were trying to avoid that traditional model."

  • Are players able to change their character’s path once they’ve selected a specific career?

    You will be able to change their path to a degree. You cannot change your field (Tactical, Engineering, and Science), but you can redo your skills through a variety of means. You can spend Merits/Honor in-game to redo your skills. The cost depends upon your rank. The higher your rank, the greater the cost will be. You can also buy a retraining token from the Cryptic store (the C-Store). You also get a free retraining token when you level to the next higher rank, such as from Lieutenant to Lieutenant Commander. Just remember that you can only have one retraining token at a time. If you get another, the old one is lost.

  • My UI says that I’m an 11th grade Lieutenant; how do I become a Lieutenant Commander?

    When you hit the next grade past 10 for your rank, you’ll be listed as an 11th grade of that rank. To become a 1st grade of the next higher rank, you’ll need to talk to the brass to be promoted.

  • How do I level my character?

    To level your character, you’ll have to spend your skill points. Each grade and rank requires a prerequisite amount of skill points to be spent to achieve advancement.

  • Do I get new ships when I level?

    You are able to get a new ship (Federation or Klingon, depending upon your faction) when you hit the next higher tier (an example would be going from Lieutenant to Lieutenant Commander). Your new ship will be equipped, but will not have any bridge consoles.

  • Can I get more ships?

    Yes, you are able to purchase additional ships if you wish by spending Energy Credits.

  • What are bridge officers?

    Bridge officers are NPCs who are under your direct command. They will accompany you on away missions and man consoles on your bridge. Bridge officers can rise in rank and have skills which you can spend skill points on. In addition, bridge officers will have special abilities based upon their skills and specialty.

  • What are Fleet Actions?

    Fleet Actions are large scale missions that can have up to 20 players per side. Fleet Actions can take place in space, ground combat, or both. Some Fleet Actions are repeatable, such as “Starbase 24,” while others are a full episode. At the end of the Fleet Action, items are rewarded to the participants, with the better items reserved for those who contributed the most to the action.

Social

  • Are there guilds or fleets in Star Trek Online?

    Guilds are called fleets in Star Trek Online. Currently, you’ll enjoy standard MMOG guild trappings by joining a fleet, which is a fleet bank, ranks, and calendars. You also get an additional costume slot so you will be able to have a fleet uniform.

  • How many ranks are available within a fleet?

    There are currently 7 different ranks available within a given fleet, and each of those can be modified and given different privileges.

  • What are the benefits to being in a fleet?

    Currently the main benefit to belonging to a fleet, beyond easier socialization and grouping with your fleet members, is that characters will gain an extra uniform slot for their captain so that you may have both a personal and fleet uniform to choose from.

  • Are there fleet announcements or activity logs?

    “One of the interesting things we’ve recently put in is the ability to see what your fleet members have been doing while you were offline. You can see an activity log of what’s been going on. Major events like boss defeats and leveling up are put in the log that everyone can go look at to see what’s been happening recently. That’s just an example of things we’re adding to make the fleet feel more alive and a participatory event.”

Crafting

  • Does Star Trek Online feature tradeskills or crafting?

    “Crafting isn't exactly conventional in STO. There are really two forms of crafting that fulfill the crafting. There is essentially bridge officer crafting. The trade skills are really your skills that you are skilling up throughout the game. If you skill up in Photon Torpedo for instance, as you get to the end of that tier, you get the abilitiy to train bridge officers in Photon Torpedo Salvo or Spread or whatever skill it happens to be. If you are a Captain that is a tactical officer you are going to be able to be the best tactical bridge officer trainer and it you are science officer, you can train the best in science bridge officer trainer and then you'll be able to trade those skills. In order for you to get the best tactical bridge officer skills anywhere in the game you will have to learn those from the player trainer who is a good tactical trainer. The tradeskills are your own personal skills that will unlock abilities to improve your bridge officers.

    Bridge officers start off the game with a certain number of skills. You'll find new bridge officers along the way to learn skills, however the best trainers in the game will be players. The idea is that you will be collecting all of these skills, and trying to make the best build, or craft the best bridge officer you can. That is one of the major forms of crafting is the building of bridge officers almost like commodities and you will trade them among other players.

    The second form of crafting is more traditional, and that is Memory Alpha. If you are familiar with the IP, Memory Alpha is a planet, or computer, that contains all of the essential core knowledge of Starfleet. So we have that planet in the game. It is a hub of knowldege in the universe. Throughout the universe as you are travelling you'll find harvesting nodes. You'll find space anamolies, pick up some mineral samples, alien artifacts and not unlike you see in other games. You'll scan for these and then collect them. You can bring these back to Memory Alpha and you can use those bits of knowledge to unlock recipes. If you have the right components then you can build a super tachian rifle with whatever stats you need to put onto that rifle. First you'll have to invest in a Tachian Rifle, the samples, and some energy and you'll be able to craft that item. As you craft more items at Memory Alpha you'll unlock more recipes and be able to craft more advanced and exotic items.”

  • Can I craft weapons or ship upgrades?

    You will be able to create numerous types of items in Star Trek Online, including things such as ground weapons and ship weapons or upgrades. You can also collect different types of components which can unlock different paths or types of items that you can create.

  • How does crafting work, and can I fail at crafting?

    Crafting is fairly straight forward in that you'll gather components which will then be combined at different crafting stations. Clicking on the station will bring up a list of your components as well as a list of available recipes for that specific station. Crafting an item is an instant process, and you can not fail during the process. Basically if you know a recipe, you can create that item instantly so long as you own the components and are at the proper station.

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