Brand spankin' new to the game as of last night. Played through the intro, wandered around the Earth Starbase, and just saved the crew of the USS Azure. All that said, I have NO CLUE what I am doing. :-) I have a long history of playing WoW, and am a fair Star Trek nerd. I get the general idea.
That being said, I have no idea really what to do and how to improve my character / ship. I went to some of the stores, and they all requested Energy credits which I have no idea where you get. I really have no idea what skills I should or shouldn't be increasing - just randomly picking what sounds cool. So... any advice on what I should do to start? Any upgrades or skills I should concentrate on just to get a feel for the game? Do I sell everything on the Auction House or are there some that I should vend? When should I start to ramp up difficulty to get better rewards? What are some target numbers / stats I should be looking at to help the game go smoother?
Any advice or suggestions to make sure I keep enjoying the game would be really really appreciated. So far its been fun, and the Azure mission really did feel like a mini-episode of the show. Hope it stays this fun! :-) Thanks again for your help!
There are a lot of questions in there. Honestly it might just be best if you team up with me (or anyone else willing to assist you) in game. Joining a fleet wouldn't hurt either. The fleet I'm in SIG is a good group with helpful people. It is a small fleet, but they don't kick players for not logging into STO. It works out well since I also play WoW, since you're in a similar boat you might want to check them out.
That being said, I'll try to answer your questions here as best I can.
The Energy Credits that you noticed from the stores is the main currency of the game. The equal to WoW gold. Each mission you complete will give you Energy Credits. It's also the currency of the Exchange, which is the in-game AH. Each mission will also give you experience points, which is how you improve your character.
The leveling system isn't really hard to understand, not that different from WoW, but it is organized a little differently. There are 6 ranks in the game; Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, Commander, Captain, Rear Admiral (Split into Lower and Upper half), and Vice Admiral. Each rank has 10 "grades" to it, and you get a new ship at each rank. So basically... you have to gain 10 levels to get a new ship. (Also, Klingons have the same number of ranks, but they use General in place of Admiral.)
As far as the Talent Trees go, it's all about personal choice and play style. There are respecs available, but I'd save them all for when you are max level. In the meantime, experiment and find out what skills work best for you. As far as what you sell on the AH is up to you. Generally speaking you get more for the AH then vendors, but you have to wait for it to sell.
The difficulty slider is another choice. You can ramp it up as soon, or as late as you choose. You can also move it back down. I'd suggest waiting until you feel you have a good grasp of the game, then ramp it up. If fights are too tough, ramp it back down until you get some better gear or whatever.
In closing; welcome to STO, I hope you stay with us for a while. Also, feel free to look me up in game if you have any other questions. See you... out there.
Well, for the most part the game isn't supposed to require too much of a deep investment. You can't really make a huge mistake unless you are trying for a min/max build or plan to PvP. For the most part, you don't have to worry about making snap decisions, they won't effect you that badly. And you can usually reverse them anyway.
To answer your questions, though:
1) Credits are earned by running missions, looting ships, and selling the equipment you find back to vendors. The price a vendor will give you varies, the best bet is to go to a Federation Starbase and look for either the vendor selling starship weapons, or ground weapons. Then click on the tab that says "Sell" at the top of the window and you will see a listing of the items in your inventory. Be careful not to sell something you need!
For a quick and dirty method of trading in items, just open your inventory, and hit that Replicator button at the bottom. When the window pops up, you will again see a button marked "Recycle" at the top, above the items you can "buy". Just sell your items and you get energy credits back. In essense, you use the replicator to reduce the items to raw materials) This is not quite as efficient as selling to a vendor, you'll lose a little money this way, but it saves you a trip to ESD.
2) Learn your way around the galaxy. This was the first big thing I found. There is Earth Spacedock (ESD) in Sol System, of course, which is the center for all your needs. You'll return here to level up and requisition new ships. Be aware, though, or Starbase 39 in the Sierra System of Alpha Centauri Sector Block, Memory Alpha, also in Alpha Centauri, Deep Space 9, in Beta Ursae Sector Block, and Deep Space Station K7, in the Sherman System of Eta Eridani. You will want to go here to access the Bank, switch ships, and buy equipment, although most of the equipment at K7 is only available for purchase through PvP.
3) If you're wondering about when you can get a new ship, that will be at level 11, and every 10 levels afterwards. Don't forget it is not level 10, but 11. I forget that all the time, and am frustrated when I realize I need to gain one more level. When you reach the right level, you will go back to ESD and talk to Admiral Quinn, who will give you a token for one free ship. You can also buy other ships with energy credits, but planning ahead which you want to take can save time.
Don't forget you can continue to use your last ship as well, although if you try to use it after two Tiers it will start to get too weak. I personally chose to switch between ship types as I levelled, though, choosing a Cruiser at one rank, then an Escort at the next with one captain, and switching between Science and Escort with the other. That gives you experience in using the three types of ships and learning their strategies.
At Ensign/Lieutenant level, you can also buy the TOS Connie or NX Escort from the C-store. That might give you a little variety if you get bored. You can also buy a Runabout from a Shuttle vendor, or craft or buy the Delta Flyer. That's another option for playing through the lower levels, as a Shuttle is a LITTLE weaker than a Tier1 ship, but not by a whole lot. You basically have the same firepower front, somewhat less to the rear or sides, and only one or two Bridge Officers instead of three. Then again, you get a power for free that you would normally need a BO for.
4) That brings me to Bridge Officers. BOs are VERY important. Grab as many as you can, as fast as you can, although you don't need more than four to start. You want at least one of each type, don't try to make them all Science or something. However, you will want to double up on one type, since you will need four for your Away Teams. Again, planning ahead can help, if you're looking to go with a Cruiser at level 11, pick two Engineers, for an Escort two Tactical, and so on.
Don't worry overmuch about your BOs abilities, try them out and see what you like. Get a feel for what each can do in space and on the ground. Don't spend too many BO skill points right off, decide if you plan to keep a skill first, but once you do start raising it. You will need to spend a certain number of BO points before you can promote that BO to Lt. when you get to Lt. Commander. And that's important, because you will want to keep promoting your BOs so they stay a level or two below you as you level.
5) You can pretty much make do with whatever equipment you find. Sell what you don't think is useful or is redundant, and look into the Exchange for some good bargains on equipment that you can't seem to find. Again, play around with it and see what works. Figure out what an "Expose" weapon and an "Exploit" weapon is and figure out how to combine them for best effect. Weight the trade off between sniper rifles and other single target weapons, and weapons that have an arc of fire, like Arcwave and Split Beam.
Don't really worry about the different weapon types. You can stick with Phasers, or just keep what you find. They are all equally capable, just minorly different. The same goes for ship weapons.
6) When it comes to skills, you want to go ahead and raise them, since you pretty much have to in order to gain your new abilities and "register" your levels. Basically, although you level up as you earn skill points, you don't actually BECOME that level until you spend the points. So keep up with them. When you reach 11, you'll want to make sure you spend all your points so you can be promoted and get your ship.
While skill points are pretty complicated, and you can really get into it if you're a math whiz, the short version is, SPREAD OUT YOUR POINTS. Specialization, while it can help if you know it's a skill you can use, ends up costing you more points in the end. Especially at first, you want to like spend all your points until everything is level 4, then spend points to get everything to level 5, then to level 6, and so on. Your highest skills within a given Tier should really only be about 2 or 3 points from your lowest.
OTOH, if you know you will NEVER use a skill, you can skip it. This isn't true for Tier 1, you will need all of those skills. But like at Tier 3 you have the option to specialize with Disruptor weapons. If you know you will NEVER use Disruptors on your ship, you can just skip that skill. Put all your points into Phasers, and never use anything but Phasers, and you won't need any points anywhere else.
Basically, as you get up the Tiers, the skills become more specialized. Your skills that you are starting with right now will effect pretty much everything in the game. Your skills at Tier 2, they're more specifiic, they may effect two or three things, but not everything. Tier 3 and up, they effect one weapon or ability, so they're very specific. Pretty much every ability you will gain in the game, you will end up spending points on three skills in the end of the game, one at Tier 1, one at Tier 2, and one from either Tier 3, 4, or 5.
Obviously, if you want to be a jack of all trades and a little bit of everything, you would concentrate all your points in the lower skills. If you want to specialize, you would spread them out and put them more into Tiers 3, 4 and 5. However, the specialists will always have better totals than the generalists, because you get more points for the higher level skills. Even though they cost more points, as well.
7) Finally, most everything you need to know can be found at STOWiki.
8) Also, find the Tailor, and Ship Customizer, and have fun customizing your ships and BOs to your liking. Don't forget you'll need credits, though, so be sure to earn some first. (Although usually the first per ship or BO is free)
Not going to give you a wall of text, so here is my short version to start. And you don't get energy credits anymore for completing regular missions, in contrast to what others have said.
1) You will get bridge officers (BO's) as rewards for the early missions. Make sure you have 1 of each class (tactical, engineering, and science). Your current ship has space for 1 of each. Don't worry about what skills they have. You can always re-train their abilities later on.
2) Just sell stuff you don't need to the Starfleet vendors at earth spacdock. They will pay you 50% of listed value. Don't worry about selling on the exchange. You're not going to make much energy credits (EC) selling the low level stuff there.
3) Set your ship power level to "Attack" power. The power window is a small indicator next to your shield indicator at the bottom of the screen. The default setting is "balance" which means 50 power level for everything. Change this to "Attack" which will give you 100 weapon power setting. You can make better use of different power levels at higher ranks, but for now, leave it at full power to weapons.
The rest will come to you as you play. Have fun, and post more questions if you have them.
I would use this first character to make mistakes and just explore. The game is very forgiving at starting levels, but you'll want to do a few things to make life easier.
1. Set your power level to Attack. The default setting is "Balanced" and makes the going kind of slow.
2. If you right click on a weapon in the power bar, it will set it to auto-fire (green border). I would do that for your phasers for a constant barrage while you pick the time for torpedoes and powers.
3. Energy credits are slow to accumulate at first. Just stow everything in inventory, equip the Green (Uncommon) and Blue (Rare) stuff you find to check it out and sell the rest to a Starfleet vendor. Soon, you'll have more EC than you know what to do with.
4. Get your bridge crew in place asap and don't forget to equip them with the best equipment you can afford. When you increase in rank, you can promote them (Career Options tab has details) so they can use higher level powers.
The player base is generally friendly and helpful. There's lots of details to learn and it just takes time, exploration and experimenting to get a handle on it. Have a blast.
I found that it is better for me, to keep my ships power balanced, as well as getting two Science Types, all because these things help me out better. That is because I prefer to play by myself most of the time, but, hey! Whatever you find works, is what you should use!
I really have no idea what skills I should or shouldn't be increasing - just randomly picking what sounds cool.
Just wanted to key you in to a little trick. When you open the skills window (hit 'K'), there's a drop-down menu in the upper-right that lists all your Captain and Bridge Officer abilities, arranged alphabetically by character name. If you select an ability, the skills that affect it will be highlighted in the skill window. If you want to know what skills to take to boost your Engineer's "Emergency Power to Shields" skill, for instance, this is the place to go.
Be aware that there are natural break points in skill progression, where adding one more point to a skill grants a smaller bonus than the previous point did. When you click a skill, the pop-up will tell you what stat bonus you get for each skill level. Pay attention to these - but as a rule of thumb, levels 4 and 7 are good stopping points for most Lt and LtCdr skills (this seems to shift to levels 2, 5, and 9 starting at Cdr rank). It's almost never worth maxing out Lt skills unless you've already maxed the relevant Cdr or higher skills.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course. For instance, Starship Attack Vectors gives you bonuses that I don't think you can pick up anywhere else in the skill tree, so it's a good candidate for maxxing out. Conversely, Warp Core Training has a sweet spot at 6 (unless the math has changed) - it's worth getting that far, but further points won't help you unless you also max one or more Efficiency skills, or unless a Bridge Officer skill depends on it.
Finally, putting even just 2 points each into Tac, Eng, and Sci Team Leader skills can help a lot with ground combat, not to mention throwing a few points into your class skills.