I've been on this game since beta, but for a reason or another I never spent too much time on it.
Returned recently and was a pleasant surprise to see the game highly improved in this last year or so!
Now I was not too much of an expert before, but I've noticed some things that are pretty much different from before...one of them would be the revised economic system, with crystals added to the credits.
How do you get these crystals? They are used for anything (ships, components for the ship, and so on); making my credits basically useless (haven't seen any usefulness in them other than for changing your clothes or customizing the aspect of the spaceship).
Not to be polemic but is really necessary to use these crystals instead of the credits for things that you should buy with credits? I can understand special rare items, but ships? Maybe is just me but I find it pretty strange and illogic...and most of all I cannot find any reference in the manual about this and many other things related to the game.
Hence my main question...where is the full manual that explains how the economy works, crafting, the various mission types? So far I know of PVP and regular story missions, plus the new feature of the episodes; but I remember that at one point there were missions where you go to planets and help them with their needs (I think that you would buy these goods at the trading spaceship wandering on the main map) and also missions where you were supposed to do something like make the first contact and similar things (basically not the usual missions where you beam down and gotta kill em all or wander on the map of a system to kill all the enemies on that map)...but again i can't find any formal resource that would explain the whole thing.
I started with the search on the forum and I've got some info here and there, but is possible that other than the very simple manual on the site; there is nothing else that can help players to get into the mechanics?
I consider myself as new player, since I played basically the beta, got the game, played a month or 2 and then left it there playing now and then maybe a couple of times every month (I am lifetime); but is strange to see me having this problem and me only...everyone else is putting together the pieces of the puzzle together while playing? Got other players explaining everything? Kinda inefficient imho
I'm not complaining, just wondering how does it works; maybe i have missed some sort of important reference about the game?
You could also just look over the patch notes to see what's changed since you last played.
There is also some basic information about missions and stuff, but for the most part, you should be able to figure out yourself in game through the game's natural mission progression. You don't need to worry if you don't understand what all the types are at first, you'll soon discover and learn as you go, which is generally how it works for most MMOs.
For example, the missions you mentioned where you need to buy goods and bring them to planets has multiple lead-in missions that first direct you to the NPCs that explain how these sort of aid missions work, and what sort of goods you will require depending on the location. It's all in game. As long as you look at the information given to you, and read what is said, you shouldn't have any problem figuring stuff out.
Indeed I am aware of the fact that the MMO is a moving target, so what was true months ago may not be true anymore; but I would at least expect some sort of "introduction" that would show the player the basics.
Some info are well covered by the manual on the site, but other things like economy, crafting, where to go to do certain things, Klingon and PVP modes and so on, are lacking unless, as you said, you play and ask around or look on the forum
Imagine that I never crafted anything; started to play in beta and since then I just sold anything that I found on the exchange, making a decent amount of credits; maybe knowing a bit more about crafting would push me to give it a try (even if in the beginning you could live without crafting and still be happy; gotta check it now after the changes); maybe a new player may have the same questions about what to do and where to start
Thanks for the links, they are really useful and should help me to catch up with almost a year without playing Somehow started again to play the game and I am falling in love again with it (maybe the changes done lately, maybe I just didn't noticed the potential of the game.
The major things you need to be aware of if you haven't played in a year are:
1) Revamped ground combat (Season 4). Everything on the ground has been rebalanced, and in general everything is much quicker to kill (thank the lord). You can also enter "shooter mode" by pressing B, allowing you to aim and fire like in an FPS instead of an RPG. This mode is quite useful for because you don't have to aim directly to fire...you can fire indirectly or throw grenades at a specific spot on the ground instead of directly at a target (which will miss if they're moving).
2) Currency revamp (Season 5). Energy Credits and Gold Pressed Latinum remain as before, but the other currencies (marks, emblems, badges, etc.) have all been consolidated into a new currency called dilithium. You earn it in its raw ore form by doing dailies and STFs, and you can refine it into refined dilithium at a rate of 8,000 per day. (Quick note: you can earn more than 8,000 dilithium ore per day, but you can only refine up to that much.) This refined dilithium is now used as the currency for most of the high level gear, some crafting materials, and duty officers.
3) New PvE queue system (Season 5). You can now queue for STFs or Fleet Actions through the PvE queue, so you no longer have to fly to them and form a group manually (yay for no more camping in Gamma Orionis to get groups for STFs!). Each STF has two difficulty levels and the best gear in the game (purple Mk XII) is available through the elite difficulty, though you can also earn purple Mk X and Mk XI gear through the normal difficulty.
4) Duty Officer system (Season 5). Available starting at Lieutenant 8 (or Commander 3 for KDF), the DOFF system is essentially a trading card-type game within STO. You get a starter pack of duty officers that you can send on assignments, and successfully completing these assignments give you commendation XP in one of 11 categories (as well as regular XP and BOFF XP, and occasionally other items as well). Each DOFF has a specialization and a set of traits, and you want to match up the right specializations and traits for each assignment to maximize your chance of success. More DOFFs can be acquired through recruitment assignments or by buying them from the exchange. This new DOFF system is, IMO, the best thing about STO right now.
5) Revamped mission flow (Season 5). Story missions have now been structured to flow in a specific order, largely for storytelling purposes (no more doing them out of order and wondering what the heck is going on). The Featured Episode series are weaved throughout this new structure, and many of the old system exploration missions are now gone. The leveling curve has been altered to make leveling noticeably quicker, especially at the lower levels. You are free to skip missions if there are ones you simply don't want to do, and you can now instantly transwarp to mission locations for a small Energy Credit charge, saving you the time it takes to fly to each system).
6) Dilithium exchange (Season 5). You can now sell Cryptic Points in exchange for dilithium, or buy Cryptic points with dilithium. In other words, it is now possible to buy C-Store items without spending a single cent, if you have enough dilithium to buy Cryptic Points. Conversely, if you have extra Cryptic Points you can now sell them in exchange for dilithium (bypassing the 8,000 dilithium per day refining cap), which can be used to gear up faster than normal. Note that this dilithium exchange is a player-driven economy and aside from the limits set by Cryptic (Cryptic Points must be sold for between 50 to 500 dilithium per point), the exchange rate is determined entirely by the players.
I think I've gotten all of the major changes in the past year. Sorry for the wall of text, but I hope this helps!