Well, I hope with this guide I might help make going through the Starbase system more fluid and an easier pill to swallow. There are a few points I'd like to start with before I get into the guide proper:
1. It's still just a game, and it's not going anywhere. Try not to let yourself get discouraged or frustrated over the SB system. Put it aside for awhile, maybe even play something else. Time is on your side for doing this.
2. This guide is not perfect. I'm not trying to make an 'all encompassing' guide which will work 100% guaranteed no matter what. If you don't agree, that's alright to me, I knew going into this that I simply would not have a guide that would be liked by all or completely usable for all fleets. This guide is also not meant to be a guide to actually running a fleet, because there are simply too many ways that could happen; it's focus lies on the actual leveling of the fleet holdings and such.
3. This is not going to be a short read. Might be good to not read this whole thing in one shot if you don't have a lot of time.
4. Here's an important one: The fleet system is designed around 25 people (not characters or alts, actual accounts) playing at a fairly regular pace. So try and keep that in mind when reading this, and perhaps adjust some of it accordingly based on your fleet size.
Ok, now to begin:
Section 1: The Fleet Advancement System
The Fleet Advancement System was something introduced with Season 6. This introduced the Fleet Starbase as the first, and primary holding. Season 7 introduced the Embassy, as the first 'Outpost', which is a smaller, secondary holding that is cheaper and quicker to build as compared to the Starbase. In the future, after this guide has been written, will probably introduce more.
Each holding is made up of various areas which you fill projects to gain experience for, and then 'level up' through various tiers. Every tier improves the look of the holding in some fashion, along with unlocking various things for the fleet to buy.
There are two areas for projects: Normal projects, and Special projects.
Normal projects are your primary means of gaining experience in the holding. These projects include for each area: Basic provisioning (dil cost only), provisioning for X, a 'pure experience' mission, and also possibly a 'lesser experience' mission.
Special projects are Upgrades and Special projects. Special projects (for the Starbase only) are designed purely for the sake of allowing larger fleets to give more people more chances to gain fleet credits. For the Embassy, it's only special project costs only Embassy Provisions and gives no fleet credits or anything. All special projects like this also only give a very small amount of experience as well.
Featured Projects are also slotted in the special project slot. These add to varying degrees enhancements on the inside of a holding (such as opening the shutters on the Starbase, adding a fish tank, and so on).
Upgrades are generally the most important, and most expensive part of the holding to upgrade. These are divided into three as well: Individual tier upgrades, overall holding upgrades, and special upgrades.
Individual tier upgrades are important because they are what you need to continue advancing in an area of a holding. If these upgrades are not completed, you are locked out of most missions in that area until it is done. Overall upgrades are the most expensive upgrades of all, because they are what enhance the main area of a holding (currently that is the Starbase itself, or the Embassy). Special upgrades are cheaper compared to most other upgrades, but add other unique services and conveniences, like allowing a Bartender on the Starbase.
Section 2: Starting from Zero
Now, for the sake of this guide, it will be as if you are just starting out.
To make a fleet, you and 4 other people must be on a team together, and go to the person who can make a fleet on Qo'nos or ESD. It's a fairly simple process. Once completed, you and your fleet should discuss what is actually wanted by everyone.
Try and steadily narrow it down until there's an agreed upon choice. A few points I'd like to recommend though:
1. If focusing on the Embassy (and possibly other Outposts in the future), do note that Embassy Provisions (and again, possibly other unique provisions) are gotten from your replicator and cost Fleet Credits to make, not normal Energy Credits. Also, they are cheaper based on your Industrial Fabricator on your Starbase.
2. The Starbase itself starts out at tier 0, and it has hull and shields, but otherwise cannot defend itself in the PvE missions of Starbase Defense, Fleet Alert, and Blockade. So it's a good idea to at least get it to tier 1, so it can shoot at attackers if you ever do these missions.
3. Going on the above, leveling up your science area can be an excellent means of doing that, because after you upgrade the Communications Array, you will be able to upgrade the Transwarp Gate to tier 1, which will give everyone in the fleet the option to transwarp to the Starbase.
4. Upgrading everything to tier 1 is useful, simply so you have access to all the basic facilities. This isn't required, but it is very useful to have. Also, once you get an area to tier 2 (such as the shipyard), you will be able to buy common DOFFs of that area (tac, eng, sci) from the DOFF guy on the Starbase, making it easier to fill projects of that type by spending FCs to do so. I will explain a bit more about that in the next section.
Section 3: Projects
So now that you've begun working on an area, it's time to slot some projects. At tier 0, your choices are pretty few, but once you've gotten an upgrade done and out of the way, your options open up a lot more. Projects generally need a mixture of the following:
Embassy Provisions (Embassy only, possibly other Holdings will need similar things in the future)
Data Samples/Particle Traces
The first five are pretty much the staple requirements. Embassy Provisions are needed on all Embassy missions, Data Samples/Particle Traces are mostly for the Science area on the Starbase, and Other refers to things that aren't used as much or used for certain things (like buying a lot of 'Food' and 'Drink' items to get a Chef on your Starbase).
Here's some ways of getting each of the above:
Fleet Marks are gained in a large variety of ways. This includes, as of the time of writing this guide: Fleet Action Daily (one of three), PvP Daily (one of three), PvE queued missions (PvE missions that reward Romulan Marks also reward a small amount of Fleet Marks), Officer of the Watch Daily, Duty Officer turn-ins, Deferi and Nukara ground adventure zones. This guide itself won't be going over any of these things individually, but feel free to ask and I will gladly help out.
Dilithium. Well this one is pretty much your choice. You can buy it with Zen, or earn it in game, in a large variety of ways. It'd take way too long to go over every possible choice here.
Expertise is gained while leveling up, and normally used to train your BOFFs up in their skills. Once you hit level 50, it's easily gotten through doing almost anything.
Embassy Provisions, as mentioned, these are gotten from your replicator.
Data Samples/Particle Traces. Aside from buying them off the Exchange, you can farm them by scanning anomalies in various missions and star clusters, along with Duty Officer missions (usually under the science category). If you do the normal dilithium mining each day, that will also usually gain you particle traces. Some of Astrometric Scientist DOFFs can give extra chances to gain more Particle Traces when you scan anomalies, which can help ease the trouble of getting those.
Commodities can be replicated, but I don't recommend it for large amounts due to the cost. Instead it's a very good idea to look at the various cheaper vendors that can be found throughout the game, both on the various hubs and galactic map. On top of this, the Tuffli Freighter is extremely useful, because it has a Quartermaster who will always sell them for the lower prices. Plus, for Federation players only, if you have a Ferengi character, you will get a discount with the other cheaper prices.
Also, for any fleet who's unlocked tier 2 Embassy, there's a special upgrade which can unlock a commodity vendor at the Embassy who will sell some of the more expensive commodities for an excellent price. In fact with this vendor, you can get some of the most expensive commodities for the cheapest anywhere, even with a Ferengi buying them from somewhere else. (It is worth noting that with this special vendor, the Ferengi's do not get an extra discount)
Duty Officers. Past buying them off the Exchange, you can buy DOFFs out of your Starbase using Fleet Credits. Doing that is a good way to basically re-use your FCs for the sake of the fleet, and fill out projects. It's also a good idea to do your recruitment missions at the Academy (can eventually be done at the Starbase and Embassy), to get extra DOFFs once in awhile.
There are also plenty of DOFF missions to get them outside of normal recruitment. Such as taking a higher level DOFF and de-grinding it into 3 lower level ones. A purple can turn into 27 white DOFFs if you so chose by doing this method. There's also various things such as doing exchanges, which is where you take one DOFF and turn it into another DOFF (Officer Exchange, Asylums, and others).
Doing Duty Officer missions can be quite useful in the long haul, because when you gain 110,000 exp in an area, you can go to your Starbase, and turn 10,000 of that exp into 75 fleet marks (100 on a critical success), guaranteed. Over time, if you DOFF heavily that can add up considerably, especially if you do even one turn in a day. Add in multiple people and/or multiple characters per person, and it will add up considerably. Theoretically, a person or group of people doing that enough could fill up fleet marks without ever doing anything else, if they did enough DOFFing.
Now that I've gone over all the basics in the previous sections, this section will mostly cover ways to build your Starbase in an efficient manner, particularly for smaller fleets. This shouldn't be taken as 'rules' or anything though, mostly suggestions that I've noticed seem to work very well, or have been in turn suggested to me. (Going on that note, if for anything related to this guide, you want to make a suggestion over, feel free to say so)
1. To start with, try not to stretch your fleet too thin. Meaning that if you can only handle filling one, maybe two projects relatively easily, try and keep it only to those projects. That will allow you to keep a decent progression going on your Starbase without feeling like you have 'too much to handle'.
2. Keep a long-term plan in mind.This is more applied to not just the person/group who slots projects, but the fleet as a whole. The road is not a short journey, and it's good to always keep that in mind. Try not to over think on the 'now', and look forward to the 'then'.
3. Focus on upgrades. These aren't quick, or easy to fill, and even when filled, take awhile to countdown. So when you get one slotted, it might be good not to slot projects (or slot fewer ones), until it is finished. This might seem a bit...controlling, but it is useful, because the focus, especially at the higher tiers, to finish an upgrade can be very useful if it means it gets going within a reasonable time.
4. Dilithium is rarely your friend. Dilithium, more than any other thing needed, can majorly hamper any fleet without those willing to give it in large quantities. Because rarely have I seen people donate 'a little' dilithium for something, and mostly it is usually those who give a large donation (mostly for upgrades) instead. On top of that, people simply need dil for other things, such as reputation gear, buying things from the SB itself, and so on.
5. Going on the above, it's good to avoid slotting too many dilithium-required projects if you are purely wanted to level your Starbase. (This is unavoidable on the Embassy, you have to have dil-needed projects) Everything else can be bought somehow, except fleet marks, so it can be handled if you have a big enough EC wallet. Dil however is still limited without exchanging Zen for it.
6. If you need to skip something to make the Starbase progression go more smoothly, then skip it. This really applies to anything you feel it might apply to. A good example would be a Starbase or Embassy upgrade. While it can be nice, if you don't feel you have to have it now, then skip it. Unless there's some factor that prevents too much leveling that I don't know about at this time, you can feel ok to skip some upgrades.
(I don't have any other advice for this particular area at this time, but feel free to say anything you might want me to add, or I may add in other things I think of in the future.)
Section 5: Preparing for upgrades
As mentioned earlier, upgrades are the biggest changing, and most expensive projects of all. As an example for this guide, the Tier 3 Embassy upgrade costs the following:
21,000 Fleet Marks
13,000 Seismic Stabilizers
10,000 Terraforming Systems
1,000 Embassy Provisions
That's quite the hefty price tag for a single project. While it can be difficult to handle such a thing, if you're willing to break it down, it isn't quite so bad.
To begin, it has one nice thing in that there's no DOFF requirement. So all you need is lots of dil, FMs, Embassy provisions, and ECs. Both the Stabilizers and the Terraforming Systems can also be bought from the Embassy vendor as mentioned above.
The biggest thing you need to always look at when you are slotting a big upgrade, is this: Pre-grinding.
Pre-grinding can be extremely useful to fill projects, and especially upgrades. In particular, if you start pre-grinding a couple weeks in advance, you will find that when the upgrade hits, it won't hit quite so hard. I do admit that it can be extremely tedious and boring to pre-grind, but it makes these a lot easier over the longer term.
Pre-grinding more refers to the gathering of dilithium, and in particular, Fleet Marks. To get even more specific, pre-grinding Deferi Invasion Zone and Nukara Prime before the fleet mark event. Here's an example of just how fast this can add up:
Take a team of 5 players, who pre-grind both Nukara hards, and Deferi hards each day, on three different toons each, for a week, and say they gain 350 marks each day from doing this, for the sake of keeping it simple. Now that may sound a bit confusing, but here's the math:
350 Fleet Marks times 5 people is 1,750 marks. Times that by 3 characters per person and it becomes 5,250 marks. And then if they do that for a week, or 7 days, then it's suddenly 36,750 marks! Now, that might seem like it's too much for that project, you would've had enough at the fourth day, which would put them at 21,000 fleet marks on the dot. However, you still have to keep in consideration that you will need to still fill projects in that time period as well. Besides, even if you didn't need them, you can never have too many Fleet Marks.
Now, on top of that, say that these same 5 people grind 8,000 dil on each of their three toons. The math would look a bit more like this:
8,000 times 5 is 40,000. Times that by 3 characters per person and it jumps to 120,000. Times that by 7 days again and it becomes 840,000 dilithium.
You might think to yourself that, 'wait, that's not even half the needed dilithium'. I admit that's true. However, it is referred to as 'pre-grinding' for that reason. Unless you know you will have it the moment the upgrade is slotted, pre-grinding is meant to only take off a big chunk in one shot from the start.
Think about it though. Between those 5 people knocking out the fleet marks and so much dilithium, they've already gotten through a LOT of the effort right there. If these 5 also bought the necessary commodities beforehand (including the Embassy provisions), split equally between them, they could knock out 95% of the whole upgrade in the course of about 5 minutes from the time it was slotted.
Pre-grinding can be an extremely effective tool, and can even allow the smallest of fleets, who are willing to work at it, progress and fill projects at a very good rate, and even knock out the biggest of upgrades with ease. The reality will be different from my example, that's true, but I hope it was good to show you the usefulness of it.
Section 6: Provisions.
I'll keep this part a bit shorter. The most important thing I can say for a small(er) fleet is this: Provision only as necessary.
Provision missions are generally the more annoying ones to fill, almost always requiring dilithium for one thing, and otherwise not giving many provisions in general at the lower tiers. At the higher tiers they can be downright painful to fill.
So if you are in a fleet who doesn't have many members, it might be wise to ignore provision missions, except if people want something. Some of the provisions can be out right ignored completely, such as Operational Asset provisions, the Skill Bonus provisions, etc. The more important ones lie with the Fleet ships, the Engineering Gear, and the Science Gear (for the SB at least). The Embassy only has two different provision missions for options, so you don't have much choice on what you do.
Even if you do provision, only provision what you need. If only a couple folks want a fleet ship, only one mission will do. If a bunch of people are itching to upgrade to Fleet Defiants or something like that, might be wise to do a couple.
Final Section: The Undiscovered Country
I don't know what will happen regarding Fleet Holdings in the future. What they may require, what they may give, how much they will cost, and so on. I certainly don't know. What could work one day that is mentioned in this guide, could be completely nullified or broken through a single patch, who knows. Things are always changing in the game.
This guide might change quite a bit in the future as well. In fact, I don't consider this 'finished' in the respect that I don't know what could be added, changed, removed, etc. I do however hope that it has been of help to everyone who has read this, however little or much that may be.
I would like to thank everyone who replied to my thread I made a couple months ago, along with those who I talked to in-game or the forums, that provided a very excellent foundation for making this guide. And of course, thank you for reading this as well.
The Dilithium Mine, added shortly after the expansion, "Legacy of Romulus" was released, is the 3rd Fleet Holding, after the Starbase and Embassy. Compared to the other two holdings (and future possible holdings), the Dilithium Mine is more focused around it's discounts that it can give, not so much the gear, though there is gear available. The mine is focused into three areas:
The mine itself: It's focus is to give dilithium discounts on all fleet projects. It also unlocks various dailies that can be completed once a day to give further dilithium to fleet members. And on top of that, it can also unlock dilithium discounts for individual players for all items that require dilithium to be purchased; meaning any store where dil is a currency needed such as: Fleet stores, the dil-store you can pull down under your mini-map, rep gear stores, etc.
Development: It's focus lies with fleet mark discounts. Past that, it also unlocks various 'miner' DOFFs, and DOFF assignments that can be completed as many times as you want. These DOFF assignments are made better at each tier, offering better rewards on a completion. Both will give good amounts of Trade and Development DOFF XP, while one will give an EC reward, and the other one a Dil reward. If you crit a mission, you will also receive Dilithium Mine Provisions, along with Fleet Marks.
Important note: The DOFF missions that are unlocked are overridden at each tier. So, the lower tier missions, when you unlock the higher tier missions, are gotten rid of, in favor of the higher tier missions. HOWEVER, if you travel to another fleet's mine, who has a lower tier of missions, you are able to get both tiers of missions to do. (If I am mistaken on this point, please feel free to correct me)
Development also unlocks Warp Cores and Singularity Cores, both Advanced and Elite level.
Trade: Trade's focus is in the discount of 'everything else', which is pretty much just that, any other input needed for a Starbase project. This includes things such as DOFFs, commodities, and so on. Trade also unlocks fleet engineering consoles. These consoles are Neutronium, Monotanium, and RCS consoles with an extra effect, such as a turn-rate bonus on Neutronium alloy consoles, or a [ResAll] bonus on an RCS console.
A few things to keep in mind in regards to the dil mine:
1. All normal projects can still require dilithium to be filled, and all upgrades except for the dilithium mine upgrades also require dilithium.
2. The discounts it gives are retroactive, meaning that if you finish an upgrade, it immediately applies the discount to all current and future projects.
3. The discounts stack. So tier 1 in each area will unlock a 4% discount, and tier 2 a 5% discount, which instead means a total of a 9% discount, along with a 6% discount at tier 3 for a total of 15% when all is said and done.
4. The discounts should be looked at from a long-term viewpoint. If your fleet feels like the discounts, especially if you are just starting out, are not large enough to warrant the resources needed for them, then it is probably best to hold out. On the other end of the spectrum however, any discounts that are unlocked, are unlocked for good, and thus will always apply to every project, upgrade, and new holding from there on out.
5. You MUST finish the upgrade on either tier 1 trade or development, along with finishing the tier 1 dil mine upgrade, in order to be able to go to the ground map of the mine itself, and do anything there, including the DOFF missions, buying gear, etc.
If you have any questions regarding the Dilithium mine, or any other part of the guide, please feel free to ask.
Other useful info:
This area will be for any kind of info or anything else that someone sends me somehow, which I feel is very useful for building an SB.
21,000 Fleet Marks
13,000 Seismic Stabilizers
10,000 Terraforming Systems
1,000 Embassy Provisions
Its 25.000.000 Expertise (yes, its not a typo.)
Great work and a must read.
Bone1970 & Bone trader don't believe in a no-win senario, Kirk's protege. Fed Tac's.
Bag of Bones don't believe in a no-win senario, Kirk's protege. Rom/Fed Tac.
Bone & Bone2 don't believe in a no-win senario, Kirk's protege. KDF Eng's.
Warning: Not a native English-speaker, sorry if my English sucks.