I started this for members of my fleet on our own forums, but I wanted to post it here because I think it could benefit everyone as well.
The goal of this is not to be a guide to any specific area of play, but rather a collection of tips, advice, and FAQs about how to make the most of STO's gameplay. I have tried not to include direct spoilers about missions here.
This was firs tposted in Open Beta. I have updated it for release. If you see anything I have missed, please reply and I will try to add it to the list. Also if you see anything that is inaccurate please post about it too.
Note: Due to length, I have to split this up into multiple posts.
- You start with two character slots. When you unlock klingon, you get a third slot. More slots are available if you have a lifetime or yearly subscription, and presumably you can buy more from the STO store when it opens.
- The ONLY choices you are locked into at character creation are your race, your gender, your traits, and your career path (tactical, engineering, science). Everything else you can change later, including the type of ship you fly.
- You unlock klingon characters at level 6. Klingons are primarily designed to advance through PvP.
- You can advance through any of the following ways: Episode missions, Exploration missions, Sector Control missions, Fleet Actions, and PvP.
Episode missions are PvE "storyline" content. They can be completed solo or with a group.
Exploration missions are dynamically generated missions in certain exploration areas. They can be completed solo or with a group.
Sector Control missions ask you to fly around and fight in the battles you see appearing on the sector map. These are PvE encounters and up to 20 players can participate.
Fleet Actions are scripted PvE encounters with up to 20 players participating. There will usually be three or four objectives that must be completed by the players and then a final boss (with friends). At the end of the fleet action, players are ranked based on how well they did, and receive rewards based on that. This is in addition to any mission rewards you get for completing the Fleet Action. You can only get the mission for a fleet action once, but you can do them as many times as you want outside of that.
- Some PvP takes place in designated star systems and is termed "competitive PvE". There will be a PvE objective for each side, and the side that completes theirs first wins the map. There are also open PvP battles, accessed via a queuing system.
- Exploration, Fleet Actions, and PvP all reward unique "medals" which can be traded for equipment at certain NPCs.
- You do not have to take every skill available to you - early on they will all help, but as you advance you will find that some may not apply to the ship you are flying.
- Skill points are limited (because the maximum grade you can reach is Admiral 5). Once you reach Lieutenant Commander, you will need to focus your skills for the ship type you fly and the abilities you use most often. The ability to respec skills for a character is supposed to be available in-game by spending energy credits.
- You should always plan to max out the command skill for the ship you are flying relatively early.
- To advance to lieutenant commander at level 11, you must have spent a minimum number of skill points on lieutenant skills. (Note: This likely holds true for higher ranks as well.)
- Upon advancing to lieutenant commander, you will get a free T2 ship. You only get to pick once, so choose well. If you want the others later, you can get them, but they cost energy credits.
Additional info: You must be lieutenant commander 1 to qualify for a new ship. Lieutenant 11 doesn't work.
Once you reach lieutenant commander, you must return to Earth Spacedock and talk with Admiral Quinn. You can not currently receive the free ship upgrade task from the Admiral via subspace communication. Just transwarp back to Earth Spacedock. He will then send you to a requisition officer that is located up the turbolift on the balcony overlooking the shipyard area. This officer can give you layman style details on what each of the ship classes do. There are also databases in the room which let you see the capabilities of each ship type.
- The starter ship is designed to teach you the basics of flying and using bridge officer powers. No matter which T2 ship you pick, you will find that it does not fly like the starter ship.
- You can customize the appearance of every ship you get once, for free (except for the bridge). This includes ships that you purchase at higher tiers. After that, customizing it again will cost you energy.
- It always costs you 1000 energy to change your bridge on a ship. Starting at T2, Different ships have different bridge options.
- It is possible to do any mission in any ship (of the appropriate tier). However, depending what you are flying, you may find that your tactics vary.
- When you first start the game, "open teaming" is turned on. This feature will try to automatically group you with other players working on the same mission whenever you enter a system. If you prefer to work alone for something, you can change the setting in your social window (press O to bring it up).
- For both space and ground, you can access a list of hotkeyable abilities by clicking the small datapad icon located on the right side of your hot button bar. (You can also press P to bring it up).
- Anywhere in sector space, you can use the Transwarp ability to quickly return to Earth Spacedock. 30min cooldown.
- You can change instances by using the "map options" menu next to your minimap. The option is also available via your area map tab if you pull up the full map. This is very useful for making sure you're in the same instance as your team.
- If your team is all in a space instance together and there is an option to beam down somewhere, you will all beam down together.
- If you are having trouble finding a star system, check the system list in your map. If you don't see it there, it's in a different sector block. Most missions will tell you the sector name where something is, and you can look at the galaxy map to figure out which sector block you need to be in.
- You can edit your keybindings to bind a key to the "walk" action. This will allow you to walk, rather than run, in ground areas like stations.
- You can choose not to show your armor when on the ground by right-clicking the armor in your inventory screen once you have it equipped. You'll get a menu that will give you the option to show or not to show the armor.
- To set it so that the game doesn't automatically add you into whichever instance it pleases, go to any space or ground sector map. Open your map, and hit the button for "Change instance". When the list comes up, click the checkbox at the bottom that says "Always let me choose..." The game will then remember this setting and you should be able to select your instance for any instance you enter.
- In order to get "credit" for completing a sector control battle or fleet action, you must be participating in the battle before all objectives are completed. If you enter one and find that the fight is over, simply wait for the reset to occur.
- When exploring, try to carry at least 10 of each commodity item available to you. This will allow you to complete first contact encounters.
- To wear fleet uniforms: Visit the tailor in the requisitions area of Earth Spacedock (or other tailors, such as the one at Starbase 39 Sierra). Select a uniform slot and choose Create or Modify. Click through to the uniform screen, then click on the Advanced button. At the top of the Advanced uniform customization window, there will be a drop-down where you can select a fleet uniform. Once you've selected it, you can modify the colors if you wish.
- If you have multiple uniform slots available, you can change between them at any time by right-clicking on your character portrait (top left) and choosing "Change uniform"
- To see how many badges, medals, and so on you've accumulated, go to the "Progress" tab of your character sheet. It's all listed there.