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To get to the point i havnt played STO since 6months after its release, so almost 2 years... i didnt even realise it went free to play.
I have been trying to read up on things though all info im looking for is spread far and wide.
Im patching the client at the moment, whilst im doing that, is there anything i need to know as a returning player? I had 3 max level fed characters, is there extra levels now, things i cant use as a free to play player, etc.
Basically any brief run down on the major changes since June 2010 would be great.
The level cap hasn't changed, I think it was bumped up to Vice Admiral before then. It was slightly realigned, instead of starting at 1 and going to 51 you start at 0 and go to 50, so promotions all line up on the 0's.
Let's see, since June 2010...
A. Skill system has been completely redone. It's reasonably self explanatory, if you understood the old one the new one should make sense. Most powers are only tied to one or two skills instead of three now, and more skills have inherent benefits aside from modifying powers. Weapon skills are "type neutral" now, so there's no separate phaser and antiproton skill. There's still a penalty on mixing types, but it's been moved to the tactical consoles, where Phaser or Polaron only consoles give a better boost than all energy damage consoles. There's no distinction between beams and cannons except in boff powers.
B. Doffs. I have a guide in my sig, and there's a good guide in the duty officer forum. Basically, they're part CCG, part equipment (you can set up 10 of them to give you various buffs to powers - for example, there's ones that add a shield heal to Brace for Impact, and ones that make security escort beam down an extra redshirt), and also an extensive assignment system where you can send doffs out to do quests that don't require your captain to personally do the work, with eleven alternate advancement XP categories similar to Diplomacy (which I think would have been in when you played last, but I could be wrong there).
C. Several new missions:
Big one is Featured Episodes - Breen front, a 5 mission Devidian arc set during the Klingon front, the second half of the Romulan front, and the ongoing Dominion arc. These have all kinds of unique rewards, including special rewards that were available during their initial run (the one for the Dominion arc is still available for a few more days). They've occasionally brought back those rewards for temporary events. FE's have all kinds of mechanics and effects that weren't seen in the original release missions, especially the Romulan and Dominion arcs. The Dominion arc sometimes feels more like an extended showcase of new game engine tricks with all the things they've made it do.
As for the special time limited rewards, they've included Breen and Reman boffs, one of those snake canes from the TNG Devidian episode that sucks the life out of people, and a fragment of a Bajoran orb that spawns copies of yourself.
Smaller change are remastered episodes: The first two missions in the Klingon front and Doomsday Machine. They include new rewards, new gameplay mechanics, and generally show a much better polish than the original versions.
D. STFs have been compressed and split into two parts each, and a queue system is in place. There's also normal and elite modes, with normal being a lot easier than the old forms and elite giving higher mk rewards than have usually been available before.
E. Event system. Every hour there's something happening somewhere. Some of them are minor, like bonus exp for doing certain dailies. Others are bigger, like mirror universe incursions (basically a mini fleet action). Several times a week there's also a full scale Borg ground invasion of Defera that includes a huge open solo/group questing zone.
F. Dilithium: Basically all the currencies except energy credits and latinum were consolidated into one. Everything you used to grind level restricted exploration badges or emblems for, you now grind dilithium for. Dilithium can also be traded for C-points.
G. Ships ships ships holy **** the ships. I think in June 2010 the Galaxy-X and Excelsior were the only ones out? There's literally dozens of them now. All the tier 1-4 C-store ships have special consoles that invoke their special powers, and you can equip those consoles on other ships. So if you get the Gladius (C-store tier 2 escort), you can keep its afterburners and use them on your later ships. Tier 5 ships often have power consoles like this, too, but they're limited to the ship they come on, you just have the option of leaving them off to reclaim a console slot or moving them around to tweak your console loadout. All the preexisting ships are still there from ranking up, but I have to admit there's a pretty big incentive to plop down cash on a couple choice console ships.
I know I'm probably missing a ton of things... I'd honestly say, since you've been away so long, it might be worth freeing up a character slot and starting things over at least once. The game does a fair job of easing you into most of these things.
Thanks for the quick reply guys, ill jump in-game today and ill just have to re-familiarize myself with things, if you see a Fed ship upside down and running into asteroids, its probably me .
One last Q, are Scientists ships actually healers now? or are they still CC/Mit?
Still primarily buff/debuff ships, along with some crowd control. Most of the healing is actually in Engineering Boffs (Transfer Shield Strength, Engineering Team, etc.) so you can kit out a healing Sci ship if you want.