Star Trek Online is, what else, an MMO based in the Star Trek universe. You fly a space ship, look at other space ships, blow them up, beam down and shoot people. It has a strong story component and a significant solo/small group presence, with almost all content tailored for play sessions shorter than an hour.Story So Far
STO's storyline follows a kind of "DS9 off the rails," starting with an ongoing Klingon-Federation war. You discover this war was instigated by Species 8472... Who were provoked by a false flag attack by the Tal Shair, who were working with the... And so on through a series of war-begets-war spiralling through all four quadrants of the galaxy, battling iconic villains of every series across the length and breadth of the galaxy, time, and the multiverse, as you battle, among other things, invincible cyber zombies, a cybernetic dinosaur cult, three legged fish men, four armed rhino men, ancient immortal energy beings, brain slugs from the brain slug planet, radioactive crystal spider people, interdimensional mushroom people, periodic cicada people, space wizards, Shai Hulud, grey goo AIs, reality warping rock people, rock eating lava slugs, space necromancers, snake people, time traveling space Nazis, demons from ancient legend, and Abraham Lincoln. And that's not even the weird shit.What's happening now?
The Year of Klingon, part one, House Divided. A civil war between Discovery style Klingons and TNG style Klingons. Heavily features Martok and Gowron's grandfather, who is a weird mishmash of TOS Klingon facial hair, Discovery Klingon head neck and ears, TNG Klingon face nose and forehead, and Gowron's freaky bug eyes.SHIP INFO
Compared to launch, or even just to the last OP, ships have diversified immensely. The classifications are getting blurrier, there are more sub-types within each, and there's a lot of ships that just defy the system, like massive terror weapons with the bulk of a cruiser and the weapons of an escort.
Playing as a freeloader you'll get a new ship every ten levels up to tier 5. At that point your options are varied but you have a grind/trade/pay wall of some sort in every direction for a tier 6 ship. Tier 6 ships, however, are different in that they work from level 1 to 65, unlocking new slots and stat boosts as they go.Newbie Info
I've pared this section down a lot, since much of what was in it was obsolete.
The game is split between space and ground. The three main classes are Tactical (DPS/tank), Engineer (defense/pets), and Science (support/techno-magic). However, classes get very fuzzy because you also have an entire bridge crew with a slightly reduced power set covering all three classes. Up to four members of your bridge crew join you on away missions, and up to five fill seats on your starship, contributing more to the power loadout than your captain actually does in the end.
Your ship class isn't tied to your captain class, either, so you can do things like have a tactical captain in an engineering ship for a huge variety of loadouts that blur the classes together. Each of the three classes have multiple types of ship (for example, tactical ships come in Escort, Destroyer, Warship, Raider, Scout, and Strike Wing Carrier archetypes), and no two ships are quite the same, making for literally hundreds of different combinations.FACTIONS
STO has the MMO bog-standard two semi-opposed factions, Alliance and Horde
Starfleet and the Klingon Defense Force.. A war between the two is a big part of the storyline, but the late game sees both join a larger alliance and endgame PVE content is entirely faction agnostic, with both factions fighting together in the same content.
But it's not quite as simple as that. When you create a new character, you'll actually see SIX faction choices.Core factionsStarfleet
Starting in 2409, the player is a fresh cadet plunged into the Third Klingon-Federation War during a training cruise. The largest of the two core factionsKDF
Starting in 2409, the player is initially the second officer of a Bird of Prey with a dishonored captain. An internal struggle for power and Federation betrayal leaves the player in command with a lot of bad blood. The other core faction.Alternate-start factionsTOS Starfleet
Starting in 2270, the player is initially the first officer of a light cruiser. Nakhul interference in the timeline eventually leads you on a wild goose chase across several universes and eventually temporal operatives from the future plant you in the year 2410 to help resolve the Temporal War seen in Enterprise, where they join the rest of the Starfleet faction. TOS characters are identifiable by show-appropriate transporter animations and free access to a few TOS-themed items like shuttles and uniforms that other characters have to buy in the cash shop.Discovery Starfleet
Starting in 2256, the player is initially a fresh cadet plunged into the FIRST Klingon-Federation War during a training cruise. A Klingon plot to acquire future tech eventually lands this faction in with temporal operatives and inserted into the timeline at 2410. Like TOS Starfleet, Discovery Starfleet have show-appropriate transporter effects and access to a few items normally paywalled.Secondary factionsRomulan Republic
Starting in 2410, the Romulan Republic is one of several fragments of the collapsed Romulan Empire. The player starts as a retired war hero, but an attack on your colony forces you to assemble the old crew and join the flotilla. Romulan characters *almost* a full third faction, with their own social zones and hubs and far more unique story campaign than the alternate-start factions. However, Romulans can't form their own fleets, and align with one of the two core factions for purposes of grouping and fleets.Dominion
Starting in 2411, the Dominion player starts as a Jem'hadar First during the Hurq invasion, and during the war helps unravel the true depth of the Founders' millennia of sins, and discover their two thousand years of crossing the galaxy and trying to destroy the pre-warp Klingons for some reason. Like Romulans, Dominion align with one of the core factions for grouping and fleets. Unlike Romulans, Dominion characters start at level 60 with a bunch of progression freebies, and are meant to be a veteran experience. It can be totally overwhelming for a new player, having access to all the progression branches right away and getting tons of shit thrown at you with zero explanation of what to do with any of it, and is meant for reasonably accomplished players.Progression
STO has a massive, branching leveling system. The name should be World of Exp Bars.Leveling
First, your captain levels. Up to level 50, you follow a traditional skill tree style system, with tracks corresponding to the three classes. If you reach the bottom of a track, you unlock an "ultimate" power for that track. This doesn't have to be the same track as your class, so you can actually have, say, an engineering-focused tactical captain.
At level 50, the leveling system shifts - you no longer gain skill points and begin gaining specialization points (see below). Starting at level 60, you gain additional rewards each level. At 65, your level stops increasing but the bar keeps filling to gain specialization points.Bridge Officers
Bridge officers are additional party members, most are fully customizable like your captain. You start getting bridge officers during the tutorial, starting with an unofficial first officer and two more you encounter along the way. You then recruit them in a variety of ways. Boffs give your ship it's combat powers and up to four join you on away missions. They have four levels, topping at Commander, gaining access to additional power slots. Ship stations have a rank limit but there's no penalty filling an ensign station with a commander, they just don't have access to their full skill set.Duty Officers
The first branch of progression are duty officers, the minor mooks that do all the real work while you and your bridge crew are being awesome. Doffs have no physical presence and are basically a deck of cards. You can send them around on and off the ship to do all kinds of missions on their own, and they'll bring you back loot and experience. There are a number of departments that level up from this, but the levels don't actually mean anything. You can also set up to seven boffs as department heads in this system. This does nothing useful but does activate suggested assignments so you don't have to manually assign dozens of officers to scrub conduits every day. After the last level is an "overcap" space that you can store up experience in, and cash it in at your fleet's starbase for fleet marks.R&D
The next branch, where your duty officers make equipment for you. At first glance, this all seems like the same stuff you get in random loot, but as you level up each track, you actually get a chance at traits you can't get normally and higher qualities. R&D also has a variety of unique gear that unlocks at higher levels, and is the main source of upgrade packs for the next branch...Upgrades
Once R&D tracks hit level 10, you can start upgrading gear with special packs. Each item has two exp bars - the top bar is a direct leveling progression from Mk I to Mk XIV, and the bottom is the chance to get a quality level upgrade when the top bar circles around. At Mk XIV, the top bar loops, allowing you to build up the bottom bar until eventually you will get quality upgrades, if you're willing to sink that much effort.Re-engineering
A separate but similar mechanic to upgrades. Most gear can be broken down for components (crafting materials and a numeric resource called Salvage), which can then be used to change the modules on gear for that final 0.0005% DPS that's totally going to make or break your next Borg raid.Reputation
Unlocking at level 40 when the older endgame content starts to appear, each reputation is entirely self-contained. Each one is connected to a set of themed content, which rewards its own progression mark, and unlocks rewards themed around the enemies in that content set. Unlike the other progression branches, each reputation has its own project slots, so they can all be pursued without tying up limited resources (aside from your time) needed for other tracks. Random group missions and frequent event featured missions will let you select any mark type to help you diversify in this system.Specialization
At level 50, the leveling system changes. Level gaps become wider, and you stop gaining normal skill points for the grid you've been filling so far. Now you get specialization points, and unlock a number of new trees. These trees can be completely filled, once you hit the level cap it just loops giving you a new point every time. You can set one primary and one secondary specialization, with the secondary specialization only benefitting from the top half of its tree (some trees only actually have this half). You can also train bridge officers in these specializations and teach them new powers, though using them in space requires special ships that support those specializations. A bridge officers can in theory learn every specialization, but can only have one active at a time.Mastery
Once you're in a tier 5U or tier 6 ship, each ship you acquire also has mastery level. Tier 5U ships have four mastery levels, each giving a fairly significant boost to the ship's role. Tier 6 ships have a fifth level, which unlocks a special trait that can be equipped for other ships. A few tier 6 ships (mainly Jem'Hadar ships) have a sixth mastery level. This level unlocks access to the ship account wide regardless of faction.Admiralty
The last branch is Admiralty, which is basically doffs but with ships instead of mooks. Every old ship you've flown at any time will be available for use here (even if you got rid of it), as well as some specially unlocked ships you don't get to fly but can use here, and you can assign them alone or in groups of up to three to do all kinds of jobs, just like your doffs. Like your doffs, they bring you back loot and experience. A lot of experience, in fact, at high levels and in the level 60 loop admiralty provides more experience than anything else. There are currently four tracks of this, each one themed around the defense of a major faction and with rewards themed around that faction. Each faction also has a ten-mission "Tour of Duty," which, when completed, gives a very large reward, like several specialization points at once or a large amount of dilithium. Tours of duty reset after completed, so you can get that big reward again and again.Endeavors
A set of three random daily missions, plus a server-wide mission three times a week. These reward a variety of stuff when you complete them, but also feed into a new exp bar which is shared across your entire account. Each time you get 20,000 endeavor exp, you are offered three account-wide perks. There's over 30 categories with 15 ranks each.Fleet Progression
Fleet progression takes the form of major building projects. Each holding strongly resembles a reputation, with its own project slots, but this time sharing a single input mark. There are two levels of holding:
Major holdings are the Starbase and the Colony. These have three sub-tracks and five tiers, and timegating means they take a minimum of just over a year to complete. These are immense projects, especially for small fleets trying to work on both. Both major holdings also have several queue events tied to them to earn fleet marks.
Minor holdings include a dilithium mine and several various facilities around the galaxy. These have two sub-tracks and three tiers, and can be completed in a couple months.
Holdings are immense resource sinks, but unlock many of the best and most unique things in the game, from guns to starships.
Sub-track tiers and holding tiers visually upgrade your holding as well as unlocking rewards. For example, your Starbase starts as a tiny nub of a thing smaller than some player ships, but at full development is a massive station to rival Earth Spacedock with four smaller space stations surrounding it. Each holding also has a rotating selection of special unlocks that offer visual upgrades of their own. These are generally big dilithium sinks, but many of them look really cool, and... Really, just admit it to yourself, your fleet's going to do them because they're there.Space Barbie
Lastly, the true endgame, magical space princess dress up. The game has dozens of uniforms and casual clothes available from the start, with dozens more earnable in game and more still sold for cash. Your captain and most bridge officers can be dressed and redressed with new uniforms as often as you like.
Many ships also offer swappable parts in varying styles that you can mix and match to your heart's content. You can also change windows, hull material, and add various paint jobs. Upgraded versions of most ships add new part options to customize your look.
If your ship doesn't offer as much customization as some, you can also get "cosmetic shields," which equip in special non-gameplay slots. These can make your ship look like it has a Species 8472 bioship hull, or like it came out of the Dyson Sphere, or like it's been partially assimilated.PLAY WITH US!
Penny Arcade has a fleet, the "Arcadian Defense Fleet
We have a chat channel setup, this is where we Arcadians chat. To join, type the following:/channel_join "Penny Arcade"
The quotation marks are important, don't forget them.
There is also a PA Klingon Fleet, called the "House of M'rch
." Everyone uses the same old Penny Arcade channel no matter