STO Beginners Guide (FAQs)


44th beginners guide, Frequently Asked Questions:


Before I start, are there any game-settings I need to adjust first ?
Yes, we advise you to go to Esc / Options / Controls and set Camera type to Free Camera and (at the bottom of the list) Keep Moving During Contact Dialogs to On.

I am just starting my first character, which career is best ?
Depends on what your preferred playstyle is. Basically a Tactical captain does damage, an Engineer captain can tank (absorb damage) and a Scientist captain does wizard stuff like drain, hold and heal. All three not only have their own strengths and weaknesses, but those can be buffed/compensated by various ground kit (armor, shield, weapons) and the ship they fly. The fun part is you can mix and match and either specialize in say an Engineer tanking in a massive cruiser, or combine a science captain healer in a fast zippy tactical heavy escort.

I am unsure which race to pick.
Pick an alien! You can visually model an alien as the standard Human, Vulcan, Andorian etc but also to non-standard Cardassians and many-many others. STO’s “space barbie” is quite flexible. Once you’re comfortable with STO you can select a specific race for an extra “alt” character as each playable race has its own unique traits.

I am an engineer, can I fly a science ship, carrier or tactical escort ?
Yes, most definately. The fun of STO is that it is not a rigid class-based game. An engineer does great in cruisers, but can do just as well in escorts and Science ships – it all depends on piloting skill and equipment.
Don’t believe the mantra still being heard in zone chat and elsewhere that a Tac/Eng/Sci “must” only fly an Escort/Cruiser/Science ship. That’s total nonsense. Mixing and matching careers, ships, skills and traits is part of the fun of STO’s game mechanic. For example a Science captain in an Escort is an absolutely deadly combination in PvP.

But which ship must I choose ?
Whichever you like. Leveling from Lieutenant to Captain you can, and should, try out the different types of free leveling ships, even one outside of your comfort zone. This so you have a basic understanding of the strengths/weaknesses of escorts, cruisers, sci ships and carriers when you are level 50+, when it starts to matter more, as you’ll spend zen, dilithium or even real $ to get the really nice ships.

Help! I bought this expensive ship/item and I don’t do enough damage !
Again, STO is not Pay2Win, do not expect to buy an expensive ship/item with real $$$ and just hop in, turn the key and have a steamrolling murder-boat out of the box. This is a sure way for disappointment and serious buyer’s remorse. Trust us; we’ve been there, done that. As in real life, knowledge is (fire) power – knowing how and especially why a certain mechanic works does more for your DPS than just slapping a specific weapon on your ship. There’s math involved, but just playing you’ll understand the basics pretty quickly.

But seriously, which ship is the best in the game ?
Sure there are a few, but the ‘best’ ship is still subjective (and yes I keep hammering on this). Safe to say the top of the line models are usually Fleet T6 or a specific Lobi/Lockbox or unique event/veteran ship. But okay, twist my arm, in no particular order;

Romulans: (Fleet) Tier 6 Flambard (Science Scimitar)
Federation:  Tier 6 Vengeance Intelligence Dreadnought, Tier 6 Science Cruiser (Yorktown class)
Klingons: D7 Temporal Battlecruiser
All Factions: Chronos Temporal Dreadnought

Just remember, buying these ships are no guarantee; you still need to outfit them with top-end gear for their max potential.

How do I get (much) better in space combat ?
Star Trek Online allows the use of keybinds. One of the classic ones is the Hilbert Guide keybind, which is very handy for especially beginning players. We highly recommend that you use this; bit of a read, but once installed it will improve your gameplay ten-fold – must have.

Which ship traits are ‘must haves’ ?
Tier 6 unique ship traits, once unlocked, will serve you extremely well in the long run: once unlocked you can slot and combine them to make even mediocre ships hit like a hammer. Keep in mind that these are character bound, meaning you have to buy/unlock them for each of your toons seperately.
The ‘must haves’ are All Hands on Deck, Emergency Weapons Cycle, Reciprocity. Invincible isn’t too bad either.

Which Reputation(s) should I focus on first ?
Right now, for PVE the anti-Borg heavy Task Force OMEGA Reputation is a must; it has a number of specific anti-Borg abilities including the Omega Graviton Pulse Module (trait), which also slows down how quickly Borg can adapt to your energy weapons in Ground Combat. Usefull.
Second would be Iconian Resistance. However there’s nothing stopping you doing them all at once which is surprisingly easy. Also, it’s best to complete a Reputation on your Main toon first; it can then provide a Sponsorship Token for your alts which makes it much cheaper and faster to level them.

Which ship console is a ‘must have’ ?
No longer a true ‘must have’, but the Plasmonic Leech console, especially for power-starved Romulan ships is a good investment.

Which Boff (Bridge Officer) is the best ?
Blue Romulan Tactical Boffs with the Superior Operative Trait (obtainable from our Fleet Embassy).
The unique Hierarchy Science Boff (aka Mr Potato Head) with the Pirate trait from the mission “Alliances“.
Nausicaan Boffs with Pirate trait (KDF only)

Which Doffs (Duty Officers) are the best ?
The Damage Control Engineers (Emergency Power variant) are required for “Drake” ship builds. There are so many different ones it really depends on your ship, build, career and playstyle.

Which ground shields is best ?
For Ground, the Nakuhl ground shield is very good – and as a mission reward is free ! – and can be obtained from the episode The Temporal Front.

Which Ground weapons are best ?
The Herald Antiproton Beam Projector and Boolean Heavy Assault Cannon are both tied as best. Alternatively, the crafted TR-116 sniper rifle is considered a ‘must have’ for certain missions/maps.
In general for ground combat, a good default combination is to have a Pulsewave (shotgun) for close-range and a Splitbeam rifle for longer ranges.

Which space set is best ?
The 4-piece Iconian Resistance Starship Technologies from the Iconian Reputation is still a good all-round set.
The Solanae Hybrid Technologies 4-piece set obtained from the mission A Step Between Stars is a good one for science ships.
In general, we’d like to encourage you to mix and match space sets, and don’t focus too much on full set-bonus abilities as they are usually of the “nice to have”, not “must have” variety. The Counter-Command Deflector, the Romulan Prototype Engine, the Nukara 2pc (bonus) set, are all +damage dealers.

Which weapon type is best ?
Right now, Antiproton energy weapons are considered best. Note however that this is relative and build specific, but when in doubt, AP is a good choice.

Which starship weapon is best ?
The Terran Task Force Disruptor Beam Array is the single most powerful weapon due to its unique mechanic.

Besides the Terran Task Force Disruptor Beam, which other Space Weapons are good ?
The Fleet Elite weapons available from our Fleet starbases (both Fed/KDF) are still good weapons with [Dmg]x3 [CrtD] for Adv wpns and [Dmg]x2 [CrtD] mods for Elite versions and are a good way to start since they are not that terribly expensive.

What about Space Weapon Modifiers ?
Weapon Mods are what really counts: having a weapon with the right mods usually cost a bazillion ec on the exchange – and they’re worth it. The current Meta is Pen, CrtD / Dmg, Acc, CrtH. The ideal combo for most captains/builds is an Epic Mk XIV (CrtD)x3 (Pen) weapon.

Where do I get the absolute best weapons, shields, consoles or other items ?
Most you can craft yourself or buy via the exchange for gazillions of ec. The Mods you get by crafting weapons (or any kit) are very random, which makes it a tedious process. Buying from the exchange is a sure way, but very, very expensive.

What is this DPS ?
DPS (Damage Per Second) is the Space and Ground metric used to measure the amount of damage you can do. Keep in mind that it’s not a fixed metric: it is highly influenced by the map and the team you are playing with (eg having a healer and/or debuffer to support you or another player “stealing” your damage). You can find the semi-official Combat Log Reader here.

The go-to map to measure space DPS is the Borg STF Infected the Conduit Advanced (aka ISA: Infected, Space, Advanced).

How much DPS is enough ? / How much should I do ?
Basically, at Level 50+, with decent Space kit (Very rare/Purple Mk XII) that you can pick up from mission rewards and the exchange, and some decent flying, you can do a minimum of 20,000 DPS without too much trouble. You can get by with less, but +20,000 will allow you to do Advanced level STFs without too much effort.

Why are Tetryon energy weapons considered bad ?
Tetryons are shield drain weapons, however the in-game NPCs bleed shields fast regardless of the energy weapons used, so you’ll end up fairly quickly with a useless Tetryon weapon speciality. Tetryons are better suited for specialist builds and for PvP against a live opponent.

Why are Torpedoes considered bad ?
Shields strip away 50% of a Torpedo’s damage before any modifiers/buffs. So basically a target with just 1% shields will still eat up half your Torp damage. Unlike beams, Torpedoes also have a narrower firing arc so you need time to line up for a good shot. You won’t do damage during that time and remember DPS is Damage Per Second.

But I like Torpedoes !
Then by all means, use them ! Even sub-optimal, Torps still do decent (but not great) damage. You will have to buff them properly with enough consoles, traits and Duty Officers – which otherwise could be used for your energy weapons. Splitting your damage potential this way is why Torps are frowned upon by the high DPS crowd. But they sure are fun 🙂

Why is the kinetic damage displayed appear seemingly with random values ?
Each Torpedo/Mine does an unique amount of damage, similar to energy weapons. See this table.

What is a Rainbow Build / Skittles Boat ?
These are ship which use a combination of different weapon types, Rainbows use different beams, skittles different cannons/turrets. These builds are usually a bit frowned upon, hence the name.

A Rainbow boat is equipped with say, a Tetryon, Plasma, Phaser and Antiproton beam. Combining all kinds of different weapon types does not, or very-very rarely, activate all their different “proc’s” often enough to be usefull, so such a combination is sub-optimal. Contrary, an 8x phaser beam build buffed by 4x Phaser Tactical consoles does tremendous damage compared to an 8x beam Rainbow build.
Note that some ships may look like rainbow builds, but actually use similar weapon types: for example Andorian phasers are blue while regular phasers are orange but they are identical in phaser damage and proc’s.

I’m not sure what kind of damage this thing does.
Check the details, it will say “weapon does x phaser/whatever damage to the target”, that’s the weapon type you should buff with Tac consoles.

I don’t want to join fleet runs because I’m not good enough x(
Nonsense ! This is what your fleet is for ! Do not be afraid to ask for advice if unsure. We allow you to frack up during fleet runs – we will not shout/curse/troll you, we want you to learn and get better. We were all beginners once and gladly walk you through various mission maps – there is an enormous amount of knowledge in the fleet which we’re willing to share. And most importantly, this is a game for fun and we treat it as such.

As a beginner, what should I invest in early in the game ?
Remove the ec cap limit of 10 million, you can breach that fairly easy. Second is extra bank and inventory space.

Ok so how do I make millions of ec in this game ?
The easiest way is basically selling stuff on the exchange, either loot drops, crafted items or basic trading (“buy low, sell high”). Playing the game you earn ec and especially dilithium ore. Refine that ore to zen and buy lockbox keys from the c-store and sell them on the exchange for +5 million each. Trading by buying/selling c-store, Lobi store or crafted items on the exchange can earn you a small fortune as well, if you have the Ferengi Lobes for it.

What should I *NOT* do as a beginning player ?
Don’t go overboard creating too many toons; three should be the max early on – there is A LOT to do in STO, and having to level and equip multiple toons will force time away from actually playing and enjoying the game. Two or three alts is just manageable enough for the average player to earn you that extra ec/dilithium without turning STO into another working job.

Also consider buying just a 1-month subscription, as this unlocks a number of extra features like a shared account bank (handy for moving items between your alts, even different faction ones). However, you can play STO for free and still get a number of those extras and nearly all of the high-end ships; it just takes more time to get them.

I don’t have an account bank, how do I move items between alts ?
Easy: mail them to yourself. You can only attach/collect items via a mail terminal which you can find on most social maps. The mail system is also where your unsold items from the exchange will end up, and it can be used as an alternative bank/inventory by mailing items to yourself. Note that this can only be done with unbound items.

Any other questions you need answered ? Don’t hesitate and ask away in our forum !

(Note: WIP. Special thanks to Damix, Blackout and Palcioz for additional input)