With Star Trek now being free-to-play, it is bound to get a lot of additional interest, especially from those people who are fans of the franchise but who weren’t entirely comfortable with paying a monthly sub - and to be fair, initial reviews of the game weren’t really encouraging in that department.
However, Star Trek is fast approaching its second anniversary (2/2/2012), and a lot of new content and tweaks have been added, and the client is undergoing further changes with the transition to the F2P model. The option of subscribing is still there, however, and subscription gives some benefits with regards to ship & uniform slots, chatting in-game and so on. Cryptic/Perfect World have been very generous with regards to the comparitive packages, so you might not find it necessary to subscribe.
Star Trek Online is a little bit different from most MMOs in terms of gameplay and approach though - so it tends to be a little bit confusing to most new entrants, so I’m offering this guide for new entrants to help smooth their path into the game a little bit.
Be aware of a few things though:
* This isn’t a walk-through
* This is also not an in-depth guide, although I might add some guides to more in-depth mechanics at a later date. Keep your eyes peeled - I’ll post a note when I update.
Disclaimer: This guide isn’t going to turn you into an expert pvp-monster. Just sayin’
If you would rather look at a nice shiny PDF instead of browsing around the forum I'll probably put the original doc together and host it somewhere. Depends on level of interest and feedback :)
It’ll be updated as I go along :)
1. Setting up your account and downloading the client
2. Logging in for the first time
3. Creating your first character
1. Setting up your account and downloading the client
So, you’ve decided to join us and give STO a spin? Awesome.
I’m not going to beat around the bush here. STO has added a lot of new content to the game since its inception, and a lot of changes have taken place, especially over the course of the past 3 months since the F2P announcement. All the same, STO is the kind of game that’s going to offer more appeal for dedicated Trek fans than for hardcore MMO gamers. If you played 2 years ago, and weren’t terribly impressed - well, you might be surprised at some of the changes, and might be a little out of depth. But you probably have an account already, and may still have a character you can dust off and play with, so you can probably skip this, and the next section. This here is for the first-timers.
To create your account, visit the Star Trek Online (http://www.startrekonline.com/) site.
Clicking on the Register/Login Screen at the top-right will present you with the following screen.
Now – if you have at any previous point played a Perfect World Game (Perfect World International, Rusty Hearts etc) – you already have a Perfect World account, and you can log in using those details. If you’ve previously played Star Trek Online, you can log in using your Cryptic details.
Otherwise, click on the Register here! link at the top and proceed with the registration. Keep in mind for future reference that any account created at this point will be a Perfect World account so your future logins will be done using the Perfect World credentials.
After this you complete verification, log in, and you’ll see this (it’s hard to miss):
clicking on the Play Free button will download the installer (2.0MB) and take you to a page with installation instructions. I’m not going to go into detail regarding the installation itself since it’s fairly straightforward. Unless you’re getting the client from a friend, you’re looking at a download in the region of about 4 – 5GB.
26-01-2012, 10:33 AM
2. Logging in for the first time
So … you've hopefully got STO installed by this time. No problems, right?
Clicking on the Star Trek Online shortcut will present you with this:
This is the Cryptic launcher – as per your account you just created, choose which credentials to log in with. Once you're logged in the launcher will connect with the server and download whatever patches are necessary, and it then presents you with a nice big “Engage” button you need to click. This gets annoying, so, if you look in the top menu, you'll see the options link – clicking on that will bring up the launcher options:
A quick word on the options – you may need this at some point. Selecting the Fast Launch option will disable the pesky “clicking on the engage button” routine you need to go through each time – the launcher will launch the client as soon as it's ready to do so.
The Proxy is another matter – there are 3 possible options: US, EU and None. The default setting is none.
If you find sometimes that you either struggle to log in, get frequent disconnects, or horrible lag, I suggest closing the client and changing the proxy. It's not perfect – at times you need to restart 2 or 3 times, sometimes ending up at your initial option. I have no idea why this happens, but it may be some form of subliminal torture. Or I have bad karma – I'll let you know when I find out.
Disabling on-demand patching will save you the annoyance of downloading and patching that happens very often whenever you enter an instance, but this does mean you’re going to wait for the client to download EVERYTHING before you get to play. So if instance loading times are a bother, go for it, but let it happen while you’re asleep or something.
Either way – assuming everything worked as it should, you'll end up seeing this:
At first glance, Star Trek isn’t looking to give you a lot of choice. Although the game features both the Klingon Empire and the Federation as playable factions, you’ll only be able to create a Federation character to start with, and once you’ve levelled that character up to level 25, you’ll unlock Klingon play.
If you're going the free-to-play route – STO gives you two character slots: One is reserved for Federation play, and the other for Klingon Empire. You'll only be able to play Federation at this point until you reach level 25, at which point Klingons, and by extension, your second slot, becomes available.
The creation for both is quite similar though, so I’m only doing this guide based on Federation character creation (it’s a starter guide after all, if you get as far as level 25, I don’t think you’ll be needing this anymore).
However, looking past that, Star Trek’s character creation is pretty in-depth:
You have 3 choices – Engineering, Science, and Tactical. The differences between them are actually only evident at higher levels, and the ship you choose (more on that later) and your bridge crew (more on that later as well), and finally your choice of race can make a huge difference to your play-style. But if we had to summarise
Engineering (gold) –
Turret and drone summons
Limited crowd control (with mines)
As a whole the Engineer is a pretty versatile class, and can deal out pretty large amounts of damage with the correct ship configuration, and can help repair allied ships in battle.
Science (blue) -
Group damage reduction
The Science class can be quite challenging to play – on the ground they'll be the main healers of the group, in space they are great at reducing enemy shield strength and damage dealt, and can buff and maintain allied ship shields. Along with healing ship shields they can also remove debuffs from allied ships.
Tactical (red) -
Stealth & Recon
The Tactical class is the main DPS in the game, and can deal out massive amounts of damage, and to a degree control aggro in the group. On the ground and in space, they can improve group effectiveness through the use of tactical skills or combat manuevers.
As I pointed out earlier, being a particular class won't lock you into a specific style of play (in space anyways) – although your class is pretty locked into it's role on the ground. Once you're in space, your ship-type and crew setup makes a huge variety of play styles available to you.
I’m not going to go in-depth with all the races, but basically, you have a choice of about 15 Federation races you can play as. Each race has 2 inherent traits, and the creation allows you to choose 2 additional traits. You can hover over each of them to see what bonuses you get. If none of these races do the trick for you, you can even create your own species, and since there are no inherent traits for this, you get to choose your 4 traits in total. If you’re looking to be a little more specific about what traits your character has, you’ll probably want to go this route.
The alien is a fully customisable option – you can make it look like whatever you want to, and you’ll have more freedom with your custom traits. Feel free to play around with it at a later point – but I’m not going to cover it here.
I'm also not going to go into detail about each race, because … novel. I'm sure you want to start playing this week.
We're gonna go with Vulcan with this because Vulcans are awesome.
Each race has inherent traits listed in the window beside the choices – usually 2, and you can read up on them by hovering over each races name. In the case of the Alien option, there are no inherent traits, you’ll choose those later.
The next window allows you to choose your bonus traits.
At the bottom are the 2 default traits for your chosen race – above those are listed the pool of traits you can choose from. Since there are a maximum of 4 allowable traits, this means you get to choose two.
The pool of traits varies from race to race – so no two lists are going to look exactly the same. Once again, read through them a bit. Pay close attention to whether the traits are ground traits or space traits. The nerve pinch, for instance, isn't going to be very helpful in a space battle.
Your gender choice is purely cosmetic, so there - go with the flow.
26-01-2012, 10:39 AM
3.3 Time for cosmetic stuffs
Next up – appearance. You've got 3 steps to work through here – head, body and uniform.
The first thing you'll see is the default variants – hovering over each button will give you a preview of what your character will look like. Since we all have incredible attention to detail and too much time on our hands, we like the idea of a little more customisation, right? So, click on the Advanced button:
There's a lot to play with here, so play to your hearts content until you have a look you're happy with. The coloured blocks next to the drop-downs are your colour choices for skin, eyes, hair etc.
This process is exactly the same with the body, as well as the uniform. Your uniform is not limited to what you've seen in the Star Trek series and movies, and you can go absolutely spare (as some people have found out to their delight). If you are a science officer, you're absolutely not required to stick to blue – feel free to go purple, or whatever colour you're inclined to choose.
As for myself, I'm a bit of a traditionalist – so I'll stick with the colours the ST gods intended, at which point I'm done – and the time comes to choose names for myself and my soon-to-be ship. The name you enter at the top will be your character name, and effectively your first name in the bottom 3. The middle and last names are a purely cosmetic addition, so you don’t have to worry about them. If you feel particularly creative you can fill in a bio for yourself (something along the lines of how it wasn’t actually Capt Janeway who saved the Federation from the Borg, but you, even though you technically weren’t born yet – simply because you’re that awesome):
Err … right – so I need to go think about this for a while.
26-01-2012, 10:39 AM
4. Yay! I'm in!! Now what?!
You're going to play the tutorial … that's what.
This will save me having to do a lot of explaining. The tutorial will give you some very handy tips with regards to moving around and interacting with NPCs and objects – so this'll be to your benefit.
(A note: The initial screenshots show the UI as default. Since this guide assumes that anyone reading it is a relatively casual player, and like me, click your skills – I'm going to show how to modify the UI a little later and allow easier access to skills)
It'll start you off in your own body. Below is the ground-combat display – we'll run you through the various bits and pieces.
1. Rank. You start off as an Ensign. At the end of the tutorial, you'll be promoted to Lieutenant, and it will be reflected there. Clicking on that will open a box which will show you all the level rewards you are going to get, all the way to level 50.
2. Compass. Which way you're facing. NPCs or objectives will sometimes be highlighted here, but not always.
3. Right at the top, your experience bar. I'll explain how the XP system works in a bit
5. Mission objectives. This will update as you complete various objectives in your current mission.
6. Pause. You can pause the game at various points to give orders to your crewmembers. You have a max of 45 seconds. When you unpause, the clock will slowly count back up to 45 seconts.
7. Skill bar
8. Chat box
Movement controls are fairly standard – W,A,S,D to move and SPACE to jump.
Mission objectives are typically highlighted on the map (although not always) in the map below the orange circle (#2) is your objective. #1 is you.
Objects and items you can interact with are highlighted with a symbol (on the right) while NPC's you need to talk to have their own symbol (left). A pop up (#2) will appear when you are close enough to interact, you can either click on the box or use the 'F' key.
The first half of the tutorial mission is pretty straightforward. You'll receive your first bridge officer at the end – more on those later :)
26-01-2012, 10:40 AM
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Reserve Spam #1 :p
27-01-2012, 04:25 PM
Next bit will go up later tonight :)
29-01-2012, 07:35 PM
Nice going shadowfox. Looking forward to the rest. Especially when it comes to the crew and duty officers. :)
29-01-2012, 08:20 PM
Heh. Patience my young apprentice ;)
That's definitely coming, although if there are any other things you feel I should mention, drop them in here and I'll try and fit it in somewhere :)
31-01-2012, 12:53 PM
You just convinced me to give it a go. Is there a particular realm where us ZA'ers congregate, or is that coming up later in your tutorial?
31-01-2012, 12:58 PM
It uses a similar system to Guildwars - it's pretty heavily instanced, so there's only one server.
Hop on and you'll find us floating around somewhere.
As for the tutorial - very much a work in progress - I'm updating it as I go along with my free account - I'll probably cover the more advanced things (like Bridge officers and duty officers) with my paid account. Just want to get the basics out the way first :)
02-02-2012, 07:40 AM
By the way - I just want to apologise for the slow updates to the guide - I'm completely swamped at the moment.
There is more coming. Promise :D
04-02-2012, 05:22 PM
Only getting around to downloading the client now. :(
Sorry 'bout the dumb realm question, I've only ever tried WoW