Star Trek Online: Beginners Game Guide

This game guide will help Star Trek Online newbies learn how to get started on Star Trek Online; from getting the game to playing it on your computer!


I. What is Star Trek Online?


Star Trek Online (or STO) is a MMORPG based on the popular Star Trek series. The game was developed by Cryptic Studios, who also developed City of Heroes, City of Villains, and Champions Online. The game was released in the US on February 2, 2010, in the Europe on February 5, 2010.

Game Setting and Plot

The game is set in the Star Trek universe, where players will be able to explore new worlds, and discover alien civilizations. All players start out as the Captain of their very own ship, and will be able to commandeer their own crew to explore the final frontier.

II. System Requirements




OS: Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit)

OS: Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit)


Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 Ghz or AMD Athlon X2 3800+

Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon X2 5600+




Graphic Card

NVIDIA GeForce 7950 / ATI Radeon X1800 / Intel HD Graphics

NVIDIA GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 3850+


DirectX 9.0c Compatible Sound Card

DirectX 9.0c Compatible Sound Card


9.0c or Higher

9.0c or Higher


8GB Free Disk Space

8GB Free Disk Space

III. Getting Started

Logging In

The first things you will see on the login screen are the Username and Password fields, as well as buttons that link to the STO website and Terms of Use. You may also adjust the game’s Graphic and Sound settings from here by clicking on the Options button. You can also view the game’s credits by clicking on the Credits button, or exit the game using the Exit button.

Career Selection

The next thing for you to do is to select your character’s career. There are three available careers in STO: Engineering, Science, and Tactical.


Engineering Officers are tough, able to withstand large amounts of damage through the use of personal shields. Engineers can also provide support for their party through the use of power generators and defensive mine fields, and can also dish out damage using modifications to their firearms or firepower from fabricated drones or turrets. Engineering Officers may specialize further as Technicians (focusing on group buffs/debuffs), Fabrication (focusing on damage by specializing in the fabrication of turrets), and Combat (focusing on manipulating the battlefield through the use of mines and other explosives).


Science Officers focus on weakening and hindering the movements of their enemies, and healing their party members. Science Officers can specialize further as Researchers (focusing on group buffs/debuffs using emitters), Scientists (focusing on individual buffs/debuffs), and Medics (focusing on healing other players).


Tactical Officers specialize in stealth and squad tactics as well as combat damage. Tactical Officers may specialize further as Soldiers (focusing on powerful direct attacks), Security (focusing on defense/tanking abilities), and Special Operations (focusing on stealth and sneak attacks).

Species and Gender Selection

Once you’ve selected your career, you will then be taken to the Species and Gender selection screen. All species have male/female characters available, and each species has their own special set of attributes/bonuses. The playable races will include:



Federation Species


Leadership: +15% ship repair rate

Teamwork: +5% team Exploit damage


Acute Senses: +20% Stealth Sight and +10% Exploit damage.


Creative: +5% damage and healing with Kits.
Spiritual: +10% heals received and +10% regeneration.


Natural Armor: Resistant to Energy and Physical damage.
Natural Immunities: Radiation and Toxic damage resistance.


Empathic: Reduces threat generation, increases team regeneration.
Telepathic: Increases Perception, exposure duration and chance.


Corrosive Blood: +20% Toxic resistance, deals Toxic damage when bitten.


Circulatory Redundancies: Toxic, Fire and Plasma damage over time resistance.
Acute Senses: +20% Stealth Sight and +10% Exploit damage.


Circulatory Redundancies: Toxic, Fire and Plasma damage over time resistance.
Acute Senses: +20% Stealth Sight and +10% Exploit damage.


Logical: +30% Psionic, Confuse and Placate resistance.
Physical Strength: +10 Melee damage.

Klingon Species


Honorable: +5% damage resistance and +10% threat generation.
Warrior: +15% Melee and Critical damage, +5% Energy weapon damage.


Cold-Blooded: +25% Fire and +10% Plasma damage over time resistance.
Reptilian Strength: +17.5% Melee damage and knockback.
Resilient: +5% Physical and Energy resistance.


Rapture: Psionic damage-over-time ability.
Telepathic: Increases Perception, exposure duration and chance.


Physical Strength: +10% Melee damage.
Pirate: +20% Stealth and +30% Exploit damage.


Seductive: Resist Confuse, Placate; Reduced threat generation.

Klingon characters can only be created once you have managed to get a Federation character up to the grade 6 Lieutenant rank. You will receive the accolade “Blood of the Warrior” once you have your grade 6 Lieutenant, and will have to log out of the game and log back in to create your new Klingon character.

Traits Selection

You will then be able to select some Traits that provide bonuses to certain aspects of your character and provide further character customization.



Acute Senses

  • Innate

  • Makes it easier to detect stealthed opponents

  • +20% Stealth sight


  • Innate

  • Improves the accuracy of space weapons

  • +.1 Accuracy


  • Passive

  • Improves the damage you deal and makes enemies more likely to attack you over other tactics

  • +5% Damage bonus strength

  • +5% Threat generation


  • Innate

  • Improves your operation stat, which enhances deflector, emitter and sensor powers

  • +10% Starship Operations training

Cold Blooded

  • Innate

  • Provides Moderate resistance to fire damage and some resistance to plasma fire damage over time effects

  • +10% Plasma Damage resistance

  • +25% fire damage resistance


  • Innate

  • Makes your exploits do more damage and increases the effectiveness of your stealth abilities

  • +10% Aggression stealth strength

  • +10% Perception stealth strength


  • Enhancement

  • Improves the damage and the healing of your kit powers.

  • +5% all damage bonus strength

  • +5% Hit points Bonus strength


  • Innate

  • Provides a bonus to your efficiency stats, improving the effectiveness of many of your power management abilities

  • +5 Starship Shield Efficiency

  • +5 Starship engine efficiency

  • +5 Starship Energy weapon efficiency

  • +5 Starship auxiliary systems efficiency


  • Innate

  • Reduces the chance for enemy ships to hit you with their weapons

  • +.1 defense


  • Innate

  • Increases Critical hit and expose chance. Does not stack with other expose chance buffs.

  • 3% critical strike chance

Mental Discipline

  • Passive

  • Provides innate resistance to the effects of psionic attacks as well as confuse and placate

  • +15% Psionic damage resistance

  • +20% Confuse resistance

  • +20% placate resistance

Natural Immunities

  • Innate

  • Provides innate resistance to the effects of radiation and toxins

  • +33% Radiation damage resistance

  • +33% Toxic damage resistance

Peak Health

  • Innate

  • Improves maximum health and toxic resistance

  • +10% Toxic damage resistance

  • +10% Maximum Hit points

Physical Strength

  • Enhancement

  • Improves the damage of melee attacks

  • +10% Physical damage bonus strength


  • Innate

  • Provides innate resistance to physical and energy damage

  • +5% Physical damage resistance

  • +5% Energy Damage resistance


  • Passive

  • Increases critical hit damage and ranged weapon damage

  • +5% All energy damage bonus strength

  • +10 Critical severity


  • Passive

  • Improves resistance against placate and abilities that reduce your movement speed or prevent you from acting

  • +40% run speed Resistance

  • +20% hold resistance

  • +50% placate resistance


  • Innate

  • Provides innate resistance to physical damage and knock back effects

  • +10% Physical damage resistance

  • +10% Kinetic damage resistance

  • +10% Knock back resistance

Sure Footed

  • Innate

  • Improves Resistance against powers that knock you back or root you in place

  • +40% Root resistance

  • +12% knock back resistance


  • Innate

  • Improves your engineering stat, which increases the effectiveness of maintenance, repair and performance powers.

  • +10 Starship engineering training


  • Targets foe

  • Knocks the target back with telekinetic force

  • 22.86 meter range

  • .75 second activate

  • 1 min recharge (knocks back 7 feet)


  • Innate

  • Improves the chance of exposing a target as well as the duration of the expose. Makes it easier to detect stealthed opponents. Does not stack with other expose chance buffs

  • +20% Stealth sight

  • +.75% chance to expose

  • +.5 sec to expose duration

Warp Theorist

  • Innate

  • Improves your warp core stat, which increases the power levels of you ship

  • +10 Starship warp core training

Character Customization

STO offers a wide range of options for character customization, which enables you to get your characters to look exactly the way you want them to. You can adjust a large number of your characters’ facial features such as jaw width, eye shape, nose size, and so on. You can also customize your character’s body, adjusting things such as height, arm bulk, and torso width. Your characters’ uniforms are also customizable, with various options for your uniforms’ style, shape, and color.

Story Customization

After you’ve finalized your character’s look, you’ll be taken to the Choose Your Story screen, which allows you to enter your character’s name, the name of your starship, and optional information (your character’s “formal” first, middle and last name, and a short biography, if you wish).


There are two factions available in STO: The United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire. Currently, players are only able to create a Klingon character once they have completed the Federation-oriented tutorial. Additionally, while the Klingon races are available for play, most of their vessels will not be made available until the game’s official release.

The United Federation of Planets

The Federation is composed of an alliance between hundreds of worlds and races, founded by the worlds Earth, Vulcan, Andor, and Tellar. Players who choose to be part of the Federation start out as part of the Starfleet, the Federation’s military and exploration branch. Races that fall under the Federation include Humans, Vulcans, Bajorans, Bolians, Ferengi, and Andorians.

The Klingon Empire

The Klingon Empire is composed of an alliance between hundreds of worlds and races, founded by the worlds Earth, Vulcan, Andor, and Tellar. Players who choose to be part of the Federation start out as part of the Starfleet, the Federation’s military and exploration branch. Races that fall under the Federation include Klingons, Orions, Gorn, and Nausicaans.

IV. Interface and Controls

There are two environments in STO (ground and space), so there are two types of controls and interfaces.

Ground Interface

Player Window

Your Player window is displayed at the upper left portion of your screen. This displays your character’s health, shield strength, and buffs/debuffs.

Target Window
The target window appears at the top-center of your screen when you select a friendly or hostile target. This displays information such as the target’s health, distance from player, and shield strength.

Experience Bar

Your Experience Bar, displayed at the top-center of your screen, keeps track of the amount of experience points you’ve gained throughout the game and indicates how close you are to advancing to your character’s next grade. Mousing-over the Experience Bar will reveal information such as what the requirements are for your next grade or rank, and the rewards that come with these advancements.


The minimap, located at the top-right portion of your screen, displays your location as well as the location of nearby enemies, NPCs, and player characters.

Bug Button

The green bug-shaped button beneath your minimap is the Bug Button. This allows you to report any bugs you encounter in-game.

Mission Tracker

The Mission Tracker appears on the right side of your screen. This displays your current missions’ progress, with the upper box displaying general mission objectives for players who don’t have that current mission yet, while the lower box keeps more detailed track of your current mission objectives.

Utility Tray

Your Utility Tray, located at the bottom of the screen, displays the powers, weapons, and items you can use.
You can equip two weapons, but only one of them can be wielded at a time. The left portion of the Utility Tray displays your character’s active weapon (front) and inactive weapon (back). The numbered slots shown in the Utility Tray displays the powers and items you have assigned to shortcut keys (or have been assigned automatically. To assign skills and items to these slots, press the P key or click on the Data Pad icon on the rightmost portion of the Utility Tray to bring up your Powers Window, and then drag your desired skill to a slot. Clicking the icon just below the Data Pad will allow you to choose between three different expanded power tray layouts.

Aside from your weapon powers and items, the Utility Tray displays the powers your equipped “kit” grant you. Kits grant you powers based on your specialization, and only one can be equipped at a time.

Ground Controls




Move character forward


Move character back


Strafe left


Strafe right


Turn left


Turn right

Holding down the Shift key while running will allow you to Sprint for a short time. Tapping one of the WASD keys twice will allow you to roll in the corresponding direction.


Toggle Crouch/Stand

Space Bar



Open Mission Log


Single click to interact with Items and NPCs

Away Team Controls

While on missions, you will always be accompanied by your away team. They can be outfitted with weapons, shields, and armor much like your own character, and can be ordered to hold their positions, follow you, or target your selected target. You can also set their behavior to aggressive or defensive, and order them to go to a targeted location.

When you’re in a combat situation, you can press the T key to briefly “pause” the action and issue orders or queue your team’s actions. This can only be done on an away mission or when you’re the only player character on the map, and it will take some time to recharge this ability once it is used.

Space Interface

Power Levels

The Power Levels window at the bottom-center of your screen displays information about your ship’s weapons, engines, shields, and auxiliary. You can expand or change the view of the Power Levels window by clicking on the icon at its upper-right corner. Expanding the window can allow you to choose presets for the power designated to the different sections of your ship, or adjust them manually. Changing the power levels of your ship will take some time to do.

Shield UI

The Shield UI displays the amount of power you have allocated to the four quadrants of your shields. These power levels can be adjusted manually by clicking on the arrow buttons, or they can be balanced automatically by clicking on the “Balance Shields” button. The silhouette of a ship in the middle of the shield UI is your hull indicator, which displays hull damage. If your hull meter runs out, your ship is destroyed. At the bottom of your Shield UI is the crew meter, which indicates the status of your crew. Active members are displayed in light blue, injured members in dark blue, and dead members in black.


The throttle slider enables you to manually increase or decrease the speed of your ship. You can put your ship in reverse, make your ship stop completely by clicking on the button at the bottom of the slider, or go into full impulse by clicking the button at the top of the slider. At full impulse, all your ship’s energy will be directed to movement, increasing the ship’s speed by 60%. Seeing as you will be moving too swiftly and won’t have enough energy to power your ship’s shields and weapons, however, you will not be able to enter combat while in full impulse mode.

Weapons Tray

The Weapons Tray displays your ship’s weapons. The top icons display your ship’s forward-facing weapons, and the bottom icons display your ship’s aft-facing weapons. All ship weapons have firing arcs and optimal ranges based on where they’re placed. There are four types of ship weapons:

  • Beams – do less hull damage, but burn down shields better; have a wide firing arc

  • Cannons – do more hull damage and can burn down shields, but are not as effective as Beams against shields; have a narrower firing arc compared to beams

  • Torpedoes – deal a significant amount of hull damage, but do very little damage to shields; have a 90 degree firing arc

  • Turrets - do less hull damage, but burn down shields better; can fire at 360 degrees

The three icons at the top of your Weapons Tray allow you to fire all your beams, fire all your torpedoes, or fire all of your weapons.

Bridge Crew Tray

The Crew Tray displays the headshots of your Bridge officers, and displays the different powers they grant you. They are color-coded according to career: red for Tactical, Yellow for Engineering, and blue for Science.

Target Window
The Target Window displays information about your current target, such as distance, the difference between your grade and your target’s grade, and hull damage.


Apart from displaying your current location, the minimap also allows you to easily depart the system you are in or hail Starfleet, and allows you to access other windows such as your Character Status window, your inventory, and your Captain’s Log and Mission Journal.

Sector Space

Sector Space is an overview map used when warping between different locations in the galaxy. When you approach a star system or a base, you will be prompted if you have a mission to complete or if there are any requests for your services in that area. Sector Space also allows you to set autopilot courses toward different star systems or other points of interest. You can do this by opening up your system map (by pressing M), clicking on system list, and double-clicking on the name of the location you’d like to travel to.

Space Controls




Tilt the ship’s nose down


Tilt the ship’s nose up


Throttle up


Throttle down


Turn the ship left


Turn the ship right


Brings up system map

V. Basics

Character Ranks and Skills

As you defeat enemies, earn accolades, and complete quests, your character will earn Skill Points. These points can be allotted to whichever skills you’d like your character to be more proficient at. Character skills can directly affect the performance of your character, your crew, and your ship. Skill Points can be spent by opening up the Skills Window by pressing the K key.

Throughout the course of the game, your character will be advancing through five tiers of ranks that consist of ten grades each (except the Ensign/Warrior and Lieutenant ranks, which are compiled into one set of ten grades):

  • Tier 1: Ensign/Warrior, Lieutenant - Federation characters start out as Ensigns, while Klingon characters start out as grade 6 Warriors. You won’t spend a lot of time at the Ensign/Warrior rank, and will quickly be promoted to Lieutenant.

  • Tier 2: Lieutenant Commander – Grade 11 Lieutenants will be able to advance to Lieutenant Commander once the required skill points are spent.

  • Tier 3: Commander – Lieutenant Commanders will advance to Commander once the required skill points are spent and the required grades are achieved.

  • Tier 4: Captain - Commanders will advance to Captain once the required skill points are spent and the required grades are achieved.

  • Tier 5: Admiral/General – The final rank currently available in the game. Federation characters will be promoted from Captain to Admiral once the appropriate skill points are spent and the required grades are achieved. The Klingon equivalent of the Admiral rank is General.

Once you have met all the requirements necessary for your next promotion, Starfleet will contact you and request that you return to Earth Space Dock, where Admiral Quinn will grant you your promotion. A special promotion Ceremony will be held at the Stateroom in your honor, and afterward, you will be able to head back to the shipyard where you can take command of your new starship.

The Bridge Crew

All captains need a bridge crew to help man their ships and aid them on away missions. Bridge Officers provide special powers or bonuses that will aid you in combat, and man different stations on your ship while you travel with them in space. Their uniforms are customizable (much like your own character’s) and they can be renamed.

A Bridge Officer has two skills at each rank, one for ground away missions and one for space missions. These skills affect your officers’ proficiency in ground combat and add bonuses to your ship when in space. Your bridge officers will also accumulate Skill Points as you go on missions, and these points can be allocated through the Bridge Officers status window (press the U key to access it).

Bridge Officers are recruited through mission rewards or by hiring them from Earth Space Dock in the Personnel Department. There are, however, only few available Bridge Officer candidates at the Space Dock at a time, so if you can’t find an officer with the skills you’re looking for, try checking back again after some time. If you’re not looking for new officers but want to change your current officers’ skills, you can choose to have a selected candidate “Train Up” your current officers (note that the candidate and the existing officer should have the same career) to switch their skills.

Bridge officers follow the same rank system as your character, but can only advance to one rank below you. For example, if you’re a Commander, the highest rank your bridge officers can attain Lieutenant Commander. You can promote your bridge officers at the cost of a certain amount of Starfleet Merits.


You will be able to form Teams with other players in order to complete missions and explore new worlds. This can be done by right-clicking on the character you want to team-up with and select the “Invite to Team” option. Group rules can be set by the team leader; Open groups can be joined by anyone, while Closed groups will automatically reject other invitations or require the player’s approval before adding new members. These options, as well as looting options, can be modified in the social tab of the team window, which can be directly accessed by pressing the O key.

You will also be able to utilize the “auto-team system”, which allows you to automatically team-up with other players who are in the same area and have the same quests as you. This system is turned on by default; you can turn it off again by opening up your social window (press the R key) and adjust the settings on the Team tab.

Missions and Episodes

Missions help you progress through the game, awarding you experience and currency upon completion. Missions may require you to go into combat, exercise your diplomatic skills, or explore new worlds.

Episodes are chains of missions that were designed to feel more like an episode from the Star Trek show, and contain the major story plots in STO. Upon launching, the game will feature three “seasons” of content, which are composed of 14 Episodes each.


There are three types of currency in STO:

  • Energy Credits – the primary currency in STO. Earned through completing missions and selling items to vendors or your personal replicator, and used to buy gear and ships.

  • Starfleet Merits – the currency used to purchase bridge officers and bridge officer upgrades. Earned through completing missions.

  • Explorer Badges – a type of currency that can be exchanged for high-quality gear. Earned through completing exploration missions.

Ship Types

There are many different types of ships that you will be able to man throughout the game. Ship types are faction-specific, and have various tiers based on character ranks. There are three basic categories of ships

  • Escort ships – Heavily-armed ships, designed to deal large amounts of damage. Escort ships provide bonuses to damage, speed, maneuverability, and weapon power; can be equipped with cannons; and provides an extra forward weapon slot.

  • Science ships – Ships equipped with advanced technology, designed to identify/detect enemy ships and exploit their weaknesses and to aid/repair ally ships. Science ships have advanced shields, innate cloak detection and subsystem targeting, and provide bonuses to Auxiliary power.

  • Cruiser ships – Large ships with advanced warp cores; designed to adapt well to any situation, repair damaged systems faster, and provide support to other ships through their massive crew and power supply. Cruiser ships provide bonuses to power in all systems, have large cargo space (increases inventory slots), and more weapon slots compared to Escort or Science ships.

One Response to Star Trek Online: Beginners Game Guide

  1. Wazaap says:

    Thank you for this extremely helpful guide. This is the first time ive heard about the ability to specialize within my career.

    But even though this is a nice post, im still not sure if i should go for Tactical or Engineer. Oh yeah, and if i should go buy a new ship as fast as possible or if its a waste of credits.

    Im still new to this game, but enjoying it A LOT!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *