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Captain's Log: More beginner's guide to Star Trek Online

Ryan Greene

Hello again, space cadets! Welcome back to Captain's Log, where I pretend each week to know a photon torpedo from a warp core. They both blow up sometimes, so what's the difference, right?

Last week we discussed starting out in Star Trek Online, from creating a character to beginning the tutorial. Let's jump right back into it this week. I'll run you through the rest of the Federation tutorial, adding a few helpful hints as we go. By the end, you'll be ready to set sail in your very own ship ... even if it does look awfully similar to everyone else's ship.

Skill Points

Our first beginner's guide took us through the end of the first leg of the tutorial. You've cleared the Borg off the U.S.S. Khitomer and have selected your first Bridge Officer. This is also the first time you receive Skill Points, Cryptic's alternative to Experience in STO. At the top left of your screen, just below the Ensign 1 (that's your rank and level) and above your nameplate, you'll now see the shiny Skill Up button. Click on that to open up the Skill Tree.

This is where you improve and strengthen your character's abilities. Take your time browsing through the column all the way on the left, because those are the skills available to you for now. They cover space and ground abilities, and at this level, each one costs 100 skill points. You've got 300 points right now. I suggest working to max out Starship Command first, because that improves your ability to handle a starship on a few levels. Whichever skill you choose, hit the tiny upward arrow three times, and then hit accept in the flyout menu to the right. Now you're ready for the next mission.

Your Second Mission

When you beam up to your ship, your newly selected Bridge Officer informs you that the Borg attacked while you were away helping the U.S.S. Khitomer. Everyone who mattered has been slain, which leaves you, improbably enough, as the highest ranking officer. Congratulations, you've earned your own starship by default!

The wreckage of a fight against the Borg floats all around you, so it's time to help out your fellow starships again. Your officer will explain starship movement, so pay attention. Some handy tips:

  • Steer your ship by holding down both mouse buttons at once.
  • The R key toggles your throttle between full and stop.
  • The F key allows you to interact with other ships more conveniently than using the mouse. (This works on the ground as well.)
  • Full Impulse is much faster than simply going full speed without it. But turning is harder, and Full Impulse sucks power from your other systems. So don't use it if you're about to enter combat.
Once you complete the first three steps of the mission, you'll be sent to destroy some damaged Borg probes. This is basically target practice, and your Bridge Officer will explain some of the finer points of space combat. Before engaging the probes, check out the weapons panel in your interface. The default setting shows your Phaser Arrays hotkeyed to 1 and 3, and a Photon Torpedo hotkeyed to 2. Right-click on the two Phaser icons, which should turn their outline green. This means that those weapons will automatically fire during combat whenever they're available. This way, you only have to worry about manually firing your torpedo.

Destroy four Damaged Probes in this area, and then warp ahead to destroy four more probes. The latter probes will fight back, but they're easy. Just pay attention to Zachary Quinto's tips and you'll be fine. Warp down to the Vega Colony to continue.

Your Third Mission

The remainder of the tutorial walks you through some more complicated ground and space combat. On Vega, you and your Bridge Officer must zap some Borg drones and disable some of their technology. Make sure you skill up some more when you first beam down. And read up on Kits, which are equipment that grant you special ground abilities. Kits are available based on your career path, and you may choose one from four possibilities at the beginning of the mission. Obviously, many more Kits will become available as you progress through the game.

After you've saved four civilians and shut down a Borg device, you return to your ship and warp into combat with more Borg. Help your allies destroy a Borg cube and a Borg sphere, and then warp to Earth Starbase to complete your training as a member of Starfleet.

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