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Captain's Log: Federation guide to choosing your first starship

Ryan Greene

Greetings, fellow officers! Welcome to another edition of Captain's Log, your weekly dispatch from the far reaches of Star Trek Online. I hope everyone had fun tooling around the cosmos with the developers on Monday. Sadly, technical difficulties prevented me from accessing the Tribble test server. So I'm making all my engineers wear red shirts on away missions for the rest of the week -- that'll learn 'em.

This week, I thought we'd cover one of my favorite aspects of STO: starships! More specifically, I'll offer some tips and information to help you choose your first ship when you reach that magic Lieutenant 11. Remember, you pretty much have to live with your decision for 10 levels, so let's make sure you choose wisely.

The Quest for Lieutenant 11

Okay, so technically this will be your second ship. You receive your first ship during the Federation tutorial, and you can customize it just after completing that tutorial. But you're still just one snowflake in a blizzard of Miranda-class starships, so that doesn't count. Lieutenant 11 (or simply level 11, for ease of reference) marks your first real opportunity to branch out and choose your starship.

So the first step, obviously, is to hit level 11. This confuses some new players who think they should shoot for level 10, since players advance in rank every 10 levels. But you must reach that 11th level, which converts to the first level of the new rank after completing a promotion quest.

At any rate, Captain's Log has covered the beginner tutorial thoroughly and has offered some helpful hints for progressing through the lieutenant levels. So check those out and you should hit level 11 in no time. Don't worry, I'll wait.

All set? Super good. Now, just as you did after completing the tutorial, head to Earth Spacedock when you reach level 11. Admiral Quinn will make you jump through a hoop or two before promoting you to Lieutenant Commander 1. That promotion comes complete with one free ship requisition, so run, don't walk, to the Shipyard next door (counterclockwise from the Admiral's office).

Starship Requisitions

You've been to the Shipyard before, as a wee lieutenant fresh out of the tutorial. But this time, instead of hanging around on the first floor with all the newbs, head up the ramp to the second-floor turbolift. The lift takes you to -- you guessed it -- Ship Requisitions, which is where you buy starships and starship equipment. Lt. Laurel, perpetually standing behind the desk on the southwest edge of the room, sells the ships and provides handy information about the three ship categories: Escorts, Science Vessels and Cruisers.

  • Escorts: Packed with firepower but fairly fragile, escorts are the closest the Federation has to glass cannons. Think the U.S.S. Defiant from Deep Space Nine.
  • Science Vessels: These ships focus on buffing allies and debuffing enemies. The U.S.S. Voyager is one variation of science vessels.
  • Cruisers: The big daddies of the Federation. Cruisers include the U.S.S. Enterprise in all its forms.
Ready to choose yet? I didn't think so. Knowing the basic idea behind each ship type is all well and good, and maybe you've got your heart set on which one you want already. But short of shelling out big space bucks to requisition a second starship, you have to live with your decision for 10 levels before you get to grab another free ship. While any ship type can hack it just fine in STO solo or group play -- particularly at such early levels -- choosing poorly can suck. Believe me, I know.

So let's look more closely at each Tier 1 starship available at level 11. On the next page, I'll provide useful information on each ship and, of course, I'll throw in my two cents whenever possible.

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