(written from a Production point of view)
Star Trek Online (STO for short) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Cryptic Studios. Released in February 2010, the game takes place in the years 2409 and 2410, nearly thirty years after Star Trek Nemesis and twenty-two years after the destruction of Romulus as depicted in Star Trek.
The year is 2409, and the Federation and the Klingon Empire are once again at war. The rise of a new Chancellor, J'mpok, sees the Khitomer Accords torn up, and an aggressive campaign of Klingon expansion underway. The Romulans, directionless and adrift after the destruction of their homeworld in 2387, continue to intrigue amongst themselves – a conflict which inevitably draws the Federation into the machinations of the once-proud Star Empire. The Cardassians, still recovering from the Dominion War, stir up trouble near Deep Space 9, as does a resurgent Terran Empire. And, after a period of relative inactivity, the Borg have begun to encroach on the Alpha Quadrant once more, starting with an attack on the Vega colony. At the same time, the Undine, aggrieved at what appear to be incursions into fluidic space by Alpha Quadrant powers, have begun infiltrating the major powers and driving them to conflict. And, behind all of this, a mysterious, ancient presence...
Following the termination of development on the earlier version of the game by Perpetual Entertainment, Cryptic acquired the license for Star Trek Online in January 2008,  and subsequently hired several members of the Perpetual development team. The game was rebuilt from scratch as Cryptic had acquired no useful assets from Perpetual aside from several pieces of concept art.  
On 27 July 2008, after placing a countdown timer on its website, Cryptic officially announced that they were the new developers and publishers of Star Trek Online. The official website was relaunched with details and screen shots. 
On 10 August 2008, at the official Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, Cryptic released several key details of the game as well as a gameplay trailer derived directly from the functioning game. Although no release date was announced at the time, Cryptic Chief Creative Officer Jack Emmert hinted that it would be sooner than players would expect, and certainly within the next three years.
Star Trek Online entered the closed beta stage on 22 October 2009. On 9 November 2009, the February 2010 release date was announced, with open beta details being released the following week. The open beta stage was originally intended to last from 12 January 2010 through 24 January 2010. This was ultimately extended until 26 January 2010, when the final day saw Cryptic stage a Klingon invasion of the Sol system, later interrupted by a full-scale Borg attack on Earth Spacedock, targeting both sides. A head-start offer to customers who had pre-ordered the game allowed them into the full game on 29 January 2010, ahead of standard retail customers.
Star Trek Online was released in the United States on 2 February 2010, and 5 February 2010 in Europe. Several different editions were available at launch, as well as a number of retailer-specific pre-order bonuses. Aside from the standard release, Deluxe and Collectors' Editions were produced, as was a digital release, the Digital Deluxe Edition. Each came with thirty days of free game time, although players were required to provide payment details when signing up.
The Collectors' Edition was only released in the United States. Packaged in a unique box, it came with a deluxe manual featuring extensive artwork, a metal replica of the standard combadge used in game, three three-day timecards for referrals, as well as a redemption code for the uniforms seen in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and a special in-game item.
The Deluxe Edition was a European edition of the Collectors' Edition, omitting the deluxe manual, combadge, and the additional timecards, but including a special Star Trek Online T-shirt, a set of art cards, and a version of the game's galaxy map.
The Digital Deluxe Edition was a download of the game, and therefore had no physical box or extras, but provided a number of in-game items, including the ability to play as a Joined Trill, the ability to add an NX prefix to the player's starship, two special emotes, and a special weapon.
A free demo version was released, allowing players to complete the first mission of the game, before displaying a message for players to buy the game if they wanted to continue.
Retailer-specific pre-order bonuses included the ability to command a Borg Bridge Officer, a TR-116 rifle, and a Constitution-class starting ship with unique weaponry which scaled with the player's level.
Perfect World acquisition
Perfect World, a China-based game developer and publisher, announced on 31 May 2011 that it was in talks to acquire Cryptic Studios from Atari, including the Star Trek Online property and development team. The acquisition was completed in early August 2011, the transition involving the removal of all Atari branding from the game (including reverting the usage of Atari Tokens to Cryptic Points, called Zen). Among the other developments as a result of the transition was the lifting of a hiring freeze in order to add more developers to the staff, and ramp up for new content. 
On 2 September 2011, it was revealed that STO would transition to a free-to-play (F2P) access model before the end of the year. Further details of the model, including a comparison of the features available to both player tiers, were released on 6 September 2011 – the model sees Silver members (free players) restricted to smaller inventory sizes, bank slots, and Bridge Officer slots, as well as restrictions on in-game chat, mail, voice chat, and access to the STO forums. Gold members (subscribers and Lifetime members) would have a monthly stipend of 500 Zen. All content is freely available to both tiers. Klingon and Romulan content can be used starting at level 1. 
On 9 November 2011, it was announced that STO would go free-to-play on 17 January 2012, but many of the F2P-related changes would be released on the main server during the first week of December (later confirmed to be 1 December 2011).  On 28 November 2011, it was announced the F2P launch would go under the Season 5: Call to Arms title. 
On 11 March 2014, a client for Mac OS X was released following a period of beta testing.  The support for Mac OS X was terminated on 5 February 2016 after it turned out that Cryptic was unable to solve longstanding technical problems with the client and continued support was unfeasible. 
STO's gameplay is largely combat-based (although non-combat missions are present, and a specific "Diplomatic" advancement path is available). Players may choose to align themselves with the United Federation of Planets, Klingon Empire, Romulan Republic, or the Dominion. The Federation originally was the most strongly developed in terms of mission gameplay, with the Klingon faction originally intended as a pure PvP (player vs. player) faction – this has changed in later updates. The third faction, the Romulan Republic, is a breakaway faction of the Romulan Star Empire, with its own ships, missions, storyline, and ranks, but players at level 10 ally with either the Federation or the Klingons, gaining access to either faction's facilities. The fourth is a group of temporally displaced captains from the TOS era. They are allied with the Federation and are considered Federation characters aside from their unique menu sounds and transporter animation. The fifth playable faction is the Dominion, led by Odo. These characters are Jem'Hadar, and like the Romulans, they choose to ally with the Federation or the Klingon Empire. A sixth playable faction has also been released, with Discovery-era Federation captains being playable. They, like the TOS characters, are allied with the Federation.
The player's principal character is the captain of their own vessel, with support characters assigned as Bridge Officers. These Officers provide the player with additional skills and abilities both in space and on the ground. Starting as an Ensign (Starfleet), Warrior (Klingon), or Civilian (Romulan), the player gains skill points and specializations via gameplay to advance in rank, unlocking new skills and more powerful ships along the way, until reaching the maximum rank.
|Federation Rank||Cadet||Lieutenant||Lieutenant Commander||Commander||Captain||Rear Admiral, Lower Half||Rear Admiral, Upper Half||Vice Admiral||Admiral||Fleet Admiral|
|Klingon Rank||Warrior||Lieutenant||Lieutenant Commander||Commander||Captain||Brigadier General||Major General||Lieutenant General||General||Dahar Master|
|Romulan Republic Rank||Citizen||Lieutenant||Centurion||Sub-Commander||Commander||Subadmiral I||Subadmiral II||Vice Admiral||Admiral||Fleet Admiral|
With the Delta Rising expansion, the level cap was raised to Level 60, enabling Admiral/General at Level 55 and Fleet Admiral/Dahar Master at Level 60. Bridge Officers may also be promoted up until Commander level, unlocking the use of new skills.
A difficulty slider is available for players to change the level at which they play. At Normal difficulty, the enemies are of an equal level to that of the mission, and rewards and equipment drops are at a standard level. At Advanced and Elite difficulties, the enemies are more powerful, but equipment drops provide rarer devices, and mission rewards are scaled higher. At the two higher difficulties, the death of your character or the destruction of your ship can result in the imposition of injuries, which impair the player in different ways depending on the nature of the injury – for example, a Minor Concussion injury on the player's character results in a reduction in their resistance to energy damage.
Principal game play occurs through the completion of missions. These missions are acquired from communication with superior officers, and often involved travel to a particular system, where space and ground objectives must be completed to earn rewards. Some missions span multiple systems. There are several types of mission encountered in STO:
Tour of Duty
This is the tutorial mission encountered by all players upon starting a new Federation character. The player assumes the role of an officer aboard his starting starship, during the Borg attack on the Vega colony. After assisting the USS Khitomer in repelling a Borg invasion (introducing basic movement, combat, and interaction), the players find themselves in command of their ship, and must assist in recovery operations (introducing basic starship operations), engage a weakened Borg force in orbit (introducing starship combat) and on the surface (introducing power "kits" and combat tactics), and finally join a Starfleet task force to eliminate a Borg cube. Upon completion of the tutorial, the player proceeds to Earth Spacedock, to begin the game proper.
The Legacy of Romulus expansion introduced new early-game content for both Romulan and Klingon characters. Romulan characters begin as colonists on the independent post-diaspora colony of Virinat, where they are forced to join the Romulan Republic after the colony is attacked by the Tal Shiar and their Elachi allies, leading up to the discovery, founding, and defense of New Romulus. Klingon players begin their journey as first officer on a Klingon Defense Force Bird-of-Prey, apprehending an agent of Section 31, and challenging a treacherous captain for command of the ship.
In 2014's Season 8.5 update, the initial "Tour of Duty" for Starfleet players was revamped, and the story line changed to recast the player as a fresh academy graduate on a training cruise as first officer of a Miranda-class starship under the Denobulan Captain Masc Taggart. The ship is attacked by Klingon marauders who kidnap and then kill Captain Taggart, leaving the player in command. Subsequent missions saw the player partcipate in the defense of Vega against the Borg invasion, and Starfleet Admiral Jorel Quinn formalizes the player's promotion.
2016's Agents of Yesterday expansion introduced several missions taking place in the 23rd century, starring player characters from that period (hereby referred to as "TOS Starfleet"), continuing up to the player's apparent death at the Battle of Caleb IV and their recruitment by Daniels as a Temporal Agent.
These missions provide the central backbone of the STO storyline. Called "episodes", each mission features narrative-driven content arranged around a particular story arc and usually involving a specific faction or set of factions in the Trek universe. Characters of each faction (Federation, Klingon, TOS Starfleet, and Romulan) would have some amount of exclusive content tailored to their origin, but later episodes are playable by all factions with minor differences in dialog to adjust for tone or "flavor".
Exclusive to 25th-century Federation players, the Klingon War arc begins with the rescue of a disabled freighter from Orion raiders. Players encounter Undine infiltrators, prevent the kidnapping of Miral Paris, follow a chain of listening posts to a Klingon base, stop a dangerous genetic engineering experiment, travel in time to complete a predestination paradox, and stop the Klingons from taking control of a Doomsday machine.
Empire, Warzone, Fek'Irhi Return, and Vigilance
Exclusive to Klingon players following Legacy of Romulus, the four arcs deal with a series of missions which has the player defend Ambassador Worf from a traitorous Great House before traveling into Gre'thor itself to stop a hellish invasion.
From the Ashes, Allies, and In Shadows
Exclusive to Romulan players following Legacy of Romulus, the three arcs detail the player's transformation from a simple farmer on the Romulan colony of Virinat to the instrument of making the Romulan Republic a legitimate faction and his/her trials against the Tal Shiar.
The first major storyline for all players. Players travel to Nimbus III in search of thalaron triggers and, in the process, rescue the planet from the Orion Syndicate and the Tal Shiar. This mission also concludes a B-plot with the Romulan players involving the NPC character Tovan Khev and his missing sister.
Romulan Mystery/Vengeance and Freedom
Revamped with the 5th Year Anniversary, Federation players deal with Empress Sela's wrath towards Vulcan and investigate the Tal Shiar usage of Borg technology while Romulan Players defend their people from the Elachi. Ultimately, all players aid in the Reman uprising and take down the Tal Shiar once and for all.
Revamped for Season 11, players must deal with an alliance with the breakaway Cardassian faction the True Way and the Terran Empire, lead by Captain Leeta before dealing with the missing Jem'Hadar fleet from "Sacrifice of Angels".
The fusion of the old Borg Front and Undine Front missions, players travel to Gamma Orionis sector block to prevent the Borg from using a special nanovirus and being able to assimilate the Undine while discovering the cause of the Undine's assault on the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.
The Dyson Sphere
When an Iconian gateway is discovered on New Romulus, players must save the planet from being torn to shreds by its activation, investigate the mysterious new Solanae Dyson sphere, face the Voth for control of the sphere, and ultimately stop the Undine assault on the Beta Quadrant.
The Iconian War
In the conclusion to the original storyline, the Iconians have made themselves known and all out war of conquest in the quadrants has begun. Players must pull out all the stops to stop the invasion and learn what happened 200,000 years ago.
The Iconian War may be over, but the adventure isn't as the effects of time travel unleashed during the war makes itself known as players are dragged into the Temporal Cold War.
There are two types of exploration mission provided in game play – Sector Exploration missions, and Star Cluster Exploration missions.
Sector Exploration missions (also known as Patrols) utilize the sectors present in the main galaxy map and the systems present there. These typically involve visiting four star systems within a particular sector and resolving individual missions in each. These mission, once completed, cannot be replayed.
Star Clusters are located in "deep space", outside the normal galaxy map, and are populated with systems generated by Cryptic's "Genesis Engine", which provides a randomized mission for each player. A mission involving exploration of these clusters typically requires the completion of three missions. These exploration mission are repeatable, and reward the player with dilithium which can be exchanged for equipment.
Note: Star clusters and exploration missions were removed in the Season 9.5 update and replaced with interacts for the duty officer system instead.
Introduced in the Season Two update, the Federation Diplomatic Corps provides a combat-minimal method of advancement for players. Diplomatic missions are provided by Ambassador Jiro Sugihara, and are typically Exploration missions where combat does not take place. Some special non-repeatable Diplomatic missions are also available, and progression through the Corps' ranking structure unlocks first contact missions, as well as transwarp capabilities and unique diplomatic titles.
Note: With the Season 9.5 update, diplomatic first contact missions have been removed from the game along with the star clusters, the exploration missions and the Memory Alpha social zone map. Non-repeatable diplomatic missions are still available in accessible areas. Repeatable, interactive diplomatic assignments as a way of progressing through the game have been replaced by assignments within the Duty Officer System.
Deep Space Encounters
These are simple combat encounters, triggered when approaching or encountering a wandering enemy vessel in Sector Space. The encounter is resolved after defeating nine-ten groups of enemy ships. "Defend the... Sector" missions require a player to complete three DSEs. The enemy ships are at a level roughly equivalent to the missions within the sector, are related to the front to which that sector belongs, and do not level up with the player.
Fleet Actions are extended combat encounters at fixed locations, involving groupings of players working together to combat a significant threat. Both space- and ground-based Fleet Actions can be found, and often require complex tactics needing coordination of players.
Feature Episodes  were introduced with Season Two. A series of five missions, forming a connected storyline, is released weekly. Each series focuses on a specific race, and provides unique rewards associated with the storyline, as well as limited-time additional rewards for completing the series soon after its release. Both Federation and Klingon players may attempt the missions, which are restricted to above a certain level. Additional daily missions may be added during the series, and all of the episodes are retained within the game following the end of the series. Feature Episode reruns introduced in May 2011 have allowed another chance for players to earn the limited-time rewards, as well as newly-introduced rewards.
The Feature Episode series that have been released so far have been (with their debut dates in parentheses):
- Series 1: The Breen (August–September 2010) – The player must unravel the reasons for Breen interest in the Deferi, a newly encountered race, and protect the Deferi from Breen encroachment.
- Series 2: The Devidians (October–November 2010) – The Devidians seek to use time, and the ongoing conflict in the Neutral Zone, to their own advantage.
- Series 3: Cloaked Intentions (February–March 2011) – The internal struggles of the Romulans continue, pulling the Federation and KDF into the predicament.
- Series 4: The 2800 (February–March 2012) – The Dominion fleet that disappeared in DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels" emerges from the Bajoran wormhole after having been displaced through time by the Prophets, and takes control of Deep Space 9. The Odyssey-class USS Enterprise-F made its formal debut in the series finale, "Boldly They Rode", on 10 March 2012.
In 2015, the original Feature Episode series have been folded into the overall mission progression for each player. For example, the missions under the Devidian series now occur during a Federation player's "Klingon War" episode arc. The term "feature episode" has been redefined by Cryptic to cover any new content released and highlighted for a limited amount of time, though Feature Episode rerun events still occur periodically.
These are repeatable missions set on a timer, so that a player may only complete them, and receive the appropriate reward, once in a 24-hour period (although the actual reset time is 20–22 hours). Most Daily Missions are intended for maximum-level players, and provide rewards that can be traded for special equipment and weapons.
Special Task Forces
Special Task Forces (STFs) are a unique mission type, created as "endgame" content for maximum-level players. More difficult and involved than ordinary missions, the STFs are intended to be undertaken by teams of five players, with certain STFs taking up to twenty (in four teams).
All of the PvE Queue STFs currently award different Reputation Marks which can be used for progressing in the Reputation tracks, as well as purchasing various themed gear. Previously, these STFs awarded a number of tech drops and Encrypted Datachips. This was deemed overly complicated for some, and in order to obtain the best possible gear, one had to be lucky with the drops. Under the new Reputation system, all gear is accessible over time, without the need to rely on luck.
Borg Red Alerts were added during Season Four as quasi-random Fleet Action-type events where players from both the Federation and Klingon Empire can team up to defeat Borg incursions in various sectors in the game. Players are given a limited amount of time to complete the event, but benefit from a XP-gain bonus during the event, and can earn special Accolades and (until the release of Season Five,) an XP-boosting item upon victory.
Other Red Alerts, such as Tholian Red Alerts, were added, along with limited-time events focused on Na'kuhl and Elachi foes.
Crafting refers to the ability of players to research and create upgraded technologies for use by their character or their ship.
Prior to Season 9.5, crafting took place at Memory Alpha, and required the collection of "data samples" which were acquired by scanning anomalies in space and on the ground. These data samples were combined with "schematics", which provided the basic blueprint of the technology being researched. Certain very rare items could be crafted using rare "particle traces". The creation of new technologies provided the player with skill points, which increased the rarity of the technologies that could be crafted.
In Season 9.5, a new crafting system known as the Research & Development System (R&D System) was implemented. The system consists of seven "schools": Shields, Beams, Science, Projectiles, Ground Weapons, Engineering, and Cannons. Starting with R&D materials of various types (replacements for the old "data samples", gathered by scanning anomalies and other methods), items, components, and tech upgrades can be crafted, later an additional school, kits was added. Research can be performed as well, granting a large bonus of experience points within the specific school where it is performed. The schools can be leveled up to a present cap of Level 20.
Additionally, special starship components, known as Aegis technologies, can be crafted at the highest end of the R&D range.
PvP gameplay, which is accessible to any player of level 5 or greater, is accomplished by means of a queuing system. Both ground and space mission types are available, and the queues are rank-limited so that only players of the same rank may play against each other. Three faction arrangements are possible – Federation versus Klingon, Klingon versus Klingon (House Battles), and Federation versus Federation (Wargames).
Regular patches provide bug fixes and improved features. Major updates are released under a "Season" banner on a semi-regular basis. Prior to release on the main gameplay server, "Holodeck", these patches and updates are tested on STO's test server, "Tribble". Another revamp from the original game is the incorporation of a more modern shooter mode, replacing the original RPG style Point-and-Click. Both modes are still available.
Season One: Common Ground
The first major update to the STO system, Common Ground was released on 24 March 2010, providing a wide range of changes, improvements, and fixes. Amongst the most extensive changes were: the introduction of a respec system, which allowed players to reallocate their skill points if needed; Federation wargames in PvP, as well as a new ground map; the second Special Task Force mission, "The Cure"; two new Fleet Action missions; and additional perks for Lifetime Subscribers.
Season Two: Ancient Enemies
Season Two, released on 27 July 2010, saw the increase of the maximum level that can be achieved by players from 45 to 51. Along with this expansion came new starships and items that were associated with level 51. A new Undine Front was opened, with new missions developing the ongoing storyline. Klingon players received episode missions for the first time, moving away from the pure PvP concept of the original release. Diplomacy was introduced, allowing players to pursue a less combat-heavy progression track. Two new mini-games, Dabo and an anomaly-gathering task, were provided, as were arrangements for the first Feature Episode season.
Season Three: Genesis
Released on 9 December 2010, Season Three's central addition was the release of a beta version of the Foundry, a tool that allows players to generate their own missions and publish them for other players to attempt. At the time of release, the Foundry was only available to players on the Tribble server, but a full beta roll-out on Holodeck followed in March 2011. Additional improvements included: an overhaul to the graphics of the Sector Space navigation area, reducing the amount of elements present in order to present a more "realistic" portrayal of space; Episode Replay, which permits players to redo missions they have already completed; another revamp of the crafting system, to introduce the use of schematics for crafting rather than having to purchase basic versions of the technology being upgraded; a new arrangement for contacting superior officers and acquiring missions; a consolidation of equipment vendors across the various stations; allowing Klingon players access to the previously Federation-only Pi Canis sector; and numerous minor changes and fixes.
Season Four: Crossfire
Released on 7 July 2011, Season Four's principal focus was a complete revamp of ground combat, with an introduction of an optional over-the-shoulder reticule system, improved UI responsiveness, weapons functionality changes, kit power changes, AI updates, and animation enhancements. The release also saw a revamp of the Borg, allowing them to adapt to players' weapons, and providing them with the ability to assimilate players and their Bridge Officers. Other Season Four updates include: improved graphical compression; Vivox voice chat integration; further character customizations, including a new design for the Gorn; new loading screens; a Fleet Action queuing system; and a new Qo'noS First City zone. A patch released on 21 July 2011 also added Starfleet Academy as a second social area in the Sol system to compliment Earth Spacedock. On 1 September 2011, Borg Red Alerts were launched as part of the ongoing Borg Invasion content; both Starfleet and KDF factions combat the sudden resurgence of Borg incursions into nearly all sectors in a timed quasi-Fleet Action scenario.
Season Five: Call to Arms
Released on 1 December 2011 to existing subscribers, Season Five was the first major release of STO for F2P, with numerous changes to gameplay mechanics to fit the F2P model. The early game experience was revamped, with a refreshed tutorial for Federation characters, and a higher starting level for KDF characters for "tighter" early gameplay. Other changes geared to make the game easier for all players (but mostly new ones) included: faster leveling; mission journal upgrade with episode missions organized into storylines designed to be played sequentially and transwarp ability to a mission's starting point; space skills revamp to simplify the relationship between skills and abilities; and an event calendar with rotating events.
Originally intended to launch with Season Four, the Duty Officer System was part of Season Five's release. The system is separate from, but complementary to existing Bridge Officers, and has been likened to a trading card game, where duty officers can be added to a player's active roster to provide passive abilities to combat and non-combat gameplay. Duty officers can also be sent on assignments of varying requirements and length of time and return with rewards, like energy credits, skill points, or even additional assignments and new duty officers.
Continuing with the introduction of Borg Red Alerts during Season Four, Season Five introduced the Borg Invasion of Defera, a ground-based combat event where cross-faction players defend Defera by accepting missions of various difficulty levels to neutralize the Borg threat. The last stage of the Borg Invasion is the "re-envisioned" Borg Strategic Task Force maps (STFs), which have been refreshed with different mission objectives than before, split into smaller pieces for easier completion, and revamped rewards system to obtain some of the highest "elite gear" available in the game.
Season Five introduced the new dilithium economy which consolidated many of the old in-game currencies into dilithium ore. Dilthium cannot be directly exchanged with other players, but the new Dilithium Exchange is where players may set a price to exchange between one another their dilithium (in-game currency) for Cryptic Points (the microtransaction currency) and vice versa. The new economy also forced upon a change to the crafting system, in that dilithium is now a requirement to craft higher level items on top of preexisting crafting material prerequisites. Furthermore, many of the items available in the microtransaction Cryptic Store saw price and item functionality changes to reflect the realities of the new economy.
Minor changes include social map facelifts, expanded focus on Starfleet and Klingon Academy areas via lore missions, patrol mission revamp, new login screens, a compass for ground mission navigation, and the ability to purchase Foundry slots with dilithium to expand the number of user-created missions one can develop at a time.
Before Season Six's release, other notable game additions include:  the fourth Feature Episodes series, a dilithium mining minigame, a shuttle event, a Duty Officer system expansion, several new missions (some holiday-themed), and new C-Store items. An account-shared bank was also recently added to the game. 
Season Six: Under Siege
Season Six was released on 12 July 2012.   The primary feature is the introduction of the Fleet Advancement system, which allows players to work collectively with their fleetmates to build a fleet starbase (with other fleet holdings planned for the future) through Projects, a similar mechanic as the Assignments from the Duty Officer system, which require contributions such as energy credits, dilithium, various in-game items, and a new currency called Fleet Marks.
Players can earn Fleet Marks from several new missions designed around defending fleet starbases in space and ground scenarios, such as protecting incoming freighters breaking a blockade, clearing one's cargo hold of enemy saboteurs, and a twenty-player space Fleet Action with numerous waves of enemy starships. Contributing to Fleet Starbase Projects rewards players with Fleet Credits, which can be used, along with other requirements, to purchase high-end space and ground combat items, boosts for starbase-oriented missions, and new starships. Higher-level starbases unlock better rewards in the Fleet Store for fleet member purchase.
Two new endgame re-playable PvE missions were also released: a Colony Invasion ground scenario, and a No Win Scenario space mission with waves of enemies of progressing difficulty attacking a freighter. The Tholian Assembly was introduced as a new enemy faction with new missions, starting with a ground event with multiple missions on a demon class world. They can also be found as the random opposition in the new starbase-oriented space missions.
The user-generated content tool, the Foundry, was updated as well with general usability and performance improvements.
Season Seven: New Romulus
Season Seven, released in November 2012, introduces the new Reputation System which functions similarly to Starbase Projects.
Storywise, Season Seven continues the story of "Cloaked Intentions", adding a new "adventure zone" – New Romulus, a colony of peaceful Romulans and Remans led by D'Tan – to the game. Through the Reputation system, fleets can establish embassies on New Romulus.
Daniel Stahl has been quoted as saying "My expectation is that Season 7 will be the biggest single update we've made since we launched the game." 
Expansion Pack: Legacy of Romulus
Star Trek Online's first full expansion, Legacy of Romulus, introduced the Romulans as a third playable faction. Players became able to create Romulan characters from the onset and Reman characters were unlockable either by reputation with New Romulus or purchase from the Cryptic Store. Romulan players were enabled to command their faction's ships, including Romulan warbirds.
The beginning levels have been described as a prequel to the events of the "Cloaked Intentions" series; the players are part of a band of survivors unaffiliated with either the Tal Shiar-dominated regime or D'Tan's Romulan Republic, settled on an agricultural colony unknown to any of the factions in the galactic conflict.  At a certain point, they are forced into the maelstrom, and Starfleet and the Klingon Defense Force – both of whom have come to the aid of New Romulus – called on Romulan captains to choose a side in the escalating Federation-Klingon war.  All player ships received a new resource in the form of distinct power cores; Starfleet and Klingon vessels received warp cores, while Romulan vessels used their unique artificial quantum singularity cores.
Players fought against a new "silent enemy" in a series of newly created Romulan story missions. Denise Crosby, who made an appearance in the Third Anniversary event, "Temporal Ambassador", as Tasha Yar, returned as the voice of Empress Sela for the new campaign; she also lent her voice to the previously-unvoiced appearance of Sela in the mission "Cutting the Cord", the end of the "Cloaked Intentions" feature episode series.
In addition, the Klingon faction received an expansion, allowing players to start a character at level 1 once again (the original starting level was 20). A new Tholian-based reputation became available to players, the Nukara Strikeforce. The game's UI was completely overhauled, and was redesigned to be more "functional."
Season Eight: The Sphere
Season Eight introduces the Voth, a race of saurian aliens from the Delta Quadrant, inhabiting a Dyson sphere discovered at the end of the gateway found on New Romulus (see "Feature Episodes", Series 5). A new fleet holding, a spire on the interior surface of the sphere, was introduced, as well as a new "adventure area" inside the sphere where players face the Voth. A new reputation faction (Dyson) was added.
As with the Legacy of Romulus expansion and the appearance by Denise Crosby's, Michael Dorn reprised his role as Worf to voice the character in the earlier Klingon missions that he appeared in.
Season 8.5: Anniversary Update
This update was released in February 2014 to celebrate the games' fourth anniversary. Tim Russ reprises his role from Star Trek: Voyager and portrays Admiral Tuvok, in a new mission entitled "A Step Between Stars". 
Season Nine: A New Accord
Season Nine was released on April 22, 2014, and continues where "A Step Between Stars" left off, with Admiral Tuvok calling for a summit between the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Republic to answer the threat of the Undine (Species 8472). The update included a new feature episode, "Surface Tension", a redesign of Undine models, and a redesign of Earth Spacedock.  
Season 9.5: R&D Update
Season 9.5 was released on July 17, 2014, with an extensive overhaul of the crafting system (Research & Development) and the materials required for them. The Odyssey and Bortasqu' uniform sets, previously available only through the fleet tailors, is now standard issue, and new variants of these designs are available in their place from the fleet tailors. Finally, 9.5 added the Xindi Lock Box, opened with Master Keys, which could contain the Xindi-Aquatic Narcine Dreadnought Carrier, the Xindi-Reptilian Contortrix Escort, a variety of Xindi-inspired weapons and uniforms, Xindi duty officers, or a Xindi-Reptilian bridge officer. 
Expansion Pack: Delta Rising
Delta Rising was announced at the Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas on August 2, 2014. It takes place in the Delta Quadrant, last seen in Star Trek: Voyager, and will feature some of the races encountered during the USS Voyager's seven years in that region, most prominently the Talaxians, the Kobali, and the story's main antagonists, the Vaadwaur. In addition to Tim Russ returning as Admiral Tuvok, several other Voyager cast members returned, including Garrett Wang as Harry Kim, now captain of the USS Rhode Island, Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine, the former Borg drone and advisor to Starfleet, Ethan Phillips as Neelix, the Talaxian chef on the Voyager during its journey through the Delta Quadrant and now a roving Federation ambassador to the Delta Quadrant, and Robert Picardo as The Doctor, the Voyager's holographic chief medical officer.  The level was increased from 51 to 60, with the new highest ranks being Fleet Admiral (Federation/Romulan Republic) and Dahar Master (Klingons). A sixth tier of ships, and two new levels of equipment, were also included.
Season Ten: The Iconian War
Season Ten officially begins the war between the Delta Alliance (the pact between the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans to deal with the threats of the Delta Quadrant) and the Iconians that has been building up since the launch of the game. Robert Duncan McNeill returns as Tom Paris, now a Starfleet captain and commander of "Delta Flight", an elite team of pilots formed at the start of the Iconian War; Lisa LoCicero voices his daughter, Lt. Commander Miral Paris, reprising her role from "Endgame". Of major note was the revamp of the in-game map, from its original eighteen separate sector maps to three quadrant maps (Alpha, Beta, and Delta).
The Iconian War was released on April 21, 2015. 
Season 10.5 continues the Iconian War story line with the revelation of the surviving Krenim colony on Kyana Prime, and their desire to build Annorax's temporal weapon ship to combat the Iconians and the Vaadwaur, with help from the Delta Alliance. A new feature episode entitled "Broken Circle" was added, with Captain Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill), Captain Nog (Aron Eisenberg), and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) leading an attack against the Herald Sphere on Iconia in order to give the Alliance time to build the weapon. Other additions include the new Research Lab fleet holding (based on the lab constructing the weapon ship in "Broken Circle") and the Armada system (alliances between multiple fleets).
Season 10.5 was released on July 16, 2015. 
Season Eleven: New Dawn
Season 11 takes place during the aftermath of the Iconian War, focusing on reconstruction and a return to exploration following the costly conflict with the Iconians. The Cardassian Struggle story line received a revamp to link it to the earlier story "The 2800", and features the True Way and the "New Link" led by Laas, and their alliance with a restored Terran Empire led by Admiral Leeta (voiced by Chase Masterson). Feature episodes of the season also involve the Na'kuhl and the Temporal Cold War. A new reputation, the Terran Task Force, was also added to combat the invading Terran forces, as well as new PvE queues to defend Deep Space Nine from an attack from a mirror Terok Nor station.
Season 11 was released on October 27, 2015. 
Expansion Pack: Agents of Yesterday
Agents of Yesterday was announced on May 5, 2016, as the game's contribution to the 50th anniversary celebration of Star Trek. Players will be able to create a Starfleet officer from the 23rd century (Human, Vulcan, Tellarite, or Andorian) who is recruited as a temporal agent by Daniels (voiced by Matt Winston), the agent who worked with Jonathan Archer a century before. The 23rd century Starfleet officers begin with their own starting experience set in 2270. After their "death" at the end of the story, Daniels brings them forward to the year 2409, at the beginning of the story for Star Trek Online, in order to investigate Na'kuhl activity in the game's "present". The alternate reality from 2009's Star Trek, known in-game as the "Kelvin timeline", will also intersect with the main timeline. Other characters featuring in the narrative include Captain Pavel Chekov (voiced by Walter Koenig), Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott (voiced by Christopher Doohan, in place of his late father, James Doohan), and Lieutenant 0718 (voiced by Joseph Gatt), a science officer from the alternate reality. The alternate reality Constitution-class, the USS Vengeance, and a Klingon Bird-of-Prey and Romulan warbird were also added with the Kelvin Lock Box.
Additional features include new temporal ships from the 27th century and time-altered ships from the 23rd century (including the classic Constitution-class and the Daedalus-class), a new reputation, the Temporal Defense Initiative, and two new PvE queues, including the Battle of Procyon V. Players also have the option of choosing the new Temporal Operative specialization for their captains.
Season Twelve: Reckoning
Season 12 centers around the Lukari, a race encountered in the aftermath of the Iconian War in Season 11. The Lukari have built their first new starship under the command of Captain Kuumaarke (voiced by Kipleigh Brown), and discover that the Tzenkethi are detonating protomatter weapons in the frontier of the Alpha Quadrant near Lukari space. They request the aid of the Alliance, and forces under General Rodek (voiced by Tony Todd) answer the call to arms. As part of the 7th anniversary of the game, players will receive the new Lukari starship (designed by player voting) as a reward for completing the featured episode, "Of Signs and Portents". The new Undiscovered Lock Box includes three new ships of the TOS era – the Federation Atlas dreadnought, the Klingon D9 dreadnought battle cruiser, and the Romulan Thrai dreadnought warbird. The NX-class refit was also included in the Lobi Store.
Season 12 was released on January 26, 2017. 
Season Thirteen: Escalation
Season 13 continues involvement with the Lukari, as their expertise in manipulating protomatter helps the allied powers in their attempts to prevent the Tzenkethi from devastating more planets in their campaign to "purge" an unspecified threat. Investigations into a mysterious nebula reveal the lost, heavily polluted home world of the Lukari, Kentar. Though initially hostile to the returned Lukari, the Kentari and Lukari put aside their differences after the Alliance defends Kentar from an attempted Tzenkethi purge, establishing joint colonies and trading technology with Captain Kuumaarke (voiced by Kipleigh Brown) as ambassador. General Rodek (voiced by Tony Todd) leads an operation to infiltrate a Tzenkethi prison and rescue General Martok (voiced by J.G. Hertzler), thought dead after the power struggle that brought Chancellor J'mpok to power.
Season Fourteen: Emergence
Season 14 brings the Dranuur Colony Fleet Holding, which is the first full five tier Fleet Holding since the Fleet Starbase. Players and their fleets will help the Lukari and Kentari build a new world together and unlock great rewards for their fleets. In Emergence, players will reunite with Captain Geordi La Forge, voiced by LeVar Burton from Star Trek: The Next Generation, for a brand-new featured episode, "Melting Pot". Martok, famed for his battles against the Tzenkethi (and called "The Butcher" by Tzenkethi forces) leads Alliance forces to a final battle over Bajor, as Tzenkethi forces mount an all-out assault to purge the planet. Deep Space 9, moved into Bajoran orbit to defend the planet, takes heavy damage, but Tzenkethi forces are defeated and surrender. The victory is short-lived, however, as the battle awakens the threat the Tzenkethi were targeting: The Hur'q, which had been lying dormant below the surface of many Alpha Quadrant planets, including Bajor. Season 14 also introduced the "Miracle Worker" player specialization, as well as the Miracle Worker cruiser ship line.
Expansion Pack: Victory is Life
The fourth expansion, Victory is Life, was announced on March 20, 2018, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The expansion introduces the Jem'Hadar as a playable faction, beginning at level 60; the level cap for all characters is being increased to 65. The Cardassians were also added as a playable species, serving in either Starfleet or the Klingon Defense Force. Both the exterior and interior designs of Deep Space 9 received a complete visual overhaul in order to be closer to its actual on-screen appearance. Players are now able to travel to the Gamma Quadrant via the Bajoran wormhole. Several characters from Deep Space Nine play a major role in the upcoming expansion, including Odo (voiced by René Auberjonois), Quark (voiced by Armin Shimerman), Kira Nerys (voiced by Nana Visitor), Elim Garak (voiced by Andrew Robinson), Dr. Julian Bashir (voiced by Alexander Siddig), Rom (voiced by Max Grodénchik), Weyoun 10 and Brunt (both voiced by Jeffrey Combs), and the Female Changeling (voiced by Salome Jens). Six new episodes and a new PvE queue have been added dealing with the threat of the Hur'q.
Victory is Life was released on June 5, 2018. 
Expansion Pack: Age of Discovery
The fifth expansion, Age of Discovery, was announced on 26 July 2018. Similarly to Agents of Yesterday, Age of Discovery involves events in the 23rd century, beginning in the year 2256, just after the Battle of the Binary Stars. The campaign will allow players to create a character from the era of Star Trek: Discovery, explore the Crossfield-class USS Glenn, and play a role in the war with the Klingons. Mary Wiseman will reprise her role as Cadet Sylvia Tilly, and Rekha Sharma will appear as Ellen Landry. The story line will see players combating J'Ula (β), sister of T'Kuvma, and include a return to Pahvo (based on an undeveloped story idea by Discovery writer Kirsten Beyer). 
Age of Discovery was released in the autumn of 2018, October 9, 2018 for PC and November 13, 2018 for consoles.  Further releases followed, including the anniversary episode in early 2019, in which featured Captain "Killy" and the ISS Discovery. 
Characters are extensively customizable, with every aspect of their physical appearance – from height, hairstyle, uniform, to finger length and forehead protrusion – capable of being changed to suit the player's desires. A player selects from one of three character types – Tactical, Science, and Engineering – each sharing some skills, but having their own unique trainable skills within their career path. A wide variety of template races are available with their own traits and customizations. In addition, all sides have the option to create an "alien" character with its own appearance and player-selected traits.
New player races, and uniforms and accessories are added to the game fairly regularly, most requiring purchase via the C-Store.
|Federation playable races|
|Klingon playable races|
|Romulan playable races|
|Dominion playable races|
In Star Trek Online, you can customize your uniform. Uniforms are purchased through the C-Store or are standard in game. The Odyssey uniform set is the standard uniform for Starfleet in this time period.
Like characters, starships have a degree of customization – this is more limited, due to the need to ensure each customizable piece can fit together and not cause graphical errors – individual components of a ship type (saucer, warp nacelles, etc.) can be selected and used. All players begin with a light cruiser, and can then branch off into one of three ship paths – Cruiser, Escort, and Science (although the player is not locked into that path, and may choose any vessel at any time). New vessels are introduced at each rank, with most of the vessels having at least three sub-types for customization purposes.
Vessel interiors are present, and can also be customized by selection of a specific bridge design – the remainder of the interior is largely fixed with a ready room, engineering deck (including main engineering, engineering lab, and transporter room), and crew deck (with captain's quarters, sickbay, and a mess hall or lounge), although the size of decks can be altered. The interiors are largely intended to be for social interaction (as other players can be invited onto them), and STO staff have expressed a desire to further improve on the capabilities of the interior.
Each vessel has a number of assigned stations for Bridge Officers. Depending on the ship paths and rank, the Bridge Officers can use certain of their abilities when assigned to a particular station (for example, a Science Bridge Officer with rank of Commander may only use abilities up to Lieutenant if assigned to a Lieutenant Science station).
Ship equipment and consoles are used to provide boosts to vessel statistics, as well as temporary boosts to shields, weapons, engines, and auxiliary systems.
|Light Cruiser||Light Cruisers|
|Light Escort||Light Escorts|
|Light Science Vessel||Light Science Vessels|
|Tier||Lieutenant Commander||Commander||Captain||Rear Admiral (Lower and Upper Halves)||Vice Admiral|
Cruiser – Refit**
| Heavy Cruiser
Advanced Heavy Cruiser (with transwarp computer)**
| Exploration Cruiser
Exploration Cruiser – Refit (with antimatter spread)**
| Assault Cruiser
Advanced Heavy Cruiser – Retrofit (with transwarp drive)**
Support Cruiser – Retrofit
| Dreadnought Cruiser (with cloaking device)
Exploration Cruiser – Retrofit (with saucer separation)****
Advanced Odyssey Variants**
Assault Cruiser Refit (with metreon gas canisters console mod) (wide angle quantum torpedo launcher)**
Battle Cruiser (with Variable Auto-Targeting Armaments; can equip cloaking device from Dreadnought Cruiser or Tactical Escort Retrofit)
Escort – Refit**
| Heavy Escort
Heavy Escort – Refit**
| Tactical Escort
Tactical Escort – Refit**
| Advanced Escort
| Tactical Escort – Retrofit (with cloaking device)****
Multi-Vector Advanced Escort (with multi-vector assault mode)**
Heavy Escort Carrier (with Photon Torpedo Point Defense System)**
Temporal Destroyer (with Manheim Device)*****
Heavy Destroyer (with Dynamic Tactical System)***
|Science Vessel|| Science Vessel
Science Vessel – Refit**
| Research Science Vessel
Advanced Research Vessel**
| Long Range Science Vessel
'Long Range Science Vessel – Refit**
| Deep Space Science Vessel
Reconnaissance Science Vessel
Advanced Research Vessel – Retrofit (with tachyon detection grid)**
Vulcan Science Vessel (with Tal'Kyr Support Craft)**
| Long Range Science Vessel Retrofit (with ablative generator)****
Temporal Science Vessel (with Tipler Cylinder)*****
Multi-Mission Explorer Science Vessels**
|Auxiliary Craft||Shuttles|| Fighters
|Notes|| * Available through a promotion or by purchase from the Cryptic Store.|
** Only available by purchase from the Cryptic Store.
*** Only available as a Veteran Award.
**** Available through Cryptic Store or Veteran Award.
***** Only available through lockboxes, and you must get a master key from the C-Store.
|Tier||Lieutenant Commander||Commander||Captain||Brigadier/Major General||Lieutenant General|
|Auxiliary Craft||Shuttles|| Fighters
|Notes|| * Only available by purchase from the Cryptic Store.|
** Only available as a Veteran Award.
*** Available through Cryptic Store or Veteran Award.
**** Only available through lockboxes, and you must get a master key from the C-Store.
† Due to recent updates to the Klingon faction (raising the minimum rank to Commander), the vessels in this category are temporarily unavailable.
Warbird Battle Cruiser
Light Warbird Retrofit (with Plasma Destabilizer)**
Warbird Retrofit (with Sabotage Probe)**
Heavy Warbird Retrofit (with Ionized Particle Beam)**
Warbird Battle Cruiser Retrofit (with Projected Singularity)**
Heavy Destroyer ** (with Dynamic Tactical System)
|Notes|| * Only available through special offer or purchase from the Cryptic Store.|
** Only available as a Veteran Award.
*** Available at Vice Admiral, through special offer, or purchase from the Cryptic Store.
|Tier||Rear Admiral (Lower and Upper Halves) / Brigadier/Major General / Subadmiral (I and II)|
The Cryptic Store, or C-Store, is a micro-transaction store which allows players to purchase unique vessels, ship and bridge designs, costume packs, playable races, and character services with Zen. Most of these purchases apply across all of the characters on a player's account.
Ranging around twelve inches long, three-dimensional miniatures of Star Trek Online starships were slated to be made available to the public as the result of a partnership between Cryptic Studios, Perfect World, CBS Consumer Products, and Eucl3D, the custom 3D printhouse.
Purchasers would have been able to print many of the game's 400+ starships (including ships that they owned and played online) and customize their color schemes, physical configuration, names, and registries.  On 14 December 2016, it was announced that these plans would not be realized due to the closure of Eucl3D at the end of 2016. 
Prior to the March 2018 launch of the service, Arc Games, previously known as Perfect World Entertainment, announced that Mixed Dimensions had partnered with Star Trek Online and CBS Consumer Products to print 3D starship models from the game, retailing them through its GamePrint website or directly through links within the PC version of the game. From a dedicated Facebook group, community members will also port players' starships from the console versions of the game to the company for printing. 
Measuring from four to eighteen inches long, each fully customizable resin ship is available with a coat of primer, painted in a single color, or as a fully painted model. Twenty of the game's most popular ships are also being manufactured.   
Eaglemoss Collections/Hero Collector
Developed from a design originally commissioned for the game, Eaglemoss Collections' Hero Collector brand has manufactured two starship miniatures (in two distinct liveries) of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-F (β) as Bonus Editions within its Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection partwork.
After launching with ten, the company announced that the series would be extended to twenty issues in July 2020.
Star Trek Online received "mixed or average" reviews on Metacritic getting a metascore of 66/100 on PC. Metascore for Star Trek Online on PC Its release on Steam has a "Mostly Positive" rating, with 77% of almost 13,000 (as of writing) reviewers recommending the game. 
Voice acting credits
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Kipleigh Brown as Administrator/Captain Kuumaarke
- LeVar Burton as Captain Geordi La Forge
- Jeffrey Combs as Weyoun 10, Brunt, and Captain Thy'kir Shran
- Denise Crosby as Empress Sela and Lieutenant Natasha Yar
- Christopher Doohan as Lieutenant Commander/Captain Montgomery Scott
- Michael Dorn as Ambassador Worf
- Aron Eisenberg as Captain Nog
- Joseph Gatt as Science Officer 0718
- Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
- Max Grodénchik as Grand Nagus Rom
- J.G. Hertzler as General Martok
- Jason Isaacs as Gabriel Lorca
- Salome Jens as the Female Changeling
- Walter Koenig as Captain Pavel Chekov
- Lisa LoCicero as Miral Paris
- Chase Masterson as Leeta, holographic Leeta, and Mirror Leeta
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Captain Tom Paris
- Vic Mignogna as Captain/Admiral Isaac Garrett
- Jason Charles Miller as Kal Dano
- Leonard Nimoy as Commander/Ambassador Spock
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Zachary Quinto as USS Khitomer Emergency Medical Hologram
- Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets
- Kim Rhodes as Jhet'leya
- Andrew Robinson as Councillor Elim Garak
- Bumper Robinson as Dukan'Rex
- Tim Russ as Rear Admiral Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
- Rekha Sharma as Ellen Landry
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Dr. Julian Bashir
- Tony Todd as General Rodek/Kurn
- Nana Visitor as Kai/Captain Kira Nerys
- Garrett Wang as Captain Harry Kim/Keten
- Matt Winston as Temporal Agent Daniels
- Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly and Captain mirror