Template:Disambiguate Star Trek Online (STO or ST:O 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 year 2409, nearly thirty years after Star Trek Nemesis and 22 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 in to 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, attacking the Vega colony. At the same time, the Undine - known to the Borg as Species 8472 - 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 that may be included in the final game.  
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 which targeting both sides. A head-start offer to customers who had preordered 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 preorder 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 3-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 artcards 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.
Retailer-specific pre-order bonuses included the ability to command a Borg Bridge Officer, a TR-116 rifle, and a Template:ShipClass 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). Amongst 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 current model sees Silver members (free players) restricted to smaller inventory sizes, bank slots, 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 access to the Foundry user-generated content editor, as well as a monthly stipend of 400 Cryptic Points. All content will be freely available to both tiers. Klingon content is intended to be unlocked at level 25, instead of level 5 as at present. 
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.  On 28 November 2011, it was announced the F2P launch would go under the Season 5: Call to Arms title. 
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 or the Klingon Empire. The Federation is the most strongly developed in terms of mission gameplay, with the Klingon faction originally intended as a pure PvP (Player vs. Player) faction - although this has begun to change in more recent updates. For new players, the option to choose Klingon characters is not available until the player has first reached level 5 (this is currently planned to change to level 21 with the transition to F2P).
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) or Warrior (Klingon), the player gains skill points and specialisations via gameplay to advance in rank, unlocking new skills and more powerful ships along the way, until reaching the maximum rank.
|Federation Rank||Ensign||Lieutenant||Lieutenant Commander||Commander||Captain||Rear Admiral, Lower Half||Rear Admiral, Upper Half||Vice Admiral|
|Klingon Rank||Warrior||Lieutenant||Lieutenant Commander||Commander||Captain||Brigadier General||Major General||Lieutenant General|
The game staff intend for the level cap ultimately to be extended to Fleet Admiral/Dahar Master. 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 gameplay 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 player finds themself 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.
These missions provide the central backbone of the STO storyline. Each "Episode" features an extended storyline across a number of individual missions, relating to a particular Trek race. The Episodes take place in separate "Fronts" made up of specific sectors. Most Fronts have at least one Starbase where the officers who provide missions are based and players can purchase equipment and upgrades.
After an introductory mission to rescue a disabled freighter, the player encounters an Undine agent, prevents the kidnap of Miral Paris, follows a chain of listening posts to a Klingon base, stops a dangerous genetic engineering experiment, travels in time to complete a predestination paradox, and stops the Klingons from taking control of a Doomsday machine.
The player encounters the mysterious Franklin Drake and becomes embroiled in the machinations of Section 31, unwittingly allows another Undine agent to infiltrate the Romulans, prevents data on Borg technology from being exploited by Romulan hands, uncovers the truth behind the Hobus supernova and its connection to Iconia, combats the Devidians, and deals with Empress Sela's alliance with the Hirogen.
Called to Deep Space 9 to help combat the True Way, a rogue Cardassian faction, the player again tangles with the Undine, recovers a Federation starship trapped in the Bajoran wormhole, learns what the Klingons want in the Minos Korva system, recovers an Orb, and encounters a resurgent Terran Empire before crossing into the mirror universe.
The Klingons and the Federation, recognising the threat posed by the Borg, have combined forces in the Gamma Orionis sector. The player is caught in the crossfire of the Borg-Undine conflict, counteracts a Borg nanovirus, encounters the mischievious Q and travels back to the Battle of Wolf 359 to prevent the Borg from changing history.
The player discovers a third party in the ongoing conflict in the Gamma Orionis sector after a mysterious vessel destroys a Borg cube. Preventing the Borg from discovering the key to assimilating the Undine, entering fluidic space and gaining new allies, and attempting to negotiate a truce with the Undine leads to the discovery of an Iconian gateway in fluidic space...
There are two types of exploration mission provided in gameplay - Sector Exploration missions, and Star Cluster Exploration missions.
Sector Exploration missions utilise 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 randomised 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 Marks of Exploration which can be exchanged for equipment.
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.
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 groups of enemy ships. Non-repeatable "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.
- Series 4: Title currently unknown (February-March 2012) - This series will take place in Cardassian territory near Deep Space 9, and will involve journeying into the Gamma Quadrant. The first episode is tentatively titled "Second Wave", and will involve an event that occurred in 2374. The U.S.S. Enterprise-F might also make its in-game debut.
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 extensive than ordinary missions, the STFs are intended to be undertaken by a team of five players. Four STFs are currently available - "Infected", "The Cure", "Khitomer Accord", and "Terradome" - all centered around the Borg-Undine conflict. Following the increase of the level cap in the Season Two update, two different versions of each STF were made available, one for each of the two upper ranks. With Season Three, the first three STFs reward the player with Borg technology that can be incorporated into their vessels, being reflected in the ship design. These missions have received criticism because of their difficulty, along with the sheer number of enemies encountered, and the time required to complete.
Episode Replay and Re-mastered Episodes
Episode Replay was added to the game during the Season Three update, allowing players to re-experience missions they have already completed, with some new rewards added for replaying. Additionally, certain episodes are being re-mastered, taking advantage of new storytelling technologies, such as career-specific objectives and cinematic cutscenes, added to the game's engine since the initial release.
Borg Red Alerts
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 into 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.
Crafting refers to the ability of players to research and create upgraded technologies for use by their character or their ship. Crafting takes place at Memory Alpha, and requires the collection of "data samples" which are acquired by scanning anomalies in space and on the ground. In the current crafting system, introduced as part of Season Three, these data samples are combined with "schematics", which provide the basic blueprint of the technology being researched. Certain very rare items can be crafted using rare "particle traces". The creation of new technologies provides the player with skill points, which increase the rarity of the technologies that can be crafted.
Additionally, special starship components, known as Aegis technologies, can be crafted at the highest end of the skill point 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 vs Klingon, Klingon vs Klingon (House Battles), and Federation vs 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".
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 rollout 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 reticle 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 customisations, 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
To be released on 17 January 2012, Season Five is the F2P release of STO, with numerous changes to gameplay mechanics to fit the F2P model. The early game experience has been 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) include: 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, a Duty Officer System is part of Season Five. 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 will introduce 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 introduces the new Dilithium economy which consolidates 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 vis 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 pre-existing crafting material prerequisites. Furthermore, many of the items available in the microtransaction Cryptic Store saw price changes and item functionality 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, and the ability to purchase Foundry slots with dilithium to expand the number of user-created missions one can develop at a time.
Characters are extensively customisable, 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 requirements. A player may choose from one of three character types - Tactical, Science and Engineering - each of which has their own unique skills to be trained (although basic starship skills are common for all three). A wide variety of template races are available, each with their own traits and customisations. In addition, both 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 on a regular basis, most requiring purchase via the C-Store.
|Federation playable races|
|Standard||Special (from Cryptic Store)|
|Klingon playable races|
|Standard||Special (from Cryptic Store)|
Like characters, starships have a degree of customisation - this is more limited, due to the need to ensure each customisable 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 customisation purposes.
Vessel interiors are present, and can also be customised by selection of a specific bridge design - the remainder of the interior is largely fixed, 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), although the Episode Replay feature is accessed from the player's ready room, 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 consoles are used to provide boosts to vessel statistics, as well as temporary boosts to shields, weapons, 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|
|| Heavy Cruiser
Advanced Heavy Cruiser
|Exploration Cruiser|| Assault Cruiser
Advanced Heavy Cruiser Retrofit (with transwarp drive)
| Exploration Cruiser Retrofit (with saucer separation)
||Heavy Escort|| Tactical Escort
|| Advanced Escort
| Tactical Escort Retrofit (with cloaking devices)
Multi-Vector Advanced Escort (with multi-vector assault mode)
|Science Vessel||Science Vessel|| Research Science Vessel
Advanced Research Vessel
| Long Range Science Vessel
|| Reconnaissance Science Vessel
Deep Space 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 generators)
|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.
**** Experimental (in testing)
|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.
*** Experimental (in testing)
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 Cryptic Points. Some of these purchases apply across all of the characters on a player's account. Some of the vessels in the C-Store may also be purchased via in-game currency.