The U.S.S. Sol is having a bad day.
As things have settled down on the political front, I can now “indulge” in the “glorious” tasks of assaulting the Empire’s enemies. I can’t tell you how many Starfleet vessels my ship has destroyed recently-they seem to have an endless supply of these ships. I don’t remember there being this many a few years ago; I think I can blame the war between “our” governments for this. Nothing encourages ramping up starship production than a good war. Wish I was in a better position to profit from it. But since my conscription, I’ve been unable to get to my usual contacts to try to make a killing from all of this.
The Romulans are beginning to nose around, too. Not as much as Starfleet, but the crumbling Star Empire’s warfleet has been poking around our borders. Since their involvement with assisting the House of Torg, I’ve had no complaints about going out and blowing up their ships as well. They’ve got a lot of ships out there, too, but I suspect that attrition will catch up-after all, I’ve been hearing more and more about the “Romulan Republic”, which has to be annoying the Empress. How sad.
I’ve also been hearing rumblings about yet another transfer to yet another ship. And unless I manage to pull off a coup (not a literal one! I don’t need Imperial Intelligence reading anything more into my entries than I’m putting in!), I’m likely going to end up in yet another Bird of Prey. I’m not in much of a position to defy the shipmaster, but the time may come where I might need to see if I can get someone to kill him off. Maybe then I can get into a vessel where my odds of survival go way up.
Either that, or I have to get creative.
Honor among thieves…yeah, that’s cute.
Man cannot live on the Foundry alone in Star Trek Online-at least not if you are avoiding the episodic missions like I’ve been doing. This gives me the opportunity to talk about the lesser known methods of advancing skill points (particularly at lower levels). So, here we go!
One of the big methods I was hoping for doesn’t actually exist: patrol missions. Starfleet characters can go to a random planet, and if it isn’t already tagged as being a location for an actual episode, odds are that it has a “Patrol this system” prompt when you arrive at it. Those tend to be simple and straightforward missions, involving the old “find 5 things”, or “kill 5 groups”. In the old days, they’d be possibly on the ground or in space, but I’m not sure where things are at with those nowadays. I’ll make a note to investigate further on that. But Dathiro’s not Starfleet, so what’s a KDF ship commander to do?
Glad you asked!
The first method is running dailies. The dailies are actually sort of “wrapper” missions, which ask you to do certain other missions to complete. Those missions also allow you to advance your skill points (aka XP in most games), so you’re kind of getting a double dip with these dailies. They give a decent chunk of SP, so it’s good to make sure those are running before you do the missions called for. These missions are either PvP related or PvE related. I can’t really speak to the PvP stuff (as usual, I tend to avoid that sort of thing, and I’m not sure what the state of PvP at lower levels is at in STO these days. I’ll defer to those more experienced in those matters in that regard). So that brings us to the PvE side of things.
The earliest daily I know of involves “Empire Defense” missions, which can be picked up either at First City or-more conveniently-in your missions tab, under “Available Missions”. These missions involve going to a star cluster/nebula/whatever and fight enemy ships there. At Dathiro’s level, there are separate ones for Romulans and Starfleet ships. You enter the cluster, and go to “hot spots” that you scan-if your scan works, you enter a standard instance where there are heaps of groups of enemy ships; blowing up six groups of ships (which may be groups of fighters, frigates, or single escorts/cruisers) means you have completed 1/3rd of your requirements for the daily. For the mathematically impaired, that means you need to hit three different “hot spots” to complete the daily, so figure on blowing up roughly 18 groups of ships. I found that I could do this fairly simply with my raider; attacking after a decloak helps, and I highly recommend bridge officer abilities that impact groups of enemies instead of single target for these missions.
Another daily is the “Pi Canus Path of the Warrior”. The name comes from the old days of sector blocks, before the maps got consolidated into quadrants: all the missions involved meant going to systems in that sector block. Fortunately, even after the map change, the planets are in relatively close proximity to each other, making it no chore to do. The Pi Canus missions have two parts: an Alpha and a Bravo sortie. Each sortie involve going to a system and doing a mission in that system. For the most part, they are smash and grabs; you blow up ships, and you grab supplies when appropriate. No ground content involved here. There are also optional goals in these missions; if you want to get the reward for the wrapper mission, though, they’re actually sort of required. All that said, things must’ve changed a bit between the last time I’d done those and now; I used to fail on at least a couple of these missions, but I had no trouble completing them with Dathiro. I don’t know if that says something about changes in the game, my relative amount of gear, my proficiency in playing over the years, or the fact that I’m using a raider instead of, say, a battlecruiser. Regardless, it’s a handy batch of skill points, and worth doing if you want to get away from the episodes for a bit.
Did I mention that the wrapper missions also give you Dilithium? It’s nice when you can get added benefit from these missions. That said, you can grind out the sorties and the defense missions without the wrappers and still get skill points off of them, so while the wrappers are only daily, you can still work on leveling the character that way. I’m not sure if the Dilithium gain is all that time effective, but honestly, my main point in doing these is for the skill points, not the Dilithium-that’s a bonus. It’ll come in handy if I want to do apply any upgrades to gear I gain; I’m tempted to apply them to the Efficient engine, which last I checked gives bonuses to just about all the power categories (Weapons/Shields/Engines/Auxiliary) but I’m not married to the idea. I may go for reputation gear instead.
Another method-although not horribly reliable-are the Deep Space Encounters. Those have a history: back in the early days of the game, you had wandering blobs of ships that would ambush you on the way to whatever planet you were going to mission on next. You could go after them, but they were famous for just jumping on ships whose players had gone AFK. There was much complaining, and they got nerfed like there was no tomorrow (which is to say, they became static). They’ve mutated a bit over the years, but the basic premise is the same: go in, destroy a heap of enemy ships, reap rewards. These days, they’re similar to the assorted adventure zones that would have tiers of participation rewards; it’s also worth noting that they aren’t necessarily solo events. You can have other players of either faction showing up to also participate in the fun.
Of course, these are really grindy methods of leveling up; not impossible, but it can start to get boring fast. Fortunately, there’s the queue system, which has a number of group missions available-well, at least if you’re at high level. At the moment, Dathiro has the choice of a space mission and a ground mission-and both are single-faction, which means that unless other KDF players are queuing up, there just isn’t a lot of action. It should get better at level 50. A ways to go, but I’m up to level 30 now, and things are going well. And hopefully, I’ll be able to participate in the Mirror Invasion event that will be kicking off tomorrow, which might also assist in the skill point gain. Stay tuned!