Star Trek Online : A Guide to Recruiting Duty Officers

Here’s to the Finest Crew in Starfleet!!!

I love Star Trek Online’s Duty Officer system. Recently however, to my fright, I discovered that some of my fleet buddies didn’t know how to get their hands on a great crew, and it occurred to me that they might not be the only ones. And so I present my little guide to getting your hands on “The Finest Crew in Starfleet”. For the sake of brevity, I’m going to assume you know the basics of DOFFing.

General Recruitment

The basic recruitment missions used to be randomly found in the zones around Stardock or Qo’nos. That changed at some point, and now you can pick them up at any time from NPCs at your faction’s Academy. The Personnel Officer has most of them, but there are also race specific ones for Vulcan, Andorian, and Tellarite, from NPCs of those races. If you’re on Team Klingon it all works much the same, with Orion, Gorn, and Nausican-specific recruitment being on offer. For most of these missions you simply get given some DOFFs, but the general recruitment one will grant you a pack of DOFFs to open, trade, or store instead. The General Recruitment mission is the only one that costs 1000 Dilithium. The others are simply free officers, though they do have a long duration and cooldown. I generally leave them to my alts, freeing Arkturos Reh to deal with the more lucrative tasks.

Star Trek Online - Personnel Officer

Exploration Clusters

Exploration Cluster missions are the core, from which many wonderful things will follow. Each cluster has a series of 7 DOFF missions which follow on from eachother. You can recognise these because they will be marked as being part of a chain by ending with 3/7, or whichever stage of the series they belong to.

The next step in the series will not always be available. However, as I discovered with glee, you can double your chances of finding them by clicking on the “Department Heads” tab, and seeing what your Operations officer is offering. Nevertheless, it’s going to take a fair amount of time, and many visits, to get to the end of the chain.

The final (seventh) one will award a unique blue DOFF that you will only ever get one of. Welcome them to your crew, where I am sure they shall serve with distinction, but they are not our end goal.

Having completed the mission chain for the cluster, you will now have unlocked the cluster’s Support mission. For this mission you want to get your critical chance as high as possible, for it is only on a critical that you will get that cluster’s unique purple DOFF. Don’t worry though, for a regular success will still gain you a refugee, which we’ll be needing later. The Support mission can be repeated, when available, as much as you like, and you can have multiple copies of the purple DOFF. Some are more useful than others, but they’re all worth having.

Eventually, you may end up with so many copies of a cluster’s purple DOFF that you can’t make good use of them all. They’re bound to you, so you can’t sell them, but you can trade them in to the Personnel Officer at the Academy for three random unbound blue DOFFS. What you get may or may not be useful to you, but at least they’ll be different!

If, like me, you’re working on Fleet Projects, you need a good supply of low-end officers to feed to them. When you end up with any blues you don’t want, you can trade those in for 3 greens, which can each be turned into 3 commons. Thus one purple can be turned into 9 greens, or 27 commons.

Asylum Missions

You should be getting a refugee every time you attempt a Cluster’s Support mission. You may also get the occasional refugee from other recruitment missions at Starfleet Academy. These will be your currency for the Asylum Missions.

There are Asylum missions in quite a few locations, but they all work in the same way. They will either appear in your “Current Map” section, or under the jurisdiction of your ever-helpful Operations officer. The Asylum mission is for a specific race, Vulcan for example. The Vulcans will grant one of your refugees asylum in return for you taking one of their officers under your wing. You can offer up any of your collection of refugees, but depending on the race of the host, there will be certain favoured traits. Like any DOFF mission, you want to pick the candidate who matches as many of those as possible to raise your success chances.

The mission will remove the refugee from your roster, and you’ll receive a new officer of the relevent race, with the quality depending on your success result. Some races have rather difficult to fill trait requirements, but it’s still worth having a go even if you don’t have any refugees that fit them. If you’re doing Cluster Support missions regularly, you’ll have enough refugees to throw at every asylum mission you encounter.

There’s a lot of them, though they’re somewhat rare and have a cooldown. Here’s where you can find them:

Andorians : Sirius Sector, Andoria
Vulcans : Sirius Sector, Vulcan
Humans : Sirius Sector, Sol
Betazoids, Tellarite, and Rigellian: Sirius Sector
Caitian and Saurian : Alpha Centauri Sector
Bolians: Iota Pavonis Sector
Trill and Benzarite : Beta Ursae Sector
Bajorans, Cardassians, Karemmans and Paradan : Throughout “Cardassian Space” (Alpha Trianguli, Beta Ursae, and Zeta Andromedae)

Consular Authority

These are four similar small mission chains within Cardassian space (including the associated exploration clusters). One for each of the Bajorans, Cardassians, Paradans, and Karemmans. Once you complete the chain, you will sometimes encounter a repeatable “Officer Exchange” mission. These are a little similar to Asylum missions, in that you will lose the officer that you use for the mission, but they use regular officers rather than refugees. I tend to only use common DOFFs for this, though you might want to plug a green into it for a better chance at a higher quality result, if you happen to have spare greens with the right traits.

In the picture below, I sorted my DOFFs to only show common officers with the required traits of Honourable and Teamwork, and happened to have a candidate with both. That gives me a 14% chance of a purple and a 44% chance at a blue Karemman officer. Otherwise, I get a green, and that’s still an upgrade. I’ll take those odds today.
Star Trek Online Officer Exchange Duty Officer Mission

A few other DOFF sources

The above are my main sources of good officers, but there are a few other missions which will provide new members for your crew. The list below is not an exhaustive one, and new methods tend to come in with every update.

Cardassian Agents

There is a long mission chain over in Cardassian Space called “Ghosts of the Jem’Hadar”, that rewards a one-off purple Cardassian at the end. Once you’ve completed that chain, you’ll unlock a repeatable mission called “Provide Sanctuary to Anti-Dominion Cardassian Agent”. On a critical success, that’ll award a Cardassian of random quality.

Klingon Defectors

There’s a pretty rare mission you may come across called “Instigate Defection”. That’ll award a blue officer on a success, or a purple on a crit. The best thing about this mission is that you’re getting officers from the opposing team’s races, meaning they’ll often have very different trait selections to what you can usually get your hands on.

Right, hopefully that’s enough to get anyone who was not on the path to purple DOFFs well underway. If you have any questions about finding DOFFS, DOFFING in general, or anything else to do with Star Trek Online, I’ll be happy to try to answer in the comments, or update this post accordingly.

Star Trek Online – In the Breen Midwinter

I did a little video a few weeks ago about how I was working towards earning the Breen Chel Grett Warship in Star Trek Online. Simultaneously, I was also trying to earn our fleet a Chel Grett hologram for our Starbase. I am proud, and incredibly relieved, to say I managed to complete both tasks today.

Star Trek Online Christmas Breen Chel Grett Starbase

The starbase hologram project took 250 of each of the Q’s Wonderland resources. I mostly gathered them through doing the Christmas duty officer missions, but an fair amount of snowman fighting and snowball digging needed doing as well. A modest task for an active fleet, it was a race against time for me to get this done before the end of the winter event. Failure would have meant it would sit in a project slot until next Christmas, preventing any other decorations from being queued.

Less painful was my daily trip around Q’s icetrack. 25 day’s worth of Q’s autographed pictures were needed for my own Breen Chel Grett Warship. A high price, perhaps, but rather cheaper than any equivalent Admiral ship. I stuck with my task, and so it is that I now own what is undeniably the coolest ship in Starfleet.

Star Trek Online - Breen Chel Grett Warship
Tactical Stations : Level 4 and Level 2
Engineering Station : Level 2
Science Station: Level 3
Universal Station: Level 1

The Chel Grett Warship is more or less a high end escort-vessel. I love the manoeuvrability, but I’ve never been a huge fan of tactical bridge officer skills, and I’m missing not having more science or engineering abilities available. Nevertheless, this is a ship which packs a punch.

As I’m trying to go for the complete Breen experience, I’m using the Breen Absolute Zero set from the Breen featured episode series. One of the Absolute Zero set bonuses improves transphasic ammunition, so naturally I’ve gotten my hands on some transphasic mines, and I’m using my old favourite, the Breen Transphasic Cluster Torpedo. Alongside that, I’ve decked it out with some Polaron gear I’ve been saving. All in all, I’m finding it a pretty effective set up, though I’m sure it would do yet better in the hands of a tactical Captain.

All in all it’s a quite excellent ship which plays very differently to my other top-end rides, and it’ll be coming out regularly, I’m sure. My heart does belong to my Caitian Atrox Carrier for now (I must get around to showing that off in a post soon!), but sometimes it’s nice to Captain something that doesn’t fly like a brick.

Star Trek Online – The Fastest Game On Ice

By Q!! It’s been a while since I made a gaming video, but I suddenly got the urge today. Star Trek Online’s Christmas event is well underway, and Q is welcoming all comers to his Winter Wonderland. Therein, you can if you’re feeling energetic, decide that you will undertake to win a footrace on his icetrack on no less than 25 separate days during the holiday season. If you do, you’ll earn a rather lovely Breen Chel Grett Cruiser.

Let’s join Arkturos Reh, as he takes his daily trip around the icetrack! If your bandwidth can handle it, I recommend using the little button at the bottom to whack it up to HD.

Edit: Turns out I’d totally forgotten how to edit videos, and forgot to switch the output to widescreen, leaving ugly black bars and wasted space everywhere. After an overnight re-upload, the situation is rectified!! Huzzah!!

STO: In which I rush to defeat the Devidians

Phase 6 of Rift’s Beta starts today, with some major changes.

However, I’m not going to be playing Rift today because Star Trek Online’s 3rd Feature Episode series, focusing on the Romulans, begins tomorrow. Once that happens, the special end reward from the second series, the Ophidian Cane, will no longer be awarded, so I need to deal with those pesky Devidians tonight. Not because I particularly need the cane, nice though it is, but I can never stand to miss out on time-limited items!

It does look interesting though. Hard to tell exactly how useful it’ll be without trying it out against some unsuspecting evil-doers.

Star Trek Online Ophidian Cane Stats

Theoretically we have until 10 am PST on the 5th of February, but I don’t think I want to cut it quite that fine. I’ve already done the first episode, so I just need to finish the last 4 this evening. Should be no problem.

Star Trek Online Anniversary Klingon Q 600x341

Star Trek Online's Anniversary is still in full flow!

Update: It turns out the Ophidian Cane reward has been turned off already. Sadness :( It was unexpected, as it seems to fly in the face of how we were told this would work. I put in a GM ticket, but I don’t have terribly high hopes for it.

Ah well. I’ll make sure I don’t leave the next one quite so late.

In Which The Best Is Yet To Come

I’m back home after a fun time with my Dad, a few pounds heavier, and laden with swag. I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and is feeling recovered enough to face the New Year. It was a bit of a hellish journey home, with trains being cancelled to the left and right, but the reward of sleeping in my own bed again was worth the replacement buses and hikes between stations.

The Rift beta NDA has dropped while I’ve been away, so I’ll be posting about that for the next few days, I expect. Though you may well be already sick of hearing about it! The hype is being laid on pretty thick in some quarters.

Over the holiday, my Dad and I finally finished our run through Deep Space 9. It’s always a rather sad moment when you reach the end of a series that amazing, and I’m not sure what the next show we’ll tackle will be. Because I still have DS9 swimming about in my head, and it is pretty appropriate for the start of a new year, here’s sentient hologram Vic Fontaine and Captain Benjamin Sisko with “The Best Is Yet To Come”!

I don’t know whether Vic Fontaine is in Star Trek Online yet, but he’ll certainly be making a personal appearance just as soon as the Foundry goes live! Being an ageless sentient hologram has its benefits, and in fact we know that he’s still going many thousands of years after the events of STO! Comforting to know, as the Universe don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!

Star Trek Online Season 3 to launch today.

There were concerns that it might be delayed, but the Star Trek Online servers will be coming down today (December 9th, 2010) from 10 am GMT to Midday GMT for the much anticipated Season 3.

This is a major update, with a lot of features that players have been waiting for. I’ve included the patch notes under this brief post, but I’m particularly looking forward to the newly expanded crafting. From the sounds of it, the Federation will actually be able to make high level phasers at last! It’ll still probably be a pretty dull crafting system, but at least we’ll have far more reason to use it. Being able to make worthwhile gear is fun whatever the system!

Star Trek Online Spires Of Qonos 550x407

Arktoth is more interested in Disruptors.

Poor Arktoth will also have a fair bit more content and opportunities available to him. The Klingon side of things has been a frustrating place to be til now, but with the arrival of Klingon crafting, the equipment imbalance may be over. (Though that may lead to it’s own problems. The Klingons already seem to crush the Feds whenever they meet, in my PvP experience on both sides thus far.).

I’m also surprisingly excited about the replay function. As well as giving us the opportunity to go back and play our favourite missions for new rewards, it gives me one more excuse to hang around in my ready room!

It doesn’t sound like any part of the Foundry made it in to this update, but work continues on it on the test server, Tribble. I’ve been hearing good things about it, so hopefully it won’t be too much more of a wait before it’s first phase comes to Live.

I’ll report back on my experiences in Season 3 later this week.

The release notes for Star Trek Online’s Season Three are below!

Continue reading Star Trek Online Season 3 to launch today.

Star Trek Online: The Return of Arkturos Reh.

Star Trek Online did not always treat me kindly when first we met. That did not stop me from devoting a quite ridiculous number of posts to play-by-play coverage of my beta experience. My final thoughts as the game launched were not particularly complementary, and you can see them here.

My greatest annoyance though was how, when I cancelled my subscription, it was re-activated and they carried on charging me for a couple of months. I am not a rich man, and I can’t afford to be having my credit card details misused. Just reading that old post is doing bad things to my temper. In case you’re wondering, no, I never got the money back.

Once you have their money, you never give it back.
– The 1st Rule of Acquisition

They say that time heals all wounds. As usual, “they” are spouting platitudinal nonsense, and have obviously never been shot by a disruptor rifle on full power. You do not recover from being disintegrated. Be that as it may, my annoyance had faded somewhat, and I had been hearing some positive things about how Star Trek Online has changed post-launch. Perhaps it was time to take another look.

So it was that, a couple of days ago, Arkturos Reh stepped forth to defend the Federation once again! I have a Captain-ranked Scientist from my original free month of play, but I had largely forgotten how to play him well, while the live version of Arkturos Reh was still only a Lieutenant. You may remember Beta-Arkturos as the main protagonist in my Beta liveblog, after Beta-Arkenor got trapped forever in the Wrong Tutorial.

The all-new Reh is more alien than ever, and every bit as annoyingly tiny.

Star Trek Online Ambassador Jiro Sugihara Of The Federation Diplomatic Corps 550x374

Jiro Sugihara, and Arkturos Reh. Together, they fight crime.

Arkturos Reh hails from a high-gravity world. I’ve gone for as insectoid a look as I could manage, and he has inadvertently ended up looking like he’ll be played by Samuel L Jackson in the movie of his life. (I think it’s the eyes.) He probably weighs more than the Ambassador there, and is certainly stronger, but then again, Ambassador Jiro Sugihara is a non-combatant. He is, in fact, my liaison for the Federation Diplomatic Corp!

One of my major complaints with STO at launch was that it was that it was far more focused on violence as a solution than any of the series were:

Combat was always going to be a big part of any Star Trek MMO. I can live with (and enjoy!) having more fights in an hour of gameplay than would normally happen in a season of TNG. I did expect to be able to limit casualties, through diplomacy, trickery, or disabling ships. On the ground I expected to be able to set phasers to stun, and be able to leave my enemies unconscious but alive, ready to be beamed to the brig. Instead, I leave corpses and burning hulks in my wake.

Some people, especially on the forums, say that it is WAR!!! That we can’t act like Federation officers in the TV shows because we’re at war and the rules all change:

Firstly, us being at war was brought in after the fact as an excuse for the game being all about killing.

Secondly, the rules don’t change in war. Not for the Federation. We’re still supposed to abhor violence except when strictly necessary, and supposed to try to limit casualties on BOTH sides. In STO you have a mission where your job is to kill the witnesses to deeds Starfleet don’t want reported. Picard would resign his commission if he was ordered to do something so obviously against everything the Federation stands for. “The first duty of every Starfleet Officer is to the truth.”.

The Diplomatic Corp is Cryptic’s first stab at rectifying this imbalance. While it is entirely optional, members of the corps can get special First Contact and Diplomatic missions. I’ll have to get back to you on how great those are, because Arkturos hasn’t quite gathered up enough Diplomatic xp to join yet. You get Diplomatic xp from most missions that don’t involve killing, most notably those old “Aid the planet” missions I complained about in Beta, where you basically just fly up to a planet, they ask for some stuff, and you give it to them.

Aid missions, as well as now granting diplomatic xp, also now give you a random item on completion. Previously they had been a rather expensive business, as the Federation has you buying the supplies out of your own energy credits, but the reward now makes it a more worthwhile proposition.

While, as I said, the Diplomatic Corps missions are technically optional, gaining ranks with them gives you the ability to Transwarp to several useful locations, saving a lot of travel time, so even if I was playing a viciously bloodthirsty character, I think I’d probably still do them! I’ll write more fully on diplomacy when I’ve had a chance to do some of the missions.

The other new feature which has drawn me back to STO are the featured episodes. Basically it’s a series of episodes, which are released on a weekly basis, just as if you were watching a series on TV. My friends have been speaking extremely highly of these, and have been gathering up to do them each week as they are released. We’re currently in a lull, after the end of the second series, but they’ll pick up again in the new year. I’m told they have high production values, and are a lot of fun. I should be sticking my antennae into them soon.

If you complete a featured arc before the next one begins, you get a special reward. The reward for the first featured episode arc was a Breen Tactical Bridge Officer. Alas, I was too late to acquire one through standard means, but my friend Longasc kindly lent me the considerable fortune required to buy one from the auctionhouse. After all, a captain like Arkturos Reh should surround himself with the strangest crew possible! We’re doing it TAS-style!

Star Trek Online Breen Bridge Officer Bek 550x405

Breen Bridge Officer Bek during his probationary period.

The big deal which has really enticed me back on to my ship, however, is not yet live. It is the player-generated content tool known as The Foundry. This is due to arrive as part of the big Season 3 update on the 2nd of December.

Have you ever wanted to design your own mission in Star Trek Online? Here’s your chance! The Foundry for Star Trek Online will enter public beta when Season Three débuts. Using The Foundry, you can construct Episodes and share them with your friends. If you’re not interested in designing missions, you’ll still benefit from The Foundry: Player-created missions will be available to you to play and enjoy, right alongside the Episodes you know and love today.

Will it be frustratingly limited, especially to begin with? Almost certainly, but I’ll do my best to work within those limitations to make some fun episodes of my own. Once we have the tools to make content we can do more than just give feedback about how the official episodes are written. We can do something to fix it.

Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of the USS Gypsy Moth and its tiny Captain, Arkturos Reh, when I’ll be checking out some more of the changes since last I sailed this sea of stars.