Star Trek Timelines Review, Tips, Strategies, and Gripes
Star Trek Timelines Plays Across Multiple Platforms!
I've just added info on Voyages, Starbase bonuses, and Cryostasis Collections!
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Star Trek Timelines is an Open-Ended Collecting Game
I have been playing Star Trek Timelines for about two years. While I am not one of the first players, at this point I am one of the old timers. I am not a big gamer. While I owned an arcade for several years, the reactions of most people who knew me was, “What, but you only every play one or two games.”
Which is true. The two games that I return to are always Dungeon Keeper 1 & 2 and Sid Meier’s Civilization series. Both of these offer the ability to go back and reevaluate strategy and try again. Basically, the ability to freeze time before the catastrophe hits and see how or if it can be avoided is intriguing to me.
Star Trek Timelines offers none of this. Or at best, fragmented pieces of it. At its core, the game is a collectible trading card game. Today, there over 500 possible crew members. There are generally two new crew members added every week.
While there are different ways to view the game, progress as viewed by other players is a mixture of 1) your level; 2) your “Immortalized” crew; and, 3) how well you rank in the weekly events. Before we get into that, I will run through what you should do (and not do) to build a decent crew so that you can actually accomplish anything.
Warning: this is an open-ended game with no finish. If you want something you can complete and win, this is not the game for you.
Star Trek Timelines Unlocked Main Screen with Subtitles
How Not to Appear to be a N00b!
When you first start the game, some of these icons are not available or are greyed out. Most, if not all, are unlocked within a few levels. The yellow circles with numbers represent the number of items available or which need to be completed in each of the areas. All of these things can be done shortly after you advance a few levels, which should not take long.
Let’s start with the simple things you can do so that you do not appear to be a n00b, even when you are. First, click on the crew avatar picture at the top left to open the Captain Screen.
Don't Be Named Captain. Captain Captain Is NOT a Good Name!
What's in a Name?
First, click on the cog and select a name. You can always change your name. And others can spoof your name with some carefully inserted spaces. Bear that in mind. Second, click on one of the avatars to pick who others players see when they view you. Who you can use is limited by who is in your crew, what level they are, and what VIP level you are. Admiral Riker (top left) is the favorite of spammers, n00bs, and spamming n00bs. Nothing good comes of him!
Now, with a name and an avatar selected, you do not appear to be a total tyro. There are thousands of players named “Captain.” Do not be one of them.
Now, click the menu bar on the top right of the screen. Let us examine what you should and can do here.
Star Trek Timelines Main Menu -- What's What and Where is it?
Quick Look at STT's Main Menu
In the main menu, there are a couple of important things. First, under settings, you can associate an email address with your account. Even if you have associated your account with Facebook, do this. You can then log in from other devices.
Second, in game communications come as in-game messages. Daily rewards and other goodies come in here and must be claimed to use. Check and claim the rewards that expire daily. Other things, such as free chronitons, generally do not have expiration dates and can be held until needed. We will discuss that when we talk about the weekend events.
Equipment merely shows the stuff you have accumulated in game and not yet equipped to crew or used. Not particularly useful info.
Friends shows the people you have befriended in the game. It shows if they are online or off and tells you how long they have been away from the game if they are offline. You can delete friends here. Also, if you have real life friends playing, you can add them with their email addresses.
The Cryostasis Vault becomes more important as time goes on. One of the goals is to Immortalize characters. You will also see this as Level 100 Fully Fused/Fully Equipped. As in, my Arachnia Janeway is lvl 100 ff/fe. You can be fully equipped (has all items) without being fully fused (crew can be from 1* to 5*. 5* require 5 copies of them to fully fuse. More about that later.
Video allows you to record gameplay. Whee. I believe this is only available on iOS right now.
Contact Support allows you to contact Disruptor Beam with problems. They respond to you at the email address you used to sign up with the game or that you linked to your account. So be sure you maintain access to your email or update contact info if you change it.
Main Screen Revisited
A Quick Look at all the Menu Options in Star Trek Timelines
Let’s look at Figure 1, the Main Screen again, and quickly go through the items.
First, the bottom left icon is shows both the status of your Daily Missions, but also of your lifetime game Achievements. The screens are pretty self-explanatory, but screenshots are shown below.
Daily Missions and Lifetime Achievemets
Meeting goals on both of these tabs provides rewards in the form of Honor, Merits, and Dilithium. If you previously played and quit, this is the first time Dilithium has been offered as a reward and not as a paid item.
A Brief Look at the Star Trek Timelines Crew Screen
Crew is the Heart of Star Trek Timelines. Crew is a Ship's Greatest Asset.
Next comes the Crew icon. You will spend a lot of time here. Let’s have a look at the screen and see what all you can do here. Watch the video. It shows scrolling through the crew, sorting by attribute, sorting by name or characteristic, deleting a crew member and then reinstating it. Later we will examine the best way to level crew. Dismissing unneeded crew gives you Honor, which can be spent in the Honor Hall. This will be discussed in the Time Portal section. As you saw, accidentally dismissed crew may be reinstated within a few hours. Wait too long and they are gone forever.
A few things to know about crew. They are rated from rarity levels of Common (Grey or 1*), Uncommon (Green or 2*), Rare (Blue or 3*), Super Rare (Purple or 4*), or Legendary (Gold or 5*). Other than 1* crew, you will need multiple copies to Fuse together. 2* take 2, 3* take 3, 4* take 4, 5* take 5.
Increasing levels tends to be more difficult as the rarity increases. Occasionally some are easier or harder than their level indicates. Their powers in the game also increase with rarity. As a rule, 1* crew are not very useful. But, after you’ve got some good crew built up, immortalizing all of the 1*s is an easy way to complete a Crew Collection.
Crew slots are rare and expensive. You start with, I believe, 40. There are over 400 available crew in the game. You can get more slots by increasing your VIP level (spending money) or spending credits (at the beginning) or dilithium. When you get beyond a certain number of purchased crew slots, they cost 3000 Dilithium for 5 slots. Since 2 new crew are added each week, at the lower VIP levels you would have to spend an average of $20/week just to add the crew slots needed for your crew. This is a MAJOR complaint amongst all players.
Here’s a quick video of the crew screens:
Quick Scroll Through the Star Trek Timelines Crew Screens
A Quick Look at the Fleet Screens and Rewards
Next is a quick run through the Fleet screens. Fleets provide benefits two ways right now—daily rewards from fleet participation as well as access to squads (which provide rewards in the weekly events). Watch as we go through the various screens. Shown is a fleet of one member with one squad. Fleets can have up to 50 members with 10 squads. Starbases are an important addition to Fleets. They add crew bonuses, increase the number of daily Replications, and raise your maximum Chroniton cap.
A Look at Star Trek Timelines Fleets
A Peek at Star Trek Timelines Starbases
Scans and Shuttle Missions in Star Trek Timelines
The next item over is for scan. You can scan every three hours for free items. DO NOT waste Dilithium speeding up scans. It is not worth it.
Next come the faction (or shuttle) missions. These are probably the most important aspect to doing well in the game in the long term. There are 14 factions. Each provides different items. Click on the small icons to travel to each faction’s headquarters, where you can buy Transmissions (needed to run the shuttles) or some of the items you can win on the shuttle runs. On the whole, it is much cheaper to run the shuttle and win the items, but sometimes you need something right now. Note: NEVER BUY CREW IN THE FACTION CENTERS. It is a total rip-off. To start a mission, scroll through the large icons until you find the one you want and click on the Start Mission button. Pick your crew, add a boost (we will talk about these in the Faction Event section), and send it on its merry way.
Two notes about the shuttles: 1) failures get you trainers, which you use to upgrade crew; 2) the chance of winning means any particular shuttle can fail. Yes, even a 99% chance will fail. Alternatively, this means that a 1% chance should occasionally pass. We will discuss bugs, Random Number Generators, and general gripes at the end. Here’s a quick video of how to crew a shuttle with a boost. Note: at the beginning, you will have 30 second shuttles. Eventually they will all take 3 hours. Difficulty increases with each successful run. I will show how a boost changes the odds. I do not generally use boosts except in events unless I really need a specific item.
Star Trek Timelines Shuttle Missions Video
Play Cadet Missions Daily for Maximum Free(ish) Stuff
Next comes the cadet missions. If you click on the info icon on the Schedule page, it will show you what crew can be used. For example, on Sundays you can only use Rare (3* or Blue) crew who are alien or part alien. Aha, I missed something on the crew pages. When you select the crew and click on the info icon, it gives their attributes such as Alien, Human, Starfleet, Brutal, Telepath or whatever. See the picture below for the details of Garak, Elim Garak.
You should play all the missions daily. At the beginning, you may not have the crew to actually complete any of the missions. As time goes by, you will begin to attempt the harder missions and find that you will need to acquire specific crew or crew with specific attributes to get rare items. To get the rare items, you have to get a critical hit on the node. i.e. not only pass, but pass with flying colors.
Items needed are denoted by * under a node. When you get all items from a scenario, the mission selection screen will have all the stars colored gold. See the picture below of the missions screen with stars.
Garak, Elim Garak's Attributes
Arena Battles: Yawn
Next are arena battles. Quite honestly, these tend to be rather boring and pointless. You win ship schematics for your position at the end of each day. While ship level makes a difference, crew bonuses will make or break you. To actually get a feel for what crew is good, look at the ships of the top players and see who they have onboard. In the beginning, you make do with who you have. Let’s watch a little video of the Arena.
How to Lose a Ship Battle!
I Do Not ALWAYS LOSE!
Gauntlet: Round One, Fight!
Next comes the Gauntlet, which is somewhat of a leveling factor between Whales—players who spend big bucks on the game—and normal people. Gauntlet uses the crew Proficiency skills, which are the same for Fully Fused and non Fully Fused crew. Thus, if you have 1* on a 5* character, you have exactly the same chance as someone who has the character fully fused. Best results are from level 100 Fully Equipped crew. Certain crew do well in the Gauntlet and will become annoyingly ubiquitous. Page after page of Locutus or Mirror Phlox becomes old, but since you have a shot at hard to get crew, items, merits, or Chronotrons most people keep slogging through the Gauntlet. Here’s a quick video of how Gauntlet works: Oh, and winning the Gauntlet does not really net you any additional prizes. You do not win the top prize, currently a 1 * of 5 (1/5) Caretaker. So, no, do not waste Dilithium reviving your crew. Just wait 4 hours for them to refresh. Crew used in the Gauntlet are available for missions, unlike those you have sent away on shuttles or have out on Voyages.
Note: I believe that a great fix for the current Gauntlet problems of fighting the same crew over and over would be to split the Gauntlet into three divisions, just like the Arena has done for ship battles. It is unfair for a new player to put their best 2* crew against 4* and 5* crew. Are you listening DB?
A Look at Star Trek Timelines Gauntlet Battles
A Walk Through the Time Portal -- Where you Spend Money!
Next is the Time Portal Icon. This is where you buy crew, boosts, Supply Kits, and Dilithium. You also can spend Honor here. Under the Crew tab, you will find all the weekly deal—each weekend event will offer a $99.99 deal on Wednesday and Thursday, a $49.99 deal on Friday and Saturday, and a $24.99 deal that runs from Saturday through Monday. These generally are the best choice if you are trying to get crew for that week’s event. Disruptor Beam has been experimenting with a $9.99 deal as well as offering the various deals either concurrently or for longer periods of time. I applaud them for this!
Next are any special run packs that are available. These are rerun periodically. I never buy them or the special schematic deals, as they tend to have low probabilities of success for long-term players. Recently, I caved in and bought 10 10x packs trying to get the 5* insect Xindi Counselor. What I got was a whole bunch of 4* Orion Traders. It reinforced my belief that these packs are a waste of money. 10 10x packs cost $65 worth of Dilithium. Further over are the Premium Rewards, Basic Rewards, and the Dabo wheel. Let’s take each in turn.
You will win both Premium and Basic Rewards from the Gauntlet. Since crew space is at a premium at the beginning, I do not recommend spending dilithium on Premium rewards. Most Premium rewards are 3* crew with schematics mixed in. Basic rewards yield items to build with along with mainly 1* and 2* crew. Be sure to spin the Dabo Wheel daily. This is the best way to get decent schematics for ships early on. Most of the rewards are garbage, but the schematics and the occasional better win—top row—make it well worth the 5,000 credits. The second spin is 10 Dilithium, 3rd is 30, 4th is 50, 6th is 100, 7th is 200, 8th is 400, and so on up to the last spin being 4000. DO NOT go for more than a couple of spins. Your Dilithium will always bring better results elsewhere.
The Honor Hall lets you buy things with the honor you get from getting rid of crew. The cost is exceedingly high. To put it in perspective, a 1* dismissed gives 25 Merits, 2* is 50, 3* is 100, 4* is 200, and 5* is 500. To buy a 5* Kahless is 100,000 honor. A 1* Stargazer Picard is 3500 Honor. Let’s do the math. 100,000/500 (1 5* dismissal) = 200. 3500/25 = 140. So, to buy a crew member for merits costs HUNDREDS of other crew members. One of my friends is convinced Disruptor Beam will eventually lower the cost to buy items. I doubt that it will happen. However, buying Citations is the easiest way to fully fuse crew sometimes.
Boosts and kits: Supply kits are great for Galaxy events or when you have a lot (500 or more) Chronitons to spend. They reduce spending costs 25%, rounded up in the house’s favor. Boosts: On Thursdays, you can play your Cadet Missions for boosts. Once you are able to do so, play for the 10 pack of Standard Boosts (Elite Missions). You will generally do better with those than the three Premium Boosts you get from Epic Missions. Basic Boosts are rather cheap—they cost credits, most of which you will earn by completing your Daily Missions.
Finally, Dilithium. This is the in-game currency that you use to purchase many, many things. The best deal is the $3.99 monthly card. With it, you get 100 Dilithium per day. The caveat is that you must log in and claim it in the Daily Missions screen. Once you have the highest VIP level, the $99.99 Dilithium deal equates to one cent per Dilithium or $1/100 Dilithium. Only you can determine what is fair and reasonable for your budget. Overall, I find that the offers for the weekend events are the better deal—you get crew, Chronitons, credits, and event packs for cash rather than buying Dilithium and then trading it for each of the above.
Here’s an example of the normal $24.99 pack: 2 1/4* crew, 500 Chronitons, 250,000 Credits, and 5 10x event crew packs. Based on today’s other deals, the 5 10x packs cost 650 Dilithium each (3250 Dilithium), the 500 Chronitons cost 1250 Dilithium. So, not in a deal you would pay 4500 Dilithium for the crew and Chronitons. 4000 Dilithium costs $49.99. Basically, it’s half price. I am not advocating spending, I am just pointing this out.
Behold: You Get A Choice of Crew
Galaxy -- Away Missions, Space Battles, and Voyages -- Where Most Items Come From
Finally, we make it to the Galaxy Map. When you click it, it shows you a star map with various (or at the beginning one) places to go. Click on each of them to see the missions you actually run. Those with ships are Space Battles. Those with the other icons are Away Team Missions. These both have goals both in your Daily Missions and in your Fleet Daily Targets. On the bottom left of this screen is where you run your Voyages.
The game will actually walk you through how to complete each type of battle in the short demonstration you are run through at the beginning. Note that certain nodes require specific traits to open them. You can have the trait to open a node without actually having the ability needed to pass it. Since you can only have a certain number of crew per mission, you might find yourself in the position where you cannot pass each node in a mission. As long as you pass the final one, you are ok. Each fail increases the difficulty of the final node.
As you complete each mission, the next opens. Once you complete all missions in a group, another opens. There are currently 11 groups. Since Steam tells me I have unlocked all achievements, that’s it (unless Disruptor Beam adds more in the future).
Each mission completed provides experience points, XP. The difficulty level of the missions is Normal, Elite, and Epic. The harder ones require higher abilities, but provide better rewards and more experience. One tactic for going up in levels quickly is to play each of the Space Battles on each of its difficulties. These tend to be easier to pass than the Away Team Missions at the beginning.
Once you have cleared all of the special items from each node, you have completed that mission. That unlocks the next highest difficulty level for that mission. Completed missions are then available to play using Warp, which is gained through VIP levels. Warp 1 runs the mission 1 time. Warp 2-10 (it is always 10 if you have enough Chronitons to run the mission 10 times) runs the missions as many times as you have Chronitons for. Warp is essential to fast gameplay, especially when you have lots of Chronitons.
Completing all missions gives bragging rights. One player claims to have never spent any money on the game until they completed all missions. They said they did this by Captain Level 38. This would be very difficult for most players to do now, as the crew to complete these is hard to come by compared to when the game was first rolled out.
The real benefit gained from completing all of the nodes is to have Warp available for all missions, speeding up gameplay.
As you can see from the video, not only how to unlock a node, but how unlocking it does not mean that you will actually get the special. I have to upgrade my Lore or The Professor before I can complete that specific node. You do see how I gained the other node with Torres. The best way to know if you’ve got the crew to open a node is to search both your active crew and your crew in Cryostasis for the trait needed and then scroll through to see if you have someone with the correct ability to unlock the node. The locked crew are those I have out on Shuttle Missions currently. Ship Battle stars/specials are gained through defeating nodes in specific amounts of time. Spin the Dabo wheel daily and you will soon have a good enough ship to go through all difficulties of the Ship Battles long before you can complete the Away Missions.
A Quick Run Through Missions on the Galaxy Page
Voyages in Star Trek Timelines, How They Work!
Voyages have been the most rewarding addition to the game. You select a group of 12 crew, trying to maximize two attributes, which go out for hours. Every two hours, the Voyage pauses until you make a decision. Decisions can net you crew only available in Voyages. I recommend checking stt.wiki before making a decision so that you follow the decision tree to the crew you’re trying to get. There are 37 different nodes and they do not appear in any specific order. One of my friends went 72 hours before hitting all of the nodes. I have not yet gained all of the special crew from the nodes.
My rule of thumb for Voyages is to recall the Voyage if you do not think it will make it to the next decision. If you divide the amount of Anti-matter you have left by 22, it will give you (roughly) the number of minutes your Voyage can run before failure. Beyond 8 hours Chronitons gained begin to drop off, so I rarely go beyond 8 hours since it would start to cost significant Dilithium to continue.
What keeps your Voyage going? Anti-matter. Ship and crew attributes can add Anti-matter which will keep you going longer. Eventually you get to a point where your Voyage will lose 30 Anti-matter every 1 to 2 minutes…
When selecting the crew for the Voyage, you want to maximize the crew for the two attributes marked with a star. The gold star is your main attribute and the silver is the secondary one. You want to try to keep everything balanced with the gold and silver as high as possible.
Voyages -- How to Load 'em Up and Send 'em Out
Crew is the Key To Success
In a nutshell, that is the basic game. To do well, spin the Dabo wheel daily, buy as many Basic Rewards as you can afford, unlock as many nodes and missions as you can, and keep those Shuttles and Voyages running ALL THE TIME. Now I will show a few specific tricks I use before going on to the weekend events.
First, you will need as strong of a crew as possible to compete in weekend events. Even before you achieve this, you do want to participate as long as you can. You get the best free rewards from competing in events while being a member of a squadron (i.e. in a fleet).
Getting the best possible crew is accomplished like this: every time you amass 90,000 credits, buy some basic rewards. This will give you more (and hopefully better) crew and an assortment of items and ship schematics.
As you can see in the video, I have a lot of options on how to get the item. My highest drop chance is 3/5 (do not read as 60%, it is not) or, as you saw, I can run some Romulan or Ferrengi Alliance Shuttles. I chose to run some of both. With the chances you saw on those missions, I expect only 1 to succeed. Your chances at the beginning are much better. The game ramps up difficulty as you advance. It is never easy. If I do not have the 3* Optronic Circuit I need by the time I win Troi’s uniform, I will probably just replicate it and Immortalize her so I can move on to the next crew member.
Tips for Building a Great Crew
At the beginning, do not keep any 1* crew. While any of the 2* crew will be useful, to pass most of the nodes in the daily Cadet Missions, the most useful traits are Female, Starfleet, and Alien. You can use those Monday through Friday on all of the Cadets. As mentioned earlier, one of the Medical specials can only be gained by 1* McCoy. Since that is on an Epic node, do not worry about him at first.
Not only unlock, but complete as many missions as possible so that you will unlock the higher levels with better rewards. Ship Battles, as mentioned earlier, provide the most bang for your Chroniton, but be careful of one thing: One of the earliest deals Disrupter Beam will send you is a $20 or $25 deal for a Constellation Class ship. DO NOT BUY IT. That is a bad ship and a bad deal. You will get enough Schematics in your Daily Missions rewards to build a good Common/Uncommon ship. Spend no cash on schematics unless you want a Borg Sphere.
What you want to do is concentrate on one crew member at a time and work to get them to level 100, fully fused, and fully equipped. As you advance, you will find that you will have to unlock certain missions and nodes that require crew you may not have or may need to advance in level. I would upgrade the crew that is needed, then return to your original crew you were working on.
Why one at a time? At some level, everyone needs some of the same items. Higher level items require multiples of some of the lower level items to build them. For example, Nurse Paris may need a basic Tricorder. At level 100, he may need the “Mega” Tricorder made up of 30 random items. Those 30 items would build medical equipment for CMO Crusher, CMO McCoy, Nurse Kes and 50 other crew members. If you equip items on crew when it shows you can without concentrating on a goal, you will find that you will have 40 mediocre crew that cannot accomplish much instead of 10 effective crew.
The most effective way to actually upgrade crew is from the crew screen. Pick your crew, pick an item, and see what parts it needs. The individual parts will lead you to the Away Missions, Ship Battles, or Shuttles you need to run to get that item. High level items (and items are 1*-5* just like crew) are generally available only through shuttles. You will not have the crew to run the missions to get those 4* and 5* items.
And it may take you 3 days of running the same shuttle missions over and over again to get what you want. Be patient. Stay on target. Things do get easier as the game advances.
For REALLY hard to build items, you may have to replicate items. The replicator uses items you’ve gained from missions, ship schematics, or replicator rations plus credits to build items. Until you have built ALL of the ships and advanced them to their highest level, avoid using schematics. Do not use Crew Trainers at all until you have more than you think you could ever use. I also avoid using components. I try to use only replicator rations gained on the Sunday Cadet Missions or as rewards from events. Also, try to build as much of the item as possible and only replicate the smallest piece you need. It is 1500 credits and very few resources to replicate that 1* item at the bottom of the build chain, but the whole item may take 250,000 credits and every trainer, schematic, and item you have. Just be careful or you create more work for yourself if you accidentally throw an item you need in the replicator!
After you have some decent 2* crew built, you will be able to use them to develop the 3* crew needed for the Saturday and Sunday missions. You can then use them to unlock the items you need for the 4* and 5* crew. But the initial focus is crew for Cadet Missions because they provide you free things you need—trainers, replicator rations, boosts, chronitons, and credits. These are the basis for everything you do in the game. Here’s a quick video on how I go about upgrading/attempting to upgrade crew. As you can see, Bridge Officer Troi needs two items. I am concentrating on Troi’s PADD because her Uniform (the other needed item) is actually a reward in the event I am participating in this weekend.
Recently the Cryostasis Vault has been upgraded in a couple of important ways. First, it now has the same search functions as you have for the live crew. Second, Crew Collections have been added. This is a great way to get Honor, Dilithium, Credits, and Chronitons. I really enjoy the fact that it is easy to see what you have to do to complete each collection. And, very important since crew can be hard to find sometimes, you do not have to have all of the crew in a collection to complete it.
How to Upgrade Crew Video
Cryostasis Collections, A Great Way to Get More Free Stuff
Weekend Events -- Where the BIG Rewards are Won
Why should I participate in the weekend events? My crew blows Wookie, I mean Tribble, chunks! If you look at the rewards for the event in the video below, even the lowest level players should be able to get to the 20,000 point level with a little preparation. This particular event is a Galaxy Event. Most players do not like them and refer to them as a “Clean out the Cupboards” Event. You build objects to gain points. It burns through your stored items you need to upgrade crew. You have to balance the rewards versus what the cost is. In this particular event, I am only playing to 100,000 points, as that is the last item I need. In most events I am a top 500 player. I do not even care about my rankings this weekend.
How to prepare for these events: 1) Check the Star Trek Timelines Forums for information on events. Always keep an eye on this week and next; 2) Favorite the crew (and variants) of them that will be used in the event(s); 3) upgrade the crew—the better your crew, the better your winnings; 4) Save your Chronitons starting Wednesday until the event starts at 11 AM Eastern Standard Time (US); 5) As you win Chronitons, use them only in the event; 6) Only use Warp 1 in the event to conserve Chronitons; 7) Play the Cadet Missions on Friday on Epic. This yields 25 Chronitons per win x 6 tickets for 150 Chronitons. If you can buy extra tickets with Dilithium (150 for the first two buys, 200 each for the second two) do so, this is the absolute cheapest way to buy Chronitons. 8) Avoid upgrading crew during the event. The items you use may be needed for the event—NOTE: I actually balance this and equip items as I go, but I would not do this until you get to at least 25,000 points.
The Second type of event is a Faction (or Shuttle) Event. These are the one most players love and where the leaderboards are fought over. The shuttles increase in difficulty and length as you progress. They eventually hit 3 hour length and yield up to 4000 points. NOTE: at the beginning, running one shuttle that will pass will tend to get you more points than running one pass/one fail. Fails take you back down the points scale, so you may never make it to the high level shuttles if you keep failing half your shuttle runs. It takes 45 successful shuttles to get to the 4000 point mark. Do not plan on seeing it for a few events.
How to prepare for these events: 1) Having the right crew is MUCH more important in Faction Events. Develop your crew continuously; you may want to upgrade them BETWEEN shuttle runs to increase your chances; 2) use Boosts. As stated previously, play for Standard Boosts (Elite Level) on Thursday’s Cadet Missions before the event begins. I recommend buying extra Cadet Tickets to get as many boosts as possible. Even on non-Faction weeks, keep playing for boosts; you will need them. 3) If having trouble getting shuttles with good odds, try one of these two things—a) add a boost before choosing crew; and, b) open more shuttles until you find the ones that only need 2 or 3 crew members. The 4 and 5 seat shuttles are fool’s errands even for strong, experienced players.
Finally, in Shuttle Events there are loaner crew. If you loan out your crew (scroll right on the main event screen to see where to place them), you get points for every successful Shuttle your loaner was on. If you are the loanee, you get a free crewmember to use on shuttles. As you advance in rank, being part of an active and successful fleet is important. Being loaned an extra 2* or 3* does not help much. You need a Fully Fused/Fully Equipped 4* or 5*. A 3/5* that is specific to the event generally will beat a 5/5* that is related. In other words, a 3/5 Enterprize-E Picard will outperform a 5/5 Locutus (Borg Picard) if Enterprize-E Picard was the one listed in the event crew. And make sure your whoever is heading your Squad is in your part of the world. One event we were all complaining that no loaner was up—our Squad leader was in Australia. The event started at 11 AM for me, but 2AM for him.
The third type of event is the Expedition (or Away Team) Event. This is basically the same as the Away Team missions you run on the Galaxy Map except that crew’s abilities decrease each time they are used until they have 0 skills. To prepare, work on the event crew. The strategy here is pretty basic: use the LOWEST level crew that can get the special item from each node. Once each mission is completed, play the higher level version. Named event crew get a big bonus opening the specials on nodes. Avoid using them on other nodes. Unlocking the next level holds true throughout the entire event. Once you have cleared all missions (or worn all of your crew down to useless nubbins), cancel the event ticket and try again. Do avoid claiming rewards too soon, as Event Tickets expire the day you claim them.
Most find these events grueling, as you do the same thing over and over again for days. If you are persistent and willing to keep playing, it is relatively easy to win all the prizes. If you want to place high enough to be in the top 1000, be prepared to spend Dilithium to purchase additional tickets. As one top-ranked player pointed out to me, if you buy the $100 Dilithium deal (and are VIP 14), that makes the tickets cost $1 each. Run 100 extra tickets and you are probably in the top 25 (IF you get all the nodes, have the stamina, and the cash). I generally play for the rewards and quit.
Finally, there are Mixed events. These start with a Faction (Shuttle) Event for phase one (Thursday through Saturday) and phase two can be either Expedition or Galaxy. These are slightly more popular, but can still be grueling. Shuttle events mean you check your game every 3 hours or so and send out more shuttles once the start is over. The other events generally require much more screen time.
A final tip, start as close to the beginning of a Faction event as possible. For those of you in Australia, sorry they start in the middle of the night for you. Why do you need to start early? The more shuttles you run, the higher your score. Every hour you aren’t pushing shuttles, you are losing points. One of my friends said he sets his alarm every 3 hours to wake up and restart shuttles at night. That is the kind of determination it takes to get in the top 1%.
Example of Rewards from a Weekend Event
Problems, Bugs, Gripes, and Complaints About Star Trek Timelines
Finally, the gripes. For those of you who played the game and left, there HAVE been many improvements. There are still bugs—some serious—that crop up. Disruptor Beam has generally been good about dealing with them, but there has also been a DB: Do Better movement going on for some time pressing them on their mistakes.
The most common complaint? Their Random Number Generators—i.e. the thing that actually determines your win percentages. I have had many a shuttle fail if I gave it a Reduced Time Boost. I am talking about shuttles with 90+% chances of passing. The rule of thumb seems to be the bigger the boost, the harder the fail.
If you complain, as one of my fleetmates did, they will tell you that across the board the numbers work out. One, I would actually like to see the bell-curve of the real results; and, 2) that means if you run 100 missions, shuttles, whatever that have a 1% chance of success, one should succeed. I doubt it will, but supposedly it should.
How do most players think it should work? Like school grades. 100% should pass and give you the highest reward. 70% should pass and give you the game’s equivalent of that spider ring you won at an arcade. Anything below that should burn up on reentry.
The second problem is, as with any online game, server issues. Disrupter Beam has been good about taking ownership of this type of interruption and sending out in-game communications with Chronitons or Sorrytrons as most players refer to them. It didn’t fix the issue, but it gave you some compensation that made you feel better. Unless you were fighting to stay in the top 1000 or top 10, the interruption probably did not impact you at all, so you got free stuff for nothing.
Updates or changes to events always have weird bugs. I have known of one case where they stopped the event, sent everyone some Chronitons, and re-ran a previous event that worked. That way we had something to do and they fixed the event for the following week.
Most recently, on a re-run of “It Came From the Holodeck,” which features Proton Paris and Arachnia Janeway, they had a bug related to recently adding Victory Points and Trainers to failed shuttles. Only a handful of the top players actually experienced this, but this is how it worked: If you failed a shuttle that should have given you 4000 points, it gave you 10,800 points. As one after another as the players discovered this, they started intentionally failing shuttle missions and paying Dilithium to do so. Lots of Dilithium was spent cheating, which pushed those of us who had not experienced fails (or who were asleep, not playing whatever at the time) way down the leaderboards.
I know that multiple players complained and asked that the event be stopped, the scores be fixed, or something similar. Nothing was done. In fact, the only way to get any resolution to the problem was to email Customer Support, explain what happened, and see what they could do.
I asked for Boosts to refund the boosts I had used (which were a waste because of the cheating), Dilithium to replace that that I had spent getting ready for the event, and an Arachnia Janeway (one of the prizes for the top 1000), which I felt I had been cheated out of. As of this writing, a full week later, I am still arguing with them about it. That’s actually one of the reasons I am taking it easy in this weekend’s event.
One final gripe, as noted above crew slots are extremely expensive. It costs approximately $20 a week just to provide enough slots for new crew. While the price of crew slots has been adjusted, it has not come close to keeping pace with the actual number of crew now available.
Overall, if you find the game play interesting, it is worth playing. While I have heard people argue (generally in the Universal Chat) that you cannot be a top player without being a Whale (big spender), I find that a monthly Dilithium card and daily play levels the playing field. When you do have a problem with the game, let them know. If their solution seems weak, keep arguing.
A Final Word About Abstract Benefits
One thing that came to me as I was editing this (extremely long) article was this: the folks you meet and interact with in the game. One of the things that I am proudest of is that I am a member of the Fleet Starship Trista (SST). I was one of the first 15 members of a fleet that is now two fleets. We're, as Trista puts it, a Top 5 fleet. It's a great group of people from all over the world.
That's the greatest benefit of the game. Get out there, find an active fleet with people you can get along with, and have fun. And use Trista's rule: No Politics or Religion in Chat! You can't be mad or offended by what you don't know!