Player characters (often usually termed "Captains") in Star Trek Online are those characters operated by human players. In-game, they are personified by their character's avatar who plays the story in one of the game's factions. On space maps, they are represented by one of their starships, albeit with their "Captain" commanding it.
Each Star Trek Online account comes with several character slots that players can use to make their own player characters. After logging in and selecting New Character, the player will go through the character creation process, which involves selecting a faction, species, sex, and carer path, and then customize the new character's appearance and selecting a name for the character and their first starship. Faction, species, sex and career choices are **permanent**, while the character's name can be changed by purchasing a Captain Rename Token from the Zen Store; all other choices including appearance can be changed later at no cost. If all character slots are filled, players may purchase additional ones from the Zen Store.
Players are identifiable by their account handle. The account has a unique user name that will be used for all forum posts. When in-game, the player character's name is displayed in front of the account name in the form <character name>@<account name>, which is used for in-game chat. Sometimes players give their user name as @<account name>.
Many rewards gained, either from playing the game or from promotions, are instantly unlocked across the account (for example, headline rewards calendar events are unlocked for all characters automatically) with other things that can be sent to other characters via the Account Bank or Mail. Some rewards can be claimed by any character on your account, but only once. Players are allowed to operate more than one Star Trek Online account, though any account-wide rewards that will be restricted to the account they are earned on, greatly limiting the utility of having multiple accounts.
Faction and story
- Main article: Playable faction.
Each player character will choose to join one of the game's playable factions, such as Starfleet or the Klingon Defense Force. This starts them at the Tutorial which is the story of how they gained command of their ship. Characters of the Romulan Republic and Dominion factions will also be asked to choose to align with Starfleet or the KDF after their initial few missions. The character's story before then is entirely down to the player, though Romulan Republic characters do have some early dialogue which gives the player the option to outline some of their character's history.
The early game story gives the character their faction-specific storyline as they gain notability. From mid-to-late game most factions share missions and the character's stories become largely identical to each other. A partial exception to this is Dominion-faction characters who enter the story later in the timeline and will only play earlier stories as a simulation, having not experienced any of those events themselves.
Players may select their character's species (aka race) from those available to their chosen faction, or create their own. Each species has its own built-in advantages, known as the species trait, generally in the form of small skill or stat boosts that do not have a substantial effect on combat performance. The player character's sex only affects which outfits may be worn, and some species (Gorn, Lethean, Nausicaan, and Jem'Hadar) are male-only.
- Main article: Career path.
Career path determines which Captain abilities the character has access to, which kit modules the character may equip, and allows access to some career-specific personal traits and mission objectives. Most traits and many kit modules, known as Universal Kit Modules, may be equipped by characters of any career.
Career path does not limit skill choices as the character levels up, nor which playable starships the character can fly. For example, Science captains are not penalized for flying Tactical ships, nor do they get additional benefits from flying Science ships; the concepts are connected in name only. Unlike many other MMOs, the three careers do not correspond to the traditional "Damager, Healer, Tank" role trinity; while Tactical captains have better damage output due to their Captain abilities, all three career paths can perform well in healing and tanking roles.
- Main article: Customization and interaction
Any character can have multiple starships to choose from and several accompanying bridge officers. All of these have a high degree of customization, not limited to currently equipped items, with further options available to buy or unlock.
Via the Alien option players are able to create their own races, allowing them control over facial features, size and proportion, and general appearance. This allows players to create races that are unique.
A wide array of uniform and other tailor unlocks can grant further customization options for your captains and bridge officers, while ships can be customized with Hull Materials, Vanity Shields, Holo Emitters and Ship Interiors. In addition, player titles and emotes can be earned throughout the game.
As the player character completes missions and gains experience to level up, they will obtain higher stats and new abilities. At the endgame, there are further horizontal progression systems.
- Main article: Rank.
Your character's rank and level increase as you progress through the game from level 0 to level 65, with the associated rank changing approximately every 5-10 levels depending on faction. Levels are universal, but rank names differ between factions. Between level 10 and 19 your character is the equivalent of a Lieutenant Commander, and on reaching level 20 they are promoted to the equivalent of a Commander, which they will stay at until they exceed level 29, and so forth. Increased levels grants access to new abilities, systems, ships and zones.
Further abilities are unlocked through the game, or granted by Kit Modules. Some are unlocked by level or all captains while others are career or species-trait specific. For example
- Brace for Impact is granted at level 12 to all captains.
- EPS Power Transfer is granted to engineer captains only at level 17.
- Bite is an ability linked to a species trait available to Gorn.
- Quantum Singularity Manipulation is unlocked via a reputation trait.
- Shock and Awe is granted by a ground kit module.
- Main article: Skill.
Innate abilities, Bridge officer and kit abilities and some weapon abilities are supplemented by various skills. Skill choices are permanent and can only be reset completely with a Captain Retrain Token.
- Main article: Captain Specialization.
A form of horizontal progress, player characters' powers can be further expanded through training in Captain Specializations. These are built up through specialization points earned through levels gained post level 50. Spending points on a Specialization tree earns new passives, unlocks bridge officer abilities and grants starship traits. Specialization points cannot be reset, though player characters can continue to unlock enough points to fill all specializations.
- Main article: Trait.
Separate from species traits above are several other forms of trait that will complement your player character's performance and playstyle. Personal trait slots unlock as you increase in rank until level 60, while Reputation trait and starship trait slots unlock at level 50. As these slots become available, players can select traits which benefit themselves or their team. These traits can be changed freely when in any social zone.
Traits are generally chosen based on gameplay style, strategic role, career path, or the character's background. Traits have a variety of effects, from increasing damage or debuffing enemies, to healing or buffing the character or allies, to damage resistance, or improving or synergizing with abilities.
- Main article: Fleet
Player characters may joined fleets—aligned with either the Federation or the Klingon Empire depending on faction choices, which offer a variety of equipment and items, as well as stat boosts.
Elite Captain Training
- Main article: Elite Captain Training Token
- share one account between multiple players
- sell the account to a different player
Thus it should be assumed, that each account belongs to a single natural person, thus misconduct (e.g. by posting profanity on the forums) is usually sanctioned per account.