This is a fresh update of a document that I originally wrote nine months ago. It has been updated to account for the Jem'Hadar Veteran Destroyer and the conversion of T1-T4 Zen ships to dilithium. Please let me know if any info is out of date.
Ship Acquisition Guide
"Look at all the pretty STARSHIPS! How do I get one?"
This is a guide to all the different ways to obtain a ship in Star Trek Online.
Throughout this guide, 'Captain' is used to refer to your player character.
After claiming the ships listed below, they will either be found in your Captain's active ships roster, or as an item in your Captain's inventory (which, when used, will produce a ship in your Captain's active ships roster). Your Captain will then need to visit a Starship Selection Officer (located near most Shipyards; there is also one located, independently of a Shipyard, at the Fleet Colony) in order to select it as their current ship, if that is desired.
If your Captain's active ships roster is full, they can gain additional slots by levelling up, or by purchasing slots from the Zen store. You can also free up existing slots by visiting a Starship Selection Officer and either moving inactive ships to the Drydock, or dismissing/discharging inactive ships. Note that some ships (see below) cannot be reclaimed for free after being dismissed/discharged, so be careful!
When you unlock the Admiralty system at Level 52, your Captain's will be rewarded a durable 'Admiralty card' for every ship currently in their active ships roster, and will gain one anytime that they claim a new ship after that (or return it to active ships roster from Drydock). These Admiralty cards can be quite valuable in generating experience, dilithium, and other resources. Due to this, it is advised that you DO NOT dismiss/discharge any ships before reaching Level 52.
The ship that your Captain is currently flying may not be moved to Drydock or dismissed/discharged.
Special note for Starfleet ships: class names (Galaxy-class, Intrepid-class, etc) are not included in the Shipyard main interface or in the active ship roster, but are shown elsewhere. They are included here for player reference.
1. Currency-Free Ships:
1.1.: Starter Ships
Your Captain will be automatically provided with a ship through the tutorial (or if you choose to skip the tutorial). With the exception of the Dominion (whose Captains start at level 60), these ships are considered "Tier 1" ships.
The type of ship your Captain will receive is determined by your Captain's faction, as follows:
2409 Starfleet - Miranda-class Light Cruiser
23c Starfleet - Pioneer-class Utility Cruiser
Discovery Starfleet - Malachowski-class Light Cruiser
Romulan - T'liss Light Warbird
Klingon - B'rel Bird-of-Prey
Dominion - Jem'Hadar Escort (T-5U)
Your Captain will also be provided with a faction-appropriate shuttlecraft, for use in the small number of missions that require their use. (23c Starfleet Captains can also claim a Class F shuttle for free; this must be done manually and is ONLY available while still in the 23c storyline.)
1.2.: Level-Up Reward Ships (Levels 10-40)
As your Captain levels up, you will be able to claim additional ships for free, which are improved over those previously available. You will receive a "Promotion" mission when, or soon after, you reach levels 10, 20, 30, and 40. (Since they start at level 60, Dominion characters do not receive these.) This mission will direct you to return to your faction's 'base', where you will be able to claim the new ship from the Shipyard.
It should be noted that, previously, the Romulan and Klingon selections were also tied to completion of certain storyline episodes. I'm not sure if this is still the case, but if you do not receive the "Promotion" mission popups at the proper time, this may be the reason.
Level 10 - Choice of certain Tier 2 ships.
Level 20 - Choice of certain Tier 3 ships.
Level 30 - Choice of certain Tier 4 ships.
Level 40 - Choice of certain Tier 5 ships.
The available ships are also determined by your Captain's faction. Romulan Captains do NOT have the option of claiming allied ships. 23c and Discovery Starfleet Captains, however, will receive the standard Starfleet selections. The available choices are as follows:
Starfleet - Constitution-class (refit) Cruiser, Saber-class Escort, Nova-class Science Vessel
Romulan - Dhelan Warbird
Klingon - QulDun Bird-of-Prey, K'tanco Battlecruiser, Somraw Raptor
(Note that the Starfleet Cruiser is the 'refit' version of the original 'Enterprise' as seen in the first three theatrical films, and as the 'Enterprise-A' in films 4-6.)
Starfleet - Cheyenne-class Heavy Cruiser, Akira-class Heavy Escort, Olympic-class Research Science Vessel
Romulan - Mogai Heavy Warbird
Klingon - Norgh Bird-of-Prey, K't'inga Battlecruiser, Qorgh Raptor
Starfleet - Galaxy-class Exploration Cruiser, Defiant-class Tactical Escort, Intrepid-class Long Range Science Vessel
Romulan - Ar'kif Tactical Warbird, D'deridex Warbird Battlecruiser
Klingon - Ki'tang Bird-of-Prey, Vor'cha Battlecruiser, Pach Raptor
(Note that most Tier 4 choices are screen-canon ships from the 'The Next Generation' / early 'Deep Space Nine' era. The Starfleet Exploration Cruiser is the 'Enterprise-D' and the Starfleet LRSV is 'Voyager'.)
Starfleet - Sovereign-class Assault Cruiser, Sentinel-class Star Cruiser, Prometheus-class Advanced Escort, Dervish-class Patrol Escort, Destiny-class Deep Space Science Vessel, Luna-class Reconnaissance Science Vessel
Romulan - Ha'feh Assault Warbird, Ha'apax Advanced Warbird, Ha'nom Guardian Warbird
Klingon - Hegh'ta Heavy Bird-of-Prey, Negh'Var Heavy Battlecruiser, Vor'cha Battlecruiser Retrofit, Qin Heavy Raptor, Vo'Quv Carrier
(Note that some Tier 5 choices are screen-canon ships from the late 'Deep Space Nine' / 'Voyager' era; the Starfleet Assault Cruiser is the 'Enterprise-E' as first seen in the film 'First Contact'.)
1.3.: Dilithium Ships
All ships listed above may be claimed (or reclaimed) via any Shipyard for Dilithium, once the promotion token for that tier has been used. This method will also allow Romulan and Dominion Captains access to their allied faction's selections.
(While these are not really "free", this entry makes the most sense at this point.)
Tier 2 ships require a minimum level of 10. Tier 3 ships require a minimum level of 20. Tier 4 ships (with one exception) require a minimum level of 30.
There are additional ships available at a higher dilithium price at Tiers 1-4.
- These ships were previously Zen-purchaseable ships (see category 2, below); if purchased during that period, they remain available as account-unlocks, as with other Zen purchase ships.
- The Tier 1 "Constitution Cruiser" (sometimes labeled as "TOS Enterprise") is popular with newer players, both for nostalgia reasons (this is the Enterprise from the 1960s TV series), and because it comes with two special infinity-mark 'Retrofit Phaser Banks' (blue quality). Infinity-mark weapons will auto-adjust their stats to the equivalent of an appropriate mark for your Captain's level, until they reach level 50, at which point the weapon's stats will freeze at the equivalent of Mark 11. If you load them into the Upgrade Item screen once the Captain is at level 50+, they will be autoconverted to Mark 12 and are then further upgradable. These Retrofit Phaser Banks can be equipped on any ship. (They also have 1960s style artwork and sound effects. Retrofit Phaser Banks can also be acquired as episode rewards for "Everything Old Is New", but if sourced from the episode, are not infinity-mark.)
- Romulan and Dominion Captains can also access most (not all) dilithium ships of their allied faction.
- Romulan dilithium ships are available to everyone, regardless of faction.
- Captains below level 30 may claim the Starfleet Walker-class Prototype Light Exploration Cruiser (Tier 4), but some equipment slots and some Bridge Officer ability slots will be temporarily locked out until the captain reaches level 30.
1.4.: Episode Reward Ship
Upon completing the episode "Temporal Ambassador", your Captain will be rewarded one faction-appropriate Tier 3 Cruiser. (Romulan and Dominion characters will receive the ship of their allied faction.) This ship will be in a Bound to Character box delivered directly to your Captain's inventory; when used, this box will produce the ship into your Captain's active ships roster. The box may also be stored in your personal Bank.
Starfleet - Ambassador-class Support Cruiser ('Enterprise-C')
Klingon - Kamarag Battlecruiser
1.5.: Level-Up Reward Ship (Level 61)
As you finish levelling up, your Captain will be offered one more free ship choice from the Shipyard. This provides the cheapest (year-round) access to endgame-level ships.
These specific Tier 5 ships are offered at Level 61:
Starfleet - Galaxy-class Exploration Cruiser Retrofit, Defiant-class Tactical Escort Retrofit, Intrepid-class Long Range Science Vessel Retrofit
Romulan - T'varo Light Warbird Retrofit, Dhelan Warbird Retrofit, Mogai Heavy Warbird Retrofit, D'deridex Warbird Battlecruiser Retrofit
Klingon - B'Rel Bird-of-Prey Retrofit, Kar'Fi Battle Carrier, Orion Marauder Flight Deck Carrier
Romulan and Dominion Captains may also choose from the ships offered to their allied faction.
All of these ships may be upgraded to "Tier 5 Upgraded" by use of a Starship Upgrade token. This upgrade may require a separately purchaseable "Starship Upgrade Token", but once applied, these are considered an 'Account Unlock' for that ship type. These tokens must be applied while visiting a Starship Selection Officer, usually found near each Shipyard. (There is also one located, independently of a Shipyard, at the Fleet Colony.) Tier 5 Upgraded incorporates some (but not all) of the additional benefits of Tier 6, including four levels of Starship Mastery bonuses.
These ships are otherwise Zen-purchaseable ships (see category 2, below).
*NOTE: Purchasers of the Lifetime Subscription will receive this reward twice, at Level 50 and at Level 61.
1.6.: Event Ships
From time to time, Star Trek Online offers special 'Seasonal Events' which often include the opportunity to earn, through targeted gameplay, a special ship. A new ship is created for each of these events. These ships are usually "factionless" (meaning that they can be used by any captain) and represent "minor" or "alien" races.
These ships are now generally Tier 6 ships, but prior to October 2014 (Delta Rising expansion) Event Ships were Tier 5 ships.
In most years, three 'Seasonal Events' rewarding ships are offered:
Anniversary Event (February)
Summer Event (usually July-August, but sometimes a bit earlier or later)
Winter Event (December-January)
A one-time special Mycelial Event (which also rewarded a ship) was offered in Fall 2019.
Players who previously earned an Event Ship can reclaim them at any time, through the Event Reputation Store. (Captains must be Level 50 or higher in order to reclaim the older Tier 5 Event Ships. Tier 6 Event Ships may be claimed at any level, but some equipment slots and some Bridge Officer ability slots will be temporarily locked out until the Captain reaches level 40.)
(to be continued due to post size limit)