You can increase the capabilities of your ship through adding and changing the weapons, shield, deflectors, consoles, etc. You acquire these upgrades as mission rewards, as random drops from destroyed enemies, by purchasing them through the exchange, or by trading with other players directly. These changes are mostly performance based, and only the weapons change the appearance of your ship.
You can also improve your ships performance by improving your own capabilities. You earn points to apply to your skills, essentially experience, through completing missions and meeting other objectives within the game.
Each class his it's skill tree that can affect your performance as ship captain or in ground combat. While there are many choices inside the skill trees, unfortunately the game doesn’t provide a lot of information as to how the skills actually affect your results. The improvements in skill are reflected as pluses (ie. +4, +8, etc.), but you’re not really sure what that means. If by increasing my torpedo weapon skills by +8 out of 100, that’s one thing, but if it’s 1000 that’s something else. A little additional info, even just in the form of a graphic representing the players overall capability at the given skill would be beneficial.
You can make cosmetic changes to your ship at various starbases, one of the few static places in the game where your character can leave your ship. You can change the configuration of your ship, the color of the Hull, the design of some segments of the ship, even the way windows look on the hull. These changes still feel pretty limited, because there are only a few ships in each tier of ship, limiting the total number of combinations for each tier.
Aside from your own capabilities, you increase your total skills through the capabilities of your bridge officers. Each tier of ship can support a specific number of bridge officers, and though you can have say for example 6 officers in the Lt Commander level, the capabilities of your ship determine how many of your bridge officers you can utilize. Here is where the class of your character and the type of ship you choose really make a difference. Each class has a representative ship style; tactical captains generally choose escorts, engineers fly cruisers (All versions of the Enterprise throughout the series and movies are some tier of cruiser), and science engineers choose science vessels. Each vessel type has an extra console of for a bridge officer of it’s type; cruisers offer an extra engineering console, while science vessels offer an additional science console.
The biggest way of course to improve the capabilities of your ship is to advance in level in order to be eligible for the next tier of ship. You start as an ensign, and for each of the 6 ranks above ensign there are 10 grades. Once you reach the next rank (so Lieutenant 1, Lt. Commander 1, etc.) you’re eligible. Simply return to Starbase One and request your next ship. Each ship tier has an additional console, bringing another bridge officer into play, as well as whatever improvements the console you choose provides. Of course, the obvious benefit is that each level of ship is more powerful both offensively and defensively, and takes more damage to destroy once it’s defenses are breached.
Page 2 of 5