When we first discussed increasing the level cap, one of the questions we first asked ourselves was “What happens to Tier 5 ships?” Players have been invested in this tier of ships for 4 years and we wanted to avoid devaluing the time and money spent in obtaining them. We wanted a fair solution instead of requiring players to absolutely need to obtain or purchase a whole new suite of starships for a new tier of content as we have in the past.
We’ve approached starships very differently for the level 50 to 60 band. First, we will allow players to upgrade most Tier 5 starships they own to a “T5-U” version. This upgraded starship receives many of the perks of a Tier 6 starships minus a few bells and whistles. More on the specifics of this later.
Second, all existing content, all new story content, patrols and most queues will not require a Tier 6 or Upgraded Tier 5 starship. Only the most challenging new level 60 content will strongly benefit from using an upgraded Tier 5 starship or a Tier 6 starship, however it will not strictly require it.
Upgrading a Tier 5 ship is easy. First, you must be level 50 and at a starship selector NPC on a ground map. When browsing your starships you’ll notice that qualifying Tier 5 ships will now have an upgrade button on the starship’s inventory screen.
Pressing this button will prompt you to pay a Zen cost (or possibly require an item with a Zen cost). This cost will be significantly lower than if you were to purchase a Tier 6 ship from the Zen Store. Completing this purchase will then immediately upgrade your ship and transfer any items on the T5 ship to the new upgraded ship.
It should be noted that some ships will be free to upgrade. This includes things like many event reputation ships (like the Breen and Risian ships), all lockbox ships, all lobi store ships, and duty officer promotion ships like the Jem’Hadar Attack Ship and Voth Bulwark Dreadnought Cruiser.
As mentioned above, upgraded Tier 5 ships (or T5-U ships) will offer many of the same benefits provided by Tier 6 starships minus a few bells and whistles. T5-U ships will feature a sizeable number of additional hit points that will increase as your captain levels up, an additional console slot, and four Starship Mastery levels.
As mentioned in the Tier 6 Starships blog, the Starship Mastery system represents your captain and crew mastering the starship and discovering its full capabilities over time. All upgraded Tier 5 ships have the ability to become more powerful as the captain gains Skill Points. This allows the starship to effectively “Level Up”.
T5-U starships start at level 0 and progress to level 4 as the captain plays the game normally. At each level (up to the max level of 4), the starship gains a new passive ability that provides a sizeable boost to a stat like damage resistance, critical hit chance, or hit points. These passive abilities are specific to the ship that has unlocked them, and each starship within a given category shares the same package of passive abilities.
As you can see, upgraded Tier 5 ships share many of the benefits of a Tier 6 starship with a few exceptions. Below is a table that outlines precisely which benefits T5-U and T6 ships receive.
*Upgraded Tier 5 starships and Tier 6 starships both have four passive abilities. The fifth Starship Mastery level on Tier 6 ships unlocks the starship’s trait.
**All Tier 6 ships launching with Delta Rising will come with a Specialist Bridge Officer seat. However, it should be noted that future Tier 6 ships may not always come with one.
A notable benefit of upgrading a Tier 5 ship is that the upgrade is available across your entire account.
Example: If I upgrade my Avenger Battlecruiser on my Starfleet tactical captain, I can upgrade an Avenger Battlecruiser from T5 to T5-U on any character that also owns this ship for free.
The vast majority of existing Tier 5 starships can be upgraded to T5-U granting the benefits mentioned above. You can find an exhaustive list of all upgradeable ships here.
Our current plan is to release as many of the ships above as possible when Delta Rising launches. Any ships on this list that aren’t available by launch will be rolled out in future updates until the entire list shown in the link above is available.
Q: How much Zen will it cost to upgrade my starship?
A: We have not finalized the cost, but it is likely to be somewhere between $5 and $10.
Q: Which ships will be free to upgrade?
A: All Lockbox and Lobi starships, 1000 Day Veteran Destroyers, Duty Officer promotional starships, and the Dyson, Breen and Risian event starships will all qualify for a free T5-U upgrade.
Q: So, if I pay for an upgrade on a starship, that upgraded starship will be available to all my characters that can fly that ship?
A: Correct! You only need to pay the upgrade fee once.
Q: What actions give skill points to increase my Starship Mastery level?
A: Only defeating enemy starships will yield skill points for your Starship Mastery.
Q: Will there be any story content that requires a T5-U or T6 starship?
A: Absolutely not. Our goal here is to allow players to play through all of the game’s story content without requiring the purchase of a starship. Owning one of these top notch ships will certainly give you an edge, but story content isn’t designed to require these ships.
Q: Are the passive abilities between T5-U and T6 ships of the same ship category the same? Or are the abilities found on the T6 ships better?
A: Starship Mastery passive abilities are identical between T5-U and T6 starships. The only difference between these ships in Starship Mastery is that T6 ships have a Starship Trait that can be unlocked at Level 5 whereas T5-U ships’ Starship Mastery progression ends at Level 4 and they don’t have a Starship Trait to be unlocked.
Please note that everything detailed here is subject to change due to feedback. We also encourage you to hop onto our test server Tribble to experience this system first hand when it becomes available.
Phil “Gorngonzolla” Zeleski