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Star Trek Online

Intro to Research & Development

By LaughingTrendy | Tue 01 Nov 2016 09:00:00 AM PDT

Research & Development (or “R&D”) allows Captains the opportunity to create devices and equipment by harvesting materials and components from anomalies found throughout the game world, or received as rewards from completing queued events. Experts in different R&D Schools can unlock the ability to create Tech Upgrades for improving existing gear, and eventually earn the ability to craft powerful unique equipment from each School.

Keep reading to learn more!


Nearly every project available to you within the R&D System will yield items or equipment. The process of creating those items can be broken down into three simple steps:

  1. Gather Materials

Crafting materials can be found throughout the galaxy, and usually take on the form of anomalies that may be scanned in order to claim their contents. Captains may also occasionally find crafting materials as loot from defeating enemies, and most queued events offer an R&D materials package as a reward for completion.

  1. Create Components

Most consumable items do not require Components, and can be directly crafted using raw materials. However, the more complicated designs require you to first create the items’ constituent components before the final Assembly step can be initiated.

  1. Final Assembly

In this step, you may choose the Mark of the item you wish to receive as the final output, as well as any sub-categories that may exist for the item being crafted (e.g., you can choose the energy type of the Beam Array you wish you craft). The component requirements for the item will increase based on the item’s chosen Mark.

Quality of the final item is determined at random, based on your current Skill Level as compared with the Recommended Skill of the item being created.

All projects have a time component associated with them, which increases with the associated items’ complexity. Players may choose to speed up any active R&D Project by spending Dilithium in order to instantly complete the project.

Items created by players in the R&D System also have a chance of receiving unique item modifiers (or “Mods”) which cannot be obtained from anywhere else in the game. Mods can be seen on weapons in the form of the words appearing in brackets at the end of an item’s display name, such as [Dmg] or [Spd] and numerous others. The unique mods available to crafted items can have a significant impact on performance for an individual item, and are among the more desirable options available.


Players may progress in any or all of the seven R&D Schools available to them. As you increase your level within a School, your chances of creating higher-quality items within that School increase. You will also unlock recipes for items unique to each School, as well as earning yourself a personal Trait Unlock upon reaching level 15 within a School.

Captains are not limited at all as to which R&D Schools they earn progress in, but they will have to choose which one(s) to progress first as there are a limited number of project slots available and all R&D projects take some amount of time to complete.

A complete list of benefits associated with each R&D School can be found at the end of this article.


Progress within each School is gained by completing projects from that School. These projects also frequently yield items and equipment which can be used on you, your starships, or your Away Team, or may be sold to other players on the Exchange.

Your skill at making things depends on your level in the School which you are crafting from, and the difficulty of your task depends on the level of item you are trying to create. As long as you have the materials, you can try to create Mark XII items at School Level 1, but your chance of creating a Very Rare quality item will be nonexistent due to the task’s high difficulty and your low starting skill. As you progress by crafting items, your Skill Rating increases, causing the overall quality of the items you craft to increase on average. By the time you hit the maximum level of any school, you’ll regularly craft Rare and Very Rare items, and you’ll completely eliminate Common items from your potential outcomes.

Additional benefits are earned as you increase in level, including additional recipes and Trait unlocks. See the list found at the end of this article for those details.


As the Captain, you won’t be spending time in the R&D labs yourself! Duty Officers are assigned to each project to perform any given task, while you give the orders of what to do and in what order. Each type of item requires a different officer to create – so while a Fabrication Engineer will help you synthesize raw materials into crafting components, you’ll need an Energy Weapons Specialist to create a Beam Array or a Research Lab Scientist to create a Science Console. Any Duty Officer of the appropriate specialization will allow you to create your item, but high quality Duty Officers provide a bonus to your Skill Rating – increasing your chance of receiving higher-quality outcomes.


Players may also notice these two special R&D Schools listed separately from the item creation schools. These Schools are separate because there is no form of progression or skill associated with them, no Trait unlocks, and no special equipment.

In the Officer Training School, players will find the ability to craft numerous Bridge Officer Training Manuals which can be used to teach new abilities to your crewmen. Additional recipes are unlocked in this school by choosing the associated unlocks in the Skill System, and the list of recipes will differ based on the profession you chose at character creation.

Special Projects is a school reserved for Event-gated recipes, and other projects that do not grant any form of progression for the item creation R&D Schools.



  • Beam Arrays, Dual Beam Banks, and related Tactical Consoles for your Starships
  • Upgrade Tech for Beam Weapons
  • Special Omni-Directional Beam Arrays at high levels
  • Consumable Devices that temporarily increase Energy Damage output from Weapons
  • Space Trait: “Beam Barrage” – On activation of any Beam ability (Fire-at-Will, Overload, etc.) gain stacking bonus to all damage for 30 sec


  • Cannons, Dual Cannons, Dual Heavy Cannons, Turrets, and related Tactical Consoles for your Starships
  • Upgrade Tech for Cannon Weapons
  • Special Wide-Arc Dual Heavy Cannons at high levels
  • Consumable Devices that temporarily increase Weapon Accuracy
  • Space Trait: “Deft Cannoneer” – On activation of any Cannon ability (Scatter Volley, Rapid Fire, etc.) gain stacking increase to Turn Rate and Inertia Rating for 20sec


  • Torpedo Launchers, Mine Launchers, and related Tactical Consoles for your Starships
  • Upgrade Tech for Projectile Weapons
  • Special Particle Emission Plasma Torpedo at high levels
  • Consumable Devices that temporarily increase Kinetic Damage output from Weapons
  • Space Trait:  “Kinetic Precision” – Your Torpedoes and Mines ignore a portion of enemy shields


  • Engineering Consoles, Impulse Engines, Warp Cores, and Singularity Cores for your Starships
  • Personal Body Armor for you and your Away Team
  • Upgrade Tech for Engineering equipment
  • Special Engineering console at high levels, which improves maneuverability and defenses when receiving any healing
  • Set Item:  Aegis Hyper-Impulse Engines
  • Consumable Devices which instantly restore hull as well as temporarily increasing maximum hull
  • Space Trait:  “Give Your All” – On activation of Engineering Bridge Officer ability, reduce all incoming damage by 20% for 3 sec (not affected by resistance curve)


  • Science Consoles, Deflectors, and Secondary Deflectors for your Starships
  • Upgrade Tech for Science equipment
  • Special Science console at high levels, which improves shield capacity and weapon subsystem power when receiving any healing
  • Set Item:  Aegis Deflector Array
  • Consumable Devices which provide a large boost to Exotic Damage output for several seconds
  • Space Trait: “Particle Manipulator” – Improve the Critical Hits of your Exotic Damage abilities, based on your current Exotic Particle Generators skill.


  • Shields for your Starships
  • Personal Shield Generators for you and your Away Team
  • Upgrade Tech for Shield equipment
  • Special Starship Shield at high levels, which can be activated to temporarily sacrifice shield capacity in return for additional damage output
  • Set Item:  Aegis Covariant Shield Array
  • Consumable Devices which harden your shields to incoming damage temporarily
  • Space Trait:  “Inelastic Collisions” – Your Shield Heal abilities cause the shields of your targeted ally (or self) to resist an enormous percentage of incoming damage for a short duration.

Ground Weapons

  • Personal Weapons for you and your Away Team
  • Upgrade Tech for Ground Weapons
  • Special Sniper Rifle at high levels, which deals Kinetic damage and has a large shield penetration value.
  • Consumable Devices which improve your chances to Expose, and the damage of your successful Exploit attacks.
  • Ground Trait:  “Penetrating Rounds” – Your ground weaponry gains +5 Armor Penetration (Each point of Armor Penetration translates to one fewer point of Damage Resistance Rating for your target.)



The R&D System can appear daunting at first glance due to the large number of options immediately available. To assist in better understanding the system and its nuances, here is an external link to a player-created/player-maintained information page, located at the community site “STO Wiki”:

There is also an informational page at another community site, “STO Academy”:

(**NOTE: Both of the above informational pages were constructed with PC in mind – the Console experience may differ significantly in UI design, player interaction and flow.)

Research and Development Packs and associated boosts will be on sale in the C-Store when this system launches. The products will be:

  • Research and Development Pack: 300 ZEN
    • 15 Common, Uncommon, Rare or Very Rare R&D Materials
    • 15 Uncommon, Rare or Very Rare R&D Materials
    • 6 Rare or Very Rare R&D Materials
    • 4 Very Rare R&D Materials
    • 3 Mk 2 or Better R&D Components
    • 3 Mk 6 or Better R&D Components
    • 2 Mk 10 or Better R&D Components
    • 3 Random R&D Catalysts
    • 4 Random Upgrade Accelerators
  • Research and Development Bundle: 1000 ZEN
    • 4 Research and Development Packs
  • R&D Research XP Boost (Small): 200 ZEN
    • Provides a single character a 20 percent increase in the amount of R&D Research XP up to a maximum of 2000 RSXP.
  • R&D Research XP Boost (Large): 800 ZEN
    • Provides a single character a 20 percent increase in the amount of R&D Research XP up to a maximum of 10000 RSXP.

Research & Development will arrive on XBoxOne and Playstation 4 with our 1.2 Update, scheduled to be live within the next few weeks!

Jeremy “BorticusCryptic” Randall
Staff Systems Designer
Star Trek Online


star-trek-online, sto-xbox, sto-playstation,

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