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:
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.
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.
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.
SKILL AND PROGRESSION
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.
OFFICER TRAINING and SPECIAL PROJECTS
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.
BENEFITS AND UNLOCKS BY SCHOOL
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 & 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