Some games, Star Trek Online included, have integrated what are known as reputation systems into their games. Reputation systems are meant to keep players participating in repeatable content, allowing them to apply the currency received from that play to obtain select items and unique rewards.
There are currently four personal reputation factions in Star Trek Online (by contrast, there are almost 30 in Lord of the Rings Online). They are the Romulan Republic, Task Force Omega, Nukara Strikeforce, and Dyson Joint Command. Since all of these systems work in the same way, I'll go through the basics and then delve deeper into a couple of idiosyncrasies.
The reputation system can be accessed in STO by bringing up the character screen (either the small outline of a bust in the upper right corner of the mini-map or by pressing the letter "U" on the keyboard) and clicking on the reputation tab.
The main interface will appear, and a player can select which reputation system she would like to use by clicking on the desired faction on the left hand side. Once a faction is selected, the overview of the player's standing with the faction should appear. A player can complete five tiers of reputation with each faction. At the completion of each tier new, items, gear, weapons, and (with certain factions) playable story-based missions or cutscenes will unlock.
A player advances in reputation by playing select associated, repeatable missions and earning marks and other forms of currency. These marks can then be donated to projects. Projects are the tasks that must be completed for each faction.
The system allows for two projects and one upgrade project to run simultaneously. Regular projects usually require players to donate a mix of that faction's marks, expertise, commodities (like astrometric probes or seismic stabilizers as seen above), and consumables (like hyposprays or shield batteries). Once the required number of each item has been input, the project will automatically enter into its cooldown phase. For the time being, most of the basic projects in STO have a 20-hour cool down.
Upgrade projects are a bit different; they typically serve two purposes. The first is a project that can be slotted when a player reaches the end of a tier. Completing the upgrade project (they have a 15-minute cooldown) unlocks the next tier's progression bar as well as a new passive skill. Players are granted a choice between two different passive skills, one of which typically offers a boost to an offensive capability while the other increases a defensive skill. The second type of upgrade project can be slotted at any time and allows a player to donate marks in trade for dilithium. While that project also advances the player's reputation on the progression bar, it does so only negligibly.
Two of the game's factions, the Borg (Task Force Omega) and the Voth (Dyson Joint Command), have additional items that are required in order to obtain the high-end gear. Select Borg missions that are run on the elite setting will reward players with Borg Neural Processors. Specific Voth missions run on the elite setting will reward players with Voth Cybernetic Implants. Borg Processors can also be obtained as a rare drop in the same missions played on the normal setting, while there is a small chance that Voth Implants "will appear in Dyson Equipment Requisition Boxes."
These items can be donated to reputation projects that require them for the much-desired Mark XII faction weaponry and gear. To get a better understanding of how to obtain the marks, processors, and implants that are needed for each faction, simply click on the Info button at the top of each reputation system's UI and a list of all of the specific missions will appear.
If you're new to STO, there's actually quite a bit of material to be explored with each of the four factions. It's one of the best advantages a new player has to the game. Those who have played from the day it began got most of this content piecemeal and tore through it as fast as they could. So take heart! Sometimes it's a very good thing to be a new player! Until next week, live long and prosper!
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