STO BEGINNERS GUIDE
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CHOOSING YOUR FACTION
Do not worry if you are a regular, new or returning player and feeling lost. This guide is here to help you move forwards and get you out of the stuck scenario you may be finding yourself in. This guide will cover the basics you will need within the game.
So you want to play Star Trek Online and you have signed up with Arc and downloaded and installed the game. Now you are ready to go. When the game loads it will at some point ask for verification, firstly to allow the game to run through your firewall, and secondly, asking to prove that you are you. Perfect World will send you a verification code to your email. Check your email and type in the code. Once this is done, you will see the Character Creation Screen.
You will have a choice of what faction you wish to play. These are Starfleet (23rd Century), DSC Starfleet (Discovery), Starfleet (25th Century), Klingon (KDF), Romulan Republic, or Jem'hadar (Dominion). Each faction will have a choice of available races to choose from. If they are greyed out then they are a C-Store unlock.
Secondly, on the right side of the screen you will see 3 different career choices. When you hover over them you will have the chance to read what they are about and can make your choice. The 3 choices are:
Once you have created your character you will be asked to choose a name. You can give it one you want to or choose one from a generated random name option. This will not automatically assign you that name and you have the option to click random again until you see one you like and choose. You will also be asked for a ship name. This will be the name of your first ship.
When you have created your character you will be able to start through the tutorial. The first character created on your account must play through this. If this is your second character with the same faction and hereafter, you will be able to skip the tutorial. Each faction has it's own separate tutorial and if you begin a character that is not part of the same faction, you will have to play it the first time around. The tutorial's have useful information in them that will help guide you through what items are, what they do, and where to get them. There is also additional information when flying your ship in space. The one thing that needs to be said is try not to let the first ship you get put you off. When you advance through the ranks and reach level 40 upwards, things start to get interesting, via faster ships and better gear for example.
However, if you are a player that has been around a while and have Tier 6 ships unlocked, you can play these in today's game from the start. Console and weapons slots will be locked down and will unlock from later levels. It is also worth noting at any gear on your ship will be set at your current level.
New players - As you progress you will level up and whenever you hit level 10 or have completed a certain story you will have a pop-up stating to go back to your home base, depending on your faction and to go to the shipyard to select your brand new starship. These will either be Earth Spacedock, Qo'nos, or The Romulan Flotilla or New Romulus. This does not apply to Dominion made characters as they start at level 60. However, they will need to choose a faction when this option becomes available.
If you are a player that has been around a while, any Tier 6 ship you have you will be able to fly from the start. Some weapons slots, console slots and bridge stations will be locked and unlock at later levels.
Romulan and Dominion characters do not have their own faction and it is only when you have completed a certain story objective and reached a specific level you will be able to choose either the Federation or the Klingon Defense Force to join. Additionally, for the 23rd century characters you will have to complete the final story in the first arc and be level 10 in order to be added to a fleet. These are Federation only.
If you are new to the game, we highly recommend you play through the story arcs first to get you started finding your space legs. It is best to start playing the game with a Starfleet or Klingon faction character so you are able to learn the ropes. Romulans are also an option. Additionally, if you create a Jem'hadar character you will start at level 60 and our advice is to learn the ropes first before being thrown in at the deep end. In today's game, you can start any story arc, though for new players we highly recommend following the story through in order.
For every choice, the stories are all different to start with and further down the line, they are the same for everybody. Jem'hadar characters will be able to explore earlier missions on their chosen faction after completing their own Gamma arc. Details on choosing a faction can be found later on this page.
INVENTORY AND ENERGY CREDITS
Your Character will have it's own Inventory. You can pull this up by typing 'I' on the keyboard. The Inventory is split into 3 sections - Inventory, R&D and Assets. The main Inventory can store items you are not using as well as other items. The R&D section will store materials and components used in the crafting System (sometimes these are also needed for fleet projects). The Assets section consists of how many Reputation Marks, Fleet Marks, Fleet Credits, and Dilithium you have. The Dilithium Exchange can also be found here. There is more on these in the later topics.
Energy Credits (generally known as EC), is shown at the top of your Assets when bringing up your inventory and shows you how much you have. We recommend you unlock the energy credits cap from the C-Store as when you first start playing, your cap is set at 15 million. By unlocking this, you can go as high as 2 billion and is account wide. Energy credits can be used to replicate items from the replicator tab in the inventory and used on the exchange. There are plenty of ways to make energy credits. Here are a few examples:
Sell loot that you pickup when fighting enemies to any available vendor at a base, such as Earth Spacedock, Qo'nos or New Romulus.
Crafting Tech Upgrades via the crafting system and selling them on the exchange. (Best to go with Superior ones and you will need to have unlocked level 15 to craft these).
If you have the resources, craft R&D materials and such that could fetch in a nice sum, especially if you can sell in bulk.
The Reputation System will unlock when the player reaches Level 50. These are projects that you can fill and the more you do, the more you will unlock for your character. In order to progress you will need to queue the 20 hour projects which normally consist of energy credits, marks related to the Reputation (say Undine or Omega for instance), and XP. You can get marks from doing TFO's in the PvE Queue and your XP is earned as you level up. Once these projects are filled, player will have a 20 hour cool-down. When each of the 5 Tier's is filled, you will have to put 5 Marks of said Reputation in to unlock that Tier. With each Tier completed comes Ground and Space Trait unlocks. More will be covered on these in a later topic.
In The Reputation System you will have access to special consoles, weapons, kit modules, shields, deflectors, engines and so on. In order to receive these items these have to be queued up and projects done much the same way as any Fleet Project. Most special items will require Energy Credits, Dilithium and Marks. When you fill a project for a special item, you will only have wait 2 minutes before you can claim it. To get specific marks here ways in which you can get them:
PvE queues. Play some of these that give out the marks you want. These are more known as TFO's (Task Force Operations).
Red Alerts. These give you a choice of which marks you want. These are now weekend events so look out for them.
Specific Battlezones. For example, Dyson Ground will give Dyson marks, Terran Battlezone will give Terran marks, as well as Temporal Marks, Gamma Battlezone for Gamma marks, and so on. However, there isn't a battlezone for each individual reputation so some of them you will have to play some TFO's to get them.
Additional Note: Jem'hadar characters will have two reputations already maxed to at least tier 5 as they start at level 60, depending on the career you have chosen.
A better description of the Reputation System can be found here
FLEET MARKS / FLEET CREDITS
Fleet Marks can be obtained by doing quite a fair bit on the PvE queue, especially the ones that assign a choice of marks. If you specifically wish to have fleet marks, we suggest the following queues and those labelled advanced give out more marks:
Federation or Klingon Fleet Alert
Starbase Fleet Defense
Crystalline Catastrophe (Advanced)
Undine Assault (Advanced)
There are other queues to choose from and these the above are examples. Fleet marks are very useful if you are in a fleet and wish to donate to fleet projects. By donating to a fleet, you gain fleet credits and these are used alongside Dilithium to buy gear from Fleet Stores. They are also very useful for obtaining doffs from the Fleet Starbase. From here you can place white quality ones into the fleet projects. You will have to spend some fleet credit to get some, but when you contribute them to fleet projects, you will get some credits back.
DILITHIUM AND DILITHIUM FARMING
Dilithium is the most treasured currency within the game and is precious to many players. It can be earned by doing many things within the game and is needed for almost anything you need to do to progress.
The image shows a pink crystal and next to it says Dilithium. The Ore is what you have earned and the Refined is what you have refined in a day or night. The amount you can refine in a day is 8,000 dilithium. This is per character. However, if you have alt characters, there is a nice little trick. Underneath the greyed out Refine Dilithium button it says 'Store' and 'Exchange'. Click on the Exchange button and it should bring up a box with 'Buy Zen / Sell Zen / History at the top. Go to 'Dilithium Per Zen' and type in 25 and then 'Dilithium to sell' and type in how much you want to transfer. By doing it like this, you lose very little if not anything transferring dilithium between characters. Now log out of that character, and go onto another character and pull up the same box. This time, above where it says 'Exchange Balance, is 'Cancel Offer'. Click cancel and then 'Withdraw'. Your other character will now have that dilithium stacked on top of what you already have on the first character. Keep doing this to stock up on refined dilithium and it soon builds up. Once you have managed to stack up a fair bit, you can choose to buy Zen if you want to. Scroll down to find information on Zen.
Listed below are some the ways you can farm dilithium.
Dyson Ground Battlezone. This is very nice for dilithium grinding. You can unlock this from level 50 onward.
Handing in Contraband to a Security vendor at places like Deep Space Nine, Earth Spacedock. These will take sometime to complete and have a 20 hour cooldown before you can do it again per character. Once the assignment has completed, you can claim the reward of 2,000 Dilithium. This assignment has also been known to fail.
General PvE. If you fly around doing a fair few of these, the dilithium can build up quite nicely.
If you happen to drop a Dilithum Mining Claim out of a lockbox, you can mine dilithium ore at the mining station in the Alpha Quadrant. You can get a total of 5,000 ore per claim. You can do these once a day as they have a cooldown. However, there is a workaround to get two done in one day providing you have more than one claim. Double click the claim and accept on the first day and then don't do it. Log in the next day, and go to the mining station. Mine your ore, and then double click the next claim and it should allow you to do another one. This way you could mine 10,000 ore in one day on one character but you will only be able to refine 8,000 per time. The mining claims are account bound so if you have an account bank, you can send them to other characters to mine some dilithium.
ZEN AND THE C-STORE
The C-Store is the in-game store where items are offered for Zen. The store consists of tabs which hold lists of what is available. Here you can buy new starships, doff packs, XP boosts, master keys, and the list goes on.
Dilithium can be transferred into Zen, as discussed earlier under 'Dilithium'. However, setting the ratio exchange at 25 will not get you what the game shows you as the exchange rate will be too low. In order to get Zen from dilithium, we suggest you make sure you have all the dilithium you want to do it before proceeding. Set the exchange rate to match an offer in the box. Sometimes you may have to wait a few moments as the exchange rate rises and drops frequently. Once you have your Zen click 'Withdraw'.
If you are wanting to get yourself a T6 fleet ship, we suggest that you get the C-Store version first. This is because the one from the store has a trait which you can unlock by levelling up the ship. The fleet version of a ship does not have this.
Apart from grinding dilithium and transferring it into Zen, real money can also be spent on the game through the Arc client.
Please note that Star Trek Online is not pay to win and more pay to progress. We strongly advise players (especially newer players), not to expect to buy a ship they want and deal massive damage straight out of the box. It will take time to get where you want to be. Trust us, we have been there and we know it will be time consuming.
Lobi can only be obtained from lockboxes opened with master keys. The store is ran by a Ferengi based on Drozana Station. You don't need to visit there as you can double click your Lobi to bring up the store.
This store contains items to have in game but will take time to rack them up in order to afford what you are after. T6 ships are 900 Lobi each and T5 ones are 800 Lobi each. Other items in the store include outfits, bridge officers, ground and space equipment. Some are very good and can compliment a build.
Ground and space items cannot be traded or sold on the exchange. Other items, such as ships and costumes can be bought from the exchange if you do not have right amount of Lobi. Items from the exchange will cost you a lot of energy credits.
For more details on the store, click here for more details.
MASTER KEYS AND LOCKBOXES
Master Keys can be obtained from the C-Store using Zen or from the Exchange. These open Lockboxes. There has been a lot of lockboxes over the years. Opening a lockbox will grant you a random prize and some Lobi. The biggest prize being a ship and not everybody has good luck with that. Some players do this and others choose not to.
Additionally with all the rest of the lockboxes, the main one that players like to open is the Infinity Lockbox. This is the box that combines all the previous boxes together and generates random prizes from any previous box. From this pack there are also chances to drop a T5 ship pack or a T6 ship pack. The T5 pack also contains secondary ships.
Without a Master Key, you cannot open a box. Some players prefer to go another method and get keys to sell on the exchange. They build up their energy credits until they can afford what they want instead of trying their luck on a drop that might not happen. The choice is yours!
The image shows the exchange at Earth Spacedock. These can also be found in multiple locations such as Qo'nos, New Romulus, Drozana Station and Deep Space Nine. These are a few of the locations. Your character bank will also be found within the same area.
The exchange is where players buy and sell from other players in the game. It is often said that what is one person's rubbish may be another person's gold.
However, there are certain things in the game that you will not find on here. Examples include Reputation items and anything you can only get from the fleet stores.
TRAIT SYSTEM AND CHARACTER / SHIP LOADOUTS
As you level up you will have gradual access to the Trait System. These can be found by pressing 'U' on the keyboard and it will bring up your character. By the side of your character you will see some empty slots. Items such as Ground Kits, Armor, Ground Weapons can be equipped here. Other useful can be equipped as well. The tutorial will help you understand what some of these do. The same for the ship you are currently flying. You may notice that some slots will be empty until you can find what you want to fill them as part of your build. There are plenty of available options for consoles and weapons to choose from. The screenshots below show these examples.
On the same character box is a sub-menu located in the middle is a tab labelled 'Traits' next to Specializations. Here you will be able to select your Personal Traits as you progress and level up. There are many choices and there are two categories listed 'Personal Ground Traits' and 'Personal Space Traits'. Here you can select what you think will suit your play-style. You start with what is considered to be the 'Stock' traits (the ones given to you), and you will be able to obtain more if you wish from places like the exchange or from dropping out of a lockbox.
Underneath those traits are 'Starship Traits'. These are seperate from the other traits and can be bought on the exchange, unlocked from completing a specialization tree, and levelling up your tier 6 ships in game. Each tier 6 ship has a mastery (located under your ship image on the same character box), and only when you have levelled all 5 levels, you will unlock that trait specific to that ship. Once you have unlocked the trait, you can discard the ship if you wish but it is probably best not to if you would like to fly the ship again and only ships from the C-Store ships you have unlocked have a reclaim option. Other ships from lockboxes and the lobi store are not reclaimable. The traits you select can be key to your build and only 4 out of 5 slots are available to begin with. In order to unlock the final slot you have to buy this from the Fleet Research Lab and is quite pricey.
Underneath the Starship Traits are 'Space Reputation' and 'Ground Reputation'. These are in the background and can certainly help you when flying around the cosmos and shooting your way through enemies on the ground and these are unlocked a piece at a time. Each time you complete a tier on a reputation and claim it, a new ability will unlock. Again, the 5th slot is only available to unlock from the Fleet Research Lab.
At the bottom you have 'Active Reputation', which is much like the space and ground reputations. The only difference is here is that these are the abilities unlocked from completing 5 tiers in a reputation. There are some really useful ones to have. More traits available on completion of tier 6.
To the left of your Character, you will also see an option to view your Starship. Here is where you can can setup your Starship and fill the empty boxes. Starships can generally equip Fore Weapon's, Aft Weapons, Deflector, Engines, Warp Core, Shields, Device Slots, Engineering Consoles, Science Consoles, Tactical Consoles and Universal Consoles. Universal Consoles can be equipped in any of the Engineering, Science or Tactical Stations.
Bridge officers make an essential part of your build. They can train in different skills depending on their career. These are commonly known as 'BOFFS'. Skills can be chosen for Tactical, Engineering and Science. Later in the game you can get specialist boffs or train your existing boff to become one.
Each bridge officer comes with four traits of their own and cannot be changed. These will be ground or space, or a combination of both.
Romulan - Romulan Operative (increased Critical Chance and Severity - Space)
Human - Leadership (Increased sub-system and hull repair - Space)
Klingon - Warrior (Increased damage on the ground - Ground)
Each ship comes with a number of seats per career. The following screenshot shows this example. Red is tactical, yellow is engineering and blue is science.
The brown icon is a Universal station. This means you can choose any of the professions to use. The upside down triangles represent a 'specialist' seat. Each specialized seating has a different icon as there are more than one.
TRAINING YOUR BOFFS
BOFFS come with their own 'stock' traits. However, you are able to train them in new abilities. You can get new skills from a bridge officer trainer or use another boff that you do not want to use that is in your candidates.
To the right, is a layout example of a bridge officer station. Below is how it works.
1 slot open - Ensign rank.
2 slots open - Lieutenant rank.
3 slots open - Lieutenant Commander rank.
4 slots open - Commander rank.
General rule of thumb - Grades I and II can be trained from a skill trainer and are very easy to get. Grade III skills have to be crafted and you will need the correct parts to craft these. The most easiest and expedient way is to see if what you want at grade III is on the exchange. More often than not, there are always grade III skills on the exchange.
Some skills are not available from the trainer or crafting and are locked away behind a lockbox. One example of this is 'Kemocite-Laced Weaponry'. This can be found on the exchange as well. Other training manuals come from missions within the game.
Apart from having your normal tactical, engineering and science stations, there happens to be more. These are represented by icons with the logo next the bridge officer seat. You will need a specialist qualification manual to make your bridge officer one of the following in order to use those skills.
Specialist seating includes:
To train your BOFF, select the one you want from the list of the left hand side and go to skills. You should see a list of available skills to train (providing you have them they will be highlighted and not greyed out). Select the skill and accept. Remember you must promote your officer up first before they can learn a new skill.
For new players who are playing the story for the first time we recommend training in 'Fire at Will' on a tactical boff. This skill only works if you have beams. For cannons, its 'Scatter Volley'. If you have a torpedo and have room, also train in 'Torpedo Spread'. These should work well enough to get you through - especially when doing the Romulan story!
CRAFTING SYSTEM AND DUTY OFFICERS (DOFFS)
The crafting system will unlock when you reach level 15. Here you can assign your doffs (duty officers which are unlocked at level 11) to do 20 hour assignments found at the bottom of each category. You may find you do not have the right doffs or enough of them so you may only be able to start one assignment off a day until you can get more. Generally, Research Lab Assistant doffs are handy for these. Once these are complete you will start levelling up these categories until they finally reach level 15. When they reach level 15 you will also be granted additional Personal Trait and each one will be specific to what you have just unlocked. For example, Beam Barrage will become available after unlocking level 15 on beams and Give Your All will be from level 15 Engineering, and Particle Manipulator will be unlocked reaching level 15 in Science. Personal Traits can be assigned virtually from the beginning and depending on what you choose will depend on how your character will perform. The Crafting System also allows you to craft your own gear, as well as upgrade it, especially the higher level you are. By unlocking level 15, you can craft Tech upgrades (some call these 'Mats'), and use them for upgrading your gear or selling them. All you need are the available resources. It is very much the same for anything in crafting and to some will become self-explanatory the more they do it. To others it may not be as simple to understand as at first it does look a bit confusing.
You will need duty officers to do these projects. These are generally known as DOFFS. These DOFFS are what 'make' your item you have selected and if you do not have the right ones available then you cannot start the project. The DOFFS can also be selected to be part of your own 'Active Space Duty Officers'. These are a selection of doffs that you hand-pick to boost what your Character can do. Once these have been selected, a number will appear by the side of the Active Duty Officers. For example - Active Space (5) and Active Ground (3). They will start at (0) until you select them. This can get a little confusing but eventually you get used to it. These can be found under 'Roster'.
All DOFFS and available assignments unlock at level 11 and are highly recommended as not only do they complete assignments and you get handfuls of dilithium and/or contraband (depending on the selected doff mission selected), you also get XP as well and this varies on the size of the assignment and is always listed with the assignment before you select it. When completing assignments you collect accommodation points and will eventually obtain a new level. There are four ranks in which can be achieved in different categories and will take some time to do. Achieving rank 4 means you can unlock various things like a cross-faction bridge officer for example. Things like this can only happen when you have completed all 4 ranks in each field. Fair warning as to reach rank 4 in each of these will take quite some time to complete.
In order to upgrade your Gear, you will need specialised upgrades in the same category. For example for a Beam Weapon to be upgraded, you will need a Basic, Improved or Superior Beam Weapons Upgrade. Dilithium must be used per Upgrade used or you will not be able to proceed. The same goes for anything Science or Engineering as well. The only exceptions are universal consoles that be upgraded by most of the upgrades. For ground upgrading, these are specifically Ground and Kit upgrades needed. Shield upgrades will still work for ground shields as well and Engineering upgrades for upgrading Armors.
These are 20 hour projects. You will find one for each category. Do these to level up your crafting!
The Admiralty opens up when you reach level 52. This is similar to doff assignments, but instead of using you crew, you use your starships! Each assignment can have up-to three different ships do the same assignment and they will all ask for certain specialities, such as for Tactical you need a skill of 25 and for Science you need a skill of 125 for example. Follow these through and level up your Admiralty System as there are three different ones. These are Federation, Klingon Defence Force, Romulan Republic, and Ferengi Alliance. These are also very good for levelling up your character from level 52 to level 65. Here a few handy tips:
When selecting the gold 20 hour assignments - only select the Klingon and Ferengi ones as both 10/10 assignments will reward you 20,000 - 30,000 dilithium bonus or fleet pools.
Some assignments can give out a nice amount of energy credits and are sometimes handy to set off before swapping to another toon for a bit and coming back to and completing the assignment.
Always look at the green XP and see if the assignment is worth doing. The only exception is Ferengi as it has an orange bordered one instead, so hover over that and it should so a green XP box in there to view. Only you can decide if the assignments are worth doing.
On completion of all Admiralties - Federation, Klingon, Romulan and Ferengi, all 10/10 complete will reward you with an Admiralty card the first time around. These are very nice to have to continue doing these assignments.
If you see the game appear to give you a ship out of nowhere, it has not. This could quite possibly you receiving an Admiralty card. Example - a purple (1x) 'ship' appears in the corner above your chat box. These are usable only once!
PERSONAL ENDEAVOR SYSTEM
The Endeavor system in a nice way of obtaining rewards. The first image to the right shows a total of four endeavors to complete. The Universal Endeavor is the same for everyone playing the game and once completed, gives you an epic reward box. The Personal Endeavors are different for everyone. One player can have the examples shown in the picture and another player can have three completely different ones to complete. Once completed depending on which ones you have done, you will be rewarded the reward packs. The boxes next the them with the numbers is the amount of Endeavor XP you have collected. When opening the packs, you have the chance to be granted energy credits, dilithium ore, R&D materials or even an Endeavor re-roll token! These token's are very useful if you do not wish to complete on the personal endeavors and chance it for a better one. The Universal Endeavors cannot be re-rolled.
Every time you complete an Endeavor, you are granted Endeavor XP, which in turn are placed into your progress towards your next Perk Point (as shown in the second image on the right). Once you have acquired a perk point, you Endeavor Rank will level up. Every time you level up, you are then given a choice to select extra perks shown under Earned Perks. These are account wide! Whatever you choose will also be added onto your other characters on your account. There are many to choose from.
The choices the game gives you every time you get a perk point are random. Here are our recommendations if they come up to try and get first.
Critical Chance and Severity (Space and Ground)
Energy and Projectile Weapon Damage (Space and Ground)
Max Hull (Space)
Please remember that these are only examples and there a lot more to choose from so go with your own play style.
UPGRADING GEAR AND RE-ENGINEERING
Ever player wants to upgrade their gear in order to try and get the greatest bang for their buck. Every piece of gear uses their own upgrade methods. For example, beam weapons can only be upgraded using beam upgrades, and engines can only upgraded using engineering upgrades. There are some items that are more flexible and examples include some universal consoles from the Lobi store for example. One example is the Tachyokinetic Converter (an excellent console), which can be upgraded using either beams, cannons, engineering or science upgrades. Some Reputation consoles also have this option.
We talked earlier about the Crafting System and how it is a very useful tool to have on hand. Once you hit level 15 in any school. you are then able to craft Superior Tech Upgrades. These to many are commonly known as 'mats' and will be what you will need to upgrade your item. You will also need some dilithium on hand.
You can upgrade from any level and quality through to epic Mk XV (which is the highest you can get). For savings on resources, it is best to only upgrade purple quality items (blue if necessary as new consoles from the Lobi store only come in this quality before upgrading begins).
The example to the right shows four boxes. The far left is your item slotted to upgrade and the last one is the possible end result. The second box is where you slot your Tech Upgrade. The third box is optional and is for using upgrade accelerators, which can be found within R&D packs as well as the exchange. You can also buy Tech Upgrades from the exchange if you are unable to craft them yourself.
The top bar shows technology points and shows how far the progress is for your upgrade. The image shows a standard Mk XII shield being upgraded to the next level to Mk XIII. The Accelerator slotted can either be a bonus to technology points ensuring faster progress to the next level or a better chance for the item to flip to the next quality. In this example, the next quality would be Ultra Rare. If the item does not flip, the technology points will carry over. Every item upgrade will utilise dilithium.
The Re-Engineering system is an extremely valuable tool to have at your disposal. Not everything can be re-engineered but generally most things can be. Below is an example of an epic quality beam array at Mk XV (the highest you can go).
The amount of 'slots' you will see will depend on what your quality is on your item. Here you can see that this particular beam array is being completely re-engineered. You can unlock a modifier one at a time and re-roll that way as doing all at the same can cost quite heavily in dilithium and salvage, especially if you do not get your required mods.
So how do you get salvage? Its mainly items that can drop and be collected or bought from the exchange such as weapons, consoles etc. With consoles, we are talking the basic ones that can be crafted and can be found earlier on in the game, such as Ablative Hull Armor and Shield Generators for example. Reputation items cannot be salvaged. Universal consoles cannot be salvaged.
To salvage an item, right click and select 'Salvage Item'. You can soon boost the amount you have by buying a load of for example, blue quality Mk XII engineering and science consoles using energy credits. It is always an idea to ensure you have plenty of salvage and dilithium handy just in case you have to roll a fair few times.