All right, so you read my original review of the game and registered for a trial. Now what? The game has a small player base, and a very steep learning curve. The UI seemed basic, and in some cases hard to use. I got a lot of comments on these issues, and so decided to help out where I could.
The admins over at StarQuest Online put upgrading the UI on the top of their list due to the new players’ complaints from my last review. On the 12th, they released the updated UI. They got so many different suggestions on how to upgrade the controls, that they decided to let you decide! The UI is now customizable from the Options menu. There are five different settings that you choose. You can turn on/off rotating the view by clicking and dragging with the mouse, turn on/off dragging items between inventories, choose one of three functions the mouse wheel can have (zoom, rotate view, rotate avatar), and switch the left and right mouse button functions. All of the hotkeys can be changed to whatever you want. They let me know that even more upgrades are on the way that will allow us to customize it even more!
Okay, so that fixes the UI issue. Now for my part. I figured the best way to write a "Getting Started" guide was to make a new character and record all I did:
After you have registered, downloaded the client and installed it, log in. You don't have a character yet, so you will be taken to the character creation screen. Joining Fleet is the best way to learn the ropes of the game, so I made a Fleet character. The creation process is pretty straightforward until you get to the (with the occupation of) part. Before it lets you choose an occupation, you have to roll the dice for your attributes. These affect how fast you learn, how quick you are, your willpower, speech, and psi. You are given bonus rolls, I put them all in psi just because I like the thought of being able to use psi powers like going invisible.
After you have used all of the bonus dice, it lets you continue. For an occupation, I chose "Star Fleet Academy Cadet" and majored in Operations. This will automatically put you in Star fleet, and gives you the skills you will need for basic starship operations. Hit "Continue" until it gives you the dice again to decide where your bonus skill points go. I used them to raise my astrogation to 80, my marksmanship to 80, and then spread the rest around at random. After you are done, hit "Play".
Now you are taken to the Star Fleet Academy Simulator. It’s a simulation of a Ticonderoga class Battleship. You are guided through the tutorial by several NPC fleet officers. If you follow them and their instructions exactly, it will teach you the basics of the game. Movement is controlled by your mouse, you right click where you want to go, you open doors with a left click, the hotkey to look in your backpack is F2, etc, but they will cover all that in the simulation.
If you want to end the simulation, just say "End Simulation". If you finish the tutorial, or end the simulation early, you will be teleported to Terra, in front of the United Systems Alliance Fleet Headquarters.
Now it’s time to test that knowledge that you gained in the tutorial. Go inside the HQ, and walk to the back. There is a door guarded by a marine, that is the "Duty Officer". Go inside and talk to the officer.
Click on him to see what his name is. In my case, a girl named Lieutenant Eartha Bren was on duty when I came in. Thankfully, NPCs respond to abbreviations, so all I had to say was "Lt. Bren request assignment" and she gave me a list of missions. I was given 8 xp for finishing the tutorial, so I had enough to pick which mission I wanted. I chose "Starship Bridge Operations Training" for my first one. This makes sure you know where all the stations are. Once you have picked which mission you would like to try, press Control-M to bring up your mission window, and follow the instructions.
Starships also respond to abbreviations, so once I had my handcomm out (open your backpack, drop in the money and mission orders, pick up the handcomm with your right hand) and set to the correct frequency (press Control-r, dial in 829.7, hit "P1", then hit the big grey button to activate) all I had to say was "Tic port me". I followed the mission orders until it said mission complete. Then I used the teleporter to go back down to the planet. The teleporter of a Ticonderoga is Deck 9 AFT, I sat at the console and selected Terra on SR sensors.
On the Targeting Scan, the red box is where you will port to. Double clicking on the Targeting Scan allows you to choose where you want to port. I set it to port me down in front of the Fleet HQ on North America, which is where the tutorial put me. The Activation Delay Timer is how much time you have between when you press the Send button, and when the teleporter is activated. I set it to 12 to make sure I had plenty of time to get on the pad, 13 game seconds later I was standing back on Terra.
Okay, so now what? You've gone through the tutorial, you've done one or more of the missions, and now are ready to join the Fleet proper. But where are the ships? The UAS Ticonderoga is just an NPC training vessel, where are the player ships? Well, you’ve got a personal mail. To view it, select "ComNet Mail" from the View toolbar dropdown list. You will have gotten orders from Star Fleet asking you to respond. Use the reply option to get in contact with the player fleet. An even faster way is to use the chat or the forums to find a ship. The chat is one of the few things I don't like about StarQuest. It’s a little "bulky" for my taste, but it works. You can find it under the View menu dropdown list. Go to chat channel 1 to find a ship. One of the best things about SQO beyond its Devs that listen to the community and act quickly (like with the UI) is the community itself. They will bend over backwards to help you, so don't be afraid to ask.
This basic guide should get you started, part two will go into detail about the civilian side of StarQuest, where the depth of StarQuest really shows up. Hope this guide helps, and I can't wait to see you in-game.