Last month the U.A.S. Yorktown was reactivated after an extended period of inactivity as the first official fleet training ship. The crew of the frigate U.A.S. Gagarin requested transfer to the Yorktown on its own, to help fleet in reactivation of this ship for training purposes, which means that the Yorktown is now manned by an experienced crew, which for sure has the ability to teach new players.
The need for a training ship comes mainly from the fact that the game is lacking a real tutorial at this time. Any new players joining the game will go through short simulator training and are then left alone on Terra, not knowing what to do next. This fact has caused fleet to lose several new players in the past, who got frustrated for being dropped on a planet with nothing else to do. I know how that feels myself, because when I came to the game for the first time, the same thing happened to me and not knowing what to do next, I quit the same day.
The job of the Yorktown is to prevent this from ever happening again. New players get a mail sent to them asking them to request the Mission ‘Deep Space Assignment’ from the duty officer that can be found at the fleet headquarters, where the new player is dropped off after the simulator training is done. Requesting this mission will teleport the new player directly aboard the Yorktown, no matter where the ship is and even if the ship's shields are up. Once aboard, look for one of the ship's Senior Officers and he will start the training right away.
The training should not take longer than three to five days and while being aboard the Yorktown, the new player will receive all of the knowledge they need to be able to play and especially understand the game. The training starts with a brief description of the game and the fleet. Then basic controls such as how to move, how to control the camera, etc. are taught. During this basic training, the newcomer also learns how to eat and drin,k how to use their hands and equipment and more. Finally, they get introduced into the ship's security procedures and get quarters assigned.
Once this basic training is done, the training will get into greater detail. The player will learn more advanced things like how to use their skills and the different consoles. Also the new player receives an overview of the several departments the game offers. This is to help the new player in finding a department of their interest. In the final part of training, the new player will get some real life practice and, for the first time, will be heading out into space.
During this first mission, the new player gets the chance to practice what they have learned in theory so far. They will man the ship's consoles, operate the ship's systems and might even port down on a planet as part of a landing party. Of course he is supervised by experienced players all the time to make sure he is safe. This last part of the training not only shows if the player gained sufficient training to be transferred to a permanent assignment, it is also the first time that the newcomer gets to see the possibilities of Star Quest Online and what they can do in it.
In order to finish the training aboard the Yorktown, every new player is to finish a short exam, called the New Officers Graduation Test. This is an oral exam, consisting of fifteen questions and has the purpose to check if the player has basic understanding of the game, his responsibilities and his duties. Once this test is passed, the recruit’s training is finished and the player is up for transfer to his permanent fleet assignment. It is usually at this time, where the training crew is sitting down together with the newcomer, to discuss the players’ interests and organisational issues such as time zone. The training staff will then try to find the right ship for reassignment keeping in mind the Fleet's and the recruit's needs.
Additionally for this player run training, the Yorktown crew spent several hours of work, to get a ‘Virtual Starfleet Academy’ up and running. This is a page in the game's official wiki, containing a lot of useful information, such as rank charts, laws, and military code of justice, etc. Everything the player learned during training can be reread here on pages called scripts. These scripts are made by the Yorktown crew for every training related topic and even for other non training related stuff that the trainers have found useful.
As a training ship the Yorktown is also granted a slightly special status by the game administrators to protect the new players from griefing and to ensure a good game experience. Due to this fact any player coming aboard the Yorktown to cause trouble will be subject to a possible ban. On the other hand, the Yorktown is operating on a slightly different base than the regular fleet ships. This means that usually the Yorktown is only operating within the core worlds or within Alliance space and also does not usually engage into PvP combat. Also the Yorktown is not allowed to participate in any operations that would pose an extended risk to the ship or its crew.
Besides the training, the U.A.S. Yorktown is also offering a mentor program, which takes care of every single new player. All new players are getting their own mentor assigned, which will be available for questions and issues throughout the whole training and even after the training is done, the mentor will still always remain available for any questions or issues that might arrive.
And did you know: Everyone is able to try Star Quest Online and the Yorktown for free. Castle Thorn Software, the developer of Star Quest is still offering the free 30 day trial. We hope that the work of the Yorktown will attract some new players to this awesome game and maybe even will make some of those coming back who left because of getting frustrated. Come and join the fleet today and help us in our fight against the Klinshayans and help us keeping our civilization safe!