This page discusses some of the technical details of character progression: star ratings, levels, experience, and skill increase.
Crew members come in different rarities (star rating), from common to legendary. However, every character in game is obtained one star at a time - for instance an Enterprise-E Picard has a five stars potential, but will have one filled star and four empty stars (★☆☆☆☆).
When a player has several copies of a character, they can merge them in order to obtain a stronger version of that character. This can be done only if that crew member isn't at maximum rank, i.e. if there is a star to be filled. A common Neelix can't be fused since he has no empty star, an uncommon Telek R'Mor (★☆) can be fused once to reach his potential (★★), and an Enterprise-E Picard will need four fusions to achieve his potential (★★★★★).
More is explained here.
Fusing improves the ship battle ability of a character. The effect of fusion on skills is discussed below.
Experience and levels
Your crew gains experience (XP) by participating in away missions, space battles or by receiving training programs. When reaching a certain amount of XP, the crew member level increases. The required XP does not depend on star rating - a common crew member requires as much as a legendary one.
The amount of experience required to pass to reach a milestone (a level that is multiple of ten). Thanks to the forum user UL1R53 for collecting and sharing this data.
|Level||From 1 to this
|Milestone Trainings Equivalent*|
A detailed level-by-level analysis is given here:
|Crew XP Needed by Level|
As a side note, a character doesn't gain experience when they have reached a milestone but haven't been advanced.
(Disclaimer: changes in the balance can result in changes to character growth. This info was up-to-date in March 2016.)
The skill of a crewmember in the six different types of challenge (, , , , and ) can be increased in ways: by increasing the level or by equipping an item. Item mechanics are not covered here.
The skill received for passing a level depends on the star rating and on the character progression (which is a specific to each character).
Skill proficiency (the random number that is rolled during away missions) does not depend on characters, but depends entirely on items. It will be neglected here.
As an example however, let's consider Vedek Winn Adami's progression between level 50 and level 60. Of all the items she equips, only her Uncommon Winn's Robes ★★ grants a skill boost (15 ). So her "natural progression" (that is, subtracting 15 ) is:
|Rating||Skills at 50||Skills at 60||Increase||Overall increase|
|★☆☆||99 164||110 200||11 21||32|
|★★☆||123 182||139 221||16 24||40|
|★★★||157 222||180 269||23 32||55|
It can be shown that this progression is fairly linear: ★★★ Vedek Winn tends to gain 23 more overall points each ten levels than ★☆☆ Vedek Winn, resulting in a estimated difference of 230 points at level 100.
A faster overview on Commando Crusher as an example of a three-skill character. Once again the proficiency is neglected and the added skill values from items were subtracted (+5 and +7 between level 10 and 20, +10 between level 20 and level 30).
|Rating||Increase between 10 and 20||Increase between 20 and 30||Overall increase|
|★☆☆||12 6 20||12 6 20||38|
|★★☆||17 9 24||17 9 24||50|
|★★★||24 12 32||24 12 32||68|
Once again, there is a much stronger progression for a character with a max rating. Also, Commando Crusher's main skill () grows as fast as Vedek Winn's main skill (), but Crusher's overall progression is stronger since she has a third skill.
The next question is, clearly, the difference between a Common, Uncommon, Rare, Ultra-Rare and Legendary character. As an example, let's have a look at Captain Janeway.
|Rating||Skill increase every 10 levels||Overall increase|
|★☆☆☆||20 12 12||44|
|★★☆☆||25 17 17||59|
|★★★☆||33 24 24||81|
|★★★★||45 35 35||115|
While her overall growth is surely bigger, her growth is comparable to the growth of a Rare character of equal star rating. She has however three advantages: she can upgrade to ★★★★, she can equip much more powerful items, and her two non-main skills ( and ) grow at an equal pace.
There are little data available for Legendary crew. For Mirror Kirk, the progression seems to be:
|Rating||Skill increase every 10 levels|
Scientist Degra's progression on the other hand is:
|Rating||Skill increase every 10 levels|
We can set propose the following conclusions (which are yet to be tested more thoroughly):
- Increasing the star rating of a character (if possible) enormously increases their potential. The difference seems minimal at low level and star ratings, but it can be massive at high levels and star ratings.
- Crewmembers with two skills don't necessarily increase their skill faster than those with three skills.
- Items however make a big difference. Characters with two skills equip items that help only their two skills, and thus can gain more in their main skills. Rarer characters also can equip more powerful items.
Crew progression fusion rule of thumb
As a general rule of thumb, the effect of fusing a character on its base skill can be expressed as a percentage of the difference between the skill level of the fully fused character to itself at the same level and equipment at 1 star. The difference in percentage is summarized in the table:
As an example, let's have a look at Captain Janeway Diplomacy skill: Fully fused fully equipped at level 100, Captain Janeway has a Diplomacy skill level of 532, while at 1 star but fully equipped at level 100, she has a Diplomacy skill of only 304. The effect of fusion on her base Diplomacy skill, or her fusion difference is therefore 532 - 304 = 228. To estimate Captain Janeway Diplomacy skill 2 star fusion, fully equipped at level 100, take 20% of her fusion difference: 228 * 20% = 45.6 and add it to her 1 star fusion level: 304 + 45.6 = 349.6. Captain Janeway 2 star fusion, fully equipped at level 100 actually has a Diplomacy skill level of 355, only a 5 difference from the estimation.
This rule of thumb has been found to give good results but should only be used where real information is unavailable.
Fusion difference averages at level 100
In case no data is available the average fusion difference at level 100 can be used. The averages are from all the characters of that star rating and are divided to primary skill (the highest skill at no fusion and level 1), high secondary skill (close to the primary at no fusion and level 1), and low secondary skill (far from the primary). The average differences for fully equipped level 100 is summarized in the table:
|Star Rating||Primary Skill||High Secondary Skill||Low Secondary Skill|
|390||390 - 430||225|
As an example, let's have a look at Captain Janeway base level 1 skills: Command: 57 -> Primary, Actual difference: 718 - 474 = 244. Diplomacy: 42 -> High Secondary, Actual difference: 532 - 304 = 228. Science: 42 -> High Secondary, Actual difference: 475 - 247 = 228. The actual figures are quite close to the estimation, providing a realistic reference where no data is available.