Thursday, December 27, 2012

[STO] Dilithium Tracking 12/27/12


Ho-ho-ho, Merry Christma... er... Happy Boxi... er... Hey, New Year’s is coming up! Well, the boring Western one. Chinese New Year won’t be here for a while yet. Anyhow, here are the charts for this week. We’re still seeing a pretty low Z:D rate, with the Zen and Dilithium buying rates having their ups and downs.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

[STO] Christmas came early!

I play Star Trek Online with friends of mine on Maui. Sometimes we're just chatting online, sometimes we're running fleet actions, sometimes we're doing our own thing. Anyhow, I was pleasantly surprised with a $20 Perfect World gift card! What did I do with it?

I bought two 10-packs of Master Keys, of course! Upon opening them? I received:

  • 1 Very Rare Gamma Quadrant Elite Duty Officer
  • 1 2,000 CXP Bonus Pool
  • 2 10,000 CXP Bonus Pools
  • 3 Rare Shield Packs
  • 3 Standard Duty Officer Mini-Packs
  • 4 1,000 Skill Bonus Pools
  • 6 Gamma Quadrant Duty Officer Mini-Packs
  • 151 Lobi Crystals

So, now, I am over 3/4 of the way to my last Ferengi Marauder component. I'm utterly thrilled by this, to say the least. Moreover, looking at the rest of what I got? I've got a nice assortment of marketable items, plus things to help my fleet long.

Merry Christmas, folks!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

[STO] Dilithium Tracking 12/20/12


Another week, and there seems to be a significant increase in offers being made.  Its certainly been rising. However, the Z:D Exchange rate is still very low. Will it get better as time goes on? Hopefully. Maybe its different where you’re at, but as of last Friday, the K-12 students here have gotten on winter/Christmas break. I think college students have been off a bit longer.

Myself? Between moving, attempting to try EVE Online and Playdom’s Marvel: Avenger’s Alliance (silly Facebook game), I’ve been having fun. Haven’t done much in the way of fleet events, STFs, etc., simply because I prefer to do those on my desktop computer which is currently boxed away. Of course, when I’m set back up on there, I’ll be installing The Secret World, check out Guild Wars 2’s winter event, etc.

Anyhow, more charts! As always, make of it what you will!

Monday, December 17, 2012

[STO] Buying Master Keys with Energy Credits.

I've already gone over how to buy Master Keys without spending a dime. But, because there are so many uses for Dilithium and Zen, suppose you don't want to use such a precious resource for buying Master Keys? This is perfectly understandable. So, how else can you buy them?

Energy Credits!

Many players are more adept at earning Energy Credits than they are anything else. If anything, once you become a Vice Admiral, the need for Energy Credits goes down. You can get most anything you want through enough play and a bit of luck. Moreover, as you go through the end-game content, you will continue to earn drops and other rewards.

You will need to make use of the Exchange in order to really earn credits, however. Keeping track of changes in the game will also help you find needs other players may have. This is important, as the more necessary the item is, and the more inconvenient it is to get, the more its potentially worth. Additionally, if things fluctuate in value, keeping track of when it might be cheapest to buy is time well spent.

One of the most relevant pieces of news, for instance, is when Cryptic has Master Keys on sale! Right now until Thursday, December 27th, Master Keys are 15% off, and the prices of Master Keys on the Exchange have gone down accordingly. Instead of paying 1.4-1.5 million EC per key, its possible to get them for 1-1.1 million EC instead.

For further reading on ideas to make more Energy Credits:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

[STO] Dilithium tracking 12/13/12


Onward and upward? And downward? And up again?

We’ve had some ups and downs since last week, when Q’s Winter Wonderland began. Zen:Dilithium prices reached the lowest I’ve ever seen, and the volume on the market has been going back up. It’s a little odd there is so much volume buying Dilithium at current pricing, though. At least, right now and at these prices. I would’ve imagined heavy Dilithium buyers would prefer to try and force the price back to being more pro-Zen (right now its very pro-Dilithium)!

Now, that said, I’ve heard at least one person claim there are groups of people/players trying to lower the exchange rate of Zen to Dilithium. Which is an interesting though, and really something I would more associate with EVE Online than anything else. But, it is plausible, I guess. I’m not sure what the mechanics of currency manipulation would be in this case, but if you are good at farming Dilithium, a low Z:D rate really is in your favor.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

[STO] A closer look at the past month

I believe it’s a little too soon to figure much out, however, its still interesting to look at. I’m really looking forward to seeing how things chart out for the rest of the quarter. After the holidays, and things have had time to settle down.

That said? The November 30th changes brought about the ability open your OMEGA box regardless of OMEGA Reputation level (normally you’d have to wait until Tier III), Also, the ability to take on Dilithium-earning Reputation projects at any level rather than waiting for Tier V.

Right now the overall amount being traded is higher than its been in a while, but at the same time the Z:D rate is also lower than I’ve ever seen it. It took a while for prices to come down, so I guess it’ll take a while for them to go back up as well. Certainly the people buying Zen like the current rate, but I’m a little surprised that the volume of people buying Dilithium is so high while at such a unfavorable rate.But, it is the weekend, so that could change on Monday or Tuesday.

Update: A poster on the official Star Trek Online forums pointed out there was a spike in Dilithium purchasing starting November 18th. The poster believed it relates to a 10% bonus to buying Zen at that time. Likewise, there's a special that Cryptic/PWE are having with Ultimate Game Card, so buying a UGC for Zen will get you a 15% bonus to the Zen you buy. This special started December 1st, and will continue til January 31st, 2013. This could be a factor with people buying Dilithium at such a relatively high rate right now.

Friday, December 7, 2012

[STO] Zen:Dilithium down to 1:101! Downside to Q's Winter Wonderland, maybe?

Its the holidays! In MMO terms, its a generic winter celebration encompassing the same general span of time as Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year's, and Consumermas in general. For Star Trek Online players, that means it is time once more for Q's Winter Wonderland. There's a lot of great prizes this go round, ranging from costume parts to a Breen ship! Seriously, check them out.

But, at the same time? The event went live yesterday. The Z:D rate from 1:110 when I first checked it to 1:107 last night (Hawai'i Standard Time), and down to 1:101 during my lunch break.

Coincidence? Perhaps. It is a weekend, after all, and we all know that weekends bring a drop in the price of Zen as more players log in and try to buy Dilithium. But I'm wondering if a not insignificant portion of the players are currently playing the Winter Wonderland rather than earning Dilithium for themselves and their fleets, nevermind actually selling Dilithium. And that Breen Ship looks pretty darn good if you ask me!

Maybe its bad or unfortunate timing, but its going to be difficult to gauge the effects of the November 29th/30th patch until things return to "normal." In the mean time, I'm not going to be surprised if Z:D dips below 1:100. In fact, I have a lone Zen on the market for 1:99, just in case I miss it! So, if you're selling Zen, now might be a bad time for you. Its certainly a great time to buy Zen, though.

What I'm hoping, however, is that Zen sellers will start to fight back a bit more so the price goes back up. Granted, that's not in my favor, but I'd rather see it higher so its more of a win/win than it is now. Granted, there are many players who'd rather pay money than earn the Dilithium, but its still not as equitable as I'd like it to be.

Of course, when I log in tonight, I'm looking forward to being able to buy the last 9 Zen I need to buy a 10-pack of Master Keys. Yay! :D

Thursday, December 6, 2012

[STO] Dilithium Tracking 12/6/12


Another week, another update! November 30th saw another update to increase Dilithium earning. Did it work? Too soon to tell. Prices are still incredibly low, and my sampling method only shows pools of offers, not actual transactions. Here’s hoping, though.

By the way, you can follow me on Twitter for updates. I typically use #STOnomics as the hashtag for these.

More charts after the break.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Farewell, City of Heroes!

On today's radio show, Jonathan asked me to come on for a bit to talk about the closing of City of Heroes. I was there up to the end last night, and watched the Paragon Twitch.TV until they shut off the feed. I'm not a long time player; only started playing in 2005 (around i4 and i5).

I played on Guardian before moving to Freedom a few years later to join a RP group. Eventually a new SG started called the Liberty Alliance, and that was my home group for most of the time. Great, wonderful people!

Stopped playing last year January due to a pinched nerve, and actually stopped playing games for several months. When I recovered, I didn't go back to playing, sadly. However, I did manage to get back to say my goodbyes, provide some closure in plot threads, etc.

Anyhow; here's a video of that part of the radio show. Enjoy! If you want to hear the full show, you can get it from, plus they do live-stream on Saturdays at noon, Hawai'i Standard Time.

Friday, November 30, 2012

[STO] You may now open your OMEGA Box.

You received 1,500 Omega Marks
You received 1,000 Dilithium Ore
Items acquired: Borg Neural Processor x 8
Thank you for your dedication!

Additionally, with today's patch, anyone working the OMEGA Reputation System can now access the Ongoing War Efforts assignment. For 50 Omega Marks, you will receive 500 Dilithium and 5 OMEGA Reputation points. So, that alone will earn me 15,000 Dilithium!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

[STO] A few hours later... and goal progress.

First off, its amazing what a few hours can do. I checked back in for lunch, and the Z:D was at 1:115, even touching 1:114 for a few moments. WOW! I'm very curious to see the impact of tomorrow's patch on the game economy as a result. The two notables?

  • Reputation XP projects now reward a small amount of Dilithium upon completion .
    • 340 for the 2000 XP projects
    • 140 for the 800 XP projects
  • Removed Tier requirements on Mark-to-Dilithium conversion projects. 
    • These projects can now be slotted immediately upon reaching level 50 and unlocking the Reputation system.

Which is fine by me. I'm enjoying the Romulan content, so chances are I'll be earning a lot of Dilithium off it via XP projects. The Omega stuff? Not so much, so all my marks from that will likely be converted to Dilithium, period. We'll see.

Additionally, I managed to get enough Zen for yet another Master Key. As such, I'm now at 104 Lobi, so 1/4 of the way to my goal of 400 Lobi. This is actually a big one for me, but more for earning Fleet Marks. Why? Because I want to complete the Ferengi Maurader set. The set bonuses are the important thing here.
  • Set 2
    • Sector Space Tycoon
      • Passive
      • Reduces EC prices by 20% at Sector Space vendors
  • Set 3:
    • A Lifetime of Experience
      • Passive
      • +10% Commendation XP Bonus
    • Friends In High Places
      • Targets Self
      • 0.5 sec activate
      • 120 min recharge
      • Summoned freighter allows access to unique Duty Officer Assignments. (**Only usable while in the Ferengi D'Kora)
The discount on Commodities will be a big thing for me, since my main contribution to my fleets are via Commodity purchases, not Fleet Marks or Dilithium. Additionally, the Commedation XP bonus is my main way of getting Fleet Marks, and getting more Duty Officer assignments means more Commendation XP for me in general. I'm currently at Tier 4 for Diplomacy, Development and Engineering, but am also working on Trade right now.

Weekend is looking good, if not exciting! :D

[STO] Dilithium Tracking 11/29/12

EDIT: I got the date wrong. How did I think it was 11/21 when it was 11/29? *sigh*

Its almost the end of the month! Practically the end of the month, really. And, what a month its been! Without further ado…


Now, this is two graphs in one. The Blue area is the Zen|Dilithium Exchange as normal. The other lines are just a snapshot of the volumes of Zen being offered/traded on the Exchange, using the Buying and Selling pools. While this does not measure total amount of traffic throughout the day, nor does it show successful transactions, hopefully it’ll still be able to offer us some insight.

Important dates include: November 13th (Season 7 launched), and November 23th (first set of adjustments to increase Dilithium availability). Next week, we’ll want to keep an eye on how November 30th as there’ll be another adjustment.

Now, for the rest.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

[STO] Z:D Exchange Traffic

Update: Chart revised! Took out period where I wasn’t tracking everything, and managed to add the Z:D price chart into it. Its showing the trends/movement of the price, and is there for reference.

Season 7 has been out for a while now, and I felt it was a good idea to bring out another chart. What is it this time? The overall volume of the market!


What is this? When I get the daily Z:D prices, I also record the top 5 buying and selling lots. Now, this does not show the value of the Z:D market, just how much is flowing through it. For instance, Tuesday, October 30th had a tremendous spike in traffic, with prices around 1:158. Thursday, September 27, was a incredibly low volume day when prices were 1:165.

The obvious question is, is this due to price?

Friday, November 23, 2012

[STO] Dilithium at 1:135!

On Tuesday Dan Stahl said that the devs would be monitoring the Dilithium economy. More to the point:
Not everything is sunshine and roses, though. As we mentioned in previous posts, we continue to monitor the Dilithium economy reaction to the changes in Season 7 and as previously stated, we will be making some additional adjustments which we feel will address issues that have been discussed. Some of those changes are going to happen in an update tomorrow (Wednesday Nov 21) and some of them are going to happen in the following week's update on Nov 29. If we feel more changes are necessary after that, we will certainly make them because our goal is to keep the game balanced while ensuring that players are having fun. Even though we've managed to get more Dilithium into more players hands, we agree that STF runs and Dilithium have been a challenging change that needs to be addressed and we are going to continue to do so.
 Hopefully the changes for November 29 will have a positive influence. Right now the Zen:Dilithium exchange rate is the lowest I've seen it, and I'm really not sure that's good. Possible factors?

  • With all the players coming back for Season 7, Fleet projects have begun again in earnest, meaning less Dilithium for the Exchange.
  • With all the players coming back for Season 7, Fleet projects have begun again in earnest, causing a very high premium to be placed on Dilithium.
  • Exploitation of the Foundry and player created missions accounted for more of the Dilithium being sold that I ever dreamed of. From the sounds of forum complaints, the exploits made it trivially easy to max out Dilithium per character in minutes, thus making farming Dilithium via alts a very viable proposition. 8,000 Refined Dilithium per character times how ever many characters? Maybe 10 minutes per character? Geez.

Just off the top of my head, of course.

My main concern is that the market is going too Zen heavy. Why does this matter? Isn't that good for PWE? I'm afraid that buying Dilithium will become such a poor  proposition that fewer players will do it. While prices might become more equitable in time, there's no telling if players will continue buying Dilithium. If they opt to earn it themselves or drop out of the game? That affects players like me who earn Dilithium for the purpose of selling it.

In short, I hope they don't accidentally kill the "golden goose."

Now, we're still over 1:100, which is relieving. If it were to drop to 1:99 or lower? I'd really begin to worry. 1 Zen for 25 Dilithium means 250 Dilithium per dollar. That's really a poor value, in my opinion, especially when you consider not only how easy it is to get 250 Dilithium, but how little that much actually gets you. In theory these wild market extremes ought to correct themselves, but I guess I'm more worried about perceptual issues. Also, the exchange needs to be win/win, in my opinion. 1:25 is no more win/win than 1:500. If they narrowed it down to 1:100 and 1:400 being the ranges, I might be a bit happier.

[STO] Contraband for Z:D or EC?

Contraband is a wonderful item that is a common reward for Marauding Duty Officer assignments with the Klingons Defense Force. When combined with my favorite Duty Officer assignment – Turn Over Confiscated Contraband – it’s a very steady way to earn Dilithium in game, and thus Zen. In turn Zen can be used to buy things in the Zen Store that can be sold for Energy Credits.

I’ve got a very small and decently run operation set up with three characters; 1 Federation and 2 Klingon. The two Klingons earn virtually all my Contraband, and all three characters turn it in. But, given the market changes recently, would turning in Contraband for Dilithium then Zen be the best way to buy Energy Credits? Or would it be better to sell the Contraband itself? What offers the better return right now?

Excel to the rescue!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

[STO] I'll be getting 11 free Duty Officers.

More than a few people have been lamenting the General Recruitment Duty Officer assignment now requires 1,000 Dilithium to complete. While a nice pack of DOFFs, its not the only way to get more Duty Officers. What you're paying for is convenience and relative speed to obtain; the two go hand in hand.

  • Buying Duty Officer Packs in the Zen Store is the fastest (practically instant), but most expensive route.
  • General Recruitment costs 1,000 Dilithium, but takes a day to get the reward. Also has a cooldown.
  • Departmental Recruitment and Cultural Exchange Duty Officer assignments take two days, but are free. There is a cooldown for those as well.

If you're not in a rush, you can recruit 11 free Duty Officers at Star Fleet Academy. Should you get a critical success on the Cultural Exchanges, you can get two more per critical. For those on a budget, not interested in spending additional money, or whatever, this represents a great means to get Duty Officers for use on your ship, to donate to your Fleet, and more.

Federation players will find this useful resource at Star Fleet Academy, whereas Klingon players will go to the Klingon Academy. You'll find three different species at each offering Cultural Exchanges, and a personnel officer who can do the various departmental recruitment.

[STO] Dilithium Tracking 11/21/12. Day early!

Ah, Thanksgiving. Since I’ll hopefully be busy cooking, eating and sleeping tomorrow with friends and family, I’m doing the tracking a day early. And, well, its still been a busy week!


Yeah, YOWZA. And things aren’t done yet. Dan Stahl posted on the boards there will be more changes coming, and they’ll be increasing Dilithium earnings while decreasing a few Dilithium costs. There’s a lot more to it than just that, so read up!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

[STO] Dilithium tracking 11/15/2012

Overall History


With Season 7: New Romulus having launched on Tuesday, looks like we’ve got movement again! Obviously, its too soon to tell if it because of the new update (although that’s definitely a factor), or a return to weekends being a low price period. Just off the top of my head, however, I’m wondering if the relatively flat period represents people taking a break until the new update. Certainly, when I played City of Heroes, there was something called “the mid-issue blues” (or “blahs”).

If you haven’t read the patch notes, now would be a great time to do so. One of the changes since test was they removed the Refined Dilithium requirements from the Reputation system. Previously, it would serve as another Dilithium sink, which made it unattractive to casual and alt-heavy players. I’m not sure how they compensated for that, as one of the purposes of that was to slow down the speed at which players could progress through the system. While the Reputation system was made to eliminate the random nature of the end-game’s progression (making it an unfair, and sometimes extreme time sink), they didn’t want people to go through it in a week, either.

Anymore, more on Season 7 later. More charts after the jump. From here on out I’ll simply present the data, and let you decide what to make of it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

[STO] Looking at the Z:D history another way.

I had a thought, and drew up another graph in Excel. While things have been relatively flat for the past while, I wondered how much variability was there?

Looking back, there were four weeks where the market fluctuated tremendously during the course of a week. Two of those were wild fluctuations, followed by two lesser weeks each before returning to normal. I’m going to have to start doing some research if I’m going to speculate what caused these wild swings, though!

Times like this I really wish I had more of a history for the market. It’d be really interesting to see how often this sort of thing happens.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

[STO] Dilithium tracking 11/8/12


We’re finally seeing some movement again!

Really not much to say at this point. Season 7 is coming soon, people are getting ready, and that’s about that.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

[STO] Dilithium Tracking 11/1/12

Not quite the 11th hour, but late, and I do apologize!


  FMonday Tuesday Wed Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
8/27/2012     160 165 161 156 158
9/3/2012 157 157 157 156 153 152 153
9/10/2012 154 153 154 154 154 154 154
9/17/2012 155 156 155 155 155 154 155
9/24/2012 154 155 159 165 163 158 160
10/1/2012 161 159 160 159 156 157 157
10/8/2012 157 157 158 159 158 158 158
10/15/2012 160 159 160 160 159 158 158
10/22/2012 158 158 158 158 158 158 157
10/29/2012 157 158 157 157      


Finally! Some more movement!





I shan’t pontificate to much this go ‘round. I’m personally wondering if uncertainties over what changes Season 7 will bring has people less willing to participate in the exchange right now. We’ll see. It could also be Dilithium buyers are not quite as willing to pay the same premiums as before.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

[DTP] Starting to use Serif's PagePlus X6.

Yesterday I went ahead and got Serif's PagePlus X6 desktop publishing software for Windows. Serif's DTP software has come highly recommended to me as a good, competent, low-end program. As such, its direct competition would be the Open-source program Scribus, and the rather reviled Microsoft Publisher. Comparing it to programs like QuarkXpress and InDesign would likely be useless, as their target market has very different needs, desires and workflows.

That said, I'm coming from QuarkXpress (even if its several years after the fact), and thus I'm having to make sure I keep my expectations in check. Moreover, I'm coming over to this from OSX to Windows, so that's even more adjustment.

What I primarily want is a competent desktop publishing program for my own, personal use. Given how many smaller RPG/game shops use Serif, I think it'll be quite functional for me. Moreover, I really want to start getting into creating ePub eBooks; my old Adobe CS2 couldn't do that (CS5 or higher), my Quark 7 can't do that (Q8), and so far as I can see, Microsoft Word 2013 can't do it (currently in release preview).

I don't have any clients or jobs lined up at the moment, and won't put myself on the market for a while. I'd like to be sure I'm putting out quality first, you know? Having already done one test ePub, I'm starting to test those, but have already run into an issue with the iPad eReader, which is unacceptable. I'll research that later on to see if its my fault, a problem with the export, or any number of possible issues. Just like PDFs and HTML, ePubs are a standard in a rather loose sense - the reader program/client has more influence on things than I'd like.

I was able to get the upgrade pricing from X5 to X6; a $30 savings, although after using Steam and other such services for so long, seeing a small additional fee for "download protection" was a bit unexpected (essentially, it would let me redownload the application for up to 2 years if I need to). However, Serif's customer service has been quite good to me, so I went ahead with it.

At the moment my goals are:

  1. Achieve competence with the program. There's a lot for me to learn, both in terms of knowing what to do, but also getting familiar with PagePlus's personality, quirks, etc.
  2. Establish a workflow for eBook creation.
  3. Establish a dual-workflow for PDF layout and design as well as eBook.
  4. Research fair and reasonable rates for services rendered.

So, we'll see! Here's hoping, right?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

[STO] Your feedback can make a difference!

Dan Stahl announced that Fleet Actions were going to see increased rewards, as following:

  • Gold = Purple + 1920 Dilithium
  • Silver = Purple + 960 Dilithium
  • Bronze = Blue + 960 Dilithium
  • All others = Green + 960 Dilithium
One of the posters politely pointed out they were concerned that this could be damaging to the social atmosphere of Star Trek Online. Dan acknowledged this, had already spoken to the other developers, and said he was bringing the feedback from the thread to the rest of the team.

In addition, we have decided to nix the X2 Dilithium bonus for Gold and instead provide a x2 Purple gear and keep the Dilithium consistent across all players.
Its still a good reward, but not nearly as overbearing as the double Dilithium in my opinion. Will it get tweaked further? Its entirely possible. But the economics of double Dilithium was too good; some people immediately quit STFs if the team misses secondary objectives, after all. If its obvious someone won't get first place, would they likewise quit? Entirely likely.

Either way, good feedback is important to the development process, both for players and the devs themselves. When I was playing City of Heroes, they introduced a change to how stealth worked. If you were stealthed at all, for any reason, then clicking on an item (a "glowie") to interact with it would be blocked. This was done to prevent stealthy players from running through, collecting everything, and having absolutely no risk but all rewards.

The players noted, however, that it then made it possible to grief other players by causing them to be stealthed! Grant Invisibility, Group Invisibility, Steaming Cloud and other powers would cause players to be placed into a stealth state regardless of them wanting to be so or not. So, a player could sit upon a glowie, stealth everyone, and block everyone from clicking on it. So, the testers got to work:

  1. We politely summarized the issue we saw. No personal attacks, but rather, "hey, we noticed this."
  2. Explain, in detail, the issue.
  3. Show data if possible. Replicate it as many times as possible.
  4. Make suggestions as to what could be done instead.
  5. Get others to do the same.
It was quite a thrill when Cryptic's Jack Emmert (aka Statesman) decided to scrap that implementation of the idea. Going with a suggestion, clicking/interacting with an object suppressed a player's stealth, and only their stealth. As such, other players could not grief groups of other players while preserving the Risk:Reward balance the devs wanted.

It won't work out this way every time. But, as the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar. Treat the developers as people as well, and treat them as well as you'd like to be treated; the Golden Rule is woefully neglected with anonymous communication. We won't often get to see the full story on their side, so keep in mind they've got schedules, budgets, and bosses of their own. Sometimes what we think ought be easy is a not insignificant amount of work (to riff former COH developer Back Alley Brawler).

[STO] Season 7 thoughts, part 1.

If you're active in Star Trek Online's end-game, you owe it to yourself to read up on their changes to Task Force Omega. In addition, its really a great time to use the official forums and the Dev Tracker or simply dive into the discussion concerning the blog. Go over the Dev Blog on TF Omega first, as that will provide some background for everything else. You might also want to use to reference current values and rewards.

[STO] Dilithium tracking 10/25/12

Well, its been an interesting week in STO land. A lot of it centers around the Task Force Omega Reputation system; they’re streamlining rewards, expanding them in some cases, lowering them in others, and more. As such, its making me wonder if the current Z:D prices are more from people keeping more Dilithium to themselves, “just in case.”

Dan Stahl has been a very busy bee, so its really worth your time to go looking through what he and the other devs have posted. I’ll get some highlights up later, though. Again, knowing what’s coming will help you decide how you want to progress. Overall, I like the changes, but that’s my opinion based on how I play; your mileage may vary.

Monday, October 22, 2012

[STO] Upgrading Duty Officers without Dilithium.

At the moment, Season 7 has plans to increase the costs associated with Reassigning Under-performing Officers. This is an area of concern for some players. Those who are looking for improved Duty Officers for the DOFF system are understandably upset, as are those who are actively working on starbase projects (higher tier projects sometimes require Uncommon Duty Officers in large quantities).

So, are there any other options? Enter the Recruitment Duty Officer Missions.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

[STO] Preparing for upcoming Duty Officer changes.

At the moment, there seems to be a change on Tribble/Public Test Server that Cryptic/PWE is planning for Season 7. In short, there's going to be a Dilithium charge for certain Duty Officer functions.

  • General Recruitment (the basic DOFF pack) - 1,000
  • Reassign Underperforming Officers (crunch 5 into 1 of the next higher quality)
    • Common - 500 (600 at race specific vendor)
    • Uncommon - 2500 (3000 at race specific vendor)
    • Rare - 5000 (6000 at race specific vendor)

Now, one thing I'll have to say is that these numbers are not final. Season 7 is not live yet for one, but on top of that? Its possible they'll be adjusted in the future. Whether it'll be higher or lower, its hard to say, but I'd be surprised if they stay the same. Now, looking at this, I can really sympathize with casual players. As a result, Dilithium-earning activities should become more popular.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

[STO] Dilithium tracking 10/18/12

  Monday Tuesday Wed Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
8/27/2012     160 165 161 156 158
9/3/2012 157 157 157 156 153 152 153
9/10/2012 154 153 154 154 154 154 154
9/17/2012 155 156 155 155 155 154 155
9/24/2012 154 155 159 165 163 158 160
10/1/2012 161 159 160 159 156 157 157
10/8/2012 157 157 158 159 158 158 158
10/15/2012 160 159 160 160      
Well, it looks like the good times of September are over with, at least for now!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

[STO] Multi-prong advancement.

I'm sure you've heard "slow and steady wins the race," right? How about, "don't put all your eggs in one basket?" "Failing to plan is planning to fail." Sure, they're cliches, but that doesn't make them any less sound as advice. And, right now, that's about where I'm at in terms of getting my D'Kora. So, my current game plan is...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

[STO] DOFF Experiment, nearly 24 hours later.

Yesterday I started a little experiment to see what I could do with 2 million Energy Credits worth of DOFFs. Nearly a day later?

  • All but three (valued at 108k EC) have sold.
  • From a starting balance of 25k EC, I've gone to 3.692 million EC.
  • Taking away the starting balance and invested amount, I've brought in 1.692 million EC.

Now, that did take a while to work through! Biggest obstacles to it being fast were:
Exchange limit of 40 transactions.

  • Constant flipping through Buy and Sell tabs for referencing prices.
  • A weird little bug when exchanging higher ranking DOFFs for lower ranking DOFFs (basically, it wouldn't show there be any available on the first try).
  • Time to sell.

But, overall, I'd say it was a reasonable use of time. Again, I personally prefer to have multiple avenues to a single goal, so this is just one of many. The best thing is it doesn't deplete my Dilithium Reserves, which I use for buying Crafting Materials as well as buying Zen for Master Keys. Moreover, it allows me to leverage my existing Energy Credits rather than having them sit around.

All in all, it seems like a perfectly useful tool!

[Q&A] Computer Education!

Jonathan, Ben and L.D. are talking about computer classes and continuing education. Tune in today at noon. Q&A Presents Maui On Line! KAOI AM 11-10 and 96.7 FM!

You can listen in online at or download the show later at

Friday, October 12, 2012

[STO] DOFF Investing Experiment.

Based on the article/post I read yesterday on making Energy Credits, I'll be posting an experiment for myself. I took 2 million EC and bought 15 Duty Officer Mini-Packs, leaving me with 25,000 EC. I'll open them all up, and proceed to post them onto the Exchange. Now, I've got 11 existing, salable Duty Officers already, so this won't be exact, but at the same time those DOFFs were free via the Star Fleet Academy recruitment DOFF assignments.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

[STO] Great read on making Energy Credits.

ertihan on the official Star Trek Online boards has a great post on how to make Energy Credits called The Art of the Deal.
The art of making EC in STO can be pretty intimidating at times, but the truth is that it's not as complicated as it sounds. The first million can come pretty quickly if you know what you're doing, but here are some tips to get you going.
 Its a relatively quick read, and what I really, really like is how ertihan goes from starting up to reaching high levels of Energy Credits in a sensible fashion. Being upfront about costs and risks is another highlight; high risk and high reward go hand in hand, after all! But, the Big Leagues section has some fun reading, good ideas, and moreover an "advanced" economic game. In theory, this is where the Exchange could turn into indirect PVP.

Please note: Silver players will need to buy the Energy Credit Cap Increase from the Cryptic Store. Its 500 Zen ($5USD). If you don't want to spend money, make it a goal and buy it via Dilithium and the Z:D Exchange.

If you're not planning to become the next Grand Nagus, you can use some of the information defensively. By knowing how things get marked up, you can go down the line a bit and net some good savings. Moreover, you can also kit out alt characters much easier by using a high-level characters.

Again, great read, and totally worth your time to look through.

[STO] Dilithium Tracking 10/11/12

Its been a fun week for Star Trek! Lifetime Subscriptions are on sale for $199 for a limited time, Lifetime holders get all Veteran’s Rewards without waiting (which is causing more than a little division on the forums), the new 1,000 day VR ships have been released, and a new STF for Season 7 has been announced!

But, you can see all that elsewhere; you came here for numbers...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

[STO] Lifetime Subscriptions on sale!

From now until November 12th, you can get a Lifetime Subscription for $199.00!

At that price, you'll only need play 14 months to break even versus having a subscription (normally it'd take 20 months). Don't forget you'll also be getting 500 Zen as a monthly stipend; useful for buying all sorts of goodies, including things you can sell on the Exchange like Master Keys and Fleet Modules. And don't forget Dilithium. Buy goodies, save it up, or buy Energy Credits, whatever you like ^_^

Additionally, Lifetime Subscribers get access to all Veteran's Rewards, regardless of how long they've had their Lifetime sub. So, someone buying a new sub today will have access to the 1,000 Veteran Reward ships. These ships look pretty nice (not as nice as my Atrox, but whatever), and might be a lot of fun to play, so we'll see!

I think this is a nice move on Cryptic's part. Its a good perk, but not overwhelmingly amazing. Its not "must have" from a practical standpoint. Moreover, the Lifetime Subscription is $300 for most of the year; one poster noted that its not especially practical to time-base those rewards for Lifers. They'll get everything eventually, after all, whereas Free players will never get them, and Subscribers have them as a carrot to keep subscribing or to go Life.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

[PC] Cheap and easy cloud mirroring.

There's a lot of great reasons to use Cloud storage like SkyDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. I love that I can work on files between my smartphone, laptop, and desktop. But, sometimes I wonder, "How do I back this up?"

Thanks to a quick internet search, I've got a simple way to mirror some of those files!

[Q&A] Talking about Backups!

Another big show today as Jon and LD discuss a favorite topic of ours... yup! You guessed it... BACKUP! Tune in today at noon. Q&A Presents Maui On Line! KAOI AM 11-10 and 96.7 FM!

You can listen in online at or download the show later at

Thursday, October 4, 2012

[STO] 10/4/12 Dilithium Tracking

Steady as she goes!

We’re still coming off the high from last week, but prices aren’t sharply dropping like they did last time. Which is better if you’re buying Dilithium, not so great if you’re wanting to buy Zen. That said, it’s a lot better than the “old days” my fleeties were talking about last night! Its sort of hard to imagine 1:200 or even 1:300 exchange rates, at least for me. As such, well, I find this more favorable, clearly.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

[STO] Buying Zen with Energy Credits

UPDATE: I was told about the Exchange bug! Yay! That completely threw off the value of A. As such, its probably one of the most attractive options you have.

UPDATE: There's a revisiting of this with more current numbers.

I’ve been going on about buying Energy Credits using Dilithium and Zen for a while now. And, honestly, its great! Those with an abundance of Dilithium or Zen can use their resources to get things they want from the Exchange, contribute to their Fleets, and more. Its very useful, relatively simple, and pretty straight forward.
But, what if you wanted to do the opposite?

[STO] Top shelf booze and more Uncommons.

Logged during lunch for a quick check of my DOFFs, Dilithium, etc. Out of curiosity, I checked the price of Romulan Ale, as I wanted to buy some more for my Fleet. What was 200k EC was now 1 million EC. Whoops! Should've bought sooner!

I suspect the price skyrocketed due to the newly announced special project for Starbases. The Conference Room and Hunting Bar look great, have wonderful personality, and are taking up a special projects slot. As such, well, people are clearly trying to burn through their current projects which ought account for the pricing. If you've got it, or have some time to play in Romulan space to get it, right now is looking like a wonderful time to be a seller.

After that, I gandered at the Uncommon Unreplicatable Materials pricing. Since I've been keeping my Dilithium rather than selling for Zen right now, I was able to buy a nice batch of it. Reconsidering my pricing, I went with 175k per unit this go around. That's still 25k less than the low end, 75k less than what I felt the "normal" price was (~250k). I divvied everything up again - four stacks of 7, one stack of 5, and 6 single units. That ought bring in 6.825 million.

Older sales I had finally came through, so I'm back over 4 million again. The 25-unit stack of Uncommons was a nice boost, but I think it was too large. Breaking it up into smaller stacks would've gotten everything sold faster.

Looking forward to tomorrow's update!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

[STO] They got a Korath Temporal Science Vessel!


A player I’m happily acquainted with let me know that they got a Korath Temporal Science Vessel! It’s a really cool ship, and one I’d really like to have for my KDF Science character. Best part about it? They didn’t pay a dime.

I asked, “how did you do it? What was your strategy?” Their answer?

Monday, October 1, 2012

[STO] Its hard to stock the top-shelf stuff.

Specifically, Dosi Rotgut and Romulan Ale. The fleet I’m in is currently advancing its starbase, and the Bartender project is up on the block. We’re done with everything except filling up on the Dosi and Ale, but getting those two items is not fun or easy.

Both can be obtained through Confiscate Contraband From Crew and Special Reserve duty officer missions, however this is not exactly reliable. The Rotgut can also be a reward for Experimental Development of Cocktails from Tulaberries, and the Ale can also be a drop in Romulan space. Farming Tulaberries and hoping for that mission takes time, and, well, simply shooting up Romulans has to be the least interesting way for me to get anything.

The most reliable way to get either would be to hit up the Exchange, but with prices starting at 200k Energy Credits and rapidly increasing it’s a little unattractive. That said, I've gone through and bought 75 Dosi Rotguts for my fleet, blowing through ~16 million Energy Credits. Now, that's all been earned via DOFF, Master Key, and Unreplicatable Materials sales, so its not like I worked hard for it, but that's still a tidy sum.

On the flip side, my stipend will be hitting soon, so i can go ahead and look forward to more Master Keys sales, plus Fleet Modules. Moreover, with a decent sum of Dilithium in the bank, I can also go through and buy more Uncommon Unreplicatable Materials.

I should be back to where I was soon enough ^_^

Friday, September 28, 2012

[STO] Experiment with Uncommon Unreplicatable Materials

49,000 Dilithium just went out of my hands! I just bought 49 Uncommon Unreplicatable Materials at 1,000 Dilithium each. Pricing for them seems to be 150k each on the low-ball, and 250k being about normal. Well, I, not being normal, didn't price that way.

When I re-evaluated my selling prices for UMs, I decided that 1 Zen to 10k Energy Credits minimum price was agreeable. I would be getting what I felt was a worthwhile price on my time and effort while my buyer was getting a relative deal compared to the rest of the pricing on the market. Even after adding a premium to the price, both of us would be coming out ahead!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

[STO] Dilithium Tracking 9/27/12

Well, its now been 4 weeks tracked! My first month! And, as such, I’m finally getting a view of the “bigger” picture. It was rather nice to get up, log on, and see the 64 Zen I placed for sale at 1:165 had sold, leaving me with a nice sum of over 10,000 Dilithium. Knowing that when rates go back down I’ll be able to make a small profit on that is even better.

I know, I know, you want charts, don’t you?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

[STO] Lunchtime joy! Zen at 1:160!

Come this Thursday I'll have hit 4-weeks worth of tracking. On top of that, the price of Zen has gone up from the low to mid 150's to 160. I'm hoping, if not betting a little, that it'll hit 165 before the end of the month.

One of the nice things about the Dilithium Exchange is you can place offers and let them sit there. I currently have offers to buy a total of 68 Zen at 1:154. I also have an offer to sell 64 Zen if it should reach 1:165. Right now 1:154 is the highest price I'll buy Zen at, with more than a bit done at 153. This, in turn, should get me a nice little profit when the pendulum swings back the other way (about 704 Dilithium, or 4 Zen at 1:154). Sure, its not a lot, but it is a reasonable amount for not doing anything other than being patient.

My stipend hits towards the beginning of next month, so I'm debating whether or not I'll hold onto it or not. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

[STO] Master Keys without spending a dime.

Cryptic/PWE just unveiled the latest lockbox for Star Trek Online: the Temporal Lock Box. Its time-travel themed, with all sorts of neat ships, consoles, etc., both to be won on random chance and via Lobi. You should really take a look - they're very cool looking.

Now, given that Master Keys cost $1.25 each (well, less if you buy 10-packs), you might be hesitant to go after them. You might also be leery of the whole lockbox scheme. And, that's understandable. Goodness knows Pavlovian responses aren't limited to just dogs!

So, how to play without paying...?

Monday, September 24, 2012

[STO] Price re-evaluation and Win/Win

Earlier on I posted my excitement over Unreplicatable Materials. It looked like a gold-mine, but I was also wondering if what I saw might be a bit too good to be true. Well, a quick look-over this morning and yes, it was indeed so. The weekend market had been emptied out, leaving only the highest priced posts in the Exchange.


Making money with Duty Officers without playing poker.

In Season 5 of Star Trek Online, Cryptic introduced the Duty Officer system. I love this part of the game; its quick, its easy, and is perfect for lunch breaks. With various categories to focus on, assignments varying by sector, and the timed nature of it, DOFFs are a fascinating way to progress your character (and crew) while offline, to have an alternative means of leveling, and just provide a great flavor to the game. Moreover, its how I've been doing the vast majority of my Dilithium Earning.

"But what if I don't like DOFFs?"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

[STO] Unreplicatable Materials.

Follow-up post!

If you've watched the show at all, you know they can do a whole lot with their replicators. Need a meal? A hot drink? Feline food supplement? Go to the replicator, tell it what you want, and off you go! Sure, it can't making living things, and it seems they tone some stuff down (synth-ale doesn't seem to be the "good stuff"), but it seems it can make just about anything.

Star Trek Online's crafting system has two unique crafting materials that bear examining: Common and Uncommon Unreplicatable Materials. Costing 10 and 1,000 Dilithium each, they represent something that can't simply be ordered up on demand. As such, they represent an obstacle to crafters because the players must earn Dilithium to buy them, buy Dilithium with Zen to buy them, or have someone else get it for them.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hilarious. Stupid RMT idiots.

Upon logging in and hitting DS9, I was welcomes by someone standing around, talking in the local channel:

Welcome to ***********, Cheap&fast STO Credits 10M only $12.99 with 10% bonus STO Credits, 30mins delivery guaranteed.

Really? Oh, that's fantastic. I've been selling Master Keys the past few days between 1.4-1.6 million a piece. Right now, Cryptic is selling the 10-packs of keys for under $10. So, while not as fast:

  • I can buy as much Energy Credits as they're offering for less than their asking price.
  • I can actually buy it with Zen.
  • I can actually buy the Zen with Dilithium.
  • And my account plus credit card is totally safe in the meantime.

Moreover, I just got introduced to the fact that Fleet Ship Modules can be bought in the Z-Store and sold on the Exchange. A quick check, and I saw they're selling for 6-9 million EC each. I don't know about you, but that's pretty good, too!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

[STO] Dilithium tracking 9/20/12

Three weeks of tracking! :D

This has been a pretty big week for me, though. The Tholian Lock Boxes are coming to an end, but Cryptic is bringing back the Ferengi and Cardassian Boxes for a limited time. But, what’s even bigger, and better, than that is they’ve put the Master Keys on sale for 15% off! As a result, I’ve managed to buy a few extra keys and sold them on the Exchange. Right now I’ve got over 14 million Energy Credits stashed away, which is nice considering I started with well under 100,000 not that long ago. Tracking chart after the break!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dilithium to Zen to Credits

Today, Cryptic/Perfect World announced the return of Ferengi and Cardassian lock boxes. Not only have they improved the box winnings overall, there’s a chance that D’Kora Marauders and Cardassian Galor Cruisers will be cheaper on the exchange should their availability increase.

The flip side of this would be that Master Keys are a bit more popular in the Exchange right now! When I took a look, there were a lot of keys being offered for 5 million Energy Credits on the first page alone, with a handful being available under 2 million.

The Master Keys I had on the market were practically steals compared to the others. I sold one at 1.6 million, and three at 1.4 million. So, 500 Zen (a subscriber’s or lifetimer’s monthly stipend) got me 5.8 million Energy Credits! But, I didn’t buy those keys with my stipend! I bought them with Zen bought with Dilithium :D

~77,000 Refined Dilithium, converted at 1:154 rate or better, bought 500 Zen which then bought 5.8 million Energy Credits.

Yes, it takes time. On good days I can get 40-50 Zen, so about two weeks got me enough Zen to make this transaction. But, its pretty steady. If you can make 1,000 Zen in a month, that’s pretty darn good, and gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of how you want to play. Dilithium can’t buy everything. Neither can Zen or Credits. But finding a way to flex all three? There you go! Be it costume pieces, new ships, extra services, or something on the Exchange that costs in the millions, you can find a way to get it if you’re willing to do a little each day!

Monday, September 17, 2012

So, why track the Exchange rate?

Not everyone is into crazy Z:D currency exchange shenanigans, and its easy to understand why. I can be boring, it’s a slow process, and you really have no control over it. However, if you buy Zen at all, and have any left over, its worth looking at. Why?
The Dilithium Store.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Low-effort Dilithium takes time.

I’ve been slowly working towards amassing Dilithium and Zen, but pretty much want to keep it on a low-effort basis. Generally, when I’m playing, I want to sit back and relax. I’m just as likely to go away from my keyboard, chat with friends, etc., as anything else during my STO time. As such, going through Task Forces really doesn’t work for me. If I need to pay active attention, I’m not going to be doing it.

Thankfully, I’ve found that the Duty Officer system helps me work towards my goals. And, at least for the time being, I’ve got a reasonable way to bring in dilithium with relatively little effort. It does, however, take some time per-session.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

[STO] Dilithium tracking 9/13/12

Another week has come and gone, and here we are again! So far prices have been pretty stable, so I’m not sure why the prices during the week of August 27 were so high. How has the past week fared? Tracking is after the break...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Achieving Zen through Dilithium

So, since I’ve started trying to make Zen through the Dilithium Exchange in Star Trek Online, a simple Excel file has been incredibly useful for me. The old adage, “buy low, sell high” is very useful and easy in this situation. Care to see? Tracking after the break.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

When the game isn't the game.

MMO players are no doubt familiar with spammers running around their game of choice, spewing forth ads offering "g0ld 4 cheep! vizit our dubious website!" Players, often with more money than time, support this business. And the desire is understandable - many online games require tremendous amounts of time which many adults have in short supply. Sadly, when they do buy gold, armor, and other in-game assets, they not only put their credit card and account at risk to theft/fraud, they encourage even more spammers to get into the game since there's a buying market.