Most of the long-time STO players are probably in this mode now: Farming for both Dilithium and EC, day in, day out. As I understand it, this is the typical MMO grind once the player hits max level, so it goes without saying that this can get tedious. After a while we all figure out a routine that allows us to meet the daily limit (8000 dilithium per toon) doing activities that are at least somewhat enioyable, while minimizing time/effort required. Here is what I do… and don’t do.
Academy Mid-term Exam/Lore of the Empire – Everyone does this one, since it’s essentially a free 480 dil everyday for answering one simple question.
Doff Assignments – This may sound weird, but the core of my daily dilithium income comes from Doffs. Naturally I focus on the high-yield assignments: all the missions that reward 50 dil or more. In general I can get around 500-800 dilithium out of Doff assignments, with the following caveats:
The “Turn in Contraband” assignments given by the respective Security Officers on ESD and Q’onos reward 2000 dil — this is the single highest reward for any Doff assignments. This requires 5 Contrabands each time, so for KDF-aligned toons, I’d try to hit as many of the following as I can:
- Confiscate Contraband From Crew — this one is available fairly consistently.
- Inspect Civilian Freighter
- Strike Against Fugitive Support Network
- Intimidate Unaligned System
- Scavenge Battle Wreckage from Skirmish
- Investigate Illegal Gambling
- Disable Freighter (Marauding) – Various sector space (These assignments are probably the highest return for Contrabands. Hit the Human, Ferengi, Bolian, Andorian, Tellarite ones — Vulcan freighters don’t reward Contrabands. On top of that, you get prisoners from these assignments, which leads me to my next point.)
Also from the Security Officer, there is an “Assign Prisoners to Labor Battaliion” assignment, which can reward 1000 dil. This requires 10 prisoners so it’s less reliable; I usually have enough prisoners for this every few days. Alternately, there are a couple of space assignments (“Forced Labor Camp” and “Force Labor Requisition”) that reward 500 dil in exchange for 4 prisoners, but these only pop up randomly. I usually try to grab these when I see them.
Unfortunately neither of the above assignments are great for Fed-aligned toons; Contrabands are more difficult to come by on the Fed side because they don’t have the Marauding options, and Feddies certainly don’t sell their prisoners for money. What I have been doing is having my KDF toons subsidize the Fed toons with Contrabands so the Feds can turn them in. This isn’t always reliable because once in a while I do come up short and the Fed toons go hungry.
The other Doff assignment combo is the Colonist one — “Resettle Colonists” to get new colonists, and “Relocate Colonists” for 500 dil reward. I complete a cycle every other day, which averages out to 250 dil a day.
Also if you know you’re heading to the Solane Sphere and/or Undine Battlezone (See below), save some Doff assignment slots if you have nothing better for your Doffs to do. There are special Doff assignments in both of those areas that reward 10 dil for each assignment, rather than 5. Minimal, but every bit helps.
On average the Doff assignments net each toon approx. 2500 – 4000+ dil each day (assuming I get the full Contraband assignment rewards; some days the Fed toons don’t). In general Fed toons get less because of the Contraband/Prisoner issue.
Reputation System Hourly Projects (Continued Support) – This is the second piece of my core daily dil income. I have all 7 Reputation maxed out on all my main toons, which allows me to do the “Ongoing Support” tasks for each Rep. These are the hourly tasks that requires 7500 EC, 1000 Expertise and 15 Reputation Marks of the appropriate type. In return it rewards 340 dil each, plus a random piece of Rep equipment. With all 7 Reps that’s 2380 dil, and occasionally you get a piece of useful Rep gear. Most of the random Rep gear are useless, but you can still sell them to a vendor and get about 70-100k EC from the lot.
If I’m really strapped for dil, I’d run these multiple times since they are hourly tasks. This is a fairly efficient way of getting dil, except for the fact that it requires a continuous supply of Reputation marks. Which brings me to my next point.
Important Note: Don’t do the “Ongoing…” projects; these are the ones that give 500 dil in exchange for 50 marks that complete in 15s, unless you are in dire need of quick dil. This is a horribly expensive way to make dilithium in terms of Rep marks, that necessitates a LOT more Rep Marks grinding. Likewise, don’t do the special projects that give 1000 dil in exchange for 3 Borg Neural Processors/Voth Cybernetic Implants/whatnot — you are better off saving up these Rep items for Rep gear purchases.
Reputation Marks Activities – I try to take advantage of the daily Rep Marks bonus (i.e. on a daily basis, the first time you complete an activity that rewards a Rep Mark, you get a bonus 50 additional Marks. This applies to each of the 7 Rep systems). This means technically I can do one Rep run and it’ll last me four days for that particular Rep System Reward, but I do that more frequently because these Rep mark activities also generate dil rewards. Specifically:
- Borg Red Alert – Omega Marks + 480 dil. Usually takes less than 5 minutes. With the current “bug” where you can hit a Borg Red Alert with 10 ships or more, this can go really fast.
- Tholian Red Alert – Romulan + Nukara Marks + 960 dil. Usually takes less than 10 minutes… unless your group fails. 😦
- “Hail Joint Command” in Solanae Sphere – Dyson Marks + 480 dil. Takes less than 5 minutes.
- Kobali Prime (Act III “Breaking the Wall” and “Last Stand”) – Delta + Iconian + 960 dil. This can take longer, 10-15 minutes depending on how many players are present, but also gets you Ancient Power Cells or Iconian Probe Datacores), so I definitely don’t do this everyday. Don’t try to do “Last Stand” solo; it can be done solo, but it’ll take a lot longer and likely be very frustrating. If you’re already on Kobali Prime and strapped for time, check to see if the open mission “A Decision to Make” is active just right to the transporter; this can be done in a couple of minutes and will award only 48 dil, but does trigger the daily Delta Rep bonus Marks.
- Do you notice the shortfall of this cycle? That’s right, no Undine Rep marks. When I need to replenish this, I usually queue up for an Undine Infiltration STF, or hit the Undine BZ. I don’t do them regularly because these days it takes a while for a queue to fill up for Undine infiltration, and the Undine BZ just takes too long and too laggy for the rewards to be worthwhile.
With the above rotation, I usually get between 6000-9000 dil for each toon (depending on what I skip), which is mostly sufficient to keep up with the 8000 dil daily limit, or at least not fall too far behind. While I haven’t timed myself, on average I think I can finish a full rotation for one toon in maybe 40-50 minutes, and that includes travel time.
I also try to maintain a buffer stock of unrefined dilithium on all my toons, usually between 50-60k for the days that I don’t have the time (or the desire) to grind/farm. I’ll have to replenish this once in a while, of course, which consists mostly of the following:
New Romulus Run – .Completing each of the areas (Staging Area, Atlai, Hwael Ruins, Vastam Peaks, Paehhos) gives a 480 dil reward. I generally do Staging Area and Atlai (quickest and easiest), maybe Hwael Ruins if the Tholians decide to take a day off. Paehhos is tedious and Vastam is annoying; those roaming Tal Shiar can drastically increase the amount of time required in the latter case. But do the New Romulus missions with friends if you can: you all share progress so with two people you can finish in half the time, and the more teammates you have the quicker it goes. Also if Cryptic ever decides to fix the daily bonus reward on New Rom, you can get an extra 320 dil for completing the area Kylor specifically requested.
If you’re lucky and a Red Alert pops in the Staging Area or Atlai while you’re doing or planning to do one of those areas, you can join in and get a bonus 480 Dil rewards, as well as making progress in that area at the same time. If the Red Alert pops in Vastam, Paehhos or Hwael, I usually ignore them because the success rates in those areas are complete crapshoots — unless I’m actually trying to do those areas anyway.
If you complete the entire New Romulus run of all 5 areas, with at least one Red Alert thrown in, as well as the three side areas (i.e. Warehouse, Caves and Mountain Pass), you should get 4640 dil. Once again, this may seem time-consuming, but if you’re running it with one or more friends, you can drastically cut down on the time requirements.
Voth Battlezone – Voth BZ used to be a great place for dil farming, albeit a bit of a time-sink. This area seems to have been nerfed recently so I’m not entirely sure it’s worthwhile to do regularly anymore, but when you do have time to burn, you can keep running around in the Voth BZ and rack up dilithium rewards indefinitely.
Foundry Spotlight Missions – This is a great source of dil income; completing a spotlight Foundry mission rewards a minimum of 1440 dil, plus another 720 dil for a daily bonus (“Investigate Officer Report”). The caveat here is Foundry missions generally take longer, but they tend to be more enjoyable than the usual grind. Again, I only do this when I am sitting down and actually playing for enjoyment, not for a time-efficient grind rotation.
Tau Dewa Patrols – These are the one-off patrols in the old Tau Dewa sector. I don’t do these regularly so I’m not sure if anything has changed, but some of these like Acamar/Beta Thoridar/Carraya are very quick to complete — a few minutes each in an end-game ship — and reward dil (480?). I’m actually not sure why I don’t run these regularly, because I really should….>.>
What about the other activities out there? Here are some that I know about but don’t do, and the reasons why:
Dilithium Mining (Asteroid and Fleet) – I haven’t done this in a while, so I don’t know if anything has changed. You could get just over 1000 dil from the Asteroid (I don’t remember what you can earn at the Fleet mine, but it was a bit more) each day, but I find this activity extremely tedious and boring. The Asteroid mine is also quite far away from my usual travel route, which makes it even less attractive to do.
Aiding the Deferi – Completing 3 missions give 1440 dil. Because it is 3 missions, it takes a bit longer. But as far as I know, this one is currently broken ever since the new sector maps were introduced, so until Cryptic fixes it this is s a moot point.
Federation/Empire Defense – The basic seek-and-destroy missions that require you to find 3 maps of enemies, each map containing 6 groups of enemies that need to be defeated. I think it rewards 1440 dil, but time-to-reward ratio is low as it takes quite a while to locate and destroy 18 waves of enemies.
Nimbus – I used to run the three Nimbus daily tasks regularly, which yielded about 1440 dil in total (depending on how well you do in killing bugs) and takes about 15 minutes in total. It wasn’t super efficient then, but now that Nimbus has been moved to the edge of the map, it’s even less so once you factor in the commute time.
That’s all I can think of right now. Is there anything obvious that I’ve missed? Feel free to point them out. I’m sure we can all benefit from hints and tips from each other!