Star Trek Online (STO) has 65 levels that each character can progress through. All content in the game is level matchable, meaning that if a party has mixed levels then everyone can match to a single players level and more or less enjoy the content together. Leveling up still lets you unlock critical systems to unlock more ships and deck them out with cool Trek gear for your virtual space odyssey.
Leveling up quickly is possible a few different ways. We’ll focus on the two most enjoyable and quickest methods: playing through missions and then grinding patrols.
Leveling through Missions in Star Trek Online
You can level up very quickly as a free-to-play player through missions alone; this is best for brand new characters.
The most enjoyable way, although not the absolute fastest, is to focus on doing the story missions more or less in order. The missions will always grant between one to two levels depending on what’s involved, along with gear. It may take 20-30 total story missions to reach max level (meaning roughly 15-20 hours of gametime), but you’ll need to likely do them anyway and it’s an enjoyable means of advancing through the game.
There isn’t any trick here and it’s honestly what most players recommend because you get a good variety of ground and space combat. You can play them cooperatively with friends to get more out of the experience or solo it as if the game was a single player Star Trek game (which is super fun if you’re into Trek!).
While likely not the most exciting answer, it’s known by the playerbase as the best answer.
Patrols are available to free-to-play players and have no Zen cost associated with them. Zen store XP boosts can reduce the time in half.
Of course leveling through the missions is great the first one time. Grinding patrols is your next best bet. The Ninth Rule is considered the best by most of the player base, but Wanted is up there for having less enemies to deal with. You’ll just want to queue, get a level or so every patrol and repeat.
It’ll take probably 15 minutes a patrol, which is about a level. So from 20 to 65 you’re looking at roughly 11 hours to hit max level, likely way faster considering you’ll get more than a full level of XP each patrol and it all adds up. You could grind it out in as little as 8 hours, with Admiralty and Duty Officers running. With XP boosts, maybe you could get it done in 4-5 hours.
You can also quit grinding when Admiralty unlocks and use that to casually grind your character to 65.
Rescue and Search is often considered another prime patrol.
Fastest Way to Level to 65
The following technique can be used by free-to-play players, but using Zen store items will be much easier. See our Dilithium Farming Guide to get more Zen while free-to-play.
The lockboxes can drop a research assignment Duty Officer mission. These sell for a few million energy credits each and award a massive amount of experience. When combined with the Zen store XP boost, you can hit level 65 in as long as it takes for the missions to complete (while you’re offline!).
That’s the only way to really push multiple characters using currency. Otherwise, grinding patrols is it!