Star Trek Online – Starfleet vs. TOS vs. DCS

When you play Star Trek Online, you get an option of characters to play at the start. One of the choices is between three different Starfleet factions. This can be confusing, so we’ve broken down what the major differences are and the pros and cons of selecting between them.

Differences Between Starfleet, STO and Discovery

Not a lot! All three merge into the same continuity after they finish the starting story arc. Here are the major differences:

  • Default Starfleet has access to all races, no unique beam patterns, no unique special ships. It’s regular Starfleet.
  • STO and Discovery are limited to era-relevant races.
  • You get different bridge officers (boffs).
  • Tutorials are different, starting ships are different, a few random extra freebies like TOS gets a free TOS era shuttle craft.

DO NOTE! All three end up in the same place. The major differences are literally small – warp/transporter animations, sound effects, flavor text and race restrictions. If you pick any three of them, you’ll be at literally the same point as any other.

The Original Series (TOS)


  • You get to fight the Gorn and hang with Scotty.
  • Really cool new player tutorial.
  • Free TOS era shuttle.
  • Four special bridge officers that are TOS themed.
  • TOS themed transporter / warp animations.
  • TOS sound effects.
  • Utility cruiser is only available in the tutorial and only to TOS captains.


  • Limited to four races. (Human / Vulcan / Andorian / Tellarite)
  • Really cool tutorial isn’t skippable.
  • Can’t return to tutorial.

Discovery (DCS)


  • Cool graphics, sound effects, hud, etc.
  • New player tutorial based on the TV series.
  • You get discovery red shirts as a tactical officer.
  • Discovered themed transporter / warp animations
  • Discovery themed sound effects.


  • Limited to two races (Human / Vulcan)
  • Can’t return to tutorial.


This one is simple – it’s the default option. Large race selection, standard tutorial, you get a Miranda class ship at the end. Nothing else special.

Writing online since 2001, David Piner is an experienced video game writer with a focus on guides and content aimed at elevating the video game experience for all.

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