It can be pretty confusing and expensive when you start to upgrade your gear as a new player in Star Trek Online. While equipping any old MK gear equal to your level will suffice for content before LvL 50, eventually you’ll want MK13/14 Ultra Rare and Epic quality gear which can only be obtained through the upgrade system. This higher quality gear will help you complete the Elite ques and earn Salvaged Technology and other goodies throughout the game much much easier.
Upgrading your ground gear or ship equipment will require you to use several Tech Upgrades. Each upgrade will cost a certain amount of Dilithium and fills up a bar underneath the upgrade menu with Technology Points. When the Technology Points reach 100% the item will increase in MK by 1. If you put more Technology Points into an item than is required those points will rollover to the next level or increase the chance (%) of a rarity increase. A rarity increase will add extra Modifiers (CrtD,CrtH,Etc) to your equipment which will greatly increase your DPS.
Tips and Tricks
What Items should I upgrade? – The best items to upgrade are ones that are low level (Mk-I/Mk-IV) and of a high quality (Very Rare). As you can see in the picture above Mk-I items are incredibly cheap to upgrade! This can give you several shots at a rarity increase or at rolling the correct modifiers on your weapons. One superior upgrade can easily take a Mk-I item to Mk-7! That’s 6 chances at upgrading a level 1 Very Rare piece of gear from Ker’rat. Upgrading low level items will save yourself a ton of energy credits and dilithium when making your perfect Epic gear set.
Which Tech Upgrades are the best? – If you are going to use the basic tech upgrades only use the Superior Tech upgrades. The Superior Tech upgrades have the best dilithium cost and are the only ones that you should use unless you have some of the special Tech Upgrades. These special Tech Upgrades such as the Universal Prototype Tech Upgrade from the Cardassian Lockbox may have no Dilithium cost at all or can also increase the odds of your item receiving a rarity increase by up to a 2x bonus. The basic upgrades and Superior Experimental Tech Upgrades will be craftable for all players when the update is released on console Nov 15th.
When should I use Accelerators? Research Accelerators increase the chance that the item’s quality will improve. Technology Accelerators increase the amount of technology points from each upgrade but reduce the chance that the item’s quality will improve. When you use an accelerator on a low lvl Mk-I item the bonus will stay through every extra level that is earned. This means that a Mk-I item can get 5+ chances to increase in rarity at a 1.5x-2x bonus when you use a Research Accelerator! Take advantage of this to craft Epic low level gear or use them on reputation gear or other high level gear that is stuck at Mk-13/14.
Always Wait for the Bonus Weekend – Before you upgrade every item in your set, wait! Upgrade weekends (x2) happen every few months and can save you millions of energy credits and tons of keys!
Some equipment and sets can not be upgraded yet on console.
You can find a list of all the technology upgrades on the wiki here
If you’re looking for help with a build check out the fantastic community of veterans over at /r/STObuilds