The main gameplay revolves around sending crew as away teams to complete missions to reap various rewards, or sending your ship out to confront enemy ships in battle. You select your crew based on their skills to maximize the success rate for these missions.
Crew is divvied out through free-to-play mechanics such as purchasing item packs from the time portal. The player can use in-game currency (credits) or dilithium crystals which can be purchased with real money. Typically the real money drops are significantly better than the drops of the in-game currency drops.