[QUOTE=Leroy;6307210]I'm new to the game just started a couple days ago and have a some questions. How long does it take to rank up to the next tier? [quote]
Depends on how quicly you play through the missions and gain experience, but once you get the hand of it, you can get about a level an hour at a liesurely pace on average.
How far can a free player get without spending any money?
You can go from Level 1 - 50 without spending a dime. None of the mission/event content is pay gated in any manner; and while the C-Store ships have some perks; the 'free' ships work just fine for leveling froom 1 - 50.
How does one go about obtaining enough currency (dilithium I think?) to buy the next tier of starship?
You get it by playing daily missions like the "To Boldly Go" - where you do 3 random exploration missions; Fleet Actions, certain timed events (like the Fed Mirror Event), etc. Also as you advamce in Level, more Dailiy missions that offer Dilithium Ore as a reward will become available.
Also, what you get from missions in 'Dilithium Ore' that you have to click a button to refine into processed Dilithium (on your inventory 'Resources' tab.) I mention this because theirs a refinement cap of 8,000 Dilithium Ore per day (that resets at 24:00 UTC swerver time.)
I'm also not sure (as I've been an LTS from day one - back when the game was subscription based); but I think your Tier 2 ship is also free (IE you get a token for a free ship once you do Admiral Quinn's 'promotion' mission (basically you go and talk to him in person)); at Level 10, and again at Level 20, etc; and theirs some reports that the F2P matrix is out of date and Silvers get free ships up through Level 40 - but again as an LTS, I'm not sure as all the 'rank up' ships have been free to me.
Anyhow, hope you enjoy your time in game.