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Ok, I am an engineer capt so far focusing on piloting cruisers.This is good for me.
Now I am at Lt Commander 5 with enough credits to purchase another ship if I wanted to and am wondering if it is feasable to get a science ship to alternative just for fun and difference of play. I realize technically I am able to do this, but my questions is: will I be gimping myself as far as skill points by trying to "dual class"?
Will I find as I get to the next 3 ranks that I will have "wasted" points trying to become adequate in a science ship and not have enough to be a good, strong cruiser pilot?
I am not a min/maxer type of player so thats not an issue, and I know respecs are coming, but I don't want to rely on that.
There's benefits to doing this, depending on your playstyle and personal desires.
Just remember the designed role for each class of ship"
1) Escorts - dogfighters like the old space-sim fighter games - a lot more 'hands on". As a Engineer you can help this class out by providing extra durability skills, and let your Tac officers concentrate on the damage-dealing skills.
2) Cruisers - you already know.
3) Science ship - Same weapon loadouts as Cruisers, a little more maneuverable. Concentrates on buffs/debuffs (a Science ship with multiple Science slots can keep a solo enemy permajammed and unable to fire at all) - your Engineer skills again would enhance durability, giving the Sciehce ship time to beam down the enemy (Escorts don't need it as much with their DPS focus).
As a Engineer, your skills are designed to enhance the durability of the ship you're in, with a emphasis on Cruisers later in your skill tree. If you want to fly multiple ships, I'd concentrate on lower-tier ship skills, and the basic maintenacnce ones (I did so as a Tac specialty, and now I'm taking down +3 cons without breaking a sweat),
Leave off on the ship-specific skills again until you hit Admiral - your character has a skill cap, and you don't want to waste points untik you know what final class you want to fly. Only spend enough points to get you to the next rank, in as generic a way possible - once you pass Commander you have no chouice if you want to advance at all.