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"Login failed for unknown reason" error
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Actually, min/maxing supports specialization in ways other than a narrow focus. A PvP orientated build, for example, would find its point spending more pressed, as it would have a strong incentive to work on some ground skills as well. As such, the cost of raising a T1 or T2 skill above 7 (or above 4 for some) is even higher.
Now, a PvP build that specializes in either ground or space combat...that's a different matter. Then you've got a bit more freedom, less things demanding your points. Although such a build is probably more likely to want to maximize its main type of weapon damage. But that's most likely only 600 points, not exactly a huge amount.
This is where the "complexity" of the system steps in. The way the tiers "lock you out" until you spend a certain amount of total points per tier ... means that you do have the ability to spend points on ground skills, because you sort of are forced to.
It's really tricky, because the system has these little quirks.
Remember, I'm not saying you go for all 9's all the time. I'm simply pointing out that you are going to end up choosing some things to take the full 9 in. Because you are going to specialize in certain areas. And the article does indeed concede this point.
I just want to point out what does end up becoming pretty obvious as you play more ... That 9's are needed for certain things.
I see a lot of reaction to the article that it's about not having 9's at all and just having 5's or 7's. But that's not really effective in the long run. Because some of those Ability Rank III's are needed. (Some pretty good examples are Extend Shields IIII or Engineering Team III or High Yield Torpedo III).
The article's really good. And really helps you get your brain around the system. It's just I wanted to highlight that it does point out that some 9's are useful. Because sometimes your goal is indeed to focus your specialization in a specific area.
I like playing with math. Below are some computations I have made (which I orignally posted on my fleet's forums). Hope this helps!
Below you will find minimum-maximum points that will be earned per rank, underneath which are the skill values received per 100 skill points spent. Line breaks represented as " | " indicate the level at which investment of skill points suffers a loss (1/9, 2/9, 4/9, 7/9 are the peaks for Ensign and Lt. while Lt.Cmdr to Admiral occur at 1/9, 2/9, 5/9 only), otherwise known as "Diminishing Returns".
To use as an example, I was talking to an engineer the other day. We are similarily geared. He had spent 9/9 in every rank of Cruiser, and was also in a Star Cruiser like me. I haven't spent 9/9 on every rank. I spent 9/9 at Ensign and Lt. level, 2 at Lt. Cmdr and Captain level, and only 5 on Admiral level, which I felt maximzed my "skill point investment" (I had to put 9 into Ensign level in order to spend the required 6,700 points). When I asked him what his hull strength was, he said 46.9k. My hull stength is 45.4 k. In other words, he spent 6900 skill points more than me, resulting in 1500 more hull strength, which is roughly 2 seconds worth of damage absorption.