I suspect this has been asked a million times, so here's a million and one. So many people I play with are asking this question that it should be a stickied.
What's the difference in rarity for bridge officers - is it just unique combinations of racial and skill traits or are they better then lower rarity officers (more hit points, higher bonuses to skills, etc.)
If you spend skill points on a 'trash' (white) beginning bridge officer and later acquire rarer officers through quest rewards, is there any way you can get the skill points back you spent on them or are they wasted?
If they are just lost, could Cryptic please do more to ensure n00bs don't make mistakes and waste points on BO's they're just going to replace or allow for skill buy back.
blue officer gets superior prefix for 1 ground trait (boosts the effect) and usualy has 1 space ability otherwise trainable by player.
purple officers gets superior prefix for 2 ground trait (boosts the effect) and usualy 1 unique space ability, otherwise not trainable
Rare bridge officers have better ground traits and the chance to have abilities that you can't buy off the skill trainer. You can potentially get unlimited bridge officer skill points, so you can't ever waste them, you can have crappy BO skills for your level, but that's the worst case scenario.
They also sometimes display as having skills that are higher than they should have in certain slots, but those disappear upon assignment.
Different devs have said different things as to whether it's intended that these BOffs can have strong powers at lower slots than normal or whether the initial display is the bug (such a coherent design...).
its true that the ability will dissapaire when they are assigned however if you simply teach the ability to one of your other officers (regaurdless of rarity) they will keep it as they are already assigned. Hence my boff olga has both beam overload 3 and rapid fire 3!
So the reality is you can make a low rarity officer far superior to an epic one by training them, in a way it is cryptic rewarding your loyalty.