When I first started playing this game i absolutely loved it. Until I realised I had to actually read up and be involved to be able to use the skill system at all. I found it annoying having to swap out of the game to read up on everything, but I must admit, once I did, I actually found the nuances and thinking process behind it quite interesting. I was afraid I wouldn’t have many skills and that that would bore me. And frankly *YOU* don’t get that many skills. But if you count the skills you’ll have available to you in space and on ground, they’re actually quite a few, and you can choose them quite freely.
This is a compilation of the information I have assimilated *tee hee* the last few days, and I’ll write it down here because some of you may find it more of a hassle finding it all on your own than I did.
However if you want to draw your own conclusions and do your own reading and thinking feel free to stop reading here, though your comments on your own discoveries are very, very welcome in posts below.
So let’s get to it: (wall of text incoming)
An officer can have four space skills and four ground skills.
Of these skills, one will be an ''ensign'' slot, one will be a ''lieutenant'' slot, one will be a ''lieutenant commander'' slot and one will be ''commander'' rank.
Space skills don't have ''commander'' rank.
Skills have a ‘’Lowest BO level’’ rank, which is where you can first pick it up, but also skills can be levelled up themselves. However, you can't level up your ensign slot skill without moving it to another slot, so you must have some abilities weaker than others. On the other hand if none of the ''lieutenant'' skills interest you, just level up an ''ensign'' skill!
A vital piece of information might be that your bridge officers can be trained in different skills and have their skills swapped out in more than one way. There’s supposed to be officers out there with pretty hard to get skills, not sure if that’s true at launch but you will be able to train one of your current BO’s in one skill from another BO so you can obtain skills for them in this way. You can also buy a wide variety of BO skills for merit points. So you should be able to extensively customise the skills of at least several of your BO’s, though doing so for all 10 as fast as possible might be...tricky. If anyone has any intel on this it would be appreciated
Of course, you can make 5 BO’s have all your favourite space AND ground skills between them, but it might be cheaper and easier for you to, for instance if you want a ground combat healer, use one that already has 1 or 2 or even more of the skills you really want, and just pop the last skills on that one, rather than getting a hold of your 4 favourite healing skills for your favourite space science officer, whose ground skills are anything but what you wanted. That way, fewer of your BO’s feel neglected ^_^
The point is that you should choose what skills you want to eventually get a hold of, and know that it is possible to have an RP all Vulcan crew for instance, and still eventually have all or almost all the BO skills you want.
Now on to Bridge Officers in Space:
The ship has bridge officer seats, And these seats have ranks. Basically the seat will be ensign, not the BO. And the BO will be ''ranked down'' to fit the seat.
The officer seat rank corresponds directly with how many skills (and what rank skills) the BO can bring to the skip. Depending on the type of ship it will have different setups for different officers. Both ''engineer'' and ''science'' ships of some types will only have one tactical officer available and that tactical officer can only use one Ensign skill and one Lieutenant skill. Tactical captains can choose between ships with one Engineer or one Science officer.
Basically on the highest rank ships you can bring ONE skill of the highest rank to the battlefield. So choose well. On the other hand you can have more than one ship and layout, and swap out your officer to fit the tactical information, so that doesn't mean you can't train your other officers in good skills!
(based on the skills listed in the wikia, most complete list I’ve found):
This means that your Engineer path ships will not be able to use:
Attack Pattern Omega
Photonic shock wave.
As a science captain:
Attack Pattern Omega
Eject Warp Plasma
As a tactical captain:
Eject Warp Plasma
Photonic shock wave.
You will however on your highest ships have:
Example (Engineer again)
Five engineer BO skills, two Ensign, two Lieutenant, one lieutenant Commander skills.
Three Science skills (two ensign, one Lieutenant.)
Two Tactical skills (one ensign, one lieutenant)
Five Engineer BO skills (same as Star)
Two Science skills (1 ens. 1 lieut
three tactical (two ens. one lieut)
In other words, find 5 corresponding-to-captain class space skills you like best, and three of each of the other classes’ skills. Now, there may be little point in looking at the lieut. Commander skills of the other classes, however, keep in mind that you CAN fly the other classes’ ships. You may not be able to do so as efficiently as a captain of another class but there may be situations where you still want to (I can see the point in having an escort ship with good manoeuvrability and high forward damage as any class myself for instance – though I haven’t tested that theory)
For ground skills, however, there are more than enough to go around. Your ground officers will not be limited, but can use 4 skills each. You can have up to 4 BO's with you on a ground mission so you get plenty of ground skills covered. You of course get one kit too. Let’s say you’re an engineer, Since your own skills will benefit the engineer BO's skills more, you might want to bring 1 science and tactical BO and 2 Engineers (maybe one pet class and one buffer? There are so many possible combinations). Shocking revelation imminent: I don’t play an engineer
Your ship can, in other words, take 5 BO's. Your ground team is limited to 4,You can, however, have 10 BO's eventually, fully equipped with skills up to rank 4 (ground). So it would be smart to make the BO's suitable for one situation or the other, or one ship or the other. I would personally recommend you make one science officer a damage dealer, and one science officer a healer, and the third one a little of both for different tactics and group sizes in ground missions. Some skills are hard to get so you'll probably still use the same four more than the rest, keep that in mind =) Tactical space skills mainly consist of attack patterns (call them buff/debuffs that work two ways I guess), and weapon mods. Engineer space skills consist of a lot of different ''emergency power to'' and similar, but both eng. and science have some skills that just sound plain funny, (gravity well and boarding party!)
You yourself will recieve 4 space skills. 3 of these are fixed, 1 is class based. You'll have one kit, and one class based ground ability to use, plus whatever skills you picked up as racial traits
At Admiral rank, you'll have six different ships to choose from for each path. The only difference is, for instance for engineer, three of them have more tactical officer slots, three of them have more Science. They still have the same firepower so since some science skills do heavy damage I'm not sure what the true DPS output difference would be. They have the same amount of shields, but the Star Cruisers have a little more crew.
Max. skills on ship:
10 skills from BO's, 4 from you
Max. skills on ground:
16 skills from BO's, 2 skills from you
Max skills trained:
10 x 8 = 80 skills, 40 ground, 40 space from BO's
4 space skills, 1 ground skill, 1 kit for you + possible racial traits
Now that you have mastered the art of Bridge Officers, let's talk about your own skill points a little shall we?
First of all, you need to use them to level. But where to put them can be a little tricky of course. Some of them are easy to understand the point of, like the general star ship captain and weapons skills. They buff something very fathomable very directly. But what about your more class related skills?
What you need to bring with you into this section from the BO section is that most of your skills will in fact be your bridge officers skills. And since most of your skill points will probably be used to boost these skills, you will be boosting your bridge officers' skills by choosing where to place your skill points. So what's important here is to realise that you need to boost the BO skills you like best through your skill points. You yourself will pretty much be limited to your own kit ability.
The skill tree is split into five ''main sections'' Let's take Science as an example. The science part of the tree boosts ground abilities mainly. So as a scinece captain you need to eventually choose wether you want your science officers to do damage + root, damage + debuff or healing mostly.
The starship captain part will boost your stats when flying different ship classes.
The weapons part boosts different types of weapons and how much damage they do. Keep in mind here that smaller fireing arc = more damage and vice versa, however, a star cruiser for instance isn't very nimble and would benefit more from wider arcs, while a nimble escort will be able to face the enemy almost constantly and can use narrow fireing arcs efficiently. Boost the weapons you like best.
The engineering part is survivability and defense. They also boos the engineer BO's you'll have, and on a science vessel you'll have a couple after all.
The operations part is your science space skills. Again the bridge officers are benefiting the most, and here you basically need to choose what tactic to ace in, be it shutting down enemy ships, damaging them or utility.
The lower rank skills in the tree boost more in general. A wide range of abilities or ships or systems get boosted by choosing to put points into them. Later on, the skills boost a more narrow range of abilities, until you reach a ''specialisation'' of sort in a few things, for instance electronic warfare and healing, plus medium arc beam weapons and transfers. To begin with, you can put points into many different things, giving your ship a fair level of strenght. Later on, you'll have to choose more and more carefully. It is adviceable to check which skills you like best and choose skillpoints that directly benefit these skills. For the starship, weapons and engineering it's more straightforward.
you have to make sure that the skill you want to use is in the ensign slot. I was confused by this for a while too. Some skills do not appear to be tied to a rank. In otehr words you can have 2 BOs but one may have power to shields in his ensign slot and the other his Lt slot. SO if you have the BO with power to shields in the Lt slot, flying on a ship that doesnt have a Lt seat, the power to shields skill wont be usable. What you would have to do is either get a BO with the skill you want , in the position (seat) that you have open, or use the training system to over write the existing skills.
As far as I know, there are three ranks of space skills, Ensign, lieutenant, lieut. commander. And the bridge seats have three ranks, corresponding. The highest rank engineer seat is rank 3, and since ranks correspond with number of skills that should make five skills available across two BO's, that's how I read it.
Please correct me if I'm absolutely wrong on this and I will edit the text