The skill trees in this game are confusing, to say the least. They force you to dump a bunch of points into Tier 1 before you can get to Tier 2, but don't really tell you the benefits of what you're putting all those points in. I mean, what does the difference between +17 and +18 really do when you put those last two points in a skill?
I've run into some people who thought that you needed to max out a skill at 9 pts to access the next tier's skills. This doesn't appear to be accurate. Some people have mentioned to me that putting 9 points in a skill will unlock special abilities, this also does not seem to be the case for Tier 1 (though it does come in to player in later tiers).
So, my question is, can anyone come up with a reason why maxing a skill out at 9pts is so important? Those last two points only give you an extra +1, (from +17 to +18) so it seems to me that it would be more effective to put those points somewhere else, at least for Tier 1.
After 4pts in a skill, you start to see diminishing returns, after 7pts it's even worse. So, what if you capped everything at 7pts, and had a minimum of 4pts in all Tier 1 skills? Would there be some kind of huge disadvantage to having a build like this for Tier 1 skills?
My experience shows no disadvantages, aside from the obvious 1% of potential. If you desire, you can even completely skip putting points in the initial skills. I really see no reason to not have two levels in every first tier skill, as that grants you a universal +10, unless you're absolutely set on never using any abilities from that section of the tree.
I think all those numbers mean percentages, so its up to you, if you feel 0,5% is worth 100 skill points.
I don't think it's a question of .5% being worth 100 skill points, it's more a question of would you take 0.5% in one skill over 10% in another. If they are in fact percentages, then that would be what it meant to put 9 pts in one skill and 0 pts in another.
After thinking about it a little more, it seems to me that the only skill really worth putting 9pts in is probably Starship Command, as that would give you that extra 1% boost (compared to stopping at 7) to your hull, speed, and maneuverability, regardless of the ship you use throughout the entire game. Of course, this is assuming that +18 means +18% and not something else. Also assuming that it would give the 1% boost to all three of those attributes and not divide it up in some way that would lessen the effects.
As for all of the other skills, I'm having trouble justifying any more than 7 pts and any less than 3 or 4.
You need to spend your lieutenant skill points to reach lieutenant commander. That means, if you spend equally on everything then you will have 1 skill at 7 and the rest at 6 when lieutenant commander skills unlock.
There are some skills that unlock special abilities, but not at the Lieutenant level. The earliest available skills that unlock abilities are Lieutenant Commander level. Also, since you need to need to train a bridge officer to use an ability, and have a sufficiently high enough ranked officer station to use it in your ship, a lot of this is not something you need to worry about until late in the game.