There are several ways to improve and advance a Starfleet Captain in STO, but Skills may be the most important. Not only do they have a significant impact on a character’s performance, Skill Points affect the strength and weaknesses of a starship and its Bridge Officers.
There are two types of Skill Points: a Captain’s Skill Points and a Bridge Officer’s Skill Points. Accumulate both by completing missions and defeating enemies. Today, we’ll focus on a Captain’s Skill Points (which we’ll simply refer to as Skill Points from here out).
There are over 100 different Skills in STO. Some are exclusively for ground and some are for space. All captains have access to all space skills, and profession determines what ground skills are accessible. Additionally, Skills are gated by rank, so rank up to gain access to higher ranked Skills. Low ranked Skills typically grant small bonuses to several different abilities and items. For instance, the Lieutenant ranked Skill “Starship Energy Weapons Training” grants a small improvement in damage to all energy weapons (beams, cannons, phasers, disruptors, etc.). At Lt. Commander, “Starship Beam Weapons” and “Starship Cannon Weapons” can be improved. These skills give a bigger stat bonus, but to fewer items. Higher ranking officers can then become even more specialized in specific energy types by spending points in skills like “Starship Phaser Weapons” or “Starship Disruptor Weapons”. These skills are very specialized but they offer the largest bonus. Most of the Skills in STO follow this model. When purchasing a Skill, examples of what items or abilities it will affect will appear. Also, right-click on an ability or item and select “Info” to see exactly what Skills affect it.
Spend Skill Points to rank-up and grade-up. There are 5 ranks (from Lieutenant to Rear Admiral), each with 10 grades (for example, Commander-Grade 6). Spending Skill Points improves a grade, and 10 grades earns a new rank. As his grade improves, a captain becomes more powerful on the ground – gaining bonuses to base HP and damage (this does not happen in space, as it is the ship that improves base HP and damage). Grading-up periodically unlocks some new ground and space abilities, too. Ranking-up, makes more powerful items, ships and Skills available.
When ranked up, most skills come with a Stat bonus number. Typically, this number is the bonus applied to the items or abilities that use that stat. For instance...
That says there is a 17% damage bonus to all Energy Weapons, a 22% damage bonus to all Beam Weapons, a 28% bonus to all cannons weapons, and so on. Use a Phaser Cannon and the total damage bonus would then be 17 + 28 + 36 = 81%. Use a Disruptor Beam Array and the total damage bonus would be 17 + 22 + 40 = 79%. Most items and abilities work with Skills in a similar manner, but sometimes the bonuses apply in a different way. For instance, some stats don’t increase the magnitude of an ability, but instead increase the duration. In some more powerful abilities, it’s not a one-to-one ratio and you only get half the bonus from Skill.
Some Skills don’t improve stats at all, but offer other bonuses. For example, Starship Command grants an HP, Turn Rate and Impulse speed bonus to all ships. Also note that many Skills don’t improve a captain or starship at all, but instead improve Bridge Officer or ground abilities.
Finally, a note about Respecs... Simply put, they are coming soon. We are currently working on this feature right now. The details are not final, however.