Welcome to the 20th installment of Ask Cryptic, where we put the questions you ask to our development team. In this issue we are focusing our discussion on Skills. Read more to learn about Star Trek Online!
alphadelta: Given that a focused build will be as powerful as any build available with no skill point cap how does the skill point cap ensure that content is not trivial?
The skill point cap is actually set low enough that players will not be able to max out every skill on their way to Admiral. There will be gaps. For instance, you will not be able to spend all the skill points in the Starship Deflectors and Emitters trees. Additionally, this allows for a clean leveling curve. When we release new content, and raise the skill point cap, we can balance this content for both old and new players alike, making sure that it's fun for everyone. This also puts us in a position where we're not forcing new players to grind out a bunch of skill points in order to see newer content, or releasing content that older players will breeze through with no challenge due to how many skill points they have in order to maintain a clean leveling curve.
Kosch25: Is the low cap which only allows 16 skillups at admiral rank intended to be there until level cap is raised in the future?
The level cap will be increased to Rear Admiral Grade 10 in a larger update later this year. Additionally, a new Respec system will be added. At that point you can earn more Skill Points and purchase and rearrange your skills.
Liquidisim: The starship skills such as Heavy Escort, do those carry thru to higher level ships such as fleet escort. If they apply only to t3 ships, then there is no point in having those skills come endgame.
There is hardly no point, though these skills currently become less useful in the endgame. However, we are in the process of changing this. All ship skills will grant some bonus to the ship above it. So an Assault Cruiser will benefit from Starship Captain, Cruiser Captain, Heavy Cruiser Captain, Exploration Cruiser Captain and Assault Cruiser Captain, but it will get the most benefit from Assault Cruiser Captain Skill. So if you want to maximize your Assault Cruiser, you will need all those skills. Note, the Assault Cruiser will not gain any benefit from the Star Cruiser Captain skill and vice-versa. The bonuses only affect ships upwards along the tree, not laterally.
SquidheadJax: Without the ability to expand our skills indefinitely, how is continuing to earn Bridge Officer SP even relevant, since our captain's skills won't be able to expand to make them useful?
As you gain levels, you can recruit more bridge officers. This allows you to have much more variety in the higher levels, with what officers you're using at stations, and on your away team. Furthermore, bridge officers come in different "quality" levels, much like items. More rare Bridge Officers have more traits and better abilities. Continuing to gain Bridge Officer skill points allows you to train-up brand new officers of a higher (rarer) quality, or use them to improve the skills of your existing Bridge Officers. As you improve your roster of Bridge Officer, and acquire new ships, you will learn new ways to combine them all and optimize your build. Also, look for a Bridge Officer Trading system soon.
BigBadB: Given that the more exotic weapon types (Plasma, Tetryon, Antiproton, Polaron, Transphasic, Chroniton, Tricobalt) are no stronger than the basic types (Phaser, Disruptor, Photon, Quantum), having equivalent DPS but different 'special effects', why do they cost more skill points per level? Why would a player spend 4500 skill points maxing one of the 'Tier 5' weapon types, when they can gain the same combat effectiveness from spending a mere 2700 points on one of the 'Tier 3' types? What advantage do they gain from buying the more expensive skills?
The different effects are key! It all depends on play style. Once you start breaking into the special weapons, you have to figure out which special effects work well with others. Just having 1 exotic weapon may not do so much for you, but if you can get a few, with special effects that work well together, that's when they get MUCH more powerful. There's also style to take into account! Some people just like having exotic weapons, but how rare and exotic can it be if it costs the same as normal weapons?