Star Trek Online Season 11.5 hit a few days ago, which of course includes the much anticipated (also much dreaded) skill revamp. If you’re curious about all the nitty gritty details, hop over to the Admiral’s blog for a rundown; I am going to show some restraint this time and just talk a little about my first thoughts.
Cryptic did cram a lot of new stuff in this season update: a feature episode, a new queue disguised as a Red Alert, a new specialization, new starship visuals, and yes, the skill system revamp. The new season initially came with a crapload of bugs that were distracting at best; fortunately Cryptic has been chipping away at them so it’s now tolerable, but dear God, fix the overflow bag issue already!
The feature episode itself is functional, not exceptional. The only real problem I had with it is during my initial run, the last Nakhual enemy spawned incorrectly behind a closed door so I couldn’t kill him to complete the stage. Even beaming out and back in to refight the battle 4 times didn’t fix that particular problem; eventually I had to abort the mission and restart it to get through. Yeah, that’s annoying.
Now, the skill system revamp. This one is a big deal: the new system is a lot cleaner and far more transparent, and it addresses some glaring issues with the old system by dumping some skills of questionable (or NON) usefulness. Just about everyone has complained that each point of skill is purchased and locked as you go, which can lead to mistakes unless you planned the skill tree out ahead of time; I will attest to that because I miscalculated and messed up Heidy’s skills. -_-
The one thing about the new skill system that is a bit of a unknown to me, is the “ultimate” levels when you spend 25 or more points in one of the three main schools, Tac, Eng and Sci. At 25 points you unlock a mastery; each point beyond that unlocks an additional ability associated with that mastery. What I am unclear on is how effective are these ultimate skills? Are they worth sinking 25+ points into one branch, rather than having a more balanced-build?
I tested out the new skills with a few of my Tac toons, because they look the most straightforward: Go heavy on Tactical skills. I still haven’t run a DPS parser, but based on anecdotal evidence, Admiral R’Jal’s Scimitar was melting Nakhual ships like butter in the new Temporal Red Alert. Comparing it to the pre-revamped version, the ship lost a bit of hull and shields, but seems to have picked up DPS. I admit it’s not necessarily a comfortable feeling sitting in a giant glass cannon, but I guess that’s the meta of the game and I’ll run it some more to get comfortable!
Before I forget! The new Strategist specialization is based on a new toggle ability called “Threatening Stance”. Between On and Off, the specialization grants different bonuses. This looks like an interesting specialization to use, but I suspect of limited value to anyone who’s going to spec heavily into the Tactical skill tree — DPS glass cannons don’t need 200% Threat Generation! I think I may try this specialization for a couple of my Eng toons in big heavy ships, like Kala’s Oddy and Gortusk’s Bort, and see how they roll. I will report on how the experiments turn out!