Star Trek Online Skills System Revamp
The current skill system in Star Trek Online is both esoteric and somewhat clumsy. For many players rather than risk experimenting with a build that may prove ineffective and costly to undo, generic templates are frequently adhered to. I recently asked in fleet chat about a simple DPS build for a tactical Captain and was directed to one of the most common place skills point allocations there is. Furthermore it worked perfectly for me. However I am fully aware that there are players at the other end of the games spectrum that use the existing system in a way that grants them far more subtle and bespoke builds. Not only does this provide practical benefits but it’s also a source of pleasure for them and part of STO’s overall appeal. Therefore Cryptic’s announcement today that the skills system was due for a revamp has been met with mixed reactions.
I found Cryptic’s lengthy post and explanation regarding the new skills system very confusing and because I do not play STO to such a level, a lot of the data went over my head. I then went to the official forums and STO subreddit to see if I could gauge the communities overall reaction. The prevailing opinion seemed to be one of “wait and see” and as soon as the new system was available for beta testing on the Tribble server, meaningful feedback would be provided. However there was concern that a move to a more traditional skills tree, as seen in most other MMOs would mean that there would ultimately be less choice. The one size fits all approach is beneficial for players like myself but the loss of some of the flexibility of the current system would be a tangible blow to more invested players.
The only comparison I can draw is with LOTRO and when Turbine carried out a similar skills revamp with the Helm’s Deep expansion. I was well acquainted with the old skills system and although it was unwieldy it did lend itself to a wide degree of choice. I could equip skills from various lines, which is something I lost when the system was revised. Skills became tied to specific trees and I lost access to some the moment I committed to a specific build. It would be disappointing to see a similar situation arise in STO. I appreciate that there is a need for a degree of simplicity in some of the games core mechanics but to do so at the expense of variety and choice isn’t necessarily a good trade. So like many others I shall be monitoring this situation over the months to come to see if skills system revamp can be implemented with minimal fallout.