Delta Rising is about to enter its third month of existence and I have only touched lightly on the updated traits and the all new skill tree system. OK, some of you may have been expecting a review on the new Breen Ship! Admiral Sager has 960 glossies of his Royal Q-ness. He’ll have that ship tomorrow. I can write about it next week. That works better since I can have time to fly it around, combat, etc.
Time to get back to the task at hand. Over the several months, Cryptic has managed to add quite a bit of character development tools into the game. Character traits were modified heavily last spring with the launch of season 9. I discussed these changes in a post here. This new system allowed you to swap out traits as you see fit. Part of me finds this a little disturbing. After all a trait is an inherent quality, not a “module” you swap in an out. That said, it does give us players more flexibility in building a toon, and prepping the character for specific content.
Delta Rising added additional trait categories including ship traits. The ship traits are unlocked a couple of ways. First, by taking a T6 ship all the way to level 5 mastery. This is done by earning skill points in the ship. It can be done fairly quickly completing PVE missions and story missions. The 5th level of mastery unlocks a trait that your captain can utilize in any ship. The second way is by reaching the maximum tier level in one of the three skill trees.
It is nice that the new “free” ship at this winter event is a T6 so that allows players that don’t want to or cannot afford to buy a T6 ship to enjoy a T6 ship. Kudos are in order for that effort.
The big change in the Delta Rising package for your captain was the decision to use a skill tree rather than skill point assignments like we had in the first 50 levels. They call this “specialization”. Skill trees have become very popular in quasi-RPG style games over the last several years. Skill trees are easy to navigate and offer a simplistic way to upgrade your character as you advance. Generally they a little more linear and leave you with fewer nuances to tweak on your toon. I am grateful that Cryptic chose to add-on the skill tree rather than change the whole system back from level one to a skill tree. we still get to use a sophisticated character development for the first 50 levels before switching to a simpler tree system. Your player has three trees to work, an active tree called “Intelligence Officer” and one of two secondary trees, “Commando” and “Pilot”. You can switch between the secondary trees at any time outside of combat. The two secondary trees are specific to either ground or space operations. The primary tree is actually a blend of both ground and space with branches to one or the other and some specializations that benefit both.
While any specialization tree is active your character receives a specific passive bonus. The primary tree offers both a ground and space passive bonus of 5% dodge chance and 5% defense. Each time your toon takes a specialization point in that tree, the character gains the perk associated with that specialization but also gains an additional passive character bonus of 0.33% to dodge and defense up to a max of 15%. The Pilot and Commando trees both offer a passive bonus while active. Pilot gives a 10% bonus to turn rate and 1% for each point spent on the tree up to 25%. Commando gives a 5% weapon and melee damage bonus and 0.3% more for each point taken on the tree. I noticed that the primary tree is selectable as “active” despite being the ONLY primary tree available. Perhaps Cryptic has plans for future primary trees as options to the Intelligence Officer tree.
There is also a starship trait offered on all three trees. Even the Commando tree has a starship trait you can unlock (it allows commandos to board nearby targeted enemies to do shield penetrating damage in space combat). The Starship trait is unlocked when you reach the final tier of specialization. There is a nice little progress bar at the top of the tree to show your progress.
So you finally got that character up to level 60, right? Think you’re done, eh? Think again; there are way more than ten specializations on these three trees. In fact, it is possible to use 60 specialization points. Once you get to level sixty you have earned ten specialization points. The game allows you to continue earning these points beyond level 60. Although your toon cannot actually increase his/her level above 60, the specialization points continue to improve the performance of the character. Essentially, the toon continues to grow.
I like the way they intertwined the “branches” of the tree. Once you head down the right side of the tree you can still put points on the left. As long as you have unlocked enough points to use the next tier you can move about the tree like a monkey on crack.
Admiral Sager has taken 12 points on the primary tree and 2 points on the secondary tree, “Pilot”. The primary tree is currently offering the Admiral a 9% defense bonus in space and a 9% dodge chance bonus on the ground. Not bad and that is in addition to the bonuses from the specialization skills he selected on the tree!
The admiral has also taken 2 points on the secondary “Pilot” tree. In addition to the two “eat my dust” perks he gets for the specialization points this active tree is awarding him 12% turn rate bonus! This appears to be a gross turn rate bonus which is better than a bonus on the base rate only.
Do not take the post level sixty aspect of this system lightly. With 50 more specialization points available AFTER level 60 is achieved, and 45 that can be active simultaneously, your level sixty can perform as if there were ten more levels in the game. I feel like Cryptic is doing a good job of setting up a system that prolongs the end-game character development allowing those who choose to use fewer toons to not top out and leave the game for other opportunities. Nice job! For me I have ten toons so it is a little harder. Admiral Sager is the ONE toon I always max out on this stuff. Time to get out there and get Roddicka and Be’ina to 60; they are so close 🙂