New Devlog: 1.2 Captain Skill Tuning
There’s a whole batch of captain skill changes in 1.2. Offhand, I’d estimate half of the captain skills changed in one way or another. The vast majority of these changes are improvements to existing skills, and thus it impacts all careers.
First, there were a few global changes.
Speed Debuffs: Straight speed debuff skills can no longer be stacked. In many cases, they already couldn’t stack, but we still let you fire off the skill and it didn’t have any effect – so you just wasted the Morale points and got nothing for it. Now we don’t let you use the skill unless it’ll actually do something.
Crew Recovery: Many skills now add or reduce crew recovery rates. For example, the skills that increase the level of your boarding party all provide a passive crew recovery rate increase.
Buffs That Cancel: Several attack skills provide a small buff that gets canceled when you take damage. That’s a pretty serious penalty and in multi-ship battles means you get little benefit since so many volleys are being exchanged. As a short-term change, we reduced the morale cost of these skills to make them more reasonably priced, and they’re on our evaluation list for more significant changes in the future.
Now, on to the career-specific changes. I’m not going to list every skill that changed here, but I’ll provide an overview of the majority.
Freetraders are getting lots of changes. Most of their skills that aren’t changing in 1.2 are slated for changes in future builds. The base career skill for Freetraders gained some defense and running speed that benefits all Freetraders all the time. We reduced the recharge timer on non-repair expert skills, and the career missions now give out a batch of free experts so you can start using those skills right away and see just how powerful they really are. Fret not if you’ve already completed those missions – you’ll automatically receive the free experts when you log on for the first time in 1.2.
One of the most common problems that new Freetraders face comes from immediately taking the Logistics skill line. It provides a variety of economic benefits that don’t help in combat. New players think they should take Logistics because, after all, they’re Freetraders, but the truth is that you’d be better off taking combat skills first and Logistics later on. To address this, all of the Logistics skills now have two effects: their normal effect and a small passive combat boost. (The only exception is Trade Connections, which already had two effects.)
The main Provisioning line received a reduction in their reset time, so that the effect of the skills now overlaps. This makes it easier to get into a situation where you can re-activate the buff.
One of the more significant changes comes to the repair skill Hold Together, which now requires a Repair Bundle instead of Oak Planks and Hemp Canvas. The Repair Bundle has the same economic cost as the old Hold Together consumables, but it is a low-labor recipe that produces a secured bundle so that your repair supplies don’t disappear when you sink.
Both the base Navy career skill and the ally buff Escort now give a point of Damage Reduction, which helps you constantly no matter what ship you’re in. The Navy repair skill also has some new functionality – it strips many disabling effects. Crippling Broadside now stacks with the other skills in its line. Before, it wasn’t applying its effects if you had used any of the other disabling skills. All of the Escort skills are a little cheaper to use, so that you no longer have to toggle off Reload Discipline to use them.
One of the more unique skill changes in this build is coming to Emergency Repairs. It’s gaining new skill functionality that allows it to strip disabling debuffs such as Cut Shroud and Show of Force. The requirements for using the Desperation skills were eased up a bit. This is a line that we want to adjust more thoroughly down the road, when we can make a batch of skill changes and replacements that will require a (free) respec.
Reload Discipline gained some extra reload, and we removed the range boost on Battle Doctrine. No skill should add a stackable group increase to max range. It now provides a small acceleration buff instead. Military Communications (the chat channel one) now provides a passive accuracy boost so you don’t suffer in combat for taking a communications skill.
There were lots of changes to the Pirate career line. The base pirate career skill gained some close haul speed and damage. More importantly, we reduced the gold drop penalty for pirates to 75% (this equates to a 25% increase in gold drops for pirates). We also changed Run Them Down from an OS Speed / Battle Speed debuff to an OS Speed / Battle Accel debuff as part of the global speed debuff changes. Depending on how this plays out, we’re looking into reducing the reset timer on the skill once we can prevent griefing PvE players with the debuff.
We reduced the crew penalty on the Sacrifice line so that they don’t make you as vulnerable. Pirates received a bunch of miscellaneous changes, such as a defense boost on Agile Rigging, no defense penalty on Tack Upwind and reduced recharge on Fury.
Another functional change comes to the pirate Defense skills, as they now provide a tiered Damage Reduction boost. The DR boost only applies to bow armor, thereby helping them approach targets. They also received a boost to the amount of bow armor repaired by Plug Leaks. In future builds, we’re looking at giving pirates abilities to support group wolfpack-style play.
Privateers are gaining a couple beam reach speed boosts, including on their base career skill. Their version of the two Defense skills is gaining a small speed boost. They’re also getting several crew recovery boosts and miscellaneous adjustments, but the big change I want to talk about is to their Unpredictability line.
All of the Unpredictability skills changed. They now require less morale to activate, but they have the same impact on your max morale. That means you can swap these skills around easier to focus on whatever suits you best at the moment. This is a pretty big boost to this skill line, and there were also some small reductions to the penalties. Aside from that, two of the Unpredictability skills changed entirely. Unpredictability: Defense now provides resistance instead of defense. This gives Privateers another stat to use depending on the situation, and it prevents stacking too much defense with Evasion + Unpredictability boosts. The useless Unpredictability: Grappling is now Unpredictability: Sail Defense. It provides a big boost to sail resistance. Hopefully, all five of the skills in this line should now be useful.
There are lots more changes (mostly small) to skills in 1.2. Look for the upcoming patch notes for details on the changes!