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Distributing your Skill Points

Skill Points are minor tools that you use throughout the game to make your life easier. None of the skills are vital to completing the game, and for the most part skills are not necessary for completing side quests either. That said, skills can be useful and helpful in completing tasks, and though no skill is vital, some are more useful than others. It is important to know what character types will find which skills more valuable, to be able to distribute skill points efficiently.

Do not forget that it is not just your main character, but your NPC's also have skills, and so you can have different characters specialize in different skills. Spreading a few points into all skills is usually not an efficient method of distribution, as you will not have enough ranks in any individual skill to perform any task well. Some skills have a cap where further points become useless, as there is a maximum DC for certain tasks which will be noted in the chart below.

The way skills work, varies from skill to skill, but for most skills, whenever the skill in question is used, a check against the DC (Difficulty Class) of the target is done. If your skill + bonuses + D20 is greater than the DC, the skill is successful (D20 represents a random number between 1 and 20 inclusive). For some skills you can "Take 20" where you automatically apply 20 instead of a random number when outside of a battle situation. Some skills are not checked in this manner which is outlined below.

Computer Use
Modifier: Intelligence
This skill, along with repair, is never checked for in the standard manner. Instead, for every 4 points in this skill the cost to do operations on a computer terminal decreases by 1 spike. This means that in order to maximize the efficiency of skill point allocation, one should try to make sure that it reaches a multiple of 4 after all bonuses. Master Valor adds 5 points to intelligence which will increase this skill by 2 or 3 points. There are several different items that also increase this stat, so be aware of that.

Again, as there are very expensive computer operations, there is no real cap on the maximum number of skill points to invest here, however one should make sure that whatever they do invest ends up as a multiple of 4. This is one of the few useful skills that remain useful throughout the game. Expert droids are the most talented at this skill and should be used for most operations involving this skill; however there is a time where only your main character must use this skill to continue the game. As stated no ranks are necessary to continue, however the more points you invest in this skill the easier it becomes. For Scouts and Consulars, it is good to invest a few points in this skill.

Modifier: Intelligence
This skill is not very useful for your main character, as most mines are weak enough that you can simply walk over them. Even in the event that you do wish to disarm or recover these mines, it can be done by other party members. Skill points are tight enough as is for most characters, especially upon taking Jedi Levels, and the best way to recover these traps is to let another character in your party take care of them. Mission is a prime candidate for such actions.

Recovering Mines has a higher DC than simply disarming them, but even the most Deadly Mine never has a DC higher than 40. This means that as long as you never try to disarm mines during battle, one should not increase this skill beyond 20 points including bonuses. As there are several items that can be equipped to increase the demolitions skill, it would be wise not to take it above 14 points, even less if you have a high Intelligence. If you never intend to recover traps, but only wish to disarm them the points needed decrease even further, meaning that 9 points in the skill is sufficient. Setting mines works in the same way, and if you can recover a mine then you can set it. Unfortunately enemies rarely run into traps, as many will prefer to stand and fire with a blaster from a distance, making it difficult to use them effectively.

Modifier: Dexterity
Stealth can be useful for certain builds, but unfortunately, the most important places where one would want to use such a skill, it is unavailable. This is because prior to some of the more difficult battles, scripted events force the player to converse with the enemy, or sometimes a cut scene ensues prior to battle. Conversation and battle both cause you to decloak, making ambushes impossible for these encounters. Often these are the more deadly encounters that one will have, which severely limits the usefulness of this skill.

Therefore, rather than sneaking most combat oriented scoundrels will rely more upon debilitating the enemy first prior to attacking, which one can do in the heat of battle. This will allow them to do sneak attack damage at any time rather than just after one has decloaked. Since using stealth requires that one knows beforehand that a battle is around the corner, those that play "by the seat of their pants" will find this skill to be more annoying than useful.

Another problem is the fact that you cannot move as a party while in this mode, making it a temporary measure at best, unless one is always solo. This does not mean that this skill is absolutely useless, as it can come in handy at times, allowing a Consular to strike first with a force wave or insanity making the enemies unable to retaliate, just make sure that your allies are just around the corner and ready to assist, otherwise you can get caught alone and unprotected. As this you can never "take 20" with this skill, there is no maximum cap for this skill's effectiveness. I would only recommend this skill for scoundrels and consulars.

Modifier: Wisdom
The Awareness skill, similar to the Demolitions skill, is also of limited use. This skill has two functions, which are to detect cloaked enemies, and detecting mines. As there is not a single enemy that makes use of the stealth skill that is a rather useless application of the skill. While this game is littered with mines, only one member of the party needs to have a high awareness skill, and the mine becomes visible to the entire party. Investing in this skill with multiple members of your party is therefore redundant and unnecessary.

As the only use this ever has is to detect mines, I usually have the character who defuses mines also concentrate on this skill. Again as above since 40 is the highest DC for any mine, 20 points is the maximum necessary for any character. If one invests in wisdom, and has gear that increases the awareness skill, the total number of ranks that needs to be invested can decrease considerably.

Modifier: Charisma
Only the main character can invest in this skill, and it is one of the few skills that I try to invest in with all of my main characters. Fortunately for scouts and soldiers, one can save skill points to spend later on if they wish. As a scout I usually save a 1 point per level for later use in this skill for when I gain my Jedi Class. Soldiers do not have enough skill points to save unless they have a high intelligence. If they multiclass to a Sentinel they can start investing in this skill.

There are a few quests that require a medium to high persuade skill to complete in the best manner. All side quests can be completed without any ranks in this skill, but usually one will gain a lesser benefit or lesser ending to the quest. I usually try to hit at least 13 points in this skill, but 19 is preferable. At 26 points, all possible persuade checks will succeed automatically, thus any ranks in this skill that push it over 26 is wasted.

There is no gear available to increase this skill, but your charisma modifier can increase it. Master Valor can help you if you are finding difficulty persuading. This is the first skill I invest in once I gain my Jedi Class. Darksiders will have less of a need for this skill, as the best result for them usually involves extortion and threats, and not persuasion.

Modifier: Intelligence
Repair similar to Computer use is never checked like most skills, for every 4 points the cost to reactivate a disabled droid goes down by one repair part. The usefulness of this skill is far more limited than Computer Use. Early on disabled droids can be found regularly in convenient locations to help with battles, however later on the number and quality of droids that one can use decreases considerably. The last few endgame maps entirely lack any droids that can be activated at all, so at the end of the game this skill becomes useless.

There is only one reason that every one of my characters has the repair skill, a Sidequest. There are two quests that require repair checks. For one of those two, the repair skill is entirely unnecessary as long as you know how to solve the puzzle. The second however requires 17 ranks in the repair skill, after bonuses applied by intelligence and gear. Only those who kill Gadon can get the memory chip implant which gives +1 to INT. Master Valor increases INT by 5, for a combined +6, or +3 INT mod, decreasing the requirement to 14 ranks if starting INT is 10, (11 if you don't kill Gadon).

Additionally Calrissan's Utility Belt increases Repair by 3, decreasing it further to 11 ranks. This is the maximum number of ranks obtainable for all classes that do not have repair as a class skill. What this quest does can be found here. Some will say that it is not worth the investment, to which I agree, however due to my completionist nature, I like to complete all possible side quests allowed by any particular alignment, and so I invest in the repair skill.

Modifier: Wisdom
Security is hands down the most useless skill. There are three locks in the entire game that cannot be bashed open (not including scripted locks which cannot be opened with the security skill in any case), two of which are found on the Ebon Spire, the Tutorial portion of the game. One of them can be opened by your companion Trask, and the other one isn't even supposed to be opened using security, and as such has two other means of being opened. The final door can be opened with a key that you can get without too much trouble, or it can be opened by Mission easily enough if you wish. It has a DC of 34.

One strong whack with a lightsaber is enough to open practically any other door or container, and as there are no downsides to doing so. In fact, even with the security skill available via Mission, I still don't use it as it takes too much time. Bashing is fast and easy and works every time, and gets easier the better your attacks become.

In truth I do not know what the highest DC there is on any lock in the game, but I am betting that it is no higher than 40, meaning that with 20 ranks it can be opened as long as one is not in combat. There are several means of increasing the Security skill, so even fewer ranks are necessary. But in truth I would never invest a single point in security for my main character. Invest into it with Mission or T3M4 if you must, but never with anyone else.

Treat Injury
Modifier: Wisdom
While Treat Injury is a useful skill, it soon becomes redundant when Cure and Heal Force Powers become available. Still if you have leftover points this is a viable option. If one is low on VP and FP in the heat of battle, this can mean the difference between life and death. Out of battle however, the force powers are more useful and they are free. In fact Consulars may find this skill more useful than some, as it does not use any Force powers which they would rather use for battle instead. All in all not a bad choice. As VP is very high there is no effective cap on this skill either.

In summary, the only really useful skills to invest would be Computer use, Persuade, Treat Injury, Stealth (in some cases), and to a lesser extent Repair. All other skill should be invested in with other characters, not your main one.

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