Click here for a list of all the skills.
As your skyrate goes about its business, it will gain Trade, Combat and Flight Points. Since many people on the Radio have asked "What should I spend my skill points on?", I have created this guide/FAQ to answer some of those questions.
Trade points accumulate at a rate of 1 point per 3500 profit. This means that if you cut a bad trade, you will stop earning Trade points until you've made up the loss. Early on, Trade points are extremely difficult to earn, which is why the first rank of Trade License is very helpful, as each level unlocks a new good to trade. This allows you to earn more money (each higher level good sells for a higher price and gives you more options), which in turn earns you more Trade points. Two other skills of great importance are Creative Storage and Cutthroat Business. Eventually to maximize your trading you will need to put points into Negotiation and Tax Evasion. Being able to carry more cargo and sell at higher profit is key to becoming a successful trader. Additional bonus skills for specific goods are also useful if you find yourself trading heavily in a particular good, or if they are very cheap relative to other options. These skills, Farm Mogul, Luxury Schmuxury, Industry Tycoon and Black Market yield 4% tax discounts on buying and selling two particular goods; the first two ranks are fairly inexpensive, so you may wish to invest some trade points even before you maximize CS and CB. Finally, Smuggling will reduce your losses when you are shot down, whether in manual combat or by the autoresolver. Since it requires Combat points and has Black Market and Salvage Operations, both of which require Combat and Trade points as a prereq, this will probably be a skill you maximize late in the game. Also, don't /ever/ spend skill points on Smuggling Skill. It has no use in the current version of skyrates, since despite the game saying you lose cargo when shot down, you do not actually lose any cargo.
You earn 1 Combat point plus an additional point for every five levels, up to a maximum of eight Combat points per fight-for example, a level 18 fight earns 4 points, a level 41 earns 8 points, and a level 74 still earns 8 points.
Autoresolved combats may occasionally give a combat point, they give only one per win. Higher level AR combats are more likely to give a combat point, however. The most important skills for any combat pilot are Eagle Eye, Precision Fire and Crack Shot. These dramatically increase your damage output with any gun. Gumption is also very helpful as it allows you to use more manuvers or use "G-turns" to turn or accelerate a bit faster If you often find yourself mobbed by pirates and hard pressed to escape, you may wish to invest some Combat points in maneuvers, because they temporarily decrease your Silhouette and allow you to reposition yourself to some degree. Typically a combat pilot will want one point in each maneuver as fast as possible to allow use in combat-further levels only reduce gumption use. Afterburner, Airbrake and Aerobatics are also highly useful skills, and they will be discussed in Flight Point Skills. Note that not all planes are able to perform every maneuver; many trade planes are unable to perform Immelmans or Barrel Rolls. Another skill is Salvage Operations, which adds 3% to combat bounty. Since trade points are hard to come by for pure combat pilots, it's usually best to only take the first couple levels of this skill;if you do any trading for money you should generally focus on the more trade-relevant skills. The last skill in a successful combat pilot's repertoire is Combat Infamy. Each rank adds 1 level permanently to every combat you fight (excluding patrols), for a maximum of +10 levels for CI10. This will let you earn combat points slightly faster and earn you more money, but it will also make your combats harder. Getting CI is not recommended until you are in a Tier 3 plane at least, and/or you feel comfortable with combat.
Flight Point SkillsEdit
Flight points are earned at a rate of 1 every half hour of flight time. They are the hardest skill point to come by, as there is absolutely no way to accelerate the rate at which you earn them. With that in mind, your first few Flight points should go into Cartography and Flight License. This allows you to fly to new places, and allows you to queue up for the night so that you can continue to earn flight points while you sleep. Straight traders should continue putting points into Cartography, Fuel Efficiency and Flight License as needed, with possibly Afterburner for fleeing combats. When buying Flight Licenses, keep in mind how far you can actually fly; sometimes you may be unable to reach a skyland you have just unlocked. Combat pilots have it tough on Flight points. After getting Cartography and Flight License 1, you will want to buy a rank of Aerobatics, and save up for a rank in Airbrake and/or Afterburner. Once you have a rank of the last two, save up your Flight points and work on maximizing Maneuver and buying Flight Licenses when needed. Eventually you will also wish to master Perception for better hunts.
In summary, buy Flight License 1 and Cartography until satisfied, continue raising Creative Storage, Trade License and Cutthroat Buisness, and work on the combat trio EE/PF/CS. A list of all the skills with commentary and the author's personal ratings (1-5 stars) is below.
See Skills and You for a full list of skills and their importance, as well as short notes on what they do.