BehemothUsing a Behemoth (with 5x Organic armor and Mining lasers) to engage with Medusa Swarmlings or Euryale Swarmlings for Engineering (EN) gains, is possibly the most efficient way of skilling to trade-in levels as you work on gaining Advanced Combat Skills.

Skilling in this context refers to the act of engaging combat with an NPC, getting hit as much as possible (to improve EN skill), keeping the NPC alive as long as possible (due to their relative scarcity) and not getting killed while you do it.

You may recall that we covered Overskilling a while back. Now would be a good time to refresh your memory on the topic, especially if you plan to spend some time skilling.

Once your EN reaches trade-in point (the lowest of all the skills at 33) you trade in 4 points (reducing your EN down to 29) in exchange for 8 Advanced Skill Points (ASPs). Your TA and MA also improve as you skill, with both sharing the same trade-in point of 65 and requiring you exchange 10 skill points for 8 ASPs.

For every 4 trade-ins of EN, expect to trade in TA and MA once. Depending on drug use, and the availability of the NPCs, expect to gain around 80 ASPs a month when skilling this way.

Which Combat Skills come first?

The first thing you need to use your Advanced Skill Points is Combat Mastery.

After that, get one level of Offensive Combat (OC). The OC skill drops MA by 50% (normally considered a hefty penalty) so is perfect as a way to make you easier for NPCs to hit. There is no difference in having OC1 or OC3 for this situation. When you are nearing the end of your skilling you can complete OC3.

Important: do not retreat when you have OC active – due to the 50% MA reduction you are much more likely to be hit, leading to loads of damage

Next, get all three levels of Defensive Combat (DC). The DC skill will work the opposite of OC and reduces your chances of being hit by NPCs. Unlike OC, it is better to get DC3 (rather than just DC1) for use while skilling.

Contrary to popular belief, DC does not affect the chance you will be held when retreating from an NPC. This is governed by your Drive Evasion ability and your TA skill

Consider retreating with DC active when you are low on armor and out of robots and for a day or so after you have traded in your MA skill.

The Combat Efficiency skill is great for long term skillers, but you only benefit from the savings it offers you (versus the cost in ASPs to get) if you get it very very early on – so get it early or not at all. If you are going to get it, get CE4 as soon as possible after OC1 and DC3.

Controversially, get Boosts and AB4 – for use as an emergency escape plan. It will improve your MAN by 20% which, like DC, will work to reduce your chances of being hit. This skill should only be used when attempting to retreat from an “hard hitting” NPC and you are out of Robots with very low armor.

Once activated, you need to wait 12 hours for AB to wear off, and because it acts to raise your MAN (which makes you harder to hit), you might want to wait out that 12 hours before returning to skilling

Once you have opened Combat Mastery and have OC1, DC3 (and optionally CE4) completed, along with Boosts and AB4, then it doesn’t really matter what order you choose to do from then on.

What Other Combat Skills?

If you see yourself participating in any amount of ambushing you will need to get Ambush Mastery, AF2 and AE4.

If you plan a lot of Player vs Player (PvP) combat then get Chronoton Collection and Time Bomb Type 1 (stun).

Are you going to remain an Imperial and be a career fighter? Then learn Weapon Mastery and get Conventional Weapon Specialisation (CWSpec4) – all Empire weapons are conventional and will benefit from this. Don’t get it until towards the end since you will do more damage to the NPCs you skill on with it.

Remember to complete OC3 at the end as well.

In Summary…

Combat Mastery, OC1, DC3, CE4, Boosts, AB4, (optionally Ambush Mastery, AF2, AE4, Chronoton Collection, TBI 3, Weapon Mastery, CWSpec4) then finish OC3.