Character development in Mass Effect: Andromeda is quite specific since it does not feature attribute points such as strength, agility, or intelligence that are found in other RPGs. In this game, character development is based on distributing skill points that we gain as the protagonist advances to higher levels. Initially, you will receive 3 points per level, but this amount increases over time. Skill points are also connected to Profiles which are described in a separate chapter of this guide.
Skill points can be spent in the following skills trees:
- Combat - skills from this tree are focused on physical damage. They allow us to throw grenades at our enemies, plant mines, or set up barricades that provide cover for our squad members. What's more, this category offers quite a few passive abilities connected to every type of weapon available in the game - investing in them allows us to significantly increase the efficiency of a given weapon or to decrease its weight, among other things. This tree is meant mostly for those players who prefer brute force and using firearms to harassing enemies with activated abilities.
- Biotics - allow us to use biotic abilities that can be compared to, in a manner of speaking, typical spells from other RPGs or various kinds of telekinesis. Thanks to biotics, you can move enemies, create shockwaves or even gravity wells that make enemies float in the air. Moreover, passive abilities from this tree let you increase the effectiveness of your shields and the maximum weight. Skills from this tree are effective primarily against enemies with no shields and armor.
- Tech - technology is a kind of a "technological counterpart of Biotics". Abilities from this group let us overburden our enemies, deal damage to them, trigger effects connected to elements (fire, ice), or to set up a defense turret. A good deal of skills from this tree pierce through armor and/or shields so they are very useful against resistant and heavily-armored targets. Passive abilities, in turn, allow you to increase damage dealt by skills from this tree, reduce their cooldowns, and significantly increase the maximum encumbrance of the protagonist.
Remember that the player is not in any way limited in terms of character development. We may invest all skill points into one tree to wreak havoc with firearms or distribute them equally between two (or even three) of them to create a character that might not excel in any field but can manage in any situation.
It's a good idea to plan character development ahead because every point spent in a given skill tree increases the effectiveness of most of the unlocked abilities (if an ability is affected, this information is included in its description). If, for example, you unlock Barrier from the Biotics tree, it will increase the shields level by paltry 2%, at first, but this value grows with every point invested in the Biotics tree. The conclusion is that the system rewards spending points in a single tree, but it is ultimately the player's decision what to do with the points gathered.
Every ability - no matter if it's active, passive, or companion-related - offers two different variants starting at Level 4. These options are mutually exclusive (you cannot unlock two Level 4 enhancements) but, at the same time, offer unique and powerful bonuses which makes it profitable to develop several abilities to the maximum level.
And finally, it's good to keep in mind several things as far as character development is concerned:
- Invest the skill points you've gained. They influence your character's combat performance to a large extent so it's not worth it to "save them for later".
- Invested skill points are connected to Profile availability - to gain access to a given Profile type, you have to spend a certain amount of skill points into specific trees. You can read more on the topic in a separate chapter devoted to Profiles.
- Do not forget to develop your companions' abilities. They receive skill points (and level up) every time you advance to a higher level.
- Ability cost increases proportionally. The first level costs 1 point, the second 2 points, and so on up to 6 points. To max out an ability, you have to invest 21 skill points into it.