Updated Tue, May 20, 2008 by RadarX
Specialist - Tabula Rasa's Specialists are the first tier of support classes. While the specialist can solo quite well, and fight well in groups, they really shine by using beneficial skills and abilities to help team mates and themselves.
Who is the Specialist class for? This is for people who like the support role in a group, backing up the squad. That isn't to say these classes can't cause considerable damage, and they do solo very well with their repair and heal abilities. Let's take a look at the skills of the Specialist.
Specialists Get Powerful Weapons
Ability: Ruin - A Damage over Time ability dealing Virulent, EMP or Incendiary damage types. Each increase in the skill level changes the type of attack, strength and duration. Requires the Damage and Time Logos. The addition of a Snare element to this revised Specialist skill provides for another crowd control utility in the game. Verdict: Pump to at least 2 for the 2 damage types, and up to 5 when able for the Snare ability.
Training: Tools - Allows the use of Healing Discs, Repair Tools and Cipher Tools. Each skill level above pump 1 grants a 10% bonus to the effectiveness of these tools. At pump 3, you gain the ability to resuscitate the dead (living and bots!) with a Direct Heal Disc, with improvements to resuscitation health at pumps 4 and 5. Verdict: Pump to at least 3.
Training: Hazmat Body Armor - Allows the use of Hazmat Body Armor. This class of body armor offers extra resist points to Electric, Virulent, Incendiary and Cryogenic effects. The level of effectiveness is based on the number of armor pieces worn. Increased levels of training increase the amount of environmental resistance. The armor rating and regen are not so good, making this armor merely something to get you to level 15. You can get by with Motor Assist Armor, if you want to save your training points. Verdict: Pump to 1 or just skip it.
Training: Leech Guns - Allows the use of Leech Guns, which deal damage to enemies while simultaneously transferring their health/armor/power (dependant on the type of Leech Gun) to your squad. Each skill level offers a 10% increase in damage, and a decreased reload time beginning at pump 3. Leech guns are ammo hogs, however, so they need to be used wisely. At pump 1 the benefits aren’t so great, but there is marked improvement at pump 2 and above. Use Leech guns against high-recharge Boss mobs to bring them down quickly. Verdict: Pump 2 and higher as training points allow.
What skills will you carry on beyond Specialist to your Biotechnician / Sapper classes?
In the early game, Decay was ineffective and broken. The ability has since been reworked and is quite powerful. At Pump 2 and higher Ruin can be used easily in every fight well into the tier 4 levels.
Your tools skills will always be used, because it's hard to argue the value of healing discs and field repair tools to increase your lifespan on the battlefield. A good specialist class will always have a repair tool at hand to keep armor protection active. Taking Tools to Pump 3 will allow you to rez fallen comrades in combat, saving them a long and embarrassing run back to the squad. If nothing else, finding free stuff sitting in locked boxes with your cipher tool is just awesome.
Leech Guns used to be broken. Many people will probably still believe they don’t work. Early on as a Specialist you may find that regularly using the ammo-consuming Leech Guns is too cost prohibitive. At later levels when money is not as big an issue, you can pull out a Leech to finish off a tough mob. Once you achieve Biotechnician you'll receive the extremely powerful Injector Gun, and as a Sapper the Ghostbuster-like Polarity Gun. The strength of the Leech Guns and Polarity Guns are really quite similar, so Sappers will not need to use both.
Hazmat Armor is actually a trickier decision. While the resists are nice, and the regen is fairly ok, the armor rating has been nerfed to near uselessness. Bio Armor and Mech Armor are the obvious choices at tier 4, with a few pieces of Motor Assist thrown in.
Fortunately, there really isn't too much more to know about playing a Specialist. This is a stepping stone on the way to more glorious and powerful classes. We hope this has at least provided a little more help if you are having trouble deciding what skills you need.