As suggested in the stinger, the lack of labels on these would make this upgrade process either especially agonizing or you’d just shrug and buy whatever. I think a little time spent thinking about the layout is probably a good thing, but beyond that, the best way to learn about it is probably just to start spending points and see what happens.

On a personal note, I really dislike skill trees in games that offer teeny tiny incremental upgrades. I think it’s one reason I hate MMOs. You spend 4 hours grinding out a level then get to buy a 1% better chance to block at attack with a shield. Wow. That sucks. I played a lot of Diablo 2 back in the day, and I’m used to stuff like the Amazon’s first level skill that gives her a 42% better chance to land a critical hit, with ANY attack. That does not suck. I’ve been playing a little Cyberpunk in the evenings, and honestly, my character is usually just sitting on 3-6 attribute points because every time I go look in the skill tree, I see stuff like “10% faster reload on pistols.” or “Move 10% faster for 5 seconds after getting a kill.” Yikes. Truly, I will have become death with powers like that.

Yeah, I know, by the time I get to level 30 and have spent 60 attribute points it all starts to add up, but the individual upgrades just aren’t satisfying. And yes, I also know that a well made game should be balanced whether spending a point doubles my DPS or gives me a 3% chance to recover a mod when I break a weapon down for parts. My point is, if it doesn’t matter either way, then give me a bunch of upgrades that are awesome, not lame crap like the ability to carry 1 extra flare.

I suppose what you can extrapolate from all that is the upgrades on Sydney’s skilltree are for the most part, probably fairly significant. 1% extra chance to block my ass.

Okay. Somewhere along the way, my master orb skill tree file lost a skillpoint. Page 181 (the first appearance of the skilltree) shows that the PPO starts with two pips. Somehow, between then and the time Sydney panic bought the rapid-fire upgrade, I either messed up my master file or just forgot to update it, so either the PPO should have three pips, or I need to go retroactively remove the second pip and leave the PPO with two after the panic buy. I’ve decided that Sydney gets a free power, partially because it’s less work than fixing every page with the skilltree, but mostly because I think it’d be funnier that Sydney didn’t realize she has a third attack type, and the power she thought she bought was already unlocked. Also, I like Sydney, so why not give her a new toy to play with? I do need to go update the skilltree since she bought the third power though. I’m sure that will happen any day now.

I decided this after the last page went up, and didn’t have any time to update the text on this page, but if you look behind her finger in panel, you can see the third pip lit up. I guess she’ll realize it at the most amusing possible time, hopefully in the near future.

The new vote incentive is up! Some of you got sort of invested in Lapha and Garamm, so her she is testing out her new duds. I don’t know if or when they’ll show up in the comic again, (probably more a question of ‘when’) but we’ll have to see if she got any other options besides the tail. Personally I’d go for retractable, venomous fangs, but presumably if you get those, you also have to get a special upgraded pancreas or liver or something, in case you accidentally bite the inside of your own cheek with your fang.

As usual, there are a few variants over at Patreon, and as is becoming more common, a little follow-on comic.

Double res version will be posted over at Patreon. Feel free to contribute as much as you like!