When I've got a station manned, I'm trying to work out what causes my crew to develop in skills. It looks like engines and cockpit crew only upgrade when an attack is dodged, and then get a single skill point. Is this correct, and what causes Shields and Weapons to get an upgrade point?

  • As of the 'advanced edition' update, the game shows you (in the crew panel) when anyone gains an atom of experience, so it's much more obvious. Sep 26, 2014 at 0:23

4 Answers 4



A crew member who is controlling a helm gains one point of experience for each incoming projectile that is dodged during combat. This includes asteroids, so long as you are in combat at the time. (Note that the dodges do not count while you ship is under the effects of +60% evasion from a cloak.)

This can be explicitly trained by finding an enemy that cannot break through your shields, and letting him fire at you. Increasing your dodge chance (i.e. more power to engines) will help this occur quicker, but even with the default chance you can max out the skill eventually.


Exactly as for piloting, a crew member manning the engines gains one point of XP for each projectile evaded while uncloaked in combat - and so it can be trained in the same way.


A crew member who is manning the weapons station gains one point of experience for each weapon that is fired. It doesn't matter whether it hits or misses, or whether it can do damage (e.g. a beam weapon fired at a shield).

(Multi-shot weapons such as burst lasers still count as a single fire order and hence a single XP.)

This can be trained by firing non-lethal weapons (e.g. ones that do ion damage) repeatedly against a target that cannot damage you.


A crew member manning the shields station gains one point of experience for each shield "bubble" that is brought back up during combat. It doesn't matter why the shields were down, be that direct enemy fire, ion damage, asteroid strikes, or even manually removing and then restoring power to the shield systems.

This can be trained by letting a target that cannot break through all of your shields repeatedly take one layer down. (For fastest results, move your pilot away from the helm, or reduce your engines to 0 power. This will reduce your dodge chance to 0%, ensuring that everything hits your shields.)

Note that you used to be able to manually remove power and restore it in combat, to get points, but this has been patched.


A crew member gains one point of experience for getting the "finishing blow" when repairing a (sub)system. Note that hull breaches provide no repair experience.

There's no specific way to train this as it requires your systems to be damaged. Though you can focus the XP gains by always having the same person run around and repair everything after a battle.


A crew member gains one point of experience for getting the finishing blow when fighting an enemy crew member or (sub)system.

This generally gets trained in "real" situations. However, since XP is gained for taking out systems, a few extra XP can be gained from boarding if one tries to take out the enemy's systems before the crew.

  • 1
    a tip for repair, some weapons allow for self ship targeting so you can train your crew if you can damage your own ship subsystems. Usually, I let my ship catch on fire if its the end of a fight (no more enemies) and then repair all the damage to boost repair.
    – l I
    Sep 21, 2012 at 12:54
  • 1
    I considered adding that - but don't you take hull damage when a system gets damaged by fire? It's not worth trading one hull damage for one repair XP, so unless there is a riskless way to damage your own systems it's a non-starter. Sep 21, 2012 at 13:18
  • 4
    you take one hull damage every time a system goes red, no matter the cause.
    – user4139
    Sep 22, 2012 at 8:00
  • 5
    Through the careful use of deoxygenated rooms to contain and starve fires, you can keep a fire alive in an empty room or one where the system is already fully damaged (surrounded by oxygenless rooms. You can allow the fire to spread to a room with an undamaged system (preferably one with a lot of power capacity to prevent hull damage), then put out the fire (rockmen or oxygen) before the system goes into the red. Repair the system to full and repeat as necessary. The success of this technique depends on the ship and how you manage it.
    – Samthere
    Sep 27, 2012 at 13:05
  • 8
    A small, seldom available way to improve repair training is to upgrade a damaged subsystem. The additional bar will be damaged too, allowing for 1 extra repair.
    – CruelCow
    Oct 24, 2012 at 3:28

Advanced Edition:

Asteroid fields used to be an excellent way to max out the shield stat on one or more characters, however, with the advanced edition, this is no longer possible. Even in combat, shield damage from asteroids no longer provide any benefit. Thus, if you want to raise the shield stat, you are best off letting an enemy incapable of breaking through all of your shields repeatedly hit you.

A trick regarding hand-to-hand combat is now to board an enemy vessel that has a cloning bay and repeatedly kill off the crew in melee combat. As long as you don't destroy the cloning bay while all of their crew is dead, they will continue to re-spawn -- allowing you to maximize the combat stat on as many of your crew-mates as you'd like if you are careful.

  • For combat, another option (if you have a sufficiently good teleporter to avoid asphyxiation) is to repeatedly beam your crew onto an unmanned enemy ship and have them attack all its systems until it only has 1 hp left.
    – user3490
    Apr 21, 2014 at 14:42
  • Training Combat Skill by fighting clones does not work. Just tried exactly that, but my crew did not earn XP.
    – Nova
    Aug 16, 2022 at 22:56

Yes that is correct.

Shield operators get a point for every shield bubble they help to bring up in combat.

Weapon operators get a point for every weapon they help fire. This is per target action, so a single burst of 5 shots from a Burst Laser 3 will only provide 1 experience (but could provide multiple experience in shield, pilot, or engines to a target crew).


Just found out this one by accident.
Went against a drone that could not get past my shields. It had a mind control module on it.

Your hull does not take damage if the system isn't broken completely. So just put your men in rooms with more than 2 power in them. Let them break one power on it (not shieds preferrably), and as he comes out of the mind control, he will repair the room getting skillup in repair.
Gives you XP during the mind control for breaking the room and XP in repairs as he repairs it.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .