Sneak peek: Talent rework

Hello everyone!

We’ve still got one more update coming this year, and while a lot of it has to do with overall balancing, small improvements and under-the-hood things, there are also a couple of bigger changes underfoot. One of them is a complete overhaul of talents.

Talents vol. 2

Barotrauma talent overhaul talent icons

While we have made some changes and fixes to the talent system over the past year, it’s largely remained the same since it was first introduced. Even in the short time we’ve had talents – just over a year – they’ve proven a very important part of gameplay, and we’ve been happy to hear your feedback, both encouraging and constructive. Now that we are moving towards the end of early access, we want to iron out the wrinkles in the original design to make the most of Barotrauma’s character progression system.

The most obvious change is that there are more talent levels, and more talents, making the talent trees much larger. That means more for you to choose from, and we’ve worked on making all the choices better balanced, more thematically consistent, and weightier towards the end. In particular, most final talents are becoming more impactful.

Additionally, we’ve worked on making all talents usable in singleplayer by bots as well as human players, and toned down those talents which allowed players to approach godhood a bit too easily. Let’s take a more detailed look at what’s changing!

Additional talent levels

Barotrauma talent overhaul, early talent tiers
Introducing more generic talents for each job to unlock before specializing further

Talents used to consist of four levels for each job, which we’ve come to find wasn’t suited to the length of an entire campaign, as you would often reach the end of a talent tree fairly early in the game. To remedy this, we’ve added more levels to talents, starting with generic perks and then moving on to the more specialized ones.

Thus, each job’s talents now begins with two rows of more generic talents. You will need to unlock a few of these before being able to pick a specialization (and you can pick as many of these early talents as you like). The purpose of this extra step is to give you time to figure out your preferred play style before becoming specialized… as you can only have one specialization. Choose wisely, and experiment with different builds in later campaigns!

Adding this generic level to the bottom also helped us make specialized talent trees properly specialized, rather than focused on more basic things like experience gain later down the road. The overall length we’ve added to the talent progression means that the final talent will be unlocked later – and to much greater impact. We think you will appreciate the bigger boosts and special items the final talents now grant!

More streamlined trees

Barotrauma talent overhaul, new specializations
The new specialized trees are more streamlined and thematic.

Another aspect of the original talents we had come to find less than ideal was how some talents had lots of disparate effects bundled together, description texts were often on the long side, and some talents were less clearly connected with their respective jobs than others. We’ve worked on streamlining the talents in each tree to make them more clearly belonging together as well as easier to read on the whole.

This all put together gives the different jobs stronger identity, and the increased readability should make talents easier to approach and experiment with. (All the more important now that the talent system becomes a bit more complex!)

Talents for everyone

Barotrauma talent overhaul, talents for bots in singleplayer
Talent management for bots

The final big problem we found with the original talents was that many of them were not available for bots, putting singleplayer at an unintended disadvantage. Now you will be able to unlock talents for bots in singleplayer.

To make talents bot-compatible, we had to redesign just about all of them partially and many entirely. This resulted in various changes here and there, and coupled with the addition of many new talents, there is now a lot of new talent content for our existing players to explore. We’re quite happy with the end result, and we can’t wait to hear what you think!

New talents now in Unstable

The bulk of the talent rework is now available in the Unstable test version for you to take an early look at, and the public release of the talent rework will follow shortly before Christmas. Stay tuned!


  • November 11, 2022
    Edip Barış Ergülen

    Dear Barotrauma team. while the applications of new skills are definetly a plus, the less overall skills we can have in a campaign is not the best course of action to take in my opinion. Such is visible from the contradicting quotes like ”you can only have one specialization.” entirely going against ”Talents used to consist of four levels for each job, which we’ve come to find wasn’t suited to the length of an entire campaign, as you would often reach the end of a talent tree fairly early in the game.” entirely. not having all specializiations available not only makes smaller crews choices in specialization limited to one of the 3 only being used per classes, which makes the total amounts of talents not only less but also making the playtrough stale for said person. Not only we have to choose between some skills in the specialization in the talent tree (which by itself is fine) but now that is th only specializaton tree we get for that said character.

    • November 14, 2022

      so true

  • November 12, 2022
    who cares

    yeah ok cool but you guys did not mention at all the endocrine boosters

  • November 13, 2022
    Niko Mäkinen

    I wish that Medical Doctor’s Xenologist tree will stay in some form, even if heavily changed. The Idea of a character being specialized in researching the alien artifacts, constructs & ruins is something that should be kept as it would make sense within cold waters of Europa, that there are few more or less sane people risking their lives to attempt to understand the alien technology, and perhaps even attempt to “improve” upon it.

  • November 14, 2022

    I seriously hope you reconsider many of those changes. Me and my crew don’t want to rely on bots just to provide passive bonuses we can’t unlock due to being limited to one skill tree. Likewise, taking away player agency through the new “All crew can manufacture higher quality X” really makes maintenance classes feel less important and more like an assistant layabout whose purpose is to just sit around and repair.

    Also, Tinkering and Water Prankster, please.

  • November 14, 2022

    The bigger choice is good but it shouldn’t come at expense of quality of the choice, for example majority of previous talents had around two different effects but in unstable build each talent feels like a half of what previously was available

    Please reconsider the balancing part of it, so far it feels like all of the talents are much weaker on average making the leveling and unlocking them less rewarding or impactful on the gameplay

    And “generic” talents in the current unstable can only be picked 2 per level and next level gets unlocked without being able to pick more, not sure if that’s intended but it shouldn’t stay like this, it cuts down the total amount of talents you can pick down to 8 from previous 12 and gives a much harder time to smaller crews

  • November 16, 2022

    Being able to chose only one skill tree is pain for a small crews of 4 and less. Mechanic’s things to craft are very cool and OP, while engineer only has cool diving suit. Captain has no active perks and more like support now. Very interesting to sit in one room all game.
    Please, reconsider this decisions.

  • November 17, 2022

    “More powerful final talents.”, how ever if there only 3 players and 8 bot on large sub people still can’t manufacture powerful items from bots trees. I hope you will add command manufacture item in some form or let players manufacture talent items that unlocked in bots’ tree. This thing don’t live fore a long due to poor AI and capability to get talent item would be a great reward for keeping them alive for a couple of rounds.

  • November 20, 2022
    No Name

    So thanks to being limited to one tree, were now overall going to have less talents, and have to rely more on bots to give certain passives.

    What if instead of limiting the player to one specialization, you set certain XP multipliers to the talents, for example for the category you pick first you earn the talents there at a rate of 2x, and for the rest you earn talents there at a rate of 0.5x. This would allow players to still have progression after maxing out their specialty in 10 missions.

    Also detailed changes to perks would be great to know and also what’s the new plan for endocrine boosters?

  • November 25, 2022

    im going to speculate based on my play in the unstable version, that endocrine boosters are going to allow you to get a random general talent from a random class that isnt your own. no specialized talents. it just seems the most likely. this would mean there are ALOT more endocrine booster talents. im playing the unstable version and have looked at the talents, i do have a character of each role. and so far it appears that there are 2 tiers of general talents, im not sure how many of the previous tier you have to acquire to get to the next. but once you get enough general perks you unlock the next tier, however you can have as many of the general perks as you want. after that the 2-3 specialization trees unlock. it seems many crafting perks are located in the general tree, but there are also many in the specialization trees. if endocrine boosters can give any character any general perk, then many crafting options are available to any character. however endocrine boosters themselves are limited only to a specific medic specialization tree, if you want that plus gene splicing, you need two medics. As it stands, even with one character that has endocrine or genetic spec it looks you can achieve some OP characters. because there are so many general perks, and gene splicing is pretty powerful. engineers and mechanic specializations appear to make them more important now. so i presume we will see a lot less full crews of engineers and no mechanics. they both have access to some interesting new options. im currently attempting to unlock the endocrine booster in SP ill update if i get there before the new patch. on a side note, either the captain only has 2 specialization trees or the third is still in development, everyone else has 3.

  • November 29, 2022

    Dear barotrauma game team, I appreciate your work and look forward to the new update. I, and I think everyone was satisfied with the new talent tree, but there is one small problem, in the general talents (which has 6 talents) there is a picture with unlocked talents, and I I think it would be better if instead of two you could open three talents. Although, why should you listen only to me, if there are a lot of people with their own opinions, I hope you will see my comment. Thank you for such a wonderful game. And I hope it will continue to develop, and it only gets better, with best wishes !!!!

    • December 11, 2022
      Spy gamig

      I completely agree with sizer, I really wanted to be able to open half of the total talents 3 out of 6, not 2 out of 6, the assistant has 2 out of 4, and so on, I hope that this will be added to the game.

  • December 10, 2022

    Hello, dear barotrauma game team, I would like to ask about general talents and their leveling, why can only 2 talents out of 6 be unlocked ??? which he would like to open, but could not, because of the lack of symmetry (I am such a person :D) I really wanted that in general talents you could choose 3 talents, not 2, I really hope that you will see my review, and add this to the update, thank you for such a wonderful game, and I will wait for the update. And yes, I decided to rewrite my comment.

    • December 10, 2022


  • September 19, 2023

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