Encompassing a broad variety of specific abilities, feats are used to further specialize a character, largely through customizing the way you conduct yourself during combat. While not all feats are combat-oriented, the majority are, and your choices here will determine what weapons and armor your character can use, as well as any special attacks they can use during battle.
Feats can be upgraded; once you possess both a basic feat and whatever prerequisites are required, and obtain a feat purchase point at a level-up, you may advance that feat to the next level, which allows you to obtain more bonuses to the special ability that the feat affords you. Some feats, such as armor and weapon proficiencies, are cumulative, but most are not, so that achieving the second level in a feat replaces the bonuses that the first level gave you, rather than having them add together.
Passive Combat Feats
For the money, feats that are passive in combat are usually more desirable than those that require activation. Although BioWare has done an admirable job in streamlining the d20 combat system for a console, and although you can always pause at any time you wish, combat can still become a bit hairy and complex with multiple combatants. Since passive feats are always active, working behind the scenes to make your characters better warriors, they ease the burden of micromanagement somewhat.
If you're the type of person who likes to micromanage your PC and let your other party members do as they wish, then you might want to ensure that your NPC party members are selecting passive feats when they level up, rather than letting the game decide to give them active feats. NPCs will use feats as part of their default AI, but not necessarily. It's usually a good idea to load up on the passive feats that match your character's preferred weapon or weapons, and save the active feats for later in the game.
(Blaster Rifle, Blaster Pistol, Heavy Weapons, Melee Weapons)
Since combat is such a core aspect of the KOTOR gameplay, every character will want to pick a weapon type (if not two) and advance its proficiency to its second rank. Even if a mere +1 to hit doesn't sound impressive, you have to consider that, over the course of the game, your characters will engage in thousands of rounds of combat, so even a five percent larger chance to connect with a weapon will add up to a large savings in combat time, not to mention medpacs, since some enemies will undoubtedly die before they can deal damage to you due to your improved accuracy.
The third ranks of weapon proficiencies, called weapon specializations, are a unique case, since they are only available to characters of the soldier class. When a character specializes in a weapon, he or she adds two damage to the total damage dealt on the blow.
For those of you planning to use the ol' laser sword later on, keep in mind that the bonuses gained from advanced ranks of melee proficiency do not apply to lightsabers; that weapon has its own proficiency that you'll need to advance in.
|Proficiency||Level 1||Allows use of weapon type with no penalties|
|Weapon Focus||Level 4||Attacks with weapon type gain +1 attack|
|Weapon Specialization||Level 8||Successful hits with weapon type gain +2 damage|