Attunement is a system that really bothers me in Shroud, because it's a great idea in theory, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The general idea behind attunement is pretty good, if you dedicate yourself to a form of magic and study it in depth you become better at it than someone who just cherrypicks abilities from all over. I like that part, because I like the idea of characters following a career path instead of just being mary sues who are blandly competent at everything. The reality of attunement is very different though. You can't actually reach a particularly high attunement through training. The exponential XP cost and having to raise 10 whole skills to pull natural attunement up makes it prohibitively time consuming to raise natural attunement past 120, or 140 with spec. Some people might be able to pull it off, but that's an extreme minority, and not the rule. Some magic schools have spells that raise attunement, which let you climb a bit higher if you keep them active. Ultimately though, it's only through gear that you can reach a particularly high attunement. That takes the identity of a character away and turns it into just another outfit, which as far as I'm concerned is a deadly sin of RPG design. What's worse is that the biggest bonuses to attunement are always tied to the exact same items. Every character that is supposed to be specialized in any particular form of magic has to use the exact set of artifacts that go with it or be second rate. This goes back to something else I've written a thread about (Some Artifacts are way too rare for how build defining they are.), artifacts are being used to define builds rather than just letting people build the character they want from the actual skill trees. In a game that should be all about freedom to build the character you want to play you're instead forced into picking a single school of magic, and equipping a predetermined set of gear to make your character good at it. This is a massive failure of letting people be who they want to be in the game. Dedication isn't rewarded, a big wardrobe is. Unique builds aren't encouraged, using a single school with a cookie cutter loadout is. One of the biggest weaknesses of this game is that character building in Shroud is boring. At first glance it looks like a very interesting system with tons of opportunities to build a unique and interesting character, but you very quickly realize that the skill system does very little to define characters, and constantly pushes you toward generalization through the exponential cost of individual skills as opposed to overall advancement. Meanwhile the gear system is what determines what any character is actually good at at any given time, but gear can be swapped out with a single button, and even there you're not really allowed to make choices, but end up having to just follow a list of best in slot items if you don't want to be second rate. The specialization system also fails to alleviate this problem, because it doesn't encourage people to make a character that combines two different skill trees. That would produce a multiplicative effect where people would pick two of the 16 primary skill groups and would wind up with 240 possible character combinations. Instead you pick one of the primary skill groups and use the second specialization on whatever compliments it the best, which often ends up being a strategy group. Missed opportunity for something cool. Attunement is in a similar place, it could be a system that encourages people to go deep into a tree, actually dedicate themselves, and reap the rewards, but instead it's very easy to get all attunements to 80-100, so the amount of attunement you get for dedicating yourself to a tree isn't all that high. It's fine to have equipment that increases the power of spells, but equipment shouldn't be the primary determinant of what spells you're actually able to use. Artifacts shouldn't constantly butt in and replace character building, depriving us of interesting choices and actual identities for our characters. Attunement should be a pool of points that allows you to weight different schools of magic to set what your character is proficient with. Artifacts could still exist to change the weighting, in case you want to play a generalist who uses focus items to adapt to their current needs, but it should be perfectly possible to be a natural specialist who can use whatever equipment they want to cast their chosen schools of magic.