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Skilltrees, Skills, Leveling....Not that much fun at the moment...

Discussion in 'Release 18 Feedback' started by Retro, Jun 12, 2015.

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  1. Retro

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    Personally for me character creation and leveling are really high on my what make an RPG fun and interesting and to be frank right now SotA is really falling short in that department. It's just not fun, buying more copies of the same skills per level is boring...yes I know it's not finished yet and things like trainer quests have not be implemented yet, however I think there are core problems and LOTS of room for improvement...

    Below are a list of my perceived problems and how to possibly fix them...

    Problem #1: Skilltrees, let's get rid of them...
    1.) The Skilltrees and their forced prerequisites are not allowing us to build the characters that we truly want, they are just being used a quick crutch to balance combat also buying skills you have no intention of ever using to get to the skills that you really want is frustrating.
    -Imagine you could pick any skill you wanted in any order (provided you meet the criteria of course...see #4 below)

    2.) Skilltrees are inflexible, adding new skills requires reworking the entire skilltree.
    I think we still need skill tiers (or skill power levels) but if we got rid of the skilltrees the designers could add new skills at any tier at will without messing up a pre-existing skilltree, it would also allow for things like "secret" skills, skills that are not in the "known list" and skill "research" quests.

    3.) Skilltrees lead to most builds being the same few limited variations (especially PVP builds)
    Every release I seem to fall into the same pattern, PVE as a tank to gain levels make money, craft a little, then switch to a "PVP" build. Almost every warrior build has "Attunement with Earth" and "Sympathy of Stone" this could and probably would change if we had better criteria for skill allowance other than hierarchy in the skilltree.
    Getting rid of the skilltrees will allow us to see some truly unique character builds and new tactical combat strategies. (Yes it will be harder to balance, but not impossible and you guys are up for the challenge:))

    4.)Base skill acquisition on some factor other than pre-requiste in a skill tree, such as: Character level, Ability Score, Virtue, Trainer Disposition, Finding the trainer, Tasks Performed for the trainer, A certain power level achieved a innate skill (or just having it or both for a high level skill)...ideally a different combination of the above listed pre-requisites for each skill individually.

    Tier 4 Death Magic Skill: Summon Lich
    Could have the following requirements:
    Find the appropriate skill trainer
    Complete the trainers quest or series of quests
    Death Mastery skill level 3
    UnDead Mastery skill level 1
    Intelligence Score: 21
    Virtue score: -41
    Character level: 22+
    An offering of gold or suitable objects worth 2000k + gold (player is not given an exact number, just told to make a donation and the trainer will consider training them)
    (All of this would be hidden of course)

    The trainer will reject the character trying to learn the new skill until all of their conditions have been met, giving the players hints at why they will not train them but not outright telling them what conditions have not been achieved.

    Problem #2: Leveling is currently about buying increased probability for your deck...
    1.) Buying multiple copies of the skill you already "know" feels very boring and uneventful during leveling.

    Change the way in which you gain additional copies of the same skill for your deck...

    Level based - After you buy a new skill you get 1 additional copy per level for X levels. (depends on the max level of the skill)
    Quest based - Additional copies of skills require several (4) progressively harder skill trainer quests

    2.) Make leveling about buying new skills (as it is now) and increasing the power level (range, duration, effects, focus cost, etc) of your existing skills individually, not about increasing the frequency in deck.

    This will again lead to more character individuality and just more "tweaking" fun during leveling.

    Problem #3: We need way more skills and combos in the existing schools and we need a whole new type of skill category.

    Create lots more combat skills of all tier levels and without skilltrees weighing down the design this should be somewhat easier.

    Allow people to somehow create their own combos, maybe create some type of "dynamic combo system" that can "fairly" combine almost any two skills...(didn't say it was going to be easy, but we do expect innovation in a RG RPG;))

    Create a third level of skills and experience points, in addition to "Adventuring" and "Crafting" skills we also need a "Character" skills.

    The schools could be categories such as: PVP, Rouge, Warrior, Magic user, Navigation, Body, Social (just examples)

    Examples of skills that would fall into this category:
    -Allows the character to move faster over harsh terrain when on the overland map.

    Quick change artist
    -Allows the character to have multiple "tabs" (1 for each power level) for clothing and armor that the character can change very quickly when not in combat.

    Strong Swimmer
    -Allows increased swim speed also allows swimming while wearing heavy armor (reduced speed).

    Avoid Ambush
    -Allows the character a chance to avoid some random encounters, higher levels tells you what the encounter will be.

    Scribe Map
    -Allow the character to create a map while exploring an area.

    Show Secret Doors
    -Makes secret doors and hidden passages visible

    Pick Locks\Pockets
    -Allows the character to pick some locks and some pockets

    Long Jump
    -Allows that character to jump further

    -Allows that character to track targets within instances and on the overland map.

    Set Trap
    -Allows that character to set traps

    Size-up opponent
    -Allows the character to get a rough idea of the experience level of the character it is cast against, higher levels yield more information.

    And hundreds more...

    In fact they should rename the skill categories as follows:

    Combat Skills (Formally Adventuring)
    -Includes all skills that can directly be used in combat.

    Crafting Skills (same as before)
    -All crafting skills

    Adventure Skills (or Character skills)
    -Includes all non-combat game-play related skills...(like light)

    Devs I know you guys are under a lot of pressure to deliver as quickly as possible and you still have so much work to do but please consider some of these changes for the good of the game.

    my .02$
  2. Malchor1

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    Nicely outlined
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  3. Heradite

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    I really like your ideas! I think they would make the game a lot better.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
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  4. mike11

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    I think it would make much more sense in the long term to this way.
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  5. jschoice

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    Chicagoland aka the burbs
    I really like a lot of your ideas.
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  6. AndiZ275

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    Franconia, Germany
    excellent ideas :). I really miss more trainable out of combat non-crafting skills
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  7. Ice Queen

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    OP, I like and agree with your post. Your outline would be great if they would just start from scratch with skills, and implement something like you suggest. I really hope they see your post and get some ideas from it. Imo, they should scrap it and start new. I know they've probably worked hard on it, and really don't want to give it up, thinking it's still a great idea and they can make it work, but I disagree.

    The way combat is currently; (the skill trees, the useless buying of skills I don't use, want, or need, the boring skills, etc. etc.), I'm sort of having buyers remorse with the game, which bites, because I've spent more on this game than any other game that I played for years, and this game is just in Pre-Alpha. I put my money on the hope the game will be good, and since I have, I'm still hoping, but there will have to be major changes before release before I can feel comfortable about this purchase now. A good combat system, crafting system, and exploration is top of my list to have in a good mmorpg, that I plan to play for years, and right now, SOTA has none of that. I understand it's alpha and things are subject to change, hopefully for the better, but something needs to give. I'd much rather them scrap the current system and start fresh, taking more time to be released, than it to be released with the current combat system and be a deal breaker for people that try the game and then regret it. Word of mouth spreads fast and I'd really like it to be positive for Sota.

    Sadly, in it's current state, there's no way I could recommend this game to friends. The few that I bought the game for, that have played it, moved on after a few weeks of trying it out and won't even touch it again.
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  8. Arkah EMPstrike

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    The combat, and skill system are unfinished things. like, WAY unfinished. Alot of the stuff that will affect what skills you take arent even in yet.

    For instance, they have said before that if you choose a skill "tree", you will get better witht he skills in that tree the more points you put into that tree. So "Blades" may effectively be your skill, if you spec into alot of blade stuff.
    It is intended to reward people who specialize in a skill tree, but isnt required.

    But say, if you onyl want the msot powerful skills out of several trees, it makes sense that you have to burn through mroe skill poitns to do that. Otherwise, everyone will have death touch, death innates, lightning, lightning innates, fire arrow, fire innates, Ice arrow, ice innates, etc. Because why do anythign else at all when you can jsut pick out the strong stuff fromt he get go?
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  9. Retro

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    I actually don't think they need to scrap everything, the skills they have are fine, I just think they need to get rid of the forced pre-requisites and change the way we obtain additional copies of skills, (and add non-combat skills)

    This is my main issue as well...Thanks for responding Ice Queen!

    I know it's not even close to being finished, however if you read my OP the core problems seem to be here to stay, such as:
    1. Most characters builds are the same.
    2. Skilltrees make us buy skills we never intend to use or want.
    3. Buying more copies of the same skill you already know after leveling is extremely boring.
    4. Adding new skills require the DEV team to re-work the entire Skilltree

    So let's see if we can address them now! EMPstrike, can you honestly tell me that you have no issues with the 4 items listed above?

    Nothing I have proposed in my OP goes against this concept, in fact what I am proposing STRENGTHENS this concept...examples to follow.

    I agree! And glad you brought this up, however there are many more ways in which we can enforce balance other than forcing adherence to the hierarchy in a Skilltree, let's explore them...

    Ways of creating balance in a truly Unlimited Classless RPG (I would consider SotA a "Limited" Classless RPG)

    1.) Skill requirements, The first and easiest way to add balance is with the skill requirements, they can include things like: (but not limited to)
    1. Character Level
    2. Ability Score
    3. Virtue
    4. Trainers Disposition (towards your character)
    5. Finding the trainer
    6. Quests performed for the trainer
    7. A certain power level achieved a innate skill (or just having it or both for a high level skill)

    2.) Point spending efficiency - Not having pre-requisites could cost more skill points to buy (especially for innate skills)
    1. Buying skills "out of the preferred order" could (and should) cost more to buy...
    Example...(numbers are all made up for the example)
    Johnny Wizard, has a tier 1, and a tier 2 fire skill, when he goes to buy a tier 3 fire skill it cost him 10 points.
    Sammy the Sorcerer has no tier 1 or tier 2 fire skills, when he goes to buy the same tier 3 fire skill as Johnny, it cost him 20 points to buy it.

    This will add another level character customization...the player has to decide which way will be most efficient for them to design and build up their character. Go after the skills they directly want or take the "preferred path" for point spending efficiency, adding again more character uniqueness.

    Points would NOT be returned for adding lower tired skills after you have bought a higher tire skill, you would have to re-spec (re-buy) the higher skill to regain the points
    Using Sammy as our example:
    Sammy already has a tier 3 fire skill and now he has just purchased a tier 1 and tier 2 fire skill, they only way for Sammy regain the points he wasted by buying the tier 3 fire skill first is to re-buy his tire 3 skill at the lower point cost. (for more on this see point 4)

    3.) Skilltree purity i.e. having more skills in a given category could give bonuses...

    1. More powerful:
    Example: Johnny's fireball spell does slightly more damage than Sammy's, because Johnny's understanding for fire magic is more complete than Sammy's (Even thought they are the same EXP level and have an identical intelligence score.)

    2. Focus Cost to use:
    Example: Johnny's fireball spell costs slightly less focus to cast than Sammy's, because Johnny's understanding for fire magic is more complete than Sammy's (Even thought they are the same EXP level and have an identical intelligence score.)

    4.) Re-spec of character skills should be expensive and somewhat painful, why?
    1. Stops people from attempting to game the system the classless system, i.e getting all the skills they want early on, then cashing in extra point for efficiency
    2. Enforces the benefit of using the "preferred" path.
    3. Forces people to have a plan with what they are building, your choices matter more each level.

    Here is the old Fire magic skill tree:

    Here is my re-envisioned Fire magic skill tree 2.0:
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  10. Arkah EMPstrike

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    !.) That is due to thigns being very broken and unbalanced at the moment.
    2.) This will be less of an issue once the myriad of combos are impliment along with bonuses for specializing in single skill trees. Unless you just want the msot useful skills out of each tree with no reprocussions for getting them
    3.) It's not a requirement, and in the future won't be neccessary, as more combos are implimented (when you can combo every skill with virtually every other skill). But you choose between being good at what you do, or just beign able to do more, less effectivly.

    4.)Not true. Addign a new branch to the tree requires no rework of existing branches.

    There are other ways to do it but, if you gotta pay more for a higher tier skill, why not put those points into the lower tier skills to get to it? If your answer is because it costs less to jsut egt the higher tier skill then thats a problem, otherwise i dont see any reason not to go ahead and grab some lower tier skills you'll "never use" anyways.

    I think the way they want to set up their current trees are tryign to reward people who get msot or all of the skills in a single tree with higher tier skills like summons or melee AoEs. While some of the trees could stand some adjustment (probably periodically to shake thigns up now and then) I think the idea of having to know msot of the skills in a tree to get the best ones is ok. And havign them seperate fromt he innates prevents peopel from jsut stacking lots of innates and only taking high tier skills as well.

    They already have said they intend to do this.

    Sorry bout all the quotes, i was responding to stuff as i read it
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
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  11. redfish

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    I like some of your ideas but I also like skill trees; I think they make sense.

    For example, you need to be able to know how to do a Shield Bash before you can do a Charge, or a Parry before a Riposte, or a Fire Arrow before a Fireball. Mostly, the skill progression is very natural. And I wouldn't want a player to know how to do Charge without picking up Shield Bash.

    Most of the new spells I think will come in through combos rather than base spells. You're right that adding in new base spells requires reworking things, but if it makes sense, it makes sense
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  12. redfish

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    Btw I've been thinking a bit on whether they could do something like a "blind skill tree", where you don't see the whole skill tree at first, and only see what you've learned about. That's something like the concept you're talking about. I wonder whether something like that could work.
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  13. Miracle Dragon

    Miracle Dragon Legend of the Hearth

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    Currently: Zhongxian, Chongqing, China
    I have a lot I would love to add to this, but as I gather my thoughts I wanted to start with this:

    We have 2 skill banks. 1. Adventure 2. Crafting
    Adventure skills are divided in two: 1. Combat 2. Magic (All but less than 5 Magic skills are combat spells)

    So where/how do I learn all my non-combat skills?:
    spirit speak
    ladder down/up
    Great Light
    detect magic
    RIP (actually like 'Camp', literally, a spell to let us rest in peace without getting ambushed)
    SnakeEater (poison immunity)
    Survivalist (avoid/see random encounters)
    Trance (put others to sleep)
    Remove Curse

    This is just a short list of skills/spells I gathered which have been used in past RPGs, you might recognize most of them.

    The point behind these is that they all provide means to accomplish tasks in the game that don't require combat!
    When did fighting become the only thing fun to do and advance your character in a roleplaying game?
    When did questing and skills become just a means to fight stuff?

    Rather than kills giving experience, how about letting us use any skills we want to get the quest done, (have options that allow us to accomplish this with non-combat skills) and only completing quests gives experience? Then we don't need to fight to advance our character, just advance the story/complete side quests.

    How can I become an Avatar, if all my skills/spells I learn are only meant to engage in fighting/killing?

    Please consider, when expanding/changing the skills and how they work, that we don't want to run around killing everything in sight. We want to live in the world, help the people, solve the problems, and quest without killing everything. Give us alternative quests, options that don't involve killing to save the day. Please reward us for finding the non-violent method to solve a problem. But first you have to provide the skills to allow us to do this. Thanks
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