[suggestion] Skill trees for Champions

By on June 20, 2010 10:31:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nick-Danger

Join Date 09/2009
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One thing that kinda bothers me with the current champs is that when I see a champ I see them as a possible fighter (attack rating), or a resource (+2 spell points per turn, etc.), not as 'individuals' (ie -- a guy who is wandering the land, dedicated to bringing back life to the land -- a Johnny Appleseed or the like, etc.). 

Perhaps the skill tree idea that SavageBananaMan34 and others have mentioned (in the "how much do you like the current champion system? thread in the Elemental Beta Forum) which is a good idea on its own, would also help with this. Perhaps it could go like this with Mr. Appleseed:

We see a champ but no stats listed (no '10% bonus to orchard production' or no '+2 to spell research per turn').  We only see a description like "Johnny Appleseed is descended from a long line of forest nurserymen, and wanders the land trying to preserve this knowledge".  This presents him as a person and gives a clue to his innate skills without making him seem a walking stat machine.

If Mr. Appleseed levels up we'd have skill tree options, weighted towards his innate skills/knowledge (in Mr. Appleseed's case it's orchard production, for Paul Bunyon it'd be lumberyard production, etc.).  Let's assume a normal skill-up is 10% bonus to a resource and +2 per turn to a skill like spell research.  Mr. Appleseed would get the normal bonus to orchard production (10%) but only half normal skill-up to non-orchard choices (so only +1 per turn to spell research).

This variable skill-up gives us a choice -- get normal skill-up from their innate abilities, but if we want to direct their development in other ways we can but at a penalty.

This would also address the problem that as time goes on, the current "+2 spell points per turn" becomes increasingly insignificant.  Allowing that to increase with each levelup lets it remain more useful as the game progresses.

This tech tree skill-up could be in addition to the current '+stats at level-up' choice, or could be in lieu of it.

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June 20, 2010 10:40:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree.

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June 20, 2010 11:08:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As do I! 

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June 20, 2010 11:34:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

this sounds cool, but keep in mind as you research the adventure tech, more powerful champions become available.  i personally don't need to, and would rather not upgrade heroes manually.  i would prefer if they at every few levels gained a random ability.

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June 20, 2010 11:41:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Im a fan of HOMM or MoM heroes. In the sense that they boost army skills. Some also helped in resources. but main purpose was to boost the other units skills.

I would like to see more of that. Yes or no, i do want to see more champions have special skills or more skills. Maybe even less champions on the map, making them more rare, but just as vital. Its also possible to still have hero attack units, where their main skills dont boost others, but rather their own attacking skills.

I guess what im saying is some champions can be leaders, resource boosters, strong warriros, or all them combined.

 

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June 21, 2010 2:32:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think that doing this dynamically would be the way to go.  Upon level up, sure you can increase a stat by one point, but you and your champions should also acquire skills through what they have been doing.  You have a merchant going from town to town trading as an NPC?  He should get better at it the more towns he visits.  Have designated a character as governor of a mining colony?  He should gradually get to know about mining and develop stats to improve it the longer he is there.  Have an adventurer who kills a lot of creatures with his longbow?  He develops an affinity to it, meaning that while his base stats can make him capable with any weapon, he begins to develop significantly better skill sets with his weapon of choice.

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June 21, 2010 5:14:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

its a bit complicated but sounds nice

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June 21, 2010 6:30:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

RPG, in the most basic D&D-ish and dry sense, is about doing stuff that gives you experience and eventually allows you to level up. In this level up moment the character improves in certain areas automatically while at the same time has the chance to improve others of his choice.

Sovereigns, their children and Champions should in theory all use the same system (Sovereigns getting some extras due to being Sovereigns). The most basic element would be the class. Not that classes are needed, classless systems work fine, but for sticking to the D&D-ish thingy I'll be using them.

Altough every Champion has the same attributes (the values of those attributes may vary tough), their stories and backgrounds aren't necesarily the same. Assuming that each has a class (understood as a mix of social class, skills learnt, potential for other skills...), we could have:

  • Their base attributes are modified based on class (a merchant is not the same as a warrior). Each class has associated some different starting attribute modifiers so not everyone from the same class is the same when created. (not all warriors are Strenght 15)
  • Each class has a branching skill tree with some base skills. Newly created character receives one initial skill based on the class.
  • At level up:
    1. The character gets some points.
    2. The character should be able to decide if he wants to get another class (maybe the rogue has seen the benefits of being a merchant). This choice would cost points (i.e. 1 for basic, more than 1 for special and unlocked through quests classes). Some basic classes would not be elegible tough, like Royalty, except by event or quest. This step could be restricted to be only offered at certains levels (each five levels, for example).
    3. Base attributes increase slightly according to class (between 1 to 3 points in total?). If the character has more than one class, he must select which one. This increase costs nothing to the character and reflects how he has improved in the chosen class.
    4. The remaining points can be spent on attribute increases and in skills. Each level up the character can select any basic skill and skills from the branch corresponding to any of the basic skills he already has. Skills can have different values based on how "cool" they are.

Example: Huong is a human noble warrior. Her attributes are adjusted according to class and gets increased strenght and constitution. She also gets a skill based on combat with Shields (some kind of extra bonus blocking, for example). She goes on quests and eventually levels up. Unsatisfied with the skill gotten, the level up is used to buy the basic skill of two-weapon combat and a skill from the branch of two-weapon combat called Twin Strike. Later in her career, after developing further into the two-weapon combat skill tree, she tries to get the Royalty class but it's only accesible for level 1 characters or through quest/event. So she instead gets the Templar class, which unlocks some extra basic skills for that class from which she buys Magic Resistance after still selecting Warrior as the class to use for the attribute increase of that level.

 

Skills shoud be varied. It'd be nice to have one scholar that boosts general research but that on level up you could specialize him in one of the research trees for an increased boost ("Guybrush, Adventure tree for you."). But roblem would be: how many different skills can you actually have? And how many skills can the different classes have? Combat skills can be varied without difficulty but merchants? "More Money I", "More Money II", "More Money III", "Tax Evasion", "Make Them Bleed"...?



I'd be happy with a system like in MoM at least...

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June 21, 2010 7:32:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Merchants could be anything from tax collection (working on your own population to make money), trading work (making money based off caravans entering the city), draining cash from other cities, economic blockades on other cities etc etc.

Make them slightly spylike too, maybe?

I like this concept anyhow.

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June 21, 2010 8:11:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think the only issue I'd have for leveling up characters in the traditional manner is that it would take quite a bit of time as a player given the sheer number of characters you can at this time recruit/raise.  In the interests of simplifying micromanagement of characters I think that a dynamic skills system would better serve the RPG/Strategy hybrid (especially since this game leans a bit towards strategy).

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June 21, 2010 9:48:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

but you mean just automatic gaining of skills based on what the champion did like a "uo style" rising?

 

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June 21, 2010 10:30:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not sure what you mean by "uo" style rising, but yeah.  After a character has used the longbow quite a bit he is probably going to be getting pretty good at it.  An administrator that is in charge of a small settlement that revolves around extracting ore should get traits that improve his settlements ability to extract ore as governor.  A merchant who is trading between cities should gradually get better "trader" traits which improve the return he gives you per trip, ect.  When you level up you can still improve stats or whatever, but a certain number of the skills should come organically. 

It's just once I've bred a few generations of children, and also have the champions I've recruited, I think it would be micromanagement hell to try and do a full "level up" system on all of them.  That can spiral out of control really fast with the dynasty system in the game.

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June 21, 2010 1:44:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting lwarmonger,
I'm not sure what you mean by "uo" style rising, but yeah.  After a character has used the longbow quite a bit he is probably going to be getting pretty good at it.  An administrator that is in charge of a small settlement that revolves around extracting ore should get traits that improve his settlements ability to extract ore as governor.  A merchant who is trading between cities should gradually get better "trader" traits which improve the return he gives you per trip, ect.  When you level up you can still improve stats or whatever, but a certain number of the skills should come organically. 

It's just once I've bred a few generations of children, and also have the champions I've recruited, I think it would be micromanagement hell to try and do a full "level up" system on all of them.  That can spiral out of control really fast with the dynasty system in the game.

 

i agree that it would be hard to manage soo many hero skills. But you have to do it either way using the current Beta. When they level up you still add points to their stats. Things to be done related to topic.

1) Have less heroes. Having less heroes but adding more personality (skills), still makes the use of heroes VERY important.

2) Champions can have predetermined skills when they level up. Like in MoM or HOMM Heroes some heroes boost archers other have spells others help with resources, etc. Its automatic and you cant choose which pathway you want, but I think it gave all the heroes personalities. We can discuss on the forums who are favorite heroes are and for what reason, and refer to them by name. Thats how popular some heroes can get, instead of the faceless ones we have now.

But maybe the sovereign should be the only one to choose which specialties they want. Since it is the main hero.

i think this game is in desperate need of champion system re-do.

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June 21, 2010 2:01:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I find the current hero/sovereign system to be very dull. It definitely needs a more classical RPG approach.

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June 21, 2010 2:04:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think that reducing the number of champions out there though is the solution.  They just need more to do that doesn't require your direct supervision.  And that pathways system of leveling up and a dynamic system aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.  Say your merchant levels up doing merchant tasks (lets say trading).  Because the bulk of the experience resulted from making money (as opposed to killing monsters or creating items, ect) you get two or three pathways to choose from to level up, two of them are merchant related and one is movement related (as these are two areas that accounted for most of the experience).

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June 21, 2010 7:39:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

yeah i second Iwarmonger's proposal.  i like it, its simple, deep, and realistic.

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June 21, 2010 8:45:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Stmorpheus,
this sounds cool, but keep in mind as you research the adventure tech, more powerful champions become available.
True, but that doesn't preclude champions leveling up skills.  People like to form a bond with their 'heroes' and watching them level up enhances said bond, compared to just hiring a 'new improved model'.

i personally don't need to, and would rather not upgrade heroes manually.  i would prefer if they at every few levels gained a random ability.
Not wanting to take the time to level champions is understandable, but some would enjoy it.  As for the skill gained being random we'll have to agree to disagree (tho I notice your most recent post supports IWarMonger's proposal which isn't random).

IWarmonger said:

I'm not sure what you mean by "uo" style rising...

Basically it's what you're proposing -- use a skill and it eventually raises.  In UO (Ultima Online) if you hide your hiding skill goes up, mine then your mining skill goes up, etc.  There's also a secondary effect -- your associated stat also raises.  Table of Primary and Secondary Stats shows the list of skills and their primary and secondary stat.  So, if you hide your dex (primary) and int (secondary) stats will raise, if you're mining your str (primary) and dex (secondary) will raise, etc.

I mention the stats raising because as long as you're proposing the skills raise by use -- in for a nickel, in for a dollar -- may as well include the stats automatically raising too.

Your proposal requires keeping track of what skill is being used and/or enacting some method to choose what skill to use.   Fighting to raise fighting skills is obvious, but how to 'use' farming skill would require a way to assign a farming task. 

Perhaps buildings and/or techs could have a 'slot' to assign a champion to -- build a farm and assign Joe the Farmer to the farm's slot, build a market and assign Joe the Merchant to the market's slot, research caravans and assign Joe the Peddler to the caravan tech's slot, etc.

Automatic stat increase would be easy, just define a skill as having a primary stat (say str for fighting skill and lumberjacking, etc.), and maybe secondary/tertiary skill too if a more diversified spread of stat gain is desired.

 

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June 22, 2010 1:47:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting TheProgress,
I find the current hero/sovereign system to be very dull. It definitely needs a more classical RPG approach.

 

yup this is one thing i really want to push for.

whether it be skill trees you choose from, pre destined traits, or using means improving.

Hero units characteristics need improvement badly.

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June 22, 2010 5:31:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Totaly Agree, class division shoud be in. That will add even more depth to the game, but not much complex. A cupule of skill tree with some random development desgined for each charakter Player can chose frome them but AI can random them. Make them a littel mening to not make a big impact on game, but a skill like, Exlent rader +1% gildars per turn or "Fire Master" You cast firbal at half of prize. I think mage who use a fireball 10 times in each battel shod cast that spell even when sleeping

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June 22, 2010 5:33:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting lwarmonger,
I think the only issue I'd have for leveling up characters in the traditional manner is that it would take quite a bit of time as a player given the sheer number of characters you can at this time recruit/raise.  In the interests of simplifying micromanagement of characters I think that a dynamic skills system would better serve the RPG/Strategy hybrid (especially since this game leans a bit towards strategy).

it is TURN based, where are you hurry ?

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June 22, 2010 6:15:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Maybe if you buy items and have many caravans merchants gain exp, and if you build things admins get exp, and if you make a yellow or red breakthrough your researchers et exp?

Pick one perk/skill/feat on level up like the research breakthrough shouldn't be too hard to implement. I would like that idea, that you can start off with a basic merchant who ends up as a guildmaster, or a logisics expert. Here are some ideas.

Merchant

  Guildmaster - Unites and organizes trade inside a city. +To commerce and maybe production. Perhaps both administrator and merchant can get this one?

  Logistics expert - Reduces cost of army and improves speed and prevents wear and tear on items. Helps keep morale high via good food on time.

  Caravan Master - Improves caravans. Makes them less buggy maybe?  Has some logistical abilites for armies they support?

Inventor

  Strategist - Provides support to the leader of an army. +to different things inlvolving battle

  Engineer - Improves buildspeed and the rate roads improve. Maybe makes walls stronger etc. Gives armies sneaky tactics.

  Inventor(better name?) - Makes special items occasionally.

Administator

  Guildmaster here too?

  Something else?

Diplomat (bet my boots there is one)

  Ambassador - Generate goodwill by sitting in foreign cities. Can negotiatie with sentient hostiles.

Maybe adventurers can take all since they are the most generic, and the hevier champions might get some ocmbat related. Just some thoughts.

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June 22, 2010 4:19:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Rysownik,

it is TURN based, where are you hurry ?

I am not a mini-maxer.  I think the mark of a truly great strategy game is one where having a better strategy and a little luck will beat micro-managers most of the time.

And micro-managing the stats, skills, and leveling up of potentially over a hundred characters does not sound particularly enjoyable for me.

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June 22, 2010 4:29:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Personally I'd prefer a more fluid progression of both your characters and the NPC's, outlined here.

http://forums.elementalgame.com/385079

I am not an adventurer in a party, I'm the sovereign of a kingdom.  My job is to lead my people to world domination, not babysit a bunch of demon fodder as they go around sticking their heads into dark places.

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June 22, 2010 4:58:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

adding or combining  the basis of these ideas of adding unique characteristics to individual champions, shouldnt be taxing for devs to add into the game, and having played other strategy games where people level up skills, i didnt find it be taking up alot of my time at all.  If u can find time to add a stat point to a hero (already in the game), shouldnt be that hard to select a trait as well.

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June 22, 2010 6:54:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Disciples 2 had an insanely fun way of leveling up your heroes even if their abilities were otherwise a bit simple.

You picked a new talent/upgrade at each level up and it always meant something.

AoW:SM had it too but your heroes died easier with the lack of a retreat option if you were attacked.

MoM had really cool heroes too with unique abilities.

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September 4, 2010 9:42:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It is threads like this showcase just how cool Elemental could be made.

If we are able to treat the release version as mainly a proof of concept for the game engine and idea of the game, and now focus on actually turning it into a really good game with good depth, interesting characters/items/buildings/spells/etc then it could turn out awesome.

(Of course it still wouldn't be nearly as successful as it would be if Stardock had made it awesome and THEN released it, but as others have said that horse has bolted, it is a case of making the best of a bad starting point now).

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