How to make skill choosing more fun

By on April 2, 2013 6:47:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

mdonais

Join Date 01/2010
+6

Right now you have to invest heavily in a single line and go mostly up that line.

Instead there should be more dots and short lines. The skills deep in the tree should require 10 points anywhere in the tree as a prereq. Only a few should require specific skills. 

So if you were in the assassin tree you could start investing in either the crit line or the dodge line, once you spend 5 points anywhere in the assassin tab you can start investing in the archery line.

Have lots of entry points so that each character is different. As it is now most of my characters of the same class look identical.

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In addition remove the experience talents. Those that have done the math and understand the levelup curve know if the talents are correct or not. They either take them or don't. Whenever someone does take bonus exp they get nothing fun for that level. I would remove bonus exp from all parts of the game.

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I love that there are lots of cool new talents. I don't enjoy the skill lines at all. Please make them skill dots or go back to the random booster pack system but with the extra skills. That would be the most fun.

Thanks,

Mike.

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April 2, 2013 12:02:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

for making points a requirement.  The current system discourages distributing your points and ends up limiting the choices for each champion.

I agree as well that the +XP skills don't add much to the game.  The problem (apart from being a boring upgrade) is that it's a raw calculation whether that trait is worthwhile that's the same for all champions and every game.  If the game is balanced to make leveling easy, then those skills are a waste of time.  If the game is balanced to make leveling hard, then those skills are required.  It's completely deterministic and so not a fun choice.

The non-specialized skill tree needs a lot of love.  I feel like many of the items in the tree currently are placeholder skills brought over from FE, including, but not limited to, the +XP.

 

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April 2, 2013 12:18:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Lets just say that I really like OP ideas for the "trees".

I do agree that they should be more like "sporadic bubbles" so to speak.

Some stuff could have specific Trait prerequests, but that should be limited to something obvious as Fire I-II-III-IV-V. Anything else just limits the choice. And makes it boring.

Points as requirement is such I good idea... I cannot stress this enough. It means actually investing into a particular part of your hero makes it possible to achieve succes through training, as opposed to the current system where the succes is based upon what exactly you did before which feels boring.

 

It is not repetition which makes for amusement, but innovation.

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April 2, 2013 12:23:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree the experience traits seem really pointless. One trait like knowledge if balanced right can be interesting but three in a row like potential is taking it too far. 

I also agree that trait trees should be wide not tall. For example, why is spell-mastery a prerequisite for evoker? You could easily run them side by side so players could make more choices. It would be balanced because you want spell-mastery anyway to be good at dmg spells. The current build makes spell-mastery seem like it exists only to help you get to better dmg spells, where are the curse/buff traits? Any why are we forced to buy a bunch of summons we don't want or need to get the good ones?

All the really long trait trees do is force us to get many traits we don't want, to get few we do. Theres no reason we cant have more level/point caps and allow us a few spare points to let us generalize a little, so characters are more unique and traits more rewarding. Its not like a mage character gets OP if it can summon and curse, we still only get the same amount of turns to cast spells.

I think the AI would just do a lot better with a wider less filler heavy trait tree, as it wouldn't be forced down narrow paths and make less stupid decisions.

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April 2, 2013 12:37:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree that paths need a lot of love.  To me tightening the paths will be the highlight of this beta.  If they are going roll with a name like Legendary Heroes, then SD had better step up to the plate.

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April 2, 2013 12:56:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Is anyone familiar with the game A Farewell to Dragons, from 1C?

I recommend taking a look at the trait/skill trees in that game as an example of what the OP and others are suggesting; the game itself isn't anything special, but the character leveling system is a lot of fun to use.

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April 2, 2013 1:14:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Remember in FE, the tech tree had different items, at random? Why not implement that? There are 3 assassin specific traits, 1 of which shows up each game, shown at random. That way, getting to the end of any part of the tree can have different perks each game, and you'll never be the same every time...

 

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April 2, 2013 1:31:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am trying to reply to 3 posters at once... but the forum seems to not like that much

 

Quoting ,

< snip> --
In addition remove the experience talents. Those that have done the math and understand the levelup curve know if the talents are correct or not. They either take them or don't. Whenever someone does take bonus exp they get nothing fun for that level. I would remove bonus exp from all parts of the game.
 

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Quoting sweatyboatman,

 <snip>
I agree as well that the +XP skills don't add much to the game.  The problem (apart from being a boring upgrade) is that it's a raw calculation whether that trait is worthwhile that's the same for all champions and every game.  If the game is balanced to make leveling easy, then those skills are a waste of time.  If the game is balanced to make leveling hard, then those skills are required.  It's completely deterministic and so not a fun choice.
 

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Quoting Stupidity10,
I agree the experience traits seem really pointless. One trait like knowledge if balanced right can be interesting but three in a row like potential is taking it too far.

 

-------------------------

Sorry I don't agree with you 3 at all.  Many players are making this point and I doubt they really understand the powerful effects that levelling faster has.  I'm not saying you don't understand but these skills are certainly not a waste of time unless you have a champion that will gain very few more levels.  These skills add a great deal of depth to the game and are not "pointless" or a "waste of time"

The level up skills Potential I, II and III are a very important part of a level up strategy for the sovereign and some champions (but not all).  Removing those from the game would be a big mistake.  It is not really determinstic unless you know exactly what equipment you will get and what spells you will be able to run and what order you need to pick your other traits.  If you get the Tutelage spell early that can take the place of a Potential pick for some champions that will not need to level up far but otherwise it might be good to use Potential III and Tutelage for a bonus of 85% to XP

Taking the Potential skills early in the game will mean whatever experience is gained will go a lot further, and having Potential III will mean 60% extra experience.  At some level (and it is hard to calculate for a real game situation due to other factors)  by the time enough experience has been gained for level 12 or so a sovereign that invested in Potential III early (in the first 4 level ups say) will have caught up on one that did not and they both have the same "useful" traits.  But one sovereign will be level 12 with 11 useful traits and the other sovereign will be level 15 with Potental III and 11 useful traits.

Those 3 extra "wasted" levels can make a lot of difference in many situations and obviously give more HP, accuracy and spell mastery and spell resist and faster healing.  The sovereign's starting traits make a lot of difference, for instance Hardy and Brilliant are both level dependent.  A sovereign with the Brilliant trait will have 9 more spell mastery by following the +XP level up strategy at this stage.  A defender that chose endurance will have 3 levels with 4 HP each and so on.  Some spells are level dependent.

And of course once the "wasted" picks have been regained you have a sovereign that is levelling approximately 60% faster which will probably mean an extra level for every 2 or 3 levels without the bonus.

 

JJ

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April 2, 2013 1:35:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Your idea would require the removing of potential knowledge, and maybe tutelage

 

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April 2, 2013 1:55:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree that XP traits are far from being pointless. The fact that some people like them and some people dislike them is great, because it fits different play styles and show those traits are not a no-brainer choice, but something more dependent on personal style. 

I know I am getting a little repetitive with this, but limiting the choices at each level up while keeping the tree is the option that I thing is the best one. Say that there are 8 available traits, but only 4 at random can be chosen. This would combine predictiveness with randomness at a fair mix. 

The branches are too large because currently champions level up too slowly. Consequently wasting your precious level up in a bland +1 perk seems pointless, and being condemned to the same branch during the whole game (if you want to reach the end of that branch) also seems too much. Heroes need to level up faster. 

i recommend taking a look at Heroes of Might and Magic V skill system, one of the very few innovations in that game and a really good one. 

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April 2, 2013 2:08:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting OliverFA_306,
I know I am getting a little repetitive with this, but limiting the choices at each level up while keeping the tree is the option that I thing is the best one. Say that there are 8 available traits, but only 4 at random can be chosen. This would combine predictiveness with randomness at a fair mix.

A little randomization is very nice, but the core functions of a path (mage: damage dealer or summoner, assassin: melee or ranged, ...) should depend on the players choice and not on the random number generator. The general traits could be random, but the path traits should always be available.

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April 2, 2013 3:16:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wizard1200,
9
I know I am getting a little repetitive with this, but limiting the choices at each level up while keeping the tree is the option that I thing is the best one. Say that there are 8 available traits, but only 4 at random can be chosen. This would combine predictiveness with randomness at a fair mix.

A little randomization is very nice, but the core functions of a path (mage: damage dealer or summoner, assassin: melee or ranged, ...) should depend on the players choice and not on the random number generator. The general traits could be random, but the path traits should always be available.

Please No! Any random research, traits or skills a player receives should only be quest rewards! Random trait choices aren't really giving you things, they are taking them away for no reason. At least from a quest it makes sense, not like your fire mage is now able to learn water spells while unable to learn some fire spells because the winds of #$%^ing magic are whimsical today.

Realistically, I really doubt we will have a trait tree large enough to be capable of effectively supporting random traits.

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April 2, 2013 4:35:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Stupidity10,

 Please No! Any random research, traits or skills a player receives should only be quest rewards! Random trait choices aren't really giving you things, they are taking them away for no reason. At least from a quest it makes sense, not like your fire mage is now able to learn water spells while unable to learn some fire spells because the winds of #$%^ing magic are whimsical today.

Realistically, I really doubt we will have a trait tree large enough to be capable of effectively supporting random traits.

That worked great for Heroes of Might and Magic during 5 games. And to be honest I have to confess that I discovered the utility of some skills when I was forced to choose among two of the skills that I did not like.

As I said, too random is boring because you get the feeling of not controlling the game, that your choices and your strategic are meaningless. But too few randomness is as boring for the opposite reason. Too much predictible, too easy to know what will happen, that is sooooo boring. A good and fair balance between both extremes provides much more fun.

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April 3, 2013 1:49:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting UncleJJ44,
Sorry I don't agree with you 3 at all. Many players are making this point and I doubt they really understand the powerful effects that levelling faster has. I'm not saying you don't understand but these skills are certainly not a waste of time unless you have a champion that will gain very few more levels. These skills add a great deal of depth to the game and are not "pointless" or a "waste of time"

The level up skills Potential I, II and III are a very important part of a level up strategy for the sovereign and some champions (but not all). Removing those from the game would be a big mistake. It is not really determinstic unless you know exactly what equipment you will get and what spells you will be able to run and what order you need to pick your other traits. If you get the Tutelage spell early that can take the place of a Potential pick for some champions that will not need to level up far but otherwise it might be good to use Potential III and Tutelage for a bonus of 85% to XP

Taking the Potential skills early in the game will mean whatever experience is gained will go a lot further, and having Potential III will mean 60% extra experience. At some level (and it is hard to calculate for a real game situation due to other factors) by the time enough experience has been gained for level 12 or so a sovereign that invested in Potential III early (in the first 4 level ups say) will have caught up on one that did not and they both have the same "useful" traits. But one sovereign will be level 12 with 11 useful traits and the other sovereign will be level 15 with Potental III and 11 useful traits.

Those 3 extra "wasted" levels can make a lot of difference in many situations and obviously give more HP, accuracy and spell mastery and spell resist and faster healing. The sovereign's starting traits make a lot of difference, for instance Hardy and Brilliant are both level dependent. A sovereign with the Brilliant trait will have 9 more spell mastery by following the +XP level up strategy at this stage. A defender that chose endurance will have 3 levels with 4 HP each and so on. Some spells are level dependent.

And of course once the "wasted" picks have been regained you have a sovereign that is levelling approximately 60% faster which will probably mean an extra level for every 2 or 3 levels without the bonus.



JJ

You make really good points here, thank you.

But my issue is: Do we really need 3 skills which do nothing but give a small boost to xp?  Where's the imagination or excitement in that?  Yes it creates a subtle difference in a hero's development, but does it make the hero legendary?  I would say no, it doesn't.

So why not make a single skill, and try to make it fun.  Let's call it 'Historian.'  Let's say it gives +50% xp from combat, +20% fame from quests, +2 research (empire) and +50% research to whatever city the unit is stationed in.  Now we're getting several bonuses that are all meaningful, are tied into the concept of a historian, and make the unit more useful in several -but not all - game situations.

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April 3, 2013 6:53:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting UncleJJ44,
Sorry I don't agree with you 3 at all.  Many players are making this point and I doubt they really understand the powerful effects that levelling faster has.  I'm not saying you don't understand but these skills are certainly not a waste of time unless you have a champion that will gain very few more levels.  These skills add a great deal of depth to the game and are not "pointless" or a "waste of time"

I think the main complaint about the experience traits is the opposite of what you are assuming. It isn't that the experience traits are no good, it is that they are pretty much no brainers for any hero who intends to become, well, legendary (as you pointed out in the rest of your post).

So, if there are three traits which are auto picks for most heroes and those three traits don't do anything fun (lets face it, sacrificing your current strength to increase your FUTURE strength is pretty much the opposite of fun) then these three traits are arguably just there to sap fun from the game by forcing the player to pick un-fun level ups (or play sub optimally).

Maybe they are justified by situations where players want a hero who will only level up a little bit and therefore they deliberately don't pick the experience traits? That is about the only argument I can see for keeping them and it is an argument you make. Not convinced myself, I find that argument outweighed by the disappointment of having to pick three traits for my best heroes which won't do anything to improve them until later in the game.

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April 3, 2013 11:15:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think it would even add more depth if it would (indirectly) effect the XP all other "normal" units of a party get. I think it is not doing that at the moment.

I also think in the beginning the "choice" is meaningful EXACTLY because it is three traits and not only one. This means that you have to weight the benefits of three more useful early traits against the potential of levelling faster. My only problem with this is that my heroes cannot die. Therefore I will choose the XP traits first always, because I do not care much about the survivability of my hero...

Another idea might be to "lock" the path beyond the first decision into the five basic paths in a way that you are not able to choose everything you see. That should make heroes more unique.

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April 3, 2013 2:19:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So something akin to Titan Quest?

I do think there should be less filler talents and more interesting talents though. Even if it means reducing the total number of talents and leveling speed to compensate.

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April 4, 2013 2:27:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What about making each trait dual purpose?  Pair a significant option with a passive bonus.

For example, with the summon tree you only select new summons to add to your repertoire but each new summon you learn adds +1 to the levels of all summons.  Perhaps have a master summoner trait later on that just does a +3 to summoning levels.

Cut the filler and have every single trait be interesting.

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