Seloun wrote:Weapon skills felt more like a perk than actual skills. Since you can only use one weapon at a time, there's not a lot of benefit to spending points into multiple weapon trees, especially if you're part of a group. In principle you gain flexibility by being able to use different categories of weapons, but this is a pretty small benefit unless the weapon types are drastically different and you can't resolve it by replacing party members. The opportunity cost of learning a new weapon type tends to be too high (though this can be moderated with diminishing returns).
What might be better for the weapon skills category is more general skills that apply to whatever weapon, e.g. Accuracy, Armor Penetration, Burst Fire, Damage. Some skills are more likely to be useful for a certain category of weapons, but with variations within each weapon category the value of the skills become a lot less of a no-brainer (rapid fire sniper rifle), especially if there are diminishing returns.
Seloun wrote:The tree idea is interesting - it makes me think of how Heroes of Might and Magic did their skills (three options per level up) though it wasn't really exclusive so much as deciding the order you got stuff. Exclusive choices are a very cool idea (fundamentally games are about making decisions) but I'd imagine it'd be difficult to make the choices really interesting. One way to do that neatly is if each level had a theme, so you were choosing from an alternative way to do the same thing, instead of overspecializing (sort of like modern WoW talent trees). So on one level you might choose between Heavy Armor proficiency, an active Dodge skill, or a passive evasion bonus (self-defense grouping); another level maybe you pick between a new Aim attack that makes the target easier to hit, a psionic power that reduces target's evasion, or an active ability that provides the party an accuracy bonus (party accuracy grouping). Another level might have you choose a second weapon proficiency (beyond the one you have already; conveniently there are 4 groups)
Seloun wrote:Secondary skills also seem to suffer from the problem of specialization; why would you not specialize in just one secondary skill? And if there's no reason, why is it a skill system at all instead of just being a perk/trait?
Seloun wrote:Something to note is that the most recently described skill set doesn't seem to cover weapon accuracy (this isn't necessarily a bad thing; it just means accuracy would have to be balanced through gear or talents), so there's some design space there. I still think the skills feel a bit too narrow; bonus damage from elemental weapons still seems to create a dichotomy of elemental weapon user/non-elemental weapon user.
Seloun wrote:Agility: The value of going first in combat is very dependent on the amount of crowd control in the game and the average combat length. If combats tend to be 4 rounds, going first is a lot more valuable than if combats tend to be 40 rounds. The downside to tying going first to a stat like this is that the skill ends up being very binary; I'd either completely focus on it (for e.g. someone with a good CC) or just dump it (for your average damage dealer), though combats composed of a wide variety of enemies at once will reduce that effect.
Seloun wrote:Tactics: A flat bonus damage stat ends up being more interesting because it interacts with the multi-fire mechanic well. It benefits everyone, but it benefits burst fire mode more, and it benefits rapid firing weapons more too. But everyone still wants the stat regardless of what weapon they're using; they just value it differently (but not zero).
Seloun wrote:Burst and Aim are probably reasonable categories as long as everyone has access to them (how does it benefit psionicists?). I would probably make the bonus more dependent on what the attack mode is trying to do instead of just damage, though. This requires thinking about exactly when someone is supposed to be using Aim versus Burst fire.
- Are you supposed to use Aim on 'hard' (high armor) targets? On evasive targets?
- Burst fire manages aggro; should it also be a high damage option?
One possibility might be to have Burst, Aimed and Called shots (instead of Burst, Normal and Aimed):
- Burst acts like now, additional round, accuracy penalty, but also lowered damage per hit. Increases threat (should be fixed value to interact with Tactics and not a percentage). Used for aggro control and for soft targets.
- Aimed would be the most accurate attack, and generally the best choice for evasive targets with average armor. Reduces threat (also fixed).
- Called would increase enemy evasion by percentage, but would guarantee a crit on hit. Useful for high armor targets.
In that scheme you'd also have as skills something like:
Assault: Increases damage per shot (helps Burst/Multifire weapons the most); improves psionic damage/effect
Precision: Increases crit damage as a percentage (helps Called the most); improves psionic 'riders' (if there are any; sort of like the debuffs attached to spells in Loren)
Accuracy: Reduces evasion penalties from Called and increases accuracy in all cases (also affects psionics)
Tactics: Increased threat control (more from Burst, less from Aimed, affects psionics depending on the nature of the ability, e.g. protect might add threat to the target, healing might generate less threat - this should be a fixed value according to skill rather than a percent modifier)
Seloun wrote:Strength is a pretty good skill, though some of that depends on whether or not in-combat armor swapping is still going to be allowed (if so, it's a -very- good skill). Trading in combat should probably be impossible to make this meaningful. Alternatively, it could control the number of uses per combat for consumables (consumables should probably regenerate between combats, either every combat or during rest periods - this is a separate issue, but that allows you to balance combat around consumables; thematically the character has access to supplies and effectively unlimited amounts of consumables, he/she just can't bring the pharmacy in a pocket) to represent the character can bring more grenades/medkits/whatever.
Seloun wrote:Dexterity: DW bonus seems way too specific (what if I use two handed weapons?) Might also govern non-weapon item effectiveness in general.
Endurance: HP bonus is probably fine, if unexciting. Maybe have it also provide bonus against AE attacks so it's not just a tank specific stat (though in principle you get some of that just by having more health, it makes it more valuable than just the health to non-tanks)
Psionic: Psionic points, psionic regen, and maybe psionic power durations.
Seloun wrote:Non-combat skills could all influence a category of non-weapon items. Medkits, psy-regenerators, grenades, and probably some other general offensive item category for Charisma (maybe 'everything else'). The effect should probably be relatively small.
jack1974 wrote:Seloun wrote:Non-combat skills could all influence a category of non-weapon items. Medkits, psy-regenerators, grenades, and probably some other general offensive item category for Charisma (maybe 'everything else'). The effect should probably be relatively small.
Not sure I understood what you exactly means with this? I think the last 4 non-combat skills are still useful in combat, since Medicine=amount of HP healed, Science = better crafting or get enemy info, Charisma could be used as party buffs with Rally/Taunt etc and Sabotage influence the effectiveness of grenades which would be one of the few Area Of Effect attack, maybe beside some Psionic abilities.
Seloun wrote:I was just making the association of possibly Medicine = better in combat medkits, Sabotage = better grenades (those are already planned, I believe) and adding Science = psy-restore items, which would sort of thematically suggest Charisma should also control a type of consumable.
Seloun wrote:For that reason I'd suggest making initiative be derived from the second category of stats, and in a blend (like (3*agi + 2*dex + str)/6 or something) to generate somewhat more organic initiative numbers, rather than making an entire skill control initiative.
Seloun wrote: This way dexterity would control the 'same thing' for everyone regardless of dual wielding or not (otherwise the value of dexterity would probably end up being either too high for DWers or too low for non-DWers). Either that or it might help using the offhand in other ways (shield effectiveness? if there is such a thing; or reducing recoil from multishots from two-handed weapons); the point is to make the stat cover the same 'design area' for everyone so that it's can be balanced between class types. Note that even in those circumstances dexterity would likely be of greater benefit to DW than not.
Seloun wrote:WRT regen, one thing I noticed frequently in Planet Stronghold is that I would a) make my tank effectively invulnerable with protect (total armor = 1 less than maximum enemy attack range) and b) wait until everyone was topped off before killing the last enemy. I'd do this basically every single battle it was feasible to do (which was almost every battle after level 4 or so). Something similar was possible in Loren as well, though it was less ridiculous since you had less dynamic control over the damage you took. This makes me wonder if HP/PP regeneration is really a good design space (despite my comment about Psionics increasing PP regen above).
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