Character Advancement 2.0

Discuss the sequel to Planet Stronghold here
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Anima_
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Character Advancement 2.0

Post by Anima_ » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Technically we already have a thread about this, but it's dangerously outdated by now.

At this point we're fairly set on a level based advancement system. Which of course leaves the question what should happen on a level up.
The current proposal is a combination of several different ones from the last thread. Three to be exact.

Starting with the simplest, gaining a level will automatically increase some attributes. We are already used to gains in HP and PP trough level, but this goes a bit further. All attributes the class needs to function will automatically increase on a level up. So there won't be any skill tax. As you probably guessed already, which attributes and by how much will depend on the class.

Of course, a level up without choices is kinda boring. Since we don't want to become Baldurs Gate (Actually that would be pretty great, just not the levelling system...) the next part is to increase the characters skills. There are separate pools for increasing combat and non combat skills. At the moment we are thinking about either having a shared skill list or a class specific list, leaning to the class specific one. The specific list would have around 3-5 skills. Combat skills will directly increase one or several attributes, so you can directly see what every skill will increase. Having class specific skills will help us with balancing the skills, making sure that there are meaningful choices for every class and help make the game more accessible. On the downside it reduces customization. The main purpose of skills is to broadly specialise the character inside her class.

Last but not least the most complex part. The perk system. Every(other)/all n levels the characters can gain a perk. (Name will change, anyone with a nice idea how to theme it military is more then welcome.) Perks can range from gaining access to equipment group, new action and powers to specialised attribute boni. For example a damage bonus against robotic enemies, which is too specific to include in a skill. The (class specific) perks will be available in a graph structure (most likely a tree) (optionally with skill and level requirements). So you need to get the preceding perk to be able to buy the next one.
How many perks are available and how often you can get on will of course depend on the level range. Which is (Surprise!) still unknown. Of course, we are also limited by our own creativity, since we have to come up with the perks in the first place. We'll probably also use the perk system to allow a bit of multiclassing. Again we might have two pools, one to buy actions/powers and the other to buy the rest. Since gaining new actions and gaining passive boni is difficult to equate.

To summarize, on a level up you gain the passive level bonus that covers the basics, skill points to distribute on your class skills that cover your specialisation and a perk to personalize the character.
As usual, this is the current build and feedback is more then welcome. The real work on the class and advancement design won't commence before next year, so this is a great time to change the broad concept.
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Bluenose
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Re: Character Advancement 2.0

Post by Bluenose » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:45 am

If you want a military-sounding alternative to Perks, how about Specialisations? Particular types of training additional to things that someone in a particular position would be expected are called that way in some services.

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Re: Character Advancement 2.0

Post by Anima_ » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:59 pm

Bluenose wrote:If you want a military-sounding alternative to Perks, how about Specialisations? Particular types of training additional to things that someone in a particular position would be expected are called that way in some services.
That's pretty workable. You don't know by chance any cryptic acronym for it?
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Re: Character Advancement 2.0

Post by Miakoda » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:12 pm

Actually, Specializations might be a good choice instead of Perk.

The US Army and Marine Corps uses a 'Military Occupational Specialty' code when referring to someone's career. This is usually shortened to MOS.

The US Navy's equivalent is the Navy Enlisted Classification system, shortened to NEC.

Obviously you may want to change things around. However, when one wants to look at an organization gone acronym crazy, the US military certainly tops the list.

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Re: Character Advancement 2.0

Post by jack1974 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:27 pm

Personally I like the Specialization term :)

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Jaeger
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Re: Character Advancement 2.0

Post by Jaeger » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:56 am

In the military, personnel are usually assigned to specific roles, although there is the possibly of cross-training in order to be more adaptable or transfer to a different branch. You may want to stick mostly with class specific skill list and leave a few that can shared among characters. I like the idea of separate pools for combat and non-combat skills. Given the fact that combat in the first Planet Stronghold was largely unavoidable, there was little in incentive to put points into non-combat skills that only kick in at very specific circumstances.

I am looking forward to hearing more about perks (or whatever you want to call it). At the moment, I can't give any feedback since I don't know how combat will work.

Also, will experience be gained individually (like PS1) or will be shared? In PS1, it's easy for underused characters to fall behind in levels, especially given the finite number of enemies...yet some missions required certain characters to be in the party.
Last edited by Jaeger on Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Character Advancement 2.0

Post by jack1974 » Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:37 am

Jaeger wrote: Also, will experience be gained individually (like PS1) or will be shared? In PS1, it's easy for underused characters to fall behind in levels, especially given the finite number of enemies...yet some missions required certain characters to be in the party.
This is a good question indeed. An idea I had in mind (but didn't discuss it before, not even with Anima) was the possibility to assign a training to the players who will remain at the base. This assuming that in PS2 we don't bring all the characters with us, but only the selected ones. The flow would be:
1) mission briefing, will details the skills that might be needed to complete the mission. Like in PS1, skills will let player skip some combats or be required to advance. Like a closed door, you could hack the terminal, force it open with lasers/grenades, etc (so same goal through different skills)
2) player chooses the team that will accompany him, based on the mission briefing
3) the characters remaining at home would automatically train so they're not left behind. Would be interesting to pick the training, like "focus on raising heavy weapon skill" and so on. The increase would be minimum and in general should match the increase you get through the missions so that will require careful testing so that the players left home don't level up HIGHER than those on missions :lol:

that's the idea, not sure if is good or not though. Otherwise, simply advancing plot key points will give ALL players a lot of XP so even if you never play a specific character, he/she would be max 1-2 levels below.

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Re: Character Advancement 2.0

Post by Jaeger » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:56 am

jack1974 wrote:
Jaeger wrote: 3) the characters remaining at home would automatically train so they're not left behind. Would be interesting to pick the training, like "focus on raising heavy weapon skill" and so on. The increase would be minimum and in general should match the increase you get through the missions so that will require careful testing so that the players left home don't level up HIGHER than those on missions :lol:

that's the idea, not sure if is good or not though. Otherwise, simply advancing plot key points will give ALL players a lot of XP so even if you never play a specific character, he/she would be max 1-2 levels below.
In real life, exposure to more stressful situations can force one to become resilient and adapt more quickly. Thus, squad members with lots of real combat experience will be more prepared than ones that just stick with training at a base.

However, as a game, I would like to keep at all squad members viable and minimize grinding. It might be easier simply to have everybody share levels and experience, much like Mass Effect.

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Re: Character Advancement 2.0

Post by Anima_ » Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:32 am

My idea, which even Jack knows nothing about yet, is to share all experience points among all party members. There are many good reasons for it, but not many against it.It's not like the other characters sit idly on their thumbs.
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Re: Character Advancement 2.0

Post by jack1974 » Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:48 am

Yes that's a solution, but I think the real question is: are you planning to let the player swap characters in the party during missions like the first game? I have nothing against it obviously, I think is just a matter of balancing/adapting the game rules to this decision :)

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