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Project: Alter Ego - Class/Skill system


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#1 SinisterPride   Members   -  Reputation: 210

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:17 PM

This is my third post/share on Project: Alter Ego. Thank you all for the feedback so far. You've given me plenty to think about and have forced me to recognize parts which seem clear to me but lack in their explaination to others.
 
§• ɸ§
 
In this post I will speak of my thoughts on Class/Skill development which I call "The Discipline System". I will reiterate some of my design ideas/goals, explain in more detail how the class/skill system works as well as give some hints on how skill development and progress work (this will be mostly be explained in my next post "The Mastery System").
 
§• ɸ§
 
I want to lift the barrier most games place when it comes to their classes/skills.
 
Most of the time your character type/role is assigned at the beginning of a game and confined to that path for the remainder of the game. My solution to this is an open skill gaining method/system which I've named the Discipline system.
 
Every disciple is capable of utilizing all the disciplines (Melee, Subtlety and Weaving) by default. This means you can wield a melee weapon, use thrown weapons and build up energy in a "chi-like" fashion from the beginning. Initially each discipline isn't very effective and offer nothing more than the ability to use each one. Essentially you gain exp from utilizing a given discipline. After delving in a specific discipline enough skills will become discoverable/available.
 
For example, after using a melee weapon long enough you'd be able to and eventually will discover a motion which would allow you to double hit or cross slash. This motion will be considered a skill and will grant bonus damage as well as lower the delay between attacks causing them to be delivered fluidly/quickly.
 
A skill can vary from weapon to weapon in its execution. I originally planned to make weapon specific skills when the "universal skill" concept came to mind. Basically a skills mechanic will be transferable to other weapons by adapting its execution. For instance, a double hit with a sword may manifest in the form of a x-shaped cross slash. However, a club or a staffs' anatomy either won't allow or would cause this motion to be ineffective if not obsolete. Due to this I thought of ways to translate central skills instead of creating, naming and/or labeling each one for each weapon type. An example of a translation such as this would be double hit showing as a cross slash with a sword yet playing out as two hits with opposite ends of a staff.
 
The method for gaining skills will transfer over to all disciplines. How a skill is performed and what qualifies as a skill varies between each discipline.
 
Within subtlety a skill such as "quick draw" would involve readying a thrown weapon or bow and arrow, not aiming, then firing at a target directly in your line of sight. If the shot is landed it is considered a successful skill use.
 
As a weaver the process is a little harder to port over. There are two steps in any successful weave, gathering and unleashing. Each type of gather and unleash is considered a skill. A third step is possible but isn't the usual which is explained else where. (refer to the FFC system for an explanation)
 
While we're on the topic of weaving and spells/skills I'd like to address a few questions proposed by Sir WavyVirus:
 

Where/when can the player cast? Does the player need to be in combat in order to cast and gain experience?

 
Anywhere. No, not entirely the case. I'll explain when I answer your next few questions.
 

If so, are there a limited number of enemies around? Would it still be possible for a player to find a safe area and repeatedly weave a spell to gain experience? Are you ok with this? (I suppose it may be more realistic - mages probably spend long, lonely hours practicing - but is it behavior you want to encourage?). You may have covered this, but is there some scarce mana-like resource which would force the player to choose carefully which spells they cast and when?

 
Skills and spells can be executed for training purposes in all disciplines.
 
Training targets can be used but ultimately you don't have to land any of them to gain "Training Exp". Training exp will max out at 10% of the required exp to level a given skill/spell.
 
Exp while in combat will be split into two categories: Passive combat and Active combat. Passive combat is applied when your target is a living target (moving/trying to run away) but does not pose any threat/won't attack you. During passive combat you can gain exp up to 23% (13% more from the point which training exp concludes) of total required to level without having to land a spell or skill. Landing a spell/skill during passive will allow you to reach up to 50% (27% from the 23% allowed during missing) exp towards your amount required to level said skill/spell. The next 50% must be used in active combat. 25% (from the 50% reaching 75%) is awarded for missed spells and the last 25% (to cap at 100% and level up a spell/skill) must all be successfully/effectively landed during active combat.
 

I contend that spells would need to take a very long time to cast / offer very little EXP reward before players would be completely discouraged from grinding them, and instead use them where appropriate.

 

I disagree, I think you were closer/on to my proposed way of dealing with this when you said:
 

You may have covered this, but is there some scarce mana-like resource which would force the player to choose carefully which spells they cast and when?

 
Thank you for reading this post. Any feedback/input/opinions will be appreciated
 
Sin §• ɸ§

Edited by SinisterPride, 28 January 2013 - 02:18 PM.


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#2 WavyVirus   Members   -  Reputation: 735

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:40 PM

Training targets can be used but ultimately you don't have to land any of them to gain "Training Exp". Training exp will max out at 10% of the required exp to level a given skill/spell.

 

I'm quite excited by this idea! It seems like a fairly simple way to limit spam-fireball-at-wall grinding. Combined with your approach to combat (where battles are rarer but more dangerous and prolonged than the average RPG, and less "grindy" by definition), this could go a long way towards alleviating concerns about grinding for skill progression. It would be nice to have context-sensitive "training detection" rather than fixed training targets (so that I could shoot trees for practice etc). Also, perhaps you should consider a curve which exponentially reduces the effectiveness of training after 10%, rather than a hard limit?

 

Exp while in combat will be split into two categories: Passive combat and Active combat. Passive combat is applied when your target is a living target (moving/trying to run away) but does not pose any threat/won't attack you. During passive combat you can gain exp up to 23% (13% more from the point which training exp concludes) of total required to level without having to land a spell or skill. Landing a spell/skill during passive will allow you to reach up to 50% (27% from the 23% allowed during missing) exp towards your amount required to level said skill/spell. The next 50% must be used in active combat. 25% (from the 50% reaching 75%) is awarded for missed spells and the last 25% (to cap at 100% and level up a spell/skill) must all be successfully/effectively landed during active combat.

 

This now gets a bit complicated... Firstly, are you imposing an ordering on the slices of experience which must be gained from each type of combat? I'm not sure if you're implying that, or just illustrating how all of these add up to 100%.

 

It seems to me that the amount of experience gained from successfully landing attacks against active combatants should be unlimited. My interpretation of "partitioned" experience like this would be somewhat less rigid, e.g.:

  • Successful hits against active combatants give X exp
  • Successful hits against passive combatants give (less than X) exp, but this begins to fall off quickly once it has contributed to Y% of the level
  • Successful hits in training give (less than X) exp, but this begins to fall off quickly once it has contributed to Z% of the level
  • etc


#3 SinisterPride   Members   -  Reputation: 210

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:46 AM

Firstly, are you imposing an ordering on the slices of experience which must be gained from each type of combat?

 

Just showing how they all add up. Hypothetically the "ideal" form of exp is usable all the way through. Meaning you could level with real combat all the way through I just don't think it'd be ideal or fun.

 

To sum up the priority of exp gain I'll use 100 points of exp to keep it simple. Lets say a fireball gives 2 exp per cast. The Mastery system (which is my next post) uses a set of conditions to catergorize the type of exp which is being gained. You can only gain 10 exp (or 5 cast) during practice. Next, you could gain up to 36 exp from missing a passive target. Landing on a passive target can generate up to 50 exp. Missing an active target can rally a total of 75/100 exp needed to level. This way you could gain 100/100 xp when landing a spell in active combat. The types of exp gains are just meant to keep the learning curve from being as steep and allow for alternatives for training other than risking your life consistantly while not learning how to or being comfortable with the use of a skill/spell.

 

The way I was hoping to get this going is by a series of "tags" on targets/conditions to be met after entering combat.

 

Something along the lines of "if target "type A" is a passive and target "type B" is an active target > then activating combat with range of target type A and missing/landing a spell counts as passive exp. Same goes while missing/landing a spell on target type B. The only problem I saw with this is if there is a target A and B within range during combat, whats to say you wouldn't gain passive exp while missing intended target B. I didn't think it too much of a problem as long as enemies are seperated well enough or passive targets flee from an actual fight when it begins. For "training exp" I figured lack of a target type A or B would be enough to trigger its condition.

 

Successful hits against active combatants give X exp
Successful hits against passive combatants give (less than X) exp, but this begins to fall off quickly once it has contributed to Y% of the level
Successful hits in training give (less than X) exp, but this begins to fall off quickly once it has contributed to Z% of the level
etc

 

My thoughts weren't set in stone when it came down to the numbers but I definitely like your idea. It's better than fully cutting off the types of lesser exp. It might promote grindy behavior but its still viable if the numbers are tweaked well enough to not make it worth it.


Edited by SinisterPride, 29 January 2013 - 12:47 AM.


#4 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1463

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:37 PM

Keep in mind classes are an (easy) way to balance the game out.
right now you have the classes weaver, rogue, berserker, weaver-berserker, rogue-berserker, weaver-rogue, a weaver-rogue-berserker and anything in between and none of them are under any special restrictions/buffs. All these (well, at least the three specialized and i quess the all-round) should be balanced and offer a different playing style.

most games solve this by giving a certain trait/bonus( + X% damage on attack-type Y ) that can later on be changed somewhere in the game if the player chooses so.

another way could be to make certain skills related to each other.

though having skills go up individually does give some good control over skill-gains
 



#5 wodinoneeye   Members   -  Reputation: 820

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:09 AM

Keep in mind classes are an (easy) way to balance the game out.
right now you have the classes weaver, rogue, berserker, weaver-berserker, rogue-berserker, weaver-rogue, a weaver-rogue-berserker and anything in between and none of them are under any special restrictions/buffs. All these (well, at least the three specialized and i quess the all-round) should be balanced and offer a different playing style.

most games solve this by giving a certain trait/bonus( + X% damage on attack-type Y ) that can later on be changed somewhere in the game if the player chooses so.

another way could be to make certain skills related to each other.

though having skills go up individually does give some good control over skill-gains
 

 

 

Maybe a hybrid multi class system   (instead of monolithic single classes).

 

Some kind of mix and match that allows more combinations of 'synthesized' classes  without a much more complex 100+ skills developer has to balance and the players get endlesslly confused about .

 

 

May or may not be easy for a particular game mechanism to break sets of skills up like that.


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#6 Milcho   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1177

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:40 AM

Some kind of mix and match that allows more combinations of 'synthesized' classes  without a much more complex 100+ skills developer has to balance and the players get endlesslly confused about .

This reminds me a lot of how someone could describe Guild Wars (the original, not 2).

Something I'd recommend checking out, Sinister, or at least to read more on their class system to see how it works.

 

Essentially, they had a primary and a secondary class. Each class had a number of skills they could use - and you were free to pick and swap out a secondary class (your first secondary class was easy to get, but the others were, at least originally, quite an in-game challenge to earn).

You could mix skills from your primary and secondary class, some skills of which complemented each other really well, others which had no real benefit to use together. Every skill was assigned to an 'attribute', i.e. Marksmanship from a Ranger had skills like Quick Shot, and Power Shot - and putting points into those attributes improved the performance of all associated skills. However, each class had a primary attribute which you could only increase if you had that class as your primary class.

 

In any case, it's a unique approach to classes that still kept the class limits but gave you more freedom on how to play. There are numerous builds and incredibly different playstyles for each class - for example, a Ranger/Necromancer was once a popular class to use in melee range (known as Touch Rangers), while a Ranger/Mesmer could focus on the ranger's innate ability to apply poisons with a bow and the Mesmer's ability to spread conditions (including poison) between enemies.

 

Well, that was a bit tangent, but if you're designing a class system it's always good to be aware of the different approaches used before you. smile.png






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