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TechnoGoth

Do you want to know whats comming next?

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Does seeing what is comming next in term of character advancement driven you forward since you have a clear goal in sight or do you prefer the surpise of getting something unexpected. Would you want to see clearly from the character screen what the abilites you are next eligable for and what stat development you need to get the ability you want? For instance you look at the abilites screen and can see that you need two more points in light, and 1 more in wind to gain transformation, or you can get clone if you increase your earth stat by two and and fire by 1. Does knowing that give you goal and improve the experince or do you prefer the small thrill of surpise that occours when you gain an ability you where not expecting. Additonal would you want to see the entire ability tree or not?

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I like as little information as possible, I like surprises. Maybe just let me know what I need to achieve the "next" abilities, without telling exactly what those abilities are.

But there is no right answer to this question. It's a matter of taste (as any subsequent replies will probably prove).

shmoove

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I like to have an idea of whats coming, an idea (but not neccesarily exact details) of what I have to do to get it, but not know everything until I actually get there.

For a simple example that demonstrates my preferred model, consider a (car) racing game. Advancing in the game will probably unlock better cars. Showing me silouettes of the cars that are yet to be unlocked is a good way to make me want to know what car is there without giving me full details. You could also indicate that the handling/speed/whatever is slightly better than my current car, but I won't know exactly how good until I actually get the car and try it out. Naturally if I have to win on a certain track to unlock the car I probably won't know the exact details of what that will involve till I actually start the race, so in this case that handles itself.

I agree with shmoove that there isnt really a right answer to this one though - there will always be some people who want it done a different way.

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I think a better question to ask is not "do you want to know the tech tree in advance?" but "what sort of gameplay is encouraged/discouraged by revealing/hiding the tech tree in advance?"

The obvious impact is that a known tech tree encourages players to game the system rather than playing in character - if there's a particular combination of skills that's overpowered, then there's a strong pressure to channel development directly into the path to those skills, and ignore everything else on the way.

Note that just hiding the tech tree only works for the first time the player plays through a given branch of it - the more linear and less cross-connected the tree is, the fewer games are needed to establish what's available. Having a complex or on-the-fly generated tree will make it much harder to metagame tech choices.

The key issue is probably whether you want people to play to win (reveal the tree), or to experience the game.

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If you don't know the tech tree, it's possible to "play the character" into a corner, where you've spent all your skill points and wound up just shy of six different upgrades. Or perhaps you have a set of totally incompatible skills. In Diablo 2, you could look ahead dozens of levels, planning your character's abilities and synergy far in advance. If I just had to stumble through the system, I'd have three points in everything, and none saved up for the important stuff.

If you're going to hide the tech tree, you have to make any combination feasible. Eventually, players will find the tree out, via internet or trial-and-error, and they'll build uber-characters for which there is no challenge in the game.

If you're using a concrete tech tree, then somebody should know what it is in-game, so you can at least learn about it from the guy who invented your class.

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It depends on the type of game we are talking about. An RTS would benefit from knowing the tech tree where an RPG would but not as much. In games driven by thought and solving situations the more surprise the better. For quick action types surprises can be a game breaker. Just my .02

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I agree that it depends on the game, but even in RTS games I don't like to know too much. You find out soon enough, and at least the first times you play it adds an exploration element to the experience.

shmoove

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