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Kest

Skills that do bad

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What would you think of the general concept of some RPG skills having a negative impact as they're built up? The player controls which skills are increased with experience, and the game describes all of the negative effects of each skill, so the player is ultimately in full control. But would it make things more interesting or just degrade the leveling experience? A few example skills from my own game: Melee finality To put it simply, this skill increases the chance to do critical damage with melee attacks. The critical hit can cause 300% damage, or broken bones, blindess, paralysis, weapons randomly firing, or equipment flying out of the target's hands. At the same time, as the skill is increased, all normal melee damage is slightly reduced. Probably to the point where having this skill maxed out would cause 70% normal damage. Not the most realistic effect, but I can probably come up with a decent excuse for it later. Empathic perception When an enemy is noticed and then becomes hidden, this skill allows them to be accurately visible (on the mini-map for the player) for a certain time through prediction of behavior. The skill also improves trading prices, boosts combat taunts, adds bonus health points when treating wounds on other characters, and helps team members look out for each other with ammo and medical supplies. However, the higher empathic perception becomes, the more negative the impact is for harming innocent life forms (accidental or not). Another bad effect is that the higher it is, the worse the effect of having team members being wounded or killed is. All opinions are welcome. What do you think of the general concept?

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I like the idea of having trade-offs. It makes for diversity in character building.

For the first one, instead of decreasing the normal dmg %, you could slow down attack speed... Call it "Precision" or "Calculated Blows"...

I don't see the negative impact of the second one.

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Original post by jesot
I don't see the negative impact of the second one.

When your allies are damaged or killed, or you hurt non-hostile life forms, some of your character states decline (such as morale and motivation). The higher this skill, the worse the effect. Less empathic perception causes you to be less affected by being "evil". Having less of the skill helps you generally not care about problems outside of yourself.

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Original post by Kest
What would you think of the general concept of some RPG skills having a negative impact as they're built up?

The player controls which skills are increased with experience, and the game describes all of the negative effects of each skill, so the player is ultimately in full control. But would it make things more interesting or just degrade the leveling experience?

Conventionally the negative impact of choosing a skill is the opportunity cost of not choosing another skill, with the character always more effective than before.

What you are doing here is rewarding the player with customisation options, with no guarantee that the resulting character will be more effective than before.

Personally I don't think I'd be satisfied if I put 10 levels into melee finality and I wasn't much more effective than if I'd put none into it at all. That would degrade the levelling experience. Otherwise, if you balance it nicely, then I think the negative aspect provides more strategic depth (I might avoid 'melee finality' if my strategy revolved around base damage, even if it cost me nothing to get some ranks in it.

If you didn't have the negative aspect, then I would always pick up extra skill ranks without needing to think about it.

EDIT: clarity

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I agree with Argus2 that when you put points on a skill you want to become stronger than before. Having some negative impacts is quite common even if not the two you have listed. If you have a magical attack for example upgrading it make it more powerful but also with a more MP cost and, sometimes, with a longer cooldown. The only important thing to remember when you add negative effects is that the positive effects should be more than the negative ones for at least some players. Your melee finality would be great for someone that want to do a lot of crits (I prefer your version than the precision skill by jesot).

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I would suggest making 'melee finality' be a passive skill that can be activated when the player chooses.

The 10 points would be put into 'improved melee finality', which increases/decreases the effects of use.

That way a player can choose when to turn on the modes. There may be situations when you want to constantly deal 100% damage with a low chance of critical hit, and some situations where you want as much crit as possible regardless of the consequences.

Example: Killing 100 rats in a field. If you can kill each rat in 1 hit (at 100% damage), you don't want to constantly deal 70% for the chance of a 300% critical. It doesn't make a difference, and it actually slows down the grind dramatically.

Example: Desperate fight against another player much stronger than you. You know you're going to die, so you turn on 'melee finality' and hope you deal enough critical hits to kill your opponent.

Be careful when making negative abilities that are always 'on'. It's usually best to give a choice for a wider variety of strategies.

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Original post by Humble Hobo
I would suggest making 'melee finality' be a passive skill that can be activated when the player chooses.

The player already directly chooses which attacks to launch, and different attacks cause different degrees of power vs damage vs criticals. So they already have the ability to sacrifice one for the other on the spot. The skills would provide an amplifier to one of the three concepts, while possibly hindering the others.

My biggest reason for wanting this skill side-effect concept is because my game doesn't penalize players who get to higher levels. A character with a lot of experience spent on skills can increase other skills at the same cost as someone who just started the game. It's possible to just max out everything if you play the game long enough. I'm hoping that having skills that can work against a certain character type will add some more complication to an otherwise "buy everything" model.

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I don't think the whole penalty thing would be good unless the penalty is fixed and doesn't change betweens ranks. ie.

Berserker Rank 1 - Increase damage dealt by x-y while reducing your armour by 30% for z seconds.
Berserker Rank 2 - Increase damage dealt by (x+a)-(y+b) while reducing your armour by 30% for z seconds.

My reasons for this is because I have played games that did this before (can't remember which >.<) and was upset by the fact I couldn't dump all my points into my favourite skill without nerfing it also.

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I'm not sure I follow your concept of ranks. But I didn't really explain the way skills work in my game, so I guess that might help.

There are about 30 skills so far (I actually haven't counted). Each skill ranges from 0-100%. Generic experience is earned by accomplishing gameplay feats, and can be spent on any skill, one point at a time. A point is exactly 1% of the skill, so there are 100 of them to max out a skill. The points cost varying amounts of experience, depending on their level (from 1 to 100). I believe I worked out something like 50 experience for point 1, and 200 experience for point 100, with a linear progression for the rest.

There are no levels. Players can spend their experience any time they want, as long as they're in a friendly area.

For the penalty of damage on finality, it would have 0% reduction when finality is 0%, and be reduced by 30% when finality is 100%, with a linear progression through the rest.

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Quote:
Original post by Thoughtless
Berserker Rank 1 - Increase damage dealt by x-y while reducing your armour by 30% for z seconds.
Berserker Rank 2 - Increase damage dealt by (x+a)-(y+b) while reducing your armour by 30% for z seconds.


Berserker (0%) - Increase damage dealt by x-y while reducing your armour by 30% for z seconds.
Berserker (20%) - Increase damage dealt by (x+a)-(y+b) while reducing your armour by 30% for z seconds.

:)

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