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Nikkon

What do you think of this skill system?

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I don't feel like typing up the entire system so I will break it down into the essentials so you get the gist of it. First you have action/move slots similar to what buttons you have on current action bars in other mmo's. These slots are treated like macros with a given number of lines/skill slots. Example: [action slot name]- 1. skill 1 2. skill 2 3. skill 3 and so on These skills are taught by players and npcs. This teaching system works similar to a master/apprentice system. The rarity of the skills or the more "cool" skills will be harder to find (the npc) or the npc will have harder/stricter requirements for teaching the skill to you. Sometimes they just won't teach it to you for. Each of these trainers have 5 teaching slots. When a player is accepted as an apprentice to learn the skill then the teaching slot number will be reduced by 1 thus only allowing the npc to teach 4 other people. If the player fails to learn or complete his apprenticeship in a given amount of time then they will fail the apprenticeship and it will give that 1 teaching slot back to the npc. Once all 5 or whatever # of teaching slots are all used up then that npc cannot teach that skill to any other players. The players that learned that skill can be given the option to teaching that skill to other players. This is entirely decided upon having a skill with teaching slots. Normally the skills are only teachable 2 times. The first being the npc that teaches the player, and the second being the player teaching another player. The third player who receives the skill will have no teaching slots and thus can't teach it to anybody else. Similar to how npcs teach their skills to players there will be a contract type system where elements for being taught the skill are given up front (for players teaching players). This keeps both side honest and not leave it up to the sole whim of the person with the skill in the first place and breaking his agreements with people (abusing the system). The skills noted above do not have skill points or levels attached to them as they will only be used to create more moves/actions. The usable skills as you see in other skill based games are in a separate area. These skill do work off skill points and there are two ways to gain skills in the game. The first is the active system which is the usage/grind system where you get points for using the weapons/skill. For now we have set this at 1 point every 5 minutes of use. The second feature is the passive skill point system where you are given 1pt every 5 minutes for having a paid subscription account. This feature is linked to the paid account because we are offering the game for free for download and will work like F2P games but the bulk of the content will only be available to the paying players and this is an incentive for people to pay. This also works nicely for casual players because every time they log in they will have more skill points to spend and won't be that far behind hardcore players. Yet the more active players still get rewarded by the active system simply because they play longer. The usable skills will work in a tree format that looks like this: General Skills(0)- + Character (0) + Corporation/Guild (0) + Crafting/Professions (0) - Combat (0) .....+Melee(0) .....+Spell(0) .....-Ranged(0) ........+Pistols(0) ........+Assault Rifles(0) ........-Machine Guns(0) ............-Machine Gun #1 .................Skill #1 .................Skill #2 .................Skill #3 *Sorry for the bullets but the editor doesn't like spaces/tabs The important thing to remember about the usage skills is that they do not directly affect stats in this game (ie. +stam, +dmg, +intel, +energy). Instead they affect attributes that lead to those things. Take accuracy for example, instead of giving +accuracy, we give you skills like "Hold breath time", "recoil control", "weapon bob" and others that lead to better accuracy. Each weapon has about 7 skills on average, each of these skills have 10 levels. Example: [Machine Gun #1]- ........{Breath Control} [1][2][3][4][5][[6]][[7]][[8]][[9]][[10]] Each skill level takes more skill points to activate: 10 for #1, 30 for #2, 50 for #3, 2000 for #10 or something to that effect. The first 5ish levels of the skill are not subject to skill decay. Skill levels 6-10 are subject to decay if they are not used. This mimics the real life way of becoming rusty at using the weapon. It's not like you just forget how to use it but you will not be as sharp as you were in your prime. If you notice the skill tree above all the names have (0) after their names. This is a skill point pool where points can be stored. So by using Machine Gun #1 then the skill points you earn will go into Machine Gun #1 skill point pool. You can either spend the points inside of machine gun #1 or trade 100 skill points for 1 point in the upper tier, in this case Machine Guns(0). You can do this for every tier, until you get to the top at general skills. General skills are the most valuable because they can be used anywhere in the skill tree. Passive skill points will be general skill points. Just another incentive. In the beginning of the game you will be given a set amount of skill points (say 1,000 or so). These points are able to be returned to you at any time so you can respect for any reason at no cost to the player. This allows players to try different outfits and find out what they want without having to remake their character. All other points earn will be one-time use points where once they are spent they can not be given back. It will of course prompt the user to determine that they are sure they want to do this action. This is the keep people from respecing continually to best suit their given situation and not have to think and be creative in finding solutions. (More tactics than gear setup) As far as the Move/action slot skills I'll give you an example of how to create a fireball spell. {My Fireball} - You can name your move slots whatever you want 1. Spell Element <Fire> - tells the system that you are using fire for the spell 2. Spell Shape <Ball> - tells the system that this effect will be in ball form 3. Spell Power <40%> - this sets the amount of energy you pour into the spell, thus 40% of your maximum energy bar. This is actually optional as you can set your power bar manually (on the fly). Having this skill will however override a manual setting. This is also important because say this basic fireball costs 100 energy to cast (minimum requirements) but you put 400 energy into it. Thus your fireball will be bigger and do more damage/effect because it has more force because of the extra energy. You can put however much energy into the spell as you have or can get. 4. Spell Origination <Left Hand> - denotes the spell will be on cast from your left hand. Could be whole body, foot, head, eyes, etc.... This is just a simple example of a basic fireball but i'm sure you can see the possibilities in such a system and give more options you can make tons of spells. You will also be able to combine spell effects and thus get different results from your spells. Such as mixing a fire spell on your left hand with a water spell on your right hand and getting anything from fire to steam to hot water to ice. So what do you think? What do you think could be improved? I'm always open to constructive review.

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I don't have time right now to comment on this whole system as your post is fairly in depth, but a couple of points:

Your mentoring system is somewhat realistic, but effectively creates a queue of players waiting to learn skills - Is there a formal queuing system? And more importantly, would this actually be fun?

Secondly, your active skill improvement system sounds similar to that in Oblivion etc. - how do you prevent players simply spamming a skill to increase its level? This certainly isn't a fun thing to do, but is certain to happen unless you devise some mechanism which prevents or sufficiently discourages this.

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Original post by WavyVirus
I don't have time right now to comment on this whole system as your post is fairly in depth, but a couple of points:

Your mentoring system is somewhat realistic, but effectively creates a queue of players waiting to learn skills - Is there a formal queuing system? And more importantly, would this actually be fun?

Secondly, your active skill improvement system sounds similar to that in Oblivion etc. - how do you prevent players simply spamming a skill to increase its level? This certainly isn't a fun thing to do, but is certain to happen unless you devise some mechanism which prevents or sufficiently discourages this.


To your first point: a given npc skill trainer has a set # of teaching slots that the game/dev team designates. Once all those slots are used up, that npc can no longer teach anybody. The backend system (server/game) will select/create another npc given a certain criteria such as hard to find or whatever and will give the new npc the ability to teach the skill. There is no queue system because if there is no apprentice slots available then you won't be able to be taught.

You will have to either find the new trainer with the skills, or find one of the players who was taught the skill that you want. This makes other players valuable to other players. This also helps combat online wiki sites that try and explain everything about the game in minute detail. So this way, the focus would be on finding the skill trainer/getting him to teach you and the information would only be valuable for a short period of time (ie. the time it takes for the apprentice slots to fill up. You also get into more things like people who do find the skills only will tell select friends or guild mates, so it pays to know people. Also some skills taught by npcs cannot be taught again (for really rare skills).

The whole point of this type of system is that it allows us to grant all the skill access to people (potentially) and their 1 major obstacle is simply finding the trainer and getting him/her/it to teach the skill to you. Or you could locate a past trainer, get info on his students (other players) then seek them out and hope to convince them to teach you their skills if they can. Then would I think make a stronger community and get away from grouping just to use other people to meet your own ends (that is inherent in WoW and other games).

We want you to get to know the other players and actually have conversations and make good friends. This also makes it so you don't run into the whole notion of "everybody can have everything" thus denoting that nobody will be unique and then the familiar concept of the tank mage starts to pop up. This can't happen because people will all have a variety of skills but our combat system doesn't use the Holy Trinity of Tank, Healer, DPS model and it is gear towards anybody in any gear with any setup can play together. It doesn't rely on skills being x or you having x tier gear or y level. You simply have to find other people to play with. This also is really great for friends because you can your friend who just started the game can play from day 1 and not spend that time grinding his level to get him "useful".

To the 2nd point: the skill system itself discourages the use of macro programs or bots because even though it will give them skill points it will not make them significantly stronger than other players. This is because we have removed all the other elements that cause the player power gap and took away all the +% dodge/crit/hit/miss etc.. so anybody can cause damage to anybody else. All in all a player with 0 skill points has almost the same chance of killing something as a person with 10,000,000,000 skill points (or max), it doesn't matter really. If you are looking for a number its really only like a 1-2% difference if even that. Most of the survivability of the player is dependent on the player using items in various combination's and out maneuvering the other opponents strategically. So people can spam all they want, buy their characters from ebay or have them power-leveled but it will not make a difference in who wins or loses a fight.

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Original post by Nikkon
To your first point: a given npc skill trainer has a set # of teaching slots that the game/dev team designates. Once all those slots are used up, that npc can no longer teach anybody.


OK, I didn't notice that the NPC cannot teach more players once the first set are finished training. This solves the queueing problem, but I suspect would still be very difficult to implement without frustrating players who just miss the chance to train with an NPC by a second or two..

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Original post by Nikkon
To the 2nd point: the skill system itself discourages the use of macro programs or bots because even though it will give them skill points it will not make them significantly stronger than other players.


I wasn't referring to macro programs or bots, or even the idea that players could become disproportionately powerful - simply that a player told that a skill is improved by using it often tends to use the skill ad nauseam to fulfil their natural urge to improve their character, even to the detriment of their enjoyment of the game.

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All in all a player with 0 skill points has almost the same chance of killing something as a person with 10,000,000,000 skill points (or max), it doesn't matter really.
The question follows, then, why have skills and points at all, if they don't really provide a benefit to the player?

You have also removed the primary motivation for grinding (i.e. character advancement), so how do you plan to keep customers engaged?

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Original post by Nikkon
All in all a player with 0 skill points has almost the same chance of killing something as a person with 10,000,000,000 skill points (or max), it doesn't matter really.
The question follows, then, why have skills and points at all, if they don't really provide a benefit to the player?

You have also removed the primary motivation for grinding (i.e. character advancement), so how do you plan to keep customers engaged?


@WavyVirus: If you take the current grading system of gear (white,green,blue,purple,orange (common thru legendary) and apply them to skills then you get varying rates at which players obtain the items, in this case skills. Mostly white thru blue will be fairly easy to acquire but epic and legendary will be hard since they are called epic and legendary. I want players to have a real reward when they find an epic or legendary skill, something that is almost unique to the server, not having everybody and their brother doing the same skill as it takes away from the importance of getting it. All of the common and uncommon skills will be located in population centers such as cities/towns/villages and will have npc trainers with high to unlimited teaching slots, so those skills get dispersed easily. But we don't want to make the epic or legendary ones as easy because then they might as well be called common or boring.

I think that leaving up to luck/skill/deduction/problem solving of the player is a lot better system than "go farm this boss xyz times for a piece of gear that has 1/1,000,000,000th drop rate". If we find that some skills people are having a hard time getting because other people get their first and it becomes a problem them we could easily just increase the number of npcs in the world that teach that skill.

About the skills: think of them more of a bonus or add-on to the real content. We really don't want players to focus too much of their time messing with skill points because that is not the point of the game. The game is not grinding skill points to make a stronger character, the game is to have fun playing the way you play. This is why we give the players skill points through the passive skill point system in hopes that it will lessen the need to focus on "I must grind until my eyes bleed for 1 more skill point." Having the skills does have benefits and it will give you access to more options such as duel wielding or whatever else we can think up, they will just not affect the power level of the player that much.


@SwiftCoder: The primary motivator for character advancement has not been levels or skills, its always been gear. Grind this for this shiny, grind xyz boss because he might drop this or that. Its the carrot on the stick that has always be with us. If you take a level 80 character in WoW and strip all his gear, can you do any of the level 80 content? Did your character get stronger or did his gear? This is because it is a lot easier to show the illusion of advancement through gear than it is through real character advancement.

So much importance has been placed on gear this or gear that, that many people don't even no what character advancement is anymore. I wonder how many people actually raid because they like the dungeon environment or the super awesome boss fight that is a true experience and not some one watching raid bars and timers and getting the routine down, figuring out the gimmick trick to survive and have mob AI that is stupider than a doorbell. This is not epic, this is not memorable, this is tedium of making people run a treadmill over and over and using gear as the carrot.

Gear will still have the cool factor, the awesome looks, the "hey look at how bada** i am" but it will not become the overwhelming focus of the game. Also because we are sporting a 100% crafting economy many more people will be crafting rather than grinding some boss somewhere but that is up to them.

This is where epic story lines that keep you wanting more, on the edge of your seat through every plot twist or turn. When you didn't expect something to happen, knew that she was going to betray you but couldn't quite except it. Going to a forbidden temple that nobody else in the game has every found like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. This is a world full of adventure, not a treadmill running theme-park with the same rides over and over.

We have a planet for siege warfare where massive bases fight for territory, we have a planet that hosts a coliseum where pvp is actually a challenge and you get a chance to have your name sealed in history for the entirety of the game through status and lore and so on. We have a sociable planet that has the pubs and dancing rooms and is generally made for people who like to sit and talk. We have a desert planet that hosts a huge trading bizarre where people go to buy and sell their goods. We have an ice planet that is purely meant for exploration. We want you to go about and then say in chat "guys, I think I just found a city!". All of this wrapped around a shroud of mystery of who your character is and what happened? We actually give all the characters a back-story but leave it open for them to take over and make it their own story. Are you a clone? a super soldier? some weird thing found in a test tube? Where is that planet they got you from, what happened to it? What is this device i keep hearing rumors about, what does it do?

You can hunt other people through bounty quests/missions, you can be a trader, a merchant, a peddler, a soldier, a bandit, a thief, a rogue. Break the law and people will actively hunt you down (npcs included) giving you the real feel of being on the run from the law. There is multiple cities that cater to both sides of justice or the underworld. All players can fight all other players. You can commit mutiny and they will despise you for it for the rest of the game. These are real consequences for your actions that are not laid out for you to get a slap on the wrist for slaughtering 10,000 people.

I hope you see that there is a lot more than just "Gear Grinding"

[Edited by - Nikkon on December 2, 2009 10:32:41 AM]

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well hmmm, I guess the world just up and ran out of opinions. Did something happen on the latest show of American Idol I don't know about?

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Original post by Nikkon

Each weapon has about 7 skills on average, each of these skills have 10 levels.
...
Each skill level takes more skill points to activate:
10 for #1, 30 for #2, 50 for #3, 2000 for #10 or something to that effect.

7 skills x 10 levels = 70 skill levels.

How long will it take for a player to get all 70 skill levels for their primary weapon? What other skill levels will be feathered into that window of time?

As a starting point, how about maxing out the 70 skill levels for the player's favorite weapon in about three months of playing the game at about 20 hours/week.

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Your skill tree systems has similarities to one I have been working on. I have general skill groups, which have skills, which when coupled with one of the ability scores determines how well your character can do something. Points can be allocated in either the groups or the skills themselves.

I thing to watch out for. This kind of system looks pretty scary to gamers just starting your game, and it is more difficult to balance.

Also previously mentioned, a system where your skills improve by practicing them tends to be abused if there aren't any reasonable constrants. Many people consider the leveling system in Oblivion to be broken because how easy it is to 'spam' abilities and the ability to 'underlevel'.

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