Talents and skills

Game Design

I’m having problems to decide whether to design my new precious game or to write this blog. Actually I think I’ve come across a situation in which I have to write my thoughts and ideas down as they seem to require a deeper analysis.

Talents and skills are the usual names for player’s abilities. In World of Warcraft the whole talent and skill system have seen many redesigns. The main problem with these talents was that there was this one ultimate combination that was the most optimal for the current purpose. Same thing happened with every class and attribute. Diablo 2 had such a system too. You could select your skill points and build your own talent tree from a seemingly variable pool of options. But there were always these ultimate builds for each class respectively.

So I became thinking. Should these skills and attributes really be a trial-and-error process in finding the ultimate solution? Or should there be a sort of balance where there are no “worse” options? Like in Starcraft 2 where the player can select skills for the hero which reflect the player’s style of play. You might opt in selecting a passive skill if you happen to dislike exaggerate clicking while the other skills might prove to be much more powerful in a more skilled hands.

So what should I do? I have to set up my requirements and functions carefully. The main question is: What is the most fun?

Should melee and ranged skills level up at the rate they are used?

Outcome, downsides and challenges:

  • Player’s style of play is appreciated and rewarded.
  • Can make either one overpowered. Resolution is to make enemies which need both skills in order to be defeated.
  • Can make the game too repetitive, simple and boring.

Is it okay to have an ultimate strategy?

I was thinking of those monsters which need different skills to be killed. Would this lead to the same ultimate strategy? I guess there will always be the ultimate Game Theory Optimal strategy. I reckon this is a sort of question which needs a different point of view in order to answer it. I first have to answer questions like:

When does the game end, how long will it take?

My first thought was to make it last “365 days” which is kind of 365 map turns. Battles should not take any turns. As battles wear the hero out a little by little, the player must rest sometimes which when eat up turns. This sounds good. It highlights the importance of the battle strategies as you should not take too much damage or use too much resources. So how many battles should you be able to have in a turn? Is it something that should be moderated? I guess that’s not a decision that needs to be done now. Moderation can be added afterwards if needed. Farming is a common solution in RPGs if a player’s skill is too low.

How should raising up a weapon skill affect the actual battles?

What about a more realistic weapon model like where hero can be good with swords but especially with the current sword he has used in battles? This would mean when finding a new weapon it might take some time for it to be as good as the previous one. Can’t tell if this is really fun at all but it would make things interesting. This probably would mean lots of repetitive low level grinding. This sounds bad.

Obvious way is to add a multiplier like WEAPON LEVEL / 100 * ATTACK POWER. Damage model needs to be planned. Stay tuned.