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Amount of skills

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Amount of skills

Postby Matt » Wed May 21, 2014 7:09 am

So I think that having people have 6-8 skills is a little much on how skills are set up right now. It's going to take away a lot of uniqueness from PC to PC. Skill choices are relatively limited on both crafter/combatant sides. Any pure combat PC is likely to be set up pretty similar.

Sword, sneak, hide, range, hunting, secondary weapon maybe.

If you take out hide and sneak I really don't see anything else to stick in there. So the majority of combat PCs will be sneaky. That just seems kind of wrong. Yes there can be a few different ways to go about it and mixing in of crafts. But if you're making a combat PC and you're smart you'd at least do a weapon, hide/sneak, and a range. You have two more choices on top of that so why not? Especially with not being able to pick a style there's not much of a reason to not do that. Setting up skills like this will dictate how combat goes a lot.

Are you a crafter? You can get a tooooon of stuff if you don't plan on doing any combat. Six whole craft skills can be ridiculous. And before you say 'but you can't do only so much with that many!' you should check out my Parallel PC Marcus that's on the same code. With a six skill minimum you can pick weapon, armor, wood, textile, leather, and cooking, You can literally take all the craft skills and had room left over. This is going to happen a lot I bet and eventually you'll have a bunch of long lived crafter PCs that know everything.

Just saying I think that the way skills work and are picked need to be changed up. I'd suggest 3-6 as the skill range and maybe make it so certain skills take up 2 picks.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Matt » Wed May 21, 2014 7:11 am

Just saw you have to pick metalcraft for armor/weapons. Doesn't really matter though.

Metal, armor, weapon, leather, textile, and wood. Craft master.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby toofast » Wed May 21, 2014 7:33 am

I agree. Crafters are going to have too many crafts and all pure combat characters will have hide and sneak. It's not even that hide and sneak are necessary for a combat char, it's just that they're forced to pick more and crafts wouldn't make sense for the character or they're anti-craft.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Saellyn » Wed May 21, 2014 7:48 am

Crafts make sense for a self-sufficient warrior.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Matt » Wed May 21, 2014 7:52 am

Saellyn wrote:Crafts make sense for a self-sufficient warrior.


Well this is part of my point as well. You're a warrior, you're a crafter, you all these things... but who in real life is a master carpenter, warrior, hunter, metalsmith, and weaponsmith? We're having so so many players roll in right now and I personally think each PC needs to have an identity 'I'm a logger' 'I'm a soldier' 'I'm a metalworker'. Not, 'Oh, I can offer to do all these skilled trades for you and kick your ass!'
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby toofast » Wed May 21, 2014 7:55 am

Saellyn wrote:Crafts make sense for a self-sufficient warrior.

Realistically, in history, the peasant rabble that fought as soldiers, mercenaries, guards and milita did not take up hard and intricate crafts such as black smithing(metal craft), woodcraft and textile work. The only time hunters are also master carvers and tanners atop good hunters are story books.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Octavius » Wed May 21, 2014 10:04 am

So I think that having people have 6-8 skills is a little much on how skills are set up right now.


This was previously identified as a bug - I'll remind Nimrod. The intent was that we can adjust it back to 4-8 skills; that will happen based on his current timelines.

Our planning was for four skills per profession. We also modified the way skills interact and which skills are required, so it isn't as simplistic as your examples from ARPI.

Someone who starts with four skills is close to a Journeyman level, able to roleplay a background where they actually worked in the field with moderate proficiency before gameplay (i.e. proficient at the basics, and almost ready to branch into Ordinary level crafts). Someone who starts with eight skills is a less-focused generalist or a younger character emulating an Apprentice, still needing some work to become proficient at the basics. (Someone who decides to learn a skill from scratch in-game can do so the same as on ARPI, which is much easier than old-SOI, but should expect it to take about two RL months of steady work to get up to the level that the person who started with eight skills had.)

Here are sample professions we developed in planning, each with four core skills. The profession-picker will be added back in to char gen, just not yet. (It is also on Nimrod's list.)

  • light armorsmith: leathercraft textilecraft artistry armorcraft
  • heavy armorsmith: leathercraft metalcraft artistry armorcraft
  • artist: artistry stonecraft earthencraft woodcraft
  • baker: baking cooking farming haggle
  • brewer: farming brewing haggle baking
  • carpenter: woodcraft metalcraft artistry haggle
  • clothier: textilecraft leathercraft artistry haggle
  • cook: cooking baking butchery gardening
  • fletcher: woodcraft metalcraft artistry weaponcraft
  • guardsman: long-blade dual-wield hunting first-aid
  • herbalist: forage hide first-aid gardening
  • huntsman: hunting shortbow polearm butchery
  • musician: music education haggle dodge
  • physician: gardening first-aid medicine education
  • weaponsmith: metalcraft woodcraft artistry weaponcraft
  • woodsman: forage bludgeon woodcraft hide sneak

all pure combat characters will have hide and sneak.


As above, this is likely not true.

To be fair, though, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Combat here is in Mirkwood, a forested area with horror and danger. Progs that "attract attention" when stomping around without stealth are not out of question in the future. This is not the Urban Warfare of Osgiliath or the open-plains warfare of Ithilien or ARPI. These are huntsmen and woodsmen being co-opted into warriors by the presence of Orcs near resources-of-value. Sneak and hide tactics shouldn't be abnormal for anyone who is serious about their role in the deeper forests.

Realistically, in history, the peasant rabble that fought as soldiers, mercenaries, guards and milita did not take up hard and intricate crafts such as black smithing(metal craft), woodcraft and textile work. The only time hunters are also master carvers and tanners atop good hunters are story books.


We're incorporating multiple-skill checks in craftsets, and increasingly as they advance. (This is different from Matt's ARPI examples.) This separates the casual crafter from the professional crafter.
So...
  • Anyone with Leathercraft can work out the basic, functional items.
  • Anyone who wants to get into leather armor would need to pass tests against both Leathercraft and Armorcraft in the same craft, requiring both skills be possessed and advanced.
  • Anyone who wants to get into advanced leather goods (or armor) would need to also pass a check within the craft against the Artistry skill.

So, a dedicated weaponcrafter concept doesn't need just Weaponcraft. They need Woodcraft, Metalcraft, Weaponcraft, and Artistry. Someone who wants to be able to work with all forms of armor really needs Textilecraft, Leathercraft, Metalcraft, Armorcraft, and Artistry. Our intention was that dabblers and professionals would be separated by the number of skill picks they are willing to devote - it is unlikely someone can both be a proficient woodsman and also rise to the heights of armorcrafting in any near-term because picking all eight skills dilutes their effectiveness and picking the four they prefer specializes them in one role or the other.

ARPI also used a final-product-based skill system to deliberately simplify things. If you had Weaponcraft, it was the only skill needed to make weapons from beginning to end. Our model is resource-based, where your skills in working with fundamental materials helps you arrive at final products. (Based on player input a few months ago, we then also added Weaponcraft and Armorcraft as additional second-skills to make those workers even more specialized.)
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Throttle » Wed May 21, 2014 11:04 am

I think the game might actually benefit from a limit on how many crafts one can take so we don't get omnicreative walking emporiums like in ARPI/PRPI. Most of the other skills are frankly so easy to learn in-game that it barely matters whether or not one can select them. Anyone determined to do so can raise hide, sneak, forage, hunting and other such skills which can be used on demand and don't cost anything to do, to amateur within a week or two... or in a couple of days if you know how and don't mind twinking hard. Maybe a thing to change in the distant future, or a toning down of the total skillcap from high int, it really gets absurdly high.

However, perhaps for post-Utterby, I'd also like to see a wider range of auxiliary skills available at chargen. Stuff like swimming and climbing aren't necessarily things everyone would know by default, and while I don't know how much of a role riding will play in Alpha, I'd like it to eventually be a much more prominent part of gameplay than it has throughout SOI's past. It never seemed to be much more than an inconvenient roleply prop with an absolutely prohibitive personal cost that ruled out riding for all but a tiny minority of players with very old or role-privileged characters. This would go a really long way towards balancing the skill scheme, as well as making a character's skillset much more unique and interesting.

The ARPI codebase got rid of a hell of a lot of miscellaneous skills like search, throw, scan etc. Some of them were good changes (search and scan in particular) but many others didn't need to be removed except for the fact that the game took place on the moon and thus didn't warrant things like swimming and whatnot. I'd also love to see some combat depth returned to the game, perhaps through a redesigned system for fighting styles and one/two-handed combat. I don't think the game really stands to benefit from the fact that you can pick one weapon skill and essentially have fulfilled your character's optimal combat setup. It's too small an investment and kind of boring as well.
Last edited by Throttle on Wed May 21, 2014 11:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Thorongil » Wed May 21, 2014 11:23 am

The cooking skill, is that necessary for all cooking? Or could someone subsist on some basic foods without it?
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby krelm » Wed May 21, 2014 12:31 pm

Just as a side-note, climbing and swimming were taken out in ALPHA and replaced with stat rolls, and I think more people drowned in Atonement ALPHA than died any other way. Not sure if that really has any bearing on the conversation, but it's an interesting statistic.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Throttle » Wed May 21, 2014 12:38 pm

The Swimming Pool of Death.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Bogre » Wed May 21, 2014 1:08 pm

With the amount of water in game (I mean, Lake Town), I would say that swimming is probably a necessary skill, but probably should be one of the non-capped skills.


Also, maybe humans - > swim, orcs -> climb ?
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Throttle » Wed May 21, 2014 1:50 pm

It would be necessary and commonplace for natives of Laketown, but probably not for anyone else (except elves, they know everything). I could see dwarves being wary of all that water, and the lake is probably a large part of Laketown's defenses against orcs. I definitely think it warrants being a skill of its own.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Brian » Wed May 21, 2014 2:37 pm

Thorongil wrote:The cooking skill, is that necessary for all cooking? Or could someone subsist on some basic foods without it?


Do you have the cooking skill Thorongil? Would you say that you "subsist" on your cooking abilities?
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Thorongil » Wed May 21, 2014 3:47 pm

Brian wrote:
Thorongil wrote:The cooking skill, is that necessary for all cooking? Or could someone subsist on some basic foods without it?


Do you have the cooking skill Thorongil? Would you say that you "subsist" on your cooking abilities?


I'm no gourmet chef, but I can cook well enough to survive. What I'm asking is whether that's going to be reflected in the game, or whether I have to take a cooking skill in order to cook basic meals for my PC.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Taurgalas » Wed May 21, 2014 4:36 pm

You could subsist. Not easily and not well. :D You'd probably prefer what other people make.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Octavius » Wed May 21, 2014 6:40 pm

Throttle wrote:The ARPI codebase got rid of a hell of a lot of miscellaneous skills like search, throw, scan etc. Some of them were good changes (search and scan in particular) but many others didn't need to be removed except for the fact that the game took place on the moon and thus didn't warrant things like swimming and whatnot.


Two factors drove this.

First, variability in the population. The miscellaneous skills all started about the same and then advanced based on longevity. The longer you lived, the more likely you were to be higher in all of these, and that's not of much value. By eliminating the skills and instead basing results on Attributes, the results are both more varied and more meaningful (in theory).

Second, being consequential in a limited pool. This code introduces the idea of a maximum skill pool based on your intelligence. When you run out of available total points, you will start forgetting lesser-used skills in order to advance in your used skills. This means that all skills need to be meaningful to make them worth the competition or else this feature falls apart. Do you really want to risk dropping your Dodge skill because you went Swimming today? Or because you scanned into an adjacent room? Having "fluff skills" in the pool becomes a real negative when your total skill points are capped, so they needed to go.

Some of them may come back for Open, post-Alpha. Decisions on that will be based on feedback in Alpha and, frankly, whatever Nimrod wants because he's the coder. :) They need to be consequential, worth picking in char gen, and worth competing with all other skills. That's your litmus test for it they're worth it.

Throttle wrote:I'd also love to see some combat depth returned to the game, perhaps through a redesigned system for fighting styles and one/two-handed combat. I don't think the game really stands to benefit from the fact that you can pick one weapon skill and essentially have fulfilled your character's optimal combat setup. It's too small an investment and kind of boring as well.


To be honest, this was a meat-cleaver approach to get the game open. Some of the design decisions here got complicated and we erred on the side of restriction in order to not make Nimrod pull out his hair and crawl into a dark corner. If I can coax him out with cheesebuns and beer, we'll see what we can do. :)
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Letters » Thu May 22, 2014 2:33 am

Octavius wrote:First, variability in the population. The miscellaneous skills all started about the same and then advanced based on longevity. The longer you lived, the more likely you were to be higher in all of these, and that's not of much value. By eliminating the skills and instead basing results on Attributes, the results are both more varied and more meaningful (in theory).


I found it frustrating more than meaningful, honestly. In reality - not that RPIs have ever been tremendously realistic in many ways, admittedly - swimming and climbing are two things that one can certainly get better at with practice. And from a gameplay perspective, having mere average agility simply meant risking having chunks of the world shut off to your PC, or being at risk from death-traps. Not an enjoyable experience.

As for the amount of skills that could be chosen: I would prefer to see it set to between four and six. Eight is too many.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Octavius » Thu May 22, 2014 7:37 am

Letters wrote:
Octavius wrote:First, variability in the population.


I found it frustrating more than meaningful, honestly. In reality - not that RPIs have ever been tremendously realistic in many ways, admittedly - swimming and climbing are two things that one can certainly get better at with practice. And from a gameplay perspective, having mere average agility simply meant risking having chunks of the world shut off to your PC, or being at risk from death-traps. Not an enjoyable experience.


That's a valid input, and as above, the book isn't closed on this. It is something Nimrod will potentially address at our post-Alpha transition.

Letters wrote:As for the amount of skills that could be chosen: I would prefer to see it set to between four and six. Eight is too many.


Eight is a very different character than four, to be sure.

With four skills you are focused; almost a journeyman in your field. You are a competent warrior or craftsman. Looking at the crafter, you will quickly branch the basic level items and in short-order be working ordinary-level crafts.

With eight skills you have wider opportunity, but are the youngest apprentice, wet behind the ears and just beginning in the world. As a warrior, you have a leg-up on those who take no fighting skills, but can play your character's journey to learn in-game. Looking at a crafter, you have more skills but they are barely opened. It will be weeks of steady effort before your skill is good enough to branch more basic-level crafts, then weeks more before you get to ordinary crafts.

I think both play styles have their place, and match different backgrounds and player desires. I would suggest that we have a "pick one" list that explains the playstyle and then specifies 4, 6, or 8, except that I see this phase of the chargen system as temporary. Long-term, we are brainstorming a buildable-background system that allows a series of choices that results in starting skill levels more appropriately distributed.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Frigga » Thu May 22, 2014 8:13 am

I'm no gourmet chef, but I can cook well enough to survive. What I'm asking is whether that's going to be reflected in the game, or whether I have to take a cooking skill in order to cook basic meals for my PC.


Just to second what Taurgalas said - yes, there will be new equivalents of the old "General" cooking crafts that will allow those without the Cooking skill to produce some foodstuffs for themselves in outdoor settings. (IE - they will all be able to utilize the campfire as a heat source.) It won't be particularly tasty or anything people would buy (AKA shopkeepers won't buy it), but will be edible.

There will also be basic Cooking crafts that will allow people without the skill to practice enough to learn the skill, but again these will be fairly basic, not particularly appetizing, and not worth much.

There will also be foods that people can forage and eat raw , though you'd need rather a collection of say ... mushrooms to really get anywhere hunger wise.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Octavius » Fri May 23, 2014 7:28 am

Back to the original post:
We corrected a few things among Elder Staff and Nimrod made the changes last night. I'll make a Staff Announcement about it. Thanks for starting this thread and generating the conversation - not all of the issues causing grief were intentional.

We've moved it back to 4-8 skills, not 6-8.

We intended to incentivize sole-wield and make dual-wield more expensive, per player feedback earlier on in these threads, not remove them from the game.

We intended to incentivize axes, bludgeons, and spears, supporting a thematic choice that longswords are a trained-warriors weapon and less common in our woodland-theme Northlands setting.

We have an overall design that uses more pre-reqs. This means that you need to spend two skill-picks to get full proficiency in certain areas. This was described above already for crafting (weaponcraft and armorcraft open as extra skills after picking the base material skills; medicine requires first taking first-aid; etc.) but it applies for warriors, too.
* you must take sole-wield before dual-wield
* you must take either polearm or bludgeon before longblade

This means that if you want to be a career soldier who dual-wields a longsword and shield on the battlefields of the North and has now come to the forest, it is going to cost you the full four skill picks. This addresses the concerns above that being a warrior only takes one pick.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Throttle » Fri May 23, 2014 7:45 am

So sole-wield and dual-wield are available again?
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby toofast » Fri May 23, 2014 8:03 am

If you're going to force us to take sole-world before dual-wield, there better be several menacing varieties of giant clubs, maces and axes. Also, why is brawling an option when it's a default skill now? Also, can you edit or remove apps now, or will I have to submit a new app?
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby Tepes » Fri May 23, 2014 8:06 am

I am curious if we'll get to change our applications as well.

Are we going to be doing it web-based only, or will we be allowed to do chargen on the actual game itself, at some point?

That being said, I like what has been done with the skills. Makes sense to me that being a warrior takes as much as being a healer/crafter.
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Re: Amount of skills

Postby GreenRiver » Fri May 23, 2014 8:11 am

Octavius wrote:Here are sample professions we developed in planning, each with four core skills. The profession-picker will be added back in to char gen, just not yet. (It is also on Nimrod's list.)

  • woodsman: forage bludgeon woodcraft hide sneak



Reading through this list of sample professions, there seem to be five skills listed for woodsman. Does this mean hide/sneak should count as one skill?
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