SKILL SYSTEM overhaul suggestions. Brainstorm please. What would you change?

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Taking from here:

but focusing on the skill system

It’s clear that the current skill system (both GUI and actual structure of skills) is not satisfying enough. It’s quite confusing at times and not easy to read and understand at first sight. And even after one gets used to the lay out and all the possible choices, it still can make one feel like this little girl:

Most recently, @majorvex, @bucfanpaka and @Tagris (among others) shared some interesting views/ideas on what need changing to make it better.

However, we don’t really know how far are the devs ready to go if it comes to reforming this aspect of the game. That kinda makes it pointless to go for all kind of wild suggestions. Would be good to know(@james) what kind of ideas would be discarded (no matter how good they are). So: are the dev team ready to only tinker with existing system without changing its core, or are they open to a complete change of how skills work in game?

I will try (regardless) to use some critical views and ideas for change already existing and shared in forums and put it together with my own thoughts on the subject. And I will remain within an existing system core, only showing how lay out and some skill-tree branches could be changed (hopefully for better).

FIRST, what makes me react like that girl from the ad?

  1. The one page lay out, making me scroll up and down.
  2. Basic skills/abilities needing skill points (meaning obvious skill/attribute choices that are needed regardless the chosen role in game).
  3. Epics put together in the same sections without much order.
  4. Attributes deciding about 2 different stats (like Power giving both damage and vigor bonus).
  5. Regarding 2: the need to a) figure out what skills/attributes are a must no matter what, b) extract skill points needed for them to be finally able to say how many skill points do I actually have for the role/specialization I want.
  6. Regarding 4: special bollocks for forging bonuses shoved in there to share physical stats bonuses: Power and Vitality).

So, these are probably some of the things that make the current skill page/system not so great.
Another post will follow where I will say how I imagine those to be improved.

Well firstly i will edit my post when i get thing sorted,but
Main thing here would be making it more simple.
Now epics are here and there and you can miss some of them that would actually be good for your build.

Also there could be few “default” skill trees that you could follow available.

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In terms of lay out, I think anything tab-based would be way better. Done in a way that makes a single tab/page free from scrolling of any kind - all info there fitting the window size.
Below a crude remake of existing page screen. You can see 4 ugly tabs there with attributes in white showing that this one is picked, and other 3 grayed-out to show they are not being viewed now.
Attributes Tab - most basic skills and stats that any player wants regardless of planned specialization (hunter, miner, crafter or anything else). All increasing automatically through actions in-game and/or completing feats.
Skills Tab - a set of basic skills like crafting or tool masteries or forge abilities etc. All costing 1 skill point and all working the same they do now. Some of the current epic skills could land here and be made cheaper (1point each) but maybe made of a few levels with the currently known effect reached step by step. Apart from costing skill points some would also have to be unlocked through reaching required Attributes level.
Epics Tab - epic skills the way we know now, like the durability decrease or defeat penalty or efficient crafting and so on. Difference - must be unlocked through acquiring connected skills from previous tab (for example: there are currently 37 levels of all types of basic crafting skills; efficient crafting skill would become unlocked if you have at least 15 levels of different crafting skills in total).
Legendary Skills Tab - a lot of players cried for some special abilities/skills that would be unlocked through quest-like in-game achievements (discovering pieces of artifact, or a book etc. - put it together, get knowledge and super skill). Use your imagination. This is a skill system sub-page that could be a real treasure of awesomeness.

In that crude artwork I presented you a fragment of possible Attribute Tab that would show some basic abilities that every player would want to complete regardless of their planned role/specialization. So there are current Attributes there, although only to an average level, plus jumping and warping skills. And idea here is that they don’t require skill points.
So, you can also see bits and pieces of some suggestion made by @majorvex somewhere else.

DETAILS OF SKILL POINT FREE ABILITIES:

  1. Attributes don’t require skill points. They grow as one levels or maybe based on in-game achievements (for example Power could level up based on total damage dealt by a player to creatures and blocks).
  2. In general that entire 1st tab would only include stats that level up automatically as a player does things in game (run to get faster, climb to increase jumping, use warps to increase your maximum warp distance etc.; a lot could be linked to existing feats and as a player reaches these milestones in distance ran, number of tools broken, distance climbed etc. - Agility, Dexterity and Jumping could level up).
  3. Each Attribute has 4 levels only. This is just basic physicality of a character, not something that would decide about perfect role. It’s a level that any role (Builder, Hunter, Miner, Farmer) would like to have anyway and why not grow it through game play automatically and without it being a part of building a skill-set? (this is pushed to tabs 2,3 and 4 where skill point need to be spent to get abilities that make on a hunter or a miner or a crafter etc.).
    3.1 Jumping Distance could have 2 levels with 1 extra meter of jump added with each level.
    3.2 Warping Distance would have the same levels as now, or maybe more (5 levels gradually increasing available warping range?)
    3.3 Current levels 5-8 of each attribute would become perks in the Skill Tab, unlocked when a given attribute reaches level 4 here. Check paragraph at the end.**
    3.3 You can easily imagine a few other skills being placed here to be developed through usage rather than spending skill points.
  4. Attributes decide about only one stat each. Vitality - Health. Power - Damage. Control - Interaction Range. Dexterity - Action Speed. Agility - Movement Speed. Intelligence - Healing Potency. Luck - Drop Chance. Zeal - Energy. All the other stats currently bound to attributes would become multi-level skills listed in the second tab (or the 3rd tab if some could be made into an epic).
    So, skill points that a player wouldn’t have to spend on attributes here, would be used to spend on new skills. With right balancing actual 100-point skill page could remain.
    4a. Forging Skills - the forge stats that are currently under Vitality, Power and Intelligence, would become a set of skills in the second tab. So skill points would have to be spent to buy them, just like it happens with all skills/attributes now. There could be a chain of skills increasing stability and another increasing vigour and at the end they would lead to the epic that we currently have. Finally forging would feel like skill-set that one buys through leveling and spending skill points, rather than something hidden in attributes and messed up with physical stats like damage dealt or health points.

** So, the attributes levels 5-8.
Instead of being called Vitality 5-8, or Power 5-8 etc. they could be presented as perks with names like Hardened, Mr. Muscle or Speed Merchant. After a player reaches lvl 4 of an Attribute (through game play, automatically, no skill points), a perk connected to that Attribute would be unlocked in the Skill Tab and then point by point could be acquired the way it is now.
Presentation is all though. What is called Agility 8 now, would be a perk called Lucky Hitter 3, giving you bonuses to your critical chance. This is something that costs skill points because it’s something extra that is required by a specific role (miner, hunter) and makes one special comparing to other roles (crafter, farmer) who will be happy letting their Agility grow naturally and slowly to level 4 and nothing else.

AND GOOD BYE TO ATTRIBUTE BONUS, pleeeeease!!! Instead, that extra bit of bonus to all stats hidden there could be given to some epic skill. or create an epic called Jack Of ALL Trades - and pack all attribute bonus effect there.

LONG STORY SHORT:

  1. Make Tabs and divide skills between them, so no single sub-page of skill tree needs scrolling.
  2. Make it so each Tab groups abilities of one type and thus give player indication of steps in progression:
    a) Attributes (no skill points required, increasing gradually on its own).
    b) Skills (costing 1 skill point each, available right away)
    c) Epics (costing 5 skill points? available after unlocking - required some of the skills from previous Tab and/or in-game achievements?)
    d) Legendary Skills (unlocked only through game play).
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PRESENTATION MATTERS.

The way 1-point skills are grouped is ok. But Epic Skills are laying around without much order.

In the Skill Tab order would be more or less like it is now - all small skills grouped in crafting, mastery endurance sections and so on.
Although even there some streamlining would help. Crafting skills for example could form sub-groups connected to epics (so tool, weapon and tech crafting skills together, as they are connected to gear crafting epic).

It’s the epic skills, here proposed to be put in a separate tab, that need way more order. So all crafting together (volume crafting, efficent crafting, gear/consumable and so on), all survival together (damage/health/protection,revival, rage/focus), etc.
There are a lot of epic skills that players feel are unnecessary, or maybe should be 1-point skills instead of costing 5. But that’s another story and would lead to another lenghty post.

In general, if it comes to layout and how the skills are all connected, it could look more attractive both visually and how they lead to each other.

Example below (the Forging Skills extracted from Vitality, Power and Intelligence effects):

  1. Chains of skills increasing Stability and Vigour and leading to final skill increasing Efficiency. Here based on idea that completing of one of the chains is enough to unlock the last skill.

  1. The same skill page subset, but unlocking the final skill happens when any 3 skills of the two skill chains are acquired (so either one of the chains entirely, or 2 levels in one chain and 2 levels in the other one):
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Minor tidbit I might add (unless I missed it)

You talked about all stats gaining 4 points naturally and then allowing additional 4 points to be spent on it.

I would suggest every 10 levels you gain 1 point to the “natural side”

So level 10 would have 1 point added to all base stats
level 20 would have 2 ect…
by level 40 it would reach 4 points across all stats added

Dang you beat me too it, I have been working on a write up for a Skills Overhaul for a couple months now haha. Just been to busy with work to polish it up to post.

My idea revolves around attributes, and masteries granting epics once you put enough points in them( sometimes picking between one or two different epics), then creating “class” trees with new and existing epics. Allowing you to create more unique sudo-builds. But just like your idea you can only get certain epics from putting in the points from certain epics previously.

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Always been a fan of skill trees, makes it more progression based if you have to unlock a path and essentially get more skilled in that specialisation as you go. But james had a good point earlier about not wanting to restrict play styles too much, e.g. if you want to make a double jumping tank crafter you can. And of course that kinda pushes things down the alt path even more. Which personally i like, but isnt for everyone.

What about a resource-based method of switching allocation of skill points in the home beacon? Or would that be too easily manipulated?

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I remember the main idea here. And here I don’t propose more locking than already exist behind leveling a character.
Skills might be bought right away.
Epics don’t have to wait very long to be unlocked (it’s more like "have at least some skills you want to boost with an epic, before you get that epic).

For example, all the epics that triple stats (health epic, dmg or protection epics etc) have real impact when you have a few levels of attributes anyway and some of the epics you can’t chose until you are beyond level 10. So why not point out to a new player that they better grow some basic stats first before they boost it with an epic? Point out by locking the epics behind some leveling, like it is now anyway, but at least also showing them that let’s say health epic must wait for vitality 2nd level which is just a suggestion that buying that epic before having some attribute grown first is pointless.
Educational gating one might say. Minimal and also teaching which epics link to which basic skills. (If gear crafting epic asks for at least three levels between tool, weapon and tech crafting skills, it also points out which skills get boost from it).

Also, in the example of the forging skills, I showed that the gated skill at the end of skill chain doesn’t have to require all the previous ones, and there are even a few ways of unlocking it. And of course that chain is not made of completely different skills, they are levels of the same skills shown as a tree rather than x/y format.

As for naturally growing stats, I would imagine it happens within 10-15 levels rather than 40. So again, moving beyond basic level of attributes doesn’t really take long. And then getting all the perks to max speed or damage is available early enough and it’s up to a player where they go with those choices (something they also do know around levels 15-30). Damage first or armor? Consumable crafting skills or gear crafting skills before I can afford both?

Partially slowed down unlocking of some choices, at least gives players idea what’s important at the beginning and what can wait a bit.

I agree probably dont want to lock those core skills behind anything.

I was thinking more the specialist skills like crafting etc. And i spose a skill tree is really just a visual for how those already work. We already have levels within skills like tool crafting or protection etc, but its visually represented as just a simple 1-5. Could give it more of a progression like feel by just changing up how its displayed.

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Depending how this is done, this may cause people to think the game is even more of a grind then it is now.

Also if this change were to happen, how would this effect high level characters? will they have to grind even more to get back to where they were?

The problem with tabs, is to a new player, when they are already overloaded with getting used to a new game and a new UI, tabs can be overlooked at times.

Your suggestion seems to be adding sub tabs which are more likely to be overlooked. (tabs within tabs [„The Profile“, „Skills 1“, „2“ being the main tabs] )

If sub-tabs are to be used then I feel there needs to be some way to make them obvious they are there, for the new players. just being grayed out I do not feel is good enough.

I rather not see too many prerequisite skills in a game that still can not make up its mind rather or not it wants to be an RPG or not. especially when limited by an RPG style grind as per the 1st remark I made a statement about

I feel having a consistent naming scheme is more important in terms of reducing confusion. if all the skill doses is just an extension of the passively gained ones, I see little reason to rename it to something lacking the word that it relates to.




I honestly think the devs really need to decide rather or not the game wants to try to be an RPG or not and then stick with that plan, before the skill system is changed too much, because right now, I like to make the joke about boundless; „Pretending to be an RPG/MMO“ because it feels like it is kind of trying to be an RPG but at the same time it doesn’t want to be.

The game feels confused of what it wants to be, or can not find a happy medium point in the spectrum that works. and how the skill tree is right now, feels to be the result of that confusion and/or failing to find a solid point in the spectrum.

And therefore any improvements with an un-sure design goal of how far into the RPG design aspect the system should be, might just yield results that are just as muddy as what we have right now.

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I looked through all skills and epics we have, trying to dissect what might feel like essentials that you always want to have no matter what specialization, and trying to put them together in free section (called it ESSENTIALS): so no skill points needed, as they grow along leveling.
The idea behind is this: create a clearer picture of what makes a character special (role, profession, specialization, skill page - whatever you call it) by spending skill points only on skills that go beyond some basic stuff. So if we have 100 skill points, it means there are actually 100 to be used on specializing only.

Here is my quick take on how ESSENTIAL TAB of the SKILL SCREEN may look like (not artistically, only what skills go there and how they are organized in sections).

COMMENTS:
Attributes to level 4 only.
Each attribute give only one type of bonus: Vitality - Health. Power - Damage. Control - Interaction Range. Dexterity - Action Speed. Agility - Movement Speed. Intelligence - Healing Potency. Luck - Drop Chance. Zeal - Energy.
No change in mats of the given bonuses. System works as designed, only changes what is acquired for free (through in-game actions) versus what needs to be bought with skill points.
Jump Distance has 2 levels adding 1 meter of jump distance each (so step by step growing to full jumping distance).
Gathering (current epic moved here) is broke down to 2 levels with 1st unlocking collecting surface resources and the 2nd giving drop rate bonus.
Health and Energy Regen (current epics moved here) - 2 levels each with gradually growing regeneration ability.
Warp Distance - also free, growing automatically along leveling and made of a few levels adding more and more blinksecs.

WHAT OTHER SKILLS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE FREE (if any?)

PS. Actually, when I think about it now, Atmosperic protection skills could be placed here as well and progress automatically as a character spends more time on higher tier worlds (tied to total toxic atmospere worlds’ regions discovered by a player maybe?). No skill points wasted here, simply each alt that spends time in those atmospheres, slowly builds up immunity to it.

make a skill. energy consumption reduction % on axes, shovels, chisels or whatever ( no hammers )
reduces amount of energy consumed on action

Here is some list of epics that I feel unnecessary and why

  • Hp regen epic: 25hp per 5s it is not useful, regen is way too low per time if it would have some connection between vitality or max hp it would have some use.
  • Double jump: Needs to be used precisely and uses too much skillpoints - maybe it could be part of jump epic
  • Revive 0s cd epic: Costs too much when debuff can be removed with bomb, maybe change it to be able to use revive augment more than once, use revive aoe bombs or something else that would help reviving.
  • Focus and rage epics: Consumables + skill point cost(s) is still too much together, if focus would work with mining, I would maybe use it.

Epic skillpoint consuming could be changed Epic 1: 3points, 2: 4 points and 3: 5points, or use system where skills get more expensive (1st epic from grouped list 3poinst, 2nd 4points, 3rd 5points…).

Few new epic ideas:
Pitchfork rage - Tools deal more damage to mobs (suggested before on other topics)

Wield a smart stack - Allows you to equip whole smart stack of tools same time to work as aoe. (you could make own aoe tool patterns determing how tools are placed in smart stack), this would work as alternative for forge aoe in cost of using many tools durability.


Attributes again how I feel about those, probably some players have more use for those :slight_smile:

Make intelligence more useful, for example give +0.5% xp gain per int. so maxed would be +50% or make it work with crafting timers. I have this only on my forger build.

Luck is one of those skills that I feel to have maxed in most of cases, probably some other players are feeling same way, so it could be just removed and new players don’t need to invest it and full skill pointed players can use these points elsewhere.

Or like is shown on starting post to remove attribute points, luck and int options from skills (or combine these).

Falling armour percentage based please, no reason to punish players that invest skill points to vitality and hp pool increasing epics to take higher damage (even later introduced construction safety guild buff is percentage based)

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You are right, the skill system does need an overhaul, badly.

From back in November:

I think the problem with any major change to the skill system is that it would likely take some sort of ‘soft reset’ to implement it.

I can just imagine the meltdown if that was announced, even if it would benefit the game long-term there would still be those that would refuse to accept that reasoning.

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Now, possible take on the basic skills. Stat bonuses removed from attributes (explained in essentials description), are here as separate skills. Some epic skills are also here, turned into basic ones (1 skill point cost).
There are also new skills here regarding farming. All consequences of what I proposed previously if it comes to free skills that level up on their own.
Full explanation of changes below picture:

COMMENTS:

Crafting basic skills unchanged. They lead in lines to Gear Specialist and Consumable Specialist, moved here from epic skills. I think they can cost 1 skill point and be just a final step in unlocking recipes. Also, placed here they give clearer picture of what basic crafting skills they connect to.
I retained the or/or choice between the two skills, so only one of themcan be chosen.
Bonuses to Centraforge stats are removed from Power, Vitality and Intelligence and become skills on their own, increasing Vigour, Stability and Efficiency, and leading to the final Flexible Forger, which is a current Forging Epic turned into a basic skill (and costing 1 skill point).
Crop Sower skills don’t feel like crafting type, so they are moved here and dealt with separably. Apart from known sow skills, there are new ones here that I think could make farming build choices a bit more interesting (a few levels of Crop and Seed skills increasing crop and seed yield respectively). At the end of the farming skill tree you can see Master Farmer, which is current Farming Epic turned into basic skill.
Perks are new skills presented in 2 rows here:
first row shows skills giving high level bonuses to stats (taking over from current levels 5-8 of Attributes): Hardened increases Health, Mr. Muscle increases Damage, Quick Hand is for Action Speed, Speed merchant for movement speed, Natural Healer for healing potency, Rarity Collector for drop chance and Iron Lungs for energy bonuses,
second row skills are made out of stat bonuses removed from Attributes (since each Attribute increases only one character’s stat in my dreamland): so there is Stealth for stealth modifier, Quick Builder for block placement speed, Lucky hitter for critical chance and Buff Master for length of buffs and debuffs.
EDIT: just realized that I missed Control bonus for interaction range, so just imagine it’s there as a skill in the first row and it’s called Long Hands :grin: And all first row skills have 4 levels (taking over from only top 4 levels of Attributes’ bonuses), while the second row need 8 levels (taking after full range of bonuses from Attributes) - unless 4 are made with larger increase of stats per level.
Although this skills are new, they deal with the same stat bonuses that already exist in game, but are (unnecessarily, I think) crowded with other stats within Attributes.
Masteries of tools as well as Armors and Resistances remain the same. Five levels each.

So, only epic skills left to show - a bit less of them, since I moved some to either essentials or basic skills. I will also show how I imagine them to be grouped to make their layout easier to read and connections between them understood better at first glance.

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Id hope they make it a little less confusing it seems very complicated, maybe have it separated by what you want to do. For instance if you want to be a farmer you can choose that class and it highlights the skills that are best for that while still allowing you to put them where you want while also giving you a roadmap so to speak.

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Skills definitely needs an overhaul…

I would love to see them add in a more RPG flavor, as some have suggested here also, where you have skills that are proper abilities that you can use!

The game has excellent building, mining, crafting (if a little complex), and portals - but its RPG aspects are way weak. Combat, abilities, armor - all things you come to expect a game has at least in a very minor fashion, and this game is beyond deficient in all three areas.

  • Side note - yes we have combat. It is terrible. Minecraft’s combat is more detailed and nuanced…
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Side note about skills I think we are better off without.

Attribute Bonus, mentioned already.

Chisel Epic. This one is, I think, just unnecessary gating. It’s enough that precise chiseling is locked behind higher tier ores.

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Yup, this was really confusing for me when I returned to the game in release since the last time I had played was during pre-release, and as I remember, copper chisels were enough for precise corner chiselling.

If I’m honest, felt a bit cheated out for having to take an epic to do something I had already been doing all along since way back. Don’t know how other pre-release players felt about it or when it was even changed.

Fair enough, it felt good for a bit to have earned enough skill points to get that ability back, but after a while, it’s just another epic taking space, making me wonder why it’s not a baseline thing for everyone. It’s not like cleanse points are difficult to get, either, if you just want to swap in/out of it with some frequency…

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