Skill Trees


There are two general methods of making skill trees. One is the way Boundless has been doing it. You get points with leveling by getting experience doing anything. So, you can create a hunter by doing no hunting at all and use your skill points for creating the hunter you want. The result is you can be a highly skilled hunter with zero experience and thus zero knowledge of actual hunting. Or you could make a highly skilled builder that has almost no actual knowledge of how to build and a crafter that has no actual crafting experience. Personally, I find that system rather bizarre and overly complicated.

The other system that I prefer has as a good example the MMO Shroud of the Avatar. At the moment it has something like 133 skill trees. In the beginning you go out and kill something. You get experience in using the type of weapon you used. You probably get a little experience in agility and strength etc. due to the movements you did while killing things. It takes a long time to level attributes like strength and agility. You don’t do specific things it just happens as you are doing other things. You can get experience with bows, bludgeoning weapons, bladed weapons, etc. When you get to level 20, 40, 60, etc. you can go to a trainer (Adventuring Trainer or Crafting Trainer in general but some skills like fishing that I always love in games, there are only a few trainers to learn those from). The same general idea goes for crafting (leather, textiles, food, blacksmith, forging, etc. are all separate skill trees), building (with carpentry stone, etc. separate). You gather by cutting trees, picking berries, etc. as a foraging skill plus there is mining and butchering etc. In short, you just go try different things… some by necessity and you can sell the products you get (buildings you can be hired by other players to build, build for yourself and use the building or rent rooms etc. to players. Recipes you can find sometimes, you can purchase from crafting trainers, various merchants, or purchase them from players (many skills and recipes can be resold once you learn them including many emotes). On things like building, as you build and make money plus get experience in all facets of building you can learn to make fancier buildings including homes with greenhouses (yes, farming is in the game too), shops and larger homes, etc. If you are not interested in building you can hire a builder to build for you or you can go to the online store and purchase a building with real world money. The shop gets insanely expensive (some things are like over $3,000 U.S.) but if you are cash rich and don’t have an interest in making in game money to hire players to build a building, make furniture etc. for you and of course have no interest in crafting either then hey, go ahead and support the developers with real world money. You can get the same things in game with game money or by crafting yourself after learning all the skills necessary for what you want. The choice is yours. In theory you could learn every one of the 133 skill trees completely with a single character. I think it would take many years (perhaps more than I have left in my life lol), but, it is theoretically possible. Everyone starts with one character as that is all that is needed since you can learn all skills and attributes. You can purchase more characters for $10 each. I have three characters myself. Anyway, you can’t get the skills for building or crafting or gathering by killing things. You can’t get the skills to be a hunter by building or mining forever. You only get the skills for those things you actually do. I like that. It’s also simpler to me as there are no skill resets ever needed and you don’t have to even know what the skill tree looks like (I have no idea what any of them look like and don’t care). You just do various things over time and you will level skills. Go pay your hundred coin choosing from available skills from a skill trainer (a hundred is nothing in game) and learn skills or don’t learn skills and use the money to hire players to hunt, build, gather, etc. Just live your life in the game and be a generalist or learn trades or do whatever it is you find you enjoy. That is my preferred system.

So, what would be your favorite way to do the skill trees in Boundless?

  • Keep the current method of skill points used and reset skills when needed or switch skill sets.
  • Keep the current method but change the cost of skills to re-balance skills.
  • Only level skills in things you actually do and hire players to do what you don’t have an interest in learning. Re-balancing and resetting or switching skills is unnecessary. Make the character whatever you like through simply doing what you like to do.

0 voters


I’ll vote the ‘only level skills you use’, since I’ve always liked that system.

However, we’ve been told that skill trees are coming for a bit of a redo. How far/how much changes, in this rework is unknown.

I can’t see the whole system being changed now with <6mths to go til 1.0, but certainly no harm in the idea being here and getting some views :slight_smile:


Already been designed. We will get to test it and give input for balances and polish. But they are not going to change meta, especially at this point.

All of this based on a major amount of input already given. Can’t wait to see what they come up with.


I was strongly advocating the learn-what- you-do type of xp over a year ago when skills and progression came first in testing.
It didn’t seem to get much attention back then and I don’t think there will be a massive change like that there now. I accept choice made by devs and I still enjoy the game.
However, I would love to see experience being allotted to skills according to what we do in game. The base of such system is in game, as actions are awarded with xp - so it may simply be going to specific skills or at least separate xp categories instead of one general xp bar.
Actually, long time ago we had xp points going to miner, fighter, trader etc. and those categories could be leveled up to 50 separately.

For needs of game as it is now I would be happy enough to see kinda half/half system with xp points shared between specific categories and a general xp bar.
For example - for killing a creature worth 100xp, 50 goes to general xp bar and 50 to fighter category. Skills would have to be categorized into hunter, miner, builder, crafter etc. and have separate xp bars that would reward you with skill points upon leveling. That is if we were to keep skill points. Skill points could be thrown away out of the window and instead points could go straight to skills. There would be skills there though, that wouldnt be easy to reflect actual actions in game. So some kind of general xp level to maybe buy those skills would be needed, unless entire skill list is changed to leave only such skills in game that can be directly linked to specific in-game actions.

Long story short - I think some hybrid between action-to -skill and general xp would be easier to implement if we were to avoided a complete skill and progression overhaul.


found my old topic after testing first version of progression back in 2017:


I made this so that developers can keep the results in mind anytime in the future they wish to look at skill trees. It seems to me the using skills you actually use is simpler for both developers and players. Players don’t need to plan skills or know the skill tree. Just make choices as they become available. Developers don’t need to worry about how many skill points to make something cost at a certain level, how many skill points there are total available, keeping different skill trees balanced with each other with changing the skill trees and rebalancing now and then. All they need to decide is which basic skills are needed at player creation and then at what skill level in which tree do we make this skill available? So for example in carpentry or building you can have at creation the ability to make boards from wood and some basic item like a beam can you make with that board. At level ten maybe one of the skills you can learn is chiseling with stone chisels. At level 20 copper chisels. At level 30 iron, etc. An easier one on that would be wood chiseling one is available at carpentry level 10. Wood chiseling two at wood chiseling level 10 and wood chiseling three available at wood chiseling level 40 etc. All they need is at what skill level you have the option available to you to learn basic chiseling if you are learning carpentry, stone masonry, or whatever. If developers make a new machine or invent a new skill they just need to decide where the new skill becomes available and plug it in rather than reworking all the skill trees. If they change their mind then just move it on the tree with anyone already having it still keeping it. Attributes like strength have a little experience they get in almost anything you do as everything requires a little strength. You don’t purchase upgrades on that, you just notice over time you got stronger, faster and more agile by doing things. I do notice notifications now and then my strength or whatever went up a level. No idea what the effect is I just notice over time strength etc. improves.


Thanks for providing that! After reading it, one point about how Shroud of the Avatar does it that is different from what @James was doing. “Lord British” (Richard whatever of Ultima fame) is the one behind Shroud of the Avatar and it’s basically the modern Ultima that I started playing in the 80’s with the original Ultima. He got rid of player levels as far as I know (I don’t recall any of my characters having a character level). So, there is no need to worry about that. You have broad skill trees in general categories such as gathering, crafting, weapons and magic. You start with a few basics in each. Most of those basics I still have at level one as like in weapons there are maybe six types of weapons and I have only used two. Some skills like bludgeoning weapons or bladed weapons I am at level 40 or more while the rest of that category I am at level one. I think each broad group I have one or more characters with about a third of the broad levels at level 10 or higher and about two thirds still at level one as I don’t ever do those. Whenever I feel like I should know something new I choose a character and start doing whatever I need to get better at that. Skill, stamina, speed, and other attributes just happen and I don’t even know if there is a place to see what your level is or what the max is. I just know I get better as I do more things. Character level is unnecessary for anything when you are skill based. Right now, essentially in Boundless we are all just character levels with skills based on character level ignoring actual experience. So, my original builder was the fastest I leveled, but, it did almost no building to level and mostly killed things and mined. That is what made me realize the system was bizarre as I knew I knew nothing about building yet my highest skills were in building. Tweaking and reworking the skill system tells me the current system isn’t so good for developers either. It’s too complicated for everyone in my opinion. Simple is usually better… the old "KISS principle (“Keep It Simple Stupid”) is what we taught in the military. :laughing:

Edit - I played SoA today on one of my characters and noticed I actually have skills up to level 144 in one fighting area. Now I know why it’s so much easier for me now since I haven’t even gotten far enough with that character (just recently made it and have less than five hours with it) to even know when I’ll be leaving the starter area. Crafting I have some things over level 40 on that character and just started fishing tonight getting to level 8 before running out of bait. I don’t specifically try to level anything. I do what interests me at the moment and certainly never “grind” and never have in any game. I just have fun and advance (slower than those who race through leveling as fast as they can find a way to do it).


I saw Shroud of the Avatar as an example of how the skill trees could be done.

No. Straight up no. The one thing that is attractive about Boundless is you don’t need to grind levels in Slingbows or Bombs or Hammers or Chisels or anything to be able to do better at doing that activity or task. In fact, adopting that kind of skill tree progression would require a big overhaul of major parts of the game’s core design. That takes time away from anything you can think of that you want this very minute.

What we have now works. Just cause the current skill tree system gets tweaks and reworks from time to time doesn’t mean it’s a failing system or bad design approach. It doesn’t mean that it’s complicated either. It doesn’t mean that it’s not working as intended from the developer’s perceptive to facilitate a way for players to customize their character’s stats and abilities. It’s actually a pretty simple skill tree system.

It’s already very Keep It Simple Stupid.


Under the Boundless system I hunt and mine to level all my character’s skills. Some people have done almost all their leveling by going through portals, going down slides, etc. and purchase the skills with those points to supposedly be a “hunter” or “builder.” It’s so simple to game the system that people have been leveling to level 50 as “builders” by only doing group hunts and leveling tricks like the slides. Your skills end up meaning nothing as nobody has a clue if a builder knows a thing about building or a hunter has any knowledge of hunting. All we know is they did some method of leveling unless we play with them awhile to see what they actually know how to do. To me, the skill trees are meaningless since they are just skills that often have no experience to support those skills. You grind whatever is easiest for you (like group hunts) for a ton of experience to level in 4 - 14 days to level 50 and have your skills for whatever (or once we can switch on the fly you can then have the skills for everything) you want skill in without ever needing to do that skill at all before being max level. That is the big problem with many games. How many of us have been in games where tanks came in at max level and had no experience actually doing the activity or healers who had never healed etc.? How many “hunters” in group hunts or builders in them had no clue what they were doing in Boundless? We have seen complaints about that in Boundless already. People level doing whatever is fast and easy and then spend the points on what seems like a good idea (and soon in Boundless apparently will have all skills available on each character with skill set switching). You are right. You don’t have to “grind” at chiseling to get every chiseling skill there is. Unfortunately, you don’t even have to own a chisel to do it either.


It was originally planned that you would level up in each “profession”, such as miner, hunter, explorer, builder etc.

Split out in that way, I think it was difficult to both apply skills to each profession and to balance those skills equally, so it was dropped.

I think I would prefer a system where you earned by doing as opposed to what we have now, where the intention was you level by doing the thing you enjoy most and can apply the points anywhere. I’ve always felt that hunting should not make you a good craftsman, Crafting should not make you a good miner etc.

By splitting things out, it would negate the constant “what’s the fastest way to level?” question that gets asked by new players.

That being said, I’d like to see what the new skill tree has to offer, along with how the forge alters gameplay, before I pass judgement.


I also already expressed in the past how much i would love a system to earn xp and advance in things you do.

Don’t know the Shroud of the Avatar system, my reference on this is Ultima Online, for me the first and best mmorpg of all time… it exist since 20 years, it gets updated and still people love it :stuck_out_tongue:


Ultima Online is the same folks that made Shroud of the Avatar. I started playing Ultima with the original in the early 80’s. Ultima Online is the first of the series I never played and Shroud of the Avatar is the newest in the series and first I have played from them in decades. As with gaming in general, I prefer the old games. As someone said to me tonight “The new games are missing the passion and soul of the old days in games in favor of flashy things. Gaming is just like music and Hollywood in that sense.”


before the existing leveling and skills system… there was a level by doing system… it encouraged things like taping the mouse buttons down so you would place and break torches / blocks to level building… trading items back and forth between friends using shops stands for hours to level trading… crafting ungodly amounts of light cubes to level crafting or harvesting massive amounts of trunks to turn into planks then slabs and then spam place them in the wild to level crafting and building at the same-ish time… not something i would like to revisit. =/

certainly if it is done right, a system like this can be amazing BUT it opens up a world of headache as far as “gaming the system” to level as fast as possible in a particular area / skill… which usually involves doing something extremely un-fun for long periods of time ><


I do also believe that there is another side of the coin: once there wasn’t so much people playng videogames (when i was young even having a pc at home wasn’t something normal… my first pc was an apple, McIntosh LCII) with Prince of Persia and A-Train xD, games were mainly played on consolles.
And only few people were gaming, a small community that was able to recognize itself, few new titles per year and so there was a feeling of competitivity finishing each games at 100% etc.

What i want to say is that, except for casual games (wich i hate), there are a lot of good games nowadays, but simply there are too much of us and too many games and the market become a real huge market, with incredibly big companies, like disney, that invest theyr money into it… and a good game of yesterday costed to be produced 1% of what it cost today.

The 20 years success of Origin’s Ultima Online clearly is not there only because of some winning mechanic, but surely the possibility to shearing sheeps or to grow grape to make wine helps a lot… as it seems that people automatically go and “fill” an empty space if the chance is given…

so if you only have a crafter that can do everything, in a certain perspective, it’s not even like having a “crafting” in the game, it’s just a “wait for materials to transformate”… but if you have 10 ramification of crafting… than people has to choose… weapon crafting, armor crafting, jewelry crafting, potion crafting, food crafting, furniture crafting, tinkering and enhancer, agricultural farmer, animal farmer, tamer…
and all of those with it’s production chain:
just to make an example:
-tamer, wich will be able to use tame rideable creature for adventurers, monsters that will fight at his side and placid animals that will be sold to animal farmers, wich grow them up and get skins, wool etc…, wool to furniture crafter and skins to the tanner wich will be able to craft leather armor… this alone takes at least 5 different persons, involving 4 different crafting spcializations - wich can be abviously taken all by a one-man-band covering fully a crafting ramification, but the same person will not be able to cover ALL the crafting (mining/weaponsmith/armorsmith/alchemy/food/furniture/pets/fishing etc) giving free space for other people or groups/cooperation


So it went from taping mouse buttons to place and break blocks (apparantly with no stamina and no breaking tools involved) to taping or using rubber bands to spam wave claiming so people can claim property in their sleep or while miles away from the computer as well as the slides through portals and other gimmicks to get experience with and be whatever profession you feel like with the experience. Sounds like it went backwards as at least the first way placing blocks only helped you be a more skilled builder rather than helping you be a more skilled hunter and shopkeeper, etc. lol Anyway, no matter what they do I hope they put an end to the gimmicks and require actual play to advance. The problems as is are only going to be magnified when the user base grows and the cheat sites and cheat videos come out in droves to teach people how to max everything in hours or days. The thought of that sends me more and more to other games and away from Boundless. Online games have way too many cheaters most places. Oh well… modern “civilization” at it’s finest. lol


I started with a fresh character on testing to see how it feels now. The beginning I mean. Tutorial and all.

I found myself trying to craft the minimum amount of things to avoid wasting materials. Wanted to get bulk crafting before crafting storage blocks and copper and iron tools. I was two levels away from having enough skill points to unlock the crafting group of skills and buying the bulk crafting skill.

So, I grabbed an axe and did 100 trunks and 100 foliage feats and then I did chiseling objective where I had to chisel 15 rocks and 15 soil blocks.
There I was with enough skill points to get the bulk crafting.

If I could unlock bulk crafting through single crafting, rather than any activity, I would be crafting tools, machines and such which I needed in larger amount anyway, instead of avoiding it. With right balance of how much you need to do to level a skill and a lot of different actions to feed the same skill learning, we won’t end up with repeating the same activity 1000 times just to grind a skill. It will be achievable through doing several different things that are needed anyway.

Some people may still chose to grind through automation of a single process but thats just those who have that kind of mindset and they would always play like this anyway.


I think I was level 22 within a week and I never used anything other than stone. It’s easy to level and quick just doing the normal things. However, some always look for ways to get to max level with little or no effort in a matter of days. It’s been done in Boundless many times by people in as little as four days that I know of and often in under two weeks. Everything should lose durability and every action should require stamina. In addition if you zero out your stamina yet continue trying to move (probably AFK if doing that more than a few seconds and are using tape or rubber bands etc.) then you should drop your inventory for anyone to pick up and all of whatever item was being used should break (the whole stack if you have them stacked). Whatever can be done to stop automated action should be done since Boundless and games are made for players, not for rubber bands, tape and electronics to run without a player doing anything. It’s too bad people can’t play as intended and do things that cause restrictions like the use of slides and portals to get feats automatically resulted in some feats being disabled thanks to the abuse of the system. Of all the games I play, Boundless has the most of that type of activity of any of them. The only similar thing is I have a FitBit. When my wife ordered it I read some articles and watched some videos. Amazing how many people brag about things like “the young may be stronger, but, the old are wiser” from a father bragging about how he keeps beating his daughters in challenges because he attaches his FitBit to the ceiling fan and it racks up steps while he is watching television. Others brag about their dogs wearing the FitBit to win challenges for them or attaching the FitBit to the wheel of their car. It defeats the whole purpose of the FitBit just like that activity defeats the whole idea of having fun and relaxing in games. Things like that always make me think how computers make life worse rather than better especially since internet came along as it brings out the worst in people. Oh well…


It’s in all games. No need to go anywhere. There will always be a work around to gaining xp, and people will ALWAYS desire (which means they will look for) ways of speeding up the process.

The problem comes into how much does the company want to have to pay someone to sit and police the game. Program anti cheats only go so far. Some games use Moderators that double as eyes on in game chat police. Those are usually free.

We just need to just wait for the release of the rework.


THIS. I absolutely hate crafting anything if I don’t have enough for a mass craft. I feel bad about ‘loosing’ the materials saved from the much larger craft.
I really feel like there should be another bonus to bulk/mass rather than materials saved.

That is totally off topic.

On topic. What if the system was a combination (I know it’s probably too late, but I like to…speculate.)
You get to lvl 5(?). 5 skills become available.
You could choose one which would increase exp and unlock certain skills in a certain type of play style.

Lvl 5 Choice of; Hunter, Builder, Crafter, Explorer, Gatherer.
You choose Hunter.
This reduces the costs of weapon and damage skills by half (example remember).
More exp from ‘hunt’ based activities.
Perhaps later down the Slingbow tree, an extra damage skill, maybe an alt fire method, only available to hunters.

Instead you choose Builder.
Building skills are half price, faster block placing, longer reaching, the usual.
More exp from ‘building’ activities.
Special building skills? (Maybe that moving blocks idea that’s been kicked around, example)
BUT, you still have access to the Hunter abilities, just the cost is more. ( Not the Hunter only ones of course!)

I personally like this idea. Most things wouldn’t be excluded for people, everyone COULD still do almost everything except the odd special skill.
Also I think this would allow uncapable skill points earnt? Since there’s simply some skills you’d never get depending on what ‘class’ you picked. Allowing people be that little more different from each and adding to the social aspect, whislt still letting solo players, play.

Did I gabber on too much?!


One of the reasons I like boundless so much is the fact that anything anyone else does to try to “game” the system doesn’t mess with my gameplay. I’m a builder who enjoys the whole gathering and building process, so there is nothing that is pushing me to compete against other players. I find that players that push themselves to be the top end up getting there…then they tend to lose interest and in a couple of months all of their stuff disappears.

People will find a way to maximize their xp, coin, and prestige no matter what system and safeguards are in place. I’m just worried that if we go through and try to stop all possible ways of “gaming” a system we may end up with something that is either unnecessarily complicated or overly simplistic. I really only care that its fun, not if someone wants to sit afk and place and break torches for two weeks before they only really play for two days and quit.