View Full Version : The Skill Tree

02-01-2018, 07:25 PM
I'm not sure how the skill tree will work in this next game because it's a little different. However, it's really time to do something about the skill tree design. It's dragging all the games down. The best skill experience was in Drox, and that's because your skills constantly changed and were based on items. Having this fully open table of skills to choose from just doesn't work -- the skills can't compete with each other, and you only need one or two anyway.

If you're going to go with a skill tree, it should be gated, requiring you to choose weak skills first, and then stronger skills. If you're going to go with items or gems that provide skills, then that's fine -- there's no need to have the skill tree.

Please take a look at Path of Exile's exquisite passive skill tree design. I'd give more examples, but other people probably know a lot more than I do about this since I can't bring myself to play ARPGs other than Soldak's. I just know that this is the thing that's really dragging the games down at this point.

I think you should try to partially outsource this design to faithful users, perhaps to Patreon contributors.

02-01-2018, 09:08 PM
I've played Path of Exile. That was probably a couple years ago though. They definitely have an interesting skill system with the gems and the passive tree.

Skills in the next game are different. They are still arranged similar to DC and Zombasite, although that isn't set in stone. The different part is your character mutates fairly often, where you might get a completely new skill or a free skill level in a random skill. Also when you die, your next character is a combination of 2 characters. Basically kind of like Drox, your skill set evolves over time.

You still have complete control over your normal skill points, have a lot of sway over how two characters combine, and can resist mutations if you want.

02-02-2018, 03:36 PM
If you're going to go with a skill tree, it should be gated, requiring you to choose weak skills first, and then stronger skills.

I liked the approach City of Heroes took.

Your character learns its bread-and-butter skills first - the abilities you will be using in about every fight. Later on, leveling up provides a mix of opportunities to improve skills you already have, and to learn the more spectacular skills of each class which were usually coupled with long cooldowns.

No skill became redundant.

Generally, avoid both no-brainers (choices were one is inherently and obviously superior to the other) and pointless choices (which stop making a difference at some point. Prime examples are a skill you pick at low levels and stop using at some point because it gets superseded by another that is obviously superior; or a skill system where the character will at some point end up with every available skill).

A good game is a sequence of interesting choices.