Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Skills Theory

I said yesterday that a hardcore gamer could try to master all skills. That is simply enough remedied by having skills slower to learn when one has many of them (in term of total skill points, not total skills at more than 0%).

This also has the added benefit of being easy on newbies; new players will learn their skills fast, for having few of them. Advanced players can still expand their skill knowledge circumferencially to those they already possess, allowing them to learn skills at a decent rate.

Now, I cannot go any further without explaining what a skill is. A skill is not something that allows you to perform an action. A skill is like a character's level in itself. Improving knowledge of a skill allows you to chose an action. You may, for example, elect to spend a few points from your Slashing skill to learn a new move to use with weapons with slashing damage; or maybe improve your accuracy or damage with slashing weapons. You may use your points in Magery to learn any number of spells, provided you have enough points left and meet the minimum skill requirements.

With this in mind, it would be possible to have actions that require more than one skill. One could see how backstabbing would require points in both Stealth and Piercing weapons. Summoning a greater elemental could require both Magery and Elementalism. Mounting and Animal taming could be used to have your mount learn a few more commands.

I think, at this point, anyone can see the advantages of the Linked Skills system. Of course, there are drawbacks, too. For one, beginners would be hard pressed to create a character without using one of the default templates or following an hour-long tutorial. Casual gamers lacking dedication would find the game too hard to learn, if they decide to jump right in at character creation. This is unfortunate, but I don't think asking newcomers to chose between templates and long tutorials is too much to ask. It should be easy enough to create templates for any class (and have them being downloadable for added convenience), and an in-depth tutorial would be needed either way (you could even have the tutorials be offline, for even more added convenience).

Compared to the drawbacks of classic Class and Skill systems, I believe the Linked Skill system is a strong contender; certainly not to be ignored. Expect much complaining from fans of either side, but we all know you can't please everyone.

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