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View Poll Results: Skill Panes or Skill Trees?
Skill Pane 91 42.72%
Skill Tree 122 57.28%
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  #1  
Old 03-20-2010, 07:41 AM
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Post Skill Pane Vs Skill Tree - You Decide.

Skill Pane - Skills are not linked together, the player is only restricted based upon the # of skills in each tier. Generally they work like this - 5 Skill points in any Tier 1 skill will allow the player to unlock Tier 2, then 5 more points in either tier 1 or tier 2 will unlock tier 3. Etc.

Skill panes are generally set up differently based how the developer wants you to progress, however, they do allow for unprecedented freedom in terms of player freedom and choice in skill set. Some games even unlock further skill increases as the player spends points. I.E. -

All skills are locked at 5 skill points until the player spends enough points to unlock the "ability" to spend more skill points into the same skill.

Tier 1 Skills - Player is allowed to spend up to 5 points into any skill. This Unlocks Tier 2.

Tier 2 Skills - The player is now allowed to spend up to 5 points into any skill in Tier 1 and 2. This unlocks Tier 3.

Tier 3 Skills - The player can spend 5 more points into any skill from Tiers 1,2, and 3. This unlocks Tier 1 skills to increase the # of points you can spend in them to 10.

Tier 1 Skills - Player can spend up to 10 points into any Tier 1 skill. This unlocks Tier 2 skills, the player can now spend up to 10 points into any Tier 2 skill.

That is just one example of how you can promote the player into diversifying their skill set. Obviously it can be scaled up or down depending on tiers and levels.

Skill Trees - Skill trees have been used most historically by ARPG's and RPG's in general. They allow the developer to craft a path in which the player must follow in order to diversify the player's spell book. While it accomplishes the same goal as a Skill pane, it can restrict a player from using skills from a different path in the same tree.

Normally skill trees work like this -

........................-Skill D
...........- Skill B <
Skill A < .............- Skill F
............- Skill C <
.........................-Skill E

Essentially you have 2 or more paths to choose from, while this does limit a players freedom, it does require that they diversify their skill set as well.

I'll agree that skill trees are unique, they give players different flavors depending on which tree they pick, they just don't allow the creative freedom a player might want.

So what do you guys think?

Last edited by Scryer; 03-20-2010 at 07:44 AM.
  #2  
Old 03-20-2010, 07:59 AM
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I fail to see the point of this discussion.

Every single skill in TQ could be taken without any preliminary skill and every following skill in that particular tree was a synergy for that first skill. I don't see why they would suddenly create a complicated tree structure for GD where the player was forced to invest 1 point into everything.

If anything, it (a pane) restricts the players developement in a very dirty way (if the player hates all skills offered by a certain tier, he shouldn't be forced to invest points in them, unless one point was required to progress in the synergy tree).

A better way to make the players invest in more than just one or two skills would be to introduce level requirements for higher tier skills and higher levels of skills, that way the skills (especially skills that don't scale with equips) could be balanced much better.

PS. Yes, the classes in GD will have separate "trees" to pick skills from, but I doubt very much they will be 3 (or whatever the number of "trees" there are) completely straight lines going from the bottom to the top (of course they will be in some kind of a tree so that you will have to make a choices between playstyles instead of just picking the best skills), which is propably why you want panes instead of trees; You're a generalist who wants everything you like instead of choosing a specialty and sticking with that.

Last edited by cel; 03-20-2010 at 08:13 AM.
  #3  
Old 03-20-2010, 08:17 AM
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Interesting, You're right about the tier thing forcing players to pick skills they might not want, though I think you could apply a similar concept to a pool of skills.

Try to imagine - you have a pool of skills to choose from, you can choose any skill you like, whenever you like, there are no level restrictions of that manner. Instead the only restriction is the # of points you can put into a skill at a time for example.

You choose a skill - Skill A, you can put a maximum of 5 skill points into it. You must spend at least 30 skill points into other various skills (that's a maximum of 6 skills with up to 5 skill points each) in order to unlock all skills to allow a maximum of 10 skill points.

So...

Skill A - 5 points, Skill B - 5 points etc, until you reach the 30 skill points spent to upgrade those abilities further. Once you reach the 30 skill points spent, then your allowed to upgrade those skills to 10 points etc. This allows for the maximum freedom for a player and gives you some pretty interesting builds.

If all skills scaled well, this would be pretty easy to implement.

A player can't just hoard his skill points until he reaches level 100, he has to spend them in order to upgrade his abilities more and more, and he has to spend them in other skills too.

Lets deem this system as the Pool Skill System. It sounds much cooler in my opinion.

I think I should try to do a write up about this, a pool of skills, you have the freedom to decide what you get, as long as it's balanced with the game-play I could see the system being much better then a tree or a pane.

Edit - It sucks I didn't think of this whole Skill Pool idea before posting. I'll just make it a separate suggestion at a later date. Thanks for the reply Cel, sometimes you get someone who will point things out like that and it just allows for you to try and be more creative.

- Also, if all the skills scale well, then there shouldn't be a "best" ability, there should just be unique abilities, and the freedom of the player to decide what they want to use. Playstyles are very diverse, and I don't think players should feel forced into them, however, freedom is a nice thing to have, but even so - classes should feel unique, that's why classes exist.

Last edited by Scryer; 03-20-2010 at 08:33 AM. Reason: Clarifications
  #4  
Old 03-20-2010, 08:27 AM
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That poll's rigged, it only has 2 options, whereas there are many

I for one, prefer the TQ skill system, where you have to put points in your mastery in order to access higher tiered skills. This also gives partial auto-stats, which I think is a good thing. It allows the game to form the character (caster characters would naturally be weaker than melee characters).
It's kind of a combination of skill trees and skill panes I guess, though mostly the latter.

Anyway, I vote for keeping it the way it is, TQ did wonderful in this aspect if you ask me. Perhaps with synergy skills, you shouldn't be forced to take all of them though (with Briar Ward for example, I thought Stinging Nettle was worthless - I'd rather have the option to choose from both Stinging Nettle and Sanctuary after choosing the active skill Briar Ward).
  #5  
Old 03-20-2010, 08:38 AM
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I thought to write some but my opinion is just like yerk said, I like the way TQ done it and it's a wonderful system. Putting points into mastery to access higher skill (you got additional attributes point), allowed to choose any skill we want and following skill is synergies to primary skill (with option to skip any). Most comfortable.

I put vote for Skill Tree but TQ is like hybrid of both. TQ mastery and skill system is the best so far and I'm proud to tell that to other ARPG fellow fans.
  #6  
Old 03-20-2010, 08:44 AM
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True, the limiting effect that a Pool system would create would be very beneficial, but everything else about it makes the game less interesting to play; Instead of promoting specializing and trying different playstyles, it lures the player into cherry-picking skills.

While in theory the availability of more skills creates a bigger number of possible skill-builds, you must understand that majority of people do not like gimping themselves just for the reason of creating a maybe-not-the-best-but-certainly-interesting skill builds. If you can choose between an average skill and an exceptionally good skill, you would only feel stupid not to pick the good one even though the specialized skill-build would require you to pick the average one: If I can choose between 'Hell-on-earth-aoe' and 'pewpew snowball aura that does practically nothing', there's no snowballs chance in hell I'll pick the pewpew skill even though I wanted to make an Ice-build, which would make my "Ice" build something that would propably have something from every possible element and turn out just another min-max-build, even though I did plan on making an ice build, simply because I dislike making stupid choices.

Simply put: Giving access to all skills at once (from a tier) does not create diverse builds, it creates min-max builds that are hard to avoid because people do not like gimping themselves on purpose (you might as well say that the game doesn't need to be balanced because the players can just choose not to use the uber equip they got so that the game didn't become too easy, in theory it works, but in practice it doesn't).

Also, no-one will be hoarding any points until any level, as the points can be bought back at a later stage and re-allocated into new skills if the player so desires. This is not diablo 2

Last edited by cel; 03-20-2010 at 08:50 AM.
  #7  
Old 03-20-2010, 08:55 AM
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Oh how true, this is not Diablo 2
  #8  
Old 03-20-2010, 12:54 PM
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Yeah, but it's a sad fact that people will always try the Min-Max. If every skill scaled well and was useful even in legendary mode, then I would say that giving people the freedom to "cheery-pick" their skills is a good thing, it'd even increase diversity.

That's assuming every skill allowed you to unleash "hell on earth." Which, they all should.

With the Pool Skill System set-up though, players would be required to select 6 skills from the pool, even if they choose what they think is the best, if all skills were balanced and scaled well, then the skills they didn't pick would have been just as useful. Also, the developer could ultimatly limit players however they wanted, making the player choose even more the 6 skills.

Last edited by Scryer; 03-20-2010 at 12:59 PM.
  #9  
Old 03-30-2010, 06:32 PM
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Skill tree, please. Torchlight uses a skill pool system that's similar to what you describe and it's utterly boring and lacks character.
  #10  
Old 03-30-2010, 09:17 PM
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If it ain't broken..

Seriously, I think the TQ system works perfect. Not every skill should unleash hell, I'd prefer to have lower, less powerful skills that scale well, and have the more powerful, once-a-day nukes as higher level skills (that also scale well). Design every single skill so that they have merit end-game.

Some very generic examples;
Fire bolt, a low level skill, could do a small amount of damage but have an inherent crowd control skill, like say knockback.
Fire ball, a high level skill, does less damage but lacks extra modifiers such as the knockback, making it a powerful skill, without making fire bolt unnecessary (Fire Bolt won't be used for the damage on higher levels, it'll be used for the crowd control effects.
Freeze Blast does low damage but freezes enemies. Freeze Ball does high damage but only slows enemies. Etc...
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