Character Progression Mechanics

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Warpmind, May 8, 2015.

?

What sort of progression system would you like to see?

  1. Default system; predetermined skills gained at predetermined levels.

    4 vote(s)
    6.9%
  2. Early Final Fantasy style; skills/spells purchased from vendors/trainers.

    5 vote(s)
    8.6%
  3. D&D/Pathfinder style; some skills/spells predetermined, others chosen by player.

    34 vote(s)
    58.6%
  4. Other (Please specify)

    15 vote(s)
    25.9%
  1. Warpmind

    Warpmind Twisted Genius Veteran

    Messages:
    914
    Likes Received:
    564
    Location:
    Outside Bergen, Norway
    First Language:
    Norwegian
    So, working on my own engine overhaul (modestly set under the working title "Warp Engine", for the lulz), and considering...
    Should I stick with the default character advancement system with learning abilities at predetermined levels OR a system akin to early Final Fantasy and the like where you manually purchase skills/spells/etc. from vendors/trainers OR a hybrid like D&D and the like where you gain a certain predetermined set of skills and pick and choose other skills with some more freedom, or would you prefer to see something entirely different from all those alternatives? (If the latter, kindly specify.)

    Mind, I'm not presently debating the publication of the engine; I'm planning it for my own use, not for distribution like the Luna Engine - though that may change after it's seen some use.
     
    #1
    muramasa and kerbonklin like this.
  2. Kvich

    Kvich Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Usually somewhere around my PC.
    First Language:
    Danish
    If we're ignoring balance issues for the time being, the more choice I get as a player, when customizing my character(s) the happier I am, if those choices make sense that is.

    I mean one could stick a system in, where when you level up, you get a ability of your choice, either fireball or thunderbolt, and when you level up the next time, you get the other, which gives the illusion of player customization, but really aren't.

    In my current project I'm sticking with the tried and true, certain levels give certain skills style, easiest to balance, but in my opinion the most boring choice.

    Why I'm going with that even when I find it the most boring, is a debate for another topic. :)
     
    #2
  3. Warpmind

    Warpmind Twisted Genius Veteran

    Messages:
    914
    Likes Received:
    564
    Location:
    Outside Bergen, Norway
    First Language:
    Norwegian
    Well, I was strictly not planning on illusory choices, as such - if going with some degree of customization, I'm definitely making sure to add more available skills than skill slots, as it were.
    As for why you're going with what you find most boring, I guess that comes down to a little bit of laziness and convenience? ;)
     
    #3
    Kvich likes this.
  4. Dark Horseman

    Dark Horseman NPC Veteran

    Messages:
    517
    Likes Received:
    143
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    Ideally, I'd go with talent trees like Dragon Age where you choose the skills while attributes automatically level up. I think Lune made a script for this, but I'm not sure how compatible it is with other scripts that modifies skills (if you still want to buy some skills, get some from weapons, or change class for example).

    This takes a ridiculous amount of work because you'll probably unbalance something and have to make skills that the player might never bother with (man do I hate trying to make new animations for 40 different abilities). But it's by far my favorite method because it shows how the developer wants to let you have all the customization possible.
     
    #4
    Vox Novus likes this.
  5. Kvich

    Kvich Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Usually somewhere around my PC.
    First Language:
    Danish
    I wasn't thinking you would make the illusionary mistake mate, just more stating it as an example on how one could be having choices that don't really matter. :)

    Actually no, it's not out of laziness or convenience, I don't mind a challenge or spending hundreds of hours on a proper skill system, the problem really boils down to balance and the story.
     
    #5
    Warpmind likes this.
  6. Sieginder Niederlage

    Sieginder Niederlage OLDMAN Veteran

    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    [REDACTED]
    First Language:
    Spanish
    I voted for "Other" and I think that you should try...:

    Making it so that you can freely choose your skills, every single one of them. Turning the D&D/Pathfinder mechanics up to eleven...

    BUT!

    Getting some skills lock others. If you get those ultimate spells, you can't get the ultimate sword skill. If you balance between magic and physicals, you can't get either ultimate skill or spell.

    What do you think? 
     
    #6
  7. Warpmind

    Warpmind Twisted Genius Veteran

    Messages:
    914
    Likes Received:
    564
    Location:
    Outside Bergen, Norway
    First Language:
    Norwegian
    Starting one skill tree locks off another - I like it.
     
    #7
  8. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

    Messages:
    4,523
    Likes Received:
    3,775
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    Of the three, I prefer -by far - the kind of system where you start with a few skills and gain a few more "base" ones as you level, but have to choose between different options for the rest of your skills.  Whether it's a direct choice like I use in timeblazer ("choose one of these three skills to learn for defeating the boss") or it's done through a "skill tree" or similar (where it's impractical or impossible to unlock all/most of the nodes), I think it's a very interesting and potentially rewarding system.

    I'm also a big fan of the Guild Wars 1 approach where you buy skills from vendors (ignoring the Signet of Capture for the sake of this discussion) but have to pick a limited number of skills to "equip" on your character in each dungeon.  Gives it a CCG-like feel and introduces a ton of interesting build strategy.

    My ideal skill system would be kind of like Ars Magica's spell creation guidelines, where you create your own totally new spells using sample effects and lists of ranges/durations/targets to determine how the spell works and how many build points it costs.  I feel like this kind of system could be partially replicated in a video game using an extended version of the Materia system and I think it would be the coolest thing ever if implemented well.
     
    #8
  9. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    459
    Location:
    NYC
    I like when games don't start you out with too many skills (so that it's not overwhelming to learn their mechanics and value), and then as you progress, maybe you gain a few "core" skills that would be useful in any build, but I LOVE when the majority of the skills you acquire are chosen by the player.  This allows me the fun of theorycrafting what skills will be most useful based on my playstyle or the gear I've found, and gives replay value because after completing the game I may have a better idea of the synergy between skills and what build to try next time. 
     
    #9
  10. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

    Messages:
    2,029
    Likes Received:
    529
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    I like the idea selecting from a list of perks that upgrade your skills, teach you new ones, and improve your actors' parameters.
     
    #10
  11. dungeon diver

    dungeon diver [ TRASH ELEMENTAL ] Veteran

    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    13
    First Language:
    English
    I've always liked the MUD/Might & Magic World of Xeen approach. You gain exp and loot while exploring, and then when you return to a city you get to cash in all the chips you've earned by leveling up and getting spells from guilds you're a member of.

    I like returning to hubs to progress in general, the Etrian Odyssey series and SMT: Strange Journey had cool hubs and so did a really obscure game I played as a kid called Mordor.
     
    #11
  12. Vox Novus

    Vox Novus Knight of Whispers Veteran

    Messages:
    3,307
    Likes Received:
    2,480
    Location:
    The Voicelands
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    I think you definitely want some form of choice just having what you get from leveling up can be boring as it feels like you are forced to use the characters only one way.

    Personally I like skills trees, this can be done with something like world of warcraft where you basically pick one tree to specialize in and fore go others or you can have it that the player spends points to unlock different skills, stat upgrades, spells, etc. at their choice with the only restriction being having to unlock prior stuff first.

    There are other options though:

    -If the player learns the majority of skills through other means (events or through weapons or armor) you can use new levels to gain ability points to increase stats or maybe apply a bonus to some other skill or item (for example reaching level 5 allows you to choose from a number of status additives to permanently apply to that skill or weapon, etc...)

    -You could have it that upon reaching certain levels the player has to choose specializations in a particular weapon style or school of magic (these could even branch off further as higher levels are reached).

    -There is always something like Final fantasy II where the more you used a weapon or skill, spell the better the character got with it. You could take this in a different way and set it up so that characters learn more spells or at faster rates the more they use spells.

    -You could make it that characters start out with a number of core spells, skills and upon reaching certain levels are allowed to fuse or combine skills and spells to obtain new ones. If the player wants a mage character they use the fusion chances to fuse spells, if they want a warrior they fuse battle skills and if they want a battle mage they fuse a skill and a spell together. 

    There's a lot of options here, customization of the characters is one of the most fun and engaging aspects of role-playing games. It allows for personalization of the character to the player's liking and allows them to try to use specific strategies rather than making the most of what they were given by the game with the characters.
     
    #12
  13. Braydon

    Braydon Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    2
    First Language:
    English
    Of the three given I like the D&D one best but with progression it's really a matter of execution and not what system you use. Proper spacing and rewarding the player are key.

    That being said I'd avoid the FF if you want spells to be findable I'd go with a hybrid system.

    If making a linear game predetermined skills is fine, if not avoid it.
     
    #13
  14. Fernyfer775

    Fernyfer775 Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    1,302
    Likes Received:
    806
    First Language:
    English
    My personal favorite skill systems are the ones where you have skill trees. You can, as a player, allocate your skill points where you want them, but because of a finite amount of skill points, you have to decide where you want to spend them.
     
    #14
  15. Njalm2

    Njalm2 Villager Member

    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Norway
    First Language:
    Norwegian
    I'm actually one of those weirdos that believe in the default skill system, you get your abilities at predetermined skill levels and each character is defined by those abilities for the post part. In essence, this is something that I've chosen to label as the FFIV Formula out of geekiness. The strengths of such a system is that you're able to define a character much better in terms of their role in the story and their contribution towards fighting, granted, there's some obvious pitfalls here, as the removal of choice is pretty jarring for a lot of people. This is the system that I myself tend to use in most of my projects, but to reach a middle point between the game and the player, I tend to include other ways to customize the characters, in the form of Skillset Accessories and Ability Tomes. The Skillset Accessories increase stats relevant to their skillset by a fair value, whereas the Ability Tomes teach skills. Although any character can learn any ability, without equipping the Skillset Accessory they won't have access to the skillset in question.
     
    #15
    Aoi Ninami likes this.
  16. Schlangan

    Schlangan A madman with a computer Veteran

    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    1,524
    Location:
    Niort, France
    First Language:
    French
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    My system is a bit more confusing; The four base characters unlock skills as they level up; but they won't be playable for too long (at some point their levels will be transferred to other characters). For other characters, it's a bit more confusing. Some skills are more powerful variants of the previous ones and are thus earned by gaining levels, while other skills depend on the story. For example, my main character Schlangan will create its own skills as time goes by, depending on what he encountered. The corresponding skills will then be learned at that point in the story, and cannot be accessed through levels only. (Moreover the story also increases the attributes of the characters due to special events, thus they wouldn't be powerful enough to use the skills before it happens - the MP consumption of the skill is affected by the INT of the character).
     
    #16
  17. Warpmind

    Warpmind Twisted Genius Veteran

    Messages:
    914
    Likes Received:
    564
    Location:
    Outside Bergen, Norway
    First Language:
    Norwegian
    ...by "four base characters", do you actually mean classes? Because if that is the case, your outline makes sense...
     
    #17
  18. Schlangan

    Schlangan A madman with a computer Veteran

    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    1,524
    Location:
    Niort, France
    First Language:
    French
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    There are no classes in my game, each character has its own specifities. Somehow it could be associated to one class per character though. But here I meant the characters that are played at the beginning of the game.
     
    #18
  19. 100LittleDreams

    100LittleDreams HueHue Veteran

    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    114
    Location:
    Arizona
    First Language:
    English
    I grew up with mmos with D&D skill set ups so I much prefer those.
     
    #19
  20. Past Midnight Gaming

    Past Midnight Gaming The Midnight Dragon Veteran

    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    The Milky Way
    First Language:
    English
    My suggestion is a bit complicated. If you have played disgaea you already know what im about to say. Depending on the characters connection to other characters you can learn the class specific skills while other skill sets are connected to the weapon of choice.

    Or you can set up a choice system the skills you get depend on how you respond to the situation at hand.
     
    #20

Share This Page