Intelligence vs Wisdom, any practical differences?

Dymdez

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For stats...


Intellgence and wisdom.


Merge the two? Or keep them separate?


If it's best to keep them separate, what are the meaningful differences between the two?


My instinct is to merge them - am I missing anything big for design purposes?
 

Andar

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On a general principle I would say intelligence is an indicator on how fast you can learn something new, while wisdom is an indicator of how much you already have learned.


As such I usually don't use wisdom in my games/rules at all as that is not something that describes an ability.
 

Dymdez

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I agree -- seems difficult to find a practical use for a video game.  I can't even think of any examples in a video game other than a simple stat check for a conditional branch.


Fallout changed Wisdom and turned it into 'perception' -- even then it was dubious.
 

Wavelength

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"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."


I usually see Intelligence described as raw brain power, reasoning ability, or occasionally factual/technical knowledge.  I variously see Wisdom described as knowledge in general, common sense/savvy, emotional 'intelligence', or casual knowledge.


In video games I rarely see any reason to have a "Wisdom" stat; in adventure-heavy P&P RPGs it might be more appropriate.  In a video game, nine times out of ten I'd recommend merging them into a single Intelligence stat.


And if the main purpose of the INT stat is to power up your magic spells and/or MP, I'd generally recommend renaming it something that directly suggests magic rather than intelligence or wisdom.  A few good ones are Magic (obviously), Aura, Spirit, or something directly related to your game's magical concepts (like Faith if magic is based on invoking the divine, Channeling if it's based on conjuring ghosts, or Affinity if it's based on connection to the elements).  This more easily allows you to break from the concept that "smart" characters can wield magic and "dumb" characters can't.
 

Aoi Ninami

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For that matter, why is "Intelligence" a stat? Since your characters (probably) aren't going to school, taking tests, writing essays etc., intelligence would primarily manifest itself in making intelligent decisions -- which is entirely under the control of the player. "Perception" has the same problem: how much the character perceives depends on the player's perception, not a stat.
 

NeoFantasy

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I usually use them like this. Wisdom means you know more about the world, how things work, the secrets about this and that, while intelligence is how smart you are.


So the intelligence stat would mean how fast/easy a person can learn something while wisdom would be how much is already to them.
 

kovak

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If applied to a game i'd see both like this:

  • Inteligence = Strenght
  • Wisdom = Constitution



Inteligence would mean magic empowering and Wisdom would mean magic resistance, both in a generic way ofc.
There isn't a real reason to dive to deep if that's all you want. If so i'd replace Inteligence with Magic and Wisdom with Willpower.

Some games preffer to use really customized stats. If i'm not wrong, these are the attributes of Final Fantasy Type 0:

  • Weapon Attack
  • Weapon Defense
  • Fire Magic
  • Ice Magic
  • Thunder Magic
  • Defense Magic
     

In one of my projects i have:

  • Attack
  • Counter
  • Block
  • Magic = magic damage
  • Reflection
  • Ward = magic defense 
  • Critical
 
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Niten Ichi Ryu

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imho intelligence is related to your knowledge of academics, general culture, and maybe your ability to come up with a solution to a problem.


Wisdom is about your emotional awareness, your ability to decide if something is "wise" or not and your understanding of the world. It's more instinctive.


in good old D&D stat system, wizards depend on intelligence to cast as they study magic as an academics. Clerics depend on wisdom to channel the power of their gods.


If you don't have such a dual stat based magic system, or if you ain't gonna use wis or int in text based skill checks, they might be no need for the two to coexist.


Just merge them in a stat, maybe Awareness.
 

Rinobi

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Within one of my current projects, I use both as replacements for Magic Attack and Magic Defense, because those names look terrible in menus IMO. Stat names don't require too much justification, it is a video game after all...


"Many are intelligent, few are wise."


Intelligence - Governs memorization and acquired know how (knowledge).
Affects magic attack, mana cost, and maximum mana in-game.


Wisdom - Governs critical thinking, and decision making.
Affects magic defense, magic evasion (Agility aided), and Item Effectiveness in-game.


Something along those lines...
 

LightningLord2

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In Dungeons and Dragons, Intelligence is the primary stat to go to when dealing with Arcane magic (when it isn't Charisma, which spontaneous casters use), while Divine casters benefit from high wisdom instead. In other RPGs I see, Intelligence seems to be central in powering up spell damage and effects while Wisdom gives you more MP and occasionally magic defense.


Ultimately, if you don't know how/why Intelligence and Wisdom should be different stats, use them as one stat instead.
 

BloodletterQ

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I always found Intellect baffling as you could have the Smart Guy in fact be the heavy hitter. Of course Magic Attack/Defense is also basic. These are especially outlandish in a class-changing game where the Mage suddenly becomes as dumb as a stack of bricks if he becomes a Berserker for example but then that can go towards any stat. Take for example Wild Arms 3 where the heavy hitter is the bespectacled scholarly type and the intended mage is supposed to be a priest that acts like a complete meathead. Same way a ditz can somehow be a White Mage since she shows know signs of Wisdom.


Of course you don't exactly want to deviate from the basic names as to not leave the player wondering what the hell Bravery is supposed to be. Is it Bravery to fell your foe in one swoop or is it Bravery that lets you endure blows. Then again, the STR stat is generally the first one to be listed besides HP, and whatever-P.


Otherwise I'd see it as a relic from what inspired RPGs in the first place.
 
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jonthefox

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If you're going to break away from the default parameter names and use things like Intelligence and Wisdom, I think intelligence would represent how much damage you can do with magic and wisdom would represent your defense against magic.  The way I think about it is, intelligence is your ability to effectively perform a complex mental task (in this case magic).  Wisdom is different:  wisdom is your knowledge/awareness/attunement with your environment and the world.  Someone could have very high intelligence (and thus adept at using magic) but poor knowledge and anticipation of what other people/creatures/the environment can do...or poor discipline about reacting to it appropriately (think of the very intelligent narcissist...or the very intelligent person who has a poor temperament, or is depressed, masochistic, or has no self-control).   So to me, in a jrpg, intelligence would = magic attack, and wisdom would = magic defense.   


By the way, I think the reason the default parameters are called "magic attack" and "magic defense" etc., is because each one represents a lot of different components that would affect these attributes...magic attack could come from high intelligence and knowledge (being able to learn how to use spells very effectively) in the case of say an old wizard...but it could also come from just intrinsic power (in the case of fire-throwing demon who isn't necessarily "intelligent").  So if your world is very high-fantasy, you might want to reconsider using these specific terms for what are ultimately very broad categories.  
 
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Niten Ichi Ryu

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not fully agreeing with you Johnthefox.


take a mage who learnt magic a academics. One of his defense spell would be Elemental Aegis, and he learned it as a rote spell from his magic school. So his way of defense should be intelligence based.
 

jonthefox

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Your example to me sounds like a high-intelligence character decides to cast a defensive spell which reduces elemental damage--fine.  But that's defensive ability which is dependent upon casting a spell, and so dependent on MP, and dependent on not being silenced, etc..  That's different from *innate* magic defense ability, which I'm putting under Wisdom.   


Of course, these things depend upon the various mechanics of magic in your game world...if mages have an unlimited power of defending against the elements, then yes, the ability to cast spells and the ability to defend against spells would be more closely correlated.  
 

Wavelength

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I'm with @Niten Ichi Ryu on this one.  I could just as easily see a scenario where a mage "attacks" by manipulating elements based on their attunement with those elements in the environment (leans toward Wisdom), and another mage needs to, for example, analyze the elemental phenomenon that is happening and intentionally construct a defense against it (leans toward Intelligence).


I'm not saying this is any more intuitive than vice versa, but I do think it's at least reasonable.  My point is that any attempt to try to abstract magic into something like "Intelligence" is going to leave at least some people unsatisfied.


In the end, as I mentioned before, I completely stay away from equating intelligence, wisdom, or any other intellectual property with magic in my games because I don't think it's particularly intuitive and I also don't think it tends to reflect well on the characters.  @jonthefox's own topic on "What exactly is magic and the ability to use it in your game world" illuminated some interesting ideas about how characters come to be able to use magic.  In my universe mana is produced by the cells in a mage's body, and the mage can learn to manipulate that mana to produce any variety of effects - therefore there's little more connection between magical power and intelligence than there is between martial prowess and intelligence.  Your magical power is just how much magical force there is in you, and how good you've gotten at harnessing it.
 
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Dymdez

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Yes, the word intelligence is problematic -- it has a lot of side effects that are unintended.  We can blame DnD for that.
 

jonthefox

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Terminology aside, I think it's okay to look at the ability to cast magic (magic attack) as distinct from the ability to avoid harmful magic and status effects (magic defense).  I of course agree it's reasonable to put these under one category for simplicity's sake, or if in your game world magic really does have little to no correlation with intelligence or mental ability.   Re: the OP though, if we are considering the terms intelligence and wisdom for parameter names, I tend to think of intelligence as one's potency and wisdom as one's resilience, in terms of what the parameters represent.  


Question though:  if you think it's okay (and sometimes preferable) to only use one parameter to govern both these categories, could we say the same for physical attacks?  In other words, the same parameter that governs one's physical damage output also governs one's physical damage mitigation.   I think it would work for the right kind of game, but it seems to me you are sacrificing a bit of strategic depth.
 

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I am about to apologize in advance for this post.  My mother and I have had discussions about intelligence and wisdom, or should I say intense 'fights' as they should be called.  Intelligence vs wisdom.  You have to go through all the words that lead to these words and I can truly explain what the difference is between these two.  Intelligence and wisdom are related words, but are not the same thing as I believed.  Intelligence is, of course, knowledge, from books to whatever other source, but what is wisdom?  Wisdom is leads us all the way back to Sanskrit and of course, latin.  In sanskrit, it means knowledge, but the latin word means to see.  Intelligence is about what you know, nothing more than that and it is.  In a video game, it might mean how well, you can understand the information being pushed into your head.  Wisdom is intelligence with something more, you have the ability to see or perceive it. 


You can know history, but only someone who can truly see the patterns in history can see where we are heading before we get there.  But how does that mean for games?  In a game, intelligence could be your ability to learn, how smart you are, and that might influence what kind of spells you know, but wisdom might be used to determine how well you use that ability.  In keeping with what the words mean.  As I said, I am sorry, but words are one of my favorite things to look up and go through the ages to see what the true definition is.  I try not to sound like a know-it-all, but every now and then, I can't help it.  (o_o)
 

jonthefox

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i feel like a lot of what we're talking about is just a matter of interpretation, and in a jrpg there's a lot of flexibility with this.  i feel like maybe the question the OP meant to ask was, from a design perspective, is it worth separating magic attack and magic defense into two separate parameters?   i think we'd all agree that it CAN plausibly be represented either way, and the design question is more "what would be best for my game?"  And to answer this, we'd probably need to know more about OPs game - what kind of game world does it take place in, where does magic come from in your game world, what other parameters are you using, etc.
 

Wavelength

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i feel like a lot of what we're talking about is just a matter of interpretation, and in a jrpg there's a lot of flexibility with this.  i feel like maybe the question the OP meant to ask was, from a design perspective, is it worth separating magic attack and magic defense into two separate parameters?   i think we'd all agree that it CAN plausibly be represented either way...


See, I interpreted @Dymdez's question as "I have X number of parameters that do different things, but would it be reasonable to call one Intelligence and to call another one Wisdom, or should I choose one term and avoid using the other as well?"  I didn't understand it as a question about the underlying parameters and how they affect gameplay.


I'm certainly in agreement that most games should use separate stats for magic attack and magic defense (even in my own game where I am trying to simply the stat system, I combined magic attack and physical attack into a single stat, and magic defense and physical defense into another stat - rather than combining magic attack and magic defense).  The main crux of my argument is that "Intelligence" and "Wisdom" are poor choices of terms to use for these stats in most games, and are even worse when used together in the same game as two unrelated stats because of the connotation of the words.


As one additional note, I'm a big fan of the P&P roleplay Ars Magica (free official download of 4th edition available here).  In this setting, magic is something that is studied over years, so Intelligence does play a small role in spellcasting power, but your ability in the technique (such as "creation") and form (such as "fire") of the magic you're trying to cast is the main influence on how successful and powerful your spell will be - and these abilities are honed with experience (from battle, adventure, or study) over time.  While you can cast spells that defend against other spells (a spell that controls fire, for instance, would be a good way to rebuff a hostile spell that creates fire), natural "magic resistance" (even against spells you don't know are coming) is handled by a ritual that all magi can perform called Parma Magica (which passively gathers your magical energies into an invisible "shield" of sorts), and is a separate ability from any of the techniques or forms.  FWIW, "Perception" is an important stat which has nothing to do with magic, and other traits of wisdom are often represented in character Virtues such as Common Sense, Folk Ken (the ability to understand people), and Well-Traveled.  While most video games don't (and don't need to) make these kinds of distinctions, I think the overall framework of magic is a really good source of inspiration.
 
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