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Author Topic: Concepts for skill picking revamp  (Read 909 times)

Histidine

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Concepts for skill picking revamp
« on: April 01, 2021, 12:14:50 AM »

(Not really advancing either of the suggestions I make here, just thinking out loud)

So I was thinking about this:
The leadership line has all the useful skills (for me) gated behind 2 levels of things that do really do anything for me or are so trivial it's not worth a skill point.
This could be improved by shuffling some of the skill pairs around so there is a path through to the later choices that isn't seen as a 'waste' by a player who isn't looking to do that one thing the game is now trying to encourage you to do.
This tbf is more of a 'me' issue, as I look at the lineup and ask myself "do I want to spend 2 points to be able to even consider getting what I want?"
And the answer is likely going to be no.

The industry line is the most egregious.
It is currently absolutely impossible for a player to get maximum colony skills and play with a junk fleet. Because one of the abilities from field repair totally invalidates the entire derelict contingent skill, and you can't get all the end skills without taking both.

I agree there's a feeling of having to take skills you don't want so you can access the skills you do want. (The Industry 4 issue is indeed a pretty wtf case)
This issue also occurred with the previous skill system, but that's not a reason to do it again.

There are a few issues at work here:
  • Some of the skill pairings are just two unremarkable or bad options (well, mostly this is Leadership 1). Can be fixed by buffing those specific skills, but this doesn't help the other issues:
  • Some of the skills that a particular playstyle or player goal calls for are gated behind other, only nominally related skills. For example: "What if I don't particularly care about cargo capacity or D-mods, I just want better colonies?"
  • Because the skills are balanced such that the right end of the row is stronger than the left end, there's incentive to focus on the right-end skills with officers (and especially AI cores).

Concept 1: Officer-style skill picking (allows skipping part of the row)
The first two skill pairs in a row can be selected at any time. The third pair requires having at least one skill in that aptitude (i.e. from one of the first two pairs). Fourth pair could require 1-2 existing skills, fifth pair could require 2-3 skills.

To double up in an existing pair, the minimum # of other skills is increased by 4 or 5. So picking both skills in pairs 1 and 2 requires already having 4-5 skills in the aptitude, while doubling up in pair 5 would need 6-8 existing skills depending on how we've set this up.

Downside: More complexity, it's got math and stuff.

Concept 2: (Almost) complete anarchy
First, balance the skills so that right end is not better than the left (actually we kind of want to do this in the first concept too).
Move some functions of existing fleetwide skills (like the +1 s-mod) to Elite tier if need be; if the idea of elite combat skills is to represent a super-skilled ship captain, well we should be able to be a hotshot super-engineer or administrator as well.

Now, remove the progress-along-a-row behavior completely. You can pick a skill from any pair at any time. Doubling up in a pair requires that all pairs have been picked once already, to preserve the "you can have one or the other, but only both if you're really specialized in this area" motif.


What I'm trying to do here is to keep the fundamental idea of "do you want to do this thing, or do you want to do this other, different thing?" while easing some of the restrictions on the player.
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TaLaR

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2021, 01:13:35 AM »

I'm not sure about exact direction to change into, but current system creates some very frustrating cases.

C3:
+30% dmg at extreme range is strong on some capitals. But losing armor skills hurts a lot. As does having to take deadweight C1R + C2R via wrap-around. Basically, this skill branching is mainly a Conquest and beam Paragon nerf.

L2:
CM frigates are not viable without Wolfpack to prop their PPT. CM destroyers are not good because you need too many of them to stack the bonus. Aside from CM, DEs feel like the weakest size-class in 0.95 - none of frigate benefits, all drawbacks of being larger-than-frigate.

L5 is non-combat skill, L1R is useless past very early game. So wrap-around in leadership involves taking 2 deadweight skills. Considering that even the good skills in leadership scale badly for late game (L3L due to fleet limit, L4 due to growing number of mercenaries) and that L4 is permanent, Leadership tree looks particularly weak.

As noted by Histidine, Industry tree for combat-minded player is basically 3 deadweights + the overpowered Derelict Contingent (soon to be nerfed).
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Serenitis

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2021, 01:37:04 AM »

This bit is (imo) is kind of important.
Quote
Move some functions of existing fleetwide skills (like the +1 s-mod) to Elite tier if need be; if the idea of elite combat skills is to represent a super-skilled ship captain, well we should be able to be a hotshot super-engineer or administrator as well.
As that alone might go some way to removing some of the issues.

Perhaps something to also look at is not making all the abilities in any skill require the presence of officers to work, so if you're not so lucky in that respect you can still get something out of the skill point you spent.

I think the system as framework is fine.
It's just a matter of identifying all these potential 'dead ends' and either figuring out a way to let the player get around them by making some things optional, or 'loosening' the system a little bit to allow the player to avoid the bits they don't want.
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SCC

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2021, 01:44:30 AM »

I suspect that what many people have trouble with is that trees are inconsistent in what gameplay parts they affect.
Combat is easy, it's all just buffs to your flagship. If you want to buff your flagship, you put your points there.
All other trees are a mess. L1s buff your ships in general, L2s buff your officers, L3L buffs your ships and L3R buffs your carriers, L4s buff your officers, L5L buffs your colonies and has absolutely nothing to do with all the previous levels and L5R buffs your colony, your fleet and also has nothing to do with all previous choices.
T1s buff your fleet/campaign ability, T2s buff your flagship, T3s buff your ships, T4s buff your ships, T5s buff your ships.
L1s buff your fleet, L2s buff your flagship, L3s buff your fleet, L4L buffs your ships and L4R buffs your officers, L5s buff your colony (this time, at least some skills have relevancy to colonies, by making exploration easier).

So combat is 10/10 flagship buffs (with 1,5 carrier buffs).
Leadership is 4/10 ship buffs (1 carrier buff), 4/10 officer buffs and 2/10 colony buffs.
Technology is 6/10 ship buffs, 2/10 fleet buffs and 2/10 flagship buffs.
Industry is 1/10 ship buffs, 4/10 fleet buffs, 2/10 flagship buffs, 1/10 officer buffs and 2/10 colony buffs. If we assume all fleet skills are useful for exploration (thus also buffing colonies), then it's kinda-sorta 6/10 colony skills.

I think people expect Leadership to be focused on officers or carriers, and the latter it isn't really, the former it kinda is, but only if those officers use destroyers or, preferably, frigates. For cruiser or capital ship officers, Leadership is 2/10 officer buffs.
I wonder if swapping L1L/Weapon Drills and L1R/Strike Commander would make Leadership more palatable to critics.

Megas

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2021, 04:34:40 AM »

All of the colony skills I want are level 5.  (Yes, I am interested in a big empire as much as good ships.)  However, Leadership colony skills are behind the permanent officer skills, which is bad for respeccing.  Industry has some useful QoL skills, but Leadership has skills crippled by low DP limits.

Some of the skills are bad because of the hideously low limits before they decay, like early leadership, phase corp, and (maybe) automated ships.  Automated ships are fun, but pale compared to Spec.Mod. (but that one is a late bloomer skill requiring story points to burn for the whole fleet, which I may not get before I finish the game).

I almost want Gemini to lose its civilian status, since that civvie buff skill has an atrociously low limit.  Weird that Mule is not a civilian while Gemini is (now).  Mule is the warship-freighter hybrid, and Gemini is the carrier-freighter hybrid.

Flying around with a smaller fleet sounds good until player sees the capital spam problem is worse than last release because they spam officers that player can only match by spending story points like water (if he even finds enough mercs), and even then his are probably not level 7s like the enemy.  Thus, player needs big fleets like last release to keep up.
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Tchey

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2021, 05:03:27 AM »

Hi,

I think in the idea, i’d prefer a free form, nothing "progression" oriented, just a cloud of skills i could pick when i like to.

Keep the 4 main types, alright, but each one would be an open cloud.

And balanced the skills so one is not  just really better, but simply a different way of playing.
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prav

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2021, 07:32:52 AM »

Suggestion: after capping out a tree you can pick additional skills in it freely without prerequisites, but they cost 1/2/3/4/5 story points extra, depending on their tier. Or maybe 2/.../10.
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SonnaBanana

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2021, 07:34:35 AM »

Suggestion: after capping out a tree you can pick additional skills in it freely without prerequisites, but they cost 1/2/3/4/5 story points extra, depending on their tier. Or maybe 2/.../10.
Ugh, no.
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prav

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2021, 07:37:09 AM »

Well argued.
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AcaMetis

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2021, 07:58:51 AM »

Quote
Move some functions of existing fleetwide skills (like the +1 s-mod) to Elite tier if need be; if the idea of elite combat skills is to represent a super-skilled ship captain, well we should be able to be a hotshot super-engineer or administrator as well.
This one was mentioned before:

One thing that's kinda disappointing is that only combat related skills can be made elite

Ah - for Combat, that's the story point sink. For other kinds of skills, that aptitude generally unlocks more story point uses. E.G. more elite skills on officers, more s-mods to build in, etc. Also: the point of elite perks in personal combat skills is to make them feel better to take, like you're getting something that you wouldn't get just from sticking an officer into the ship. Given that rationale, there's really no *point* to having elite levels to other types of skills - it's just more story points to spend there.
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speeder

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2021, 08:08:46 AM »

Just saw this thread... I made another thread with a different suggestion:

change what goes into each tier, so that effectively you have 8 "classes" instead of 4, for players to choose.

For example industry:

Tier 1 the choice should be between a colony skill and cargo skill.

Tier 2 the choice should be between another colony skill and the salvage skill.


So want to be salvager? pick cargo skill, salvage skill.
Want to be governor? pick the colony skills.

Want to be both? then you go around the whole "tree" spending all 10 points in it.

Or another example for combat:

Make one tier 1, 2, 3... line focus on a type of combat (say... direct combat), and the other line on another (indirect...) so for example tier 1 could be a choice between boosting direct weapon damage or boosting missile damage.



Idea is for "standard" playthroughs, players would pick always the left side, or always the right side of a skill, then same for another line, or fill up their current one.

So they end with 3 "classes".

Meanwhile more advanced players can do weirder stuff if they want to. (picking on tier 1 the cargo skill in industry, in tier 2 the colony skill... maybe have the colony skill in question be one that produces lots of cargo, so that choice makes sense too, similarly make the tier 1 colony skill be one that gets better if a player is also a salvager with low cargo space... maybe a skill for shipbreaking colony).
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Vanarion

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2021, 12:55:36 PM »

How about unlocking skills by total number of skillpoints spent instead of skillpoints spent in a category and the general ability to spent a second point in a tier after a fixed amount of globally spent points. Like perhaps 8 to 10 points spent overall.

You spent a point in one category and unlock the next tier in all categories.
This way we can avoid certain tiers of categories completly, but higher tiers still are gated by an amount of points spent.
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Drazhya

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2021, 03:37:08 PM »

I think the current system would work better with 4 tiers and 3 choices instead of 5 tiers and 2 choices. Should probably be changed more than that, but this is one change I think would be for the better.
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bonerstorm

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Re: Concepts for skill picking revamp
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2021, 04:41:38 PM »

I really like the idea in general behind the 0.95 skill revamp, but I really don't like the execution.

We need:

1) ANARCHY! Pick what skills you want in the order you want and you can only wrap around if you fill all 5 slots. If you want to start off playing as a colonial admin... that's totally doable right out the gate if you scrape together fairly minimal resources. There's no reason to hide the essential colony buffs behind 4 tiers of hot garbage (leadership) or even the pretty decent industry ones, since it arbitrarily pushes certain playstyles into the later game.

2) For skill choices to represent alternative playstyles, not the same one split two ways. For instance, L4 and L5 make you pick between one type of officer/colonial skill or the other. But if you love colonies and DGAF about officers - like me - then it's a wasted slot and a brain-melting choice. Why not swap the two so you have two consecutive choices between Leadership of colonies or leadership of officers???

T1 is the perfect example of this. Speed or stealth are both really great buffs which complement very different playstyles but make sense to wrap around to grab both.

Like it kills me that I5 makes you choose between managing more colonies or colonies that don't suck. WHY NOT BOTH? It would be a serious consideration, for instance, if I had to choose between fleet repair and colonial industry, rather than fleet repair and a d-mod meme fleet.

3) Leadership bonuses and the like should be scaled by the amount deployed - NOT the amount in the fleet total. This mega-punishes players like me who militarize auxiliary hulls for the sensors/profile/burn-level buffs, because they count as "combat". This would also be another mechanic encouraging players to be conservative in their deployment strategies and to carefully manage reinforcements in protracted fights.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 04:43:45 PM by bonerstorm »
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