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Starsector 0.95.1a is out! (12/10/21); Blog post: Hyperspace Topography (10/12/22)

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Author Topic: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system  (Read 5661 times)

Megas

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2021, 02:37:55 PM »

Cherry picking skills would make permanent skills hurt less after respec.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2021, 02:47:10 PM »

I think cherry picking skills just puts you exactly where the old skill system ended up. All the skills have to be balanced against one another and have to balanced as if you have them straight out of the tutorial, which is impossible, so you end up with a bunch of useful but low impact/qol skills that never get used because other ones are just better. Boring meta-builds emerge where the player just cherry-picks all the best skills and doesn't have to make any interesting decisions.

I personally really like the new system, and I don't mind having to take lower quality skills to get to higher quality skills. It makes for a lot of tough decisions, but tough decisions are good! The real problem is that people are used to getting everything they want from the skill system and not having to make any trade-offs between strong skills or tough choices.
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Amoebka

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2021, 02:51:59 PM »

Boring meta builds emerge regardless of whether skills are tiered or flat. The only difference is that with the tiered system the meta builds include some unavoidable "bad skills" necessary to unlock the higher levels.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2021, 02:55:28 PM »

Boring meta builds emerge regardless of whether skills are tiered or flat. The only difference is that with the tiered system the meta builds include some unavoidable "bad skills" necessary to unlock the higher levels.
I think the problem is that in a cherry picking system, the difference between two viable builds is always small changes in low impact/irrelevant skills and the core set of strong skills remains. With a tiered system, you have to make choices between strong skills so there can be very different builds that are both viable because they take advantage of different strong skills that are very difficult to take together. If you could cherry pick, you would just take both strong skills every time. It's much more interesting to me.
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Sutopia

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2021, 02:55:41 PM »

I personally really like the new system, and I don't mind having to take lower quality skills to get to higher quality skills. It makes for a lot of tough decisions, but tough decisions are good! The real problem is that people are used to getting everything they want from the skill system and not having to make any trade-offs between strong skills or tough choices.

So you think it’s perfectly fine to have 4 skill point of tax to get both technology T1 qol skills?
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Amoebka

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2021, 02:59:39 PM »

Calling flux modulation and special modifications tax for getting sensors is beyond my mortal comprehension. Maybe Alex was right all along, people DO assign vastly different values to skills.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2021, 03:04:59 PM »

I personally really like the new system, and I don't mind having to take lower quality skills to get to higher quality skills. It makes for a lot of tough decisions, but tough decisions are good! The real problem is that people are used to getting everything they want from the skill system and not having to make any trade-offs between strong skills or tough choices.

So you think it’s perfectly fine to have 4 skill point of tax to get both technology T1 qol skills?
Yeah, it's called a trade-off. You make a decisions between different things that you want and you don't get them all. As long as the game plays fine without any particular skill (I think it does outside of a couple outliers (ECM) right now), there's nothing wrong with not being able to get a particular combination skills easily. That sort of decision is interesting to me.

I also wouldn't call some of the best skills in the game a tax. I think Alex has done a good job of making almost all the skills useful, there are only a few where I feel like I would have trouble getting a comparable amount of value to other skills.
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Sutopia

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2021, 03:08:23 PM »

I personally really like the new system, and I don't mind having to take lower quality skills to get to higher quality skills. It makes for a lot of tough decisions, but tough decisions are good! The real problem is that people are used to getting everything they want from the skill system and not having to make any trade-offs between strong skills or tough choices.

So you think it’s perfectly fine to have 4 skill point of tax to get both technology T1 qol skills?
Yeah, it's called a trade-off. You make a decisions between different things that you want and you don't get them all. As long as the game plays fine without any particular skill (I think it does outside of a couple outliers (ECM) right now), there's nothing wrong with not being able to get a particular combination skills easily. That sort of decision is interesting to me.

I also wouldn't call some of the best skills in the game a tax. I think Alex has done a good job of making almost all the skills useful, there are only a few where I feel like I would have trouble getting a comparable amount of value to other skills.
Good skills are not excuses for taxing good synergy skills people used to pick together.
Combat tree is the only tree that gets nearly no tax and sometimes synergies picks along the way but not for any other tree.
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SCC

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2021, 03:18:40 PM »

Combat tree is the only tree that gets nearly no tax and sometimes synergies picks along the way but not for any other tree.
Combat has no pairs that synergise, so depending on what you are flying, half of the tree is useless to you. If anything, it's sad that if you want the most possible combat power, looping around in combat is worse than going for all other trees.

intrinsic_parity

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2021, 03:20:20 PM »

To reiterate:
The real problem is that people are used to getting everything they want from the skill system and not having to make any trade-offs between strong skills or tough choices.
I don't expect to be able to have all the things I had in the last release.
Instead I look at what I can have, and then try to decide what I want the most, and what I'm willing to give up. I try different combinations and have different successes and struggles. It's fun.
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Atilla the Bum

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2021, 03:39:58 PM »

Yeah, it's called a trade-off. You make a decisions between different things that you want and you don't get them all. As long as the game plays fine without any particular skill (I think it does outside of a couple outliers (ECM) right now), there's nothing wrong with not being able to get a particular combination skills easily. That sort of decision is interesting to me.

I also wouldn't call some of the best skills in the game a tax. I think Alex has done a good job of making almost all the skills useful, there are only a few where I feel like I would have trouble getting a comparable amount of value to other skills.

There are already trade-offs built into the system, its both the maximum points I have (15) and the fact that you have to choose between 2 skills. When I spend a point there is an opportunity cost of spending it anywhere else too. If I have to spend points in an aptitude in a skill I don't want to get a skill I do want that's not a trade off that's a tax. Taxes suck.

I do agree that not all skills are made equally so there would have to be some rebalancing and/or some special way of unlocking some of the more dominant skills I just think a linear tier system is the wrong way to do it.
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Serenitis

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2021, 01:05:01 AM »

QoL skills being 'trapped' behind anything is bad.
QoL skills being forced into some mockery of a 'choice' is bad. (Mockery because you will always pick the QoL over anything, explicitly because its QoL. So, it's never a choice.)
Being forced to pick between one QoL skill or another is bad.

Here's where it's difficult.
Everyone has a different idea of what QoL is. Everyone assigns different values to the same things because they want different things out of the game.
Everyone wants to do different things in different ways, but now some of them are finding it really difficult to do that. Or in some cases straight up can't do that.
This is why the current skill system has caused such a fuss.
Not everyone can consistently pick what they consider to be QoL skills any more, and that introduces a degree of frustration. Especially when you are 'forced' to spend your very limited amount of points on things you're either not really interested in, or would be counterproductive to what you want to do in order to get them or other skills that you are interested in.

lol @ this
[close]

Someone gave a description of the 'old' system which was really great: "Perfect Parallelisation".
You could take multiple skill sets in parallel, and it didn't matter what you were trying to do there was always a way to support that so long as you had points available.
Balancing this is hard. But it doesn't need to be perfect, only 'good enough'.
The previous setup wasn't perfect, but it was far more flexible that what we have currently. And if combined with the respec ability, this balance would have a much wider margin for 'good enough' since choices are no longer permanent.

Balancing the current skills is easier if you only balance for a very narrow view of player activity, which is what has happened.
And all the players who didn't care very much for being shoved into that narrow box are now unhappy with being shoved into a narrow box that previousy they could have avoided entirely.

And furthermore, I consider that gated skills must be destroyed.
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SCC

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2021, 01:26:45 AM »

If I were to rate all the skills...
[close]
The previous setup wasn't perfect, but it was far more flexible that what we have currently. And if combined with the respec ability, this balance would have a much wider margin for 'good enough' since choices are no longer permanent.
Old system also had that issue that you had to make no sacrifices in order to get what you want. Well, at least I didn't have to. Might as well remove all the skills and make all the effects of them a part of the base game, it wouldn't have made much difference to me.
My 0.9.1 skill distribution
[close]
I hope Alex will buff tier 5s and perhaps maybe also tier 4s.

Megas

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2021, 04:22:34 AM »

Ever since s-mods ruined the idea of rebuild-and-replace lost ships, and Restore still costs way too much, I consider Field Repairs non-negotiable QoL.  Without it, I would reload the game after every casualty.  Of course, since Field Repairs takes too long to remove d-mods, I would reload the game if I take more than a few casualties.  Basically, Field Repairs extends the reload criteria from losing a single ship to losing several ships.  If Field Repairs were faster, and/or made Restore much cheaper (or s-mods transferred from one ship to another), I would be okay losing more than a few ships in a fight.

Too bad Field Repairs needs four points to unlock.  It is somewhat bearable since I also have a fondness for colony skills (meaning I take Industry 5 since it is just one more point after Field Repairs), except the ones in Leadership are blocked by permanent officer skills.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2021, 04:24:08 AM by Megas »
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Serenitis

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Re: Aptitudes are the real problem with the new skills system
« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2021, 06:23:48 AM »

Old system also had that issue that you had to make no sacrifices in order to get what you want.

The old system did have sacrifice in it.
That 091 character build you posted has quite clearly sacrificed all colony & maitenance skills.
Those things might not have had much value to you, hence they don't 'feel' like a sacrifice. But they still were.
Every player is different, and values different things. Which is where the 091 skills system was far superior in enabling that variety.

This is the core of the issue.
Having choices between things that are buffs, or enable/tradeoff certain playstyles is fine.
Having choices between those things and a QoL, or two QoLs is not.
And every single player has a different idea of what a 'buff' and 'QoL' is. (And bear in mind here that the players define what these are for themselves.)
It's literally impossible to balance in the context of this game no matter how you approach it or what you do. Which is why its causing such a problem, and will continue to do so so long as there is a linear/serial/tier progression of requirements.

The only way I can see the 'tier' system working at all it to ditch the hard requirements, and unlock an entire 'tier' based on the number of points spent regardless of where they are put.

I want every single player, current and future to be able to pick up this amazing game and play it however they like without feeling as though they've been 'forced' to do things a certain way, or restricted from something they wanted to do.
The 095 skills system as it stands does not allow this.
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