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Fixing skills


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Inspired by Gromnir's topic titled: skills

 

I thought this topic was a lot more important than a lot of the most contentious posts on here which are pure opinion arguments over writing in CRPGs(Is PS:T's writing better etc.) and things like that. I don't think anyone could argue skills were important and/or useful in KOTOR and I think Obsidian definitely needs to fix this blinding oversight. A lot of great ideas were presented for repair skill in the skills topic and a few ideas for security but then it kind of petered out which I think is too bad. These were the ideas I came up with for better or for worse. Comments, suggestions, improvements etc. are all welcome of course and I hope everyone comes up with everything they can to improve skills in KOTOR 2. Developers do read the board from time to time and with any luck it will influence skills in KOTOR 2.

 

Ok, so there were a lot of problems with skills. The biggest problem, as I think we all know is of course the lightsaber. So the question becomes how do we keep the lightsaber as powerful as it should be without nerfing it with something as stupid as putting Cortosis in everything? Which I will address in Security.

 

We also need to think of how every skill was implemented and what made it useless.

 

Awareness: Arguably this and demolitions were the second least useless skills since credits were so hard to come by in the game (X-box version at least) I always used Mission to recover traps and then sell them. However the traps did not do nearly enough damage. By the end I could run through them and If I needed to then force heal. And there were not nearly enough. I wouldn't change this skill other than to put in more traps and increase their damage. This would neccessitate making Powerful hostile NPCs like Dark Jedi do awareness checks or for gameplay reasons traps just don't do as much to enemies as they do to you. Otherwise setting traps and luring enemies could become really cheesy like in Throne of Bhaal. I think being a Jedi should confer an automatic bonus in this well as well due to the force and/or allows you to run without awareness penalties. Also possibly use it in dialogue sometimes to use this as insight. Like PE in FO2.

 

Demolitions: Basically the same as Awareness. Increased power in traps makes recovering/disarming them more important and desirable. Careful scaling of their difficulty to disarm and their damage ability makes keeping this skill high more important.

 

Computer Use: Everything important had a keycard. No way around this except for missions where someone with high computer use HAS to be in your party. The suggestion to remove computer spikes comepletely is a good one. There were hundreds and hundreds of spikes in the game. I didn't care if the cost was 20 or 2 I am willing to bet if you took all the spikes in the game and then checked the maximum cost for every time you could use them there'd be a lot more spikes than uses. Hacking should be based solely on the skill and have DC like traps. A FEW spikes throughout the game to help in one time situations is fine. High computer use can be neccessary in sidequests just not plot critical ones.

 

Stealth: IS useful. I know not many people used it but Mission can be a real bad ass with it. HOWEVER the belt is no good. It isn't so useful you'll want your character to wear a stealth belt over something like CNS strength amplifier. And switching the stealth belt to CNS after every "backstab" would be annoying as hell. So get rid of the belt. Items can still enhance it but not be required. To appease people that want realism simply make it activated by some item in your inventory or even kewler add it to the equippable inventory. Like an addon that can be attached to any belt. This would allow for some cool new items that clip onto your belt and let someone with a low stealth skill but a really good stealth enhancer slip by low DC aware enemies.

 

Repair: Only useful for HK-47. Apparently it and security will now affect the workbench and people have already made some really good suggestions so I can skip over this.

 

Persuade: Slightly useful. As with the other skills include more times to use it AND make it a viable alternative to Dominate:Mind. For example dont let me use dominate when it's a powerful force user. Make it less likely to work on force users so If Im really charismatic I'll have a better chance with Persuade than Dominate:Mind. Let Dominate Mind work as a back-up in some situations so If I fail in a persuade check I'll have the option then to Dominate:Mind. Make other characters more mindful of when and how I use it. There were some great conversations with party members when you used it especially for landing fees. That was great but all they did was talk. Hopefully this should be a part of the party members reacting more to a DS or LS character. This way I can ask for a larger reward from a good person using persuade and not get DS points and not angering good people but using Dominate:Mind to do it would be.

 

(Longest because it addresses the lightsaber issue) Security: The lightsaber issue. Yes, the lightsaber is the master key and should remain so. Here's what you do. Trap more items! This is so easily explained in a futuristic universe. In bases for example practically everything should rigged to either explode or set off an alarm that spawns extra enemies that converge on the alarm. Why? Very simply, KEYPADS. Security should be able to hack them and open doors and let you feel stealthy and sly where a brute character forces it open alerts the whole base, maybe sets off a bomb (now more damaging) and fights extra enemies. If the keypad is destroyed by a lightsaber or senses a door open without a code being entered there should be repercussions!

 

Hacking should be a part of security and vice versa. Security should be enhanced SLIGHTLY with stealth. Perhaps these could be sync bonuses like in NWN a certain amount of ranks in disarm traps got you a +1 in setting them and vice versa. Let characters inclined to steal (especially DS people) anything that isn't bolted down stealth and then use security to open containers and steal from them without being caught and without turning characters hostile. Like a DS character may want to steal some armor from a Republic base but for many realistiuc and logical reasons doesn't want to anyone to know and have to slaughter a bunch of soldiers. Or even an LS character that justifies it by really needing the armor BUT obviously doesn't want to kill a bunch of good guys for it.

 

I asked way back when in the KOTOR forums and was assured some things wouldn't be bashable and there would be opportunities where you would want to steal unseen rather than kill everyone and bash open containers but I was lied to. Also if combat is made more difficult this will encourage stealthy play. One possibility is to let the extra guards spawned in by the alarm give no xp or equipment. Then players will really want to avoid smashing their way through what should be a very heavily well defended base.

 

Not every place should be like this obviously. Go ahead and let plenty of doors and containers be openable by lightsaber but keep it in context. A lock box in an apartment obviously wouldn't be trapped with a bomb or summon a bunch of guards. Some very important doors can be lightsaber immune. These can be big thick vault or blast doors etc. with cortosis and very difficult keypads to hack. Take for example that mining station the Ebon Hawk is on. Maybe there is a big vault like area with some super valuable ore or a lightsaber crystal or tons of credits that is quite obviously very expensively designed to keep people out no matter what. Then security people could try to hack the keypad. Computer users may find it buried deep in a computer's encrypted files and brute characters may find it in a desk that in addition to being trapped also is by a worthy foe they have to fight.

 

Finally the most useless skill

Treat Injury: Way more useless than even security or computer use. Why? One reason and one reason only: Force Cure/Heal. I must admit I'm kind of stumped by this one. I don't think I want to decrease the effectiveness of force healing or anything and should definitely be kept. You'd have to increase the medkits usefulness by a ridiculous amount and if you did that it'd probably already heal enough where it didn't matter if your treat injury was 0. I don't think crippled limbs and making it a doctor like skill is feasible either. Maybe just nix it comepletely. Ideas on this are very welcome.

 

FINALLY (I know big sigh of relief) lessen the number of items there are that increase skills or make skill DCs very high. With the proper items Canderous could have some really high awareness and demolitions. Most characters by the end had some outrageously high skills with nothing in the game nearly difficult enough to justify needing them so high. So give out fewer skill points and items OR increase the DC. Make specialists more viable and make it so your character cannot do everything alone. And definitely do not add skills. Make the ones already in more useful in more situations. This is a lot better than having 20 skills and 2 times where each one is truly useful.

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Good points. Im sure they will all be fixed.

I certainly hope so. But so far it seems most of the gameplay mechanics are remaining relatively unchanged. This would be horrible. Skills NEED to be fixed. And hoping and/or assuming they will be is not a good idea. I am not going to buy KOTOR 2 just because it's KOTOR 2. If it doesn't seem like their going to fix any of KOTOR's flaws then I'll just get any other of a number of good games that are in development. Fixing the skill system would go a long way in convincing me to buy it.

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Finally the most useless skill

Treat Injury: Way more useless than even security or computer use. Why? One reason and one reason only: Force Cure/Heal. I must admit I'm kind of stumped by this one.

You answered your own question. Force cure/heal does make Treat Injury useless, I agree, but what if you don't want a Jedi around? When I play darkside I never take cure, and you can't always rely on drain life/death field. Getting the most out of medpacs is important. However, that leads to another, more serious problem - Kotor is so easy that you don't need much healing to begin with. On the star forge I had something like 50 life-support kits and god knows how many medpacs... never used even a fraction of them.

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Eh, I always had my non Jedi characters put some points into treat injury, if for no other reason that my Jedi might be a little too busy to heal them when they need it.

 

 

TripleRRR

Using a gamepad to control an FPS is like trying to fight evil through maple syrup.

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Finally the most useless skill

Treat Injury: Way more useless than even security or computer use. Why? One reason and one reason only: Force Cure/Heal. I must admit I'm kind of stumped by this one.

You answered your own question. Force cure/heal does make Treat Injury useless, I agree, but what if you don't want a Jedi around? When I play darkside I never take cure, and you can't always rely on drain life/death field. Getting the most out of medpacs is important. However, that leads to another, more serious problem - Kotor is so easy that you don't need much healing to begin with. On the star forge I had something like 50 life-support kits and god knows how many medpacs... never used even a fraction of them.

If you don't want a Jedi around? Your character in KOTOR 2 has to be a Jedi just like KOTOR 1. And how many people didn't choose force cure/heal? Putting any points into treat injury is a total waste. Even if conceivably you had say HK and T3 and you had no force curing powers, medpacks were still so plentiful and powerful you didn't need treat injury. What you say seems to support my view of treat injury. Are you agreeing it should be nixed?

Or just made to be more difficult neccessitating the use of medpacks instead of force cure to conserve force points? Add to that fewer medpacks and that could make treat injury more viable. Good idea.

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Why bother with skills since we are forced to play force types anyway? Force type characters are way over powered in the game and can blast through any obstacle. Now if they made the game a bit more balance and allowed a varied amount of character types then skills would be an important part of the game but as it stands now it is just flavoring and overall worthless.

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Why bother with skills since we are forced to play force types anyway?  Force type characters are way over powered in the game and can blast through any obstacle.  Now if they made the game a bit more balance and allowed a varied amount of character types then skills would be an important part of the game but as it stands now it is just flavoring and overall worthless.

That's exactly my point. Hence my suggestions to make skills more vital to the overall gameplay. Jedi are obviously superpowerful but they shouldn't be able to run through traps and then force heal and if they can't chop open every door then skills become much more useful.

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Yes, bet you seem to forget we have no choice but play a jedi.

Uh??? No I am quite aware we have to play a Jedi. Jedi have skills too you know. Technically in SW D20 force powers ARE skills. I just mentioned having to be in a Jedi in a post in this topic.

 

If you couldn't just run through traps because there were more of them and they were too damamging then even your bada** Jedi will want awareness or someone in th party too have it, etc.

 

Jedi cannot do anything of the sort in the movies. When Qui-Gon and Obi-wan are trying to get into the control room they are forced to retreat because of the defenses and the time it is taking to cut through the door. Luke never runs over landmines or stands right next to a bomb when it goes off. Etc. And KOTOR 2 has to create their own balance in the game. Sometimes gameplay balance trumps realism.

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I don't see any disagreement here - we all seem to agree that KotOR would have been better if there was a real advantage to bringing a skill character (Mission, T3) with the party, instead of having an all-Jedi party being inevitably better at everything.

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I don't see any disagreement here - we all seem to agree that KotOR would have been better if there was a real advantage to bringing a skill character (Mission, T3) with the party, instead of having an all-Jedi party being inevitably better at everything.

Agreed I don't think anyone's disputing that. I started the topic to try and get ideas on how to make bringing Mission and T3 a much more desirable option.

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As long as Jedis and Force Users are the focus, its not going to happen.

Why not? All of my suggestions would make skills important to all characters including Jedi. Or do you mean they aren't going to care about skills as much as will they about lightsaber animations and new force powers etc.? If so that'd be a big mistake in my opinion.

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I think the basic idea around what they ARE improving is this : every character, every skill, get's it's time in the spotlight. They've established that they'll be trying to make every skill more used, unless I'm thinking of a different game. Right now, though, I can't think of another game I'd be thinking of - this is the only one I'm really looking for ward to.

It's fine, if you didn't know/ didn't see this, or I'm just making stuff up. bringing something up to the developers is good.

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Doing a hand-me-down game in the first place was a big mistake. Jedis aren't skill based characters for the most part. Skill based characters such as Scoundrels will not be a part of the character creation or development process so they won't be considered as important.

 

Its all Force this and Force that. Face it, skills will be the last thing they will worry about because they aren't important to the Force user character type in which they portray them in the CRPG. I don't seeing this changing at all.

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They've established that they'll be trying to make every skill more used.

Haven't seen anything to suggest this. If you could link to a preview or developer post with a statement to that degree it would greatly set my mind at ease. I certainly hope they are and offer these humble suggestions on how they might do that.

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Doing a hand-me-down game in the first place was a big mistake.  Jedis aren't skill based characters for the most part.  Skill based characters such as Scoundrels will not be a part of the character creation or development process so they won't be considered as important.

 

Its all Force this and Force that.  Face it, skills will be the last thing they will worry about because they aren't important to the Force user character type in which they portray them in the CRPG.  I don't seeing this changing at all.

As I said in D20 Jedi's are VERY skill based and D20 has a much better balance to it they'd do well to emulate. Your character may not be skill based but NPC's like the verified returning T3-M4 IS so making skills more useful will make skilled NPCs more useful. And party members are a big part of KOTOR and will definitely have a high priority. They are going to want to make your Jedi character WANT to have T3-M4 with you. So improving skills is a must for this.

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Thing is they aren't using the d20 Skill based Force system. They will be using the baseline KotOR system so skills and skill based characters are a moot point.

UNLESS they make skills more viable. Don't forget T3-M4 is in the game and he is a high skill character. I think the Devs are going to want to make him a much more memorable and popular character. Making him more useful would definitely help that. Unless you are a Dev you don't know if they are going to fix skills or not. But if the entire fan community is telling them skills need to be fixed chances are much better they will be. Skills are not a moot point unless they have been taken completely out of the game. Which I think is unlikely.

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If you don't want a Jedi around? Your character in KOTOR 2 has to be a Jedi just like KOTOR 1. And how many people didn't choose force cure/heal? Putting any points into treat injury is a total waste. Even if conceivably you had say HK and T3 and you had no force curing powers, medpacks were still so plentiful and powerful you didn't need treat injury.

I meant Jedi NPC, of course. No one is forcing you to keep them around if you feel they're too strong. An all-Jedi party is going to cruise through the game without a hitch, and droids don't even need medpaks. There are also weak party configurations to consider.

 

Let's say you don't choose cure/heal, and then use Mission and Carth as your NPCs. Just how many medpaks will you require to keep them alive? A lot more than a Jedi + droid group and way, way more than all-Jedi. Treat Injury isn't weak, Heal is overpowered. Nerf that first.

 

btw, you don't have to be a Jedi in Kotor2. You start as a Jedi, but you can build your PC as a Sith (DS powers) in preparation for the prestige classes.

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If you don't want a Jedi around? Your character in KOTOR 2 has to be a Jedi just like KOTOR 1. And how many people didn't choose force cure/heal? Putting any points into treat injury is a total waste. Even if conceivably you had say HK and T3 and you had no force curing powers, medpacks were still so plentiful and powerful you didn't need treat injury.

I meant Jedi NPC, of course. No one is forcing you to keep them around if you feel they're too strong. An all-Jedi party is going to cruise through the game without a hitch, and droids don't even need medpaks. There are also weak party configurations to consider.

 

Let's say you don't choose cure/heal, and then use Mission and Carth as your NPCs. Just how many medpaks will you require to keep them alive? A lot more than a Jedi + droid group and way, way more than all-Jedi. Treat Injury isn't weak, Heal is overpowered. Nerf that first.

 

btw, you don't have to be a Jedi in Kotor2. You start as a Jedi, but you can build your PC as a Sith (DS powers) in preparation for the prestige classes.

Even Sith can heal themselves(though in KOTOR it costs a few more force points). It's force healing others that's considered a good action(in SW universe not KOTOR.)

You may be right. Nerfing Heal may be the only option. Maybe make it impossible to use in combat? If skills are made more important an all-Jedi party will no longer cruise through the game like they do in KOTOR.

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I doubt you can become a true Sith. You'll just be a Jedi that goes DS. And even Sith can heal themselves(though in KOTOR it costs a few more force points). It's force healing others that's considered a good action(in SW universe not KOTOR.)

You may be right. Nerfing Heal may be the only option. Maybe make it impossible to use in combat? If skills are made more important an all-Jedi party will no longer cruise through the game like they do in KOTOR.

I hope you can become a true Sith because that was a let-down in the first game.

 

I'm not exactly sure what to do with heal, but at present having 3 Jedi in a party makes combat ridiculously easy. You're never in any danger most of the time, and even if the party is near death just a few quick heals and you're as good as new again. Either make it far more expensive to cast or just remove it from combat entirely.

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