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So I've been thinking of starting a few threads about stuff the community would like to see in the upcoming expansions/DLCs going forward under different various topics.

 

I think it's safe to assume we're going to be seeing 4 DLC's/Expansions at a minimum, due to the level increase increment stated in the White March Part 1. If it's raising the cap by 2 to 14, it can probably be expected that Part 2 will raise it to 16, and I doubt we'll see a stop there and assume that the final level cap will be at 20.

 

So that's a lot of content coming down the pipe, and plenty of time to suggest/opine/discuss stuff we might like to see added to the game now that we've had some time with it.

 

So . . . NEW SKILLS!

 

One of the things I'm especially wondering about is how the Skill system is going to stay balanced as the higher levels come in, especially since the current soft cap of 10 levels in any skill is more than enough for anything you could want to use that skill for.

 

I mean, if you max out Mechanics at 10, while there may be some new level 10 traps and locks here and there, are they really going to be adding level 11 and 12 locks and traps? While Lore going up makes more sense (for higher spell level scrolls), what's the real benefit for going higher than 10 in Athletics or Stealth. At those levels you're already way beyond the skill's average utility bonus.

 

But you're still going to get six points for skills every level, and so it seems like every character is going to just max out all their skills by the time they reach level 20 once all 4 expansions are done . . . unless new skills are added.

 

Adding new skills is really the only way I can foresee making the Skill system going forward into the higher levels stay relevant, so what are they going be? What do you want to see? What would make for a good skill in PoE that isn't already in the game that would match how the skill system in PoE works already (as in, there's both a definite Conversation possible effect AND a definite in-game mechanical effect, either passive or active)?

 

For myself, the skill idea I've been mulling over is skill to affect the trading aspect of the game (not that you can't get enough money already, though I tend to think the in-game economy needs to get a bit of a rebalance to maybe make it tougher to get quite so much money as you can currently outside of quest rewards and potentially Stronghold taxes, and there DEFINITELY needs to be a system in place for merchants to clear their inventories since they pile up with the junk you sell them). Mostly because trade skills always feels very tabletop-style RPG to me.

 

At the same time, since Perception doesn't seem to affect mechanical detection values (only conversation detection, whereas MEchanics affects ALL other detection values) a skill that ALSO makes some sense to raise there could also make sense.

 

So I'm thinking something along the lines of Appraisal or Assessment might be a good idea for a skill. It could give a direct bonus to cash values (both buying and selling) when trading goods worth over 100 coppers (so it won't work to help raise values on a single sword, but it can on a decent set of armor or a fine or better weapon), and it will split off the detection of hidden caches from being related to Mechanics (which makes sense for detecting traps, but not necessarily anything else that's hidden) and possibly Stealthed enemies (if they're ever added to the game, which would be pretty cool if they were in my opinion).

 

Now I have read from earlier Fallout related stuff that Mr. Sawyer doesn't like boring "Barter" skills that just give you a flat cash modifier. So I'm thinking Appraisal/Assessment could be related to a new, more active ability - Haggle. A per rest ability that allows the player to attempt to raise or lower the prices on a trade with a merchant based on a skill check: of the Appraisal skill. The idea being that when you make a trade with a merchant, rather than just buying the goods at the agreed upon price as normal, you can also try to haggle with them instead, and then the game will make a roll here - if it fails, the price you pay goes up rather than down by the potential modifier, if it succeeds you get your Appraisal modifier added to the transaction and if you critically succeed you get your modifier doubled. Haggling would be an alternate option to just buying and not back out-able (once you select it your stuck with the results), and like I said, you'd only get to use it a certain number of times per rest (based on the PC's Appraisal skill value). The total potential modifier amount would be affected by the whole party's total Appraisal skill (so there's a reason to potentially raise it for characters other than your PC).

 

It would look something like this:

Appraisal Rank 1 - 1 Haggle Attempt per rest at a 5% modifier, Detect Level 1 Hidden Objects/Creatures

Appraisal Rank 2 - 1 Haggle Attempt per rest at a 10% modifier, Detect Level 2 Hidden Objects/Creatures

Appraisal Rank 3 - 2 Haggle Attempts per rest at a 13% modifier, Detect Level 3 Hidden Objects/Creatures

Appraisal Rank 4 - 2 Haggle Attempts per rest at a 16% modifier, Detect Level 4 Hidden Objects/Creatures

Appraisal Rank 5 - 3 Haggle Attempts per rest at 19% modifier, Detect Level 5 Hidden Objects/Creatures

Appraisal Rank 6 - 3 Haggle attempts per rest at 21% modifier, Detect Level 6 Hidden Objects/Creatures

Appraisal Rank 7 - 4 Haggle Attempts per rest at 23% modifier, Detect Level 7 Hidden Objects/Creatures

Appraisal Rank 8 - 4 Haggle Attempts per rest at 25% modifier, Detect Level 8 Hidden Objects/Creatures

Appraisal Rank 9 - 5 Haggle Attempts per rest at 27% modifier, Detect Level 9 Hidden Objects/Creatures

Appraisal Rank 10 - 5 Haggle Attempts per rest at 30% modifier, Detect Level 10 Hidden Objects/Creatures

 

But then, that's just one idea for potential new skills, what are yours?

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I honestly can't think of a game, no matter how hard they try, where bartering of any sort isn't basically a noob trap.

 

On the other hand, I think giving a bump to increase the chances of finding more/better items is a nifty idea that could be tweaked to be more than boring without being completely overpowered. Also, using it to get more options for sale out of merchants gives a benefit that comes with a cost. After all, you get to see some shiny things but you must still pay for them. That allows more exciting stuff with an offset for for the advantage. Unlike simply finding better stuff, which means the items can't be toooo powerful, you have access to even better things for which you must pay. ...And the trick to money in virtually every game I've played isn't the ability to accumulated it. It's the ability to part with it at judicious and opportune moments.

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I think athletics is the only thing that doesn't scale properly to higher levels, everything else scales quite well.

Even then, you can have arbitrary high skill checks in scripted interactions to make athletics or other skills worthwhile, so you can always easily give incentives to maximize them.

 

Besides, since you gain a fixed number of skill points per level but the costs grow quadratically, the game automatically favours raising low stats over specializing too heavily. Besides balancing, I'm sure that this was setup to make skills still relevant in the high levels, because you need to raise the level cap by quite some margin to make an additional point in a skill possible at all, diminishing the need to come up with higher skill-checks in the long run.

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Besides, since you gain a fixed number of skill points per level but the costs grow quadratically, the game automatically favours raising low stats over specializing too heavily. Besides balancing, I'm sure that this was setup to make skills still relevant in the high levels, because you need to raise the level cap by quite some margin to make an additional point in a skill possible at all, diminishing the need to come up with higher skill-checks in the long run.

I actually agree with this post, but I also think that having new skills could enhance the game. The only thing is to have skills that make sense and are both useful and interesting. I wouldn't want them to include new skills unless those skills added something substantial to the game. Otherwise, just put the effort into doing something else in x-pacs and sequels.


Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

Join the revelry at the Obsidian Plays channel:
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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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Besides, since you gain a fixed number of skill points per level but the costs grow quadratically, the game automatically favours raising low stats over specializing too heavily. Besides balancing, I'm sure that this was setup to make skills still relevant in the high levels, because you need to raise the level cap by quite some margin to make an additional point in a skill possible at all, diminishing the need to come up with higher skill-checks in the long run.

I actually agree with this post, but I also think that having new skills could enhance the game. The only thing is to have skills that make sense and are both useful and interesting. I wouldn't want them to include new skills unless those skills added something substantial to the game. Otherwise, just put the effort into doing something else in x-pacs and sequels.

 

Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm thinking too ultimately. I mean, the skills that are all in the game have plenty of use (survival feels like it could have a more active effect sometimes but as a passive skill it CAN be very useful if you plan it right, especially for fighters) and they cover almost all of the bases I can generally think of, but I'm also trying to think long term here too.

 

If there are going to be four expansions raising the level cap by two levels each, and each level gives you 6 skill points that's 4x2x6=48 more skill points per character by the end of a full playthrough down the road. While the costs of the skills to rank up do get quadratically higher, it's still going to mean that by level 20, most every character's going to either be having sixes - sevens all around or max out a couple of their skills. While some skills certainly have value to be maxed out for one or two characters - you're always going to want to have one person with maxed mechanics, and one scout with rank 10 stealth will always be handy - often you just don't need to max a lot of them for the most part, especially with Athletics hitting diminishing returns very quickly.

 

Having one or two new skills will bring back more of the deliberate character building choice into the picture - do you specialize this character, or make them a generalist all around?

 

But yes, whatever skills that might be added would have to bring some true utility or allow for playing the game in a new way or with a new angle, or why add them at all?

 

So the question becomes, what's a good skill to add to PoE in addition to what's already here - Stealth, Athletics, Lore, Mechanics, and Survival - and which isn't already a mechanic based on primary stats - like concentration or conversation modifiers that effectively account for most "social skills"?

 

Since it's a CRPG of a very tabletop mold, I'm trying to think of what's in your standard tabletop game that's not represented in PoE too.

 

So far, all I've really got is Appraisal. It's a bit weak perhaps, but it could be multi-functional for any character type and useful if it did multiple things like I was describing above. Healing/First Aid would be a good skill to have, but it's already a Talent (though I think it would probably be better served as a skill that uses a limited use item). There aren't mounts, so anything like Animal Handling or Ride is out. Crafting would be cool, but most of what could be crafted  as a skill is already available freely in the game for the most part, and so would only make sense to be added literally to create weapons or armor.

 

Grappling could be a skill. But that would involve adding some kind of complicated grappling combat sub-system and would be entirely dependent on that (in addition to maybe modifying climbing interactions). If someone had an idea on how that could work I'd be down to hear it. I'd have to think of a way for that to work for a while.

 

There could be a skill that kind of functions as a general modifier to the engagement system - Tactics. It could raise disengagement defense and add extra disengagement attacks for enemies that disengage as you raise it generally, and allow for enhanced awareness on enemy spell aiming and movement pathing outside of combat (when in search mode you could see little directional arrows coming out of wandering enemies showing you where they're headed before they move there). I dunno, that's sort of a nebulous add on idea.

 

I dunno. I feel like there's at least one potentially good skill out there, and want to see if anyone else has an idea.

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