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The Entrapment and Anti-Creativity Nature of Level-Based Weapon Professioncy


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tldr:  

 

* Soulbound weapon.  Not stuck with 1 weapon.  Can keep training weapons even at max level

 

* Not Skyrim.  Not 30-tier journey for each weapon.  Just same 3~5 tier of profeciency like in D&D, maybe level capped so you can't get to tier 5 at level 3.

 

* Tactical challenge like Soulbound weapon.  Not "wack a rock for 10hr."

 

 

Pillars's take on weapon focus by grouping things into categories was a step forward.  It reduced the damage.  Level-based Proficiency system ENTRAPS the player and deters future opportunity of fun with cool weapons they didn't anticipate getting.

 

Weapon proficiency should be USAGE-based or at least something like Soulbound weapon in White March.  Most importantly, not locked to character leveling system.  So yes, if your character never used a katana in 20 levels, he will start out with no proficiency with this super cool samurai sword.  But he can embark on a personal quest to train with that weapon.  Maybe change the party buffer's spell selection to compensate and change engagement tactic.  That is emergent gameplay.   In a level-locked proficiency system, he'd either pop the magic retcon respec potion (meta-gaming) or trash that weapon (disappointment).

 

Of course, i'm not saying go crazy like Skyrim.  No body wants to gimp themselves for the next 3hour of gameplay instead of respec.  But if it's something reasonably quick so it's a mini-challenge and not a drag, then that's cool.  Soulbound weapons were good.  I'd prefer that over level-locked proficiency-pick any day.

Edited by SSH83
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Or you could just accept that this is a game where you need to plan out your character choices before hand and that creates it's own kind of fun.

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Pillars's take on weapon focus by grouping things into categories was a step forward.  It reduced the damage.  Level-based Proficiency system ENTRAPS the player and deters future opportunity of fun with cool weapons they didn't anticipate getting.

 

Isn't that just what you get when you train at something but later a new opportunity comes along that requires additional training? Gee, that's tough bud. :p

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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I find the system you are proposing more limited that what is suggested. No I will not grind for 20 hours to retrain my character. It makes more sense that paying for it in a tavern but it's just a waste of my time. As it is a party based game I don't find new cool weapons to be ever wasted. Sure, my main character won't use this cool mace but someone else might.

 

I found myself less willing to switch weapons in Tyranny as I knew my character won't be as effective with it, than a weapon he/she used from the very start. That said, weapon of choice is something I consider when I start developing character so it is not a dilemma I find myself playing in very often.

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Is it? He says "usage based", which imo, is the same technique just applied to a different aspect of the game.

 

Yes, an aspect where it would make sense. Not that I totally agree with him, but it isn't as stupid as a hopping around to get better athletic skills.

 

Personally I would prefer to get your weapon skills by learning from a master. But I guess 99% of all players would hate that.

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Usage-scaling weapon prof in an iso-party-based rpg is not a good thig imo. Too time-consuming especially when spread-out in so many characters! Better just say "ok I'm going for weapon A" from starters (or mid-game) and stick with it, expecting the devs have made a good job on making interesting weapons for each category.

Again, usage-scaling is good thing for action games with single character.

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The plainly implemented "usage based" reminds me of Oblivion...

Create a spell that deals 1 damage to self, heals 1 damage to self and restores some mana over time. Put a weight on the casting key, and go for a walk. Come back and voila, you are a master in restoration and destruction now. 

 

There could be a different approach through:

- use different weapons as you like, be it even 20 different weapon types

- each swing (or kill, or 10 inflicted damage, whatever) adds some proficiency points to that weapon type

- once your total amount of points (between all types) passes some threshold, you can get a proficiency++ in 1 out of 5 most used weapon types. 

 

The pros are: you get your "usage based" for immersion or whatever you wanted it for; plus you are not chained to a single weapon type.

But then again, how do you remove the "drag"? Put threshold low? Then why just not make character choose the proficiency at character creation or some specific level?

What is the goal of "usage based" progression exactly?

 


There is also another thing to think about. If I understood it right: there will be one weapon type <-> one proficiency modal relation.

What if I want Penetrating Shot with a Blunderbuss, but it is bound to Warbow?

Or for example Pistols were mentioned to have a modal that allows to use them like clubs. But why not use regular clubs instead? Or if these pistol-clubs are better, then who will use the regular ones?

Edited by MaxQuest
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RPG is based on up and downs and having to adapt to a situation with that certain build. Sorry if I sound rude right now but having a way to adapt at everything its anti creativity, won't force the player to develop a personal strategy to attend their build identity.

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Given the choice, I'd rather metagame than grind; the former at least respects my time.

 

Besides, you get more proficiences while you level, so you can just put the next proficiency into katana once you find a cool one. If you find a shiny Katana by the time there are no more enemies around in a usage based system, you're locked out of any advancement as well, so both systems ultimately share the same problem.

 

Have you played Tyranny? If yes, did you change your weapon when you found a cool one of a type that you didn't use yet?

I played it, and I never had any incentive to abandon my highest weapon skill.

Edited by Doppelschwert
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Given the choice, I'd rather metagame than grind; the former at least respects my time.

 

Besides, you get more proficiences while you level, so you can just put the next proficiency into katana once you find a cool one. If you find a shiny Katana by the time there are no more enemies around in a usage based system, you're locked out of any advancement as well, so both systems ultimately share the same problem.

 

Have you played Tyranny? If yes, did you change your weapon when you found a cool one of a type that you didn't use yet?

I played it, and I never had any incentive to abandon my highest weapon skill.

I have, and yes--on my first playthrough I switched weapon types to bows when I got the artifact bow. It was worth it.

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* Soulbound weapon.

 

* Not Skyrim.

 

* Tactical challenge.  Not "wack a rock for 10hr."

 

I wish people actually read the post before commenting.  It'd actually lead to more fruitful discussions.  Sigh...  It seems people's brain turn off after they see "usage-based" then goes off hating it.  Then people saying it'll take 30 hour when I already said in the post that nobody wants skyrim's 3-hr-grind of crap.  

Soulbound weapon.  I thought RPG forum had people who can read, but... oh well.  I guess I have to use the keywords system and not bother forming complete sentences since that require too much attention span.

Edited by SSH83
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Have you played Tyranny? If yes, did you change your weapon when you found a cool one of a type that you didn't use yet?

I played it, and I never had any incentive to abandon my highest weapon skill.

I didn't play Tyranny.  Why does it matter?  Pillars of Eternity and White March had plenty of interesting weapons that are fun to use.

 

The real question is.  How many of those interesting soulbound weapon did players miss out on because of the focus system?  The point is to reduce that conflict of "do i try this weapon or do i stick to my +15 bonus?"

Edited by SSH83
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There's something else that is "wrong" about debating on usage-leveling prof in this specific forum: we know for sure the game's not gonna go this way. It could be cool in a neutral rpg forum were we could discuss it in a "philosophical" way. "Should we gain profficiency by using our gear or should we just pick from a list?". Deadfire's no way gonna go with usage-leveling prof.

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Have you played Tyranny? If yes, did you change your weapon when you found a cool one of a type that you didn't use yet?

I played it, and I never had any incentive to abandon my highest weapon skill.

I didn't play Tyranny.  Why does it matter?  Pillars of Eternity and White March had plenty of interesting weapons that are fun to use.

 

The real question is.  How many of those interesting soulbound weapon did players miss out on because of the focus system?  The point is to reduce that conflict of "do i try this weapon or do i stick to my +15 bonus?"

 

 

Tyranny has a usage based weapon system. Each weapon has a governing skill which is responsible for the accuracy of the weapon, and the skill grows by using the weapon type against enemies. This is more or less what you are suggesting, as it replaces the weapon focus talents. Tyranny has it's own share of problems, but it's closer to PoE than most games, so maybe you'd like to give it a try to experience the system for yourself.

 

Having played both PoE and Tyranny, I don't think it makes a difference which system you use for the reason I pointed out - once you are in the endgame of Tyranny, there is no way you can get a second weapon skill as high as the one you used throughout the game (assuming you play normally and don't exploit mechanics to grind, which you seem to be agreeing on), and you'd be gimping yourself as well until the new skill is on an appropriate level. You can switch during early and midgame, but by the time enemies grow scarce, it's a heavy trade-off. On the other hand, even if you don't want to respec in PoE, you can just learn a second weapon focus as well to cover more ground - I usually run out of mandatory talents by the end of midgame anyway.

 

Last, it seems you are not aware that any weapon focus already applies to all soulbound weapons in PoE, so the conflict of soul bound vs +15 to hit is mechanically not in the game. The game does a poor job on explaining this (it doesn't), but you can verify it by looking at the ingame stats, and it's intended by Josh exactly for the sake of not having this conflict in the first place.

 

EDIT:

If you look at Josh's tumblr, he answered a question about proficiencies in Deadfire which implies that they are binary and merely unlock the modal ability, so proficiencies shouldn't really lock you out of using any weapon you find.

 

https://jesawyer.tumblr.com/post/162992926786/hi-josh-was-wandering-about-weapon-specialisation

https://jesawyer.tumblr.com/post/162997737386/some-of-those-abilities-dont-necessarily-sound

Edited by Doppelschwert
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How many of those interesting soulbound weapon did players miss out on because of the focus system?

 

(edit: Doppelschwert clearly beat me to the punch here, not that I noticed this while typing my response on and off for a while)

 

None, if the players in question actually knew how soulbound weapons work. Accuracy bonuses from any sort of proficiency apply to the use of soulbound weapons regardless of whether you're actually proficient with the weapon type they belong to. 

 

The idea of progressing proficiency based on in-game hallmarks in the vein of soulbound weapons (e.g., kill X number of enemies, land X number of critical hits, etc.) could be interesting, but that can lock players out of the opportunity to advance their skills with particular weapon types as well, particularly towards the end of the game. Conversely, if the hallmarks are too easy to hit, then you'll just end up with everyone becoming proficient in the use of every weapon type they have any inclination to be proficient in, in which case the concept becomes pretty meaningless. It's likely hard to balance in either case, especially taking into account the divide between completionists and those who stay focused on the storyline.

 

Another thing to keep in mind is that proficiencies in Deadfire do not provide accuracy bonuses like they used to. They introduce modal abilities for the weapons you use, like Dangerous Implement for Scepters or Savage Attack for Greatswords. Even without proficiency with a given weapon type, you won't be incompetent while using it. You just won't have access to weapon-specific options which, given the tradeoffs some or all of them may have, you may not want to use in the first place.

 

Edit: And to make this post less than 100% redundant, I'll mention that the Black Jacket fighter subclass is based on adaptable weapon use, gaining more proficiencies than other classes. That might be of interest to you.

Edited by blotter
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What is the goal of "usage based" progression exactly?4

In theory it makes the game more immersive and "realistic".  The more you do a given action, the better you get at it.  As long as you keep it from being gamey (IE: Your 1 damage, 1 heal, mp restore spell), it can work really well.....

 

Well..... as long as it is a single character game, not a party based top down view, real time with pause game, where enemies don't even respawn.

 

Seriously, this doesn't work for the type of game Eternity is, and is actual counter to a lot of the design philosophies.  I still find it odd they officially included a "retrainer", if people wanted it let them use mods for it, they were there day one.

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In theory it makes the game more immersive and "realistic".  The more you do a given action, the better you get at it.

I was hoping there are some additional advantages :)

Don't get me wrong through, I find immersion being very important, even through I usually min-max.

 

As long as you keep it from being gamey (IE: Your 1 damage, 1 heal, mp restore spell), it can work really well.....

Many games implemented it somewhat askew...

WoW also had the usage based 'weapon skill'. It was especially funny to go in the wild as max-level warlock and auto-attack with {dagger, sword, staff and wand} in order to max the respective skill.

 

Seriously, this doesn't work for the type of game Eternity is, and is actual counter to a lot of the design philosophies.  I still find it odd they officially included a "retrainer", if people wanted it let them use mods for it, they were there day one.

Agreed, a plain 'usage based' progression would not suite PoE1/Deadfire.

It could be interesting through, if game designers would find a way to remove the chore/grind part, and add some tactical or strategical planning instead. Having an extra decision-layer doesn't hurt, but adds to game depth.

 

As for retrainer... as usual there are pros and cons.

The main pro was already named by MortyTheGobbo. While the main con (immersion aside) for me is: you can make a character that especially optimized for early game; and later respec for the late game build; and if the difference is sensible enough, retraining does no longer feel optional (if you minmax) rather a must. 

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i thought this was a different type of discussion. one about the awful and lazy level locked items system. still, both systems have their merit but in a purely RP light, using whatever weapon you find is bad... and unrealistic actually.

my character is a swordsman; always was, always will be and he never trained in the use of other weapons. he has a decent sword and finds a very good mace and a godlike axe. while the stats are good, he never learned how to use these weapons and it takes years of training to master any one weapon so just grabbing an axe and swinging it is a bad idea and while the mace takes little skill, its still used in a much different way than a sword and that could leave him out of balance (due to a conflict between his intentions and his muscle memory) so he puts both aside and waits for luck to put a better sword in his way.

 

one other way of simulating muscle memory would be a soft cap. each weapon skill can go up to 100 and you can have a total of 250 weapon points. you master sword and spear and when you try to master the mace, for every point over 50 in the mace, 1 point will be deducted from one of the other 2 skills. as your body gets more accustomed to the use of the mace, the muscle memory you built for the other weapons is being replaced by the habits formed from swinging a weapon that requires a different set of muscles to be effective

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The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

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While the main con (immersion aside) for me is: you can make a character that especially optimized for early game; and later respec for the late game build; and if the difference is sensible enough, retraining does no longer feel optional (if you minmax) rather a must.

 

You don't have to use it that way. I always thought of it as an emergency exit and the only bad decisions I ever take back are those that I made, because I didn't understand the underlying mechanic of the game. OK, sometimes I take something back because I feel treated unfair by the game. :) But never just to optimize my character. If my character invested lots of skill points into a useless skill, ... well than he/she is interested in useless skills. The existance of a button does not force you to use it or at least you can create your own rules on how and when to use it/not use it.

Edited by Lord_Mord
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Unfortunately unless you remove the concept of meanigfull specific weapon profficiency altogether there is no perfect solution to this issue. The main problem with usage based improvement is it encourages pointless grinding and locks out future change of direction. The main problem with ability/skill based level up advancement is it encourages meta-gaming. Then main problem with a respec based solution is (for me anyway) a character is a charcter and it is immersion breaking to just turn them instantly into another character for a bag of gold or w/e, I don't think I've ever used respec options a system in an RPG.

 

The meta-gaming problem is that there is a huge temptation to look up all the weapons in the game and where/when you can find them in order to plan out your character's development paths optimally in advance, a temptation hard to resist for anyone whao has experienced selecting a weapon profficiency andf then immediately found a top drawer item from a different category they can't really justify using now.

 

A seconday problem is that the game cannot be balanced for pre-knowledge of items and their locations so must perforce be balanced for slightly sub-optimal character equipment loadouts or initial blind playthroughs will be extra difficult. As a result further playthoughs become even easier as this pre-knowledge comes into effect.

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