Skill training via 'skill points'

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Zot Zealot

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Joined: Monday, 29th September 2014, 09:04

Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 06:17

Skill training via 'skill points'

(This has probably been suggested before.)

Rather than setting skills to train and then gaining levels, I propose that gaining experience gives "skill points" which can be spent to increase skill levels.

Basic design overview:
* Certain amount of XP gives a skill point, constant through the game
* When you earn a skill point, a log message is printed "You have earned three skill points (total: 6)."
* Skill points can be used to buy levels in skills
* Skill levels cost a variable number of points based on current level & aptitude (the same way as current)
* Skill points can be spent from the 'm' menu, which shows the cost of purchasing the next level of each skill
* You can either let skill points accumulate and spend them on-demand, or 'pre-order' skills, which will be purchased as soon as you have enough points.

Advantages over the current system:
* No more skill weighting micromanagement
* All players train one skill at a time (generally considered the preferred approach)
* No more accidental skill overtraining
* Makes the exponential cost of skill levels more visible to the player, improving their decision-making
* Encourage players to branch out ("I need save 200 skill points for armour 11, might as well put 7 points into throwing 3")

* Automatic mode would need a big rework
* Some skill points would be lost due to rounding (say you need 3.1 skill points to reach the next skill level, the game will round the cost up to 4)
* The exponential nature of skill costs means skill point numbers will get very big by endgame
* Essentially makes XP numbers visible to the player

I think the last two disadvantages are the biggest problem.
People don't reason well with ridiculously large number ranges, and changing the skill xp system to be more constant/linear is a massive game balance change.
There are some systems that show fuzzy xp values now (oka piety gain, monster danger levels) but nothing like this level of accuracy. I'm not sure that accurate XP information is particularly useful outside the skill system though, and in fact it make make clearer the value in fighting/not fighting certain enemies (eg uniques).


Tomb Titivator

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Joined: Saturday, 3rd January 2015, 22:34

Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 06:52

Re: Skill training via 'skill points'

I have to say, I think the current system provides an excellent balance of control and low maintenance. It's one of the best things about crawl.

In practice, I think a system like this would just add another failure mode for inexperienced players. Even if your xp is being wasted by autoskill, at least it's doing something immediately. The "pre-order" notion sounds interesting, but it's unclear to me how it differs from the system as it currently stands. The main advantage I see here is that you're less likely to overskill things, which is certainly nice, but the downside of not using skills points at all either through inexperience or inattention is as bad or worse, imo.

Autoskill ought to be removed and replaced by some kind of automated build order system with smart defaults for each background. The point that it's optimal to skill one thing at a time and that in practice it's a pain in the ass to do so is good, but the proximal cause of that pain is lack of a default interface for setting skill targets and schedules. I think it would be best to address that issue directly rather than as a part of a larger reform.
Last edited by mps on Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 06:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Arrhythmia, Sar

Vestibule Violator

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Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 06:53

Re: Skill training via 'skill points'

The cost of skill levels is roughly linear, not exponential. Going from lvl 26 to lvl 27 only costs 55 times as many skill points as going from lvl 0 to lvl 1.

Also, if you insist on converting the mechanics to inflate the cost of skill levels rather than the current mechanism where the rate at which you gain skill points decreases over time, late game skill levels would cap out at about 265 times as expensive as start-of-game skill levels.

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Slime Squisher

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Joined: Thursday, 12th June 2014, 06:56

Post Wednesday, 2nd September 2015, 11:30

Re: Skill training via 'skill points'

This really sounds like it would be more micromanagement than it's worth.

If you really don't like the current skill system, here's an alternative I might suggest (though you should absolutely still be able to set skills as you do now):

Instead of turning skills on or off, you set a desired level for your skills. This tells the game "I want these skills to reach these levels at the same time", and it divides skill points accordingly. Once you reach your goal you'd be prompted to set a new one. Much less micromanagement, and much finer control over skills than the current system, since the player can sort of "imagine" what they want their character to be, and the game will skill them accordingly.

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