This post serves more as an idea dump really. There are no fancy algorithms or screen shots, just my thoughts on the current state and future of the Skill System.
Players can acquire skills as they level up – these skills can be used through out the game to help aid the player in various ways. From using hyper-advanced weapons in battle to tending to their own wounds gained through exploration. As of this post, there are 8 skills fully integrated into the game, with another 5-6 being implemented during beta.
Some skills have a maximum level at which the player can no longer invest “Skill Points” (SP) in. Most maxing out at around 5, while some going to 10 or 20, each skill requiring the player to spend their hard earned SP to level up while granting even bigger and better bonuses. In addition, some skills are limited to a minimum player level.
Active vs. Passive Skills
One of the challenges in designing this system has been the UI and when/where a player can use a certain skill. For example, if a player has the “First Aid” skill, where should the icon to use this skill appear? This aspect of the game is still being worked through, and while I don’t feel like a ‘skill bar’ is appropriate (see: Diablo or WoW), there needs to be an easy to understand and locate method for using such skills.
For the passive skills, these often wont require any sort of prompt or UI icon – Gamble, for example, is a passive skill that is always ‘on’ when a player enters the Casino.
Another decision that was in the air constantly was how to acquire skills outside of the level / SP system. In the game exists a University where players can take classes for a fee. Some thoughts centered around whether or not to allow any skill to be obtained and the University vs. the SP system. In the end, I decided to split the system and leave the University as a mechanic strictly for progressing through the Employment ladder/tree and future concepts. Though I quite like the idea of simplifying how players obtain skills / knowledge, there would have been massive efforts in balancing how players obtain the financial means to pay for the classes.
Class Related Skills
Another idea I have swirling around deals with class related skills – skills that only certain classes can acquire. This helps create good division between the classes and adds a bit of uniqueness, though I don’t want to pigeon hole players into a certain role.