Skill system 2

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This article collects information regarding the conceptualisation of the gameplay of The Mana World

This proposal has been accepted

The development team has discussed the contents of this article and has decided that it should be implemented as described. But the implementation is not finished yet. You can help to bring the features described here into the game.

This article has the following gaps:

  • Solve some disputes regarding exp distribution and skill degeneration

Preamble

This system has been designed as a levelless Learning by Doing System for a real time action combat system. The main goals were:

  • Intuitivity The Players should be able to fully understand the system after a few hours of playing and should be able to create effective characters without having to study guides on the internet. Ruining a character beyond recovery by making errors in the character development should be impossible.
  • Control Despite the above principle the player should still be able to influence the development of his character by changing his playing style.
  • Customization Every character should be individual. There shouldn't be uber character stereotypes that excel above all other characters. A premise for this goal is a well thought out balance between the different skills.
  • Encourage Team-play Players should be motivated to play together and help each other. To reach this it has to be impossible to create characters that are good at everything at the same time so that everyone needs party members with different character types to counterbalance the weaknesses of his character. Pushing up low characters quickly with the help of high level characters should not be too easy.
  • Negligibility Raising the skills of the character should be an important part of every RPG but it shouldn't be the main concern of the player. He should focus on the parts of the game that are fun like exploring and questing while his character becomes stronger and more adapted to his playing style along the way. Repeating the same task over and over again should not be the most effective way to raise a character quickly like it is in most online roleplaying games nowadays.

Overview

The character has a wide variety of skills that represent the competence of the character at performing different tasks. Each skill has its own level and experience count (exp). Whenever the player accomplishes a task by using his skills the used skills gain exp. The amount of exp depends on the difficulty of the task. When the exp reaches a fixed amount the skill gains a level making it more efficient. The amount of exp needed for a levelup increases exponentially with every levelup of the skill.

The player has the following skills:

  • Weapon Skills The characters have a wide range of skills that represent his abilities with various types of weapons like axes, swords, knives, bows, pole arms and so on. Increasing these skills increases the weapon damage, hit rate and the palette of active combat moves the character can use with that weapon. See Special Attacks, Damage calculation and Hitting and dodging for details. Every weapon type should represent a unique fighting style and should be useful in different situations to encourage players to specialize in different weapons.
  • Crafting Skills These skills cover a wide range of tasks from creating consumable and equip-able items to repairing of damaged equipment to service skills like healing wounds or status conditions.
  • Offensive Magic Because the magic is separated into 8 different elements i thought that it would just be logical to do the same with the skills necessary to use them. Increasing these skills allows to cast more advanced spells, makes offensive spells inflict more damage and allows to cast less advanced spells more frequently. See Magic system for details.
  • Defensive Magic I decided to separate the magical skill levels of the skills that target friendly characters from those that target enemies for reasons of balancing the exp gain. The reasons will be explained later in the section "Indirect Combat Skills".

Exp Gain

Crafting Skills

The most boring part of most learning by doing systems is the crafting part. We have to create a crafting system that does not force the player to repeat the same mouse clicks over and over again for hours to level up quickly like many crafting systems do. We have to challenge the player on an intellectual level. I would suggest to discuss the topic in another article. See the item creation system

Direct Combat Skills

This chapter addresses the exp gain rules for offensive magic skills and the weapon skills.

The only way to increase these skills is by using them in combat to kill monsters. Every monster is worth a fixed amount of exp and has a challenge rating. The challenge rating represents the average level of the main skills the character should have when he wants to face the monster while the exp amount should represent how long it takes to kill the monster. When a monster is defeated, the following things happen:

  1. the experience is divided up between all characters that took part in the fight.
  2. then the exp each player gets is divided up equally on all skills that the character used enough in that combat to reward exp for them. To reward exp for weapon or magic skills the character has to inflict at least 10% of the total damage by using weapons/spells from that skill category.
  3. when the challenge rating of the monster is higher than the level of the skill the exp that skill receives is divided by Challenge Rating / Skill Level. The reason for this is that it would otherwise be too easy to train low skills at high monsters by using a high skill to inflict the needed 90% damage (even another character could do that) and then finish the last 10% with the low skill.

To prevent killstealing only the character who attacked a monster first and those who are in the same party should be able to gain exp from a monster. When a monster is not attacked for a fixed amount of time (suggestion: 10 seconds) it becomes free-for-all again and characters from other parties can attack the monster to qualify for a share of the experience. Characters who attack during the killsteal protection time should subtract an even share of exp when calculating how much exp every character gets but the skills of the killstealer don't receive the exp. This is another procedure to make it difficult to push up low chars with the help of high chars.

Indirect Combat Skills

Indirect combat skill that do not weaken the enemy but strengthen the allies like heal or buff spells are difficult to implement into the above concept. First it is difficult to rate their importance for the outcome of the fight. Second, healing spells might be cast not during but after a fight. For those reasons I would suggest to treat them more like crafting skills than combat skills. In the end it is not that different if you cure a wound or repair an armor or if you forge a shield of metal with your hammer or if you enchant a shield of magic with your wand.

The amount of exp gained by healing spells should depend on the number of Hit Points healed. So healing people who already are at full health does not give any exp. How many exp points for how many hit points is a question of balance that should be solved during the alpha test.

The exp for curing status ailments should depend on the type of ailment and how hard it is to cure it. Stronger monsters should have much nastier poisons and curses that are much harder to cure and are worth more exp points for the healer than weak ones. For that reason every status alignment should have a level. When a character attempts to heal an ailment a random number between 0 and his skill level is rolled. When the outcome is higher than the level of the ailment the ailment is healed. To make it a little bit more tricky some ailments like diseases or certain curses could be infectious. That means that when the healer fails at curing he has to do a second test and when he fails again he is infected, too.

Buff spells that increase the strength of other characters should give a fixed amount of exp. To prevent the players from casting those spells on everything that moves instead of reserving their use to combat in which they are needed I would suggest to make ingredients necessary to cast those spells. Those should be easy enough to obtain to use them when the skills are necessary but hard enough to prevent people from wasting them just to gain exp.

"Forgetting" of unused skills

The above system contains one major drawback. We want the players to specialize on single skills so that they have to work together to be successful. But the system described here would make it possible to learn every important skill so that the character can play completely alone and doesn't have to interact with other people. So we have to make it difficult to train and maintain a large palette of different skills.

I had a long discussion with different people to find a solution for this problem and we came to the conclusion that the following method is the best:

Whenever a skill receives exp half of the gained exp are deducted from a random other skill making it possible to lose levels in it. This won't be a problem for characters with a very small palette of skills because it would almost always hit skills that are on level 0 anyway. But the more different skills the character tries to master the more difficult will it be to keep them all on a constant level. The players that try anyway will eventually give up and concentrate on the skills they really want while letting the other skills degenerate slowly.

Implementation status

Implemented:

  • Skill experience and level gain through combat is implemented as described with the exception of applying the challenge rating modificator.
  • Killsteal protection
  • Weapon skills

Missing:

  • Different exp by challenge rating isn't implemented yet.
  • Magic skills
  • Crafting skills


Comments

In the preamble, it states that team play should be encouraged, but some parts of the plan for do so sound too much like railroading people to work together. Specifically, it's the part that says "everyone needs party members with different character types to counterbalance the weaknesses of his character." Team play should not be forced, or else the players will resent it. Bobby Jim 16:04, 22 January 2008 (CET)

What they mean is when you start a party having a good balance of characters is recommended. — Jaxad0127 16:45, 22 January 2008 (CET)
MMORPGs are all about player interaction and playing together. So the gameplay has to be designed specifically for this purpose. Encouraging specialized characters that benefit from working in a team where everyone can hide his weaknesses behind the strenghts of the others is a concept that has proven to be very popular over 30 years of roleplaying game history. --Crush 08:21, 23 January 2008 (CET)