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[A17] Progression thoughts: Perks vs Skills


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Having played through 3 horde nights now in A17 I think I have a fairly decent feel for the new progression system, and in short I don't like it very much. The problem stems somewhat from the point that I'm not an active zombie hunter, in A16 If I wanted to be a good miner I would spend my points in the perks for mining then spend days or even weeks underground hunting ore, stone, and trying not to drop tunnels of sand down on my head. Now in A17 I spend a few days hunting zombies and BAM I'm a magical mining monster...


I feel alot of the negativity around A17 is stemming from this 180 change in progression BUT I don't think it's a bad thing, here is my TLDR version of what I feel would be more fun:


First we need a clear definition of attributes, perks, and skill. I think TFP did a good job setting the attributes so let's use those: Strength, Perception, Fortitude, Agility, and Intelligence. For the perks let's look at something like Sexual Tyrannosaurus it makes you more efficient at using your stamina (when swinging a melee or tool), so it's an augment to some playstyle and optional if you don't do much that requires that use of stamina. As for Skills things that can (and imo should) get better with time, take the old Blunt Weapons skill, the more you whack things in the head the more you learn how to hit them.


So with these clearish divisors can we augment the new system to make it fun for both playstyles? Don't see why not, BUT some minor changes would need to be made: Sharable XP should be from any activity that gains xp, and leveling via routes other than killing zombies should be viable (use a risk reward scale please) currently the best non-zombie xp grind I've found is punching grass for 10 xp a shot, though the bonus xp for completing a rock or tree might push it over the lead (haven't tested it).


So now for the restructure... do nothing. The current "skills" window is a perfect place for the perks, it's clear and concise. However we should have a 2nd window that is basically the same that has our skills broken down by stat as well. This will keep the UI clean and still have easy access to both the Stat's/Perks page and the Stat's/Skills page.


So let's talk skills and how I think they should work. Since we have a stat system let's use that as the base "aptitude" for each skill set and let's take a look at 2 players: A. Has perception of 9. B. has a perception of 1. Neither have bothered using a bow but decide to pick them up for fun and stealth kills.


if we give a random max value of 100 x Attribute we see player A has a max potential with the bow of 900, while player B only has a 100. So if we apply a gradient to the skills that both are starting at 0, then in theory because player A has more apptitude he should level in that skill faster.


something like:

Skill gain = (((attribute * 100) - current skill) / 10000 ) / random gain between 0 and 0.9


This would mean that the greater your potential with a skill the faster it will level, but the closer to max the slower it will level. So in this case player A have more raw aptitude would level their skill in archery faster, and to a higher potential level. IMO this will encourage players to think about where to put the initial stat/perk points to get the most gain for their preferred play-style.


So what's the point? Well a skill could be as simple as bonus damage, or bonus dismemberment chances. However let's take a look at a skill for the intelligence tree since that is focused on crafting:


Blacksmithing: This skill would require a touch more fancy code but imagine having a dedicated blacksmith where the skill gain in their tree meant a more efficient user. at 900ish skill your blacksmith could make maybe 4 forged iron for the price of 1 made by a skill 1 blacksmith. This would make your resources go further!


Chemist: Gain bonus items from recipes based on skill. (4 gunpowder from one crafting!)


I think you get the idea. So I will close with this list of purposed skills based on tree:


Strength: Clubs, Knives, Axes, Picks, Hammers

Perception: Rifles, Pistols, Crossbows, Bows, Scavenging

Fortitude: Light Armor, Heavy Armor, Sprinting (-stamina drain, maybe call it training and have it apply to all stamina use?), Farmer (Use less fertilizer or gain bonus crops)

Agility: Dodging, Falling, Running (speed boost?), Safe Fall (-damage when exceeding safe fall height from perk?)

Intelligence: Smithing, Chemist, Fletcher, Gunsmith, Trapper (make extra traps)



Hope to get some Feedback on this idea to help grow the inter-complexity of the game so we can work in groups and specialize without having to be sub-specced into mass zombie slaughter for fun and profit...


Thanks for the Update A17, really looking forward to it being out of the Beta Branch,


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I totally agree with you and your ideas, I love the new update and all, but I seriously miss Alpha 16s leveling system. I find in Alpha 17 you have to decide whether to go out and hunt zombies to level up so you can get the perks you need to make a base, but then on night 7 have no base because you spent all your time trying to level, or spend time making a base with no perks, no upgrades and hope to be able to kill the horde on night 7. I could be wrong and maybe I just suck at the game.

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I'm with you and honestly, I think they should just remove the Skill Menu altogether. I enjoyed the organic leveling of the previous alphas, and hoped they would simply improve it, not abandon it completely. In my opinion, the skill menu itself is just a lazy feature; it contains skills, perks, and recipes -- all things they've already proven they can put in the game world. They've moved too much of the game out of the game world and into a point-and-click menu. With a little creativity, it can all be in the gameplay itself. It is an uncommon RPG mechanic, which I like. State of Decay 1 and 2 do it quite well, and I hoped they would go to town with it here. Skill menus IMO are tired, same old RPG mechanics and I really feel they abandoned something that could've been great, needed improvement, sure, but the downsides could've always been mitigated. The journey and adventure part of this game is fun; clicking around in some menu is not interesting. It's like, I know they're better than this.

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