Stats, skills and perks system

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kompan posted this 19 September 2017

Level ups, skills, perks and soldier stats' progression (the discussion has started in "world scaling" thread)

 

In my opinion, one of the most fun elements of any game is progressing to gain new cool skills and use them. It represents change, improvement, adaptability and a mean to beat increased difficulty the game throws at us. Of course different games handle this in a different way:

Xenonauts (in the spirit of the original X-COM, I believe) improves soldiers' stats a little, so as they gain experience they become stronger and faster. All soldiers can use the same weapons and equipment but they can become overloaded with heavy stuff - which limits mobility. 

Modern XCOM converts soldier XP gained from missions into promotions (level up) and then you can choose skills specific for each rank and class. You can use learned abilities but some skills and weapons are exclusive to selected class and cannot be used by another soldiers. Stats like will and aim are also improved a bit.

XCOM2 as far as I know, introduces training and re-training soldiers to learn new skills or redistribute them again in selected skill tree. In addition there are some hidden perks that may be discovered for given soldier.

Role-playing usually involves completing quests and killing monsters to gain XP, then the character levels up and may distribute some amount of points to improve stats like strength, agility or constitution. Some of the weapons and equipment can be used only with high enough skill - bows with dexterity, greatswords with strength - or character class (thief's dagger and mage's staff). Sometimes you can dual-class or redistribute stat points again for a different build.

But we all already know that

So what's the expected skill system in Phoenix Point? We already know there will be class system, but what about the special abilities?

I think that modern XCOM's system is simple and easy to understand but quite unrealistic. For example, we have soldier that takes part in missions but he (or she) can learn how to carry two grenades instead of one only after being promoted to corporal. And learn how to move and then shoot only as a seargant. Sounds a bit silly

What I would like to see in PP is a more RPG-approach: 

Every soldier has some random starting stats - constitution/strength, initiative/aim, dexterity/mobility, morale/will etc. Gaining XP on missions (or in-base duties) would allow them to level up - not neccessary in the "soldier promotion/rank up" meaning, but as a stat increasing event. 

On level up you can distribute some points to improve soldier stats according to your planned build: make him (her) slow but tanky, squishy but fast, or just put all in the aim.

Then you can train your soldier at the base to learn every desired skill - but he (she) needs to have some required basic stats. Because you can't make a stealthy scout from a low dexterity rookie, or have an expert sniper without high enough aim, or train an assault that is weak and can't carry a heavy machine gun!

So in general, you could build your characters with any selected skill in the tree without class limit, only with the condition of stats at given value - that can be improved over time. You can focus on improving your soldier stats in a specific way that allows you to learn desired skills in the future. Hopefully without the need of "first you need to learn two crappy perks in order to unlock one good perk".

Looks more realistic to me and doesn't restrict soldier evolution to one skill tree (kind of XCOM's Not Created Equally and Training Roulette options combined). Some additional random hidden abilities would be welcome too.

What are your thougths on the subject?

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Zizin posted this 2 weeks ago

By the way - what about "Fear/Panic" system? This is, by the way, very much lovecraftian topic .)

SpiteAndMalice posted this 2 weeks ago

Regards picking up an using other people's equipment - I think this should definitely be possible. In need be; in a combat situation, a soldier would make use of any weapon that they could get their hands on. 

A heavy might not be trained in using a sniper rifle, but if they enemy is 400 yards away, and there's a sniper rifle lying about, they're still going to attempt to use that rifle and take their best shot as opposed to firing the shot gun which they go to bed with each night. 

How usable each weapon is to someone who is untrained with it, could even depend on the particular model of weapon. I can well imagine a 1940's rifle being usable by any solider, as compared to a modern version which might have more personally tailored sight settings... I can imagine anyone being able to fire a shot gun (I know I've picked one up an been able to hit clays with only a very brief instruction). I can imagine anyone being able to learn how to fire a mini gun, but their ability to use one over a long time period might depend on their level of strength, someone who is untrained might lose stamina a lot more quickly, which in game could lead to a heavy reduction in movement points for instance. 

  • This week I have been mostly playing Chaos Reborn.
SpiteAndMalice posted this 2 weeks ago

Ahh the full system is explained here Dark Eye Rule Set Take a look at pages 124 and 125. 

 

  • This week I have been mostly playing Chaos Reborn.
SpiteAndMalice posted this 2 weeks ago

What I like with this system overall is that it gives control to the player, but also requires them to make some hard decisions. You can't make an uber soldier, but you can make the soldier that you like. 

It feels realistic (as far as these things go) - The ramp up in XP for each point of improvement relates to the idea that someone moving from incompetent to a degree of competence in a skill should take less time and effort that someone moving from competence to mastery. The question of where to put your improvements relates to the limited amount of time that could be available for a character to improve themselves, (you can't improve everything, so decide what you want to improve). And your characters will be different to one another based on those base starting attributes. 

The core stats can also be improved this way. Want to improve a character's STR, but totally forget about their ability to fire a gun? Well you could do that too. Just spend the XP on raising that STR, this guy is going to be in the gym, rather than on the firing range... he won't be able to hit the broadside of a barn, but he will be armored like a walking tank and if he hits you with a bat you're going to feel it. Also that high STR means that he's the one who can carry everyone else's spare ammo clips and grenades - Let's just keep him at the back of the combat, cause if he gets hit he'll go up like a fireworks factory. 

  • This week I have been mostly playing Chaos Reborn.
SpiteAndMalice posted this 2 weeks ago

(Sorry for the split post - I'm on a mobile, the website response was getting laggy the more I typed.)

So where the perks come in is also based on XP. Let's say the player wants a character to have a double tap ability, or run and gun, or to time the explosion of grenades. Well that can also be done via XP, but again, you're weighing up the benefit of that perk against the benefit of increasing the weapon talents. Double tap costs 100 XP and the player goes for it, Run and Gun is 200 XP and the player goes for that. Great, this soldier will become a demon, except whilst they were using XP to train their perks they didn't become as accurate with their weapon of choice in the first place. Character C finishes up with:

Sniper Rifles 0

Heavy Weapons 15

Pistols 5

+Double Tap +Run and Gun

 

For a 4th character maybe the player decides to spread the XP out a bit more. 

Sniper Rifles 3

Heavy Weapons 13

Pistols 8 

+Double Tap 

Now we've got a character who can do a bit of everything, they'll be able to pick up someone else's weapon on the battle field and use it, but it's still clear that they have a specialism in one area. 

  • This week I have been mostly playing Chaos Reborn.
SpiteAndMalice posted this 2 weeks ago

Something different to throw into the mix: A nice system that I'm experiencing currently is that used within the Dark Eye RPG system. I'm playing Drakensang at present, (I've also come across a different iteration of the same system in Blackguards).

They way things are setup is that each character has core stats such as STR, DEX, CON. They then have aptitudes or talents for performing different actions (not all of these would apply to PP, but Perception is a good example of one that might be), or using different weapons such as Bows, Crossbows, Thrown Weapons. These factors mainly affect the characters' 'to hit' chances with various weapon types. Finally you have combat related talents such as Rain of Arrows (2 arrows in one turn), or Marksman (Ignores the opponent's armour rating).

A character starts with base values for each of the above, and from there they can increase any value that the player wishes for them to. When the player achieves things within the game, their characters gain XP. That XP can then be used to improve any of the above, but the costs vary, and I think this is where the game becomes interesting.

Taking this into Pheonix Point, and making use of this heavy/sniper example. Lets say we've got different characters and, to keep things simple, only three types of gun in the game.

Character A is a sniper, his base stats for different weapon types are.

Sniper Rifles 10

Heavy weapons 0

Pistols 5

He would be able to increase any of those values by 1 point at a cost of 6 XP. Whether it's Sniper from 10 to 11 or Heavy Weapons from 0 to 1 the cost is 6 XP either way. If he then wants to increase that stat by a second point the cost would be 12 XP, and this cost increase continues from there, 24 XP for the next point, 48 XP for the one after (these figures are given by way of example btw) What it means is that he could well become proficient in heavy weapons as well as sniper rifles if the player wanted him to, but the cost of doing so rises and comes at the cost of not being able to improve at something else. He'll be a jack of all trades. His final stats are:

Sniper Rifles 10

Heavy Weapons 10

Pistols 5

 

Character B on the other hand is a heavy.

Sniper Rifles 0

Heavy Weapons 10

Pistols 5.

And for this character the player chooses to specialise. Her end stats become.

Sniper Rifles 0

Heavy Weapons 20

Pistols 5

The system allows the player to design each character as they wish, there's still archetypes based on the starting stats and some real cost benefit decisions to make on level up.

  • This week I have been mostly playing Chaos Reborn.
TFTD posted this 2 weeks ago

i do not like perks. Perks is an irking concept thats belongs to Action RPG like Diablo, Path of exile and the like. Its something of an abomination, result of really bad game dev that jump for easyness.

But maybe i m too old school i love the classic concept of progressive skill as you survive and use them. I just think it could be modernized. 

There s many way to do this and it come from RPG, the easyest being classes: As in army everyone specialize in something but are able to do others stuffs under constraint:

- time (to do the task, or use the tool)

- effectivenes (penalties for non specialization)

A grunt sure can use a sniper rifle but he won t have learned to manage recoil, distance table, and other needed skills to be a good sniper, so he will suffer penalties.

Same goes for a sniper that want to use heavy weaponry he will be weaker than the heavy weapon guy as sniper need to be very precise and no shaking hands...so if he get a weapon that is heavy with a lot of recoil (chaingun) he will spray way more than someone specialized.

This kind of approach leave the tactical game open to emergency cases, but limit the so called Bazooka sniper squad. (althought this can be countered with highly resistent HE ennemy that require someone with AP capacity.

What i fear looking at gameplay... is that PP will become a clone to fireaxis mediocre Xcom series.

The strenght of the serie was multiple management layers and highly open possibilities, especially on the FOB.

From overloading loading the soldiers with stuff and droppong it in the transport first run to have a reserve of ammo (which many time was a must) to fleeing the field with no huge consequences....

 

All those points being deleted in XCOM fireaxis, constraining the player in an ennerving and non explainable corridor of actions, especially with too low nunber of soldiers in the battlefield which reduce the tacticar to non existent and dependent more on RNG and save scum than players good or bad decisions. 

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Spolokh posted this 02 November 2017

On my side I will say that following LW mode of XCOM2 made a game less boring:

- Created not equal - mode that randomized starter soldier skil

- Forgot the name - that made level skill progress more random

 

Soldiers should be different even they are of same class

Comes Moesia posted this 21 September 2017

Then we agree. Bazooka sniper refers to squardsight skill from Xcom, although you could not do it in Xcom, thankfully. I am for freedom on some perks, like fast reload or more mobility, but long-range sniping is for snipers, and suppression fire is for heavies, etc. Extreme examples aren't that unthinkable as I just come up with that on run, but people would create worse abominations.

kompan posted this 21 September 2017

Fast heavies and bazooka snipers would be extreme examples, only if you could pump up your mobility, condition and aim high enough at the same time for one character

But yes, I'm aware that there will be an issue of game balancing anyway and with open skill tree you may end up with some overpowered or useless combinations - the grenades on sniper is a good example.

However Phoenix Point is going to have enemies that will react to your tactic, equipment and skills with different mutations, improved units and new weapons or abilities. Therefore I'm suggesting that more freedom on the player side would be good for allowing different builds and to compensate the alien adaptation system.

You're probably right that absolute freedom in picking skills may be too chaotic and some class restrictions should apply. I'm just not very fond of the oversimplified way of picking only skill A or skill B on level up for every soldier of the same class, I think there should be more variety to it.

Comes Moesia posted this 21 September 2017

So, fast heavies and tanky snipers with bazookas are unrestricted? Not my cup of tea. Restriction should be minimal, and stat system is good thing, but free for all will be immersion and balance breaking, such as aforementioned rocket launcher sniping, run & gun snipers could be done with absolute perk freedom. I already put forward my idea to make some equipment class restricted and some perks equipment restricted, so with some sacrifice to freedom, you don't break the game. Kinda like Grenade Launcher in Xcom 2. Anyone can use grenades, but only grenadier can use them to full efficiency, by sending them furtherer and have larger blast radius thanks to mid-air detonation (at least I hope thats why). If you want full freedom, than be done with perks and throw them out, so you at least keep unbroken game. The reason Not Created Equally and Training Roulette are not always on is because they break game in every way possible, like Bullet Swarm/Double Tap combo for easiness, or ultra useless perks like pistol ones on assault and grenades on sniper. And it still had classes to stop total chaos.

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