[BB4] Soldier Skill and Attribute Progression Suggestions

Now that the leveling system is in, after playing around with it, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for making it a lot more engaging and immersive. Also, there’s a few things that I personally dislike: the incremental cost of leveling attributes and having them draw from the same pool as skill points, plus the complete randomness of the secondary skill tree.

Attribute Points:
The incremental cost system creates 2 “problems” that makes it unfun (for me atleast): it makes calculating the needed points to reach a certain threshold annoying and it leaves unused points between levelups and at max level. This would promote jack-of-all-trades soldier progression if you don’t want to have too many points wasted at the end. In addition, having them in the same pool as skill points, I think most people would probably just spend the points on skills exclusively for the first half of the game, until all critical skills are taken and only then try to see what remaining points can be dumped into attributes.

Skill Points:
Consider also a system where all skill points are moved to the general pool (Phoenix SP) available to all soldiers instead of having individual skill points. This would create a more dynamic system where the player can decide whether he wants to focus more on certain soldiers for his A-Team or spread the skills around more to have backup available if something happens to the main soldiers.

Level up:
So, a suggestion would be that on level up a soldier can get his personal pool of attribute points and unlock access to new skills, depending on level (but no personal skill points). Completing mission objectives and finishing missions successfully provides the skill points in the Phoenix SP pool. From a thematical point of view, a level-up would mean that a soldier improves his physical and mental capabilities (represented by the strenght, speed, willpower attributes) and then he can use the common knowledge of the entire team, acquired from succesfull operations, to be trained in specific class or general skills.

Secondary skill tree:
Right now, the secondary skills (non-class specific) seem to be just too random. I would at least like to have certain skills grouped up based on synergies and equipment available to the class. So if you’re a heavy, there’s a higher chance to get heavy and mounted weapons proficiencies and expertise, rather than melee or silenced weapons or expert healer and stealth specialist. Also, the secondary tree can be populated only up to level 3 and once the multi-class selection is made, the rest of the skills can be generated.

Or, I would propose a system that is more engaging, gives complete choice to the player and removes most of the randomness: provide a Training Facility in the base and build each soldier’s secondary skill tree by picking what skills to train in between missions. Start with only the proficiency skills available and once learned, the corresponding expertise skill is unlocked so it can be trained and so on, with stronger utility skills like expert shooter unlocked when a certain number of proficiencies or certain skills are trained. Of course, the slots available for trained skills are based on the soldier level (and available skill points in the general pool), so at level 1, only one utility utility or proficiency skill can be trained, at level 2, you can train either an expert skill or pick a different utility skill etc, until you can train all 7 slots at level 7 (or whatever is the max level), if you have the necessary skill points. In addition, you can also keep an aspect of randomness, by considering that soldiers may already be proficient, or show aptitudes towards certain skills, thus making those skills trainable without a cost. So the player can decide whether he wants to save skill points by focusing the training on what a soldier is already good at, or specialize him towards the player’s prefered tactic.

Incremental cost is necessary to limit cases where you develop character to have 50 strength and only 6 willpower etc. Of course there could be maximum limit to which you can develop character ability, but I think that the more you want to train your body in some way the more hard work you need to put in it (so more Skill Points). If I well remember there won’t be level cap, so eventually you will have soldier fully developed in at least 2 classes.

Not, if skills will have high attributes prerequisites. :wink: For me skills are important but increasing strength for additional HP is also a must. Speed is also critical. Willpower maybe less, but if you want to use many different skills which drain from WP then you also need high Willpower. And when gain from Skills is better than gain from Attribute then it makes us sure that we will develop toward that particular skill not pumping only attributes.

Seriously? A-Team is killing monsters and they don’t progress but all other soldiers level up thanks to them? Nonsense.

And that is beautiful. Those are only humans with innate ability to do something. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t correspond to their main or secondary class. People not always do what they are best at. They are not machines designed for a specific role. For me that randomness add human aspect to character development. :wink: It will differentiate soldiers more in every class.

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Yep, that is great, maybe you won’t get you most liked skills on your first or second soldier but that’s fine!

No! That would be really boring!

Than you will get some serious problems! If you just take skills, you won’t have enough life, willpower and movement speed. It still depends on the random skills, but some might have more unique skills and some might have more stats. I think it is good this way.

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You can also offset this by adding an in game time requirement to raise those attributes. It’s also more realistic to have soldiers train for a number of days/weeks/months to raise their physical stats rather than just putting points in it. And the higher the attribute, the more days needed both on the field (in missions) and in the gym. What I was trying to avoid was the incremental cost system which I heavily dislike in games, when you can level up and not have the points needed to upgrade something or finish the game with plenty of points leftover that you can’t use or you just dump in skills you don’t care about.

I think you misunderstood my intention. Soldiers still cannot level if they don’t see combat. So rookies in base will not learn skills to the detriment of veteran soldiers going on all missions. They will be only level 1, at most they can learn 1 skill. You still need a soldier to go into missions, see combat, gain experience, level up and unlock access to the skills for that level. But he uses the common pool skill points to learn those skills. Practically, nothing needs to change from a mechanics perspective to what is already implemented right now. The Soldier SP are used for attributes and the Phoenix SP are used for skills. Just the rate of acquisition of the 2 types of points is tweaked to balance out the progression.

But as it is implemented right now, with a linear progression and complete randomness rather than a controlled randomness, it feels too artificial. I’ve got plenty of soldiers with a weapon expertise but no proficiency in that weapon (he does more damage but can’t shoot straight with it…seems weird to me), everybody seems to have mounted and heavy proficiency/expertise in tens of restarts I tried, but proficiency in the more common weapon types seem to be extremely rare for my guys and even more weirder, they can get expertise for a weapon early but the proficiency for the same weapon can only be picked in the last levels.

I’m not against some randomness in skill picking as I already mentioned that different soldiers can have different aptitudes, but the current system needs some tweaking and control to feel more natural. And I think, my suggestion with providing a training facility where you can choose what to train in, with a normal proficient-to-expert training limitation, also random limitations in what skills some soldier can even train (somebody just can’t learn to use certain weapons or may require a larger amount of time to train them) and random free skills that some soldiers can learn with no skill point requirement because they’re just so good at it, such a system would probably satisfy both types of players: those like me that prefer to have more control even if it comes with a bigger cost, and those that prefer more randomness and go with the flow.

Edit: added the A-Team quote and comment.

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I have to say, I really like the current system where stat increases and skills come from the same pool of points, it reminded me of Dark Eye which I absolutely love, and it makes total sense IMHO that if a soldier is training to improve themselves that they should have to chose between increasing their physical condition or their technical ability from the same pool of training time.

To that end, I do I agree that training shouldn’t be instant, it should take a soldier out of available pool for a while - this is regardless of system.

I liked the randomisation of skills that are available. To me that feels natural, it makes the soliders feel more natural that they would each choose different areas to want to become more proficient in. I think if the random pool was only class related then it’d lead to a situation where one solider is pretty much similar to the next, and that makes the whole system boring to me. - I do that that any random skills beyond the first level should maybe be hidden, so you don’t know where a soldier might progress until the time comes for that progression to happen.

I’d also like to see incremental requirements for skill training - In the same way of having incremental requirements for stats. I don’t think it should be easy for a soldier to become superman.

To that end too, I’d also prefer to see soldiers start with random stats, which possibly relate to their class. It’s not realistic for every person in the game to have the exact same physical conditions.

I think you could have a training facility that adds to the pool of random/class specific skill advancements available to all soldiers, that could be cool.

So imagine early game, a heavy might get a 10% boost to their Willpower as a random skill. - Once you’ve research a particular skill in the training facility, a new heavy might now get a 15% boost to their Willpower as a random skill. - You new troops coming through are going to feel the benefits of that improved training facility and at some point surpass the abilities of your older troops.

That would really lead to a situation where it’s at some point going to be in your best interests to not just have an A-team.

Hey @Ryu you have messed up quotes. Those are not my words. :smiley: But I’m glad that we think similarily.

Ok, my few suggestions:

  1. split Strength to two attributes Strength and Endurance.
  • Strength would still increase weight limit and grenade throwing range. I would also introduce minimum strength requirement for each weapon, where not sufficient str would decrease accuracy. Strength above that point would not change anything.
  • Endurande would increase hit points and resistance to stun damage, maybe also give some chance to resist poison damage (or more likely decrease that damage)?
  1. I hope that soldiers will have diffentent starting attributes and caps for them. Current situation where all start at 9 str (max 16), 6 will (max 16), 14 speed (max 32) is boring. Currently each soldier in the same class develops in the same way unless you decide to take different secondary class or you will select different amount of perks.

  2. I would even change how skill points spending for attributes works. Let say that one soldier starts with 9 str and other with 7 str but they have the same str maximum cap. Their training of strength should look the same like now (so first one spend 10 points to have 10 strength, and second spend 8 points to have 8 strength). But when their cap will be different (first will have max 16 and second will have max 14) make them both use the same amount of skill points to train to next level - they will have the same way to beat until they reach max (so both will need to spend 10 skill points, so 1st will do this to have 10 str and 2nd to have 8 str).

  3. Give soldiers some starting perks (already trained at level 1). Those are their innate abilities, but they should have some of them already when recruited.

  4. Separate perks training from levels. This is strange that we need to wait for next level to train any particular perk. Well maybe not so strange, but let us take those perks in different order, and introduce limitation where you can’t have more perks than levels (not counting starting perks from above point) - but don’t make it like right now where we need to wait for level 7 to take some perk where other soldier can take that perk at level 2.

  5. Introduce perception of soldier as attribute? Currently we don’t know how soldier is doing in this field. And maybe it could be trained in some way. Next level will allow soldier to spot one tile further?

  6. Maybe introduce accuracy as another attribute. Why every soldier currently has the same hit chance with the same weapon. This is unnatural. Currently proficiency and skills modify base accuracy of the weapon which is not enough. Let say that two soldiers both proficient in some weapon using same skill have the same accuracy no matter if one is at level 2 (so still almost rookie) and second is at level 7 (so experienced soldier). Of course that accuracy attribute should have lower impact on overall accuracy than skills and proficiency. Let say that at some point soldier has 100% chance to hit with some specific weapon when he is proficient and have 11 points of accuracy. Without proficiency let say he would have only 50% chance to hit at the same distance (or maybe even less like 25%?). Skills could modify accuracy by some 25 to 50% (also -25 to -50% for more powerful skills), and accuracy attribute could modify accuracy by 5% for each point, so soldier with 10 points in acc will have 95% of previous hit chance and with 12 will have 105% hit chance. Let say that this attribute can be between 6 and 16 so overall soldier can be between 75 and 125 % of basic weapon accuracy. And there should be overall min and max limit of basic accuracy (10% min and 200% max).

What do you think guys about above points?

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I was thinking along the same lines, @Yokes, though I hadn’t thought about endurance as a separate stat. Perception / Willpower could be combined to create a dynamic accuracy stat: ever try to aim a weapon while your hands are shaking from fear or excitement? It sucks until you have a breather, just like you would in game to raise your WP.

I agree about the additional perks to give each character a unique background of traits at the start, but along with this I would want to see one important change: the ability to change armor color. I kept the roles of my soldier in XCOM straight once I had Long War and its many traits installed by specifying different armor colors for different roles.

Like in Battle Brothers. :slightly_smiling_face:

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