Part 1 and Part 2 were largely concerned with the question of simply adding carrots to chase, as it were, in a straightforward fashion. Any addition is better than none, after all, and beggars can’t be choosers.
On the other hand, if dev is going to take the time to implement new post-cap abilities, then why not use that time to make it the best it can be? Why not do it right?
Well, partly because there’s no clear verdict on what “right” looks like. However, many are very articulate about what “wrong” looks like, which is the current post-cap situation:
If the PCP skills are expensive and the trees diverse it will also help us differentiate our characters again as well. There comes a point in the current game that characters of the same profession start to merge back together, even after spending 100 levels doing it their own way.
[…] the skill system GemStone has isn’t flexible enough to fully accommodate the roleplaying that it wants, because a character’s profession completely overpowers culture, individual personality, backstory, and everything else that could and should influence how she can and can’t train.
[…] one of the failures of the existing post-cap situation is that the more post-cap characters get, the more they start [to] look alike training-wise, e.g. almost every sorcerer has the same spell rank split and warriors can 3x all the things instead of specializing between dodge, shield, and armor.
And thus people explain not wanting to see a system of post-cap abilities double down on how the situation’s perceived to be, but instead create character diversity and character definition.
A post-cap points system, to me, should offer extreme, permanent character differentiation. Something that really sets you apart and creates a heightened identity. Rather than a series of perks, the most powerful ones of which everyone collects.
[…] the ultimate perk to me would be opportunities to differentiate my characters as representing the height of their identities. For instance, perks for wizards that played into their chosen identities… […] play yourself up as an earth wizard, or pyromancer, or even a Chronomage, that is distinct and not something everyone can give. Maybe through a system where the perks are laddered, and you have to commit to a tree…
What if every post cap character could do one unique skill no one else could do? Cool right? Neat? Something to strive for? Gatsby’s green light? That sort of diversity or pinnacle of attainment enriches the game for the entire level span.
[…] we can increase diversity by a system of abilities, much like the CMAN system. Force people to make choices and you will end up with unique ability sets, and that enriches the fabric of the game while giving an ever growing portion of the customer base (post cap people) something more to strive for.
Come up with defined paths for each class that allows a character to increase their power. The “Warmage” specialist, The “Bolting” specialist. The “Locksmith” specialist, The “Assassin” specialist. Create branches off the profession tree so each post-cap character is more uniquely defined.
One potential criticism I might offer is that there aren’t a lot of tradeoffs in the options you presented. [referring to a set of PCP ability ideas posted earlier] […] I would like to see a system where choosing to advance in one direction means you gain meaningful benefits, but you don’t get to be good at all of the things. […] I would prefer to see progressions that are more of a tree that closes off some alternative paths than a cascade of small bonuses in every direction.
Of course, tossing out a skeleton of a general idea is one thing, but giving specifics is another. Let’s see what some people have proposed:
I’d rather see branching tiers custom tailored for each class with a touch of cross-branching for additional costs, but within logical reason. It’d require a complicated tree since I don’t think it should be limited to square/semi/pure. A ranger has more in common with a rogue than they do with a bard or a paladin, and a bard has more in common with a wizard, for example.
[…giving examples with a rogue:]
Locksmith Tier (utility): Presence becomes passive (provided it is known). Reduced RT for searching traps, disarming, picking (to zero RT). Fumble recovery. Make better lock picks. Better bonuses to lock picking and disarming. Repair lock picks and not reduce the modifier. MOAR XP from disarming and picking (at cap we’re getting next to nothing as it is). The ability to pick pocket NPCs and creatures. […]
Assassin Tier (stealth): Shadow mastery (a prerequisite) becomes passive. Bonuses to hiding, but against specific creature types that need to be selected. Animal, undead, sentient, etc. You can pick one, another at double cost, and so on from there. New ambush options. Ignore EBP, ignore armor, ignore spell DS, etc. Divert-like ability to trick creatures into attacking one another while you’re in hiding in a swarm. No extra RT for sniping with ranged weapons. Auto-hide mechanics when hit. […]
Blackguard Tier (combat): The ability to train 3x in physical fitness. Extra crit or damage weighting (similar to how GoS does it). Remove the effects known spells have on redux. Reduce the penalty of your armor as it is applied to various CMANs, armor skills, etc by one Armor Class, to a total of two classes for double cost (eg. Armored Stealth, Armored Evasion, Evasion Mastery, now treat your full plate like brig). Combat casting to go all Paladin and remove spell hindrance. Reduced archery RT (basically just steal how Phoens affects RT). TWC mastery. Your offhand attack is always as good as your main-hand attack, no matter what your stats are. Size mastery. It doesn’t matter if you’re a giantman or a halfling (!!), you can target any location and suffer no penalty.
Anyone recall playing TESIII: Morrowind? Starting out you get asked a handful of questions to determine your class ….perhaps something like this could be designed into the game to help bolster your profession?
For example, after setting your stats and picking your profession, you can choose to venture over the the Raging Thrak and listen to his spiel. After that, he starts bombarding you with, we’ll say, 20 random questions from a large pool of them. Each question can slightly impact your character’s profession abilities positively or negatively.
Perhaps you’ve decided to play a wizard. You get asked a question as such:
Raging Thrak asks, “You happen across a group of goblins that have just set fire to a tree that a young child has climbed up in an attempt to escape them. Do you cast a water spell in an attempt to douse the fire or do you cast a wind spell in an attempt to blow the fire out?” (ANSWER WATER or ANSWER AIR).
If you answer air, you gain a small extra boost in power to all air based spells over the normal bonuses you gain from training in EL:A. Or you could go the opposite way and have a slight decrease to water based spells because you decided to rely more on air spells based on your answer.
[…] In the end, after answering all his questions you’d have a small background of your character that helps define extra bonuses or weaknesses. Or you could choose not to speak with the Raging Thrak and that’s just as well.
Objections specifically aimed at skill trees are rare, but only one is needed and this is it:
I like the idea of there being alternate training paths for post cap. Considering how long it takes Simutronics to implement a single class though, I’m not sure wanting 3 more per existing profession is anything but a dream. Though maybe in 30 years it could be finished.
So, with that in mind, we move to our next section and a much simpler proposal: change the hunting instead of the characters.
Part 4 explores whether the capped boredom problem can be alleviated purely by scaling enemies up–or scaling players down.
Part 1: What’s the Problem?
Part 2: Post-Cap Points
Part 3: Character Differentiation
Part 4: Scaling Up or Down
Part 5: Remorting
Part 6: Full or Partial Multiclassing
Part 7: Going Sideways
Part 8: Powers That Be
Part 9: Enhancive Convenience
Part 10: Non-Mechanical Perks
Part 11: The Salad Bowl of Commentary