Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Gizmo » April 20th, 2017, 2:14 pm

paultakeda wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 8:21 am
Learn by doing kills roleplaying if you think of it as killing roleplaying.
It doesn't kill it, but it limits it potential.
Zombra wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 9:49 am
Avoid this and you have a good system, period.
But it's not often a system where you can start the game competent. Lands of Lore did it well IMO, but mainly because you could choose your PC (and be a specialist or a generalist), who then gets better by doing. What I do not like about 'learn by doing', is that I haven't seen many games using it that offered more than an adult infant PC; A fully grown person with no past interests, starting the game as a complete novice in everything. One can't really play a cunning pickpocket, instead they have to tediously build one by going through the motions with them in real time; something the character could have done years before the game began, and already be an accomplished professional at the start of the adventure.

I'd much rather roleplay the experienced semi-professional, over the novice trying to become one. [IE. I'd prefer to roleplay Kwai Chang Caine the priest over Kwai Chang Caine as the Grasshopper; where the former is trained, knowledgeable, and confident; while the later is still an untested student trying to graduate.]

In D&D, a 1st level fighter is a trained fighter, as is a 1st level mage a trained spellcaster.


LBD skill systems seem to favor fighters and spellcasters, because combat is usually far more frequent than lock picking, or trap detecting; and if picking a lock can only award once, how can one hope to become an expert; without spending the whole game hunting every lock you can find, and picking it for the XP?
Kattekwaad wrote:
January 30th, 2017, 6:27 am
I've given it some thought and I don't think Intelligence should be the God-stat that gets to dictate how many skills points are allocated to each level-up.

Tell me what you think?
I do prefer stat influenced skillsets; where the stat level indicates the PC's degree of aptitude for the skill. Someone who is a natural athlete seems more able and likely to excel in sports than a natural linguist with no interest in athletics. That doesn't mean that their affinity must match their aptitude... just that certain skills would seem easier for them to develop.
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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Woolfe » April 20th, 2017, 3:56 pm

I like LBD, but as was suggested by paul and Zombra, if there is no cost to it, it just becomes busy work.

That said. So long as you don't HAVE to do the busywork, does it matter that much? Ultimately it is just another XP grind situation.

If you want climb through sand dunes for 20 minutes to improve your climb skill, who loses out? The person spending 20 minutes on it, or the guy who spent a couple of minutes to get to an adequate level.
Crosmando wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 12:58 am
True, also it eliminates player choice. The player should decide where skill points are allocated.
Not if you can still allocate points somewhere as well as LBD which is my preference.

I personally advocate a mixed system of LBD and skill points.So you have LBD up until a point, but you then use skill points to advance past that point.

So lets use climbing as an example (with a 100 point skill check).
1 skill point to get to level 1. You have decided to actively learn the basics of climbing. You then LBD up to an arbitrary number, lets say 10. So you basically are climbing low trees, walls, rough terrain etc, easy stuff, that would have a bonus to complete, because its easy. Once you hit 10, you have learnt all you can about the basics, you are ready to take that plunge into taller trees, so you pump another skill point in. Again a conscious choice. You go about your business, climbing shit and doing other stuff, and before you know you are at 20. Another skill point is needed to reach 21. etc etc etc.
Also you may drop 2 points into it at some point. Basically learning the theory for 2 lots of 10 instead of one. Now you get to LBD up by the 18 points.

Practically this means that you may not need to "train" a skill, because as you only have 10 levels to gain, and you can pump skill points to increase the cap at any time, you can basically allow the game to train you as it happens. Maybe spending some time on the rock walls when you feel you are too far behind. Or if you are a grinder. You get your skill point, immediately go out to the nearest tree and climb until you are the best at that level. You can still only go so far, because you don't have any more skill points until you level up, but you are the best you can be right now, cause you were Grinding.

A lot of people look on grinding as bad, and I don't disagree, but a lot of people clearly like the grind, so let them do it.
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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Zombra » April 20th, 2017, 3:58 pm

Gizmo wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 2:14 pm
But it's not often a system where you can start the game competent.

Nonsense. Wizardry 8. Wasteland 1. The entire Jagged Alliance series. All had LBD systems that worked fine with PCs who started off good and just got better.
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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Gizmo » April 20th, 2017, 4:08 pm

Zombra wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 3:58 pm
Nonsense. Wizardry 8. Wasteland 1. The entire Jagged Alliance series. All had LBD systems that worked fine with PCs who started off good and just got better.
Thank you Zombra. ;)
(Two new examples to check out.)
Drool wrote:
January 31st, 2017, 9:28 pm
Eh. Or could just as easily give a bonus based on the Attribute.

You know. Like that one game back in the late 80s did...
And that other game from the late 90's that sort of followed Wasteland.

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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by paultakeda » April 20th, 2017, 5:13 pm

Gizmo wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 2:14 pm
paultakeda wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 8:21 am
Learn by doing kills roleplaying if you think of it as killing roleplaying.
It doesn't kill it, but it limits it potential.
You'll need to expand on that. How does LBD limit roleplaying potential? Because you think it is metagaming? If LBD is designed correctly it is part of roleplaying. Can it still feel like you are doing it just to up a skill and for no other reason? Sure. But there are plenty of examples in actual life where people up their skills in something for no other reason than to do so.
Gizmo wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 2:14 pm
LBD skill systems seem to favor fighters and spellcasters, because combat is usually far more frequent than lock picking, or trap detecting; and if picking a lock can only award once, how can one hope to become an expert; without spending the whole game hunting every lock you can find, and picking it for the XP?
In Wasteland 1, Climb favored the entire party. And you LBD'd that by hoofing it across ravines, slipped, fell, tried again. That's good LBD design. Failing could mean just slipping down and trying again. But it could also mean slipping, falling, and unjuring someone, sometimes gravely. And other times, it can be catastrophic because you're stuck in that rapid and can't get out until you've been swept all the way down and now have to fight your way back.

Any skill that can be LBD'd should have real cost in the game, but it shouldn't be required. A player who wants to maximize a skill via LBD by monotonously performing something repeatedly for hours doesn't impact my gameplay, which brings us to the other part about skills and LBD: no one skill need be maximized in order to complete the game at a reasonable pace, i.e. not punishlngly hard because you didn't ramp up a particular skill. Caveat: Wasteland is an RPG about rangers, so yeah, everyone ought to have a weapon skill and I would even advocate that all character creations require a combat skill and a support skill (medic, mechanic, etc.). Other skills like lockpicking, chemistry, and so on that have very specific situations that you would not consider to be a part of a military operation's basic training manual are electives.

And to get back to the OP: intelligence is an abstract attribute primary to how quickly one should be able to learn through education. In other words, I might argue that gaining a skill point via LBD have more to do with awareness, with intelligence as secondary. That makes intelligence a primary only for level-up skill assignment and awareness for LBD skill leveling. Ideally, skill points on level up have intelligence as primary, but also some luck and awareness, whereas LBD could be primarily awareness, followed by luck, coordination, and intelligence as secondary adds.

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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Gizmo » April 20th, 2017, 5:48 pm

paultakeda wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 5:13 pm
You'll need to expand on that.
I did (in the very next paragraph); it is why I responded to your quote first.
In Wasteland 1, Climb favored the entire party. And you LBD'd that by hoofing it across ravines, slipped, fell, tried again.
Well come on... You have to know that the point made was that the opportunities to increase the most commonly used skills...far [out]number the esoteric ones —they are the most commonly used, and that was the point.

Yes, had I but known, then I would have said, "LBD skill systems seem to favor fighters and spellcasters...
[and in Wasteland: climbers], because combat is usually far more frequent than lock picking, or trap detecting
[and in Wasteland: climbing]".
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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Woolfe » April 20th, 2017, 6:42 pm

Gizmo wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 5:48 pm
paultakeda wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 5:13 pm
You'll need to expand on that.
I did (in the very next paragraph); it is why I responded to your quote first.
In Wasteland 1, Climb favored the entire party. And you LBD'd that by hoofing it across ravines, slipped, fell, tried again.
Well come on... You have to know that the point made was that the opportunities to increase the most commonly used skills...far number the esoteric ones —they are the most commonly used, and that was the point.

Yes, had I but known, then I would have said, "LBD skill systems seem to favor fighters and spellcasters...
[and in Wasteland: climbers], because combat is usually far more frequent than lock picking, or trap detecting
[and in Wasteland: climbing]".
That is easy to fix though. So things like climb, swim, they are obvious on how to train, climb something or swim something. Lockpicking, have a test device, or simply lock the lock again. Have a reduced chance each progressive time it is opened. Maybe have a special purchase in certain stores. "Fingers Fandangled lock tester" with different levels, that you can train on. Assuming again, you are happy to grind.
Same with trap disarmament. Computer hacking, etc etc etc

If you include LBD and make the assumption that people will be happy to spend some time "Grinding" then let them do it. Just don't let the Grinding assumption come at the expense of those who don't grind, or at least those who don't grind a lot. Make it so that you can generally get close to what you need to succeed just through general usage, but by grinding you make it easier.

There are a whole lot of people who enjoy the metagame. They like making their stat numbers bigger and better. That is an achievement in and of itself for them. Pander to them, but don't let that define the game.
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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by undecaf » April 20th, 2017, 9:09 pm

Learn by doing should be something that complements - not substitutes or equals - a 'normal' point-buy system. Something that gives the player a constant sense that what he just did, success or failure, mattered and pushed things forward at least in some sense. That there is progress even in failure.

I also think learning shouldn't necessarily be raw skill you get via skillpoints, but - to take into that "complementing" I mentioned - rather learning the "fineries" of the craft that are somewhat detached from simply better chances of success, like attempt speed increments, ap cost decreement, crit damage multiplier increments, xp increment for successes, etc and something along those lines; little bonuses at certain intervals that help specialize with the skills craft beyond simply capping the sp counter.

As for INT affecting learning... this is something where it could have an effect without feeling too mandatory.

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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Gizmo » April 20th, 2017, 9:33 pm

I'm inclined to agree with Undecaf on this.
Woolfe wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 6:42 pm
That is easy to fix though. So things like climb, swim, they are obvious on how to train, climb something or swim something.
I do agree with you on here... but it doesn't address my core problem with LBD systems.

We've now come full circle, and it is I who is [am?] on the side arguing for the un-fun 'fiddling details' to be handled in the background, and the tedium not being forced upon the unwilling player.

This time it's not about inventory limits, weight, or money denominations, it's about not having to manually improve the PC with baby-steps; instead of developmental epiphanies; instead of them practicing and honing their craft & tradeskills on their pee breaks.
(Meaning during their own down time or while idle... where I don't have to be bothered by it first hand.)

Point buy (and/or fixed growth per level) is greatly preferred here [by me]; where the PC either gets better across the board ~per level; or get's points to assign per level. Their actual actions in-game need never influence their skill development at all.

*This was far from a planned turnabout, it's coincidence opinion, but turnabout is fair play.
So now we've switched sides on the coin. :lol:
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This was posted without noticing that it wasn't the BT4 threads; it popped up as a new post, and I replied.
The WL series had LBD systems (unless I'm mistaken 8-) ); and as such I would be okay with it in a WL sequel, but the sentiment still applies...

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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Zombra » April 20th, 2017, 10:16 pm

paultakeda wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 5:13 pm
If LBD is designed correctly it is part of roleplaying. Can it still feel like you are doing it just to up a skill and for no other reason? Sure. But there are plenty of examples in actual life where people up their skills in something for no other reason than to do so.

Also, "grinding" up skills via LBD is substantially no different from grinding up xp with repeatable trash combats. As long as there is challenge and resistance involved, it's just plain old gameplay. (Jumping up and down didn't provide a challenge ... but most of the skills in Elder Scrolls games do only advance through legitimate use.)

undecaf wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 9:09 pm
Learn by doing should be something that complements - not substitutes or equals - a 'normal' point-buy system. Something that gives the player a constant sense that what he just did, success or failure, mattered and pushed things forward at least in some sense. That there is progress even in failure.

I personally prefer pure LBD (Jagged Alliance, Dungeon Master and yes even later Elder Scrolls games), but hybrid systems (Wizardry 8, Wasteland 1) are good too. It's just cool to get direct advancement from doing something, rather than advancement being a pure abstraction ("experience points"). Makes me feel much more involved in what my characters are doing.

P.S. Hey Gizmo, when making this post I just remembered that the old crawler Dungeon Master was also a (pure) LBD system, and a really good one I might add. Might be worth checking out (though personally I find it too dated to enjoy today).
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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Drool » April 20th, 2017, 11:19 pm

What? Have you people played Wasteland? The balance there is remarkably well done.

Want to run up and down the glass wall next to Ugly's to train your Perception? You can! But you'll eventually reach the point where the skill won't raise and the XP isn't worth it. Want to train Climb and Acrobatics by climbing shifting sands in Needles? You can! But you'll stop making much progress once those skills are at 3 or so. Want to raise you SMG skill by ripping the clip? You can! But it's gonna get expensive pretty quickly. Want to only buy 1 point of Picklock? Go for it! There's plenty of locked doors. Want to put only 1 point in Cryptography? Go for it! That's all you really need for the one place where it's really useful, and likely enough for the other two places.

Sure, there was no way to really raise your Forgery skill through use, but guess what? It's only usable in one place, and having a single level in the skill is plenty.

Likewise, you could put a single point into Clip Pistol in the beginning of the game, relying on combat to raise it, but those first fights are going to be really, really rough. It was probably a good idea to but 2 or 3 points into the skill to help your survivability. Then again, 3 points took 7 Skill Points, and maybe those would be more useful elsewhere.

Well, hey. Look at that. Choice and consequence. Resource management that's engaging and thought provoking. Frankly, it's the gold standard of Learn by Doing and comparing it to Oblivion's system is like comparing a 10 year aged Vermont White Cheddar to... moldy government cheese.
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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Zombra » April 20th, 2017, 11:37 pm

Wasteland 1 was definitely slanted towards LBD (and did a great job of it). Technically it was a hybrid system because you could earn more skill points by levelling and increase your skills that way too. But LBD was the primary way to do it, for me at least.
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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Gizmo » April 20th, 2017, 11:38 pm

Zombra wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 10:16 pm
P.S. Hey Gizmo, when making this post I just remembered that the old crawler Dungeon Master was also a (pure) LBD system, and a really good one I might add. Might be worth checking out (though personally I find it too dated to enjoy today).
Thanks Image
I hear there is a stand-alone expansion available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_Strikes_Back

I know of Dungeonmaster, but haven't played it yet. Legend of Grimrock 1 was an homage to DM and EoB.
There is even a DM [tile-set] mod done for Grimrock: http://www.nexusmods.com/grimrock/mods/231/?
Drool wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 11:19 pm
Sure, there was no way to really raise your Forgery skill through use, but guess what? It's only usable in one place, and having a single level in the skill is plenty.
Does that mean it was a technically useless skill? There was certainly more than just one trap in both Fallout 1 & 2.
(And for that matter, you didn't actually have to add points to the Traps skill; though it helped where it was used.)

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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by undecaf » April 21st, 2017, 1:30 am

Zombra wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 10:16 pm
undecaf wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 9:09 pm
Learn by doing should be something that complements - not substitutes or equals - a 'normal' point-buy system. Something that gives the player a constant sense that what he just did, success or failure, mattered and pushed things forward at least in some sense. That there is progress even in failure.

I personally prefer pure LBD (Jagged Alliance, Dungeon Master and yes even later Elder Scrolls games), but hybrid systems (Wizardry 8, Wasteland 1) are good too. It's just cool to get direct advancement from doing something, rather than advancement being a pure abstraction ("experience points"). Makes me feel much more involved in what my characters are doing.
Pure lbd is a bit too automated for me. I can tolerate it if the systems is... sort of laid back that it doesn't feel too promotive of the grind, but generally I prefer hybrids that still retain the feel and level of abstraction, and the activity itself that comes with level ups and point assigning.

Wizardry 8 does a fairly good job as a hybrid (I have a party going right now), but the limited increments per level up always felt weird to me (having been used to more free form systems).
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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Drool » April 21st, 2017, 8:21 pm

Gizmo wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 11:38 pm
Does that mean it was a technically useless skill? There was certainly more than just one trap in both Fallout 1 & 2.
I wouldn't say so, because the one use was remarkably useful. And the cost to gain the skill was miniscule, just a single skill point.
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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by undecaf » April 21st, 2017, 11:43 pm

Drool wrote:
April 21st, 2017, 8:21 pm
Gizmo wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 11:38 pm
Does that mean it was a technically useless skill? There was certainly more than just one trap in both Fallout 1 & 2.
I wouldn't say so, because the one use was remarkably useful. And the cost to gain the skill was miniscule, just a single skill point.
But you also had the rest of skills range totally wasted. What's really the point of designing a mechanic that is barely used? (Wasteland 1 was a really short game so this doesn't necessarily or fully apply there, but generally speaking.)
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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by paultakeda » April 22nd, 2017, 8:33 am

undecaf wrote:
April 21st, 2017, 11:43 pm
But you also had the rest of skills range totally wasted. What's really the point of designing a mechanic that is barely used? (Wasteland 1 was a really short game so this doesn't necessarily or fully apply there, but generally speaking.)
That just means the skill list should be considered in its entirety when designing a dungeon or the world map. It would be nice to think that part of dungeon design does include the question, "So other than fighting and doors/boxes/locks, what else can we add to this map that uses other skills/attributes in a way that isn't forced?"

Consider Darwin Base in WL1. Aside from making things go boom a lot of that dungeon relied on attributes and skills use, not to mention the player's own brain for math and logic, to get through. At one point you have to split the party and send one guy in a radiation suit and a rocket to get the job done. Basically, that one, last map on WL1 made full use of everything in the game system.

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Re: Should Intelligence be the governing attribute for all skill-leveling?

Post by Drool » April 22nd, 2017, 8:44 pm

undecaf wrote:
April 21st, 2017, 11:43 pm
But you also had the rest of skills range totally wasted. What's really the point of designing a mechanic that is barely used? (Wasteland 1 was a really short game so this doesn't necessarily or fully apply there, but generally speaking.)
Options, mostly. Forgery was used to get you past the Webs of Deceit in Finster's Mind Maze. You could also use most any explosive (TNT, Mangler, LAW, Sabot, RPG-7), or your Strength attribute, or (maybe) Charisma. Wasteland was all about choices.

The best example of this was probably when you got stuck on the stage in Scott's Bar. There were nearly a dozen options for entertaining the crowd from Confidence or Acrobatics to Charisma to the Knife Throwing combat skill.
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