Some thoughts on Statistics

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DeusExNoctis
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Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by DeusExNoctis » March 5th, 2012, 7:01 pm

Likely to be some folks out there who suggest keeping the same base statistics as the original game (Strength, Intelligence, Luck, Speed, Agility, Dexterity, Charisma)... but I'd say that it's time to seriously reconsider and make your developers argue for each stat.

I did P&P RPGs in the mid to late 1980s, and I know at that time there was a focus on stats. Stats, stats, stats... everything had numbers and modifiers that you could crunch. It made logical sense to migrate that paradigm into computer RPGs, as the earliest games were more or less conversions of P&P systems (some converted better than others). But I think that time is past, and too many stats leads to min/maxing or people spending waaaaay too much time on trying to make the most efficient possible character. Seriously, if I never see another forum post to the effect of "What would be the best stats for making an XYZ character type?"

<Geezer>You know what we did in the pre-Internet days, where we couldn't look up or ask anything? We just got in there and TRIED IT OUT, and had fun with what we created.</Geezer>

So, scrap all those stats and start over with something more simple. Really now... do you really need separate Speed, Agility, and Dexterity numbers? Which one controls what again?

And Luck.

Luck.

Don't EVEN get me started on Luck.

It's been done to death. Get rid of Luck as a stat, or at least make it a hidden stat so that the player can't screw with it. Maybe give it a base range, tie some random modifiers to it, but keep it out of the view of the player and game.

I would also like to see the random/dice rolling way of generating stats, instead of the "give a point here, take a point there" method that's popular nowadays. Hey, who's to say I can't get a mega-high Strength AND Intelligence without having to bleed off points somewhere else? (Or, "Hey, that's a great set of stats! AAAAAAAAAAACK! I hit Re-Roll instead of Keep.")

Anyway, enough ranting for now. 8-)

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Tern
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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Tern » March 6th, 2012, 3:13 am

If anything it should have more stats.
The one thing I can't stand about modern "RPGs" is how dumbed down they are in that aspect.
Character customization is a great deal of the fun and it opens up a lot of options for character action.
However I agree that randomization should be an option. Just being able to say "generate my character for me", generating the scores and working out from that adds or even making it a minigame in and of itself like Traveller did adds variety in the character creation.

I'd say this is one of those things that P&P games can suffer from with people planning out their characters 20 levels in advance with excessive min-maxing (D20 based systems primarily, though HERO and Rolemaster certainly have problems of their own) that doesn't really carry over much into CRPGs, partly because the computer handles the number crunching for you and partly because it being a singleplayer experience.
People who played Fallout optimally for example would go for the Gifted trait every time but there were still a ton of character variations (or "builds" horrible connotations that it may hold to us coming from a P&P background aside) that did not include it or any of the stronger perks that were still great fun to play and didn't leave you feeling like you were missing out on something or gimping yourself.

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by chris » March 6th, 2012, 6:00 am

I think stats are an integral part of an oldschool rpg. Especially if it's desinged to be a "throwback". If you get rid of the stats, what remains is basically an adventure game (see "action adventures" like Dragon Age or Mass Effect for example ;)). Like Tern said: If anything, it should be more complex in terms of the rule set than less.

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Flamekebab » March 6th, 2012, 7:15 am

I suppose we should consider whether avoiding min/maxing is actually a priority or not. I tend to min/max in games although often not by looking it up. I like how ridiculously powerful my character can become but over time it does tend to take all caution out of the play experience.

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Kilus » March 6th, 2012, 7:26 am

I think have just four stats(like Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity, Charisma) can be more than enough to have well defined characters and roles. And having fewer stats means it is easier to implement them in a more meaningful way.

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by undecaf » March 6th, 2012, 8:57 am

I'd think the actual amount (saying "more" or "less" in general) of different statistics (primary, derived, skills...) is irrelevant as long as the ones provided do their job in distinct and meaningful manner and exist in clear symbiosis with the provided gameplay (no statistics that do barely anything but some curiosities, for example) - without overlapping and too large contrasts between the amounts respective useabilities.
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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by MesmerMesmer » March 6th, 2012, 9:02 am

Good design is not "dumbing down." Kneejerk purist responses are not very constructive.

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by rokahef » March 6th, 2012, 9:27 am

Flamekebab wrote:I suppose we should consider whether avoiding min/maxing is actually a priority or not. I tend to min/max in games although often not by looking it up. I like how ridiculously powerful my character can become but over time it does tend to take all caution out of the play experience.
I remember sitting there with a calculator during character creation screen, re-rolling and adding up the total stat points to min-max my initial rangers. "Hmmm, character #1 has a total stat pool of 38, with a high intelligence. The other guy has 42, but low int. Do i keep #1 as a tech specialist, or re-roll and hope for a higher stat pool with a good intelligence?"

It was a lot of fun, and it didn't break the game much - you'd still get wasted by the Scorpitron or Citadel guardians if you weren't properly equipped. I'd be in favor of bringing back a similar system, regardless of how many stats it included.
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Temaperacl
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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Temaperacl » March 6th, 2012, 9:56 am

So, scrap all those stats and start over with something more simple. Really now... do you really need separate Speed, Agility, and Dexterity numbers? Which one controls what again?
I think we need at least 2 of the 3 if not all 3. They control different things, so why should we merge them?
SP = Initiative modifier in combat (I think)
AGL = Agility: large-scale attribute, used for large-scale movement (acrobatics, dodging, sport activity, Hand-2-hand combat, etc)
DEX = Dexterity: Small-scale attribute, used for fine control (sleight of hand, ranged weaponry, lock picking, cheating at cards, etc)

It doesn't make sense for all of these to be merged into one - SP could be merged into AGL or DEX or both, maybe, but the difference between AGL and DEX is the difference between someone practicing tumbling and someone who works with tumblers (Unless of course, they work with the tumblers that practice tumbling in which case, they would probably use CHA).

And Luck.

Luck.

Don't EVEN get me started on Luck.

It's been done to death. Get rid of Luck as a stat, or at least make it a hidden stat so that the player can't screw with it. Maybe give it a base range, tie some random modifiers to it, but keep it out of the view of the player and game.
Why? Obviously you don't like Luck as a stat, but why should we get rid of it? In a game that has random chance as a component, why is having a stat that modifies that random chance by a small amount a bad thing?


Also, I would say hiding it would be terrible thing, but that is mainly because I hate hidden stats.
I would also like to see the random/dice rolling way of generating stats, instead of the "give a point here, take a point there" method that's popular nowadays. Hey, who's to say I can't get a mega-high Strength AND Intelligence without having to bleed off points somewhere else? (Or, "Hey, that's a great set of stats! AAAAAAAAAAACK! I hit Re-Roll instead of Keep.")
I was thinking about this yesterday (After hitting myself for pressing reroll on a super roll because one stat was just a tad lower than I liked) and, short version, I agree completely.

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Bonecrusher » March 6th, 2012, 11:29 am

By the way I like the stat/ability system of World Of Darkness games.

Nowadays modern MMORPGs use same systems.
There are only three type of characters. Tank-DPS-Healer. Tank has the strength, constution and armor, DPS has agility, dexterity and damage, Healer has intelligence, wisdom and spells.
But why we can not combine different stats and abilities?
Systems don't allow that.

We need more stats but less points.

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Kordor » March 6th, 2012, 11:35 am

I have a different opinion on that.
Playing a lot of MMOs and being a Min-Maxer myself I love “consistent” systems as they provide me with more freedom than luck based systems (which “force” my mind to save/load) or systems which are not retroactive.
As an example: Fallout New Vegas. I informed myself about the game beforehand, knowing the system from F3 I knew that intelligence is highly important for skills. So I went to NV with lvl 1 gambled till I had a big amount of money to buy the int implant right away to also get the first additional skill points for leveling from 1 to 2.
It’s not that I love to do that, but I feel that I have to because I do not want to play with a “gimped” character.

So independent on the amount of stats/ skills, what I like to have is:

No Random factor at character creation (have a static pool of points)
No ramdom factor at skill gains (e.g. not randomly receive 1-10 HP per level)
System should be Retroactive (should not make a difference whether I increase Intelligence or Endurance right at the beginning or later on. Hitpoints/Skillpoints should be clearly a multiplier of Intelligence/ Endurance)

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Sobboth » March 6th, 2012, 11:45 am

We are going to manage 4/6 characters so we need quite a lot of stats and skills to be able to differenciate them.
Otherwise it would be uninteresting.
It is going to be one of the main challenge of this game : balancing everything while giving a maximum of interesting build.
About skills : please only usefull skills, some can be more than other but usefull. Not like in fallout 1/2 or wasteland 1.
It' the only superiority of fallout 3/NV over fallout 1/2.
Or make a distinction of very usefull and much less usefull skills in character building process.

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jabu
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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by jabu » March 6th, 2012, 3:28 pm

I've never seen much point in rolling for stats. I see it mostly as a waste of time, especially when you have a particular build in mind. You'll get your optimal roll eventually, but why not just pick those points yourself? And yes I understand rolling also allows you to pool more/less points than usual. Anybody care to enlighten me?

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Tanglebones » March 7th, 2012, 9:08 pm

DeusExNoctis wrote:And Luck.

Luck.

Don't EVEN get me started on Luck.
I really like luck as a statistic. It's like a little unplanned randomness that can make things come up in your favour... or get very "interesting" I suppose.

I also like point-buy systems over random rolls, but that's because I prefer the strategy involved in carefully allocating my points versus pressing "re-roll" for two or three hours per character (I'm not proud of it, but I do it. It's like I can't help myself).

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Quarex » March 8th, 2012, 1:48 pm

A year ago, I would have been here angrily decrying your every word without really thinking about it, because my favorite table-top system is Classic Deadlands, which has 13? statistic-equivalents, and each one is fun in its own way. But in the last year, I also played Savage Worlds, which is two permutations evolved from the original Deadlands rules, and I can see how only having five of those thirteen statistics still around allows for a much-streamlined system without losing all of the fun of the original system (I do feel like it loses SOME of the fun, but I cannot figure out how to improve on it).

I think the best argument against super-streamlining is the very fact that you have to be sure you can have a party of characters, all of whom feel different and interesting. This is not a huge issue; table-top gaming shows us how you can have a group of people whose abilities complement each other, and more or less feel like totally different niche-fillers.

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Tanglebones » March 8th, 2012, 2:07 pm

Quarex wrote:I think the best argument against super-streamlining is the very fact that you have to be sure you can have a party of characters, all of whom feel different and interesting. This is not a huge issue; table-top gaming shows us how you can have a group of people whose abilities complement each other, and more or less feel like totally different niche-fillers.
Skyrim is an example of a game that has next to no statistics (Health, Mana, Stamina), but still allows for a wide variety of character types, built, of course, around the holy trinity of fighter/mage/rogue. I don't really want WL2 to be "like Skyrim," and I think Skyrim's stats model is too pared down for a party-based game. I just wanted to point out that there are many ways to go about differentiating characters in addition to stats, for example, having a wide variety of skill trees/clusters (by which I mean groups of skills that compliment each other, and preclude taking other skills) in order to produce different "roles" (e.g. demolition specialist, energy weapon specialist, thief, scientist, janitor).

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Temaperacl » March 8th, 2012, 2:54 pm

Quarex wrote: I think the best argument against super-streamlining is the very fact that you have to be sure you can have a party of characters, all of whom feel different and interesting. This is not a huge issue; table-top gaming shows us how you can have a group of people whose abilities complement each other, and more or less feel like totally different niche-fillers.
The other argument is that you don't need it. With a CRPG, the number crunching is done by the game for you. Instead of having to crunch a few equations and cross-reference a couple tables, the game is doing this all for us - there isn't any need for streamlining because the parts of the system that are troublesome (using the stats) is already done for us.

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Tanglebones » March 8th, 2012, 3:17 pm

Temaperacl wrote:The other argument is that you don't need it. With a CRPG, the number crunching is done by the game for you. Instead of having to crunch a few equations and cross-reference a couple tables, the game is doing this all for us - there isn't any need for streamlining because the parts of the system that are troublesome (using the stats) is already done for us.
That's true, but players still need to be able to crunch statistics in order to figure out, for example, whether they should take a point of int or a point of str next level, and if the system is so complex that it becomes annoying to figure out whether a certain stat, or a certain kind of character build or whatever is better than another, that can turn a lot of players off.

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Temaperacl
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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Temaperacl » March 8th, 2012, 3:44 pm

Sure - and I could understand that if you had to decide between taking a point of Willpower, one of Stubbornness, or one of Tenacity. In that case, anyone would need to do quite a bit of work to figure out which they want. With only, say, 6 attributes, though, that isn't really an issue unless the player is trying to min-max to the utmost ( And I personally thing that the stat system shouldn't be designed just to make it easier for min-maxers. ) - what ST impacts vs IQ is large enough that you shouldn't need number crunching to know what you want to improve.

I guess what I am shooting at is players need to know what a stat change is going to improve. They don't need to know the details unless they want to.

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Re: Some thoughts on Statistics

Post by Tanglebones » March 8th, 2012, 7:54 pm

Temaperacl wrote:I guess what I am shooting at is players need to know what a stat change is going to improve. They don't need to know the details unless they want to.
That's fair enough, I think.

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