Crafter's Roundtable: Ability Points and Crafting/Gathering


Staff member
During the developer stream last night (January 30th) we learned about the concept of Ability Points, which are points you earn through gameplay that are used to empower your class abilities. The system was described as a hybrid of EQ-style Alternate Advancement and WoW-style Talent Trees, with the idea that players could use these to pick and choose from incremental power increases, without being locked into different builds or specializations. It was also mentioned that there would be multiple ways to earn these points and that players would be able to continue earning points even after reaching the level maximum - but that you would not earn points for doing something like fishing.

Of course, that sparked a broader discussion among some of the community members present of whether you *should* be able to earn points for doing crafting and gathering. That's not really what this thread is about though.

Consider: Many of us want some depth and complexity as part of crafting and gathering gameplay in Pantheon. We don't want crafting to simply be a magic box that we put things into - instead, we should have to do some thinking and push some buttons to successfully craft an item. Likewise, many of us would prefer gathering to not be simply a matter of finding a resource node and clicking on it multiple times to retrieve all the resources. There should be more to it than that. Thus, it stands to reason that there may be some crafting and gathering abilities that players acquire and use within the game.

If it is the case that there are various crafting/gathering abilities in the game, then should those abilities also have something like the Ability Points for adventuring that can be used to upgrade them? Would it be a fun addition or simply more grind in your opinion? How should those points be earned if they exist? How would we all prefer to see them work?


Here's my harsh reality perspective.
The hardcore players will get all the points. All of them, until there is nothing left to upgrade. This system is the grind that will keep the 5% occupied. It will become AA's, as a delimiter between casual and hardcore players. "LFM, 300+ AP only" will be a thing.

It will typically only matter to top tier/max tier or unique abilities, regardless of sphere or loop. That means, there's absolutely no value in customizing a level 10 spell, especially if/when the replacement level 30 version is x% more powerful. I mean, why would you burn a point on something that gets replaced? Especially true for anything remotely resembling damage, rather than status effects.

There is the very real possibility this system will replace how you get new abilities. If that's the case, then people will simply pick and choose the minimum abilities that let them consume all the content until max level (50 at launch) and then spend their AP on max level abilities.

Some content in the game will be balanced with the presumption of Max-AP. Again, that's another inevitable consequence of such an implementation. I don't really mind if this is the case, as long as that Max-AP content is less than 5% of the total content, per level tier.

With respect to crafting, my answer is the same as it has been since 2016 on the official forums. Every ability, every spell, every skill, every aspect of a character, regardless of sphere/loop/whatever, should be customizable within caps. That would be a genre-changing design, and the fact that VR has, so far, ignored this, is the definition of a missed opportunity.
What you spend to perform that customization? Should be a reflection of time invested, given that's the only true differentiator between players. As such, spending personal XP or untradeable social currency, imho, should be among the only method types used. Pretty much anything else they've alluded to or mentioned is exploitable, to a greater or lesser degree.


The pool of ability points

I’d lean more towards having all ability points into one pool. Meaning that you earn ability points and you can choose to spend them either into adventuring points, crafting or harvesting points.

Why? Because it will define your character and playstyle even more. This could allow for more impactful character experience. In the sense that it will really have an effect on what your character is good at or even greater at compared to other players.

If you earn those points but care less about crafting/gathering, you’ll spend them on adventuring. But this directly means that you’ll be not as good as a crafter/gatherer compared to other characters who’ve chosen differently.

That to me seems very appealing. Your choices do matter. Per Character even.

If this were not the case, you’ll be earning ability points in your adventuring pool, spending them there. And you’ll have a different pool for other ability points. The amount of points in the second pool should be determined by the accomplishments you do in game relating to this aspect of your character. To me, this feels more like the “safest” of the two design choices here. The player gets the best of both worlds without risking too much. The main factor here for the character/player is where they choose to invest their time in for the majority of their time. That will define which pool will have the greatest amount of ability points.

So the first option, feels more dramatic for me. And that isn’t a bad thing here.

There is merit in the second option as well. As it allows two similar concepts to coexist side by side without interfering one another.

Then there is the possible hybrid design option. Where you combine the two. So where it means you’re required to spend ability points into ASPECTS of adventuring in order to reach certain crafting or harvesting ability option-points (and vice versa or any other combination of this). This requires some creative thinking, before one can just discard this suggestion. It can create bottlenecks, a possible railroading experience. But it also stimulates players to play further than they first had in mind. Ability points, not skills, spells or combat arts themselves, can have requirements to reach. Another example is a combined requirement of adventuring progression and harvesting progression in order to reach/unlock certain crafting ability points (or again any other combination of this).

This last suggestion becomes very interesting when you know precisely how ability points can be earned/obtained. As this again could stimulate the player into investing more into their character then they first intended to.


The none-combat road to ability points

I’m not a fan of getting ability points just because I gained a level. That means squat to me.

The following suggestions still need to be considered broad descriptions, so any alterations can also be manageable.

Let me earn ability point because;

  • I’ve harvested a unique resource
  • I’ve harvested under unique conditions
  • I’ve harvested something pristine for the X’th time
  • I’ve harvested an entire node in region/terrain Y for the X’th time
  • I’ve harvested successfully with a new tool for the first time
  • I’ve harvested an entire node successfully of a challenging skillrate for the X’th time
  • I’ve harvested X amount of resources in Y time for the first time
  • I’ve harvested a unique resource of tier X for the Y’th time
  • I’ve discovered nodes of a certain challenge skill rate for the X’th time
  • I've looted a unique resource for the X'th time
  • I've looted/salvaged resource X for the Y'th time

  • I’ve discovered a new item to craft while experimenting
  • I’ve crafted item (-write item identity here-) for the X’th time
  • I’ve reached SKILL point X
  • I’ve combined resource X and Y successfully for the first time
  • I’ve worked successfully at workstation X with challenge rating Y (in the case that workstations have challenge ratings that is)
  • I’ve worked at workstations under unique conditions
  • I’ve worked with unique resources
  • I’ve worked with all possible workstations (of the same identity) present in the world
  • I’ve worked with all possible different workstations (forge, loom, stove, etc.) of tier X
  • I’ve learned recipe X of a certain trade skill for the Y’th time.
  • I’ve used crafting tool X successfully for the first time
  • I’ve successfully worked at workstations in region X (dungeon, open land, village, city, cellar, etc.) for the Y’th time (could even be segmented further relating to Kingdoms or such)
  • I’ve successfully crafted an item with challenge rating X of recipe identity Y for the Z’th time
  • I've looted item X (which relates to tradeskill or tradeskill class Y) for the Z'th time
  • I've salvaged resource X for the Y'th time
  • I've looted an enchanted item X (which relates to tradeskill or tradeskill class Y) for the Z'th time

  • I've gained X amount of faction X with society Y which relates to tradeskill or tradeskill class Z
  • I've completed a quest which relates to tradeskill or tradeskill class X
  • I've encountered a recipe that relates to tradeskill or tradeskill class X for the Y'th time
  • I've succesfully completed an entire storyline relating to tradeskill or tradeskill class X
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Progression via ability points

Hard pass on node identity skills. Please safeguard some surprise/discovery in this game!!! So no; “But there could be abilities that affect the distance at which you can see a node, the amount of information you get from a node (at the worst .... duh that may be metal. At the best - tier 4 obtanium with a 12% chance of a useful rare.)” I’m sorry Dorotea to disagree on this with you. This for me will only facilitate node farming even further and just downgrades the entire harvesting experience for me.

Meddling with harvesting speed is a slippery sloop. Because what do you end up with? A harvesting character chopping away like a lumberjack on cocaine? Or a harvesting bar going so fast you can hardly notice it pop up while harvesting? Meaning; it’s going so fast that it’s just not possible to influence the process at all other than stepping away from the node quickly enough? I would have to pass on this too. Although it’s a really easy to implement Quality Of Life feature. As a whole…it really doesn’t ADD much if anything at all to the character, considering we are still talking about ABILITY points.

Like I’ve stated in other threads, I’m not a fan of being able to max out. It just flatlines a game every time you reach that point and no new content is available. So if I could, hard pass on this design. I don’t see the point why this even would be necessary for a character. It doesn’t make sense have this as need for the character. Just allow character to continuously grow without capping off. Design ability points and the ways to earn them as such that it’s just not possible to reach it all before new content is pushed out.

I think what’s been overlooked here is the world of Terminus itself.

Why can you not gain abilities that relate to the part of the world you are in? You gain ability points that you’re able to spend into the ability tree (if you will call it that) that relates to that part of the world you are in. Scenario: “You are in mining in a dungeon underneath the mountainside north of Faerthale. You gain an ability point. And you get to choose to spend it into improving your mining ability in Faerthale mountains.” Someone who’s been living and mining near Khaga Sands might still encounter more challenge when mining in Faerthale because the “conditions” are different and vice versa. Now this is still a very broad description of the design idea. But I hope you see where I’m going with this. You can use regions, continents, zones to give them their own node identity. Thereby allowing harvesters to really specialize into certain regions of the world. And heck, won’t that be a logical thing to occur…

This brings me to node identity and Challenge Rate. I won’t go into it much. But if the devs create it as such they can construct entire ability trees around this concept. Would this be damaging for the player? Since the player is levelling up gradually and quite possibly will not be bouncing all over the world levelling up like a mad man. This kind of specialization will just occur naturally, because the player just stays longer in certain range/region/continent. This still allows for completionists to grind out all the possible ability scenarios and max out all “regional ability trees” (If I’m allowed to call them that) and be master of it all. (If that is something the devs choose to design for.)

So now we’re making progression and spending ability points into harvesting abilities that are related to the region I’m playing. It might require a character to unlock/discover other regions to be able to spend ability points in other regions other than the ones they are in for the majority of their time. (could not should)

As I touched on briefly, the harvesting areas could be: dungeons, open land, village, forest, desert,… I mean, why not? Because it could get too complex? Is that even a thing if you’re just looking at harvesting? I’d stay it’s actually putting in more depth where there was none, to be honest.

Bringing it back to actual progression. What should these points actually do?

Depending on the design of nodes, they could facility maintaining focus/concentration during the harvesting process. (if concentration is a requirement at all) This however, I find a nice feature or detail that could add more depth or challenge to the process of harvesting. A combination of maintaining your concentration and the challenge rate of the node could be where the ability points get into play. Without these ability points, you’ll just have concentration versus challenge rate and luck on your side. The ability points could allow X% chance of maintaining concentration.

A simple ability point would be; it gives you X% chance increase to harvest successfully. (please never beyond 75%!!) Leave me the experience of disappointment and frustration/stress of not being successful while harvesting. This may sound odd, but it gets boring really fast if you’re 100% successful in what you do all the time.

Another simple one but a bit more iffy; X% chance to harvest a unique resource successfully. This however can be very heavily debated, since it also facilitates grinds and flooding the market.

An ability tree could also be oriented towards the styles of harvesting. Where the amount of ability points spend will push you towards a skill point gained in that style of harvesting.

There could also be a connection towards the proficiency (if I’m using that word correctly here) of working with harvesting tools. Meaning, you put in ability points into a tree that makes you more proficient in working with harvesting tools or particular kind of tool.

Harvesting under certain conditions could be another aspect where ability points can be spend on. You might be able to harvest better when it’s raining, at night, or when you’re in the water,… The description could be a simple as; “You get better at fishing during the night.” And the mechanic behind it could be, that it will influence a % chance to decrease the challenge rating of fishing nodes at night. Or it allows you to see more fishing nodes at night.

That brings me to the viewing of nodes as an ability point feature. A player should see nodes without any ability points are required. However, I don’t see why there could not be nodes in the world that most will not see, unless ability points are spent. This to me seems very familiar to the perception design of this game. (pretty sure I’ve discussed this already in another topic anyway). Here again, you can separate different identity or conditions of a nodes and tree branches you are able to spend your ability points into.

A common design would be, where ability points improve the harvest yield of a harvesting session. Instead of increasing the amount of items a node renders, the devs could keep it at a certain amount. But the design here would be that the amount of items you get from a node would be drastically decreased and the ability points you spend in this aspect would have a %increase that you obtain more items from that node. (let’s say 3 x10 is the max amount one should ever get from a node in this game and the % chance you manage to get a 10 yield is 1%. This would mean that the ability points give you 2% chance to yield that 1% chance of a 10 item yield.) Don’t stumble over the chosen numbers, but I hope you see the point here. It’s to aim towards a % chance increase, rather than a Fix item amount increase. Because in the long run this will you’ll just end up flooding the market with bots harvesting and dumping. If you design it correctly, the player will experience the influence of these spent ability points without breaking the market.

I do like the idea of being able to harvest for bonus time on a node. So perhaps ability points could also be spent this way. To increase the chance you have to harvest a bonus time. (I’m not saying harvest two times in one go, but rather literally harvesting an extra time) You can call it being more efficient or careful during your harvest session, so you don’t break/consume the node at 3 times but at 4. Why not the other way around? Well, because it really adds nothing to the player’s experience other than reading another line and putting the items into the bag. I say no to that. Give the player a chance to experience harvesting at that node for an extra time instead. The impact those ability points have can be felt directly by the player, it can’t get more meaningful than that. It might require a bit more programming though.


Upgrades via ability points

This heavily depends on the mechanic behind skills and actual abilities used while crafting or harvesting (if any at all).

Gathering and crafting are two aspects of this game that can go very broad and diverse when it comes to abilities. Since we don't know how deep they go into designing the details, it's everyone's guess ofc.

I'll assume, there are harvesting skills, but they are global skills. Meaning with a mining skill you can mine everywhere and all the time, as long as you've matched the tier of that node with your skill or are in range of that. I've already mentioned this earlier so I'm not going to fully repeat myself here; discovery of nodes, % chance increase of unique resources, % chance of increase % of yield X, gaining skill point X after Y amount of ability points are spent

I like the idea of spending ability points in order to unlock content/lore/quests. Even if you don't know where that content is located. It gives a certain mystery and adventure to something very ordinary. (If you see what I mean here.) It can stimulate players to explore the world even further. It's risk, but will it ever pay off... this temptation appeals to me.

I'll assume again, that there will be tradeskill abilities used while crafting. Aside of that there are trade skills.
  • These kind of points can expand the range of recipes a player of level X can attempt. Example, don't stumble over number; A level 2 player can work level 2-4 recipes. Level 5 is usually not possible to attempt so far. Investing ability points can push towards enabling that at level 2.
  • They could grant extra skill points if enough ability points are invested.
  • They could grant an upgrade of tradeskill ability X if enough points are invested. Since we don't know if there are any such abilities or how they would affect the craftingproces, I won't go into it much. Basically it can improve with X%.
  • Unlocking master, expert, specialized techniques, recipes, ability trees is another possibility
  • Tresholds of points spent or specific trees can grant direct beneficial impacts on the crafting process
  • Decreasing challenge rating or a % chance thereof
  • Actual amount of Faction points gained (mind you Faction points only, so no stat increases, speed increases)
  • Unlocking combined tradeskill craft recipes/abilities for advanced or unique recipes (if that is a thing in game) (Example: for those rare occassions where one player just needs to be able to use techniques/abilities of different classes at ones, while solo crafting. I'm not saying it's a permanent thing, it's for unique/specific content only.)
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Ability point sinks:
(I hate the idea that they'll turn into a sink of stupendous amounts points spent for just a pinch of progressive experience) KEEP the sinks relatively SMALL and actually IMPACTFUL