Skillpoints and crafting levels

Barin999

Journeyman
I'm curious to hear what you folks think how one should skill up.

Do you gain skill levels beyond your current level or are you able to fill up on skillpoints up to a certain point (your current level being that ceiling)
Example: a level 1 crafts and as they do they gain skill points. Unrelated to their crafting level.
Example: a level 1 crafter can earn 10 skill points, beyond that it requires the crafter to reach level 2 to be able to get more skill points, etc. (perhaps the skillpoints can scale as levels go up?) This could create a barrier to access content that is too far beyond their level/skill points.

Consider gathering and crafting:
Should you skill up each time you try the action or only after X-amount of trials you get a boost up?

Consider crafting only:
Should you skill up only when you attempt something above your current skill level or when you combine certain crafting abilities?
Or perhaps you prefer that skilling up happens only on final products and not on subcomponents?

And should you be able to attempt something that is too far above your current skill level and doing so skill up, even though you fail?
For example: I'm a level 10 provisioner, trying a level 40 recipe with 95% chance of failure, but I earn skill points each time I try, because it's a "challenging" recipe.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
I dislike the mechanic where I can start any recipe even though it's far beyond my current skill or crafting level.

It would feel more organic/ fluent when the amount of skill points go parallel with the crafting level you have currently.
So as I craft, I earn skill points ..the amount of skill points is linked to my current crafting experience/progress. So that I have more skill points as I progress through my crafting level.
To maintain some value on actual skill points, perhaps it should be more flexibel and go beyond crafting levels (as, if I'm not mistaking, is the case in EQ). Where X-amount of skill points could just be signaling the treshold to reach another crafting level. If you don't know how many skillpoints one needs to reach another crafting level, it could feel more flexibel and fluent. Perhaps even less 'ratrace-ish'. Each their own pace. Again, the amount of skillpoints could scale to the crafting levels. So more points are needed the higher you level up. This could support the concept of "hell-levels" in crafting. The sense of reaching a level being an achievement could be a thing in crafting.

The idea of each level having fixed 10 skillpoints, no matter what level and unrelated to amount of products crafted. I would not favour a fix amount of skill points per level, where during their first combine after leveling, you get a lot of skillup-dings and you're maxed out already. (eq2 mechanic) This seems the use of the actuall skill points has gone completely.
So, it would make more sense you gain skill points as you level up and continue to doing so until you reach another level.

The actual skill up could happen %-based, where there is a higher chance of a skill up on a succesful then on a fail. So you'ld still be able to earn a skill up on a fail but the % that this happens is much lower compared to a succes. If there are three stages to an end product: pristine, mediocre and fail/trash. The %'s to earning a skillpoint could be tied to the quality of the product.
 

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
LOL, apparently skills were on both our minds yesterday Barin! :)

So, the short answer I'll give here is that I personally like the concept of skills, as long as they are a) meaningful and b) provide an actual choice for the player in terms of how they pursue their class/profession.

In the context of crafting, what I would like that to mean is that there would be several skills which impact the crafting process, and players have to choose which skills to invest in. Going back to our discussions about the process of creating something, skills might map to portions of the crafting process - refining, shaping, finishing, etc. Perhaps as you level up you only get so many points to invest, and you have to decide where and how to invest them.

What I dislike, slightly, is when skills don't represent an actual choice, or when they just serve as a "tracker" for progress within your class/profession. For example, if every blacksmith gets a skill called "blacksmithing", and that skill determines what recipes they can attempt. While I love the feedback mechanism of seeing the skillups happen over time, in the end, the skill itself seems like a waste. Every blacksmith in the game will cap that skill because it's required. There's no choice involved, it's just a tracker.

I have many more thoughts about skills in general, that I will probably post in the supporter forums this weekend in the larger discussion there.
 

Trasak

Apprentice
Staff member
Staff Writer
I'm basically going to drop my same response to Barin that I did in Neph's thread with a few crafter specific changes.

Realistically I think Nephele and I are once again on the same page. Skill ranks are interesting and neat if they represent the outcome of conscious choice that truly shape what your character can do. Skill ranks are pointless and irritating if everyone must grind the same skills, to the same level to be the same quality of crafter as everyone else who has already ground to max level.

I would rather see a focus on masteries rather than skill ranks for crafters. In the old world you needed the approval of your teacher to move from apprentice to journeyman, then you needed to complete a true master work to be considered a master by your peers and your guild hall and grand master was a combination of a political post and "a life time achievement award".

Its harder to come up with a good way to map this onto Pantheon crafting as we have heard absolutely nothing from Cythos as to the form, function or finances of crafting. Maybe those in Pre-alpha know more than we do but I would love to see a more outside the box system but it would likely be at odds with the "Recognizable Named Item" itemization Brad has been pitching.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
So, the short answer I'll give here is that I personally like the concept of skills, as long as they are a) meaningful and b) provide an actual choice for the player in terms of how they pursue their class/profession.

In the context of crafting, what I would like that to mean is that there would be several skills which impact the crafting process, and players have to choose which skills to invest in. Going back to our discussions about the process of creating something, skills might map to portions of the crafting process - refining, shaping, finishing, etc. Perhaps as you level up you only get so many points to invest, and you have to decide where and how to invest them.

What I dislike, slightly, is when skills don't represent an actual choice, or when they just serve as a "tracker" for progress within your class/profession. For example, if every blacksmith gets a skill called "blacksmithing", and that skill determines what recipes they can attempt. While I love the feedback mechanism of seeing the skillups happen over time, in the end, the skill itself seems like a waste. Every blacksmith in the game will cap that skill because it's required. There's no choice involved, it's just a tracker.

I have many more thoughts about skills in general, that I will probably post in the supporter forums this weekend in the larger discussion there.
Of course we're talking about this in a crafting context.
If skills should have an impact and actual choices are needed to be made by the player, this opens up a lot of options.
What kind of impact should it have? succes chance, durability, quality, coin value, stats, different stats etc.
If two blacksmith choose different skillpoints to invest in, should they still end up with the exact same end products or how would that differ?
Could this even mean that certain blacksmith are able to craft some subcomponents, where other blacksmith can not, due to not chosen those skillpoint lines?
If skillpoints only affect progression, is that still considered valueable, since if you try hard enough, you'll get a pristine item anyway? And as crafting levels go up, the required progression for an end product might be staying the same or increase to a scale that leaves your skillpoints without much meaning.

I hear you, when you call out the tracker argument. I imagine you're looking more towards unlocking and chosing skilltrees, rather then having a bunch of skillsets at the start and skilling up through practice.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
I would rather see a focus on masteries rather than skill ranks for crafters. In the old world you needed the approval of your teacher to move from apprentice to journeyman, then you needed to complete a true master work to be considered a master by your peers and your guild hall and grand master was a combination of a political post and "a life time achievement award".

Maybe those in Pre-alpha know more than we do but I would love to see a more outside the box system but it would likely be at odds with the "Recognizable Named Item" itemization Brad has been pitching.
Advancing a craft through chosen expertise seems like a nice way to go. So far they have mentioned two specializations for each craftingclass. When you'ld apply the expert-style to the skill points, that diversity choice is quickly made. Which brings you really quick to, how do you differentiate when launching new expacs. Do you create even more subclasses in the crafting system? Down the road, those experts might become less and less of value if the demand is not within their niche-expertise.
There are a lot of ways to allow diversity into crafts, such as style, resource use, value, prestige, consumable etc. I'll not go into that. But if each require an actual choice of that crafter, this could mean that they also choose not to go in the other direction. So with that it means that the crafter will be "blocking out" crafting content available for their class, because they chose to become expert in another path of their class. (if you catch my drift)

One could allow rollbacks or with enough investment they might unlock all expert trees. But if that were the case, you'll devalue the entire expert system as a whole..which includes the specific skills, of which we are talking about at this moment. If skill get earned via apprenticeships, what will prevent a treadmill from appearing for every player choosing that same craft? "you want to be an expert blacksmith, do this and go to npc Y. Then you've unlocked Z-skill and you'll be the same as me."
If the treadmill is active, the skill system has gotten a new suit but no new mechanic or value for that matter (at least that would be my consideration, as everyone will walk the same road to unlock and gather those skills).

I'ld see more potential in Nephele's suggestion, where the choice of skill has influence on the result of the endproduct. You might choose to craft quickly, but you're quality or product value might not be as high as someone who chose to invest in the "product value-skill".
The most interesting approach would be that different skill would influence different stats on an item. With that, it could leave even more diversity. It could make sense when a crafter is not able to max out all skills. I'll go deeper into that by saying: they can not max out an item YET. I'ld call this the window of euphoria: a crafter has level 10 and is skilling up, they can not skill up all at the same time, so the end product is not maxed on out; price value, stats, appearance,... As that player skills up, slowly skills start to max out. BUT in the meantime that crafter is leveling up as wel. Where the recipe was a challenge at first, it's now mediocrely easy and after a while it becomes easy (but NOT TRIVIAL). At the easy stage, those final skills are getting maxed out. If that player continues to craft that same recipe, they now are able to max out the item. (not including the risks and other factors of the minigame and resource choice).
The catch here is, that as that window of optimization occurs, they can only use it very briefly. As the crafter keeps progressing and the recipe quickly becomes Trivial. With a recipe becoming Trivial, he now loses the opportunity to max out the end product. Consider it as some kind of "mode". It only occurs in that brief moment where a recipe has become easy and all stars align.
This should prevent markets being flooded by these maxed out items, and new crafters being pushed out by older crafters due to the fact that they can make all items with best stats, leaving no space for novel crafters.
In this stage, it should not be possible to stop tradeskill xp or advancement. Otherwise crafters could deliberately block themselves and abuse this sweet zone.
This sweet zone however is a very nice spot to be in as a crafter, as in some way it's an achievement and a reward for that crafter.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
Another thing to consider:
Racial crafting skills.

They are mostly present at the start of character creation, but loose value as the player grows.
These racial skills however, for me, should scale up. So they continue to matter and have an impact on the crafter.
This because they have a unique crafting skill, progression boost, recovery boost, price value boost, etc.

What do you think?
 

Trasak

Apprentice
Staff member
Staff Writer
Hmm I don't think I expressed myself well. I think it may be largely due to difference of definition of easily overlapping terms.

I had the old EQ skill levels on my brain i.e. weapon skill levels that affected your chance to hit and needed to attack a lot to cap your skill for your level. EQ trade skills were also a function of your crafting skill level and your chance to succeed was a function of the recipe difficulty vs your trade skill level. The only way to raise said level was to make many non trivial items to level it.

I think what you are talking about is more skill tree build points that let you either specialize or give your crafting abilities a boost. I am all for an ability tree/web to make characters, both crafters and adventurers, more unique and interesting. Preferably your options will be reflected by your actual in game actions, i.e. if you make a lot of swords your options are mostly related to bladed weapons but if you start making a lot of plate armor then those options open as well.

How the mastery ties in for me is that through making a basic assembly recipe or component subcombine you slowly increase your mastery of that item. Reaching different mastery tiers will give you increasing quality level that you can achieve. Each level of mastery could also increase the number of build points you have to work with and the item you have mastered also unlocks access to a certain portion of the tree. Your actual crafter profession level could be a function of the build points you have available.
 

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
If skillpoints only affect progression, is that still considered valueable, since if you try hard enough, you'll get a pristine item anyway? And as crafting levels go up, the required progression for an end product might be staying the same or increase to a scale that leaves your skillpoints without much meaning.
So, there are at least three ways that things could go here (you could also combine some/all of these).

1) You have a "Parent" skill for the profession (e.g. Blacksmithing). This skill is really just an aggregate that serves as a yardstick for whether you can attempt certain things. Want to make a dagger? No problem, you only need Blacksmithing 5. A longsword? Blacksmithing 25. Field Plate Armor? That takes Blacksmithing 125, at a minimum. If this were done, the skill itself would probably simply go up through use, so expect some mechanical grinding if you want to be able to make that field plate armor.

2) You have subskills within Blacksmithing (e.g. Smelting, Shaping, etc). These skills govern different aspects of the crafting process. They influence the success chance of crafting actions in their respective categories, as well as the results of those crafting actions. So, having a high skill level within Smelting might mean that you have an easier time refining raw materials, thus getting a "head start" in the next phase of crafting because you're using higher-grade materials. If this were done, ideally you would receive some limited pool of points that you would have to distribute between the various skills. You might set targets or weights and the skills go up through use, or it might be a matter of just spending points each level.

3) There's a skill tree that determines which actions or sets of recipes you have access to, and every level you get in Blacksmith, you get a certain number of points to spend in that skill tree. You can focus on learning better techniques, or you can branch out and learn to make different kinds of things. This means that one blacksmith may take a very different path from another. If this were done, there would likely be some sort of skill point cap such that any individual blacksmith could only learn part of the skill tree.

All three methods have their potential drawbacks. Here's a few::
  • If you're doing a parent skill, how much do you allow it to influence the outcome of the finished item? Does this then create a barrier to entry in the market where (for example) people will only by "master-crafted" equipment?
  • If you're doing subskills, how do you factor in quality of materials, tools/gear, and so on? Does this create a situation where over time only crafters who have thoroughly optimized will be able to be competitive?
  • If you're doing skill trees, how do you make recipe acquisition work within the context of the game world? If everyone magically gains knowledge just by spending skill points to unlock it, are you encouraging people to stay in one place and mindlessly grind out skill points to get what they want?
None of this is insurmountable, but if we were going to design the (crafting) skill system for Pantheon, we'd need to think really hard about how to handle all of it. If it were me, I would probably use elements of all three methods and try to balance them against each other to avoid some of the pitfalls. My overall goal however would be to insure I wasn't setting up a system where 3-5 years down the line it's impossible to participate in the economy as a new crafter without putting in a massive time investment grinding up.
 

Trasak

Apprentice
Staff member
Staff Writer
Your Parent skill level dictates which subskills you can learn, still need to find a teacher of the skill.

Your Parent skill level over the required level of the subskill increases your chance to get a higher quality result from the crafting minigame of that subskill, including the final assembly minigames.

Assembly patterns must be found and learned from plans and will have a Parent skill learning limit based on the highest level subskill required to make the lowest complexity version of the assembly. Higher versions of subskills can be used in place of the minimum subskill when you gain access to them.

Skill trees could include both passive bonuses to the results of minigames and have nodes that are a sub requirement along with a minimum Parent skill level to learn an advanced subskill. The rate at which you earn build points and the cost of successive levels of the trees from limiting you to only a generalist distribution or top tier in one major branch. Smithing for example could have heavy weapons, light weapons, light armor, heavy armor, metallurgy and treatment.

Where it gets iffy is how to make items for different level ranges. Is it indicated by the quality level of the item, the subskills used, the materials used or all three.
 

Autherial

Apprentice
Staff member
Staff Writer
Your Parent skill level dictates which subskills you can learn, still need to find a teacher of the skill.

Your Parent skill level over the required level of the subskill increases your chance to get a higher quality result from the crafting minigame of that subskill, including the final assembly minigames.

Assembly patterns must be found and learned from plans and will have a Parent skill learning limit based on the highest level subskill required to make the lowest complexity version of the assembly. Higher versions of subskills can be used in place of the minimum subskill when you gain access to them.

Skill trees could include both passive bonuses to the results of minigames and have nodes that are a sub requirement along with a minimum Parent skill level to learn an advanced subskill. The rate at which you earn build points and the cost of successive levels of the trees from limiting you to only a generalist distribution or top tier in one major branch. Smithing for example could have heavy weapons, light weapons, light armor, heavy armor, metallurgy and treatment.

Where it gets iffy is how to make items for different level ranges. Is it indicated by the quality level of the item, the subskills used, the materials used or all three.
I could not have said this better myself, pretty much on par with my thoughts.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
So, there are at least three ways that things could go here (you could also combine some/all of these).

  1. You have a "Parent" skill for the profession (e.g. Blacksmithing).
  2. You have subskills within Blacksmithing (e.g. Smelting, Shaping, etc).
  3. There's a skill tree that determines which actions or sets of recipes you have access to
That does sound about right, one thing I am trying to get across as an idea however, is to step away from the fix Skilltree structure. My description was perhaps a bit short;
One of the ideas I'm touching on is about a combination of skilltree meets parentskill, meets subskills.

There would be no points to spent or structures to reflect on. Everything is much more "organic". As in life, if you make a lot of pies you get better at it. You might have encountered a new technique along the way, and want to try it out and master it as wel. And with enough investement you do. Etc. That doesn't make you skilled in baking breads. To master that you'll need to make a lot of easy bread recipes and move up from there. There are rudimental techniques to start you off when initiating a crafting class, but thats it. You go your own way from there.

Where this becomes fun for the player; if they engage in the itemproduction they most favour, in time they'll get access to recipes/skills/technique that are unique for your advanced tradeskill. (this could be through lore, discovery, npc's displaying techniques, questing etc.) That provisioner lvl 1 had no clue where he'ld end up, they just started to bake pies and enjoyed it so much, they developed more skills for it and advanced in this spectrum of provisioning. Now at later level that provisioner has advanced in a lot of piemaking, not by design, but purely on the fact that they made a lot of pies and spent a lot of time in those recipes/content.
I'm not saying every technique should have their own epic questline, but I'm sure most will agree that "learning" could add flavour to tradeskill experience overall and the story surrounding craftingcontent.

If you're new to the game, you just can't follow straight lines as there are none. With obvious skillstrees you maintain that overview of what's to come. By removing this pointspending/visual overview, crafting goes back to how that player is perceiving it. The feel of things will make that player go this way or that.

This could in fact lead up to lvl 50 provisioners not having the same recipes, purely because they made different products along the way and followed their preferred recipes/techniques. But if they wanted to, they could have it all, as long as they spent enough time and effort into it.
Does that make sense? @Nephele

Here new products, could open up new techniques and new recipes or any other derivatives.
 
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Barin999

Journeyman
Your Parent skill level dictates which subskills you can learn, still need to find a teacher of the skill.

Your Parent skill level over the required level of the subskill increases your chance to get a higher quality result from the crafting minigame of that subskill, including the final assembly minigames.

Assembly patterns must be found and learned from plans and will have a Parent skill learning limit based on the highest level subskill required to make the lowest complexity version of the assembly. Higher versions of subskills can be used in place of the minimum subskill when you gain access to them.
Yep, we're riding the same wave there @Trasak . That does sound nice.

Skill trees could include both passive bonuses to the results of minigames and have nodes that are a sub requirement along with a minimum Parent skill level to learn an advanced subskill. The rate at which you earn build points and the cost of successive levels of the trees from limiting you to only a generalist distribution or top tier in one major branch. Smithing for example could have heavy weapons, light weapons, light armor, heavy armor, metallurgy and treatment.
Passive bonuses could be a thing, as long as they keep their value as you progress. If things get redundant, it might be a poor design choice. Some passive bonuses that created a certain Treshold in a stage of that crafters carrier, could have their uses up to a certain point.
Perhaps a way to ...extract.. earlier bonuses and reinvest them could be something? As long as you're not ruining your passive skilltree. One could perhaps decide to 'Forfait' certain bonuses, in order to unlock/reach others?
Knowledge of certain techniques could be considered a passive bonus. So it's not a stat per se, but rather an every day influence on the manner how you're able to interact or counter during the minigame/craftingsession. This way one might prevent older passive bonuses to lose their meaning in comparison to stats. If you see what I mean?

"Where it gets iffy is how to make items for different level ranges. Is it indicated by the quality level of the item, the subskills used, the materials used or all three."
I don't see why that would be Iffy? It could be a viable way to differentiate items.
 
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