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My Time at Portia enters Early Access on Jan 23rd 2018!

Author Topic: Skill Tree Feedback  (Read 251 times)


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Skill Tree Feedback
« on: May 30, 2018, 10:42:54 PM »

First of all, after about 75 hours in, the game is still a blast.  Very much looking forward to what you're still up to for the full version.  This is mostly my feedback on what I think that each of the skill trees could use.  If I don't comment on a specific skill, I probably don't have anything to say about it.

Combat Tree
Combat skills are mostly fine.  It's a well designed batch of skills overall.
2nd Tier: These both seem a little strong.  8%-10% per point would probably work as well.

3rd Tier:
Pummel - This really feels powerful.  If you stack critical (From accessories and Arlo's Good Friend bonus) you can make an absolute monster of yourself in combat.

4th Tier:
Pain Dealer - There's no real items/content to support the skill yet, but 25% greater effect would probably feel a lot better to the player than 24% additional duration - particularly if you have debuffs that refresh often such as strikes from a weapon.

5th Tier: These are the only skills in the game that have a negative along with the benefit, so it would be nice to have a toggle to turn the ability on and off.
Aggressive - If you don't implement a toggle, this needs a redesign.  It provides absolutely no benefit until you would normally run out of stamina - all the while taking double damage.  By the time you reach this skill, you'll already have a pool of 300+ stamina so it wouldn't run out very quickly.  Something along the lines of 50% more damage taken, +10% damage done would probably be decent enough.  Double damage taken is pretty brutal for so little benefit.

Gather Tree
3rd Tier: The bonus damage probably needs to be doubled.  By the time you reach these skills, the player would almost definitely have the iron tools if not fisherman tools and +25% damage at most would save one or two whacks, and the skills feel more like filler on the way up the skill tree than anything useful.

5th Tier: Decent skills, but since rare drops are still fairly common, not particularly impressive.  Perhaps also add a small chance for common drops not normally available in that node to also drop (cinnamon for trees around portia, or iron while quarrying rocks or the copper ruins for example)

Social Tree
This is the one that needs the most work by far.  I do realize that these kinds of skills are the most difficult to design and implement.  The largest problem is the over reliance on skills that use the '20% chance per point to provide static bonus x'.  Designers in MMOs that use skill/talent trees discovered a long time ago that these skills are perceived very badly by players.  If the player doesn't have all points invested in the skill, it feels like a punishment instead of a bonus.  +% chances for already random events (critical hits or extra loot) feel good because it is a noticeable positive modifier on an already random event.  That perception just doesn't hold when a player hits a button and immediately sees the measurable effect of that press.  I imagine ending up in the 20% range when you had 80% chance for something leads to a lot of disgruntlement (and cursing).  It pretty much requires an 'All or Nothing' investment in skills that doesn't seem like good design since it leads to a perception of limiting the player choice.

1st Tier:
The Giver- This skill needs an upgrade.  Chatting only takes the time to track down the character.  Gifts require that time in addition to whatever time to gather the money and materials.  I would suggest a flat 15%-20% bonus per point.  This makes the most expensive gifts more valuable while still not letting the players exploit cheap and easily farmed neutral gifts.

Smooth Talker - By far the worst offender in the tree of the random chance issue.  Press button, get affection.  There's two possible solutions that I can think of.
A: Change to a 2-3 point talent that gives +1 affection per point spent.  The heart grind is already pretty tedious so this shouldn't be hideously unbalanced.
B: Change the affection scale by a factor of 5.  500 points for each heart/star and everything in game multiplied by a factor of 5 (IE +5 points for just chatting to townsfolk).  Each point in the talent will add 1 more point per chat.  So the end result is the same and you get twice as much affection for chatting to a character, but it doesn't feel punishing if you want to split up some of your points into presents as well.

2nd Tier:
Fair Fight - the random chance 'almost' works for this one.  It's a very powerful skill to start with, and there's less immediate feedback in between when you press the button and when you get the affection boost.  It still leads to the 'All or Nothing' investment mentality, however.  If changes are to be made, see Smooth Talker for suggestions.

3rd Tier:  Nothing much to say here - though I haven't really done anything with the confession mechanic so can't comment on whether making that kind of investment in an action I would only use a few times in game really feels worth it.

4th Tier:
Big Player - Awesome skill.  Enough said.

Pickpocket - Way too weak.  By the time you reach this skill all of the big ticket items cost 50k+ gol.  It's like winning a dime instead of a nickel when you win an encounter.  Sure you can get a decent amount of change if you spend all day doing it, but you could get far more from doing a hazardous ruin run and selling the loot, which would feel far less tedious.  On top of that random chance.  Yuck.  I would suggest 40%-60% extra gol won per point spent.  Still not a great skill, but social skills are hard to come up with.

5th Tier:
Social Maniac - Amazing skill.  Also enough said.

Martial Artist - Almost worthless.  This at best should be a 2-3 point skill in the first or second tiers, not a top tier talent.  Even if you leveled purely in the social tree the player would be minimum level 22 when they hit this, which makes only the Civil Corps, Paulie, and Russo even a remote threat.  And if you pay any attention at all to the fights only Russo is a threat.  Sparring in current form just isn't remotely difficult enough to justify this.  Replace this skill and kick it to the bottom of the skill tree.  Seriously.

In my ideal game, I would put Pickpocket and Martial Artist as 2-3 point skills in the first and second tiers and replace them with:
4th Tier Confidant:
Either (A) Adds additional liked and loved gifts to all characters' lists per point invested
or (B) Reveals 20% of a character's loved, liked, disliked, and hated gifts for each point invested and labels them in your inventory when giving a gift (greyed out in the character's gift list if you haven't given one of those items yet)

5th Tier Empath - During play or dates, highlights the conversation option most liked by the character, and the foods they like when ordering from the restaurant.

Both of these are nice little quality of life upgrades that can keep a player more in game and less time tabbing out checking on lists, wikis, or writing things down.  That honestly might be the best way to come up with social talents - focus more on quality of life things that help players to socialize rather than pure mechanical boosts alone.  I would definitely think it would be worth it to have a top tier talent that would show me on a map where Portians were at that moment so long as you had them on your contacts list.  That might even be far better than my Empath talent idea.

Again, wonderful game, and I'm looking forward to what else you are going to do with it!
« Last Edit: May 30, 2018, 11:02:02 PM by Luneward »