Runemaster - Development Diary 10 - Skill Trees and Abilities

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SolSara

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Hey everyone!

Another week, another Monday, and a new Developer Diary! Welcome to Dev Diary 10 for our upcoming RPG Runemaster. This week it is all about Skill Trees and Abilities for your hero.
When you begin your adventure, you start with basic abilities and each time you level up you will be able to add perks, increase your stats or improve on your existing abilities for your hero. What perks you choose depends on your hero’s level and the perks previously chosen. To shape your hero and make him/her sharper and stronger in the areas of how you play is of course vital to the gameplay.

So, let's take the basics first! When you begin your saga, every class have two skill trees, one for defense and one for offense. I am more of an offensive player and tend to focus more on damaging abilities and boni when I play RPGs, but I can't argue against having more armor or an ability that gives more protection, both for my troops and for my hero. When your hero levels up, you will get a skill point that you can use to upgrade him or her. A skill point can be spent once to unlock a perk from one of the skill trees. Each perk gives your hero either a stat bonus, a new ability or upgrades an existing ability. It is possible to mod this and it is possible to make a perk give the Hero both a stat bonus and an ability.
There are several tiers in each skill tree, and you need to invest a certain amount of skill points in order to get to the next tier.

All the three classes you can choose from - Berserker, Skald and Runemaster - start with three unique abilities. As your character levels up, you get to choose whether you wish to upgrade the starting abilities or gain new ones. Therefore you will be able to customize and choose what direction you want to take your hero. You will be able to upgrade both new and old abilities should you wish to, to make sure your hero is a perfect match for your playstyle, but naturally some abilities might be better than others…

We are still in the beginning of making abilities, and we have a lot of work to do before they are done and balanced, therefore I'm keeping it a bit brief here. There are a couple already made, but their names and their boni or abilities might get changed. We will talk about a couple of perks we have, so be aware that these aren't the final design nor the final names of them.

Some abilities can affect your enemy, some affect only your Hero and some affect your Hero’s squad. As we talked about in Development Diary 5 - The Combat Attributes, we have several different attributes that all units have:
  • Health
  • Armor
  • Melee damage
  • Melee piercing
  • Ranged damage
  • Ranged piercing
  • Range
  • Magic damage
  • Magic resistance
  • Terror
  • Discipline
  • Movement speed
Each of these attributes can be increased or decreased by abilities. We can make abilities that increases an attribute for the Hero only, a friendly unit only, the Hero's whole squad, one enemy unit or on one of the enemy’s squads.

At the moment, as an example, the three starting abilities for the Berserker are:

Protective Presence increases the Armor of squad members by +25%, which lasts three turns.

Break Armor is a carefully placed strike that deals 80% of Melee Damage, but increases your Melee Piercing by +50%.

Powerful Strike is a powerful strike that deals 125% of Melee Damage, but reduces your Armor by 25% the next turn.

I hope you enjoyed this week's dev diary and will come back for a new one on the Monday after next. We will be on vacation next Monday, celebrating Easter by eating huge amounts of candy, eggs and pastries!

Runemaster_alpha_skilltree.jpg

Bonus! Alpha screenshot of the Berserker's two Skill Trees.
 
Last edited:

Jia Xu

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Thanks for the diary.

Will we be able to reset our skill trees and redistribute the points again if we happen to not like one of the threes after experimenting? Is the player character the only one with a skill tree or will others who join the army have a skills to edit too?
 

wolfing

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Sounds good. Does anybody ever specialize in defense? They should make it OP so more people pick it :)
 

Abnwtwtud

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So terror/discipline seems to imply there will be a mechanic for routed units in battle. Is this more along the lines of the old Sierra game Civil War Generals, wherein a unit will flee the battlefield if routed (unless they are recovered) or is this more like XCOM: Enemy Unknown where they'll just panic and be a sitting duck for a turn?
 

Legolas

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Does this mean that all the skills the character can have/upgrade are limited to combat skills only? What about diplomatic, economic or social skills, are they present at all in the game?
 

SolSara

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Colombo

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Can I have spear as any character? Or will there be one character specialized for swords, spears, axes...?

Or there won't be any spear? :mad:

(I wanna spear!)
 

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Hey! A screenshot! I guess it's not complete vaporware. ;)

I have a few questions (including repeats of above):

  1. Can you respec? I'd strongly encourage that this be available.
  2. Do the other units in your squad level up? If so, do you control them, or are they random or a preset path?
  3. How does Terror/Discipline work?
  4. Is Armor -Damage or -Damage%?
 

No idea

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Sounds good. Does anybody ever specialize in defense? They should make it OP so more people pick it :)

Havent you ever played an Obsidian Sorcerer in nwn 2? (follows d&d 3.5 rules). It was almost impossible to hit
 

Ulyanov

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  1. Can you respec? I'd strongly encourage that this be available.

Me, on the other hand, are hoping for this feature not to be available.

Respecing is the worst feature of modern gaming. It discourages planning and making decisions along the way. Theorycrafting, trial and error is no longer mandatory in gaming. Just go to YouTube, find the build of the week, respec, and you're good to go.
 

Colombo

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Me, on the other hand, are hoping for this feature not to be available.

Respecing is the worst feature of modern gaming. It discourages planning and making decisions along the way. Theorycrafting, trial and error is no longer mandatory in gaming. Just go to YouTube, find the build of the week, respec, and you're good to go.

Yeah. Internet should be accessible only from Mount Everest. It should be real challenge to upload image of kittens to the internet.

And you know what? They should ban all stores too. Goods made by someone else is the poison of modern civilization. Everyone should make things themselves. Not like working in highly-specialized field, such as nuclear industry, acquiring salary and just buying all that food, tools and clothes.

In other words: facepalm.
 

wolfing

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I actually don't want easy respecs. I mean, you spend dozens of years training your swordsmanship, click a button and suddenly now you don't know how to wield a sword that well, but for some mystic reason you are an expert in long spears (even though you never wielded one before).
I would be ok with undoing your last choice at any given time, but not a full respec.
 

Thure

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I actually don't want easy respecs. I mean, you spend dozens of years training your swordsmanship, click a button and suddenly now you don't know how to wield a sword that well, but for some mystic reason you are an expert in long spears (even though you never wielded one before).
I would be ok with undoing your last choice at any given time, but not a full respec.

And it would make the battles to easy. So you could respec before every battle to have fitting skills... 'For this battle I need defence!' and 5 minutes later 'For the next battle I should respec to movement'.
 

Rubidium

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I'd be ok with allowing you to respec in a particular location, probably with a fee attached (because I agree that changing between battles to optimize for each enemy is cheesy). If only to encourage people to experiment with different skills/abilities.

Especially when I start a game, I may not have a good sense of what abilities will fit my playstyle. I want to be able to try out a new ability, without having to either start a new game (or reload to before I leveled up) or feel like I've crippled myself when it turns out not to be my cup of tea.
 

wolfing

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I'd be ok with allowing you to respec in a particular location, probably with a fee attached (because I agree that changing between battles to optimize for each enemy is cheesy). If only to encourage people to experiment with different skills/abilities.

Especially when I start a game, I may not have a good sense of what abilities will fit my playstyle. I want to be able to try out a new ability, without having to either start a new game (or reload to before I leveled up) or feel like I've crippled myself when it turns out not to be my cup of tea.
You could say the same thing with any other PDS strategy games. You make choices and you don't necessarily know how they go the first time around, but you don't see a 'respec National Ideas' option in EU4 (and nobody asking for one). Besides, I'm sure it'll be fairly easy to edit a text file to do whatever you want with your character.
 

Ulyanov

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Yeah. Internet should be accessible only from Mount Everest. It should be real challenge to upload image of kittens to the internet.

And you know what? They should ban all stores too. Goods made by someone else is the poison of modern civilization. Everyone should make things themselves. Not like working in highly-specialized field, such as nuclear industry, acquiring salary and just buying all that food, tools and clothes.

In other words: facepalm.


Do you always get this sour bellied and derogatory in your remarks when you disagree with someone? Or did I somehow hit a sensitive spot? :huh:

Anyhow, given that this is a discussion forum, your post seems to defy the intended purpose. Within the framework of communicative action, I don't see how I could possibly answer your post in any meaningful way?
 

Jamey

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Me, on the other hand, are hoping for this feature not to be available.

Respecing is the worst feature of modern gaming. It discourages planning and making decisions along the way. Theorycrafting, trial and error is no longer mandatory in gaming. Just go to YouTube, find the build of the week, respec, and you're good to go.

Respeccing is one of the best features of modern gaming. It encourages experimentation (trial and error, if you will) and allows people to recover from mistakes in making their characters.

I actually don't want easy respecs. I mean, you spend dozens of years training your swordsmanship, click a button and suddenly now you don't know how to wield a sword that well, but for some mystic reason you are an expert in long spears (even though you never wielded one before).
I would be ok with undoing your last choice at any given time, but not a full respec.

I do want reasonably easy respecs. Imagine, if you will, getting 20 hours into a 50 hour game and finding out that your character was built in a way that won't let you get past a particular part of the game. Without respecs, you ragequit and may or may not ever play the game again. With respecs, you fix your build and continue enjoying the game.

Worse than that, I played a RPG without respecs fairly recently where I played through the entire game until the final boss fight. Up until then, I coasted through the game, enjoying the story and not worrying about min maxing. The final boss fight was a wall I could not get past. I have never completed that game because I don't feel like replaying my way through all 30 hours of it.
 
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