Author Topic: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes  (Read 17362 times)

Styg

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Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« on: August 10, 2017, 12:30:02 pm »
Hi guys. I did some changes regarding veteran levels which I originally introduced back in October.

First of all, player will continue to receive the normal amount of skill points when leveling up even on veteran levels now. Also, dervied stats such as health, detection and such will scale normally on veteran levels as well. However, players will also gain a feat every even level instead of every level when leveling on veteran levels. So basically everything is going to work as with normal levels with the exception of the feat pool being expanded with veteran feats once you hit veteran levels.

Allowing of the further skill scaling beyond the 25th level, however, requires us to provide some use for such high skill levels, particularly in crafting. To address this, the end-game areas and stores will have some of its loot/stock scaled up if the Expedition DLC is installed, particularly when it comes to crafting components. In the future, we also intend to address the problem of other non-combat skill scaling (such as social skills and hacking/lockpicking) by adding high level encounters/opportunities, so while currently it might not make sense to max out these skills, in the future it will have benefits.

However, the second, and more important change, is that on veteran levels you'll also get three specialization points.



You use these specialization points to further improve your non-veteran feats, often across specific dimension, as demonstrated in the GIF above. Your investment of points in any given specialization cannot exceed your veteran level (or the maximum allowed points for that specialization).

That's it for now. Let us know how you like these changes.

hilf

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 01:24:28 pm »
Why is horizontal development gone?

I love the idea of Specialization.
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... use speedhack. Or Expedition's built-in 'speedhack'.

Styg

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2017, 01:32:11 pm »
Why is horizontal development gone?

What are you referring to exactly?

hilf

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2017, 01:35:57 pm »
Why is horizontal development gone?

What are you referring to exactly?
This:
Quote
The reason I decided to prevent certain aspects of character from scaling beyond level 25 is to avoid having the character outscale the content at his current main storyline progression just by raw character power. Because we'll be expanding the game horizontally in this expansion (and probably in the future) we need to take special care to still provide adequate challenge to the player while also allowing them to improve some aspects of their character.

It's not just skills that keep growing, Specialization will ad to character power as well.
One more question: are we going to get another attribute point at lvl 28?
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Altos

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2017, 01:57:35 pm »
Wow. You are certainly giving the player a lot more power with this change. I fear that these changes will trivialize the game in terms of combat, especially for players going the Classic XP route, but I suspect that you have plans to ensure things remain interesting and balanced. (e.g. stronger enemies, greater waves of enemies, less consumables, etc.)

These changes also seem to directly oppose your goal of making it so that no one player can become a perfect jack-of-all-trades and dominate every aspect of the game world (i.e. have a high amount of skill in combat, subterfuge, crafting, psi, and speechcraft). But, again, I imagine you have plans to get around this.

Regardless, this will certainly make things interesting! Keep up the good work, guys. :)

MirddinEmris

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2017, 02:19:42 pm »
Wow. You are certainly giving the player a lot more power with this change. I fear that these changes will trivialize the game in terms of combat, especially for players going the Classic XP route, but I suspect that you have plans to ensure things remain interesting and balanced. (e.g. stronger enemies, greater waves of enemies, less consumables, etc.)

These changes also seem to directly oppose your goal of making it so that no one player can become a perfect jack-of-all-trades and dominate every aspect of the game world (i.e. have a high amount of skill in combat, subterfuge, crafting, psi, and speechcraft). But, again, I imagine you have plans to get around this.

Regardless, this will certainly make things interesting! Keep up the good work, guys. :)

I really don't think that 5 levels worth of skill points would really allow for a character to become a perfect jack-of-all-trades. Especially when you throw psi skills in this.

But man, do i really like the specialization options. Already have plans for armor sloping (and possibly nimble) for my unarmed guy in metal armor.

Fjodik

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2017, 02:24:07 pm »
Styg, I really like the changes, in my opinion much better approach then previously announced veteran levels.

Could you give us some rough estimate regarding the testing/release? I do not need release day, rather update where we stand in terms of completion / what is left to do, etc....

All in all, great work guys!!!

Styg

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2017, 02:40:17 pm »
Why is horizontal development gone?

What are you referring to exactly?
This:
Quote
The reason I decided to prevent certain aspects of character from scaling beyond level 25 is to avoid having the character outscale the content at his current main storyline progression just by raw character power. Because we'll be expanding the game horizontally in this expansion (and probably in the future) we need to take special care to still provide adequate challenge to the player while also allowing them to improve some aspects of their character.

It's not just skills that keep growing, Specialization will ad to character power as well.
One more question: are we going to get another attribute point at lvl 28?

With the current linear scaling system it is not possible, in the long run, to expand the game horizontally and prevent player from increasing in power, while at the same time making the levelling experience satisfying. We still plan to work on the game horizontally in a lot of areas, but nothing of the scope as large as this DLC.

Specialization surely will add to character power, but the idea is that it adds it in particular aspects. We'll be closely monitoring how that affects the game's difficulty during the testing.

No additional base ability points.

Wow. You are certainly giving the player a lot more power with this change. I fear that these changes will trivialize the game in terms of combat, especially for players going the Classic XP route, but I suspect that you have plans to ensure things remain interesting and balanced. (e.g. stronger enemies, greater waves of enemies, less consumables, etc.)

These changes also seem to directly oppose your goal of making it so that no one player can become a perfect jack-of-all-trades and dominate every aspect of the game world (i.e. have a high amount of skill in combat, subterfuge, crafting, psi, and speechcraft). But, again, I imagine you have plans to get around this.

Regardless, this will certainly make things interesting! Keep up the good work, guys. :)

Does this address your concerns:

Quote
Allowing of the further skill scaling beyond the 25th level, however, requires us to provide some use for such high skill levels, particularly in crafting. To address this, the end-game areas and stores will have some of its loot/stock scaled up if the Expedition DLC is installed, particularly when it comes to crafting components. In the future, we also intend to address the problem of other non-combat skill scaling (such as social skills and hacking/lockpicking) by adding high level encounters/opportunities, so while currently it might not make sense to max out these skills, in the future it will have benefits.

Could you give us some rough estimate regarding the testing/release? I do not need release day, rather update where we stand in terms of completion / what is left to do, etc....

I did that in the last dev log. I really don't want to be any more specific than that at this point.

Fenix

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 03:01:51 pm »
It is insanely cool!
I love all this polishing and reiterating!
You are among the best!

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2017, 04:25:36 pm »
You certainly put thought into this.
Not sure how balanced it can really be with the ongoing potential scaling, but I'm willing to wait and see (not that I have much of a choice  :P).
The specializations are a nice touch, for sure.
It allows a player to get stronger in very specific areas, which at the same time allows a notable and satisfying power increase, and doesn't scale as high or fast as a general increase in power.
Certainly a good idea, in my opinion at least.

Edit: Do we need to actually have the feats to use the specializations? I'm aware they don't make much sense, otherwise, but f.Ex. the armour sloping buff could work, theoretically, without the actual feat.
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Tygrende

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2017, 04:54:05 pm »
I like the idea of specialization, I can't say I like the idea of getting skill points and derived stats after lvl 25.

The original approach allowed the player to still grow in power beyond lvl 25 but in a limited way, only by picking those unique and specific veteran feats. I liked this idea, it would prevent the player from becoming a jack-of-all-trades with too many skill points and wouldn't have much of an impact on the base game balance outside of late game encounters, while still being satisfying. The new approach makes the player grow in power even more after lvl 25 than before in all aspects. This will necessitate some serious re-working of the base game to accommodate this change, both combat encounters and skill checks outside of combat.

I have no problem with that if you guys can pull it off, but that will most likely take a lot of work. I guess I just don't want it to end up like Fallout:New Vegas where DLCs completly destroyed the base game balance by raising the level cap from 30 to 50, which in turn allowed the player to max almost all skills and pick way too many perks.

I really don't think that 5 levels worth of skill points would really allow for a character to become a perfect jack-of-all-trades. Especially when you throw psi skills in this.
It absolutely could if the base game is not adjusted properly. That's 200 bonus skill points. Even if you spend 5-15 of those every level to max your combat skills, it still leaves you with enough to completly max at least 1 skill or get 2 or even 3 high. Taking skills like persuasion/intimidation/mercantile or dodge/evasion would no longer be a true trade-off like it is now.

To give an example, most of my low armor penalty builds put so many points in crafting I rarely bother with dodge/evasion since they take a lot of investment and crafted shields/armor provides adequate protection already. I have moblity, I have stealth, I have good damage absorption, my only weakness is that I'm almost guranteed to  get hit everytime and if my shield is gone or easily penetrated, I'm not going to last long.

With 200 more skill points, I could put 100 in evasion/dodge and most likely get both of them to 200+ effective skill with infused siphoner tabis and other bonuses. Now my only weakness is gone. Even if I get hit by an EMP or are forced to take melee hits, I have enough dodge/evasion to easily survive regardless.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 08:29:58 pm by Tygrende »

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2017, 08:19:15 pm »
I really like the way specialization was implemented, and I'm definitely looking forward to implementing them in my builds. However, I agree with Tygrende about the 200 extra skill points being too much. Maybe we could only get 20 skill points instead of 40 after level 25?

EDIT: Removed an unnecessary sentence.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 08:23:40 pm by Cpt.DuctTape »

reinhark

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2017, 09:34:46 pm »
Will the max level cap stay the same with this changes?
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Styg

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2017, 09:59:50 pm »
Will the max level cap stay the same with this changes?

Max level in the expansion will be 30.

However, I agree with Tygrende about the 200 extra skill points being too much.

The idea is that if you forgo further investment into your core skills that you've been developing so far and instead branch out into other skills, you will sacrifice your build focus. For example, if you stop investing points into crafting skills, it will mean that you now might not be able to access the high-end components anymore (which will now be tuned towards level 30 instead of level 25); or if you stop investing in hacking (as many do already, because the max required skill level is known), eventually you will be missing out.

I understand your concerns guys, and they are our concerns as well, so we'll be looking closely at how this develops in the end-game to make sure that the encounter difficulty is adequate (it has its problems already, but more on this some other time) and that the character development choices are meaningful and varied. We might not get this 100% right immediately (or ever), but we are committed to it.

We understand that for some of you pros the game gets a bit too easy at certain point and we have a lot of ideas of how we can provide you with a challenge and, eventually, we'll get around to it.

Altos

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2017, 10:40:37 pm »
Does this address your concerns:

Quote
Allowing of the further skill scaling beyond the 25th level, however, requires us to provide some use for such high skill levels, particularly in crafting. To address this, the end-game areas and stores will have some of its loot/stock scaled up if the Expedition DLC is installed, particularly when it comes to crafting components. In the future, we also intend to address the problem of other non-combat skill scaling (such as social skills and hacking/lockpicking) by adding high level encounters/opportunities, so while currently it might not make sense to max out these skills, in the future it will have benefits.

This statement mainly addresses non-combat aspects of the game, which I am not really concerned about. My concern is how the extra skill points and feats will affect the current balance of the game's combat encounters.

200 extra skill points, as Tygrende addressed, provide a lot of additional power if they are all used for combat purposes. Even if it just means that the player can now craft Super Steel armor or put some points into dodge/evasion, that still makes the player a lot more powerful than they would be otherwise, and some balancing should be done to account for that. Now, if said balancing is done, the problem disappears and I have no reason to complain. But, such extensive balancing of the game as a whole will probably be really, really difficult to do effectively unless you just make the Black Sea a post-DC area where you can keep all of the enemies designed to fight toe-to-toe with the veteran characters. (Perhaps you could put in another difficulty setting? Something that can be turned on when the player hits level 25, if they so choose?) Look to Tygrende's post, again, for his example of what ineffective balancing did to Fallout: New Vegas.

But I don't want to be the guy that ruins the fun for everyone just by pointing out the one potential issue, because on the other hand these additional skill points and feats could be the difference between someone rage-quitting their first playthrough or actually having fun with it. I think these changes can work, so long as you guys can balance out the combat effectively.

And I should add, my concerns are only for those players who go with the Classic XP system, since you can level so extraordinarily quickly with that system. Players who go for the (objectively better) Oddity route should have no balance problems to speak of, since oddities are so hard to come by.

Anyway, as I stated at the end of my last post, these changes should make the game a little more interesting whether things are balanced or not. I'm excited for what you guys have in store for us, and if you devs think that these changes are in the best interests of the game, then you should go for it. After all, you know this game a hell of a lot better than we do (except for Wildan and epeli, they know everything).
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 01:02:16 pm by Altos »