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WildcatPhoenix
1st Jul 2010, 14:22
Fair warning to all: this post will contain heretical blasphemy of the highest magnitude.

The skill system from the original Deus Ex gave players a very rewarding combination of FPS and RPG elements. The player could "level up," so to speak, and by combining these improvements with permanent augmentation choices, you could create dozens of different combinations of player "classes." While these classes weren't literal (there was never any system like Mass Effect where you choose a predefined character class: Soldier, Vanguard, etc), the skill system still allowed you to allocate your experience points to whichever field of expertise you chose. Although the potential for balance was there, you could also overload your character to specialize in certain fields: i.e. ninja, heavy gunner, master hacker, aquaman, etc.

The problem with the existing system, however, was that it had no real relation to the player's actions in-game. You could create a character who was a master swimmer with fully upgraded Aqualung augmentation and yet never set foot in the water. Those skill points you earned through exploration or achieving a mission goal usually had nothing to do with actual gameplay.

Eidos Montreal has stated that skills have been removed from DX:HR to emphasize the augmentations. To me, this feels like cutting Deus Ex in half. I know a lot of the skill functionality will be duplicated through augs (i.e.: hacking aug), but the balancing act between skills and augmentations was what made Deus Ex unique. So how could a skill system be implemented and yet have more connection to the player's actions in the game? Simple:

ACTIVATING HERESY MODE:

...follow a system similar to Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer.

OH SNAP!

Seriously though, hear me out. In MW2 multiplayer, if you use a certain "perk" (nee "aug/skill") repeatedly, you earn new abilities or upgrades for that perk. The same goes for equipment: use the M4 repeatedly, you will gain XP as you progress through challenge levels. Difficult achievements (headshots, multikills, melee kills) earn more XP for the player.

Imagine a DX system where a player improves his rifle skill by using a rifle consistently. Or a hacker who gains hacking skill by repeatedly breaking into computer or security systems. This would be a great way to integrate those ridiculous 3rd person attacks EM seems so keen on. At basic levels, Adam would be unable to do the multikill takedown or elaborate acrobatic melee attacks. But the more the player uses melee, the more time he/she invests in sneaking up on opponents, using stealth, the more impressive or lethal attacks he/she can pull off.

Thoughts?

Ashpolt
1st Jul 2010, 15:05
Eh.

I think a hybrid system could work, where non-aug related skills (say, for instance, if lockpicking - if they hadn't removed that) could "level up" the way you suggest, but augs are still improved through standard XP. Personally I loved getting XP for exploring, completing objectives etc, and the system you've proposed doesn't allow for that as it is.

I think putting all the skills into augs is a pretty dumb idea (especially considering the theme of the game is transhumanism vs "standard" humans - imagine if you'd been given the choice over whether to get upgraded or not, and hence could've poured points into either augs or standard "human" skills, or a mix of both - how great would that be? And how fitting with the plot?) but in all honesty, it's hardly the worst of EM's decisions. At least they've kept experience in there nominally, even if in practice it'll work pretty much just like Invisible War's upgrade system.

And for those complaining about Deus Ex's skill system being unrealistic in the topic this has spun off from: big deal, it's part of RPGs that your character progresses unbelievably quickly. Think KoToR - you go from being a fledgling nothing to the universe's most powerful Jedi / Sith in a relatively short space of time. Or in pretty much any swords and sorcery RPG, your character goes from struggling against rats in someone's basement to taking on dragons and gods in no time. Comparitively, learning to handle a gun over the course of a few days (while using them repeatedly) seems perfectly feasible. Also, gameplay > "realism." Always.

neoWilks
1st Jul 2010, 15:07
You could have just said "Like the Elder Scrolls series!" and avoided the blasphemy (mostly). :P

On topic, I wouldn't mind it so much if they went with a system like this. Even something where you just pick a primary for each category of skill---combat, technical, social, etc---is preferable to the system they have in place right now.

WildcatPhoenix
1st Jul 2010, 16:14
I think a hybrid system could work, where non-aug related skills (say, for instance, if lockpicking - if they hadn't removed that) could "level up" the way you suggest, but augs are still improved through standard XP. Personally I loved getting XP for exploring, completing objectives etc, and the system you've proposed doesn't allow for that as it is.


To me the reward of exploration has always been the loot, sidequests, and/or data you could find (i.e.: if you go in directly you will have to fight your way through a security bot, but if you explore the vent shaft you may find a datacube with a login for a security terminal to initiate an emergency shutdown).

But speaking of hybrid systems, what if there were "general" skills you could apply your exploration/mission objective XP toward? For example, EM seems set on implementing social augs/skills (the core concept of which I heartily approve). You could use general experience (call it "influence" or "awareness" or something) toward skills such as:

-Persuasion
-Instinct (longer timer on hacker mini-games, hints on conversation mini-game, etc)
-Inventory (maybe your inventory expands as you condition yourself to carry more equipment?)
-Efficiency (get more use out of biocells and medkits)

That sounds fun, the more I think about it.

jjc
1st Jul 2010, 17:16
What you're suggesting sounds similar to the skill system used in Final Fantasy II. I've always found this to be a realistic way to handle leveling. In reality, how does finding a hidden room have any effect on your ability to handle a sniper rifle?

Keiichi81
1st Jul 2010, 17:26
Fair warning to all: this post will contain heretical blasphemy of the highest magnitude.

The skill system from the original Deus Ex gave players a very rewarding combination of FPS and RPG elements. The player could "level up," so to speak, and by combining these improvements with permanent augmentation choices, you could create dozens of different combinations of player "classes." While these classes weren't literal (there was never any system like Mass Effect where you choose a predefined character class: Soldier, Vanguard, etc), the skill system still allowed you to allocate your experience points to whichever field of expertise you chose. Although the potential for balance was there, you could also overload your character to specialize in certain fields: i.e. ninja, heavy gunner, master hacker, aquaman, etc.

The problem with the existing system, however, was that it had no real relation to the player's actions in-game. You could create a character who was a master swimmer with fully upgraded Aqualung augmentation and yet never set foot in the water. Those skill points you earned through exploration or achieving a mission goal usually had nothing to do with actual gameplay.

Eidos Montreal has stated that skills have been removed from DX:HR to emphasize the augmentations. To me, this feels like cutting Deus Ex in half. I know a lot of the skill functionality will be duplicated through augs (i.e.: hacking aug), but the balancing act between skills and augmentations was what made Deus Ex unique. So how could a skill system be implemented and yet have more connection to the player's actions in the game? Simple:

ACTIVATING HERESY MODE:

...follow a system similar to Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer.

OH SNAP!

Seriously though, hear me out. In MW2 multiplayer, if you use a certain "perk" (nee "aug/skill") repeatedly, you earn new abilities or upgrades for that perk. The same goes for equipment: use the M4 repeatedly, you will gain XP as you progress through challenge levels. Difficult achievements (headshots, multikills, melee kills) earn more XP for the player.

Imagine a DX system where a player improves his rifle skill by using a rifle consistently. Or a hacker who gains hacking skill by repeatedly breaking into computer or security systems. This would be a great way to integrate those ridiculous 3rd person attacks EM seems so keen on. At basic levels, Adam would be unable to do the multikill takedown or elaborate acrobatic melee attacks. But the more the player uses melee, the more time he/she invests in sneaking up on opponents, using stealth, the more impressive or lethal attacks he/she can pull off.

Thoughts?

Isn't that pretty much exactly the way it already works in DX:HR? My understanding of the leveling system is that you purchase new augmentations for Adam, then use your XP to "level up" those augments and unlock new skills and abilities for them.

So for example a Lvl 1 Hacking aug might only allow you to hack basic security systems, but as you level it up you could break more and more sophisticated firewalls.

WildcatPhoenix
1st Jul 2010, 17:38
The designers have repeatedly stated that weapon skill will be completely up to the player's ability to aim. No scope wobble, no expanding/condensing brackets, etc. Skills in general have been removed in favor of augmentations.

I don't really care for the concept of buying augs at an Aug-Mart or whatever. I'm sure this won't be the only place to find them, but still- faaaaaar too easy. Finding those canisters and upgrades was another incentive to explore.

Upgrading augmentations is a different question from upgrading skills. Aug upgrades are hardware choices- you can install whatever you can find/purchase. Skills are a result of a player's actions in the game world- your experiences dictate what abilities you unlock or improve. To me those are two different fields entirely.

Keiichi81
1st Jul 2010, 17:48
The designers have repeatedly stated that weapon skill will be completely up to the player's ability to aim. No scope wobble, no expanding/condensing brackets, etc. Skills in general have been removed in favor of augmentations.

I don't really care for the concept of buying augs at an Aug-Mart or whatever. I'm sure this won't be the only place to find them, but still- faaaaaar too easy. Finding those canisters and upgrades was another incentive to explore.

Upgrading augmentations is a different question from upgrading skills. Aug upgrades are hardware choices- you can install whatever you can find/purchase. Skills are a result of a player's actions in the game world- your experiences dictate what abilities you unlock or improve. To me those are two different fields entirely.

In sounds to me like most people are up in arms over what is basically an issue of semantics...

pringlepower
1st Jul 2010, 21:45
What you're suggesting sounds similar to the skill system used in Final Fantasy II. I've always found this to be a realistic way to handle leveling. In reality, how does finding a hidden room have any effect on your ability to handle a sniper rifle?

Yes. Realistic. That's definitely why I spent a lot of my battles shooting my own teammates with a bow or trying to cut their own heads off to gain some experience. Or Morrowind, where I leveled up armour by aggroing a bunch of enemies and then just standing there.

It's hard to replicate realistic learning, and it's different for everybody. The XP system works fine in game terms.

pringlepower
1st Jul 2010, 21:46
The designers have repeatedly stated that weapon skill will be completely up to the player's ability to aim. No scope wobble, no expanding/condensing brackets, etc. Skills in general have been removed in favor of augmentations.

I don't really care for the concept of buying augs at an Aug-Mart or whatever. I'm sure this won't be the only place to find them, but still- faaaaaar too easy. Finding those canisters and upgrades was another incentive to explore.

Upgrading augmentations is a different question from upgrading skills. Aug upgrades are hardware choices- you can install whatever you can find/purchase. Skills are a result of a player's actions in the game world- your experiences dictate what abilities you unlock or improve. To me those are two different fields entirely.

Adam recently got his arms chopped off and replaced by super-arms. It'll take time, and EXPERIENCE to learn how to use his uber-arms to their uber-potential. Same with other body parts. It's different for JC, who's been augmented for a while

Pinky_Powers
1st Jul 2010, 22:00
Adam recently got his arms chopped off and replaced by super-arms. It'll take time, and EXPERIENCE to learn how to use his uber-arms to their uber-potential. Same with other body parts. It's different for JC, who's been augmented for a while

honestly, that is just the stupid-ass rationalization that hurts gameplay in the end. There are some things your fps character should be able to do right out of the gate. And being able to aim a weapon is one of them.

Laputin Man
1st Jul 2010, 22:52
honestly, that is just the stupid-ass rationalization that hurts gameplay in the end. There are some things your fps character should be able to do right out of the gate. And being able to aim a weapon is one of them.


I disagree, there are tons of games where you can aim and shoot based off of nothing but player skill. I liked the system in DX a lot. I would prefer that rationalization FOR that sort of gameplay. The game is part RPG after all... or at least the original seemed to be. Arguing that you should be completely proficient in something based solely on something like a camera angle or perspective is odd to me. What is different from this and starting out with a perfect 100 in swordsmanship in something like Morrowind or Oblivion? Why is aiming... more precisely aiming a gun treated differently? Should there not have been a skill for archery in those game as well or what?

pringlepower
1st Jul 2010, 22:56
honestly, that is just the stupid-ass rationalization that hurts gameplay in the end. There are some things your fps character should be able to do right out of the gate. And being able to aim a weapon is one of them.

No, I'm for being able to shoot. As amusing as it was to wait 5 seconds to JC to get a lock with a pistol was, I eventually did run out of reading material to busy myself. I'm trying to justify the skills

pringlepower
1st Jul 2010, 23:03
I disagree, there are tons of games where you can aim and shoot based off of nothing but player skill. I liked the system in DX a lot. I would prefer that rationalization FOR that sort of gameplay. The game is part RPG after all... or at least the original seemed to be. Arguing that you should be completely proficient in something based solely on something like a camera angle or perspective is odd to me. What is different from this and starting out with a perfect 100 in swordsmanship in something like Morrowind or Oblivion? Why is aiming... more precisely aiming a gun treated differently? Should there not have been a skill for archery in those game as well or what?

Well Morrowind, despite being the awesome game that it is, did combat absolutely horribly. It's understandable that someone with low skill in swords would be bad at using swords, but the way Morrowind did it (maybe it was the lack of animations, I dunno), the same animation was used regardless of your swords skill. This means, at low levels, even though you could clearly see the enemy get hit by a sword, you still did no damage. Oblivion, despite its flaws at least makes it so enemies who you clearly see get hit by a sword, are hit by a sword.

The problem with a skill system in DE is that it hurts the believability of the game. People complain about Shanghai being too futuristic and unbelievable but have no problem with JC, a trained from birth to be a deadly agent having the shooting skills of a half-blind chimpanzee? If Adam is a security specialist at the headquarters of one of the world's most controversial and wealthy companies, I want him to be able to fire a damn gun. He should begin the game as a powerful and competant human soldier. It's only with the skill system and his augs that he becomes superhuman (not necessarily transhuman, just strong enough to justify all the crap video game protaganists manage to do).

neoWilks
2nd Jul 2010, 01:04
The problem with a skill system in DE is that it hurts the believability of the game. People complain about Shanghai being too futuristic and unbelievable but have no problem with JC, a trained from birth to be a deadly agent having the shooting skills of a half-blind chimpanzee?
He's a trained agent, I see no reason why that necessarily translates into being an expert shot, unless we're only going by some James Bond definition of "agent". Stealth, hacking/electronics/lockpicking, and melee were all equally effective methods of play. There is no reason to say JC needs to be proficient in any sort of firearm at all in order to fit with his totally vague background story.

All that said, basically nobody is saying what you've just suggested. Time after time it's been stated on these boards that there were a whole slew of problems with the skill system as seen in Deus Ex. The difference then is these people offer up pretty basic solutions to fixing these problems, rather than opting to scrap the system entirely.

jjc
2nd Jul 2010, 01:04
Yes. Realistic. That's definitely why I spent a lot of my battles shooting my own teammates with a bow or trying to cut their own heads off to gain some experience. Or Morrowind, where I leveled up armour by aggroing a bunch of enemies and then just standing there.

It's hard to replicate realistic learning, and it's different for everybody. The XP system works fine in game terms.

Dude, chill with the sarcasm. I'm not looking for it and I don't much appreciate it.

Maybe realistic was the improper choice of words. But it makes sense the more you do something, the better at it you become.

Fluffis
2nd Jul 2010, 01:18
People complain about Shanghai being too futuristic and unbelievable but have no problem with JC, a trained from birth to be a deadly agent having the shooting skills of a half-blind chimpanzee?

It's RPG convention. No matter the back-story of a character, nothing matters before the player actually starts playing. (KOTOR did that in a very cool way, even though you didn't know it at the outset.) Because when the player starts to play the character, is when the character actually comes to life. This is a convention that is very deeply ingrained in the RPG community, and no amount of *****ing is going to change that. If it's a true RPG, your character sucks in the beginning. That's it. End of story.

It's all about getting a feeling of actually accomplishing something with the character - not just plot-wise, but also with the actual character itself. Taking the character out of its home town of Humble Beginnings, and making it into a hero. It doesn't matter if you write that your character used to be a soldier, on your character sheet. When the game starts, it's level 1 (or similar). Before that it was level 0 - a commoner, Regular Joe, whatever.

Edit:


If Adam is a security specialist at the headquarters of one of the world's most controversial and wealthy companies, I want him to be able to fire a damn gun.


I may have missed something, but wasn't the job description "Security Officer"? In all fairness, that could mean anything from the guy who is top-of-the-heap in charge of security, to a guy sitting at the front desk half-dozing and eating donuts.

TrickyVein
2nd Jul 2010, 02:00
^^ Even better if AJ was a boozer. He'd be given a new chance at life, kicked into high gear whether he likes it or not.

With regards to RPG mechanics, the best part of any game I've played - where you do level up and gain xp - is during the beginning, when I'm the prey. It's such a beautiful feeling to get to a certain level, look back, and realize how far you've come. But Fluffis, you said something to this effect already already quite well.

@ Wildcat phoenix, you have valid concerns, as I know I do as well, surrounding the degree to which the player will be able to upgrade himself or his augs or his weapons and whether or not removing aspects of DX's original skill system is a good idea or not. I think what you have proposed, a sort of practical, automatic "upgrade what you use" system has benefits, but it is ultimately restricting. Here's an example of why I think such a system would actually result in less freedom to upgrade one's character and items. In fallout 2, energy weapons as items do not appear until much later in the game and are only carried/used by tougher enemies that you meet at higher levels. A n00b is going to ignore energy weapons for the majority of the game probably, only to realize that he should have been upgrading his energy weapons skill all the while - even though he didn't have any energy weapons to use until later - so that he wouldn't find himself up the creek without a paddle when he wants to take on the Enclave. Now, under the system which you have proposed, a wiser player would not be able to spend his experience points on energy weapons in order to better prepared for the time when he would actually wield them later in the game (it really does pay off).

At this point, realistically, there is nothing that can be put into motion from our end to change anything that EM wants to do this the game. I doubt that anyone hears what any of us has to say at all. But OH WELL.

pringlepower
2nd Jul 2010, 02:27
^^ Even better if AJ was a boozer. He'd be given a new chance at life, kicked into high gear whether he likes it or not.

With regards to RPG mechanics, the best part of any game I've played - where you do level up and gain xp - is during the beginning, when I'm the prey. It's such a beautiful feeling to get to a certain level, look back, and realize how far you've come. But Fluffis, you said something to this effect already already quite well.

@ Wildcat phoenix, you have valid concerns, as I know I do as well, surrounding the degree to which the player will be able to upgrade himself or his augs or his weapons and whether or not removing aspects of DX's original skill system is a good idea or not. I think what you have proposed, a sort of practical, automatic "upgrade what you use" system has benefits, but it is ultimately restricting. Here's an example of why I think such a system would actually result in less freedom to upgrade one's character and items. In fallout 2, energy weapons as items do not appear until much later in the game and are only carried/used by tougher enemies that you meet at higher levels. A n00b is going to ignore energy weapons for the majority of the game probably, only to realize that he should have been upgrading his energy weapons skill all the while - even though he didn't have any energy weapons to use until later - so that he wouldn't find himself up the creek without a paddle when he wants to take on the Enclave. Now, under the system which you have proposed, a wiser player would not be able to spend his experience points on energy weapons in order to better prepared for the time when he would actually wield them later in the game (it really does pay off).

At this point, realistically, there is nothing that can be put into motion from our end to change anything that EM wants to do this the game. I doubt that anyone hears what any of us has to say at all. But OH WELL.

Well once you get the horribly broken gauss rifle who needs energy weapons. Or anything for that matter. You can drop your power armour and still win.

Angel-A
2nd Jul 2010, 12:22
Well, I like this idea.
It never really made sense that I went earned skill points, I could apply the experience to just any skill. I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out the mechanics and the idea of how it's supposed to go about :nut: I know, I know, acceptable break from reality, but seriously, how the hell does this work?...

TrickyVein
2nd Jul 2010, 14:26
Well once you get the horribly broken gauss rifle who needs energy weapons. Or anything for that matter. You can drop your power armour and still win.

Shoot, my argument's shot to hell!!! Yeah, there's no denying it really.

WildcatPhoenix
2nd Jul 2010, 22:58
@ Wildcat phoenix, you have valid concerns, as I know I do as well, surrounding the degree to which the player will be able to upgrade himself or his augs or his weapons and whether or not removing aspects of DX's original skill system is a good idea or not. I think what you have proposed, a sort of practical, automatic "upgrade what you use" system has benefits, but it is ultimately restricting. Here's an example of why I think such a system would actually result in less freedom to upgrade one's character and items. In fallout 2, energy weapons as items do not appear until much later in the game and are only carried/used by tougher enemies that you meet at higher levels. A n00b is going to ignore energy weapons for the majority of the game probably, only to realize that he should have been upgrading his energy weapons skill all the while - even though he didn't have any energy weapons to use until later - so that he wouldn't find himself up the creek without a paddle when he wants to take on the Enclave. Now, under the system which you have proposed, a wiser player would not be able to spend his experience points on energy weapons in order to better prepared for the time when he would actually wield them later in the game (it really does pay off).

This is a very good point, but I think it could easily be addressed. Take the plasma rifle, for example: in the original game it is supposed to be a top-secret experimental weapon. You don't even come across one until you are escaping from the MJ12 labs underneath UNATCO.

But you can acquire a GEP gun from the very first mission. So using your heavy weapons skills can begin early, even if you don't have access to the supremely heavy firepower from the get-go. I definitely agree that you want the player to begin at a "noob" level, and personally I'm willing to suspend the disbelief a little bit to say "okay, yeah, JC/Adam/whoever is supposed to be a badass yet he shoots like a preschooler playing his first round of Duck Hunt."

Even if you made almost all the weapons available by the first 1/4 of the game, the mods and special upgrades could be held back. So even though you are a bad mutha' with an assault rifle, you don't find the grenade launcher attachment or thermal scope or whatever until much later in the game. Just a thought.

In the end, Tricky is probably right. It's too late to change anything at this point. Maybe on DX4 *gulp*