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Tree skills begone discussion

Discussion in 'Diablo 3 General Discussion' started by Bandreus, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Bandreus

    Bandreus Diabloii.Net Member

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    Tree skills begone discussion

    Ok, just to give everyone a clearer view of what's appening with D3's skill system I'll post a recap of all relevant news

    On Nov 20th we got this two Tweets

    [BLUE="http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/skill-trees-gone1/"] The skill system revision is in full force. Trees begone! I think it might be a winner. Jay says hi.

    We’re implementing and will be testing a new system that changes how skills are acquired. That’s all I’ll say. [​IMG][/BLUE]

    I think the most interesting part there is "a new system that changes how skills are acquired"


    On Nov 23rd, an interesting interview with Jay Wilson was posted by diablofans, from which I'll quote just the part about the skill system

    we've decided to remove the tree-type architecture and we are moving into a purely skill-based system. This new system is still in the development stages and if it does not work, we still have plenty of options to fall back on. Right now, we're just trying different things and getting a feel for the few ideas in regards to the skill system that we have going on right now. It differs from the World of Warcraft/Diablo II type hierarchical styles and is more of a skill pool/path than a tree per se.


    what do "skill-based system" and "skill pool/path" exactly means is up to you to figure out ;)


    On Nov 23rd we got more tweets too

    [BLUE="http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/more-no-skill-trees-speculation/"]
    • With our tweet Friday about the skill trees being removed/changed, what approach do you think we might be taking?—Nov 23
      • My guess is a Dungeon Siege take on things, the more you use a certain weapon/skill, the better you get at.—Nov 23, by topheroly
        • That seems to be a popular guess. grin—Nov 23
    [/BLUE]
    and

    [BLUE="http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/non-skill-trees-discussion-evolves/"]
    • Can you say why you guys decided to drop the skill tree? What deficiencies did it have that you felt another system could do better?—by JeffKamo
      • Focus.

    • That is hard, so many games rely on skill trees. My guess would have to be… “skill” items that you find or even create for skills.—by CaptainCasey
      • * Sounds like you’re talking about our skill rune system, which is still very much a part of the game.
    [/BLUE]


    The replay to Dungeon Siege guesses led to great speculation, but on Nov 25th Bashiok will post on Bnet forums clarifying the misunderstandings

    [BLUE="http://www.blizzblues.com/us/great-possibly-more-grinding-21376268178.html"]I’m guessing you’re saying this because I quoted one guy on twitter proposing this type of skill system and I said that it was a popular guess.

    Well, I think I can pretty safely say that we would never use that type of skill system.

    It works for some games, it just wouldn’t work for us. We’re dropping too many items, we’re moving too fast, and we’re opening up too many avenues for customization and re-customization.[/BLUE]

    So that means the new Skill System will almost certainly not be about you improving skills by using them

    On Dec 2nd we got another (pretty useless) tweet

    [BLUE="http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/tweets-of-meats/#When:13:05:44Z"]

    • With the skill system revision work progresses to integrate the respec system a bit differently.
      • We didn’t know anything about how Respecing was going to work the first time. How do you plan to not tell us anything about it now?—by FloodSC
        • Very carefully.
    [/BLUE]

    In April 2010 Bashiok returned on the matter, though not saying anything amazingly revealing

    [BLUE="http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=24401902472&postId=243993473226&sid=3000#4"]
    There are no skill trees any more. Skills are still tiered by when you can buy them (essentially a level requirement) but there aren't any trees, it's one big pool.
    [/BLUE]

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    So, I hope this is welcome and helps to avoid confusion about the in-development new skill system and to keep the discussion more focused


    -----------------------------------------------------------
    This was my original post, on 22-11-2009
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Ok so hopefully you read the news.

    Basicly they're working on a new skill system. The feeling is skills theirselves will continue working pretty much the same but their presentation/acquisition is going to undergo some major change.

    This kind of makes sense to me, since the skill tree system was tweaked so much allready (unified tree, way fewer dependencies between skills compared to D2).

    Please avoid posts like "Skill trees just worked right, so why the hell are they changing them?" or "This is not Diablo anymore, you Jay Wilson go **** you", since this thread is intended to bring up some constructive discussion while waiting for actual info on the way the system wil work.

    I guess the new system could be more tied on the new (still unkown too) stats customization mechanics? Let speculations begin :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  2. Leugi

    Leugi Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    I highly doubt a system of buying skills like WoW would be accepted by anyone, so I'd guess Blizz will be cautious on this one...

    My thoughts: The current skill tree was already a bit too different than D2's skill trees, there were almost no dependencies, and I believe that without strong dependencies the whole skill "tree" system doesn't make any sence...

    It would be interesting if the whole thing worked a bit like skill adquiring in the Sims (oh my, I might get killed for this), you first get one low level skill, and by using it more and more you start improving on the skill (leveling up) or even start getting new related skills... Thoughts?
     
  3. NASE

    NASE Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    Won't work. I ruins planning of characters and eventually, people will find ways to abuse the system. They know how to play to get certain skill eventhough that isn't how they really want to play.
    So I don't think it's a good idea, not for diablo anyway.

    ------------------------

    What I wonder is, when does a skill trees stops being a tree? Does it stop when you cut all prerequisite. Does it stop when you visualise it like a ladder? Or will the skills stop being there from the start? Like in diablo I and the sim example mentioned above.

    I just don't seem to find a non-tree system that is better. Lets hope blizzard is more original then me.



     
  4. Doctrinaire

    Doctrinaire Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    Before people start freaking out I think they should consider Blizzard's core design goals for Diablo III's advancement system. From the 2008 Skills Panel, those are:
    - Simple to understand.
    - Compelling early-game and late-game.
    - Large variety of build possibilities.
    - Supportive of 6 active skills.

    So we can assume that whatever the new system is, it will achieve one or more of those design goals better than skill trees did. I know a radial design (here's a picture of it) was considered early on but, because it didn't really do anything that the skill tree couldn't, it was dismissed. Blizzard doesn't change things without reason.

    My guess is that passives will be consolidated into the as-of-yet unknown progression system made to replace attributes and disentangled entirely from active skill advancement. Putting actives and passives in the same bed kinda-sorta works but it's messy and, I imagine, really hard to balance. Actives have to dance around being 1-point wonders, in which case you end up with high-level character with 10+ powerful active skills, or only worth using once maxed out, which slows down the rate of character advancement a lot. Passives, meanwhile, have to compete with skills that actually do things without being mandatory. Trees end up being either really broken and ubalanced, and filled with mandatory passives, (Torchlight) or just plain boring (and still filled with mandatory passives) (Titan Quest).

    Which is why I think passive skills will retain some kind of tree advancement, though their name might be changed to feats or talents or what-have-you, while active advancement will be drastically simplified (and controlled to prevent players from having too many or too few). This also allows for additional nuance to skill resets. Active skill selection could be set in stone while passives could be refundable (or the other way around).
     
  5. cacophony

    cacophony Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    Unless we hear before then, I'd like to see the new WoW system they are rolling out called Path of the Titans. It is being billed as a "new character customization" option. Another thing they are doing is blowing up their "talent trees" to take away pure number passives (such as straight crit, damage, haste, etc) and replacing them w/ procs and the like. I know the two teams aren't supposed to work together, but they still see what the others are doing, so when we have more details on the next WoW expac, we can start speculating (probably negatively :p ) about what they might be up to. Assuming we don't hear anything before the next WoW expac, which probably won't be until late summer.
     
  6. Brother Laz

    Brother Laz Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    Lots of crybabies in this thread and in the news thread.

    You know what other game let you buy skills at vendors (and occasionally from drops/objects)?
    DIABLO 1.


    Skill trees have shown their failure - it's always 1 into prereqs, then max main skill, then max synergies, and by god don't put more than 1 point into defensive skills or your build is useless.

    Torchlight took the system to its ridiculous end: there are no prereqs so you have nothing to use until you acquire your endgame skill, unless you want to throw away points (or use the respec mod).

    While Runic follows, Blizzard should lead. Bring on the innovation.
     
  7. Leugi

    Leugi Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    Actually, you're right on that... It surely ruins planning of characters... Still, a similar system (use to upgrade) not for getting new skills, but for leveling up, if well done, could work nicely. For example, Ratchet & Clank weapon upgrades are not simply bought up, weapons upgrade themselves the most times you manage to kill an enemy, that way it's a bit more difficult to abuse, and its nice, since I managed to choose exactly what weapons I want to upgrade...

    This one is an interesting point, Diablo III's skill trees were pretty much pre-req-less (except on some few but really few skills). Perhaps they noticed how that worked in torchlight so they decided it wasn't a good idea?

    Or are they just trying to make the game different to torchlight?

    The "let's hope blizzard is more original than us" should be applied to everything, not just skill systems. Right now, with all the time left for D3 to be finished, we can only hope for Blizz to make the right decisions... It's good to see they are telling us that trees are possibly going out before implementing the new system, that allows us to discuss the issue a bit, like right now...


     
  8. Srikandi

    Srikandi Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    I'm interested in the question of what constitutes a "skill tree" to the D3 devs.

    To me, a connected graph is a tree only if it meets certain criteria. It has to branch, but not converge. Cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_(graph_theory) , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_(data_structure) .

    That is, for a configuration of skills to count as a "tree", you must have at least one case where a skill is prerequisite to more than one other skill, and no cases where a skill has more than one prerequisite. Otherwise what you have is not a tree.

    However, I'm well aware that the term "tree" is used for all kinds of skill systems in computer games which don't have these properties; for instance, the Torchlight devs refer to their system as a tree, even though there are no prereqs in it at all.

    Something to contemplate is the difference between unitary systems, like D2, where all the abilities are developed the same way, and more complex systems with more than one means of skill development, which are actually perhaps even more common these days. Generally one of the ability sets is advanced through points that become available at level-up, while the other comes from drops, vendors, or practice. Examples:

    - WoW: talents (XP), skills (bought, level gated), tradeskills (e.g. herbalism - practice)
    - Torchlight: skills (XP) and spells (drops, advanced trhough finding higher level scrolls)
    - Sacred 2: skills (XP) and combat arts (drops, advanced through finding additional runes of the same type)
    - Dragon Age: talents (XP) and skills or spells (XP) (both level gated)
    - Borderlands skills (XP) and weapon proficiencies (practice)

    Personally, I like the Elder Scrolls/Boderlands/Sims type system where at least a subset of abilities is developed through practice. I just like the feeling that every time I swing a sword or brew a potion, I'm getting better at using swords or potion-making; it's rewarding and realistic.

    It's true that adopting this system as the ONLY method of ability advancement leads to big differences in the rate at which different kinds of abilities can be advanced... as in Morrowind, where Acrobatics could be advanced extremely rapidly just by jumping everywhere you went, whereas spells had to be deliberately cast to advance them, and to advance lockpicking-type abilities, you have to be able to find enough locks to open. But as the list above shows, there's no reason a practice-based system can't be adopted for those abilities that are suited to it, while using a XP-based system for other kinds of abilities.
     
  9. Doctrinaire

    Doctrinaire Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    In other words, every time you swing a sword you get comparatively worse at swinging other weapons. The system makes sense on the roleplaying end of the RPG spectrum, but it has never made for good gameplay. Oblivion is widely considered to have one of the most disastrously bad character advancement systems ever designed.


     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
  10. LittleOldLady

    LittleOldLady Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    I can see some sort of hybrid system developing, where:

    - active skills are available from a certain level, and increase with use (Leugi);
    - passive skills can be added to on level-up.

    When you consider the runes, then we have a system which is level-based, item-based and play-based. Oh, and the fact that stats will affect damage means that level-up will increase skills as well (by increased attributes). I can see more options for variety with something like this.

    Also, some ideas about the monk's resource (two distinct types of active skills, e.g. yin/yang...forgotten whose idea, sorry) would work okay, since you'd never be stuck with just one active skill.
     
  11. Doctrinaire

    Doctrinaire Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    Here's an idea I had a few months ago: skill slots that are at first liquid (interchangeable) but eventually freeze (become permanent). In other words, at level 1 you get a skill slot that can be filled with any one of the Tier 1 skills at the player's leisure. At level 5 (or something) you get another liquid skill slot but whatever is in the first one becomes permanent. Something like this:

    Level 1
    +1 Liquid Skill Slot that can be interchangeably filled with Tier 1 skills by a skill vendor.
    ...
    Level 5
    +1 Liquid Skill Slot that can be interchangeably filled with Tier 1 and 2 skills by a skill vendor.
    Slot 1 freezes and can no longer be changed.
    ...
    Level 10
    +1 Liquid Skill Slot that can be interchangeably filled with Tier 1, 2, and 3 skills by a skill vendor.
    Slot 2 freezes and can no longer be changed.

    And so forth, until the player has 5 or 6 frozen skills at level 25 or 30. The specifics are less important than the concept, of course - the 5 level increments are totally arbitrary and there probably shouldn't be a different tier for every new skill slot (otherwise the final suite of skills would be mutually exclusive, which means less customization). And it would probably be a good idea to diminish the power of skills in liquid slots, since the level at which your final slot freezes and you don't get another liquid slot would feel like a loss rather than a gain otherwise. Oh, it would also need to be supplemented by a passive tree of some sort, as it wouldn't allow for enough customization on its own.

    Truth be told I would prefer a system that just had you choosing permanent skills from the get-go, but that would end up being too intimidating for new players. Letting them try skills out before making any commitments makes some sense.

    Edit: Actually, after typing all of that out, I've kind of realized that I would hate the system. Choice is a major aspect of ARPGs, and if you perpetually have an interchangeable skill slot, your choices are trivialized. Still, I think there's some merit to the idea of letting players experiment with skills before they make any permanent commitments.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2009
  12. Foober

    Foober Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    Thank you for this! I had never seen those pictures before.


     
  13. Srikandi

    Srikandi Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    The objection that you make other skills "comparatively worse" applies to ANY system of skills development. It's just as true if you put a point in Sword Mastery.

    Borderlands uses this same system for weapons skills, and its skill system is widely praised :p So does Nethack, btw, a game whose popularity has endured for decades. And note that WoW and many other games use exactly this system for gathering and crafting skills; nobody's complained about it there.

    The problem in the Elder Scrolls implementation, as I said, is that this system works much better for some kinds of skills than others. Weapons skills are IMO the most suitable candidates for it.

    Something like that radial design, btw, was used in the Witcher. Worked fine there, though I don't really see the difference between that and a tree (just put the center at the top).


     
  14. Doctrinaire

    Doctrinaire Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    There is still a big difference between Diablo II's weapon mastery skills and what you are talking about.

    The player chooses to put a point into Sword Mastery and not another skill. He could have just as easily not taken it, so the game isn't balanced with the assumption that all melee players of a certain level will have X points into a weapon mastery. See the difference?

    Think of it this way. Say Blizzard decides to be really nice this holiday and give everyone who logs into WoW on Christmas day a permanent +1000 HP. If they then re-balanced the entire game to prevent those players from being overpowered, however, all they would have really done was punish anyone who didn't log on. It would have been a major dick move, not a nice holiday gesture. In the same way, all weapon skill-ups do is punish people who want to use different weapon types. It adds nothing whatsoever to the game.

    Borderland's Diablo-style skill system is widely praised, not its weapon skill system, which is widely ignored, but still suffers from the same pitfall I'm describing. It punishes people who decide they want to use another kind of weapon moreso than anything else. (My Soldier used a powerful SMG from levels 5-ish to 10-ish. Turns out rifles are the only thing worth using as a Soldier later on and he's weaker now at level 38 than he would have been had I made the illogical choice of using a crappy Rifle instead of the powerful SMG. Game design!) WoW's weapon skill system, on the other hand, is universally maligned, and for good reason. All it did for gameplay was make the Blasted Lands a far more relevant zone than it should have been. (For those not in the know, there was a bugged quest mob in Blasted Lands that you could continuously attack while reading a magazine to skill-up your weapons.)

    And I have no problem with crafting skill-ups.


     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2009
  15. Bandreus

    Bandreus Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    Guys I only wanted to stress, them changing the way skills are presented/organized (ie trees or radial or cubes) doesn't seems be the main point tweets where about. Not even skill-level-upping.

    They clearly pointed at "changing the way skills are acquired" instead.

    just to keep the discussion a bit more focused.
     
  16. stillman

    stillman Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    It would be really awesome if Blizzard asked fans for ideas on this.

    Also, note how skill runes are going to have to start from scratch again, or maybe even get thrown out?
     
  17. Leugi

    Leugi Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion


    They said it was going to be implemented yes or yes, somewhere...


     
  18. theeliminator

    theeliminator Well-Known Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    I kind of like your idea, but I agree that the way you have it set up, it does trivialize choice.

    What if you have x amount of time to try out the skill or just freeze the picked skill immediately? To encourage players to freeze a skill sooner would be a Borderlands style passive skill bonus.( So all those passive skills they came up with would slowly be unlocked to the player as they use the skill) Damage skill passives would get better with each kill. For Debuff skills, you would have to give xp to the skill for each mob effected by the spell. For buffs, each full duration of effect, for skills like teleport, times used (but only counts 1 use per x period of time so people don't just run around spamming the skill) You get to skill points after each lvl to acquire new skills or to spend them on existing skills, to power them up.

    There would be no trainers to diminish the hero aspect, and no dropped common spells so to keep character originality. (Please don’t try to say spell drops can make a character original when, like in tourchlight, everyone looks to get the same spells.)




    Skill trees is very much part of how players accquire skills. so ppl have not left topic or lost focus.


     
  19. Kalara

    Kalara Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    I agree with the "how skills are aquired" being the most interesting part of that post and could be a huge departure from D2 and what we have seen of D3 so far.

    If they made skills come from drops that wouldn't necissarily mean a D1 world where you have Warriors throwing around magical fireballs. The drops could be handled like other class specific loot. But do we need another type of dropped loot? Diablo is an item centric game, that is part of the addiction, but we already have all the equipable slots, including two new ones. (Yay for no longer running around trying to look intimidating without any pants). There will also be skill rune drops, and potions.

    What choices would dropped skills leave for when you level up? Yes, you would get stronger with your automaticaly distributed stats but what about a meaningful choice to celebrate that big flasy lvl up?

    Now knowing blizzard from past experience I don't think they are debating between skills comming from drops or being granted upon lvling up. I think they are trying out something a bit more inovative so the above arguments may end up being pointless but I hope whatever they come up with adds to that excitement you get when you reach a new level.
     
  20. Leugi

    Leugi Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Tree skills begone discussion

    From DiabloFans exclusive Jay Wilson interview:

    "About that, we've decided to remove the tree-type architecture and we are moving into a purely skill-based system. This new system is still in the development stages and if it does not work, we still have plenty of options to fall back on. Right now, we're just trying different things and getting a feel for the few ideas in regards to the skill system that we have going on right now. It differs from the World of Warcraft/Diablo II type hierarchical styles and is more of a skill pool/path than a tree per se."

    This might help to settle our argument a bit betterly.

    First things first... Not going to be WoW style, neither Diablo II style... What do you guys think Jay Wilson meant with "more of a skill pool/path than a tree"?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009

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