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Game News Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #30: Character Progression

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Bard's Tale IV; David Rogers; InXile Entertainment

    Although most of the public's attention is currently focused on Torment, which is set to make an appearance at Gamescom next month, development on inXile's other game, The Bard's Tale IV, continues quietly. Today's Kickstarter update by the talented systems designer David Rogers is a reminder that it's still alive. It's about the game's character progression system, which we now learn will be based on a multi-tiered skill tree structure. Here are the basics of how it'll work:

    The original Bard's Tale trilogy had a character progression system closely tied to your starting class, plus the fascinating idea of evolving into different types as you reached higher levels. A budding Conjurer could progress down that track, or change professions and learn to be a Magician, Wizard, Sorcerer, and ultimately an Archmage. We are retaining this strong class-based focus in The Bard's Tale IV. We’re also opening up this more in-depth character progression to all the classes, allowing each class to specialize into their own set of sub-classes. By merging the sub-class concept into a tree structure, we are better able to give each adventurer meaningful and impactful choices each time you level up.

    Each class has access to its own unique skill tree. From here, your adventurer is able to learn how to wield new gear, gain attribute points, learn new abilities, and gain passive effects. Basically, your character can be fully described through their skill tree. At a glance, you can tell a Sorcerer from a Wizard, a Thief from an Assassin, and a Vanguard from a Commander, all just by looking at their skill tree. Each time one of your Adventurers levels up, they are granted a single point to spend on their skill tree, with each skill costing exactly one point.

    While skill trees can have a lot of options, their complexity grows along with the adventurer. The very first view you might have of your skill tree as a Fighter might look a little something like this, showing only a smaller number of skills to unlock.

    In the above image we see the player has a few choices to pick from for their fledgling Fighter: learning to wield more advanced one handed weapons, learning to wield great weapons, gaining access to battle standards, wearing more protective armor, gaining bundles of attribute points, learning a new passive, or learning to craft basic potions. You'll notice that many of those choices also carry along with them some increased attributes as an added bonus.

    For those of you thinking that's all there is, don't worry. You'll be able to view your entire skill tree from the get go. For simplicity's sake we set the default view to show you only what you have available at a given level, and what's just beyond the horizon. However, you can always zoom out to see the full number of options available to your adventurers as they grow into heroes of legend.

    As you unlock new skills, you'll begin to also unlock the next tier of options in your skill tree. That's displayed by the counter under each tier header, with each tier requiring a total number of skill points spent character-wide. The adventurer above, for example, has so far unlocked seven out of nine skills needed to progress to Tier 3. These tiers play a role in a character's growth in a few ways, some more obvious than others. First, it helps create big milestones in the career of your adventurer. Just as you've advanced your progression towards one or more sub-classes and your options have begun to taper down, you unlock a new tier and your available options explode out again. It also provides incentive to each adventurer to acquire skills they might not have otherwise, encouraging exploration within your build. Lastly, it allows us as designers to deliver a more balanced experience because we can better ensure that at least some minimum number of points were spent towards defensive and offensive skills in one form or another during the early stages of the game. What kind of armor and fighting style you adopt and eventually specialize in later on is entirely up to you.
    The skill system isn't everything, however. Many of you will be glad to hear that itemization plays an important role as well:

    For those of you looking closely at the skill tree descriptions, which I'm confident many of you are, you might be wondering where you get your combat abilities from. Many of them, in fact, do not feature in the skill tree directly – instead, the place you acquire abilities is actually from your equipment. As you progress down the skill tree you unlock the ability to wield new and more exotic weapons, off-hand items, and trinkets. You may unlock access to a single item, such as a battle standard, or an entire category of items, such as Tier 2 great weapons. These items each have a specific ability or abilities. By wielding a great club you'd be able to use Lumbering Strike during battle, while wielding a battle standard would allow you to rally your allies with the ability "To Me, Brothers." As a certain weapon is used, an adventurer will eventually master its abilities, allowing them to keep using those abilities even without needing the weapon equipped. This will let you naturally unlock a vast amount of tactical flexibility over the course of the game.

    And lastly, equipment such as your helm, armor, and boots also play a major role in your character's growth and progression. Through the skill tree you're also able gain access to increasingly powerful and exotic armor, robes, costumes, garbs, habits, and accoutrement. Your gear accounts for a major chunk of your adventurer's attributes. How many blows your character can withstand, how able he or she is to focus the eldritch forces, and their mental fortitude is heavily influenced by what mystic equipment they've found and learned to use throughout their journeys. These items can also grant you unique passive abilities that can help you form powerful combos. Itemization is an important aspect of The Bard's Tale IV and we've only given you a cursory glance, so we'll be touching on it more later.​

    Bard's Tale IV will retain the "Review Board" mechanic from the original trilogy, but it'll only be required in order to advance to the next skill tier, not for every single level-up. The skill tree system will also feature occasional "mutually exclusive branches", where picking one skill locks away access to others. See the full update for an example of such a progression scenario, including mockup screenshots.
     
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  2. Viata Arcane

    Viata
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    Intedrasting.
     
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  3. Invictus Arcane The Real Fanboy

    Invictus
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    Divinity: Original Sin 2
    I frankly didnt back this and I wasnt very interested in it even though I love blobbers but this is looking very promising so far
     
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  4. Roqua Prospernaut Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual In My Safe Space

    Roqua
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    Yeah, this looks really good. When is this supposed to come out? I've been itching for a good crpg blobber I haven't played, and all anyone is making is stupid contentless dungeon crawlers.
     
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  5. Zeriel Arcane

    Zeriel
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    Will we ever see a return to "you have to go to town to level"? You think it wouldn't be that hard to commit to with old-school revivals, but nope, GOTTA GO FAST and level up in the dungeon. Even MMX which was grognard as fuck couldn't be bothered to do it.
     
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  6. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    I think because it's not just about going to town to level, but to save and do almost everything important there, if you commit to this design philosophy you have to design your game a 100% around this approach (including levels, monsters,...), and I think most blobber makers prefer going with the later save everywhere, level up everywhere, buy items at different places in the game, etc. than this early Wizardry-like gameplay where going down a level wasn't so much about individual things killing you, but the combination of monsters/traps/level design and coming back to the city was like emerging from diving to the safe surface.

    Though the Jap Wizardry-clones or inspired games still have it
     
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  7. Tito Anic Magister Shitposter

    Tito Anic
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    :nocountryforshitposters:
     
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  8. Bumvelcrow Bellator Sempervirens Patron

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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Class based character progression FTW. :obviously: Not sure about abilities from items, but I'm willing to be persuaded. I'm becoming more and more glad I backed this on the spur of the moment. It sounded like another nostalgia blobber but it's getting increasingly interesting.
     
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  9. Roqua Prospernaut Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual In My Safe Space

    Roqua
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    What was wrong with MMX? It is a masterpiece and a testament to how to do a crpg blobber right.
     
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  10. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    Except for the lack of "go to town to level" part, which has been a staple of the Might & Magic series. MMX was excellent in many places, but still streamlined. That is the danger this new Bard's Tale will have to negotiate.
     
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  11. Roqua Prospernaut Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual In My Safe Space

    Roqua
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    In Swords & Sorcery (all editions) you had to go to town to level up and train. In MMX you had to go to town to train up on spells and different tier level of skills (while also finding the trainer's location). I don't see the issue. MMX wasn't streamlined as in dumbed down and had a much deeper and involved rpg progression system than any of the other MMs.

    I remember beating a dragon in 6, 7, or 8 on a starting island that would kill you quickly in a normal fight but was easily killed by circle strafing. MM 6-8 had the most cheese combat ever seen in an rpg.
     
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  12. Darkzone Arcane

    Darkzone
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    Q1-Q3 2017 or so, but more probably towards the second one.

    This update is not so promising. I would have liked it more if you can choose and change different classes later in the game, than having just a class and specialisations in it. To be more precise it would have been better in opinion if you could start a character as a Warrior, and then change the class to Champion or Vanguard or Commander or Defender and then advance in this class. But i still say that this is going to be the best inXile game.
     
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  13. Bubbles I'm forever blowing

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    I somewhat doubt that inXile are going to release Torment and BT4 in the same quarter.
     
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  14. Darkzone Arcane

    Darkzone
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    I also doubt it, but they have now two studios so technically they could. But i think that they will want to use the recognition from Torment to advertise and push the BT4 sales (a quarter or two later).
     
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  15. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Uh even the Kickstarter declares a release date of October 2017.

    It's probably not going to come out in 2017.
     
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  16. Roqua Prospernaut Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual In My Safe Space

    Roqua
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    What is taking so long? Isn't Torment almost done too? I thought that was definitely releasing this year.
     
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  17. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Kickstarter was in June 2015. 2.5 years to make a game is reasonable.

    Torment is coming out early next year.
     
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  18. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    What, 17 posts and no comments on how skill trees are a plague that should burn in hellfire? Whatever happened to muh 'Dex??!
     
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  19. theSavant Self-Ejected

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    Yeah, that was also the way I expected it. Now it's like you got all classes at once. Though after consideration one could say it's the "same". Let's assume you want to maximize Warrior skill and then go for a Vanguard, you could still do it sequential. They just offer you to skill both classes in parallel, but it's your choice, if you do it one after the other, or if you do it in parallel.

    So far the theory... but there is one thing which breaks this freedom: you are always forced to spend a minimum number of skill points to unlock a new tier. By that you have to distribute skill points to other class-trees as well. Which in case makes a specialized sequential skill-run impossible, and that sucks.
     
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  20. Blobbers suck.
     
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  21. Grauken Arcane Patron

    Grauken
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    True, nothing better than a good blow job
     
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  22. Decado Prestigious Gentleman Old time handsome face wrecker Patron

    Decado
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    inXile might be in big trouble in Louisiana. They originally moved there because of a video game developers tax credit, but of course, the governor of Louisiana was a fucking worthless idiot who bankrupted the state, and it looks like all of the tax credits are going to get gutted. This has implications for the studio, of course. I have no doubt that they will finish the game, but it is hard to produce things when you are being jerked around by the state like that. I suppose they could find some way to stay in Louisiana, but the best option is to finish the game and move the studio back to California, or to Texas to some place else where the governor isn't a complete fucking idiot.
     
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  23. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Yikes. Well, it was good for 1.5 years of development (including startup), at least.
     
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  24. Bubbles I'm forever blowing

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    It was all worth it for the privilege of working on Autoduel.
     
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  25. theSavant Self-Ejected

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    I knew from the beginning, that NOLA was a bad idea.

    :whatho:
     
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