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Use based system vs. XP based ones

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Lumpy, Mar 18, 2006.

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Which system do you prefer?

  1. The use based system

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  2. The XP based system

    0 vote(s)
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  3. A combination of both

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  1. Balor Arcane

    Balor
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
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    5,179
    Location:
    Russia
    I prefer an alternative system:

    At first you must learn the skill in theory, then practice it.

    W/o theoretical knoledge you will rise your skill very slow, (and pretty fast otherwise, eliminating treadmill), and w/o training it's not worth much.

    The best of two worlds, I must say.
     
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  2. dagamer667 Liturgist

    dagamer667
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2004
    Messages:
    104
    I prefer the XP based systems. For use-based fun, I'd rather go to the gym.
     
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  3. Psilon Erudite

    Psilon
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
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    Codex retirement
    I prefer the Wizardry 8 system myself. The majority of your skill increases come through use, but you also get a handful of points with each level which can be spent arbitrarily. Given the way certain abilities work, it's the best of both worlds. New spells aren't unlocked until you have a certain level of Wizardry/Psionics/Alchemy/Clerical Magic, so the ability to put a point or two in and reach the threshold is very handy. Also, certain skills are inherently harder to train than others, such as Critical Strike. By putting points into C-Strike at levelup, you can make a Samurai that much more badass.
     
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  4. Solik Scholar

    Solik
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
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    377
    Definitely XP-based. XP can be granted as an award generically for, say, completing a quest, while such a thing is a little more odd (and narrow and thus potentially useless for a character) in use-based systems. I don't want to grind or farm; I want to complete quests, with my reward being increased ability. That does run into the problem of forced questing to grow (and issues of inability to progress because you aren't strong enough to complete a certain quest), so I don't mind a little bit of grinding or farming to be possible. I'm designing a MUD in which you gain XP for quests, but you also get small amounts for things like fighting monsters and healing allies, so that you're never absolutely required to do quests for everything -- they're just the most efficient means of increasing ability.

    I also love being granted the ability to move my points around at levelup. Sure, it cuts you free from the game. Sure, it's not natural. But damn it's fun (when done well).

    To keep the "killing rats makes you better at lockpicking" deal from being too obvious, I prefer to group XP by archetype. For instance, there might be warrior XP, thief XP, and mage XP. The type of XP you get depends on the quest you take and/or the method of quest completion.
     
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  5. Teb Novice

    Teb
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    Messages:
    22
    I like this idea. Also, a hybrid system where the use of warrior skills, thief skills, and mage skills give points to be distributed in their group might be a nice system. In that system, you could sneak to better your lockpicking but that doesn't seem as bad as the "killing rats makes you better at lockpicking."
     
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  6. Zomg Arbiter

    Zomg
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    6,983
    It's the Fable system, a good idea executed with a thimblefull of care in that case. However, it does have the negative effect of reinforcing the lame fantasy Thief-Wizard-Fighter archetypes.
     
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  7. Teb Novice

    Teb
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
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    22
    Luckily, I didn't play Fable but that kind of system doesn't have to possess strict archetypes if you are allowed to use skills from any group (mage, thief, fighter). Actually, at this point, I wouldn't mind a game with strict clichéd classes as long as the game had an interesting story and good dialogue.
     
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  8. sanibonani Novice

    sanibonani
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    13
    I think a hybrid that allows for a usage to levelling connection, but only where appropriate. For example, increasing your weapon skill with a particular weapon depending on how many hits you make with it, or increasing your abilities in certain areas of magic depending on how many successful spells of certain types you cast in combat. I like the idea of having a level-up time, but the increases available could be linked to the kind of usage I just described.

    We need to avoid the silliness of the Morrowind system though, where you have to increase your speed by running around, and increase your athletic ability by jumping up and down. LOL I remember a Morrowind guide suggesting that you left a book resting on your spacebar overnight, so your character would spend all night leaping! This system also forces you into behaving in a very strange and un-RPG manner, to make sure level things equally to get decent bonuses. I really hate that.

    So, I'd say XP with a usage-linked system where it works well and makes sense.
     
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  9. Lord Chambers Erudite

    Lord Chambers
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    Messages:
    1,018
    Maybe we drop the overtness of a "system" and make it so skills you learn primarily through experience, like combat, are use-based. Skills that you learn primarily through learning, like diplomacy, occur due to player allocated points, gained from quests.

    Swinging a sword can't really be taught the way it can be learned from practice. Speechcraft is not something that benefits from repitition in the same way.

    Frankly I'm suprised so many games have seen fit to try and force all skills under the same "system." There is the time-honored rats-for-lockpicking example, while in Morrowind you think testing would have hashed out the odd fact that to increase their speech skills players were sitting there admiring to no end.

    The nonsense comes from the skills being different themselves, not from either system being better than the other.
     
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  10. kingcomrade Kingcomrade Edgy

    kingcomrade
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    Go take a loot at my Fallout Brainstorm thread and tell me what you think, I suppose it falls under the EXP system.
     
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  11. Solik Scholar

    Solik
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Messages:
    377
    That's a fantastic idea, Chambers. I've seen that used in some MUDs with weaponskills increasing with use and other skills gained through levelup and/or point distribution. It actually does work really well.
     
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  12. thathmew Zero Sum Software Developer

    thathmew
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    194
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    For Prelude to Darkness we used a combination system that was non-level based. I think it would really well and remains my favorite system that I've played or designed. We went through about 20 different types of systems before we arrived at this one.

    Skills improved with use and only successful uses. This rate was modified by attributes. Some skill improved a rate based on physical attributes, other based on mental attributes and many on a combination. At very low and at high skill levels its fairly difficult to improve with use.

    Skills could also improve by spending XP. XP was rewarded from quests, and usually in small amounts. Specific skill gains were also sometimes rewarded where apprpriate. XP didn't determine level, there were no "levels." XP were literally points that could be spent on improving any skill. at lower levels 1xp=1skill point. More XP was required at higher skill levels. XP was very useful for skills that were infrequently used, or to get a skill to a level where it could succeed. Although it could be used for combat skills, it tended to be more valuable to spend on non-combat skills since they saw less frequent use or on combat skills that were very low or newly learned. It was also very useful for when you wanted to push a skill up a single point in order to reach some new plateau of ability, i.e. gain a new attack or something.

    You had to know or learn a skill before it could trained either through use or XP. Starting skills were determined by your background, which was things like trader, farmer, soldier, etc... Trainers could sometimes teach you new skills, sometimes as a reward, sometimes for a fee and increase those that were already known. Backgrounds were not really classes since they only determined how you started, after the start you could grow in any way you saw fit. Depending on background you usually started with a couple of "trained" skills and a couple of known skills and a free choice or two as well.

    Success for many actions were generally a combination of a skill and an attribute, similar in some ways to the Storyteller system, but with more fidelity.

    Training skills up high enough would sometimes result in a attribute increase, i.e. swing the sword enough and you get stronger. This was also one of the few ways to increase hit points/health. Getting skills to certain levels also gave you new abilities like special attacks.

    We tried to reward skill use moderately realistically while at the same time allowing the player some freedom to customize and grow/change their characters in other ways. One could say that XP represented practice time/studying something that was not being modeled directly.

    -mat
     
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