Thomas “Blixtev” Blair here with an update on some of the recent changes we have made to the Crowfall® skills system.
Skills system! Haven’t you been making campaigns!??
Yes, we have! However, we have had some mechanical and visualization changes to the Skills system brewing in the background for many months, and it has gotten to the point where we are ready to release those changes to you.
ABOUT THE SKILLS SYSTEM
For those of you who don’t know what the Skills system encompasses in Crowfall, here is a quick, high-level refresher. Skills are one of the main methods of character progression. Skills train passively over time, whether you are offline or online, and they are based on the account, not the individual character. This means that when you train a skill, you get the benefit of that skill across any character on your account for which that skill is beneficial.
Every skill maps to at least one statistic on the character (i.e. One-Handed Sword Specialization grants +50 Attack Power with any character that is wielding a one-handed sword), and multiple skills can grant the same stat. (i.e. Weapon Mastery also grants an additional +50 Attack Power).
Previously, skills trained on a numerical scale of 0-100. The original idea was to make sure that people felt like they were getting a noticeable gain in skills on every login. Unfortunately, the key word there is noticeable; what we found through testing was that the gains were so small (because we have to portion them up 100 times) and steady that it didn’t really feel like you were gaining much of anything. (It’s hard to get excited about a .001 gain per point!)
To address this, we have converted the scale to a range of (0-5) skill pips, on the same time schedule as the old 0-100 model. This means that the time it took to gain 20/100 points now equates to one pip. If you look at the new tooltip, you will see five pips under each skill that is eligible to be trained.
Stat gains now “build up” until each pip is earned. You won’t see tiny incremental increases, instead there will not be any statistical changes applied to the character until you “ding” from 0 to 1, or 1 to 2, etc.
Example: If a skill grants +25 Attack Power total, and you have one pip trained, you would have +5 Attack Power applied to the character. Gaining the second pop will grant another +5 Attack Power for a total of +10.
Hopefully, this will make earning a pip feel like a significant event (contrast this with the same scenario in the old system, in which you would have gained +.25 Attack Power per point.) It also means that skill training will “ding” much less often than before.
For non-VIP players, there is no “queueing system”, so you’ll want to log into the lobby and adjust your skill trains between “dings”.
For VIP members, skills will continue to train after earning any pip, up to the maximum of five pips for the selected skill.
Example: A VIP player can start a skill training at zero pips and three days later it will hit five pips automatically. A non-VIP player can achieve the exact same result in the same period of time, but they will need to login five times during that period – once every 14 hours
For the purposes of testing, if you have at least one month of VIP on your account, your account will be treated as a VIP player, but don’t worry, you aren’t using your months of pre-paid VIP membership yet. We will not start to “spend” months of VIP membership until launch.
Removal of Pre-Requisites
As part of adding more choice in progressing through a skill tree, we have dropped the requirements of requiring max training in a skill node to advance in the tree. Generally, skills will now require three or four pips to be trained before you meet the requirements to “jump forward” and train the next skill(s) in the tree.
This means you can jump to a deeper skill in the skill tree earlier if you choose. For some builds it might be better to go deeper in the skill tree rather than mastering the earlier skills. It’s all about player choice.
To illustrate this, once you’ve met the prerequisites for any skill in the tree, you will see:
- A solid line connecting into that skill, and
- Five empty pips below that skill icon
This also means that if you can’t see the empty “pip indicators” under a skill, you don’t yet meet the pre-requisites for that skill.
In an effort to make the skill tooltips more compact and legible, we have added a feature to “expand” the pop-up window. While mousing-over a skill icon in the skill tree, hold the LEFT-CTRL key to view more advanced information for that skill.
Advanced tooltips will now tell you the effect granted by next pip, the effect granted by training this skill to full (five pips), and a description explaining the effect of each statistic that is being granted.
Shiny and Chrome
We’ve changed the iconography surrounding the skills to make things more readable at a glance. You may notice the fancy gold wings; this indicates that a skill is at max pips. The shape of the frame around the icon also imparts information about the pre-reqs for that skill:
- Vertical hexagonal frames mean that you can reach this skill by training ANY of the parent skills for this skill,
- Horizontal hexagonal frames mean that you can only reach this skill by training ALL of the parent skill for this skill.
This is an ongoing effort and as more things settle into to place we will continue to improve the iconography to make it both clearer and more rewarding.
The Test server will have a separate instance of the skill trees for each account. To jumpstart things, we’ve copied the data from the previous test environment so that people won’t have to start over.
THAT SAID, we have some major changes coming in the future because the Race/Class split has had some pretty big implications on the arrangement of the now-defunct Archetype skill trees. That means we will be wiping the trees (and restructuring them) at some point in the next few months.
Five pips! Stats on each pip! Fewer (but more impactful) rewards on each “ding”! Queueing for VIPs! Fancy iconography!
I hope this illuminates the changes we have recently made to the skill system so far. Look for more updates in the coming weeks and months as additional changes occur.
As always, please feel free to leave comments on the forums, and…
See you in game!
Thomas “Blixtev” Blair
Design Lead, ArtCraft Entertainment