As some of you may have already noticed, the whole skill system is currently being reworked for future versions of Forager.
THE OLD SYSTEM
The old skill system had a few things I personally liked, but after a bunch of testing players brought to my attention a series of flaws and issues that I had overseen.
- Random elements incentivize replayability. It's also very fun to wonder what are you gonna get next.
- Easy to implement and expand. I was reusing code from another game (Impossible Dungeons!) and the system was both proven to work fine and proven to be fun.
- Random skills can be useless or unexciting. You may be level 10, with an expanding empire in need of trade and coinage and suddenly get the choice between "better berry picking" or "faster building times", none of which is of use to you anymore.
- The system doesn't leave much space to playstyle choice. When I first started Forager, there wasn't a whole lot of different ways to play the game; you would just hit stuff and use the resources to build things. Now the game has gotten bigger and more polished, and there are several ways to approach gameplay. Players may want to focus on building a nice village, so they want to pick building and decoration related upgrades. Or maybe they prefer to raid dungeons and fight bad guys, in which case structural decorations are less useful to them than say, weaponry or combat upgrades.
- There is no clear sense of character progression. Players not always feel like they are getting stronger or better at the game when skills don't scale off previous ones.
After a lot of discussing with the testers, I have come to the conclusion that a traditional skill tree-type of system would solve all of these issues while still providing a sense of replayability.
THE NEW SYSTEM
The new skill grid system allows for much more flexibility in regards of choosing a playstyle. You may start with Combat, which unlocks Hunting and Strength. Then, after choosing Hunting, you would also unlock a skill for the Foraging branch! (Since every learned skill unlocks the adjacent ones, regardless of specialization).
This new system really promotes hybrid playing styles, and it remains replayable because you are most likely not able to learn the whole skill grid in a single playthrough.
That's all for now! I am really looking forward to you guys testing this new system out!
The next test build should be ready for the next weekend (of Friday 23th of June of 2017).