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Despecialise penalty points

Not sure if this should be under the Suggestions thread… but I’ll place it here, a Forum Master can possibly move it if needed.

Ok, Whilst playing I decided to try to change a few skills on my Knight. So after trying a few things I ‘de-specialised’ to try out something else, however I wasn’t made aware of the penalty cost, so now at level 20 I only have 15 points placed in the tress I wish, a loss of 5 points.

Of course as the game and your level progresses, the loss of such points would make a huge difference to the overall damage / ability / defence ability of your char, and as such feels like the old D2 tree where if you made an early mistake you either had to re roll or live with a non optimum char.

Ok a penalty is warranted, but can it be a monitory one rather than a reduction of available points pls.

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but as you earn XP you’ll gain points until you’re back up to 20.

Are the skill points unlimited? If so, I agree, it will just take more time to get them back. Or I may just not understand how the mechanic works. are we talking about skill specialization points? or class skill tree points?

Skill Specialisation points.

For example in the Skill @Shield rush@ I currently have 5 points… and I have just noticed that I only have 13/20…

I wasn’t aware that you they would increase via XP, but wouldn’t the gap be too great or is there a level cap but no XP cap.

I am 7 points behind someone who either had prior experience or was better informed. That is a huge penalty.

Even if you were at the level cap, your skills would earn XP until they reached 20 points.

The team’s view on this is that you’re not really specializing or making meaningful decisions if they can be hot swapped at any time. While a gold cost is one possibility, it isn’t a perfect one - it can be difficult to make gold costs payable early on, but still have them be significant later. Often in ARPGs you reach a point where you’ve more gold than you need.

We believe that part of an ARPG is making choices and choosing to specialize in certain ways. I won’t claim that despecializing is perfect as-is; we’re in alpha and still implementing systems and features - thoroughly polishing and balancing them will likely begin in earnest during beta. But it is a deliberate design decision to have despecializing incur a penalty.


it is understandable, maybe a minor rewrite or message that when de-specialising you LOSE all points previously placed in that specialisation.

As a counter argument, aren’t you going to enforce certain builds by having such a huge penalty. Players aren’t so free to try out a different attack or change their current build if they have a lucky drop etc.

If at level 60+ you lose possibly 20-30 points the necessary XP needed would be too much to overcome , so you can only re-roll …

I don’t wish to compare this game too much to others but haven’t you noticed how most other games have moved away from this ‘penalty of change’ cost. Especially WoW where you can now change on-the-fly and they had previously implemented a severe and increasing gold cost for re-skilling. D3 is the same, If enough items from a different set drop, I can re skill to suit without penalty, which gives the player a greater scope of playability.

Maybe you could implement another drop like the ‘shattering stone’ which would allow you to reskill for free and just use the re-skill stone. If it is also collectable, it would be a worthwhile addition perhaps?

At higher levels you earn more xp significantly faster, wheareas the “cost” of upgrading a skills level is always is always stable. Thus a character at higher levels will be able to earn skill points back relatively quickly. At level 60 it only takes about ten minutes in arena to go from 0 -> 20 skill level.

Ah, I see

I hadn’t considered the Arena since I haven’t managed to complete the first wave yet. It seems reasonable then, I am still learning the inner depths of this game.

I am pretty sure that such things will eventually be balanced and comprehensively tested before actual release.

Just learned this all the hard way myself. I do think a warning of some sort would be ideal if they decided to keep this as the means of skill progression, however, also not sure whether I like the idea of losing what I gained. I understand the ‘meaningful’ choices part and appreciate it but not sure if this is the best implementation.

That said, as I having really been able to find anything, is there a good comprehensive rules guide on the site somewhere?

Yeah, it is slightly dumb but we are still in Alpha so a lot could change. I disagree with the XP gain excuse, if they continue with a points penalty when de-specialising then they are inhibiting players from trying out different skill sets therefore reducing diversity and ultimately herding players into pre defined cookie cutter builds.

My fear is that once this game goes live there will be a rush of youtubers that will advise on which builds are viable and which skills passives to primarily choose.

Of course there will be fun or non conventional players but I feel they would be in the minority.

All we can do is wait and see…

Our vision for the game is an ambitious one where the power level between different builds remains low so that any build employing synergistic items, skills, skill specialization tree nodes, and mastery nodes can be successful and considered viable.

I have previously written about World of Warcraft, and the distinction between perceived differences of power and actual differences of power. World of Warcraft has 36 specializations - each having access to 16 equipment slots (two-handed weapons occupy two of these) and 18 talents. In spite of this, Blizzard has typically done a remarkable job in ensuring that any differences in the effectiveness of the various specializations are minimal.

Our skill specialization trees are designed to give us many different knobs to turn in pursuit of balance. Because every skill will have a specialization tree - and each of them will be unique - buffs to one weak skill won’t cause a competitive skill to become unreasonably powerful. This affords us a great deal of control over just how strong each ability becomes.

There will always be cookie-cutter builds to some extent - these could be ranged builds with crowd control such as the Warlock, or minion-focused builds which utilize meat shields to deal damage comparatively safely. These can be balanced in various ways - the Warlock might not have the raw damage of other masteries - while Necromancers may struggle to balance their minions’ damage, their minions’ survivability, and their own survivability.

Some ARPG players enjoy the core gameplay loop but not the theorycrafting, and others like creating guides which the community can follow. So long as there is not a large disparity between the flavour of the month and other builds, that’s not necessarily harmful. In fact, it is a sign of a healthy community where veterans of the game help new players learn how to build their characters defensively, how to defeat bosses, and so on.

None of this is intended to suggest that I think we’re infallible and our balance will be perfect from day one (or ever!). I’m just saying that the ability for players to build a character the way they want to and be competitive is important to the team - and we’ve kept it in mind when designing core systems such as the skill specialization trees.

@Sarno, although a very well written and commendable reply, you didn’t address the core question.

Are you going to keep the ‘points’ penalty for switching skills? (here I mean de-specialising the points placed within a particular skill tree)

This is a major question because ultimately it will decide how a player plays the game. Diablo 2 had this problem with skill points, set one point wrongly or decide to change your build, sometimes you had to completely re-roll the char or start a new one. With level 99 being the top level and it took a long time or loads of Baal runs to get there it wasn’t something taken lightly.

I had suggested a ‘insert cool name here’ re-roll stone akin to the Shattering Stone, but for re-setting skills, which, also being collectable and tradable would imo be an asset to the game. Giving players more choice in their skills/builds AND a possible source of income.

Currently I see lots of possibilities but not many choices.

AFAIK there are plans to make skill switching less painful (but still costly) but the system used to do so hasn’t been decided yet.

Here are some of the suggestions I had posted on the developer discord in regards to this topic and Trasochi’s response:

There has to be some penalty otherwise there isn’t much point in even limiting us to 5 slots. Also you get access to specializing skills slower than you get skill slots, so you can use the non specialized slots to test abilities before hand without losing out on any experience.

There will be ways to remove single points from a tree and retain that point or retain the other points so that you don’t have to start completely from scratch. This will require a gold and/or time investment to do. We want to make it possible to experiment with builds but still make it feel semi solid. It’s going to be a tough distinction and we will change the system as needed to keep the game fun.

One thing to note which many people don’t realize right away is that if you kill a level 100 enemy, you’ll get a lot more than 1 level up for a skill that is level 1. The exp required to level up a skill is static and doesn’t scale with your level but rather the skill’s level.

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