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How do you decide the theme of a skill?

I don’t yet have a suggestion, but I do have a question. Why is the Aura of Decay presently designed to deal poison damage? Doesn’t it more thematically make more sense to deal Necrotic damage? It could make sense with the skill tree to specialize in a way that it would deal poison damage.

What is the delineation between necrotic and poison in this game?

Realistically necrosis left untreated can cause poisoning to the body, just as poison can induce necrosis. Inflicting Decay and rot, in my mind, is to cause infections or trauma to either interior or exterior tissue which leads the afflicted to premature death, this would again in my mind imply necrotic damage.

I guess my main response would be to ask how you decide what the most important part of the skill is (and how you would arrive at that conclusion).

I could be wrong, but I get the impression that you’re basing this primarily on the name and description, both of which I’d consider to be small details in comparison to the main concept. They can very easily be changed without fundamentally altering the skill.

While it can, of course, work in both directions, for the majority of skills we’d start with the question of “What do we want this skill to do?” and explore that, with names typically being created later in the design process (and usually considered rather disposable).

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Poison, in addition to being a stackable DoT, increases the Poison damage your character takes - and this effect stacks with each active Poison on your character. So my answer to your question is that Poison is fundamentally designed to grow exponentially more dangerous the more stacks of Poison your character has on them - and this, in my view, makes Aura of Decay more interesting than “you take Damage Over Time.”

Now, due to how the skill is designed, there’s a limit to how many Poison stacks it’ll apply - Poison has a fixed duration, and stacks are applied at a regular interval. After a very short period of time, it’ll get as bad as it gets… from Aura of Decay. But Poison is Poison - so when using AoD you need to be mindful of which enemies you’re facing, and what they are doing.

From a gameplay standpoint, this kind of skill dealing Necrotic damage to you and enemies makes it safer, easier to balance, and… honestly I think less interesting. It could be a good idea for a node on the specialization tree because it affords people the option of having a less dangerous self-damage component which is balanced against being less harmful to enemies - and this is all neatly packed in a “deal a cool damage type” package which doesn’t feel bad to pick up, which can be a concern for safer options which deal less damage to enemies.

There’s also a pragmatic side - would we prefer to edit a couple of text strings, or redesign the skill from scratch? We’re happy to take on more work where we deem it necessary, but if the issue is a name and description not being thematically on point… well, we can correct that by changing the name and description. If you’d prefer we tackle it differently, mind if I ask why? We’re not opposed to doing so, but I don’t currently see the need for it.

tl;dr: How do you decide the theme of a skill? (And why is your answer what it is?)

(This could be quite an interesting discussion! Let’s make it more prominent.)


Great reply Sarno. I hadnt really thought about the fact it dealt poison not necrotic damage.

I personally think the theme of a skill should reflect the user of that skill.
Names are pretty arbitrary in my opinion. Call it the ‘Shooty-PEWPEW-BAM!!’ skill if you want. If it gets the job done, ill use it.
I get the feel that the name should reflect somewhat about what it does. I mean, poison and necrotic as names are pretty closely related anyway, even if they functionally are quite different.

Very interesting…


Poison makes things dead quicker though.

+1 to converting it to Necrotic should be a node on the tree.

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I will try to get around to address some other your other points you gave Sarno,

But if I were to keep everything about the skill fundamentally the same, a simple name change I’d suggest to replace it with would be something like Miasma. You could dress it up with something before or after the word, i.e. Miasma of Agony, Veil of Miasma, or mash it with another word to give it novelty.

Definitionally I believe this word embodies everything that this skill supposedly does in this iteration. It may be too obscure of a word, however.

Miasma (noun)
noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter; poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere.
a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere.

Additionally there could be a skill node called Mithridatism, which would further reduce the effect of poison on yourself the longer the aura is active.
This name would play homage to Mithridates VI of Pontus, a Greek/Persian king who purportedly attained immunity to poison by regularly administering sub-lethal doses of poison to himself.

Mithridatism (noun)
the production of immunity against the action of a poison by taking the poison in gradually increased doses.


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