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Player Character Progression and Creation System - Revamp Pitch


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As an attempt to modernize and make character progression and creation system in Vintage Story more consistent and expanded. I decided to write this short pitch of one of the possible routes that would ephasize on both player agenda and expression of the game themes which I feel are core design directives in Vintage Story developement.

Part 1: Character Creation

As of now, upon loading to a new world player can choose one of available classes, which include both lore implications of player backstory, and character traits that slightly modify their experience with both combat and exploration. What I would suggest is trait based system, where after choosing a class which would emhasize solely on lore and immersion with eventual addition of trait discount (Like those which are tied to this specific class fantasy), player will combine number of positive and negative traits that will make their character both unique from gameplay perspective and player immersion and mix it with chosen class that appeal to their vision of created character. Example of game that implemented such system is Project Zomboid, where player start with numeric number indicating how much points they can spend on traits. Players can add negative traits such as vegetarianism or flatfootness which impacts gameplay is new or purely negative way but as a recompensation gives player points to spend on positive traits such as being agile or dealing more damage with specific weapon types. This system gives players ability to create personalized difficult survival or roleplay scenarios while still giving them possibility to pursue fun builds or make challenges which I think are key thing in Vintage Story. Such system can be even utilized in narrative direction, by creating negative or positive traits containing impications to Vintage Story universe which would shed some light on state of human like creatures controlled by players.
Visual creator could be expanded with new faces or defects that would give visual clues about traits that players chose, but they won't be locked behind specific traits and can be avoided entirely if player choose so to not restrict his specific vision of created character.

Part 2: In Game Progression System

As stated in roadmap progression system is highly desired, games like Minecraft or Terraria tries to tie their progression in a more streamlined and equipement based which at least for Terraria works really well especially with utilization of metroidvania like paceing and world design. What I would love to see in Vintage Story is take mostly know from Runescape, where you passively mastery skills like mining or forageing by pure grind. While I would love to fantasize about skill trees and more expansive systems found in rpg, I think that this would work poorly in this case. While I work only by my assumption I think that passive gain in those skills (like faster mining with leveled mining or more hp by leveling strenght which would calculate exp by doing some made up conditions like taking damage or carrying weight) would still feel compelling for players and wouldn't make them feel overwhelmed or locked in too meaningfull choice (Which would feel the same with ealier system but at the same time traits are purely based on making character we want immerse ourself into and not really looking for most op and optimal skill in tree).

Part 3: Interaction between both systems

Only thing I would like to mention here is situation where leveling skill would partially negate negative effects taken from character creation. By design I think It's not really a bad thing. Because while for example -20% damage to enemies we took from traits would be negated by 20% damage dealt gained from leveling coresponding skill, It still puts you 20% away from players that chose another option.

Thank you for listening to my TEDxTalk I would love to implement this idea at least into a mod so I will try to mess up with VS modding tools in near future so If you like it stay tuned.

Edited by NoliP
Deleted PS as It's outdated
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I think a system with fixed classes is actually better than a trait based system, as it allows to more carefully design interesting characters for the player to play with their own unique challenges and advantages. A trait system would require balancing the traits against each other and other perk combinations , which is not impossible to do but not easy either. It would probably lead to a situation where some traits would just never be picked and the traits would be picked in such a way that players play optimal build, that cover their weaknesses with their strengths. Having specific weaknesses tied to specific advantages like in the system right now just forces more nuanced and interesting experiences and not has players go down the route of optimizing character classes for the most powerful or useful combination.

Sure, it provides less freedom and such combinations could still technically be possible in a trait system, but most players might never enjoy those fun and unique combination if you don't force them to and the community can be more focused around them and their unique gameplay. Anyhow, modding the classes right now to create new ones using the same traits is really easy, so there is technically still that freedom to mix and match.

As for a player character progression system, I think it would probably be something in the line of Skyrim/Valheim/Stardew Valley/etc. where skills just passively advance by using them, making your character better at doing those things. Not a bad system, if done so to lower the grind rather than cause it. If certain skill levels where to be required for certain things though, like forging the best sword or crafting certain things, players would grind just to get these skills, which I strongly oppose, the game doesn't need more unneccessary grinding. I could also imagine more unique takes on character progression, that reward exploration or overcoming certain challenges and give more unique bonuses.

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