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Reworked Class/Trait System


Landar
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I know the class system is still pretty early in development, but I'd like to see something akin to Project Zomboid's trait system in which the player is given a pool of points to spend on traits. Positive traits subtract from this pool while negative traits add to it, where only a point pool greater than or equal to zero is considered valid. This means that if you want to have more powerful traits, you'll also have to balance them out with negative ones. Another interesting point this system raises is that you can even choose to only pick negative traits if you want to go for a challenge run!

In addition to traits, Project Zomboid also allows the player to choose between a variety of occupations, which provides a baseline set of skills, stats, and trait points, with more powerful occupations having lower, or even negative trait points, which will force you take negative traits to balance them out. This system is most similar to the current class system, and can be useful for players who don't want to spend too much time theorycrafting a build and just want to get into the game.

The current system already supports these kinds of traits, but locks them to specific classes, making them exclusive to that class and that class only. One thing I especially liked about Project Zomboid's character creation system was how much freedom you had into making your character, which also had the double role of enabling a lot in terms of roleplay. The types of traits available in Project Zomboid were also very interesting in and of themselves, with traits like "deaf" or "blind" having especially debilitating effects. Naturally, the types of traits available in Vintage Story should match its gameplay, but I believe this system has the potential to bring a large amount of variety to it.

Another thing I also liked the idea of was being able to gain/lose certain traits depending on your actions, such as weight traits based on how well you ate. This could also open the door to more interesting rewards, with some more unique or esoteric traits only being acquired via exploration to completing certain challenges. If we do eventually get things like boss monsters or dungeons, these would be pretty attractive rewards to entice players to take them on. On the other hand, some traits could be earned via completion of special "achievement-like" actions, like ultra-distance projectile shots or crafting special items.

Of course, of the things I think Vintage Story absolutely shouldn't take away from this system is the concept of locking abilities behind arbitrary skill requirements as Project Zomboid does, such as being unable to craft certain items until you reach a designated level in the appropriate skill or having an appropriate class. Such a system sets up artificial barriers, and while it is possible to create some interesting gameplay out of that (such as unlockable recipes), I don't think is very fun compared to the freedom that Vintage Story currently provides, where knowledge and resources are the primary roadblocks to progress instead.

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A very recent and almost identical suggestion already exists on these forums:

Personally, I think fixed classes fit the game better, it's a survival game after all and not a RPG. The aim with these classes will probably be to offer some variation and specialization opportunities while the main focus is on allowing for hand-crafted specialized challenges, like characters in many survival games or rogue lights allow for (Don't Starve and Isaac come to mind). A trait selection system would put more of a focus on min-maxing advantages, which is in my opinion simply not that interesting in the context of Vintage Story.

Gaining specific feats through specific challenges, exploration or other ways as a player progression system however is something I would like to see.

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Personally, I'd rather not have a class system at all, since the current state of the game already has a fairly large number of activities players can engage in without having to artificially herd them via something like a fixed class tied to their character. My hope with something like a trait system would be a compromise between fixed classes and complete freedom, with players being able to mix and match traits to their desired playstyle rather than forcing them into the confines of a singular class role. Even if it is completely possible for a player to theoretically do everything on their own, such activities will naturally be de-incentivized due be being beyond the scope of their designated class role. Perhaps with a larger player population, fixed classes might make more sense to prevent players from stepping over each other's toes, but that again goes back to my point of artificial vs. organic incentive. I'd much rather a player decide what kind of "profession" they want to take up on their own rather than the game giving them a class and going: "oh I'm a miner, so all I do is mine."

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the class system does need some work. Right now it just seems to give different starting gear and buffs/debuffs. Now, what if lore added feats? What if crafting items added perks? The way things have worked in other games is you read a book and it levels up a skill, but what if books/lore gave feats instead? 

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