Today’s post is in response to a post of Belghast’s from July. I found it interesting that he was slightly put off by the way he didn’t seem to be accruing skills very quickly in the early days of his Skyforge adventure. What is the best way to pace your character development (in a non-writing, non-story sense)?
I can certainly understand the frustration of having to spam the same two or three buttons over and over in the early game, especially if the mobs survive more than one or two rotations. It quickly feels tedious. If you are, like Bel, trying out a game that you are wavering over, attempting to decide whether to commit to it or not? Immensely unrewarding. Even if, like Skyforge seems to, like FFXIV does, it really transforms for the better once you progress past a certain point, how are you supposed to know whether that point exists in this new game you are investigating? How much of a chance do you give it before you throw your hands up and declare that it is not worth it?
Then there is the opposite problem. When a game gives you so many skills early, just piles them on every level, it can be overwhelming. More importantly (in my mind, anyway), we often find that the more individually named skills that you are given, the more likely it is that there are simply a handful of archetypes that get repeated with a little variation. They either do the same thing just with a different damage type, or there is one that is clearly the most powerful. If there is a cooldown, those ones are often mutually exclusive, like having your two different shield bubbles share the cooldown. You tend to just end up weeding out the redundant skills and are left with the same limited rotation that every other game has. Yes, some of those redundant skills do have a niche use (looking at you, Hibernate) but the opportunity to use them is rarely enough to make it worth having.
How many games (I’m thinking mostly about MMOs here but single player/co-op games can have these problems too) get the pace of character development right?