Couldn't be happier that there's no more major/minor skill system

#1 Posted by JP_Russell (1171 posts) -

No more counterintuitive nonsense, where you end up being punished for using your major skills most by getting fewer (if any) +5 modifiers to attributes at level ups.  It's the greatest reason so many players (including myself) resorted to power leveling - the game (Oblivion specifically, but Morrowind had the same problem to a slightly lesser extent) literally rewarded you for gaming the system in the most nonsensical and contrived way, and penalized you for playing your character naturally.   
 
It was a lose-lose situation.  If you didn't power level, your character would rarely get good attribute bonuses at level ups; if you did, you had to deal with the painstaking, illogical process of specing your character with a bunch of major skills that weren't pertinent to you, using mostly only (for example) strength skills when you wanted to go for a +5 to strength that level while avoiding using skills of other attributes too much, and having to keep track of how many skill level ups you'd had at every character level.  I kept a record of my skill levels at every level up on sheets of paper for this shit OH GODDAMN IT.
  
*sigh* 

This new system just makes more sense.  Though it's a simplification of a system from already highly simplified role-playing games, the effect is that actually role-playing your character will be entirely natural and rewarding (theoretically, anyway).  The whole point of Bethesda's "level up your character by leveling up your skills" system is supposed to be to give a more natural progression where you're not concerning yourself with all kinds of numerics, and now they're finally making a game in which the mechanics of the skill system don't fly in the face of this purpose.
 
Now I'll be able to just use the skills I want to use.  No more skill sheets.  THANK YOU, JESUS.
 
(On a side note, I'm fully aware there are mods out there for Oblivion that give you +5 modifiers to all attributes at every level up regardless, and if I ever do try to play Oblivion again, I'll definitely be seeking one of these out.)

#2 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

Yes...yes...and oh wait for it...yes. 
100% agreement.
No more fucking notepads,or using the advlevel to see how much i have raised my attributes.
I swear,that i would not play Skyrim,if it had the leveling problem...
 

#3 Posted by Infininja (881 posts) -

I just ignored all that and played.

#4 Posted by xyzygy (10008 posts) -

Yeah I definitely feel you there. I thought that that was one of the weakest parts of the stats in Morrowind and Oblivion. Halfway through the game I wanted to level a skill up that I didn't select as a major/minor and it was brutal to level up with absolutely no rewards. It was very limiting.

#5 Posted by JP_Russell (1171 posts) -
@TheDudeOfGaming said:
"Yes...yes...and oh wait for it...yes.  100% agreement. No more fucking notepads,or using the advlevel to see how much i have raised my attributes. I swear,that i would not play Skyrim,if it had the leveling problem...  "

 Ha, ha, I thought I was the only one obsessive enough to do that shit.
 
@Infininja
said:
"I just ignored all that and played. "

Which I really wanted to do (seriously, you have no idea).  But that alternative is far worse to me.  Knowing I leveled my speed up by 8 points over the course of 3 levels when I could have done 15, and knowing my character is that much slower because of it...  I can't enjoy myself like that.  I have to be efficient.  Efficiency is my whole motivation in games, my whole motivation in just about everything, really.  It's how my brain is wired, man. 
 
But that's not the point.  The point is, Skyrim will accomodate both your brain and mine by never having that issue.  I'll be able to just play and not worry about stupid power leveling, and you'll be able to just play without getting penalized.  It's a more sensible system on both sides of the fence.
#6 Posted by Infininja (881 posts) -

I'm not reading up on Skyrim because it will all be a big disappointment if I do.

#7 Posted by Demmetje (201 posts) -

I hope they'll find a way that will make the leveling system actually work. 
I didn't resort to power leveling in both Morrowind and Oblivion though.

#8 Posted by kashif1 (1428 posts) -
@JP_Russell: you could just turn down the difficulty and then play however you want.
#9 Posted by JP_Russell (1171 posts) -
@Infininja said:
"I'm not reading up on Skyrim because it will all be a big disappointment if I do. "

Well, I'm already naturally keeping my expectations for Skyrim in check because, well, it's Bethesda.  Their RPG's always lack substance and craft - it's just how they make games and I know that.  But I've found them all to be good fun while they still have some novelty, and that's all I need from Skyrim, really.  Also, they continue to make their games so moddable that if there is something that just kills the game for me, chances are there'll be a mod for it.
 
@kashif1
said:
" @JP_Russell: you could just turn down the difficulty and then play however you want. "

It wasn't about difficulty, it was simply about how efficiently I'd built my character.  Oblivion isn't a hard game, so it's not that I had to power level to not have trouble against the enemies, it's that I would always know my character could have been more proficient if I'd played more efficiently, which is a very dissatisfying feeling to me regardless - much more dissatisfying than the lengths I had to go to in order to power level.
#10 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4825 posts) -

I read the info in Game Informer, but I'm still unsure of their new leveling system. Is it essentially like the Fallout games (big plus) or is it something more convoluted than the Elder Scrolls is known for?

#11 Posted by Fripplebubby (1027 posts) -

For Oblivion I just used the OblivionXP mod. Done and done. I understand that's not a valid point as it was created by people who didn't like the leveling system, and that doesn't make up for the system being wack. Hopefully I won't have to resort to anything like that for Skyrim.

#12 Posted by SomeJerk (3262 posts) -

As a PC gamer I'm praying they're making a special UI for PC gamers because holy jumping jesus they might as well come out and say that consoles are the lead platforms when it looks ilke that. It's like seeing more than one set of numbers at the same time when checking out yourself is considered too much for a console gamer.

#13 Posted by dagas (2840 posts) -

100% agree. Reading about how to play oblivion I saw something about not running or jumping at all so you can use those aj major skills to level up when you wanted to or whatever. I just said F that and played like I wanted choosing the skills I used as major and jumped and whatever as much as I wanted. I of course was penalized for this by never getting the full points when I leveled up. Whoever thought of the system used in Oblivion must have not ever played the game. I can't remember exactly how it worked in Morrowind, but I don't remember it being as retarded as oblivion when it comes to that.

#14 Edited by JP_Russell (1171 posts) -
@KingWilly said:

"I read the info in Game Informer, but I'm still unsure of their new leveling system. Is it essentially like the Fallout games (big plus) or is it something more convoluted than the Elder Scrolls is known for? "


It's the same as the old system, except now progression in all your skills counts toward your character level.  The higher level a skill is, the more that leveling it up contributes to leveling up your character (though presumably, skills also level up more slowly as they get higher).  This way you just play the way you want and all your skills level you up at a natural rate.
 
Furthermore, they haven't said anything about attributes, so it sounds like they may be gone as well in favor of just having health, magicka, and stamina stats.  If that's the case, that also means no more having skills that belong to certain attributes (which really is the root reason power leveling exists), which means no more concerning yourself with trying to get +5 modifiers by gaming the system. 
 
The only thing that's unclear to me is whether skills contribute to your level every time they level up, or if they do so progressively (where every little bit of progress in a skill even between levels contributes toward your next character level).  I would think it has to be the latter what with skills contributing toward your next level more and more as they themselves level up, but I don't know. 
    
@somejerk said:

"As a PC gamer I'm praying they're making a special UI for PC gamers because holy jumping jesus they might as well come out and say that consoles are the lead platforms when it looks ilke that. It's like seeing more than one set of numbers at the same time when checking out yourself is considered too much for a console gamer."

 
Well, consoles are the lead platforms on all Bethesda's games now - that's a given (though they've done a good job of still keeping their games fully playable on PC and making them very mod-friendly).  But yes, if you're referring to the skill menu shown in one of GI's screenshots, I too really hope that doesn't end up being the final design in at least the PC version.  If it does, someone will definitely make a mod to fix it, and I will definitely be downloading that mod.
 
@dagas
said:

"I can't remember exactly how it worked in Morrowind, but I don't remember it being as retarded as oblivion when it comes to that. "

 
It was essentially the same in Morrowind, but it was sort of harder to power level because you had more skills that contributed to your level (not to mention there was less need to because there was a larger number of skills than in Oblivion, so it was harder to eventually run out of skills belonging to a given attribute with which to max that attribute out). 
 
Also, the penalty for not getting a +5 modifier wasn't as great because there was hardly any leveling of enemies, it was mostly all region-based (as opposed to Oblivion where enemy encounters got tougher as you leveled up in all areas of the game world, so you could never escape the fact that you weren't as proficient as you would have been if you'd power leveled).  The core issue still remained though - not gaming the system still penalized you with lower attribute modifiers.
#15 Posted by AndrewB (7633 posts) -

After awhile, I just gave up on skill sheets, played the way I wanted to, and console cheated my abilities to a totally legal +5 on level-up. I play the game to have fun, and having to power level was the complete opposite. I wouldn't just cheat any old thing into the game, because that would also ruin the experience. I just got sick of wasting my time gaming the system when there was a much simpler method to play the game the way it's kind of intended (if you don't get those 5 points per level, your character winds up feeling way underpowered).
 
Really hope they've fixed that. It's my least favorite aspect of the series.

#16 Posted by Ignor (2372 posts) -

Grmblgr I hate the UI in Oblivion so much! It was almost as terrible as the leveling system.
I just want to be able to tweak and move the stats/inventory/map windows again... 
 

#17 Edited by ProfessorEss (7398 posts) -

I'm with ya.
 
As far as I'm concerned, if you made an RPG that has players out there asking themselves "Should I level?' you've probably done something wrong.

#18 Posted by AuthenticM (3736 posts) -
@JP_Russell said:
" Their RPG's always lack substance and craft - it's just how they make games and I know that. "
wat
#19 Posted by JP_Russell (1171 posts) -
@AuthenticM said:
" @JP_Russell said:
" Their RPG's always lack substance and craft - it's just how they make games and I know that. "
wat "

Bad writing, shallow characters, stupid plots, not great combat, largely generic loot, dumb role-playing, a general static quality to the game world that becomes more apparent and makes the world feel more and more empty as the novelty wears off (over the course of dozens of hours in my case, mind you)...
  
Bethesda's games are very much about the journey, and even then, there are a lot of major pieces in that journey that, when scrutinized individually, are just bad.  You kind of have to be able to find charm and appeal in the grand way they all come together and to find excitement in the control over the pacing and the freedom of exploration that the player has in order to like Bethesda's unique brand of open world RPG's.  It's usually the people who don't that find Bethesda's games to be mediocre at best, because then all they have to evaluate are the individual parts.
#20 Edited by Ignor (2372 posts) -
@JP_Russell said:

"Bad writing, shallow characters, stupid plots, not great combat, largely generic loot, dumb role-playing, a general static quality to the game world that becomes more apparent and makes the world feel more and more empty as the novelty wears off (over the course of dozens of hours in my case, mind you)...
  
Bethesda's games are very much about the journey, and even then, there are a lot of major pieces in that journey that, when scrutinized individually, are just bad.  You kind of have to be able to find charm and appeal in the grand way they all come together and to find excitement in the control over the pacing and the freedom of exploration that the player has in order to like Bethesda's unique brand of open world RPG's.  It's usually the people who don't that find Bethesda's games to be mediocre at best, because then all they have to evaluate are the individual parts. "

Morrowind has some of the best lore, interesting plot and richest settings I've ever experienced in a video game.
I wouldn't call either Vivec, Crassius Curio, Divayth Fyr or Dagoth shallow characters. Not great combat? I'll give you that. As you said Bethesda's games are (or used to be) more about exploration rather than combat. Generic loot? As opposed to unique loot? What kind of role-playing game has only unique items?
#21 Posted by rafoXxX (71 posts) -

And Shivering Isles is also up there on rich setting, characters and lore, I'd say.

#22 Posted by JP_Russell (1171 posts) -
@Ignor said:
"Morrowind has some of the best lore, interesting plot and richest settings I've ever experienced in a video game. I wouldn't call either Vivec, Crassius Curio, Divayth Fyr or Dagoth shallow characters. Not great combat? I'll give you that. As you said Bethesda's games are (or used to be) more about exploration rather than combat. Generic loot? As opposed to unique loot? What kind of role-playing game has only unique items? "

I've never played Morrowind all the way through, so I can't say what any of those characters are like, but all the characters I did meet were exceptionally shallow, and despite there being no voice-acting, the writing was just as bad as Oblivion's and Fallout 3's.  Didn't get into a lot of the plot, either, though.  Early-game stuff was pretty plain, but I'm not going to judge anything from that. 
 
To be clear, shallow characters aren't inherantly bad characters.  Glarthir is a lot of fun while he lasts, but he's still shallow.  There's nothing to him other than his rather cornily portrayed, rampant schizophrenia.  Which is okay in his case because that one dimension of his is so great, but that's a rarity that can usually only be achieved with intentional ridiculousness and/or humor. 
 
By generic loot, I'm referring to the fact that almost none of the loot in their games is unordinary (i.e., magical or otherwise having special properties).  And almost all of the loot that is unordinary is simply identical to the ordinary version aesthetically and functionally, but with a basic magic/special effect added.  Though again, having played little of Morrowind, I don't know how much that persists in it.   
 
Anyway, this is all moot - Morrowind is a game of higher craft on some level than Bethesda's later games, I know that.  My point was that there is a general design which Bethesda consistently follows when building their games - one which they've only more thoroughly rooted themselves in over time - and that design lacks the elegance and/or qualitative components of many other revered WRPG's.
#23 Posted by sarahsdad (1100 posts) -

Just listened to a Game Informer podcast the other day on Skyrim, and maybe it's just my love of the original Dungeon Siege, but the leveling in Skyrim sounded similar to that; leveling up skills contributed to an overall character progression. It wasn't so much "You are at level 5" and more of "your one hand weapon skill is 5, your magic skill is 2, and your two hand combat skill is 4. ok, go !"

#24 Posted by Agent47 (1898 posts) -
@JP_Russell: Whoa whoa whoa buddy, I got you until you said Bethesda's RPG'S lack "substance" and "craft"?What do you mean!?They spend five friggin years making their games! Name other Developers who make RPG's that do the same.
#25 Posted by JP_Russell (1171 posts) -
@Agent47:
I already explained what I meant.  A developer can spend as much time as they want making a game; tons of content isn't the same as tons of substance.  Little of the content in Bethesda's games is substantive, and very little of it is smartly crafted.  It's low impact, unintelligent, and mostly static.  But I still like their game because of how that content comes together and because of how they make certain aspects exciting in ways that other games don't.
#26 Posted by DystopiaX (5314 posts) -

Oh thank god. This and the kind of bad quest pathing (don't know what to call it) where they basically just throw you out there...going blind I had no idea where sidequests were and the main quest wasn't terribly engaging. This game looks better and better, but I didn't have much fun with Oblivion so who knows. Had a ton of fun with fallout though, and since they're pretty similar I have no idea why that happened.

#27 Posted by velucyraptor (358 posts) -
@Ignor said:
" Morrowind has some of the best lore, interesting plot and richest settings I've ever experienced in a video game. I wouldn't call either Vivec, Crassius Curio, Divayth Fyr or Dagoth shallow characters. ... "
<3 
On topic though I am 100% behind the major/minor skill system hatred, ugh. Blatantly stupid, exasperating &counter-intuitive

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