Complete Perk Overhaul?


#1

The topline summary for my post are two questions:

  1. What are the current resources available for knowing the keywords or “implementations” that are available? For example, I am curious if it is presently possible to assign an effect for a perk that doesn’t seem to be used in any of the existing ones, such as: you gain 50% more XP whenever you gain XP for insert stat or skill.

  2. How does one create a brand new perk? It seems that perkaholic did this, but I’m not sure how the “GUID” numbers get generated, or if there are other intricacies to getting a brand new perk to function in the game.

Long Winded Explanation
In case it isn’t clear from my post history on this board, I adore this game and think it might be the best game I’ve played in years. If an extensive degree of modding with an easy to use and well-documented SDK become a thing, I suspect the game might well double or triple its total units sold in coming years. Just speculation, but Skyrim’s elongated sales tail certainly must have benefited from the hundreds of thousands of mods made for that game?

With that said: one of the design elements of the game which I find less satisfying, and also potentially quite moddable (even with the currently somewhat limited options we seem to have for modding) is the perk system. Actually not so much the “system” as the specific content of the perks and how they influence game play.

In sum: there are not enough perks, too many of them seem too inconsequential and/or not distinctive enough, and there are not enough “real choices” to be had. I’m also not a fan of how tradeoffs tend to be modeled, i.e., too often taking a perk results in an immediate benefit, but also an immediate cost. A few perks of this nature are a good thing, and especially where the benefit is so strategically powerful that the immediate cost is an agreeable strategic decision. The perkaholic mod improves on this situation quite a bit, but I still feel it doesn’t go quite far enough.

What I have in mind is a complete overhaul of the perk system with a few specific goals in mind:

  1. strive to have more perks available to pick than the number of perk points will ever “buy:” this enhances replayability and makes choices feel like “real choices” instead of simply “getting all the tick marks”
    ii. Strive to make most perks (85 or 90% of them?) have an “evil twin” perk, if not two alternatives, basically at each point in the development of the character when you acquire a perk point, you have to make a choice. For example: Enhance stealth or enhance hitting power? Enhance swords, or axes, or maces, or polearms, or bows? Enhance dialog options, or ehnance haggling options, or enhance reputation mechanics? Some of the perks seem to be striving to evoke this kind of tradeoff dynamic and the distinctive character development paths it can lead to, but I don’t feel the system used (getting a perk that precludes other perks and leads to an immediate bonus to one stat along with an immedate reduction to one or two others) is either the most fun, or the most “role play” oriented system. A system in which a player slowly molds the character down a specific developmental path–which is one of many, perhaps almost infinite possible paths, but at minimum a half-dozen or ten distinctive “clumps” of paths–which progressively limits development along other paths, but not entirely.

#2

I agree with most of the above, but, do not find the quoted bit below to be the case in general. ‘Trade off’ perks are the most interesting for role playing if plus and minus are thoughtfully balanced (which you seem to agree with). For example, I did not take the perk granting stamina regen buff at night but causing stamina debuff during the day, because I was not playing a thief.

More trade-off perks are fine with me.


#3

Tradeoffs in decisions about developing the character are essential. But the act of making a choice, and foregoing some other choice IS a tradeoff in and of itself. Lets take one example: “Juggler” which, if memory serves is a perk in the “Main Level” family. If you take this, you cannot take several other perks (the names of which escape me at the moment). That, IMO is sufficient to model the tradeoff: you take juggler to buff your agility, well then you won’t be able to take any of the other ones which buff strength, or speech or vitality, etc. Instead, each of these stat-specific perks involves a buff to one stat, and deductions to one or two other ones, this effectively caps those stats at 20 - debuff. Maybe the real problem here is: level cap of 20, i.e., player achieves supremacy too soon, and not enough real choices along the way. Maybe I’m being dismissive of the system as it stands but, part of the “fun” of leveling a character in a role playing game is steady progression, taking a perk which immediately buffs one characteristic while immediately debuffing one or two other ones and effectively capping them permanently at a reduced maximum strikes me as “taking the fun out of it” or reducing it, and making leveling a less fun activity.

An alternative could be: Juggler immediate +1 Agility and +5% XP gain at agility training, but -5% XP gain at Strength and -5% XP gain at speech (as well as the exclusion from taking the other stat buff perks): similar effect, but without the immediate debuff (which is hardly realistic or immersive) and without the reduced level cap on the other stats.
ADDIT: if the family of mutually exclusive perks to which Juggler belongs were available on achieving Level 1, then I’d find the immediate debuffs less unappealing. Most players would have achieved this level before they left Skalitz and it has occurred to me that: what one does with the time they spend in Skalitz (and to some extent the rest of the prologue) is in some respects modeling "how Henry has lived his life up to this point; In effect an extended “tutorial/familiarization and character building” episode at the start of the game.