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Useless Skills

For all Wasteland 2 discussion that does not fit elsewhere, suggestions, feedback, etc. No spoilers allowed.

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Useless Skills

Postby Aradael » March 14th, 2012, 12:15 pm

Let's face it; in the original Wasteland there were skills that were, for all intensive purposes, useless.

I loved that there were a variety of skills to choose from and I could build my A-Team of rangers before setting out into the wasteland, but some skills (I'm looking at your Metallurgy and Sleight of Hand!) that were just flavor with very limited usage. I'm not saying there shouldn't be specialized skills available in the game, just that they should have more than one use, in one area, if several conditions are met...

This can easily be used to tie into the "more than one way to skin a cat" issue many RPGs run into these days.
-"Kill them or Bribe them are you're only two choices here."
What about Sneaking past them? Making friends with them through favors? Stealing the keys with Sleight of Hand skill? Blasting the wall apart with Demolitions skill? Gassing them in their sleep with a Chemistry skill? Etc. Ad nauseam.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby Tharkon » March 14th, 2012, 12:22 pm

I love useless skills :!:

In conjunction with making useless characters :!: (a.k.a. Roleplaying characters : ))) )


More useless stuff! Not less! :ugeek:
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby Gizmo » March 14th, 2012, 3:14 pm

I simply like the notion of creating high level tangential options for PC's that just happen to have developed an eccentric skill or ability
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby Billychu » March 14th, 2012, 3:16 pm

Tharkon wrote:I love useless skills :!:

In conjunction with making useless characters :!: (a.k.a. Roleplaying characters : ))) )


More useless stuff! Not less! :ugeek:


I don't think they should remove "useless" skills, but they should make uses for those skills.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby Radicals » March 14th, 2012, 3:24 pm

Exactly. "Useless" skills such as skills which hardly had any opportunities to be used in Fallout 1 & 2 were fun to play with role-play characters. Take "science" for example, although not entirely useless, only had a handful of places in the entire game where it came in handy (as opposed to "Small guns").

As someone else said, just increase the amount of places that the "useless" skills could come in handy.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby Proton Axeman » March 14th, 2012, 3:30 pm

Billychu wrote:
Tharkon wrote:I love useless skills :!:

In conjunction with making useless characters :!: (a.k.a. Roleplaying characters : ))) )


More useless stuff! Not less! :ugeek:


I don't think they should remove "useless" skills, but they should make uses for those skills.


I think part of the rationale for having them was that NPCs could have these skills. For instance, did you ever try recruiting Mayor Pedro and Felicia?

Granted, that doesn't explain why Ranger Center would offer them... but it also sets a tone that the player needs to use some common sense and not choose everything just because it's offered.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby enderandrew » March 14th, 2012, 4:55 pm

Billychu wrote:I don't think they should remove "useless" skills, but they should make uses for those skills.

+1 - it would add lots of replay ability to the game
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby Elthosian » March 14th, 2012, 4:56 pm

Yup, just make the useless abilities useful, no need to cut them out of the game if you can give them some good use!
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby enderandrew » March 14th, 2012, 5:01 pm

I want a Ranger who is an expert in underwater basket weaving.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby Tharkon » March 15th, 2012, 6:31 am

I disagree with making "Useless" skills more useful just so that people who wouldn't normally pick them will pick them.
This is a RPG, not a perfectly balanced multiplayer game.


It is only natural that some skills will have a smaller scope of use than others, especially in an unpredictable wasteland after a huge war. To take an obvious example is the throw skill of Fallout. Grenades are simply to rare and expensive and being a tribal who throws spears just doesn't work late game. But maybe you were born and raised to be a spear thrower and well...then that's what you have to deal with.

Now I have nothing against adding practical applications for science for example beyond quests. But I don't think that its usefulness should be the primary motivation but whether or not that practical application really fits to the game.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby DNSDies » March 15th, 2012, 8:43 am

It's "For all INTENTS and purposes".
I can't help but think you're trolling when you say things like that, since that is one of those "acting stupid to get replies" trolls that is so popular on certain image boards.

Also, I kind of agree. And disagree.
If you can't find several good uses for the skill, it shouldn't exist.

a Sleight of Hand skill would be useful for pickpocketing, stealing in plain sight, concealing small items, tricking an NPC by swapping a real and fake item, or hiding small weapons ready for easy use.

When I think "Useless Skills", I think of Begging in Ultima Online.
You use it to get pocket change (less than 50 gold, which is not even enough for a decent dagger) from NPCs and it is literally useless because most NPCs won't give you any, and it's a waste of valuable limited skill points.

Even glass blowing was more useful in that game because you could make glass sculptures to sell to people.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby undecaf » March 15th, 2012, 9:45 am

I agree about avoiding useless skills in general. It really does not constitute for rewarding characterprogression to have skills that don't function properly or only offer but few uses through the entire scope of the skill and the game.

That said, I wouldn't really mind some tongue in cheek quirkyness like "toaster repair", but as a general rule, all skills should have enough purpose in the game to make investing in them to be worthwhile throughout their scale.
"A human being in his last extremity IS a bag of shit."
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby fixT » March 15th, 2012, 10:00 am

+1 for I love useless skills.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby homeslice82 » March 15th, 2012, 10:13 am

Totally agreed. They should use Fallout's skill balance as a reference point. In that game, pretty much everything had a purpose. I loved Wasteland's skill variety, but it really sucked when you found out that 25% of them had no practical use.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby Vryheid » March 15th, 2012, 11:25 am

homeslice82 wrote:Totally agreed. They should use Fallout's skill balance as a reference point. In that game, pretty much everything had a purpose.


Except, you know, Unarmed, Throwing, Melee, Sneak, Steal, Traps, Gambling and Outdoorsman. Half the skills in the game were so situational that unless you were deliberately trying to run a crippled character there was no reason to invest any points in them. Wasteland was only worse in this regard because some of the skills had maybe one isolated use in the entire game (think Toaster Repair) or no known use at all (Combat Shooting). For players thinking that making a pacifist negotiator is an alternative to someone buffed on their combat skills, they're going to be soundly disappointed.

I'm hoping Wasteland limits the skills to those which are useful even after completing predetermined natural obstacles in which they might be used. Speech should be combined with Barter for example, giving us not only more conversation options but better prices in shops. Repair and Science should be combined into one "engineering" skill, which lets us both interact with specific pieces of technology but also repair our own gear. Maybe Outdoorsman could give us a combat bonus against wild animals or something. There are a lot of ways to make these skills continuously useful.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby Aradael » March 15th, 2012, 11:48 am

Let me clarify what I mean by Useless; meaning it has no real use in the game, whether humorous or otherwise.

You want flavor skills, or something that seems quirky? I don't have issues with that, what I want to avoid is what we call Character Regret in the industry. I don't want a level 15 player to say, "Man, I wish I hadn't wasted skill points on Useless Skill #4." Nothing can frustrate a player more than feeling like they were either tricked, or the dev team overlooked something that might have been fun if they had more time. Take a look at many guides for the first Wasteland, they specifically list certain skills as useless or pointless, because of how skill points are awarded and their limited use.

That is what I'd like to avoid, not fun quirky skills, just skills that take up space without practical (or humorous) applications.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby CraigStern » March 15th, 2012, 12:01 pm

I generally agree that useless skills are not good to include in an RPG, simply because of game balance issues. If you want role-playing abilities that don't have much actual utility to the player, they should be separated as perks so the player won't accidentally select one thinking that it's a good alternative to Energy Weapons or Hacking.

DNSDies wrote:It's "For all INTENTS and purposes".
I can't help but think you're trolling when you say things like that, since that is one of those "acting stupid to get replies" trolls that is so popular on certain image boards.


I am going to go ahead and vote for a Grammar Nazi perk now. Just think of all the amazing new dialog options you could get as you correct the weary denizens of the post-apocalypse on their pronunciation and phrasing!

...I'm actually not kidding. I would select Grammar Nazi in a heartbeat.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby Balthazor » March 15th, 2012, 3:25 pm

'Flavor' skills can be fun, but perhaps a character system that has separate 'primary' and 'secondary / nearly useless' skills will allow characters to be created that can have flavor without crippling their ability to survive the Wasteland.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby Siecje » March 15th, 2012, 3:34 pm

Even if you try to provide a use for some skills they are useless.

In Fallout 3 I opted not to increase my Science because it seemed every challenge that need Science I could solve with Lockpicking, but I could also open a lot more with Lockpicking.
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Re: Useless Skills

Postby edub101 » March 15th, 2012, 5:04 pm

I remember sinking tons of skill points into "combat shooting" in the original Wasteland for PC, because it sounded like the most usefull skill of them all. All my characters had several points of combat shooting. We were a combat-shootin' buch of no good Rangers, we were. Rumor has it, that skill did nothing the whole time! Ouch!

So please offer a detailed explaination of what each skill does (or does not) do. Say no to combat shooting.
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