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View Full Version : Earn Skills - Don't buy them!



crash_1232015
10-12-2016, 10:42 AM
While I have every faith that Ubisoft is making sure that the next game in the series is going to be the best yet, I thought I'd mention one aspect of the games which has been lacking for a while which people may have forgotten about.

Recent games have had us buy new skills and weapons through either skill points or money, however, I would like o see a return to see a return to the traditional way of gaining skills for our assassin. By this I mean a return to being taught our combat skills in a training ring by a more superior assassin, as we kill targets and make progress, the story line has us receive more training to make us even more deadly. there should also be a section that has us practice stealth like Altair did in Masyaf. Of course we could have one or two special skills that require money like AC2 had but the vast majority of skills should be taught to our assassin by a superior assassin and practiced in a training ring in some hidden location.

I feel the next game will feel more rewarding if we play as an assassin that learns their skills organically rather than through some skill tree that needs skill points or money.

Do you agree? What are your thoughts? :)

LoyalACFan
10-12-2016, 10:51 AM
Yeah, I'm generally not a fan of skill trees, especially outside of RPG's. They feel like a very cheap and artificial way of developing a character. That said, if they are doing skills, I would like some way of deciding which ones to develop. Not necessarily by just picking them from a menu, but maybe by choosing which methods to learn from older Assassins? IDK.

crash_1232015
10-12-2016, 11:08 AM
Yeah, I'm generally not a fan of skill trees, especially outside of RPG's. They feel like a very cheap and artificial way of developing a character. That said, if they are doing skills, I would like some way of deciding which ones to develop. Not necessarily by just picking them from a menu, but maybe by choosing which methods to learn from older Assassins? IDK.

Yeah that sound like a good idea, a sort of 'pick your mentor' way of developing new skills?

cawatrooper9
10-12-2016, 04:47 PM
Personally, I find it all tedious. I'd much rather just have a skill tree once the protagonist becomes an Assassin- BUT- Before that I'd want to see them significantly powered down. By this, I mean consider Arno at the beginning of Unity in Versailles. Sure, he's not leveled up enough to be competitive against the more elite guards in Paris, but he's able to easily parkour around the city and can fight really well, actually. It makes almost no sense!

What I'd rather see is be unable to parkour at all as Arno, with the exception of maybe hopping over or under tables and such. I'd also like to not be able to counter, be ineffective at blocking, and have slow attacks.

Then, when the guards close in at Arno at the party around his stepfather, we don't get a cutscene, but we have to ineffectively try to fight them off- only to almost instantly fail and be taken to jail, where we'll meet Bellec, spar, improve combat skills and "learn" blocking, etc. Then, when we Leap of Faith off of the Bastille, it's the FIRST time Arno has done anything like that before, so it's a big deal. It's not like "Oh hey, this is just like that time I climbed ridiculously high on a church to spot Elise from a distance".

So yeah, if we're getting a "civillian" turned to Assassin, I'd want to have to "learn" combat and parkour- Ezio and Connor are much the same way (though Connor's combat actually does get a little improvement when he becomes an Assassin) and while it makes sense that Edward knows how to fight, his parkous should be more limited too. Once they are Assassins, though, I don't see a problem with having skill trees. They allow for the Assassin to learn things "off screen", rather than having to learn how to use the climb leap every single game.

BananaBlighter
10-12-2016, 05:08 PM
Yeah I agree completely. I don't really like skill trees, especially if they have excessive amounts of so called 'skills' which do nothing more than act as stat boosts. Ideally, I would have things like stats tied to gear (how it was in Unity) and a set of side missions, instead of a skill tree, with each one unlocking a new ability at the end. The missions don't have to be simple tutorials, but they would involve the assassin learning the skill and then putting it to use for the first time.

I think that especially for the gang upgrades in Syndicate, this was a missed opportunity. It would have been cool to have some missions revolving more around our gang, which actually explained some of the upgrades, like how the blighter carriages got weakened, or how blighters suddenly got frightened of the assassins.

cawatrooper9
10-12-2016, 05:13 PM
I think that especially for the gang upgrades in Syndicate, this was a missed opportunity. It would have been cool to have some missions revolving more around our gang, which actually explained some of the upgrades, like how the blighter carriages got weakened, or how blighters suddenly got frightened of the assassins.

I do agree with this. Gangs are what make Syndicate unique, so it's not nearly as tedious to spend time physically upgrading them (it's not like having to learn how to use the climb leap for the umpteenth time). We saw a similarly dropped ball in Black Flag with ship upgrades. Sure, stuff like hull increases and more cannons are fine enough to purchase, but at one point the story line dictates that we need a diving bell. Rather than going on a story driven quest for said bell, we're merely presented with an onscreen reminder of it, along with our money amount in comparison to what it's worth. It would've been way more fun to really have your ship grow with you- maybe even customize it a little bit- like, do you want this sturdier hull that will increase health, or a more narrow one to increase speed? That would've been cool.

Farlander1991
10-12-2016, 07:48 PM
Personally, I find it all tedious. I'd much rather just have a skill tree once the protagonist becomes an Assassin- BUT- Before that I'd want to see them significantly powered down. By this, I mean consider Arno at the beginning of Unity in Versailles. Sure, he's not leveled up enough to be competitive against the more elite guards in Paris, but he's able to easily parkour around the city and can fight really well, actually. It makes almost no sense!

What I'd rather see is be unable to parkour at all as Arno, with the exception of maybe hopping over or under tables and such. I'd also like to not be able to counter, be ineffective at blocking, and have slow attacks.

Then, when the guards close in at Arno at the party around his stepfather, we don't get a cutscene, but we have to ineffectively try to fight them off- only to almost instantly fail and be taken to jail, where we'll meet Bellec, spar, improve combat skills and "learn" blocking, etc. Then, when we Leap of Faith off of the Bastille, it's the FIRST time Arno has done anything like that before, so it's a big deal. It's not like "Oh hey, this is just like that time I climbed ridiculously high on a church to spot Elise from a distance".

So yeah, if we're getting a "civillian" turned to Assassin, I'd want to have to "learn" combat and parkour- Ezio and Connor are much the same way (though Connor's combat actually does get a little improvement when he becomes an Assassin) and while it makes sense that Edward knows how to fight, his parkous should be more limited too. Once they are Assassins, though, I don't see a problem with having skill trees. They allow for the Assassin to learn things "off screen", rather than having to learn how to use the climb leap every single game.

I've mentioned this once in my 'Disunity of Unity' post I remember. The curious thing is, in both Ezio's and Arno's cases the narrative is set up in a way that shows all those advanced skill supposedly unavailable. Bastille clearly was supposed to be Arno's first leap of faith, as well as where he gets his weapon training. But I suppose something changed in development for some reason, I don't know.

I personally think though that having parkour skills from the get go is fine. So I see no problem with Ezio or Edward or Arno even in terms of just parkour. But most of other skills? Yeah, that has to progress naturally. All of them performing Leap of Faiths left and right is sketchy as hell. At least for Ezio and Edward there's very flimsy explanations of Ezio being secretly trained (though Leap of Faith doesn't make sense in that regard) and Edward being a daredevil reckless pirate. As flimsy as it is, it's something.

And, you know, with AC2 and AC4 not having a parkour down button and therefore a fast way to go down, that's kinda forgiveable in comparison to ACU that had perfect opportunity to block Leap of Faith, teach parkour down in that moment with viewpoint and Elise, and save Leap of Faith for that moment in the Bastille (which acts as a tutorial once again by showing prompts, even though in current version players have already learned that), but they used Leap of Faith mechanic instead...

Also, the way AC1 removed all your skills doesn't make sense. I mean, ok, let's say grabbing something mid-air without gloves makes some sense, but how do you 'forget' or can't use without equipment pushing through crowds, or counter-attacking? That's unrelated to equipment at all!

cawatrooper9
10-12-2016, 09:49 PM
I personally think though that having parkour skills from the get go is fine. So I see no problem with Ezio or Edward or Arno even in terms of just parkour. But most of other skills? Yeah, that has to progress naturally. All of them performing Leap of Faiths left and right is sketchy as hell. At least for Ezio and Edward there's very flimsy explanations of Ezio being secretly trained (though Leap of Faith doesn't make sense in that regard) and Edward being a daredevil reckless pirate. As flimsy as it is, it's something.


Consider the game Journey. For most of that game, you play as a relatively slow wandering pilgrim, stuck on the ground. Sure, you have little bursts of flight every now and then, but they typically don't last long. Then, in the end, you have a glorious transformation and fly across the sky, set to beautiful and uplifting music.

Journey can be beat in basically less than an hour. That's roughly a tutorial in Assassins Creed, maybe even shorter. I guess what I'm envisioning is being stuck on the ground as a civilian. It could still be fun and interesting (heck MOST games don't have parkour) but then at some point you reach the point in your training as an Assassin where you learn to parkour (maybe after a disastrous first attempt where you fall) and it's glorious. Your mentor encourages you to do something like "Let your ancestors guide you" and you see for a brief moment various memory remnants of other Assassins- then an epic variation of Ezio's Family kicks on and your one objective is to RUN across the rooftops- no timer, no point to reach, this is just the game really releasing the player for the first time upon the city as an Assassin and it's glorious. That's what I'd like to see in a future game. It probably wouldn't work in all games in the series, but I'd love to experience this feeling at least once. So yeah, that's what I was going for.



And, you know, with AC2 and AC4 not having a parkour down button and therefore a fast way to go down, that's kinda forgiveable in comparison to ACU that had perfect opportunity to block Leap of Faith, teach parkour down in that moment with viewpoint and Elise, and save Leap of Faith for that moment in the Bastille (which acts as a tutorial once again by showing prompts, even though in current version players have already learned that), but they used Leap of Faith mechanic instead...

Also, the way AC1 removed all your skills doesn't make sense. I mean, ok, let's say grabbing something mid-air without gloves makes some sense, but how do you 'forget' or can't use without equipment pushing through crowds, or counter-attacking? That's unrelated to equipment at all!

Agreed on both counts. Even the first time I played, I was like, "Does my new sword allow blocking and countering, but my old one didn't?" Also, even if that was the case, I don't like the idea of tying stats and abilities strictly to weapons and equipment. As Assassins, we should be skilled enough to be efficient with whatever hand we're dealt- we should be deadly with any loadout.

BananaBlighter
10-12-2016, 10:11 PM
Also, the way AC1 removed all your skills doesn't make sense. I mean, ok, let's say grabbing something mid-air without gloves makes some sense, but how do you 'forget' or can't use without equipment pushing through crowds, or counter-attacking? That's unrelated to equipment at all!

Eh, I think if you use your imagination you can come up with some sort of stretched explanation for most of them. I still prefer the way it was done there to a simple skill tree. How do I 'buy' abilities with magical points that I gained from doing completely unrelated activities?

Farlander1991
10-12-2016, 11:07 PM
Consider the game Journey. For most of that game, you play as a relatively slow wandering pilgrim, stuck on the ground. Sure, you have little bursts of flight every now and then, but they typically don't last long. Then, in the end, you have a glorious transformation and fly across the sky, set to beautiful and uplifting music.

Funny you should mention Journey (for which, btw, hour or less is a speed-run, average playthrough is 2-3 hours) now, I have a whole blog post about it releasing tomorrow :D The thing about Journey is that navigation is pretty much the only mechanic in the game, and the change of its parameters (from not being able to do anything but walk, to getting a longer and longer scarf, to being greatly hampered by the icy winds to final freedom across the sky) is the whole point.

Parkour is but one of many elements in an open-world game, and one of many skills. I'm not saying it shouldn't be upgraded (and games try to do it, with ACU having a roll after landing skill, AC2 having climb leap, AC1 having the 'reach out' skill, etc.), but it's such a basic navigational part in AC series, and there are so many more potential ways that a character in AC can improve oneself, that I think it's fine to have it as a default skill for every character.

Not saying that the idea to not be able to parkour transforming into ability to parkour is not interesting (after all, that's the whole point of Desmond's bleeding effect and why we as players feel it via control - at first Desmond can only walk/jug normally, but then gains Eagle Vision, then parkour skills, then combat skills), just that for AC it's fine if basic navigational parkour is default for characters.



Eh, I think if you use your imagination you can come up with some sort of stretched explanation for most of them. I still prefer the way it was done there to a simple skill tree. How do I 'buy' abilities with magical points that I gained from doing completely unrelated activities?

Abstract - yes, unrelated - no. After all, if we take AC series in particular, when you play the game you use parkour navigation, stealth, combat, and the skills that you get for characters in games like ACU are for, well, navigation, stealth, and combat (though in case of Syndicate it's also for other things, like being able to recruit more rooks at once, but it's also based on things you generally tend to do anyway in the game.

cawatrooper9
10-13-2016, 02:59 PM
Funny you should mention Journey (for which, btw, hour or less is a speed-run, average playthrough is 2-3 hours) now, I have a whole blog post about it releasing tomorrow :D The thing about Journey is that navigation is pretty much the only mechanic in the game, and the change of its parameters (from not being able to do anything but walk, to getting a longer and longer scarf, to being greatly hampered by the icy winds to final freedom across the sky) is the whole point.

Parkour is but one of many elements in an open-world game, and one of many skills. I'm not saying it shouldn't be upgraded (and games try to do it, with ACU having a roll after landing skill, AC2 having climb leap, AC1 having the 'reach out' skill, etc.), but it's such a basic navigational part in AC series, and there are so many more potential ways that a character in AC can improve oneself, that I think it's fine to have it as a default skill for every character.

Not saying that the idea to not be able to parkour transforming into ability to parkour is not interesting (after all, that's the whole point of Desmond's bleeding effect and why we as players feel it via control - at first Desmond can only walk/jug normally, but then gains Eagle Vision, then parkour skills, then combat skills), just that for AC it's fine if basic navigational parkour is default for characters.



Yeah, it's default- I'm saying it might not necessarily need to be that way.

I think that the argument that Journey (I'll check out your article) is solely about navigation is true, but I see that as a plus for having this system in AC. As I've said, most games do not have parkour, so the "parkour" segment could still be interesting as a fully functioning game- but then, when you finally get it, it's such a change of pace, and you feel just at home in AC again.

Ubi-Banshee
10-13-2016, 08:33 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys! This is all great info :o

crash_1232015
10-23-2016, 10:04 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys! This is all great info :o

I really think the protagonist in the next game should start out with virtually no skills at all, it would make the game feel more like a fresh start and would be more rewarding to invest in developing the protagonist's skills from the ground up (literally in the sense of parkour!)