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Overhaul of Skills, Traits and Professions

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Hi all,


Long time lurker & player, first time post.  Pretty much everything within my suggestions is based on modifying numbers within the mechanics of the game so (in my opinion), everything is completely realistic to implement.


I have gone through about 25 pages of this suggestions thread and couldn't find a post to piggyback on, only smaller threads about individual facets of the character building system.  If there is a relevant thread then apologies, but I did have a 'more than reasonable' look.


I like the skill, trait and profession system as it obviously helps within the game (levelling skills and picking traits makes your character better\worse) but also contributes to re-playability and also with role playing.  It also has massive potential to be built upon.  I believe there is an 'official' appetite to build on this area so hopefully at the very least, this thread sparks ideas within the community to help make the system amazing.  Please do leave feedback whether good or bad, as you can see it has taken a lot of thought and effort!!




At the moment you have 3 categories of skills; crafting, combat and agility which you start off with 0/5 points.  You gain XP overall but also within each skill.  When you fill the skill level you can use a point to level it up.


First change would be to remove the overall XP and the skill point and just allow the skills to level naturally when performing tasks.   Also at the character creation page they all start with a base 1/5 in every skill which would equal no bonus modifier.  This would give the introduce traits / professions that lower the skill to 0/5 which would give a 'negative' ability to that skill to start with.


I would also like to see the list grow so you would have the following categories and abilities within (some of these already exist, some look like they are being implemented imminently and others are just my imagination).  Will list the skill and then in italic what levelling will give you (colours just to make it easier to read)



Building (replaces carpentry to have a more generalised skill that isn't a profession)

Increases items available to build; increases item durability (repaired or built)


Increases items available to build; decreases hunger timer; decreases boredom


Increases crop harvest; increases chance for seed reuse; reduces chance for crop disease


Decreases chance of damaged equipment; decreases time to fish; increases fish variety / size


Increases chance of trapping; decrease chance of equipment breaking


Decrease permanent injury / illness affect; increases healing time with bandages / pills; 



Blunt (Hammer / Baseball Bat / Golf Club)

Increase damagedecrease chance for depreciation; increase chance to hit

Blade (Knife / Axe)

Increase damagedecrease chance for depreciation; increase chance to hit

Hand (No weapon equipped)

Increase damage; increase chance to knock over; decrease chance of taking damage

Firearm (Guns / Crossbows?)

Increase damagedecrease loading time; increase aiming accuracy

Projectile (Throwing / Crossbows?)

Increase accuracyincrease damage?; decrease noise made




Increases sprinting speed; increases sprinting time without exertion


Decreases noise made when moving (walk / run / sneak)


Increase sneaking speed decrease noise made performing actions;


Increase carry weightincrease blunt, blade, hand combat damage


Decreases illness chance; Decreases injury chance




Decreases panic chance; decreases panic escalation


Increases good reaction chance from NPC; decreases boredom


Increases sight awareness increases noise awareness


Decreases time to open windows; decrease time to open locked items


Decreases mental illness chance (depression / boredom / anxiety)


Now with the removal of the overall XP and skill points, you now could create an overpowered character quickly, so to combat this each category will have mechanics to reign that in.


Crafting: when you hit a level it slows down the rate at which you gain XP within the other crafting skills but increases the rate in which you gain XP in that skill.  This plays on the idea that the more you learn the basics the quicker you become advanced at something but will also stop you becoming proficient in every crafting skill quickly.  The longer you survive the more chance you will have to get 5/5 in all of them.  Reading books helps negate the slow XP rate triggered by level rises.  What this also promotes especially within the multiplayer side is specialisation.


Combat: The same as above happens but like crafting only has an affect on other combat skills.  (I.e by levelling firearms, you don't slow the farming ability).  This also allows the introduction of combat books.


Physical: With the exception of Constitution, these stats are levelled up by performing the actions (sprinting levels sprinting etc) and would level quicker than crafting and combat, but would have a way to keep them from levelling too quickly.  Each physical skill will have a % chance of injury in a particular area and a % severity of injury.  So for example when performing a sprinting action, you have a chance of injuring your leg or back with a severity of (unnoticeable, minor, medium, severe, untreatable, debilitating).


                          Sprinting / Lightfooted             Nimble                    Strength       

                               Legs      Back           Legs    Back  Arms        Back     Arms

Unnoticeable      x             x                 x           x        x              x            x

Minor                  x             x                 x           x        x              x            x

Medium              x             x                  x           x        x             x            x

Severe               x                                                                     x

Debilitating         x                                                                     x


Unnoticeable, minor, medium and severe are all temporary 'moodles' that slow down XP gain and temporarily decrease physical stats with unnoticeable for a very short period of time (~6 hours) and severe for ~5 days .  Medicine crafting can help increase healing time to help clear up this ailments quicker.  Debilitating can occur through a seperate incident or repeatedly injuring a particular body part.  This is a permanent level and XP debuff which can be slightly reduced through medicine crafting.


An example of this would be to be carrying heavy items all the time, which will increase strength over time, but you could also keep injuring your back which could then lead to a debilitating back injury which will then have an adverse affect on strength.


Mental:  This would work like physical (with the exception of temperament).  For example bravery gets better over time as you encounter more zombies, but have a dodgy situation occur that causes you to just escape with scratches and this permanently drops a level or two.  Same with interaction (which is more NPC based), have a bad experience with an NPC (they are evil or one of your NPC's gets eaten) and this has a permanent level drop.


Constitution and temperament increases naturally the longer you survive as your adaptability to the zombie situation increases but can be slowed down through injury and illness.


Potential for conflicting skills


There is also the option to have skills that conflict or lower another skill level.  For example as your bravery rises, this could have a detrimental affect on awareness as you become more cocky.  Increasing strength could also decrease nimbleness and vice versa.  Again this could lead to more specialisation which would be excellent on MP.


All of these can also be affected by professions and traits which I will go into in a follow up post.

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I've always wanted something like this to the point that on the old forums I made a similar but less fleshed out post, though that was more about fitness than general skills.


I'd love to see this in the game though I understand that it could be quite a bit of work to create and balance.

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By implementing the above skills, you could now potentially increase the number of professions quickly and this could be made a lot simpler as they would have an affect (either positive or negative) to your base skills.  All professions do is give you a boost (or drop) in particular attributes that 'set your story' at the start.  For example you may pick police officer as your pre-zombie profession, but that wouldn't then stop you becoming more proficient in farming as you try to survive


As mentioned in the Skills post, your character will start with 1/5 in ALL skills.  1/5 would grant you no bonuses to that skill but would also give you no 'negative bonuses'.  Each profession will give 4 bonus skill points and 1 or 2 negative skill points. This is an example of a current in game profession and how it could evolve into the new skill mechanic.


Police Officer

  • Firearms +2
  • Bravery + 1
  • Interaction + 1
  • Blade -1
  • Cooking -1

Special Skill: Quick Draw - Reloading speed increased by x%


So having the police officer profession will mean that due to your years of training with firearms you would start with 3/5 in firearms meaning good bonuses in damage, reloading and aiming, as you would expect with a police officer.  Due to nature of the job and having seen and dealt with gruesome situations in the past, their bravery would start at 2/5 meaning a slight increase in panic reduction and having dealt with the public and being from a trustworthy profession, their interaction starts at 2/5 as well.  However, they also would start with 0/5 in blade (as they wouldn't use it on the job) and because of their shift work and reliance on take aways, would also start with 0/5 in cooking.  Now as the skill has dropped below 1/5, they are now getting penalties to those skills.  0/5 blade would mean a decrease in damage, increase in chance of the weapon breaking and decrease chance to hit.  With cooking you could have a decrease in hunger reduction from food made (i.e a badly made sandwich) and also there would be a chance to ruin the food which would increase illness % chance.


A 0/5 skill would take longer to get to 1/5, than going from 1/5 to 2/5, because basically you are saying that you are not just bad at this skill (as 1/5 would suggest) but totally incompetent.


Finally for Police Officer, there would be a special skill that would make them distinguished from other professions, as once the characters survive for a while and the skill lines increase and become blurred you would not know where they came from, so the special skill identifies this starting profession.  The special skill will also not be able to be picked up by other professions either through skills or traits, so would have to be specific


Hopefully you get the idea with the police officer profession, Here are a few more examples that I have though through...


Fire Officer: Blade +1, Strength +1, Bravery +1, Wily +1, Firearm -1, Nimble -1 Special Skill:  Axe man Axe speed increased by x%


Construction Worker: Building +2, Strength +1, Blunt +1, Sprinting -1, Nimble -1 Special Skill:  Thick skinned Decrease x% scratched by zombie


Chef: Cooking +2, Blade +1, Nimble +1, Firearm -1, Nimble -1 Special Skill: Knives for a pro Knife damage x% increased


Athlete/Sports star: Sprinting +2, Nimble +1, Interaction +1, Firearm -1, Wily -1 Special Skill:  In good shape: Debilitating injury chance decrease by x%   


Nurse: Medicine +2, Nimble +1, Bravery +1, Hand Combat -1, Strength -1 Special Skill: Pharmacist: Increased % chance of finding medicine


Criminal: Wily +1, Nimble +1, Awareness +1, Sprinting +1, Bravery -1, Interaction -1 Special Skill: Lockpick  Opening windows noise reduced by x%


Farmer Farming +2, Blunt +1, Projectile +1, Lightfooted -1, Nimble -1 Special Skill: Cultivator: Chance to find fertiliser increased by x%


and hopefully many more including (gamekeeper, park ranger,  ....


Unemployed would have 4 positive skills that they can assign to whatever they want but only a maximum of 1 skill in a single skill (i.e you can only have a skill at 2/5 to start with, not use all your 4 points to have a 5/5 skill).  They would receive no negative skills, but would also not receive a special skill either. 


As mentioned these professions, other then the special skill, are designed to give the character a head start in a particular line of skills that would promote specialistation to begin with as it would fundamentally change the game with each different profession picked.  However, as with any zombie invasion, you could be a police officer with great firearms skills, but no guns to use.





Traits would work very much in the same vein as they do now with the ability to use points to positively or negatively change your character at the start.  This combined with the profession would mean almost untold amounts of customisation and replayability.  With the extra skills as well, there is a good range of new traits that you would be able to implement.#





As I keep harking on(!), these changes will totally broaden the customisation of characters that we start with and more so on MP.  For those that love role playing, to be able to pick your characters more in depth profession and a great mix and match of traits will make telling your backstory a breeze and for those that role play in MP, you can really tailor your character to suit the role that you are playing.

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Wow, looks pretty interesting. But I think it would be more interesting if the limit is not five points , but more like a percentage system like 1%-100% or something like that ^^

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Skills: the ability, coming from one's knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well


Traits: a distinguishing characteristic or quality, especially of one's personal nature


As per the two descriptions, skills are more things that with practice, can get better, whereas traits are more a character's individual personality.  What I have tried to do is think about all the skills necessary in the game and all of the skills I have listed can get better with practice or constant use.  Traits like 'laziness', 'greedy' or 'thrifty' are not something that with practice you learn or unlearn.  They just appear or disappear depending on behaviours.

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