Hey everybody. Not a blog time!
Quick update for the week -
I'm done with my Skill pass! Hooray! All classes have been gone through and skills touched up, or reworked where lacking. That means that tomorrow, I move over to Act 3 to work with Marsh on getting it wrapped. As per usual, everybody is working like crazy to get this ready for ship.
QA and went through and did a bug purge this week, and the number of bugs we are left with is surprisingly low. Again, hooray!
Now, last week I promised I'd talk a bit about skills, skill 'trees', and tier bonuses, so I'm going to do that now. I've been knee deep in them for days, so this is as good a time as any.
You'll have to forgive some rough-and-ready dev screenshots - these aren't set up for the prettiest backgrounds or best equipped characters.
Firstly, here's a quick look at what a skill pane looks like -
So, as previously, each class has three panes.
Each pane contains 7 active skills and 3 passive skills, for a total of 30 skills per class. Each skill is unique to the class, and there are no shared abilities.
By contrast, in Torchlight 1, each class had around 30-31 skills - 16 of those were shared skills that everyone had, and each pane had only 5 active skills apart from those. There were only 15 unique skills per class. Things are much different now, and the skills have all had significantly more effort expended on them.
The red skills up top are all actives - the blue skills down below are passives.
Skills unlock for investment in reading order - from top to bottom. You still need to spend skill points to purchase them, just as before, but it's a cleaner layout and makes it more straightforward for us to make them available at the level we want them. Now that the passives are separate, they are unlocked at a different (faster) rate, so that they don't have to be tied down based on where actives are in the advancement series.
You can also see on this pane a representation of the 'Tiers' for each skill. Every skill can have 15 points invested in it. After every 5th point invested, the skill will receive an additional 'Tier Bonus' that adds to its basic functionality in a hopefully more interesting way. Passive skills do NOT receive Tier Bonuses.
Beneath each of the red skills you can see a progress bar - this shows your overall investment in the skill. The I, II, and III show that filling that section of the bar will result in a Tier Bonus ( At which point the numeral will light up )
Tier Bonuses are pretty varied between skills - some will be more interesting than others, depending on the skill and what it is used for. The Tier Bonus for a party buff may not be particularly visually spectacular, but we have tried to add new effects or improved utility wherever possible to make it more enticing to put more than one point into certain skills.
Here's a specific example of a skill and the Tier Bonuses that go along with it that you won't have seen before, as we didn't feature it in the Beta or at any public showing.
At the bottom, you can see the Tier bonuses you will receive ( you can also see these separately by mousing over the progress bar on the skill pane ).
Bramble Wall is an Outlander skill that creates an arc of impassable thorns in front of you, which monsters cannot pass, but you can shoot over. The tier bonuses here provide additional abilities to Bramble Wall. After the first 5 points, and enemies within range of the wall when it rises will be damaged ( you can see that damage being applied up in the rank description, as I have unlocked Tier 1 ). At 10 points, the length of the Bramble arc is increased, and at full investment, the Brambles emit poison clouds which will continously damage enemies that draw near the brambles to pass around them.
You can seem examples of the tiers for Bramble wall below.
We try where possible to have visual alterations to skills to reflect what is going on with the bonuses. Some skills may only get a range or angle increase on their tier bonuses. Eviscerate is an example - but Eviscerate at max investment looks a lot different from Level 1 Eviscerate.
Hopefully this gives you a good idea of how our alterations to the Skill system function. See you next week! I'm looking forward to digging into Act 3 (although I'm not planning to talk about the content there - it's all going to stay under wraps until launch).
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