A treatise on skill-based character creation
Hello, gentle readers! Yesterday, I released a brand new (and quite long) article about the evolution (and design implications) of skill-based character creation systems in RPGs. A snippet:
To revisit the computer analogy from earlier: it is easy to find a good Apple computer because it only comes in a few configurations, and it is easy to ensure that that handful of available configurations works flawlessly. By contrast, the sheer variety of possible PC builds means that while there are far more possibilities, many of those builds are bound to be deeply flawed. So it is with skill-based character creation systems: any cRPG with more than a small handful of skills is going to provide a near-infinite variety of possible character builds.
This presents a serious design challenge for any developer. Each new skill requires a new system, or–at the very least–a new branch or skill check in the game’s conversation trees. In turn, the more systems and skill checks one adds to the game, the harder it becomes for the developer to ensure that each skill is more-or-less equally important to the game.
You can read the full article here.