Friday, September 28, 2007

Poll analysis - Character Upgrade

As I write, the majority of votes (80%)for our first poll clearly indicated that most prefer to use experience points to reinforce existing skills of their characters.

the question (and the answer) might sound trivial. People will invest in their best skills and strengths. Most people at least.

As a player, I tend to buy every sorts of skills before seriously investing in one. My favourite D&D class was, of course, the Elf - the one who can quickly become a second rate fighter and a second rate wizard. The general ideia behind this behaviour is that my character will adapt better under different conditions, enhancing my chances of survival. Guess what? It doesn't happen that way.

Fig 1. No wonder he hides in trees!

That's because, as I've learned recently, this adaptation-to-survival works to a certain degree. There comes a time when it's hard to develop specific skills, your true skills, just because you are diversifying so much. Sure, adaptation is good - but it's not a good main skill.

That's why it's good to find out which skills you really want to develop.

(PS: No comments on my first focus day? Come on, people. I need some advice here.)
(PPS: Thanks Patrick for introducing me Polldaddy)

(Image taken from - no copyright infringement intended. Will take it down if necessary)


Anonymous said...

Yeah, by and large I have found in both PnP RPGs and DRPGs that having a very focused character makes the game much easier.

Chico Queiroz said...

See? That supports our hypothesis.
Thanks for the input!

Chris said...

What amuses me here is the irony of the choice. You give the player a choice - but they're mostly going to reinforce their strong suits. But give them a game that does this automatically and they're up in arms!

It's the choice that's important - it transpires, the choice doesn't have to be that meaningful, as long as you give it.

Best wishes!

Toby McCall said...

Hi Chico,

What I find interesting is that there are a myriad, sometimes dizzying, array of choices presented to players to diversify or specialize their character's skills, however, as your poll reveals, most players focus their earned points into a primary skill. I don't think you're alone in adopting the strategy of creating a character who can, at least, moderately use multiple skills successfully.

I don't feel that strategy is flawed, I feel that strategy is not supported by game developers because it confuses the carefully scripted roles in most RPGs. I've been doing some thinking about computer game genres lately and I think that some of the same constraints that develop and reinforce familiar genres, work to do the same with character roles which are determined by skills and attributes.

I would also like to agree with Chris that the illusion of choice and variety is a new trope of game developers, however, game narratives, group dynamics, and general game balancing still confine those choices to strict roles.

-toby (

Chico Queiroz said...

Chris: That's true. It's like it's not enough to reinforce their skill of choice, players also want to reinforce their right to choose it.

Toby: Welcome to the comments section :). You make a good point - maybe changes must happen in the way DRPGs are designed, so they can value different player's paths. Looking forward to read your pauseponderplay!
(like I believe PnP RPGs do).

Thank you all for commenting!

Copyright, Chico Queiroz