On and off for the last couple weeks (perhaps longer), my mind has been flitting between various implementations of a skill tree system, based on my experiences with a few games, notably Diablo 2 and Final Fantasy 10. Actually, I’m also rather fond of the License Board from Final Fantasy 12, as well. Obligatory self-reference.

(On a completely unrelated note, while playing with skill trees, I realized Diablo 2 did the thirty-level spread before Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Those two game series have swapped a lot of spit throughout their respective iterations.)

Back to skill trees. There’s a certain amount to appreciate about a skill tree, namely in the inevitability of acquiring certain powers that one invests in — Fourth Edition has a system very similar to a skill tree, but without one of the integral parts that makes them suck: later powers requiring earlier powers, though it might have been okay.

In essence, you pick up a power from the encounter tree at 1st, 3rd, 7th, and 11th levels, with the powers at 13th, 17th, 23rd, and 27th levels replacing earlier powers. From the at-will tree, you pick up powers at, uh, well, 1st level.

From the daily tree, you pick up new powers at 1st, 5th, 9th, and 20th (the final in accordance with your paragon path to explain its off-appearance), replacing previous powers at 15th, 19th, 25th, and 29th. I guess. If they’re actually worth it. *shrug*

Ultimately, you end up with about ten powers in total, including your two at-will, four encounters, and four daily powers, which is about what you’d get if you invested one point in each of the powers in one Diablo 2 skill tree (and then snorted the rest up your nose, I suppose). Actually, that doesn’t count passive skills in D2.

You know, one of the things I’d like to do is create a satisfying system that gives the player all these options with minimal restrictions but lots of fun synergy to take advantage of, without necessarily requiring any of it just to play. Maybe for some type of tournament play or something, but certainly not in your weekly game sessions.

I’m drowsy and I realize I didn’t get to the sphere grid or the license board part of the discussion I wanted to have, much less the actual conversation about, uh, well, most of the conversation I wanted to have. Mostly, I got caught up in explaining the situation so I could start. There’s always so much ground to cover. *sigh* Next time.

Maybe I should try videos instead.