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I'm seeing some pretty cool discussion in this forum about this awesome looking game prospect and can't wait to seem some gameplay and news surface. I thought that I would throw my 2 cents in.
I think that during charater creation, instead of simply picking skills and proficiencies, that the player could choose what their character's pre-infection job and hobbies were. I think that this would allow you to RP much better and make everything a bit more believable. Your choices in these could also determine your starting area and items.
For example, if your character is an ex-marine, they would start with a signifigant boost in survival and gun training. If their hobby was baseball, they would have a smaller boost in the melee skill.
This feature could add a lot of functional background information to characters and boost replay value.
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I can see how people would like this, but boost replay value? Your just saying that to make your idea sound good.

Plus, you wouldn't be able to change it and you get 1 character for right now.
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I think it's a neat idea. Gives a little bit more depth to the character.
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This is what Dead Frontier did and I really liked it. A lot of the jobs were strictly for show but some did give some bonuses, and also negative aspects.
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As well as having careers that would be more of an obvious benefit, military careers for combat skills, building or manual work for bonuses with barricading, medical for healing, you could have less obvious careers with unorthodox benefits.

Careers like:

Acting: A charisma boost, recognition from NPCs, easier for other players to pick out.
Athlete: Increased stamina/strength
Animal trainer: Bonuses vs animals
...

and, erm... others I'm sure...
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I am really favor of in this idea. I brought it up in another thread and it was kinda thrown out the door. Perhaps certain jobs/careers could include "starter" items. Stuff they would generally need to own for their trade. For example:

A Contractor; generally a "handyman" profession requires the laborer to provide their own tools. This also benefits the contractor as they are able to pick out tools that fit what they need to do. With this in mind would it be reasonable in place of the stat bonuses mentioned (+Strength, + Stamina, permanent boosts to your character) to start with a share of random items to start the game? The contractor for example starts with some tools; hammer, nails, ladder, various flashlights etc, perhaps access to a small truck? Something that could give you a bit more of a head start early game but don't quite have lasting appeal to other jobs like those mentioned.

This would add a bit more dynamic to the replay ability, while also giving a different trade off to having a less "glamorous" profession. Other jobs off the top of my head that I can think of that would fit into this system could be Chefs (Knives, various food prep equipment), Plumbers (Tools, small truck), Freelance Photographers (Portable electronics, bonoculars/maps perhaps for those who are really into Geocaching their shots). Again just ideas :)

I understand however where this could raise some imbalance issues, but I think it could be tweaked enough to make it work.
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Different careers give different difficulties?

well obviously Policemen would be good start off with a car and a pistol. (could be a beginner class)
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I definatley agree that they would influence difficulty, whether intentional or not. I would guess that the easier ones would be things like soldiers, cops, or even farmers. It would be fun to play as a business man with no starting bonuses (exept maybe a nice car).
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Exactly, different "jobs" adjusting the difficulty makes sense. Businessman starts with a nice car, has a small x% Barter/Charisma bonus. Policeman/Military has open access to more weapons and defenses perhaps. Fun to think about, and I think would be a great area for the Modding community (Should they allow it is that is) to create more jobs and "classes" for game play and replayablity.
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again you are using replayability just to make your idea sound good.

The game is already replayable by itself
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This wont add re playability, just lets you start off with a few things you wouldnt usually have.
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I agree that it wouldn't necessarily add replayability but it would help flesh out your back story for people who are into that type of thing I guess, and it would be a realism factor to not start out with absolutely nothing, even if wasn't something amazing like say a camera for a photographer.
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you start in a house so....
You can imagine is your house xD
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This made me think about the plane and helicopter issue, an average Joe can't just get in it and know all there is to know about flying, but if you were a pilot pre-infection, you could easily remember what to do.
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I don't see Jobs, Hobbies, Traits, Perks, or any of that 're playability' so much as 'playability'. Your character becomes so much more unique and full of flavor, and not just an extension of the person controlling that player, but an entity with its own unique set of defining characteristics.

In short, my friend Bob is still Bob no matter which avatar he picks in Left4Dead. He's still going to be our point man, and he's always going to expect me to back him up with a sniper rifle. Only by choice would we reverse our roles, which is incredibly unlikely because there is nothing to reward us for playing sub-optimally. In fact, Left4Dead pretty heavily punishes you for it.

With traits Bob is no longer just Bob - He's a young male with short sightedness, night blindness, and the uncanny ability to pick any lock he finds. He's now not such a great point man, but still a valuable member of our team we need to protect for the off chance we find ourselves locked out of a large cache of goodies. Since he can't see well at night, we struggle during those times, and he forces us to hunker down whenever we find good places to barricade ourselves in. We now find that Bob's character is just as much flavor as some scripted event that causes us to defend a generator that is powering a bridge or some nonsense. Characters (real, fleshed out, dynamic characters) add such a new angle to the game that the way you play it WILL change based on the composition of your party.

Left4Dead, the only change you could really get is if you had terrible players on your team, which I think is just downright frustrating, not fun.
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Fargham wrote:
With traits Bob is no longer just Bob - He's a young male with short sightedness, night blindness, and the uncanny ability to pick any lock he finds. He's now not such a great point man, but still a valuable member of our team we need to protect for the off chance we find ourselves locked out of a large cache of goodies. Since he can't see well at night, we struggle during those times, and he forces us to hunker down whenever we find good places to barricade ourselves in. We now find that Bob's character is just as much flavor as some scripted event that causes us to defend a generator that is powering a bridge or some nonsense. Characters (real, fleshed out, dynamic characters) add such a new angle to the game that the way you play it WILL change based on the composition of your party.

But Bob is still Bob, he's a good point man being limited from what he does by the game. Negative traits might be useful for people who enjoy roleplay but would cause rage quits left and right for people who are forced into it. No non-roleplayer is going to ever play a near sighted, night blind lock picker and roleplayers can probably manage just fine by just having the game provide a simple lock picking trait.
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It could work if done right.

It just needs to be balanced. The zombie outbreak would never have happened in the first place if every person in existence was an ex-marine/fitness coach and only extreme roleplayers would play with any other background...
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ronintech wrote:
I agree that it wouldn't necessarily add replayability but it would help flesh out your back story for people who are into that type of thing I guess, and it would be a realism factor to not start out with absolutely nothing, even if wasn't something amazing like say a camera for a photographer.


I was thinking more of along the lines of having more customization options to fine tune various characters I guess. But I get what you guys are saying about it not necessarily adding replay value. I look at it as being more willing to try out various "jobs" on different servers or solo.

It just adds another dimension to making the character your own I suppose more then replayability.

Illomen wrote:
It could work if done right.

It just needs to be balanced. The zombie outbreak would never have happened in the first place if every person in existence was an ex-marine/fitness coach and only extreme roleplayers would play with any other background...


Absolutely, it would need to be balanced and well fleshed out.


Fargham wrote:
I don't see Jobs, Hobbies, Traits, Perks, or any of that 're playability' so much as 'playability'. Your character becomes so much more unique and full of flavor, and not just an extension of the person controlling that player, but an entity with its own unique set of defining characteristics.

In short, my friend Bob is still Bob no matter which avatar he picks in Left4Dead. He's still going to be our point man, and he's always going to expect me to back him up with a sniper rifle. Only by choice would we reverse our roles, which is incredibly unlikely because there is nothing to reward us for playing sub-optimally. In fact, Left4Dead pretty heavily punishes you for it.

With traits Bob is no longer just Bob - He's a young male with short sightedness, night blindness, and the uncanny ability to pick any lock he finds. He's now not such a great point man, but still a valuable member of our team we need to protect for the off chance we find ourselves locked out of a large cache of goodies. Since he can't see well at night, we struggle during those times, and he forces us to hunker down whenever we find good places to barricade ourselves in. We now find that Bob's character is just as much flavor as some scripted event that causes us to defend a generator that is powering a bridge or some nonsense. Characters (real, fleshed out, dynamic characters) add such a new angle to the game that the way you play it WILL change based on the composition of your party.

Left4Dead, the only change you could really get is if you had terrible players on your team, which I think is just downright frustrating, not fun.


It would add a whole new depth to the game, granted I can see where this game play might not appeal to everybody. I'm have no idea how hard it would be to implement or code, but perhaps there could be a way to make it a server feature with a config file? That way nobody is forced to play the option of detailed traits.


Lucky Cat wrote:
This made me think about the plane and helicopter issue, an average Joe can't just get in it and know all there is to know about flying, but if you were a pilot pre-infection, you could easily remember what to do.


Exactly.
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Illomen wrote:
It just needs to be balanced. The zombie outbreak would never have happened in the first place if every person in existence was an ex-marine/fitness coach and only extreme roleplayers would play with any other background...

I was thinking more average, near sighted and night blind is not average and ex-marine is not average. Though average would probably start leaning toward ex-marine in this situation as they're more likely to have survived so far when >99% of the population is already dead.
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PEGelite wrote:
I was thinking more average, near sighted and night blind is not average and ex-marine is not average. Though average would probably start leaning toward ex-marine in this situation as they're more likely to have survived so far when >99% of the population is already dead.


Agreed. I just don't want to feel forced into one overpowered background. Different options should appeal to different people, I don't want to scan the trait list and the only one I even notice is "Ex-Marine" due to all the bonuses it gives.

While "Ex-Marine" would probably be the best out of all of them (which would honestly make sense), from a gameplay point of view it would be better to balance out several backgrounds, or there is no point putting the system in there at all because people will all pick the same trait anyway.

That and I want to be a badass "Hobo" :)
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