I am not such an experienced at RPGs as some others here, but I think the following words best describe my preferences: depth, immersion, lore-friendliness...
First I played Oblivion, then tried Morrowind. I left Oblivion for Morrowind because after having tried MW Oblivion seemed too simplistic. I found our about Daggerfall by thinking somehow along the lines of: 'well, they have certainly made a couple of steps backward from MW to Oblivion... what if it wasn't the first time?... then the game that preceded MW would be of my liking even more...'. So I started to read about DF, then DFU and here I am. I was right. It does seem to be of my liking even more than MW.
Just a few examples:
- The map size. It is much bigger and as I have read, most of it is empty. That is very realistic. When you go hiking in a forest or in the hills in the world we live in, you don't find some ancient place or landmark or dwelling at every turn. No. Most of it is nature, hills, plains, trees, plants, some animals, mostly nothing of special interest. Then you go and go and go and if you know where you're going, after a long while you arrive at some place. So that is just right.
- Then there is resting. In Oblivion and MW my character hardly slept or rested. Why? With magicka regenerating, I used some restoration spell when I needed it, with fatigue regenerating I just stopped until it was full again. Or used an enchantment... or some combination of these... you get the picture. I found this quite unnatural and unrealistic. Yes, I know... 'That's magic for you... why you want it to be realistic?' Well, okay, magic is magic, but I have never heard of a universe before where mages didn't have to sleep. In DF, this is set up better because you are motivated to rest by a fatigue bar that keep depleting until you fall asleep (faint). You could fine-tune it a bit, but this is a lot more realistic.
I tend to look at the skill, leveling, attributes and other character-related systems from a similar perspective. I don't mind more complexity if it is justified. We might end up with a couple of relatively less useful skills, but still it would be more realistic that way. Not all skills are equally useful in life, either. Some might be useful only in some cases, some might not be useful in any case at all. It takes wisdom to separate wheat from chaff. That is part of life so it could be part of the game, too.
About the language skills.
As a person fluent in three different languages, I came to understand that language and culture are interconnected phenomena. It is not reasonable to assume intelligent beings have their separate language if you cannot assume they have some kind of culture of their own. What exactly do you think they would be talking about in their language? Well, I would assume, the things concerning their everyday lives, their beliefs etc. If there is none of these for them to talk about, I guess, there would be no reason for them to have a language at all, so there would be nothing for you or anybody else to learn, either.
If they have a culture, then they might possess some knowledge that is valuable to you. They might have explored some places and could describe it to you where to find them; they might possess some artifacts valuable to you (or some ingredient you could use for alchemy, perhaps); they could have mastered some weapon types or kind of arcane magical phenomenon human warriors or magi are not familiar with; they are sure to have grievances and desires of their own which you could help them with in return for their service to you; and the list goes on and on. Let's look at the individual languages from this perspective!
Let's begin with Daedric. I would definitively keep this one. Dragonish, Giantish, Centaurian, Orcish would depend on whether we think these creatures actually form communities and are intelligent social beings. If so, they should have their language, but it still doesn't mean, that each should have its separate language. It might be so that Giants, Centaurs and Dragons speak and understand the same language and culture. There are lots of blank spaces in TES lore about this and if we want to make a decision, I wouldn't base that decision on pragmatic reasons but instead on a created addition to the existing body of lore. (I would prefer the alternative that fits into lore best, not the one that makes the game the most simple.)
I'll give just one example here. If we want to keep Daedric as a language skill in the game, we are implying two things. One: that Daedric beings have their culture and language in which they communicate. I think this is a fair assumption based on existing TES lore. Two: that a human can learn and master this language/culture and successfully communicate with a Daedric being. This is not as self-evident, but I would go with 'it is possible, but really difficult to attain', so you would need some talent and guidance or practice. If you are going to get such guidance, who from? Where would you find a trainer who actually knows something about this - like who has talked with a Deadra and survived - or a book that would record such person's knowledge and the like. I know a lot of people with a better imagination than myself, but even I could generate a load of different ideas on this one.
Harpy, Impish, Nymph, Spriggan - same goes here. Do we think these beings should be actually intelligent beings with their own culture? Do they speak to each other? Do they all need separate languages or they are just using a common language or a language of some other people?
A similar such skill with relation to beasts could be added, though. I would not object if it's done well.
Two separate skills or one skill (with possible added perks)?
E.g. Swimming and Running vs. Athletics. As a person who is an experienced runner and a lot less experienced swimmer, I can tell anyone that the two are not the same. I think it would be unrealistic if you could have your character swim a lot and then notice a large improvement in running skill or vice versa. I find this idea overly simplistic. I wouldn't say you're ruining the whole game but it definitely would not be a step in the right direction. Still, it would be just as dubious to argue that your swimming skill has nothing to do with your running skill. There is clearly a connection, a correlation, if you will. What seems like a good idea to me now, would be to only merge skills when the degree of this correlation makes one of the skills practically redundant (one could argue this in case of some skill pairs). For the rest, where there is a strong correlation but this correlation is not enough to justify merging, we could have skill groups. The development of a skill in a given skill group would be influenced by your other skills belonging to that same group. I'll illustrate on an example. One could say Axe and Mace weapons are used in a very similar way. Okay, so let's change the skill increase mechanic so that a character with a high Axe skill could develop his Mace skill much faster than he could if his Axe skill was lower.
This way you get just what you would expect in the world we live in. A good swimmer could pick up running skill much faster than a weak swimmer, but a high Swimming skill in and of itslef would not automatically mean you can run faster.
An alternative would be to have 'correlated skills' which would have a similar effect as the groups I just described but wouldn't be binary (two skills either correlated or not correlated) but instead we could define a level of correlation for each pair. We could also impose a restriction that two correlated skills could not both be primary/major/minor skills. Yes, a lot of new complexity. But, if implemented right, would also much more lifelike than the system we have now.
Perks - I only have experience with Oblivion's perk system. Now that I think about it, some part of it seem pretty unrealistic. Like at 74 Heavy Armor skill you move just as slowly as at 24 or 5 for that matter.. and then: bang!, at 75: half of the speed loss gone... there has got to be a better way of doing this, I think now.
- totally on board with these. I think the solution that was adopted in Classic DF was selected in no small part to save the game designers the trouble of coming up with a decent enchantment and/or alchemy system. I have no problem with other characters' enchanting or alchemical services being available. My problem is with the PC not being able to do it himself. It signals a lack of depth to me. Here are three statements:
1. Enchanting and alchemy are difficult arts; only skilled people can master them.
2. The PC can become one of the strongest wizards of the time.
3. The PC cannot perform alchemy or enchanting by himself.
All three cannot be true at the same time. I would prefer to have No 3 false then to have No 2 false. If the game universe allows you to become a powerful wizard, one who can deal with ancient vampires, powerful undead spirits and Daedra, one would expect you to be able to do better enchantments than someone mediocre in comparison to you, if you really wanted. This is the part that I am missing in Classic DF. Adding this in a right way is clearly not easy, but it can and, I think, should be added. Some of my thoughts on these I have included here
, I am planning to add more in the future, including about the mentioned topics of enchanting and alchemy. Magic school skills (alteration, restoration and the like) are also worth discussing, but they should be considered together with their respective magic schools. I plan to write more detail about how I think these could work in other threads, like the one mentioned just now.
Alchemy could be used to create poisons and these in turn could be used to poison weapons.
Some armor skills
would also be in order. I am not sure whether it should be just one, two (heavy and light) or three (heavy, medium and light). These could also affect the effectiveness of a given piece of armor, but they should definitely affect how fast you can move wearing armor.
should also be considered. At present, I am in favor, but not 100% sure.
could be introduced into the game with their respective skill like in MW.
- worth considering.
MAXIMA OF SKILL/ATTRIBUTE DEVELOPMENT
I few thoughts on the maxima of skills and attributes. I didn't know about this thread then and posted these thoughts somewhere else
, but now I think this is also a legitimate place for them. So I am adding a summary here for easier reference.
I would propose a system in which there would be normal circumstances and extraordinary circumstances.
Under "normal circumstances", there would be set upper limits, but these would not all be 100, but instead could vary by race or class.
Breton: STR -2 END +0 INT +2 WIL +2 SPEED +0 AGI -2
High Elf: STR -2 END -2 INT +2 WIL +2 SPEED +0 AGI +0
Wood Elf: STR -1 END -2 INT 0 WIL -1 SPEED +2 AGI +2
Dark Elf: STR +0 END -2 INT +1 WIL +0 SPEED +0 AGI +1
Redguard: STR +2 END +0 INT -2 WIL -2 SPEED +1 AGI +1
Nord: STR +2 END +2 INT -2 WIL +0 SPEED -1 AGI -1
Khajiit: STR -1 END +1 INT +0 WIL -2 SPEED +1 AGI +1
Argonian: STR -1 END +1 INT +1 WIL +0 SPEED -1 AGI +0
The table is to be interpreted in the following way.
-2 means that the given race has a base maximum of 80 defined for the given attribute. Likewise, -1 implies a maximum of 90, +0 a maximum of 100, +1 a maximum of 111 and +2 a maximum of +125.
I tried to set the figures so that it be as well balanced as I could manage. I left out personality and luck so that each race has equal opportunity in these areas.
Regarding skills: the basic rule could be that a character of a given race can master a skill to the same maximum as the base maximum stated above for the attribute that governs the given skill + any extra points enabled by the fact that the given skill is the character's primary etc. skill. One configuration could be +25 for primary skills, +10 for major skills, 0 for minor and -20 for miscellaneous.
So, e.g. a Redguard with Axe as his primary skill could develop that skill up to 150. Another example could be a High Elf who has Axe as one of his miscellaneous skills could only develop that skill up to 60.
The skill increase mechanism would also need fine-tuning. I think the amount of effort it takes to develop a given skill should be contingent not on current skill level, but on the difference between its maximum as described above and its current state.
Then, there would be extraordinary circumstances. E.g. you finish a difficult quest line for the Gods or Deadra or a very powerful and ancient wizard (quests and quest-lines to be modded in, also) and as a reward, you can somehow become even greater at some attribute or skill.