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October 8th, 2009, 04:00
It does mean a degradation of challenge. I quit playing Bard's Tale when I realized I was only glancing at my maps when I hit the spinners. Otherwise I ran mostly from memory. It's still the same game though.
It's one thing to include physics-busting elements such as magic. It's another to beat the suspension of disbelief over the head until it gets a severe concussion. 500lb armor = no.
How will the player note that the characters are doing the dog paddle or a butterfly stroke? They won't. In fact, even in 3rd person games, you pretty much have 1 animation for swimming, one for treading water. Maybe two swimming, if they have a 'fast swim' as well as regular swimming. So where would the effect of the skill lie?
In the case of a first person perspective, you will never even see the actual physical (ok, digital) characters in water. Top down or third person you will, but in both cases, a big budget team won't both with more than a couple animations at best. Indie team? Forget it. If I heard that would be included, then I'd mark the project off as vaporware.
There's a difference between maps and art. I can easily map out anything I go to. Making art out of said map? Not hardly; my maps tell you where to go, nothing more. You're automatically assuming all maps must be artistic in saying that. When they don't (and rarely are). Most maps are crude, bare things with plain lines, text, and arcane symbols. Having a large collection of atlases from various wars, I know this to be a fact. They can even be difficult to read, due to the amount of information available (some have topographic information as well as troop deployment, movements, unit types, and place names). All in about 3 colors.
Funny thing is, I can sit here and draw any one of them right now, and be within 90%. If I'd get some glasses, that'd improve.
Either the map skill would be balanced so that you'd have all the information necessary at a bare minimum of skill; and thus never need to advance it more; or it would be worthless until very high levels of skill, and be superceded by online maps and hints (and wandering). Increasing the artistic quality of the automap would, IMO, cost a whole lot for little gain. It would require multiple redundant sets of artwork solely for each level of artistic mapping.
As to pickpocketing and picking locks, those are measured. People have perception levels (or skills, if it's included) which the thief's personal level of skill can be checked against, and there are a myriad methods of constructing a lock (or breaking it). They do not make sense to have as a static skill (like in Might and Magic III). Then again, even M&M games had thievery advance with the character, unique among all the skills.
I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I've made my case as well as I can (probably could have written a hell of a lot clearer and better, but I'm not Poe). You've made yours.
It was the night before Hogswatch…
I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity - Edgar Allan Poe
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