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October 11th, 2009, 14:00
It's not really. I have played a very few amount of games where I was using combat skills as secondary and/or tertiary skills. Like you say it's the designer's choice.

He could make the language skill into one of the most important skills in his/her game if (s)he wanted to.
For example: The language skill could open up a completely new quest path that would not even involve any combat. Of course most designers do not do that, but it is possible.

You are talking about games of the past and it's very simple to fall in line with what happened before. Diablos came and then five thousand clones. Dune, AoE, five thousand clones….
However, you don't have to do that. You can change it.

You're saying:
- It has never been this way, look at my maps, look at these older games, look at this and that.
Conclusion : It can not be good to have it any other way.

I'm saying:
- It has never been this way. Look some people tried doing different things. They might not always work, but they could if people tried to do them well.
Conclusion: Why not try it out?

Basically, to go back to the cartography example. Cartography skill could make you make maps and the more you explore, and if you explore tons of places and your cartography skill is high enough to make really good maps then it could open a quest line where you would start out selling mediocre maps to travellers and move on to a quest where you would have to explore a certain place and map it out for some king in the game which would bring you into better favour towards that king and open up a new quest line which would not have been available to you without that skill.

However, I do AGREE with you (what a surprise ) about the other exploits being kind of bad design. BUT, when making a 50 hour game for players, you're bound to miss out on some things. Especially if you're trying to make the game sandboxy, the whole point is for the player to be able to explore everywhere. In GI for example if you can get hands on a potion of speed you can get to Xardas' tower quite easily (how you'd beat the golem's I don't know), which you wouldn't be able to do in a game like Diablo II with the different acts separating each area.

So, yes, cartography can be done away with, but it could be a very nice asset to a games designer if they actually do something good with it except for just drawing your own automap…

(By the way, I was gong to leave it at we both disagree with each other, but you're the one that replied to me this time, so I hope you don't mind me replying again )
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