Home » MODDING HQ 1.13 » v1.13 Modding, Customising, Editing » v1.13 XML Customization » Submod: More Skills for Mercs
Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332289] Thu, 08 May 2014 01:43 Go to next message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
More Skills for Mercs [OPEN BETA]

[color:#FF0000]Download here:[/color] (use right-click and "save as" or it will be shown in your browser): Modified MercProfile.xml (based on unstable Revision 7178 [1.5.2014])

Installation: replace your file in (\Data-1.13\tabledata\)

[color:#FF0000]In order for this to work as intended[/color], you should increase all "SUBPOINTS_TO_IMPROVE" values in your ini editor, look under "Tactical Difficulty Settings", all items from "HEALTH" to "LEVEL" need to be set accordingly.

Having tested a 100% increase, I now recommend 150% increase so the training of all attributes and the XP-Level takes three times as long.

As a reference, the current defaults are:

50 for physical attributes (set to 150)
25 for abilites (set to 75)
350 for xp-level (set to 1050)

Also, I recommend to disable "AWARD_SPECIAL_EXP_POINTS_FOR_COMPLETING_QUESTS" (set to 0). This option can be found under "Tactical Gameplay Settings".

That way, quests will no longer add huge amounts of XP to your mercs just for being in the sector when you talk to someone, and you don't have to feel pressured to get them there from halfway across the map so you don't waste XP.

---

What this is about
Increasing the overall number of allocated skills, especially for more experienced mercs.

Technical Notes
I simply edit the MercProfiles.xml to allocate additional STOMP skills, otherwise known as the "new skill system". Nothing about the skills themselves is changed. [color:#FF0000]I recommend to enable "SHOW_SKILLS_IN_HIRING_PAGE[/color]" using the .ini editor (under "Recruitment Settings") for convenient evaluation before hiring.

Tell Me Why

1. The decisions which have been made regarding each merc's STOMP skills are very reasonable.

2. However, the current system is restricted to three skills per merc, regardless of experience or salary. In my book, that leads to many mercs falling short in skills compared to their level/price/biography.

3. Also, some skills (hardly) occur at all. The new RADIO OPERATOR skill is virtually nonexistent, so up till now, you have to create an IMP with this skill to use the feature at all.

4. Perhaps the most important consideration is that I never hire those really expensive mercs. That might be due to me being a cheapskate and a hoarder in games like these, but I also believe that to be the case because *they just don't seem worth it*. Why pay horrendous fees for top notch mercs when I can train affordable newbies with high wisdom scores to be just as effective? We all know how to train attributes, but you can't make anyone learn a new skill (so far). So my idea is to utilize skills to grant higher-level-mercs bonuses which lower-level-mercs will never be able to fully catch up with.

5. I also got fed up with playing 90% of the game using IMPs only. Sure, you can have your selfmade dreamteam running around Arulco and that is certainly appealing to Icewind Dale veterans like myself, but, admit it: premade mercs kind of have more personality Wink There are so many mercs out there I don't hire. Never ever. And not just the expensive ones. Why? Because I feel they only waste their damn recruitment slot, not to mention my money. With this revamp I also try to make some of those really unappealing mercs a little more likely to be given a chance.


Rule Considerations & Balancing

The number of skills for each merc is not supposed to be arbitrary. After rethinking my first draft (spoiler below), I'm now using the following rule:

Mercs can have (XP-Level) + 1 = Skills, up to a maximum of 7 at Level 6. A few LVL-1 mercs loose one skill that way, I picked those I found the most expandable in terms of plausibility.


I have decided to treat "Snitch" as a character trait and not to let it count against the maximum skill value because it has so little gameplay relevance.


Toggle Spoiler

My reasons for choosing this or that skill
I try to stick to the merc bios and the way their character is depicted as closely as possible. If the bio is too nondescript, I take a look at the stats. If a merc comes with 50 Medical, he still has a free skill slot and he is not a total psycho, a misanthrope or "all thumbs" (very low dex) he might just get the "paramedic" skill.
Of course I am more familiar with some mercs than with others. This is where your input would perhaps be most appreciated Wink However, keep in mind that the ingame depiction of these characters remains sketchy. YOUR interpretation of Fidel's true personality or Biff's leadership talents might differ from MINE, which doesn't mean that one of our opinions is any more accurate than the other Wink

Possible Issues
AFAIK the only real problem so far is the skill display in the personnel-manager. If it exceeds 4 bulletpoints, it overlaps the information below. Kind of a bummer, but hardly a gamebreaker... You can still view the merc's background if you fiddle around a bit with your cursor until you hover over one of the pixels from the lower layer Wink

Project Status

As described above, it's in open beta. You are hereby invited to try this out and give feedback =)

I have prepared a html version of the skill table so you can take a quick look. Here is the link:

***** More Skills for Mercs WIP table *****

***** (obsolete draft 1) *****

Legend for the table
Primary Skills
Secondary Skills
Expert Skills (2x)
Skills already present in 1.13
[color:#009900]Skills added by me[/color]
[color:#FF0000]Removed skills[/color]
[color:#3366FF]New Skills (Radio, Covert)[/color]


I will try to keep this post up to date and maybe add some good examples resp. screenshots later on.

Tell me what you think Wink

[Updated on: Tue, 13 May 2014 19:42] by Moderator

Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332291] Thu, 08 May 2014 03:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
AndreiCC

 
Messages:11
Registered:September 2012
Giving a lvl 3 merc 5 traits makes him near godlike.
On a closer look at your chart, most mercs gain 2 or 3 skills giving a huge power boost across the board, including those cheap mercs you say you alway pick, making them super good in the early game now.
Barry with added marksman and radio ops?
Buns with athletics and paramedic?
Yes please.
A better way to make sure those top mercs are picked more is just to lower their fucking sky-high rates AND lower xp gain/raise xp needed to level up to keep everyone else from catching up to them right away. My level 1 IMPs are usually level 5 by the time I've secured Drassen and Chitzena.

PS: With all the changes with new atachment systems and ncth, a merc's gear has way more impact on his/her performance than actual skills. Top gear on bad mercs will vastly outperform bad gear on top mercs.

[Updated on: Thu, 08 May 2014 03:37] by Moderator

Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332299] Thu, 08 May 2014 12:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
AndreiCC
Giving a lvl 3 merc 5 traits makes him near godlike.

I should have mentioned this whole thing is intended for high difficulty settings, sorry. Certainly overpowered for anything up to and probably including "Experienced".

AndreiCC
a merc's gear has way more impact on his/her performance than actual skills

That may be true. But ultimately, that only leads us to the conclusion that your merc's abilities don't matter at all later in the game, and that is only correct to a certain extend, right?

I see your point(s), but I'd like to point out that

1. Lower level mercs are unlikely to receive expert skills, which have the highest impact on performance
2. The skills vary in usefulness. Two more skills will hardly make a merc a god of war if we are talking about one point in "pistols" and "hand to hand"
3. Overkill-combinations are supposed to be reserved for top notch mercs.

Maybe another aspect I should mention is the low agility of many mercs, esp. the elderly ^^ It slows your whole operation down and they don't seem to make up it, as they should, with their supposedly vast knowledge which is supposed to justify their fee.

When I see that weapon "experts" with extensive command experience and high military ranks have only one skill point in each ability to offer, I just feel like that's wrong.

Anyhow, keep the input coming. I'm open for an suggestions and if it turns out that there are better ways to achieve what I'm aiming at, I might just give those a try Wink
Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332307] Thu, 08 May 2014 19:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
Updated first post, resuming work on MERC & remaining RPC mercs.

By the way, I think it would be most interesting to play this submod without creating any IMP, fully relying on predesigned characters. Choose your teamleader wisely ^^
Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332312] Fri, 09 May 2014 00:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Slax

 
Messages:1439
Registered:July 2006
Location: People riding polar bears...
:bow:
Me like. Me like lots. Me like so much me go dumb. Unga, want play!
Would be even nicer if skills would level up with experience. Slow process, more fun and consideration.

RANDOMIZE_MERC_SKILL_LEVELS :whistle:

[Updated on: Fri, 09 May 2014 00:27] by Moderator


Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332313] Fri, 09 May 2014 00:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1344
Registered:December 2012
Location: Under the Mountain
Generally I like it. I usually add some traits to my favourite mercs, too.

Some thoughts:
Hamous could use a hunter skill to help him driving (increases speed AFAIK).
Wasn't Elroy supposed to have Covert?
Throwing for Leech seems strange - he is good sniper, doesn't like close combat.
Flo - stealth? She supposed to be most useless merc in the world, I think.
Gasket - hunter? I imaging him more with a knife or wrench in the hand.
I usually give gunslinger to Fox - she's good with pistols.
Auto for Bull is good but maybe a bit too powerful - he's one of the cheapest mercs.

Also maybe it would be good to include optional skills_settings.ini with your mod - with slightly decreased bonuses from traits.


Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332314] Fri, 09 May 2014 01:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
Thank you guys for taking a look =)

@Slax: Gradually improving skills would be very RPG-like, I wouldn't mind. But something like that is far beyond the scope of this little project, I fear...

@Sevenfm: Good points, mostly what I was already pondering myself... To be honest, I'd completely forgotten about Covert Ops thus far Embarrassed Personally, I don't really use that feature yet, maybe that's why. But there are certainly adequate candidates to receive that skill Cool Hmm, it was not my intent to make changes to the skills themselves, though I have to admit, there are some aspects of it I'd like to change. For example splitting up "grenade throwing" and "setting/defusing explosives" [Demolitions] or "shotgun proficient" and "nature geek" [Hunter/Ranger], or creating three stages for weapon skills instead of two.

Do I dare dabble in the dark arts? We'll see :playboy:

Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332315] Fri, 09 May 2014 02:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Slax

 
Messages:1439
Registered:July 2006
Location: People riding polar bears...
Dreams seem to be coming true these days. Who knows... :whistle:

Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332344] Fri, 09 May 2014 19:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
UPDATE

It's done, you may download the MercProfiles.xml, see first post!

In order for this to work as intend, you should increase all "SUBPOINTS_TO_IMPROVE" values in your ini editor, look under "Tactical Difficulty Settings", all items from "HEALTH" to "LEVEL" need to be set accordingly.

For now I recommend a 100% increase so the training of all attributes and the XP-Level takes twice as long.

As a reference, the current defaults are:

50 for physical attributes (set to 100)
25 for abilites (set to 50)
350 for xp-level (set to 700)

Have fun and please tell me if you disagree with certain skill decisions, encounter any problems or have any ideas for improvements =)

cheers!


---
The table is done for all 127 130 recruitable characters, now including both "Radio Operator" and "Covert Ops/Spy", also corrected a few mistakes. I guess I will have to start editing the xml next. Oh dear, that is going to take a while...

[Updated on: Fri, 09 May 2014 23:27] by Moderator

Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332370] Sat, 10 May 2014 10:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
M16AMachinegun

 
Messages:308
Registered:September 2013
I'd like to see a mod that lets you aquire additional traits as you level up. Like every time you level up you're able to enter a screen that lets you cash in 'points' you gain for leveling up in for more traits.

The 'weaker' traits would cost one 'point' (one level up), perhaps the weaker, cqb weapons such as Hunter/Gunslinger/H2H/Melee as well as the majority of the minor traits

Auto Weapons and Marksman would be 2-3 points while heavy weapons could be 1-2 points

So a level 1 merc that starts with a maximum of 2-3 traits could end up being a well trained master

Oh, idea! What if the merc can 'learn' this trait by a teacher/student assignment, and the teacher must have the trait in order to teach it?
Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332378] Sat, 10 May 2014 13:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Azure_Repeater

 
Messages:152
Registered:March 2014
Location: Philippines
Good job! I like it! However, doesn't it seem overpowered to give a merc 6 traits?
Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332379] Sat, 10 May 2014 13:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
@M-16: Sounds interesting, but someone with actual programming skills would have to do that :dongetit:

Also, as much as I relish its RPG-elements, JA is ultimately not supposed to work that way. Your task is to hire the best mercs you are able or willing to afford to get the job done. It is intended that your team composition changes over the course of the game, that's why there are so many mercs to choose from. Indeed, the problem I am trying to solve here is that you are not sufficiently motiviated to do that, because keeping your mercs from day 1 for the whole campaign is too convenient =P

Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332380] Sat, 10 May 2014 13:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
@Repeater: Well, as I said, it's supposed to be used on high difficulty settings. Also, those mercs with three times as many skills as others will COST you several times as much money. Since you can have larger teams than in vanilla, you actually do have the choice to use three or four weaker mercs instead of a single expensive one.

Now I ask you: under comparable tactical circumstances, who's going to fare better? Wink
Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332381] Sat, 10 May 2014 14:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
http://s14.directupload.net/images/140510/v4vpttpd.jpg
I have begun playtesting the changes and will keep a little diary here, as much for myself as for anyone who is interested to see how this turns out.

Campaign settings:
  • Difficulty: Expert
  • NCTH, New Inventory
  • Improved Interrupt System
  • Realistic
  • Allow Zombies (well, those are not so realistic...)
  • Progress Speed of Item Choices: Slow
  • Bobby Ray's Quality: Normal
  • Tons of Guns, Drop All
  • Food System: off

DAY 1 // Remember, no IMPs. The most affordable mercs with the "Deputy" skill are Grunty and Hitman. I decide to invest a little more than the minimum here and go for Hitman. He's level 4, so except for Manuel, all other mercs in the early stages of the game should fully benefit from his bonuses. Otherwise I hire Hurl as a medic, Vinny as a mechanic, Igor as tree-lover and Hector as some additional muscle.
Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332401] Sat, 10 May 2014 23:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1344
Registered:December 2012
Location: Under the Mountain
Good luck in Arulco! =)

About your settings:
IIS is a tricky thing, be warned! Smile
Also, with drop all you will have thousands of guns.
This setting is not balanced at all, you will have to sell 99% or find another use (supply militia with guns and ammo, for example).


Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332403] Sun, 11 May 2014 01:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
http://s7.directupload.net/images/140510/mx72t8vd.jpg http://s1.directupload.net/images/140510/ikn8z2sv.jpg http://s1.directupload.net/images/140510/2gyvjwk2.jpg
@Seven: Don't worry, I've been playing with IIS a while now and I think it's much more "realistic" than the vanilla system, I've gotten used to it and I really enjoy it =) Yeah, drop-all leads to lots of item-management, but you can always get rid of superfluous junk with "sell to locals". I pick what I like, sell as much as I can to local vendors for some extra money and also, I enjoy hoarding ^^

DAY 4// Since I have counterattacks for all cities enabled, taking any town before I'm sufficiently prepared is a bad idea. Hiking through the hinterlands, avoiding patrols as much as possible and looting items along the way, I move through San Mona to Chitzena. In the night, I ambush the mine sector, recruit Manuel, take the silver and get the hell out. Shopping in San Mona, Tony and Devin supply some at this point advanced stuff.

I do Angel's Quest for the money and the kevlar biker vest. OMG it's so fashionable. Hitman gets the peacock tattooed to his buttock, then I spend about two days doctoring and repairing. Back at full health and considerably better equipped, I'm moving south next, to visit Estoni and fetch Maddog. I hear you, Carmen. Arulco is a save heaven for 'crazies' =P

Notes
  • Zombies make the game easier since they draw a lot of fire. Also fun to finally have regular use for HP ammo and melee weapons =)
  • Hitman boasts a pretty high body count already (let him more or less solo a few patrols at night using his throwing knives), but he is still LVL 4, stat improvements minimal. OK so far.
  • Quest XP still seems like too much, maybe it needs to be reduced as well...
Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332405] Sun, 11 May 2014 01:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1344
Registered:December 2012
Location: Under the Mountain
Hmm.. what are the benefits of IIS for you?
When I tried it last time, some things were disappointing:
-too much distant interrupts when you don't want them
-at close distance (buildings, undeground sectors) you don't receive interrupt when you
usually get it with OIS
-also some players reported random crashes with IIS enabled

I think of some improvements for OIS in the future, so it's really interesting for me why
players prefer one system or another.



Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332406] Sun, 11 May 2014 02:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
Well, what I like is that it gives you a sense of simultaneity within the turn-based system.

Vanilla Interrupt System: You see an enemy running towards you. Time stops. You take sip from your canteen, dust a bit of dirt from your boots and finally remember your weapon. You slowly, deliberately empty the clip into the poor bugger who is frozen in time before the battle continues...

Improved Interrupt System: You see an enemy running towards you. You let yourself drop to the ground while shouting a quick order over the radio. The solider is getting awfully close and raises his weapon. Your teammate reacts and fires a volley of supression fire, which makes Deidranna boy shit his pants. He manages to take a single shot, but it misses and now you're ready. You take aim and drop him...

Well, so much for the basic feeling. Otherwise I like that if I don't want to use my first interrupt, I can end turn, let the enemy get closer and it is likely that I get another chance to act under better circumstances.

Sometimes there are too many interrupts for far away team members, that's true, but it doesn't bother me much. I'm sure you guys will figure out how to fine-tune this stuff.

I can't remember any interrupt-related chrashes, I think...
Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332407] Sun, 11 May 2014 02:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1344
Registered:December 2012
Location: Under the Mountain
Ok, thanks for your opinion!
Still, one problem even with IIS is that you get full APs when you get interrupt - you cannot make a lot of actions, but you can fire from sniper rifle with a full aim or use all 80 Aps for a long autofire.
(also I think it lacks promised LOCK ON feature very much)


As for OIS, the main thing that I don't like is that, as you said, if you don't use (or don't get) interrupt on sight - you cannot do anything - the enemy can slowly walk to you and hit you with a knife as much times as he wants Sad
Second is the mentioned ability to use fall APs for interrupt, even at close distance.
Also, as for IIS, the ability to watch certain tile or track the enemy to be able to fire when he gets closer or stands up, for example.


Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332522] Tue, 13 May 2014 16:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
I had to abort my testing run after taking Drassen, during the counterattack. I had raised the limits of militia & enemy numbers too high, it became unplayable ^^ When Doc got killed and Vinny hat to put a bullet through his zombified head because he was trying to "treat" him, things kind of went downwards =P

Anyway, here are my results:

1. XP-Levels still seem to increase too fast. After taking Drassen (progess: ~20), my LVL 1 mercs were already LVL 3. I don't think mercs should be able to gain more than 2-3 XP levels during the course of the campaign. Of course that also depends on how many enemies there are to kill, but as I said, I do not really expect anyone to play on "Novice" with this.

2. I'm definetly going to lower quest experience. Quests unbalance the whole thing IMO and I feel compelled to always have all my mercs present in the sector where a quest is fulfilled, which is often impractical and even more often unreasonable. I even feel like quests should only yield rewards like money, items, loyalty or militia. Something to keep in mind.

3. Ability improvement rates look better now. I don't want to make it impossible to train them, but going from 50 to 90 halfway through the campaign seems excessive to me.

4. For some reason, Gus and Henning are bugged, they do not receive their 7th skill, but all others do. It's not even the last skill defined, it seems to be randomly picked. I've checked for typos several times already. Any ideas?


I will report back when I have decided about the next changes. Meanwhile, any and all input is appreciated Wink

P.S.: OK, for my next run I'm going with 3x nerfed XP-Gain and Special Quest XP disabled. First post updated.

[Updated on: Tue, 13 May 2014 19:45] by Moderator

Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332573] Wed, 14 May 2014 03:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
wsmithjr2013

 
Messages:50
Registered:March 2013
Location: New Jersey
rummtata
Hmm, it was not my intent to make changes to the skills themselves, though I have to admit, there are some aspects of it I'd like to change. For example splitting up "grenade throwing" and "setting/defusing explosives" [Demolitions] or "shotgun proficient" and "nature geek" [Hunter/Ranger], or creating three stages for weapon skills instead of two.


Some of the skill groupings, in particular Demolitions and Technician, are undoubtedly my least favorite change in 1.13. It just makes absolutely no sense to me to see a merc with a Explosive skill of 13 be a Demolitions specialist. It's done because the bio says they have a wicked throwing arm (or some such) so they can throw grenades better but it jars my sense of reality. OK, they skill can't be used demolitions experts so in one sense I don't suppose it matters but it just looks weird to me. I don't think you can just change things, though without re-coding the engine. You can change the modifiers themselves, but that's it. I tried once to "right all the wrongs" but moving the various modifiers around in the skills.ini to different skills but it doesn't work that way. Really wish it did, though.

[Updated on: Wed, 14 May 2014 03:39] by Moderator

Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332577] Wed, 14 May 2014 07:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
M16AMachinegun

 
Messages:308
Registered:September 2013
Excellent point, wsmithjr2013, and I agree: having increased throwing range/accuracy should be its own trait. I see a compromise being combining throwing knives/axes/whatever with throwing grenades, while leaving Demolitions as bomb defusual/planting.

Question is, what do you do with the bonus damage, critical hit chance, and aim click bonuses for throwing knives? Leave em in? move them into their own trait?

Well, [Throwing] already gets AP reduction/Range bonus/cth bonus for knife throwing (which i honestly dont use much)...

A new skill might be useful, if a little redundant, called [Quarterback], that you could introduce. Bonus to throwing all things (including items out of your hands) by 50% as well as a combination of [Demolitions/Throwing] traits. Perhaps you could include a bonus for picking things up off the ground faster too?
Re: Submod: More Skills for Mercs[message #332604] Wed, 14 May 2014 15:58 Go to previous message
rummtata

 
Messages:104
Registered:April 2011
Location: Germany
Those skill-meshups are the result of satisfying the need to stay within the limit of 3 skills per merc, I suppose. We are no longer bullied by such limits, so we might as well have separate minor skills for "knive throwing", "[grenade] throwing", "demolitions", "shotguns" and "ranger" etc., but as long as no one with the required coding knowledge provides for a customizable .xml or makes the changes directly, it's not gonna happen.

As wsmithjr2013 has pointed out, sadly, we cannot even rearrange the skill effects within the existing groups :bawling:
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