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Preferred Skill-Up and Specialization systems?

Gamingtodaynews1e - Preferred Skill-Up and Specialization systems?

Hi all,

Posted a question here a few days ago regarding combat and got some really good feedback, so I wanted to pose another one, this time regarding skill modifications and "specs". For some background, I'm looking at putting together my codex of game design before we start developing and I'm back and forth on a lot of systems. We're currently leaning toward kind of an MMO/ARPG hybrid, almost like a non-shooter Destiny, that focused primarily on dungeon crawling/boss fights.

The one I'm most familiar with is WoW, where each class has 3 specializations and those specializations have 10 (I think) fairly minor choices that will slightly change how you play. While this is somewhat good because it allows "dev-designed" rotations, it's extremely limited and there's very little actual choice.

Guild Wars 2 allows the selection of a few different trees of passives and the expansions introduced some specializations with some pretty varied playstyles. While there's no holy trinity in GW2, I actually kind of like the skill progression system.

Wildstar (one of my primary inspirations) had special points you would put in each skill, with bonuses at 4 and 8. I can't remember the exact numbers, but with something like 6 skills and 25 points, you had to decide which abilities you'd get to T8 and which you wouldn't sink points into. I feel like this system is on the right track, but still a bit lacking.


Then I look at something slightly outside MMOs, like Diablo 3. Notoriously shallow, D3 let you select a rune for your skill, which altered how that skill worked. Diablo 2 let you put points in the skill where you could "max" one skill while others were 1 point wonders. Diablo 2 also had trees that somewhat served as specializations but it wasn't rigid (i.e. one or the other)

This leads up to what I THINK is my preferred system. I like the idea of classes having specializations, WoW does this well and the ability to play a class and flex roles or have a different DPS spec with an entirely different rotation is solid and accessible. From a skill standpoint, I like Wildstar's but with significantly more depth. I think I want to add a small branching tree for each ability that has both passives that buff the spell in some way and the D3-like rune effects where you can pick one to add a major change to the spell. I like the idea of having limited points that you can pick which skills to focus and I even like the idea of having limited "augment" points you have to allot, but not sure if that's too many separate systems at play.

Any games you particularly enjoyed or thought had a really smart system in the way they handled classes/specializations/skills? Would love to hear your feedback on it!

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