Bartering doesn't need its own skill

For the following reasons, I believe Bartering should be collapsed into Speaking:

  • Linguistically and logically, Bartering is a special case of Speaking.
  • Bartering doesn’t change any real outcomes. At most, it slightly delays them: you scavenge slightly longer and then you get what you wanted.
  • Bartering is useless when NPCs are running away, or hostile, which means it’s often useless if you are bad at Speaking.
  • Bartering is useless when NPCs are allied, which means it’s often useless if you ARE good at Speaking.
  • Bartering is practically useless when NPCs are neutral, excluding occasional very rare shopkeeper NPCs: you can just follow them around until they kamikazi into monsters, then take whatever you wanted for free.
  • Bartering is useless early game, because anything you need is either cheap (trade for random junk around you) or priced beyond anything you have access to.
  • Bartering is useless late game, because you have plentiful valuables to trade and the margins don’t matter.
  • Speaking is already not very useful compared to other skills, and could use some more utility.
  • Possible future improvements in NPC behavior and interaction are not likely to change Bartering’s usefulness significantly, unless the total structure of the game is radically redesigned to have abundant shopkeepers and settlements.

The Admins, Kevin especially have discussed and looked at expanding skills, rather than collapsing them. This would almost certainly come with balancing at the same time/before splitting skills.

Most of the problems listed seem like they would be fully or largely negated by resolving the AI’s various flaws. Smarter and more “realistic” AI’s would mean that players could play with higher Ai density meaning for more trade/talk opportunities without game breaking levels of Ai banditry and such.

Granted they MAY end up merging, but I really doubt it.

I dunno about expanding skills, it seems like there are already a number of redundant or useless ones. Barter is a good example.

If we go for a skill expansion mentality, it’d be good if actions giving experience towards multiple skills became more commonplace.

If bartering is completely useless, there’s no reason to mess with it one way or another, it won’t change anything to merge it with speech.
It will make it harder to split it back out if the situation changes and it becomes useful, perhaps critically so.

There’s an unstated assumption here that the mere existence of more skills is bad. You need to make a case for that if you want your argument to be convincing.

I think a more nuanced suggestion is have speech act like the markmanship of bartering and help your bartering a little bit, and vice versa

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IMO, having more skills for the sake of more skills is bad, we already have a bunch of borderline or completely useless skills. Adding skills for reasonable things makes sense, but I’m not sold on bartering actually being a useful skill.

In that case you’d have to have other speech based skills as well, but there isn’t anything like that at the moment. Maybe leadership or something along those lines for your personal party, later on organisation for when you have a base established and start sending out raiding parties and having NPCs crafting and such?

My overall suggestion is we take out bartering and add in leadership, organisation, or something along those lines, and have it set up for when NPCs and factions start getting fleshed out. For the moment it could be a 50/50 split between that and speech for trading prices and such, then start adding bonuses to friendly NPCs based on the players leadership/organisation skill.

Yes, there is.
(when they don’t meaningfully affect any outcomes and could have whatever limited functionality they may have rolled into another skill without straining credibility)

But you could have thought of all the reasons I’d give you in about 30 seconds, which means there’s no point in me saying anything. “I don’t actually know if you’re wrong but I can keep you on the defensive forever” isn’t a discussion that’s worth my time.


Your missing the point Kevin is making. Removing barter or any other skill would require time and effort, but the skill existing does not hurt anything, it remains largely unused, for now, but once NPCs get more fleshed out the skill may well be much more useful, and if it is then removing it in the first place just creates extra work on both ends.

you wouldn’t hapen to be one of those people that makes a habit of -cleaning the floor, THEN wiping countertops off,- so you have to clean the floor again are you?

So the case remains, let the game catch up with the skill, not complain about the usable -placeholder-

As I continue to think about this the argument seems self defeating, either

  • A - You level barter alot doing bartering, in which case not useless, unless the argument is that it should be more effective per level, in which case your arguing wrong.

  • B - You use barter so little that it gets basically no Xp, in which case merging it would see minimal benifits, so merging would get no usefull amount of extra XP for speaking anyways.

The skill existing harms nothing.

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I would suggest that a clean, well organized room is more efficient and enjoyable to work in. Likewise, a user interface is more enjoyable to interact with the cleaner and more efficient it is. By this same logic, a character screen’s utility is inversely proportional to the amount of “noise” presented.

On the thematic side, there should be some relationship in any game between the amount of knowledge available in the world and the number of skills available to player characters. In a sci-fi setting, knowledge is highly specialized, and this is easily and intuitively demonstrated to players by specifying between a “groundcar driving” skill and a “hovercar driving” skill. Meanwhile, a medieval setting would only have an “Animal handling” skill. A post apocalyptic setting with fewer skills implies the loss and devastation the world has undergone. The larger the skill list, the larger the total world population assumed by the player, because larger skill lists imply a greater capacity to specialize and still survive.

In CDDA, each character, PC or NPC, is expected to be abke to survive on their own. The ability to specialize is relatively low. Expanding the skill list goes against that assumption, and will confuse players on a subconscious level.

Ultimately, my first axiom of game design is that players should only do things that are fun. Scanning a large list of skills is not inherently fun. Complexity is not inherently fun. The added time spent looking at lists has to be disproportionately overshadowed by the amount of fun provided by that larger range of options, or else it is not worth the opportunity cost of programming them.

I would challenge you to prove your own argument, and explain why you believe that complexity is inherently a superior experience for the player.

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I Prefer the stacking ability of some skills, It allows you to improve either or both skills for effect.

In my opinion, Creating more skills would be beneficial.
Additional Specialized sub categorys for individual speech skills such as

While complexity =/= fun, it can be an important part of immersion, after the learning curve is overcome.
Because complexity DOES corelate to a higher learning curve, which can mean less fun.

This is not full casual game however, and I think slightly different rules apply. The more immersive it can manage to be the more fun it is. Thus the more detailed and less vague the vasrious skills and abilities can be, the more intuitive they can manage to be, the more fun the game will be.

Idealy I think the idea of a major, and minor skillsets would be best, with major’s having an impact on multiple minors, and the minors themselves having an efect on neighboring skills but would be very difficult to implement more so than it already is.

Detail benifits a game like cataclysm.
I can see a way to grey out ‘lesser’, or perhaps choose skill list order, other than skill level would to make the learning curve less difficult, as skills not moving around while you are trying to learn them, might make them easier to learn.

The crafting screen having a place for expected XP per outcome, per craft might help this as well.

Maybe a Training Mode or something, that better shows correlation(xp gain and such) between things that might be less obvious? But that seems like it might cause more confusion not less to new players.

The tutorial got revamped or something didn’t it? Probably the best way really. Controlled environments make learning easier.

i am all for more skills, and more specifically, more specialized skills.

Instead of fabrication, i’d like to see smithing, woodworking, jury rigging, gunsmithing, fletching, etcetera.

primarily for the sake of immersion/realism, because i dont think it matters how many arrows you craft, you shouldnt magically learn how to blacksmith up some swords by doing it, lol.

edit: mixed up threads, lol

but yes, i’d put barter in this same category of specialized skills. sure it isnt useful at the moment, but it may be in the future… speaking is moreso the ability to express yourself in an understandable manner, wherein bartering is moreso the ability to persuade others to agree with you. different skillset, different skill


It’s the simple fact of its uselessness. Better AI might fix the problem, but not likely. He makes very good points, and more skills is usually innately bad. Because the more skills you have, the less useful each one is. Such as this case.

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This. I also miss the construction skill, never knew why it was removed.

“You can’t specialize in the post-apocalypse”
–Personally (No offense), but I feel like this is a load of trash. You NEED to learn how to do a lot of things in the end of the world, because you are ALONE. You can’t just hop over to the local mechanic and have them get you a new tire, you gotta do it yourself. I feel like more skills is better, I like that added detail.
–I love the idea of adding more skills like woodworking, jury rigging, and such. In my opinion, things like that should very possibly work similar to melee/marksman skills - they are more specific, but still helps by the overall general knowledge/skill. In my opinion, fabrication would make a good ‘marksmanship,’ if you get what I mean.
–I believe why the construction skill was removed because lots of people hated the grind for it. I somewhat feel it should be brought back, but only once it has been overhauled and made easier to actually do anything.
–I see nothing wrong with bartering, it needs to be rebalanced along with the AI, but (Like Kevin said), you need to think about the difficulty too. When you do something, you shouldn’t simply think “Is this cheaper to do?” Because you could take all that time to build something yourself, or you could buy the item and make back that money faster than building it yourself. It’s a similar case to the bartering skill.
–Speech should act like general knowledge/skill/experience, like melee skill does for cutting. Then things like intimidation and persuasion should also be added. Intimidation/Persuasion would probably be affected by things like strength or your current gear; “This guy is literally wearing skulls on his belt, I probably should be wary of him.”

I’d be more frightened of someone with a belt with male genitals all around it lol xD

We could have more skills so long as they are within trees and the system works as such, don’t want to make navigating them a huge pain in the ass.

Skills are tied to a base skill ie: Fab
So I level woodworking and it levels Fabrication, Fabrication alone can still unlock recipes tied to other skills when it’s one or two levels ahead of said sub-category, but specializing helps a lot, and perhaps even adds a chance to make higher quality versions of the items that are marginally better in protection, damage or durability.

The current weapon tree would make more sense being split into Staff, Spear, Sword, Knife, Mace and of course unarmed + the current ranged stuff, with weapon skills being based around how the weapon is wielded and in use irl.

IE: a cudgel or two-by-sword should help swords, that or the cudgel should have both a sword and mace style that focuses on either skill type?
A quarterstaff is quite different to use than a spear, although knowing how to use a spear /might/ help using polearms in general.

Mind you, I don’t understand how for example: SMGs are using a different skill to rifles when single-shot fired, or a rifle will use the rifle skill when firing in full auto.

SMGs are very similar to rifles in use unless they’re smaller SMGs, in which case being associated with the pistol skill would make more sense when not in full-auto or perhaps burst.

-I’d consider a cudgel to be more mace-like rather that sword-like. You can’t slash and stab with a cudgel, whereas you can with a sword. Some swords specialize one attack style or another, but they tend to be far from a cudgel from what I’ve seen.
-I wouldn’t agree that a staff and a spear should use the same skill unless you are doing that purely for condensing the list.
-I feel like overall skills (melee, marksmanship) should have a slightly different color to signify what it is. Possibly do a similar thing with other skills. One example you could do is change it so a ‘master’ skill would be a dark green, and then the skills that follow under it would be a lighter green. A similar case with other skill ‘trees’ which would most certainly be nice to identify things at times.
-If any skills don’t have a proper tree (I don’t think dodge levels anything), then they would just be plain white.

The weapon skill discussion has come up before

Not specific to this game, but in general my experience with games has been that more skills is bad for several reasons:

  • It adds clutter
  • It adds complexity
  • It makes it more likely that there are skills that have a very small niche and not worth the time to invest in
  • It often makes some things oddly specific compared to the rest of the game
  • It’s often biassed towards the expertise of the game’s designers
  • Often it makes the game more tedious
  • It often ends up in a boring simulationist experience, instead of being a fun game

You do need a minimum set of skills, which does depend somewhat on the setting and game design goals. But in general I think the fewer you can get away with, the better the experience.

All of which seem to be valid arguments for this game as well. I haven’t played this game enough to have a deep insight into it’s specific skills design.