Redundant professions

Looking through many professions in Cataclysm, I think that many professions are rather redundant and does not have much special to them. For example the Computer Hacker profession essentially the same with the standard (Unemployed), the only difference is that computer hackers have pants instead of jeans and start with a level in Computer, but you can pick that skill manually anyway and computer hacker cost 1 point to select. Or the Biker (cost 2 point for some minimal outfit), Lumberjack (cost 1 point and doesn’t even have an axe, only a slightly better clothes)
Some other professions are unbalanced, such as Otaku is worse than student (only a sewing kit and messenger bag vs backpack) but cost 4 point (student costs 2), or Trapper starts with a very useful beartrap and 1 point in trapping but only cost 1 point to select.
And then there are “useless” professions (Bride, Groom, Clown), even if you choose them for flavour you can’t even see the profession in the character information screen.

The way I see it, beside interesting ones like Bionic Patient, Failed Android or professions with some kind of addiction (Hobo/Junkie/Prostitute/Chain Smoker). The rest are more like premade characters with varied clothes/equipments and skills that you can already choose in the Skill screen, IMO they can be safely removed from the game without much consequences.

I suggest we change the character creation process into something more sensible, instead of professions we can choose our starting equipments from a set of predefined ones.
For example:
Starting equipments:
Weapon: Nothing; Makeshift machete; wood axe; …
Clothes: Choose from different clothes for upper clothes, pants, shoes, caps/helmets… or just start naked.
Bionic: Some basic bionics, with the option of failed bionic for increased difficulty.
Mutation: Some basic mutations, both good and bad.
Tool: Few basic tool wrench, sewing kit, frying pan… for example

I believe this will work best (or put it more drastically, this should only happen) if we can make an overhaul to the point system using ideas outlined in this thread here. Basically instead of points the game will rate the effectiveness of your selected character. So we can have a character wearing wedding dress with a football helmet and a makeshift machete - and the game will rate that character’s difficulty appropriately.

-Truly give you the freedom to create all kind of wacky characters, like the wedding-dress-and-football-helmet character above
-With point system overhauled, accurately reflects the difficulty.
-Can be complex, repetitive and tedious.
-What about addictions and stuffs like that?

a) To tackle the first problem, we can somewhat get around this by issue a few standard, preset character. We can have:

  • “Standard” character with the same equipments to Unemployed profession we already had in the game
  • “Military personnel” character with military equipments (The game will rate this character as easy)
  • “Scientist” character with random mutagen or bionic (uninstalled) (The game will rate this character as easy)
  • “Naked” (The game will rate this character as hard)
    Note that this deals with equipments ONLY, so we can have a “scientist” character with very low Intelligent or “military personel” who doesn’t have a clue about guns.
    Those presets will only act as a shortcut to reduce the tediousness when creating new character by offering common clothes and equipments selection. The player should be able to select a preset THEN change a piece of equipment, the preset (as a shortcut) should NOT enforce the player, so we can quickly have a “military personnel” with no pant and some cocaine for example.
    b) For the second problem, I propose we add an Addiction tab to the character creation screen. We can select addiction here, from cocaine to crack and heroine. If you choose an addiction, that character will automatically start with the appropriate drug/cigarette/heroine&syringe… too.

This should replicate the exact perquisites for profession like Hobo or Junkie while professions like Bionic Patient and Failed Android can be handled by the Bionic section in the equipment selection I proposed above. This will also open up new possibilities for characters with mutation too. Or a more diverse, vibrant/crazy character like a mutated, crack-addicted, bionic implanted character with wedding dress and makeshift machete (and with the overhauled system, the game will rate that character’s difficulty accordingly).

That was a long post, I do believe this idea will be (very) hard to implement and we need the overhaul in place first for this to happen.
I intend that this will be one of those long term ideas that take time to discuss, refine and finalize.
So, what do you think?? Comments/criticisms/blames and trolling are all welcomed.

Edit: Editing and typo.

…While the professions could use more than a little rebalancing in some areas I don’t really like the idea stripping the flavor professions. It’s also worth mentioning that the computer skill for example can be used for a nice boost, you get two levels for two points instead of what, six?

Yes, professions can bring flavour, but AFAIK you can’t see them in the game, you can only see them in memorial file so that wasn’t much flavor to begin with.
Also, I think what I proposed may strip away the professions’ flavour, but in return give you the ability to make your OWN flavour/profession, what if I don’t like the wimpy Bride? Now I can give her an army rucksack and machete and imagine that she’s a ex-military personnel on a mission to take revenge on that bastard who betrayed her on her own wedding day and then the cataclysm happen. Or for more ordinary scenario what if I want my Prostitute to have a small pistol with her and a nicotine addiction instead of crack addition?

About the computer skill, I tried it in game, in the SKILL menu, by spending 1 point the game will upgrade your computer skill by 2.
Choosing Computer Hacker then upgrade computer skill 2 times give you 5 in computer and 1 point left. While upgrade purely 2 times give you 4 in computer and 2 point left so unless I’m mistaken it’s the same.

You can’t see them in game but as it stands your custom profession wouldn’t be visible in game either. What’s the point of a “Shower Victim” profession for example if you can tack on a backpack and some other things, last I checked I don’t shower with a backpack on, and presumably someone wouldn’t go to get married wearing a military rucksack and carrying a rifle.

The name is a placeholder only, if this is implemented then basically the concept of profession will cease to exist. There will be no “Bride” or “Shower Victim”, the profession is up to the player to imagine - or rather “Insert your imagined profession/role here”. Like I said before, this removes existing flavours and adds freedom to create flavours.
For a name, we can have a dialog box asking the player to name his profession/role (I’d like to think this as a “role” than a profession) upon completion, so that we can type in things like “Bride” or “Ex-military badass bride” or “Guy who wears backpack while taking a shower” or “Nicotine-addicted prostitute”.

For not showing in the game, personally I do not think it’s a big deal since it’s a singleplayer, roguelike game, I tend to imagine my own role in roguelikes. And we can always add a little place in the char screen to show the custom name.

I use the professions for role-play purposes, i like my char to have some kind of personality that distinguish him from other survivors.

Also i think it helps with the immersion.

The equipment list is now huge, not large. At last you have an ability of randomizing things - why not use it? Some items may be preset per profession or the type, and the price tag along with bodypart coverage should keep your random routine away from overpowered and sarcastic choices.

[quote=“Pageman, post:6, topic:3799”]I use the professions for role-play purposes, i like my char to have some kind of personality that distinguish him from other survivors.

Also i think it helps with the immersion.[/quote]
If you like to roleplay a Biker for example, just select the equipments that you think would fit a biker, or just copy the equipments from the old Bike profession and name your new role/profession “Biker”. Then you will have your own version of Biker that could be the same or very similar to or wildly different from the original Biker.

I agree that the list can get pretty huge and clutter up, we should limit the starting items to basic stuffs only, basic clothes, guns, tools.
Your solution could work too, by adding preset items to professions, and I must admit that it will be more doable than mine. But I proposed this to work along with the overhauled character creation system, so overpowered character can be created but the game will tell the player that he’s a wimp for making such easy character. Also by limit the preset items but remove the profession barrier, in my idea we can create all kind of characters within a reasonable boundary of logic, so “bride with Glock 19” is possible but not “bride with LACP laser pistol”.
It’s important that we draw where this “logical boundary” is so the rating system can be based from it.

This made me think of a “Looter” profession that could have a reasonable list of items they can randomly start with… Description something like: “Others didn’t, but you sensed the coming apocalypse and made a few stops before taking cover in the shelter. In panic you did not grab the most sensible objects during your shopping spree, but anything helps during a cataclysm!”. For every good item you put on the potential list add an invert of that item (Kevlar vest and bikini, machete and butter knife, bag of cheese and lemon, 20 9mm rounds or 20 9mm casings, things like that)… It’d be a good extension of the random character…

Actually, that one of yours ain’t bad at all, moist_z. Is there maybe a way to look @ things the real way?
My assessment on items, cluttering and offering the players some sort of replayability went as far as introducing an opportunity with some sort of variables. If you created a profession with several protective-gear items and a sidearm for that matter, you could have quite a few random choices. Positive and negative effects could line up with the job choice, but randomization can go much, much further.
If the game generates a world for you, it means that the engine has to make some decisions with given parameters and declare a definite number of “stuff” on the map square. This query is exactly what we need when providing some variation; the only thing is a return() call to your choice of slice. If you had a Groom character for that matter, the game asks the appropriate func to generate one additional item per building (church, chapel, sinagogue, county office?) and store it with the player character. A doctor can get so lucky and gain some antibiotics, but maybe he’s only gonna get some scissors and that’s that…
This is possibly where your Looter-king shines the best - he gets an item from the nearby car, he could’ve mugged a zombie (former citizen) to obtain a wrench - he even picked up a bunch of stuff from the School’s lockers on the way in. Maybe his profession isn’t as obsolete as it seems, because he may wish to return and finsh the job he started before being shut in during the pre-game period.

Just do what I do and cheat whatever the hell you want in, who cares who knows? Fuck em’.

Nah, as is professions are alright, shower victim is pretty much a free point to me and if you know how to play the game well you don’t even need to start with clothes, skills or weapons. The professions(in my opinion) add flavor with certain constraints, although I’ve always wondered why sheriffs have a holster and no pistol. Oh and why they wear a depute badge. They’re efficient and fun at the same time, save a few like trapper being lumberjack with a bear trap for the exact same amount of points. Have you ever rolled up a tailor and reinforced your clothes?

Shieeeeeet, the blazer/polo might as well be iron mans suit for the quick witted and discerning survivor just starting out. I don’t know about you guys but without min maxing, I’ll start flexing on my starting area with 8 in every stat, a good profession, an NPC and the almighty pipe in my hands. Pfft Lumberjacks flannel jacket is the sexiest reinforced piece of clothing I’ve ever seen. Zombies don’t want none of my punk rocker girl, cross dressing optimist, panty dropping swagger. Hell yeah, gimme’ a free skill level, gimme a poncho, I’ll have the streets so clean you’ll be able to eat off of em’ guaranteed.

And don’t get me started with biker, do you know what I could do with all of that leather?

[tt]I am actually working on a temporary improvement with professions until the devs can eventually work in a better system. Custom, tailor-made roles that can get you started with a certain scenario or role play session in mind. Think of them as less profession and more of a role. They would feature custom, profession specific gear (clothing, items, etc) that you would not be able to find anywhere else in game or at least not commonly found. Some items would just add extra flavor and personality to said profession/role. Still have some planning to do but I hope it will add some depth to it.[/tt]

Yeah I saw your thread, I agree that until the character creation process is fleshed out, custom and highly specialized, unique professions with interesting equipments would be a good addition.
Please continue with your idea and hope the devs will take interest in your works :slight_smile:

I agree that 45 professions is a huge list to work through and a good evidence it could be improved. Seems like there’s 4 different uses for professions, all at odds with each other.

  1. Actual professions, with skill + related gear (tailer, cook, hacker, etc)
  2. Addictions (hobo, prostitute, chainsmoker)
  3. Bionics (failed android, bionic X)
  4. Fun but cosmetic variations on starting gear (groom, naked, hitchhiker, etc)

The actual professions are about making sure you have the gear to use your starting abilities, and might be better served by just having points put into your skills actually give you starting gear. Like infectedmochi says, the existing system is redundant with the allocating skills, so we should just use skills. That wouldn’t give all of the gear customization being requested in this thread, but it have the pro of being faster and not adding a new step to the process.

Addictions are essentially a negative trait and could go there.

Bionics are essentially a positive trait and could go there.

Cosmetic gear variations seem to be about telling a fun story. That might be better served by alternate starts which decide both clothes and your starting location (start as a stood-up groom in a church or a shower victim at the edge of town), and maybe give you a mission. If you made the above changes, there wouldn’t be anything left in Profession except these starts, so you could just rename it to Scenario with Evacuee being the default.

Part of the benefit of professions is that they are NOT alacarte. It encourages playing with what you have on hand rather than playing your “build” every time. Does it excel at doing that? Not sure, but just saying everything should be alacarte misses the point entirely. With bionics in particular, I’d be more inclined to say you can’t start with them at all rather than picking preexisting CBMs from a list.

Now with the more nuanced “rating based” character building, it might address the issues in a better way that supports alacarte everything, but I’m a bit skeptical of the value of alacarte items and bionics even then.

Agreed - an a la carte system is simply too abusable, thanks to synergies wildly inflating the value of almost every item such that simply taking items at all would need to be cost prohibitive or there would need to be tons of logic implemented, for a solution that simply doesn’t seem to do much other than remove a good chunk of the point of the game.

The closest I could see happening is some professions coming with choices, but that’s just a bunch of professions stored under one label, effectively. (Might be a good idea, but it’s almost solely a UI thing)

[tt]I agree to some extent. For the time being I am hoping to use Professions as Roles. Giving them tailored gear that gives them personality and depth. Obviously there won’t be any special gear (as far as giving the player an advantage) but more to say, hey, this character had a life before everything went to hell. They were somebody. I also think I’ll make them all 0 point professions to choose though I may suggest certain traits to increase the enjoyment when choosing/rping/etc the role.[/tt]

As someone who enjoys playing self-inserts, I would like the ability to start the game as an Overworked Grad Student.

A couple levels in Computers, a strong addiction to caffeine, and Dead Tired.


[me=Aluminumfoil]pops open another energy drink and goes back to work. [/me]

Yeah I foresee this will need a good amount of coding, so right now it isn’t feasible or offer too little advantages for the effort (I was kinda future-proofing my idea when I post this :slight_smile: )
I’d like to point out that I think we can avoid this over-complexity by limiting equipments to early game equipments only, that way we can cut up potential game-breaking combinations and exploits.
To allow players to play without actually building their character, we can use the tried and true random option.
About bionics, instead of choosing, maybe give the player the ability to invest 1 or 2 “points” to"gamble" for bionics (these bionic would be taken from a pool of fairly normal (aka not super powerful bionics) ones.). With the chance of malfunctioned bionics too.

A good compromise, as moist_zombie, vulture and GlyphGryph has posted is too allow professions have choices in their starting equipment. Yup, that could definitely work too IMO.