Like most people, I have an idea for a game. I have a particular concept I want to create with a particular set of mechanics I want to implement.

What I need help with is the underlaying player statistics, how they effect what the player can do, and how I can enable a player endless expansion down a particular path that improves only a small sub-set of those statistics.

The entire game will be turn based. The concept is to explore and learn about the world you're in. Books, scripts, notes-on-napkins will lead you to secrets and dungeons. There are no quests to do this for you. You have to read, study and venture forth.

The base stats will decide how effective you are in combat as well as other areas of exploration and general existence in the world.

It could be important to mention that combat in my system isn't realtime or even in the control of the player. The player decides to enter a dangerous area of the map and the computer decides if they get into combat. The computer also rolls some dice and applies modifiers based stats, and finally decides who is the winner. You may die, you may be able to flee. I haven't decided yet.

At this moment in time, I'm considering the following (classic) player stats:

  • Strength
  • Stamina
  • Intelligence
  • Wisdom
  • Agility
  • Intuition

I'm considering the following three class types:

  • Combat
  • Magic
  • Stealth

Class types have two base statistics behind them:

  • Combat: Strength and Stamina
  • Magic: Intelligence and Wisdom
  • Stealth: Agility and Intuition

Somewhat obvious, I guess. Moving further into the mechanics, I had the following progression system in mind:

  • Levels 1-50 are about learning the game and its mechanics
  • Advancing to level 50 is fast and is also the cap
  • After level 50, you gain Guild Wars 2 style "Mastery" points which allow you to enhance specialisations
  • The end-game is about horizontal progression and mastering your class type, but more importantly, it's about lore and finding it

The idea behind Specialisations is you invest Mastery into them and they force your character down a particular path: combat, magic, or stealth. They also lock you out of the other paths, so you can't mix and match. You have to think about what it is you want to do and whether you can do it based on your understanding of the area you're going into.

The idea behind locking a player down a particular path (which can be unlocked and reassigned, but with research, effort and work) is I want to make it difficult for players to simply construct a "super character" that can take on everything and everyone. Think about how easy it is to become a super mage in Skyrim that can blow everything up... boring!

I want a world in which a very powerful mage is useless against certain monsters simply because of the magic resistance and shear strength that monster has: it forces the player to respec' and rethink before walking into any situation.

To summarise, my thoughts so far are:

  • Base stats effect everything the player does
  • Equipment can effect the base stats as well as potions and the other classic stuff
  • Specialisations effect only two stats and lock out other specialisations
  • Mastery points go on and on, but the "leveling" curve gets harder and harder quit quickly
  • Mastery and leveling up a particular specialisation enables the player enter new parts of the world (which is massive, by the way) and continue exploring, but not without first researching what's there (and respeccing as a result)

Am I looking at a dead end here, or is this possible? I'm brand new to game development and really enjoy the mechanics behind games. Am I describing a classic setup here, perhaps? Or something close to one?

I would welcome and greatly appreciate all feedback. I'd even welcome a preexisting system I can copy/paste into my world and just use ;-)

Thanks again.

EDIT: Thanks for the great replies and questions. I think I'm getting this a bit backwards and will, instead, focus on my location and movment, then overlay combat when the time comes :-)

  • \$\begingroup\$ What kind of impossibility are you worried about here? It sounds like a combination of features that have each been seen in games before. So apart from sheer scope of work there's not an obvious barrier here. Is there a particular problem case or design decision you're looking for help disentangling? \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Apr 11, 2018 at 13:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think we need to know more about your combat mechanics to give you a proper answer. We can not help you balance a system when we don't know how that system works. For example, what do these "(classic) player stats" do and how do they interact with the stats of the enemies? \$\endgroup\$
    – Philipp
    Apr 11, 2018 at 14:45

5 Answers 5


Of course it's good for you to have this tree, but what I see from this is that you are aiming too high! As a beginner developer you might just get stuck. Trust me it happened to me many times and I have only finished one small game. I didn't read the whole thing, but I ran trough it and I can really say it's too much for a beginner. So if you want to get ALL this done, what you have to do is cut it down a lot and get the BASIC IDEA of all this. After you create the basic small prototype, then you will be able to expand it. First make the game playable and then expand it to this. So instead of doing all this to make it playable, make sure it's playable when you make just a part of all this! Good luck!

  • \$\begingroup\$ This, so much this! A lot of my projects are abandoned unfinished because my expectations were way bigger than what I was able to do. Having a small working project and building it up from that. And you'll notice that it's gonna be much more efficient than thinking about a huge project right away. \$\endgroup\$
    – Steven
    Apr 12, 2018 at 6:24

Often games tend to prefer single class focus, as you described for your end game, however from a user perspective consider this:

Warrior beats stealth beats mage beats warrior

I'm playing your game as a Stealth character. I spent the last 4 hours quickly leveling up. Each level granted new information, so the majority of the time spent playing was interrupted with learning some new aspect. I muscled through it, learning this new ruleset, and finally done!

Now that I'm at max level, fully invested in my class, thinking I've finally "got there" turns up I get absolutely murdered by a group of "Warriors." Nothing I had learned worked against them. Now I can't progress without relearning a whole new skill tree? But I don't want to respec to a Mage!

So I've outlined a potential use case where your design would disappoint. That doesn't mean everyone will feel that way, however I think we should always try to consider each possibility we can.

I propose that while you structure your skill tree allow the player to not just be rock paper scissor, but rather One of something and Half of another. That way at LEAST they have the potential to survive a deadly encounter with their nemesis by using their minor skillset intelligently.

You can handle your desire for "Respec" differently by allowing more advanced combat tactics to be skill based, similar to diablo 3. being able to quickly prepare your skills to enhance situational tactics can give you that "No one build destroys everything" aspect without making it unapproachable.

First time posting an answer here, hope it helps.


All of this is definitely possible, in fact it sounds somewhat similar to the leveling system in DDO (Dungeons & Dragons Online). As Joza100 said though, this is a lot for a beginner, and you should really just get the bare-bones game working first, then layer features on after. Kind of like making a cake, then adding frosting and fondant after the base cake is good.


I like the idea of forcing a player to respect and think things through.

Pardon my long answer, but it details examples, and also your q was long.


You can do a rock paper scissors setup. E.g. Mage beats thief, thief beats warrior, warrior beats mage. So a warrior would only wanna venture in mage towns to fight mages in this example, since they'll have an easier time there.

Give players options to choose from. I.e. some options work well in certain situations, other options work better in other situations. Players have to assess the situation and pick a good option. I.e. randomly picking one won't work.

With six stats instead of only three, players can have more options and variety.

E.g. A warrior who puts all their points into strength and none into stamina can deal lots of damage, but thieves with high agility can just dodge their attacks until the warrior gets tired, and then the thief wins.

But such warriors can fight powerful mages that take too long to cast powerful spells.

They decided their fate by choosing what to master!

But maybe more stamina allows a warrior to stand a chance vs an agile thief. But with some intuition, thieves know how to counter a warrior that only knows how to swing their sword horizontally. Thief knows how to roll under and attack.

Six stats can lead to more options and thus more thinking, which engages players and makes these types of games fun.

Another idea: Only if your strength is 20 points high will certain strong NPCs share tales and strategies of intense battles with you. But a powerful mage or thief won't tell you their advanced strategies.

How do you balance the game? Is 20 points strength fair? or broken? "Broken" means cheap. What about 15 strength? or 25? You'll probably find this out through testing your game, so make a playable prototype!

Note: there's super-fair balancing, e.g. no hard-counters. Or there's balancing where some classes hard-counter others, which can be more exciting to watch, but sometimes unfair in some matchups.

You're not looking at a dead end. You're looking at lots of possibilities! League Of Legends has 140 characters! Imagine the options there! I think Magic the Gathering has a bazillion possibilities, too. meta-game and matchups are keywords, too. These things go hand in hand with competitive pvp games.

Check this out for how to make players think: How can I make text-based combat more engaging?

Good luck!

*P.S. If you copy and paste someone's code or something, you'll get their permission or follow their license, right? Don't get into any legal trouble.

There's very permissive open source licenses (e.g. MIT license, X11) that are free with few or no strings attached.

And the less permissive ones (i.e. "copyleft" e.g. GNU, GPL) that are also free, but with a few certain strings attached.

P.P.S. anything (applicable) is automatically copyrighted as soon as it exists. Registering for a (c) is just extra safety measure.*

P.P.P.S. I'm not a lawyer. Ask them for legal advice. Don't take my advice word for word.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for this. You've given me a lot to think about. I've been thinking about the combat more and for now, I'm going to focus on the world, movement, lore, and the mechanics that evolve from that. I'll then add basic combat on top and then expand from there. Bit by bit :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Mr Crilly
    Apr 12, 2018 at 3:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Awesome! It doesn't need 140 characters, tho. I played a bit of a fighting game that had 26 characters, but only less than half are considered "viable" in tournaments. I've never played League of Legends, so 140 characters is mind boggling to me. lol. But yeah work on things in whichever order you like. Ironically, that makes me more productive than following a logical order. (but if you're in a team, then flexibility probably helps). Good luck! \$\endgroup\$
    – sdhy
    Apr 14, 2018 at 3:11

Ahem If I were creating the game, I would only make three changes:

  1. Change the level cap to about 200, which they should reach in about 1.3 playthroughs if they do not grind.

  2. Rock - Paper - Scissors: Yes, I know this has already been mentioned, but this works very well. Be creative with it too!

  3. Ease the players into the system - Do not start the players off with anything more complex then the very basic options for combat, and slowly introduce the rest.

Also, tweak the system in the beta testing to get the best responses from testers.


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