Skill points and the food.

  • So I've been enjoying eco a lot. I find it absolutely amazing. But there is one thing in particular that have been bugging me tremendously. It's the way you gain skill points.

    It's a core concept of the game. And the idea behind it is supposedly to promote eating healthy. But It is overshadowed by the fact that more advanced food give more, even without a balanced intake.
    Not only it doesn't make much sense and work against the balanced alimentation concept. But it hurts the gameplay really bad.

    In eco right now, unless you have access to a great amount of good food in some way, you get PUNISHED hard for doing any action.

    Every plot of dirt you dig, anything, is a sacrifice of calories. And with the way the food values averages, when you find yourself forced to use lesser quality food you lose in skill/day. And half of what we do in eco is waiting on skill points to learn new talents.

    So you have situations where your cook friend is afk today, no food left, you need to choose between eating low tier food and work, but lose on tons of skill point, or just log off. And those situations arises very often.

    You are new on a server, they have amazing food, but you can only afford one. Well if you need the skill points your best bet is to eat it and log off.

    It's a dreadful mechanic honestly. In real life, exercise makes you healthier. In other games, doing actions is what make you gain xp. Because it seems like a good idea to reward your players for playing the game. In eco, no. You want to play eco today? You need to buy that privilege to your local cook.

    This is making the game a lot more hardcore that it needs to be. And is hurting teamwork as well. Other people have a cool project of building a bridge or whatever they can use your help with? You can go and help them but you will lose on skill points. It feels awful. You end up putting a price on every single one of your actions and never do anything for free.


    My two cents ideas to fix the problem:

    Remove the calories mechanic. Replace it with a timer. At the end of the timer you are too hungry to perform any actions.
    That way you are not penalising players for playing your game. Also there could be the interesting concept to have some advanced food that give a lot of xp/day but don't feed you for long, and other advanced food that give less nutriment but feed you for a very long time

    Alternatively, make the food tiers a lot more even, or even totally even. Stop giving tons of extra points to high tier food. So that the balance of nutriment is what matters. And so that you can decide to eat some berries without getting food poisoning. You know, like in real life. The problem with this solution is that as the skill/days wouldn't ramp up as they do now, and advanced food a lot less valuable, a bunch of things would need to be reworked. But that way you could make the advanced food more about efficiency, or about the quest to the perfect 25/25/25/25 ratio and hit closer to home on the balanced alimentation.
    Gaining skill points say twice as fast is already a big deal. The fact that you can gain skill points 100 time faster than somebody else in the current system just by having access to high tier food is blowing my mind and is unnecessary imo.
    All it does is making it really easy to have crushing inequalities in your world. And I don't think it's a great thing to have in a game supposed to be educational and promoting a better future.

    I'm sure there is other ways to go about solving the skill point issue.

    Also in any case, your food should stay "in your stomach" for a shorter time. Or make it so there is a limit of how many dishes can be in there and remove the previous ones in a queue fashion. Right now without the /vomit command I don't know what I would do.

    I know it is a very core concept to the game and so a sensible issue. But I really would love to see it changed at some point.

    Anyway thanks for reading, and thanks for making this amazing game.

  • Very good post, idea what i have think, is to give xp reward by Used Calories. and only if calories are burned by working hard.
    as miner, i have ran to problem where i need to eat every 5-10min or so, and mostly poor food, so my daily skill earning is close to 20/day, when others sure grind to cook/bakers etc just to feed self and logoff with 100-160/day skill gain by doing nothing at all. is that fair?

  • How about somewhere in the middle, that "nutrition contributes to how well one learns/acquires experience," mixed with "one learns theory by (something, SP?), but levels up (or speeds up levelling up/decreases SP usage) through experience"?

  • The servers I was playing on kept resetting when I posted, so It was based on my early game experience, and on a few videos on youtube of people getting astronomical amounts of SP per day, it might have been earlier versions of the game.

    Early game the differences in sp you get are huge and I think it's a big problem, but from the "wild stew" up to the stove era it becomes a lot more marginal from what I have seen, it takes a lot more resources to grab a few more sp/day. And when you eat food that are not top notch it doesn't ruin your xp too much as long as you don't eat raw or campfire food.

    I think they need to boost the values of the raw and campfire food way up, and make sure future food don't have ridiculously high values, and it will be all fine. And well those kind of tweaks are the ones you make during beta I guess.

    But yeah the early game food situation is super harsh right now. If you do anything else than farming cooking and then logging off you get way behind the other players is SP. It's sad in a lot of ways. And it's the first days so it's when you're excited about building stuff.

  • Which is why there's a whole strategy of playing with raw food (that is, fern+berries+beans) for those first days building up basic infrastructure, followed by a long period of campfire food until there's a food specialist around to make high-SP food for the community. Early building is also the time when your mind is super active (and probably playing protracted periods of time) - hence you'll feel that the low SP really hurts development. This is why I suggest that player action during this time should be rewarded (limit to a degree, if you want anti-grinding/obsession mechanics in place.)

    And when I say making food, I mean not just selling it from his or her own shop, but actually offering the skill to other players' estates by actually making house calls and cooking food from storage there. This kind of gameplay requires a lot more community and social trust, however - something not everyone could or would do. This kind of "talent sharing" by house calls was one of the intents of the game mechanics, and for better or worse, the devs are making it happen.

  • I think you have a very valid point here. While I like the idea of a constant flow of skill points, and your influence on them...I find myself waiting for them and kind of incapacitated to do anything.

    I've built my small house, gathered some basic resourced and built some basic stations...but I can't really use them, since I don't have the skill points to invest in those trees...

    I think the skill point system could be combined with the tutorial to guide players better in a direction, and reward them with skill points for basic tasks; in order to get them set up better in that skill tree.