Created By: DracMonster on May 15, 2012 Last Edited By: DracMonster on May 16, 2012

Save Skill Points For Later

Increasing your character's abilities early hamstrings his power later on.

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Do We Have This One?? Needs a Better Title, this doesn't have to be limited to "skill points" per se, but any game where increasing your power early on penalizes you later. Possible title Early Strength Equals Later Weakness if we dont have the concept already.

In some games that give you skill or stat points as you gain levels or advance through the game, developing early skills makes things easier at first, but means you can't put those points in more powerful skills later on, effectively making those points wasted.

Playing Diablo 3 (which deliberately averts this) made me think of Diablo 2, where this was in full effect until they redesigned the skill system to have low level skills provide bonuses to later ones. I know there are other games I've played with this issue, but can't think of them right now.
Community Feedback Replies: 9
  • May 15, 2012
    Many games allow you to rearrange skill points later in order to prevent this, but often with limits.
  • May 15, 2012
    An interesting choice in this case goes under the Star Ocean series... a lot of the skill points are better saved until the skill that cheapens other skills becomes available. 1 and 2 had some good choices early on but crippled the skill points if abused and you landed on the "need to grind" later on.
  • May 15, 2012
    Not certain if this falls into the trope but:

    • The Pokemon games have had this in spirit to a degree. Typically takes the form of evolving your Pokemon as soon as possible will often delay the learning of more powerful attacks, or prevent them altogether. This is especially true of Pokemon evolved by elemental stones, as the majority of them stop naturally learning new abilities once the evolution is done.
  • May 16, 2012
    You're right, that doesn't necessarily qualify. Pokemon that evolve via level-up will generally still learn the same (or sometimes better) moves eventually, and the significant boost to stats is generally more useful than learning powerful moves earlier. Evolutionary stones may or may not qualify, because as mentioned, most species who can evolve via stone won't learn any new moves via level-up afterwards.
  • May 16, 2012
    Never played pokemon so I dunno. If leveling up incorrectly can permanently nerf a character later on and theres no way to fix it with a Skill Point Reset or something it counts.
  • May 16, 2012
    Not really used with Skill points, but rather with Experience Points in Kingdom Hearts. In the first game, you had to answer a series of questions that determined your leveling-up speed. You could do one of the following: A) Get a lot of levels early, but late-game, it takes forever to level up, meaning that when you're stuck on That One Boss, you have to spend long tedious hours grinding just for one level (which applies to this trope). B) A normal Exp. Gain. C) Get levels at a much slower rate early-game, but late-game, levels will come incredibly quickly (the anti-thesis of this trope).
  • May 16, 2012
    I previously did a YKTTW for Blind Character Build, which is very similar and a bit of a supertrope: You might want to revisit that one instead.
  • May 16, 2012
    Just for the record: rearranging skill points mentioned earlier in this thread is called Skill Point Reset.

    • In the first Knights Of The Old Republic, a lot of players found it useful not to invest into any skills until they left Taris (the starting planet), because the character becomes a Jedi afterwards, opening up much more potent abilities.
  • May 16, 2012
    Neverwinter Nights allows this with skill point distribution, but not feats or ability points. Non class skills cost 2 skillpoints each and can only be levelled to half of the current maximum level of class skills.

    One common application of this tactic is for a melee or caster class like a barbarian or wizard to hang on to a bunch of skillpoints, then take a level of a finesse class like bard or rogue and dump those skillpoints into skills like tumble(bonus AC, avoid certain types of attack) or hiding skills, giving that character an instant boost to defense or a new stealth combat tactic.