Created By: arromdee on March 26, 2011
Nuked

Blind Character Build

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Trope
This is a subtrope of Guide Dang It (which doesn't seem to be treated as having subtropes) where the game player is given a choice of how to build a character (typically through a skill tree or similar) but is not told what abilities appear later on in various places in the tree, and sometimes not even how to qualify for any particular path. As a result, the user has to either build a character at random and hope that he gets useful abilities, or use a guide.

  • Final Fantasy Tactics has a tree of classes--you must achieve specific levels in some classes before being eligible for other classes. Which levels of which classes make you eligible for which ones is undocumented.
  • Dragon Quest VIII makes the player choose which of several weapons to put skill points in. Advancing the weapons earns specific skills and abilities. The player is not told what these abilities are or at what level they are gained, leaving only a very rough guide (staves grant more spells, for instance).

(I can think of other subtropes of Guide Dang It and might try a YKTTW for those. For instance, the exhaustive search for hidden objects.)
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • March 26, 2011
    Speedball
    Most of the Fallout series is guilty of this, not telling you what stats are needed for perks to appear until after character creation.
  • March 27, 2011
    arromdee
    Pokemon has this in spades. Aside from the general Guide Dang It nature of how to evolve the Pokemon, the fact that it takes a guide to know which Pokemon gets good attacks, what level it gets them at, what and when it evolves into, and whether it gets good stats causes this trope to exist per-party instead of per-character--you just don't know which Pokemon to add to your party and evolve for 50 levels without a guide.
  • March 27, 2011
    Stratadrake
    I have to question the tropability (splittability, actually) of this, because examples would include pretty much almost every RPG ever made. It's actually rare for the game to reveal such behind-the-scenes details like stat growth or new skills you can learn -- it's part of the learning process as you go along and experience the RPG; wanting to know this stuff beforehand belongs to the realm of Munchkins and Stop Having Fun Guys.
  • March 27, 2011
    Bisected8
    In Disgaea you unlock new types of units by levelling up existing ones. Sometimes in very odd combinations for the more interesting ones.
  • March 27, 2011
    Kaoy
    I disagree, Stratadrake. While it certainly shouldn't apply to a game like a dungeon crawler(which are all about experimenting) or FFVI(which has a set team of characters that develop entirely linearly), that doesn't mean it doesn't apply to all RPG games. In a game where you either have to make your own party from an almost limitless number of choices(like Pokemon, mentioned above), or have a set table of irreversible options(like FFXI Is licenses), it is very annoying when you never know if that low level tank-type of your might suddenly become a glass cannon due to a odd evolution or if that tree that seems to lead to more health suddenly switches to being all about getting more mana.
  • March 27, 2011
    TooBah
    Kingdom Hearts (the original game) asks you a series of questions at the beginning. Except for, "Do you want to be a Wizard/Fighter/Something Else," the questions seem random. If you read a guide, it tells you that depending on your answers you level up faster at the beginning, middle or end.
  • March 27, 2011
    Kaoy
    The Kingdom Hearts one can be especially annoying if you aren't really aware of it when starting a game on Nightmare difficulty. I remember having to grind like hell to beat first boss on my Nightmare play through. Slow leveling, high difficulty and the choosing staff route made for a lot of hair pulling.
  • March 27, 2011
    arromdee
    I recently played Kingdom Hearts (for the first time).

    That old canard about not telling you about level-ups is not true. It actually does tell you that the effect of the choices is that you level up slower or faster. Granted, it does so in flowery language that some players might interpret to mean something else, but it does say it.

    It's also a single moment of choice, not a whole set of them, and it doesn't actually prevent the player from getting anything he could get if he chose a different option.

    Also, there's no reason it has to be present in most RP Gs because the extreme cases can be averted simply by putting the information in the manual or game. FFT could easily have a screen with greyed out classes and where if you cursor up to Calculator it says "Prerequisites: Lv. 4 Priest, Lv. 4 Wizard, Lv. 3 Time Mage, Lv. 3 Oracle".
  • March 27, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    In Heroes of Might and Magic V - when choosing basic talents, you get to know the three masic skills that can come with each talent, but not the special skills that might result from different combinations ( such as flaming arrows ballista, which you only get by developing ranged combat and war machines )
  • March 27, 2011
    Kaoy
    ^^If I recall, it says something about how 'Your journey will begin in the dark of night, but should you press forward, a dawn is ever approaching'(paraphrased) if you get the slow lower levels/fast higher levels route. If you know that thats what those questions are about, you can figure it out. If you didn't, then you might think it affect how much damage you take, what sort of loot you can find, what ending you get, or any number of things. Personally, on my first play thru, I ended up with the fast early levels/slow later levels. I was boggeled about why they were asking if I was okay with starting in the day and ending in the night. With the way the game ended, something clicked in my mind and made me think that this is what it was all about, and that I got the, some what ambiguously, bad end. I purposely set out to do the exact opposite on my next run(which was the above mention nightmare run) and only found out it had to do with levels when I checked on line for advice about how on earth to be the first real boss(when you meet Donald and Goofy) on higher difficulty. Needless to say, I was pretty annoyed.
  • March 28, 2011
    arromdee
    I see your point. I was aware of the effect already when I played the game and it might not be so obvious to someone who doesn't know its meaning already.

    I still don't think it counts, though. Or if it does it's a lot milder form. You don;t actually lose anything when your level up speed changes.

    When I played FFT though I lost out on over half the classes until it got very late in the game and I finally consulted a guide out of sheer frustration over missing a majority of the game.
  • March 28, 2011
    Kaoy
    ^Well, I can certainly agree Kingdom Hearts is only a very mild example. It does make the game a lot more difficult though, if you get the slow low levels route.

    Also, I mentioned it above, but FFXII probably counts. You can only see one tile around each of the tiles you have bought. It's pretty annoying when you just want to know where the Ninja Swords are or where the licence for that one accessory you just got that is just what you needed is.
  • March 28, 2011
    Glucharina
    Jagged Alliance 2 had similar to Kingdom Hearts situation. When creating a custom merc, you are offered a psych test to determinate your specializations. Some results are obvious, some are not. And if you play first time, you will probably think it doesn't affect anything and get psycho merc by giving "funny" answers.
  • March 28, 2011
    arromdee
    Ultima (4 I think, or maybe 5) had questions at the start which were later homaged in Ultima IX, I think this isn't really the same kind of thing I'm referring to, though in some sense it's a very simplified form of it.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=xt8n3oi8um2qs2mg40kryic9&trope=DiscardedYKTTW