Skill trees in video games are a popular trope, bringing a wide variety of stat and skill boosts to characters across many genres. They come in such a fascinating array of styles, from a huge points grid to talents a player chooses by going down a simpler skill tree.
It is important to note that a good or bad skill tree does not affect video games in any way. A game can be genuinely fun and enjoyable without having an intuitive or fun skill tree system.
Some of these trees are considered perfect and fun to use, and others got players so frustrated that they uninstalled the game after going around the tree. When it comes to lists like this, the usefulness of each skill tree varies from player to player.
5 Video Games That Feature Awesome Skill Trees
1) Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction
Diablo 2 has a pretty strong talent system. Each character has a unique skill tree with three paths to follow, based on a variety of builds. Players can easily determine where they want to go and what they want to do in the game. Certain versions of Diablo 2 are of course more powerful than others. That’s how video games work.
In Lord of Destruction, however, synergies have been added. This helped those lower tier skills benefit from other skills later in the game. So for example putting dots into Fire Bolt will also increase his fireball damage, making it worth creating some synergies. The ability to increase skill power beyond the normal “level 20” cap was amazing.
The skill trees were easy to navigate and also provided a significant amount of power and playability for all character classes.
2) Yakuza 0
Several of the Yakuza video games have some sort of skill tree system, where Kiryu and his friends gain more power and stats. Yakuza 0 didn’t use experience, stat points, spirits or anything like that. Instead, to acquire more skills and stats in Yakuza 0, players had to use money.
That’s right, Kiryu and Majima had to spend money to increase their overall stats. This made sense, since the 80s were a time of serious economic boom for Japan, and the player would quite easily end up with millions and billions of yen.
Some of the skills are unlocked behind the gameplay which was pretty easy to figure out. Each of the character skill trees had unique abilities, combos, and moves, as well as health and attack buffs that rippled regardless of what stance the player was using. Yakuza 0 has an excellent skill tree.
3) Final Fantasy X
No game has a skill tree as pronounced as Final Fantasy X. Every character has a tree they can descend, with multiple ways to diverge. In fact, if a player wishes, they can give each character all skills and abilities, as it is a massive, connected tree.
There are also easy ways to build tons of AP, to make filling the sphere grid more doable. Making each character capable of doing anything is a great idea, while giving them a unique identity of their own at the same time.
4) Witcher 3
Witcher 3 has a pretty solid skill tree system that uses a more proven building system. There are three trees to choose from: Combat Skills, Signs, and Alchemy Skills. There is also a “General Skills” tree to examine. There are important and powerful skills in each tree, and the way they are divided makes it easy to create overpowered versions for Geralt.
It can sometimes be a bit confusing to know where to place the dots first, but there are some fairly common and powerful builds that gamers tend to use that are easily found on the internet. It feels more like a traditional MMO or a single-player RPG talent building system. It may not be the best system, but it’s a solid system worth putting the time into.
Skyrim is a game that’s basically a meme right now. It’s available on just about every console that can run games, and it’s often quite controversial. Skyrim has a pretty deep skill tree system, which makes some trees feel unnecessary.
When it comes to video games, it’s nice to have the ability to do anything, and Skyrim basically grants that. There is a wide assortment of play styles, from magic, stealth, archery or even lock picking.
If players want to build by simply breaking into people’s homes safely, they can do that. It’s not a groundbreaking skill tree, but it’s still a solid tree that feels nice and allows players a nice and deep assortment of gameplay builds.
5 disappointing skill trees in video games
1) World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
One of the major flaws of the various skill trees in World of Warcraft is putting points into abilities that the player has no use for. These points go to passives or abilities that are simply annoying.
Some builds simply have leftover points that will go into skills or abilities that do nothing. At this point in World of Warcraft, the talent trees were improving, but the early expansions were extremely disappointing. On top of that, mathematically speaking, there will always be a “best” build, which makes it unnecessary to consider so many other skills and abilities.
2) Path of exile
Path of Exile nearly made both the good and the bad list. To be clear, Path of Exile is a great game, and it has perhaps the largest skill tree of any video game. You can literally do anything and play however you want. But that’s also one of the problems with the skill tree.
He has such a huge amount of skills and stats that he can be incredibly overwhelming for new players. More and more players are using the Internet to search for a construction and use it, which causes a large part of the tree to be thrown to the wayside. It’s not a bad tree, but it can get too overwhelming for potential players.
3) Rogue Legacy 2
Rogue Legacy 2 is an incredibly fun part of the roguelite genre in video games. Players play through the castle repeatedly with an assortment of characters. As players collect gold, they use it to increase the strength of their own castle. The skill tree is the castle itself. Players cannot keep gold from race to race (other than a small game), so they must use it wisely.
However, each time a player purchases an upgrade, it increases the cost of all future upgrades. This can make it nearly impossible to get useful and powerful upgrades, as the cost becomes too high. The only option is to start a new file, as the tree cannot be reset.
4) Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla could have learned from the “less is more” lesson in video games. There are so many skills and skill trees to go through. There are some powerful skills to learn in the trees, that’s for sure. For the most part, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has used this tedious method of designing skill trees.
It seems as vast and unfortunate as the Path of Exile skill tree. There aren’t a ton of amazing skills either, and that leads to many players using one or two viable builds because the other skills just aren’t worth it.
5) Borderlands 3
Borderlands video games use an MMO-style skill tree. Characters get a series of skill trees that suit a variety of playstyles. The downside of Borderlands 3 is that the trees are incredibly boring. They tend to deal a little damage here and there, maybe run faster or take a little less damage.
Endgame trees will surely be fun, but it takes so long to get there that it’s hardly worth the effort. Skills are too focused on increasing the player’s action skills, and the damage or movement increases are pretty mediocre at best. There’s nothing unique or interesting about it, which is a shame after all the Borderlands games that have come out to this point.
Skill trees come in a wide variety of styles in video games, and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, not all of them are great, and some fans may find joy in what others can’t stand. It’s good to have different versions, but when everything looks more or less the same, it can be a disappointment. These video games can still be good or bad, even with a bad skill tree system.
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