My problem with the new skill tree - and it's effects on combat

I remember playing CP2077 while it still had the original skill trees. Did I had the "everything build" feeling sometimes? Yep, no denying that. Can't say that it ever bothered me that much - I played with the weapons and style I wanted, and ignored the rest, 'cause I still had fun - and most importantly, I was (!) able to do so. Little did I know this fun will be ripped out from the game under the banner of "improvement"...

I will do my best to give my take on the new skill tree - trying (!) to go more with logic and less with "feelings" - as those can be as many/varied as there are CP players. I will also have to cover some of the changes to the equipment and cyberware, but will only do it as much as it's necessary for how it affects stats and combat. I will most likely stay with the ranged/gunplay affecting parts of the changes, as that's the part I mainly (99%) go for, enjoy (got no problem with other options, I like(d) this part of the game better).

Also, just to clear this up at the beginning, I do believe that CDPR was wholeheartedly trying to improve the game, with high ambitions and with the player experience as their main focus! I believe they worked hard with this, yet I think for the better gameplay experience and, though that, the longevity of the game it needs rework.
Of course, serious, game-breaking bugs first!

The very first thing I would highlight is the removal of flat bonus damage perks. This is a serious problem, because you can't get stat bonuses for, say, pistol damage. You can get bonus headshot damage - which is good for players who wish to play like that. The problem is that while you can get decent hits via headshots with pistols and their perks, you will do nothing at all if you hit anywhere else. In other words, you CAN'T play with weapons like pistols, revolvers, rifles ANY OTHER WAY than how the skill tree ALLOWS you. The problem is the lack of achievable damage output outside of these fixed playstyles. This method restricts gameplay and player experience. What's the point in different weapons/iconic weapons in the aforementioned categories if I can ONLY do the same with them. And if the problem is with getting to much headshot damage with too much base damage, then specify what can and can't count towards the HS damage and there you go. Now you get result for being the best gunslinger in NC and also for being a gun-ho maniac who rains down bullet hell on their enemies. Also, did no one at CDPR remembered that drones and droids don't have "heads" !?

And while we are at the "doing the same" topic: it limits gameplay experience. If I start a new character and want to play using power pistols, I can only do so EFFECTIVELY by going for the style predestined by the perks - I CAN'T play in any other way. To add to this, in general, with the introduction of the stamina game mechanic for shooting, you are even more restricted in doing what the perks - especially the high-tier ones - REQUIRE since if not, then you will be restricted to a shooter where despite having automatic weapons, you will HAVE TO shoot in bursts/have delays even when there would be an opening. Same goes for shotguns - one of the highest tier perks gives you high bonus damage for your next quick melee after shooting an enemy with a shotgun and high bonus for the next shotgun hit after a quick melee. If you do not wish to use this mechanic, then you would loose a great deal of extra damage - WHICH YOU HAVE NO WAY TO COMPENSATE FOR! You will swap back and forth SMG-s if you want to utilize the bonus fire rate and, as I mentioned before, if you want to do RELEVANT damage with pistols and revolvers, you HAVE TO get headshots.

I am also seriously concerned that the devs designed themselves into a corner regarding the possible later fine tuning of the skill trees. Since correcting the possibility of players becoming so OP that there are no challenge in enemy encounters, I am going to move forward with the assumption that the lvl 20 perks with the highest tier gear are the ceiling of the reachable damage output. This is will be a problem not just because of what I wrote previously about restricting gameplay styles, but also because they won't be able to add anything to the lower tier perks without risking of making the game unbalanced (if nothing else, then compared to what they have/had in mind). This could lead to a domino effect, where they tweak with some smaller perk, suddenly a category becomes OP compared to others - there it is, now the others will need to tweaking to remain relevant. Of course, this can still happen, regardless of how the perk system is set up, but this current state - I think - really limits the devs options.

I had stated at the beginning that I will try to stay away from what "feels" right and what not regarding the topic, but I will just quickly mention, getting a measly +x% stamina regen FOR SHOOTING feels soooo f*cking not rewarding. I want to hit stronger, period. To feel like I am getting better, stronger. Making an annoying mechanic a tiny bit less annoying/delaying a bit when it will be annoying AGAIN is not what I would call character progression...

Also, there are no perks affecting status effects (or whatever they are called here) like burn, shocked, poisoned etc. that are universal. Sure, you can have some other effects with melee and throwable weapons - those are cool and all, but ranged weapons don't get anything. What's even the point in having chance to inflict these with ranged weapons in the first place? You can get bonus for that kind of damage from cyberware, but that's irrelevant, since it's such a small percentage - even if you get it for most or all of your cyberware. The point is you can't get gun damage bonus against affected enemies. For example, with the Psalm 11:6 weapon, that feels like when I'm not shooting and the burn is ticking, an ant keeps biting the enemy's leg, but if I get the appropriate bonus for my cyberware, I can get it up to two ants by min/maxing! YAY! Having bonus weapon (!) damage against affected enemies would make much more sense. It would also make the applying chance/bonus chance relevant... again!

Let's talk a bit about what I would call supplementary perks - at least from the combat perspective. The abilities to dash, air dash, crouch-sprint ARE FUN. Same goes for the little extra quickhack tricks, nice. But they are irrelevant in regards of combat effectiveness. I don't want them to go, let's make this clear. But most of them barley affect what you can do at the important parts of the game. If I would go with the pistol/gunslinger build, then I being able to dash, hack or do tricks while driving are irrelevant when I'm in a fight - especially with a boss - or when I'm talking with important characters. If you take these out of the equation, then what remains are roaming, doing side quests non-combat ways etc. Good stuff, love to do them and all, but having different ways to do these are, from my perspective, only as important to be able to change the color of your car. Nice if you can, irrelevant from core gameplay perspective. I also get that most of the movement abilities can be important for melee playstyles. Ok, still doesn't make them relevant for ranged/gun using players. That's why I wrote that I don't want them gone, but the devs needs to realize how few real options remain once you choose your ONE weapon category.
If you go with ranged guns (excluding shotguns here), then you can get:

- quickhack bonuses, since you can't get ranged bonuses

- movement bonuses, since you might want to move around quickly - because you can't keep enemies away - because you can't get ranged bonuses

- grenade/health item bonuses
- because you will want to throw grenades at enemies for to reason: you can't keep them away and you can't halt their onslaught with shooting them in their f-ing head, and
- also because enemies deal significant damage, especially when you have to choose between having high armor, or getting a supporting cyberware for your character, because you need tricks, because you can't get ranged bonuses

- or, the best option, since most of these are around your chosen ranged weapon category's tree, is some good melee weapon/hand cyberware bonuses - since one of the main point of the rework is not having everything characters, yet you can barley have a ranged one...

Regarding quickhacks, you can build a decent trickster one, with Weapon glitch, Reboot optics and Cyberpscyhosis. That IS fun, and, once again, great to have as an option. Yet the same problem - no unconditional damage bonus - appears here, too. This mostly goes back to the status effect problem I mentioned a few... chapters before. You mostly just get a few more ants to tickle the enemy. And they barley react to it. Other games make these effects so much useful with, say, enemies panicking because they get set on fire. Here, most you'll get is "Oh, no! Anyway." One last thought on this: did the devs ever looked at the sight of applying a Suicide quickhack on a strong enemy, who proceeds to shoot themselves and then, like nothing happened, keep going at you... Quite illusion/immersion breaking, at least for me. (No, I'm not asking for an instant boss-fight winning tool, just saying it looks ridiculous.)

Grenades now are only good for stalling/knocking down stronger enemies - or take out mob, because, unless you stick with your weapon category's playstyle, you will have a hard time taking down them, too. Also, I have no idea why making grenades charge based seemed like a good change. Unless they were trying to limit the spawning items in the world - or to add some other effect to certain perks, so the Tech ability skill tree won't look as hollow as it is in realty.

My best idea of a solution would be to rework how much bonus damage is locked in lvl 20 tier perks - which require certain playstyles. Most of that damage should be spread across lower tier perks - those irrelevant stamina bonuses could be replaced with them, my next point - and then top those with an extra 25%, 30% damage for certain playstyles. Also, those weapon categories which don't get bonuses at all, just some other effect, should get some with lower tier perks - for the same reason, not to get locked into playstyles, relying on effects. Those high tier effects should be game changing, but not the only way to be a relevant player.

Next is to loose the stamina mechanism for ranged weapons (of course, it makes sense for melee)! Don't make sense at all - in shooters where the player can affect stuff - recoil, spread, etc. - with perks, attachments and weapon stats, you can reach an optimal state where you can play like you'd like. With the stamina-for-shooting mechanism, you can't get rid of it - only for pistols and revolvers, and even there only with conditions.
(And while at this topic, while I don't... necessarily want to have auto-shooters which can laser enemies, you won't be able to tell me it would feel unreal in the world of Cyberpunk.)
Give us perks to passively and unconditionally increase fire rate, for example, or hip-fire accuracy, and let us manage try to manage that with attachments. Or make "choose one" perks! This could especially be good to increase lvl 20 perk options, bringing in new unique, game changing perks - which are good, in some cases awesome, but only if they are NOT THE ONLY POSSIBLE WAY. Most importantly, let us pick which bonuses we want to have for our gamestyle, while giving us the ability to grow stronger, regardless of playstyle.

Give us back the ability to make up VIABLE styles! (Classes are good for roleplaying, but not when they restrict player options where there were ones, before.)

CDPR, I really hope you will reach the heights of gameplay experience with Cyberpunk 2077 that I - and many more - believe it can reach!
You've worked hard and we see that!
We know you are keep working hard!
Keep up the good work!
I'm sad because the new skill tree is forcing me to reduce my shotguns recoil in order to get the gore effects I originally had, I got the Gutz shotgun for a reason! And taking away my massive recoil is taking away most of what makes the Gutz shotgun so good. This new skill tree sucks...
The new skill tree totally sux.
The previous one was perfect - we could make the character exactly as our play stile - now we cant -it is a totall mess.
It makes me want a refund - Im so extremely disapointed.
Why they had to change it? It was the one thing it was flawless in the game.. </3

I only used handguns and gorila arms (for the Beat on the Brat mission).

Now Im probably gonna play without expending any perk point.
Why they had to change it?
If you ask, it's likely you're not aware how much people always and repeatedly complained since release how meaningless were the skill trees and perks (i.e only little % on top of little %). It never bothered me because when you stack little % upon little %, you ended up with quite huge bonuses.
But now, for most, when you "unlock" a perk, it change a bit your gameplay (like the dash, finishers).

So why? Because people asked for... simple as that :D
Both skill trees suck.

But the new one is better than the old one.

The old one was boring. It was mostly just a bunch of generic "You do more damage with X gun".

While the new one at least provides perks that give some additional functionality, which is more interesting to build around.

Of course, the reason the new one still sucks is because the weapon trees are not very well done, notably the hybrid ones since their shared perks are often designed towards one of the weapons rather than being equal for both (For example, Cool's perk to extend the time slow from aiming is useless for Power Sniper Rifles as the time it takes to rechamber a round after firing uses up the time extention and is clearly meant for Pistol/Revolver rapid fire) and the 1 unique perk per weapon type is ridiculously limiting.

Ideally, each weapon would have it's own tree with multiple branching options to provide players with choices on how they want to use their preferred weapon type, rather than the shoehorning of a single style.

In addition, having more generic stat skills wouldn't go amiss. I.e. More general stealth and headshot perks in Cool, more mobility perks in Reflexes, more Cyberware perks in Tech etc.

Hopefully Orion will address things adequately. I know that the 2.0 skill trees were limited by the fact that they were trying to quickly turn the game around from the flop that was 1.0 so there wasn't a whole lot of redesigning possible, hence the streamlined result.
Yeah, I remember how we on reddit had a challenge to deal the most amount of damage in 1.0. My maximum was 14 000 000 with 1 shot from Breakthrough. But there was a guy who did 22 000 000 and I had no idea how he did it.

If you think that one-shot bosses by stacking % on top % is a good skill-tree, I would disagree.

The whole point of the pistol tree is to mostly reduce recoil and improve accuracy, not really damage. That means if you do not go for COOL tree, you can still play with pistols and be almost as effective as without perks, as they are mostly for comfort.
I suggest Sam Bram on youtube and others. Seen lots of videos on builds that make your character almost unstoppable. Being OP in this game isn't hard, most of the fights can be trivialized.
I have yet to use a weapon that is under powered...832 hours played so far.
I prefer the way weapons synergize with each other vs pick any weapon and add damage bonus. The latter makes the weapon choice irrelevant.
I also like that builds have pros and cons to how you play. That some things cant be done because of your choice and you have to find another way or accept the choice you made.
Pretty sure i have seen mods that unlock everything so someone can be the all purpose tool for every situation in game.


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My problem with the new skill tree is that it is so complex. If you combine it with all the weapon mods, quickhacks, various effects etc. then a lot is going on. I guess many gamers like it and can do awesome stuff with all the options (like we can see on YouTube). I just wish that there was some kind of autopilot that would magically pick the perks for me. Maybe I could say that I'd like to use smart weapons and hacks or that I want to move fast and do stealth and the game does the right choices for me.

Generally I sometimes have the feeling that all those stats, numbers, percents were good for tabletop RPGs where you really had to calculate and roll dices. Now we have computers, so why do the math ourselves? To some extent CP77 does (or did?) the job, e.g. your athletic skills are (were?) better if you ran a lot. I could go more into the direction and let the game figure things out for me.
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