Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's your favorite roguelike feature?

Just tell me - what's your favorite roguelike game features - no matter whether it's in ADOM, Angband, Nethack or whatever (and please tell me the game, too). Just thinking about which cool things should go into JADE first in the time to come.



  1. incursion-esque prestige classes!

  2. There are a lot of roguelike games that I like. ADOM was always one of my favorites as the control system felt more natural. Some of my other favorite things are:

    The varied terrain in Incursion including changing colors and properties with caves made of ice, clouds of fog and vegetation.

    The freedom to build the character you want in SkillAngband with increasing cost as you add points and penalties if you aren't using the skills you have trained.

    The persistent world of Avanor (now defunct though I think I still have a copy) where the whole game was constantly evolving. The orc army was moving toward the town and if you didn't make it there in time, the town would be slaughtered. Enemies would kill randomly spawned monsters and upgrade their skills and equipment making them much harder to kill.

    The ability to get quests from random town people in TOME and fulfill them as you saw fit.

    I also loved the challenge of starting at level 99 of the dungeon and trying to make my way out (keeping any equipment/artifacts I found along the way) found in several versions of angband though I played it most in TOME.

    I like the intricate player information screen in TOME as well.

    Multiband had the ability to multiclass which was cool.

    The thing I love most about roguelikes in general though is you always seem to be able to find new ways to die. :) I still remember he first time I got sacrificed in ADOM.

  3. @U: Ok, not too bad. Multi-classing already basically is built into JADE - so now I just need to activate more classes and finetune some things ;-) Quests will come, check. Skills need to be activated but basically should allow much nicer customization than in ADOM, especially once talents, etc. also are in. Advanced classes definitely will come - the foundation is already there and it's just a question of time ;-)

    Love to hear more from you, folks :-)

  4. Half-breed! nothing is better than to be an orc-drakeling or something like that :P

  5. Static dungeons (as you go up and down through them). I can't stand the randomness in say Angband. I don't mind randomly found caves with random layouts, but I like them to stay static as I go through them.

    Also, fun and unique rooms. Creature dens that make sense (sleeping areas, social areas, armories).

    Intelligent weapons!

  6. I like the complex equipment system. I like eating corpses, dipping things, and the many scrolls and potions. I'm a completionist and when playing a game, I want to see everything it offers -- so the more items it offers the better.

    Also, roguelikes in general feel more "realistic". Since they don't waste computer time on graphics, they are free to have much more complicated game logic.

  7. everything unique. good quests and storyline

  8. ADOM is the only one I ever got on with really (apart from rogue in my long distant past).

    I know that this comment isn't in anyway helpful given why you're asking the question, but the thing that made me fall in love with ADOM and keep coming back to it again and again was the sheer depth of it all. Looking down the keystroke list for the first time and thinking "why the fuck do I need to wipe my face or clean my ears?". Finding new and infuriating ways to die (it was a long time before I fell pray to a sacrificing but I remember my jaw just dropped).

    In short, it's the M(ystery) that makes ADOM great. It's really nice hearing about the new features and things that are coming, but please leave us plenty to be surprised by too, because that's half the fun.

  9. Autoexplore (^o) and search (^f) in Crawl Stone Soup make the gaming experience much, much better :-)

  10. Same earlier versions of ToMe (not sure about the current ones) made it possible to cast poison cloud-type spells that lingered in the world for some turns and made damage to huge number of enemies for the time they were within the cloud.

    This made the magic users seem more powerful as they could just single-cast as spell and see hoards of enemies die screaming while simply waiting around. :)

  11. Gaining power and slaying great monsters :D
    Next best thing would be unbalanced class system. I hate all those mmorpg which strive to balance classes (for pvp purpouses) yet fail to actually deliver. In rougelike we can have a broad range of class dificulty :)

  12. Best features for any roguelike are usability and smooth learning curve.

    For example DCSS has good mouse interface with graphical representation of inventory, spells, e.t.c. Also, as mentioned above, autoexplore and search are good usability examples too.

    By smooth learning curve I mean gradual introduction of features, newbie-friendly gameplay at beginning of a game, so there will no be random deaths from some unknown sources, that you can't prevent.

    Most roguelike games just throws you to a unknown place, there some randomly-generated deathly trap can kill you directly at start of you journey. I mean you have no any way to detect this trap or avoid it or survive it.

    So I hope JADE will be friendly

  13. ADOM spell casting/mind crafting! I eagerly await those features in JADE the most. Oh and the game of life farming.

  14. Here's a related article by John Harris on what he considers essential parts of roguelike design.

    As for my own thoughts, I love the "everything affects everything" part of most complex roguelikes. Stuff like: Player wields Moon Sickle which autocurses itself and causes the poisonous hands corruption. Then the player can't remove it, because he can't uncurse it, because he can't use holy water, because every potion he touches turns into poison, because he has poisonous hands he can't block because he can't put on thick gauntlets, because he is wearing a cursed weapon.

  15. Tough question, but mostly it's about the difficulty for me. If a roguelike is too easy, or, in fact, too hard, I easily get tired of it. Nethack is by far my most played roguelike, and I still remember the day when I beat it. The only day I ever beat it. After playing at LEAST 1000 games (of which perhaps 100 were serious attempts at winning, not just running around trying not to die).

    I still have the dump from my ascension log on my desktop and looked it over just now; a Valkyrie with -30 AC, wearing an amulet of life saving, dual-wielding a +6 Fire Brand and a +6 Silver Saber, and I was scared as hell that I was going to die up and until the last move. That, for me, made my game. The constant fear of dying to something ridiculous, like eating a random egg only to find out it's a cockatrice egg.

    Now for actual features I must say I love the identification game of Nethack, but at the same time I like the slightly more casual approach of the weight and identification system in ADOM. Perhaps it could be possible to have a skill or some other way to let you evaluate items? Not identify directly, but perhaps move you from the pure undiluted "I have no idea what the hell this is" of Nethack to the "Ah, it has a lower weight, it's almost certainly much better than what I have" of ADOM.

    I also agree with Pustka regarding the class system; it should not be balanced. I mean, what's the point if all the classes are basically the same? Then you could as well just remove classes and have a skill-use approach to it instead.

    In ADOM, one of the greatest things was the overworld map. That also made it slightly predictable in a way, which was both good and bad. Something I would like to see in JADE is at least a couple of static dungeons, towns and whatnots. They wouldn't have to spawn in every world, but imagine locating a lonely little island with a "dangerous-looking cave entrance" and you go "Oh crap, that's the dragon's cave. I'm totally going to get rich now. Or die".

    Something that could be cool, but which I haven't yet seen in a roguelike, would be some kind of "achievement" system. Kind of like the challenges in Nethack where you can try to go through the whole game without ever hitting a mob and such. Perhaps that system could be expanded upon, and maybe give it a reward element? Kind of like quests in a way, only you always have them. Not sure, but it's worth a thought I think.

    Well, I think that's enough of a wall of text for now!

  16. i gotta say my favorite roguelike feature are the decks of cards in DCSS. i like the randomness!.

  17. There's a game called GearHead which has a very nice quest system... basically, a quest can be designed in (more or less) the following way:


    Find character of type 'Young'; save as Char1

    When Char1 talks to player, say "Me lost me puppy in the cave on the pass. Would you go and find it for me?"


    "Yes" - accept quest
    "No" - reject quest

    If Player accepts quest, then generate dungeon with these properties and place puppy (creature with properties x, y, z) in dungeon. Quest succeeds when puppy meets Char1. Quest fails if puppy dies.


    In this way, the player never knows precisely where a quest will come from until it arrives; any small child can lose his or her puppy. A certain quest may only come from a specific player; other quests may turn up in any town. Some quests may change the state of certain NPCs, or even create new NPCs (which, once that quest is over, can be used in other quests as their personalities dictate). There's also a main plotline, which is generated randomly by stringing together a certain number of Main Plotline type quests (these can also change the state of the main plotline in a variety of ways). NPCs would have attributes depending on their race, profession, age and personality; locations would also have attributes, and the player himself would have attributes (like how competent people think he is, and how much they're willing to trust him based on his reputation) and any combination of these could be used to trigger a potential quest. Which would, of course, have a time limit- if the player fails to get to the quest in time, then he loses the opportunity to take the quest.

    I really like the way quests are handled there.

  18. 1) Skills tree/build (Tales of Maj'Eyal, DoomRL). I can build same class in different ways, find most effective build, discuss builds on forums

    2) Achievements(Tales of Maj'Eyal, DoomRL). Just fun :-)

    3) Crafting, recipes (Dungeons of Dredmor)

    4) Tiles and UI (DCSS, Tales of Maj'Eyal). ToME has nice UI, e.g. tooltips for items, monsters, visualization of spells etc

    5) A lot of unique/random bosses (Tales of Maj'Eyal). Add challenge, more fun that killing 100 mobs, more rewarding (nice drop)

  19. DCSS's excellent, polished interface.

    Diverse environments, like all the themed temples/D49 in ADOM.

    ADOM's ever-present item destruction - a little annoying, but a great way to ensure that you're never 100% confident.

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  21. Procedural content for maps, quests, items and monsters. The biggest strength of roguelikes sadly often not used to full potential, though Dwarf Fortress comes close.

  22. Dynamic lighting! With flickering torches and bright campfires. Also ability to make a campfire and cook your raw meat on it!! (In fact, I dont remember any roguelike with ability to gather wood and make a campfire, maybe except Unreal World...)

  23. I think what made me and my brother keep coming back to Adom again and again was the randomness of it all - specifically, the chance that something really really good will happen. We all have those bad luck stories where we get paralysed by a gelationous cube while sick and choke on our own vomit, or get surrounded by low-level poisonous snakes but have no poison protection. But at the same time, you might just start with the perfect stat/skill distribution. You might find a quicksilver quarterstaff in the first dungeon, or find an early vault/altar and get the *perfect* artifact from it. Stuff like that added to the replay value.

    True, this isn't really something you can implement as a feature in 0.1.3 :P But something to keep in mind!

    Also, I wanted to repeat again what U said:

    "The persistent world of Avanor (now defunct though I think I still have a copy) where the whole game was constantly evolving. The orc army was moving toward the town and if you didn't make it there in time, the town would be slaughtered. Enemies would kill randomly spawned monsters and upgrade their skills and equipment making them much harder to kill."

    I have never played a game like this (googling Avanor right now), but a persistent world is literally the most exciting thing that could be put into a game, ever, in my opinion. I really hope JADE will (eventually) have a persistent world!

  24. I haven't played many roguelikes other than ADOM and Nethack, with almost all the playtime going to ADOM, so I'll admit that most of my comments will be based on what I love about ADOM.

    I love the alchemy/recipe system in ADOM, and would love to see that expanded. Maybe make it class-based, so that Assassins would first learn to make poison, then invisibility, then more of the "offensive" use potions like blindness, sickness. Healers would first learn to make the basic healing potion and cure poison, then later more advanced healing potions. (By the way, why the heck don't ADOM healers know how to mix their own potions? Alchemy seems like a natural skill for that class.)

    Another thing I like about the way Alchemy is handled in ADOM is the way the skill actually becomes more versatile as you develop it - you start being able to just mix a few potions and gradually you learn more. Smithing could be handled the same way - beginner smiths only know how to work iron. As they develop their skill, they learn to work more difficult metals.

    I'd love to see a crafting system added.

    Another thing I really like about ADOM is the class powers, though I think ADOM doesn't take full advantage of them. I'd love to see them implemented in a way that, as characters develop experience, they not only become better at what they do, but are also able to do new things. The Monk's circular kick, or the Archer's ability to shoot through multiple enemies come to mind. Maybe the Ranger becomes able to hear enemies outside of sight range. (Depending on the PCs listening ability and monster's stealth.) The Monk learns to dodge projectiles like the Archer, or learns a flying kick that moves 1 square and attacks the monster in the direction of the movement. The Thief and Assassin learn to see in the dark. The Weaponsmith learns to insert magical gems into weapons, adding magic effects to the attack.

    Another feature I really like about ADOM is the corruptions. It provides a great degree of randomness as far as effects, and also a nice incentive to not waste too much time grinding. I like how some corruptions are actually nice to have, others are very undesirable, and some are helpful for some classes and harmful for others.

  25. Autoexplore, vi-keys and interface from DCSS (though I like the inventory screen from ADOM better).

    The more rpg-ish, feeling, setting and atmosphere +two-weapon fighting, map and dungeon layouts from ADOM.

    And ofcourse the randomness, seemingly infinite features and details, and the difficulty in roguelikes in general (ADOM, DCSS, NetHack, DwarfFortress).

    I still have not tried JADE, but I'm looking forward to it.

  26. I'm on a phone so I'll be brief.

    Corruption and wilderness encounters (ADOM), different minded gods that reward/punish different things (DCSS, Powder), potion distilling and random named uniques (DCSS), wilderness dungeon-like areas (e.g. forest mazes) and color-changing HUD according to location (Legerdemain), limbs and artificial limbs (IVAN), ethical stats (Ultima IV), dying in a world and being able to adventure again in it and maybe see the ghost of your fallen predecessor (Dwarf Fortress and, in a crude way, Nethack)

    Did I already say outdoor dungeon-like areas? Forests, mountain passes... I would really love to see that kind of stuff.

  27. I almost forgot: the grinding prevention in Powder (monsters give -much- less XP when killed, even zero IIRC, if they are weaker than you).

  28. Stone Soup Crawl's autoexplore is incredible. Something like it was also added to a development version of Omega and Angband (I think it was originally developed for Angband), so it's certainly possible to port around (of course, I can't speak for its licensing).

    Another interesting thing from Crawl is its skill system, in which it's possible to play the entire game without ever having to decide where to place a "skill point". I'm spoiled by that -- I just can't get into ToME or ADOM now that I'm used to not having to make character-defining choices on a giant menu rather than making them in-game (and really, JADE's menu is already too huge to be used; at the least it should be nested).


  29. A couple other things I thought of: I love the way Nethack has graves of previous players containing their items. I'd love to see this in JADE, particularly on multi-user systems.

    I also really like polymorphing of the PC, though I think it should be a temporary change rather than a permanent effect. I really like the idea of your equipment being dropped if you are polymorphed into a non-humanoid. Maybe even add it as a class power, for example a high-level druid could transform himself into a Dire Bear.

    I like pets/companions, though they need to be fixed a bit from the way they are in ADOM. I think that you should get XP for companion kills - maybe 25% base - with companion-heavy classes like Bards and Necromancers getting more, perhaps having the percentage increasing based your skill in Necromancy or Animal Taming.

    One thing to keep in mind is to make the characters actually play differently. Even though they're all melee characters, I'd like Fighters, Paladins, Barbarians, Monks, etc... to all play differently. I think good use of class powers would do a lot to accomplish this.

  30. ADOM's fighting system with coward and berserk modifiers. An extension of this could be to modify walking speed and stealth in a similar way.

    I have to say that while randomness is good ADOM's fixed start really helped when I was learning. Having a couple of fixed quests in the first town to allow people to orientate themselves could be a good idea.

    More special dungeon features. e.g. Orc (or other race) towns randomly in caves, tombs, gardens, temples, mines, garrisons (slightly more logical than a tension room) etc.

  31. The top three I'd like to see, in no order

    - Crafting system. Making stuff is cool.
    - trapmaking - dig your OWN pit traps, build your own falling rock or corruption traps! And as an extension of it, mining and digging have to be back, maybe even with a semi-dynamic liquids behaviour for lava and red, piranha-filled waters
    - NPC adventurers that level independently from the PC, so you could either kill them for their stuff, adopt weaker ones as sidekicks or just swap rumor (and map pieces) with them.

  32. A couple other things that I'll have to add:

    Companions are cool, not just the tame farmers dog but nova with powers that can make a difference to you. I really enjoy playing Triangle Wizard which is a real time rougelike game. The companions and summon spells in that game are a lot of fun and almost necessary to finish the game.

    Another vote for extended crafting capabilities. This includes the ability to add prefix/suffix if you have the right materials and skills (and a recipe).

    Evolving gear/random artifacts as in TOME are neat because you can get things that are really powerful that you won't find in an artifact list somewhere. The potential to get your equipment turned into an artifact as a high level reward is exciting too.

  33. ADOM. Inventory system, Skill system; best in class.

  34. Stone Soup's autoexplore. A lot of people have said it already, but there's a damn good reason for this. It's awesome.

    Trickster classes, like NetHack's archaeologist and tourist roles. Difficult, but enjoyable.

    Incursion's character creation, especially decoupling starting alignment, starting religion, and race.

    The varied deities of Incursion and Stone Soup -- the former has better lore, the latter better mechanics.

  35. Downloadable version :P Really - it would be nice to grab some zip and unpack it in games directory instead of using java web start. Could you provide such downloads?

  36. I really like the "meaningful religion" system found in Crawl and Incursion; the religion in Hack always struck me as a bit too vanilla D&D.

    So, depending on how much of your life you want to devote to this:

    Priests can be distinguished from lay-worshippers by virtue of taking corresponding talents. Not all religions have priests, and this can be handled game-mechanically by having not every religion benefit from these talents. Talents or no, you get a schedule of special rules (mostly beneficial) which depend on exactly which deity your worship. You could use I dunno:

    Crawl has too many kinds of altars. We're running out of colors. I'd suggest:
    Altars of Chaos: For deities in the corresponding pantheon. May or may not attract priests. Found in settlements of corresponding alignment.
    Altars of Law: Likewise (Altar of Order sounds silly).
    Altars of Death: Any death-deity, regardless of alignment, can be worshipped here. These altars *either* have a priest (in which case they suppress undead) or they spontaneously attract undead, which are non-hostile to chaos-aligned death deities but still hostile to followers of other death gods. Found primarily in graveyards.
    Altars of Nature: For Druids/Animists and their deities, regardless of alignment. Each one gets a genus loci, which is hostile if you are not a practitioner of a compatible religion. Found mostly outside, in stone circles and the like.
    Altars of Transcendence: For Neutral deities that don't fit into other categories, basically. Found in mage towers/castles and other "special" locations.

  37. The best thing about ADOM has always been the sheer depth and complexity of the game. So make sure that's the next thing to go into JADE ;-)
    On a more practical note, altars/religion are a big part of ADOM for me, as are books as I've always preferred spellcasting classes. Nothing sweeter than seeing an entire vault clear in just a few taps. High effectiveness ball/bolt spells ftw!
    Thing's comment on the early quests being really good to orient you is a good one.

  38. How's about borrowing a mechanic from Powers & Perils?

    Priests have an Orientation, which can be any of the following: Law, Chaos, Death, Transcendent, Nature or Elder. Priests (incl. Druids, who are priests of Nature) are people qualified to lead religious services directed towards the corresponding force; so a priest of Chaos may just be an expert in *placating* Chaos and could have a Lawful alignment! This gives all Priests the requisite academic training to learn Clerical spells, which are a kind of magic useful to those with a religious function, but (clearly, observably, since atheists can pick up the books learn the spells and cast them) do not actually "come from" any particular God.

    In addition, Priests may worship a specific deity (their Patron) and non-Priests may also have such a patron deity. Your patron deity may or may not care about your alignment (most do.) You have a piety relationship with each and every deity in the pantheons, which is generally 0 unless you actively worship them, dedicate things to them (in which case it rises), or if you actively offend them (such as by killing their priests), in which case your piety with that specific deity goes negative and you attract their wrath.

    You can only have one patron at a time, but most patron deities are not entirely jealous and do not demand exclusivity of worship. However, if you have high piety with enemy deities, or the incorrect alignment, they will be offended if you ask their blessing. Thus, if you're Joe the Lawful Warrior, it would be normal to have The Dragon Slayer as your patron while you are fighting dragons, and switch to The Sun God when you finish off the dragons and go fight assassins. On the other hand, Jimmy the Chaos Warrior can't switch patrons from the Nameless One to The Dragon Slayer, because they'd both be pissed off.

    If you pick a deity and stick with it, you can be crowned as a champion but that's a permanent arrangement.

    12 Gods would make a big but manageable pantheon; if 6 of these Gods have two Orientations, then that'd be 3 gods associated with each Altar.

  39. I'm crazy about multiple choice and items and loot.

    So - I want more everything.

    More classes, more talents, more various advances, more special abilities, more weapons, more items, more skills, more deities, more herbs, more potions, more scrolls, more spells, more locations, more quests and random monsters...

    Except - I'll never ask more corruptions :)

  40. The ctrl-f function in crawl allowing you to search for any item youve encountered using regexps and travel there automatically.

  41. Body parts and materials system in IVAN. You can lose your arm and replace it with one made of meteoritic steel.. or banana flesh.

  42. Items, items, items... I think prefix/suffix/material system from ADoM coupled with something like randarts from DCSS would be perfect to provide enough variety to satisfy any adventurer while always leaving a possibility for finding something even better.

  43. Actually, can we have the message log/memory put in soon please? It'd be invaluable for testing, surely - and it's so annoying seeing an interesting message I haven't seen before blink in and out before I think to read it...
    (Maybe I'm just a really careless player.)

  44. My favourite feature (outside ADoM features) is the identification system from Alphaman. Here you have to figure out items, which can result in them being broken, or accidentally activated... figured out items can be constructed.

    Not sure if this would fit in with Jade as I think this goes better with the high-tech side of things, but for instance if someone can read, and knows a scroll for firebolt, they would know a scroll of fireball is at least about "fire".

    Another possibility would be the ability to look more closely at unidentified items, that would pick things up such as "it is heavier than it looks" "it has a red/blue/green glow to it" that are associated with the enchantment or whatever.

  45. I would really like it if stealth were a more viable tool in JADE. In ADOM it always seemed like my assassins were only sort of stealthy for the first few levels and then they just turned into warriors after a point. I think stealth would be better as an active sort of skill rather than a passive bonus or something.

    Sneaking up on an orc and stabbing him silently in the back is a great feeling, but for the most part I feel as if the player has no control over the stealth mechanics and so it was never worthwhile to invest in or build a character around it.

  46. i'd really like to see some player pathfinding... let's say you are on the 5th floor but you wish to return to the first floor... it won't be that dangerous because you've cleared the way.. but it will take a long time! there should be a way to press just a couple buttons and automate the process (until the character is interrupted by seeing an enemy)

    crawl has this feature...

    also... the ability to remember where dropped items are throughout the world, even if I've forgotten where I dropped that item I now realize I need... my character should remember... you should be able to search all the items you've personally dropped and find their locations so that you can go track them down

    again crawl has this feature

  47. I would love to see more devolpment of the 'age system. Corruption is interesting in ADOM but I feel it could be limiting in JaDe. The reason being if I want to explore everywhere and learn as much as possible corruption would be unavoidable, leaving me as a very y clever 1000 eyed monster. I wouldn't enjoy this as I love trying to achieve as much as possible. On the same note I understand allowing people to grind would possibly cheapen the game, this is where a complex age system could fix the problem. If every action passed a certain amount of time and aged the charecter accordinglythen killing 60000 low level monsters to grind up levels would leave you an old man/woman/thing with not many turns to live. This would also make players search for the more effective ways to 'train or study so as to not waste ones life meaninglessly killing low by monsters :)

  48. 1. I like the multi-layered complexity of gods in Crawl.
    2. Automatic achievement tracking (vegan atheist who never carries more than 10s worth of inventory)
    3. I don't know if these have been used in any rogue-like, but in Pathfinder ( the concept of "haunts" exist. Which are kinda similar to area-affect-traps
    4. Multiple "magic" systems, like mindcrafter and normal magic in ADOM
    5. Extensive talent/feat/special-ability systems
    6. Extensive non-magic systems, e.g. martial art styles for monk characters (with new styles learnable or/and improvable)
    7. Non-hostile NPCs outside city areas
    8. "Living" dungeon, that has its own groups and balances. Orcs fight the trolls, an adventuring band of elves
    9. Use living dungeon for impromptu mini-quests: the band of elves pinned down and trapped in a room, effectively reaching them frees them to leave - gain some benefit
    10. Quest rewards that give access to special unique abilities. For example, quests that involve the academy allow access to previously restricted areas and when leveling make certain skills easier to advance as well as making a new set of traits/feats/talents available

  49. The first two games I can remember weren't truly rogue like (they were tile based) Might and Magic II and Castle of Winds.
    In M&M I particularly liked the fact there was a party of protagonists who could swap items among themselves.
    In Castle of Winds particularly liked the various storage containers eg the fact that wands in your pack were not available for use while those in your wand quiver (only held four) were.
    What made ADOM (and others) special was the replayability.

  50. I always felt that the combination of randomness and guaranteed levels was what made me play ADOM again and again.

    The main feature I would like for a roguelike is as much generated content as possible (random world, dungeons, ...) and then make that world alive (as mentioned before, let different races fight each other, let a band of orc attack a town so the player can choose to intervene or not, ...)

  51. Those would be niceties but the one thing I would most like to see is MMORPG so that weaker classes like merchant and priests and farmers could trade their skills of identifying items/plants/cooking