I was chatting to Khan/Kaiju about this a little bit, and then it came in in #GAME, so I wanted to bring this topic up for discussion to the public here on the forums where Rias can better see it, as well as voice my own opinions on the matter of removing the Guild based skill caps.
While I see the merit and thought process behind removing guild caps on skills and instead using purely Abilities as a measure of what makes a guild special, I don't think opening up guild caps would have the desire effect unless it also lowered the overall base usefulness of each skill outside of combat skills - which I call out specifically, because the way combat currently works is that if a Warrior with 500 skill fights a Physiker with 700 skill, the warrior should win almost every time barring very lucky rolls, due to the abilities they have.
I actually think this is a good thing - fighters should fight good. But, I also think in order to stop from devaluing other Guilds (the adventurers guild specifically comes to mind, but also Scholarly skills and even crafting when/if the Artisans are released), skill efficacy across the board would have to be lowered so that they can still be relevant. It's great that folks may have to, in the future, rely on members of the Adventurers to get to specific locations, to let down ropes, to even scout. But if Stealth, Perception, Swim, and Climb are all trainable by anyone to the cap of 700, it devalues those skills to specific guilds by making it so that ANYONE can be a highly competent scout, or to act as a guide, or to climb the terribly difficult climbs to let a rope down.
In order to maintain the usefulness of the guilds and classes that get those higher caps, you would need to tie in efficacy to abilities, which would just create a false sense of skillfulness in people.
If I took 600 climb on my Ranger, and ALSO had a special ability that let me climb better than non-rangers, but an Arcanist took Climb to 700 and wasn't able to take that ability, that would have the same net effect (I think) that the skill caps currently have. If I took 600 climb on my Ranger and wasn't able to have a "Be Better At Climbing Ability" than the Berserker that also took climbing to 700 like the Arcanist, I'm at a severe disadvantage to the berserker, because they can climb better AND they can absolutely excel in combat even if I took Melee and Dodge to 700 each, and the Berserker only took it to 500 each.
I don't know if either state (skill caps remaining in place vs efficacy being tied more directly to abilities instead of relying as heavily on skill rolls) is better, but it also sounds like a lot of work for an overall zero sum change. Whereas simply unlocking caps and not tying efficacy also to abilities creates a situation where specific classes are boosted heavily, but others are not.
I'd love to hear other thoughts on this!
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I'm happy to hear more thoughts, but as I've mulled over the idea further I think I've come to to conclusion that I want to keep things where they are, with the guilds and classes all maintaining their sort of feel and role via their skill caps as well as ability lists. And as you said, it would likely end up being a lot of work and refactoring for what ends up leaving the game essentially in the same place but just from a different angle, because I do want the classes to feel like the specialists they're meant to be.