There's a new developer journal over at Trials of Ascension. This one has to do with the skill and stat system that the developers had been keeping closed lipped on. As usual, we've provided you with a sample of the goodness, just follow the link below for the rest:
Greetings, ToA fans! Spring is in the air here in ToA-land, and with it you can see all kinds of things flying through the air. Rain, birds, clouds of dandelion seeds, bits of vaulted information... err, wait a minute...
All jesting aside, ToA's skill and stat system is something that we've been keeping tightly locked away, but since it's also something that undergoes regular review and tweaking, it makes for an excellent dev journal subject. And since we know just how much everyone is chomping at the bit for some information - *any* information - we're going to let a few little details slip through that securely guarded vault door. The recently-posted FAQ update describes some of the basic ideas behind the skill system, of course, so this journal will try to expand on what's presented there rather than simply restating the already-known.
As you'd expect, a character's effectiveness in a skill is heavily dependent on the degree to which they've studied it. Hundreds of hours of experimentation with new techniques will certainly put you well ahead of a complete novice, but an important element of the skill system is that there are inherently declining returns to this: A more-skilled character will always have an advantage, but the extent of that advantage declines steadily as the character's expertise improves. To use a completely arbitrary example: Someone with 100 hours of practice at it will certainly do better when using a particular refinement than someone with 50 hours of practice, but in most cases they won't be doing anywhere near twice as well at it. Of course, this also depends on the difficulty of the task in question. As the FAQ explains, being highly-skilled isn't much of an advantage when you're performing a trivially-easy task, but a novice who tries to perform difficult tasks is usually going to make a mess (or at least produce very shoddy goods), unless they're very lucky or have some pretty serious natural talents (or synergies).
A character's stats also factor into how successful someone is in using a skill. Which stats affect a given refinement and by how much varies from refinement to refinement - including differences in which stats affect each refinement within a skill. For example, different maneuvers with a given type of weapon may rely upon different stats. The "Biting the Hand" maneuver described in one of the Scrollspires is heavily-dependent on the character's Agility and Perception, whereas trying to stun and knock your opponent back with a "Slam" maneuver is much more reliant on Strength - even though both of these maneuvers fall under the "Light Hafted" combat skill!
Read it all, here.