On the Purpose of Skill Points

So with the removal of Wheel Spins from many of the Car Mastery trees, it got me thinking about what purpose the Car Mastery Trees actually have.

Without Wheel Spins, you have the following benefits:

  • A 5- or 10-race buff on event XP: XP itself has a reduced purpose in FH5 due to the removal of the individual Horizon Life rewards (e.g., levelling up in Road Race/Cross Country etc. for distinct rewards)

  • A 5- or 10-race buff on event completion CR: CR completion payouts have just been capped, so your 10% buff will be capped

  • A car: There are about 5 or so worthwhile/exclusive cars, so 1% of Cars have a worthwhile prize at the top of their tree.

  • ForzaPoints: Usually 10. Less than the value of a Daily Challenge. Far less than a Forzathon Arcade.

  • Completing a tiny fraction of cars also give you Accolades (so… scoring some points for spending some other type of points?)

All of the above occupy approx. 10-15% of any given Car Mastery Tree. The majority of Car Mastery slots are just there to earn more Skill Points.

Did having Wheel Spins make Car Masteries any more relevant? I’m not so sure. The Car Mastery feature made sense in FH2 and FH3 because they enhanced your overall level progression. They were harder to get (because they applied to all cars) but they complemented level progression and overall CR earnings. FH4 made them easier to get, but had to be earned individually for each car. This removed them somewhat from being part of the overall level progression, but due to the introduction of Horizon Life, allowed for a combination of buffing both Horizon Life levels, and CR earnings. So in FH2-3 and FH4, there was a game element whereby Skill Points enhanced or complimented the game progression.

But what is the point of the Skill Point mechanism in FH5? There is a limited CR buff (which is capped) or FP payout, and even fewer prizes (cars or Wheel Spins). XP buffs are less effective due to the greatly diminished purpose of XP in FH5 in general. Accolade integration is minimal-to-pointless. My argument is that when Horizon Life was removed, Playground Games inadvertently disconnected Skill Points and the Car Masteries from the core mechanics of game progression without noticing it, and now they stand alone serving no real purpose. As an outside observer, the feature set doesn’t seem to have been architected as a whole. The last game had Skill Points, so this one will too. But we’ll change up most of the things that you’d actual use Skill Points on. Someone mapping out the features should have seen this, surely?

When you take a step back from the activity of Skill Chain scoring and look at the Skill Point mechanism as a whole, it looks to be a self-contained system whose primary purpose is to to feed itself, with little bearing, influence or enhancement outside of itself. For the most part, you earn Skill Points so you can spend Skill Points so you can earn Skill Points… slightly faster.

15 Likes

I don’t know what they do TBH. I just open up the mastery trees on cars I regularly use and go CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK … CLICK

1 Like

This is actually a really great point. Skill points are a staple of the Forza Horizon franchise. With the newest update, it kind of made skill points useless, thus ending an integral component in the identity of the franchise.

2 Likes

I’ve used skill points on every car for XP points. Helps move up levels with the bonus of a wheelspin every time you level up. I’m now at the point in the game where wheelspins are of no use to me. I have every car currently available and about 38 million credits.

Early on when the game was new I used to spend a lot of time hooning around on the airstrip to get skill points. I pretty much don’t need to do that now especially when I received a credit of over 1000 points. I’ve been back through my favourites applying them. All the wheelspins and triple wheelspins that gave me cars, I gifted the cars as I had them all.

I can sort of see why they realigned things. 3 months in and I’ve run out of things to do apart from the weekly playlist. I do that plus play Eliminator (a lot). 154 on the accolades hall of fame. It would have been nice to have to have worked a bit harder to get where I am.

1 Like

While the benefits with regard to credits and cars that skill points get you through wheel spins are harder to get, they still do get you cars and credits that can be used to tunes, clothes and emotes. Spending skill points also get you some XP based on the number of skill points spent. and you do earn XP points for just doing skill chains This gets you increased Prestige Ranking and Levels.

But now that people are less inclined to farm for skill points, they are unlikely to increase prestige as much by just drifting and causing wreckage on the highway. XP will more likely be earned through participating in actual races and other online events. As it was, when you were on a team in the Trial or a Tour, you had no idea if the person being a 2/281 meant they had some driving skills or they were just good at drifting back and forth through the median barrier.

PandemicBow2072 and FlyingKulau: Your descriptions are pretty apt; they describe building Skill Chains/spending Skill Points to gain XP. Spending Skills Points on Skills Point enhancers, with the earning of XP being a side effect - not the main output - of most of the activity. That’s just earning XP with extra steps. There’s no justification for the existence of Skill Points or the Car Mastery tree to get that outcome. Why not just have Skills Chains result in XP directly? Instead of Skill Chain - Skill Point - Car Mastery - Faster Skill Chains - More Skill Points (with some XP thrown in along the way)?

With regards to reducing skills farming: Making racing-centric skills more valuable than, say, wreckage skills would achieve the same thing. Currently, Free Roam smashing stuff is easier to bank than racing skills. Should it really be this way?

It seems like it would make more sense if Skill Points augmented XP more directly (e.g., a Car Mastery space grants you 15% XP from drafting, rather than spending Skills Points to get 15% more Skill Score from drafting). Again, with the absence of a FH2-3 global Skills Tree that tracked somewhat with your levelling up, or FH4 Horizon Life where XP had value in levelling up 8-10 different attributes of game progression*, FH5’s Skill Points primary outcome is gaining more Skill Points.

*That’s for another discussion: XP itself has been greatly diminished from FH4. XP had more relevance and use in FH4 as it was needed to unlock new events and prizes even deep in to the game. Now its little more than one of three different scores you can show off (Level, Accolade, Kudos).

This is a design issue with FH5 from the get-go. I don’t think the recent patches did anything but expose this. It was just as aimless (if not useless) before the Wheel Spin cull. Its lack of purpose is just more noticeable now that the Car Mastery page isn’t ticket to a Wheel Spin lottery.

On one extreme you could just get rid if it, make all Skill Chains award you XP. On the other extreme, the Car Mastery looks like an attempt to add an RPG element to the game where you buy weapon slots that grant a competitive edge - like a +15% damage (or top speed in the case of a driving game).

Right now, it’s neither. It just exists to fill itself.

3 Likes

I am really dissappointed in what way FH5 is handling the skill points at all. Now they even seem to be capped in races as someone stated in the forum and from beginning of the game almost only a fourth of the actions to gain skill points the actually counts. Just remember the accolade to destroy solar panels in an eclipse. Had to destroy the whole solar panel park several times to get the accolade triggered. Or destroying 5-10 cactusses and only one of them counts.

In FH4 with full perked M4 FE on the air strip or a Hoonigan RS 200 on the beach it was easy to get 10 skill points in about 1 minute without even a skill song. In FH5 it is impossible as at least the destruction skill doesn’t trigger like it was in FH4. No wonder some player would do certain “afk” races to farm some skill points.

Even doing speedruns on the highway in FH5 for farming skill points is point of useless because of the missing npc traffic in FH5 (and it is kind of boring for sure).

1 Like

But even if you could get that many Skill Points in 1 minute in FH5… what do you do with them? They no longer unlock anything except the ability to get more Skill Points.

Yes, you get some (not much) XP as a side effect of doing so… but then what does XP unlock now? Nothing. Accolades do that now.

6 Likes

XP unlock wheelspins. Once you get to prestige 1, each next 30K XP gets you a new wheelspin.

I really would not sleep on the XP bonuses in some of the skill trees. For instance, I believe the Mosler has a permanent +20% XP benefit and a temporary +30% XP benefit for the next 10 road races.

If you don’t use any upgrades, and run a 3-lap Goliath race, you get about 75K base XP – plus more for skills and clean racing depending on how many skills you earn during the race. But if you do use the +20% XP and +30% XP benefits, you get an additional 37,500 XP just from those two bonuses alone, which is more than a full extra wheelspin.

It essentially winds up being a system that – somewhat depending on which car you choose – can really reward you for choosing a favorite car and sticking with it. Like if you choose the Mosler to do 10 runs of 3-lap Goliath (or any other “endurance” blueprint that has 75K base XP), you could pay in 20 skill points for a one-time +5K XP award, the +20% XP and +30% XP for the next 10 road races. Since the 10 endurance races have 750K base XP total, the bonus XP you get from perks would be 380K. 380K XP is worth roughly 12.5 wheelspins, and each wheelspin is worth roughly 60K credits on average (even after the patch.)

So you spent 20 skill points to get about 750K in credits (the total value on average of the additional wheelspins you get from leveling up.) That’s actually a much better ratio of credits per skill point than you got even when the super wheelspins paid out more and you could get 2 super wheelspins for 20 skill points in some mastery trees.

And now that you’ve already filled in some of the Mosler skill tree, you are always going to get the +20% XP bonus at every race for no additional skill points, and 10 skill points for the +30% can get you something like 225K in credits if you are doing endurance races.

Personally, I like endurance blueprints, but I get that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Not quite completely true. There are still some wheelspins, XP, and FP in the car mastery trees. Not enough for a lot of people to feel the need to worry about skill points. But they are there. If the devs un-nerfed the wheelspins and super wheelspins, it might be a little more worth unlocking those perks on the cars that still have them.

1 Like

I really prefer the overall perks you unlocked once for everything like on FH3 (and possibly earlier?) Yes, it was twice as hard to get a single skillpoint (100,000 skill score banked) but it was worth so much more.

I remember playing FH3 and constantly coming back to the perk tree to see if I can afford to unlock the next perk. Not to mention the perks were actually worth unlocking.

In FH4 & 5 there’s no point spending skill points on more than maybe 5 cars that you spend 70% of your game time in (Hoonigan RS200 and other skill cars or popular racing cars). Unless, of course, your grinding WS/SWS (oh wait…) or setting a goal to unlock every skill tree of every car as some others on the forums are doing.

2 Likes

Somebody at PG needs to work out the dynamics of the game on paper, and get the game balanced so that the whole game gives you the exact right amount of money, and skills to last the game 2 years… not 2 months.

Agreed, this system just isn’t designed that well and can mostly be ignored. You do get XP for spending them and I think 4 car rewards, but the skill bonuses are rarely worth earning. Unlocking them on your favorite cars so that you can use them on cars you rarely use to earn slight benefits? I don’t get it.

In the per car skill mastery system, it drives you to use a few cars in early/mid game to maximize skill point/credit gain. Not fun. In late game, the system becomes irrelevant as you have most (or all) cars and have little need of skill points or credits.

They should go back to the FH3 system that gives non-car specific benefits. It really gave a feeling of progression to your “superstar.” Examples could be cheaper tuning, item unlocks, increase skill song frequency, unlock a player house, and etc. Maybe also couple that with a middle ground system and steal the manufacturer bonus system in motorsports. Skill points could accrue you manufacturing sponsorships that give discounts on cars and credit bonuses for racing.

4 Likes

Whether or not that’s fun is a matter of perspective. There is definitely a school of thought that Forza Horizon “throws everything at you” and there’s “no sense of progression”, but encouraging people to level up cars one at a time to earn rewards can be seen as a similar sort of progression system, where you are encouraged to switch cars more slowly, like you would if credits were harder to come by in the first place.

But certainly from another point of view, being encouraged to use only a few of very many cars could be seen more as frustrating than rewarding. My main beef is that, in my opinion, the skill trees vary way too much from car to car. A lot (or all) of the hatchbacks have nearly worthless perks compared to most (or all) supercars and hypercars. If I have a hatchback built/tuned up to A800, why should I earn XP and skill points more slowly than a Jeep Trailcat tuned to A800, for the same distance/time of racing and the same race results?

My ideal would be to have 6 different skill trees: a road racing skill tree, a dirt skill tree, a street racing skill tree, a cross country skill tree, a drag racing skill tree, and a free roam skill tree. And every time you get a new car, you choose which of those 6 skill trees applies to the car, and it can’t be changed after you initially select it. So if I get a hypercar, I’m likely going to choose the road racing skill tree, but I’d probably choose dirt for a Subaru. And maybe if I really love, say, one of the many WRX models, I could buy a second one so that one had better perks for dirt and the other had better perks for cross country.

To me, something like that would be more in the spirit of letting players choose how they want to play. And it’s still the case that it’s much harder to earn skill points with slower cars than with faster cars, so you still have that inherent bias that faster/more expensive cars are still going to pay out better than slower/more inexpensive cars, just because it’s harder to earn skill points with slower cars, and you earn less XP per hour of race time with a slower car. Right now it’s a triple whammy, where it’s harder to earn skill points, you earn XP more slowly, AND the perks are much worse.

1 Like

They pretty much broke any exchange from mastery points to another game currency as the current unlocks require purchasing vehicles where the average return value is less than the Autoshow price (though you could buy them from the auction house if you’re feeling lucky about the cars not having them already taken). I reported it as a bug because a game system was broken with unintentional consequences (messing around in freeroam becoming a waste of time instead of rewarded, any in-race skill points being useless to care about banking, the impact those things have on broader play including making freeroam itself more of a waste, making learning to race without constantly rewinding or crashing in to things less incentivized, etc.). One person’s “feature” of an update is another’s bug, and this feels like the kind of intentional bug you might find placed in a game to catch pirates, but the entire player base has been given it

I don’t believe that it was ever truly intended for the one-time rewards from the mastery tree to be worth more than the purchase price of any car. My understanding of them is that they were more of a bonus system that would give you some additional reward for using your “favorite” cars over and over, but it’s not supposed to totally offset the cost of a car.

I do think that it’s too bad that it’s harder for free roam players to earn credits with skill points – with wheelspins worth roughly 60K on average, they could add one to any cars over 75K in the autoshow without any big issues, or super wheelspins to any cars 200K and over in the autoshow without any big issues. They went above and beyond that, though, which I think is a bit of a shame.

The mastery tree one-time rewards were being used as less of a reward for your “favorite” cars and more as a bodge to create an exchange rate. Having a SP shop (sort of like the FP shop) would make that bodge no longer necessary (even if you make it a lower exchange rate). A rotating stock of a couple cars, maybe some upgrade parts to add to your garage (even if it’s a pack of parts for just one car in a couple slots), and a SWS and WS option.

Even with a much lower exchange rate than the mastery trees had, that just gets them out of their own world. Even 7 for a WS and 20 for a SWS (much lower than even the Pontiac had with 14 for a SWS) would work. Make it so that if you do have a few favorite cars that after you spend the few hundred skill points to unlock all but maybe the second life on all of them that skill points are still worth something somewhere

1 Like

…or sorta like BP shop (Backstage Pass in FH4) which come to think I might have seen someone suggesting get added back to FH5. Tied into SP now that it’s been “fixed” sounds good actually.

What if they replaced individual car mastery trees with a single changeable mastery tree for all cars. The mastery tree would offer you addition benefits for racers, drifters, dragsters, etc with bonuses such as 25% additional bonus for drifting or 25% additional credits for winning online race.

The mastery tree would have tons of benefits but you could only unlock a quarter of them. Deeper you go into the tree the more you specialize into say drifting bonuses opposed to say dragster benefits.

Players can reset mastery points once a week. If a player doesn’t reset their talent points in one week then they can stack up to 3 resets.

SP are removed. Instead they are replaced by FP. FP reward options have also increased to give more options.

Great post. On the XP front I still contend that XP’s value is greatly diminished in FH5 as to be worthless. XP as a game mechanic usually means increasing in level to unlock things or gain extra abilities. They do neither in FH5 due to Accolades taking over that function. XP is now just a high-score moniker with some wheel spins along the way. You don’t need Skill Points to do that, ergo Car Mastery is redundant.

However on your example of CR buffs, that’s some great meta, and a good counter-point to my argument. My only questions are a), is it still going to be that much credit with the CR cap on races, and b), how many cars enjoy that meta in the roster?

Love this… especially combined with this:

… and this:

Not only does it add relevance to the Mastery Tree, but it actually adds depth to the gameplay.

You’ve answered my chief issue with Skill Points and its redundant loop.

Riffing off all of your posts, here is an example Lambo Car Mastery:

  • Choose a “Road Race” Mastery. It has three rows, with 4 perks on each row.
  • Bottom perks are discounts on upgrade categories for that car only (drive train, tyres etc.)
  • Middle layer is upgrades on racing-centric skill points (e.g., %drafting ) BUT THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE THERE’S A CIRCULAR REFERENCE OF SPENDING SKILL POINTS TO GET SKILL POINTS
  • -This could also have some sort of differentiation/buff for online, like +% for winning/placing online.
  • Upper layers are varied, but usually some combination of event completion buff (CR%) or an unlock. A Lamborghini-brand racing jacket. A race route.

Mastery Completions:

  • Completing multiple Lambo Car Masteries accrue you manufacturing sponsorships that give discounts on cars and credit bonuses for racing
  • Complete all Lambo Car Masteries to unlock exclusive model
  • Completing enough Race Mastery Tress unlocks Goliath

So the progression looks like this:

  • Fill bottom layer to “invest” in the car, and helps keep cost of upgrades down
  • Middle layer is going to put the upgrades to work, and start having it earn back in accruing further skill points to spend, or driving you deeper in to utilising that car in specific race classes
  • Upper layer is the payoff where you actually get something tangible back, and progresses your game.

You then double-down by building out your Road Race fleet of Lambos, and are rewarded commensurately with CR, discounts or cars because you invested in that brand and race type.

You’re building a relationships with cars, brands and races, and being encouraged to race your babies online.

If done right, Car Masteries could be the driver of progression and extend the life with a rich mid game. Not just some weird detour to a level number next to your name and some wheel spins.

1 Like