Competencies, character customization - July 30, 2015

Daily posting, on the topic of Competencies (character customization).

Whenever 1000 experience points are earned in Gachduine, your team gains 1 Competency Point, and this point can be applied across 20 skill trees for allies (49 skill trees for custom main characters). Your party can have a maximum of 100 Competency Points, and as each of the allies' 20 skill trees can have 12 points put into them, you must choose carefully as to where 100 out of 240 of those points will go (custom mains not only have 49 skill trees, but often more than 12 slots to put points in).

Competency Points can also be gained through completing quests; completing a main or side quest typically grants your team with one Competency Point, though there are other instances (the major choice in the main quest, the penultimate quest in a Main Quest path and the ultimate side quests) that grant 5 Competency Points on completion.

World map dungeons don't grant free Competency Points on completion (instead, they grant money and rare weapons). However, the dungeon's boss fights (and any boss fight or choice/consequence fight, for that matter) cause enemies to yield 5x experience, which can make for some quick level ups if the enemies are comprised mainly of the more high-experience foes, such as Indestructibles, Phantoms, Miners and any other unique foe.

Some parts of a skill tree will grant more than one ability when a point is put into it, most notably at the end of skill trees. For example, one part of Arthur's Pistol Tree allows him to learn Burn On (where Pistol attacks boost the Unarmed Combo Modifier), Pistol Damage + 20%, Physical Defense + 4% and Elemental Defense + 4%, all from one point.

The most straightforward ways to customize characters is to find ways to combine damage modifiers. For characters who are expert in stealth and dungeons, characters like Mia can combine Fire Damage boosts, Stealth Damage boosts and Ignore Defense/Defense Crusher. For example, if Mia attacks an Indestructible (who is Fire-weak and has Physical Defense + 50%) while unseen with Fire Shot and has a Rifle equipped, with base Attack of 60, Rifle Damage + 400%, Fire Damage + 250%, Stealth Damage + 200% and 10 Defense Crushers, her damage output will be as follows:

60 * 3 (Rifle weapon type's maximum long range damage modifier) * 10 (Indestructible Fire weakness) * 5 (Rifle Damage + 400%) * 3.5 (Fire Damage + 250%) * 3 (Stealth Damage + 200%) * 6 (Defense Crusher (10); applied as Indestructible has Physical Defense) = 567000 points of damage

Your custom main at times does not have the same magnitudes available to them for some abilities as his/her allies, but the custom main can learn nearly every ability in Gachduine... meaning there are plenty of unique combinations of modifiers for them.

For example, if the custom main put 36 points into all of their abilities in the Shotgun Tree, they would have, among others, Shotgun Damage + 550%, Sawed Off (2x damage to enemies at point blank distance), Intercession (3x damage, stun and knockback if the enemy is acting at the time of damage) and Pump Action (expends all Shotgun ammo in one attack), to say nothing of other abilities gained. In this example, assuming the custom main character has a base Attack of 110 and Ammo Maximum + 300% (10 Shotgun shell max becomes 40), the damage output would be as follows:

110 * 3.33 (Shotgun maximum damage modifier for distance) * 6.5 (Shotgun Damage + 550%) * 2 (Sawed Off) * 3 (Intercession triggered) * 40 (Pump Action -> All 40 Shotgun shells available and fired all in one attack) = ~571000 points of damage

This damage amount for endgame can be quite miniscule for Shotguns, too, given that not only could the custom main possibly apply Fire Damage (the Rare Shotgun Vehemence makes Shotgun attacks Fire elemental), Stealth Damage (if unseen), Defense Crusher (if the enemy had defense), Adrenaline (damage boosts when HP is at 25% or less), among others, but another Rare Shotgun (Rage) has the Combo Shotgun Competency, which uses the Unarmed Combo Modifier as a multiplier (at a Combo Mod of 40, the damage would come quite close to 23 million... enough to wipe out most anything in one shot (except the superdungeon's superboss, currently), even on Impossible Difficulty, where enemy HP is doubled.

These ability stacks don't just apply for offense, either; there are a number of ability combinations for defense, for Drones, for evasion, for Symbiote Clouds and more.

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