Playdek recently sent out Project Update #42, which described the layout of Schools and Jobs and also what Stats would affect in Unsung Story. I think an important goal for Tactical RPGs is all jobs should be viable and fun to play. In any Tactical RPG where the player choose jobs for units, having more viable jobs means more variety in gameplay and that increases replayability. Part of making a job fun to use is making it balanced with other options / a viable choice for players.
Stats can play a big role in whether classes are viable or not. Obviously the most straightforward way is through stat growths. A reoccurring issue in Tactical RPGs is some jobs or units will have underwhelming stats which means players won't use them and that reduces variety in gameplay, even in otherwise good games like the Tactics Ogre series and the Fire Emblem series. Also, other aspects like stat distributions can be important as well. One example that comes to mind is Dungeons & Dragons 3.0/3.5 Edition where a class like Wizard only needs one good stat (Intelligence) for all their abilities, whereas a class like Paladin ideally wanted 5 different stats - this made character builds for good paladins a lot harder/rarer.
With that in mind, I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss stats and how they relate to jobs. First, here's what the update had to say about the different stats:
- Vitality governs a Unit's Hit Points and movement.
- Strength governs the Attack Power of a Unit and improves and Unit's Hit Points.
- Dexterity/Agility governs a Unit's base chance to hit, perform critical strikes, and dodge attacks.
- Intelligence/Mind governs a Unit's Mana Pool, the strength of INT based equipment and spells, as well as the number of spells, miracles and/or hexes a Unit can equip.
- Faith/Piety governs the strength of Faith based equipment and Miracles as well as mana regen.
- Charisma governs a Unit's ability to influence, lead, and raise the morale of men as well as beasts. While each Unit will receive starting attributes at creation, you will be able to change these attribute values through leveling.
Let's talk about each of these in turn, starting with Vitality. Vitality is unique here because it affects both a unit's HP and movement, and typically those aren't affected by the same stat. In fact, typically there's not a way for users to greatly impact a unit's movement in a Tactical RPG. It will be interesting to see how much influence the player has over unit's viability, because increased movement would be good for turn-sensitive objectives or just general speedrunning.
However, outside of those two areas units that care about attack power might prefer Strength over Vitality. That's because as the update said above Strength affects both Attack Power and HP as well.This is again pretty unique, since usually a Strength stat or equivalent would improve damage dealing but not HP. Whether Strength or Vitality is more important for HP is going to depend on the exact calculation. Note that there's no defense stat mentioned though, so since Strength improves both damage-dealing and survivability it seems like it will be doubly-important for physical units.
Although there's no defense stat, Dexterity/Agility improves a unit's dodge chance which presumably avoids damage from an attack. Not only does it affect dodge chance, but it affects accuracy and critical hit chance as well. This means it's our second stat that increases both damage-dealing and survivability. Depending on the exact calculations used, Dexterity/Agility might even be more important for physical units than Strength.
The next couple of stats are relevant for magical units rather than physical ones. Intelligence/Mind is notable for affecting the most magic-relevant stats - total MP, number of spells, and power of INT-based equipment/spells. This is important because all magic-based units will want Intelligence/Mind for the MP and number of spells. It seems like this will be the primary stat units with INT based equipment/spells will want, and depending on spells it might be the only stat they really need.
Faith/Piety is the second state for magic based characters, which only affects power of Faith based equipment and spells and mana regen. Depending on the role of mana regen, this stat might be important for all magic based characters or for only faith based characters.
Last and apparently least is Charisma. It's hard to tell what kind of impact influence, leading and morale will have without seeing the exact game mechanics. I'm guessing that Morale in Unsung Story might be similar to the morale mechanics seen in the Tactics Ogre series. Regardless of the exact implementation, it seems like this stat is going to have an indirect effect on battle rather than a direct one. This means that units which Charisma is important for will still want a good showing in either a physical stat set or magic stat set if the unit itself is going to be viable.
It's a bit early to get into any serious design discussion given our limited knowledge of the game, but I hope this kind of analysis would help testers know some things to look out for in early build and even give the creative team things to think about if it's passed along. Looking forward to hearing what other people think of stats and how they relate to jobs!