A survival fan with thousands of hours on survival games and still a desire to chop trees.
Tech Tree in Icarus
The tech tree dictates what you have access to in terms of nearly all the game's content. It's how you unlock new weapons, armor, and tools. You unlock building prefabs and material types. Basically almost everything in the game you can build or craft is unlocked via the tech tree. It's fundamental to playing the game, so knowing how it works is critical to making the most progression.
How It Works
To make progress on the tech tree, you need to increase your character's level by earning experience doing nearly any activity in the game. When you level up, you receive three points you can spend on the tech tree.
- Each point can unlock a node on the tech tree, granting access to that item.
- The tech tree has branches where items act as prerequisites. For example, you need to spend a point unlocking the carpentry bench before you can spend points unlocking wood building prefabs.
- Some nodes require certain talents or levels to unlock in addition to access to the tier and fulfilling all the prerequisites.
- There is a new tech tree for each tier, which is gated by character level.
The system isn't too far off from a tech tree as seen in other video games, but it's helpful to fully understand it. You'll notice that due to the branching of the tech tree, it's optimal to specialize within your group. For example, it doesn't make sense for multiple people to put points into wood building prefabs as each duplicate is something that could go to other tech. This is especially important given that you can save up tech points and spent them on higher tiers after you have unlocked them. For example you could have a party member not spend any points on tier 1 and wait until they've unlocked tier 2. They would then be able to immediately unlock a meaningful amount of tier 2 technology and help your team progress faster. Of course, the downside is that they would not be contributing to the team's tech while leveling up to tier 2, but with the right situation and party size, this can be a powerful strategy.
Tech Tree Screenshots
Talents in Icarus
Talents function very similarly to the tech tree, but they are more about performance improvements and are ultimately less impactful than unlocking new technology itself. Every time your character levels, you will gain one talent point in addition to the three tech tree points. This talent point can be spent on talent trees that function very similarly to the tech trees in that there are branches with prerequisites. There are also multiple talent trees that each specialize in certain areas of the game. The trees are:
- Survival including resources, hunting, exploration, and cooking/farming
- Construction including repairing, tools, and building
- Combat including bows, spears, blades, and firearms
- Solo, a general tree that appears to be optimized for solo play
Rather than unlocking access to tech, the perks you'll receive are minor performance improvements. Things such as reducing stamina usage from an activity, increasing yield or speed of various tools or skills, basic health, food, and thirst buffs, and things of that nature. Talents lower in the tech tree do tend to get a little more interesting, but generally, you're not looking at huge specialization into certain activities.
Construction Talent Tree
These two systems come together to form essential progression in the game. Their design is simple enough to keep the game focused on the gameplay itself. But it's also complicated enough to ensure specialization is the right way to progress as a group, thus creating more room for strategizing as a team. While the tech tree is very fundamental to the game, the talent tree doesn't add quite as much value to the experience. The minor perks are nice and it's the only way your character gets more performance over time, but the benefits and specialization aren't incredibly noticeable. Certainly over enough time and levels, the impact becomes more meaningful, but one could argue that performance impact could just as easily be attached to new technology rather than perks. However, the talents could form to create some further character specialization and differentiation if it all comes together well. Certainly, it's not bad or confusing to have the system, so I'll happily take the talent points over nothing.