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Skills and Mind States

How Experience Works

As a character performs tasks and gains experience it slowly transforms into ranks in skills. So, the most obvious connection is that in order to gain skills, you must gain experience and you gain experience by performing tasks that involve the skill. The most common way to think of experience is the bucket analogy, where we have a constantly filling bucket that has a hole in the bottom of it. We use the bucket and the size of the hole to describe the character's mental attributes: Intelligence and Wisdom. Intelligence represents the size of the bucket and Wisdom represents the hole in the bottom.
Let's look at a skill:

Foraging: 10 15% clear

This means that we currently have 10 ranks of Foraging and are 15% of the way towards having 11 ranks. The clear indicates that we are currently not training the skill in any meaningful way. As we begin to train this skill, we'll see that the clear will change, according to the chart below. Generally speaking, we want this to increase as high as possible, as it lends to the best learning.
Assuming that we've somehow managed to work the skill enough that it's got an appreciable amount in it, we'll see something like:

Foraging: 10 15% perplexed

The perplexed speaks to how much potential experience is waiting to be drained into the skill. After a period of time, the perplexed will drop in learning level and you'll see the percentage go up and this is known as a pulse. Pulse sizes and how they work is a subject of much discussion and we won't get too deeply into the math behind these pulses, rather just a general overview of how it works.
Assuming in prior example we have pulsed some of our experience, we'll be left with something like this:

Foraging: 10 20% perplexing

Some of our pool (as represented by the perplexing) has transformed into actual experience. This pulsing happens every 200 seconds on a rotating schedule around each skill. No every single skill pulses at the same time, but the time between two pulses of the same skill is roughly 200 seconds. If we go back to our bucket analogy, we think of it something like taking a sample of how much water has leaked out every 200 seconds. A common way to describe the 5% that has been gained is to call it a pulse size and trying to optimize and get the biggest amount is a popular pursuit. The actual amount, the 5%, can be increased by training Intelligence. The higher your intelligence, the more water the bucket can hold and thus the bigger the pulses. Wisdom represents the perplexed to perplexing drop, or the amount of overall pool that has been converted to experience. As long as you have some experience in the pool, you'll have a learning level of some sort. If you find that you're constantly having problems moving learning levels, it's possible that your wisdom is too low. Furthermore, if you aren't satisfied with the numbers gained, that's a function of Intelligence. In addition it should be noted that as you gain more ranks in a skill, you get less and less experience per pulse and it's very difficult to combat this. As such, you'll never see the amount on a skill that has 300 ranks as you will on a skill that has 30 or 3.

Another issue with experience is that it's on a scale based on skill sets. Every guild in the realms is giving a primary skill set, two secondary skillsets and the remaining ones are considered tertiary. One of the ways that DragonRealms breaks up the monotony of skill gaining is the insertion of wall ranks every so often as you gain skill. These wall ranks make it much more difficult to pulse and play in with the pulsing, so that on a wall rank, you'll see that your movement in learning levels goes down substantially and you'll find it very difficult to move from mind lock to learning. Ranks after wall ranks are the complete opposite and you'll have trouble remaining mind locked, as you'll see pulses go from mind lock to say perplexing as opposed to bewildered. Because the drops in learning level are proportional to the amount that is converted from your pool into experience, you'll learn to hate wall ranks and savor the ranks after.

For skills in the primary skill set, every 8th rank is a wall rank. In the case of secondary skills, it's every 4th, and tertiary is every other. The wall ranks don't necessarily start at the zeroth or first rank, but are determined by guild.

Skill Learning Levels
  1. Clear: Not currently learning this skill.
  2. Learning: Learning this skill at a very slow rate.
  3. Thoughtful
  4. Pondering
  5. Concentrating
  6. Muddled: Learning this skill at a good rate.
  7. Very Muddled
  8. Perplexing
  9. Perplexed
  10. Bewildering
  11. Bewildered: Learning this skill at a maximum rate.
  12. Dazed: Learning this skill at a maximum rate; warning, you're about to mindlock.
  13. Mind Lock: Not learning this skill any more; take a break.
Mind States
  1. Clear: You're fine, keep training.
  2. Fluid: You're over mindlock in one or more skills and may want to consider taking a break.
  3. Murky: Warning; your overall learning ability is about to decrease.
  4. Very Murky.
  5. Thick: Overall slowdown in learning.
  6. Very Thick.
  7. Dense: Learning slower.
  8. Very Dense.
  9. Stagnant: Learning even slower.
  10. Very Stagnant.
  11. Frozen: You're not learning anything anymore in anything.
  12. Very Frozen: And you thought it couldn't get any worse than frozen.