Starting Traits vs Development
I'm going to come clean right now & admit that I cheat. I used C++ to edit the game's .exe file so that it's possible to take all 16 starting traits. Why? Because I frikken need all that stuff to be all I can be in this post apocalyptic world, that's why. But enough about my failings as a human being. Let's talk about the game.
So we have 5 traits.
Eagle Eye (Or Myopic)
Slow Metabolism (or Fast Metabolism)
Strong (or Weak)
Tough (or Frail)
These represent specific strengths and/or weaknesses that make each individual unique. They are not traits every human will have. Although I will point out that an inordinate amount of raiders seem to have strong & tough as traits.
And we have 11 skills:
These are meant to represent the sum total of human skill in the world of NEO Scavenger. Everyone has some level of ability at all of these skills, but some are better than others.
My suggestion here is that rather than assigning an absolute 4 abilities, that we be assigned a rating for all these 11 skills. We start out with a base # of creation points to assign as we choose, which determines our proficiency at these skills. The traits either cost us or provide us with points, in accordance with their particular traits.
Example: It costs me 10 points to buy Eagle Eye, but I get a bonus to all skills involving sight (ranged, botony, tracking, etc). Conversely, if I took Myopic, I would get 10 points, but get a penalty in all those skills. Maybe I use those points to be more proficient at lockpicking & melee, which don't require such keen eyesight.
Further, I would like to see a system by which we obtain XP's for completing quests, or for succeeding at tasks (i.e. 2 xps for picking a lock, 5 xp's for making a pair of gloves). At each experience level, we gain points to assign to our skills.
My reasons for suggesting this are:
1) It would be nice to have some chance at character development throughout the game.
2) I don't believe that anyone has absolute proficiency or ineptitude at anything. We all fall on a spectrum between absolute ineptitude & absolute mastery of any given skill.
3) I think that expecting a new player to pick 4 random abilities from a list of 16, upon which they will be required to rely for the duration of their life, is a bit unforgiving. Again, as one sees how the game unfolds, they may choose to focus on different traits than they originally selected. Maybe they discover that botany is pointless because there are only berries & mushrooms in this world, and apparently you get all the nutrition you need from crackers, gummy bears, and squirrels. So maybe instead they throw points into lockpicking, because they've gotten jumped sixteen trillion times by dogmen while trying to pry open doors, and want to be sneakier.
"Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed." - Mark Twain