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In many video games (mainly RPGs), you can arbitrarily add points to your character's skill and attribute scores with each Level Up. Some of them additionally provide you with an item or character that resets your Player Character's scores and lets you redistribute them from scratch. The idea behind such Skill Point Reset is to let you optimize your build, better adapt it to the current level, and revert any character building decisions you came to regret.
Can be a barely-Acceptable Break From Reality, since in Real Life anything like this would allow you to completely forget everything you ever learned about your current job and instantly learn everything there is to know about another one.
See Discard and Draw for when this happens involuntarily (and not limited to video games) but you get your skill points back, and Bag of Spilling for when you don't. Compare Re-Power. See also Restart At Level One. Not to be confused with Power Nullifier.
RPG -- Action
- Diablo II added a Skill Point Reset character with a patch: once per difficulty level, Akara can reset a character's ability scores.
- X Men Legends 2 allowed you to redistribute skill points for a price. The price increases by a couple orders of magnitude for a second reset.
- Played very differently in Marvel Ultimate Alliance, which allows the player to freely redistribute skill points at any Save Point, with the caveat that a skill can never be unlearned.
RPG -- Eastern
- Stat Maxing in Final Fantasy X is largely based on erasing spheres already present on the sphere grid with a special kind of sphere, and replacing them with more stat-benficial ones. somewhat an oddball example as instead of this being a method of quick restructuring of a character's build, it's a rather tedious process of Min-Maxing.
- Pokémon has the Move Deleter, which allows you to delete a Pokemon's move and is the only way to remove certain techniques. Recent games also have berries that allow you to remove Effort Points from one stat, so you can build another one. There is also the "move relearner" which allows Pokemon to re-learn any move from a previous level-up. But while the Move Deleter performs his service for free, the relearner typically charges a Heart Scale, a hard-to-find item.
- Skies of Arcadia had "Chams" which you fed to your Attack Animal. It also had "Choms" which caused it to reset and release all the Chams it ate, solely so that you could use them again in a different order which may be more efficient if an Abarik Cham is used at the best time. (This was changed in the Gamecube version.)
- In many ways, it's more of an upgrade, but most Nippon Ichi games have some form of "rebirth" for the characters which drops them to Level 1, but with some percentage of their stats (and all of their equipment) intact, making the grinding much less painful.
- In Etrian Odyssey, Resting a character at the Guild resets their skill points, along with losing a few levels. Since you only get one skill point for each level, this can be a good way to reshuffle that member's skills to something better suited to the challenge at hand.
- Retiring somebody works similarly: that character leaves the Guild and is replaced by an 'apprentice' who starts at Level 1, but gains extra skill points to invest and retains any stat boosts the original character gained from single-use items.
RPG -- MMO
- Skill reset functions are almost universally Revenue Enhancing Devices in Free to Play MMORPGs. The standard practice is to make them unavailable for purchase with in-game money or auction-able for vast amounts of it while being one of the cheapest perks in the cash shop.
- Any trainer for your class in World of Warcraft can reset your Talents so you can re-arrange them. However, this process costs money and becomes more expensive each time it's used. When the developers make major changes to a class' skill tree they also reset it for free.
- They then introduced dual skill trees, enabling players to switch between two skill trees by concentrating briefly.
- Don't know about the official version, but on private Ragnarok Online servers there is usually an NPC where you can reset your stats and/or your skill points for a price.
- Champions Online lets you "Retcon" your hero, either with in-game money or using a Retcon token from the cash shop.
- Guild Wars at release had "reset points" that built up with experience and allowed characters to change skills. Shortly after release, they switched to allowing free respecs at any outpost.
RPG -- Western
- Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening had the Manuals of Focus, consumable items that reset everything about the character (stats, skills, specializations, etc.). You got a similar for free in each extra DLC campaign where you could import your Origins character.
- Mass Effect 2 allows you to retrain Shepard's powers for 2500 units of Element Zero after the Horizon mission. You can do the same for squad members using Advanced Training at the Shadow Broker Base (DLC-only), for 1000 Element Zero per use per character. (Not to be confused with Advanced Training on the Normandy, which allows the player to select Shepard's bonus skill.)
- Mass Effect 3 offers it for free for Shepard and any squadmate in the medbay of the Normandy.
- You can buy "Re-spec" in Borderlands after a certain level.
- While stats in roguelike Dungeon Crawl are permanent, advanced magic-users can use the Selective Amnesia spell to forget certain spells to make room for better ones.
- Dead Space 2 allows you to reset all the upgrades you've applied to a specific weapon or piece of equipment for 5000 credits, allowing you to move them to something else instead.
- In Warcraft III, you can find/buy a Tome of Retraining on some maps, which allows you to reset your skill points (and strengthen/weaken your abilities accordingly) as you see fit.
- There's a unique item in Ge Ne Sis, the Divine Breath, that does this for one character. Usually very essential, since it's dangerously easy to make your characters' builds into complete messes.
- The Nanofield Reboot ability from Iji.
- In Distorted Travesty, a NPC will do this to you for a small amount of money.
- You can do this for free in Gemcraft.
Non-Video Game Examples
- Red Mage of Eight Bit Theater can edit his character sheet (or at least, he thinks to do so) to achieve this effect.
- A variation on this is "retraining" in Dungeons & Dragons's fourth edition. Essentially, each time your character goes up a level, you can replace one choice you've made before (e.g. a trained skill, feat, power) with another of the same type as long as the change doesn't result in an illegal character (say, one with a feat whose prerequisite is suddenly no longer there). In addition, even without ever retraining characters of all classes will eventually hit some levels (starting at 13th) at which they are instructed to replace an old power with a new one; they could in principe just choose the old power all over again, but a 13th-level encounter attack power is apt to have a bit more "oomph" than the (likely) first-level one you're giving up for it.