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Most Popular Backgrounds

Sleuth Admin
Sleuth Admin

Out of curiosity, I ran a report to rank the backgrounds in order of popularity.

Here is the list, if you count all Sleuths ever created:
#1 Burglar
#2 Reporter
#3 Police Detective
#4 Dilettante
#5 Doctor
#6 Lawyer

The gap between Doctor and Lawyer is huge (no word on cowboys). All told, there are about 4 times as many Reformed Burglars than Retired Lawyers.

Interestingly, if you only look at players who reach 100EXP, Dilettante jumps into the lead.

At 10K, Reporter grabs and maintains the lead.

At 100K, here's the lineup:

#1 Reporter
#2 Dilettante
#3 Burglar
#4 Police Detective
#5 Lawyer
#6 Doctor

Anybody find these surprising? No doubt Reformed Burglar grabs the attention more than some of the other choices, but do these numbers make sense from a game perspective? Personally, I think Lawyer is one of the better backgrounds, particularly early on (which is when backgrounds matter most).

Detective Joseph Chen
Detective Joseph Chen

hehe...nice post, can I share some opinions on this as well?

Basically, at the first glance, Burglar does grabs the attention from the rest of the choice, basically because it starts with 5 intimidation and 2 lockpicks, with these 2 skills alone, any newbies will have a good start in terms of saving money from buying keys.

Based on calculations for each of the backgrounds, Dilettante starts with the best skill points allocations followed by Burglar, then Reporter and Doctor at 3rd followed by Police Detective and lastly Lawyer.

Based on logic and some readings, newbies tend to use up manipulations skills too fast, too early, hence face problems getting motives, hence Reporter that comes with 3 research will also be a favorable choice.

As for me, I believe Evidence Never Lies, hence I start with Doctor, but if you give me a chance again, I'll probably go for Dilettante.


Voy Seven
Voy Seven

I also believe that the ex-burglar is the easiest to start with. Manipulation and lockpicks help you a lot in the beginning.

I personally do like research (because it saves me a lot of real-time, just in case I don't have much time and have to be fast, or also helpful for showdowns), but consider negotiation quite useless (after all, it's just about money, and later in the game you'll have enough of that anyway).

Some people might say that lockpicks are also only about money, but I disagree, because it actually saves you a lot of game-time AND real-time if you can just go in and needn't go to the locksmith's first.

In the beginning of the game, I think analysis is not important, if you want, you can get that later. Until the point that you really have standings with every townie and don't want to mess that up by using manipulation in order to ask for evidence checking, I would say that manipulation gains you more than analysis skills. So for a starter, I would rather suggest to go for a character with more manipulation skills.

Voy Seven
Voy Seven

and have a look at that: this will explain why the lawyer is not really popular...

Reformed Burglar
starts with 5 intimidation (58), 2 lockpick (27), 1 cosmetic (13), 1 tobacco (13)
that equals 111 skill points

Disillusioned Police Detective
starts with 4 intimidation (44), 1 lockpick (18), 1 handwriting (18), 1 footprint (18), 1 research (10)
that equals 108 skill points

Disgraced Doctor
starts with 2 charm (24), 1 hair (18), 1 thread (18), 1 handwriting (18), 1 footprint (18), 1 negotiation (14)
that equals 110 skill points

Freelance Investigative Reporter
starts with 4 charm (44), 1 hair (18), 1 thread (18), 3 research (30)
that equals 110 skill points

Retired Lawyer
starts with 2 charm (24), 2 intimidation (24), 2 judge of character (21), 1 negotiation (14), 1 research (10)
that equals 93 skill points

Moonlighting Dilettante
starts with 2 charm (24), 2 intimidation (24), 1 judge of character (14), 1 lockpick (18), 1 handwriting (18), 1 negotiation (14)
that equals 112 skill points

Voy Seven
Voy Seven

And when you, like me, consider negotiation rather useless because it does not really help solving cases and therefore disregard this feature, you get this table instead:

burglar 111
reporter 110
police detective 108
dilettante 112-14 = 98
doctor 110-14 = 96
lawyer 93-14 = 79

which renders the lawyer even less attractive.

Detective Joseph Chen
Detective Joseph Chen

you've interpreted everything correctly ^_^

Detective Joseph Chen
Detective Joseph Chen

@Sleuth Admin:

Are you thinking of adding highscore lists by Background? ^_^


you know I've had to go and see what my background actually is - Disillusioned Police Detective... well there you go. :s I'm sure I put a lot of thought... nah let's be honest it was probably just random button mashing. :)


Well, the facts I've come across suggest an almost need for, in the later cases, and at least to make money, 5 of each charm and intimidate, 3 of research, and 4 judgment of character for asking the questions you need asked.

Generally speaking you'll use 3 lockpicking, at least, to get through most cases as the keys aren't exactly plentiful, but then you usually only need these 3 lockpicking skills.

Moving into the evidence, you'll want as much as possible, but you may want to spend at least a bit on negotiation to talk the expenses down even more.

This being said, the reformed burglar has a great advantage over many of the other backgrounds, and as most of the time in early cases, you don't benefit from the negotiation skill, it becomes rather clear as to why the reformed burglar might take precedence over the Dilettante.


And even early on I'd say, no, the lawyer was not one of the best backgrounds. Early on, you rarely have to use the questioning skills, as it is relatively easy to get all the information you need from the suspects early on without resorting to these skills, so early on, you can generally discount charm, intimidation, judgement of character, and negotiation, these skills becoming more valuable when you get higher in levels, but as the points are lacking from the lawyer, this loses considerable value. And negotiation, while useful, is by no means necessary for the easier cases, this all resulting in the lawyer being one of the least played if not the least played character background.

Sleuth Admin
Sleuth Admin

Actually, I was just looking for an excuse to buff Lawyer! And you've all played into my hands nicely.

I would like to propose raising one of these skills by one level for starting lawyers:

Judge of Character: 7 sp
Research: 10 sp
Negotiation: 7 sp

This would bring more parity in each of the background's starting skill values.

If we do this, would it be fair to also credit existing lawyers with an equal number of skill points?

Also, do people generally agree that Negotiation is under powered? If so, it would be easy to increase it's effectiveness a bit.


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