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The Casual Life by Wintyre Fraust

An older, casual player's perspective on MMOG's in general and GW2 in particular.

Author: Meleagar

The 24/7 Advancement System

Posted by Meleagar Friday July 17 2009 at 7:59AM
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The key concept behind my proposed MMO Character Development Strategy Game is the 24/7 experience-gain system.  These worlds are persistent - they go on 24/7; why should the character we are role-playing through be limited in that world to whatever we can achieve in terms of how much time we have to actively play them?

We've all played strategy games, like Civilization, or Sim City, or Sins of a Solar Empire, where your strategic commands are being carried out whether you are at the keyboard or in the next room getting a cup of coffee.  The MMOCDSG game will be like this; your character (while not necessarily an observable presence in the game) will always be "doing" something, whether you are around or not.

We'll call the experience-gain rate "X".  Every character upon creation begins gaining experience at X rate; players that are created later gain experience at X+15% [Edit: or more] until they catch up. This means that generally every character is developing at the same rate, whether solo or grouper, casual or hardcore. This creates a generally level playing field for character development.

The argument might be raised that "the game plays itself" or "you don't need to actually play the game", but that perspective is from the MMOG model most such games currently utilize.  Yes, the fact is that no, you don't "need" to play the game (being present in the game) other than at some point distributing character development points; the game is designed to remove "need", and to replace it with "want".  The content of the game will be compelling, interesting and attractive so that people will want to be in the game, not need to in order to advance their characters or compete.

You only enter the game when you want to have fun doing the things you want to do in the game; it isn't "need" driven.  There is no need to grind for anything, no need to group, no need to raid; there isn't even a need to kill mobs for money or items.   Your character gains experience 24/7 as a basic game feature, and part of that experience can be spent gaining character abilities that bring in a steady flow of in-game money and rewards.

When your character enters the game, you will see how much experience it has gained.  It will be an ongoing accumulation, like a digital bank account accruing interest.  You can then open your development interface and decide where to invest the experience.  You use experience to buy advancements in any area; if you spend all your experience it goes down to zero and from there continues moving back up as time goes by. In any particular development tree, lower level advancements cost less experience than higher-level advancements. 

The advantage to this kind of game is that it doesn't promote unhealthy amounts of at-the-keyboard playing time and developers can absolutely control the rate of all character development; and, by setting the particular talent-tree skills at certain experience values, they can control how fast (in real time) anyone can move down any particular skill or talent tree, or how fast they can accumulate higher character stats like health or mana. 

Also, players can feel free to play alts, because any time spent playing an alt doesn't significantly affect any other character they have; in fact, they can feel free to play any other game they want along with our MMOCDSG. Our MMOCDSG wouldn't even compete against other games for player time.

Next: The "No End Game" Concept: Character Development vs Character Advancement writes:
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