In the game of Everquest, there is a little place called Crushbone. It is a magic land, filled with desperate orcs, and it was lead by Emperor Crushbone himself….a magnificent orc who crushes all opposition. Did I mention he is only lvl 18? Did I also mention that his kingdom was apparently plaguing Kelethin, the nearby wood elf city? Did I also mention that despite the fact that they were *under siege*, the common lvl 50 Elven guards could go in and wipe the place out over and over again….or that the common brownie skipping around the forest could also wipe out the kingdom of Crushbone?
Ah yes, the conundrum of lvls in an MMO. Over and over, we have every world filled with kingdoms, dungeons, and other places that have monsters anywhere from lvl 1-1000. Yet overall, the way that they are designed makes little sense. Progression is something that is maintained at such a linear rate, but at the cost of making no sense at all. Time and time again, we have every game plague you with endless quests to kill off leaders, armies, monsters and whatnot that could always be easily taken care of by some lowly guard that sits at the gates waiting for an attack that won't come.
What games need are dungeons and kingdoms and armies that adhere to some basic principles:
- Skill Levels: If a kingdom is taking over or a threat to another, then their leaders, generals, and such should be fairly powerful, and as such, should be progressive in the quests to hack at them. At lvl 10, you should be striking at food supply chains guarded by lowly militia, at 30 you should be taking out their battalion of flying drakes and at 50 you should be going after the King himself.
- Sensible placement of these places in relation to the city you are fighting for
- Ensure that the character's city guards could not easily take care of the job, whatever it is.
Although these are not the only ideas that could ensure more meaningful questing, these are a good start for a game to follow.