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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Account Based Progression

Posted by MikeB Sunday September 30 2012 at 7:39PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we're focusing on the thread, "SWTOR's great idea that games should be implementing" by strangiato2112. In the thread, strangiato2112 discusses SWTOR's account-based progression feature and explains why developrs should go this route with their games:

Lost in how disappointing the game was and how poorly this system was implemented, SWTOR really had an idea that any level based game should openly embrace:  the Legacy system.

But instead of focusing on the details of how SWTOR implemented it, lets call it for what it really is:  Account wide alternate advancement.  And this should be an MMORPG staple.

All level based games suffer from the max level syndrome.  Most games, once you hit max level, your character is 100% done with progression.  Then it turns into gear progression, which isnt improving your character at all beause once that gear is taken off the imporvement vanishes.  Its temporary improvement.

EQ was one of the few smart ones, it realized this issue and implemented AAs.  Problem is, and Rift with its watered down version of AAs has experienced this, is it makes people not want to play alts.  but account wide AAs?  Not only are you heling your main, you are helping your alt as well.

Now SWTOR chose the Legacy System to act differently, and a smart implementation of a non-character progression system can work for the right type of players.  RP types can have more options to unlock for housing for instance.  There always stuff like WoW's heirloom gear that can be tied to it for altaholics, or appearance gear.  The key thing is to give lots of choice so they can customize their account how they want to.

I hope more games jump on this idea.

Does the community agree? Read on to find out!

VirusDancer can see the appeal, but it doesn't really do it for him:

Might have helped to link to this:  :for those that had no clue what you were talking about with the Legacy stuff.

That being said, hrmm - perhaps for folks with altitis that enjoy their own form of grinding alts, this would definitely be something of interest to them...perhaps not.  It might hit up the folks in between though - those that were looking for something between the single toon grind and the grinding alts thing.

In the end to me, though - it just reeks of there not being enough content - so here's another means to grind the same content.  It's the same poop wrapped in a different colored bow... might be a really pretty bow, but it's still wrapped around poop.

That's just my opinion of course - I prefer continued playability to replayability - I've done my fair share of seeking medication and counseling for altitis as well as grinding carrots.

Different folks - different strokes and all that; so I can see where some folks would definitely enjoy it in other games...but it's just not my thing.

stratasaurus is in agreement with our OP:

I have to agree some form of Account wide advancing should be part of every major MMO.  Alts are part of the MMO world now really almost noone just makes one main and calls it a day and some system to join that into the game is almost silly not to have and silly everyone has not thought about it and done it by now.

Chiram reminds us of the pitfalls of account-based progression:

I would just like to point out... that while a system that rewards how long a person has been "playing" on the account is good... it's a double edged sword. This system that has been re-worded and used in previous MMOs can actually keep away new or long absent returning players. The "achiever" crowd frowns upon systems like this because in their mind, they don't want to be playing 2+ years just get what someone "now" has. 

Me personally, I could care less but I have had friends I game with refuse to play MMOs that do this if they are new/returning players.

I personally loved SWTOR's Legacy system. Account-based progression is definitely an interesting feature that I can see fitting many MMO titles. The Legacy system in particular allows you to tailor each alts leveling experience to whatever activities you prefer to partake in on that character. Love doing warzones and don't care about the Jedi Knight's story? Unlock the Warzone XP bonuses and go to town! There are also a smattering of other convenience options to unlock and I can't really see them as anything but a net bonus.

How do you feel about account-based progression systems? Let us know in the comments below!

logan400k writes:

I dod like SWTOR's Legacy system. It is not perfect, but I think has some great thought behind it. 

Especially in alternate subscription models,  account wide progression can definitely be crucial in opening up new play options.

In addition, different rewards can be offered for different play styles. For those who like the new character smell but often lose interest at mid level, one bonus can be offered. For the gamer who goes 0 to 60 in a day, a different reward.

The family - relationship aspect of the characters in SWTOR can be exapnded upon by other games.

Sun Sep 30 2012 9:43PM Report
Leoghan writes:

The legacy system was a great concept that was poorly implemented.

The first major mistake was tying surnames to it. It is like they wanted something like the Cryptic @name, but thought players would love to have all of their characters in one big family (didn't they even say something about Han Solo being in the Skywalker legacy? *rolls eyes*).

The next problem was tying the system to species unlocks. In a game based on Star Wars making people unlock species is idiotic to begin with, but then making them reach lvl 50 in that species (or spending 2 mil in game currency I think it was) to unlock it for all of the professions is counter productive, especially in a game that had limited character slots per server.  Why make your players get to end game to be able to make the character they really wanted to play in the first place. 

The one great thing was the concept of unlocking bonus xp that was "server-wide", it should have been account-wide, but that is just another failure of the Legacy system. The xp Bonuses helped those who wanted to play through all of the stories and might have worked to encourage others to play through more of the stories if it had been in at launch. 

Really there is nothing wrong with rewarding players for play time, especially when most of those rewards are invisible perks. Or perks that can be purchased in other ways. I don't even mind seeing those in things like cash shops since let's be honest time played = money for the developer just as much as buying something in a cash shop does. 

Mon Oct 01 2012 12:50AM Report
fenistil writes:

I don't really dig idea of account wide progression. 

Of course I am NOT advocating that no games have that kind of systems, but I am much less interested in mmorg's that are wrapped about an idea of replayability of countless alts.

When I though about it first then It seemed like small thing, but actually it can define whole game and it's design.


In sandboxes I am even ready to play a game that limit 1 character per server like it was in past.  It might have seemed harsh, but it was actually made for purpose.


Mon Oct 01 2012 5:52AM Report
fenistil writes:

One more:

Whole account bonuses  / progression is made for games that are focused at end gaming instance grinding. 

Then it helps players put their characters even more quicly through so called "levelling" with bonuses to exp, gold, some gear and so on.   

I was always under impression why those games even still have open world and levelling if it just is few days's chore you have to do instead of being playing a game.


*sigh*  anyway kinda explain why I don't have interest in playing games like that anymore

Mon Oct 01 2012 5:57AM Report
Segun777 writes: One thing to remember about the legacy system is that, at least for some of it, its an either or system.So making multiple characters isn't the only way to unlock things. I believe with most of the legacy system its based on getting to a low level tier and then natural progression or using credits, TOR's monetary currency. Mon Oct 01 2012 8:24AM Report
erictlewis writes:

The legacy system the way swtor has it set up is a joke. I am sorry but it had a few nice perks, mixed in with tons of grinding to get the fluff stuff.  I just felt the prices were way to hight for some of the items you could obtain.

All in all EQ2 already had something like this in place years in advance.  If you had a toon to max level you got level bonus perks. 


Mon Oct 01 2012 2:50PM Report
Wizardry writes:

No the idea of ALTS is bad in every way.If i am a RPG player,i am THAT player ,why would i have an alter ego?

if my name is Joe Schlepp,then i should be Joe Schlepp forever.

FFXi is the game that improved this flaw in longevity and this altaholic syndrome and dead end game play.They introduced the sub class system long ago in FFV.

What i see now is developers just continue to copy or slightly bend the ideas of EQ/EQ2.SOE did a few things well but a lot of things bad,developers shoudl start using some creativity instead of just copying the ALTAHOLIC design.

Bottom line is giving perks to a totally different player is unrealistic.That design is simply to keep players making alts.instead of ALTS we need devs to be creative on cotnent and longevity with the player we START the game with.

Sun Oct 07 2012 7:48PM Report writes:
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