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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  »  Would you play a MMO without character progression?

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66 posts found

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 17501

5/10/10 6:43:34 AM#21

I do think it is possible to make a fun MMO that is based on gear (and achivements you unlock to get access to zones). It is really not that different from what happens in most MMOs after a while of playing anyways. But and this is a big but, raiding isn't good enough by itself to be the only thing to do in a MMO.

You could easily take away xp and make skills that are scrolls that drop. You don't really need any classes even if you can have, a respec is just changing gear. 

I have thought a bit about this earlier and it isn't really that different from the system most games have, you will be max level soon anyways and spend your time grinding gear.

But your question is if you can make a MMO with just raiding and I don't think that would sell. I don't know a single raider who doesn't do some other part of the game, be that crafting, regular instances, PvP or something else. MMO should have as many options as possible, not a single one even if it is good.

I also see a game with only character progression and no dropable gear. Instead of phat luut your character advances, this works in many P&P rpgs and while it would take a little time to get use to it would also work.

There are many mechanics you could use for a MMO, the possibilities are almost endless. But just limiting all activities like crafting, dungeons, solo, PvP and the rest to a single one wont work, or at least you would have a really small player base.


Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 17501

5/10/10 6:50:28 AM#22
Originally posted by cowboyupinbl

Imagine that: take a game's content from lv1 to lv60 (or whatever the cap is), and just make all of it available right from the beginning.  What's the difference?  People are going to experience it all anyway, so they should be able to do it at their own pace and in whichever order they want.  Leveling only limits content into lv10 content, lv20 content, lv30 content, etc, and therefore players are forced to play it all in a certain order.  With MMOs, a genre where real-life advancements in technology have finally made it possible to have huge, fully-realized worlds at your fingertips, the game should be about the fun factor of experiencing that world, not small segments of it at a time.

You could solve this another way, like making the player unlock new areas in some way or another. You could have a long story, or just force player to do a certain number of dungeons or bosses. 

I still think you can pull a game without levels off. Particularly if you have a lot of PvP in the game, levels are messing up the PvP system. But the OP wants a game like that with only raiding and that wont work.

You could of course do a compromise also and let people gain skills but not gaining xp and killing of the level reqs on gear.

We do in fact have 2 questions here:

1. Can you make a game that is based on gear instead of XP?

2. Can you make a MMO with only raiding and nothing else.


Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 20044

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

5/10/10 6:59:15 AM#23

I'd have to say no, I wouldn't play a game w/o some form of character progression, though I'm not a fan of "leveling" per sec, I like EVE's system much better. (where the focus isn't on "working for your progression".

I've been playing Fallout 3 lately and over the weekend I hit level 20 (the max w/o expansions) and suddently found myself wondering what my goals in the game were.  I went ahead and finished the mainline quest and ended the game even though I haven't seen almost 1/3 or the game at least.

I'll go back and continue to play of course, esp since I can still find items that will improve my character, but its not quite as much fun knowing I'll not get to allocate new skill points or gain new perks. (except of course, I did buy the expansion, time to install it I think)

But back to MMORPG's, character progression is a defining element of MMORPG's, otherwise you are creating basically an "adventure" game like Myst and I never cared for playing those style of games.

Arrogant, Condescending, Dismissive, Elitist, "Meany", you speak as if these are bad things?
Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon


Novice Member

Joined: 5/02/10
Posts: 102

5/10/10 7:11:39 AM#24

Would need more details before I could decide.

I would be happy to play purely a raiding/team based game, but it would need some good thought on what to include/exclude.

That said, I still enjoy questing, storylines, world exploring and other bits, but I do feel the stuff just mentioned fits alot better in an offline game, such as Fallout 3.  Role-playing with actual players doesn't work for me.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/28/09
Posts: 5133

5/10/10 7:17:27 AM#25
Originally posted by jusomdude
Originally posted by Jenuviel

I'm actually on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I'd happily play a game with 500 levels and unlimited remorts (the ability to start over at level 1 with perks gained from the previous incarnations) and no raiding or pvp whatsoever.

Although I do want PvP in my game, I agree with the rest of this. Restarting a character would provide options to group for other lowbies, and would be a more enjoyable way to power up than raiding for me.

For me, that forward momentum is my primary source of enjoyment. I'm all about character growth, but not particularly about "stuff accumulation."

I completely agree.

If it had grouping all the way similar to the grouping in CoH, I'd group all the way. If it didn't, I'd solo all the way. Either way, I'd be happy.

I sit at a desk typing in patient information all day, every day, and I typically feel like very little (if any) progress has been made. When I get home, it's a relief to sit down, spend a couple of hours, and walk away with that sense of "getting somewhere" that levels give me. Sure, they're meaningless in the big picutre, but that part of me that needs to be putting one foot in front of the other gets temporarily sated by it.


Once I reach a level cap, I generally reroll (if there are any other classes or skill combinations I'm interested in) or leave. With a mechanism in place to allow virtually unlimited leveling, I'd stay subscribed for virtually an unlimited amount of time. A game like that would probably have to throw away quest-based advancement entirely, though, and revert to pure grinding. I think those days are behind us forever, so I'm basically a virtual tourist now. Play game, see sights, move on. Getting shinier, spikier armor just doesn't motivate me in the same way, nor does lateral advancement. That's sad for me, but good for the industry; I buy a lot of MMO boxes.

I'm pretty much the same way, I like leveling a lot more than raiding or running dungeons for new gear. A game with 500 levels, lol, that would be awesome. But I think it would be a nightmare to come up with interesting new abilities for that level span. Maybe you could just stick with upgrading stuff you already have, idk.

Very good point about the new abilities. Impossible to come up with new ones that are both fun and well balanced. For a class-based system anyway. For classless - hmmm, maybe.I think it could be done.

I know when I was leveling my mage in WOW, new abilties were much more fun for me than just a higher powered version of one I already had.

Once I hit level cap, I went to an alt for leveling, rather than grinding for gear.

For a 500 level MMO:

Level cap: 50 (each incarnation)

Each level group (1-5, 6-10, etc) would have access to one dungeon. When level cap is met, you unlock another dungeon for one level group for you next incarnation.

"" Voice acting isn't an RPG's just a production value." - grumpymel2


Novice Member

Joined: 2/10/06
Posts: 1693

5/10/10 7:31:50 AM#26

You could only remove character progression if you could replace it with long-lasting fun game play.


This is a simple case of intrinsic motivation (you play because its fun) versus extrinsic motivation (you play because of the reward).


If you take away the rewards (levels, abilities, power), is the game still fun? Most MMOs aren't, not in comparison to single player games anyways.


I enjoy raiding, but mainly because of the grouping aspect of it, but I think for it to work you'd really need to redesign how the MMO is built from the ground up, not just chop off part of how existing MMOs are made.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 8060

Logic be damned!

5/10/10 7:34:58 AM#27

I certainly would like to do away with numerical linear progression - as in at level 1 you have 100 HP and 80 MP and do 20 damage, while at level two it's 110, 90, 25 and then level ten is 1000hp, 800mp, 200dmg etc.

It's been the same since UO, EQ... now WoW, EQ, FF, WAR, AoC... almost everything.

Between level ranges, or skill ranges like UO/EvE/Darkfall, or gear/equipment stat ranges - the combination always works out to be the same way - gear > skill for much too large of a percentage.

The actual % gear and level/skill points trumps player skill varies from game to game, but the point remains the same.


I'd like to see a MMO where the progression from complete starter-noob to maybe being 75-80% of your characters "maximum" theoretic power to be quite short. Maybe 20-30 hours maximum play time. Why? This is really just a tutorial.

Then the last 20-25% of maximum theoretic power comes from a combination of only two variables:

-Firstly 10-15% from something like the AA points in EQ2 or Mastery/Path of the Titans in WoW or Traits like LotRO. These points or talents or traits whatever would be earned by doing whatever it is you love to do in the game, be it PvE, PvP, crafting, solo, group, raid... and the amount you can progress per 24 or 30 hours or some such value is limited. So it'd be kind of like a progression over time system via EvE, but unlike EvE you'd actually have to play to earn your points.

Spend time doing PvE solo and you'll gain in areas that will help you be better solo, group and you'll get more group oriented abilities/stats etc. PvP, crafting even, your choice.

I'd say for someone who makes a conscience effort to earn their daily maximum every day would get that last 10-15% for one chosen path in about 30 days. However if you miss a day, you have a rest xp type system  where the next day you gain a little faster or maybe instead you can gain a little more then normal to make up for the lost time.

I say one chosen path because you could "respec" to another path, however more like FFXI's job system you'd have to earn all the points in your new path again, however if you switch back to your orignal path you'll still have the points you've already earned in that path etc.

-Secondly is gear. Gear should only make up that last 10% of a characters maximum theoretic power. Here's the catch - max "level" can be earned by doing challenging content in PvE be it solo, group, or raid, or from dominance in PvP, from dedication to crafting.. etc. and it's all equal.

However, all the gear you have, if you wear it, you gain "xp" for your gear so your gear can level up to max. So what that means (in WoW terms for easy relation) if you start out with blue rare-quality gear, you can do dungeons or raid or do pvp etc. and get epic gear, but even if you get no drops your gear will slowly evolve over time. So it's kind of like a badge system where you still gain "points" for doing content and being successful even if you don't get any drops.

So this way the "best" in both pve, pvp, crafting, etc. get the best gear the fastest because they earn the drops or ranking to purchase it etc. but everyone else can slowly play catch up.

All of this, however, is maybe only 60% of your total chance to defeat another player one on one in PvP. Or only 60% of your potential effectiveness in PvE. The other 40% all about how well you play your character.

No gimmick fights in PvE that require a specific class/build etc. No PvP based around rock/paper/scissors where you lose half the fights before they start.

I've probably been lurking for way, way too long.


Advanced Member

Joined: 8/22/09
Posts: 2255

5/10/10 7:38:23 AM#28

Sure, an MMOFPS for example, I'd like to see that actually, a lot of those games bored me to death with slapped on character progression that really didn't do anything but hinder the FPS part.

Feel free to use my referral link for SW:TOR if you want to test out the game. You'll get some special unlocks!


Novice Member

Joined: 6/14/06
Posts: 819


5/10/10 7:44:11 AM#29

After having played countless MMO's for over, well a really long time now, I feel that I can call myself an experienced player and I can tel you from my experience that I get the most enjoyment out of leveling. Sure hitting cap gives me a sense of accomplishment but now that I'm older I find I don't really care for the competition that's involved to get and keep a raid spot in most guilds these days. I don't have time in my personal life to watch the countless youtube videos on how this boss is done or read the multitude of forum guides about it either.

I'm more of a laid back person who doesn't mind taking my time learning the bosses and actually playing the game rather then burning through all the content as fast as possible just to make myself a symbol of envy. If I wanted to do that I could brag about how much I make a year or all the "toys" that the big kids get to play with in the real world that I have because of all the money I make working, but like I said earlier, I don't much care for that sort of attitude anymore.

So the answer is no, I would most likely not play a game that doesn't require leveling to reach a cap. what would be the purpose?


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/02/05
Posts: 1667

5/10/10 7:44:19 AM#30

Levels I can take or leave. But I wouldn't enjoy a game where raiding was mostly what there was to do. It would have to be more diverse than that.

EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests


Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 8060

Logic be damned!

5/10/10 8:00:15 AM#31
Originally posted by bobfish

 but I think for it to work you'd really need to redesign how the MMO is built from the ground up, not just chop off part of how existing MMOs are made.

 I agree whole heartedly.

Give me dynamic "end-game" content in both PvE and PvP not a continual carrot-on-a-stick gear grind using the same rehashed fight mechanics in an instanced space.

Or FPS like PvP in arenas/battlegrounds/scenarios with no permanence or effect on the world.


Why did games like DaoC RvR and UO factions do it better with dynamic PvP, ownership and open world conflict? Or of course EvE is like the mecca of open world PvP, I just don't personally agree with the FFA part and full loot (though I know it makes the experience richer for what it is.)

And honestly Tabula Rasa was the closest MMO to achieve truly open world dynamic PvE with the Bane attacks on outposts and their ability to actual take and control land. Where player interaction and participation was the only way to stop their attacks and retake territory.

Now take that concept... and apply it to the whole PvE world... use bosses and dynamic public quest like encounters too, and THAT'S your PvE end-game.

I've probably been lurking for way, way too long.

  User Deleted
5/10/10 8:04:57 AM#32

The dreaded "endgame".

The bane of the mmo genre.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/20/10
Posts: 1516

5/10/10 8:08:25 AM#33

Nope.  Character progression is what MMOs are about.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/02/09
Posts: 269

Playing: Guild Wars

5/10/10 8:24:12 AM#34

Nope, I would be bored after a while, if I wasn't able to progress. There wouldn't be any drive to compell me to play. The main reason why I play games is because I want that sense of achievement I get when I accomplish something, be it a difficult quest or mission, or even gaining a level and reaching max level if the game has a low level cap. It could even be armour progression, that is, I make enough money and earn enough materials to get myself a nicer armour than the one I already have. The stats need not be better than my previous armour; as long as sense of achievement is there, I'm happy.

That's not to say that I am a fan of the leveling type of progression. To me, there are other types of progression, such as the accomplishment of moving through missions to know what happens next in the storyline. That, to me, is my favourite part of gaming, to advance my character so that I would know what happens next. It's like reading a book really; you finish one page and turn to the next to find out what happens next. In a way, I guess I treat my gaming like I'm reading a good book; if I'm engrossed and I desperately want to find out what happens so much that I end up loosing track of time, I'm happy with it.

Main characters:
Jinn Gone Quiet (Guild Wars)
Princess Pudding (Guild Wars)


Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/14/08
Posts: 1582

5/10/10 8:28:20 AM#35

If the game was built like City of Heroes, then yes.


It's really the only MMO that I've found to be fun for the sake of it, not because of progression. It's because of the combat system - combat in the game is simply fun in a way that I normally only find in non-MMOs. I love tossing baddies around with my storm/energy defender, or completely controlling the battlefield with my ill/kin controller. You can take away the XP, enhancements, and it would still be fun to jump into a group with some of your friends, turn up the difficulty, and start blasting away.



Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/05
Posts: 1287

5/10/10 8:30:14 AM#36

I would definately play an MMO without character progression.

As long as it involved zombies, had a persistant world and was more about teamwork and survival rather than advancement. Each time you play your goal would be to find a group to work with and set up a base that would be secure enough to survive during the period you were offline. Your character would never actually 'leave' the world, they would just find a place to lie down and if your 'fort' was built well enough, and other players didn't ravage it to scavenge items for their own forts, then when you logged back in you'd wake up where you were. If not? YOU DIED! Make another character and try again.

The main goal of the game would be to listen to radio messages, find clues and rescue NPCs to get info on where the last bastion of human civilization can be found, and then survive long enough to make it there. There would be several areas, but each player would be attuned to one when they are created and all of the clues would lead them to that possible one. If you went to any of the other ones, say you looked online for a map of them and just picked one, you'd find it locked against you. If, however, you are on a team with someone who's clues you followed to find it then you would be able to get in with them.

Once you've won once, and I feel this game should be Hard with a capital OMFG, you could then create a zombie character to go out and attack players with. Human zombies would make the game exponentially harder as time went on.

There'd be crafting, and in that there would be the advancement of skill in you ability to create better defenses and cobble together weapons, or make ammo.

So no character progression, and also there is a way to 'win'. Of course the longer you play and the less you log off the better chance you have.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/04
Posts: 8060

Logic be damned!

5/10/10 8:30:53 AM#37

Would story progression be enough even if you didn't get any extra XP or loot or $ from questing, just the stuff you get from killing/exploring/gathering/making etc. ?

As in would you do the story progression for the sake of story?


Imagine a world... of warcraft where you don't get any XP from quests, nor any additional money nor items.. and instead monsters gave a lot more XP to kill, gave more money, and had higher drop rates of greens/blues. Now also, you gained some XP from gathering and from crafting.

Now imagine it was balanced so where doing these things netted you about the same experience that the current quest XP grind gives you now.

So the only motivation to do quests was the story... you could from 1 to 80(5) and it'd probably be more efficient...

Would you still quest IF they were high quality and chains ala more WotLK / wrathgate etc. then "kill 10 kobolds" quests?

I've probably been lurking for way, way too long.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/17/07
Posts: 339

5/10/10 8:38:13 AM#38

Would I play an MMO without character progression? No.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/11/06
Posts: 5460

5/10/10 8:44:08 AM#39

I need to have some kind of character progression to know that I am advancing forward.

If I can not see my progression, it's just not the same. 

I know it's shallow to calculate "skill" with numbers and not actual player skill, but I'm not looking for honest skill-demanding game anyway. Just one that I can enjoy.

"Housing is standard in most mmo's."
- yolteotl79


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/25/03
Posts: 2836

5/10/10 8:54:58 AM#40

I think most people need progression.  New weapons isn't enough.  Swapping classes or skills isn't enough.  Personally  and with everyone I know who enjoys RPGs, once the leveling ends, our interest begins to fade.  Theres only so many times you can do a dungeon, fight the same people in PvP, capture and lose the same fortress, ect.  With all games, it just gets boring after a while.  Removing the progression part only shortens the time most people will stay interested.

Realistically, no developer can create enough content to keep most people busy enough to keep playing month after month if theres no goal to reach.  It just takes too long to create quality content.   Remove progression and what are people doing?Chatting?  Who wants to pay for that?  Crafting?  Not a big market there.  Socializing?  You don't need a MMO for that.   Most people who enjoy RPGs like the leveling up part, even if they do rush through it.  Thats the fun part.  Once that ends, the real fun ends as well.

Remove the levels and you have to replace it with something else.  Not sure what that is.  I can play an online FPS for a few weeks with no progression, but thats just a few weeks.  I sure can't play for months and theres no way I'd pay a fee to do it.

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