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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Why do THEMEPARK MMORPGs need Levels?!?

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  MMOExposed

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 6241

 
OP  12/07/11 6:34:31 PM#1
This is not a pro sandbox thread. My opinion , sandbox concept in MMO is stupid.

Here is the thing. I am really getting tired of levels. It feels like a chore rather than excitement. But of course that's subjective and just my opinion. But really, in a THEMEPARK MMO, are levels really needed at all?

I heard the argument that levels are needed for the story to progress. But this isn't true at all. That's why we have things like chain quest. Nothing about quest nor story has anything to do with levels. That's just a artificial restriction placed by game mechanics. For example, let's use WoW. I could level from 1 to 85 using nothing but mob grinding (yes people wouldn't normally do this, but that's not the point). Now let's say I am level 85 now and decide to return to other zones to start working on quest and lore. Well what's preventing me from doing just that? The only thing different is that I overpower the quest objectives because I out leveled them.had the game had only a single level, I could go around a do any quest I wanted without over powering it. Also I can still get my lore from the quest like usual.


Another argument I heard is that players need levels to feel progression.
Also not true. Because in most theme park MMO, there is a max level. Well once max level hits, leveling is no longer allowed in the traditional sense. So if you aren't no longer leveling, how is it that you can still be progressing, both in power and story? Again take WoW for example. A fresh level 85, isn't on the same strength as a high rank 85 PvPer nor a High Tier raider. See those two groups of players still have forms of progression even if it's not through levels. Why can't we just skip all that pointless Level grind and jump straight to the true form of progression that most of these theme park MMO have at endgame?


Another argument is that levels are needed so that developers can get sub time. At first, I thought this made a bit more sense than the other arguments. But that's until I remembered what Blizzard said about their player base, and why they revamped the low level zones.
The truth of it is, most players get bored and quit before reaching max level. The level grind gets boring after doing it so much. Game after game. It's the same thing. Levels when used like that, typically restrict players from doing certain features. Well what if that certain feature was the number 1 reason the player wants to play the game, but can't do it without the level grind?
Example using WoW again. Not never mind the WoW example. Use Rift instead. The biggest and most interesting form of PvP in Rift is "Port of Scion". But the problem is that it's a level 50 only warfront. Well if I come to Rift for PvP, that means I can't play the very thing I am interested in and I am forced to level grind just to play something I like to do, and get the fullest out of it.


Really, most of our time is spent at Endgame anyway. Ask yourself this. On my max level characters, which did I spend more time at? Did I spend more time at max level on this character, or more time leveling up to max level?

Getting rid of Levels open up MMORPG worlds to once again be designed around exploration, because we wouldn't need level tiered zones anymore, which prevent low levels from venturing into the high level zones, while also making it boring and useless for high level players to venture back into previous low level zones.


Well what's your opinion?

  Skooma2

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/05/08
Posts: 686

12/07/11 6:37:22 PM#2

Having read the bulk of your wall 'o text:  There are levels in themepark MMO's so a freshly-minted hobbit isn't found knocking on Isengard's front door.

Hedonismbot: Your latest performance was as delectable as dipping my bottom over and over into a bath of the silkiest oils and creams.

  Dave3216

Novice Member

Joined: 9/04/09
Posts: 136

Excuses are the refuge of the weak.

12/07/11 6:38:52 PM#3

Because MMO's  largely are based on RPGs, RPGs have always had levels and will for the foreseeable future. I accept it becuase thats what the genre is based on, if i didn't, i would move on to another genre that suited my tastes more.

  Loktofeit

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12406

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

12/07/11 6:46:01 PM#4
Originally posted by MMOExposed
This is not a pro sandbox thread. My opinion , sandbox concept in MMO is stupid.

Here is the thing. I am really getting tired of levels. It feels like a chore rather than excitement. But of course that's subjective and just my opinion. But really, in a THEMEPARK MMO, are levels really needed at all?

I heard the argument that levels are needed for the story to progress. But this isn't true at all. That's why we have things like chain quest. Nothing about quest nor story has anything to do with levels. That's just a artificial restriction placed by game mechanics. For example, let's use WoW. I could level from 1 to 85 using nothing but mob grinding (yes people wouldn't normally do this, but that's not the point). Now let's say I am level 85 now and decide to return to other zones to start working on quest and lore. Well what's preventing me from doing just that? The only thing different is that I overpower the quest objectives because I out leveled them.had the game had only a single level, I could go around a do any quest I wanted without over powering it. Also I can still get my lore from the quest like usual.


Another argument I heard is that players need levels to feel progression.
Also not true. Because in most theme park MMO, there is a max level. Well once max level hits, leveling is no longer allowed in the traditional sense. So if you aren't no longer leveling, how is it that you can still be progressing, both in power and story? Again take WoW for example. A fresh level 85, isn't on the same strength as a high rank 85 PvPer nor a High Tier raider. See those two groups of players still have forms of progression even if it's not through levels. Why can't we just skip all that pointless Level grind and jump straight to the true form of progression that most of these theme park MMO have at endgame?


Another argument is that levels are needed so that developers can get sub time. At first, I thought this made a bit more sense than the other arguments. But that's until I remembered what Blizzard said about their player base, and why they revamped the low level zones.
The truth of it is, most players get bored and quit before reaching max level. The level grind gets boring after doing it so much. Game after game. It's the same thing. Levels when used like that, typically restrict players from doing certain features. Well what if that certain feature was the number 1 reason the player wants to play the game, but can't do it without the level grind?
Example using WoW again. Not never mind the WoW example. Use Rift instead. The biggest and most interesting form of PvP in Rift is "Port of Scion". But the problem is that it's a level 50 only warfront. Well if I come to Rift for PvP, that means I can't play the very thing I am interested in and I am forced to level grind just to play something I like to do, and get the fullest out of it.


Really, most of our time is spent at Endgame anyway. Ask yourself this. On my max level characters, which did I spend more time at? Did I spend more time at max level on this character, or more time leveling up to max level?

Getting rid of Levels open up MMORPG worlds to once again be designed around exploration, because we wouldn't need level tiered zones anymore, which prevent low levels from venturing into the high level zones, while also making it boring and useless for high level players to venture back into previous low level zones.


Well what's your opinion?

The first half of your post is asking why themepark style games need levels, but the second half says the solution to removing levels is to remove progressive advancement and make open world, unscripted  content. You don't see how you answered your own question?

 

"Really, most of our time is spent at Endgame anyway. Ask yourself this. On my max level characters, which did I spend more time at? Did I spend more time at max level on this character, or more time leveling up to max level?"

As a WOW player, you have 'endgame' on the brain, so that would be why the journey is lost on you.

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  MMOExposed

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 6241

 
OP  12/07/11 7:03:53 PM#5
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by MMOExposed
This is not a pro sandbox thread. My opinion , sandbox concept in MMO is stupid.

Here is the thing. I am really getting tired of levels. It feels like a chore rather than excitement. But of course that's subjective and just my opinion. But really, in a THEMEPARK MMO, are levels really needed at all?

I heard the argument that levels are needed for the story to progress. But this isn't true at all. That's why we have things like chain quest. Nothing about quest nor story has anything to do with levels. That's just a artificial restriction placed by game mechanics. For example, let's use WoW. I could level from 1 to 85 using nothing but mob grinding (yes people wouldn't normally do this, but that's not the point). Now let's say I am level 85 now and decide to return to other zones to start working on quest and lore. Well what's preventing me from doing just that? The only thing different is that I overpower the quest objectives because I out leveled them.had the game had only a single level, I could go around a do any quest I wanted without over powering it. Also I can still get my lore from the quest like usual.


Another argument I heard is that players need levels to feel progression.
Also not true. Because in most theme park MMO, there is a max level. Well once max level hits, leveling is no longer allowed in the traditional sense. So if you aren't no longer leveling, how is it that you can still be progressing, both in power and story? Again take WoW for example. A fresh level 85, isn't on the same strength as a high rank 85 PvPer nor a High Tier raider. See those two groups of players still have forms of progression even if it's not through levels. Why can't we just skip all that pointless Level grind and jump straight to the true form of progression that most of these theme park MMO have at endgame?


Another argument is that levels are needed so that developers can get sub time. At first, I thought this made a bit more sense than the other arguments. But that's until I remembered what Blizzard said about their player base, and why they revamped the low level zones.
The truth of it is, most players get bored and quit before reaching max level. The level grind gets boring after doing it so much. Game after game. It's the same thing. Levels when used like that, typically restrict players from doing certain features. Well what if that certain feature was the number 1 reason the player wants to play the game, but can't do it without the level grind?
Example using WoW again. Not never mind the WoW example. Use Rift instead. The biggest and most interesting form of PvP in Rift is "Port of Scion". But the problem is that it's a level 50 only warfront. Well if I come to Rift for PvP, that means I can't play the very thing I am interested in and I am forced to level grind just to play something I like to do, and get the fullest out of it.


Really, most of our time is spent at Endgame anyway. Ask yourself this. On my max level characters, which did I spend more time at? Did I spend more time at max level on this character, or more time leveling up to max level?

Getting rid of Levels open up MMORPG worlds to once again be designed around exploration, because we wouldn't need level tiered zones anymore, which prevent low levels from venturing into the high level zones, while also making it boring and useless for high level players to venture back into previous low level zones.


Well what's your opinion?

The first half of your post is asking why themepark style games need levels, but the second half says the solution to removing levels is to remove progressive advancement and make open world, unscripted  content. You don't see how you answered your own question?

 

"Really, most of our time is spent at Endgame anyway. Ask yourself this. On my max level characters, which did I spend more time at? Did I spend more time at max level on this character, or more time leveling up to max level?"

As a WOW player, you have 'endgame' on the brain, so that would be why the journey is lost on you.

 

why do you need levels for a journey. I have to start at some point when first entering the world. Doesn't mean I can progress in the story from there. Hey does Zelda even have levels to progress story? Also I don't understand your statement about something being unscripted. Who said anything about needing levels for scripted content? All max level stuff in WoW is also scripted. Same for Rift. Yet I am not leveling like I traditionally would. I don't understand your argument.

  VengeSunsoar

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/10/04
Posts: 4919

Be Brief, Be Bright... Be Gone.

12/07/11 7:08:00 PM#6

For me it is all about the progress as I have never made it to end game on any game I've ever played (MMO or SPG).  

The game is entirely about the progress.

Venge

Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  lostscout5

Novice Member

Joined: 9/10/08
Posts: 58

12/07/11 7:20:26 PM#7
Originally posted by Dave3216

Because MMO's  largely are based on RPGs, RPGs have always had levels and will for the foreseeable future. I accept it becuase thats what the genre is based on, if i didn't, i would move on to another genre that suited my tastes more.

Not really true. For the most part computer RPG's are based on the paper and dice D+D. It was the most successful and well known RPG, and many other RPG's copied it's mechanics. It was the WOW of those games. But not all did. Traveller was a skill based game and so was GURPS. The main reasons MMO's use level are because it's what most players want {and expect} and because it's a lot easier to make and structure a game world that way.

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

12/07/11 7:26:32 PM#8
Originally posted by MMOExposed
Well what's your opinion?

I long ago played a skill-based game (GURPS, Champions, others) and a game with levels (D&D and many others).

One just feels more "natural" to me, for that feel of progression...but not enough that I scorn the other.

My suggestion is: Try both and play the one you like the most.  No logic or justification is necessary.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  Celdain

Novice Member

Joined: 1/21/04
Posts: 119

12/07/11 10:26:27 PM#9

get rid of levels and the next thing people will be asking for is to get rid of gear grind.. just jump in and do whatever lol

oh wait there are games like that out already

  Golelorn

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/23/03
Posts: 1104

12/07/11 10:27:07 PM#10

So you stay on the ride. Keep buying that ticket over and over.

  gaeanprayer

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/08
Posts: 2360

12/07/11 10:34:22 PM#11

Not a bad question, actually. I never understood why the leveling mechanic was so standard. I like it, it works, but there are other ways of gaining power I like, too. Link got better tools, Ultima let me level skills individually rather than my overall character, Guild Wars 1 stopped leveling pretty early in even though you continued gaining skills and exploring the story, etc.

 

Levels and exp are just arbitrary numbers, and as I said, they do their job, but I'd like to see a "themepark" mmo try to think outside that box. If you're going to carry me from one quest to the next, essentially making sure I'm never either too strong or too weak to handle what you throw at me, why bother letting me level up at all? Give me access to better skills as the storyline unfolds, maybe let me learn those skills directly from the people around me (npcs, monsters, whatever), gear is fine, better combos, better crowd control, more maneuverability, etc. Lots of ways to make me stronger without requiring I level up. Might be fun to try something new.

"Forums aren't for intelligent discussion; they're for blow-hards with unwavering opinions."

  jonesing22

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/01/10
Posts: 717

12/07/11 10:37:40 PM#12
Originally posted by gaeanprayer

Not a bad question, actually. I never understood why the leveling mechanic was so standard. I like it, it works, but there are other ways of gaining power I like, too. Link got better tools, Ultima let me level skills individually rather than my overall character, Guild Wars 1 stopped leveling pretty early in even though you continued gaining skills and exploring the story, etc.

 

Levels and exp are just arbitrary numbers, and as I said, they do their job, but I'd like to see a "themepark" mmo try to think outside that box. If you're going to carry me from one quest to the next, essentially making sure I'm never either too strong or too weak to handle what you throw at me, why bother letting me level up at all? Give me access to better skills as the storyline unfolds, maybe let me learn those skills directly from the people around me (npcs, monsters, whatever), gear is fine, better combos, better crowd control, more maneuverability, etc. Lots of ways to make me stronger without requiring I level up. Might be fun to try something new.

definitely

II like the idea

  Netspook

Novice Member

Joined: 3/01/07
Posts: 1440

12/07/11 10:50:05 PM#13
Originally posted by Skooma2

Having read the bulk of your wall 'o text:  There are levels in themepark MMO's so a freshly-minted hobbit isn't found knocking on Isengard's front door.

 

Well said!

Having to work your way through levels, isn't just about the journey. It also teaches you how to play your character, while slowly introducing new skills after you've had time to test and learn how to use the previous ones.

Being end-game ready right from the start? I only see problems with that, no advantages.

  ZombieKen

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

12/07/11 10:57:12 PM#14

A charater's level is just a stat, only different from STR or INT in how it is applied in the game.

 

1. Most important stat - By making the charcter's level the most important stat, it provides a function of balancing all characters of the same level.  In some games, even if a character's other stats and skills are completely goofed up (mis-applied stats and skills for the desired role and/or playstyle) the character is still of comparable function to other characters of the same level.

 

2. Level spread combat programming -  A common mechanism in combat programming is the use of the level stat as a primary means of deterimining the potential outcome of combat.  Fighting a mob opponent that is several levels lower than the character is almst always a sure win even if all the other stats are goofed up.  Fighting a mob opponent that is severl levels higher than the character is almost always a sure lose even if all the other stats are perfect.

 

As to why levels exist, they are a method to normalize and quantize progression prior to level cap.

 

Endgame content differs from leveling content in that level is no longer a difference, since all endgame players are of the same level.  At this point, progression switches to what ever mechanism is provided in game (if any).  For example in WoW, progression is from stats attached to gear.

In WoW, the current pattern is level progression first, then endgame progression.  It is a two stage game.

 

Eliminating levels is very possible simply by starting all characters at level cap.  It would drop a game from two stages to one.  The reason this is uncommon is that the worlds in MMORPGs are commonly designed for level progression.

 

An alternative method of eliminating levels is to remove their importance as a stat.  First stage progression could be done entirely with the use of trained skills (skills that increase performance and possibly derived stats based on use).

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  Loke666

Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 16846

12/07/11 10:57:43 PM#15

When Gygax created the tabletop chainmail (that later turned into D&D) he wanted a very simple way to handle experience. Levels are just one of many possibly ways to do this but as soon as D&D launch it became the standard method.

Some SCA members released "Runequest" a few years later to make a more realistic version of it, those guys actually knew how to use a blade and I am actually surprised that no MMO have tried to use that mechanics.

But to answer OPs question: There is no real reason for all themeparks to use levels, and in fact is TSW soon to be released without it. The real problem is the mix between the fact that D&D (and Pathfinder) still rules North America (while Europe have other more popular systems) and the fact that most MMOs just steal everything from older games.

I think that the levels actually is a big part of why WAR failed, the Games Workshop fans wanted something closer to the Warhammer fantasy RPG, otherwise there was a big possibility that the millions of Warhammer fans would have played it. Now it instead went up against Wow.

Levels is  an easy way of handling experience straight from pen and paper playing unlike the so called "skill based" systems some sandbox games uses. There are however a lot better systems among the P&P games, I will give you a short descriptions of a few good so you get the point (check them up more yourself):

Shadowrun: In Shadowrun you get karma after every session based a bit on what you have done. You use Karma to buy improvements of your character. SR does not have hitpoints but a kind of meter instead.

Basic roleplaying (and many games based on it,probably over 100): Each skill you used during the day you played gets a cross (or in some versions all skills you done a critical success with). After playing you try to roll over that skill to raise it. Hitpoints and stats do not raise.

Warhammer: You start with a basic proffession. Ones you bought all abilities by XP you move to a new proffesion based on a special advancement list or by taking a new basic one.

There is a whole bunch of other systems as well with interesting mechanics and all would be rather easy to translate to either sanbox or themepark MMOs but most MMO devs never bother to try anything new, they prefer a reskinned and easier version of Everquest to try to create something new. The sandbox games are not better either.

 

  gaeanprayer

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/08
Posts: 2360

12/07/11 10:58:25 PM#16
Originally posted by Netspook
Originally posted by Skooma2

Having read the bulk of your wall 'o text:  There are levels in themepark MMO's so a freshly-minted hobbit isn't found knocking on Isengard's front door.

 

Well said!

Having to work your way through levels, isn't just about the journey. It also teaches you how to play your character, while slowly introducing new skills after you've had time to test and learn how to use the previous ones.

Being end-game ready right from the start? I only see problems with that, no advantages.

That's why part of the problem is the players. He didn't ask why themepark MMOs need "progression," he asked why they need "levels." The terms are not mutually exclusive to one other, despite what recent trends would have you believing.

"Forums aren't for intelligent discussion; they're for blow-hards with unwavering opinions."

  Netspook

Novice Member

Joined: 3/01/07
Posts: 1440

12/07/11 11:24:34 PM#17
Originally posted by gaeanprayer
Originally posted by Netspook
Originally posted by Skooma2

Having read the bulk of your wall 'o text:  There are levels in themepark MMO's so a freshly-minted hobbit isn't found knocking on Isengard's front door.

 

Well said!

Having to work your way through levels, isn't just about the journey. It also teaches you how to play your character, while slowly introducing new skills after you've had time to test and learn how to use the previous ones.

Being end-game ready right from the start? I only see problems with that, no advantages.

That's why part of the problem is the players. He didn't ask why themepark MMOs need "progression," he asked why they need "levels." The terms are not mutually exclusive to one other, despite what recent trends would have you believing.

 

He wants to skip the whole progression part which usually is done by leveling, and only have endgame progression. He didn't ask for a progress type  to replace the leveling process.

Quote from the OP:

"Why can't we just skip all that pointless Level grind and jump straight to the true form of progression that most of these theme park MMO have at endgame?"

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

12/08/11 2:16:52 AM#18

They don't.

Themepark vs. Sandbox has nothing to do with Levels vs. Skills.

Each progression system is just a slight variation on how to distribute and increase player abilities (and stats.)

However level as a game system provides several very clear functions, and many devs would prefer to innovate in other directions than spend time reworking a core progression mechanic just to change things for change's sake.

  Loktofeit

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 12406

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

12/08/11 6:47:48 AM#19
Originally posted by gaeanprayer
Originally posted by Netspook
Originally posted by Skooma2

Having read the bulk of your wall 'o text:  There are levels in themepark MMO's so a freshly-minted hobbit isn't found knocking on Isengard's front door.

 

Well said!

Having to work your way through levels, isn't just about the journey. It also teaches you how to play your character, while slowly introducing new skills after you've had time to test and learn how to use the previous ones.

Being end-game ready right from the start? I only see problems with that, no advantages.

That's why part of the problem is the players. He didn't ask why themepark MMOs need "progression," he asked why they need "levels." The terms are not mutually exclusive to one other, despite what recent trends would have you believing.

Character levels,, skill levels, health/mana levels, distance to the final boss - it's all still a measure of progression. You can get rid of the character level but you will still have measured progression. Yes, you could use bubbles, symbols or some other way to measure than numbers, but it's still levels no matter whether it's denoted with numbers, dots or petroglyphs.

 

 

"And wikipedia is as accurate as Britannica. Wikipedia is very reliable. You would be hard pressed to find a more reliable source for these kinds of things." -fivoroth

  fenistil

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

12/08/11 6:51:49 AM#20
Originally posted by Dave3216

Because MMO's  largely are based on RPGs, RPGs have always had levels and will for the foreseeable future. I accept it becuase thats what the genre is based on, if i didn't, i would move on to another genre that suited my tastes more.

That is kinda wrong statement.

 

Levels are tied to D&D system. Many other RPG systems which some are as old or older than D&D do NOT have levels.

 

Sorry but RPG =/= levels.

 

This is kinda ridiculous statement and is just popular mistake, cause of popular belief and not becasue statement itself is true.

 

You perfectly can have very RPG game / system and do not have levels.

 

There are many other character advancement systems that would not divide content and players so severe and uneffeficiant as level system do.

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