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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Themepark MMO without Level: how often is this done, and why isnt this done more often?

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36 posts found
  Rusque

Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/08/10
Posts: 1650

1/12/13 10:36:49 PM#21

While levels as progression aren't mandatory, they've been pretty well accepted in RPG's. You can go crack open an old AD&D book and see experience tables for each class. Again, it's not the only, nor might it be the best way of character progression, but it's tried and true.

So levels having anything to do with Everquest and being "new" to people is a bizarre statement considering levels in RPG's were very expected by the time EQ came out.

The problem with mob grinding is when it occurs in a themepark setting with a structured world. When you're limited to a certain handful of mobs or small area of a zone due to level restriction with a limited ability set due to level, it is very tedious and boring. That was AoC's problem. If you're going to make someone grind, open up the world to them and let them explore and grind. If not, you need well done quest hubs like WoW.

WoW has spoiled themepark MMOers with varied zones and buttery smooth transitions. You level with quests to spare.

Also, levels while typically used to lock content, but a game can easily be made to include levels and free form content availability.

  Tyrias

Novice Member

Joined: 8/07/12
Posts: 11

1/13/13 4:17:33 AM#22

Levels to represent experience is a good system for tabletop RPG'S but for MMORPG's it's terrible.  In a MMORPG experience can be represented by the players mastery of the various game mechanics. A FPS is a good example, in a FPS you don't have a level to represent your experience and determining how powerful you are, imagine jumping into a match and getting your ass kicked by high level players just because their number is higher. 

  Muppetier

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/05/09
Posts: 243

1/13/13 5:05:56 AM#23

All themeparks eventually do away with levels.

 

Most player hours are spent at endgame.  (<-- a guess)

 

The levels are only the appetiser not the main game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Tenkousei

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/31/08
Posts: 73

1/13/13 5:19:44 AM#24

No matter what you do, whether it be by levels, gear or some other arbitrary stat, you'll always need to have a warming up before you get to the actual game. A lapse of time where you progressively acquire a skillset and learn to master those skills.

Granted, most games don't force you to use most of your skills till you actually get to the endgame, but that's a matter of poor design.

As far as expansions go, introducing a new level cap is just allowing players who've started playing after the exp-pack, to be on an equal level. This could obviously be achieved by just allowing them to gear up to the current standard (a typical example is the justice point mechanic in WoW), but you'd be back to the whole "mastering new skills" deal, for which the levelling proces does serve a purpose.

In the traditional MMOs (not like the 5-button MMOs released more recently) it would allienate newcomers if you'd just hand them over 30 odd skills and told them "here's what you can do, now go use it in this here raid/dungeon/pvp situation".

Edit: just read the OP's post on the top of page 2 where he states he doesn't need levelling to learn to play the game. Like i stated before, if the game has a very flat learning curve, i can see why you'd argue against the whole levelling proces, but that's more a matter of game design and accessibility, rather than excluding the need for a period where you can get acquainted with the various skills your toon has.

  Walic

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/01/09
Posts: 42

1/13/13 5:48:45 AM#25
Originally posted by azzamasin

I've been toying around with the ideal for a skill based non-level MMO patterened off of Asheron's Call, GW2, WoW, TSW & SWG for a few months now.

You do realize SWG was a skill based MMO when it was first released and they didn't have lvls? The only reason they added lvls was because one SOE was stupid and WoW was doing so well.

 

IMO it seems like the OP was saying WoW started everything.  There were MMOs before WOW.  Im sure I miss understood it but anyways I think themeparks will always have lvls I think that just gives it more of a progession, I think themeparks and lvls go hand and hand, unless you get like the hybrid type themeparks that go away from your tradition themeparks I.E. TSW.

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11915

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Wildstar, and Combat Arms

1/13/13 8:00:01 AM#26
Originally posted by mindw0rk
Developers minds are sucked in templates, they cant imagine theme-park MMO could be done unlike WoW.

You guys really don't realize how arrogant and insulting you come across as when you say thing like this?

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11915

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, Wildstar, and Combat Arms

1/13/13 8:01:07 AM#27
Originally posted by Muppetier

All themeparks eventually do away with levels.

Most player hours are spent at endgame.  (<-- a guess)

The levels are only the appetiser not the main game.

That endgame is simply trading off character level for gear level, alternate advancement or some other leveling system. The levels are still there.

  DMKano

Elite Member

Joined: 6/17/11
Posts: 4662

1/13/13 8:28:51 AM#28
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by mindw0rk
Developers minds are sucked in templates, they cant imagine theme-park MMO could be done unlike WoW.

You guys really don't realize how arrogant and insulting you come across as when you say thing like this?

It also sounds incredibly ignorant, as if all developers are uncreative and stupid. As sombody who has a lot of friends in the game industry I can tell how utterly uninformed and shortsighted this type of thinking is.

Mmorpgs are incredibly complex projects requiring collaboration among many disparate teams:

art, music, world designers, lore and writers, server engineers, database engineers, code optimization teams, localization teams, marketing, call center and customer support teams, GM team, data center operations teams...and the list goes on and on, not even gonna talk about coordinating with 3rd parties to help any of the teams above.

Yeah try to get all these folks on the same page, hit your deadlines and stay on budget.

Its so easy, I mean anybody can do it.

  DavisFlight

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2423

1/13/13 8:38:39 AM#29
Originally posted by DMKano
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by mindw0rk
Developers minds are sucked in templates, they cant imagine theme-park MMO could be done unlike WoW.

You guys really don't realize how arrogant and insulting you come across as when you say thing like this?

It also sounds incredibly ignorant, as if all developers are uncreative and stupid. As sombody who has a lot of friends in the game industry I can tell how utterly uninformed and shortsighted this type of thinking is.

Mmorpgs are incredibly complex projects requiring collaboration among many disparate teams:

art, music, world designers, lore and writers, server engineers, database engineers, code optimization teams, localization teams, marketing, call center and customer support teams, GM team, data center operations teams...and the list goes on and on, not even gonna talk about coordinating with 3rd parties to help any of the teams above.

Yeah try to get all these folks on the same page, hit your deadlines and stay on budget.

Its so easy, I mean anybody can do it.

People used to be able to do it really well.

MMOs being hard has absolutely nothing to do with the massive lack of creativity in todays genre. Publishers and lead devs are just too idiotic to stray from making WoW clones, and then they wonder why they fail.

  Disdena

Novice Member

Joined: 3/05/10
Posts: 1098

1/13/13 10:23:22 AM#30

You there. The one reading this post on this forum right now. Why aren't you exercising? Don't you know how good it is for you? Stand up, do some jumping jacks, some push-ups, grab a dumbell and do a few curls. Throw your shoes on a jog around the block. It only takes a few minutes! The health benefits are astronomical. Work out for a few minutes and you're potentially adding another day to your life expectancy as your risk of heart disease and obesity go down.

But you're not stopping to exercise right now. (Maybe you are... kudos to you, I wouldn't do that just because an internet guy pretended to address me directly.) You can't see the effect it has on your body, so there's less gratification involved in doing so. You don't get clear and immediate feedback saying that your health has improved as the result of 20 push-ups.

That's the main draw of gaming in general, if you can believe it. It's why it feels fun to jump on Koopas for an hour but not fun to bag groceries for an hour (even though the paycheck at the end of the week is a far better reward). Video games give you immediate positive feedback for your accomplishments in a way that real life usually does not. Even though the rewards are not "real", we feel more rewarded getting those fake rewards than real rewards like money and long life.

And that is why we have levels to measure progression. "You gained 1400 exp" feels immediately rewarding in a way that levelless progression usually does not. You might be able to say to yourself "Killing this enemy put me a tiny bit closer to the end of this dungeon, which will have a treasure chest, that might give me a piece of the Haste spellrune which, when combined with 9 other pieces, will allow me to cast spells 5% faster." But that reward is too far off. Even if you gain power at the same rate using this method (compared to getting exp and levels from the mobs you're going through), the individual kills will feel less rewarding and you'll feel less of a sense of progress.

  Amaranthar

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2167

1/13/13 9:11:12 PM#31
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by mindw0rk
Developers minds are sucked in templates, they cant imagine theme-park MMO could be done unlike WoW.

You guys really don't realize how arrogant and insulting you come across as when you say thing like this?

But it's true. Instanced adventures, cash shops, levels, it's all pretty much the same template.

Since when has it been arrogant to state the truth? And if anyone's insulted by it, that's their problem.

But look on the bright side. You can now buy a "Game Developer Coffee Table"...

http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4555457903462155&pid=15.1

It's in the cash shop, of course.

Once upon a time....

  Quirhid

Novice Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5492

I dare you to pin a label on me.

1/13/13 9:18:13 PM#32
Originally posted by Amaranthar
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by mindw0rk
Developers minds are sucked in templates, they cant imagine theme-park MMO could be done unlike WoW.

You guys really don't realize how arrogant and insulting you come across as when you say thing like this?

But it's true. Instanced adventures, cash shops, levels, it's all pretty much the same template.

Since when has it been arrogant to state the truth? And if anyone's insulted by it, that's their problem.

But look on the bright side. You can now buy a "Game Developer Coffee Table"...

...

It's in the cash shop, of course.

Loktofeit is right. I'm beginning to think you don't deserve a game you'd enjoy.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  Raithe-Nor

Novice Member

Joined: 11/08/07
Posts: 322

1/13/13 10:21:30 PM#33
Originally posted by Muppetier

The levels are only the appetiser not the main game.

 

This is, well, completely untrue to speak about it nicely.

Character (toon) levels are just one small category of a much larger picture of progression.  The vast majority of MMOs retain progression mechanisms even after reaching level cap, otherwise they would lose customers at a very alarming rate.

Themeparks without progression are numerous, extremely popular, and have been around for quite some time.  They are called RTS, Shooter, or Adventure games.  The only thing that distinguishes an rpg-like game from some other type is the highly pronounced existence of character progression (character dynamics).

BTW, it is extremely amusing for me to sit here as a member of a bygone age of multiplayer gaming and listen to people theorize about the existence of mechanics which seem to do them no good, but whose existence is the only reason they ever became involved in the genre of which they supposedly speak.

Let me try to make it clear.  Everyone here supposing what it would be like to play an "MMO" without character progression... you are precisely the first people that would leave if any such thing ever came into prevalence in the games you currently frequent.

  Caliburn101

Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/11
Posts: 647

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein

1/14/13 3:06:49 AM#34
Originally posted by Jemcrystal
Aren't levels and themepark the same thing?  Well, that and level area zones.

This is like saying bread and ham are the same thing because they always seem to be together in sandwiches...

Levels were originally created by Gary Gygax et al in the first iteration of D&D.

They were created because they were easy to keep track off with pencil and paper, suited dice rolling and gave Dungeons Masters a simple reference to look at when designing dungeons.

They were translated into fantasy computer games etc. for the same reasons, and because many gamer devs of that era were ex-roleplayers.

They have continued to be used because they are easy to program.

NOT because they are necessary, and not because they are the 'best thing'. They simply have historical weight and ease of use on their side.

If smoking hadn't been invented, and someone came into the office now saying they had a great new idea that rolling dried leaves up on paper, burning them and inhaling the smoke was enjoyable and would catch on everywhere - people would think they were mad.

Likewise, if the gaming community had grown up without levels being a historical fact, a dev suggesting future games be dumbed down to incorporate them would likewise be looked at like the village idiot.

Levels are not necessary.

If you go back to the roots of the issue - there are plenty of pen and paper RPGs that don't use them that have been successful for decades.

A lesson needs to be learned and dev's should take note from the likes of Skyrim et al - sure you can level skills and abilities, but leveling toons as a whole is crapola.

  Caliburn101

Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/11
Posts: 647

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein

1/14/13 3:21:46 AM#35
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by mindw0rk
Developers minds are sucked in templates, they cant imagine theme-park MMO could be done unlike WoW.

You guys really don't realize how arrogant and insulting you come across as when you say thing like this?

Actually it's not arrogant, nor in fact wrong.

My wife was a developer and a 'build manager' (integrates code from many devs into updated versions of the program as it grows).

She now works in mobile phones, but anyway...

Her work builds the software from the ground up - but she rarely if ever gets involved in the look of the UI, or the way in which the game or software 'plays' or is enjoyed or operates for the user...

... those decisions are made elsewhere.

Dev's require artistic and game-encompassing direction from someone else - not someone whose head is buried in code every day.

It is THIS which is lacking in games where mistakes are made and/or where innovation is missing.

Dev's ARE sucked into templates, and 'the money' is too - the tried and tested road is the less risky...

It is difficult to spend time thinking - "is this really groundbreaking" whilst animating a troll, a landspeeder or planting bloom effects on a blank playfield.

What the MMO industry needs is more visionary risk takers - because sure as hell - eventually one will hit the nail on the head and suck up 5+ millions subs without breaking a sweat.

The MMO genre is just in the 'low risk' doldrums at the moment. We just have to wait for the next paradigm shift to come.

But it won't come from the coders - that isn't their job.

  Amaranthar

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2167

1/15/13 12:40:00 PM#36
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Amaranthar
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by mindw0rk
Developers minds are sucked in templates, they cant imagine theme-park MMO could be done unlike WoW.

You guys really don't realize how arrogant and insulting you come across as when you say thing like this?

But it's true. Instanced adventures, cash shops, levels, it's all pretty much the same template.

Since when has it been arrogant to state the truth? And if anyone's insulted by it, that's their problem.

But look on the bright side. You can now buy a "Game Developer Coffee Table"...

...

It's in the cash shop, of course.

Loktofeit is right. I'm beginning to think you don't deserve a game you'd enjoy.

Obviously. Game developers across the board agree.

Meanwhile, they are forced to go FTP, offer cash shops to make ends meet by selling what we used to get from game play, and cheapen the gaming experience for us all. It's great for them and you guys to be so right.

Once upon a time....

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