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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: The Case for Never-ending Progression

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126 posts found
  steamtank

Novice Member

Joined: 7/10/09
Posts: 390

1/17/13 10:49:02 AM#21
Originally posted by meddyck
DAOC has had never-ending progression for over a decade via realm points, realm ranks, and realm abilities. That's one of the major reasons its RvR was so addictive for so long.

Only post I found to quote.

 

I also like EvE's system.

 

I don't like any BS system that reduces the skills + powers I have worked to attain.

 

 

 

on a side note: I get confused as to why ppl play mmorpg's if they don't like levels (either on the character or the characters skills)  Non level games are usually some form of FPS...  Hell I played counterstrike for years, it was fun. The only factor was what weapons you could afford on your server, and that wasn't even that big ofa  deal (i was #1 in my college with dualies,.. the only weapon of a real man =P )

 

Honestly id love to play counterstrike on an MMO scale. Give me a 200 vs 200 map roughly the size of a small city. ... but thats not why i play MMO's. The time spent developing my character (in whatever task i choose) should make that character BETTER than someone elses character who was not developed as long in the same task. PnP games nearly all worked that way. You didn not expect to be as good as your buddy who had survived 2 campaigns before you joined the group. Eventually with increases in how much time/xp it took to get to the next level you would be on a rather equal footing. In the upper register of levels you might even be the same level for a series of campaigns.

 

 

  BillMurphy

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/28/06
Posts: 1806

1/17/13 10:52:18 AM#22
Originally posted by Fearum

How would new content fit into your plan also Bill? What level would you make the content? If you go to high you force people to level more which would turn off alot of people, if you go to low you add nothing to the hardcore players that play in the world.

 

The new content would be designed to scale players to meet whatever level is needed.  The "playgrounds" for players to exercise their powers would be free from this scaling.  

  Epoiisa

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/24/11
Posts: 7

1/17/13 10:54:12 AM#23

The idea of "levels" probably predates computer games by, IDK, when did humans first become social creatures? So, yes, levels are a solid game mechanic.

 

But if you stick with levels you have to stick with... levels. And levels run out. So, if you have a level cap, you have to add a second game for players to keep playing. Let's call it "end-game". What a load of baloney! If the levelling is fun, roll another character. If the levelling is just a "tutorial" segment to turn you into a skillful "end-game" player then ditch the levels and include a tutorial. The idea of infinite leveling in an MMORPG is the ONLY SENSIBLE OPTION. However, I regret to admit that I can't imagine how it would be implemented.

 

Infinitely-Scaling Instances

 

Good... Except for already the most common problem in most MMORPGs: finding a group to "raid" with. You all need to have similar level, gear and skills. This problem, on top of dwindling populations in your favorite MMORPG, means you'll rarely get a good raid experience. And the top players will be rewarded with... no one to raid with.

 

Solution

 

There's only one solution to the "end-game" problem: Enjoy the meager end-game experience provided by your favorite MMORPG's developer. It's not going to get any better. MMORPG developers are stuck in the "level" concept and I can't see them breaking out.

 

"...but levels and the RPG are part and parcel. That number which gives you some measure of growth in a persistent world isn’t going anywhere."

 

And that's why. It's wrong. But it's why.

 

The Actual Solution

 

The actual solution is a competition mechanic between players. SPORT! It is after all a massively MULTI-PLAYER online game. As long as there is a level mechanic, players will focus on it. Without a level mechanic, developers have to offer players some kind of challenge that can only be met by players mastering their gameplay skillz and teams mastering their teamwork skillz.

 

WHY ARE mmoRPG's ENSLAVED TO THE LEVEL MECHANIC?

 

MMORPGs only have levels because early classic RPG titles did. It's a successful mechanic so it was carried over into MMORPGs. A level-based MMORPG is basically a massively cooperative multiplayer RPG. So, play through it cooperatively and then move on to another game.

 

Every time I hear/read some complaint about end-game content I go mad. A level-based game is a level-based game. If you want something more, something else, why are you expecting the developer to magically tack it on to the end of their epically long and lovingly crafted level-based MMO-scale RPG journey? They only do it to keep customers paying money. DAoC successfully created an enduring end-game. But you know what, it would have made a great standalone game.

 

I'm still waiting, with great expectations, for someone to develop an MMO that can be classified as an MMORPG, that has no levels, and instead has an epic-scale territory control sport mechanic, that is supported by additonal necessary tasks and behaviors that are consistent with the game world (thus earning the -RPG suffix).

 

I want to fight for my land, not my next bubble. I want to chase fleeing enemies, not a never-to-be-filled cup of experience.

 

Signature’s are a waste of space.

  BillMurphy

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/28/06
Posts: 1806

1/17/13 10:54:27 AM#24
Originally posted by NoizMchn

A few thoughts on "Levels Without Limits" (LWL):

What happens when a newer player comes along 6 months later?  Can they possibly catch up? 

If skills are merely scaling the numbers, are you truly progressing?

If there was a zone that allowed for "Infinite Cosmic Power" what would the requirements be to enter it?  Would that not provide a soft cap or "wall of sorts" where someone might say "you can't enter until you are at least "X" powerful?  Would that not be.. another grind of sorts as players simply work to get to "X" as fast as they can?

Just thoughts.

They don't need to catch up.  They can, through hard work.  But there's no "need" to. Because all of the developer designed content will have scaling that keeps players where they need to be (think GW2's backwards scaling).  

In terms of the playground zone, there would be no "gate".  It would be simply "enter at your own peril".

  haplo602

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/31/05
Posts: 162

1/17/13 10:56:04 AM#25

Wrong in so many places. Endless leveling is as stupid as can be. I can see from experience there are several problems:

 

1. veteran vs new player - this is an endless debate in EVE Online while the game has no such issues, people just don't understand the skill system. however in endless leveling, this would be a problem.

 

2. zone limits like GW2 - this makes the entire endless levels system pointless since in particular zones the levels will not matter

 

3. levels are there just for epeen in most games (gear based endgame). until there are games where your impact on the world is recorded for other players, any kind of leveling system will just serve to compare numbers and not actual game skill

 

Basicaly you are looking at the wrong part of the problem. Any numbering system with a wall will just serve as a measuring stick, any endless numbering system will be looked upon as veteran friendly unless done right (and even then many won't get the idea). What we need is endless world shaping by players (again look at EVE Online, I cannot help but admire the almost perfect world system there). Endgame cannot be raid/gear/level based, that is always caped.

EDIT:One more point to add, if the content scales with you all the time, where's the sense of progress except the numbers on the character sheet ?
  BillMurphy

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/28/06
Posts: 1806

1/17/13 10:56:36 AM#26
Originally posted by jtcgs

Nice read...but the answer was already given at a GDC a few years ago.

100% scalable content where the CONTENT scales to the player, not the player to the content.

The developer gave a slideshow showing how to do it.

player = level x with y skills

mob then = level x with y skills

if player = priest, mob also has z skills and x loot table

he then showed a graph on how to scale a mob to the player no matter their level and how the mob would remain a challenge. He then moved on to how to scale a mob to a GROUP, with skills for each type of class in the group so a mob would be custom fit no matter the group combo...and that it can even be done for full groups of 5, 10 and even RAID sized groups.

The man came up with a way to make 100% of a game 100% viable 100% of the amount of time playing no matter the players class, level or group size.

Nice. I definitely don't think I'm the first to think of this.  But yes, this is perfectly what I'm thinking of.

 

  haplo602

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/31/05
Posts: 162

1/17/13 11:03:22 AM#27
Originally posted by jtcgs

Nice read...but the answer was already given at a GDC a few years ago.

100% scalable content where the CONTENT scales to the player, not the player to the content.

The developer gave a slideshow showing how to do it.

player = level x with y skills

mob then = level x with y skills

if player = priest, mob also has z skills and x loot table

he then showed a graph on how to scale a mob to the player no matter their level and how the mob would remain a challenge. He then moved on to how to scale a mob to a GROUP, with skills for each type of class in the group so a mob would be custom fit no matter the group combo...and that it can even be done for full groups of 5, 10 and even RAID sized groups.

The man came up with a way to make 100% of a game 100% viable 100% of the amount of time playing no matter the players class, level or group size.

 

So he just did the same as Oblivion mechanics. Remember the frustration when everything jumped to your level each 4 levels ? Your numbers increased (levels, skills etc) but they were meaningless because the mobs jumped with you.

Worst idea ever.

  WereLlama

Novice Member

Joined: 2/13/12
Posts: 221

1/17/13 11:09:52 AM#28

I think special play zones might negatively impact immersion.

I do agree that level identification is here to stay, but we might want to focus on endless progress within that context.

In a project Im working on Im considering a larger number to indicate strength to allow for more varied progression.  Ex. Attack Power

-blitz

  Zekiah

Novice Member

Joined: 1/06/07
Posts: 2541

Hype (noun)
1. to trick; gull.
2. exaggerated publicity; hoopla.
3. swindle, deception, or trick.

1/17/13 11:10:45 AM#29
The only problem with that model is when there is PvP involved because new players can never catch up and are at a disadvantage, sometimes great. EVE and Darkfall are good examples of this. I'm not sure how you solve that issue without some kind of in-game boosts, temporary or otherwise.

"Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever." - Noam Chomsky

  Epoiisa

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/24/11
Posts: 7

1/17/13 11:13:40 AM#30
Originally posted by jtcgs

...and that it can even be done for full groups of 5, 10 and even RAID sized groups.

The man came up with a way to make 100% of a game 100% viable 100% of the amount of time playing no matter the players class, level or group size.

 

 

Yes, but if you scale everything then you're making "level" essentially redundant. And if levels are redundant, why not make the game without levels. Awesome comtent that is made level-agnostic by a scaling method could theoretically be awesome comtent in a non-level-based MMORPG.

 

If you don't scale everything, then weaker characters (be it their level or gear) have to stand back and throw pebbles and avoid nuclear missiles, while stronger characters do the work that counts.

 

Scaling is a great mechanism, and I like the way it works in GW2 during the grind to level cap. But I disagree with the possibility of it having any role in improving end-game levelling, even if coupled with a cap-less (infinite) leveling mechanic.

Signature’s are a waste of space.

  Thelric

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/06/11
Posts: 26

1/17/13 11:19:13 AM#31

I have always found my pleasure in mmo's knowing my character can still progress. Leveling has always delivered because unlike the gear that will one day be replaced, the stats I gain through leveling are my characters to keep despite the ongoing gear acquisition he will go through. I second the need of such infinite progression system.

 

The whole fear of never catching up is ill placed since there will always be time to do so aslong as you invest it. Those who've invested the time into it should have somethign to show for it and there can be a balanced system so that the game can still be competitive in any aspects. An example can be made simply by having a max limit of primary stat gains but continual acquisition of HP. The advantage of gaining more levels can be as simple as just having more HP or gaining other stats which offer an added protection.  There's just too many options available for such a complex system to be put in place in an mmo.

  simmihi

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/11/10
Posts: 527

1/17/13 11:22:59 AM#32

Sounds like paradise for bots and gold spammers, really. Oh, and griefers too. How about resource management, won't there be "nodes" and stuff like that? Everyone can harvest everything? Will gear scale also? It surely should, right? If yes, how about crafting, how would that go? Will gear "cap", will there be just one "best" item for each class and role, an item which everyone wants?

How would be the "progression" received, if you are always scaling? You gain power, mobs get tougher, won't everything feel the same?

On the other hand, i think EvE got it right. I'd play a medieval fantasy EvE any day. No idea why no one thought of that yet.

  Epoiisa

Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/24/11
Posts: 7

1/17/13 11:25:55 AM#33
Originally posted by haplo602

What we need is endless world shaping by players...

 

YES.

 

And if that is a sufficiently awesome experience in and of itself, then levels are redundant.

 

Here are a few ideas for world shaping:

  • Territory control (because I'm a PvP/RvR fan)
  • Economy (via player resource collection and crafting)
  • Success in PvE generates more difficult PvE challenges for opposing factions (make life hard on them).
  • Success in PvP rewarded with greater access to the resources for crafting better gear (so resources are somewhat geographical).

 

I've run out of steam. Great article and great comments. I'll check-in tomorrow.

 

Signature’s are a waste of space.

  Thelric

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/06/11
Posts: 26

1/17/13 11:37:47 AM#34
Despite the awesome points of having PVP and PVE merged in mmo's, it always creates more conflict than it's worth which is followed by unbalance. PVP and PVE should stay separate unless the structure is well implemented. PVP maniacs seem hurt when this is mentioned since PVP provides them the  feeling of dominance over others, while PVE players will be bothered since to them the game is about living in the world created and acquiring and exploiting the world they're in. Both are after separate pleasures.
  Battlerock

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/12/11
Posts: 1064

1/17/13 11:38:18 AM#35
Ok so my earlier post I hinted at the imbalance I was afraid of, but what if I changed my perspective like some of you are doing for me and embraced the fact that thier are going to be some hardcore players that are more powerful than me , but this is an mmo right I'm on a team per say and I probably have op mmo gods on my side too, I may just be a minion in the big picture but I'm fighting for purpose and I'm having fun, I can start to see how this would work and be a good thing too.
  Talmien

Novice Member

Joined: 2/16/09
Posts: 76

1/17/13 11:39:00 AM#36

I think one of the problems with this type of endless advancement is immersion. Endless advancement is nice, but if you can only go into a special little corner of the world to try out your strength its not very immersive is it?

I don't know about anyone else, but when my character gets more powerful I like to show of that power by defeating the enemies I had trouble with before. If i'm always getting scaled down unless I'm in the special box there doesn't seem to be much point. I don't feel immersed in the world and I don't feel like I've really advanced.

There is a text based game called Gemstone that had endless advancement, and it worked. it took a really long time, but then again text based games are more about RP and you keep playing you character for other reasons besides then to just level. but someone who made level 150 was able to show of his power in any area of the world, not just a special box.

  Thelric

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/06/11
Posts: 26

1/17/13 11:40:33 AM#37
I agree, King. That's my perspective. I would still have fun being a minion of a bigger faction with player gods which can just be like bosses to beat. Specially in PVP. I would be after this high representatives of their faction and again, the devs can have rewards implemented for defeating such players.
  Thelric

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/06/11
Posts: 26

1/17/13 11:42:07 AM#38
Good point, Talmien. :) Being able to show your power offers its own rewards. I don't like to be scaled down, unless I have chosen to do so myself.
  Gravarg

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/24/06
Posts: 3219

1/17/13 11:42:12 AM#39

I think when it comes end-game it's down to the players really.  I hit endgame in a game, like Rift, WoW, or Pirate101, and I make stuff up to do.  I don't need a quest to tell me to go help this person out for the day, or go ransack Sanctuary with friends, or sail around the spiral looking for booty (not that kind of booty! In a kid's game, you're sick! lol).  I take a game and make my own up inside of it.  I know I probably sound crazy, but I can't count the hours I spent in DAoC pulling a single guard or maybe 2 with my Troll Warrior and stomping them, just because it as fun.  Or sometimes I'd just charge the gate and get my butt handed to me, but it was still fun.  I forget who, but some famous person or philosipher or somebody once said "Fun is what you make it" and it's upto the player to make thier own fun, especially when it comes to post endgame. :)

 

It would be nice to have a game without endgame though.  A never ending game of levels, however, as mentioned before.  Without a set goal, there really isn't progression, since you're not progressing to a goal.  Players could make up thier own goals, much like I do in current games, but I'm the only "crazily-imaginative" one that dies on purpose for fun lol.

  Yilelien

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/04/10
Posts: 325

1/17/13 11:54:28 AM#40

I like what alot of the FPS games do. You start again at lvl 1. But you get a "special skill" or weapon etc that you can start the game again with.

 I enjoyed the AA ability in EQ. I also liked the PA system in Rift. Once you hit that wall there are still things for you to try and do, besides the dailys or raids etc.

 

 But starting again at lvl 1.....I talked to a few friends about this and of course they said they dont want to repeat content. I ask. How many alts do you have? IMO if i was able to take that same toon back through the game to gain X. I would do it.

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