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

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126 posts found
  Mtibbs1989

Elite Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 2738

1/17/13 5:05:13 PM#81

Actually the developers don't typically listen to the players on the developement of the game. Which is why we end up with games like SWTOR. Companies do it their way, and only fix minor things that might appease the players.

 

As for a modern version of Runescape, just maybe. I don't doubt you could play it on a tablet or what not now. It's only JAVA after all. But a game that's a runescape clone has to surpass Runescape itself to become a "wow-killer".


Somebody, somewhere has better skills as you have, more experience as you have, is smarter than you, has more friends as you do and can stay online longer. Just pray he's not out to get you.

  Mtibbs1989

Elite Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 2738

1/17/13 5:12:13 PM#82

Think of it this way, the MMO market can be compared to lets say the market for Chips. Each brand has its different style or flavor, but the best will succeed and become very popular. We have all been to the supermarket and seen the massive selection of potato chips that be being sold. Many brands like Lays, UTZ, and etc. are superior to other brands.

 

Well this can be said exactly the same way for MMO's. Essentially the market is being oversaturated with subpar MMO's. Developers are making off brands of the good ones and not succeeding. Why? Because when you make a copy of an already well established game it's not going to have the amount of content as said game that's made. Nor will it be as bug free and stable.


Somebody, somewhere has better skills as you have, more experience as you have, is smarter than you, has more friends as you do and can stay online longer. Just pray he's not out to get you.

  newchemicals

Novice Member

Joined: 7/08/06
Posts: 43

1/17/13 5:19:34 PM#83

Good topic

We will no doubt see more of the "sandbox" no level type games in the future however the EvE skill point system isn't without flaws.

In general, players like to level and see tangable progress and building. How fast that progress is always the 100 million or more dollar question. The hope is that regulated "leveling" will hold back the "content locust" term that has been talked about of late.

Frankly, I'll be glad when the "free" to play era MMO is dead and buried.

  TwiPhoenix

Aion Correspondent

Joined: 8/07/09
Posts: 19

1/17/13 5:23:20 PM#84
Interesting that you used a City of Heroes screenshot for this article, since they pulled off the "never-ending progression" quite well, just not in the endless scaling method way.  Instead of letting a player play the same character forever, entice them to try out one of countless different combinations.  Sure, you might hit the cap eventually, but then you can go play through again with your fire/ice blaster and experience the game quite differently from your previous characters.
  Mtibbs1989

Elite Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 2738

1/17/13 5:29:50 PM#85
Originally posted by TwiPhoenix
Interesting that you used a City of Heroes screenshot for this article, since they pulled off the "never-ending progression" quite well, just not in the endless scaling method way.  Instead of letting a player play the same character forever, entice them to try out one of countless different combinations.  Sure, you might hit the cap eventually, but then you can go play through again with your fire/ice blaster and experience the game quite differently from your previous characters.
 

I'm sorry but isn't that how most mmo's with customizable skill trees do it? being able to make a character one way to the end. Then play a new character the exact same way and experience it a little bit differently?


Somebody, somewhere has better skills as you have, more experience as you have, is smarter than you, has more friends as you do and can stay online longer. Just pray he's not out to get you.

  Mtibbs1989

Elite Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 2738

1/17/13 5:31:19 PM#86
Originally posted by Mtibbs1989
Originally posted by TwiPhoenix
Interesting that you used a City of Heroes screenshot for this article, since they pulled off the "never-ending progression" quite well, just not in the endless scaling method way.  Instead of letting a player play the same character forever, entice them to try out one of countless different combinations.  Sure, you might hit the cap eventually, but then you can go play through again with your fire/ice blaster and experience the game quite differently from your previous characters.
 

I'm sorry but isn't that how most mmo's with customizable skill trees do it? being able to make a character one way to the end. Then play a new character the exact same way and experience it a little bit differently?

 

A game like City of heroes is actually very far from endless progression. You're not further progressing your characte; just your knowledge of the games skills. All cycled through new characters.

 


Somebody, somewhere has better skills as you have, more experience as you have, is smarter than you, has more friends as you do and can stay online longer. Just pray he's not out to get you.

  Vannor

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/03
Posts: 2997

1/17/13 6:37:55 PM#87

DDO has a rebirth system..

Not sure if it's endless but you can level characters to max and then use that character to make a slightly stronger new character.. and get that one to max and use them to make an even slightly stronger new character and so on.

  renadi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/11/12
Posts: 18

1/17/13 6:38:48 PM#88

EVE online has a levelling system, but no overarching levels. There's no 'level cap' because it simply isn't possible to max out all the skills in the game at any point in time.  I think I read to become proficient in everything would take, literally, 15 years. But even so, the parts of it that are newb unfriendly aren't really the fact that there are people orders of magnitude more powerful than you, but simply because it is such a sandbox most people drop in and say what do I do?

 

I think that system applied to a normal(fantasy) mmo would be just perfect, it may just be this is what Pathfinder Online is going to become(I just missed out on that kickstarter!).

 

Though people it seems have a hard time setting personal goals without a quest telling them to, I almost think the old days of Everquest's grinding were better than what most games are now. 

  Acidon

Elite Member

Joined: 9/09/05
Posts: 721

Permafried

1/17/13 6:56:56 PM#89
Originally posted by Ryowulf

I would really like to see other MMOs use GW2 system of leveling scaling.  One problem I have with other mmos is that your level and your friends/guildmates are often going to be different (until level cap), so if you come to the party late you are stuck lvl'ing alone.

 

I realize this will mostly fall on deaf ears, but Rift does this better than GW2 imo.  In Rift, you get to select the exact level you scale down to.  If you don't want to scale down for a lower level area?  You don't have to.  But if you do, you get rewarded with things relative to your actual level.

 

To the OP, I like having having levels.  I am not one to rush to level cap, but I enjoy reaching it with various characters and starting the alternate progression.

I see what you're trying to do, but I don't think what you describe is something that I would enjoy more than what we already have.   This, of course, is just one guys opinion.

 

Playing: EverQuest, RiFT, Defiance, APB:Reloaded
Mourning: World of Darkness, Vanguard, City of Heroes



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  lectrocutie

Novice Member

Joined: 1/17/13
Posts: 5

1/17/13 7:12:13 PM#90

Instead of levels, a simple penalty on a skill or attribute would suffice.

I believe it could even become part of the adventure.

 

Have extremely rare, or crafted items that help eliminate the penalty, or have the penalty be something that has to be worked at to be removed.  You could even throw in player crafted item that are crafted from rare resources where the risk is close to the reward you recieve economically.

 

I

  Vorthanion

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/02/11
Posts: 1919

1/17/13 7:24:43 PM#91
Originally posted by strangiato2112

EQ in its prime did this well.  With the AA system you were always improving your character permanently (not gear based progression).  In addition, AAs were more interesting than levels because you had a choice where you grew in power.

 

The EQ AA system remains the greatest single system in MMO history because of this.

 

Yes, it made it tough to play catch up.  But there are ways around this, such as the speeding up of initial AAs that EQ did in its later years.  But the notion that people should be equal is ludicrous, the trick is to have content for people of all AA/gear/skill levels and EQ succeeded with that.

 Equality is only important in regards to PvP, which is not something EQ cares about or in the distribution of reward systems to the different kinds of play styles.  Otherwise, it shouldn't matter if people have to catch up.

  Homitu

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/01/09
Posts: 2044

1/17/13 7:26:41 PM#92

My First Response: Progression as a Function of Arbitrariness and Novelty

Progression is so tricky in MMOs because it's all completely arbitrary but we all want it anyway.  For every given character level or power level that the game allows you to achieve, the game issues content that is appropriately challenging players at exactly those levels.  It's a simple matter of tweaking numbers.  Any level 55 zone, for example, can be turned into a level 20 zone simply be reducing all mobs' stats by a certain percent.  

If it's so absurdly arbitrary, why have such level progression at all?  I'm sure everyone has experienced certain answers to that question for themselves.  For my part, I'll use a common denominator game like WoW as an example.  I can still vividly recall accidentally exploring my way into the Burning Steppes, an endgame level 50+ zone, as a level 20 character questing in Redridge Mountains.  Needless to say, I swiftly became an afternoon snack for the dragons there.  I took some screenshots of them fighting over my corpse for my scrapbook.  The fiery terrain of that zone burned in my memory throughout the rest of my leveling adventure.  When I eventually reached the level 50s, I was directed to Blackrock Mountain for several dungeons and quests.   I instantly realized what zone I had to travel through to get there, summoning the trepidation that had been instilled in me.  But this time I was stronger.  When I got there, I hesitantly challenged a dragon...and won.  With my group, we took on a few elite dragons.  We carved our way into the mountain's jaws, one dragon at a time.  

The sense of strength I had gained and progress I had made was palpable.  It was exhilarating.  I was in the big leagues now, and it felt good. 

The thing is, like many MMO experiences, this stark, satisfying sense of increased strength was so much more intense the first few times I experienced it.  The same thing still occurs in virtually every MMO I play.  It just doesn't have nearly the same effect.  I'll call this the novelty effect.  Things like this are fascinating and profoundly powerful the first times you experience them; but their effects become ever diminished with each subsequent experience.  Think of the first time you ever played an MMO or online game.  How cool was it when you realized for the first time that those characters running around on your screen were actually other players?  It was mind-blowing for me!  Now I'm so desensitized to other players' presence that I practically don't even notice them.  

---------------

I have other thoughts on the subject, but this one was lengthy enough on its own that I figured I should give it its own post, as well as an unnecessarily academic title, or else the wall of text would become so great that nobody would bother reading it--a fate far too many of my posts suffer.  

  angeltrebor

Novice Member

Joined: 3/16/09
Posts: 11

1/17/13 7:42:48 PM#93
MU Online did the so called "never ending progress" thing you're so striving for , a long time ago.
AngelTrebor Xfire Miniprofile
  bunzaga

Novice Member

Joined: 10/25/10
Posts: 27

1/17/13 8:37:16 PM#94

I think the concept of 'vertical progression' is flawed in several ways.  Game developers need to start thinking of ways to reward players with other incentives, other than the accumulation of linear or exponential 'experience'.

'You' may hate me for saying this, but I believe GEAR should have a larger impact on a persons advantage in combat than an automagic level difference.

Look at Ultima Online.  There are no levels, only skills and gear.  The game is over 15 years old, and people are still playing it.

Does that mean UO is perfect, and every game developer out there should copy it?  Of course not.  Rate Over Time or Use Over Time has its own issues, but it is a place to start looking.

If you think doing mundane quest after quest, or farming your 1,000,000th mob to get to your next level is the reward you are looking for, I think you are not considering the REAL reason levelling up is exciting.  It is for the 5 stat points to put into your vitality, or your 1 skill point to distribute through your skill tree, or the ability to wear that new piece of armor you have been waiting to put on.  Or maybe it is to participate in that new warzone / battlegrounds, or participate in arenas, or get your flying mount, or go into the 'high level' dungeon.

Levelling up in itself is meaningless and pointless.  It is the other things which come with the new level, which drives us.  If those things could be achieved in a different way, where there are no levels required, now that is a game worth taking a look at.

  azzamasin

Elite Member

Joined: 6/06/12
Posts: 2743

We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.

1/17/13 10:19:59 PM#95
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.

Do you have the link to that GDC interview?  I am a nerd when it comes to gaming systems and would love to see this presentation.

If your idea of a Sandbox is open FFA Full Loot PvP, full crafted world with minimal support for anything combat then your sandbox ideas are bad! Sandbox means open world, non-linear gaming PERIOD!

  jbombard

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 466

1/17/13 11:07:27 PM#96

I think the problem is that when a game scales, levels then become meaningless.

 

Part of the sense of progress comes from having things in the game that are super easy > doable > impossible and watching as more and more things become easy and they are able to do things that were previously impossible.  It also serves as somewhat of a difficulty slider because if things are too hard in a certain area you can level up a bit and come back.

 

Also believe it or not, doing the same area over and over again is not all that appealing, even if it scales.  The sense of progress is not only about numbers but about enablement.

 

Scaling is a nice feature to have for playing with friends that may be a different level, but it is most certainly not a silver bullet to solve all the woes of progression.

 

Having a real system of continuous meaningfull progression(the progress you make impacts how you interact with the world around you, and enables you to do new things) generally ends up in having a huge gap in power between new players and the old guard.

 

So really you need to

 

1) Keep progress meaningfull

2) Fix the new player > veteran power gap

3) Provide new content to continously challenge the player (because doing the same content on a harder difficulty gets old fast is only going to be acceptable to a small part of the player base)

 

Those are some tough issues to fix, and often an individual fix for a particular issue has a negative effect on another.

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17249

1/17/13 11:23:06 PM#97
Originally posted by jbombard

I think the problem is that when a game scales, levels then become meaningless.

(your post....)

So really you need to

 

1) Keep progress meaningfull

2) Fix the new player > veteran power gap

3) Provide new content to continously challenge the player (because doing the same content on a harder difficulty gets old fast is only going to be acceptable to a small part of the player base)

 

Those are some tough issues to fix, and often an individual fix for a particular issue has a negative effect on another.

I completely agree

  Iselin

The Listener

Joined: 3/04/08
Posts: 3809

1/17/13 11:56:25 PM#98

Nice!

Glad you decided to take this on. It's been my complaint for years. I usually phrase it differently though:

"When I kept playing this game after thie first month, it was because I enjoyed what I was doing. What I was doing was leveling. What makes a developer think that I'm willing to leave behind what I enjoyed and now try to enjoy something completely different?"

You don't need to go any further than that to understand the "retention problem" in modern MMOs: people leave because the thing they enjoyed is over and now you need to learn to enjoy something new...or not.

  Faelsun

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/07
Posts: 482

1/17/13 11:58:48 PM#99
It's called MU online, welcome to never ending hell.
  Tuchaka

Novice Member

Joined: 4/14/10
Posts: 458

1/18/13 12:20:24 AM#100

sorry but this just sounds like a big add for wow clones. With a new twist nah that's never been tried , the last couple theme park wow clones crashed and burned .  we need inovation not stagnation. the console market is practically the renaissance comapred to the stagnant MMO market.

 

 

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