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22 posts found
  SnarlingWolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

 
OP  6/26/13 3:27:08 PM#1

What if you take away leveling from an MMO (I know UO did this and I hear the Secret World does this too, but hang in there a moment)? Then what if you either take away leveling/improving attribute and skills (so you design your character right at the start) or make that aspect go very quickly? On top of that, what if you make it so getting solidly good gear (not the best possible) also fairly quick?

If you do those three things in an MMO, what do you add in to keep the players interested in the long term?

 

The reason I wonder about this is over the years I've always seen the same, as I would call it, flaw in MMOs. That is that the design switched in MMOs from the journey to the endgame. In fact most MMOs are now designed that you should get to endgame quickly and then grind out gear/Raids/etc. with a max level character. Problem is MMO designers spend a lot of time and money on making all of that content to explore as you level which then gets ignored. The second problem is they also almost never release with enough endgame content and can't produce it fast enough. This creates a system where players jump from new MMO to new MMO blitzing through to max level, complaining there is nothing to do, and quitting to do it in the next MMO.

 

So what if we take that aspect out. Levels don't exist, long grinds for gear don't exist, long grinds to max skills don't exist. The problem though is so what does exist that makes the players want to stay and play week after week. Most MMO players enjoy progression as it gives them goals to reach. What would a decent progression be that didn't become the new "grind it out ASAP to be capped in it" or what other direction can you take the game so that progression isn't really a factor in any form, but the game is still interesting enough to play for a long time?

 

There are achievements, which almost all MMOs have now. Those give you goals, kill x number of these types of creatures, explore all the parts of this map, find the 3 hidden things in this area, etc. I think those are good and can make people want to play to finish them all. But that alone wouldn't be enough. There's wealth creation, but only a small segment of the MMO population makes that enough of a focus to keep them playing. So what else can you do to make it different, to make it not a rush to endgame then grind design?

  Shadowguy64

Novice Member

Joined: 4/11/13
Posts: 880

6/26/13 3:37:05 PM#2
Would honor / fame / reputation be something you are looking for? Like, serve the people, earn their respect / trust to unlock different gameplay elements?
  SnarlingWolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

 
OP  6/26/13 3:39:21 PM#3
Originally posted by Shadowguy64
Would honor / fame / reputation be something you are looking for? Like, serve the people, earn their respect / trust to unlock different gameplay elements?

 I'm looking for what people think would allow them to have fun in a game that got rid of the main progressions in the MMO world.

 

Reputation is a good point. A lot of games use that as a progression tool and gate NPC actions/quest accesses off of it. That certainly gives you something else to work on while doing so in a manner that ties in directly with the game world.

  maskedweasel

Tipster

Joined: 9/24/07
Posts: 7264

"Kids, try imagining how far the universe extends! Keep thinking about it until you go insane."

6/26/13 3:42:23 PM#4

The thing about games is that, if theres nothing to achieve in the game,  - no story to see to an end like single player titles - and no gear or power to acquire,  then you have no real reason to see the game through.

 

Some games allow for a visual progression, where your character changes based on new gear styles instead of new gear powers... but this is flawed because once people find a look that they want, they stay with it, and anything else is excess.

 

Then theres the idea of fighting over land or property, but if that property actually holds no value for the factions, then its really pointless,  and in order for it to have meaning, it will have to give some sort of benefit - thereby forcing a separate grind of constant ownership for an advantage.

 

In games that are supposed to last years... it doesn't seem like its worth it to a lot of people to just play for fun.  They have to keep striving and achieving or else they end up jaded with a bland game.

 

There are other design decisions that could aid in this, but I won't go into all that here.... needless to say, a game like what you describe could be possible in the future... but nothing successful in the near future.

"Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


  SnarlingWolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

 
OP  6/26/13 4:11:24 PM#5
Originally posted by maskedweasel

The thing about games is that, if theres nothing to achieve in the game,  - no story to see to an end like single player titles - and no gear or power to acquire,  then you have no real reason to see the game through.

 

Some games allow for a visual progression, where your character changes based on new gear styles instead of new gear powers... but this is flawed because once people find a look that they want, they stay with it, and anything else is excess.

 

Then theres the idea of fighting over land or property, but if that property actually holds no value for the factions, then its really pointless,  and in order for it to have meaning, it will have to give some sort of benefit - thereby forcing a separate grind of constant ownership for an advantage.

 

In games that are supposed to last years... it doesn't seem like its worth it to a lot of people to just play for fun.  They have to keep striving and achieving or else they end up jaded with a bland game.

 

There are other design decisions that could aid in this, but I won't go into all that here.... needless to say, a game like what you describe could be possible in the future... but nothing successful in the near future.

 I agree that players want progression of some form to have goals. I disagree that a system where gear/levels/skills aren't the progression can't be successful today. The reason I disagree is the current standards have gotten so stale that remaking the same thing has proven to almost guarantee a lack of success.

 

Land/town control is always an option. That does force you into PvP unless you come up with an interesting PvE system for control (in a way that system would still be PvP because even if it wasn't fighting another player directly there would have to be goals that could switch ownership so you'd still be competitive against another player).

As mentioned above there is a reputation system to unlock new features/content. And as mentioned in my original post there are always the big achievement books that all games have these days. However, those combined, even with land control, I agree probably isn't enough to make people play a game for a long time. Then again currently there doesn't seem to be much at all that makes people play the same MMO for even three months straight.

 

I have to believe a new approach can be developed that isn't "I'm level 1 time to grind until I'm level 60 and the game really begins" or "Time to run this dungeon 47 times until the random reward is the one I need and I win the dice roll over my group to get it" or even "Time to go kill 1200 creatures until I max out the best possibilities in the random loot generator". Even UO had macros immediately at launch in order to grind out the repetitive skill raising. From the beginning these systems have been flawed as they make the players ignore the world, ignore the fun, often ignore the exploration, and grind until they're done and bored or until they're burned out from grinding.

The question is, what is the design that is successful without those things?

  MMOExposed

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 5917

6/26/13 4:37:24 PM#6
I have the perfect solution for this. I came up with it for my own MMO game idea. It's in my blog. Go check it out.

  SnarlingWolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

 
OP  6/26/13 4:39:23 PM#7
Originally posted by MMOExposed
I have the perfect solution for this. I came up with it for my own MMO game idea. It's in my blog. Go check it out.

 I don't see any blog linked to that username.

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

6/26/13 5:18:43 PM#8

Most themepark games could replace all progress with a zone/raid-specific buff you could build up and very little would change.  As it is, players are moving through the world, monsters around them are levelling at the same rate and so, aside from the trickle of new abilities that slowly increase the complexity of the game, level is really just serving as a measure of story progress.

The problem is that the illusion of ever-increasing wealth and power is important and levels (or skills or gear) are still an important part of that.

  waynejr2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3712

RIP City of Heroes!

6/26/13 5:38:27 PM#9
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

What if you take away leveling from an MMO (I know UO did this and I hear the Secret World does this too, but hang in there a moment)? Then what if you either take away leveling/improving attribute and skills (so you design your character right at the start) or make that aspect go very quickly? On top of that, what if you make it so getting solidly good gear (not the best possible) also fairly quick?

If you do those three things in an MMO, what do you add in to keep the players interested in the long term?

 

The reason I wonder about this is over the years I've always seen the same, as I would call it, flaw in MMOs. That is that the design switched in MMOs from the journey to the endgame. In fact most MMOs are now designed that you should get to endgame quickly and then grind out gear/Raids/etc. with a max level character. Problem is MMO designers spend a lot of time and money on making all of that content to explore as you level which then gets ignored. The second problem is they also almost never release with enough endgame content and can't produce it fast enough. This creates a system where players jump from new MMO to new MMO blitzing through to max level, complaining there is nothing to do, and quitting to do it in the next MMO.

 

So what if we take that aspect out. Levels don't exist, long grinds for gear don't exist, long grinds to max skills don't exist. The problem though is so what does exist that makes the players want to stay and play week after week. Most MMO players enjoy progression as it gives them goals to reach. What would a decent progression be that didn't become the new "grind it out ASAP to be capped in it" or what other direction can you take the game so that progression isn't really a factor in any form, but the game is still interesting enough to play for a long time?

 

There are achievements, which almost all MMOs have now. Those give you goals, kill x number of these types of creatures, explore all the parts of this map, find the 3 hidden things in this area, etc. I think those are good and can make people want to play to finish them all. But that alone wouldn't be enough. There's wealth creation, but only a small segment of the MMO population makes that enough of a focus to keep them playing. So what else can you do to make it different, to make it not a rush to endgame then grind design?

 I would say the same thing would happen that happened in pen and paper rpgs without that kind of progression.

  Bladestrom

Elite Member

Joined: 4/04/11
Posts: 3127

6/26/13 5:45:57 PM#10
Gw2 has a model where you keep levelling forever (xp levelling and fractal levelling) its a good idea that only needs some tweaking to come to life (showing actual level for e.g cold be good)

rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW (1000 hrs on main mage)> oblivion > LOTR (480 Hunter) > Rift (230 hours mage) > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(900 elementalist)

Now playing Wildstar, AOW 3

  whisperwynd

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/22/06
Posts: 1339

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the priviledge to do so as well.

6/26/13 5:56:48 PM#11

 What you seem to want is an MmoRTS or MmoFPS because when you speak of mmo"RPG" that literally means a progression of some sort.

Even TSW has lvls, they are cleverly named as QL I believe. These are almost prerequisites for entering 'dungeons' and helps your progression into harder zones.

Even reputation grind will be progression to a number, allowing further progression/rewards. 

So, in actuality, you are simply changing one form of leveling to another. Hiding something or renaming does not change its state or reason for being.

  SnarlingWolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

 
OP  6/26/13 6:54:50 PM#12
Originally posted by whisperwynd

 What you seem to want is an MmoRTS or MmoFPS because when you speak of mmo"RPG" that literally means a progression of some sort.

Even TSW has lvls, they are cleverly named as QL I believe. These are almost prerequisites for entering 'dungeons' and helps your progression into harder zones.

Even reputation grind will be progression to a number, allowing further progression/rewards. 

So, in actuality, you are simply changing one form of leveling to another. Hiding something or renaming does not change its state or reason for being.

If you were gaining xp and a number was changing that you called fantasmagoric mania, then that would be disguising leveling.

 

However, if there are no levels, but gear is a grind to either get/craft/whatever, you couldn't say you changed leveling from one form to another.

 

I do in fact want a good MMORTS, but that is not at all what this is. If you're third person using melee weapons with special abilities it also isn't an MMOFPS. I highly disagree that in order for it to be an MMORPG there has to be levels, especially since one of the first ones ( UO ) had no levels.

  SnarlingWolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

 
OP  6/26/13 6:58:53 PM#13
Originally posted by Bladestrom
Gw2 has a model where you keep levelling forever (xp levelling and fractal levelling) its a good idea that only needs some tweaking to come to life (showing actual level for e.g cold be good)

Although I think the forever leveling ( or at least very very long leveling ) isn't a bad idea, I do think it hasn't stopped people from ignoring most of a game to go after the most efficient form of advancing those levels even if it means losing out on fun.

 

Asheron's Call 1 released with a level cap of 126 and even after months of grinding the top people were only like level 40 and 50 and that was with each level taking longer than the last. It didn't take long for a lot of the population to start focusing purely on trying to get to the 126 even though it was meant to be near impossible. Asheron's Call 2 has a hard cap of 150 I think and a "soft cap". Essentially you out level enough stuff that your levels start creeping up when you're in the 80s and probably comes to a complete stop by the time your 100. The point is that no one is meant to actually be 150, but in this day and age it just leads people to demanding more top level content that will get them leveling again because they simply want to hit that cap of 150.

 

In short, I think a never ending leveling progression can be implemented in a way that is better than the current level 60 then endgame style. I still think it doesn't improve the genre enough.

  SnarlingWolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

 
OP  6/26/13 7:00:57 PM#14
Originally posted by maplestone

Most themepark games could replace all progress with a zone/raid-specific buff you could build up and very little would change.  As it is, players are moving through the world, monsters around them are levelling at the same rate and so, aside from the trickle of new abilities that slowly increase the complexity of the game, level is really just serving as a measure of story progress.

The problem is that the illusion of ever-increasing wealth and power is important and levels (or skills or gear) are still an important part of that.

I can't say I disagree with any of that. I do think most players thrive off of seeing their characters get stronger and richer even if the game is built with that in mind so you really are as effective against current level mobs as you were before the advancements.

 

But do you think it is impossible to remove the main grinds (level/gear) that we've been using to something else or do you think that without those common illusions of power increases that players wouldn't be as interested in their characters?

  whisperwynd

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/22/06
Posts: 1339

Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the priviledge to do so as well.

6/26/13 7:08:47 PM#15
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

If you were gaining xp and a number was changing that you called fantasmagoric mania, then that would be disguising leveling.

 

However, if there are no levels, but gear is a grind to either get/craft/whatever, you couldn't say you changed leveling from one form to another.

 

I do in fact want a good MMORTS, but that is not at all what this is. If you're third person using melee weapons with special abilities it also isn't an MMOFPS. I highly disagree that in order for it to be an MMORPG there has to be levels, especially since one of the first ones ( UO ) had no levels.

Having never player UO I can't comment on that. However, you are just arguing semantics since if there is nothing to differentiate your progression from when you first started playing, how would you know of your improvements?

How do you 'better' your character in the game, even if talking about crafting, trade, combat? There has to be a progression, and that progression has to have a numerical value in the mechanics for there to be any kind of advancement.

Your 'levels' of existing mmo's, like I'm level X with skills associated to this level is no different than saying I have no level but my magic is x out of y, so I am proficient to do this but not that. Even if grinding for gear with no xp, you're still playing the numbers game as you'd want gear with stat x to be a certain strength to see your progression and therefor allow you to go after monster z for the next piece.

  MMOExposed

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 5917

6/26/13 7:17:09 PM#16
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf
Originally posted by MMOExposed
I have the perfect solution for this. I came up with it for my own MMO game idea. It's in my blog. Go check it out.

 I don't see any blog linked to that username.

I apologize .

here a link

 

http://thereckoningonline.blogspot.com/2013/06/part-1-no-levels-mean-no-progression.html

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

6/26/13 7:17:23 PM#17
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

But do you think it is impossible to remove the main grinds (level/gear) that we've been using to something else or do you think that without those common illusions of power increases that players wouldn't be as interested in their characters?

Impossible? No.

Zone plotlines probably don't need levels to make people want to see them through to the end.

Collections of uncommons/rares and achievements can likely keep people interested in reusing the zones.

People might even continue to follow the gear treadmill just to improve their gearscore, even if gear had no other stat than a point value towards opening the next raid gate.

But there's a difference between what I suspect could work and what I'd feel comfortable betting the budget on.

  SnarlingWolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

 
OP  6/26/13 9:38:28 PM#18
Originally posted by whisperwynd
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

If you were gaining xp and a number was changing that you called fantasmagoric mania, then that would be disguising leveling.

 

However, if there are no levels, but gear is a grind to either get/craft/whatever, you couldn't say you changed leveling from one form to another.

 

I do in fact want a good MMORTS, but that is not at all what this is. If you're third person using melee weapons with special abilities it also isn't an MMOFPS. I highly disagree that in order for it to be an MMORPG there has to be levels, especially since one of the first ones ( UO ) had no levels.

Having never player UO I can't comment on that. However, you are just arguing semantics since if there is nothing to differentiate your progression from when you first started playing, how would you know of your improvements?

How do you 'better' your character in the game, even if talking about crafting, trade, combat? There has to be a progression, and that progression has to have a numerical value in the mechanics for there to be any kind of advancement.

Your 'levels' of existing mmo's, like I'm level X with skills associated to this level is no different than saying I have no level but my magic is x out of y, so I am proficient to do this but not that. Even if grinding for gear with no xp, you're still playing the numbers game as you'd want gear with stat x to be a certain strength to see your progression and therefor allow you to go after monster z for the next piece.

But I'm not arguing semantics. My original post is contrary to what you are saying here. I'm saying if levels don't exist, if skills don't advance (or do so very quickly) and if gear either doesn't matter or matters but it also gained quickly can you make an MMO that still captures peoples' interests enough for them to want to keep playing.

 

And you can have progression that has nothing to do with proficiency or gains, achievements are just that and almost every game (including most non-MMOs as well) have an achievement system at this point. It gives you goals that you can complete and show how much you've done while not getting any advancements for your character. There are a lot of people who play games specifically to finish all the achievements a game has as well. So surely there must be other such systems that can be implemented as well.

 

If you told players when they cut down a tree it didn't come back. And if you said you can use tools to make it into boards and use other tools to connect boards together. That would create a system where a person could clear an area and then use those trees to build a house (and you could make it so they had immense control over the house design as well). There are a lot of people who would play to do just that. No strength increases, no ability to kill tougher mobs, no levels, just interacting with the world. That is the main reason people flock to minecraft not for levels but to use simple tools to create and modify environments over and over.

 

So I don't think you have to have something that is a substitute for levels in order to make an MMO. I think there is a wider area to explore how a person can interact with an MMO and what they can do in order to make them feel a part of it and want to keep playing it.

  SnarlingWolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

 
OP  6/26/13 9:48:56 PM#19

Let me mention something I've thought about in the past.

 

Picture a mech based game similar to the world of mechwarrior.  Players join together to form clans. Those clans can build bases, build mechs, hunt out gather resources, salvage other wrecked mechs, etc.

Ways players can particpate in the game is to of course pilot a mech. Instead of any skills involved how you build the mech (engines, weapons, heat sinks, armor, etc etc) determines how you will act in combat/scouting/sniping attack. Another game system will be programming the AI turrets you build at your base. By giving players an actual script based interaction it is based purely on their real life skills of making an effective and smart turret. These can be customized and scripted in countless ways and due to this quality scripters will be in demand.

Mechanics would be another goal with a very  interactive (not click and watch a progress bar) and detail mechanic interface which again would work off of their real life skill to diagnose and fix the problem correctly and cheaply.

Research could be another, base building another, mining another.

 

As you can see in a game like that there are no in game skills to level and no levels to the character, no exp in any way shape or form. Yet I think a game like that could have a lot of depth and a lot of different ways to approach it which would keep it fresh and entertaining.

I do believe you could come up with such approachs in all styles on MMO including standard medieval fantasy.

  MMOExposed

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 5917

6/26/13 9:49:56 PM#20
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf
Originally posted by whisperwynd
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

If you were gaining xp and a number was changing that you called fantasmagoric mania, then that would be disguising leveling.

 

However, if there are no levels, but gear is a grind to either get/craft/whatever, you couldn't say you changed leveling from one form to another.

 

I do in fact want a good MMORTS, but that is not at all what this is. If you're third person using melee weapons with special abilities it also isn't an MMOFPS. I highly disagree that in order for it to be an MMORPG there has to be levels, especially since one of the first ones ( UO ) had no levels.

Having never player UO I can't comment on that. However, you are just arguing semantics since if there is nothing to differentiate your progression from when you first started playing, how would you know of your improvements?

How do you 'better' your character in the game, even if talking about crafting, trade, combat? There has to be a progression, and that progression has to have a numerical value in the mechanics for there to be any kind of advancement.

Your 'levels' of existing mmo's, like I'm level X with skills associated to this level is no different than saying I have no level but my magic is x out of y, so I am proficient to do this but not that. Even if grinding for gear with no xp, you're still playing the numbers game as you'd want gear with stat x to be a certain strength to see your progression and therefor allow you to go after monster z for the next piece.

But I'm not arguing semantics. My original post is contrary to what you are saying here. I'm saying if levels don't exist, if skills don't advance (or do so very quickly) and if gear either doesn't matter or matters but it also gained quickly can you make an MMO that still captures peoples' interests enough for them to want to keep playing.

 

And you can have progression that has nothing to do with proficiency or gains, achievements are just that and almost every game (including most non-MMOs as well) have an achievement system at this point. It gives you goals that you can complete and show how much you've done while not getting any advancements for your character. There are a lot of people who play games specifically to finish all the achievements a game has as well. So surely there must be other such systems that can be implemented as well.

 

If you told players when they cut down a tree it didn't come back. And if you said you can use tools to make it into boards and use other tools to connect boards together. That would create a system where a person could clear an area and then use those trees to build a house (and you could make it so they had immense control over the house design as well). There are a lot of people who would play to do just that. No strength increases, no ability to kill tougher mobs, no levels, just interacting with the world. That is the main reason people flock to minecraft not for levels but to use simple tools to create and modify environments over and over.

 

So I don't think you have to have something that is a substitute for levels in order to make an MMO. I think there is a wider area to explore how a person can interact with an MMO and what they can do in order to make them feel a part of it and want to keep playing it.

Did you check out the link I posted above?

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