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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  »  Would you play a MMO without character progression?

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66 posts found
  jusomdude

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/21/06
Posts: 2423

 
OP  5/09/10 11:34:23 PM#1

It seems many people are all about end game raiding these days.

So would you play a MMO that was all about raiding, and gear progression with no character progression?

 

You could still customize your character with talent trees or something.

If there was a game like this, I think there would be a ton more raid content than current games, since developers wouldn't have to make content for leveling.

 

Personally, I don't know if I'd play a game like this, because I like advancing my character through levels and abilities more than just getting new shiny pieces of gear. And I don't like raiding that much.

  Garvon3

Novice Member

Joined: 3/17/10
Posts: 2943

5/09/10 11:39:13 PM#2

I'd basically be an FPS then, and even some FPS games have character progression. 

If this was released I don't think devs would go for it, cause you can't charge a monthly fee really, people would play in shorter bursts, like rounds of Counterstrike. How does WW2 Online work?

  jusomdude

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/21/06
Posts: 2423

 
OP  5/09/10 11:42:54 PM#3

If you look at WoW for example I think it's been said that the majority of players spend their time at max level, so I don't see why it wouldn't work.

Everyone that wants to raid could start raiding right away, and I think that's a majority of MMO players.

  Garvon3

Novice Member

Joined: 3/17/10
Posts: 2943

5/09/10 11:46:22 PM#4

Originally posted by jusomdude

If you look at WoW for example I think it's been said that the majority of players spend their time at max level, so I don't see why it wouldn't work.

Everyone that wants to raid could start raiding right away, and I think that's a majority of MMO players.

But raiding is just another form of character progression. People have to do raids a million times to get gear in order to do the next one. 

A grindless game would give you the potential to beat any raid, and people would burn through the content, and people wouldn't dish out a monthly fee. 

 

Also, when did end game begin to mean raiding? Have MMOs really fallen that far that people think thats all people should do at end game?

 

  Jenuviel

Novice Member

Joined: 5/26/05
Posts: 958

Sadness is but a wall between two gardens. -Kahlil Gibran

5/09/10 11:48:50 PM#5

I'm actually on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I'd happily play a game with 500 levels and unlimited remorts (the ability to start over at level 1 with perks gained from the previous incarnations) and no raiding or pvp whatsoever. For me, that forward momentum is my primary source of enjoyment. I'm all about character growth, but not particularly about "stuff accumulation." If it had grouping all the way similar to the grouping in CoH, I'd group all the way. If it didn't, I'd solo all the way. Either way, I'd be happy.

 

I sit at a desk typing in patient information all day, every day, and I typically feel like very little (if any) progress has been made. When I get home, it's a relief to sit down, spend a couple of hours, and walk away with that sense of "getting somewhere" that levels give me. Sure, they're meaningless in the big picutre, but that part of me that needs to be putting one foot in front of the other gets temporarily sated by it.

 

Once I reach a level cap, I generally reroll (if there are any other classes or skill combinations I'm interested in) or leave. With a mechanism in place to allow virtually unlimited leveling, I'd stay subscribed for virtually an unlimited amount of time. A game like that would probably have to throw away quest-based advancement entirely, though, and revert to pure grinding. I think those days are behind us forever, so I'm basically a virtual tourist now. Play game, see sights, move on. Getting shinier, spikier armor just doesn't motivate me in the same way, nor does lateral advancement. That's sad for me, but good for the industry; I buy a lot of MMO boxes.

  jusomdude

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/21/06
Posts: 2423

 
OP  5/09/10 11:52:51 PM#6

TBH, there's not a lot to do at end game other than raid and pvp. Feel free to list some others.

 

Gear progression is kinda the same as character progression but for the sake of this thread, they are two different things.

I don't see any reason why people wouldn't want to pay to raid, since that's what a lot of people do in other games.

I'm not saying that raiding is the absolute only thing to do, there just wouldn't be any leveling.

  ScalperOne

Novice Member

Joined: 4/14/10
Posts: 281

We all should strive to be free, real freedom and not the Free any State or Government say we are.

5/09/10 11:56:26 PM#7

I prefer a game with no character progression and minimal item progression (accumulated item advantage being 5-10%)

Only progression I would want is in story and game world. The action of the players must be able to change the world played in.

  Gruug

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/08
Posts: 1302

The more you know, the more you know you don't know.

5/09/10 11:56:29 PM#8

Actually, I would like a game without leveling as long as it had a very sandbox feel. At the moment, few MMO's offer much except a game on rails that points you at on goal...maxing level. After you get there you rarely have much in the way of options except raids or pvp. I would rather a game let me tailor my playstyle to do whatever I want to do. If I choose to not raid or pvp, I want something just as compelling to do with my time. Some of that could be crafting or it could be exploring or it could be dealing with quests of some sort. It would not be limited to just those either. There should be so much to do that the player just could not do it all in one or multiple sittings.

Unfortunately, the MMO development community just does not have the resources nor the creative will to bring about such a game. Instead, we are likely to see games that are more WoW-like then not and more Level/player progression driven then unique.

Let's party like it is 1863!

  jusomdude

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/21/06
Posts: 2423

 
OP  5/09/10 11:57:20 PM#9
Originally posted by Jenuviel

I'm actually on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I'd happily play a game with 500 levels and unlimited remorts (the ability to start over at level 1 with perks gained from the previous incarnations) and no raiding or pvp whatsoever. For me, that forward momentum is my primary source of enjoyment. I'm all about character growth, but not particularly about "stuff accumulation." If it had grouping all the way similar to the grouping in CoH, I'd group all the way. If it didn't, I'd solo all the way. Either way, I'd be happy.

 

I sit at a desk typing in patient information all day, every day, and I typically feel like very little (if any) progress has been made. When I get home, it's a relief to sit down, spend a couple of hours, and walk away with that sense of "getting somewhere" that levels give me. Sure, they're meaningless in the big picutre, but that part of me that needs to be putting one foot in front of the other gets temporarily sated by it.

 

Once I reach a level cap, I generally reroll (if there are any other classes or skill combinations I'm interested in) or leave. With a mechanism in place to allow virtually unlimited leveling, I'd stay subscribed for virtually an unlimited amount of time. A game like that would probably have to throw away quest-based advancement entirely, though, and revert to pure grinding. I think those days are behind us forever, so I'm basically a virtual tourist now. Play game, see sights, move on. Getting shinier, spikier armor just doesn't motivate me in the same way, nor does lateral advancement. That's sad for me, but good for the industry; I buy a lot of MMO boxes.

I'm pretty much the same way, I like leveling a lot more than raiding or running dungeons for new gear. A game with 500 levels, lol, that would be awesome. But I think it would be a nightmare to come up with interesting new abilities for that level span. Maybe you could just stick with upgrading stuff you already have, idk.

  GTwander

Novice Member

Joined: 3/14/09
Posts: 6125

LARPer Hunter

5/10/10 12:02:13 AM#10

Face of Mankind lacks any kind of statistical progression, but there is XP and rank-levels that allow you to be promoted via player hierarchy. Since that never happens, you wouldn't even need to worry about getting to rank 1. The game itself is fine when there is actually something going on (wars, etc), but the lack of grind in that department tends to point out there are even less things to do. All you can do is accumulate wealth and collect items, which is not a bad outlook - but they don't do anything but sit in the bank under the prospect that they 'could' be sold and you'd be X amount richer.

SWG was a game that had awesome progression at one point, but  the game could have survived without any at all. The massive amount of crap dropped across the galaxy, plus the infinitely customizable housing aspect had people like me spend weeks arranging crap, and setting up virtual palaces. All the crap that would be hoarded and sit in a bank or sold becomes useful for it's model, and how it can be used to style your surroundings up. Every single item in the game had some kind of use through this.

If your not into interior deco there is still the builder mentality, and games like Wurm, ATitD and Cities XL allow you to build the actual gameworld. Most of these games have progression of some kind, but they don't need it at all, since the projects worked on is what matters. I can't tell you how much fun I've had with games like Sim City, and if they added a mayor-rating progression to it, the entire thing would still play second fiddle to the project the player has in mind. The progression itself would only be a barrier to how soon said player can get all that he wants from the available options, so maybe that's an arguement on why progression is bad for some games - I couldn't state this enough for PvP-heavy ones.

Writer / Musician / Game Designer

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  cukimunga

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/03/05
Posts: 2275

Ah I'm drunk and I'm in the street like a vagabond.

5/10/10 12:14:30 AM#11

I say the more ways of progression the better, so no.  

What else is there to do at endgame besides, raiding and pvp?   Crafting, housing if the game has it, Roleplaying, exploring, Selling other services to lower levels like being a body guard or being an Assasin for hire.

  cowboyupinbl

Novice Member

Joined: 6/18/05
Posts: 32

5/10/10 12:58:28 AM#12

People complain about raiding (being too boring/repetitive) vs. leveling (being too one-track and "on rails" towards the endgame goal), it seems like what we need is a game that combines the two ideas.

 

Raiding is fun because it represents having "mastered" a certain aspect of the game already, and is like a VIP room for players who have worked to reach that goal.  I think this feeling itself is more compelling to players than the actual rewards for raiding; those just put numbers to it so you feel like you're progressing, when really the slight stat bonuses at that point are negligible compared to, say, a gain of 5 levels was at earlier levels.  I think people raid mostly to keep playing the game they've grown to love, and raiding is the only option at that point.

 

The main reason devs don't just add new leveling content instead of raiding content is because that would take too much time and involve rebalancing the game entirely by constantly increasing the stakes.  This is why a boost in level caps only happens periodically, and is a major event when it does.  If you pull yourself out of that formula, and look at what you're basically doing in the long run, it would make more sense to design an MMO that doesn't have levels at all, and instead use some sort of system where players and enemies are always at the same level of skill.

 

If a game did this, and kept everyone "neutral" so to say, then all content would be open to all players and the only thing the devs would need to do is come up with new quests and locations, new enemy types, etc, and could just keep creating fun new content without worrying about breaking the constraints they've put upon themselves by adhering to a tier-based leveling system.  The focus would shift entirely towards providing players with fun adventures to go on, and interesting things to go and do, instead of having everything boil down to a grind in levels, stats, or gear.

 

Imagine that: take a game's content from lv1 to lv60 (or whatever the cap is), and just make all of it available right from the beginning.  What's the difference?  People are going to experience it all anyway, so they should be able to do it at their own pace and in whichever order they want.  Leveling only limits content into lv10 content, lv20 content, lv30 content, etc, and therefore players are forced to play it all in a certain order.  With MMOs, a genre where real-life advancements in technology have finally made it possible to have huge, fully-realized worlds at your fingertips, the game should be about the fun factor of experiencing that world, not small segments of it at a time.

 

The point is that players will finish all the content in the same amount of time, but at that point devs could just launch a whole new slew of stories and missions for people to play, and they could keep doing it as fast as they could create new locations.  All the math that goes into balancing new content would be bypassed.  I think players would stick with a game like this if it had fun combat and good storytelling, even if they didn't have a constant stream of "+1's" to feed them along.

  Vexe

Novice Member

Joined: 5/25/06
Posts: 554

Hoorah

5/10/10 1:03:59 AM#13

Well it depends on how much content there was. If I could be given a predetermined set of skills but a massive world to team up with people and do whatever I wanted in I would. Mainly I don't think I would though because most studios can't do that. Character progression is more about efficiency, really. I mean, I'm not able to create a HUMUNGUS world, o I have to have some means o iving the player something to do while also giving a sense of accomplishment.

  Axehilt

Elite Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 8186

5/10/10 1:36:58 AM#14

(I'd echo what others have said: item progression in raiding is obviously still character progression.)

I'd play it, but it's obviously contingent on the game itself being fun enough to be worth it.

However progression tends to be an extremely simple way for games to be interesting for considerably longer.  Without progression as a system for gradually unveiling weapons and perks, I don't think I'd have played Modern Warfare 2 for as long as I have (nor would I have explored as many different combinations.)

  Templo

Novice Member

Joined: 5/10/10
Posts: 3

5/10/10 2:02:09 AM#15

I would, depending on the gameplay. An MMO without character progression, assuming it's still action-oriented, would be based more on skill than anything else. I don't particularly like FPS games, but if it was something like Monster Hunter where your own skill in combat decided whether you won or not, I definitely would. Of course, to make up for not having character progression, they would have to have a ton of customization to keep it all interesting..maybe gear that added no bonuses other than looks? 

Different weapon types would add more fun as well. Different weapons mean different playstyles, which adds much-needed playability in a game like this. And I'm going to say that the pvp would be a lot more fun as well. I would feel better knowing that I just beat someone because I'm actually better than them, not because my gear is better than theirs. And losing to someone would hold more meaning than just "he hits really hard." It would mean that I, as a player, must step up my game and improve my skills. Of course it really depends on how the game itself plays, if it plays more like a console game or like WoW or something.

 

So really an MMO where you as a player gained experience instead of your character would be awesome to me. :]

  Jenuviel

Novice Member

Joined: 5/26/05
Posts: 958

Sadness is but a wall between two gardens. -Kahlil Gibran

5/10/10 2:15:14 AM#16
Originally posted by jusomdude
I'm pretty much the same way, I like leveling a lot more than raiding or running dungeons for new gear. A game with 500 levels, lol, that would be awesome. But I think it would be a nightmare to come up with interesting new abilities for that level span. Maybe you could just stick with upgrading stuff you already have, idk.

 

[WARNING: HUGE, GINORMOUS WALL OF TEXT!  PROCEED WITH CAUTION!]

 

Asheron's Call has 250 levels, so it's certainly possible (or it was). When you create your character, you're given a certain number of points to spend on skills. You can buy any skill at all, there are no classes or anything like that. You can choose to spend some points specializing one or more of the skills you picked.

 

Once in the game, your skills increase by use, but primarily they advance when you spend experience points to rank them up. The higher the rank, the more it costs. Specialization boosts the base level of the skill, and also reduces the cost of its ranks, so you effectively achieve higher ability levels with that skill. The game's levels serve two functions: first, they act as a quick method of telling how much experience someone has; second, you earn skill points every X-number of levels that can be used to buy new skills or specialize old ones. Skill points were very, very infrequent, though, and big skills cost quite a lot of them to acquire, so nobody ever had every skill, or even half of them.

 

The main reason Turbine was able to achieve a game with 250 levels, though, was because advancement was almost entirely based on mob grinding: find thing, bash thing, get experience, improve skill. There were quests, but not the kind we see in modern games with pages of text and massive experience rewards. For the most part, the developers just needed to add some land every now and then, add a new creature or two every now and then, and scale up the difficulty.

 

Of course, the above is an oversimplification, but adding levels to a quest-based game would be incredibly more difficult than adding levels to a grind-based game. In fact, Asheron's Call only started out with 126 levels, and no one was ever supposed to reach level 126 (the xp per level scaled up drastically). When someone finally did, Turbine released an expansion that doubled the number of levels. A single expansion.

 

Unfortunately, I don't think modern gamers (certainly not western gamers) would tolerate a game based entirely on mob-grinding today, and, given the exploding costs of creating MMOs, I doubt even Blizzard could afford to make a quest-based game with 250 levels, let alone 500. I'm very surprised that no MMO has attempted to use the MUD concept of Remorting, though.

 

I mentioned it in my earlier post, but remorting was basically a perpetual leveling device. Let's say MUD A has 91 levels. You make your character, you play your character up to 91, then you can choose to stay at 91 doing level 91ish things, or you can remort; in some MUDs this is as easy as typing "remort" twice, in some MUDs it requires navigating a massive labyrinth, roleplaying, whatever. When you remort, you basically reroll the same character. You keep the same name, but you're put back into character creation with access to new things: new races, new classes, new skills; it all depends on what the MUD offers. You then enter the game at level 1 and start leveling up again, but at an increased cost.

 

The whole remort system was largely a pve device, as it presented some obvious problems for pvp balance (though, what doesn't? ;). Some MUDs attempted to balance remorts in pvp by preventing people's ability to strike first if they had more remorts than another character and/or were a higher level, some used a point-based system (Race Y is equivalent to 5 points, Class B is exquivalent to 7 points, level 24 is equivalent to 24 points; the player is only able to attack someone within X-number of points of their total), or some other mechanism.

 

In any case, it wasn't a perfect system, but it was a fun one for players like myself. Not only did I get the "Oh, yay!" moments from leveling, I got the "Oh, yay, happy-happy!" moments from getting access to new things. Best of all for the developers? They didn't have to make new areas for me to level up in, since I was starting at level 1 again. The main downside is repetition, though raiding has its fair share of repetition, too. Anyway, it's something I'd like to see someone in the industry  try, even if it's just a tiny indie company working on a niche title.

  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5666

5/10/10 3:32:05 AM#17

Play 'Second Life', thats a MMO without progression. 

  jusomdude

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/21/06
Posts: 2423

 
OP  5/10/10 3:36:04 AM#18
Originally posted by Scot

Play 'Second Life', thats a MMO without progression. 

I don't think you read the post.

  uquipu

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 11/14/09
Posts: 1538

5/10/10 5:30:48 AM#19

Progression teaches you how to play your character. You progress until you hit end game and end game is where the game actually starts.
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Progression is a tutorial. It can be a fun tutorial but that's all it is.
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At end game you no longer need to progress. Well you might progress through gear.
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Are you suggesting we get rid of gear progression too?
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I don't know. I like to advance my character. I'd be willing to try a game without progression, but I bet it would get boring quick.
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Progression is something to do.

Well shave my back and call me an elf! -- Oghren

  Adamantine

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/07/08
Posts: 3498

War is not the ultima ratio, but the ultima irratio - Willy Brandt

5/10/10 6:30:09 AM#20

A game with nothing but raiding ? You gotta be kidding.

Even if there is no character progression as such, I surely want lots of story content and lots of world space to explore.

Oh, and good crafting.

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