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Lead Combat Dev Makes the Case Against Skill Based Leveling

Posted by Michael Bitton on May 19, 2010  | Comments

Lead Combat Dev Makes the Case Against Skill Based Leveling - MMORPG.com

Star Wars: The Old Republic lead combat designer Damion Schubert made the case against the use of skill-based leveling in TOR in a recent post to the game's official forums.

Damion Schubert responding to a member of the community opining that skill-based leveling systems are more natural and offer more freedom:

One of my great pet peeves of pure skill-based systems is that they claim that they are more realistic, but they in fact can create extremely unrealistic situations inside the world.

In the original Everquest, it was not uncommon to see a player throwing himself off a cliff over and over again to improve his safe falling skill, or to see a person macroing some random text gibberish in order to improve his languages. In Meridian 59, players used to park themselves in front of low level monsters and leave the keyboard - they were unlikely to die, and could accumulate defense points in a slow, steady and totally risk-free manor. In Oblivion, the best way to build an assassin character is to hop through fields picking flowers. Jumping improves your Acrobatics (I believe), and the player needs enough flowers to grind up his Poisoning skill.

Sure, each of these could be destupidified with enough designer/programmer time and focus, but then you're coding, QAing and exploit-proofing a different advancement mechanism for every skill in the game. And you'll probably still end up with some silliness somewhere.

Read the original post here.

Damion's Oblivion example is both hilarious and sad, and something I've heard before. Indeed, I myself participated in a number of stupid behaviors leveling things up in Oblivion.

So my question to you all is: Keeping in mind that development is generally a delicate balancing act of manpower, do you think the benefits of such a system outweigh the massive "destupification" that would be required to try and keep the goofiness of it out?

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Michael Bitton / Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB
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