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Why do I have to become more powerful?

UknownAspectUknownAspect North Jersey, NJPosts: 277Member

Seriously, why is this such a staple in MMOs and RPGs in general.  

Every RPG these days gives me +5 stat points every time I level or get a new item.  But... why?

The only thing I can think of is to provide an artificial gate so I don't go on to more powerful content.  But what this does is overpower me for content that I've already completed making it absolutely trivial to go back and participate in it again, unless I reroll.

Now a lot of games have mentoring systems that bring a higher player down or a lower player up or whatever so that the content means something again.... but then begs the question, why did I even have to become more powerful to begin with?

So obviously, the only real reason you get +stat things as we advance is to give a false sense of accomplishment by seeing larger numbers above my target.

 

Isn't there a better way to advance a character without just adding some arbitrary numbers?  A lot of action games add new moves, or more functionality (think Zelda).  

All the while this advances the way the game is played, by allowing the devs to create new and different puzzles and boss encounters.  Right now, MMOs for the most part just advance the story and the mobs get to do more damage and take more damage.  It's virtually the same as all the levels before it.

This is a problem that needs addressing.

MMOs played: Horizons, Auto Assault, Ryzom, EVE, WAR, WoW, EQ2, LotRO, GW, DAoC, Aion, Requiem, Atlantica, DDO, Allods, Earth Eternal, Fallen Earth, Rift
Willing to try anything new

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Comments

  • CuathonCuathon University City, NYPosts: 2,211Member

    Originally posted by UknownAspect

    Seriously, why is this such a staple in MMOs and RPGs in general.  

    Every RPG these days gives me +5 stat points every time I level or get a new item.  But... why?

    The only thing I can think of is to provide an artificial gate so I don't go on to more powerful content.  But what this does is overpower me for content that I've already completed making it absolutely trivial to go back and participate in it again, unless I reroll.

    Now a lot of games have mentoring systems that bring a higher player down or a lower player up or whatever so that the content means something again.... but then begs the question, why did I even have to become more powerful to begin with?

    So obviously, the only real reason you get +stat things as we advance is to give a false sense of accomplishment by seeing larger numbers above my target.

     

    Isn't there a better way to advance a character without just adding some arbitrary numbers?  A lot of action games add new moves, or more functionality (think Zelda).  

    All the while this advances the way the game is played, by allowing the devs to create new and different puzzles and boss encounters.  Right now, MMOs for the most part just advance the story and the mobs get to do more damage and take more damage.  It's virtually the same as all the levels before it.

    This is a problem that needs addressing.



    This was a feature of PnP RPGs and also some muds because we didn't have the technology to do anything else. Also making puzzles is really hard if you want to have the same amount of total content.

    Zelda was balanced specifically for a single player with content you only really solved once.

    MMOs were always about advancing your character whereas action games were about person twitch skill with the controls. Do you just want a fantasy multiplayer action game?

    It sounds like you want to play something besides an RPG? The definition of RPG is to have stat type increases.

  • RobsolfRobsolf Grand Rapids, MIPosts: 4,249Member Uncommon

    Progression is not only a defining characteristic of an RPG, paper or digital, it's also a defining characteristic of human nature.

    Just consider the difference between the attitude of 2 people; one who wakes up every day with the idea that they'll be more productive/wise/intelligent/knowlegable/prosperous, and another who knows that it's all downhill for the rest of their lives, or even just the same.

    And as far as gaming mechanics go, you're limited in what enemies you can introduce to a character that challenges competence.  How can you make a lowly goblin a challenge, but then have the character go off and fight a dragon?

    Finally, without progression, you have a game which is like a first person shooter, except vastly inferior.

     

  • UknownAspectUknownAspect North Jersey, NJPosts: 277Member

    Originally posted by Cuathon

    Originally posted by UknownAspect

    Seriously, why is this such a staple in MMOs and RPGs in general.  

    Every RPG these days gives me +5 stat points every time I level or get a new item.  But... why?

    The only thing I can think of is to provide an artificial gate so I don't go on to more powerful content.  But what this does is overpower me for content that I've already completed making it absolutely trivial to go back and participate in it again, unless I reroll.

    Now a lot of games have mentoring systems that bring a higher player down or a lower player up or whatever so that the content means something again.... but then begs the question, why did I even have to become more powerful to begin with?

    So obviously, the only real reason you get +stat things as we advance is to give a false sense of accomplishment by seeing larger numbers above my target.

     

    Isn't there a better way to advance a character without just adding some arbitrary numbers?  A lot of action games add new moves, or more functionality (think Zelda).  

    All the while this advances the way the game is played, by allowing the devs to create new and different puzzles and boss encounters.  Right now, MMOs for the most part just advance the story and the mobs get to do more damage and take more damage.  It's virtually the same as all the levels before it.

    This is a problem that needs addressing.



    This was a feature of PnP RPGs and also some muds because we didn't have the technology to do anything else. Also making puzzles is really hard if you want to have the same amount of total content.

    Zelda was balanced specifically for a single player with content you only really solved once.

    MMOs were always about advancing your character whereas action games were about person twitch skill with the controls. Do you just want a fantasy multiplayer action game?

    It sounds like you want to play something besides an RPG? The definition of RPG is to have stat type increases.

    That was just an idea I was throwing out there.  The problem I'm talking about is not about a lack of puzzles, it's about how a persistent world becomes obsolete because of number increases instead of a lack of content.  And how this artificial gate just creates rifts in the community (seperating high end levels from low end levels).

    MMOs played: Horizons, Auto Assault, Ryzom, EVE, WAR, WoW, EQ2, LotRO, GW, DAoC, Aion, Requiem, Atlantica, DDO, Allods, Earth Eternal, Fallen Earth, Rift
    Willing to try anything new

  • CalfisCalfis Brooklyn, NYPosts: 352Member

    Originally posted by UknownAspect

    Why do I have to become more powerful?

    So you can do this:

    image

  • RobsolfRobsolf Grand Rapids, MIPosts: 4,249Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by UknownAspect

    That was just an idea I was throwing out there.  The problem I'm talking about is not about a lack of puzzles, it's about how a persistent world becomes obsolete because of number increases instead of a lack of content.  And how this artificial gate just creates rifts in the community (seperating high end levels from low end levels).

    From a numerical standpoint, I understand your point perfectly.  Your numbers go up, but so do the mob's numbers.  What's the point?

    But it really is a psychological imperative.  Maybe there might be different ways to fulfill that need, but no matter what, there has to be a tangible feeling of progress.  And without a twitch element, games have so far been stuck with some form of artificial mechanic to satisfy it.

  • CuathonCuathon University City, NYPosts: 2,211Member

    Originally posted by UknownAspect

    That was just an idea I was throwing out there.  The problem I'm talking about is not about a lack of puzzles, it's about how a persistent world becomes obsolete because of number increases instead of a lack of content.  And how this artificial gate just creates rifts in the community (seperating high end levels from low end levels).

    I guess if you limit yourself to themeparks with player caps for things and all sorts of limitations this is a problem.

    As long as the world is static and the player changes YOU WILL MAKE CONTENT OBSOLETE for players who have been in the game a while. Thats why in TTS I designed a totally open system with a dynamic world and no 5-10-25 player caps.

    Although each raid can only be done once because then the monsters are dead, if you had 20 lowbies they could fight the same enemies as 4 higher level players, as opposed to raids where you have a cap and so lowbies can't play them. And new options for fights are born all the time as new monsters and lairs are created.

  • FrostWyrmFrostWyrm Tempe, AZPosts: 1,036Member

    Originally posted by UknownAspect

    Isn't there a better way to advance a character without just adding some arbitrary numbers?  A lot of action games add new moves, or more functionality (think Zelda).  

    Numbers are how software, such as video games, operate. Giving a player stats just makes those numbers visible in a humanly-understandable way.

    Even in Zelda, you had a number of heart containers. Blue and Red rings cut damage by a percentage. Swords increased damage dealt by a percentage. The difference was that the game hid these numbers from you. Well, you could still count your number of heart containers, but you get the idea.

    Numbers are just the nature of gaming.

    Every game needs some form of advancement. Monopoly has the number of money and properties you own. Pinball has the number of points you gain. Pac Man had both points and the number of levels you could advance.

    Numbers will always represent advancement.

  • itgrowlsitgrowls newport news, VAPosts: 2,951Member

    Originally posted by UknownAspect

    So obviously, the only real reason you get +stat things as we advance is to give a false sense of accomplishment by seeing larger numbers above my target.

    This is a problem that needs addressing.

    Its something every game dev has tried to work on including sandpark games like Archeage, GW2, Wushu it's just something that i think isn't going to be solved instantly or by a single dev team when it comes to these things, what they need is to meet and discuss this between dev teams to see if there is a mutual collab that will solve it.

    And yes the ding is well established as a psychological reward system it's one of the reasons so many people are searching for THE game for themselves these days to experience what they experienced the first time they played....fun and the feeling of wonder.

    As a side note you must be struck down by a jedi light saber to become more powerful than even you could ever imagine....

    sorry couldn't resist.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,668Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Cuathon

    Originally posted by UknownAspect

    That was just an idea I was throwing out there.  The problem I'm talking about is not about a lack of puzzles, it's about how a persistent world becomes obsolete because of number increases instead of a lack of content.  And how this artificial gate just creates rifts in the community (seperating high end levels from low end levels).

    I guess if you limit yourself to themeparks with player caps for things and all sorts of limitations this is a problem.

    As long as the world is static and the player changes YOU WILL MAKE CONTENT OBSOLETE for players who have been in the game a while. Thats why in TTS I designed a totally open system with a dynamic world and no 5-10-25 player caps.

    Although each raid can only be done once because then the monsters are dead, if you had 20 lowbies they could fight the same enemies as 4 higher level players, as opposed to raids where you have a cap and so lowbies can't play them. And new options for fights are born all the time as new monsters and lairs are created.

    Cuathon is correct - the issue isn't MMOs or RPGs - it's level-based design in tiered static game worlds.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • UknownAspectUknownAspect North Jersey, NJPosts: 277Member

    Originally posted by Robsolf

    Originally posted by UknownAspect



    That was just an idea I was throwing out there.  The problem I'm talking about is not about a lack of puzzles, it's about how a persistent world becomes obsolete because of number increases instead of a lack of content.  And how this artificial gate just creates rifts in the community (seperating high end levels from low end levels).

    From a numerical standpoint, I understand your point perfectly.  Your numbers go up, but so do the mob's numbers.  What's the point?

    But it really is a psychological imperative.  Maybe there might be different ways to fulfill that need, but no matter what, there has to be a tangible feeling of progress.  And without a twitch element, games have so far been stuck with some form of artificial mechanic to satisfy it.

    As another poster also said, it's the psychological reward system.  And I totally get that.  But I don't think this is the only incarnation of the psychological reward system, it just feels like it's rewarding you for time spent rather than efficiency, or challenge overcome.  

    It just feels so superficial sometimes, I wish there was a better system to reward people for great deeds as opposed to how many repeated tasks you can do. And yes, I know there are a lot of things that reward going the extra mile, like achievements, and dungeon and raid accomplishments.  I just wish these things were more, and time spent playing was nothing to write home about.

    MMOs played: Horizons, Auto Assault, Ryzom, EVE, WAR, WoW, EQ2, LotRO, GW, DAoC, Aion, Requiem, Atlantica, DDO, Allods, Earth Eternal, Fallen Earth, Rift
    Willing to try anything new

  • SlampigSlampig Chantilly, VAPosts: 2,376Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by UknownAspect

    Seriously, why is this such a staple in MMOs and RPGs in general.  

    Every RPG these days gives me +5 stat points every time I level or get a new item.  But... why?

    The only thing I can think of is to provide an artificial gate so I don't go on to more powerful content.  But what this does is overpower me for content that I've already completed making it absolutely trivial to go back and participate in it again, unless I reroll.

    Now a lot of games have mentoring systems that bring a higher player down or a lower player up or whatever so that the content means something again.... but then begs the question, why did I even have to become more powerful to begin with?

    So obviously, the only real reason you get +stat things as we advance is to give a false sense of accomplishment by seeing larger numbers above my target.

     

    Isn't there a better way to advance a character without just adding some arbitrary numbers?  A lot of action games add new moves, or more functionality (think Zelda).  

    All the while this advances the way the game is played, by allowing the devs to create new and different puzzles and boss encounters.  Right now, MMOs for the most part just advance the story and the mobs get to do more damage and take more damage.  It's virtually the same as all the levels before it.

    This is a problem that needs addressing.

    How many times do you want to do the same thing over and over again? Also, if you are that hard up for the same thing you have already completed, why not take the new +5 armor or weapons off?

    That Guild Wars 2 login screen knocked up my wife. Must be the second coming!

  • MadatanMadatan PitePosts: 167Member Uncommon

    I wouldnt mind seeing a compromise. A levelling system that makes you powerful but the mobs remain fairly the same. Instead it gets difficult in other areas, perhaps more mobs at the same time are gonna attack you. Or maybe when you stand there at lvl 50, basically a demi-god, and fight 50 mobs at the same time. What if there was flying mobs all of a sudden, increasing difficulty but still maintaining the feeling of being powerful.

    That is my biggest let down with most mmos. I am supposed to be an ascended, or a jedi master or whatever. But I will still have trouble beating som troll or droid just because they got a 50 no their head.

  • CuathonCuathon University City, NYPosts: 2,211Member

    Originally posted by FrostWyrm

    Originally posted by UknownAspect



    Isn't there a better way to advance a character without just adding some arbitrary numbers?  A lot of action games add new moves, or more functionality (think Zelda).  

    Numbers are how software, such as video games, operate. Giving a player stats just makes those numbers visible in a humanly-understandable way.

    Even in Zelda, you had a number of heart containers. Blue and Red rings cut damage by a percentage. Swords increased damage dealt by a percentage. The difference was that the game hid these numbers from you. Well, you could still count your number of heart containers, but you get the idea.

    Numbers are just the nature of gaming.

    Every game needs some form of advancement. Monopoly has the number of money and properties you own. Pinball has the number of points you gain. Pac Man had both points and the number of levels you could advance.

    Numbers will always represent advancement.

    /Like

    Zelda was just a tiny bit of twitch and hiding of numbers. Zelda had less numbers, basically you never had more than 40 health, ie about 10 heart containers. With higher health the influence of arbitrary numbers is just more obvious because its easier to optimize and manipulate. Also RPGs had interacting skills, as opposed to the ones in Zelda where you pick a weapon and thats it. Zelda also has puzzles and twitch which are not realistic in an MMO environment. Many even DIKU based single player or coop MMOs have some similar mechanics to Zelda puzzle and twitch wise.

  • CuathonCuathon University City, NYPosts: 2,211Member

    Originally posted by Madatan

    I wouldnt mind seeing a compromise. A levelling system that makes you powerful but the mobs remain fairly the same. Instead it gets difficult in other areas, perhaps more mobs at the same time are gonna attack you. Or maybe when you stand there at lvl 50, basically a demi-god, and fight 50 mobs at the same time. What if there was flying mobs all of a sudden, increasing difficulty but still maintaining the feeling of being powerful.

    That is my biggest let down with most mmos. I am supposed to be an ascended, or a jedi master or whatever. But I will still have trouble beating som troll or droid just because they got a 50 no their head.

    TTS has that! Except even better.

    /evangelize

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 17,992Member Uncommon

    Hmm, you do have a point, MMO devs are a little bit too happy to increase stats and hitpoints instead of having a progression where you actually learn new things.

    In todays MMOs you don´t gain any more skills or abilities once you played for a few weeks, after that you just gain higher numbers on the stuff you already have. Only exception is really Guildwars.

    In P&P RPGs you usually gain new skills as well as getting better on old one, or you choose which one you prefer. P&P also don´t have those ridicoulsly high hitpoints and extremely high damage,in many games you don´t get a single more HP as you play and even in those you you do get more it is not so much and your damage don´t increase much either. 25K HP makes no sense when you might as well have 250 and lower the damage.

    It seems like current devs think the higher numbers they use the more fun.

    I think a skill system closer to GW is the right way to go, where you can choose between more skills the more you play but you only can have a certain number at the same time for balance. Sadly is that one of the things they changed for GW2.

  • CuathonCuathon University City, NYPosts: 2,211Member

    Originally posted by Loke666

    Hmm, you do have a point, MMO devs are a little bit too happy to increase stats and hitpoints instead of having a progression where you actually learn new things.

    In todays MMOs you don´t gain any more skills or abilities once you played for a few weeks, after that you just gain higher numbers on the stuff you already have. Only exception is really Guildwars.

    In P&P RPGs you usually gain new skills as well as getting better on old one, or you choose which one you prefer. P&P also don´t have those ridicoulsly high hitpoints and extremely high damage,in many games you don´t get a single more HP as you play and even in those you you do get more it is not so much and your damage don´t increase much either. 25K HP makes no sense when you might as well have 250 and lower the damage.

    It seems like current devs think the higher numbers they use the more fun.

    I think a skill system closer to GW is the right way to go, where you can choose between more skills the more you play but you only can have a certain number at the same time for balance. Sadly is that one of the things they changed for GW2.

    How many people here thought about the Magic<Pokemon<Yugioh numbers theory?

    Magic had many 1 digit and 2 for high powers and pokemon got into 3 digits and Yugioh had 3-5, mainly 4. These games came out in chonological order where higher numbers came later.

  • fivorothfivoroth LondonPosts: 3,665Member Uncommon

    The main reason I guess is that without any progression the game will be boring. There is no game which does not rely on some progression mechanic. RPGs use levels in all their shapes and varieties (don't just think the leveling system you see in games like Diablo level 1-99 but also the leveling system in games like the TES series where you improve skills). Shooters use more enemies or terrain which makes it more difficult etc. RTS games progress by either buffing the intellect of the AI or by simply giving the AI an unfair advantage (e.g. extra resources). 

    All games are based on some sort of progression. Otherwise all content will be exactly on the same difficulty level which makes no sense. It's like starting Diablo 2 on hell on hardcore and that's your intro to the game. How will you feel?

    MMOs are shit because they give you + fixed number to attribute x and you pretty much have no choice in what you're getting when you level up which is vastly different to a game like NWN where you get to choose between 30 feats.

    Also the itemisation in every single MMO is crap. Period. I would be quite happy to change my opinion if someone proves me wrong with a specific MMO. Diablo had the best formula. Items were not that much about passive boosts to your stats which is BORING and STUPID. In Diablo items had various different mechanics which really made a difference and a lot of the times it was not easy to decide which item was more suitable for you.

    Mission in life: Vanquish all MMORPG.com trolls - especially TESO, WOW and GW2 trolls.

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member
    Good Q OP!

    It could get philosophical; you'll need your shield of ultimate nihilism to defeat my Lvl 10 rhetorical fireball!

    I think the problem in MMOs is that like most games numbers define all measurements/ relationships but visually chopping the arm off a monster is harder to create than "-20" to your sword tab-tapping. In PnP RPG's your main char. can be maimed and hence retired due to disability or the GM can "invent" the pitch-perfect balance of on a knife-edge danger but still be forgiving in how combat pans out at every stage of the game. In mmorpg's Lvl Stats are the option to implement this.

    I agree there's a big failure in mmorpg's and how Progression/Growth -> Level-Up -> Funnel to new zone (replica + higher stats of former zone).

    Social, power, material dimensions would help?
  • AdalwulffAdalwulff Sacramento, CAPosts: 1,152Member

    I think one huge reason is the solo vs group idea.

    Meaning, if our stats did not change, or we didnt get more powerfull, then all the creatures in the land would have to be roughly the same strength. If not, then you would be forcing players to group, in order to take down more powerfull creatures.

    Myself, I'm a grouper, but you would be hard pressed to find many of us left.   >:?)

    image
  • daarcodaarco GavlePosts: 4,497Member

    I played pen and paper RPG for ten years before finding MMOs.  And in those pen and paper games you didnt gain anything then skills. You could play for years with one character, and you still had maybe 13 HP.

    It didnt matter if you were the best swordfighter in the world, one smack to your chatacters head would kiil it.

    The "quests" or adventures was what mattered, not soke number.

    It was not untill WoW that i saw levels for the first time, wondering what the hell it was!

  • CuathonCuathon University City, NYPosts: 2,211Member

    Originally posted by daarco

    I played pen and paper RPG for ten years before finding MMOs.  And in those pen and paper games you didnt gain anything then skills. You could play for years with one character, and you still had maybe 13 HP.

    It didnt matter if you were the best swordfighter in the world, one smack to your chatacters head would kiil it.

    The "quests" or adventures was what mattered, not soke number.

    It was not untill WoW that i saw levels for the first time, wondering what the hell it was!

    Levels, or skill levels, have existed for like 20 years or more.

  • VryheidVryheid Baltimore, MDPosts: 469Member

    It isn't about simply scaling up stats, it's about diversification and gaining new powers. Games like the original Fallout titles did this extremely well, allowing you to invest in specific skills and perks as you progressed, which actively shaped how you experienced the game world. Pokemon is another example of a game which did this well- the increase in attack options and complex battle system which opens up as you level up makes the process worthwhile. And no, nobody ever complained about the grass outside Pallet Town not being challenging enough to a team of level 70s.

    Most MMOs on the other hand seem to think that leveling up should be nothing but a progression grind... pushing ahead without actually changing the content of battle. A battle at level 1 might require exactly the same skills and tactics as a battle at level 30 except with lower stats. All this serves to do is encourage players to buy EXP boosters and gives people who do a huge edge in PvP.

  • AdamTMAdamTM Frankfurt Am MainPosts: 1,376Member

    Originally posted by Cuathon

    Originally posted by Madatan

    I wouldnt mind seeing a compromise. A levelling system that makes you powerful but the mobs remain fairly the same. Instead it gets difficult in other areas, perhaps more mobs at the same time are gonna attack you. Or maybe when you stand there at lvl 50, basically a demi-god, and fight 50 mobs at the same time. What if there was flying mobs all of a sudden, increasing difficulty but still maintaining the feeling of being powerful.

    That is my biggest let down with most mmos. I am supposed to be an ascended, or a jedi master or whatever. But I will still have trouble beating som troll or droid just because they got a 50 no their head.

    TTS has that! Except even better.

    /evangelize

    http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JoshuaMcDonald/20120209/9402/What_the_current_RPG_can_learn_from_Diablo_1.php

    Funny how way back when Game Devs understood that system, and Blizzard of all people, the irony is so delicious.

    image
  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,476Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Robsolf

    Progression is not only a defining characteristic of an RPG, paper or digital, it's also a defining characteristic of human nature.

    Just consider the difference between the attitude of 2 people; one who wakes up every day with the idea that they'll be more productive/wise/intelligent/knowlegable/prosperous, and another who knows that it's all downhill for the rest of their lives, or even just the same.

    And as far as gaming mechanics go, you're limited in what enemies you can introduce to a character that challenges competence.  How can you make a lowly goblin a challenge, but then have the character go off and fight a dragon?

    Finally, without progression, you have a game which is like a first person shooter, except vastly inferior.

     

    Back in 1976 TSR released Metamorphasis Alpha, a pnp rpg set in a space ship.  Character started with all the stats and abilities and never gained improvements.  The lack of character progression outside of the exploration and finding gear was a major let down for the community.  It demonstrated how important character progression was to pnp rpgs.

  • laokokolaokoko TaipeiPosts: 2,003Member

    Originally posted by UknownAspect

     

    Isn't there a better way to advance a character without just adding some arbitrary numbers?  A lot of action games add new moves, or more functionality (think Zelda).  

     

    If you advance your character by getting new move, that's like getting more powerful too.

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