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[Column] The Elder Scrolls Online: Progression as Longevity

BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing EditorBerea, OHPosts: 2,377MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

In this week's Elder Scrolls Online column, we take a look at Zenimax' progression model for ESO which should serve to keep players working on their characters long after the max level. Read on for more of Bill Murphy's thoughts on the matter, and see if you agree.


If there's one thing I think will keep me playing Elder Scrolls Online long past the level cap, it's not the three-faction PVP, the story, or the dungeons. It's the idea that my character can continue to get more powerful beyond the level cap without some arbitrary gear grind. Now, we know that ESO is planning dungeons and gear to be a part of the endgame. But, that's never been a draw for me when it comes to being at the max in level-based games. I know that it works for some folks, but aside from the adventure itself, combing through a massive world, what really keeps me playing is the notion of character development.

Read the rest of Bill's Elder Scrolls Online: Progression as Longevity.

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Comments

  • Mike-McQueenMike-McQueen Enfield, CTPosts: 243Member
    I don't see unlocking abilities for weapons and armor as character advancement. It'll probably not take as much time as you'd think before you've unlocked everything and then what. Idk they need something more solid to call it AA to me.

    I'm a unique and beautiful snowflake.

  • paulythebpaulytheb Wauwatosa, WIPosts: 261Member Uncommon
    Not getting my hopes up for this one. Seems like another clone. Not planning to purchase.

    ( Note to self-Don't say anything bad about Drizzt.)

    An acerbic sense of humor is NOT allowed here.

  • RemyVorenderRemyVorender Riverside, RIPosts: 3,266Member Uncommon
    They need to make weapon/armor/stealth etc skills take a while to level up. Look at GW2 as to how not to do it. But in addition to that, they should implement long quest chains to unlock special abilities you can't get by any other means.

    Played: AA, AC1, AC2, Aion, AO, AoC, CO, CoX, DAoC, DCUO, DN, EVE, EQ1, EQ2,
    ESO, FE, FFXI, FFXIV, FF, GW1, GW2, Istaria, L2, LoTRO, MO, MxO, NW, Rift, RoE,
    Ryzom, SB, SWG, SWTOR, TERA, TSW, WAR, WoW, WURM...

  • koboldfodderkoboldfodder Danbury, DEPosts: 390Member Uncommon

    If it is a traditional themepark MMO, and it totally will be, then there is only one way to have progression.  The traditional gear grind+level increase+outdated zones.  Everything is funneled into that idea.

    Unlocking weapon abilities as progression....hmmm, where have I seen that one before.  Ah, yes.  Guild Wars 2.  Yeah, that one worked out well.

    They screwed up, they know it.  There is nothing they can do about it.  This game started development probably 5 years ago when copying WOW was a good idea.  All of a sudden there is a massive change over the past two years where these games are trashed and fail.  They release their info about the game, and the game is universallly trashed unlike any other MMO before release.

     

    You know as well as I do that they are up there in there little Bethesda office looking nervously at each other.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,223Member Uncommon

    I'm not so sure Bill.  The AA system in rift (planar attunement) hasn't worked out so well at all.  Even in EQ2 where it's been around a long while and evolved through several iterations it still has some severe scaling issues.

    There are two major problems with AA systems.  One is different play styles and groups want them implemented in different ways.  In the rift example PA was nerfed to be account wide so that raider's alts would be more viable in raids.  This essentially took out everything that made it an alternate form of character advancement.

    The second problem with AA is that it doesn't seem to scale well a little later on down the road when xpacs hit.  The level cap is raised, people have too much power in their AA.  AA is reworked to incorporate level advancement or additional AA paths.  This essentially means a nerf to current AA and a rescaling of the system to fit the new xpac and level curve.

    The problem is that companies, like trion or blizzard, want to rocket people to cap so they can "end game" but they still want to say they provide a viable sense of progression.  The two are at odds with each other.  The whole concept of AA is a bolt-on to fix poorly designed leveling and progression in the first place.

    The game will be fine I'm sure, but I don't think it bodes well they are adopting bolt-on fixes and standard solutions that haven't solved the problems those systems were created to resolve.  Maybe those problems don't have a solution, but I also don't think their AA system is somehow going to lend a depth and engagement to the game they're hoping to achieve.

  • DignaDigna City, CTPosts: 2,014Member Uncommon

    So I build a mage with mage specs, casting skills etc and I can...then skill up medium armor and become a mage-like something else?

    I am still a mage with intell. Not dex or strength.

    Not saying this is a bad thing but it sounds...like..less than THE answer.

    Sure, I have a 2 hander and go around slashing things. I decide to go sword and board. I don't see that as a huge change but I suppose there is something to it. Maybe. But I doubt (as it has been presented) it's enough to change how people feel about hitting 'the end'.

    Time will tell. I have hopes for so many games. Most are dashed to the floor. *shrug*

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,223Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by remyburke
    They need to make weapon/armor/stealth etc skills take a while to level up. Look at GW2 as to how not to do it. But in addition to that, they should implement long quest chains to unlock special abilities you can't get by any other means.

    Look at all the games in your sig, especially EQ2, WoW, and rfit, as to now how to do it either.  None of the current implementations works especially well at what they're designed to do.

    So how should it be done?  Making them go slower and take longer to level isn't going to be the answer.  Adding special abilities locked behind tedious chains isn't going to solve the problem at all.  Either the skill won't be worth the effort to obtain or it will be over-powered, result in balance nightmares, and end up getting nerfed to Obvlivion, resulting in frustation and tears.  This is a pvp focused game.  Consider that in the bigger picture.

  • koboldfodderkoboldfodder Danbury, DEPosts: 390Member Uncommon
    It's not a PVP focused game.  If it were, there would be open world PVP anywhere.  By keeping PVP locked in one area they are telling you that it is optional.
  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,223Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by koboldfodder
    It's not a PVP focused game.  If it were, there would be open world PVP anywhere.  By keeping PVP locked in one area they are telling you that it is optional.

    You are seriously mistaken.  They are touting daoc style gaming and combat and class mechanics *will* be balanced around that.  They have to or the game will totally flop.  Just because you can pve freely doesn't mean that pvp doesn't own your balance.

  • BurntvetBurntvet Baltimore, MDPosts: 2,951Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by paulytheb
    Not getting my hopes up for this one. Seems like another clone. Not planning to purchase.

    I agree.

    Another expensive "one-month wonder".

    Pass.

     

    And I also think that the so called "gaming press" is trying awfully hard to get people (us) to keep buying these games, over and over.

     

  • CrowsCryCrowsCry Dayton, OHPosts: 10Member
    I have bought and played most mmo's (like almost everyone). This will not be any exception. I can't wait to play it. Then I can judge it more accurately.
  • OdesuOdesu LP, CAPosts: 14Member
    Originally posted by remyburke
    They need to make weapon/armor/stealth etc skills take a while to level up. Look at GW2 as to how not to do it. […] Played: […] FFXI […]

    Just for how long did you play FFXI?  Long enough to skill up all your weapons and skills?  And so you're still playing, right?  Because I would be, almost ten years later, trying to raise my Guarding or Shield on crabs in Boyahda Tree.

  • RemyVorenderRemyVorender Riverside, RIPosts: 3,266Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Odesu
    Originally posted by remyburke
    They need to make weapon/armor/stealth etc skills take a while to level up. Look at GW2 as to how not to do it. […] Played: […] FFXI […]

    Just for how long did you play FFXI?  Long enough to skill up all your weapons and skills?  And so you're still playing, right?  Because I would be, almost ten years later, trying to raise my Guarding or Shield on crabs in Boyahda Tree.

    I played for about a year. I levelled Brd/Nin to 60/30, played for a bit after that, then quit.

    Played: AA, AC1, AC2, Aion, AO, AoC, CO, CoX, DAoC, DCUO, DN, EVE, EQ1, EQ2,
    ESO, FE, FFXI, FFXIV, FF, GW1, GW2, Istaria, L2, LoTRO, MO, MxO, NW, Rift, RoE,
    Ryzom, SB, SWG, SWTOR, TERA, TSW, WAR, WoW, WURM...

  • RemyVorenderRemyVorender Riverside, RIPosts: 3,266Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr
    Originally posted by remyburke
    They need to make weapon/armor/stealth etc skills take a while to level up. Look at GW2 as to how not to do it. But in addition to that, they should implement long quest chains to unlock special abilities you can't get by any other means.

    Look at all the games in your sig, especially EQ2, WoW, and rfit, as to now how to do it either.  None of the current implementations works especially well at what they're designed to do.

    So how should it be done?  Making them go slower and take longer to level isn't going to be the answer.  Adding special abilities locked behind tedious chains isn't going to solve the problem at all.  Either the skill won't be worth the effort to obtain or it will be over-powered, result in balance nightmares, and end up getting nerfed to Obvlivion, resulting in frustation and tears.  This is a pvp focused game.  Consider that in the bigger picture.

    For me, while Themeparks are fun and all, they are just vidego games. I prefer skill-based progression in a huge open "world" for my character to live and adventure in. The problem with themeparks is found at the very foundation of their fundementals. I just mentioned GW2 because it is current and because it takes literally 10 minutes to unlock all the skills a weapon has to offer.

    Played: AA, AC1, AC2, Aion, AO, AoC, CO, CoX, DAoC, DCUO, DN, EVE, EQ1, EQ2,
    ESO, FE, FFXI, FFXIV, FF, GW1, GW2, Istaria, L2, LoTRO, MO, MxO, NW, Rift, RoE,
    Ryzom, SB, SWG, SWTOR, TERA, TSW, WAR, WoW, WURM...

  • scimtaruscimtaru UlestratenPosts: 3Member

    I don't get why they do not just hand the choice to the player. Why do they keep limiting us into a class? I get that is insanely hard to develop some system that stays clear for the devs so they might have a hope to balance everything (if there is PvP involved and to some extent PvE). But I'm quite sure that it is possible to some extent. 

    EVE managed to do this to some extent, granted it is not the easiest or most fun progression system but you are NEVER locked into something by the game. You want to use close range high dps ships, no problem. Want to be the support/healer just train these ships & modules up. Granted it takes a while but I don't see how a similar system cannot be devised with the added benefit in that actual time invested boosts the speed of progression. In a perfect game you would be able to train everything and all the balancing is done in how much of that stuff you can use at a time. IE. if you go heavy armor, sword & board you are not able to do that much dmg or perform magic or whatever. So the equipment you choose to use determines what type of abilities can use and how effective they are. Not the stats you gained by leveling. 

    In short, I have my doubts about almost every themepark MMO that released after WoW. They're trying too hard to capture that success. I feel people have seen the themepark and they want something more. They stick to WoW or some of the minor success stories out there due to the social element. But new games will have a very tough time capturing a playerbase that will get them in the black.

    But I don't even feel that character progression is the thing that ensures longevity for games like these. Players want to have a lasting impact on the world they inhabit. The themepark was fun, but ppl want to build, explore, conquer, attack, defend stuff they themselves or their guild owns. The "build it and they will come" era is over, "they will come, if they can build it" is a lot more long lasting. Let people devise a lot of the games narrative themselves -> Minecraft, DayZ and some amazing stories come out of there.

     

     

     

  • FearumFearum Cinnaminson, NJPosts: 1,166Member Uncommon
    I'm with ya Bill, sounds like its going to be fun to try and open up all the builds you can think of, but I am also looking forward to the PvP and to see what Matt Firor & team can do with the ES IP behind it. Cryodiil is going to be huge, and can't wait to finally get into some good 3 faction PvP again.
     
  • MrBum21MrBum21 lost, OHPosts: 378Member Uncommon
    I will give this game a try.  am I the only one hoping rebirth of the old UO tank mage? hehe

    the missing link in a chain of destruction.

    All spelling and typographical errors are based soely on the fact that i just dont care. If you must point out my lack of atention to detail, please do it with a smile.

  • VorthanionVorthanion Laguna Vista, TXPosts: 2,122Member Uncommon
    I wish more games would embrace the Alternate Advancement system of the original EverQuest.  By far, it is the best max level advancement system I have tried.

    image
  • itchmonitchmon west islip, NYPosts: 1,714Member Uncommon

    am i the only one whose "personal hype meter" actually rose from watching this?

     

    it seems too "theme park-like" for me personally but it will reward exploration and although there are classes you can apparently customize them.  so that's a plus for me.

     

    plus by god, it LOOKS so wonderfully "elder scrollsish".

    RIP Ribbitribbitt you are missed, kid.

    Currently Playing EVE, DFUW

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.

    Dwight D Eisenhower

    My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.

    Henry Rollins

  • nate1980nate1980 Evans, GAPosts: 1,829Member
    They dropped the ball with this game. All they had to do was copy most if not all of the systems in the Elder Scroll games and people would be happy. But they're letting the genre they making the game for intimidate them into stupid design decisions that people have been complaining about for years, that should of never made it into the genre to begin with. 
  • NL-RikkertNL-Rikkert schagenPosts: 121Member Uncommon

    In an age where (Arguably) big names like Machinima calls things like Far Cry 3 (and I quote) "Skyrim with guns", I'm just ashemed to live on this planet. Wish we could go back to the N64 era and have proper games once more.

    Please listen game devoloppers, Slapping a big name on a game does NOT make it a good game. Please invent something new or atleast make a proper game for once.

    As a MMO beta tester and huge fan of TES series I'm inclined to play this game, but I have very very shitty hopes.

    STOOPID
    When someone does something so utterly moronic that it kills your brain cells at the very thought of it.

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Farcry 3 is a good game.
  • ste2000ste2000 londonPosts: 4,706Member Uncommon

    Bill you are trying way too hard with this game..............give us video footage and we will make our mind

    Too much talk and not enough evidence.

    There is no point in over hyping this game, we all know that this game will sell 2+ Million copies already.

    The point is, is it going to retain those players after the first month?

    No amount of hype can keep players playing if their first month was disappointing.

     

    ESO has to be more Skyrim and less WOW to succeed, that's as simple as that.

    At the moment it looks like a mix between SWTOR and GW2 from the information released so far (even if some of them are twisted to make some features look better then they are)

    There is already a huge design flaw in my view, the real game should be between level 1 and lvl 49 (the Journey as in every TES game)................it should not start at 50 like every other MMO

    Zenimax are losing their chance to revolutionize the MMO industry, the same way Bethesda did with TES for the RPGs with their unconventional approach that makes TES so different from any other RPG on the market.

    Settling down for another WOW with a twist, just won't cut it.

  • jinxxed0jinxxed0 columbia, SCPosts: 838Member
    It's funny how GW2 has people jaded about this game. I've lost faith in all these games as well. I plan on trying FF14 2.0, archage, and that's about it. None of those games really appeal to me other than the fact that they'll be modern sandboxs (not sure about ff14 2.0)
  • ReignsonReignson Shelby, INPosts: 21Member

    I'm still waiting for them to announce at least one unique or inovative system they are going to use for this game.   One thing that hasn't been done before?  

     

    And how can the dev's fail to realize that what Elder Scrolls fans actually want isn't an mmorpg...  What we want is just the world and mythos of Tamriel to run around in, and the freedom to do whatever the hell we want when we get there... together with a thousand or so players at the same time. 

     

    Do we really care if it's perfectly balanced?  No.  Why?   Because in the game we want, we can learn any skills, or spells in the game eventually.  Balance achived through equal choice, and options for progression.  If there are enough abilitys to learn / choose from, the charcters will still be built diversely by the playerbase. 

     

    We are witnesses to the end of an age.  RIP Elder Scrolls.   

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