Do MMOs need character progression systems?

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  • Dagon13Dagon13 Member UncommonPosts: 511
    It's all "tomayto tomahto" to me.  You're building a house?  The time it takes to completion is progression.  Traveling to the other side of a mountain range?  The distance is progression.  They are even numerical (90% complete, 3 of 5 miles).

    I think progression is an inherent part of life.  Even if you can't replace the Green Sword of Average with the Blue Sword of Greatness, you're still going to be progressing.  I don't think it has anything to do with numerical or not numerical but has everything to do with how successful the game is at instilling a sense that is perceived as progression.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,651

    A game without any progression isn't a game at all, it's just a VR social space. 
    wow .. you never play Overwatch? Or a shooter with no RPG elements?
  • blamo2000blamo2000 Member UncommonPosts: 167
    Dagon13 said:
    It's all "tomayto tomahto" to me.  You're building a house?  The time it takes to completion is progression.  Traveling to the other side of a mountain range?  The distance is progression.  They are even numerical (90% complete, 3 of 5 miles).

    I think progression is an inherent part of life.  Even if you can't replace the Green Sword of Average with the Blue Sword of Greatness, you're still going to be progressing.  I don't think it has anything to do with numerical or not numerical but has everything to do with how successful the game is at instilling a sense that is perceived as progression.

    Character progression isn't going from point A to B.  It is the choices you are presented with that make me different than you when we both get to B.  If everyone at B is the same there is no character progression, regardless of itemization.  Character progression, or development, in my opinion, can be judged on just how mechanically different with the most variables and choices presented to us during the trek from A to B.  Its starts with character generation and ends with the sum of my choices.  If there are no mechanical choices there is no character development.  The fewer and less significant the choices are the liter the system is.

    Most people play games with no system for this or an extremely lite system with no way to make a gimp character.  These two popular types of games are the same to me - just unplayable nonsense.  On the other hand, I doubt the people who play those types of games would ever be able to make or even want to make a character in DDO that performs well.  
  • Loke666Loke666 KalmarMember EpicPosts: 20,995
    Dagon13 said:
    It's all "tomayto tomahto" to me.  You're building a house?  The time it takes to completion is progression.  Traveling to the other side of a mountain range?  The distance is progression.  They are even numerical (90% complete, 3 of 5 miles).

    I think progression is an inherent part of life.  Even if you can't replace the Green Sword of Average with the Blue Sword of Greatness, you're still going to be progressing.  I don't think it has anything to do with numerical or not numerical but has everything to do with how successful the game is at instilling a sense that is perceived as progression.
    Walking is not really what anyone means by "progression". Time sink, sure but not progression.

    Progression in this case (because you can say you progress on your journey as you walk but you character doesn't actually gain anything) could be levels, gear, a house or a farm you character own.

    There is also none character progression, like when you progress your guild or you realm. A war set MMOFPS can do well by having your realm progreess instead of you, taking land from other realms, gaining new weapons and vehicles and similar things. Of course then there would eventually be one side that wiins and everything starting all over but FPS games have always been like that anyways, just on a smaller scale.

    And there is account progressions, like the magicfind GW2 have. One rather interesting option would be to skip character progression and have all your characters gain power account wide instead, you could slow the speed of progression and get rid of the boring grind that is leveling different alts for people thast want to play different classes.
    The downside is that you don't actually learn to play all those classes well but in a world of leveling to max level boosts and similar I don't think it would matter much.
    laxie
  • laxielaxie UK - Leamington SpaMember RarePosts: 896
    Thanks for all the input.

    I wonder to what extent the fact that a player is progressing needs to be made obvious. You have the famous "ding" sound effects on leveling up - presumably to point the progression out. "Hey there, you did really well on getting that level!"

    I suppose even in real life, people would get demotivated by following a long-term goal with no short-term reward (or even response) on the way. If you have a game where your main job is to contribute to a guild (as mentioned in the post above), presumably some sort of automated feedback would be welcome nevertheless. Getting a summary of your daily contribution for example.

    This is opposed to monitoring your progress on your own, in a completely open environment, without any response from the system. I don't mean to assume people are dumb and not capable of that, but making your own milestones on your character's path might be a difficult task. Would you agree?

    I am not saying funnel people into a set path, but let the system give them feedback on how their story is going.
  • LackingMMOLackingMMO Tucson, AZMember UncommonPosts: 204
    Do I like progression and working for my characters results? Yes
    Would I play a game without it? Of course I would.

    Ive said in other posts it doesn't matter the mechanics of the game, pvp/pve, progression/no progression. Its how it is implemented and how it works with a full population that really matters. If the game is fun then its all good.
  • Siris23Siris23 Minneapolis, MNMember UncommonPosts: 288
    Siris23 said:
    MMOs do not "need" a progression system.

    MMORPGs do need a progression system.

    Some MMOs listed on this site's gamelist has no progression system anyway. Overwatch is an example. 
    Um, that's what I said. Unless you're claiming Overwatch is an MMORPG.
    Kyleran
  • Loke666Loke666 KalmarMember EpicPosts: 20,995
    laxie said:
    Thanks for all the input.

    I wonder to what extent the fact that a player is progressing needs to be made obvious. You have the famous "ding" sound effects on leveling up - presumably to point the progression out. "Hey there, you did really well on getting that level!"

    I suppose even in real life, people would get demotivated by following a long-term goal with no short-term reward (or even response) on the way. If you have a game where your main job is to contribute to a guild (as mentioned in the post above), presumably some sort of automated feedback would be welcome nevertheless. Getting a summary of your daily contribution for example.

    This is opposed to monitoring your progress on your own, in a completely open environment, without any response from the system. I don't mean to assume people are dumb and not capable of that, but making your own milestones on your character's path might be a difficult task. Would you agree?

    I am not saying funnel people into a set path, but let the system give them feedback on how their story is going.
    I think people just basically want to see they improve with time, that opponents that was impossible a while ago can be beaten. 

    I don't think we do need a hundred step path from zero to hero like many levelbased games have but people still need to feel that the time they spent in the game made some difference.

    I actually think that too many levels is a problem in themselves, people get constantly rewarded for the first couple of weeks but then they have to live with a bit of gear upgrade now and then and that is dangerous. I think the rewards needs to be better paced out.

    In most MMOs today you gain a level every hour or so the first few days and then one for every couple of hours until you hit the endgame. It doesn't have to be levels (you don't need levels at all as any Shadowrun or Vampire fan can tell you) but I think rewarding anyone more often then every 4 hours is a misstake.

    Keep the time between upgrades longer but let the upgrades keep on going for months instead of weeks. Vanilla Wow had a rather good pacing there and that is part of why it gained so many players so fast.

    And it doesn't have to be a set path to be fun, you just need to feel that you slowly gain power as you play, having options instead of a straight line is a good thing. Adding horizontal progression that opens up more possibilities makes the game more interesting but I don't think an actual MMORPG can live on just it.
    laxie
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,651
    Siris23 said:
    Siris23 said:
    MMOs do not "need" a progression system.

    MMORPGs do need a progression system.

    Some MMOs listed on this site's gamelist has no progression system anyway. Overwatch is an example. 
    Um, that's what I said. Unless you're claiming Overwatch is an MMORPG.

    I do not claim anything. The game list here claims that Overwatch is a MMOG (not MMORPGs). I am giving an example to help you make your point. 
  • ConstantineMerusConstantineMerus LondonMember RarePosts: 1,329
    Most MMORPGs are designed around character progression--either level or item level, same thing. If you take that away from them, there wouldn't be many incentives left for players to play them as much as they are now. 

    If the question here is, if it is possible to create an MMO revolving another concept instead of character progression and be successful, then I don't see why not. It depends on how fun and good the game is going to be. 

    One thing I believe is that progression adds longevity. May it be in form of character level, item level, or building level. When you have something to show for, you'd justify putting lots of hours in a game much easier, you'd have more incentives, more motivation. 

    Games like Overwatch, LoL, DOTA2, etc. they don't have character progression. But they do have player progression. Now of course there are people who would only play normal (unranked) games, but they don't play these games as often as the rest. Those who play a lot, are grinding ranks, grinding the player progression part of the game. 

    So if you want to create a game that people would play for years, for long hours, you need some kinda progression. 
    laxie
    Have you ever noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,651

    Games like Overwatch, LoL, DOTA2, etc. they don't have character progression. But they do have player progression. Now of course there are people who would only play normal (unranked) games, but they don't play these games as often as the rest. Those who play a lot, are grinding ranks, grinding the player progression part of the game. 


    Overwatch does not really have player progression ... not progression related to their power in the game. If you count cosmetic stuff, and bragging rights, sure. 
  • EldurianEldurian Member EpicPosts: 1,867
    edited December 4
    Dagon13 said:
    It's all "tomayto tomahto" to me.  You're building a house?  The time it takes to completion is progression.  Traveling to the other side of a mountain range?  The distance is progression.  They are even numerical (90% complete, 3 of 5 miles).
    Linear progression tends to be unique to certain RPGs though. You go to work for a day a week and make 1000$. Progression. Then you pay your bills, maintain your home and property etc. De-progression. If you don't know how to use your money wisely you could be further behind at the end of that week then you were at the start.

    You challenge yourself and get better at your hobby. Progression. You slack off for a couple weeks and fall into bad habits that make you worse. De-progression. 

    You level up in an MMO and gain XP and level up. Progression. You leave the game for five years and come back at. Character is just as strong as when you left.

    You buy a piece of gear for 1000$. That gear is with you forever and the repair costs to maintain it are laughable.

    MMOs and many RPGs are linear progression. Your power level is always going the same direction. Up. Sure new expansions may make you weaker relative to the average player but you continue move forward in terms of your power. Never backwards usually.

    Realistic progression isn't a problem. The linear (In that you never go backwards) / vertical (In that progression makes you inherently stronger than others who haven't progressed to your level) / exponential (in that your power level is many times of the strength of those a few levels behind you) progression common to MMOs is.
    Post edited by Eldurian on
    laxie
  • ConstantineMerusConstantineMerus LondonMember RarePosts: 1,329

    Games like Overwatch, LoL, DOTA2, etc. they don't have character progression. But they do have player progression. Now of course there are people who would only play normal (unranked) games, but they don't play these games as often as the rest. Those who play a lot, are grinding ranks, grinding the player progression part of the game. 


    Overwatch does not really have player progression ... not progression related to their power in the game. If you count cosmetic stuff, and bragging rights, sure. 
    It starts at level 25. I never said it is related to their power in the game. It is same as LoL, DOTA2 and other competitive games. 
    Have you ever noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?
  • laxielaxie UK - Leamington SpaMember RarePosts: 896
    Eldurian said:

    Realistic progression isn't a problem. The linear (In that you never go backwards) / vertical (In that progression makes you inherently stronger than others who haven't progressed to your level) / exponential (in that your power level is many times of the strength of those a few levels behind you) progression common to MMOs is.
    Do you think the forward-only progression is good?

    I can see how de-progression would make things more interesting, but I also assume many people are strongly opposed to the idea of losing progress.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,651

    Games like Overwatch, LoL, DOTA2, etc. they don't have character progression. But they do have player progression. Now of course there are people who would only play normal (unranked) games, but they don't play these games as often as the rest. Those who play a lot, are grinding ranks, grinding the player progression part of the game. 


    Overwatch does not really have player progression ... not progression related to their power in the game. If you count cosmetic stuff, and bragging rights, sure. 
    It starts at level 25. I never said it is related to their power in the game. It is same as LoL, DOTA2 and other competitive games. 

    But this is not the kind of gameplay affecting progression this thread is talking about.

    If you just want to stick a level number, with zero gameplay consequences, to a game .. yeah .. sure .. but that has little to do with the discussion here. 
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,651
    laxie said:
    Eldurian said:

    Realistic progression isn't a problem. The linear (In that you never go backwards) / vertical (In that progression makes you inherently stronger than others who haven't progressed to your level) / exponential (in that your power level is many times of the strength of those a few levels behind you) progression common to MMOs is.
    Do you think the forward-only progression is good?

    I can see how de-progression would make things more interesting, but I also assume many people are strongly opposed to the idea of losing progress.
    Define "good".

    If players like it and have fun, then it is "good" for them, right? ... whether you like it or not
  • EldurianEldurian Member EpicPosts: 1,867
    laxie said:
    Eldurian said:

    Realistic progression isn't a problem. The linear (In that you never go backwards) / vertical (In that progression makes you inherently stronger than others who haven't progressed to your level) / exponential (in that your power level is many times of the strength of those a few levels behind you) progression common to MMOs is.
    Do you think the forward-only progression is good?

    I can see how de-progression would make things more interesting, but I also assume many people are strongly opposed to the idea of losing progress.
    No I don't think it's good. People often defend grinding and progression as the "Hero's Journey." Think about your favorite Hero's Journeys. If you think about them they all have setbacks. Luke had 1 less hand and lightsaber at the end of Empire Starts back than he did at the start. Most good stories have the hero losing sometimes. Whether it be the loss of a valuable item, a limb, or most frequently a trusted ally, most heros do lose something.

    For a bit grittier hero's journey's Game of Thrones is a good example. Jamie Lannister, Arya Stark, or even the very recent blow suffered by Daenarys. Those have not been forward only progression arcs. Some of them ended up ahead of where they started. Jamie Lannister of season 1 was the most powerful version of that character though.

    Why don't storywriters just write stories where only good things happen to the characters? Because without the risk of setbacks accomplishments mean very little. The Hero's journey is about overcoming adversity and true challenges, not farming boars until you can one-shot your opponents.

    Games with the risk of lost capture this. Games with no such risk make success about as meaningful as a participation trophy.

    _____________________________________

    How people will accept these concepts depends entirely on how it's marketed to them.

    Like I said. Minecraft has everything I'm talking about:

    1. No linear level progression that makes your character stronger over time.
    2. Items degrade through useage.
    3. Items dropped upon death.
    4. Nothing you do to become stronger cannot be undone with the exception of the development of actual player skill (As opposed to character skill.)

    Darkfall, widely known as one of the harshest / most hardcore games ever made only has 2 of those four points (2 and 3). Darkfall is hated and reviled.

    Minecraft, being actually more hardcore, is largely seen as a PVE and even children's game by some. All of the features that make Darkfall hardcore exist, but the emphasis of the game is not on how it's an "Open World PvP Full Loot Drop Hardcore Title for REAL MEN ONLY!!!" It's on building, creativity, and survival. It just happens to have the capacity for PvP more hardcore than the most hardcore MMO in existence at the same time.

    So yes I think you could build an MMO on these concepts. I would focus on selling it based on aspects like immersion, creativity, freedom, community etc. and make the PvP an element of this greater world instead of the focus. 
    laxie4507
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,651
    edited December 6
    Eldurian said:


    Games with the risk of lost capture this. Games with no such risk make success about as meaningful as a participation trophy.


    Yeah .. and participation trophies are great for gaming. It creates the entertaining illusion of achievement. It is not like games are real anyway. Just take the illusion one step further. Easy win for everyone. Better yet, charge the whales money for the win!
    Post edited by nariusseldon on
    Kyleran
  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHMember RarePosts: 8,737
    Without character progression, what is even the point of playing a MMO?

    Anyone trying to make a MMO without character progression is going to be laughed out of town, but them again, a game without character progression is not a MMO to start with.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,651
    Ozmodan said:
    Without character progression, what is even the point of playing a MMO?

    Anyone trying to make a MMO without character progression is going to be laughed out of town, but them again, a game without character progression is not a MMO to start with.

    "what is even the point"? To have fun?

    Overwatch seems to have accomplished it without any character progression (unless you count cosmetic). 
  • coretex666coretex666 PragueMember RarePosts: 3,225
    MMOs? No. MMORPGs? By definition...
  • EldurianEldurian Member EpicPosts: 1,867
    edited December 7
    MMOs? No. MMORPGs? By definition...
    Common misconception. Level progression is to RPGs like gas powered engines are to cars. Very commonly in there, at one point almost unheard of to have anything else. But if you switch it for a different type of engine it is still a car. There are other elements that define it that are more important than the fact the engine runs on gas.

    For one thing, an emphasis on immersion, putting the player in the shoes of the character and roleplay.

    Roleplaying Games

    The big thing to point out here is when they mention leveling they never mention it as a condition of being an RPG. For instance:

    "...and may include capabilities that advance using statistical mechanics."

    May is a very different word than must.
    Post edited by Eldurian on
  • KyleranKyleran Paradise City, FLMember LegendaryPosts: 26,827
    Eldurian said:
    MMOs? No. MMORPGs? By definition...
    Common misconception. Level progression is to RPGs like gas powered engines are to cars. Very commonly in there, at one point almost unheard of to have anything else. But if you switch it for a different type of engine it is still a car. There are other elements that define it that are more important than the fact the engine runs on gas.

    For one thing, an emphasis on immersion, putting the player in the shoes of the character and roleplay.

    Roleplaying Games

    The big thing to point out here is when they mention leveling they never mention it as a condition of being an RPG. For instance:

    "...and may include capabilities that advance using statistical mechanics."

    May is a very different word than must.
    They had a name for those without progression, "adventure" games. They mostly have died out.

    I think most would agree progression of some sort is a core pillar of an RPG.




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