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I think games have taken veritcal progression too far, and it is giving a impression of it. Just look at the progression from 1 to 50 in a game. They hand out stats like candy on Halloween to the point that a stat upgrade isn't really special anymore. I look back comparing it to the pre-Luclin Everquest which had a narrow progression of stats. Levels also meant more than equipment, so the power gap between someone fully maxed out and someone that has average gear wasn't that wide.
I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky
Originally posted by Quirhid Not a fan of free mixing of skills. Skill groups (usually known as classes or archetypes) make balancing a lot easier and make for a variety of more distinct builds. They had colors in MTG too.
I agree with this. Classes are a good way to group together abilities which makes it easier to have balance. When you just throw everything into a pot, available to all, you will end up with combinations that are just game breaking. It also means that since that is the case, some abilities will need to be excluded.
If there were one part of the game that had vertical progression, I believe it would need to be skills. If you were doing class-free, you could have grouping of skills that made up "occupations." So a "thief" might have Sneaking, Hiding and Rear Attack as skills. Other occupations might have these same skills as well -- a "hunter" for example might have Sneak and Hide, but also Tracking. I think you make up your universe of skills that cover all occupations, and then draw from that pool to make your occupation. I guess you could do free for all as well, if you want to leave it open.
The thing is that skill improvements would be easy at lower levels and get harder to improve as you got better with them. Tabletop RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu had an elegant way of handling this -- each skill could go from 0-100%, and the chance for a skill to increase after using was the inverse of the curent skill. So if you had 20% Sneak, you had an 80% chance to improve by 1-3 points. If you had an 80% Senak, your chance to improve was only 20%. You could go a bit over 100% in a skill but not much.
With this kind of system, the gear never progressed hugely. You could find lots of magical stuff sure, but nothing that made you godlike, just different as different situations required.
What it comes down to, is can a game have vertical progression to a certain point, and then expand horizontally to include a variety of situations that require different abilties, gears and use of brain? Can it still be interesting and challenging without the gear treadmill?
Originally posted by ice-vortex Originally posted by Quirhid Not a fan of free mixing of skills. Skill groups (usually known as classes or archetypes) make balancing a lot easier and make for a variety of more distinct builds. They had colors in MTG too.
While in general I agree - in a good skill system there are logical/necessary groups of skills that must be paired that end up forming what are pretty much classes.
So the whole thing is kind of pointless.
People only seem to remember the Tank Mage in UO - but that was an issue in like... 97-98 they fixed that pretty quick.
By 99/2000 we had a whole bunch of very viable builds people used.
Might as well have been classes.
Originally posted by Icewhite Originally posted by greenreen What you speak of is what has kept me up late nights trying to work out and I don't think it would appeal to many. Humans have a drive to "get things".
It's difficult to imagine mmo gamers not constrantly measuring themselves or their status against all other gamers, isn't it? MMOs are traditionally just shallow little pools of status symbol, their players as vain and prone to strut as teenage boys.
We assume it could work, in the same way the Nirvana or Shangri-la could work, if only it weren't for the damned humans being involved.
It's a shame ANet didn't read a little history before they made GW2.
20th Century Communism - designed to make everyone equal and happy, and failed on a biblical scale due to people wanting to be superior to others in material goods, status, wealth, power - or as gamers measure it - gear, rank, gold and leetness....
Originally posted by Caliburn101 Originally posted by Icewhite Originally posted by greenreen What you speak of is what has kept me up late nights trying to work out and I don't think it would appeal to many. Humans have a drive to "get things".
Except we're not talking about an economic/'social system, we're talking about games. The basic structure of games throughout history has been to create a level, fair playing field so that players could compete (either directly or against some environmental challenge) without any artificial advantages. Unless you would call a game of chess "communist" because everyone has the same, equally-capable pieces to play the game with, inserting an economic/social theory into game theory argument is only a convenient use of straw man.
Football is a very successful game/sport. it is built around the concept of a fair and level playing field, which is why there is revenue sharing among teams and a universal salary cap, a weighted drafting system, etc. That way, what is being judged on the playing field is not who has the most money, or who has the best equipment, but rather who has the most talent, skill and drive and who has the better team and coaching. There are literally millions of games that have no vertical power progression whatsoever, but are instead founded on the concept of a level playing field where players can pit their wit, intelligence, cunning and creativity against each other. People spend billions of dollars a year on such games and invest millions of hours.
It has nothing to do with "communism", but rather actual fair competition in a game on a level playing field.
It's becoming more and more my opinion, however, that the power-progression system really only serves one kind of player: those have plenty of time to invest, but not the skill, intelligence or creativity a fair game requires in order to excel in it - so they grind out gear that artificially generates a sense of being an "elite" player for nothing more, really, than spending time at the keyboard staring at the screen.
There's plenty of playera with lots of time to invest that would rather have a fair playing field rather than one that has an eternal slope in it biased in favor of those that can simply sit at their computer longer than other players.
And, BTW, GW2 was a huge pre-purchase and launch success based upon them representing and hyping the game as a stat-capped, no-grind, no-treadmill game. In the weeks that followed launch, they were adding servers and had to discontinue digital sales until they could increase capacity. After week 10 whatever goes on with GW2 financially doesn't indicate anything for the non-vertical market because they turned it into a vertical progression game at that point.
No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin
Originally posted by Meleagar
Whether that's true or false doesn't matter--selling your game, against a general perception, is an EVE-level "keep plugging for a decade until you have a sizable player base" problem, at best.
At worst, closet niche--you'd better sell it with "you're so dayum hardc0re", or something--the only way niche games historically manage to struggle along.
Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.
Originally posted by Icewhite Originally posted by Meleagar
Of course you'd need a marketing campaign that would be able to target the intended audience. Even though it didn't turn out that way, GW2 was marketed as a non-treadmill game and the hype (which turned out to be unfounded) was that it was a real structural alternative to WoW-like clones - supposedly, no gear treadmill other than for cosmetics, and no grinding. GW1 was successful, and LoL is wildly successful.
I think there's probably a pretty decent market for a strictly horizontal MMORPG. At some point some developer with the desire to make a truly alternative MMORPG experience should try it.