It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
I used to play an online game called Nexus: Kingdom of the Winds which had a good end game kinda system. Through your levels 1 - 99 you gained experience. Essentially when you hit 99 you had around 2 billion or so. You then sold that experience to enhance your character.
You would first max your basic states, grace, might and will then invest in vita (health) and (mana). The higher your stats the tougher the hunting caves became and offered better loot.
It also made the harder content more about the adventure, rather than the gear grind. I loved it, although it might not be to everyones tastes...
I agree that there always should be progression paths for a character, but I disagree that it needs to be tied to any sort of numerical value.
You mention Ultima Online. Yes, character skills have a finite cap. However, what makes UO so unique is that that beyond those numbers, there is also ancillary progression paths. There are titles to be earned, virtues to work up, property to be owned, and then (what used to be even more important back when there were more players and less "systems") the all important SOCIAL progression.
I do not believe that what would keep someone interested in a game long term is that the PvE content will scale, or that they never run out of levels, or developer-supplied content - It's community. The sense that they fill a role that, if they left, their social network (Be it the server, guild, friends, etc.) would notice. That they have a place in that world, and they feel they can master it and get better at it. They need to feel like they OWN a piece of that world, both literally with non-instanced housing, or figuratively, as being known for their abilities or social bonds.
UO has players that have been there for 15 years, not because of the PvE or levels or changes to content, but because they feel they make their mark in that world, that they have a tether keeping them there. Ties that bind are harder to break. That's what keeps people long term.
Originally posted by Xiaoki Really not liking any part of this. First you say dont like endless repetitive grinds at max level but your solution is to make leveling an endless repetitive grind. Where do we level? Where do I go for levels 801 to 900? The same place Ive been to before just with a new coat of paint? Then what about levels 901 to 1000? Its possible to make levels infinite but its not possible to make content infinite. Do you scale the players to the zones and expect them to be happy about having to kill a million boars? Do you make instanced zones that scale to the players? But then why make the game a persistent MMO? How fast do we level? Is it going to take us an hour to get 1 of these endless levels? A day? A week? What do you do about the crushing feeling of the leveling at the beginning? "Level 100? Level 1000? Its all too much for me to handle". You dont want people to feel overwhelmed when they first start the game. You say that low level people can contribute because of scaling but "perception is reality". If people perceive they must be a certain level to feel worthy then they wont actually feel that way until they meet that certain level. Lastly, one thing that has plagued MMOs since the beginning is the community. Yes, the people playing the game. Whatever plans or intentions the developers may have for features can become altered or corrupted when thousands of players are let loose upon them.
Some people do not get it and thats OK. Some of us *gasp* actually find alot of enjoyment in progressing our character based on progression of skills, stats and abilities and not through gear. An example to wrap your head around:
Leveling a character that takes years to reach max level on "mostly" the same content is not a grind to me, but reaching level cap in a matter of weeks and doing that same content to aquire gear is the biggest grind known to man. I can't explain it and many more like me can't either but what I can tell you is that I would rather "grind" for skills, stats and abilities 100 times over grinding for gear or to reach content. It's jsut that simple.
Sandbox means open world, non-linear gaming PERIOD!
Subscription Gaming, especially MMO gaming is a Cash grab bigger then the most P2W cash shop!
Bring Back Exploration and lengthy progression times. RPG's have always been about the Journey not the destination!!!
Thanks for that Will.
I have always argued that a commensurate system is the one that we should be considering. By Commensurate I mean the following:
Its not "how many point a character has" its is instead the "percentage of points character (A) has when compared to character/monster/task (B)"
For example of a pvp combat: firstly assuming both characters (A) and (B) have passed normal-humanoid-max. Lets say, character (A) has 20% more relevant skills than character (B); In that case character (A) will do 20% more "normal-humanoid-max" damage than character (B).
"normal-humanoid-max" is a hard system set value within the game.
It would not be possible to do more than 100% more than "normal-humanoid-max"
This sort of system creates a situation where players are always running up hill to maintain their leed, if they slip behind in their speciallity they loose their edge as others start to surpass them.
The goal is to be better than the other guy, or monster, or crafter, etc. and you have to maintain you have to maintian your lead to stay on top.
No max, just an ever increasing scale.
The option to level/upgrade/improve your virtual character/items is what drives most people to play games. Many successful games have this type of system. Some of the first Single Player games that I recall are some of the early Need For Speed games. Race, earn money, buy parts, upgrade car. This system has evolved into other games, like most current shooters and such. Kill lots of enemies, buy weapon parts, upgrade weapon. So on and so on.
With most level-capped MMOs, reaching max level gives the player the option of continuing their playtime by doing group/raid/pvp content. Some players love these options, but they are not for everyone. Average Joe Gamer will either create a new character, or stop playing the game.
Having "never-ending progression" is a great idea but really must be done properly with many different options. Maybe one day there will be a game with all of the following
Thats just the tip of the iceberg really, but my brain hurts.
Great article btw, thanks
I have been playing Entropia Universe since march 2008 and only missed a handfull of days.
There is no skill cap and I would never enjoy a game where I could not progress my character.
Even as much as I have played, and as much as I have progressed both my characters skill lvls, estate ownership, social status, buisness relationships, and the strength of my Society (guild), there is still a ton of content that I have not explored, skills and gear I still dream of, estates I still want, etc....
I think they have balanced it really well to allow for the constant growth of your characters without a cap, even though the higher your level the slower the gains. (I am around L52 in my highest professions, some people view me as uber and some view me as noob)
A big part of their draw for me is the variaty of content across their universe, with a different dev studio creating content and competiting for the players attention among themselves, there is always new content or events taking place to draw us like lemmings from place to place for competition while still providing all of their content for all lvls of players on each planet.
The issue with higher end content for higher end players is taken care of by a combination of the economy, skills, and a finite amount of the 'uber UBER' gear.
A new player can easily grind on puny mobs. (effeciently and economicly)
A team of new players can grind on lower mid-lvl mobs. (effeciently and economicly)
A lower mid-lvl player (like myself) can grind on mid lvl mobs. (effeciently and economicly)
A team of mid lvl players can grind on the easier uber mobs. (effeciently and economicly)
An uber can grind on the easier uber mobs. (effeciently and economicly)
A team of ubers can grind the higher end uber mobs. (effeciently and economicly)
There are mobs in the game that can not be taken down by a team of 12 ubers, they require huge numbers of players which means all lvl of players to be invlved in taking down this sort and is planned days or weeks in advance.
But, because the game is not about levels as much as it is about the Economy, leveling up doesnt make you successful, it just gives you more options to find your nitch market. The depth to the game beyond mindless grinding is what makes me love it so much, but it is a double edged sword because it is also what makes those unable to adapt to that depth hate it as well.
The social aspects can not be ignored either, so much of why people play online vs single player is because they want the human interaction both collaborativly and competitivly, and yet so many play these games as though they are single player games.
Just rambeling now so ill stop
About the article, If the game I played had a cap on progression, I wouldnt be playing it daily for the past 5 years.
gl and have fun,
Playing with Real Money: Colonizing Virtual Worlds
When dealing with mmorpg's and leveling. there are other things that could be done, that wouldn't out right ruin gameplay, but it would make for more interesting "end-game content"
I'll primarily be talking bout WOW as my work8s and I always brainstormed during "down-time"
There are a lot of PVE and PVP options that can be done with wow. First off in the PvP aspect. only a handful of zones are faction-protected the rest are considered "contested territories" Why not use the battlegrounds for just that. 2 days out of the week, a zone is fought over. whoever wins the majority of battles during the two days, that contested zone now becomes faction-protectedfor 5 days(IE fighting over Ashenvale or Stranglethorn Vale) any given week you could have 3 zones being fought over throughout that week.
Now for the PVE aspect you could have npc factions try to take over territories(IE The Burning Legion breaking through the gate once again and beginning it's campaign for dominion in the blasted lands)
there are always ways to tweak things to make them "better" the main formula is to take away mindless grinding and replace it with content that matters/have consequences.
To Protect The Helpless From The Heartless
A big issue that you have to face when trying endless levels is how it scales over time. Anyone who has played DnD into epic levels will know what I am talking about. After level 20 you had to change a few things about the game or the game would be completely out of whack by around level 25 or 30. My view of how to correct that is to use a curve or diminishing returns on a skill based system. Sure, you can continue to train up your one handed sword ability, but eventually it hits a point where it takes forever to level it for a negligable gain. The same could be true for crafting also.
The thing is to make any system like this work the game has to be designed around it. Take crafting for example. If someone has seriously invested their armorsmithing to the point where they have gained tons of those negligable improvements you wouldn't be able to have item drops be as good as crafted items.
Originally posted by azzamasin Leveling a character that takes years to reach max level on "mostly" the same content is not a grind to me, but reaching level cap in a matter of weeks and doing that same content to aquire gear is the biggest grind known to man. I can't explain it and many more like me can't either but what I can tell you is that I would rather "grind" for skills, stats and abilities 100 times over grinding for gear or to reach content. It's jsut that simple.
yeah, I feel the same way.
It already exists (well, some of what you're asking for anyway), and it happens to be my favorite MMORPG. Mabinogi. The level cap is "infinite" and since there aren't any classes, you can max any and every skill in the game. It would just take an extremely long time, and they release new combat skills with patches. It's one of the reasons I enjoy the game so much, my character is always improving. There's always something to strive for. Hell, there are still some dungeons I haven't even entered yet, because unless I had an extremely strong party carrying me, I'd get wrecked.
I haven't played in awhile, but my character is around level 1,200. Not bad, but the top players are around 7k! It's pretty crazy. The thing with Mabinogi is, the higher level you are, the easier it is to level. Especially if you choose to pay rebirth every week. Rebirths allow you to reset your current level (not total) each week as well as your age and appearence if you so choose. You basically reset your current level to 0. If you're already fairly strong, you can gain 40 levels or so in no time.
There also aren't any level requirements when it comes to gear. A level 1 can wear the same armor as a level 2,000, it doesn't matter. What does matter are enchants and equipment upgrades. These are what separate high level players from lower ones. There is a massive variety of enchants and same are rare/very difficult to obtain. When you find an enchant scroll, there's also a time limit before it expires. So you'll need to find a high level enchanter to minimize the risk of damaging your item or the enchant itself. Going back to weapons and armor, if you have a recipe for an item, you can usually pay a high level blacksmith to forge it for you. These items will have a bit higher stats and durability compared to their regular counterparts.
EQ in its prime did this well. With the AA system you were always improving your character permanently (not gear based progression). In addition, AAs were more interesting than levels because you had a choice where you grew in power.
The EQ AA system remains the greatest single system in MMO history because of this.
Yes, it made it tough to play catch up. But there are ways around this, such as the speeding up of initial AAs that EQ did in its later years. But the notion that people should be equal is ludicrous, the trick is to have content for people of all AA/gear/skill levels and EQ succeeded with that.
I like open-ended progression in theory, but in practice I become suddenly demotivated the first time I encounter a bot or exploiter that has run up an absurd level.
When the people ahead of me on the curve are no longer people who I want to emmulate or be associated with, progress no longer feels like a reward.
Originally posted by Sovrath Originally posted by azzamasin Leveling a character that takes years to reach max level on "mostly" the same content is not a grind to me, but reaching level cap in a matter of weeks and doing that same content to aquire gear is the biggest grind known to man. I can't explain it and many more like me can't either but what I can tell you is that I would rather "grind" for skills, stats and abilities 100 times over grinding for gear or to reach content. It's jsut that simple.
Me too. This is one thing I loved about Lineage 1. The leveling curve was hellaciously slow and you could also advance items.
I don't know what the answer is either Bill, but I like the article and agree with you 100%. I miss character rewarding progression.
This has to be one of the most stupid ideas I ever read.
Endlessly gaining levels is pointless. What people WANT is meaningful levels, something to HAPPEN when you ding, not just for your damage output to go up at the exact same time the enemies hit points go up.
GW2 PROOFS this, lots of people have complained that once you got your elite skill equipped, the game essentially doesn't advance your character anymore. Sure, you got more points but so do the enemies so their is no progress, just number stacking.
EQ and WoW also did the same skill with a higher number behind it and it again is not really what people who want continued advancement want. They want MORE skills, not skills just with bigger points attached.
And it ain't just your levels that got to scale endlessly, your gear too. 100 hitpoints in your armor is better when your character has 100 hitpoints then when your character has 10.000 hitpoints.
And scaling down is HARD as GW2 shows because you might be close in basepoints but your armor and skills show through and in general, every lvl 60 is a one hit onder in a starter area.
No... the answer does NOT lie in infinite levels, the answer is simpler, either create infinite content OR... create a MMO with an ending. I know, I know, radical thought but a journey isn't just about the first step, without the last step, everything from the start to everything that happens in between has no meaning.
Games with infinite levels exist and they don't work except for people with most the simple reward satisfaction.
The real solution is the same one that pro-athletes get: real skills. No levels, just the same basic stuff for everyone all around. For example, chess has the same rules whether you are just starting out, or are a 50 year veteran. You probably don't have a chance vs the 50 year veteran cause of his expirience and skills, but you still can play against him if you wanted to.
An MMO designed around this would have to keep the basic stuff very simple, and just focus on having the players "learn" the encounters. Pick the class and dungeon, then go at it alone or with friends. The designer can then decide if they want to give the players the ability to make better gear from the rewards they get from the dungeon, or just use the dungeons themselves as the gateways to qualify for other dungeons. Once you have all dungeons unlocked, you can do completions, as in trying to get all different types of armor, dungeon achievements, special scoring, or restart from the begining, but this time keeping the gear you have made up to that point. There are many possibilities.
If the MMORPG world changed from being just about a "level", then we can once again move into the skill portion, which is severely lacking in western games.
The most fun I've had in games with an rpg theme are games like Sacred, Diablo 1-3 & Torchlight II, co-op modes with a Hard Core/Permadeath option.
The chance to lose everything including the character itself and not just the stuff being carried/worn, made them more enjoyable in a counter intuitive way.
MMO's general approach to death & respawning just turns it into a 'Meh, whatever. It's not important' moment.
So this would just make levels just as meaningless.
Originally posted by Sephastus The real solution is the same one that pro-athletes get: real skills. No levels, just the same basic stuff for everyone all around. For example, chess has the same rules whether you are just starting out, or are a 50 year veteran. You probably don't have a chance vs the 50 year veteran cause of his expirience and skills, but you still can play against him if you wanted to. An MMO designed around this would have to keep the basic stuff very simple, and just focus on having the players "learn" the encounters. Pick the class and dungeon, then go at it alone or with friends. The designer can then decide if they want to give the players the ability to make better gear from the rewards they get from the dungeon, or just use the dungeons themselves as the gateways to qualify for other dungeons. Once you have all dungeons unlocked, you can do completions, as in trying to get all different types of armor, dungeon achievements, special scoring, or restart from the begining, but this time keeping the gear you have made up to that point. There are many possibilities. If the MMORPG world changed from being just about a "level", then we can once again move into the skill portion, which is severely lacking in western games.
An MMORPG without permanent character progression is pointless. Gear cant be the only way to progress.
Honestly the gaming industry and players as a whole are a bunch of idiots. Developers think they can just churn out the same old shit month after month and think that's ok. The players beg that they want something different, but when that comes out they scream for more of the same. It's a BS cycle that never ends. As a guild leader, I lol when a new game comes out, everyone gets hyped up, buys it, plays the shit out of it, then drops it in a heart beat. Then the next big thing comes around and it repeats again.
Honestly I'm sick of this shit, developers need to add more player generated content systems in game to help them elevate some of these issues. At the end of the day though, developers think they know what players want, and players think they know what they want, and both are wrong.
Fuck this industry, I'm on the verge of "retirement"
The first mmo i ever played had no real level cap. There was a 'level cap', but afterwards you just accumulated exp and were able to spend that exp to increase your stats further, infinitely. You could also spend exp to improve your equipment. But essentially, there was no paradigm shift that occurred at 'endgame', when you hit the level cap, you more or less continued doing what you already were doing (grouping or soloing, grouping was much faster). It worked just fine, and it did have somewhat scalable content as well.
Though levels ended, you did not have all your abilities at the 'level cap'. As time went on and people got more and more powerful new abilities were released that essentially just required you to have a certain amount of stats before you could unlock the ability to obtain them. Since many abilities scaled with stats, depending on where you were and what your stats were, some abilities that seemed almost useless in the past became mainstays, and other abilities you heavily depended on dropped out of favor. So there was constant evolution.
Secondly, the scalable content was essentially done like this: A large portion of the dungeons in the game simply had harder version that you could only enter when you were a certain level or had accumulated a certain amount of stats. The harder versions were the same as the normal ones, only things were harder and gave more exp for killing. The bosses also changed somewhat, mostly slight appearance differences and modified drop tables. Further, to keep things interesting, each dungeon scaled at a different level/stat breakpoint. The result was you sort of cycled through them. Though there were favorites that often times people stuck with for efficiency sake even when harder iterations were unlocked. People very happily did this for upwards of a decade.
As far as people expressing concern over new players being met with an impossibility to 'catch up'. I can only speak from personal experience that after playing that game for around 3 years, 'the most powerful person' was well known. After i quit the game for around 5 years and came back, 'the most powerful person' was someone who had not even began playing until after i had quit. Certainly its advantageous to be on at the start, but its also possible for someone to catch up or even pass their seniors, though with the scalable content why does it really matter? You are progressing for the sake of progression. The payoff is when that thing that started out difficult becomes easy for you.
I think this is a good system, the key is on ensuring the combat is fun, this particular game did it by having a system where CC and debuffs were employed to set things up, then people could use their super powerful ultimate attacks and just one shot everything (if it was all set up right). The skill in setting it up was something you could actually work on an appreciate, and then just seeing everything die instantly is a suitable payoff. Since things come in waves you feel like pressing on for the next one.
The drive to gain enough stats to be able to one-shot 'the next hardest mob' so you could go group at THOSE instead was what kept you going. The pvp was also scaled in many cases, though there were non scaled team pvp events also. Because the game was set up around cc and debuffs and timing, the weaker people, though not able to really be heavy hitters who used powerful attacks in pvp, were still able to play support roles for their team. I see no reason why we cant just grind exp forever, it works and its much more sustainable than grinding gear forever like current mmo endgames employ. In such a system any new content can be scalable and enhance the breadth of the games activities rather than simply being one more singular dungeon that gets farmed for a while and then ignored.
Honestly reading the article it seems like you were describing this game.
Endless leveling is stupid especially if your game have pvp, well because they create huge gap and have fight finish before they even begin, since it would be a number fight rather than a player fight.
Also the point is not to gain numbers in a character sheet, nobody are interesting in those, well almost. The point is to be able to do things and do them better than before, this is what are suposed to simulate experience, that is why it's called "experience points". The problem with themepark is that they are empty shell, you kill a green goblin at low level, then blue goblins a medim level, then a red goblin at high level, and people wonder why players leave after a couple of month? What an endless leveling would even acheive? pretty much nothing.
Originally posted by Requiamer Endless leveling is stupid especially if your game have pvp, well because they create huge gap and have fight finish before they even begin, since it would be a number fight rather than a player fight.
Well done - this is a profound truth.
I'm hoping DUST 514 offers the unlimited progression described.
What does leveling up entail foryou?
In PvE, it's dishing out more damage and absorbing more damage before dying. Making - the same! - dungeons and content harder means having monsters dish out more damage and absorb more before dying. So, we'll have a stalemate. Also, running the same dungeons over and over to gain another level, after which you will run the same dungeons over and over again appeals to no one. If you actually have new dungeons you could run at higher levels then it's no different from the prevous levels you did, i.e.you have new content. Unfortunately, providing endless new content is rough on developers. So, for PvE, endless leveling is pointless.
In PvP, you end up with higher level = stronger players easily killing lowbies, not because of more skill, just because they have an extra ten levels. This will turn most people off in no time. Only if there is parity in levels and gear does skill matter, which is what PvP should be about.
So, no, endless leveling is crap.
Originally posted by johnnychangs The option to level/upgrade/improve your virtual character/items is what drives most people to play games. Many successful games have this type of system. Some of the first Single Player games that I recall are some of the early Need For Speed games. Race, earn money, buy parts, upgrade car. This system has evolved into other games, like most current shooters and such. Kill lots of enemies, buy weapon parts, upgrade weapon. So on and so on. With most level-capped MMOs, reaching max level gives the player the option of continuing their playtime by doing group/raid/pvp content. Some players love these options, but they are not for everyone. Average Joe Gamer will either create a new character, or stop playing the game. Having "never-ending progression" is a great idea but really must be done properly with many different options. Maybe one day there will be a game with all of the following -Some type of open storyline, using either a completely random mission system with travelling NPCs/mission givers/mission terminals. -Huge skill tree with the ability to learn everything -Some type of an implant/upgrade system a'la Anarchy Online -A very complex crafting+resource system a'la SWG pre-ncu -Separate gear for PvP&PvE that actually provides some bonus (not just cosmetic) -Legitimate open-world sandbox, not like the alleged "sandbox" games we've seen in the recent past Thats just the tip of the iceberg really, but my brain hurts. Great article btw, thanks
Highlighted red as being the most important thing for me and better then what OP suggested.
To be honost all I saw in OP was a combat oriented online game,I actually think that that's the reason why these MMO's don't do well anymore longterm as they are played as simple like a COD game or any other multiplayer game as that's your end game in today's MMO's.
In SWG even when I reached cap lvl I never ran out of things to do and enjoy.
I feel there is to much focus on progression instead of trying to make a world that feels alive due to it's players. To much focus of what we know and understand from singleplayer games are put into MMORPG's.....because it's what most know.....
Growth in a MMORPG use to be to me that you got very involved with the ingame community at lvl's of helping eachother, adventuring together, just have plain old fun, hunting for that specific type of resource, going hunting for some hides (not caring about xp) because you need them for some crafting recipies, sharing adventure story's at campsites, wanting to pvp to defeat another person and not because your name is placed on some sort of scoreboard, crafting all sorts of things (combat and none-combat items) for other people/costumers/guildmembers/friends.