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Poll: are traditional levels necessary

2

Comments

  • IsometrixIsometrix LoginAutoPosts: 256Member

    I like levels a lot because they're a good sense of progression. I also think they're grossly misused and are a major reason why you're done with an MMO so fast these days. When an MMO launches with 25 zones, 1-2 of those will typically be endgame, while the rest is reserved for leveling. That means that over 90% of the game you designed, becomes completely obsolete for me the second I hit the max level. It doesn't matter how many quests you built, how many events you stuffed into those awesome looking zones, or how epic your storyline is. I am now higher than the level of all your zones, and thus I have no reason to ever go back. So now I either grind in the few zones that are for my level, or hangout in the designated main townhub.

    I would feel a bit disappointed without levels, but I would like them to look at singleplayer games for examples on how to do it right. If my sense of progression nullifies a major portion of the game the second I hit the level cap, then having levels sucks.

     

     

    Additionally, MMOs that raise the level cap with every expansion are epic failures to me. The raids we spent days, weeks completing. All the dungeon runs, all the PvP grinding, nullified 5 minutes after your expansion comes out as the first quest I take to kill 10 rats offer better gear. You also chase new players away because wow, now I need to get 100 levels before I can hang out with the rest? That's a lot!

     

    TLDR: 

    I like levels when done right. Nobody does it right.

  • ClassicstarClassicstar rotjeknorPosts: 2,690Member

    Mmorpg's with lvls is a JOKE.

    This 10x !

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  • Cephus404Cephus404 Redlands, CAPosts: 3,675Member
    There has to be some measure of progression, without progression you're not playing an MMO.  It doesn't necessarily have to be levels, it can be skill points or some other metric, but you just can't have a game without any measure of advancement and still call it an MMO.

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  • NovusodNovusod Lakewood, NJPosts: 892Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by CrazKanuk
    Originally posted by cura

    RPGs are (or, in case of computer bastardisation, should be) primarlily about roleplaying not gaining levels.  I would gladly leave levels for Call Of Duty series.

    Ummmmmmm, but pen and paper D&D had levels...... just sayin' it's not like they pulled levels out of their butts. 

    D&D technically had 30 levels but nobody really cared about those levels. Anything over level 20 was epic and took forever to make. Most people killed their characters off at level 10 or so for story reasons. The fun part about D&D was being weak and experimenting what you could take on or just roleplaying the story. Really like cura said D&D was not about gaining levels at all. Level 30 represented the power of Dragons and demi-gods. The story of Drizzt Do'Urden which spanned 20 different novels was only about a level 14 character.

     

    Leveling in MMOs has really become a bastardisation of what it meant to play an RPG.

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    Originally posted by PWN_FACE

     

    Darkfall's attempt reminded me a lot of Morrowind's progression. You run and your running skill improves. You swim and you get better at it. Of course, it led to afk macroing, afk swimming, bloodwalling, and all kinds of nonsense that ruined the game. Maybe Darkfall needed a skill cap. 

     

    to this day I still jump as  I run anywhere in mmos....damn morrowind!

    Skill systems are far more complex to design into a game than levels are. They're also much harder to develop desirable content for. If someone is at the skill cap..why do they need to go into the new content more than once to see what's there ? 

    Levels are just easier to manage. The problem of course with a level based system is, as soon as you pass the level of the content it may as well not even be in the game anymore. How long does a dev team spend designing content for level 10-15...how long does a player stay in that level zone ? Once you raise the level cap you've pretty much done the same thing to the whole game.

    I think level based content may be easier to impliment in the short term but long term it's more expensive to keep developing. Wow for example pretty much makes a new game every 2 years.

  • jazz.bejazz.be Sint-NiklaasPosts: 820Member Uncommon

    It's a game and I want to be entertained.

    I don't need the game to be realistic. So I'm ok that mobs levels with me when I change zones. As long as it keeps me entertained.

    That said I don't think it's necessary.  It's just that no other system has entertained me other than this traditional system.

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member

    - Progression itself is not neccesary but it is something that quite a number of gamers do enjoy.

    - Levels are not the only way to present a progression mechanic....pure skill based is an example of another method.... but they certainly are the most common way to represent progression and something that is relatively simple for gamers to understand.

    - Within the concept of Levels there is a significant variety of ways of implimentation within the game mechanics. Power curves between levels can be steep or gradual, a top level character could be x64 combat power of a level 1 character or only x1.5. Levels can be broken down to represent different aspects of play....for example a Level 4 Warrior but only a Level 2 Crafter. They can be hyberdized with different types of systems.....for example gaining a level could unlock access to different types of abilities but those abilities may still need to be gained individualy through some other mechanism (skill use, quest completion, etc). Levels can represent a portion of the characters progression but other aspects can also represent another portion....for example a level can give a character +20 base to sword skill for each level advanced but the character can obtain another +50 in total through some other system (questing, traits, etc). These are only a few of the many possabilties.

    In short, very little is actualy NECCESSARY to make an MMO save a network connection and a massive amount of players. Levels can and do work, and they can work in a wide variety of implimentation types so that 2 "level" based games might play very dissimalar from one another, however there are other things which can work as well.

    Personaly, progression doesn't hold a huge amount of interest to me. However, I don't mind it's existance if implimented well and not done in such a manner that it comes to completely eclipse or harm other aspects of play.

     

     

     

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    I voted the first option because I prefer levels. But, some RPG games like Star Frontiers and Gamma world had skill based advancement; which I also liked. The problem with skill based advancement is some players can over-specialize and, as a result, create a character which turns out to be ineffective/useless. This issue doesn't really occur in level based systems.


    I happen to love Everquest's system: Level-based progression with Alternate Advancement (kinda like skills/boosts) added in.


    After reading some posts, I'd like to add that level-based progression brings the benefit of clearly defined class roles; which facilitates grouping.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • JJ82JJ82 Chicago, ILPosts: 1,177Member Uncommon

    "I would like alternative forms of advancement (please explain what)"

    Scalable content. It will keep all content viable no mater how long a player plays the game.

    it would not be extremely difficult (but time consuming) to create a table for each monster that increases its damage and abilities according to what it is facing. All that would need to be done is for each piece of armor/weapon/jewelry in the game to have a number associated to its power level that can be added up to give a player an unseen "level" which a mob can then be auto-adjusted to.

    Player gear level 1 = mob has x power with y set of skills

    Player gear level 2 = mob has z power with t set of skills

    This can also be done by group of players with tables created by amount of players in the group as well as classes in the group.

    Player group of 4 players automatically places mob at one power set with a sub table for skills to use against the group.

    Group has a healer? Give mob skills to AoE

    Group has a tank? Give mob greater health and DD skills

    Group has a CC class? Give mob CC breaking abilities and a skill to call for aid

    "People who tell you you’re awesome are useless. No, dangerous.

    They are worse than useless because you want to believe them. They will defend you against critiques that are valid. They will seduce you into believing you are done learning, or into thinking that your work is better than it actually is." ~Raph Koster
    http://www.raphkoster.com/2013/10/14/on-getting-criticism/

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    Here's an idea for unlimited level progression:


    At launch - effective level cap is 50. Any levels gained after that simply add a small percentage of power to the character, but does not add new spells/abilities/etc.


    When the expansion launches six months later, the effective level cap is raised to 60 and the same player immediately enjoys the power/spells/etc. of being level 60. Plus the bonus for being perhaps 240th level at that time.


    So at 240th level, this character is (240/60) = 4x as powerful as a level 60th character. That doesn't make them invincible, by far. So they won't be God-like, especially considering how much time they took to level up.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • HaitesHaites Los Angeles, CAPosts: 69Member

    Yes they are necessary to an MMORPG.  There is a lot more to "levels" than the number they represent.  It gives players a milestone to reach.  It allows players to quickly and easily "size up" each other for PvE, PvP, etc.  It's a motivational tool.  It's a gatekeeper.

    The only problem I really have with levels is that most developers now treat them like an annoyance, only serving to get in the way of a player until they can start the "real game" at max level.

  • PWN_FACEPWN_FACE SeoulPosts: 670Member

    I find levels immersion-breaking in some ways. I agree that progression systems are good, but I don't like them to be so overt. I prefer them to be hidden more like in TSW or Darkfall. As I've mentioned above, how they are implemented is another matter.

     

    To me, gear based progression, strict classes, and overt level numbers are "primitive" and the genre will hopefully offer games that evolve beyond that type of progression. I prefer skill based or other means that offer more options and flexibility.

     

    They are "primitive" in the sense that we might talk about how we define success. If we define success as being primarily based on what we own, this matches the gear-based and overt leveling model in my mind. If we define success as something more intangible -- for example in the number of options open to us (which means freedom and power), that would be more advanced or evolved. I think we can have some games like that in future once someone finds out how to implement it well.

     

     

  • DocBrodyDocBrody EldridgePosts: 1,820Member

    Secret World got it right!! 

    No levels no classes, very cool

  • HaitesHaites Los Angeles, CAPosts: 69Member
    Originally posted by PWN_FACE

     I think we can have some games like that in future once someone finds out how to implement it well. 

    Hey I'd love to see someone invent a better mousetrap, but so far I haven't seen anything that can do everything that levels do so simply and eloquently.

  • donpopukidonpopuki Dearborn, MIPosts: 591Member
    Levels as we know them started with pen and paper RPGs, one could argue the concept  was borrowed from academia. I always figured levels in RPG were a type of imagination shorthand to statically represent your character's skill. You can't become a better swordsman by imagining sword fighting (actually you can to some degree but for arguments sake). Hit points didn't mean your character's body mass increased but it was used to represent the ability to minimize incoming damage such as learning to roll with punches. Bonuses to hit really meant your character wielded weapons more skillfully. Just like in real life the more you do something the more skillful you become and thats why the method of tracking advancement is called "experience points". 
  • ConsuetudoConsuetudo Bolingbrook, ALPosts: 136Member
    I would like an alternative form of advancement. The method proposed is that the player character hardly ever advances himself, but it is the world itself that is advancing--and this is the heart of the game as well, to erect a grand society. As the society improves, each participant improves. Not a selfish, not a capitalistic game, but one that revolves around the entire community itself, where that whole community is only as good as they cohesively cause the society to be. The days of MMORPGs offering entertainment based on the fact that players are able to wander in a virtual world, are over. There is no longer immense enjoyment taken from that when it is so easy to experience it. We now require living worlds, where the game itself is able to be affected and molded based on player and community action. 
  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Originally posted by donpopuki
    Levels as we know them started with pen and paper RPGs, one could argue the concept  was borrowed from academia.

    D&D evolved out of chainmail which evolved out of wargames.  Many wargames have an idea of regular and elite units or conscript/regular/elite.  I'm fairly sure that the idea of levels originally was a generalization of that unit-progression idea.

    Not all pencil-and-paper games had levels.  In fact, a quick poll of my bookshelf shows more games without levels than with levels.

  • iixviiiixiixviiiix GSPosts: 836Member Uncommon

     traditional levels only a way in many ways to raise character's stats.

    You can have 999 levels just for player to raise they stats.

     

    You can enter level 60 dungeon at level 1 , but you can't clean it because you weak and monster can 1 hit you.

    You can wear level 100 plate armor at level 1 but you can't move or do anything because it overweight since you lack of strength.

     

    That's what level mean ,  a way to develop character , not stupid invisible wall tell you "this dungeon for level 60 or higher.

    Or "ding" and many quests/tasks spawn out

     

    it special annoying in current theme park design .

    You can't do same quest as your party because you not have enough level , it not full at all when most of your time solo because there are hardly tasks that keep players together in long time.

     

  • donpopukidonpopuki Dearborn, MIPosts: 591Member
    Originally posted by maplestone
    Originally posted by donpopuki
    Levels as we know them started with pen and paper RPGs, one could argue the concept  was borrowed from academia.

    D&D evolved out of chainmail which evolved out of wargames.  Many wargames have an idea of regular and elite units or conscript/regular/elite.  I'm fairly sure that the idea of levels originally was a generalization of that unit-progression idea.

    Not all pencil-and-paper games had levels.  In fact, a quick poll of my bookshelf shows more games without levels than with levels.

    All ideas are combinations of previous ones. We can play the infinite regression game but I rather stick with the level system in RPGs post D&D as it seems more applicable to the discussion. 

  • jdlamson75jdlamson75 Jacksonville, FLPosts: 985Member Uncommon

    Does it really matter what begat what? 

     

    Presently, I prefer an advancement system without the traditional levels.  Let me level up skills by using the skills.  Maybe after attaining a certain level in certain skills, have an overall level up - kind of like the ES games.  Ever since I played Morrowind (which I just bought again, this time for the pc on Steam), I've favored this type of advancement.  Could be why I jump from game to game so much.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Originally posted by jdlamson75

    Does it really matter what begat what? 

    There's an old saying that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. 

    I do feel that it is important, when considering alternatives to levels, to look back at the vareity of mechancis that have existed in the past and why they became what they have become.

     

  • iridescenceiridescence Elliot Lake, ONPosts: 1,486Member
    Originally posted by picommander
    So OP and some guys here don't seem to know about (e.g.) TSW, can this really be? ;) "Sense of progression" works fine in this game and is done by gear and skill development. "Progression" is done by diversity so you would be able to adjust to certain situations rather than getting "stronger" in the classic absolute sense. I was always wondering how PVP can work at all in MMOs with level systems (unless you restrict PVP to endgame + level cap). I'm fine with levels in single player games though.

    I think leveling or whatever form of progression you have  should make you a little stronger. People like some tangible reward for progressing and "you get some more skills you won't use much or you get some cooler looking gear" [looking at you, GW2]  isn't very satisfying. I like the way EVE does it for PvP. An experienced player won't have much problem beating a noob one on one but a big enough group of noobs getting together will still pose a threat to even the most experienced person. It's like in real life if you imagine an elite soldier vs a raw recruit. Of course the elite soldier is going to be a lot better at fighting but he won't be a hundred or a thousand times stronger.

     

     

  • JJ82JJ82 Chicago, ILPosts: 1,177Member Uncommon

    You guys can argue all you want but Star Wars Galaxies proved an MMORPG does not require levels...

    if you want the genre to break out of its stagnancy then you need to push developers into breaking the tiny box they put themselves into years ago. The way to make them start to think about NEW ways to make games is to break the hold the base game design ideas have over them.

    Levels

    Holy Trinity

    Guiderail content

    Gear progression

    Classes

    All these things are handicapping the genre in a way that should not be as we have seen MMOs without some of each of these, and seen them work.

    "People who tell you you’re awesome are useless. No, dangerous.

    They are worse than useless because you want to believe them. They will defend you against critiques that are valid. They will seduce you into believing you are done learning, or into thinking that your work is better than it actually is." ~Raph Koster
    http://www.raphkoster.com/2013/10/14/on-getting-criticism/

  • killahhkillahh calgary, ABPosts: 437Member
    Originally posted by Nitth

     


    Originally posted by MikePaladin
    mmoRPG without levels would be a joke


    Originally posted by Betaguy

    Originally posted by MikePaladin mmoRPG without levels would be a joke
     This x10

     

    I don't believe that.

    Skill based progression like in UO, TSW or EVE are just as viable as a generic level system.

     

    was still leveling, regardless.

    you got titles depending on your skills

    Gonada Dahung,over 20 years of mmorpg's and counting....Please Lord, let someone make a game that had all the awesomeness of UO, EQ and EVE...

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    Originally posted by killahh
    Originally posted by Nitth

     


    Originally posted by MikePaladin
    mmoRPG without levels would be a joke


    Originally posted by Betaguy

    Originally posted by MikePaladin mmoRPG without levels would be a joke
     This x10

     

    I don't believe that.

    Skill based progression like in UO, TSW or EVE are just as viable as a generic level system.

     

    was still leveling, regardless.

    you got titles depending on your skills

    Eve is not leveling. Someone with millions of skill points would still lose to someone with 100k if they were in the wrong ship or armed with the wrong gear.  Out side of their skill area they are pretty much a "new player"

    In the same example a lvl 80 character armed with a lvl 1 weapon is still going to one shot a lvl 1 character.

    Level based systems key feature is content becomes trivial once you out level it. In a skill based system it can become easy but you never really move in a vertical direction like you do in a level based one, or not as far.

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