Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Can games survive without progression?

mmoguy43mmoguy43 Member UncommonPosts: 2,770
Level up this, XP for that, upgrade, unlock, gear loot, skill up...
Is this all games are anymore. Is this the only way to keep us entertained and invested in games? Is progress a requirement for all games? Does it somehow validate our time spent?
«13

Comments

  • KopogeroKopogero Member UncommonPosts: 1,685
    edited March 2016
    Without progress there is not a permanent world. When players use and lose the things they gain through durability or mistakes that balances the economy. Progress is required for my type of games, without progress might as well play FPS or RTS.

    image

  • kemono55kemono55 Member UncommonPosts: 124
    I guess second life.. ?

    I would also like to point out Never Winter Nights, 
    I know some, also in real life, that spent years on the same character without progression,
    just for the fun of it, Like playing a bar keeper or similar.

    A second thought on the subject,
    I think progression is simply a incentive to keep playing, but doesn't deny nor confirm the fun, or value of time in this case.
  • ZenounetZenounet Member UncommonPosts: 16
    edited March 2016
    @mmoguy43 ;

    Hey man !

    Funnily enough, I was discussing this with a gaming buddy tonight ! We want a cool MMO, but we're tired of the leveling system or tried and true progression that is common in RPGs. Within the RPG framework, you "play the role" of a character and levels/gear/statistical are a way to showcase that your character is growing more powerful. All in all, the player is the brain behind the character, which is another persona of its own.

    However, I think we're all growing more accustomed to "involved" experiences due to the upgrade in technology over the years. Action MMOs are preferred to tab targeting and as such I think players subconsciously view their characters more as avatars of themselves rather than someone they control the life of in a detached manner.

    I think that some form of progression is always expected by players, but it doesn't have to be level/skill progression in a vertical way. Especially in a social setting, players want to have something to show for their time played.

    However, it doesn't have to be used as a vertical progression to gateway the content. Example : in MOBA games like Heroes of the Storm, you have overall a player level based on the experience he got for playing matches, but that experience level doesn't make the player more powerful, it just shows that he has more experience with the game. It's more of a vanity or a vague indicator of the player experience. The MOBA example shows how PvP is better received when you don't have stats ranking the players.

    Moreover, the fact that players in both MOBAs and MMOs are willing to pay for vanity items (mounts, cool looking gear, emotes) with in game money/time and real life currency indicate that non statistical upgrades (which are vanity) is something that players value.

    I'm, and many other players I'm sure, are craving for an MMO with a system where you don't need to level a character to enjoy the full content of the game, and that progression can be both "skill based" (as in the players' reflexes get better the more they play) as well as "knowledge based". An example of the knowledge based progression can be found in Darkest Dungeon : the more I play, the more I learn the mechanics of each enemy, and how they affect my success rate over the course of the run, and how I should deal with them better.

    A game without statistical progression requires another way to look at progression. An MMO with skill and knowledge based progression needs to involve different combat/exploration mechanics to allow the player to feel that he has overcome a challenge, without relying on stats.
    Example (to keep with fantasy tropes) : a lone adventurer enters a city and finds it completely overrun by skeletons. He has used a bow as a weapon of choice as he was mainly adventuring into animal infested forests, but quickly realizes that the skeletons aren't going down to his arrows due to them having no internal organs to be damaged (in universe justification, with game stats we can have a 99% resist damage to edged and piercing weapons on skeletons). As he is slowly starting to get surrounded, and starts to flee panickingly, he becomes trapped within a dead end of the city. As a last resort chance, he throws a vial of holy water that he purchased just in case on the bunched up skeletons, who proceed to quickly melt and allow him to live to fight another day.
    Our adventure leaves the city, confident of having acquired new knowledge that holy water is damaging to skeletons and from now on, he'll always carry what he lovingly refers to as "a holy grenade".

    After this encounter, the player has become a better player, both skills wise and knowledge wise, because he now knows how to deal with skeletons.
    Because of such systems, where different situations require different approaches over a simple stat based damage meter, the game not only emphasizes horizontal diversity but it also allows everyone to experience all the content of the game right off the bat, if they are able to understand and adapt to the various situations.

    It also promotes discovery of the world and the mechanics to enjoy the content, rather than simply : "Oh well, he's 2 levels above me and will probably kick my ass, so better go back to grinding them quests before I enter this area !"
  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Member EpicPosts: 2,380
    There are games that survive without progression, but not many.  People want to feel like they're accomplishing something when they spend their time playing a game.

    Other people, and I believe it's a much smaller segment of gamers, only use the game as a social client.  They aren't interested in playing the game so much as being social and having a fun with people.  Those people don't really care if they get a drop in a raid, and in fact, they may be far more interested in vanity gear than progression gear.
  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 Member UncommonPosts: 2,770
    Hmm.. so for the most part progression has creeped into other genres, beyond RPGs, and for most of them is now permanently attached. Playing something just to play is never better than leaving it with some kind of progress made, it seems.

    @Zenounet

    Excellent insight on various forms of progression!
    I'd say knowledge based progression is definitely one of the most rewarding ways to advance in a non-artificial way. Whereas, skill progression simply just 'happens' as you spend more time mastering your existing knowledge.
  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 43,677
    Hmmm, I think progression is a meaningless illusion in most MMOs, it leads to nothing with any meaning or worth fighting for.


    "True friends stab you in the front." | Oscar Wilde 

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, playing New Worlds atm

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon






  • BlurBlehBlurBleh Member UncommonPosts: 162
    mmoguy43 said:
    Level up this, XP for that, upgrade, unlock, gear loot, skill up...
    Is this all games are anymore. Is this the only way to keep us entertained and invested in games? Is progress a requirement for all games? Does it somehow validate our time spent?
    The whole point of the progression systems in any game is about giving people a sense of achievement.
    As much as people hate to hear it, those who invest significant amounts of time and money in video games are often those who find it difficult to have a sense of achievement in real life. Video games provide a good alternative solution to that problem, allowing people to take pride in something they've done, which is the progressions they've accomplished over time on their virtual personas.

    A video game without progression is one devoid of the essence that makes a game. How else would a person feel accomplished? If it is that difficult to feel accomplished in a game, they rather do something in real life where the problem lies in the first place.
  • QuirhidQuirhid Member UncommonPosts: 6,230
    edited March 2016
    Kyleran said:
    Hmmm, I think progression is a meaningless illusion in most MMOs, it leads to nothing with any meaning or worth fighting for.


    Its all a meaningless illusion. There is no spoon.

    Progression is addictive.

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    The thing is that some kind of progression makes it far easier to retain players a long time. 

    However is personal progression not a must, guilds or realms that progresses also helps retain players. Having a CIV styles MMO where players forward their realm with research, materials and building stuff have a good potential of getting players invested in the game as well.

    I do think that  personal progression is important though, but we might have gotten a bit too focused on that instead of also letting players progress stuff together. It is easier with singleplayer games where players also progress through a specific story, MMOs can't really do that as well but the multiplayer aspect is interesting.

    Now, if group progression is about a huge kingdom, a large spaceship, a small guild fortress or maybe just a little ragtag band of adventurers isn't that important but the players need to feel like their effort matter as well as they see how the project becomes better.

    Having huge gear progression as many MMOs do feels a bit counter productive to me, the kick players get when they get a better piece of gear then the one they have at the moment kinda depends how often they do get upgrades, if all new gear you get will be pointless after 20 minutes of playing it will not really feel that great. The less you get upgrades the better you will feel when you finally get one. You need to time that just right to maximize the kick players get each week.
  • ShaighShaigh Member EpicPosts: 2,142
    In my favorite singleplayer RPG's I don't really care about character progression, I would rather engage myself in the story and all other things that happens, in many ways I find that character progression can become a distraction if handled poorly.

    When playing mmorpg's character progression is a huge deal, it serves as a barrier for what content you can play, both when it comes to level and gear. Most of the repetition in MMORPG's is about character progression.

    I don't find that inserting character progression in all sorts of genres has made those games better.
    Iselin: And the next person who says "but it's a business, they need to make money" can just go fuck yourself.
  • cameltosiscameltosis Member LegendaryPosts: 3,728
    Without progression, all you have is the immediate fun that a game can offer. Sometimes that is enough, but in most cases it isn't. 

    For example, games like Quake 3 Arena, UT etc have no progression, just the immediate fun of the game. They are still actively and still going but average retention rates aren't great. 


    The problem in modern gaming is not progression per-se, but vertical progression. Increasing levels / power / stats gives you the illusion of progression without actually helping you progress. Increased stats doesn't actually change the game or change the way you play (in most cases) so you haven't actually progressed. The only real progression is unlocking new skills / traits etc, which does genuinely improve your character and changes the way the game plays. 


    What we need to see more of is horizontal progression. Rather than the never-ending chase for better stats, replace it with horizontal progression which focuses on customisation / specialisation. That way, your characters can still progress so there is still that sense of achievement, but its not forced on you, its not required and so you can, if you chose, just ignore it and play how you want to play. 
  • GrumpyHobbitGrumpyHobbit Member RarePosts: 1,220
    You can design a game without character progression so that the game also has progression elsewhere. 

    One of the problems I see in MMO character progression is the lack of reason to progress the character over and above gated content. 

    That is why we have level 1 rats, level 10 rats, level 20 rats, level 30 rats, level 40 rats, level 50 rats....Your character can level so you can kill the level 50 rats....but they are still rats.
  • ZenounetZenounet Member UncommonPosts: 16
    @Loke666

    I agree with you regarding the personal progression. I think that a game able to let people set their own goals and giving them the ability to get there, as well as track their progress on the way is a cool trick.

    I'm playing Ark Survival Evolved on hardcore mode (permadeath) with a friend, and our progression is just to discover new stuff and ride dinosaurs. The fact that we're getting there makes the journey more enjoyable.
    There are levels in Ark, but they make sense considering they are their to direct people towards the essential items first rather than the high quality stuff that wouldn't be necessary for survival.
  • heerobyaheerobya Member UncommonPosts: 465
    Well, video games are computer code, computer code requires numbers. Numbers and numbers getting bigger is how the game tells us we are getting better and growing as our characters go on their journey.

    That's really what progression is, a numerical representation of our heroes journey, and it's only represented in numbers because it has to be.

    You can't simply "get better at fighting with a sword" like you would in a story, you have to represent that concept, that notion of "better" with a numerical increase or otherwise change in the world of programming.

    Progression is the narrative concept of growth represented in the numerically based world of programming. That's it.

    Could you do an RPG type game without it? Where the only measure of growth is the individual player's ability to play the game increasing over time? Maybe, it's an interesting concept, used to be the only way things worked in non-RPG games before they started adding progression to everything, but an RPG?

    I'm not sure that would work.

    I mean, if you got a new sword, the only way you'd know it was better than the old one you were using would be to use it, and whether or not it felt like it was better?

    Still, on the back end, there would still be numerical growth or progression simply because coding demands it.

    So to have zero numerical progression, the sword wouldn't matter, only your ability to push the right buttons and move the right way etc. would improve as you play the game more and more.
  • SteelhelmSteelhelm Member UncommonPosts: 332
    Infinite progression might be something that is shared between players, a fluctuation of sorts.

    As a game mechanics it might be something like:
    When a player is not playing his skills drop like in real life. If you don't play tennis your tennis skills diminish. Additionally let's say there are 5 tennis masters in the world, because the world can't hold anymore of them :), but when one of those doesn't play his skill diminishes and some other player might rise up to be a tennis master among the five great tennis masters. This could happen on daily basis, weekly basis or monthly basis etc...
    Talking about games where thousands of players exist simultaneously in a single instance and mechanics related to such games.
  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 32,193
    mmoguy43 said:
    Level up this, XP for that, upgrade, unlock, gear loot, skill up...
    Is this all games are anymore. Is this the only way to keep us entertained and invested in games? Is progress a requirement for all games? Does it somehow validate our time spent?
    I've always enjoyed progression. Whether it was progression in an arcade game where each level got harder (a sort of progression)  and harder or progressing my characters in D&D or Baldur's gate or "whatever".


    Like Skyrim? Need more content? Try my Skyrim mod "Godfred's Tomb." 

    Godfred's Tomb Trailer: https://youtu.be/-nsXGddj_4w


    Original Skyrim: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/109547

    Try the "Special Edition." 'Cause it's "Special." https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/64878/?tab=description

    Serph toze kindly has started a walk-through. https://youtu.be/UIelCK-lldo 
  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    mmoguy43 said:
    Level up this, XP for that, upgrade, unlock, gear loot, skill up...
    Is this all games are anymore. Is this the only way to keep us entertained and invested in games? Is progress a requirement for all games? Does it somehow validate our time spent?
    well people say no way.people say a sandbox needs progression, that a game needs progression.

    but then they say Landmark is good. one of only two sandbox games I am aware of where building has nearly zero purpose.

    I personally think people will like what marketing teams tell them to like, but that is my bias I must carry

    Please do not respond to me, even if I ask you a question, its rhetorical.

    Please do not respond to me

  • ArakaziArakazi Member UncommonPosts: 911
    If a game replaces exploration or narrative with progression then yes.
  • iixviiiixiixviiiix Member RarePosts: 2,256
    edited March 2016
    After all of years of leveling , now i just want to take a gun , go around and shoot some zombies . In MMO , with friends .
  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    edited March 2016

    iixviiiix said:
    After all of years of leveling , now i just want to take a gun , go around and shoot some zombies . In MMO , with friends .
    this sound horrible


    Please do not respond to me, even if I ask you a question, its rhetorical.

    Please do not respond to me

  • iixviiiixiixviiiix Member RarePosts: 2,256
    edited March 2016
    SEANMCAD said:

    iixviiiix said:
    After all of years of leveling , now i just want to take a gun , go around and shoot some zombies . In MMO , with friends .
    this sound horrible


    Well , i feel relax when shoot those moving things , zombie or not .
    It will be better with VR head set mouse arming and dualshock gamepad

    Talk about those things give me a idea about VR shooting game using common smartphone and gamepad . You know , cheap game where you go out to hunt Zombie and keep rank with other . while do some PVP 5vs5 10vs10 or 100vs100
  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    iixviiiix said:
    SEANMCAD said:

    iixviiiix said:
    After all of years of leveling , now i just want to take a gun , go around and shoot some zombies . In MMO , with friends .
    this sound horrible


    Well , i feel relax when shoot those moving things , zombie or not .
    It will be better with VR head set mouse arming and dualshock gamepad

    Talk about those things give me a idea about VR shooting game using common smartphone and gamepad . You know , cheap game where you go out to hunt Zombie and keep rank with other . while do some PVP 5vs5 10vs10 or 100vs100
    I have a very very very high level of confidence that if you experienced other game innovations outside what you are used to you would find yourself very pleased.

    Please do not respond to me, even if I ask you a question, its rhetorical.

    Please do not respond to me

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    I don't understand how people use the VR Headset.  I don't even like to wear glasses when I'm playing games.  I can feel the pressure weighing down on my nose.  I usually don't wear them unless I need to read something that is far away.
  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    Flyte27 said:
    I don't understand how people use the VR Headset.  I don't even like to wear glasses when I'm playing games.  I can feel the pressure weighing down on my nose.  I usually don't wear them unless I need to read something that is far away.
    I wear a motorcycle helment when I ride by bike.

    from what I have been told the new CV feels like a baseball cap. people wear baseball caps dont they?

    Please do not respond to me, even if I ask you a question, its rhetorical.

    Please do not respond to me

  • AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 7,630
    I pretty much need some type of progression. 

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

Sign In or Register to comment.