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To be clear: No one that I know of is currently making Legend of Zelda into an MMORPG (in case I gave a few fanboys a minor stroke with the title)...
Recently, in reflecting on the idea of a different type of progression system for an MMORPG (Some threads I have seen on here got me thinking about this a lot); I was thinking about games from my childhood that departed from the common 'level up through experience gain' system that is most commonly employed today.
That brought to mind as a prime example "The Legend of Zelda".
For the benefit of those who don't recall the game well (or didn't play it -does that kind of person exist?)...
You didn't really have a level, trekking around as Link. There was a lot of actual skill involved in the combat. As you found heart cases, your health tokens grew in length. Which made it so that you could take more hits. However, this didn't help you much if you were simply bad at avoiding getting hit in the first place. Because, your base resistance to attacks didn't truly change much over the course of the game.
Better gear helped you attack with greater effectiveness and from further away. But, there were no strict ability prerequisites for having or wielding more powerful weapons accept obtaining them. You could even access more difficult areas simply by getting the right tools for the job. And, this didn't require that your character have for instance, a climbing or rafting skill.
All of this...And, I never felt like I wasn't getting better as I went along. What was interesting for me about the system of progression in Zelda, is that it operated under a presumption of excellence; That given the right things at your disposal, you could do far better without technically getting any stronger. And, that the only change in ability necessary to beat it came from practice.
I had plenty of childhood friends that didn't hunt down every single heart case. That only gained a couple incidentally. They rarely had a need to take advantage of the fairies in the game either. Because, they were good enough at actually controlling the character and keeping a situational awareness, that they simply didn't need much more health then they started with. Years down the line this is now known as the 3 Hearts challenge (beat the game with 3 hearts).
Now, to keep it simple, I am speaking strictly in the MMORPG frame of reference here, when I ask these three questions (so things like Minecraft are not what I am asking about here - I view that to be a multi-mode, multi-player, simulator):
- Have you played an MMORPG that uses an exact or very similar system of progression; And if so how did you find the experience and why?
- Would you play an MMORPG with this type of system of progression; And, if not why?
- Any major pros or cons you can see to an MMORPG implementing such a system (either from launch or as a modification to an existing system that already closely resembles it)?