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Level Progression - Is Zone/Character Scaling the Future?

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  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 36,122
    edited July 2018
    I prefer EVEs skill based progression, which isn't on the poll.

    Still a vertical scaling system, but is capped across the various activites, meaning in a relatively short time a new player can be very close in "power" to a vet of many years in a particular ship type or craft such as mining.

    This makes every single system, from the first one new players start in to the furthest one in null sec or most dangerous worm hole equally viable to all players.

    It also permits me to experience almost unlimited progression (the primary pillar for me in any game) yet despite my 150M plus skill points my characters have from 8 years of training still very killable by a single player of 3 months in the right circumstance.

    I know of no other modern MMOs where this is possible, except perhaps ESO, maybe?

    There is still room for some gated content that new players cannot join (incursion running can't be done in a frigate) and while it's not perfect, it is the sort of system I'd love to try in a modern fantasy game setting.

    The only game with scaling that I might be able to tolerate is likely ESO, because it upscales everyone so they can wander where they will, so I've read.  

    Unfortunately there are other mechanics still in place in ESO I loathed when a I tried it back at launch so I can't really give it another go.

    I have played games such as GW2 and COH and dislike both the downscaling and mentoring systems.

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  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 6,147
    What makes little sense to me is that that level 10 orc archer can one hit you when you're a noob and can pincushion you with arrows without even denting your health when you're level 40. 
    Well... I don't think Orcs in many MMOs are famous for their training regimens ;)

    This is where "monster types" come into play. An orc "named the same" (pawn, centurion, whatever) would make all the sense in the world to me in your example. If an Orc Centurian smeared my face off at level 1 and then an Orc Legionaire was one-shot by me at level 40, my brows would raise questioningly.

    But if I revisit a "starter or lower level zone" and magically lose all my experience, also known as levels, that makes no sense to me. If levels don't matter, or can be negated so easily, why even bother having them?

    For me, leveling has not been very well implemented yet. From what I heard about UO, that skill based system sounded wonderful to me. Otherwise, leveling seems to be some kind abstract thing in a game's world and skills never used before suddenly get better.

    But in the end, I like the "feeling of progression" leveling gives. Being able to go back and one-shot that Orc that killed me early on is satisfying to me and gives that feeling of character progress.
    EronakisScorchien

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
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  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Member RarePosts: 4,411
    edited July 2018
    Ideally you'd have optional scaling, maybe by using the phasing technology used in some MMO's.  But methinks that's too much trouble for game developers and so if given a choice I'd take no scaling.
  • coretex666coretex666 Member EpicPosts: 3,826


    What makes little sense to me is that that level 10 orc archer can one hit you when you're a noob and can pincushion you with arrows without even denting your health when you're level 40.

    Agreed. Orc archer should probably be a higher level mob. At level 10, you should be fighting wild boars or something like that.
  • EronakisEronakis Member UncommonPosts: 2,220
    edited July 2018
    Another point to discuss in a vertical level progression system, is that if there is no value or meaningful gameplay while you level, and the "true" game is at end game, then why are there levels? Blizzard is notorious for this. 

    I just recently read this article and I think it applies to the thread. The author makes good points. I think the author might be pro-scaling. I think a bad game design decision is to have the "real" more intriguing content begin at end game. This should be a process that slowly transitions the player as they level to be prepared for in game content.

    https://www.pcgamer.com/getting-my-friends-into-world-of-warcraft-is-a-nightmare/


  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Member RarePosts: 6,589
    edited July 2018
    I want both or the option to completely turn off experience. I like getting more powerful and being able to beat that mobs butt eventually without working up a sweat. I like vertical progression. I also hate it when I out level the area I'm working on making my current content trivial.

    Swtor failed imo at scaling. You are rediculously overpowered for the area your working on generally before you've done a third of the content. It makes a difference when I'm crafting my gear and can wear gear that is 30 levels higher than the area but may not be able to safely get the materials for the gear. Annoying as hell.
    KyleranAlBQuirky
    Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it is bad.
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,505
    I do not like level scaling....If I want easier I go to a zone that is easier, if I want harder I go to a harder zone...I want it more realistic not matching my level regardless of where I go
    If it's done right (like in ESO) it's still easier in places and harder in others.

    Still, I get that one-shotting things give people a hard-on.
    Then it's still essentially a vertical progression, just flattened and muddied.

    image
  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member LegendaryPosts: 8,966
    Makes going back to the lower zones more worthwhile.  Opened up ESO for me and made exploring other faction areas a lot more fun.  I'd also like to see more off-line leveling in games, especially if I've been through the content eight or more times already.  But till that becomes an option boosts are cool, especially as drops or when buying expansions.
    Jean-Luc_Picard

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  • Jean-Luc_PicardJean-Luc_Picard Member LegendaryPosts: 8,148
    edited July 2018
    I do not like level scaling....If I want easier I go to a zone that is easier, if I want harder I go to a harder zone...I want it more realistic not matching my level regardless of where I go
    If it's done right (like in ESO) it's still easier in places and harder in others.

    Still, I get that one-shotting things give people a hard-on.
    Then it's still essentially a vertical progression, just flattened and muddied.
    Yes, but you aren't forbidden to enter 90% of the world as a newbie because the same wolf that is level 1 in your newbie area will kick your ass in another area. A wolf is a wolf (and then you can have pack alpha wolves which are stronger of course).
    Way more "realistic and immersive" to me.

    Let me give you an example.

    In EQ clones, when you are level 10, you have level 10-14 wolves witch you will have to kill to progress in a few very specific areas. Outside of those areas, you die. And once you reach level 15, you'll move to a 15-19 area. Etc...

    In ESO, you can go anywhere at any level. And you'll be able to handle a wolf. But that alpha wolf will prove quite a challenge to you as a newbie. Later, you'll get better, the alpha wolf will become cake, but you will always have harder mobs to tackle in the same area. You aren't blocked from exploring a specific area just because of your level, which is, to me, silly and anti-immersive.
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  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 12,972
    I do not like level scaling....If I want easier I go to a zone that is easier, if I want harder I go to a harder zone...I want it more realistic not matching my level regardless of where I go
    If it's done right (like in ESO) it's still easier in places and harder in others.

    Still, I get that one-shotting things give people a hard-on.
    Then it's still essentially a vertical progression, just flattened and muddied.
    Yes, but you aren't forbidden to enter 90% of the world as a newbie because the same wolf that is level 1 in your newbie area will kick your ass in another area. A wolf is a wolf (and then you can have pack alpha wolves which are stronger of course).
    Way more "realistic and immersive" to me.
    I just don't see the pings being collected so easily when being chased across the whole world by level one wolves. :)

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  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,505
    I do not like level scaling....If I want easier I go to a zone that is easier, if I want harder I go to a harder zone...I want it more realistic not matching my level regardless of where I go
    If it's done right (like in ESO) it's still easier in places and harder in others.

    Still, I get that one-shotting things give people a hard-on.
    Then it's still essentially a vertical progression, just flattened and muddied.
    Yes, but you aren't forbidden to enter 90% of the world as a newbie because the same wolf that is level 1 in your newbie area will kick your ass in another area. A wolf is a wolf (and then you can have pack alpha wolves which are stronger of course).
    Way more "realistic and immersive" to me.

    Let me give you an example.

    In EQ clones, when you are level 10, you have level 10-14 wolves witch you will have to kill to progress in a few very specific areas. Outside of those areas, you die. And once you reach level 15, you'll move to a 15-19 area. Etc...

    In ESO, you can go anywhere at any level. And you'll be able to handle a wolf. But that alpha wolf will prove quite a challenge to you as a newbie. Later, you'll get better, the alpha wolf will become cake, but you will always have harder mobs to tackle in the same area. You aren't blocked from exploring a specific area just because of your level, which is, to me, silly and anti-immersive.
    I don't disagree that level-locked mobs as you mention are less immersive.

    Someone else mentioned that one of the issues with vertical progression these days is how segregated the mobs are by power level.  I feel, even in a traditional level system, it would be much better to assign wolves a certain power level, as you say, but not segregate mobs strictly by power level.  Powerful trolls live in caves, but that doesn't mean a lowly wolf doesn't live outside the cave in the nearby forest.

    One of the issues with the immersion breaking is also a lack of truly unique character models for each area.  When you reuse the same character models with different colors/skins over and over and over and over and over (think the entirety of Azeroth mainland mobs), it's highly immersion breaking no matter the power system utilized.

    image
  • TheDarkrayneTheDarkrayne Member EpicPosts: 5,297
    I prefer traditional, but I like the content to reflect it. It makes sense that my seasoned warrior can easy kill those wolves he fought all that time ago. Some rag tag bandits, no threat, but experienced assassins make sense as being difficult. If a wolf can stand up to my max level character, it needs to be a BIG wolf... not just a reskin with a higher number in the nameplate.
    Yeah but does it make sense my character can one shot a whole raid because its 4 expansions old?  
    I've never understood why all raids aren't updated to the new max level with every expansion. It can't be that hard to just increase the stat numbers on the mobs in each one and up the iLevel of the rewards.
    I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 14,292
    As long as we're going to have games with extremely granular (as in a whole shit pile of levels to the point where going up one is almost totally meaningless) level-based progression IMO anything designed to reduce that granularity is a good thing.

    The problem is not that scaling undermines levels it's that it's a half-measure built on top of systems that have way too many levels.

    It's just an attempt to minimize how levels spread out game populations way too much and trivialize large parts of the world. In that sense scaling is a very good thing.

    Would there be better ways of doing it? Of course. Becoming more powerful horizontally through play time and experience would be a much better way to do it. 

    Take one of the BDO systems for example. Even though BDO is also mostly about levels and is very traditional that way, the knowledge system about types of mobs you gain by fighting them is a good step in the right direction. It is something that allows you to become more proficient when fighting a type of mob that is level independent. A bit too RNG based for my taste with the way you sometimes want to reset your knowledge for a chance at having the RNG gods give you a better knowledge outcome but the idea behind the system is a good start as a way of becoming more proficient without having it married to levels. 

    ESO as @Jean-Luc_Picard (and grats on gold, bud!) mentioned also does a pretty good job of having different types of mobs just be inherently tougher regardless of them all being the same level. You have trolls, mammoths, giants, etc. that hit harder and have a lot more HP than skeevers, wasps and bandits. That is also a good way to add variety and challenge independent of levels.

    Scaling is not a problem. It's just a half-assed solution to the real problem which is having 100 or more levels.
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  • acidbloodacidblood Member RarePosts: 875
    edited July 2018

    "Is Character/Zone Scaling for Level Progression the formula for MMORPG's moving forward? Should it be?"

    I certainly hope not. And hell NO.

    The ONLY reason levels should even exist in an RPG* is to give a sense of power progression, and level scaling, especially forced scaling such as GW2 does, completely destroys that.

    That said, there are a few exceptions that I think more MMOs should implement:

    1. Scale to party member... basically an option to scale down to the lowest level player in the party (allowing friends to always have the option to play together).
    2. Scale to world event... higher level players should have an option to scale down for a world event if they want to participate (but are otherwise locked out to keep things fair). (see: FFXIV FATEs)
    3. Scale to instance... again, higher level players should have an option to scale down to the level of a private instance. Note: In some cases this should be forced, such as if joining an auto-matched party, or if the instance is 'public' (again, to keep things fair).

    * If you want to have 'always balanced content' then make your progression system horizontal and save everyone the monotony of artificially levelling up (only to have it mean nothing because everything you encounter is always at the same relative level).

    Eronakis
  • Soki123Soki123 Member RarePosts: 2,558
    Nothing wrong with it at all. Would love to see it in all games as I makes leveling so much more diverse. 
    On that note I would like to see more challenge involved in all games that implement this.

  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 7,541
    I do not like level scaling....If I want easier I go to a zone that is easier, if I want harder I go to a harder zone...I want it more realistic not matching my level regardless of where I go
    If it's done right (like in ESO) it's still easier in places and harder in others.

    Still, I get that one-shotting things give people a hard-on.
    But to me ESO is kind of boring...While it scales to my level it is still very easy except for the bosses.
  • centkincentkin Member RarePosts: 1,526
    How about this:  Instances scale.  The world doesn't.  As a primary crafter I LIKE being able to outlevel zones and grab components from those zones with no issue if I need them. 

    Also it causes problems if you specifically need say a level 11 drop(they say decomp into the level of shards you need to craft with while a level 41 drop would decomp into higher level shards that you aren't ready to craft with yet).
  • SlyLoKSlyLoK Member RarePosts: 2,698
    I like traditional but after playing ESO(since beta) with the One Tamriel update.. I really like that scaling system. Always gaining gear , stats , skills throughout.
    Jean-Luc_PicardVermillion_Raventhal
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,176
    Eronakis said:
    Is Character/Zone Scaling for Level Progression the formula for MMORPG's moving forward? Should it be? 
    Unfortunately it seems to be the case recently. And nope, definitely shouldn't be it.
    Eronakis said:
    Does Character/Zone Scaling for Level Progression devalue the essence of leveling?
    Yep, it nullifies it.
    Eronakis said:
    Do you find Character/Zone Scaling to be fun or make the leveling process more boring?
    Not just boring, pointless. I don't play those games, and if one adds it (looking at you, TOR), I just uninstall and never look back again.


    Bear in mind, scaling is just a tool, its actual application makes or breaks the situation - true that most games use it the most stupid way, like your examples stated. There were several topics on scaling before, where it was discussed to the teeth... I'm with options. As you said
    Eronakis said:
    ... scaling system for level progression is an interesting one because it does benefit new players to help them integrate into the game a lot easier. Friends would be more apt to play the MMORPG you're playing if they can transition into it easier....
    Those are valid points. Where the scaled games are missing the mark is the idiotic 'forcing it on everyone' part.
    CoH (and in a bit more rigid implementation CO too) went with the smart, optional way. With that you can have the benefits of helping new players, and friends playing together, without killing off the sense of progression with stupid forced scaling.


    (or, you can also have a level-less design, but that would be a totally different topic...)
  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 4,098
    The funny thing is that players say using the environment for questing is boring.  So no to horizontal progression.  They then turn around and play MMORPG where end game is like 1% of the map.
    Jean-Luc_Picard
  • StoneRosesStoneRoses Member RarePosts: 1,656
    skadad said:
    skadad said:
    I loathe scaling. Ruins immersion for me. I want there to be dangerous places where only the experienced can thrive. Newbie places for the young and unexperienced etc.
    You definitely have that in ESO, despite the level scaling, and it actually improves immersion to me (see previous post).
    Interesting, I stay out of ESO for other reasons ( animation cancelling ) but that sounds good. A MMO with mobs like in the souls-series would be nice aswell on a larger scale. If you are not careful even the basic mobs can rip you apart etc. 
    Fix animation cancelling make more builds viable then I'll gladly give ESO another shot.
    MMORPGs aren't easy, You're just too PRO!
  • SlyLoKSlyLoK Member RarePosts: 2,698
    skadad said:
    skadad said:
    I loathe scaling. Ruins immersion for me. I want there to be dangerous places where only the experienced can thrive. Newbie places for the young and unexperienced etc.
    You definitely have that in ESO, despite the level scaling, and it actually improves immersion to me (see previous post).
    Interesting, I stay out of ESO for other reasons ( animation cancelling ) but that sounds good. A MMO with mobs like in the souls-series would be nice aswell on a larger scale. If you are not careful even the basic mobs can rip you apart etc. 
    Fix animation cancelling make more builds viable then I'll gladly give ESO another shot.
    What is your style of play that doesn't offer enough builds? If you are trying to be a top pvper or a top raider than as with any game there are only a handful of builds that will push that style. Otherwise there are plenty of builds that work for everything else.
    Jean-Luc_Picard
  • AeanderAeander Member LegendaryPosts: 5,689
    Absolutely. Level scaling makes for more realistic progression (just becoming a better fighter doesn't suddenly make you immune to a sword wielded by a rookie). It also increases the scope of viable endgame content by making the entire world viable endgame content.
    Jean-Luc_PicardStoneRoses
  • someforumguysomeforumguy Member RarePosts: 4,063
    edited July 2018
    Skill based scaling please. Anything else makes no sense and used to be just a compromise because hardware was shit compared to now or easier to paper&pen boardgames.
    I am ok with character levels if it means that it is just used as benchmark for skill points to spend (like Skyrim for example).

    Tab based combat was used because it is easier on a server and because boardgames already used this kind of combat, so it was easier to implement.

    And player levels together with a world divided into level brackets was used because it is easier to balance. But this is the worst. It is immersion killing when you have a world that has 'serious problems' in a low level region where you can one shot foes because you earned some levels.
    You one shot this evil dangerous terrorizing goblin boss in a low lvl area and but get killed by a puny boar in some higher lvl area. It is laughable , so bad. Although I would like to see a movie where this happens. (WoW movie could've used this lol)


    TorvalJean-Luc_PicardSteelhelm
  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 6,147
    Aeander said:
    Absolutely. Level scaling makes for more realistic progression (just becoming a better fighter doesn't suddenly make you immune to a sword wielded by a rookie). It also increases the scope of viable endgame content by making the entire world viable endgame content.
    Why not? My veteran status has me better with my shield, my parries, my ripostes. A "rookie" would be lucky if they touched me.This is similar to saying, an Olympic sprinter is not much better than a Junior High School sprinter. Forget the years of training, the concentrated effort put in. They "should be" close to ability?

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR


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