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Item Level - A Detriment or a Benefit?

EronakisEronakis Member UncommonPosts: 2,220
Going to keep this simple. Do you believe the Item Level system is a Detriment or a Benefit for a healthy mmorpg? Why or Why Not?


*My Answer*
I always try to view both sides of the coin persay when considering systems and mechanics of why the designer thought something would be effective or fun.


*The Pro*
- Item Level can be a benefit to help track players progression in order to get them flagged for specific content.


*The Cons*
- A lot of the times a high Item Level doesn't equate to being a good player.

- Players care more about your item level rather than you being a good player. Good players can not get invited to groups because they were stuck with a bad group. Increases toxicity of community.

- Content becomes more about a who has a high item level rather than about survivibility.

- It causes one dimensional gameplay and puts too much focus on gear dependency.


As of now, that's what I can think of, so my stance is it's more of a Detriment than a Benefit. What do you all think? Is there an alternative you'd prefer?

Item Level
  1. Is Item Level a Detriment or a Benefit?7 votes
    1. Item Level is a Detriment
      71.43%
    2. Item Level is a Benefit
      28.57%

Comments

  • Viper482Viper482 Member EpicPosts: 3,051
    Hate everything about it. Lazy way to continue vertical progression at end game. 
    AlBQuirkyEronakis
    Make MMORPG's Great Again!
  • btdtbtdt Member RarePosts: 523
    Item level is an artificial inflation of one's power through the acquisition of gear.  Meaning an idiot with a piece of gear with stats (or item level of X) is innately more powerful than someone without it.

    It doesn't prove that you have more skill.  It doesn't prove that you have more experience.  It just proves you shop at MACY's.  And in a game environment, it's like cheating without the negative association of the term.

    Player outgears content... they trivialize it.  Player outgears another player... they trivialize them.

    If YOU, the PLAYER, were really ALL THAT, you wouldn't need such a crutch.  

    Remember, you didn't have all BiS when you first entered a dungeon and yet you did in fact conquer it, eventually.  Now that you are all BiS, you can steamroll it while AFK on youtube.  Are you better now or just lazier now?  Lazier.

    Gear is just a carrot on a stick to make your epeen grow.  Reality is, it never makes you a better player... just a bigger dick.
    AlBQuirkyiixviiiixEronakis
  • ShaighShaigh Member RarePosts: 2,056
    edited July 2019
    Item level existed in vanilla wow from day one but it wasn't until gear was stream lined that people started caring about item level.

    The point of streamlining gear is to make it easier for players to figure out if that new item is better than what they already have. It also make it easier for developers so that they don't accidentally drop something really powerful early on. You also get a more obvious gear progression in your endgame.

    The detriment is the attitude of random players.

    I prefer streamlining of gear compared to the randomized gear that exists in diablo-clones. Its because I would rather spend as little time as possible figuring out if the gear is better and more time playing the game.
    AlBQuirky
    The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
  • anemoanemo Member RarePosts: 1,887
    I couldn't see FFXIV without.   Gear choice is so brain dead, and "scheduled" that I don't even bother to look at any stat except Item Level.

    Though in other games where itemization matters, it does a good job at revealing how stupid the concept is.  An example of this is EVE, where even the best items aren't necessarily "Strictly Better" for your situation. 


    Basically if your game has an "Item Level" and it matters, the game is almost certainly going to be about some kind of scheduled achievement path...   Rather than embracing some of the more interesting parts of an RPG, in making your character.   Followed by tossing that character at whatever situation the DM/Dev cooked up.
    AlBQuirkyEronakis

    Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

    "At one point technology meant making tech that could get to the moon, now it means making tech that could get you a taxi."

  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 7,079
    So what's the alternative? I see the same toxic community aspect in games like Guild Wars 2 which people use your Achievements instead of Itemscore. Still same toxicity. Again what's your solution 
    AlBQuirky

    image

  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 7,079
    btdt said:
    Item level is an artificial inflation of one's power through the acquisition of gear.  Meaning an idiot with a piece of gear with stats (or item level of X) is innately more powerful than someone without it.

    It doesn't prove that you have more skill.  It doesn't prove that you have more experience.  It just proves you shop at MACY's.  And in a game environment, it's like cheating without the negative association of the term.

    Player outgears content... they trivialize it.  Player outgears another player... they trivialize them.

    If YOU, the PLAYER, were really ALL THAT, you wouldn't need such a crutch.  

    Remember, you didn't have all BiS when you first entered a dungeon and yet you did in fact conquer it, eventually.  Now that you are all BiS, you can steamroll it while AFK on youtube.  Are you better now or just lazier now?  Lazier.

    Gear is just a carrot on a stick to make your epeen grow.  Reality is, it never makes you a better player... just a bigger dick.
    The way you looking at this is very flawed. People min and max. That's how everything works. Those same toxic people want the best possible and most smooth approach to the content that they see before them. In this case, the better the gear the smoother the ride. This same thing happens in games without gear power. The better the class the smoother the ride. GW2 Dungeons in Vanilla GW2 saw this a lot. Also over time people started using your Achievement points instead of Item Score. People want the best smooth run of content and they will always find a way to grade players by their potential in that Min/Max index. Simple as that. You tell us what the solution is to this. 

    image

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 6,105
    edited July 2019
    It really depends.

    Items with level restrictions usually just add to players abilities that really don't need it. They're already at a good level with good abilities.

    Yet giving an item with "super powers" to a low level player is "twinking", a method used in old MMORGs where a player with a high level avatar gives their low level alt all their out-leveled gear, making their low level alt more powerful.

    I guess it comes down to what any specific MMO wants to happen. If it is a "one avatar can do everything", leveling gear is kind of pointless, as alts will not be as popular. If it is designed around differences (making alts more viable), item leveling makes sense.

    - 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


  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 7,470
    Never liked item levels at all. especially if it meant you couldn't wield it or wear it because it was too high a level.
  • NorseGodNorseGod Member EpicPosts: 2,634
    Yes and no.

    I hate the gear treadmill.

    But I like having bad players blocked from joining endgame content that they shouldn't be doing. Poorly equipped players can screw over the rest of the team.

    Not sure how many times a group had trouble beating a dungeon, inspect gear, and find some selfish jerk wearing starter gear and even missing item slots. You can tell he was carried to max lvl. I'm not here to carry people. I also don't want to waste my time trying to overcome a dps boss mechanic, with a leech not pulling their weight. So they get kicked.
    To talk about games without the censorship, check out https://www.reddit.com/r/MMORPG/
  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,738
    Items don't need statistics that detract (penalty) or augment (bonus) the character's statistics.  All that does is take the emphasis away from the character.  I'm very much in favor of the man being the most important thing, not the equipment.  One sword is the same as any other sword of the same type; the person using it determines the lethal aspects of the weapon.  Leveling an item is a form of progression that supplements the character development, while also subverting the importance of the character.  While it can be done well, it wouldn't be my first choice to include in a combat simulation or abstraction.



    AlBQuirky

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • AkulasAkulas Member RarePosts: 2,638
    I'd rather levels than ilvls with the appropriate gear to match
    Eronakis

    This isn't a signature, you just think it is.

  • TheDarkrayneTheDarkrayne Member EpicPosts: 5,297
    All games with statistical loot have an item level, even if they don't show it. Item level does nothing, it's just a indicator of what tier of loot you have... the stats of the gear are still what matters. Even classic RPGs like the original Might and Magic and Ultima series have loot tiers... as does pen and paper D&D. It's not lazy, it's what the RPG genre 'is'.

    There's some games that do increase your overall power based on item level but in that situation Item Level has become a stat in it's own right, just like +Strength would be. It's not the same kind of iLevel.

    Use of iLevel so that others can see how good your gear is, is just a QoL feature to me.. you've been able to inspect other player's characters since the early days of MMOs. An iLevel just serves as a summary and saves time, nothing else. The function has always been there, it just took longer to look at every piece of gear when you inspected someone.

    Gating content by using item level is another matter and something I dislike. But, that's an issue with gating, not with item level.
    AlBQuirkyWaan
    I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
  • EronakisEronakis Member UncommonPosts: 2,220
    So what's the alternative? I see the same toxic community aspect in games like Guild Wars 2 which people use your Achievements instead of Itemscore. Still same toxicity. Again what's your solution 
    That's a good point. This also reflects on the new Raider.io score for m+ in WoW. Tracking all of these things or even making them known in charts is what creates toxicity. Players think because you don't have a high ilvl, less achievements than them or a high raider.io score, don't realize that some players just don't do the content, or don't do it as frequently. Simply find bad groups. 

    Personally, I believe the alternative is to not even have an ilvl or gearscore. Gear dependency is a massive crutch in todays mmorpgs. Gear should still be a major attribute to the gameplay but shouldn't necessarily negate a player to do content. What should matter is if you can survive as a group. 

    In Everquest, the tracking was your server reputation. I was known as a Wizard puller who could make great effective and efficient groups with little wiping. Some with lesser gear than others can still perform on par because they had great player awareness and comprehended their class well. 

    I honestly don't think there is a need to track item level, or have a gear score. I kind of like the idea of Achievements. I think in games like WoW and Gw2, Achievements are just things you do. If you really think about it, they're not really achievements. Some are for sure. I think if you incorporate Achievements in game, the list should be rather small and be challenging to get. Not just "I found this battle pet" etc. 

    I wish mmo's would start veering away from the lobby game centric systems such as these discussed.
  • EronakisEronakis Member UncommonPosts: 2,220
    edited July 2019
    I agree. If the mmo has 50 total levels. There should be a level range of gear. That would depend on the type of content the player encounters during those levels. 

    To make it simple...

    Perhaps something like...

    Level 1-15 = Low Quality Gear
    Level 16-35 = Medium Quality Gear
    Level 36-50 = High Quality Gear

    or

    Level 1-10
    Level 11-20
    Level 21-30
    Level 31-40
    Level 41-50
    End Game Gear

    Have different level ranges like that where you can progress your gear in. Different gear brackets. 


  • centkincentkin Member RarePosts: 1,526
    So what's the alternative? I see the same toxic community aspect in games like Guild Wars 2 which people use your Achievements instead of Itemscore. Still same toxicity. Again what's your solution 

    The alternative is to have several different kinds of viable gear throughout instead of a nailed down progression.  In the everquest of old, and the lower levels of a fair number of games, you have the ability to focus on different areas of your character through gear. 

    This struck me hard in Rift.  I built a character with exceptional pre-progression gear and when it was required to use the progression gear through a specific stat that forced the use of such, my character became far weaker.  That was one of several reasons I left the game.

    AlBQuirky
  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 17,517
    Item level has become my biggest peeve,a VERY lazy design and one that also makes NO sense at all towards immersion.
    Levels in general have always been treated terribly in games,a simple way to handcuff progression because devs were too lazy to implement anything with plausible realism.

    I look at the analogy being similar to a young boy goes to buy a new hockey stick.He stares at the sticks but can't use the ones on the right,his level of hockey is not yet that high.That is NOT how it works with plausible realism,we choose whatever we want and can use whatever we want.

    There is a way to do it properly via SKILL,your skill with that particular type of weapon,LEVELS is in a way similar,it is just a number but the wording is really bad and levels pertain to an overall number instead of a skill in one area.

    Another analogy is say you are 75 years old,a vet,you have learned a lot over the years,Well the eway games do it is they are saying you are AUTOMATICALLY skilled with an Axe even if you have NEVER used one in your entire 75 years and that is just an improper way to design a game system.

    To sum it up...

    1 Individual skills rules over your entire level.
    Quit being lazy,make items for AL levels and several choices,you are designing a game world,immersion,do it right or stop making  mmorpg's.
    Mendel

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 7,079
    Vanilla Wow had keys to unlocking content. People hated it. 

    image

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