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Reader Comments (63)

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 10:21AM Crsh said

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As long as there's enough content to level with, it doesn't really bother me whether the cap is 50, 100 or 200; most importantly, reaching the level cap has to be worth it.

While games like WoW make leveling relatively meaningless since it's all about end-game (and there's more than enough content to make that a breeze, no need to grind), WAR took a different approach that could've been interesting, but implemented it poorly; the 80 levels of PvP ranks (separate from the 40 levels of XP leveling) feel like a repetitive and mindless excuse for the lack of content.

I like alternative ways to level as well, Eve's endless list of skill books can be daunting at first, but once you get a better understanding how paths work depending on what you want to do, it works very well. Plus you're not limited to a "class", you can train whatever skills you want to fill any role of your choosing.

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 10:24AM J Brad Hicks said

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2.

Honestly, gating content by "level" is and always was a dumb idea. The sooner the MMO industry gets over it, the better.

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 12:41PM Eamil said

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Well, you can hardly blame the MMO genre for that, it's a holdover from the RPGs the genre was derived from. In some cases it even makes sense - if the quests to take you from level 1 to level Maximum tell a continuous story, it wouldn't make sense to let you jump back and forth through the "chapters" as you please, since some of the things you see in the later parts would have been affected by earlier parts.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2010 11:03AM GRT said

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IIRC Anarchy Online had 200 levels. The number of levels doesn't really matter, it's the speed of leveling.

If game A has 50 levels and it takes 200 hours of playing to hit max, and game B has 200 levels and it takes 200 hours of playing to hit max, then probably I'd prefer game B (because new levels generally = new toys).

But if game B has 200 levels and takes 800 hours to hit max, then there better be enough content to keep me marveling at new vistas or learning clever new skills or fighting astonishing new monsters for 800 hours.

The problem I have with skill based systems is everyone ends up learning the same min/max skills. UO suffered from this and I haven't seen anyone address the problem.

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 12:09PM (Unverified) said

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"The problem I have with skill based systems is everyone ends up learning the same min/max skills."

Amen - the problem with skill based games is the difficulty in getting the skill balance just right, where each skill is equally desirable among similar skills, and any combo is a viable character.

The early years of Asheron's Call also had this problem, some skills were so valuable EVERY player took them, or rerolled to take them (life magic, item magic, etc.). Some weapon skill were so superior (dagger, unarmed) others were ignored (mace, staff).

EVE sidesteps this issue by having so many skills and possible "career" types (no official path but many suggest baskets of skills to grab) AND allowing unlimited skill points that are only gated on time spent training. So you can train "everything" in EVE if you play long enough (more accurately, can train enough skills high enough to be functional at the role you want), where other skill based games capped your char out on how many skill points you can assign.

Look at Fallen Earth right now - same thing with respect to melee vs. pistol/rifle. Between taking melee, armor, and dodge, you have like 1 or 2 other skills to level up. Everybody is almost a clone. Now I'll cut that game slack since it is so new, but they'll be rebalancing soon.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2010 11:28AM ultimateq said

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I stand by the idea that levels should be removed. Focus more on skill based game play. Everquest's AA's were fantastic as well.

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 10:52PM wjowski said

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Everquest's AA system was a massive, unfun grind in a game that consisted of nothing but massive, unfun grinds.
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Posted: Jan 17th 2010 2:50AM ultimateq said

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Every game has unfun grinds. WoW included, Massive quests = Grinding.

But that isn't even what I was getting at. I was getting at that it is a good way to progress.

Scrap classes, scrap levels. Let me progress by allocating points into skills.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2010 11:32AM (Unverified) said

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I think the main problem with many MMOs is that they want players to see themselves as mythical heroes with godly skills and legendary items. That's great for single-player games, but I think it just leads to the problems outlined in posts above in MMOs, where people find themselves on a treadmill to the highest level and, when they get there, are again grinding in a small number of dungeons or zones. These high level players become almost completely cut off from the rest of the game community as well unless they play alts, and even then many tend to avoid grouping with new players as it damages their rate of progression.

An alternative, as seen in Planetside, EVE, and certain aspects of other MMOs, is players being differentiated by options (access to certain skills or weapon types) and their own skill level not the characters. This option allows any player to contribute in some way to any content. New players may not have the options that veteran players have, but if they hit an enemy with a sword or gun then that enemy is going to feel it.

I feel the latter style works much better with mass players against mass players (or mass NPCs). The main advantage to mass content, for me, is that the outcome is not as predictable as you often get in the typical heroic-type 'raid' content, where the same recipe will always work with a good team. With mass content you will have much more leeway for the unexpected to happen, or for the developers to add random aspects.

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 11:47AM Infamous Nefarious said

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I've played lots of MMO's and MUDD's in my quest to find something to keep my attention for longer than a week. One of my favorite aspects of gameplay is exploration. I'm in a new world and I wanna see everything there is to see and at my own pace. Level really doesn't matter to me unless there's someplace I want to go and see and i'm just not quite par for the zone. Otherwise? I'm never in any great rush to reach the cap. Granted being at the max level means I can go more places and see more sight, but it's just not a priority to me. It's even less of a priority the further away it is. It's like a far off end to a journey that i'm just taking a casual stroll along, I wanna see and take in as much as can before i get there. Level caps aren't ridiculous. It's the rush and priority some people make reaching those caps that gets ridiculous. What fun is taking the trip if you're not going to enjoy it?

And when I think about my combined levels and toons and alts across every game i've ever played? My level is easily over 9000...... :O

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 11:56AM Valdur said

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I'm more for skill base MMOs because level base MMO are getting dumber and dumber.But unfortunately the devs think that the "ding factor" is what makes people keeping thier subs.

I totally agree with Alisto,le Chat Noir and Venekor

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 12:25PM (Unverified) said

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I prefer skill systems to levels.

Levels generally imply classes in MMO's and they almost always simplistic and combat centric.

It's just easier for a dev team to to bake everything into a level scale and a simple class then an open skill system. Thats all this really comes down too.

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 12:47PM (Unverified) said

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Well, I used to play Forlorn Hope Online, and got to lvl 13000 something. The theoretical cap was 20000, but getting past 16000 was a ridiculous feat, due to exponentially increasing exp. requierements and unscaling xp rewards from monsters....

So...

yeah.

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 12:32PM Cinnamoon said

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"Honestly, gating content by "level" is and always was a dumb idea. The sooner the MMO industry gets over it, the better."

This, absolutely, if the question is "at what level does leveling as a concept hurt the game more than hinder it. The answer is "yes". I wish lateral character development had taken off a bit more (Guild Wars among others).

But if you just mean superficially, then levels over 100 start to seem ridiculous to me. I guess that's AO, AC, etc.

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 12:34PM Tom in VA said

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I thought the level cap of 20 in Guild Wars was a very nice idea.

Level 20 was not too difficult to achieve and, once there, you were pretty much on a "level playing field" with everyone else, attribute-wsie and gear-wise.

GW was a great game that was not about levels, rank, and uber purples that are only accessible by grinding high-end dungeons and raids.

It's a pity there aren't more games designed along those lines.

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 12:47PM Renko said

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I was just about to post the same thing until I saw your post Tom. GW is the only level based game that got it right.
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Posted: Jan 16th 2010 12:59PM (Unverified) said

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Redmoon online used to have a level cap of 5000. Didn't bother me. It's how long it takes to get the max level, not how the level system works.

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 1:03PM Sam not Spam said

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Now, I have no real trouble with levels. I read from an article by a HERO writer describing some of the advantages levels (and classes) have for players and GM's (in this case, developers). But the trick is with level-based RPG's is there is a max and it stays there. Not so with many MMO's and that's frustrating to me.

As a City of Heroes player I don't mind levels so long as there are ways to get around them. The "level-less" content in COH (Rikti invasions, Zombie apoloclypses, giant monsters), zone-levels, as well as the sidekick/exemplar features are good examples. This has allowed the devs to add more content to all parts of the game, which is great! There's no rush to 50, you can play with anybody, and no part of the game is mechanically required to be a ghost town because its irrelevant to 90% of the population (if its a ghost town, its just not a fun area instead :p).

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 1:27PM Pingles said

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As long as the content is defined well enough that I know where I can go to hunt as I progress through the game world who cares?

If you come up with a way other than level-number of mobs where I can progress as I learn more skills then great.

Right now I like the current system. I enjoy working my way to another zone and another lump of new content to explore.

Posted: Jan 16th 2010 1:45PM (Unverified) said

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Level cap get high after 20. Close to ridiculus at 40. Anything beyond that, is simple to high.
Why ? It's simple. How long you can grind xp, xp, xp, xp or something like that which gives you higher level ?

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