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Reader Comments (29)

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 8:11AM (Unverified) said

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In a word, No.

An aging system to me implies your character has a limited lifespan and some day I would no longer be able to play it.

Besides, what use would I be if I could no longer get my staff up? :)

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 8:19AM Audacious said

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It depends on the scope of the game and to what extent it's implemented. Can you be made young again, somehow? Are there methods to remove scars you gain over time? Are your stats at all impacted by your character's age?

I'd be all for a game that creatively handles an aging system provided the system doesn't shaft older player characters so badly that you start to fear the flow of time for your character the way so many folks do in real life. Though if anything, there should also be a method to regain your character's youth if the player so chooses. We don't want the whole raid discussing their favorite brand of enchanted dentures, do we?

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 8:20AM Dumac said

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There are so many variables that i don't think it's possible to implement. Even if it were possible, I'd like a toggle off option, please.

But facial hair growth sounds awesome.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 8:26AM Exalier said

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What if your character didn't age over time but as you leveled. He starts off as a young level 1 teenager to become a real bloke by the time he hits level cap.

Wouldn't work really for a sandbox game but for a game like WoW it could.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 8:56AM Tom in VA said

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I'd say no; I don't want character aging to be left up to the game.

You should, however, be allowed to "age" your character manually, as you can in LotRO, by visiting a barber shop and making any visual changes you like, like grayer hair or more lines/scars in the face. You can, of course, also make them look younger, if you want.

Character appearance alterations ought to be left up to the player.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 8:58AM Monkey D Luffy said

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Here's what I'd want.

In WoW every talent you add to your talent tree spec would have something that would change your appearance, just small things that would add up into some awesome looking toons.


Example- A Warlock puts points into demonology it gives him a tiny change in look, horns, tail, some wings, demonic looking arm, a black or fel green aura, ect. eventually enough points in that tree would give you one fel of a toon.

Or an Elemental Shaman would have elements showing up on his body, flames or heat coming from his hand, electricity jumping on parts of his body, ect.

You would be able to turn it off or just turn off the ones you don't like through lets say something called "meditation".

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 9:32AM i2hellfire said

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thankfully i'm (un)dead...so i don't age.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 9:34AM Wisdomandlore said

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Aging could work in a game specifically designed around it. When your character dies, he can either be reincarnated or your gameplay transfers to your children. The child or reincarnated version would have a portion of all your skills. It would be a bit strange, but it could work.

I would be much more excited to see one in which your character "grows" to fit the skills and attributes you develop, much like Fable 2. If you choose big weapons and heavy armor, you develop huge muscles. Swordsmen and thieves become lithe. Spellcasters develop auras the color of their chosen element(s). Add in scars (with the ability to remove them). I would love a system like that in a MMO.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 10:38AM (Unverified) said

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Personally, I think a system where player characters "age" over time could make for interesting content, but it has to be implemented in such a way that it doesn't negatively impact the player experience. If you have characters aging, it should be something cool, something that the player can feel good about rather than the feeling of creeping, inevitable death.
In real life, when you're young, aging represents gaining reputation, gaining wisdom and experience, and generally becoming something respected, with rights and privileges that come from being a mature(ish) adult. In real life, when we get older, aging then takes on a rather melancholy tone where we may feel as though life has passed us by, opportunities have escaped us, and we're just sort of grinding on.
It makes for a deep, dark, emotional sensation, but that's neither something fun for a game to have, and just doesn't translate well to the MMO-style of entertainment.

Aging to death in an MMO would be annoying, a nuisance rather than some emotional experience of personal growth and hopefully satisfaction at the end of your life. Since The Sims 3 is a common example of this feature, note that a ton of people play with the intent of keeping "their sim" alive for as long as possible, fending off death eternally using Life Fruit and Ambrosia, or even just turning off the aging entirely.
In an MMO, having a character suffer permanent death at the hands of other players is bad enough, but who wants to play a game where you're guaranteed a permanent death if your character exists for a certain amount of time? Realistic, yes. Immersive, maybe (after all, it's just a character dying, not you. You can make another and all you did was, annoyingly, lose the rewards of your play time). Fun, hell no.

So how to implement aging in a cool way? I forsee a couple of possibilities.
1. Death doesn't really matter.
This is crucial. As in most MMOs, dying should have some minor penalty that comes with it (maybe, if even that) but it shouldn't necessarily be some huge big deal that sets you back in a big way. It's just not fun. People won't want to play a game where getting killed (or god forbid just dying of old age) is a huge burden.
2. Being old is cool.
People feel good when they have reached achievements, personal or artificially generated by the game, so what better way to make being old cool than to let it help the player to feel cool? The first thought that comes to mind is to have characters both age in a cool way, becoming badasses like Nick Fury, Yoda, Captain Picard or Gandalf, and have aging represent an accomplishment. Imagine a game centered around a theme like reincarnation, where your character retains their skills and abilities after death, but returns after dying looking young. Looking like a kid. Looking like a NOOB. Aging to death? Ignore it. Over time, have characters visually age, becoming grizzled veterans the longer they've gone without dying. What better way to prove how much of a badass you are than to walk into PvP maps looking in your 70's and beating the living daylights out of all the teens who constantly get their faces rocked? Sounds absolutely fantastic to me. It works both ways, too, since it will undoubtedly bring on good feelings for people who finally manage to "beat that 90 year old man".
3. MAKE BABIES!
Okay, I don't mean it quite how it sounds, but the other possible way of addressing character aging and death would be to have children represent a continuation of a character. Having a family (ideally with other player characters, since we're talking about an MMO here) would enable a character to die of old age, and their child(ren) may take up the mantle of the parents, handing down legacy gear, skill training, or what have you. This would work ideally in a game where character progression is light, and lineage (no not that lineage) represents more, or might even replaced by getting to higher levels. This might be a challenging prospect for most developers, but I can imagine it working really well with the right setting.

The best part? I think all three of these ideas could combine to make a rather immersive game where death is an important part of a character's (if it's even about single characters) life cycle, spiritual and social themes are embraced, and forming close, friendly relationships with other players is encouraged and useful.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 11:09AM clockwork305 said

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"If you have characters aging, it should be something cool, something that the player can feel good about rather than the feeling of creeping, inevitable death."

Sid Meier's Pirates had an aging system. As your pirate grew older he got slower and less agile in fights, until eventually he was forced to retire. I would call that a creeping, inevitable death.

The aging system really added a lot to the game play though. As a young pirate one played more aggressively and as an older pirate, more tactical. Then one rerolled and tried a different strategy altogether, or perfected older strategies. This forced me to try different things which I wouldn't have tried otherwise, and thus experience the game in more depth. It was also fun. What made it work so well was that the game play was fun throughout, not just a 'grind' to end game. It could work in an MMO (but I want to keep my stuff).
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Posted: Jun 17th 2010 10:56AM Valentina said

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No,

Because in games where your character ages, they age over the span of hours or days in real lifes time.

That also implies your character has a limited life cycle, and you put all this work into something that will be gone relatively soon.

Another reason why I say no, is because you shouldn't have certain things forced on your character, especially in an MMO. You want to look a certain way, or envision a character that's a certain way. The character aging would ruin that for most people.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 11:10AM Lateris said

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Yes.

But in a sandbox game where it would be part of the game play such as a sci fi. You character becomes infected, you age rapidly. You must find a cure or invent a biotech that would cure it. Procedural generated missions\quests could generate not a single scenario that is repeatable. But that would mean innovation. What a dirty dirty word you dirty dirty birds on an epic scale of invention.

I could never see it occur in a game that does not have that game spirit of a sandbox. Growing old is part of life. Embrace it.


Posted: Jun 17th 2010 11:12AM Psychotic Storm said

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No.

would be intresting as a cosmetic option, something you can do in CO for example, but nothing more than that.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 11:29AM Marked said

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The whole "aging" thing in-and-of-itself is fine, but forced appearance change of any kind is NOT going to go over well in an MMO.

Most people don't want something as important as character appearance taken out of their control even if it means adding more depth to a game.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 11:38AM (Unverified) said

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is the aging system was representative in a real life manor, hell even if it ran like every year your account is with the company, on the birthday of that toon (the day you created it) something changed on your character, maybe you start seeing a receding hair line, or some white in your hair, maybe in your beard, you start seeing darker crows feet, your brow wrinkles and mouth wrinkles get darker. This system would also require a lot of different models and a lot of different work, I think if it came onto a game as a mini x-pac, as long as it was robust and really worked and was released as a free mini pac it'd be taken by fans rather well. It wouldn't be something to hold your breath for at release ::cough:: warhammer.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 1:05PM redsolar said

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I don't like the aging part, at least from a Sims 3 perspective. I turned that option off in Sims 3. I wanted to be able to explore everything there was but Sims 3 aged too quickly for me to even have a chance to do so.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 1:08PM yeppers said

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As an altaholic, I'd say YES. Let the characters age, retire to your player housing, die, and pass down weapons/gear to the next generation of characters.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 1:09PM Cendres said

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This is cool but only if the player themselves get to pick when to age. Aging like The Sims (which I've just discovered the joys of..) is too fast and that's the point of that game, do as much or as little as you can or want and watch your character grow up, procreate, die and do it all over again.

In an MMO it's not all about your character, but I think as an option if you could click on something and decide to age and how much that would be fine.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 1:25PM Heraclea said

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If your character is going to age in game, it seems to follow that they will be starting young.

Now, the standard "hero's journey" found in dozens of fantasy novels and games is launched when an young adolescent hero is thrust from the bosom of their family into a darker world of adventure, usually by some kind of violence. That can be made to work, and does work, in single player games --- but in social games? It would involve children (oh no, the children!) being gored by boars and decapitated by orcs. It might be OK for the Big Bad to burn down the family's manor as a key plot point, but getting beat up by street gangs or mauled by Hogger makes the violence of the game world much more routine. The ninnies and handwringers would have a hissy fit.

Posted: Jun 17th 2010 2:15PM (Unverified) said

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you blokes obviously haven't played mabinogi.

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