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Reader Comments (13)

Posted: Oct 7th 2011 7:35PM roberticvs said

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The concept of levels is one of the first things that got me out of MMO rpg gaming. Having come from a background of lots of tabletop rpgs over the years, the idea of levels and logging-in to "get levels" and "leveling up" etc. (along with all the other MMO gaming terminology that evolved as time went on) began to wear on me.

A tabletop rpg has a much richer experience. You and your friends are all about the same level, and gaining a new level was a cause to celebrate simply because you got some new spells or a new feat, etc. MMO rpgs have developed a culture that celebrates levels as a way to feel superior to those around you. In fact, the entire business model of most MMO's is based on chasing that "next level". It's why everyone rapid-clicks through the quest text.

Posted: Oct 7th 2011 7:50PM smartstep said

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Whole concept of "levels" and "levelling" is so outdated.

Really mmorpg's should abandom it finally. It does more bad than good.

Replace it with skill system and/ or stat system.

Or just really anything. There is SO much concepts out there that can replace levelling without all ridiculous downsides levels have.

Worst thing is they make zones and all related content immedietaly worthless as soon as you outlevel it.

It is so big waste and it force so bad game design (usually 80+ % of world area is useless and empty cause people race through it solo , gathering levels as fast as they can).

Throw out 'level system' out of mmorpg's once and for all.

If game developers are really so clueless just get any non D&D p&p system and you will find other system than levels... there are literally dozens of them.

Posted: Oct 7th 2011 8:20PM DarkWalker said

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@smartstep

Levels, including skill levels - as well as other tidbits such as group composition - work out just fine in pen & paper RPGs because there is a living, breathing GM that can adjust the adventure on the fly to make up for any discrepancy or group deficiency.
A player left, and another has taken it's place? The GM can just give the old player's leveled character to the new player, or else boost a new character to be able to play together with the group.
The healer couldn't make it to the game session? Just let the GM control his character, or add an NPC to fill the role hole (my group even has a saying: "player not found, character at the front").

Those things are also not a problem in single player games due to it's solo nature.

They are not really a good match for multiplayer games, though. Levels and group composition requirements segregate the player base, prevents players from playing together. For a game that is meant to bring players together, make them play as a group, such restrictions are fairly stifling.
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Posted: Oct 8th 2011 5:54AM smartstep said

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@DarkWalker

Yeah. That's why I am against levels.

Like you say it segregate playerbase and make content 'old' way much faster than it could.

It was proven in few mmorpg's , that mmorpg can work perfectly fine without level and level based progression just fine.
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 7:59PM DarkWalker said

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STO is even better in explaining it's levels than you give it credit, due to one further tidbit: rising in military rank is not tied with gaining the experience, but with spending it to learn skills. So, from a RP point of view, the character's rank is directly tied to how much effort he has spent learning to actually be a better ship captain.

As for how to solve this inconsistency: eliminate levels. See EVE and TSW. BTW, this - coupled with the fact TSW will feature a kind of free "respecs", by changing which of the skills the character has learned he is currently using - is the main reason I intend to try TSW.

I actually dislike levels in MMOs, and not only for RP reasons. I see their main effect as being the segregation of players. In most MMOs, two players with characters of wildly different levels just can't play together without basically removing all challenge from the game.

Posted: Oct 8th 2011 6:01AM smartstep said

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@DarkWalker

Yeah I would love that more mmorpg's adopt non-level based systems.

System like is used in EVE or UO is good example, but sure there can be other ones made.
TSW looks promising also , shame about their double dipping greed with putting full fledget item shop in p2p game, so I won't play it , but that's a thing for separate discussion.

Good that some new game is trying other approach though.
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Posted: Oct 8th 2011 3:25PM DarkWalker said

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@smartstep

While it still has levels, one other game that might be worth keeping an eye on is GW2.

For small team, competitive PvP (Arenas), level and gear does not matter. All players are increased to max level, with all skills unlocked, and with standard (but recolourable) gear. Players can play with (or against) anyone else, there's nothing in their way.

For open world PvP, while all players will be boosted to max level-equivalent performance, they won't get the other benefits that exist for Arena. Still, much better than most other MMOs - anyone you meet in the field will have enough raw power to kill you, and by the same token you will have the raw power to kill anyone else you meet, making for a way more exciting open world PvP than usually happens in MMOs.

For PvE, levels are still prevalent as a way to prevent players from going too early into advanced maps, but they won't have so big an influence for going back to early zones - going to a zone with a lower max level will reduce the character's power accordingly, do the player can still have some challenge on old maps and instances. Players with higher level characters can go help/play together with their lower level friends without trivializing all the content.
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 8:59PM JuliusSeizure said

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One trend I saw a lot in WoW that I absolutely despised was people saying 'I have X seasons of experience' where X was the numerical value of their character level.

It wasn't just the ridiculousness of say, a 22 year-old human character who supposedly had '80 seasons' under his belt. There was also the dramatic shift in the supposed number of 'seasons' they could have experienced in just days.

Unless Bronze dragons were to blame, perhaps. Dragons muck everything up.

Posted: Oct 7th 2011 9:51PM threetailedfox said

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I can see why it could have RP issues though I've personally never seen a reason for actually saying your level. Personally I keep the levels more abstract, just a way of comparing "overall" power or experience, for example determining who would be the mentor in a master/student sort of relationship. Though if I had to tie it in, it's a lot easier with an outside group doing it.

Games like FFXIV, which ironically is removing physical level, are one it would make sense for. I imagine different monsters being classified as certain threat levels, and your personal level representing your rank in the guild. Which also explains why you get less experience as you level up for the same monsters, as your rank goes up you get fewer points for beating lower level threats. Of course if you aren't part of such a guild, it gets a bit more complicated as to who could be recording this. It makes me think of the PWAB from Guilty Gear, who monitor and arbitrarily rank everything that could be a threat or asset. Actually there's some potential there. Some evil organization using character's levels against them, someone should seriously do that.

Posted: Oct 7th 2011 11:13PM Space Cobra said

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I tend to either RP as my character gains levels/ranks and learns from them (like a progressive story) or I don't pay too much attention to it and kinda ignore it.

With Star Trek, one has the option of choosing your own rank (that shows up in the titles near your name). So, even though some missions and ships are geared for Admirals, you can sorta ignore that and just say you have connections or were rewarded for a job well done as you stay in your "Captain" title, but pick up an Admiral-rank ship.

I also go can go by ineptitude of a kind. Security Levels in CoH can be a vague concept in that one can achieve something like "Top Security clearance (insert whatever level) and gained it either through "heart" or just being better at being clumsy (the classic cartoon hero, like Hong Kong Phooey or Dino-Mutt. Hong Kong Phooey ultimately brought in the bad guys, although he'd mess up, but luck was on his side. Dino-Mutt got in because of Blue Falcon).

Again, it's basically creatively thinking it out beforehand (or sometime later) and figuring out how you can deal with the system to the benefit of a story. Sometimes, there are even stories/concepts within such "levels", some of which I touched upon.

Posted: Oct 8th 2011 6:41AM blackcat7k said

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I think MMORPGs should divorce leveling from skill/power gain. The level should represent the difficulty level that the player has achieved through completing tasks in the game world.

However one of the aspects of a change like this should be that the players should be able lose levels and that their are not many levels to begin with. Probably around 10 or so levels.

The player's access to new armor and gear should be based on the level much the same higher specialist roles in military gain access to to more specialized weaponry. In many of these game worlds the player is part of a military/mercenary body.

After you've proved yourself at being successful in tasks with low level gear/powers/skills then higher level gear/powers/skills become available to you, but not just because you've kill 500 enemies. Completing the tasks given to you are the determining factor. Quality not quantity, something missing in a lot of leveling systems these days.

Posted: Oct 8th 2011 6:54PM deadborder said

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In my experience, those who say that "level/rank/gear/whatever" doesn't matter for RP are usually horrible god-modders who want everything to go exactly as thery want it and can't stand the thought of their character losing or being in an "inferior" position.

While yes it's not a concept that can be immeditately applied and translated in-world, level provides a guide to a character's degree of experience, rank, knowledge and so forth that can easily be integrated into RP.

Posted: Oct 10th 2011 1:11AM champagon said

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I believe that SWG had the whole RPG element down rather perfectly. There were no levels before the NGE. just skills, and no one could "inspect" your character to see exactly what you were, there were no limitations to what you could be either (ever see a master dancer pull a flamethrower on you???) the one BIG downside to this system was that there was no real dungeon crawling aside from PVP

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