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Reader Comments (22)

Posted: Dec 1st 2011 9:18AM Kalex716 said

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I don't think its the "leveling" thats the problem.

But the way and the why we expect to do them in MMO's is getting tired.

Personally, I don't want to play another MMO with a quest hub, fetch and kill missions, and marks that are generated on my minimap for me anymore. Developers need to find another core compulsion loop again because that crap is a road i've been down over and over and over again already.

Posted: Dec 1st 2011 1:56PM Beltyra said

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@Kalex716 Like what? Tell people what you LIKE to do, or what you would WANT to do. Not just making useless passive comments about how bland something is.

Chefs say "Ya know what this needs? A bay leaf." not "Man this soup sucks. Oh well, serve it anyway." And customers don't say "Ugh, these fries are bland. Oh well, I'll eat them anyway." NO! They say "pass me some mother fkin' ketchup!"
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Posted: Dec 1st 2011 4:47PM Kalex716 said

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@Beltyra

Well, I didn't really think this was a design discussion.

I was just throwing my hat into the "old and busted" side of the coin.

But since you asked lets play along.... Lets design a new type of leveling feature I haven't yet seen before, and I'm going to call it community/class leveling as thats the basic premise of our hook.

My hypothetical game, has no specific classes, it does however have a bunch of archetypes we know and love and can expect, we won't break much of a convention here, lets just say we start with:

Rogue, Warrior, Mage, Healer.

Our game has a pretty traditional way of a new player working these classes, gaining the required feel for how our over all game plays by doing quests and interacting in the world the way we can kinda expect it to now, but at some point (and I'm going to avoid the word end game here) you finish your arch of your generic respective class and have to now either become your own "rogue" or join up with others in a sort of "school" lets say.

In this player created school, you get together and name it, and come up with your rules for applying, almost like a clan, but you all have a collective goal now as a school to tweak and progress your respective class the way you see fit collectively. What I'm talking about are subtle differences, but over time, and in interesting ways can really differentiate yourself from other Rogues out there. Imagine a particular type of dash skill, all rogues have right, but through this community style leveling, your school of Rogues may all agree that they want the .5 second stun on the end of the dash, rather than a shorter cooldown, or have it use less ability power, or have a shorter charge up time, or make it charge a bit further than the others. The point is, its a choice thats made together, hopefully with a more collective design goal by your community and it will cause people to interact together as a team more, its almost like marying a leveling system with a guild system.

So having an identity and working towards it with other people in the game creates a real sense of community. Will you be just a solo Rogue school, you only use by yourself cause you hate working with others? Will you want to invite anybody along, will you share your secrets with the rogue community at large, or hold your secrets close? Are you focusing more on PVP skills or raiding skills? Will you host it more like a guild, or is your class just a place for people to get together as a means to an end? You're going to want crafting guys, grinding guys, math guys, all to be involved so that what they bring to the table helps the over all goals of your rogue school. All these things are interesting mechanics that don't really exist right now in the current class paradigms.

Now whats this have to do with quests since that was my original gripe right Beltyra? Well, instead of people just doing quests because an NPC in the environment stiumlates it, what our game does is have your special little unique community of rogues now generate this stuff for you. To progress and improve and continue to evolve and develop your class you have to do things in the game to pay your dues and what not. Win x amount of pvp matches, or even place x in a tournament. Defeat particular bosses, acquire particular types of loot, crafting goals as well... All these traditional driving systems can be leveraged by your class to be required in varying capacities so that you're doing these things for a purpose.

Our game can have guild systems too, and that additionally creates new backs and forths with this style of a class/leveling system. WIll your guild have its own classes you MUST join, or will they allow you to do what you want. Maybe the guild system has some of these features as well like for reistances etc..

Really trying to stay high level witht his, and obviously i've gone on too long now, but consider this your side of ketchup. Now if someone asks our game what types of classes and leveling we have? We have a much more interesting answer don't we?

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Posted: Dec 1st 2011 11:31PM RedWolf said

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@Beltyra

I do like not having levels, like in Ultima Online and the original SWG. The whole concept of a "level" of a character is unnatural in MMOs and has unfortunately been popularized by EQ and WoW. Having skills that improve when you use them is much better IMO. It also mean the game IS the endgame - you can fill a role as soon as you feel up to it, not when you reach a magic level number. It also means that when you bring out new content, old content doesn't just become instantly redundant. There is a lot of benefit to doing away with levels.

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Posted: Dec 1st 2011 9:34AM Zydin said

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Back when MMO's were still pretty new, leveling WAS the game. It sucks nowadays that everyone rushes to endgame just so they can "play the game". Sadly enough I even find myself doing it.

Personally I'd like to see a game where levels take quite a bit longer to get, and there's real penalties when you die like exp loss, or looting, but there's actual content to get into, and not just sit around and grind Mistmoore or lower guk until your eyes pop.

It's sad to see how much WoW has coddled the players in this regard, and now every AAA title feels it must have the same structure in order to compete.

Posted: Dec 1st 2011 1:58PM Beltyra said

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@Zydin I think this is why SWTOR is getting such push-back. If you rush to get to end-game you missed half the game you were supposed to be playing. It's a game that you take your character down paths and there just happen to be levels attached to those paths, which will make everyone roll half a dozen alts...
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Posted: Dec 1st 2011 2:12PM (Unverified) said

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@Zydin

when mmo's are new leveling is the game, however that changes in a few months into the game when most of the player base is at the level cap, then it's a game of catch up.

experience lost after a death is just wrong, after losing 10% experience and skill points to a lag spike I would no longer play another game with that mechanic, but if that's your cup of teaI wouldn't stop you from playing either =P.

the reason wow has "coddled" players is that it is daunting for players new to the game and alts to catch up, the sad part is that other games don't realize that and try to emulate it from the beginning.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2011 9:40AM FrostPaw said

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I think these days you have to give more carrots, people won't level as a side benefit of having fun, now it is the reason to play a game. By making leveling faster and more rewarding people have fun now.

I don't see anybody comming up with a method of progression that doesn't have leveling, this includes games that claim no levels and then puts in ranked progression instead, levels by another name are still levels. People want a way to measure success and levels are that benchmark regardless of what you call them.

Posted: Dec 1st 2011 2:02PM Beltyra said

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@FrostPaw
It's funny to read this sort of feedback in the MMO realm since more and more games are now including levels and it makes them more amazing. Borderlands, Call of Duty/Modern Warfare/Battlefield, heck, even the new Zelda has "leveling up".
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Posted: Dec 1st 2011 9:46AM Dunraven said

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I think leveling is pretty 1980's but no developer is brave enough to go in a different direction. I would like to see a MMo where you progressed in the adventure you were having in a Macro and micro level without attaching numbers to any aspect of your character,,,but the moment you do that the Min/Maxers will start crying like a jilted prom date as only Min/Maxers can.

Right now Bioware has TOR's combat log tunred off and there is a great demand in the community to keep it that way because many people are tired of mmo's being reduced to spreadsheets.

I think there is an argument for it and I think a metric shit ton of people are way past being ready.

Posted: Dec 1st 2011 9:54AM Yellowdancer said

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@Dunraven

I donno. Funcom and SOE try to go outside the box...Anytime they do, people yell at them for being different and not coming through with all of their promises. Its hard to convince a publisher you want to do something different from the game that has 10 million subscribers.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2011 10:30AM ArcherAvatar said

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@Yellowdancer
Fair enough, however, UNTIL you do something different from a game that has 10 million subscribers you will NOT be able to attract said subscribers to a "new" experience.

Fortune favors the brave. (Tell that to the people with the fortunes.)
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Posted: Dec 1st 2011 2:06PM Beltyra said

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@Dunraven
CCP/EVE Online?

And min/maxers have nothing to do with it. Levels are there so the guy who has been playing the game for 6 months has something to show for it over the guy who just logged in. There's also joy in the journey, customization, and immersion factors.

I suck at games when I start them since I haven't learned all the ability names and rotations. I'm still getting used to things etc, hence I'm level 1. Someone who has all the rough edges smoothed out in their actual ability to play the game happens to be higher level than me, and it fits.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2011 10:15AM Space Cobra said

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Re : Fire Drills in Bavaria

I've done this in the past in varying degrees and for various purposes. Not in directing folks directly, mind you, but for other reasons I won't get into here. Let's just say my curious/exploratory nature extends outside the MMO world. It can be tricky and you have to adapt fast. It's a weird mixture I won't get into that can work at times. I won't get into it until I am old and finally decide to write a book on it!

Posted: Dec 1st 2011 11:25AM madcartoonist said

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I'm not big on leveling, I only care about enjoying the content. If I could have access to every quest chain all at once and enjoyed them all then that would be fine with me. The risk of course is that players would just blast through the content and then leave the game due to nothing to do. This also requires quests/instances/raids to be of high quality or else you wouldn't be enjoying your time. One of my friends I play with always wants to do the quests that are worth the most XP and skips over the text half the time to power level. I would rather just feel fully emerged in the game's world.

Posted: Dec 1st 2011 2:09PM Beltyra said

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@madcartoonist
I think there is just a way to look at leveling. You are doing those quests because its the quest chain(or story chain) and its part of your arch. Levels are just the side benefit reward from playing the game the Devs wrote.
Not, Im now X level so I do X quests to become Y level.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2011 12:25PM Unverfied B said

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You realize that you just made humanity loose many millions of productive work hours by linking tvtropes on this site, right? :P

Posted: Dec 1st 2011 1:08PM Mikx said

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Lets do away with leveling and just have achievements. We can have achievements ding during play, like "You've reached level 10!" followed a few minutes later by "You've reached level 5!"

Totally random achievements that reward and give a sense of progress. It doesn't matter that the numbers go backwards, repeat or jump around because there are no levels.

Posted: Dec 1st 2011 4:43PM Yoh said

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Has leveling out stayed thier welcome?
Absol-funking-outely they have!

Like all things, levels are a tool, and certain tools have certain uses.
Things they are good at, and things they are bad at.

Levels traditionally, we're used in RPG's which actually had stories to tell.
They are very good at driving a story and keep the players where they need to be, and make them feel like they are making progress.
Which in story based games, is usually the case.


MMO's however have bastardize levels, using it instead as a trick to fool people into thinking they are making more progress then they actually are, and drag out the experience as much as humanly possible.
So much so, that levels now are they game, they are the point, which is pretty funking pointless, and terribly lazy game design.

Like potato chips, they go down easy, but they don't really fill you. Nor are they nourishing. It's junk food.


I'm still waiting for developers to either grow a pair, or rub two brain cells together and try something different. and commit to it.
I hope GW2 will at least be a step in the right direction. (baby steps)

Posted: Dec 1st 2011 6:03PM Barri said

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Leveling used to mean something before but now its just a way to get more quests or access to new ares/equipment its silly really.

Also just cause something has a form of progress does not make it leveling. I don't think me jumping would be considered flying just cause I'm in air... If you don't want to move forward then just dont' do anything if any form of progress is leveling.

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