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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    1,088

    Game Mechanic Class: My Input.

    Hello everyone, I just wanted to give some feedback on the last meeting posted since I had to run before the end of it. I feel that you guys are warranted some feedback due to the great stuff you have been teaching us so I hope my comments at least help or give another confirmation of what players like/dislike.

    Skills vs Level vs Marshmallows vs Whatever:
    My initial thoughts about the discussion and how it was bouncing back and fourth is due to both sides view of the "player". As mentioned by Zak and others many times, you can not build the one MMO to rule them all (In other words you can't cater to every player in the world. You can try to provide fun aspects for everyone but in the end a large part of the game-play is going to deal with a particular system.)

    I *think* Zak wants to try and achieve a system that can sum up a characters progression through the game with a number or a relatively small set of numbers which would basically be a "level". I am partially indifferent on this as long as a level 55 isn't always better than a level 50. I know that statement sounds somewhat counter intuitive but in my project I handle things in a hybrid fashion which prevents this form always being the case. An example of my system or something I would like to see in other systems:

    Scenario One:

    Lets say a "Warrior" in my game needs certain skills to progress to his next "level". The skills he needs to progress would be some sort of weapon skill, armor skill, and multiple opponent skill. Once these skills "level-up" 3 times each he is eligible to go back to his "trainer" and get some type of reward along with points to pick new attacks, abilities, whatever.
    Zak is now a glorified Level 2 Warrior!

    Scenario Two:

    The warrior decides he doesn't feel like training multiple opponent skill right now and he is going to go off and practice his weapon and armor ranks until he is bored. The skills itself doesn't have a "cap" so Derek the Warrior can sit there and chop up rats all day until his skill in weapon and armor is level 20 but his multiple opponent skill is 0.

    The Battle! HUZZAH!
    Zak the Warrior is walking around showing off his Level as a badge of pride when he see's Derek who is ignoring him. Derek explains that levels mean nothing to him, it is skill and the person which makes a Warrior. Zak gets upset and challenges him to a duel thinking "Hey I am a Level higher, I clearly got the advantage".... Little does Zak know Derek had been chopping rats all day and has Zak beat by a few ranks on his armor and weapon skills.

    Now a number of outcomes could happen depending on how well the game is designed, who has the better luck, and who is most skilled. Say Zak got an ability for leveling up that lets him get a guarantee critical hit when he swings his next attack. This blow alone is going to send Derek sprawling and most likely hurting him badly. After Zak's critical ability is used it is now on cool down and Derek has the upper hand when it comes to pure rank. The two battle it out for a while, Zak landing a few blows but dealing less damage than Derek due to Dereks armor skill and what not but Zak has his critical ability coming back around but they are both so low life it is anyone's game....

    Maybe they both die, Zak wins, or Derek wins... In the end it was a good exchange, everyone left with an exciting experience and Zak and Derek learn the value of "Levels" AND "Skills".

    Conclusion

    I know Jason said that there was an armor plug-in someone made and that it ruined raids for some people because it calculated "Skill" and "Gear" and put it into a point value. Don't worry about guys writing plug-ins or what others have done(to a point, obviously learn from it). If your system is bad because someone wrote a plug-in then there was a fundamental flaw in the design. In WoW's case, if they didn't allow people to "inspect" others to see their gear or skills then that gear plug-in could have never been made. I am not saying that is the fix but it's just something to think about because in the end you are going to have all types of players. Me and my friends leveled up and got all epic gear in WoW and we never used one plug-in. Mainly because I don't feel like spending time to research the best plug-in, or technique, ect. There will be players that will want to and players that won't... Just pick which of those player you guys are going to target and try to accommodate the others as best as you can.

    Hope this made sense or helped generate some ideas.. I wrote it kinda fast since I am "indisposed" currently.... Back to work. :P

    -Dane
    You know you want to!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    403

    Game Mechanics - Class Meeting - My Thoughts...

    Hi,
    After listening to the Game Mechanics Class Meeting, I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject, in particular my take on the discussion of "Levels".

    I think that some of the confusion or arguments for or against levels is that the term "Level" has different meanings depending on the context within which it is being used.

    I have always considered Level in a game sense to indicate your progression through the game, in the case of an MMO that would indicate how many tasks/quests/missions etc. that have been achieved - although not necessarily on a one to one - quest to level relationship.

    The sort of ideas I would expect would be:
    1) Players would have a default set of abilities/categories, e.g. Health/Life Strength, Combat/Attack capability, Defence capability. Depending on the player species these may be slightly different.

    2) As the game progresses the Players can gain added Special Abilities/Skills, e.g. Martial Arts, Magic, Hacking, Construction etc.

    3) Players will over time gather possessions e.g. Weapons, Real-Estate, Currency, Ancient Artifacts, Flowers etc., some of which may enhance abilities.

    Each ability, I would imagine, would have an upper threshold level of proficiency the player can achieve at any particular stage (Level) through the game. As each quest is completed, depending on the type of quest undertaken, the skill level in particular abilities will increase - up to the maximum threshold that can be achieved at that time. Different quests will help the player gain knowledge (when changing game levels) or increase proficiency in specific skills (within the current game level).

    After a number of quests have been completed, the actual game level will increase, and in reward for reaching the level in the game, the player "Gains Knowledge" in particular abilities, and as such the threshold level of those abilities are increased - not the proficiency in that skill. The player the continues with further quests that will then enhance their proficiency in particular skill(s), making use of the increased knowledge, to increase the skill level up to the maximum "Knowledge" threshold.

    Certain abilities could have relationship links, which by increasing proficiency in one area may diminish the ability in others, e.g. increase strength may reduce agility (large muscley people aren't so agile!)

    I also think there is something to be said for the gradual decline in ability/skill levels over time - in a "use it or lose it" kind of way. I would imagine that generally Health/Life Strength will fluctuate through out the game, even if no combat was entered into, e.g. taking long journeys on foot, climbing cliffs, taking a rest to recover strength etc.

    Anyway, that's my thoughts on the subject.

    Regards,

    Phd.
    Last edited by phd; 05-11-2011 at 04:58 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,529
    Hmm. That “Knowledge” gaining, or threshold increasing, idea is an interesting one. It would stop players from being able to grind all the way up without ever touching a quest.

    I do like the idea of abilities having relationship links that when it rises in one it will reduce another. I believe NATO has posted about that. He called it something like the see-saw effect.



    I hate the idea of ability/skill or levels gradual declining with the lack of use. In theory I do find it interesting, but it ends there. I just think that would only add to the tedium of the game, as people would feel that they had to do things in battle, that might not even be best for the group, just so that they don't lose skill points. I can see it creating large amounts of friction between group members. People saying, “No I don't want to do that kind of quest, it is bad for my stats.” or people not wanting to wait around for other players to get there, or come back, as they are not doing anything to exercise their skills. And that is what it would feel like, exercising. Is exercising fun? Maybe we could add cleaning to the game, too.

    The other big concern is if you also mean that you will lose skills while logged off the game, say if you went a month without playing or something. I myself, would never even consider trying a game that would do that. I could never get ahead in a game like that, because I go weeks without playing games all the time, and even when I do play games a lot more often, I like to play different kinds of games, so my time for any one game is limited.

    Now you could, in part solve that issue by only having in game time count against the player. But then I would think that would only serve to make the player feel more frantic about always moving and fighting, and would not really be able to enjoy something like, play a game of chess with someone in side the game world, or put on a play with other, as we have seen players do in other games. If you say it would not reduce fast enough to effect those things, then I think it would be too little to even factor in at all. That sounds like it would be completely useless, as if it wasn't there at all, in which case why spend the time on it, and freak people out about it being in the game, if in reality it never realistically gets seen, with all the fighting that you end up doing anyway, unless somebody only works on that player made play for six months straight or something like that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    In space
    Posts
    5,428
    I'm actually okay with doing away with the general concept of the player "level," as it were. My reasoning for keeping it was, admittedly, based on a presumption that was a bit like WoW's view of the player world, in which every player is generally considered a combatant of some sort. Indeed, in WoW, everyone is a warrior to some degree. The class selection system is really more of a question of what type of warrior you want to play, since the most important thing you're going to be doing in the game is killing something else.

    Our game need not necessarily be that way. We could just as easily make it such that you were the most amazing computer hacker the world had ever known and had trained yourself through dozens of sets of skills such that you can rip just about any piece of defensive software to shreds. You'd still be worthless in a real world fight, though. Same with a merchant. Maybe you're amazing at managing shops, reading markets, and wringing money out of rocks. You'd still probably be afraid to wander the Elythian wilderness, as you should be.

    In such a world, a singular (or even derived) "level number" doesn't make a lot of sense. I realize this now.

    I still believe that a large portion of the game's playability and forward progression is going to be exposed via combat. But not every player will want to work this way. Or, at least, not every character from every player. It's entirely feasible that one player will want multiple characters; one for fighting, one for banking, one for hacking, etc.

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