I am in the process of designing a multiplayer, top-down (2D), match-making mecha game. The technology that will be used is HTML5 canvas on the client side, node.js on the server side and socket.io for communication over TCP (although I will probably switch to UDP, as it is more common for multiplayer games).
I am not a designer, but a programmer, and this will be a relatively small game made just by me (although I might get other people to draw some sprites for me later).
I'm still designing the game (trying to, at least), and I'm stuck on a progression system. By "progression system", I mean things like levels, experience, achievements, ranks, and that sort of thing. I've already decided that I will implement achievements in the game, but I'm not sure about the rest.
Here are several models:
- Money is awarded for kills
- XP is awarded at the end of the match
- People buy upgrades and new weapons with money, and each level they get a "skill point" which they can spend on a small boost (+10% speed, for example)
C. No money or XP, kills give you honor, and the only means of progression are ranks. All weapons are free at the start of the match.
D. Only money, no skill points. You have to buy weapons and upgrades.
E. Only XP, everyone is free to chose the weapons (as in C), they upgrade through skill points.
I'm simply clueless as to which one is the best and why! I really don't want to separate the new players from the older ones, and things like levels and new weapons that are unlocked would do just that (especially if I have a small player base)! But then again, if I were to remove them, there would be no progress in the game, and it feels like the weapons would lose their value (not to mention the amount of balancing I would need to do to make all the weapons equal).
Could you help me decide about the best progression system? I'm completely willing to change the current ones. I remembered Quake Live and Q3A while writing this, and it seems like they had a solution to this: the players don't progress at all, but they find weapons on the maps. I doubt that going in this direction would do me any good, though, because I think that I will not be able to make such big maps. It's a 2D top-down game, so space if kinda limited (not technically, but having big enough maps to hide weapons all over could probably mean that players would never find each other).
Edit: a relevant question on GDSE.