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#1 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 05:28 AM

Power-maxing is great, it''s rewarding, it''s easy, and it show''s everyone just how big and strong you really are! Look at me, Î can stand at spawning point and click my little mouse until I could kill god! And this takes exactly the amount of effort it would take to actually swing a sword! Really! Now, if you were to somehow create a power-maxing-free game, there would still be a wealth of players to play it. I kid you not. There are people out there who rely on MMORPGs for simple escapism, not phallic compensation. What does power advancement mean to them? Not much. So how do you eliminate power-maxers? It sounds so simplistic, but it''s true. Strike at the heart. EVERY SINGLE RPG, without exception has been based in some way off of the D&D format. Experience levels are the center of power-maxing evil. Even if they aren''t murder-based; allowing the player the opportunity to "repeat this action over and over and eventually be awesome" is what powergamers need to survive. There are a few obvious, but pretty wild solutions. What if we removed the premise of advancement from our player''s minds? The systems weren''t intended to work this way, it was supposed to be a natural measure of your activity reflecting your general increase. So what if you just say "NO. Make an interesting, deep character who will be your vessel in this imaginary world. Do not expect upward incline, just work with what you''ve go." Well, the first thing that would happen is all the power-maxers would get up and leave. A few would stay and try to see if they can tyame a system with no advancement by making the most powerful character possible at starting point. Would anyone stay? Yes. All of the people who are sick of power-maxing. And the ones who are sick of the whole murder-based scene, which =was designed to harbor escapism, but ended up creating a microcosm of the crappy "real world". We don''t have deep Fantasy novel style intrigues. We don''t even have the level of character development of a freaking table-top RPG, and they aren''t that impressive. As for the VERY few powermaxxers who went out on that limb, they will find a system that is balanced. Since experience is not murder based, they will have no advantages, no encouragement. If they do choose to make a tough as nails fighter, they will actually be role-playing in their own weird, diluded way. AND HERE"S THE KICKER. The above described "no advancement system" COULD HAVE advancement. It just needs to be a different kind. If combat is now on an equal plane of worth to everything else, or even lower than everything else... you could create a simple skill system with attrition. Advancement would be so subtle no one would really take notice until it had happened. With no indicators to annouce the "raising of a level" since levels don''t exist... it would simply be the occasional realization that you seem to be having an easier time at certain things. BUT there''s a catch. Why bother with a skill system if the game isn''t combat centric? Do I really need skills to tell me how to do mundaner activities? So, enough primer. Here''s the topic for this thread: What are the implications of a no-advancement system? A low-advancement system? Any system that completely discourages power gaming by making it entirely not rewarding or worthwhile? Is there really a market niche for non-powergamers, or is landfish full of crap? C''mon, you know I''m full of crap! =)

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#2 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 05:39 AM

Mammary Compinsation:



Edited by - Myopic Rhino on June 26, 2000 9:25:31 PM

#3 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 05:44 AM

Dammit I tried to make a joke about the landfish''s udders, and everything went crazy...sorry about that...I think I am better w/ C++ than HTML, and I suck w/ C++...

#4 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 05:47 AM

Cool! Now the post is in tabloid format! It''ll be so much easier to read niphty''s posts now!

#5 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 05:55 AM

yeah, that''s one way to look at it ...but I ruined a perfect chance to show the landfish picture

#6 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 06:18 AM

It''s OK nazzlie. We all know what it looks like. It''s so neat what happened to this post!

#7 Facehat   Members   -  Reputation: 696

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 06:54 AM

Bwahahahahahaha!



Be afraid!


Anyway, on to the topic .

I actually, completly agree with landfish. But so I don''t sound like some sort of Landfish worshiper I''ll argue from the other side.

Here''s the question I pose to you: just how does the player advance if he does not advance numerically. I''m thinking that there should be someway to advance, otherwise the player won''t have much incentive to continue the game. I mean, if you can kill the super powerful evil dragon right at the start of the game, then why keep playing?

So is your prestige based off the items you have? This is ok, but it leads you right back to the "get money, buy newer weapons, kill monsters, get more money" loop.

So how do we handle this? That is the question I leave up to you landfish followers! Bwahahahahaha!

#8 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 07:02 AM

It is pretty cool. I wonder what the hell I did.

I think some sort of advancement system is a good thing. In the types of games we're talking about, the fact the characters can become better and more skilled is a very immersing thing when it's not taken advantage of. In an action game, the only way you get better is because you can physically push buttons faster. In an RPG (or whatever name we decide to call these types of games) the character becomes more skilled as time goes on, and I think it gets the person playing to feel a sense of involvment.

Perhaps, one alternative to the-more-you-do-something-the-better-you-get is to have the character make some sort of in-game investment. Like paying for training or training taking in-game time (if game time is very crucial...like if you have to do things in a certain amount of time). At least this would make it so that the advancements are in the context of the game rather than being reflective of how many times you've done the same thing. It needs to be abstract. It's not very immersive when you have to repeatedly do mundane tasks like in UO or repeatedly kill stuff like in EQ. Your advancement is dependant upon how much time you spend in the game, not what you really do in the game.

Ideally, we need a system where you can just play the game and the advancement comes naturally as LF once said...

Edited by - Nazrix on June 25, 2000 2:04:52 PM

#9 Niphty   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 08:51 AM

God that''s one ugly landfish... lol. granddaddy llama

Anyways.. Landfish.. you''ve got problems I still challenge you to show me how to make attrition work in a game where it doesn''t cause some players some kind of problems. It seems to me that it''s impossible. Prove it before i''ll believe any of your landfish crap

Now.. you''ve got a theoligy with no practical application. A theory at best here Landfish. So tell me how this theory can be applied? You pose all these questions, take input, and get annoyed when we don''t think like you.. so tell us HOW you think don''t just tell us "i don''t think THAT!" we want to know WHAT the hell is in your mind. Because in this post you''ve only been vauge and generalized and given no actual specifics. Is it because you yourself don''t really know and you just love to try to force others to think it out for ya?

If there is no advancement, there''s no game. You have to be able to advance something, or you have a MUSH. They already exist! But they''re never gonna go mainstream cause they''re just socializing. What fun is it to just socialize?

How do players make money in your game? Do they invest in some sort of stock market? Do they work a mundane job? The only reason we still use NPCs to gain money is because we don''t want to make players simply do repetitive tasks that is just like life! Like at UO.. not many people enjoy what they do there. It''s so mundane to do the same damn thing again and again. So how do you LANDFISH plan to make this system work? What exactly is the "kicker" you have hidden from us? eh?!

TheGoop, Landfish doesn''t have murder-based money, either. Therefore, you either have to murder other PC''s and get their starting cash, or you make character after character and give the money to another character. Cause as of yet, he''s shown no way in which he plans on allowing people to get exp or money.. only ways in which they WON''T be able to do these things. Am i missing something here?

Naz, paying for training still takes money. To gain money you hafta kill things according to normal system. What you''re missing here is the real point. There''s stats and there''s skills. A stat is something that takes a long time to raise and most games either you can''t raise them or you pay to raise them. Skills are things you learn. Like swimming. You learn to swim better the more you swim, but only if you''re TRYING to learn. I mean, do you really learn to swim better from playing in the pool with your friends? Prolly a bit, but not much. You learn from someone else''s teaching you. You could pay for this, perhaps.. but it also takes TIME. How do you account for that? Allow players to scedual a certain number of trainings to happen after they sign off so that they can socialize now? And then what.. make sure they stay off for X number of hours based on the number of training classes they''re doing? Somehow i''m missing how this would work. In life you learn things by repetition. Yeah, it sucks. That''s why D&D had set profeciencies you learned every few levels. It assumes the character used these skills up until that time.
perhaps a deviation off this would work. You use skills, and when you level up, you can choose to advance those skills you''ve worked enough in. But if you work them too much, it gets lost.. since you can only learn so much at a time. I''m personally working on something a bit off from this that uses a learning curve.. but no attrition because it doesn''t work. I''ve been trying to finish an attrition system with my girlfriend and we keep finding that we''re screwing one set of players out. Either those who socialize, those who aren''t on much, are those who are on too much. When do you say enough is enough? There''s no right answer, each person is different.

So.. go ahead, answer some of these let me see you can actually make a system worth playing! Don''t challenge me to make it for you!!!

J

#10 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 09:42 AM

I think that LF is merely posing questions to induce discussion. He has stated his own opinions many times. Perhaps, on an online game you should actually have to sit through the training even if it does take some time. Maybe just like 10 min or so real-time. That's kind of a dumb idea I'll admit though. When I proposed the training idea, I was thinking about single-player games more...


Edited by - Nazrix on June 25, 2000 5:12:00 PM

#11 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5070

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 10:52 AM

What about having one stackable weapon/tool that you find more pieces for as you go along and solve areas or puzzles? That way your character wouldn''t get more powerfu, just acquire a wider choice of actions. Does that count?

#12 SonicSilcion   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 June 2000 - 02:32 PM

I like it, sunandshadow! The aditional skills part, that is. But how would you earn them. There's the cop out of "oh, just use/train in a skill long enough and you get a new skill." It just wouldn't work to well that way, in my opinion. Quests are kind of over-done. Guilds aren't much better.
How about, if someone uses it on you enough times, you learn it {kind of like in real life.}


As for my own idea, well, it really isn't my own idea. I was just thinking progress could be furthered with an inventory. But then it'd be an 'adventure' game. Just my $.25.

Edited by - Myopic Rhino on June 26, 2000 9:27:51 PM

#13 Gollum   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 06:04 AM

Uh, HELLO?

What about text-based adventure games? Anyone remember those? We all loved ''em, and where was the leveling or power-mongering?

Those were followed by (surprise) graphical adventure games. Monkey Island, anyone?

A game like that can work if it uses a more linear, journey-based story. You have to get to a certain place or achieve a certain thing, and there are obstacles in your way. You don''t surpass the obstacles by improving yourself, you outsmart them.

Of course, graphical adventure games have pretty much died out, for a number of reasons:

1. Sierra''s games, and even some of the LucasArts games eventually devolve into "pixel hunting". Is that a watch on the desk? I think it is. Can I pick it up? Nope. Dang. Wait. Is that a pencil on the floor, or just some shading?

And so on. What I''d like to see is a world where you can manipulate most anything, where a lot of the objects are (as in the real world) not at all related to what you need to do. We have powerful machines now, so we don''t need flat image-map backgrounds. Give us working 3D worlds. If you had true freedom of environment (but not of goals) then we would wipe out the first issue.

2. People like advancing. Modern games have taught people to think of their characters as an extension of themselves. So, levelling is an ego boost.

This is tougher. A non-powermongering game would be based on different thrills - the thrill of watching a story unfold, the thrill of exploring a new world.

It can be done.

IM(not so)HO,

gollum.


#14 ManaSink   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 07:56 AM


I have strong feelings on this one, I appologize on the length of this post in advance...

I have GM''ed table-top games for a long time, and I see the same problems in the paper RPGs. There are players who optimize character creation to get the toughest PC with their starting points, with little concern if it fits their character concept (ugh..if they *have* a character concept ). They are also the same players that quest not for glory, but to aquire that next XP level. They get out the calculator to decide where to spend those hard earned skill points, they choose their weaponry based on hit percentages and damage amounts, the list goes on and on. This behavior is very difficult to curtail in the table-top world. I remember GM''ing a particularly tough group of players who *all* turned out to be optimizers. After many frustrating sessions, I chose to switch to a diceless, statless, ruleless system that emphasized creativity. What I got was a group of unhappy players who were dissatified role-playing in the same fasion with no systematic rewards. The group disolved, and everyone was miserable.

The optimizing player will try and manipulate *any* system, as it is what makes them happy. If there are levels, they will find a way to gain as many as possible. If there are skills, they *will* do whatever possible to get that sword skill, or the merchant skill for that matter, since not all maximizers are blood-thirsty. The act of maximizing their character is what they enjoy. They are directly rewarded for creating a character that is better at creation time, or better through dedicated play, even if the play is not enlightened. They are not evil bastards players who don''t understand what it is to roleplay, they are players who are motivated differently. As such, I think character advancement is a strong feature. It allows the game designers to give the player a feeling of accomplishment. Removing this may give many players a marked lack of direction and ambition. I feel that removing character advancement from your game would be giving up a powerful motivational tool.

The problem with most advancement systems is that the optimizing player is directly rewarded for his efforts, and the non-optimizing player is not. If I play an RPG and stick to my character concept, roleplay without regard to levels, skills, or wealth there is no progmatic reward. Another player kills a lot of monsters and winds up with levels, skills, money, and other noted quantities in the game. Indeed, I am crapped on by the optimizing players for being a poor, low level fisherman who isn''t even good at fishing and should have maxed out his fishing skill...

The perfect system in my mind would be one that provides noticable advancement but without quantifiable results. A person who has been focusing on combat for the last 40 hours of play should be able to whip those newbie characters easily, but shouldn''t know who is a newbie. A person who spends all his time trading goods should see an improvement in his profit margins, but shouldn''t be able to tell me how much his merchant skill has improved. Don''t get me wrong, stats and skills are a good thing, because computers need hard numbers to figure things out. But players should not have access to these hard numbers directly. I should not know I have 5 HP left, just that I feel extremely bad. I should not know that my skill with a sword has gone up to 72, I should see I can wade through those poor goblins with sickening efficiency. Public stats, life and mana meters, casting costs and times, flying damage indicators, experience levels, gained skills from repressed memories. These brutally obvious signs of improvement are the evils that reward the optimizing player. Every point a skill goes up is an obvious reward for my optimization effort. I do think characters should get XP or skill improvement for their slaughtering efforts, but don''t *tell* them how much. Hell, give them a bad reputation for it, the kind that doesn''t show up under their character status screen. Indeed, the player might have to think a bit when critters are out for revenge and shopkeepers won''t sell goods to a ''murderous bastard''. Make optimization, most notably combat optimization, an valid option that is not as clear-cut as another level, and has ramifications in the long run.

I realize this is a fine line. Players need indication that they are hurting monsters, getting stronger, gaining skill. I don''t want to bang on a monster for hours only to learn it is invulnerable to mundane weapons. I just don''t think that slapping a big number 0 on my damage display or a never declining health meter is the best method of conveying the information.

I''ll stop there, I''m probably too worked up to do anything but rant.

ManaSink
Hmm... interesting similarities between LandFish''s posts and Zen Koan, probably coincidence. (quick bow to LandFish, the master of Zen gaming design)



#15 pacman   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 08:34 AM

Well, I really like this thread; lots of interesting ideas.
Niphty, I think you need to lay off Landfish, he''s just trying to get a conversation going. If it really bothers you that much, there are other message boards you can go to.

On another note, I agree with some of what you, and other people said. Forcing the player to repeat the same thing over and over sucks. Also, I agree that powermaxing is just another goal for some people. I like to advance my characters, to gain new abilities. It''s a good thing.

I think I may have a way to limit the power maxing though. First, give no exp for killing anything (GASP!) Yeah, you sure did kill that guy, but how''d you do it? Ahhh, that''s where the exp should come from. So, theoritcally, you could...spar with another player to get better? Hey that''s socializing and advancing. You could make players hang around in sparing gyms, chatting while waiting for their turn to get in the ring. What about exp for making a deal with a merchant? Or discussing the king''s ethics? You''re still learning, and isn''t that what exp is?

And another thing, I REALLY don''t get this beef with numbers. Yeah, instead you could say "I kick ass" instead of "I do 50 damage", but what''s the point. It''s like the difference between graphics and text-based. The numbers are the text-based, and graphics are the descriptions. They are just pretty bells and whistles, nothing more. In the end, you are still dealing with numbers, more specifically, steps. Ranks. MEASUREMENTS. Not putting numbers on the stat screen is just some way to be different. Hey, if that system works for your game design, run with it. However, you can''t just say "in general, numbers suck."

Ahem...sorry to get carried away there. I would like to say in my defense, like I said in another thread, that I like stat and skill descriptions. I just think that hiding things from players can be detrimental sometimes to some games.

/*initiates shouldn't have signatures*/

#16 Niphty   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 09:43 AM

First off, I''m grilling Landfish because.. well.. he''s a fish! And i want to hear HIS opinion on something. He emails me telling me to argue with him cause too many people are agreein with him, and then he asks questions. how can you argue with a question?! I want to know how HE feels about this, so i can yell at HIM for being wrong Ok.. enough rant..

Gollum, today''s text based games (DragonRealm, GemStone III) use stats and skills. That''s how it is everywhere. LOL I agree, a good story line could reduce the need for stats and skills in a game, however.. that''s only in situations where it''s not nessicary for the character to do things a player normally wouldn''t. How did you win a fight in Monkey Island? simple.. you talked trash to the bad guys. Every line they used on you, you learned to use on others. YOU STILL LEARNED. The player didn''t TYPE in the insults! THE CHARACTER STILL LEARNED! that''s an important thing to look at, even THEY couldn''t get totally around some kinda stats/skills. oops.. forgot about that, didn''t we?

ManaSink, I agree with you completely. I''ve got a guy tryin to join my campain.. we call him "the freak". He''s your typical D&D playing nerd He''s learned the player''s option: skills and powers book inside and out :/ and he''s powermaxed a character off of it. He''s got some stupid Ogre Mage that NO ONE wants in their game in town. In fact, someone tried to let him run it and it turns out he disolved the group just about a week ago cause he couldn''t handle it. One person in a game like that makes it impossible to be fair to the others, especially if you give out EXP based on who killed what! The powermaxer will just take over and he might as well be playing alone, then.
I totally agree with the problem that powermaxers will often see results while others do not. And i believe there is some way around it. I believe in allowing honorable titles to people who''re above a certain level and are able to prove themselves worth of it. In fact, I plan on having this in my game. Powermaxing people will not get such titles. I might have something set so that if you gain more than 1 level a week at a certain point in the game, then you automatically get a reduction in your learning curve. If you''re going to beat your head on a wall, i want to help. There''s no sure way to make this work, unfortunately. I like titles, because it allows people to show advancement within their guilds without having to use numbers. They can say "i''m a super-warrior" or some such BS.. and not say "i''m level 30!" I''ve considered even taking away levels entirely and allowing them to choose one of a few titles every few levels, that way they''re gaining in mastery of their current level, and once mastered.. they apprentice in the next level. Even Karate works like this. You''re a belt color and you''ve got a number of stripes of the next belt color. This shows you ranking and mastery of karate. It''s an important element in respect, and lets younger people know who to ask questions to and get sage advice. So to me, it''s very important to display a ranking.
As for the bad reputation.. i agree. Anyone killing animals senslessly will be punished I might make some kinda deer and animals to populate the game for senseless killing.. hehe That way hunters can get up some kinda skill for when raiders do come around. It''s hard to tell how it''s going to work out and all.. but.. we''ll see.
End for now.. gotta run

J

#17 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 11:02 AM

Hey guys, Niphty''s my buddy. He''s only after me ''cause I asked him to be rough... he''s a good friend like that!

DAMN! There is a lot of creativity in this thread. Thank you for making this the exact reverse of that *shudder* No More RPGs thread. Now let''s never speak of it again. Now, Q&A time:

The Goop: "just how does the player advance if he does not advance numerically. I''m thinking that there should be someway to advance, otherwise the player won''t have much incentive to continue the game. I mean, if you can kill the super powerful evil dragon right at the start of the game, then why keep playing?"

The Reply: First, I should say that I was primarily considering this for MMORGP. In single-player RPGs, systems aren''t required to be nearly as balanced as MM, simply because there is far less opportunity for abuse of power. The major problem in MMORPGs is that if the system isn''t balanced and someone abuses that fact, another player gets trashed. Ideally, all players would have a good time, at least for most of the time.

The imagined system would NOT be combat centric, instead focusing on personal and political intrigue, wars, displaced rulers, and personal vendettas. If you don''t view the character as progressing externally but internally, this works. Combat still exists, but it is DANGEROUS AND RISKY! We''re talking semi-realistic here, meaning combat often means death for at least one participant. Since most characters are on pretty much the same level, there is some risk of character death. Even the combat god character might be ganged up on, or make a fatal mistake.

Online communities are self-perpetuating. GDNet is a good example.


Nazzlie: I think the industry desperately needs a kind of "passive" advancement system. This ties in with what Niphty keeps trying to beat out of me.

Nipht: I''m gonna make a little post, just for you, ya bastard! =) And to think, you were the one lecturing me about giving too much away! Well, merry christmas. It may take a while for me to articulate it. Keep an eye out...

As for money, I had another strange idea. Why bother with money? Why not create an assumed occupational standing, and just not pinch pennies? Not even make it worthwhile to pinch pennies? Enough of this "i need to buy a better sword to fight better" crap! Anyone whose ever fought knows that a quality weapon doesn''t make THAT much difference in the hands of someone who isn''t accustomed to it. It used to be that you had the same sword until it broke, and only then would you buy a new one if you had the funds!

Materialism is the source of much evil in massive multiplayer. All magical items should be individual items of lore, with names and histories. You should not be able to BUY them at a Goddam Store.

Sunandshadow: NEAT! Would work really well in a 16-bit Zelda type format.

Gollum: Right on, in your own weird way, as always.

Manasink: I feel your pain...

Pacman: No numbers is a design principle that few programmers can relate with. But to the average consumer, it is a very pleasant experience. =)

Niphty Again: Patience, young skywalker...

Phew. All done. Hope I didn''t miss anything. I''m fairly sure of myself on this one, so please reply with more questions/rebuttles!


#18 pacman   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 11:53 AM

Understood, however, any system done well is a pleasent experience (where did programmers come in here?).

I still fail to see why a numeric system is bad, or even that a non-numeric system is better. I think they both have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

/*initiates shouldn't have signatures*/

#19 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 01:28 PM

In the instance of a ROLE-PLAYing game... it is important to broadcast the information to the player in as close a form as they would recieve in reality. Well, almost. I doubt we''ll ever have force feedback keyboards.

But let''s put it this way. After a battle with some expendable goblins, one of your team members has taken a wound to the foot. Which is ccoler to have in an RPG, a number that TELLS you he''s hurt, or having him SAY "OW, my *$#@ing FOOT! Ow ow ow!"

Or even better, show them visually the wound. There is an old literary/film term: "Show, don''t tell." It applies in this medium too. This is one of the biggest weaknesses of game writing and design that I can see. (IMHO, of course...)

#20 Facehat   Members   -  Reputation: 696

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Posted 26 June 2000 - 02:17 PM

I think your missing something important here landfish.

The thing is that although the stuff your describing would be great fun, none of it really caters to the players ego.

This is the main reason that the power-maxing systems work. They''re boring as hell, but it''s satifying to be the level 8000 super-powerful Ogre Mage. In fact, IMO most the current popular genres are popular because they do cater to your ego. RTS games are on top because it''s great to build up your super powerful army and watch the other guy quiver in fear, and it''s damn fun to see your name near the top of the frag count list in first person shooters. In other words, players like it when you tell them "Ha! Your the most powerful person in the world!".

The problem with power-maxing systems in MMORPG''s, of course, is that new players aren''t really involved. The system falls apart. It''s revealed for what it truly is: a boring system that caters to the rich.

So then how do we feed the players ego? Well, political systems are good for this. The only problem is that you have to make the political system have some sort of importance to keep the players interested, whilst not giving the players too much power to muck up the world. (actually, maybe it''s a good thing to let them muck up the world, but that''s a different topic )

Also, maybe allowing players to own property (homes, castles, whatnot) could work.

In any case, my basic argument for you is this, fish of land: your system is neat, but it doesn''t reward the player enough. IMO, the trick is not to get rid of powermaxing, just change the way in which players have to powermax.

Flame away! Muhahahaha!




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