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Andrew Russell

How to level without levels

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This is a repost of somthing I brought up in another thread, I think it diserves it own thread. Having skills is more like dropping class restrictions rather than leveling. Although some games keep class restrictions and leveling anyway (eg: Diablo). One concept I have in development for a certian Online RPG (guess which one) is that instead of having experince and levels, you have skills to pull you through. This lets you mix and match your charcter class and also abandons leveling. To increase a skill, you must practice it (By killing or otherwise (there are non-killing skills like Healing, Music, etc).). Then to keep it intresting for people who like leveling, players get coolness points (name might change). Which you score for killing things, increasing a skill/stat, winning a quest, finishing the game. This also handles things like what happens when a player dies or does finish the game. If a player dies, the loose everything - except coolness points. Also if you finish the game (you loose control of your charcter) you gain lots of coolness points (what a motive) The advantage here is that you won''t lose everything when you loose your charcter. And as an added bonus, coolness points could be used to gain access to new races, increase luck, as a ranking method, or whatever you want! What do ya think?

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ANDREW RUSSELL STUDIOS
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Skill based advancement is a great leap away from D&D rules. So many games have D&D or similar derivitives to those rule sets, and really bore me. They offer a great baseline to compare any new systems though.

One of the beauties of skill based systems is that no matter what role the player chooses to play, he grows stronger in that role. Using player levels and experience points means that players have to interact in specific ways with enemies to get the experience, and when a level is gained, the improvement to the character has little reflection to how the character is played.

Dungeon Siege has a great skill based and classless system that is so simple that its beauty shines. The biggest problems with the DS system is that if there were limitless enemies, the player could eventually learn ALL skills. This in itself could seem very cool, however, it results in all of the highest level characters being funtionally identical.

The single player game does not have to worry about it since there are a limited number of creatures to kill. Each map is designed to only have a limited number of targets to target, thereby capping how much skill practice the characters can have.

The multiplayer game is rather pointless for me. Things do respawn, allowing all the players to eventually be gods. The retarded part is that the game does not save the world state when the players leave the hosted game. When they return, the cahracters stay as powerful as they left off, but there is no memory in the game of completed quests or story information. That is two big flaws. I hope that some mods have done much more with the multiplayer aspect in this respect.

So if you want to make players have to stay somewhat specialized, you need some kind of capping system.

This could be a limit to the total number of points possible to earn which is far under the cumulative total that all of the skills could hold.

Skills could be forgotten over time, so that a player could only be god-like with extreme discipline and patience to practice regularily. All other players would be only good at what they use most often. All the neglected skills getting rusty.

CDV

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I''m a fan of skill system I think there are much more directions you can go to with a skill system then with a leveling system.
I think the learn all skill option can be solved without a real capping system and you can intoduce a huge list of skills thst unique characters are rather common then an exeption.



Economics is a subject that does not greatly respect one''s wishes.
-Nikita S. Khrushchev

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An alternative might be to develop a relative system. eg. "You are in the Xth percentile for armour".

All calculations of skill would be relative to the probability that you would become better than the person in the next percentile, based on a comparison of frequencies of attempt and a modifier for the class of lock. The system of subjective probability would provide a definite ladder of progress but no final positions.

As if that alternative were not wild enough, you could also develop a system of subjective experience points.

For this system, people would specify their own values for various exercises and then bid for levels at an auction. The person most accurately guessing the experience required for the level would receive it. These auctions would be held by people with more than one level already.

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Thanks for you''re input, but I probably should have phrased my topic better. What I realy am intrested in is the concept of having coolness points to make up for the lack of definate levels, and any improvements or better ideas.

Warsong02: Fortunatly, there is an ending to the game, so people won''t be able to keep playing until they reach god like status (although you get pretty close: one quest in the game you must directly take on a god). Fortunatly, I plan on keeping things balanced, because there will be very few "searh and distroy" quests.

Do not meddle in the affairs of moderators, for they are subtle and quick to anger.


ANDREW RUSSELL STUDIOS
Cool Links :: [ GD | TG | MS | NeHe | PA | SA | M&S | TA ]
Got Clue? :: [ Start Here! | Google | MSDN | GameDev.net Reference | OGL v D3D | File Formats | Go FAQ yourself ]

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quote:
Original post by deClavier
[words...]


Unfortunatly, that would requre inclusion of all monsters as well as players inside the percentile system. Also there is alot to keep track of even if the mosters wern''t included. Also you would have to scale armour rankings against weapon rankings, for instance, to calculate attacks.


Do not meddle in the affairs of moderators, for they are subtle and quick to anger.


ANDREW RUSSELL STUDIOS
Cool Links :: [ GD | TG | MS | NeHe | PA | SA | M&S | TA ]
Got Clue? :: [ Start Here! | Google | MSDN | GameDev.net Reference | OGL v D3D | File Formats | Go FAQ yourself ]

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So it could work. I'm glad you recognize it for the alternative that it is.

What do I think of a points system?

I think you need to establish what it is that makes them cool. Maybe you could copy Pokemon and develop badges.



-+ The second greatest obstacle to genuine change is the desire to arrive at a final solution for everyone +-

[edited by - deClavier on September 10, 2002 8:41:03 AM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
How about some kind of system where getting better at one skill would make another go down? For example, if you were a wizard and kept whacking people with logs, your attack points would go up but your magic would go down. It stops you from slipping out of character and from becoming a god.

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
How about some kind of system where getting better at one skill would make another go down? For example, if you were a wizard and kept whacking people with logs, your attack points would go up but your magic would go down. It stops you from slipping out of character and from becoming a god.


That''s been done - Ultima Online (UO) has a system similar to what you explain... there is a total of 700 skill points and once you have filled up those 700 points into various skills you have the ability to re-train yourself.

This is the beauty of a leveless/classless system. If you started out as a Warrior and decide that you want to become a Ranger or a Mage... you can just stop using one skill and start using another.

UO has now provided (well, they implemented this about 2 years ago) the ability to set locks on certain skills and provided the ability to set a skill to be raised or lowered thus providing an easier mechanism for players to change their characters skills and style of play.



Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser

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