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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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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.

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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.


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ANDREW RUSSELL STUDIOS
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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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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Andrew Russell
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.



If I understand correctly, your idea is to use coolness points for meta-game benefits? That is, they are exchanged for benefits outside the scope of a single game, such as access to new ways to play, or whatnot.

On the whole, I like it, since it reqards successful gameplay with more options for the player. It encourages replay for the game as a whole.

OTOH, it also means creating a lot more content, which is a lot of work. Balancing out intermediate rewards is a bit tough too. What would be a good reward for earning some coolness points (but not all available) without having to restart with anew character?

Maybe a title, or land or somesuch?

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So other than sunglasses, does anyone have suggestions on how I could use these coolness points?

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


ANDREW RUSSELL STUDIOS
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Guest Anonymous Poster
You could use your coolness points to give the player a title (duke, baron, lord, or whatever''s appropriate to your game''s setting), or use it to reward players with little ego boosts that don''t affect gameplay (allow them to customize their character''s armor, etc.). You could also have areas of the game that are restricted to characters of a certain coolness.

I could probably think of more, but I''m bloody tired.

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Coolness points could be used to upgrade certain skills and enhance stats (example would your Ninja has a Jump stat of 55. The coolness points would not raise that stat but raise the ability of a skill related to that stat, such as the Ninja can now double or triple jump, or even teleport), give upgrades to weapons (example, my knight now has Excalibur but i applied 100 coolness points to Excalibur, so now Excalibur has a fire element or can double damage dark magicians), or allow him "cheats" when fighting bosses (another example if i have 1000 cool points I could sustain more damage from a boss than usual, or my magic can cancel out his magic, or the second I enter his stage my speed doubles until he or i dies).

Hopefully I''ve answered your question to some degree.

Knowledge is what you learn, wisdom is how you apply it.






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at mutedfaith.com.
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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Andrew Russell
So other than sunglasses, does anyone have suggestions on how I could use these coolness points?


Redeem them for a Big Mac and fries?

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I would suggest that instead of losing everything when you die except coolness points, maybe make it so that when a character dies, they get a certain number of skill points to spend to get their character to start a little higher than an entirely new character. Perhaps the new character has 1/4 of the skill points to spend as the original character, so there is still a hefty penalty for death, but it wouldn''t be quite as annoying. Maybe the number of skill points depends on the coolness points you have accumulated. I think a good idea would be to make coolness points "permanent" skill points. For ex, you have 10 coolness points and you die. You get to spend 10 points on skills to start your new character off a little further. If you die again, you get to reallocate those 10 plus however many you''ve earned after those to new skills. To make it more challenging, you can''t get more coolness points until you''ve earned at least as many as you had before you died. So if you have 10 points and you die, your new character will have to get 11 coolness points before his total of coolness points go up any. After that, they go up in a 1:1 ratio.

Also, the idea of them giving special powers based on skills is a good idea. When you get maybe 100 coolness points you can use them to ''buy'' an enhancement to a skill, like turning jump into double jump or something like that. Maybe the player can choose to use them like normal skill points or to buy special abilities, but either way, the ''loss'' of them isnt permanent, and when the character dies he gets all his coolness points back to spend on the new character.

"The Requested Information Is Unknown Or Classified" -Anonymous

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Yes, a lot of people will agree that some leveling systems are old, and they turn to other solutions. Make sure you are looking in the right direction.

For an online game, to be level-based seems a little -more right- to me. At least with level-based systems you know that the level 40 guy over there is more than a match for your level 20 guy. With a skill-based system, this kind of comparing is most likely unknown(although I am all for not knowing, unless its in a world were you could obviously tell they -were- more powerful). Another problem I forsee in your future is leveling(hehe) stats and such. You still have to decide on how much they have to do to gain on stats(if they can) and such, thus creating levels, just ones that the players don''t know about. If everyone can get the same skills eventually its pointless, like mentioned above. Basically, the veterans will complain because they have been there for and new people have the same stuff, but give them something and they will walk all over newbies. I like skill-based systems, but only because I win all the time, if I were in my opponents shoes, I would probably stop playing.

>>> [ [ [ "It really does depend on what you are trying to accomplish" ] ] ] <<<

Of course, I probably should have read all of the posts, but I have probably seen these kind of topics hundreds of times. Level systems aren''t bad, they just need tweaking. Mine is a -constant leveling- system... their power is based upon how much xp they have, so If I have 1,000 xp and you have 980, I am better than you, even if there isn''t a level there.

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The way I see it to stop people trying to learn all possible skills you need to restrict it in some way, but I don''t think that there is any decent way for you to allow people to just keep building on what they have already got.

The way I have stated before as an option that as people use skills they kind of level in that respect, but if they are using some skills that means that they are not using others, so we should be able to decay the knowledge under that skill so that only the skills that are currently active are potent enough a combination.

Its always good to allow the player to get better, but you must also have a action-cosequence idea where if they choose to change their role, they lose the abilities of the previous role (over time). This allows for people to be a "Jack of all trades but master of none" and also allows for people to specialise their skills as well.

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - The future of RPGs GPA Thanks to all the goblins in the GDCorner niche

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Guess I''ll start at the beginning. Man, is this going to be a long post.

quote:
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


Wow, what a concept! Nobody''s ever done that! Oh wait... yeah they have.

Anyway, this has been discussed to some length. There are many ways to actually implement it, whether it be numerical value stats, or % skill max.

quote:
Then to keep it intresting for people who like leveling, players get coolness points


Yeah, just to let you know, that won''t be interesting for people who like leveling. There will be a very small number of people who like it, but not enough to make implementing the system worthwhile. But after thinking about it for a little while there are some thoughts that I would have for it. I''ll get into that later.

quote:
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


Sounds like karma and karma would probably be a LOT better name than ''coolness points'', since with coolness points you''ll attract all of the non-paying 14 year olds that you can dream of, while karma might pull in more mature players who can actually get a credit card number legally, without their parents.

quote:
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.


There is a lot in this paragraph, though you have to dig between the lines. Yes, there are a number of games that use ''levels'' and the standard stat set (str, con, dex, int, wis, cha, hp, mp). Is this because it''s a good system or because it''s a system that is easily understandable? Probably the latter. You can spend weeks, if not longer figuring out how to guage power in your traditional game that is skill based, but you know that a 30th level warrior *should* be about on par with a 30th level wizard or priest and they *should* be well suited to group together. Who should I group with if my sword skill is at 3000 but my defense skill is only at 2100? Which is more important? You get the idea I''m sure.

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


Not necessarily. What if you set the skill cap so high that it would take someone 5 years of non-stop playing to actually cap a skill (24-bit skill cap, with a skill increase every 30 seconds of use on average)? What is the effect? The same as in real life. If you specialize you end up with amazing, if somewhat limited abilities and if you generalize you can deal with a larger variety of situations, but you limit your potential overall. Was Elrond limited in his abilities with a melee weapon (it would appear that his weapon of choice was a spear in the movie) to not learn magic? No, his healing abilities were amazing, healing potentially better than even Gandalf could have, even after he remembers what and who he is after the battle with the Balrog. Skill caps aren''t necessary, just a way to keep players from all becoming gods.

Let''s be real though, how tough would a warrior really have to be to be able to beat a giant? That giant lands one solid blow and any warrior is toast, period. The human (or Orc, Elf, Goblin, Dwarf, etc...) body is simply not designed to take a freight train smashing into it and that''s what a well swung giant''s hammer would be like, a train smashing some poor guy into pieces. Anyone who''s ever seen a semi hit a deer knows what I''m talking about... the deer is a spray of red goo across the road.

quote:
Skills could be forgotten over time


I thought of this when I started. Then I thought of every single skill that I haven''t used in years and years. I haven''t played a saxophone in at least 14 years, but I''m pretty sure that if I picked one up I would be at or above my greatest skill level within a couple of months... then again I stunk (just not naturally talented with woodwind instruments, percussion on the other hand...). But it is still proves my point. I still know how to play the saxophone and haven''t done so since 14 years ago. How are you going to justify atrophying out of existence a skill that has been used within the last 3 years game time when you still can remember A^2 + B^2 = C^2 regardless of the fact that you haven''t done any geometry in over 5 years? You can still remember that pi(r^2) is the area of a circle and that 2pi(r) is the circumference? I''m 31 years old and haven''t had a good use for geometry for as long as I can remember, but I still know all that stuff from a class that I took over 14 years ago. Even using a 4 -> 1 ratio of game time to real time, how would you justify atrophying a skill before someone was playing the game for a year worth of real time? All they have to do is gain 3 or 4 skill points within that time and that would keep them refreshed enough with the skill to where there is no reason to atrophy it.

Skill caps and Atrophy were designed because people are still making games designed to be played for 2 weeks or even 2 months, yet people are playing them for 2 years (any MMOG) or longer. Diablo was really designed to be played for maybe a couple of months, even Diablo2 was designed around that period of time, but people will play the characters for longer, even though they long before acquired the best equipment possible and have defeated the strongest creatures over and over.

Look at Everquest... 50th level was supposed to be something where people hit it and then pretty much started another character, but we kept playing longer (I never hit 50th level myself, I''m more of a casual gamer) and they bumped it up to 60th level, but we still kept on playing, now they''ve added more stuff and we still keep playing, so they''re adding ''planes of power'' and I''m sure people will still keep playing and they''ll have to add even more for those top level players.

The solution to atrophy and skill caps? Design games to be played for 2+ years. Make creatures that are so powerful that it takes playing the game for a year and a half before you can even consider possibly challenging them. Make spells that have abilities beyond what others can do well into the higher levels. Simply recycling the old spells over and over can''t get it, save some abilities for the higher levels.

I''ll start another post to continue...

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Your post was quite harsh - this really hinders you getting your point accross.

1) don''t argue about the name. AND karma is a less accurate description, as karma is basicly "get what you give". Soul points is a more "mature" name for it that I have also considered. I mentioned the name may be changed anyway. AND to top it all off, it won''t be a everquest thing, this is Tiberian Adventure 2, so, which is free anyway In case anyone dosn''t know it is the Talker/MUD where the regulars of these forums hang out - the 14 or 2 year old issues do not apply.

2) I will be using the standard set of attributes. Just with skills instead of classes.

3) There will be no skill caps. I have decided to put a timeout on the skills, and if they are not used, they start to drop slowly.

4) The giant issue will be handled by somthing simmilar to system shock rolls in AD&D.

Anyway, Be nicer next time.


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 ]
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i think you can implement your system in two ways cool points and soul points, by borrowing a Devil May Cry system.

as you fight you get cool points. those cool points allow you to get skills (magics, special attacks, whatever) (that''s from DMC). then once you have that skill you gain soul points when you use that specific skill. so a skill initial limit would be up to 3 levels. obviously to gain levels you use that skill.
to go above the level 3 cap. then you have to gain levels for your character.
whatever cool points are left can be used to gain levels(for the character OR for the skill) or enhance skills you already have. enhance skills would be if you archer can shoot an arrow 50 feet then with appropiate applied cool points he can shoot the same arrow 150 feet. or a spell which normally works on one enemy can now affect two.

i hope you figure out what i''m trying to say.

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quote:
To increase a skill, you must practice it


Oh God, no: not the FF2j flashbacks, someone help me HELP HELP HELP MEEEE!!!

Erhem. That was to get your attention so that I could make the following important point:

Be sure not to make it take to long to achieve the next rank in a particular skill. In the japanese Final Fantasy II, you literally had to cast a spell thousands of times in a row to acheive its full effects. I really hate that system, so I recommend that you avoid making characters use a skll more that a dozen times or so to achieve the next "level" in that skill.

[edited by - DuranStrife on September 15, 2002 9:00:11 PM]

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Ahhh...

Nothing makes me happier than people talking about alternatives to leveling. While leveling works fine for action/combat games such as Diablo and Gauntlet Legends, I truly believe that any sort of linear unlimited advancement system is totally out of place in RPGs and especially MMORPGs.

But to get to the points of Mr. Russell (before I drag the conversation off to parts unknown)... I like the idea of points redeemable for nifty features instead of character advancement. If you''ve played some recent console games, you''ll know that this idea has been implemented elsewhere to great effect. Sure, you can beat Mario 64 with thirty or so stars... but watch people go to great lengths to grab all 150, and thereby open up all the options and levels in the game. Sure, you can beat Jet Grind Radio - and doing so is in itself rewarding because it opens up multiple play modes... but watch people struggle to get Jet rating on all the levels and unlock the secret characters. If this is what you intended to do with the points, then go ahead, knowing that it is a tried and true strategy.

There are other things you can do too:
Points may be a fluid medium, racked up and burned in game. Consider a scenario where points are earned with particularly stylish or devastating moves. Then you can burn them to gain advantage in another situation: say to boost an attack, create a more powerful item, or ooze that extra bit of charm necessary to make the bartender see things your way.

Points could be quest-specific, a la Pokemon badges as someone else suggested. "Am I tough? Well, lemme tell you: I strangled the Red Wolf with my bare hands, and I have his pelt to prove it!"

Points may measure your influence with other players. Every now and then, you get spending points. Someone does you a favor? Give them some points. Someone screws you over? No points for you buddy! The more points you have, the more you can spend. Become a leader among men, and reward your followers with your favor - measured in points. This becomes particularly interesting if the "boost points" model is also in effect... the generalissimo can give out huge boosts to others, but to keep this power he can''t use any himself. Note that the "spending points" pool is separate from the "burnable points" pool and you can''t give points to yourself.

I hope this gives you some ideas.

---------------------------------------------------
-SpittingTrashcan

You can''t have "civilization" without "civil".

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