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PVP ideas

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I've been thinking about some of the gripes I have with PVP gameplay (RPGs mostly). There's always caps. Caps on your skills, abilities, and equipment. Why is this? Shouldn't a player be rewarded for the time he/she puts in? The problem is, everyone from class X has the same optimal build. They all have armor X, skillset X, abilities X, level X, etc. This obviously severely limits the enjoyability of PVP, because in the back of players' minds, they know it's dumb luck whether or not they win versus a similar opponent. My idea is one of a dynamic nature. Current PVP is static and stale. My idea to combat this problem is twofold: remove all caps wherever plausable, and reward the player linearly for his/her time spent playing rather than exponentially. For example, make the sword skill go up by one every time you whack something with a sword. This ensures that the power level of the character linearly matches the time put into it. Combine this with no cap on the sword skill, and you have players who are motivated to raise their skill level for use in PVP combat. I believe that a system like this would transform PVP from a stale, predictable set circumstances to something that is more chaotic. You may be thinking: but that's insane! Johnny will eventually be running around with 10,000,000,000 skill in swords! You are correct, but Johnny is competing against other players. Who's to say someone else won't have a skill level twice what Johnny does? I have similar ideas about equipment. I envision a system where you can enchant items without any caps. For example, you found a ruby on the corpse of a skeleton? Then you should be able to enchant your weapon with it and do some extra fire damage. You would be able to do this indefinitely. And with a plethora of items causing various effects. Also, I envision a very loot-heavy system where drops are procedurally generated according to your overall skill level, ala Diablo II. As for spells and abilities, I'm not sure yet. There would definitely have to be a similar system with endless possibilites like items, else spells would hit a cap and wizards would get shafted like they do in every other game. They would need a way to continually improve the effects of their spells.

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My idea to combat this problem is twofold: remove all caps wherever plausable, and reward the player linearly for his/her time spent playing rather than exponentially.

Ok, this is the very thing MMOGs are trying to avoid these days, namely WOW. If you allow a player to just level up without bounds, a minority of players who have nothing else to do then play games and sleep will completely control the server they are in, and everyone else that actually has a life and can't play all day long will be frustated with their gaming experience and leave, making a big hole in the finances of the game company.

What programmers are trying to do these days is close that gap between casual players and hardcore ones, so that everyone has a good time. WOW came up with the sleep time thingy, IMHO, one of the best MMOG ideas ever.

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Classy_Cojones: I get what your saying. I was talking to a friend a while back and we couldn't get past part of an rpg. Later, we were playing a game kinda like Mortal Combat, and we were saying that if they replaced the classic 2D battle system, like the ones in Final Fantasy, with a combat system like Mortal Combat, so that you actually had a chance to defeat the people you play against who are on a higher level, that the game would be, in a way, better, because it's you winning the battle, not your characters stats.

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Original post by thannett
Classy_Cojones: I get what your saying. I was talking to a friend a while back and we couldn't get past part of an rpg. Later, we were playing a game kinda like Mortal Combat, and we were saying that if they replaced the classic 2D battle system, like the ones in Final Fantasy, with a combat system like Mortal Combat, so that you actually had a chance to defeat the people you play against who are on a higher level, that the game would be, in a way, better, because it's you winning the battle, not your characters stats.


That would be an entirely different game though. That's no longer a pen and paper RPG, it's a skill based action game.

Both types can be good, but I don't see this as an 'improvement' of the current system but rather a completely different one altogether.

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I think UO (in the first 3 years) had it perfectly. It was a combination of the skills you used, your level in them and the players skill in combat.


xor is right though. In a game without limits the power gamers will rule.

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Original post by Kevinator
I've been thinking about some of the gripes I have with PVP gameplay (RPGs mostly). There's always caps. Caps on your skills, abilities, and equipment. Why is this? Shouldn't a player be rewarded for the time he/she puts in?

[...]

My idea to combat this problem is twofold: remove all caps wherever plausable, and reward the player linearly for his/her time spent playing rather than exponentially.


It's quite funny that you have almost the exact opposite gripe and solution to Necrosen who I was debating MMORPGs with in the 'spicing up...' thread. He would rather remove the reward for time and emphasise player skill, presumably involving effective caps on character ability so that player ability shows through. I think it really does show that no game type can please everyone, and that when all the MMORPG-bashing starts, it's worth bearing in mind that there are no universal faults and therefore no obvious solutions.

Your idea works well in several areas except that removing all caps tends to mean that player skill gets rarified. Grouping and guild cooperation will become hampered by the ever widening gap between the weak and the poor. All games have this gap but most attempt to manage it by limiting it, whereas your gap will grow over the lifespan of the game.

I can also see a problem in providing non PvP content. Content needs to be challenging and therefore needs to be somewhat in proportion to the player. With skill levels spiralling upwards you're probably going to need to provide procedural content on demand, maybe in instanced dungeons or the like. It may also stretch the bounds of believability to keep making monsters arbitrarily stronger to match the top players.

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You may be thinking: but that's insane! Johnny will eventually be running around with 10,000,000,000 skill in swords! You are correct, but Johnny is competing against other players. Who's to say someone else won't have a skill level twice what Johnny does?


Well, it's quite possible that someone else does, but as you go higher, the number of people at your level is going to drop off until the people at the top are bored. If nothing else, a cap provides a nice way of bringing people together at the top level.

So in principle, I think the idea could be ok, but you really have to think about how the growing distance between players will affect the gameplay.

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Original post by Kevinator
Shouldn't a player be rewarded for the time he/she puts in?

Yes; but the problem is in nature of reward. In your 'typical RPG' with rapid advancement curves the reward quickly becomes not an advantage, but the "i win" button against anyone who didn't invest equal amount of time.

Think of it like of giving a FPS player the godmode if they spend half an hour playing some particular map. Does this make the game fun for anyone who joins the map with such player(s) already on it? Unlikely. On the other hand, if the bonus was more along the lines of one extra clip of ammo for the long-time player? It'd give them certain advantage, yet without breaking the game for everyone who didn't play as long and much as them.

Caps aren't problem. Allowing a player to become "10,000,000,000 times" as powerful as another guy, is.

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For example, make the sword skill go up by one every time you whack something with a sword. This ensures that the power level of the character linearly matches the time put into it. Combine this with no cap on the sword skill, and you have players who are motivated to raise their skill level for use in PVP combat. I believe that a system like this would transform PVP from a stale, predictable set circumstances to something that is more chaotic.

No; if existing games can be any indication, this ensures little to no one participates in PvP until they grind to the point where they are on par with 'server cap' attributes-wise. On the server with no caps, this means pretty much no one participates in PvP period, save for the guys who levelled their characters the most and now are running around, slaughtering helpless random victims.

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Capless PvP is a nice idea, but it has to be executed correctly. I've heard of situations in games like Lineage2 (or was it something else) where you basically have people camping outside of cities killing any noob that happens to walk out the gates. So, I'm not exactly sure how something like that would be enjoyable for the noob that just started playing the game 2 minutes ago.

So, that becomes an inherent problem with capless PvP, if it is in open form. You have people who play all day and become super characters that just go around capping everyone and thing they see for fun. Sure its fun for them, but probably not alot of fun for the people being killed.

So, personally, I think capless PvP has to executed in a controlled environment, where let's say the level difference doesn't exceed a certain amount to the point where its just plain unfair. The thing with online gaming is that it has to, in the end, be enjoyable to all parties involved or people are just going to move to another game.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
One of the best capless pvp situation I've been in was on the RPG server for infantry. Basically you got experience for killing players and capturing flags which you used to raise stats. However, anyone so far below you was considered a newbie and was given newbie advantages. Your hits would do less damage to them, and theirs would do more (than what they should be doing, in both cases). A system like this could make it possible for the hardcores to match against the hardcores (anyone within a certain range had no advantages) and the casuals play with other casuals (because there were always people around your level, and anyone higher up didn't want to waste the time to kill you). The bounty system helped, giving more experience and money for killing someone who hadn't been killed in a long time AND killed people in the same period.

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This does seem to be the opposite of what I was saying earlier. Whereas I tend to believe MMORPGs go too far in creating a gap between the strengths of low- and high-level players, you're saying it doesn't go far enough. Interesting...

Still, I didn't precisely say that stricter "caps" should be placed on people, but that I would have an MMO game in which there is virtually no difference in strength. The PS2 game Monster Hunter uses the same basic idea, where strength does not increase by experience level but by better technology.

However, my concept works in an environment where the player has more direct control over the combat abilities of his character, possibly so direct as to pull the trigger or swing the sword himself. It doesn't pertain to Kevinater's proposed environment, more like the traditional MMORPG style of mostly automated combat. When combat is automated to such a degree, the method of combat must take into effect explicitly-defined attributes for each character to decide which one is stronger than the other.

Ah, now I see it: MMORPGs conduct calculations for strength of a character within the game environment, leaving only the highest level of command open to the player. More hands-on approaches, such as my FPS concepts, leave much of the lesser and more physical controls to the player. Rather than generate the calculations for a character within the game environment, the player, in effect, takes care of the calculations himself. Thus, the players of both the FPS and MMORPG experiences command the same abilities, but with differing balances of automated and direct control, mainly because of the need to create a system that tailors to many different control styles yet remains simple enough for anyone to access. Hmm...

This raises a good point for me to consider. Thank you. :)

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Original post by xor
Quote:
My idea to combat this problem is twofold: remove all caps wherever plausable, and reward the player linearly for his/her time spent playing rather than exponentially.

Ok, this is the very thing MMOGs are trying to avoid these days, namely WOW. If you allow a player to just level up without bounds, a minority of players who have nothing else to do then play games and sleep will completely control the server they are in, and everyone else that actually has a life and can't play all day long will be frustated with their gaming experience and leave, making a big hole in the finances of the game company.

What programmers are trying to do these days is close that gap between casual players and hardcore ones, so that everyone has a good time. WOW came up with the sleep time thingy, IMHO, one of the best MMOG ideas ever.



Yes really really hardcore gamers could take over the server etc, so why not make different servers, ones limitless to levels another nto limited, this means the hardcore gamer is not confided to a max level of 60, nor is the casual gamer being overwhelmed by those who just play alot.

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Original post by OdHero
Quote:
Original post by xor
Quote:
My idea to combat this problem is twofold: remove all caps wherever plausable, and reward the player linearly for his/her time spent playing rather than exponentially.

Ok, this is the very thing MMOGs are trying to avoid these days, namely WOW. If you allow a player to just level up without bounds, a minority of players who have nothing else to do then play games and sleep will completely control the server they are in, and everyone else that actually has a life and can't play all day long will be frustated with their gaming experience and leave, making a big hole in the finances of the game company.

What programmers are trying to do these days is close that gap between casual players and hardcore ones, so that everyone has a good time. WOW came up with the sleep time thingy, IMHO, one of the best MMOG ideas ever.



Yes really really hardcore gamers could take over the server etc, so why not make different servers, ones limitless to levels another nto limited, this means the hardcore gamer is not confided to a max level of 60, nor is the casual gamer being overwhelmed by those who just play alot.

There are several reasons for that not to happen, first and most importantly, the company's finances, creating servers for a minority of bandwidth demanding players isn't a priority to them, not to mention the extra programming needed to maintain two source branches of the game.

Second, what is an hardcore player? You could call someone who plays every day an hardcore player, or someone who plays everyday for 2 hours, or someone who plays 4, 8, 12 hours a day. Even if a server was created, huge gaps would still exist between those who play the game and those who live it. And after a month or two no new player, even if he was hardcore, would want to join that server because the people playing there would have a huge head start over him.

I like to think there still exists space in MMOGs with level restrictions for hardcore players, except now the power they gain isn't through the amount of hours they play the game, but through experience, know-how, social networks, and more.

I think that was a change for the better. [smile]

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-=Post heavily editted as my idea evolved=-

Quote:
Original post by OdHero
Yes really really hardcore gamers could take over the server etc, so why not make different servers, ones limitless to levels another nto limited, this means the hardcore gamer is not confided to a max level of 60, nor is the casual gamer being overwhelmed by those who just play alot.
Good thinking, OdHero. After all, you don't let sixth grade kids on the playground when third-graders are playing there. It would just be a field of wedgie carnage.

But rather than tiering the servers, why not just use geographical boundaries to do the same thing? Say there in an ambient field in the world--magic, psionic resonance, The Force, whatever. This power field has a topography to it, and is deeper some places than others. It's what powers your character, and is also what produces monsters etc.

Now tie all combat potential to it. Say that the weapons you use are actually magical psionic Force weapons, and are unusable without some juice to get them going. Neat glowing blades are important here.

If you buy/find/steal a level 7 sword hilt, and have at least level 7 sword skill, and are in at least a level 7 energy region, you can use a level 7 sword. If you go to a level 5 energy region, though, you'll have a level 5 blade coming out of the thing, no matter how tough you are. If you go to a level 20 region, you'll be capped by your character skill and your equipment to a level seven weapon, but you'll be facing enemies up to level 20, and there will probably some players around with the strength to go that high.

Towns will naturally be located in the monster-free level-0 regions, while evil dragons will live in level-50 spikes.

This will auto-balance players. If you want to beat on n00bs, you have to go where the n00bs are, and odds are you won't be much tougher than they are once you get there. If a level 7 player kills a level 57 player in a level 7 region, they still get a boatload of experience for it, making griefing counter-productive. As a weak player, I might be inclined to pick fights with passing uber-characters if I'm in a region where I can max out, since we'll be on even footing, just about (special skills might still tip the odds in the more powerful character's favor, but that can be balanced later).

Of course experience margins will draw people into rougher neighborhoods, and high-level equipment can make a difference between high-level characters. This system won't hold your hand, but it'll slap the wrist of jerks while maintaining the constant sense of reward the hardcore players look for. Once you get buffed to an absurd degree, you can still get a team of your champion friends together for a foray into the magical forest of doom, but you can't get bored and whale on new guys for kicks.

Gamers get their fun, developers get their subscriptions, and everyone gets a chance to enjoy themselves.


[Edited by - Iron Chef Carnage on June 22, 2005 11:08:21 PM]

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Original post by OdHero

Yes really really hardcore gamers could take over the server etc, so why not make different servers, ones limitless to levels another nto limited, this means the hardcore gamer is not confided to a max level of 60, nor is the casual gamer being overwhelmed by those who just play alot.


I think this still does not solve the problem. the hardcore gamer graduates into
the limitless server only to find he is like a noob against the other hardcore gamers who went there a few months back and continued to powerlevel.

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It doesn't eliminate powerlevelling, of course. That's not the goal. Getting rid of powerlevelling alienates a big hunk of your fanbase.

What it does is insulate casual players from the oppressive presence of power-levelled griefers. There are "civilized" servers, where roleplaying and competition are present and balanced, and there are "Wild West" servers, where powerlevelling is the rule. Those who would powerlevel would be noobs at one point no matter what, and they would tolerate it as a step on the road to invincibility. It would be like a rite of passage. You outgrow the friendly servers and dive into the mealstrom of PvP of the hardcore game servers.

I still think the same thing can be acheived using geographical borders instead, and would seem more feasible.

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