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Nazrix

Character Growth in RPG-Likes

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In the Meaningless Combat thread, we began talking about this subject of character growth. It has been discussed before, but what the hell? Character growth is something that most RPGs have in some way. There's the level system and the skill system. Then there's the hybrid like in Daggerfall where as you increase your "major" skills, you would eventually level up. These systems can cause the meaningless actions (such as combat) problem where the player just repeatedly does something to make the character grow. There's also the method I talked about in the Meaningless Combat thread where within the story (if there is a story) or within quests (assuming there are some sort of quests or missions) sometime during the quest the player's skills could increase a certain amount. Maybe a person during the quest will teach the character something or maybe the character will just increase as part of the reward for completing the quest. The idea is to make the player just play & experience the game and not be concerned with trying to increase skills by repeating an action over and over because that gets very mundane. Any other options? Maybe characters should not get better at things. Maybe you should just choose which skills you're good with and that's what you have to deal with for the whole game. That wouldn't be a bad thing. I do think that the character getting better at things does have an interesting effect (maybe that's a replacement of combat although it only seems to condone combat in games so far). http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html "All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself. Edited by - Nazrix on January 11, 2001 12:04:34 PM

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I think some people will always try to powermaxxx their characters if they can (remember that powermaxing is an addiction )

Seems to me that players always want to increase their character''s skills because it is often the only way to win the game as odds are steadily increasing and fighting is the only solution.
If you have other possibilities to win than to fight everything and defeat the boss then maybe increasing the character''s skills is not usefull.

Still every single player I''ve met so far likes his character to progress over time. So I don''t think that suppressing the character advancement is a good solution.
But if you have alternative to fighting then you can make the progress very slow, so most players will prefer to advance while adventuring rather than by training.
(moreover you can suggest the player to choose the alternative : how many elite guards in that room ??? Fifty ???)

One possibility for training : NPC''s will train the PC for a specific amount of time, but only if they are inclined to do so, perhaps because the PC has done something for them, or because she looks gorgeous... (more social interaction too please...)

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quote:
Original post by DungeonMaster
I think some people will always try to powermaxxx their characters if they can (remember that powermaxing is an addiction )



That is very true

quote:

Seems to me that players always want to increase their character''s skills because it is often the only way to win the game as odds are steadily increasing and fighting is the only solution.
If you have other possibilities to win than to fight everything and defeat the boss then maybe increasing the character''s skills is not usefull.



This is a very important point. I know we''ve been over the aspect of winning in games. In a game as deep as an RPG generally is, I would really like to keep the concept of winning away from it as much as possible (very hard to do). It would be so much better if there was no winning there is just ways to experience the story (assuming there is some sort of story of course).

quote:


One possibility for training : NPC''s will train the PC for a specific amount of time, but only if they are inclined to do so, perhaps because the PC has done something for them, or because she looks gorgeous... (more social interaction too please...)



Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about training...good ideas



http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

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quote:
Original post by Nazrix

I know we''ve been over the aspect of winning in games. In a game as deep as an RPG generally is, I would really like to keep the concept of winning away from it as much as possible (very hard to do).



Some things that might help:

1) Let it be known to the player that your game isn''t about winning. It''s not about killing Foozle and retrieving the Magick McGuffin. (err... as long as it isn''t, that is)

2) The Sims / Creatures Approach: Character growth isn''t only a matter of skills that make you a more dangerous weapon. Maybe it results in interesting NPC reactions; maybe even hitherto unseen AI actions by your own character; maybe it''s simple customization that makes the player feel differently about their character (say, like adding sunglasses to look cool).

BTW, I think you can get a lot of milage out of #2... take something as simple as a comeliness stat:

Freya the buxom shieldmaiden: "Hey, handsome, how about buying me an ale?"

Gondar the sarcastic theif: "How ''bout I break that pretty nose of yours, boy?!!!"

(ie, all the men hate and envy you, and all the women want you... just on one lousy stat. Heck, it might be so bad that you have to go and disguise yourself! )







--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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People like concrete measures of progress (or ''ladders'' as they have been referred to as by some designers) as they provide positive feedback on the gamer''s playing experience. Whether it is skills, stats, your Elite Rating, the level that you''re on... people like to be able to measure their play. Apart from being satisfying, it also provides extra motivation for playing the game by giving extra goals to accomplish.

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hum.. naz.. it seems that you''re just not seeing the big picture

Advancement is life. So it atrophy.. which is why LF was all gung-ho for it so long ago.

But, it''s a game.. and that''s an important aspect. People want to work, and never hit the top. At least, if you want them to keep playing. What i would do is make things different for every character type in a CRPG. Like BG2 does. You had different quests and stuff if you were a mage than if you were a ranger.

And if you want a game that doesn''t force you to fight.. see Planescape: Torment. A lot of the stuff i''ve done so far didn''t require battle if you didn''t want so. Actually, you have an option when speaking to certain characters to "lean in close as if to whisper.. and when they lean in, snap their neck!" I tell you, it''s one fo the best-done roleplaying things i''ve ever seen, and i''m not that far into it. I''ll admit.. it uses the version 1 of the infinity engine, and thus.. if you''ve played BG2, you''ll be going back a step in some respects. But the story and plot is deffinately worth if from what i''ve seen. Of course, there is almost always an option to fight. And you have random guys in town you can pick a fight with..

As for repetative action.. well.. how else would you gain skills? The way i like best is for players to walk around and do things. You make choices, you do things.. your actions and words make who you are. Even if you think you''re a lawful good person, the way you act might be different. Torment doesn''t have alignment you choose directly, but through action. You can choose to lie and tell the truth about the exact same passages. If you''re truth.. then you''re lawful plus whatever kind of passage it is. If you lie, you''re chaotic and reverse alignment of the passage. For instance, you could say "Truth: I think that outfit looks good on you" or "Lie: I think that outfit looks good on you". If you have good charisma, you get away with the lie, if not.. Well, it''s always easier to tell from the passage whether it''s a good or evil saying. If it was evil, and you lied about saying it.. you''ve made a chaotic good choice. If you''re telling the truth.. it''s a lawful evil choice. Your choices determine your alignment. It''s a rather awesome system.

Well.. i think we''ve covered the repetative action thing before.. as in it sucks and it''s dumb. I don''t honestly think you need a game in which you have herbal lore to rank 400. There just isn''t that much knowledge to be had about herbal lore. True, there''s different plants.. and certain plants are of one type or another.. so you handle them differently. But that''s a subdivision of herbal lore, right? That''s "this-kinda-plant lore". So for everything in the system, you should have a certain FIXED MAXIMUM level in it. And as you gain levels in different types of plants, your herbal lore goes up. You can''t learn "herbal lore". It''s too broad. But it can be a rating of the overall that you know. But it''s the average of all your plant lores underneath.. so it''s not a true look at what you do and don''t know.
I DO think you should use this overview for judging when the character gets to advance a level or whatever. That''s because.. general experience is more important to a guild or some such rather than specific knowledge of a single plant. This motivates the character to try new and different things.

Of course, you can break the ranks of each thing down into what action you''re doing to said thing. Here''s where it can get really complex. Cause if you''re widdling the plant down, you should be able to widdle any plant, right? Well.. now you factor in the overall lore skill. Certainly, widdling oak is different than a willow. But if you know how to widdle an oak well, and you''ve got like 3 overall ranks of herbal lore, you start off with a base modifier of 3 for learning to widdle the willow. Mind you, that''s a modifier, not the actual ammounts of rank. If your ranks exceed the modifer, it doesn''t help, cause you know more about that specific wood than you do about general widling. If you gain one rank in the type of wood, then you''re +3 turns to a +2 modifier. The modifer doesn''t count as much as the actual ranks in the type. But rank 3 shouldn''t be more powerful thank rank 4, obivously. So the modifer might act like .75 of a full rank or some such i can''t work the math out now.. but there''s a way

So.. you tell me.. what kind of thoughts do you have? do you think we should go for a totally new system, or try to hybrid two, or should we just make improvments?

J

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