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Prozak

Not knowing the Player Level in MMO-RPGs

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Prozak    898
One of the things that I would love doing, as an alter-ego in an online Universe, would be to be this super-being, having loads of cool powers, but no one actually knowing about them. MMO games seem to find it mandatory to disclose your level to other players. Why? Why not keep that information private to the player himself? Not only your level, but also your name. Imagine being in a party with 2 other players, and geting sudenly attacked by a Royal Red Dragon, a very high-level creature! As you kneel and say your prayers, the guy next to you, the silent one that hasnt said much since he joined with you two cities ago, has positioned himself against the rock wall, and seems to be in a meditative transe. As he meditates you see an aura starting to surround him. He has the palms of his hands joined in prayer, and he is mutering something. The beast above circles and the fire-sac in her throat is swelling, signaling that she is geting ready for an attack. You make the decision of not dying as a coward, so you switch to your trusty bow and arrow, and you pull up a worn shield. The Dragon pauses in mid air, and then turns neck pointed downward into a freefall flight, and the path is straight towards your party. The rogue is nowhere to be seen, he managed to escape, probably prefering to go back into the desert from where the party has just come, even though he has nowhere near enough water supplies... and you just realise he stole your water too... You try to decide if you're going to crouch down with your shield and try to survive the oncoming fire-blaze, or stand up and try to shoot an arrow into the beast's eye. You know the answer. You hate it, but you know it. The shield would never endure a dragon's fire. So you chose to go out, kamikaze-style. The dragon spreads its wings and opens its mouth. You pull on the arrow with all the strength you can muster. She unleashes her hellish blaze, and you let your arrow fly. A split-second before the fire falls upon you, you can see the arrow ricocheting on the dragon's head scales. But! Not all is lost! The dragon's blaze hasnt hit you. You're still alive, although a bit blind. You don't know what just happened, but the blindness is fading away. Your eyes start to focus and you can see the dragon coming around for a second time. Your skin is immersed in a bluish mana, you're confused. Suddenly, the rocks below seem to move, a great explosion is heard, and then a giant hand, made of rock no less, thrusts into the air and grasps the dragon with such strength that its chest colapses. There is greenish blood all over and the hand colapses into the ground, into nothing more than rocks, losing its magical life. The stranger colapses to the ground, and mutters "Any chance you still have any mana potions you could spare?" [wink]

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lightblade    100
That is a very VERY detailed description...

Which is why we need to play more table top RPGs and less MMORPGs
*Praise D&D*

Cmon! Where's the excitements when you role the die? MMORPGs just missing that random part! Everything in MMORPGs now is so predictable! It's always about running to point A to point B and do this quest and that quest. And when you reach the level cap, all you do is farming! Cmon! Leave the farming to the Mexicans(no offense, but that's what they do)

I just really want to see D&D be played online...and no...not that sh*tty cr*p made by Turbine.

I want to voice chat with REAL dungeon master, who can create their own world on the fly. Think of a SDK that the dungeon master can directly feed newer part of the dungeon to player.

Some how the more I talk about it, the more I'm getting close to Neverwinter Nights, even though I never played it but only heard things about it.

The thing is, I want to see creature's goal is NOT to kill players, but to entertain them.

/flashback/
I still remember the first time I played D&D and I wasn't even playing it with friends. I was playing D&D with 6 strangers. Since everybody at the table except the DM was new, everybody start at level 1. We entered a dungeon, and 8 skeleton soldiers start swinging axe and swords at us. 3 of us have fallen from battle, leaving only me(the rogue) and the half-orc cleric. Just at this time the DM said: "Suddenly, the 2 of the skeletons backed off, pulls out a bottle of life potions and shove it down its throat; it dies" And we all laughed and went on with the adventure.
/end flashback/

This kind of thing will never happen in MMORPGs. All we see is: "Nuker lfg!" or "1337 Tank looking for raid groups". IT IS A MEDIVAL FANTASY GAME, NOT A MODERN COMBAT! WHY DO WE HAVE TANKS AND NUKES? If you want tanks and nukes, why don't you go play StarCraft where there are tanks and nukes?


Sorry for getting too emotional, I just hate to see more and more of these so called MMORPGs become meirly just a chores everyday. Games suppose to be fun and make people laugh, but people who play MMORPGs become angry and calling each others noob, shouting f this, suck that....take a look at this video clip...

http://www.filecabi.net/t/hotlink7ncuntv6:)sj/pclunatic.wmv

This is what these MMORPGs have made us. Lunatics...

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_winterdyne_    530
Actually, I dislike Conning as well. Don't start me on 'agro rings'.

Neither conning, nor [arbitrary] level disclosure have any part in ANY of the MMO designs I have. I believe that you should be able to get that sort of information by watching the other character carefully - do they make fancy moves when attacking with a sword? Did he really just kill a troll with a single magic missile? They're built like a brick outhouse, must be strong! That sort of thing.

I'm getting really sick of the 'subscription farm' MMO format. There are a lot of players who don't want to be wrapped in cotton wool from the scary mobs.

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Ezbez    1164
You just gave better reasoning for that simple idea than alot of people give for their entire 'Greatest MMO Eva!' posts, and in an entertaining way!

You've sold me.

And have you thought about the other way around, where you can pertend to be higher level than you are? That might be annoying when you're expecting to have some good people in your group and it turns out to be a bunch of level 2s.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
@Ezbez
Maybe make the size of the character be bigger when he has higher level.
(So that huge surprises are excluded)

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Drethon    212
In Gemstone IV (a MUD that has been around a while) the levels were never shown until recently players were given the option to show the level. So for the most part you have no clue how old another player is unless they show their optional title (Lord - train 20, Great Lord - train 40, High Lord - train 80, Renown(?) Lord - train 100(cap)).

Critter levels also are not shown but instead you can assess a critter and get a rough estimate of is it more than 10 trains above you, above your train, below your train or more than 10 trains below you. Though as you are shown in text attack and defence strengths on the first attack, this point is usually fairly moot.

Dragon Realms on the other hand (produced by the same company as Gemstone, fairly similar game) does not show levels and also does not show attack or defence strength or even hit points on attacks, simply shows X hits Y WHERE. This makes combat far more complicated as you really don't know how much damage you are taking except for the apparent severity of your wounds.

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Omegavolt    196
I do plan on leaving out levels, names, and conning in my game.

I wanted the lack of levels so that people arent just trying to treadmill through levels to get to the top and focusing on skill combinations instead.

I wanted the lack of names so that people will have to actually talk to others and socialize to get names. Its also the reason Im getting rid of global chat. You want to chat and LOL it up with a few players? Head down to the local tavern, theres sure to be plenty of 'em there.

And though I wont have conning, I will have an Monster Lore skill that players can specialize in. The experts in Monster Lore can then write books about the monsters they know about so that newer players can learn about some of the monsters before they leave town.

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Omegavolt    196
Conning is an old EQ term. Its short for... um... con-something (consider?)... basically it means to get an idea of how powerful an enemy is compared to you by the color of its name, aura, etc.

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Luminous    127
The idea of immersing the player into such a dynamic and realistic environment is captivating but you have to think about the casual user. I've pretty much all the MMORPGs that have been released in the last 6 years including UO, EQ, DoAC, PS, SWG(original, not the new crap), WoW, Matrix, and numerous others.

EQ was a hit because the genre was relatively new, every other mmorpg release was generally the same thing but with a couple setting changes. And most of the games were atleast "somewhat hard", i know EQ was, i hated dying so much cause it F'ed you up.

If you look at WoW, they've had over 6 million subscribers(thats just saying how many people bought the game, im sure the active user list is probably in half of that). The game is totally easy, you have the WarCraft world, and Blizzard is company known to make outstanding games.

Yeah you can start farming forever in WoW, but it's relatively easy to get to level 60, and a lot of things are just by luck on the draw for finding good items, or rolling on drops(until high lvls). I got to lvl 60 in 12 playing days, EQ took closer to 25-30 days atleast with a whole new player not being helped.

A world like you idea would be great for a hardcore gamer, but I woulnd't think it would be for a normal user because it would require much more attention to detail, and/or skill.

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Nytehauq    328
Genius, really. Whatever happened to games where you judge the power of your enemies based on their appearance? IMHO all of the "information" provided is really a copout - if I can't tell that uber dragon/player #5 is uber without having a number attached, you've done something wrong. Take Diablo II for instance. While it was a linear game (thereby making it easier to have the player predict enemy strength), it never gave you the levels of enemies explicitly. It did give you player levels, but even this could be considered extraneous when armor was taken into consideration. The guy with lots of shiny sparkly silver armro was obviously very powerful, as is the oddly colored monster that shoots you with really damaging spells.

To me, relying on showing levels means that you don't have enough detail in your simulation. Great idea.

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ellis1138    234
It would be easy to design an MMO that doesn't show levels and con colors. I just wouldn't want to be the community manager of the forum, with all the whining about "how com he gets uber powerz and i don? u sux".

The detailed summary of the fight with the dragon is more difficult. What you really seem to want (and what NWN delivers) is the ability to tailor a dungeon session to a group of players. The "chat with the dragon" would need either incredible AI or a human running it. The latter is the best, but if the MMO is too big, how can you pay that many GMs?

There's ways around it, I'm sure, and better AI will probably be coming in the next bunch of years. However, similar to movies, when one of them is a blockbuster, several studio heads decide that they want a blockbuster and should follow the formula. So, since the "level/con/kill/loot/farm" model is the blockbuster, everyone is following that and not breaking the paradigm of the D&D Archetypes of characters (warrior, wizard, cleric, thief, bard).

Similar to the movies, in gaming it will be harder to get anyone to hear a new, different idea. The game developer of the game that is different will have to work very hard to finance it, get it made, and make it work. Only after it's come out and is what the industry feels is a success, will the paradigm change.

I look forward to Prozak's one. :)

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Sutekh    122
Providing a visual queue to a person's skill ( not level because I have always despised the whole idea of levels) has always been an idea that I've favored. Warriors who start out unskilled and a very small build, who eventually, through extensive training, builds his body mass up and you can visually see larger muscles and such.

Magic users power can be displayed as aura's of power around the avatar, this aura could even display this wizard's alignment or school based on certain colors

IMO the idea of levels is an outdated one. All levels do is segregate the community of an MMO and provides the means to inhibit the fun a player can have with others, be it friends or strangers. An MMO should give equal power to a newbie and a vet, but the difference between them is how that power is used. A newbie would be given very few options and very little flexibility in the usage of his power, while a vet would have many options at his disposal and be extremely flexible in combat.

This type of system would also allow players to get out of the “grind” and do things that are actually fun instead of always trying to reach for the highest level.

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Oluseyi    2103
Quote:
Original post by Prozak
Imagine... <SHEER AWESOMENESS!!!>

I don't play RPGs (I've only ever played one for more than two hours). I've never played an MMORPG, and I don't have imminent plans to.

Make this, though, and I'd be intrigued.

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I also hate the idea of showing your level. Perhaps make it so there isn't a level at all? Just have skills that you level up from a few 'base' classes. (Warrior, mage, thief/monk, ranger/druid) Have a spectrum of magic for the mage (fire, water, wind, earth) with more spectrums unlocked as you level up others with a lengthy library of spells to each spectrum. Have the warrior get many different types of attacks depending on the weapon he specializes in. Say he holds a sword in a semi-defensive postion but ready to switch poses and counter attack at a moments notice with his advanced counter move.

Also, if I am able to hide my level and/or name, I think I should also be able to cover my high-end armor with a old travel-worn cloak with the hood up or down(to hide my face).

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Fournicolas    270
I have always wondered why you had to gain HP in games as you level, since you don't in real life.

It had been a really easy way of making things appear more realistic, in the early days of roleplaying, because having more HP meant you could survive more attacks. But the fact is that you don't REALLY withstand more attacks, you only survive them because you know how not to have to withstand them.

To make it plain, I am dreaming (and currently designing and realising) of a game where EVERYBODY gets roughly the same amùount of HP. Why would anyone survive a spear blow through the eye, because he has 20'000 HP? A blow through the eye is deadly for everyone, no exception. There is no one able to say he has survived "decollation", or beheading... Then why would anyone be able to say so in a game? If the only answer you can think of is "because it's a game! duh!" then get away, and start thinking on your own.

The equivalent has been reached in more recent games, by the modification of the basic gameplay. Everyone has roughly the same amount of HP, but not everybody has the same skills. Find two persons weighing roughly teh same two hundred and fifty pounds, and pit them up against each other. If you find a heavy wight boxer, and a heavy weight drinking bar-brawler, there are many chances that the bar-brawler will end up on top, because he doesn't fight fair, and has a few extra-moves and options that the boxer won't even think of. But the boxer will only need ONE hit to take the brawler out, because he has SKILL. And he packs a mean punch, too.

The same can apply in every sphere. You can be a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, and have many different skills and moves available to you, or you can choose to focalise on one or two areas, building something more specific. You can ask an axe-wielder to take a tree down and see if he can. He is probably used to swinging his axe and has broad muscles, but that's pretty much it. Trees don't move or fight back much. Usually, that is. Try to find a butcher, and ask him to fight using his big cleaver, and you've got something dreadful! Because although he has big muscles and some ease using his big cleaver, his isn't used to enemies standing upright! He will continuously try chopping down with the cleaver, and you'll just laugh him off by stepping aside and punching his nose.

Skills are what differentiate people. Not the number of HP. Skills and experiences. SO I agree with whoever talked about Kengo's system. First off, you train in a specific training area, and discover moves. Then you go out and actually USE them, and THEN you get real combat experience. You can train as much as you want, combat experience should be what counts,when it comes down to fighting. Maybe combat experience could be a separate gauge, which would deplete when encountering an enemy, and would fill as you hit him? the lower the gauge, the more your skills are reduced, because of fear? A bigger enemy, or someone more skilled would deplete that gauge faster? I can't seriously imagine fighting a dragon like fighting a wolf or a bar-brawler. The danger isn't just the same. Maybe using moves that haven't been mastered in combat yet lowers that gauge too? what do you say?

Anyway, I concur with the general agreement, names and levels shouldn't appear in games, anywhere. Be they MMOs or single players, what should differentiate a good player from a bad player is their self-preservation instinct. It's easy enough to charge a bull and attack it using your toothpick if you know for a fact that the bull can trample you for fourty minutes before you cough, but it's a little different if you know for a fact that you are faster than it, but if it catches you on a horn, it will have AMPLE time to trmaple you to death, because you won't be able to move afterwards...

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Digibo    163
Just a quick tip - never ever put a Monter Lore skill or similar in a MMORPG. People will just use Online Guides. You'll actually make it even easier for them to create Monster Guides at first and then no one will be using the skill. I hate this fact, but we (Game Designers) should always consider the Internet nowadays.

It's the same with anything that relies on separating character knowledge from player knowledge, like alchemy recipes.



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Prozak    898
Well, I'm all for not showing your level, but rgarding your name, you can "give it" to other players, players you've known for some time and are confortable n sharing your name with them. You can also disclose your level of course.

The key concept here is leting the player decide.

I also have another concept I would like to see fleshed out: Player Uniqueness.

I envisioned a world where two staffs of power, oposites in ideology would fight for control. A White Staff for those following the way of peace and harmony, and a Dark Staff for those following the ways of death and destruction.

Only one player with a particular set of already developed atributed could yeld such a weapon, but he would be nearly undestructuble. Think Sauron in LotR.

Also, some spells should be written down in old books that need to be found, translated, etc... It shouldnt be just a "walk over the spell to pick up and use" deal...

All of this adds work of course, but it increases the immersiveness. One could really go Indiana Jones into a temple, after reading about it in a book that was translated, and knowing more or less what to expect and fear, and design the apropriate party for the contraptions one would find inside...

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I thing Never Winter Nights does a better job in role playing possibilites then in an MMORPG.
It really depends on the serve ryou are playing NWN.
But what makes it possible, Ithink, is that in NWN you have DMs that can do whatever they want in their server.

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I liked the game Nethack (and many rouge-like RPGs) because the items were all unidentified when you first find them.

That scroll that read ABRA? it could be a scroll of healing, fireball, or even destroy armor(read it and it ruins YOUR armor). Those boots could be boots of speed, levitation, stumbling, or just plain boots.

Also, in the game Argaband (I think thats how it's spelled) when you look at a monster it gives a brief description of based on what you have seen of it so far. ("Purple Worms: You don't know what attacks it has, it looks weak, it reproduces explosivly") If you get attacked, or see it do something it automatically adds to the Description. ("Purple Worms: It can poison you by crawling on you...")

If you have something like that, then the game could keep track of individuals names and stats once you get that information. You might even allow people to "Show their resume" to let others know all their stats if they want.

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I like that in EVE, you can see a guy flying a low-level ship, and your only clue about his abilities is the age of the character. Maybe he started playing in 2003, then quit, and restarted again, so he's uselessly weak. Maybe he's only got two months in, but it's all in pure combat. Unless you scan his ship, you've got no idea what he's packing, so PvP is a real crapshoot, and a total blast when you do it. For instance, I've got a three-month-old character who's almost useless in a fight, but people don't know that, so I can sometimes bluff my way out of trouble. Other times, a mighty killer will get in a cargo ship with huge combat gear installed inside, and act as bait for pirates. It's great.

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bmanruler    122
EVE is a great example showing that levels aren't needed to make MMO's fun. In fact the best MMO's I ever played had no levels (EVE and Pre-CU SWG). When the only indication of a players skill is how he plays, it creates a much more immersive environment.

I think your name and level (if it is put in the game) should be hidden to everyone. But once you talk to them, they disclose their name if they so choose. Then you can see their name as you do now. This would make it really easy to pick friends out of a group. Plus then it could add some cool depth to bounty hunting and the like. Some guy you have never met calls out your name. As you wonder how he knew your name, he pulls a gun and opens fire. All the smart witnesses ducked for cover the second you asked how he knew your name, because they all knew he was there for blood.

Skill based games are much more fun then level based. But since level based are much easier for non hardcore gamers to play, and the market is flooded with them the industry will simply go the course. You can attract more mature players with complex game design, but you will never be able to attract as many total clients. And since game companies are businesses, I don't foresee level based games going anywhere anytime soon.

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Net-Ninja    216
Honestly i wouldn't even call todays MMORPGs for MMORPGs, i would call them MMOCBG (Massivly Multiplayer Online Character Building Game).

I would like to do a Japanese style MMORPG. First i would strip the game of the lvls, then everyone would begin the same with the same stats (low ofcourse). Then they would have to train, the stats would change based on the actions of the player, the stats would be visible via a gauge wich only would reveal a grafical visualisation of the players stats (no numbers).

A warrior typ would weild heavy weapons givin it more muscle mass (str) and since its a close combat type of guy his constitution would also increase.

A ninja would more rely on speed and technique and would there fore gain speed and better muscle control.

A mage would hmm probably have a fixed amount of mana based upon a randomised number when the charecter is created or something. they would all start of with nada in mana every one and a mage/preist would have to go to a temlpe/academy to train, there there could be a leader who would use some sort of spell to get a rough estimate of the players potential mana pool. then they would train somehow, not quite sure how. lower ranked spells they would aquire att the temple and higher ranked spells they would aquire from some other ordeal.

though there would be more possabilities baked into the game ;)

the guilds and factions would be all player created, it would be nice if the emperor and the guard would be players and not NPC then there could be factions
who would rebel against the current ruler and would have the chanse of taking control over the country.

Quests would also be nice if they were player based, A player would perhaps become an alchemist and would sell potions of various sorts, to come over more rare herbs he could use a sort of Quest-maker wich other combat players would be able to complete. though the quest-maker isn't necesary, you could just write on a paper that you need a certain plant an d you pay this much for that many and you can find me there and just put it on a note board or something of the sort.

The problem with the guard being players would be that it could be kind of boring and they would need some kind of motivations more than making money.

To become overpowered there will be dffrent sets of magic armour, Like in a vampires castle there could be a extremely powerfull sett of armour, Though one thing about armour thats been bugging me and i intend to correct is that no matter how big a person is he alsways fitts into the same armour. like a ninja in a warriors armour och a Warrior in ninja tights. it does not exist in real life so all armour will have a size and the players would have tofigure out their size and buy clothes and armour accordingly.

Thats all the things i think shoul be in a MMORPG, hope it has sparked som minds with creativety.

I dont know how much of this is actualy makeable, due to the major bandwidth wich would be required and the limitations of programing.

Im not a Game developer yet but in about 4 months i will begin takeing programing in school, and i will begin making more "primitive" games but hopefully i in the distant future i will be able to try to make this game.

/A Ronin Ninja

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Ultima Online doesn't have levels, you have a title
which you can guess at how well they are, but you
dont know what skills they have learnt excatly

I pretty much hate lvl based based, its to predicatable and limiting
a lvl 1 wont beat a lvl 100 unless they cheat
In a game like ultima a new character can still pose a threat to the most advanced, (thought you would usually have to be pretty silly)

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