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Nanoviper

SKILL VS LEVELING IN MMOs

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I personally think the way Oblivion handles it's leveling/skill set is a very good way. Not that it's an MMO but anyways. The more you focus on certain skills the better certain areas will improve when you level up. Makes perfect sense to me that way. If I can't choose a hybrid system like that though I'd prefer skills. Improve what you use most in the game and ignore the things you don't use as much. Only becomes a problem if you decide to change up your style half way through the game (I do this all the time) and you're lacking horribly in the area you wish to accell.

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Original post by CornyKorn21
Only becomes a problem if you decide to change up your style half way through the game (I do this all the time) and you're lacking horribly in the area you wish to accell.


That isn't really much of a problem. In class based games you would have to create a new character. At least in a skill based game, changes like that are an option.

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Since you said mmo and not mmorpg, then Planetside ftw. Nearly completely skill based. The level is just an incentive to keep playing and allow for more specialization.

One tends to not see this kind of thing in an mmorpg where PVE action is prevalent. I mean if PVP fighting was the same at every level, but PVE fighting was different then maybe. However the varying spells for each level drastically changes the final outcome of a level 5 fighting a level 25.

Also tstrimp brought up a good point about classes. If an mmorpg was based on skill and not level the class system would make it painful to balance to everyone's liking. I mean just look at planetside. It has 3 factions and it took 3 years before everything was balanced enough for players to agree that PVP was rock paper scissor without the use of skill.

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Classes are good in mmorpgs. They encourage players to band together in groups such that each player's class strengths complement the other player's class weaknesses.

With a purely skill based progression system you run the risk of having a world full of generic jack of all trades characters who just run about killing everything solo.

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Quote:
Original post by CornyKorn21
Only becomes a problem if you decide to change up your style half way through the game (I do this all the time) and you're lacking horribly in the area you wish to accell.


That isn't really much of a problem. In class based games you would have to create a new character. At least in a skill based game, changes like that are an option.


touche

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Original post by Sandman
Classes are good in mmorpgs. They encourage players to band together in groups such that each player's class strengths complement the other player's class weaknesses.

With a purely skill based progression system you run the risk of having a world full of generic jack of all trades characters who just run about killing everything solo.

That's where the gameplay mechanics come in. If the player isn't allowed to be a jack of all trades it forces specialization. The more choices the more specialization generally. Granted the choices have to coincide with how players want to play. Like if there's a general skill/spell tree that players can choose. The starting branches might have healing/offensive/defensive abilities and then branch off and reconnect with one another. Then if stats/armor/weapons are geared toward different play styles then players will specialize.

You seem to suggest that if the game is skill based then players all of a sudden don't need each other. Why would this be true? The incentive of having 2+ people around has the advantage. If you've played Vanguard on the PVP server you'd know this to be true. Running around by yourself is a surefire way to get PVPed.

Best way I know of to add skill to a game is to give the player many more options than can be made in a single time. Most mmorpg games do not do this. The fights are generally predictable and players know what spells/abilities to use and in most cases already know the outcome of the fight.

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Original post by Sandman
Classes are good in mmorpgs. They encourage players to band together in groups such that each player's class strengths complement the other player's class weaknesses.

With a purely skill based progression system you run the risk of having a world full of generic jack of all trades characters who just run about killing everything solo.

That's if you can create such characters. In the real world, one cannot be an expert at everything. A jack of all trades is, perforce, a master of none.

Suppose you have a skill system where skill is increased by use. A way to look at this is to suppose that skills atrophy if not used. If you run around hitting things with swords for a month, you'll become very skilled at hitting things with swords. If you then run around throwing fireballs at things for a month, you'll become very skilled at throwing fireballs at things, but lose your skill with swords. Naturally, a group of adventurers with a mix of people who are highly skilled in specialized areas would, except in strange situations, be more effective than a lone adventurer with merely average skill in all areas.

Consider an alternate skill system where you increase skill by training. For every point you add to a skill, you must take half a point away from another skill. Alternatively, each time you train you automatically lose a point in every skill before adding the points you've earned: if people don't get enough points at each level to replenish what they lose they'll be forced to specialize.

But none of that may even be necessary. If there are 20 skills but only 10 skill points to spend per level (with, say, a maximum of 2 points per skill per level), then a party of four 20th level jack of all trades can only have 10 points in each skill, whilst a party of four 20th level specialists could, between them, have 40 points in every skill.

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Classes are good in mmorpgs. They encourage players to band together in groups such that each player's class strengths complement the other player's class weaknesses.

With a purely skill based progression system you run the risk of having a world full of generic jack of all trades characters who just run about killing everything solo.


This can be handled by limiting the players overall potential through inventory. If a player were to run around like say, the Doom guy with a hundred guns and a bazillion rounds of ammo in his magic backpack then you'd have a abit of a problem on your hands. But by forcing the player to be able to carry only one or two weapons (ala Halo), along with a very limited inventory of items (such as that extra clip of ammo, or the pair of lockpicks), then the player would have to choose carefully and work his playstyle around his loadout limitations. He could still end up being a master of all trades, but its kind of hard to do 12 different things amazingly when you can only carry the proper gear to do 2.

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You can certainly force players to specialize, but then aren't you just doing the same thing as classes but with less transparency?

Grythok's suggestion is interesting; you could be a 'jack of all trades' but you for any given mission you still have to pick your role when you choose your equipment loadout.

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