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Leveling Up / Skill Acquisition

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Hi everyone. My names Joseph, and I am making my first game. It is not made in any complex language like most of the rest of the games on here, but I don't think that that matters right now. heres what does matter:
  • My game is a browser based MMO,(notice lack of RPG) based on the works of DR George Clinton.
  • The driving force behind my game is not competition, but rather co-operation.
  • My game is aimed at the 'casual' audience.
  • My game may have an action system similar to Kingdom Of Loathing or it may have an action system similar to Travian.
  • I am bored with technology trees, and I want a fresh approach to gaining skills / leveling up.
  • There are no 'resources' per se in my game.
Point of discussion: What are some different ways that a player could feel that their actions and choices accomplish their character being 'stronger', but without a tech tree or levels? Thank you in advance, Joseph edit: After reading the first post FAQ, I decided to post an image of the game for you, to show that I am really working on it: [Edited by - mrzerog on April 2, 2008 2:08:37 PM]

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You could accrue assets, and become able to dedicate more and more to your projects, a sort of "brute spending" solution. Travian does this with the resource field upgrades, and is quite effective.

Since it's co-operative, you could have shared achievements which yield long-term benefits. Things like terraforming uninhabitable planets, then getting access to their real estate and properties.

It's tough to give suggestions without knowing what your players will be doing. You say there's neither a tech tree nor resources, which makes me wonder what the players are cooperating to achieve. Tech and cash are straightforward goals, which is why they're so popular. What are they doing that they can be stronger or weaker at?

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Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
It's tough to give suggestions without knowing what your players will be doing. You say there's neither a tech tree nor resources, which makes me wonder what the players are cooperating to achieve. Tech and cash are straightforward goals, which is why they're so popular. What are they doing that they can be stronger or weaker at?


Gameplay is going to be like 'the creep' in starcraft.

You start life on a single tile as one funky dude.

There are things that you can do to increase your funkiness, which in turn increase the funkiness (to a lesser degree) of the tiles surrounding yours.

Once you have increased the funkiness of a surrounding tile to a certain amount, you can begin to do things to that tile to increase it's funkiness. (and the tiles around it)

Cooperation occurs when two people are 'funkifying' the same tile, or certain actions you can do (ie: 'drop the bomb') that will funkify any tile on the map you choose.

The question is, what are the things that you can do to increase your funkiness, so as to give you more options, without simply buying new technologies?


Maybe you could use this funkiness, the only real 'resource' in the game, to upgrade tiles (ie: travian). That way, the funk isn't diminished (an impossibility according to dr. George Clinton :)) its simply re-appropriated.

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I've been thinking about this too. How does one eliminate the grind from RPG's?

Think about how other games make your character stronger. In Action Adventure Games, such as the Legend(s) of Zelda, you gain more abilities when you complete parts of the story.


For a MMO, I think you could take away levels, but give players access to more abilities based on how many of the main quests (quests pertaining to the core story) are completed.


Either that, or you can use the system WoW uses for endgame, in which you only get stronger by getting new armor and weapons.

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I thank that just making it time-based is probably the easiest thing for you to do. Have your dude constantly building his groove, the then let the player expend it to fancy up nearby real estate. Add in the ability to use combos, so you and three other guys can get set up and pull of a really sweet routine that'll turn up the funk in a larger area, at a faster rate.

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Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I thank that just making it time-based is probably the easiest thing for you to do. Have your dude constantly building his groove, the then let the player expend it to fancy up nearby real estate. Add in the ability to use combos, so you and three other guys can get set up and pull of a really sweet routine that'll turn up the funk in a larger area, at a faster rate.


I'm not too sure about that idea. I might be misunderstanding you, but if you get stronger just because of time, what's to stop you from logging on to the game, walking away from your computer, and coming back 20 hours later to find that you're insanely powerful?

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I'm thinking of Travian as the model for this. In that game, you're passively gathering resources all the time, even offline, but you have to expend them to achieve things. For instance, you can use a lot of goods to upgrade your wheat fields or build a flour mill, and while this depletes you in the short-term, the increased rate of gain is a worthwhile investment.

So, with no idea what your game will look like, let's say you earn one point of funkiness per tile in your control per hour, playing or not, and when you're funky enough, you can put on some non-shiny coveralls and clumb up a conventional ladder to install a disco ball. That will make you less funy, but when you're done, you can get back out on the dance floor, showered with beams of funky light, and really magnify your groove. Then, you can get in your Toyota Camry and drive to Sears (which makes you look totally square, but you were so funky before that you can get away with it) to buy a smoke machine, which gives a boost to the funk factor in your territory, expanding your borders.

You and a friend can then get down together and boogie your way into a teamwork bonus, maybe he brings his laser array and you bring your disco ball and a third guy brings his light-up dance floor, and the resulting party grants a short-term explosion of out-of-this-worldness to the whole neighborhood.

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