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New players dying to higher levels..

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Hey all, I'm halfway though making my super awesome funtastic MMOish game where you level up your character and unlock skills as you kill other people. The problem is that new players will get destroyed by experienced players who are a much higher level then they are, and may get discouraged and leave. I've implemented an XP system where you recieve more experience for killing a player with a higher level, so technically a lvl 100 versus a lvl 2 is fair in a risk/reward model.. but it's still not going to be that fun for the new lvl 2 player. My game is very fast paced.. imagine counter strike with levelling. Thus, I can't do anything like in WoW where you have to ask for permission to fight someone below you or anything like that. Anyone know of any nifty solutions to this problem? Thanks, Ben.

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I would think you would do it through environment control. If there is nothing a player could want in the area then they will go else where. Though you are still open to griefing. If it is run and gun action like counterstrike then you don't really have time to evaluate what level your opponent is you just gun and go so guards and what not wouldn't really be able to help since it isn't player choice at that point.

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How drastic is the advantage of levelling? As a long-time EvE player and WoW newbie, I'm appalled by the amount of mindless ganking in WoW. Just tonight three level 70 guys camped my level 26 corpse for an hour in a zone that had absolutely nothing to offer them besides weaker players. That kind of mentality is inevitable.

So make sure you're prepared for that kind of thing somehow. The best way I can think of doing it would be to give the ganked victim some XP for getting owned. Then, not only are the gankers gaining nothing, they're actually making the guy more formidable for the next time, which is counter to their objective. A long career of ganking will lead to a large number of dangerous individuals who hate your guts, and it's worth going into battle, even if you just get killed in the first round every time.

Alternately, make the levels less important, and allow newer players to compete with older ones, so that three or four level 3 guys can defeat a level 25 guy if they bring tactics and the right tools.

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So make sure you're prepared for that kind of thing somehow. The best way I can think of doing it would be to give the ganked victim some XP for getting owned. Then, not only are the gankers gaining nothing, they're actually making the guy more formidable for the next time, which is counter to their objective. A long career of ganking will lead to a large number of dangerous individuals who hate your guts, and it's worth going into battle, even if you just get killed in the first round every time.


You'd have to be careful doing something like this, the rewards and how long it takes you to rez/gank someone, along with any death penalties should be balanced carefully, otherwise you may end up with players doing it on purpose in order to farm XP for their friends/alts.

Level's imparting power tend to chronically suffer balance issues. Planetside managed to avoid it by making level's give versatility, not power. Level's determined how many weapon/vehicle/support skills players could have at a time, but level's in no way effected how powerful/effective/useful they were, they were the same for everyone. Another example is Guildwars, where more experienced players usually have a greater skill selection, but every player could only equip 8 to be used in combat, thus evening the playing field and making choice/strategies more important.

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In Lineage II there was a karma system in place to tone down ganking. Basically when you kill an unflagged person(someone who is not willingly in PvP mode), the killer receives karma points and all npc guards would attack this person on sight. If the person managed to get by the guards, the player could not use shop, bank or service npcs at all. Also added to this was the fact that when that player died, they had an extremely high chance at dropping a piece of their gear for someone else to snatch up. Karma could only be gotten rid of by dying until all karma is removed, killing mobs much higher level than the player, or by doing a very long and difficult quest. The amount of karma someone received was based on level difference. So higher level players really didn't want to gank lower level mobs because the karma would be a total pain to get rid of or they could loose very expensive gear.

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The current model I have is this:

You can level from 1 up to 100.

At lvl 1, you have 100 hp, 30mana, and 1 skill point.
At lvl 100 you have 1000 hp, 120mana, and 100 skill points.

Skills require mana to cast. Skill points work in a similar fashion to Diablo2. Each time you level up, you gain a point, and can invest it into a skill. You can stack them to make a certain skill more powerful, or invest that point into a new skill.

Whenever you kill someone, you gain their level in xp.
So if you kill a lvl 27 player, then you gain 27 xp. It doesn't matter what level you are, only what level they are.

So if a lvl 1 person fights a lvl 100 person.. the lvl 1 person will recieve 100xp each time he kills the lvl 100 guy.. while the lvl 100 guy only recieves 1xp for killing the noobie.

This means there's a lot more to gain for the lvl 1 guy in the fight, although he's still going to die a whole lot of times. Chances are, a lvl 1 guy on his own would never be able to kill a lvl 100 guy.. simply because the lvl 100 guy would be able to reheal any damage recieved in the time it takes the noobie to respawn. However.. theoretically, 100 lvl 1 guys could easily take down 1 lvl 100 guy. Not that I'd ever have 101 people in the same server.

Right now, lvl 100 guys would simply be considered a boss monster. And if you're only lvl 8, you're best bet is to run. Although if you manage to kill a lvl 100 guy.. it'd be the equivalent of killing 12.5 other level 8 characters.. so it'd be a pretty awesome kill.

I do like that versatility idea, although I think it might limit the amount of skills I can make. Also, people won't be as excited about leveling up, because the gains aren't that great.



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Quote:
Original post by Edge Damodred
In Lineage II ... the amount of karma someone received was based on level difference.

Really? That wasn't the case a few years ago, when it was based solely on how many people you've killed before (your PK count). But I partially like the way you described it better.

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The PK also factors into it still as well. For an event I decided to take an abandoned character and kill a bunch of bots so the real players could actually do the event. Since the event didn't care what level you had to be to do the event, all the bot farmers made level 1 characters. Normally when I PK someone around my level I only got about 500-1000 karma, but my level 54 character got about 6000 on the first kill. By the time I was done, when the bot boss showed up with his maxed character I had about 65 PK's and over 1.5 million karma. For fun I actually tried to get rid of it by killing mobs my level, but I was only getting about 5 karma off per kill so decided to die my way back to good standing. I deleveled down to level 32...

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Honestly I would dump the leveling system and use a badgeing system instead. Its a fast action twitch type game perfect for fostering player skill...but the leveling system negates that as higher level players effectively run around with statistical boosting on par with full armor and quad damage.

Leveling works as a zero net gain system. Where as you raise levels so do your opponets/challangers. Either by raseing the levels of the opponets, or replceing them with new tougher opponets. Net gain is still basicly zero, the game remains challangeing but with the illusion of improvement.

Unless you have lots of bots/npc/mosters for players to fight that can provide challanges to the high level players. Then as they gain levels, the game can become easier and easier through no fault of thier player skill set improveing.

Its like playing a RPG where as you gain levels you still face off against those pesky mice and rats. Only you got a block of cheese hanging around your neck that gets bigger and bigger with every level increase.

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The more you try to prevent people from doing something that feels natural, the more problems will arise from each and every solution. And in the end you've accomplished so very little with so much more effort invested.

This is particularly the case with the omnipresent issue of big guys killing small guys and small guys being unable to fight back. Let's face it, any game which revolves around levels, levelling and differences between levels is going to have this problem. And all of them are going to try and solve it in some terribly artificial roundabout way which in the end won't even work, but odds are that it will impose tons of limitations on gameplay and interaction.

It's like putting babies in a tiger's cage, and then coming up with brilliant ideas to make the tiger not eat them until they grow up.

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Yeah, that's about right. The current model of exponential power growth (is it exponential, or logarithmic? Either way, you know what I mean) makes it inevitable that the disparity between strong and weak will always be huge. It's crazy that you get 20% more deadly every time you level up, over the course of fifty or a hundred levels. When a single high-level character can beat down a half-dozen guys when he's level 50 and they're all level 42, there's something wrong in the balance there.

The paradigm's no good, but what can we change it to?

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Eve deals with this nicely.
There is exponential time to level each stat. Each raise in stat give you something between 2% and 5% bonus (additive %).
So a level5 skill is 25% bonus over no skill. This puts any veteran player at a huge advantage over anyone who doesn't have all their skills
maxed. But the advantage is still close enough that a few rookie players can still swarm over the veteran for the kill
if they play to their advantages right.

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Yeah, but in EvE, rich guys pwn poor guys. Since lost ships can cost you a lot, it's often not feasible to pull out all the stops for PvP, where death is extremely likely. So you go out there in a Megathron with a T2 fit, representing about 180 million isk, and some dude in a 600-million-isk faction and rigged Abaddon tears you up.

Even just looking at skillpoints, a highly trained Sleipnir pilot will barbecue four or five battlecruisers if the pilots only have a month or two worth of training under their belts.

I prefer the EvE system, since tactics count for a lot and you can really have a great time losing a fight, but it's far from optimal.

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That is different, however, because money is transferable. Rich guys might easily beat the poor guys, but new players or new characters don't necessarily have to be poor, right?

They could join clans/guilds/alliances/corporations that would sponsor them for being active and loyal, they could have friends in the game that would just lend or give them money, or if it's just an alt character, they could transfer money from their main character to the one they just started with.

That's a whole lot of possibilities that eliminates much of the frustration caused by experience-based levelling, so power dependant primarily on money is already a step forward IMHO.

Fundamentally, experience points are tied to a single character, so each character inevitably has to go through the (usually painful) process of acquiring them. Ingame currency, on the other hand, can be given or shared, and even when one must make money on his own it is a more useful and practical gain than XP would be in its place.

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As dog trainers say, if you don't want bad behavior, don't reward it. It's not cool for a level 40 or 50 character to camp in a newbie area and kill low level characters, so don't give any XP for that. I would go so far as to suggest docking some XP from characters that kill others more than 30 or so levels lower without provocation, but in a fast-paced game it probably wouldn't be feasible.

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Quote:
Original post by bencelot
Hey all,

I'm halfway though making my super awesome funtastic MMOish game where you level up your character and unlock skills as you kill other people.

The problem is that new players will get destroyed by experienced players who are a much higher level then they are, and may get discouraged and leave.

I've implemented an XP system where you recieve more experience for killing a player with a higher level, so technically a lvl 100 versus a lvl 2 is fair in a risk/reward model.. but it's still not going to be that fun for the new lvl 2 player.


My game is very fast paced.. imagine counter strike with levelling. Thus, I can't do anything like in WoW where you have to ask for permission to fight someone below you or anything like that.

Anyone know of any nifty solutions to this problem?

Thanks,
Ben.





Besides some mechanism where they get negative advancement for killing players well below your level (which in some games might only be 5 levels...) and of course a way to keep those lower players from bothering you./forcing you to fight (like Conan backhanding the petty theif who then cant interact with the high level player at all after that...)


Another possible solution is to have an open ended damage system where even a newbie might get that one lucky shot in (before they die) and kill the highest level player in the game in one stroke. The high level player would then lose hugely in experience for being off'd by such a pathetic entity. That might be enough to couterbalance the usall mental cae types of low esteem who victimize/grief other players.

In the real world therw are usually creative alternatives available to 'get even' which arent available in these limited caricatures of realistic systems in games.


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