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LunarFenris

Making experience a traded commodity

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I got an idea a few days ago while trying to redesign the common level system in (MMO)RPG's. Basically it works like this. Whenever you kill a monster, it drops EXP in the form of an "energy". This energy is absorbed into a box and stored like electricity in a battery. Now, the most basic use of this energy would obviously be to trade it for levels or stats, but it can also be used as a power source for something like an Energy Sword, which does increased damage at the cost of EXP out of that storage box every hit. Maybe it could even be used to feed the cost for spells, or used like a key to open powered doors, etc. This would also be an effective money sink for players with too much money to spend. If it was stored in something like an item, it could be traded across to other players who value currency over EXP. If it worked like a power source for magic, it could also be great for warrior classes to use spells otherwise far beyond their abilities for the right price. It would also make player killing more interesting, in that killing someone who's been hunting for a while will have a lot of stored up EXP, making the kill very valuable. This could also work as the punishment for dieing, losing all the experience you've worked to attain during that session. What do you guys think could be the pros and cons of a system like this? How would you feel about playing a game that functioned in this way?

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I actually like the core concept, though to call it experience is probably a bit misleading, since it does do much other stuff.

I can see using it as a currency to purchase skill points in a skill based-system, perhaps enhancements like in DDO or additional hit points. HP could be purchased in increments of 10, with each higher increment costing more exp. Likewise for skill points. I.E. the first 10hp would only cost 100exp, the next 10 would cost 200exp, and so forth.

While gold would be used to purchase equipment, consumables, etc...

For fighters, I wouldn't allow them access to mage spells or healer spells at all; unless you have a multi-classing component added. Instead, give them some debuffs and eventually the ability to use self-made weapons that deal pure elemental/energy damage rather than their ordinary weapons. Debuffs include knocking down foes, or stunning them, or causing them to become afraid.

Maybe give them the ability to permanently bind additional energy/elemental damage types to their ordinary weapons (or just basic enhancements instead). These wouldn't have the raw damage output of the pure energy weapons that they could use, but would only require the initial cost of crafting them, as opposed to a steady drain. This would also create somewhat of a player-based economy. Though you'll probably see any player markets flooded after a couple of months, as grinders start building more and more of the things.

Now, on PvP: Make PvP optional, or don't have a death penalty/loss for being killed by players. This only causes griefers to run high-powered toons in to attack newer toons. Personally, I do not play games where PvP is enabled everywhere; every time I have there is always some level 30+ prick there slaughtering level 1 players out of spite. Stripping these new players of the exp (or whatever you call it) and gold they earn as well as being griefed in this manner will mean you have very few new players coming in and staying.

In EUO it got really bad, because none of the high levels ever left Nord. This was where the newbies started back then, with the starter dungeon just to the east. Instead, you were often stuck in town because of the number of high levels standing around fighting; and if PvP was enabled, you got blasted immediately. For awhile the disarm skill even caused you to drop your weapon on the ground, which the other player would pick up, and either sell for money, or demand ransom for it.

DDO handles this by having designated areas for PvP. EUO handled it (may have changed by now) by having a flag set; by default you were PvP off. If you enabled it, you couldn't go back. There was also an arena added shortly before I stopped playing regularly.

I think the EUO approach; making PvP optional, is effective. They also jailed characters in that game for griefing, or killing too many other players even in fair PvP fights. DDO's is also effective, but it eliminates the chance of player battles in the streets.

I think for me personally, I'd have it set up where guilds could declare war upon one another, making all their players running as PvP able to fight in public areas. Each guild could hire non-guild players or even other guilds as mercenaries. They could set up NPC shops and banks in areas they control, giving them reason to maintain control over these areas. If another guild takes it over, they lose their shops, and the income they bring.

This would make for a guild-driven economy, with a high level of competition between each guild over territory, as well as new players to help hold that territory. Guilds not wishing to play in such a manner simply keep their npcs in their guild hall, and build the guild hall away from the main city (or cities).

Another money sink would be to allow the purchase of property in game. The dev could sell a certificate of some sort, which would allow the player to purchase land in game (only so much per cert). They then would have to buy, either from NPC authorities or the current PC owner, the property with in-game currency. Then they could build there, with only so much being allowed under the base cert. They'd have to pay in RL to be able to have each additional floor/basement level. Then pay in-game to build it.

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I was actually thinking in terms of PvP, that killing a character would be like breaking a law. You'd have a warrant on you, and either an NPC Guard or player could kill you without punishment, and maybe even reward if there's a price put on the warrant. Also, having an unpunished kill could also result in not being allowed in certain/all towns without being chased down by guards. Racking up several kills could result in teams of NPC's coming after you at all times, and with even more kills, the teams could get stronger and stronger until they're able to overpower you. I like to think of this like GTA's system where the more bad things you do, the more the police chase after you. Maybe they could even get imprisoned for a time if they killed enough.

The guild controlling territory is an interesting idea, but I think that would be flawed. Naturally one guild would become the strongest, and begin to take complete control over time, with no chance of other guilds fighting back. There would have to be a way to regulate it.

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Well, for one thing, the one guild could not destroy every other guild in a given city. Guild Halls would be inviolate; there guild members have their banks, shops, spawn points, and such dedicated for the guild only. So no one guild, no matter how large, could become dominant; they would still have how ever many guilds out there in competition.

Flagging territory would be easily done, mostly by talking to NPC's running things in the streets. Thus, unless that guild manages to both have enough members to do so, and convince it's members that it's in their interest to do so, the only way to prevent loss of those territories is with a large enough number of guildies standing guard, 24-7.

And again, even if one guild lacks the numbers to fight back, they can always use NPC hirelings, magical summons, or hire mercenary players to bolster their ranks. I can see loosely organized groups selling their swords the the guild that bids highest.

The crime-and-punishment idea is good, but it still doesn't address griefers. Whats being jailed going to bother them for? They can kill the newbs, bank the stuff, and have little to no actual punishment, even if they die. And the newbs are still turned away because a group of tards keep them from doing anything whatsoever.

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After some thought, I think this should NOT be used for mage/healer spells. Why? Because, in playing DDO with a Sorc and a Cleric, I realized that even on a medium dungeon, with a group of people, my spell points were at least at half with my sorc, and usually gone with my cleric, by the time we hit a rest shrine.

Magic-users live and die based on their spells. Thus, forcing them to choose between advancement, or being useful, you'll end up with very, very, very few spell-casters of any sort. So a standard mp system should probably be used, unless you come up with something else you like. Fighters can always fall back on base damage, as their main roles are DPS and Tanking. Rogues can fall back on sneak attack, ranged support, and of course traps and locks. A Cleric without healing spells and a Mage without offensive spells will not be popular in a party.

However, it would work for crafting. Let the fighter be able to trade his exp for temporary boosts in damage, some healing, and some crowd control; making him more effective at soloing. Let the Mage be able to imbue items with permanent effects for a exp cost. Healers/Clerics I'm not sure about, perhaps let them be able to enchant as well, just a different group of enchantments.

Of course, this leaves a Rogue-type alone; I'm not sure what you could give them that'd be comparable. Maybe invisibility, and other utility abilities that mages normally have, plus boosts to sneak attack damage, etc.

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The picture I get from this idea is that of a Necromancer stealing life-force to power his diabolical magic. A vampirism of sorts, where There Can Only Be One, and the Gathering of The Power amongst the few and powerful.

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