Sign in to follow this  
justkevin

Achievements instead of experience

Recommended Posts

For my current project, I'm planning on not having a level/experience based advancement system. It's a space-based game of exploration and combat, where the player commands a single capital ship exploring a variety of star systems. Players advance by building bigger and better ships. Toward this, a player needs to research new technologies to unlock new hulls and components and acquire the resources needed to build them. The ideas is that in addition to normal resources necessary to build ships, players must unlock technologies using research points. Research points are gained by new experiences. For example, a player might get 100 research points for encountering a particular foe for the first time, or finding a new and unusual type of planet. Achievements become a kind of game resource. The most obvious downside is that this requires coming up with lots of achievements to make sure players can't easily exhaust them. What are some other pros and cons to this path of advancement?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by justkevin
For my current project, I'm planning on not having a level/experience based advancement system.

...

Players advance by building bigger and better ships. Toward this, a player needs to research new technologies to unlock new hulls and components and acquire the resources needed to build them.
That right there is a level system, unless these hulls don't make much of a difference in terms of gameplay. It may not appear to be such a system at first glance, but consider that you are still dividing players into a hierarchy based on some criterion (in this case, time spent researching). If frigates are less powerful than dreadnaughts and all the most accomplished players are flying around in them, then once again you have the stratification that comes with a level system.

Eve Online, a game that has something very similar to what you propose, mitigates but does not solve this in that larger vessels, like Cruisers aren't always superior to smaller ones like Frigates. It still has a clear division when a Frigate goes up against something significantly larger in a 1:1 battle. A comparison of the price/output ratio, however, favors Frigates so they're still worth using and not always the better option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I came up with something very similar for an mmorpg design I was working on. Basically there is still a leveling/exp system in place, it's just different from what most people have come to expect. Instead of experience being just some stat that you want to increase to level, experience is actually a number that represents how much of the game you have experienced. Which is essentially the same thing as an achievements based system.

Explore a new area, points are added to experience. Talk to someone new, points are added to experience. The more things the player learns and does, the more experience they gain. Through some playtesting you can determine how quickly a player can gain experience and then adjust your content advancement accordingly.

The downside you mentioned really isn't a big deal, since virtually everything in your game could give some type of experience. I set mine up so that the first time a player achieves something (encountering a foe) they would gain the maximum experience for it. The next time they encounter that same foe, they would gain half as much experience. The next, half of that, and so on, until they are only gaining 1 experience point per encounter. (or none, if you choose to do it that way)

The player could "level up" still, which a lot of players enjoy doing. The level would just be determined based on the amount of total experience accumulated. So a player's level would actually indicate how much of the game they have played/explored, instead of "how many enemies have you grinded".

I've always been a fan of having experience actually represent a players experience with a game, and not just some arbitrary number.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, I agree. What you propose is a type of ranking system. I like your idea for research points, but It would be neat to have an experience system as well. The more that a player can accomplish in a game means a great deal. Think of it this way, You've been researching a type of ship to the point of boredom, but thats all you can do at the moment. Players will probably put down the game and move on to something that keeps their attention longer. Adding multiple levels of ranking systems, attributes, and abilities to work on will give the player more things to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Experience is for characters.
Players experience the game through their characters.

A player with lots of experience doesn't always denote a high-leveled character.
Hence twinking.

I don't care if experience is some arbitrary number, because skill is the only thing that can prove a player's experience.
So an achievement based system rewards skill as opposed to grinding.
Which I wholly support.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmm, haven't MUDs always used such systems? There grinding mostly increased your strenght and specific weapons skills, while quests, minigames and training guild specific skills (building, repairing, using telepathy, causing chaos etc.) increased your intelligence which you needed to be able to use certain items.
When you were in the mechanic guild you could build stuff like guns in multiple steps but obviously needed enought intelligence to build those parts in the first place. For example I could build a laser cannon with a battery but not with a fusion reactor.
There were also expirience points that the levels depended on but they were almost solely a scoring mechanism and only few items/quest required you to have a minimum level (for example there was a special sword that required level 100, but usually reaching the also required 100% swordfighting skill was the bigger problem than the leveling).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Zouflain
Quote:
Original post by justkevin
Players advance by building bigger and better ships.

That right there is a level system

That's definitely a level system. If you want to make a truly level-less system the new stuff players get needs to not replace the old stuff. Think about a collectible card game - You can start the player out with a basic deck, and reward them with new cards, but the player can choose to keep using the original cards, and the new cards should be balanced with the original ones. What the player is gaining is choice, not power. This is very beneficial to a pvp situation because it means a new player has a fair chance at beating someone who has been playing much longer. Compare that to the usual MMO where a lvl 1 character can't even damage a lvl 60 character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I guess hulls could be thought of as like a level system-- I'm not opposed to levels, just that my current design doesn't have a XP = Level model. The primary difference between hulls is how many slots they have. Players can add, remove, upgrade components on their hull, but a limiting factor is hull size. Components are built using resources but need to be unlocked using research.

Example of an upgrade path:

A player has a basic hull completely filled out with various components. At this point he can either spend research points to research a new hull design, or spend the points to research better versions of existing components (e.g., Mark II Phasers) or all new components (Shields I).

Getting better "stuff" requires two things in this model: the research and resources. Resources are grindable, research requires you see/do something new.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this