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MMO Gap issue

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Hello there o/ ,

 

  I am working on a persistant browser based MMO (so mostly a spreadsheet) , and wondering about gap between old players and a newcomer.

 

  As MMOs are games that players having progress continously, gap will be widen in time, after enough time passed, a newcomer will see that he/she can't catch a veteran anyway, so won't stay at a game.

 

  Though this seems a problem of not-so-near future, still wondering design considerations regarding this. So would love to hear from you.

 

Best regards,

 

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It depends what kind of game economy there is.  If the goal of the game is to make money so you can shop for things, some items will become ridiculously rare but you would be regularly introducing new common ones, so there are still things for newbies to enjoy buying.  If there are minigames, adding more minigames over time can increase the amount of money a player can make per day.  If it is a pet breeding game, the price of pets always decreases over time so a new player can buy the same pets with less money than an older player needed to spend.  If it is the kind of game where you build up an army, then you either need to cap the max army size or cause regular attrition to armies or arrange it so that only attacking someone with an equally big or bigger army is rewarding.

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My recommendations.

1) Make old content easier or less time consuming as you add new content to the game.
2) Non linear progression, if a player can get to a competetive level reasonably quickly it won't matter all that much if veterans have a slight advantage.

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It depends what kind of game economy there is.  If the goal of the game is to make money so you can shop for things, some items will become ridiculously rare but you would be regularly introducing new common ones, so there are still things for newbies to enjoy buying.  If there are minigames, adding more minigames over time can increase the amount of money a player can make per day.  If it is a pet breeding game, the price of pets always decreases over time so a new player can buy the same pets with less money than an older player needed to spend.  If it is the kind of game where you build up an army, then you either need to cap the max army size or cause regular attrition to armies or arrange it so that only attacking someone with an equally big or bigger army is rewarding.

 

Oh my bad, I was mentioning a stat like (well I don't know terminology of MMOs like WoW etc :) ) attack ? , (think as Age of Empires a better unit hits more)

 

Its ok if newcomer is 1 and veteran is 100 can catch sometime but when it comes to like 1 to 10.000 it is practically impossible.

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Progress is measured by how close you get to a goal (which may be infinitely far away but whatever)

 

Change the goal over time so newcomers will not be pursuing the same goal as the veterans.

 

This can be implemented as starting a new world every once in a while (or expanding the world and putting new players in the new regions), but you could come up with something that works in a single world/place. Like a new branch of magic to pursue that is slightly better than the old one when people start getting too good at the old one.

 

It might make the game remain interesting for longer for the older players too as they have to keep 'adapting'. Or it might just annoy them when their work becomes less and less worthy if they cling to it.

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Its ok if newcomer is 1 and veteran is 100 can catch sometime but when it comes to like 1 to 10.000 it is practically impossible.


Keep those players apart (don't make it possible for the extremely high-level players to kill novices).

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Perhaps make it like diminishing returns, at higher level you will received less stats compared to lower level, so new player can catch up easily until sweet point, and at higher level is merely a bonus.

 

I also favor diminishing returns but worrying at the same time if it discourages people to advance after certain point.

 

Progress is measured by how close you get to a goal (which may be infinitely far away but whatever)

 

Change the goal over time so newcomers will not be pursuing the same goal as the veterans.

 

This can be implemented as starting a new world every once in a while (or expanding the world and putting new players in the new regions), but you could come up with something that works in a single world/place. Like a new branch of magic to pursue that is slightly better than the old one when people start getting too good at the old one.

 

It might make the game remain interesting for longer for the older players too as they have to keep 'adapting'. Or it might just annoy them when their work becomes less and less worthy if they cling to it.

 

Pity adding a new world or something is not an option , but other than that your suggestion highly conforms to my plan of using "technology" but less cruel than you (starting over new stat) :)

 

 

 

Its ok if newcomer is 1 and veteran is 100 can catch sometime but when it comes to like 1 to 10.000 it is practically impossible.


Keep those players apart (don't make it possible for the extremely high-level players to kill novices).

 

 

My concerns are not only for PvP but also of aggregrated attack of a faction. Newcomers will lose interest at the point they see not only they can win but also can't contribute to the cause at all.

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If your game is designed around a grind and around incremental progression with no real variation, then the gap between grinders and casual players will constantly increase.

 

But if the game is designed so 'real world skill' carries more weight than equipment or stats, then a different kind of gap occurs, but one that is usually less wide, and where newer players can still have a good time and contribute, if proper-match-making occurs. Also, it allows newcomers to get 'up to speed' quicker.

 

Examples of 'real world skill' includes tactical thinking and decision-making carrying more weight in battle then merely a more powerful sword. Chess entirely depends on real-world skill (several different branches of real-world skill), since opponents are always evenly matched in terms of in-game skill.

 

Another example of real-world skill is most first-person shooters. I'm not a very good FPS player, but occasionally I'll jump on Modern Warfare or another FPS, and usually while not being the best player (or even in the upper 50% of the team), I can still enjoy myself enough to keep playing, because I can still kill the enemy some of the time. It's not a guaranteed defeat merely because the enemy has epic gear spike armor and is riding a fire-breathing dragon.

 

Modern Warfare did a really good job of adding advancement and customization, but also keeping things balanced.

 

Though RPGs should definitely have more customization and more in-game advancement than Modern Warfare, they could stand to learn a few lessons from it as well. Infact,  the developers of World of Warcraft, after their Cataclysm expansion, admitted they botched part of WoW's design  where it comes to player choice and customization, and then praised Modern Warfare 2's design as better. Ofcourse, it helps that both WoW (Blizzard) and Modern Warfare (Activision) are owned by the same parent company (Activision-Blizzard). tongue.png

 

(Despite what it sounds like, I'm not a huge FPS fan, nor am I a huge Modern Warfare fan. Even among FPS's it's not my fav. I just admire the balanced craftwork that went into the three 'Modern Warfare' games)

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It sounds a bit like the sort of situation that I found in a couple online games I tried. Players controlled a kingdom of sorts, you built your buildings and units and then went out and attacked other regions, some of which were computer controlled and others were player controlled, to build onto your kingdom. When you join late in the game, the players that started early are so entrenched between their technology level, alliances, and units they've built that you don't have a hope of surviving long at all. Figuring that the game was all about being social and co-operating with other players, at one point I tried to strike up an alliance between other new players so that we'd try to defend each other. But as it turned out, when I sent units to another player's town to protect it, that just ended up costing the other player resources to support the units and they didn't actually help defend against an attack at all.

Having no understanding of the things you can do to try and survive in an impossible situation made it even less inviting to even bother trying.

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This is a topic very near and dear to my heart.

What I've found in my mullings and musings is that this is a problem inherent to "level" as it had historically been implemented. Sure, it can simplify calculations, but I'd argue for it being the biggest factor in the switch between the growth and maintenance portions of the MMO life cycle, and it can make that switch for you if you don't plan ahead very carefully.

The solution I've been contemplating is just not having a typical level system, or at least keeping it behind the curtain, rather than putting it in front of the player as THE carrot to chase.

Consider having more avenues for meaningful horizontal progression that present themselves early to help de-emphasize vertical progression and you may find yourself forced to compete with inflation less often.

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Level and equipment limits are the norm.

 

Quickest example, racing games. This is the racing MMO business model I've seen duplicated.

 

you'll have level 1 cars for 3 months, level 2 cars for 3 months, level 3 cars for 4 months, etc. This way the players purchase the new cars every time, and the power creep is controlled. The final might be level 12 cars, with a temporary upgrade which lasts 30 days.

ported to another country, you won't start with the level 12 cars, you start the business model over again with level 1 cars

 

Games that take months to reach a level cap have bot players, very few humans have staying power, maybe 1/1000 players who are active for over a year will still enjoy the game for just the game, the rest want peers. If everyone is a different level they don't know their peers.

 

You could also look at WoW, just because they have a level cap for subscribers who'll eventually all level out.  I don't have knowledge about WoW beyond that.

This is pretty much the norm, forced team play.

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WoW is taking long-overdue steps to minimize the gap between old and new/returning players. With the expansion later this year, they're allowing new players to jump to more recent and relevant content without the long level grind.

It won't be long before this is extended to a full mentoring system like those that several quicker-responding games already feature.

So while yes, level systems are the norm at present, they are starting to show serious wear. I wouldn't count on them being the norm too much longer.

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Sorry, wasn't available for few days due to computer upgrade, thanks to all contributing

 

This is a topic very near and dear to my heart.

What I've found in my mullings and musings is that this is a problem inherent to "level" as it had historically been implemented. Sure, it can simplify calculations, but I'd argue for it being the biggest factor in the switch between the growth and maintenance portions of the MMO life cycle, and it can make that switch for you if you don't plan ahead very carefully.

The solution I've been contemplating is just not having a typical level system, or at least keeping it behind the curtain, rather than putting it in front of the player as THE carrot to chase.

Consider having more avenues for meaningful horizontal progression that present themselves early to help de-emphasize vertical progression and you may find yourself forced to compete with inflation less often.

 

I think key element is giving chance to progress horizontally as you mentioned.

 

I consider adding multiple "careers" people can chase (but Killers will not be happy) and also consider a "technology" feature hopefully protecting both parties.

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If you really get down to brass tacks, the "killer" style of gameplay is kind of incompatible with the MMO genre anyway.

Approaching a long-running game with as a player focused on very short term and impermanent goals seems like a recipe for disappointment. That's not to say that MMO devs should not be consideting this audience, or that some accommodations should not be made for them; just that giving that sector too much weight in design decisions probably isn't wise.

I would contend that this is a big problem with, in particular, WoW's philosophy, and that it has poisoned the player well to an extent. Blizzard's unwillingness accept the depth of the disparity between PvE and PvP has plagued them for years, and has been a major contributor to the discontent a lot of their playerbase feels.

Look back to what they did right in the beginning to make the game so popular. Be willing to look at MMO norms and ask yourself if they are the best way to do things, or just the familiar way. Don't be afraid to rattle cages that need rattling, but mind that you don't fall into a "witch hunt" mentality.

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My random top-of-my-head thought is to decentralise power. For example, players can create towers/magic circles/whatever which are only usable within a certain radius. A rich long-term player can have lots of them, so it's quite safe for them to walk from area to area. However if a new player builds a good one in the same area as an old player, they can fight on relatively even terms. The old player has a certain disadvantage that they can't easily watch over all their territories, so are open to challenge by newcomers. Another angle would be encumbrance limits or skill trees that have exclusive branches. The old player has a huge bag of tricks, but needs to pick carefully which ones to bring to a fight.They may have discovered nearly everything, but cannot access everything at once.

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