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Butabee

Starting at Max Level

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Butabee    274

I'm thinking of making new players start at max level and gear but when you die you lose a moderate amount of XP, and your gear takes damage that can only be repaired by getting rare material drops. Gear also decays at a slower rate from combat. Gear can break completely.

 

I want to start players at max level and gear, because I want to have open PvP. The gear you start with can't be traded, or sold.

 

There would need to be new character creation restrictions, to prevent players from just making new characters if they died too much and lost levels/gear. I'm thinking, players could only make a new character every 3-6 months.

 

Just a rough idea. I'm open to refinement suggestions.

 

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Unduli    2498

Doubt you can enforce players to have new characters by waiting. Most reasonable behaviour of some newcomer would be wasting first character then build new one with more knowledge, so you'll end up with dead accounts in no time.

 

And doubt anyone appreciates losing XP from max level (and what if he doesn't die and get XP? He's already at max level) , progression drives people at MMO games imo.

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Butabee    274

So what would you suggest in place for a game with open PvP to prevent new players from being preyed upon? This is a problem in any MMO with any PvP outside of battlegrounds, and not just full world open PvP.

 

I think players would be more frusterated from being killed repeatedly from higher level players due to power gaps than they would from losing some XP when they die, when they can actually fight back.

 

I might make it so new players have a buffer of deaths that won't count towards XP loss or gear decay.

 

 

I'm also open to suggestions for how progression could be added without it ruining the experience of new players.

Edited by Butabee

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Waterlimon    4398

So what would you suggest in place for a game with open PvP to prevent new players from being preyed upon? This is a problem in any MMO with any PvP outside of battlegrounds, and not just full world open PvP.

 

I think players would be more frusterated from being killed repeatedly from higher level players due to power gaps than they would from losing some XP when they die, when they can actually fight back.

 

I might make it so new players have a buffer of deaths that won't count towards XP loss or gear decay.

 

 

I'm also open to suggestions for how progression could be added without it ruining the experience of new players.

 

If you start everyone at max progression, why have progression at all? Doesnt make any sense.

 

If you want to prevent newbs being killed by pros, the problem is a situation where:

-High lvl and low lvl players are in the same location

-High lvl player is stronger than low lvl player

-High lvl player attacks low lvl player

-High lvl player is able to finish the kill

 

You can prevent any of those to solve the issue. You could add artificial limits, you could spatially separate different level players, you could make level matter for other things than PvP and not affect the relative strenght of two players much, you could allow low level players to somehow flee, you could make it disadvantageous to attack low level players... And you can also have 'weaker' versions of these solutions, like spatially separate players but still allow them to leave their optimal playing area but apply some negative effect if they do so (maybe the low level players want the shiny high level items of the 'stranger' and attack in groups...?).

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Butabee    274

I think I may make progression more of a "more options" thing rather than a linear power hike, sort of how FPS games do it. The higher lvl guns are generally better, but not so much to the point that it makes new players powerless.

 

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Unduli    2498

So what would you suggest in place for a game with open PvP to prevent new players from being preyed upon? This is a problem in any MMO with any PvP outside of battlegrounds, and not just full world open PvP.

 

I think players would be more frusterated from being killed repeatedly from higher level players due to power gaps than they would from losing some XP when they die, when they can actually fight back.

 

I might make it so new players have a buffer of deaths that won't count towards XP loss or gear decay.

 

 

I'm also open to suggestions for how progression could be added without it ruining the experience of new players.

 

I think giving them a good untransferable "beginner gear" that will break in a predefined item they can use to protect themselves. That gear can even be in "noob weapon" but can only be used by well, noobs.

 

Maybe you can also arrange mechanics for high levels that makes killing low level players giving very few XP, even negative in some cases (even better giving XP to noob from high level)

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Deflinek    1619

There are 2 things that kill new players in any pvp open world game:

1. difference in gear

2. difference in skill

 

If new character starts at "max level" with decent gear than you only ruled out the 1. but it don't change much. They will still die a lot to more experienced players and as soon as they lose enough xp AND gear, you are back to starting point of any PVP MMO + frustration for losing decent gear.

 

What should prevent such player to create a new character? Or even new account if you want to limit new characters?

 

I hate to just critique without any advice but I don't know of any good way to encourage players for open world pvp without frustration at some point. For any player there are always be easy kills with lower level/gear and quick deaths by surprise / skill / gear difference.

 

One thing that comes to me is to create a few factions that player belongs to, so they can support you and could come to help and revenge. So at least it is not single player against all world but only half of it :)

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Orymus3    18822

Negative reinforcement is stricly weaker than positive reinforcement (when allowed).

The carrot/stick Experience system is only valuable because it provides positive reinforcements.

You'll notice "merciless games" such as Dark Souls use that, despite taxing failure. 

I wouldn't suggest moving forward with this plan, if only to remain grounded in human psychology.

I can think of no demonstrated evidence that this approach would have any value...

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Butabee    274

One major problem I have with a linear progession model is that players are removed from most of the world eventually since they have no reason to visit zones with lower level NPCs. I want players to be all over in the game world, and not just camped out in high lvl areas. in fact, I don't even want to split the game world into level based areas.

 

Maybe I'll make increasingly more powerful NPCs come out to attack players that have a high ratio of kills to deaths. And I could increase XP gain, and the chance for repair materials to drop for players with high deaths to kills.

 

 

You guys convinced me I need progression, but what progression can I have that doesn't have a huge power gap from newb to vet?

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Progression doesn't have to be power. Can be social, financial, score-ranking, military hierarchy, it can be the amount of the world explored and landmarks visited, it can be progression through huge arching questlines, it can be progression to increasingly cooler looking appearances that "testify" to your skill to other players, it can be access to exclusive gathering halls / drinking holes in the cities. It can sometimes even just be a pat-on-the-back gold-sticker, or a increasingly filled up collection of stamps/achievements, or some level of tiered titling ("Silver member", "Gold member"). Many players ignore the non-gameplay ones though.

 

More importantly, progression can also include new abilities, even combat abilities, as long as it doesn't give an extreme edge. You can look to the more modern Call of Duty games for design inspiration here (don't dismiss their design values out of hand for not being the same genre of game) - In Modern Warfare / BlackOps / Advanced Warfare, players "level up", unlock and choose to equip a large number of different equipment and attachments. Despite this, players with higher equipment don't have an advantage over players with lower level equipment. The different equipment is "unlocked" giving forms of progression, and chosen to be equipped and chosen what accessories giving forms of player customization. It is very incredibly impressively balanced. Everyone thinks their equipment setup (their "loadout") is the best, but everyone has a different loadout, creating a wide variety of different possibilities - and a wide variety of different challenges to overcome from your opponents.

 

While occasionally, players complain that WeaponX is overpowered ("Ugh noobtubers!"), but if this was actually true, alot more people would naturally use the more powerful loadouts. Instead, we see huge differences in loadouts. And even if one weapon is slightly unbalanced (hard to measure), out of 30 weapons and >500 variations, it's still a very impressive design feat.

 

Unlocked upgrades don't have to be better, they can just be different, and provide different styles of gameplay, without creating disadvantages in power. Infact, one might argue that the default WeaponB is 1 point of damage higher than WeaponA is actually the bare-bones lazy way to design equipment.

 

Players need to be challenged. Getting more powerful actually decreases challenge. Players need to unlock gameplay possibilities, not power.

At first, too many choices can be overwhelming. So you have to provide fewer choices to players early on, and introduce more choices gradually. This works hand-in-hand with progression - unlock new ways to play the game, unlock new tools that enable new tactics. Unlock new ways to overcome challenges, don't unlock power that makes the challenges less of a challenge.

 

You can also look to League of Legends (again, don't be dismissive because it's not the same genre). League of Legends currently has 123 different champions. While they do a slightly poorer job at keeping them balanced, they are still amazingly close in balance (and the imbalances only really are revealed at more skilled levels of play). The champions have different play styles coming from their different stats and abilities creating different ways to overcome challenges (and posing different challenges for players who are facing them).

While the champions have alot of overlap and similarities (it'd be hard not to, with over 100 different playable characters), overall there is alot of variation. Most fall into several different styles of play (or roles to fill), but even those styles have subtle variations within them. And players don't have to stick to the standard play styles anyway - but the champions' abilities enable different styles of play, different choices and open up different opportunities when the right circumstances come along.

 

Or take Halo for example. I haven't played any Halo game in years, but think back to Halo 1. You have a rocket launcher, a pistol, a battle rifle, a sniper rifle, shotgun, a few alien weapons, grenades (normal and sticky), etc...

Each weapon isn't necessarily more powerful than the others, though some were unbalanced at higher levels of play (like the pistol in Halo 1), they vary in strengths but their strengths are only fully beneficial in the right circumstances. Your (changeable) weapon compliments your (changing) environment to face changing enemies (other players, also with changing weapons) to create dynamic, interesting, and enjoyable challenges and experiences.

 

While both Halo and Modern Warfare are examples of weapons, I'm not trying to suggest you give players weapons. The exact same concept can be applied to skills/magic/abilities and even other gameplay mechanics. Unlock options, not power. Introduce new choices, don't decrease challenge.

 

Think about "Doom" for a second. Each gun you get varies mostly just by power. Mostly, the only reason why you'd use "weaker" guns is to conserve ammo for your "good" weapons. That's not how you want progression to work.

You ever play the original Thief, or Deus Ex? Those games weren't without gameplay ruining flaws either (Dragon Tooth sword anyone?), but what did they right were give tools to provide choices in how to approach challenges. Thief had: water arrows, noisemaker arrows, rope arrows, moss arrows, mines, as a very clear illustration.

Deus Ex had the "tools" hidden as abilities and weapons: depending how you progress your character, different ways of interacting with the environment (and with enemies) would become unlocked through your abilities, opening up more choices for the player to consider when overcoming the obstacles the game throws at them.

 

Just to be clear: I'm not talking about mechanics, genres, how your combat works or how you should make your gameplay. I'm talking about the common concept behind the examples above: They empower and unlock player choices, not merely boosting player stats.

Edited by Servant of the Lord

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Ashaman73    13715

Progression or not, you have a balance problem which can't be solved.

 

Just take a real-world example, eg. baseball or soccer. The success of a player depends on his own skill , his own experience and the match context(his team, opponent team). This kind of game is gear and ranking indepent. The ranking is just an other visualization of the combination of skill and experience, but if someone would put an newbie into the first league (adding just an high level) of eg soccer, the player will not likely win.

 

Back to a computer games. If you would have a game without progression and gear, the player skill (tactical,strategically planing, speed of pressing the right buttons) alone will be enough to stomp any newbie. Adding progression or gear will just make it more obviously, but even a noob with great gear will not have  real chance vs an skilled veteran with moderate gear.

 

Sports and many competive e-sports games are aware of this natural disbalance and added leagues to group together players of similar skill-level (eg. LoL). PvP in a MMORPG needs an similar approach, if you target for balance. But for such an approach you would need really great numbers of active players.

 

An other approach, which would be more appealling to smaller MMORPGs, would be anarchy. Let the player know, that he will not have really a chance vs experienced players. Add some safe zones, add the ability to group together(clan/guild) and let the players regulate it themself. This works really great for Eve-Online

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DerekL    876

Look into how guild wars 2 did this. When you enter a new zone your level and abilities are increased or decreased to the specific zone level. Your stats scale though so if you do have better gear and better base level your stats will be slightly higher than the people who are below the zone level or on par with it.

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Orymus3    18822


One major problem I have with a linear progession model is that players are removed from most of the world eventually since they have no reason to visit zones with lower level NPCs. I want players to be all over in the game world, and not just camped out in high lvl areas. in fact, I don't even want to split the game world into level based areas.

 

You can theoretically do as Skyrim did: have monsters scale in power as the player does. I'm not a big fan though.

 

You can also use an experience formula so "tight" and stats increases so "granular" that even as you are level 10, level 1 areas don't feel mundane. 

 


You guys convinced me I need progression, but what progression can I have that doesn't have a huge power gap from newb to vet?

 

I'll have to agree with Servant that progression comes in many forms. Taking a look at an MMOFPS (Planetside 2) players actually play to award points they can spend towards unlocking new guns. These new guns are "side-grades": they are not stronger, but they cater to a different style of play (different recoil, it basically feels different). Upgrades also occur on individual guns, but have limited effect (iron sights vs X3 scopes for example, or a grip that reduces recoil).

No gun thrumps it all, no upgrade turns any gun drastically more powerful than it should be, and yet, there's a strong economy going about where people play hard to get these guns simply because they are looking for the "perfect fit".

 

I like this approach to MMO where progression does not necessarily equate being stronger. I think there is much to researching the concept of side-grade and making it viable in-game. I find it hard to wrap my head around it, how it caters to the progression need, but it undoubtedly works, so further research may help you with that.

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jefferytitan    2523

As others said, I think progression by specialisation is an interesting option. A few possibilities:

  • Starting gear is strong but generic, possibly hard to repair.
  • Gear may limit where they can effectively go in the world, e.g. certain gear may be needed to deal effectively with environmental dangers or traversal. Perhaps grappling hooks or heat-resistant gear, perhaps weapons for fighting the undead.
  • "Noob" gear may be a source of shame, people would strive for cool custom gear even if it's not more powerful per se.
  • Hard-to-get gear may just be fun to use, rather than powerful.
  • There may be advantages in having a huge collection of gear, e.g. each is best suited to a specific task.
  • Starting gear could be super-heavy and limit looting potential.

There could also be achievements for unique kill types, therefore advanced players are effectively operating with a disadvantage to earn those achievements. For example killing with crap weapons, three enemies at once, knocking people off cliffs, etc.

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