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Diodor

Levels in RPGs - a new twist

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All the RPGs, good or bad, original or cloned share the obsession for constant character growth, also known as leveling. The mechanism is generally simple: slay x monsters, pay some money, the player''s level increases, along with his stats. I believe getting rid of this system should be almost a holy grail of RPG design. The problem is without the ever increasing power of their character the RPG players will never get hooked. I''m trying to create a system where the player''s power still increases, and by the same amount as before but without suffering from the walking tank syndrome. I propose that the levels stop being a measurement of how tough the player is, but instead a measure of how highly does the world think of the player. Levels would be a formal recognition of one''s deeds. This system creates a lot of space for improvement. Different lands may have different leveling systems, and a player may be a +27 knight at home, but totally unknown somewhere else. Having great levels could potentially create disadvantages too, and the player may even try to hide his level (a +27 knight among thieves will be happy to be thought of as a beggar). And the best of this system is that levels can be won, lost and regained with a lot more ease, allowing for a more dynamic gameplay, and a better plot. Having a greater level should increase the player''s power comparably with the increase current levels systems give. Monsters should rather run from a fight (or be considerably less willing to enter a fight, and more likely to run if the fight starts badly), well paid quests would spring from anywhere, everyone would jump to his help, recruiting NPCs for certain missions would be cheaper, as would be buying and repairing items. The king himself may ask the player''s character for advice on military issues etc.

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Just a question. Does the player know he is a 27 level knight? If so then what is different between this and any other levelling game?

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crydee:what diodor wants to say is that you''re not a 27 lvl knight, you''re only being seen as one by other ppl. For example, if you kill few chickens you could gain level from 1 to 2, but if you kill few ogres you could gain level from 1 to 5. Noone is interested in your real str/dex/... stats.

diodor:pretty nice idea actually, pretty nice indeed

With best regards,
Mirek Czerwiñski
http://kris.top.pl/~kherin/

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yeah... i''ve got a few ideas kinda like this implemented in the
game my team is working on..
at first we wanted to make each NPC have a ''likeness''
property.. depending on the npc''s reactions/interactions with
the character, their property will get lower or higher..
so you''d effectively be able to "make friends" with npcs..
this, however, proved a bit too complex for our current project
so we''re saving the idea for the next game
for this game, instead we''re using a "town likeness" property.
so instead of having each npc have a reaction based on their
relationship with the character, we have do it on a ''town-level''.
each npc has 10 different things they could say to the character
(based on whatever situation is at hand)..
kinda like a ''1-10'' rating.. because if your likeness rating is
low, you''ll get response #1 which is pretty harsh, uncaring, ect.
if they dont know you, you''ll likely get response #5 which
is neutral.
in our game we have various side quests and tasks that can
help to build the likeness rating up.

-eldee
;another space monkey;

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Hmmm.... Fallout?

-Maarten Leeuwrik
"Some people when faced with the end of a journey simply decide to begin anew I guess."

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i dont like that idea.

i dont think its too believable to be so well known that i can punch you untill you die.

Romancing Saga games had no real levelling. you would just occasionally get stat bonuses

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The problem I see with this is that you're using the wrong stat. What you're using is a sort of "reaction" system, but has nothing to do with your physical strength. Say that your ST score allows you to lift 300 lbs in your "home land"... that doesn't change just because you go elsewhere... regardless of what others THINK your ST score is, you can still lift 300 lbs. Unfortunately, it's also pretty easy to tell the difference between someone who can lift 300 lbs, and someone who can lift 100 by physical appearance alone (in humans, anyway

I plan to implement a reaction system similar to the one you're suggesting. My stats/skills themselves will increase independently of this, though (the more you use your sword, the better you get at it. The more you lift weight greater than you should, the greater your ST gets, etc -- I've made several posts about ways I plan to handle this).

In my case, there will be several reactions included:

Appearance: This is the "initial reaction"... if you go up to an arrogant knight, and you have a low ST, they'll probably be rude to you. If you have some of appearance disadvantage (you're ugly or hideous or something), this too will add into that initial reaction.

Fame and Reputation: How well known you are also affects your reaction (initial and otherwise). If you're butt ugly, but your well known as the guy who saved the princess, the princess one is more than likely to outweigh the ugliness (OK, so I've seen "Shrek" one too many times)

Eloquence: Your character can have "speech"-type skills and advantages, which aid in the communication. I've never much liked the idea of the "Charisma" stat, so I've got to be wary of screwing myself up by basically creating a clone of that stat through skill, but there needs to be something included from this.

These are just a few things that determine how people react to you. If I go to a new town, obviously the stuff I've done in the last town will probably not be known (I'm hoping, however, to set it up so that, unlike other games, people besides myself actually travel from town to town, so the news could spread to the land over time -- whether I do that through some generic "cheat" means, or through actual salesmen or something is still up for grabs)

Of course, if you want your stats to change drastically, you could always implement the Superman "Yellow Sun/Red Sun" concept, where something "in the air" affects your stats, but that's kind of cheating (and if your Strength is 50 in town A, and it gets lowered to 20 in town B, where you proceed to up it to 30, what is it now in town A? Still 50 (which makes no sense), or is it now 75?)

-Chris

Edited by - crouilla on January 12, 2002 1:05:24 PM

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If you take away character advancement from RPGs, doesn''t that change it from an RPG into an Adventure game?

(Note: I am using the definition of RPG the way the general public uses it, which is not the way a lot of people here would like it to be used.)

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I''m planning on doing what you''re talking about with fame/renoun. I''ll still have levels, but they''ll be more of a guage (somewhat arbitrary, but still a guage) of a character''s abilities. You''ll get more levels by concentrating on single skills, but you''ll be more vulnerable to variance in enemies.

Example: A mage who uses only his cold-based spells will do well against heat-based enemies, but when the enemy is immune to cold, he will run into the same problem as a warrior who only learns to use a sword will when he faces an archer at 400 feet. Neither is well suited to his new environment and will suffer for it potentially. A person who studied a wide variety of skills would be better suited to both scenarios, though he would not necessarily be as powerful overall.

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quote:
Original post by Ronin_54
Hmmm.... Fallout?

-Maarten Leeuwrik
"Some people when faced with the end of a journey simply decide to begin anew I guess."



My thoughts exactly...

I think the problem with the ''walking tank'' syndrome is purely poor game design and/or not enough play testing. In the real world people do become more proficient with time/practice so to an extent ''levelling'' is realistic (albeit exaggerated, but hey... it''s a game!). In a game that''s designed to not have a true end it''s important to cap the levelling at some point and make sure there will always be areas where the player will be challenged. For instance, a level 30 fighter is still going to be in a pretty hairy situation if he''s up against three Dragons at once!

Your reaction system idea (although it is very similar to Fallout''s) is good but not as a substitute for character advancement. Part of the fun of RPG''s is watching your character grow stronger and stronger, it''s one of the reasons people play them.

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