The Purge

PvP for People Who Aren't Asshats
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:22 pm 
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We'll assume "leveling up" could mean actual levels or increases in your skills, e.g., you get better at your sword skill.

In a PvP oriented game, what should these improvements get you, and at what rate?

e.g.,
You've been playing for 1 week. What changes have you seen in your character? What about after 1 month? 1 year?

In most RPGs, you see exponential (or at least steep linear) increases in your ability to deal damage and take damage. You were hitting for 20, now you're hitting for 200. You used to have 500 hit points, now you have 5000. This progression is the favored method of letting players see "improvement" over time but of course it does bad things to PvP. The guy hitting for 20 and having 500 hit points is mincemeat to the guy hitting for 200 and having 5000 hit points.


It would be easy to say we should keep progression flat or close to it but in that case, after playing the game for a month what do you expect to see in terms of changes to your character?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:42 pm 
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A lot of what I'm writing has already been discussed in other threads, but wtf, I got a good buzz going. I think that whatever the progression system is (levels, skill trees, something else) a noob should always have a chance against a maxed out guy. Sure, maybe the max has to be afk, standing next to a cliff, almost dead already, or a complete retard, but there has to be a chance. 2 noobs versus 1 max? Decent chance. 3 or more? Max better be good. In most mmos, Noob hits Max for 1 dmg, 1 out of 10 tries. That's too much separation. You should be able to jump in game at level 1 and kick it with your buddies trying to kill level 50s. Will you get your ass kicked? Probably. But if there's a bunch of you, you're organized and they're not, you should win.

So, if you agree with the above at all, the question is, how do you allow that, yet also allow the cornerstone of RPGs: character progression that is meaningful and rewarding? I think that is your question Slamz?

I don't know shit compared to most of you geeks, but I'll spew anyway. Early SWG had a non-level based progression system that I thought had some merit. It was a progression tree based on weapon specific bonuses, defensive bonuses and new attacks. There just weren't any level based bonuses you normally get. Noob has 50 hit points and Max has 10k? IMO that's lame. Instead, how about Noob has his grandpa's .22 and a dirty T shirt. Max has fancy attacks, fancy armor, fancy weapons, fancy accuracy, and dodging bonuses.

It is a tough question. How do you balance character progression with plug and play pvp? You guys can figure it out I'm sure.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:06 am 
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Logarithmic curves like Eve...but suffers diminishing returns. good rewards for highly specializing

instead of time base, decide where to spend/devote your exp or some sort of skill up

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:19 am 
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Yeah we've talked about this topic some before but I'd like to get into specifics.

A max level (or max skill) swordmaster does how much more DPS than a brand new player?

15% more?
100% more?
1000% more?

I imagine we'd tend to agree that it should be on the low end, but how low? I mean, 15% sounds good to me but I wonder if the MMORPG crowd would become disenchanted with playing for 6 months and only having their DPS increase by 15%.

But 100% is a lot, especially if hit points are increasing by 100% as well, effectively making the max level guy 4x more powerful than the new player. WOW is, I dunno, well over 1000% improvement, anyway, from newbie to maxed out character.


EVE actually did a reasonable job of staying on the low end, but you could improve lots of different things by 10% each. In the end, a newbie still couldn't compete with the vet but he could catch up relatively quickly in some areas.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:36 am 
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Slamz wrote:
Yeah we've talked about this topic some before but I'd like to get into specifics.

A max level (or max skill) swordmaster does how much more DPS than a brand new player?

15% more?
100% more?
1000% more?

I imagine we'd tend to agree that it should be on the low end, but how low? I mean, 15% sounds good to me but I wonder if the MMORPG crowd would become disenchanted with playing for 6 months and only having their DPS increase by 15%.

But 100% is a lot, especially if hit points are increasing by 100% as well, effectively making the max level guy 4x more powerful than the new player. WOW is, I dunno, well over 1000% improvement, anyway, from newbie to maxed out character.

EVE actually did a reasonable job of staying on the low end, but you could improve lots of different things by 10% each. In the end, a newbie still couldn't compete with the vet but he could catch up relatively quickly in some areas.


depends on the weapon or skill, just like in life, many are harder/easier than others.
midevial conscripts got pikes/halberds because all they had to do was stand there and hold it and let calavary impale themselves. Master martial artists have decades of muscle memory and thus reaction times so fast people thought they could see the future.

Using a sniper rifle to hit a target a mile away requires a year of specialized training, whereas someone can shoot a pistol at marksman level with less than a month's training.

Agility based bladed/piercing weapons are much harder to master than a brute force crushing weapon that you can hit someone anywhere with.
A trained solider could easily best 1 enemy using his katana, but present him with multiple attackers and unless hes highly trained he will likely die, because he hasnt learned how to flow in battle.



anywhere from 25 - 200%, but there are skills that could lessen damage taken of course (parries, dodges, blocks, hard body training, nutrition, first aid, etc)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:54 pm 
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I am not sure I am convinced yet about what I am about to say but I am leaning in the direction of having a game that you don't level at all in the traditional sense.

Instead of gaining levels via exp and then receiving skills in exchange I am thinking you have to earn the skills you gain.

For those that played COH, Warhammer or Champions imagine for a second your accomplishment or title books. It would lilst a bar that shows you have to killed 800 out of 1000 zombies to achieve X. You have Discovered 8 abc's out of 15 abc's to achieve Y.

Maybe instead of just passing out skills based on a level you just throw out levels all together and make all of your gains very specific.

You want 200 more hit points? Go do X and once you are done then you receive 200 hit points. Once you accomplish your gain of 200 hit points it opens up your ability to go gain something that gives you 400 hit points or 150 hit points and 150 mana. This idea certainly doesn't remove the grind but at least it gives the players the choices of what there grind is.

This means you can also design a game where level has no bearing on my ability to pvp. I can log in and with in a short period I can fight anyone. Granted it does create the EVE issue of long time players certainly have an advantage over newer players but at least it is less so.


Vllad


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:03 pm 
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Vllad wrote:
Maybe instead of just passing out skills based on a level you just throw out levels all together and make all of your gains very specific.

You want 200 more hit points? Go do X and once you are done then you receive 200 hit points. Once you accomplish your gain of 200 hit points it opens up your ability to go gain something that gives you 400 hit points or 150 hit points and 150 mana. This idea certainly doesn't remove the grind but at least it gives the players the choices of what there grind is.

Yes but for purposes of this thread this is the same thing as "leveling".

You are doing X in order to improve Y by Z.

That is,
You're eating 500 muffins in order to improve your hit points by 200.
You're killing 500 rats in order to improve your dagger skill by 200.
You're making 500 widgets in order to improve your crafting skill by 200.

It's really not much different than leveling other than, as you say, you can choose which part of your character to level as an individual item.



But the question still remains:
How much improvement should this get you?

If you log into the game as a brand new character and have 1000 hit points and your aim is to max that out as much as possible, how high should the game let you go? Even if we're talking about diminishing returns, what is it heading towards?

Basically, if you got to sit down and design these skills, would you make the "Hit Point Buff" skill be like...
Skill Rank 1-5, +100 per rank? +50 per rank? +500 per rank?

If you could do a weapon skill, would it be like...
Skill Rank 1-5, +5% DPS per rank? +2%? +50%?


Maybe this is something you just have to sit down and try to hash out all at once in order to try and paint a clear picture but I'm curious where people's knee-jerk reaction would be to put the numbers on the first pass.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:22 pm 
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My knee jerk reaction would be as you level up your increases are very small incriments.

To avoid mudflation your character should prepresent 85% of your ability and gear should represent 15% of your ability.

Each level or however your character grows should be very small increases. I would keep it with in a range something like this.

A top level character (say level 200) should only be about 20% to 25% better then a character right out of the gate as long as we are talking a pvp game. If a max level character is greater then 25% better then a newb then the game isn't a good pvp game.

Most games make the mistake of starting there algorythyms with such large quantities that you destroy any chance of balance. In-fact that is the primary reason games can't be balanced. The numbers get to far a part that you can start splitting numbers going backwards.

If you want a long term PVP game the numbers have to stay tight.

Yes some people would bitch about it but then again people bitch about everything. As long as improvements and growth is visible (on paper) then that will satisfy players.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:19 pm 
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I would propose the curve should be inverse of what it is now.

Now:
1-2 +10 HP
2-3 +20 HP
3-4 +30 HP
4-5 +50 HP
etc.

Turn this upside down....
1-2 +50HP
2-3 +30HP
3-4 +20HP
4-5 +10HP
etc.

So you can "become competitive" relatively fast after being a noob. But the guy that's been around still has the advantage but that advantage becomes ever smaller until you catch him

If you don't cap it, you have Eve. If you do cap it, then the question is where do you cap it.

I also do like the idea that you can specialize each skill independently of your overall "character level" that way you could perhaps choose to level pure attack but not defense and as long as you don't get hit by the level 100000 guy, you might still actually be able to kill him. Once your attack is where you want it, you could work on your defense. Or choose to "level" them together for balance sake.

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