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Old 02-05-2006, 11:34 AM   #101
Baram
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Levels are unrealistic? Then why do I see them in real life all the time? Look at a job offer, take programming for example. You have Junior programmer level 1-3(some go higher), Senior programmer 1-3(again, some go higher), CTO which is generally the highest level, etc. How do you get into one of these levels? Experience.
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Old 02-05-2006, 12:00 PM   #102
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Roleplaying can exist on any game but not all games are designed to create the best roleplaying setting.
I definitely agree with this statement. Designing any old game and trying to force RP can be very difficult on players if the game isn't designed to truly support RP. We see this on many, many muds and games in general. (Ever played on an MMO's RP server? You know how painful it can be!

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Now, why do levels detract from RP? They are completely unrealistic.
I don't quite agree with you 100% here. Levels are simply a quantification of qualities that make it more simple for a person to operate in a game. For example, I'm a pretty decent cook in real life. My husband is not. In order to reflect that in a game, I might be considered a level 10 cook, while he would be considered a level 1 cook. You then compare that to the overall level system to see how good you are. We could say that Morimoto is a level 100 cook (the best there is!, and then while I'm better than my husband at cooking, Morimoto puts me in the dirt. Obviously, if you go around in game saying "I'm a level 10 cook", then it would hamper RP, but no RP game should allow that kind of discussion involving numbers. The numbers are a tool to be used to help players judge who and what they are in the world, often in roles that are completely unfamiliar to us. (Are the really any level 100 paladins that can heal by touch out there? Please drop me an email if you exist!

I actually think of levels and class as an aid in RP. It gives definition within the game, allowing you to make judgements much like in real life. So, instead of listing a bunch of skills that your character has, you simply state what your character is, and other characters understand that because they know the definitions of what you are, much like in real life. For example, I could say, "I'm a medical doctor." You know that I probably know CPR and could possibly save your life if I stumbled across you after you'd been knifed. I could then say that I've been in practice for 15 years, and you'd probably know that I'm a decent doctor. Thus, if I'm on a game and someone says, "I'm a healer" and I can figure out that they're a level 20 healer, I'd have some idea about what they could do.

I simply don't believe that detracts from RP, though it can if the numbers are openly discussed. It can also detract from RP if people say things like, "I just learned how to backstab someone into oblivion!" Seriously, would you brag about something like that? That's simply a matter of RP and the person playing, though. I play with a group of people who would never say things like that.

Anyway, I'm not sure that I believe that levels are an RP deterrant, but I do agree that many players do not handle the RP around levels very well.
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Old 02-05-2006, 03:05 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by (dragon master @ Sep. 27 2004,17:53)
It's just that levels are unrealistic and will only cause probelms with roleplay.
I agree. Levels are totally unrealistic. I mean, where in real life is there anything like levels?

Hmmm.

Education: 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade.... freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate student....

Career: Typical accounting firm: consultant, senior consultant, manager, senior manager, partner, managing partner.

Military: private, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major, colonel, general.

Wow. On second thought, it seems like most areas of real life are "level based." Maybe levels aren't so "unrealistic" at all.
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Old 02-05-2006, 03:25 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by (Threshold @ Feb. 05 2006,16<!--emo&[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img])]On second thought, it seems like most areas of real life are "level based." Maybe levels aren't so "unrealistic" at all.
Levels (and how they affect roleplay) are a matter of personal likes/dislikes, opinion and choice.

The examples given of school grades, military ranks etc. may seem to point toward real-life "levels", but they fail under scrutiny when comparing them with how MUDs treat "levels".

It comes down to game design choice, not comparisons with real-life.

If your system works with classes and levels, and your players enjoy them, then they are fine. If you choose not to use them, your system works and your players enjoy not having them that is also a wonderful thing.

The two main areas of concern should be:
1) Are you able to implement your design as you planned it
2) Do the players enjoy the game as designed

The rest are side issues and matters of personal taste.

-Dan
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Old 02-05-2006, 04:27 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by (Mabus @ Feb. 05 2006,16:25)
It comes down to game design choice, not comparisons with real-life.

...

The rest are side issues and matters of personal taste.
I totally agree. I have played level/class based systems, non-level/non-class systems, and tons of combinations in between.

They are all abstractions trying to simulate a fun version of "reality." None of them are more "realistic" than others, per se.

My point was just that a level-based system definitely has a real world, real life connection. It is folly to call it "unrealistic."
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Old 02-05-2006, 05:56 PM   #106
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Levels are unrealistic?
It depends entirely on the implementation. It is possible to have a fairly realistic level-based system, but such is not the case with the vast majority of implementations.

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Then why do I see them in real life all the time? Look at a job offer, take programming for example. You have Junior programmer level 1-3(some go higher), Senior programmer 1-3(again, some go higher), CTO which is generally the highest level, etc. How do you get into one of these levels? Experience.
And how many monsters does a junior programmer have to kill before they can become a senior programmer?
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Old 02-05-2006, 07:24 PM   #107
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And how many monsters does a junior programmer have to kill before they can become a senior programmer?
Um... a lot? *goes to check bug tracker*
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Old 02-05-2006, 09:41 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Feb. 05 2006,18:56)
It depends entirely on the implementation.
I 100% agree.

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And how many monsters does a junior programmer have to kill before they can become a senior programmer?
And a junior programmer may have more skills and be more adept then a senior programmer in the same office. Seniority and title do not always the better programmer make.

If we applied "levels" to the military we could also see that a spec-1 may be a much better sharpshooter (and in better shape) then a general.

This is not to slight systems that use levels, or to say that one is better then another. Pre-planning and integration of systems without levels and classes may take more time and thought then a system that utilizes the tried-and-true level/class sytem.

Balanced design, proper (and timely) implementation and player fun are much more important then which learning scheme is chosen, at least in my opinion.

-Dan
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Old 02-05-2006, 10:54 PM   #109
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Then again, 1st grade wasn't a skill.
Neither is private.
Or computer programmer.

I fail to see how those are skill levels at all.
Those are clans and clan jobs.

A private in the military can be awesome at lockpicking and horrible at shooting, and another can be awesome at shooting and bad at lockpicking. A great Rping game will leave SKILL levels unseen because I don't know in real life if I am at level 20 driving or still at level 2.

Are there levels in clans? Yea, obviously.
Senior noble.
Junior Noble.

Red Robe templar
Black robe
Blue robe

Jihaen
Lirathean

So please keep clan levels and class levels seperate.

Clan levels encourage RP, class levels do not. IMHO.
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:44 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by (Sacac @ Feb. 05 2006,23:54)
Clan levels encourage RP, class levels do not. IMHO.
No, it is the way levels are implemented that can encourage or discourage RP.

Levels are not unrealistic, because they have countless direct analogues in real life.

Levels are no more realistic or unrealistic than skills or skill points. Levels are an abstraction, just like hit points, skills, skill points, stats, and tons of other things that are used in RPGs. Sometimes they are used effectively, sometimes they are not. But the core concept is not what deserves the credit or the blame for encouraging or discouraging RP.
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:28 PM   #111
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There are pros and cons to all game elements and systems, as I'm sure everyone here has realized long ago.

The trick is not trying to decide "What is Right and what is Wrong" but "What brings the good results that we want, and the bad results that we can deal with."

This, of course, is only determined by the overall design and goals of the game, which is why all games are different.

I think most of the good and bad points of classes and classless systems have been hashed over in this thread and I don't need to repeat them.

My main dislike for class-based games is because they tend to lead toward a certain scenario that I refer to as the Guild Arms Race.

Because people have chosen a guild/class/whathaveyou for their character, and cannot change it, they become insanely possessive of that class. They jealously guard anything that they think should be unique to that class, watch the other classes and rant when they become 'better than mine', berate any staff that is assigned to their class to 'give us more stuff so we can compete against the other classes' and so forth.

The staff, in response to this endless pressure, quarrel over dividing up every new thing that could possibly be given to a class to satisfy their development needs. This ultimately results in things that should be universal being parceled out to classes because it is too darned hard to keep coming up with reasonable restricted abilities.

After enough time in this scenario, you'll find that only empaths can boil an egg, and only warriors are allowed to keep sheep. Not for any real reason, mind you, but because players will always demand development for their class.

With a classless system, everyone has more than one skill and they have had more flexibility to choose them; possibly even the ability to forget some and learn new ones. Players may want certain skills to do more, but it isn't as critical because of the mixing and matching players have done, and the fact that they have many skills versus only one class to focus upon.

Just one more pro/con situation to consider.

---Brett
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Old 02-06-2006, 06:24 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (BrettH @ Feb. 06 2006,15:28)
My main dislike for class-based games is because they tend to lead toward a certain scenario that I refer to as the Guild Arms Race.
Isn't that the truth! I totally blame this on developers who nerf/buff classes based on who can complain the loudest. This phenomenon seems to be worst on the MMOs and MU*s that assign one programmer to one guild.

I find that I enjoy class-based systems mostly because I really can't stand games where one character can do absolutely everything and be the best at every single thing in the game just because they've spent enough time playing. In the end, it seems so twinkish to be able to heal, fight, cook, and wipe my bum at max level. I know some people like to game that way, but it's simply not for me. I like it best when each character has the potential of having their own set of skills that not everyone and their dog has.
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:12 PM   #113
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I really can't stand games where one character can do absolutely everything and be the best at every single thing in the game just because they've spent enough time playing.
I agree. A classless system that does not limit skill gain in some other fashion is broken, in my opinion. Making it harder to get the skills is not a restriction; people will always find a way to play harder and break soft boundaries of that type.

---Brett
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:20 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by (Mina @ Feb. 07 2006,01:24)
I find that I enjoy class-based systems mostly because I really can't stand games where one character can do absolutely everything and be the best at every single thing in the game just because they've spent enough time playing.
However that, once again, depends entirely on the implementation. If a player is able to be the 'best' at every single skill then the game has obviously been very poorly designed.

Most of the arguments against classless and class-based systems seem to have been made against broken designs and bad implementions. These arguments do little to address the real question however, because the flaws are not something inherent to the classless or class-based approaches themselves.
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:30 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Feb. 06 2006,20:20)
However that, once again, depends entirely on the implementation.  If a player is able to be the 'best' at every single skill then the game has obviously been very poorly designed.
I don't see how being 'best' at every single skill equates to a poor design. It's a design choice, and isn't inherently superior or inferior to any other design choice.

--matt
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:54 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Feb. 07 2006,02:30)
I don't see how being 'best' at every single skill equates to a poor design. It's a design choice, and isn't inherently superior or inferior to any other design choice.
I consider it a poor design decision because it ultimately results in every character being exactly the same.  I cannot think of any style of game that would benefit from such an approach.  Indeed, in my experience many players place great value on being able to stand out from each other and having the option to customise their characters in unique ways.
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Old 02-06-2006, 08:05 PM   #117
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I consider it a poor design decision because it ultimately results in every character being exactly the same.
Only if you design it that way. (I assume you were referring to 'best' as in capability, incidentally. If clothing all functions the same way, is there a 'best' among clothing?)

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I cannot think of any style of game that would benefit from such an approach.
And yet Runescape does it and has 3 million users. It works for them because the MUD is meant to be fairly simple. A set path of progression that is the same for everybody creates a common language to talk about the game in as everybody is sharing the same character progression path.

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Indeed, in my experience many players place great value on being able to stand out from each other and having the option to customise their characters in unique ways.
Many players do, but capability isn't the only way to allow players to distinguish themselves. Social reputation is at least as important, and need not be based on hard-coded things that one can master.

Are there downsides to any design decision? Of course. I don't know of any design decision that is universally the "right" one to make. It's all about context.

--matt
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Old 02-06-2006, 08:08 PM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Feb. 07 2006,05:54)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Feb. 07 2006,02:30)
I don't see how being 'best' at every single skill equates to a poor design. It's a design choice, and isn't inherently superior or inferior to any other design choice.
I consider it a poor design decision because it ultimately results in every character being exactly the same. I cannot think of any style of game that would benefit from such an approach. Indeed, in my experience many players place great value on being able to stand out from each other and having the option to customise their characters in unique ways.
That does depend a lot on the type of game though. Unreal Tournament has everyone the same, but in the end it's the player's skill that matters and makes people stand out. Diversity comes from playing style, not from stats. In some regards, I think it's better - everyone has the same stats and the same guns, so it's not the better build that wins, but the better fighter.

Like any design choice, it could be implemented poorly, but as a design choice I don't think it's inheritly worse or better than any other one.
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Old 02-07-2006, 03:27 AM   #119
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the_logos wrote:

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Originally Posted by
I consider it a poor design decision because it ultimately results in every character being exactly the same.

Only if you design it that way.
Well, yes...(?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by
(I assume you were referring to 'best' as in capability, incidentally. If clothing all functions the same way, is there a 'best' among clothing?)
By 'best' I mean a situation whereby a player is able to have every ability at the maximum value - i.e., they're a "jack of all trades, and master of all of them as well".

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And yet Runescape does it and has 3 million users.
At the high end, yes, and I can imagine it gets pretty dull when all of the top characters are exact clones of each other. In the earlier stages of the game, however, players are forced to choose which skills they want to be good at (those who specialised are referred to as 'pures'), and uses something it calls the 'Combat Triangle' to give different character builds advantages over each other (melee beats ranged, which beats magic, which beats melee).

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A set path of progression that is the same for everybody creates a common language to talk about the game in as everybody is sharing the same character progression path.
Well they don't - Runescape allows many different paths, it's just that they all lead to the same place.

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Indeed, in my experience many players place great value on being able to stand out from each other and having the option to customise their characters in unique ways.

Many players do, but capability isn't the only way to allow players to distinguish themselves. Social reputation is at least as important, and need not be based on hard-coded things that one can master.
If there's no difference ability-wise between the characters then you might as well play on a talker, and resolve conflicts with the toss of a coin.



Drealoth wrote:

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Originally Posted by
That does depend a lot on the type of game though. Unreal Tournament has everyone the same, but in the end it's the player's skill that matters and makes people stand out.
Unreal Tournament doesn't even have character progression - I'm talking about games in which characters develop and learn new skills and powers the more they play, yet where each character is able to learn all of those abilities.

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In some regards, I think it's better - everyone has the same stats and the same guns, so it's not the better build that wins, but the better fighter.
Do you think a Diku mud would be better if all of the classes were stripped out except for 'warrior'?
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Old 02-07-2006, 03:49 AM   #120
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If you impose your personal preferences on all design decisions then sure, there are some that are universally right. If, instead, you take into account the fact that other people will like radically different things, you'll end up realizing that virtually any design has its place. You're assuming that a standard character progression will be satisfying to nobody, or else you're mandating that the game design that appeals to the most people must be the correct one.

Just think about it: If there's any possibility that some person will like a particular design, including the designer then it's justified, unless you're willing to put forth the proposition that a design that appeals to more people is inherently superior to one that doesn't.

I think the more sensible way to look at game design is that a game is designed for a particular market, even if that market is the designer himself. In that case, I know there's a justification for a single-pathed game as I've got a certain interest in them myself.

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