Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Instead of making progression purely instantaneous, like XP-based systems usually are, the progression I have in mind, offers an addicitive duality.

  • Progressing certain aspects of the game by successfully doing it - feats of skill - like leveling up swordplay by slaying enemies with swords, or unlocking new guns and attachments by shooting dudes dead. But wait, that's only one side of the coin.
  • Additionally reward the player with 'Training Time Allotment', rather than straight-up XP. Training Time Allotment is being used to manage progression whilst not playing the game. So lets say I play a lot of Battlefield, I earn lots of Training Time Allotment, which I can use to progress through certain carefully chosen aspects of the game, whilst no playing it.

Lets say I play a lot of Battlefield, I earn lots of Training Time Allotment, which I can use to progress through certain carefully chosen aspects of the game, whilst not actually playing it. Like in Battlefield 3, there's a weapon-specific progression, governing attachment unocks. Imagine the game lets me spend Training Time Allotment on some new weapon I just unlocked through regular play, so the next time I'll play the game, I will have unlocked some basic attachments for it, during the time I was not playing the game, like when I was at work or school or in bed or whatever.

Every time I stop playing a game using 'Training Time Allotment'-like progression system, I get to manage offtime progression, and I'll always have something to look forward to, when I come back around to playing the game.

#1 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Instead of making progression purely instantaneous, like XP-based systems usually are, the progression I have in mind, offers an addicitive duality.

  • Progressing certain aspects of the game by successfully doing it - feats of skill - like leveling up swordplay by slaying enemies with swords, or unlocking new guns and attachments by shooting dudes dead. But wait, that's only one side of the coin.
  • Additionally reward the player with 'Training Time Allotment', rather than straight-up XP. Training Time Allotment is being used to manage progression whilst not playing the game. So lets say I play a lot of Battlefield, I earn lots of Training Time Allotment, which I can use to progress through certain carefully chosen aspects of the game, whilst no playing it.

Lets say I play a lot of Battlefield, I earn lots of Training Time Allotment, which I can use to progress through certain carefully chosen aspects of the game, whilst not actually playing it. Like in Battlefield 3, there's a weapon-specific progression, governing attachment unocks. Imagine the game lets me spend Training Time Allotment on some new weapon I just unlocked through regular play, so the next time I'll play the game, I will have unlocked some basic attachments for it, during the time I was not playing the game, like when I was at work or school or in bed or whatever.

Every time I stop playing a game using 'Training Time Allotment'-like progression system, I get to manage offtime progression, and I'll always have something to look forward to, when I come back around to playing the game.

#2 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -
  • The first aspect sounds a lot like the progression systems in Oblivion and Skyrim. I quite enjoy that system, personally.
  • The second aspect sounds like an extension of a complaint surrounding the current XP-unlock system, in that the people who spend the most time playing the game get the best advantage. In this case, the people who play the most build up the most time points, and so continue playing even when they aren't playing, giving them that much more of an edge to people who don't play it as much

I hope I don't sound too dismissive, it's just that this seems like a problem resulting out of trying to fix a problem. That said, it's good to think about these sorts of things at all. Traditional XP is pretty much done and dusted these days, and some innovation would not be misplaced.

#3 Posted by FlarePhoenix (420 posts) -

So basically you want to make it so people stop playing the game?

#4 Posted by wemibelec90 (1672 posts) -

XP for not playing sounds a bit wrong to me. If I earn XP when not playing the game, why bother playing it at all?

I do agree that more games should have a leveling system based around doing things to level up. I would be intrigued to see it in a shooter to see how it works.

#5 Posted by Aetheldod (3586 posts) -

So you want Elders scrolls mixed with Eve online? No thanks I prefer my experience points as they are

#6 Posted by JoeyRavn (4974 posts) -

The "Training Time Allotment" system sound a lot like what WoW used to do (and I assume still does). When you log out in a "safe" area (like a capital city or inn), you get a "rested" status that grants you double XP. The amount of double XP you get depends on how much time passess between game sessions, but it had a hard-locked maximum value (I think it was whatever you needed to get to the next level, so you had to try to maximize your resting hours/XP ratio as best as you can).

I don't know if it's exactly how it works, but it's basically that, and it was a good system. Since you're paying a monthly fee to play the game, you don't feel like you're "wasting" time by not playing the game. Or, at least, you can partially make it up for those hours that you're not playing by earning XP (or whatever currency your system uses) faster the next time you log in. Everything has an internal clock nowadays, so connection to an online server shouldn't be needed to keep track of when you log in and out of the game.

#7 Posted by Demoskinos (14839 posts) -

I have no idea what you are talking about. You crazy person.

#8 Posted by Little_Socrates (5677 posts) -

I do like the first one, but I don't think it makes the game any more addictive. Also, imagine the Call of Duty where you have to unlock the gun you actually want by using a specific gun you hate. That would honestly suck for most people. I'm bad at that game, so the gun doesn't matter as much to me as it does to people who play the game more than I do, but I think it could easily be a general turn-off.

Also, in terms of the first, they've already implemented bits and pieces of that into Call of Duty. At this point, there are progress blocks that require you to get 25 headshots with x weapon to unlock y scope for x weapon built into the game. I think it makes more sense in a diverse game like TES, where there's enough variety to actually merit that kind of leveling.

As for the latter, I definitely think that would exacerbate the problem of "the people who play the most level up the fastest regardless of skill and get the most powerful abilities faster" as pointed out by

#9 Posted by Jadeskye (4367 posts) -

Sounds almost exactly like the system in Eve online.

#10 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@wemibelec90: @Aetheldod:

No, no. You play a game. By playing the game, you unlock stuff - similar as with regular XP-systems, but rather make it about feats, like killing dudes. Could just be regular XP-based progression really. Doesn't matter all that much.

What I'm getting at really is, to keep progressing outside of playing the game, keep that dopamin drip going at all times. By playing the game, the player earns currency he can spend on planning progression, that'll happen while he is not playing the game. It's a progression system, that not only motivates the player with instanteneous rewards while playing the game, but also keeps rewarding the player, while not playing the game. It's rewarding. All-the-time.

It's kinda like the 'Inward Singing' version of progression systems.

@RPGee:

I don't care about players progressing at different speeds. The concepts I find cool about it are 'to keep progressing outside of actively playing' and 'to manage/plan progression'. It's certainly an angle to do something different with progression, to put a spin on it, and maybe end up with something even better. More rewarding and addictive.

#11 Posted by MB (12425 posts) -

If you're sitting around wondering why all of these fantastic ideas you have aren't ever represented in games, it's probably because they aren't very good ideas.

Moderator
#12 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@Little_Socrates:

You are right. It does not really need to replace regular XP progression. It can be handled more like an additive. Adding out-of-game progression could be the next molecule added to the crack-cocaine-formula of modern progression systems - to create weaponized-crack-cocaine - what I'd call Hyer-Cube-Cocaine.

#13 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@MB said:

If you're sitting around wondering why all of these fantastic ideas you have aren't ever represented in games, it's probably because they aren't very good ideas.

Ideas nonetheless. And there are games doing progression in a similar manner. Like EVE online. I believe out-of-game progression could very well increase player motivation, if done right. Meshing it seamlessly with regular progression could keep the dopamin drip flowing at all times - up from only half the time, while playing the game.

#14 Posted by MB (12425 posts) -

@Seppli: I was thinking about EVE when I read your post, but I consider that game about the farthest thing from fun in all of PC gaming.

I think you tend to overthink things.

Moderator
#15 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

All this made me think was Elder Scrolls and EVE: online

#16 Posted by Ursus_Veritas (383 posts) -

The first thing you mention has been done before, but it's something I'd like to see more. As others have said, it's the cornerstone of the TES games leveling system, and it was even an element in GTA San Andreas, both for your weapons and for CJ's attributes. Some would argue that it leads to pigeonholing you down a specific path to early on, but I think it's an interesting alternative to the typical EXP progression system we could do with seeing more of.
 
However, I do not like your second idea at all. Like others have mentioned, it exacerbates the problem of 'hardcore players who put more time in unlock stronger items quicker and have an advantage over more casual players.'. I'm not saying those people should be not be rewarded - after all, they're putting the time into the game - but I don't think giving them an avenue to essentially rank up while they're not even playing is a good idea either. Maybe something like WoW's rested experience would be interesting in something like a Call of Duty or a Battlefield, or some other system (hell, dare I say a random chance to get some kind of EXP booster at the end of a match, or after a certain amount of matches, á la Guild Wars 2's Black Lion Chests sans the microtransaction-key element) - but definitely not that.

#17 Posted by yinstarrunner (1199 posts) -

I've got a new progression mechanic, as well. You see, when you first start playing the game, you're kind of bad at it, but the more you play, the more you learn the subtleties of the game mechanics. Eventually you'll be great at the game! No XP needed!

Original idea, do not steal.

#18 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

I have no idea what you are talking about. You crazy person.

Essentially this.

#19 Posted by Ares42 (2673 posts) -

@Jadeskye said:

Sounds almost exactly like the system in Eve online.

Yup, and it's the main reason I never could get into Eve. Having progression tied to time rather than effort is just plain frustrating. "no, you have to wait 3 days before you can unlock that".

#20 Posted by Demoskinos (14839 posts) -
@MB

@Seppli: I was thinking about EVE when I read your post, but I consider that game about the farthest thing from fun in all of PC gaming.

I think you tend to overthink things.

You are correct. EVE isn't fun its a goddamned job.
#21 Posted by Morrow (1829 posts) -

@JoeyRavn said:

Since you're paying a monthly fee to play the game, you don't feel like you're "wasting" time by not playing the game. Or, at least, you can partially make it up for those hours that you're not playing by earning XP (or whatever currency your system uses) faster the next time you log in.

Didn't knew such a system existed... that's actually genius. If they would implement something like that to FF14 on the PS3 release, I'd really consider getting it. 15€ per month is a lot though, at least from my point of view, as I have a full-time job and can only game a little in the evening (and occasionally on weekends).

#22 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

How aboot you just make a system that doesn't require systems within systems to make it rewarding and balanced and fair? IE no gimping vehicles for players who haven't spent hours leveling them up.

#23 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos said:

How aboot you just make a system that doesn't require systems within systems to make it rewarding and balanced and fair? IE no gimping vehicles for players who haven't spent hours leveling them up.

Why that's what Timesavers DLC is for. *wink* *wink*

At least in the case of Battlefield 3 - the earliest unlocks remain in my go-to loadouts throughout the entire progression - whilst everything else is for much advanced and specialized, but not really inherently better, playstyles. Hell - from the raw damage graphs, certain default equipment is superior to all unlocks, like the M16A3.

There's ways to do unlocks right, and balancing-wise, I think Battlefield 3 does a terrific job. It's just a handy scapegoat, if somebody doesn't cut it right out of the gate - and blames the progression system, rather than personal ineptitude, for shortterm gameplay failures. Usually - all you need to do is, to apply yourself and stop whining.

#24 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@Ursus_Veritas said:

The first thing you mention has been done before, but it's something I'd like to see more. As others have said, it's the cornerstone of the TES games leveling system, and it was even an element in GTA San Andreas, both for your weapons and for CJ's attributes. Some would argue that it leads to pigeonholing you down a specific path to early on, but I think it's an interesting alternative to the typical EXP progression system we could do with seeing more of. However, I do not like your second idea at all. Like others have mentioned, it exacerbates the problem of 'hardcore players who put more time in unlock stronger items quicker and have an advantage over more casual players.'. I'm not saying those people should be not be rewarded - after all, they're putting the time into the game - but I don't think giving them an avenue to essentially rank up while they're not even playing is a good idea either. Maybe something like WoW's rested experience would be interesting in something like a Call of Duty or a Battlefield, or some other system (hell, dare I say a random chance to get some kind of EXP booster at the end of a match, or after a certain amount of matches, á la Guild Wars 2's Black Lion Chests sans the microtransaction-key element) - but definitely not that.

It all depends on execution really, like with anything. If well-done, such a system could enable more casual players to unlock things, they'd have a much harder time actively unlocking with proper gameplay. Or it can be used as a pacing tool, to keep too hardcore players from progressing too quickly - since regardless of skill-level, some things just take a set amount of time to unlock. Just some examples off the top of my head.

I'm not saying I've presented strong and well-polished designs here in this thread. It's merely an semi-new angle to look at progression, which I believe could lead to interesting and fresh ways to design meaningful and motivating and balanced progression.

Looking at the insane response games like Farmville have gotten from the broader audience - with their timer-based progression - I believe adding such a thing to the regular XP & quest-driven progression of online multiplayer shooters and RPGs and whatnot, might add a new layer of obsessive fun to the process of leveling up and unlocking new content & mechanics.

#25 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@MB said:

that game about the farthest thing from fun in all of PC gaming.

I was getting ready to defend EVE, but you're totally right :/

#26 Posted by StarvingGamer (8250 posts) -

I have never played a game with a "do it to level it" system that was balanced or, more importantly, fun.

#27 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Seppli: It's just really fucking unenjoyable to fly a jet with nothing but the canon. I don't mind the weapon stuff too much, although I think it should handle different sides having different weapons a hell of a lot better, I hate getting optics for my starting weapon on one side and having to do it all over again with the other side, especially with how much I hate the ironsights on the opfor starting rifle for assault.

It's ok in some ways, but the way it requires you to be totally useless until you push up against a wall enough to get passed it with a lot of the vehicles kinda sucks. Maybe the argument is "here, learn to fly before you get the big guns" but it just ends up leaving unexperienced pilots discouraged from trying to learn because they are so incredibly vulnerable without any means of defending themselves against a fully loaded attack chopper. Either they get killed a bunch, or are bored as hell. Or some of each. Either way, I felt the vehicle (especially aircraft) stuff in BF3's progression a little too limiting early on. At least a weapon was pretty easy to get decent optics on so you could be competitive (saying that optics won't make you significantly more effective is silly. The military has plenty of statistics to prove that. The ACOG is often seen as the thing that increased America's infantry's ability to destroy it's enemies more than pretty much anything since the modern rifle).

Once you get into it, it's fine. But starting in the BF3 progression system is a bit rough, especially when you're just starting with Battlefield half way through the milliionth game in the franchise's lifespan. I assume the idea is to limit players to grasp the basics, but man, I know how to shoot a gun, I know roughly how to fly an aircraft, just let me spend a couple minutes/matches getting used to the feel of the game and give me the core stuff.

#28 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos said:

@Seppli: It's just really fucking unenjoyable to fly a jet with nothing but the canon. I don't mind the weapon stuff too much, although I think it should handle different sides having different weapons a hell of a lot better, I hate getting optics for my starting weapon on one side and having to do it all over again with the other side, especially with how much I hate the ironsights on the opfor starting rifle for assault.

It's ok in some ways, but the way it requires you to be totally useless until you push up against a wall enough to get passed it with a lot of the vehicles kinda sucks. Maybe the argument is "here, learn to fly before you get the big guns" but it just ends up leaving unexperienced pilots discouraged from trying to learn because they are so incredibly vulnerable without any means of defending themselves against a fully loaded attack chopper. Either they get killed a bunch, or are bored as hell. Or some of each. Either way, I felt the vehicle (especially aircraft) stuff in BF3's progression a little too limiting early on. At least a weapon was pretty easy to get decent optics on so you could be competitive (saying that optics won't make you significantly more effective is silly. The military has plenty of statistics to prove that. The ACOG is often seen as the thing that increased America's infantry's ability to destroy it's enemies more than pretty much anything since the modern rifle).

Once you get into it, it's fine. But starting in the BF3 progression system is a bit rough, especially when you're just starting with Battlefield half way through the milliionth game in the franchise's lifespan. I assume the idea is to limit players to grasp the basics, but man, I know how to shoot a gun, I know roughly how to fly an aircraft, just let me spend a couple minutes/matches getting used to the feel of the game and give me the core stuff.

That's the thing though. The jet's main cannon is where it's at. From all the weapons at your disposal, it's the most potent and reliable weapon air-to-air and air-to-land. Everything else adds-on to it. You are not pushed against a wall by the progression system - it's just playerskill with the plane and the main cannon that's the decisive factor for jet combat. Everything else is either an ineffective crutch, or it's for doing some specialized job a bit better - you get all the tools you need from the get-go (other than flares, which you get like 100 points into jet progression - pretty much the first thing of value you do, will unlock the flares).

What you perceive to be an issue with progression is merely the basic playerskill learning curve and the playerskill disparity between veterans and new players - not an inherent flaw to progression.

#29 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Limited maximum 'Training Time Allotment' per day. Kinda like a handful of daily quests rewarding 'Training Time Allotment' currency, which cannot be exceeded by anyone, regardless by how much they play. Such a thing could be used to evenly pace certain aspects of progression, to give more casual players an even footing with the gaming hardcore.

Win a round. Shoot 25 dudes. Stab 3 dudes. Get a grenade kill. Such stuff.

#30 Posted by Levio (1784 posts) -

The exp system itself isn't great. Its main benefit is that it is a standardized way to progress, so players can get it from doing any activity or killing any mob, giving players a lot of freedom in play. But if a game is really good, players should want to do everything anyway...

The ideal system is one which simply funnels players from one activity to the next. Bioshock has a good system: you gain plasmids and ammo for exploring levels, Adam for killing the minibosses, camera bonuses for killing mobs (this system was poorly implemented though), and then when you've fully explored a level, there is nothing left to gain so players move on to the next. There's no grinding, no rush to level, and none of the bonuses become obsolete over time.

One might say that such a completion-based system would never work in an MMO because players would breeze through all the content and become maxed out. That's simply because MMO's never have enough good content. Instead, they have to stretch what they have with awful, awful grinds. Hence why many people hate MMO's.

As for PvP exp grinds: I've never found any good reason for a progression system to exist in PvP at all. Not a single one.

#31 Posted by gamefreak9 (2359 posts) -

First is Skyrim, second is starcraft/wow. Starcraft gives you a bonus pool the longer it takes you to play a game, and WOW gives you a rest meter where the longer you spend time offline in a town the longer your xp boost will be.

#32 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos:

Let's say you want to fly jets in Battlefield, but you're late to the game, and dread earning the first couple of unlocks. If the third leg of player progression allowed you to train/unlock anything in the game, at appropriate currency cost, on a timer - you could play whatever you're comfortable with, and use your 'Training Time Allotment' to push your jet progression to what you perceive to be a competitive level.

So there's both, the carrot on the stick, and eventually you'll unlock everything you feel you need to be competitive - regardless of what you're doing.

Just spit-balling how such a thing could be implemented to your benefit.

#33 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@Levio:

The reason for player progression systems in competitive online multiplayer games is the same as anywhere else. It's all about the infamous 'Carrot on a Stick'. Some players, just like stubborn mules, never wise up - and keep enjoying the chase, at the cost of instantaneous fairness and balance.

On top of that - I am encouraged to try out all the new goodies I'm unlocking. Enriching my gameplay experience. I know I'm in the minority in this playful experimentation. Personally, I think developers should push a more feats/achievement/quest driven progression. Of course I'm in the minorty in this as well, since most players would be pissed, if they were forced into using gun X, gadget Y, in order to progress to weapon/gadget Z.

I believe in a smartly designed ensemble of various progression systems meshing into a whole. Like a base XP-driven system complemented by feats/achievements/quests, and maybe a currency/timer based one - as proposed in this thread. Catering to the various aspects of progression. Pacing, Motivation, Prestige, Balance, Fairness, Choice.

#34 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@Seppli: I still found early aircraft incredibly boring, and choppers are much more thoroughly chopped down from their full capacity. And I didn't really find that the Jet upgrades were as secondary as you feel, but eh.

I would just prefer the progression to be steady and consistent and feel good all along (CoD 4) or give you control over how you get through the progression, by just giving you points when you level up, like a traditional RPG.