Saturday, October 15, 2011

Character leveling

While I want a complex equipment leveling system, I would prefer to keep the character leveling straight-forward and without many consequence-heavy choices.

Many MMORPGs make the mistake of asking the player to distribute stat points with every level-up without them actually knowing what each stat does and what's the ideal distribution. They force players to make decisions before they can know the consequences, and when they make the wrong decision, they punish them with badly performing characters. But they aren't punished immediately, they are punished  weeks or months after they made the decision when they notice that other characters perform much better because they didn't make the mistake of wasting points on useless stats.

The only way for the player to avoid this is by consulting strategy guides before even playing. I don't think that this is good. Players should be able to master a game on their own without consulting meta-information.

Some games try to reduce the impact of this design flaw by offering stat resets, but this is basically reductio ad absurdum. What point does character development in a certain direction have, when you can change the direction of your character at any time?

Stat distribution is simply broken by design! For that reason I won't have any free stat distribution. Every character will gain character stats automatically with each level-up according to its class. The game complexity will be mostly in the item system, because items are just the steps on the ladder to character advancement. It doesn't hurt as much to discard them when they don't work as expected as it hurts to discard a gimped character.

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