10 Equals 40, Delay 20

[Dungeons & Dragons Online] Can an MMORPG live with just 20 levels, or 20 “moments of advancement”? Ken Troop at Turbine does not think so, and thus 10 will equal 40 and 20 will equal 80.

In other words, each level will be split up into ranks, of which there is four. Level one, rank one. Level one, rank two. And so on and so forth. The levels will still work the same as D&D rules, the rank will give you one enhancement from a pool (CoH anyone?). Well, the rank will give you “action points” which you can use to buy an “enhancement” which is something like a “feat”. I think.

And special bonus, at release DDO will only go up to level 10 instead of 20. So that means it goes to 40, right? Hmm. So 40 is the new 10 and 80 is the new 20 but 10 is still the old 10 and 20 is still the old 20 except 20 does not exist, at least not yet. Does any of this make sense?

Honestly, perhaps it is just me, but I just don’t get Ken Troop.

50 GOTO 10

This just in, former Turbinite, Jason Booth, comments on something that sounds kind of critical about decisions strikingly similar to this one without actually naming any names.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

10 thoughts on “10 Equals 40, Delay 20”

  1. Honestly, any online game based off of a pen&paper game is bound to encounter tremendous compatibility issues. Leveling is only one such issue.

    For example, NWN is based on DND, and there was just no way to get all of the skills the same without ruining the game for some players. This caused quite a grumble from those who came from the PNP world. Many were looking for the “pure” DND recreation. That’s impossible. You have to make huge sacrifices to transform a turn-based game into a dynamic “live-action” game, and to do so, you pretty much have to trash 50% of the rules.

    Another thing that gets trashed is the idea of player patience. Online/MMORPG players want instant action, instant gratification, and near-instant leveling rewards. PNP players are more used to taking three days just to roll a character and get it fine-tuned before even heading out on a first adventure, let alone getting a few levels. In WoW, I can easily get a character from lvl 1 to 6 in a few hours… while drinking. Back in the day with DND PNP, I’d be lucky to level once in a month (stingy DMs didn’t help, either), and we were playing with the system whereby the only one to get XP was the one who made the killing blow (rarely me).

    Try telling someone who is playing a MMORPG that they might level as much as two to three times a month! Oboy! That’s not… what’s the word, MARKETABLE.

    Sorry, but the logic of leveling must be replaced with the ability to sell the game and keep selling it, and expansions, and merchandise, and hint books, and collector’s editions, and DDO2, and ugh, so on.

  2. I think its a good idea. I find the whole idea of levels really stuupid. If you take CoH as an example, I would love for the levels to be split up, I don’t want to get this huge 3 enhancement slot boost in power every week, I’d much rather get 3 small boosts of 1 enhancement slot every couple of days. That way, even if I’m bot a catasser I am getting better at regular intervals.

    To my mind, it is closer to a skills based system while still having levels.

    As for PnP vs MMO, PnP offers far better opportunities for roleplayer and hence does not need to rely on the rollplaying. For this reason alone, you don’t need to advance in levels to have fun, cos you can have really cool adventures catered specifically to your group, with changes in the world that you can make…. it’s just so different that I don’t think it is even worth comparing the two types of games.

  3. I’m still fond of the Asheron’s Call approach to leveling, maybe because it reminds me of Champions PnP: you get points fairly frequently. You can spend them on minor improvements, or save them up for a bigger improvement. Yes, there is something silly about slaughtering 5000 yeti to improve your Cooking skill, but you could level whatever you wanted, and you got your little bit of xp crack off every kill. You even got some applied directly to skills you were using, within limitations.

    Asheron’s Call 2 replicated it less effectively by having huge cliffs in the cost to buy the next skill point. With made up numbers, the skill points might cost 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 128, 146, 184, 464, … Basically, there was still a pretty strict correlation between level and skills, because the next skill point might suddenly cost more than a level or something.

    I will also admit to being fond of EVE Online’s skill system. Hmm, I seem to like most non-class/level based skill systems.

  4. I just followed the link to the Justin Booth comments. In retrospect, I cannot think of any AC skill that costed an odd number of skill points. Maybe they added some after I left, but he is right: there was no point to doubling the skill points except that everyone get a half-point of crack that could not be spent on anything until the other half arrived. Item Identification cost 2 skill points, and that was as weak as the skills got. I suppose the skill point progression looks neater that way. “Hey, you get something EVERY LEVEL for your first 10 levels! Woo!” Obviously just an excuse to say, “Woo!” ;)

  5. I guess the WoW skill points are an attempt to make progress none incremental and in theory you could do the same sort of things for gaining all of your abilities – ie if you are hitting something evrytime you hit it there is a small chance of increasing your str (as well as the type of weapon as now). The trouble is that I think that would lead to more grind – for instance what would you do to improve your agility! Well in real life you do a lot of stretching and bouncing around – do you give a chance to increase everytime you press the jump key! This would have the added bonus of tailoring your character by actually what you do rather than by choosing talents – so you would build up agility/strength/int talents. You could also all start out as the same character and his skills would eveolve by how you play him/her – hey I’m on a role now – or has someone already done this, probably! Still theres nothing like leveling for that instance of gratification, something to always strive for (until you reach 60!)

  6. Good grief.

    Still, from what I remember of the last lot of rule books I saw, the whole paper game was designed so that players gain a level every 13 or so fights. My kind of grind!

  7. That is the official guideline: 13 even-level encounters should give a level. Eberron tends to favor fewer harder encounters, while some authors favor more but easier encounters. By the same guidelines, such an encounter should exhaust about 1/4 of the party’s renewable resources, so that they can deal with four such encounters per day. Needing to level up 19 times to reach level 20, that means characters could rocket from start to finish in about two months (19*13/4=61.75 days) of perfect adventuring.

    Hmm. Number of existing MMOs in which you can go from 0 to max level in 2 months without twinking?

  8. This would be a good chance for an MMO to try a model where each player level is an adventure within itself, ie not trying to advance because you want to do the stuff for your current level, which joined with the official guidlines, would allow the player to choose 13 or so adventures they would love to do, before gaining a level and the next tier of adventures.

    ( WoW gets partway there – there is so many quests to do that your busy for the whole level (at least with the lower levels), but still doesnt reduce the treadmill to 60. )

    2 other features would work well with this – being able to turn off xp, and adventuring and leveling as a group.

    Take the focus off ‘numerical moments of advancement’ and design the game to be self contained at each level.

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