Static Gameplay

I have continued to poke at Anti-Idle, and I have run into the same problem that others have cited about Guild Wars 2: there is a large dead zone between “have all your toys” and the cap. In Anti-Idle, that is actually thousands of levels, but it’s an idle game, so those can mostly happen while you’re AFK.

Once you reach the point where all the fights feel the same, you have completed the meaningful content. You beat the game. You’re done and can quit now. Also, when “RPG elements” has come to mean “character advancement,” it stops feeling like your character is advancing when you are just adding new numbers to old abilities. Again, game over, you won.

The sense I get from GW2 is that we are seeing the history of its development. (Entirely made up story follows.) Long before they abandoned the idea of horizontal progression, the original idea was like GW1: low cap, almost everything at the cap. Let’s give the characters all their skills by level 20. Hmm, people really like progression. Okay, we’ll match the industry leader and have 80 levels. Let’s push the elite skills back so we don’t have a 60-level dead zone. You saw a bit of that “needs more progression” when slot skills went from “all available immediately” to “buy 5 in this tier to unlock the next.” There must have been months of meetings trying to decide how to give players more toys over time without breaking the model of having one skill bar. There are some bonuses to unlock via talents, and your gear starts giving you more (not just bigger) stats, and … well, that plateau is kind of essential in the original notion of horizontal progression. Let’s hope they solve it before the coming level cap increase(s) and new tier(s) of gear.

GW1 had hundreds of elite skills you could capture, along with secondary classes, so you could pick your one bar of skills from literally thousands of skills. Part of horizontal progression is having the option to progress, more options not just ones with bigger numbers.

: Zubon

9 thoughts on “Static Gameplay”

  1. There is a very nice video about vertical vs. horizontal progression: A lot of true stuff in there. Btw, I prefer the GW-type of progression. Before the introduction of titles with bonuses and skills tied to it.

    On a side note: I am really getting tired of all the folks who I know have been playing mainly GW2 since release (not you Zubon, but others) and are still using WoW-vocabulary. Please guys, there are rangers, not hunters, thieves, not rogues, and traits, not talents.
    Please don’t take it personal, Zubon. It’s the first time I noticed this happening in one of your posts, but I keep hearing and reading such things over and over again, so I used this opportunity for a little general reminder.

    1. “Talent” is part of our gaming lingua franca, and using different terms in a game does not make it the proper vocabulary to discuss things. Nor do you need to start calling groups “fellowships” if you play LotRO or guilds “supergroups” if you play(ed) CoX. Talents, groups, and guilds are present across many games, whatever they happen to call them (soul trees, unicorn points, whatever).

      Since I am neither a GW2 nor WoW player, I will instead insist that everyone use League of Legends terminology, since it has more players. Everyone must now call their talents “masteries,” and we all use “runes” instead of “gear” or “kits.”

      1. Basically, yes and no. You use the terminology of the topic you talk about. If you do a LoL-post, I’d certainly expect you to call them masteries and runes.

        And no, “talents” is certainly not part of a common gaming language. I’ve seen my fair share of people who are confused when this term is used to refer to traits. Same for hunters and rogues, btw. Sure, I know what you mean when you use it, but keep in mind that not everyone does. We gamers all too easily forget that there are constantly players who are not that used to general gaming language and terminology from a broad variety of games, of which some might use that term. Groups are self-explanatory as a term, guilds can be borderline, depending on the game referred to, talents can be totally misleading.

        Also, really bad try of a provocation with that last part. Try harder next time.

  2. In terms of vertical progression I like the way that acquisition of skills is front-loaded and then additional pieces of the jigsaw are added gradually from that point onward: going from only having 2 stats on gear to 3, getting access to master and grandmaster traits, finally buying all utilities and elites, superior runes. It is from about 60-65 that I feel almost complete, then level 80 is when I put the final touches to a build. Knowledge about class mechanics is another big part of the learning curve, even though the descriptions mightn’t be the clearest, finding out how skills/traits work in practice, how best to use them against other professions is just as important as the skills acquisition.

    I think they have a good system of horizontal progression once a character is level 80, i.e. acquiring skill points to spend on fancy skins, but I think this system really needs expansion, more consumables like GW1 for example. I’d hate to see a level cap increase, when there is this system of infinite levels past the cap.

    On the other hand the agony resistance debacle was nothing short of a kneejerk response. At the moment I’m working my way through the levels daily, at 12 right now. I’m learning to avoid agony, it causes 12% health loss per second. By the time I’ll hit level 20, I should have at least one ring from collecting 10 tokens from daily chest, and hopefully RNG will give me a second, and can buy one amulet with laurels. Slotting each of those with simple infusions will give me 15 agony resist, which is enough to reduce the agony past level 20 to 12% health loss per second. That’s a ridiculous situation. I could get more resistance, but it would cost much more resources than I currently have, and I can see level 30 being an arbitrary cap for me, even if I had the skills to get past that point. So learning to avoid agony becomes less important than acquiring 25/30 resist, especially with the jade maw having an unavoidable source of agony. I couldn’t imagine a worse example of vertical progression.

    1. You already have way more consumables than GW had. You have a broad variety of potions, foods, oils, crystals, stones and boosts. I’m the total opposite of you – I wish they never had consumables, be it GW or GW2.

  3. I’m still more interested in Arenanet exploring their posibilities in providing content that is not tied to any kind of character progression, be it horizontal, vertical or multidimensional. The whole point of an MMO is the fact that it’s not about your character, but that the world is inhabitetd by thousand other players that influence what happens around you.

    Where is the world progression?

    The event framework allows for so many interesting ways to engage the players with the game world, and even provide for short-term persistance to give player actions weight, yet they aren’t leveraging that nearly enough.
    Where are the Shatterer Invasions that can turn a whole zone into a branded battlefield? Why is the Flame Legion entirely incapable of making even an inch of progress in expanding their territory, as are the Sons of Svanir?
    And no, it doesn’t have to be a sandbox. That is only one end of the scale.

  4. Hi. I’m Tukkun, the creator of Anti-Idle: The Game. Thank you for telling me that you feel the dead zone is too large. Although the features are unlocked quite early, some expansions and actual “meaningful content” are only available at higher levels. Anti-Idle isn’t a linear game, different people have different playstyles and have fun in different ways. I agree it’s not a very good game, but people seem to have fun with it so I’ll continue its development. And yes, I actually enjoy searching for my own game on the Internet to know how people feel about it, and improve the game based on the comments and reviews!

    Interesting article about static gameplay, by the way.

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