Can We See An End To Numeric Character Levels?

As a Star Wars Galaxies refugee, I remember a great MMO that dared to be different once before.  That particular game did away with the notion that each player had a numeric "level" with the result that players were no longer solely interested in just grinding to cap level all the time.  Instead, players would measure their progress by the different skills they had acquired in their class skill tree.

The result of this approach was profound.  For many, myself included, the main objective to logging into that game was no longer to mindlessly grind levels, but instead quickly became to simply hang out with your friends in a fun and entertaining player-run community environment.  Yes, it really was just as much fun to sit drinking with your friends in a cantina as it was to go off on a quest run.  It was every bit as rewarding to become a server-renowned crafter, famous for creating high quality and useful player weapons/medpacks/vehicles/buildings, as it was to become a powerful combat fighter.

Might AoC also dare to do away with the obsession of grinding-to-cap-level?

Answers

  • I don't know if it was doing away with character levels that did that for SWG.  I think it was a combination of the games systems and the players who wanted to immerse themselves into the Star Wars universe more fully.  That said I wouldn't be against it.  I've played far too many games that were all about the "end game" and kept dumbing down the leveling in order to blast players thru to the end game as fast as possible.  SWTOR keeps doing this and soon all you're going to have to do to hit max level is fly your ship to each planet once.

    I've always played my characters with the adage that it's the journey that's important and not the destination.  Frankly as long as I have more stories and lore and places to explore I don't care if my characters ever get to the "end game".
  • Vertical and horizontal leveling mechanics confirmed. SWG style mechanics looked at and rejected. These are not the droids we're looking for. Move along.
  • I think it would be interesting to see a more gear based progression system, however a leveling system is very useful for a... number... of reasons.

    1.)  It's easier to calculate how and when a player would get and/or would be able to access/discover different skills, rather than gear based, time based, or stat based progression systems(Which all have their own issues. Gear based would mean that if your gear wears down or you find an exploit, you can be doomed, or become unbeatable. Riders of Icarus, while level based, was strongly influenced by gear progression, and was ultimately the downfall of PvP with Supertanks/Supersins that could one shot anyone. Time based would be tricky, and would likely require a means of deeper exploration. It could also very easily be exploited. Stat based, just like riders of icarus, can spell doom for PvP/PvE. Boss melting, anyone?)

    2.) It makes it so easy to scale up how someone advances in strengths with a level based system, and it has worked well for the entire time that MMOs have been a thing so I don't think there's a reason to change it.

    3.) Frankly I've played Path of Exile which has the progression system you describe which is sort of "Stat based(Perks)". I find that the system dries out the experience, and is terribly overwhelming to anyone who plays the game. It in a way restricts growth, because if you try to deviate from certain builds and be "Creative" as these games are trying to make you, then you'll never be viable, and once you hit labyrinth, you'll have to start all over with a new character.
  • I don't think it's necessary to remove the levels in order to have the other benefits you pointed out experiencing in Galaxies...I think it's just a matter of those (crafting etc) systems being robust enough so that people would focus on them so they become as much a focus of game play as levelling up. 
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