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(Bonus!) Dev Discussion - Level Progression



  • Arthus DawnbreakerArthus Dawnbreaker Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021
    Many ways of leveling like killing mobs, delivery quests, Escorting, gathering, crafting quests to help learn the crafting systems, Town board quests, Guild quests (would be cool to see our own guilds pick what's important to them and have a way to gain XP through guild questing), PvP questing, dungeon quests.

    New World does a great job with this. Giving us a plethora of ways to level. Although their way of leveling is too fast and should be slowed down.

    The idea of speed leveling is stupid Why would anyone want to speed through a game. I want to spend as much time in the world as possible and enjoy the adventures. The idea of questing to get to a high level means the questing is over. I don't ever want my questing options to end.

    Give us Main story quests, side quests, Town quests, PVP quests, dungeon quests, boss killing quests, gather quests, crafting, escorting, delivery, exploring, treasure hunting quests. I WANT IT ALL! Games die because the story and the content end. IT SHOULD NEVER END! lol I know i'm exaggerating a little but not really lol. GIVE IT ALL!

    Maybe Even give us player who love questing to give us an ENDGAME option for questing by unlocking a TOP level BONUS XP BAR that unlocks after hitting the highest level in which you can gain Even more XP which doesnt increase your XP level but instead gives us Bonus points that unlocks Special Side quests or dailies that gives quest lovers a chance to stay in the game after hitting the highest level and gives us things to do in the game besides PVP that allows the quest lovers a sense of NOT ENDING, but continuing through side stories that allow them to still have fun in the game.
  • I prefer slightly non-homogenized, but mostly homogenized. The reason is that I want PvX and PvP to be rewarded with slightly more exp per hour in order to encourage players to engage in such content. Too many games these days require you to go through a long PvE grind just to get at a level where you can PvP or PvX. This drives away players from the game, and I think that allowing players to engage in PvX and PvP without falling behind is way better for encouraging player interactions from the very start of the game. Fostering player interaction, instead of forcing everyone to solo grind to max level and ignore everything else, is probably better for the game.
  • NewDisplayNameNewDisplayName Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021
    Coming from runescape, I prefer grinding mobs to questing myself. I think you should be able to level just as smoothly either questing or grinding mobs. As far as quests go I would rather longer and very detailed quests as opposed to the monotonous grind of endlessly fetching this and killing that. Quality over quantity please.
  • Both grinding and questing. Grinding in a top xp spot should be far more rewarding than questing, since you have to pvp for that spot and hold that spot.

    Questing is safer way to take xp than grind in a spot because you can avoid pvp. So xp wise grinding should be far better but ofc quests also have to matter at least some of them because lets say they give you some strong gear to go back to grind.

    All in all since i think the concept you are trying to make is risk vs reward i think this idea is a valid one.

    Plus when someone stays in a spot to grind he loses all that gathering materials he would get from questing. So he has to do that later. So grinding in a top spot in a dungeon HAS to be a lot more rewarding (xp wise and probably money wise). This will make guilds fight at entrance to lock the dungeon for their parties that xp inside. More pvp = more fun!

    All in all:

    Quests: safe way through decent xp path.

    Grind: hardcore way with very high risk very high rewards.
  • ShoelidShoelid Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Vaknar wrote: »

    Bonus Dev Discussion - Level Progression
    Do you like to see a larger variance in progression speed between different leveling activities (ex. questing, grinding mobs), or do you prefer a more homogenized progression across different leveling activities? How do you feel about progression speed generally?

    It needs to be balanced, but not homogenized. Yall are game designers so you probably know what I mean by this. A good example of an MMO with this is Runescape. Runescape has activities ranging from extremely difficult to activities that allow you to walk away from your computer, and you're rewarded for each differently.

    As for why... homogenized progression implies homogenized activities. Either that, or it implies easy activities that are over-rewarded, and difficult activities that are under-rewarded. Some MMO's with a smaller scope might want to opt for this, but I think AoC needs a large amount of options in leveling activities, and these options need to have personalized EXP rewards.
  • TrubiTrubi Member
    edited September 2021
    I personally like killing hoards of monsters if the combat with them feels satisfying. But while doing so it is also kind of soothing, if there is sort of unlimited quest where you can trade quest items into currency, faction standing or rare materials.
    What I hate on current mmorpg's is that monsters loose interest in following the player and return or even teleport to their spawn point very quickly.
    I loved doing giant "trains" of monsters in Lineage2. It wasn't perfect as the monsters AI was very simple and they didn't put much of the fight. This farming strategy also brought in a lot of PVP for best farming spots, which was probably the best part of it. Everyone wanted the best spot and it was often getting very personal after repetitive pvp fights with the same people, escalating into spite attacks on their castle.
    If I compare it to Elyon that I played recently, monsters are using variety of tactics to combat the player which in turn required wider array of skills to be used in order to control them in the spot. Only if the "pull range" was bigger, it would be my best pve experience to date.

    For the leveling itself, I think modern mmo are putting way too much focus on progression in levels. I think that if experience gain should be viewed just as a byproduct of other meaningful activities.
    Character itself should gain all of it's tools/skills early on so there is no need to forcibly rush levels just to enable the skill xyz, because I want to use that particular skill. Levels should just bring more customisation and a little power to the character, instead of being this all powerful and the only way to speed run to the good parts.
    I can often see these days that people rush to the end so fast, that they didn't even had time to learn to play their class at basic level.

    Another thing is to not have hard level cap. I like soft cap way more, where your progression level slows down exponentially instead of just hitting a wall.

    Best is the combination of hoards of monsters farming with the quest incentive behind it.
    Experience gain should be a by product while doing meaningful tasks instead of sole focus of gameplay.
    Bring the character tools online early and just increase customisation and power with levels.

  • shintaroshintaro Member, Founder, Kickstarter
    For leveling, I prefer slow and steady progress. Bursts in power come when receiving a new skill for example when leveling up. Since we have this anyway, I like to have a steady progress for getting experience such that many activities feel (in addition to being fun) like they contribute also to my general progress.

    Between the experience gain of different activities for leveling the main level of a player (combat stuff), I like to see a, I guess, smaller variance. If a person decides to optimize and do only the most effective things, I would like to see him being faster than others that do what they like or what helps them in other ways in the game, but only maybe around 15% compared to a player that participates in all activities a bit. So if it is possible to level to max level in 45 days, average players with the same play time that concentrate on leveling, but don't want to optimize perfectly, should maybe be around a week slower.

    For leveling of professions on the other hand, I can see a system where you decide if you want to improve your skill or if you want to produce something useful which doesn't benefit your progress a lot working well. Here, I would like to see a larger variance so that we have the choice to really invest into our progress in professions and surpass others, or just produce items of lower skill and make money now.
  • BloohBlooh Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Quests are fine, but they should mean something. Ragnarok Online has the best quest system in my opinion, because one does not HAVE to go through them, unless you want to access certain maps or skills.

    Grinding a thousand monsters is also fine, but I rather do that based on my own willingness to that because NPC X said I had to. In this point, also Ragnarok is a quite nice example, where even normal mobs can have pretty interesting drops for those that spend a decent time grinding them.

    Based on what I’ve seen so far, AoC already starts with several quests available as soon as the character enters the world for the very first time. Worse than that, the quest objectives are spread all over Vera. That can be very overwhelming for new players: why can I take quests meant to level 15 characters being level 1?

    Make quests special and unique. And please limit the amount. Worse than having 5 quest lines at the same time, is having 5 quests telling you to do the same thing. :smile:
  • To be honest, I would really like that in addition to quests, dungeons and farm mobs, it would also be possible to gain experience in the pvp arena, as a pvp player I really like to compete with others in pvp, so it would be cool if I could at least go to the arena from the first level and download experience there.
    An example of this is Guild Wars 2, even if you go to the arena at level 1, you will be given all the skills and you will configure the build for yourself.
    All salute from Russia
  • I actually prefer slower progression. I dont mind grinding but i d prefer to kill 100 mobs for a quest instead of just for exp. Most important thing imo is that questing needs to have a better exp ratio than just grinding. I dont mind taking a few days (or if quests are dungeon based and i cant find a group maybe even a week) for one level (in the higher levels) but with quests and not with simple grinding. In Addition i think that daily quests shouldnt boost your exp more than regular quests.
  • I would prefer if most of the quests were as quest chains, towards the end of the levelling experience I wouldn't mind having some "Kill/gather x number of monsters/items".

    I feel though that those sort of quests are not well suited for the early game, for example if at level 15 take a quest to kill 20 monsters. You might forget about it. Then when you are level 25 you decide to do it, but it now gives a negligable amount of experience, leaving you with a feeling of wasted time.
  • maouwmaouw Member, Alpha One, Adventurer

    Please DO NOT homogenize exp progression because:
    • players WILL unquestionably optimize it anyways
    • you will never be able to balance grinding equally with questing, especially in a dynamic world
    • it confuses the PURPOSE of the two activities
    let me re-iterate, balancing questing with grinding is a mythical ideal that doesn't work practically. It fragments your playerbase into players who always grind, and players who always quest. Rarely will these groups rotate their in-game activities voluntarily. This expediates the feeling of "staleness" when playing MMOs.

    Please learn from Maplestory:
    1. When I started playing in 2006, group quests were the best way to gain EXP - BUT NOT MONEY. However, at lower levels, money doesn't matter anyways, so the majority of the server spent its time doing repeatable group questing.
    2. This created 3 problems:
      • Player demand for group quests was overcrowded - people were waiting about an hour to secure a spot in a group quest
      • Players stopped exploring the world to focus on group questing
      • Botting became extremely profitable because nobody else was supplying the server's economic needs
      Solution: redesign the entire world to make it more efficient to grind (2008 Big Bang Update)
    3. The crowds moved to the grinding hotspots and fought for territory. Players began publishing "levelling guides" that outlined exactly which activities were the most efficent at which levels. Now instead of a party of 6 people sharing a group quest map, 2 people wanted a whole grinding map to themselves. The overcrowding was next level and noobs stood no chance against funded players.
      Solution: Instanced Themeparks (of course)
    4. We all know the problems with instanced themeparks, skip.
    6. At this point, Maplestory attempted to make their group quests give EXP equivalent to grinding at the same level. All was good on paper, until the playerbase realized the 1 stage of the group quest that was THE most efficient part of the quest. The group quest stage suddenly became a grinding hotspot and players would intentionally fail the quest in order to remain in the stage for as long as possible.
      Solution: Group Grinding Dungeon
    7. A new area was added to the world where grinding in a group of 6 members provided significantly more experience, but the catch was that the mobs were significantly stronger so all 6 members could participate in taking down each mob. Again, players began optimizing and discovered that the formula for the way exp was shared in the party was skewed by how much damage you dealt as well as the level distribution of party members. Consequently, the optimal strategy for the funded players was to only accept lower level party members and replace them as their levels got higher. Furthermore, funded players would gain significantly more exp if nobody else in the team dealt any damage to the mobs - so they would request the entire party to "afk leech pls" while they grinded. This was a terrible levelling experience because the average player was told to afk and passively gain exp, and after some time if a lower level character entered the map you would be replaced in the party.
      Solution: Daily limits on group quests
    8. Eventually, all group quests were designed to give large quantities of exp on completion, but the number of daily quests you could participate in was given a daily cap. This is really immersion breaking. It also meant group forming became really awkward because you'd do 3 runs, then one party member has hit his cap and then you'd have to hunt down a replacement, then another member would hit his cap and you'd need another replacement, etc. Sometimes you'd join a party for your first run, two people would cap and then the party would disband.
    9. Finally, please note: Power Creep over the lifetime of an MMO has direct long-term implications on the efficiency of grinding. Today, powercreep in maplestory is so bad that most classes 1HKO mobs - making grinding far more efficient (in EXP, $$$ and items) than any other activity in the game. There's barely any incentive left to group up because almost all content has become solo play. Group quests are now abandoned. Bosses are instanced thus are more efficient when solo'd. Maplestory has had to increase the HP of all their mobs at least twice in order to "keep up" with power creep. Please consider a system that can keep tabs on powercreep and the efficiency of grinding.

    That was what NOT to do.
    Here's what I think makes for MUCH more engaging gameplay:

    I started playing on a private server that had me hooked on the gameplay and encouraged switching up my routine regularly:
    • There was a repeatable guild quest that rewarded players with 2 things: EXP multiplier coupons, tokens to spend in the guild shop. It did NOT reward you with much else (not exp efficient at all). After a few runs you would have a bunch of EXP coupons that you could consume to boost your grinding efficiency for a short time - you were incentivised to change activity.
    • While grinding you would gain 3 things: EXP, money, materials. It did NOT reward you with equipment drops. The materials would randomize stats on equipment, and the money earned while grinding was your direct source of income. Eventually, you'd outgrow your equipment and start looking toward bossing for your next piece of gear - you were incentivised to change activity.
    • Bossing would give you 2 things: equipment, and another currency. It did NOT reward very much exp or gold. Equipment you didn't need could be sold clean for an ok price, but if you were greedy or when you wanted to upgrade your own gear, you'd need to use the materials you collected to randomly apply bonus stats to the gear. More often than not, these bonuses were trash, so you could buy a reset scroll from the guild shop to reset the item and roll the dice again. Eventually, you'd run out of guild points and return to the guild quest to earn some more - you were incentivised to change activity.
    • And the cycle begins again
    I've obviously taken some liberties here to simplify things and ignored some auxiliary systems but the point is: Every activity in the private server opened up options for doing SOMETHING ELSE and it was really fun.
    Please avoid self-sustaining incentives like a bonus for grinding longer - this leads to faster burn out, and a steeper buy-in to switch activities.
    Let your players earn opportunities to do something else, and they'll have more fun overall. And if they STILL want to grind all day - that's fine too.

    Finally, a crazy suggestion that you don't give any exp at all for questing, and instead make it the primary source of income and/or basic materials in the game:
    • It makes sense that NPC's pay you in currency as a reward for completing their quests, this is especially true for repeatable quests - just like working for money.
    • does EXP come in a bottle that can be handed out by NPCs? "Thanks, here's some exp" is asking to have your quest dialogue skipped.
    • Encourages players to accept quests relevant to the mobs they want to grinding on, which in turn creates natural pacing to grinding because they'll take a break to hand in the quest.
    • Clear distinction in the purpose of questing vs grinding, yet they are entirely compatible (and it's optimal to participate in both without neglecting one or the other)

    Despite me bashing on maplestory, there are 2 mechanics that they implemented that I enjoyed:
    1. Burning Fields - areas that go untouched by players for long periods of time slowly become overgrown (they called it "burning fields") which means increased mob spawn in the area as well as boosted exp for training there, but as you train there this boost is gradually decreased until the "overgrown wilderness" returns to normal. This was amazing because it turned mediocre training areas that everyone ignored into fresh new grinding spots for people who travelled the unbeaten path, providing alternatives to the 2 spots that everyone else was grinding in. Stumbling across one of these felt like discovering a secret area. It would also eventually run out so you'd move on to something new eventually.
    2. Elite Mobs - every ~300 mob deaths in a given area spawned an Elite version of the mob there. These elite mobs were basically bosses, often causing players to call for backup to regain control of the area. They would drop rare materials so everyone was usually keen to help out. This was excellent for switching up the pace of grinding, and caused unpredictable boss fights to break out all over the world. I enjoyed it alot.
    I wish I were deep and tragic
  • T ElfT Elf Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited September 2021
    I'd prefer a quest chain that rewarded you as you progressed in the chain with a nice level appropriate item(s) in the end.

    I hate killing the same mobs over and over, after a while I just want to quit because it is sooo boring.

    I was hoping that Ashes would offer MANY options to give you experience and ways to flesh out your character by horizonal progression besides vertical progression.

    I would also like to see a player be able to become an almost pure artisan with little combat experience as a way to progress in game.
    Formerly T-Elf

  • For me grinding is the most enjoyable thing in games.
    Coming from games like Metin 2 or Runescape i would say a slow just kill this mob 1000 more times until u can reach next stage/region was great
    Finishing some quests to start a few levels ahead instead of stabbing a low level mob for 10min just to get one level is good to maybe help ppl introduce to the game.
    I would say quests shouldnt give u a lot of xp in mid/late game and rather give u a slight upgrade to kill the mobs faster next time u encounter them again (for example in runescape: 3+h midgame quest gives u best in slot melee gloves until late-late game, but to finish it u need to do like 50% of little quests in the game and discover a lot of areas in the world)

    I played guild wars 2 for nearly two years and didnt like the „explore the world to gain xp“ way
    Yes of course its the best way to show the user how good the graphics were done and how many different kinds of creatures there are in the game
    Imo its just waaay too one sided that by killing mobs in gw2 you would maybe gain level 5 in the same time someone else would gain lvl 20 by running around safe city‘s and exploring some tp‘s and nodes and whatever
    To me gw2 leveling system is one of the worst.

    Tl;dr: grind is very enjoyable and quests should give upgrades for grinds (like: got material from quests which can be crafted for easier mob killing)
  • I don't think the leveling speeds of each activity should be exactly the same, but pretty close. There are two things I would keep in consideration when tuning the numbers.

    Firstly, and most importantly, just how fun is it? Grinding basic mobs endlessly is not very fun (usually), and I wouldn't push people to do that if they want to power-level. Games like BDO and a lot of ARPGs get away with that design simply because the core combat feels so good, and it's made for massive pack grinding. For Ashes, I would prefer that group activities be incentivized a bit more with EXP, and quest grinding should be a very close alternative.

    Second, there's kind of a skill floor and ceiling to these activities which differ a lot. Questing is pretty straightforward and involves a lot of static travel times, so you can expect people to grind that at roughly the same rate. On the other end, mob grinding can be painfully slow when you're alone, and insanely fast if you're with a group and everybody is hyper-optimized. And dungeon-running sits between those two, in terms of variance. So you have to pay attention not only to the average progression speed of these activities, but also the optimized version of them. Ideally, there wouldn't be so much variance between a casual and hardcore group, but that's pretty hard to avoid.

    The result I expect is that dungeon-spamming (or very specific, probably contested, mob grinding spots) will be optimal for hard-core players. And casual players will find that questing or dungeons are roughly equivalent, depending on how quickly they can find/fill a party.

    I'm not gonna bother elucidating my opinion on what the overall progression speed should be, because I know I'm not gonna get it (hint: it's very fast).

    And I know I skipped over a lot of other activities, (various forms of PvP, gathering?, events) because I don't have a good idea of how those will work or how spammable they'll be. A good rule of thumb is that if it takes extra effort to start it, or if it's only available occasionally, then it should be worth a lot more EXP.
  • SarevokSarevok Member
    edited September 2021
    Main quest line for the story that drives the player through the game’s locations. Secondary story lines if there are interesting branches that lead to other locations or features that they want you to experience. Grinding usually had a purpose for money, experience or materials. Most players don’t really pay attention to the story or they do it for the rewards.

    I personally will pay attention to the storyline the first time as long as I’m not reading a book worth of text (I’m lazy) and if the in-game cinematics are engaging. Voice over is nice if you plan to have a lot of text. If AoC is trying to get away from having quests markers everywhere then a central location that will give extra rewards for grinding (collect 1000 logs and turn in for extra experience and gold) would be beneficial.
  • NerrorNerror Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    maouw wrote: »

    Nice post! I don't agree with everything, but I do like certain things.

    Like the whole incentivizing players to rotate activities to "be optimal" is a good idea. Not in a way that makes it so players who really just like doing one thing get seriously behind though. But "forcing" the serial optimizers to change activities to stay optimal probably makes for better retention of them, and more fun for other players as well.

    I also like the burning fields mechanic you described. Seen similar in one or two other games I think, but can't remember where. And the elite mobs spawning thing sounds cool as well.
  • In general I would say I feel like most games (or at least most of the MMOs I've played) have the rate of leveling set way too high for you to get a feel for the character, what's new in it, or how to use it before you get something new and are shoved up into the next section of content. Personally, I like being able to take my time to figure out how to play, how to use my character, how to work in something new, and also just having fun in the area that I enjoy.
    I often find that quests (or at least the main-story ones) tend to give out too much XP for anyone that isn't trying to go straight to endgame. But at the same time, I also think the amount of XP you get for different things should make sense, at least in relation to what it is and comparatively to others.
    Just had my dad read through to see if he had anything else to add, since he hates passwords and logins and hasn't made an account yet, and he said what I wrote was perfect as-is. Haha. Just thought I'd let you know this comment get's a "second".
  • McShaveMcShave Member
    edited September 2021
    I think regular quests should give the same amount of XP compared to grinding or other types of XP gain, but there should be a few important quests that give a bit more. These kind of quests could be archetype/ class quests, node quests, profession quests, and dungeon/ raid quests. I don't want there to be a long quest chain from level 1 to max, because it feels like mandatory content and that I'm being strung along by the nose and don't get a chance to look around and admire the game.

    Let me have options in how to level, make sure there isn't a "best way" to level up, but also incentivize the important parts of the game with quests that give you nice rewards and maybe a little extra XP. However, you should always get more XP from doing the content of the quest than the XP you get from handing in the completed quest.

    I think character level should only go up with combat XP, and that doing other activities like profession or religious activities should give XP towards only those activities. I Smith 100 hammers? Then my profession level goes up by x amount. I pray at 10 shrines, then my religious level goes up by x amount. I kill 10 orcs, then my character level goes up by x amount.

    This makes sense to me since you get points to spend on combat abilities when you level up your character, and if you level up your character by chopping would then why would your character get better at combat for that?

    Also when it comes to reaching max level, i would be ok if it was something not everyone achieved, but players could do most things without achieving max level. Like, characters would get every combat ability point by 35 or 40, and only would get slight increases to base stats like health, mana, strength, etc.
  • AsraielAsraiel Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021
    Bonus Dev Discussion - Level Progression
    Do you like to see a larger variance in progression speed between different leveling activities (ex. questing, grinding mobs), or do you prefer a more homogenized progression across different leveling activities? How do you feel about progression speed generally?

    Well i would prefer both however having no main questline

    a mix of both pure grinding and doing quests and lore in order to level up
    the player should have the choise to select. the quests however reward based on the player level rather than haveing a fixed amount. but that there are not enouth quests to get from like lvl 10 to 20 by only doing quests so that some grind is also needed like 2-5 level ups of grinding. so that depending on the players decision to frist grind up and then questing or first questing then grinding or both at the same time does make a diffrence in xp gain. however getting less lore and quests the higher the lvl gets in the long term (endgame) quests still happend but will problably be the minor part of the activitys. maybe haveing some quests that does refreash now and then fighting santa on x-mas or hunting the easter rabit in the rabithole dungeon of other non evevt quest that may resets every week or so. or after a certain amount of a mob is killed makeing it to spawn a questgiver for a quest or questline around the killed mob itself.

    but besides pve activitys also pvp needs to have quests lore and xp gain maybe even in a higher rate so it would be faster if doing pvp to level up but far more riskier cause the quests may turn the questtaker corupt.

    blindly killing the same mobs or mobs in the same area should lead to a drop of xp and loot gain over time slow at fiorst but increasing if like doing it for a hour to the point where the player may only get 1% out of a kill so that grining in bot fashion doesnt become a thing for players
  • JamieKaosJamieKaos Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I really can't stand doing tedious activities like grinding the same mobs over and over and over. I place that in the same vein as dailies. It starts to feel like a chore, however, if there are quests that occasionally require some mob grinding that doesn't really bother me as much.

    With that said I feel like the path of grinding mobs should be available for players that would like to go down that road. I found myself grinding out Raptors in the Alpha to gain a few quick levels myself. I don't however feel that grinding mobs should give the same rewards or benefits as quests.

    I really feel that quests should be at the heart of level progression while, killing mobs, gathering, crafting, etc should be secondary and fall under the quests or something you are doing while working on said quests.

    So in a way, as many have also said, a homogenous blend of everything.
  • George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    Are we talking about ez solo quests enabling players to reach high lv and high gear?
    Because that's bad.
  • KesarakkKesarakk Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    Do you like to see a larger variance in progression speed between different leveling activities (ex. questing, grinding mobs), or do you prefer a more homogenized progression across different leveling activities? How do you feel about progression speed generally?

    I think a larger variance is the best way to go. Everyone has a preferred way of playing an MMO and there shouldn't be a right or wrong way about leveling. If a player wants to spend 5 hours dungeon crawling with friends, they should have that option. If a solo player wants to deep dive into a storyline hidden inside one of the guilds/factions they should be able to. If a group of "merchant" players want to spend their night casually picking flowers and selling those at market or crafting weapons and armor for the local raiding guild for a good sum of gold they should be able to without feeling like they are being left behind because they aren't quest grinding to get one more level in. I personally think independent skill progression should replace a traditional leveling system in this regard but I digress.

    I may be speaking for just myself but nothing gets under my skin more than being forced into 2 hours of cutscenes or questline in order to catch up to friends who are a couple of levels ahead and thus can't quest/dungeon with them as a contributing party member. Bottom line: Don't punish players who want to live their ideal fantasy in an imaginary world or players who are adults and have only a couple of hours to play at night.
  • JustVineJustVine Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I preffer fighting mobs that are 'an even match' or higher to be the most 'efficient' way to level. I love questing, but questing is better off for gear or small benefits to make leveling easier. Giving big xp rewards just makes quests railroads and goes against the games Sandbox aesthetic.

    As for progression... I want skill points to be easier to aquire than character level points by a wide margin. I'm perfectly fine with getting your perfectly optimized augments, passives, etc taking much more time to achieve, but playing a large chunk of hours without access to our actual fighting style and combat approach is just a miserable grind in any game.

    Ashes is too straightforward and low in ability count of a game for 'learning the technical aspects of your foundational abilities' and 'slowly amassing new tools to approach content' to make for engaging and strategic content. It will make early game content simple in ways that make 'getting friends of different levels together' either not worth it, or essentially a skip over leaving dead content areas over time. On top of that its just not very rewarding feeling to play a half baked build that can't function properly till you have all the pieces.

    I therefore want subclass to be reachable in about 60-90 hours of play (2-3 hours every day, a reasonable expectation for a dedicated gamer.) I am fine with max level taking about 6 months to a year at that same rate of play. Maybe even longer if you can reach skill cap faster than leveling. Since Ashes is anti-endgame and will have a ton to do at cap, it should be fine to make hitting max level a good journey while still obtainable in a half a year or so of dedicated play.

    These aren't hard numbers. It is more about 'getting every functional useful playstyle available with a month of steady paced play' and 'perfect build exciting equipment' taking a significantly greater amount of time in compromise.
  • I'd need to go with balance between mobs, quests etc. If for no other reason than to keep things interesting. A linear equation in any form will just make leveling a true grind and nothing more. That said, also unbalanced in that if I take on a very long questline besides the end reward I'd expect a better XP payoff for time investment. Same way I'd expect more XP for taking on a higher level mob or boss. As Intrepid has always said... Risk v Reward. I don't want to spend a few hours doing a quest just to find out I could have gained the same XP by just killing x amount of whatever in half or a quarter of the time. Nor do I want to try to get to a higher boss just to learn if I just hung out and killed all his minions I'd have lived and gained the same...
  • CastaiCastai Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021
    Coming from EQ2, I can say what I know I don't like. I don't like when the quickest way by a wide margin is to level-up by defeating mobs requiring a group, especially when there's minimal questing associated with them. This leads to dungeons being regarded like level-farming zones where different groups of players will contest a tiny area for a camping spot where the best mobs respawn in a cycle. It also diminishes any lore associated with the area. You're an ancient clutch of lizard-men who cloistered your species away in this dungeon so you would not have to deal with persecution when you practice necromancy and other black magic? Oh no you're not! You're 10% level xp every hour and you have a 1/20 chance to spawn your named mob for special loot after a 6-minute cooldown.

    To answer the second question, I tend to regard levelling by the attitude of powergaming. I like reaching max level as quickly as possible to be able to experience the endgame. I would just hope for a level progression that is equal throughout (after level 10 or so). There have been so many areas in previous MMOs I've played for 20s and 30s that are designed by the developers with as much consideration as all the other content, but they are outlevelled so swiftly that they don't have as impactful an impression on a player, nor as many fond experiences associated with them. Therefore, I would like to see it take a very long time to reach max level, even by the standards of hardcore gamers.
  • VhaeyneVhaeyne Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021
    "Do you like to see a larger variance in progression speed between different leveling activities (ex. questing, grinding mobs), or do you prefer a more homogenized progression across different leveling activities? How do you feel about progression speed generally?"
    One of my main complaint with MMORPGs these days is that questing is incentivized very hard over grinding. The XP and item rewards for questing are always so good to the point that grinding becomes pointless. This means that game play is just going from one quest hub to the next and doing every possible quest until cap.

    Personally, I don't really care at all for quests. Ideally, MMORPGs would not need quests or NPCs because all content could be natural things that players just want to do. Grinding is one of those natural things that players of past MMORPGs wanted to do because it filled so many needs.

    If you wanted certain resources, there were mobs for it. If you wanted currency or XP, there were mobs for that. Grinding was never a chore because you knew what you wanted to obtain from it, and you could see the progress as your XP bar or wallet increased with the amount of effort you put into your grind.

    Ideally for me, grinding would be better than questing and there would be plenty to grind at each level range. There would also be grinds that require a group to better XP or currency per hour.

    Progression speed should follow a logarithmic scale. Starting with the first few levels being quick to get you into the game and the last few levels taking weeks to months between levels ups.

    Lineage 2 is a perfect example of a game that gets everything I want about leveling and grinding in an MMORPG right.
    If I had more time, I would write a shorter post.
  • Levelprogression through quests is always a fun way to do so for me. At least when i play with my Main character. I do admit that a certain amount of grinding can be fulfilling to a certain amount, but i'd always prefer levelprogression through quests. I want to emphazise, that i would prefer to see quests that tell tales, and maybe even have twists and options. I believe that if you would implement different ways to accomplish the questgoal this would create a vast variety of gameplay. For example some might use stealthskills to get hold of a certain information, others might simply kill everything in their path and otheres might even talk their way through the guards of that information. Maybe even crafters might be able to accieve the questgoal by doing favours for npcs. But the way you accieve your goal should affect your outcome. So the thieve might find some extra jewelery along the way. The brute might find himself hunted by other guards. The one with the silver toung might get a hint to some secret chest or even some sidequests.
    But to return to the main discussion every exp gain should be accessible through different methods of gameplay.
  • AsraielAsraiel Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021
    the leveling up path needs to show the player also what he can expect once he reached max level. since the game itself does not intend to have a main questline so every place of the map holds stuff to do for players at every level the endcontent will be more on the grinding side than questing. and that needs to be told during the leveling up progress.

    if new players getting tons of quests to level up they often expect to have that once they reached max level but the game isnt intended to have that its a open world mmo-rpg where players make a big part of the content and that needs to de showen in the leveling up prozess.

    otherwise we will see many new players and once they reach max level quiting and waiting for an expansion rather than playing the open world part of the game. so tecnicly leading to a massive playerbase at start that vanishes once they reached max level. By showing the players during the leveling up progress that grinding, farming and crafting will be a major engame content part, they get prepaired for it shure this will also cause some to quit but the final impact on maxing out is less strong cause they getting prepaired for it.

    that will also change palyers to may choose a less progressive path of leveling up and slowing down their progression speed, which is good for ashes. other mmo-rpg contains allredy the mentology that the game starts at max level but ashes can show us that thats not always the case that the game can start even during the leveling up progress.

    so leveling and player freedom is important but flooding content is bad haveing quests is good. reach max level with only questing is bad. grind is a big part of open world mmo-rpg ashes aint a theampark mmo. showing that is good. let the player do some grinding, gathering, crafting dongeonfarming alon the way in order to level up. dont add quest giver icons on npc let the player find the quests. let them explore and expirience the achivment of finding a quest or even a temporary quest that is not permanent avaieble.

    every playerlevel should have enouth conten to choose freely its path of leveling. one might do it by gathering and crafting, other might wanna questing and grinding or others will focus more on dungeoning and pvp.

    the best statement to make here:

    many ways leads to rome

    even only count partly into the topic this vid displays some stuff i would like to be so playerd don quit
  • Neither? I'm accustomed to player-driven content where the onus is on guild leaders to provide meaning behind the grind.
    Quest chains can potentially compete with the agency of sandbox guild leaders.
    Yet we often struggle to find meaning behind the mob grind for our guildies if we cannot wrap such a grind into a pvp objective.

    So, for a non-sandbox pve focused game i think questlines are better, but for sandbox pvp the traditional resource grind makes more sense.

    Ideally as a guild leader i would be able to set guild quests that give direct character progression for guildies alongside implicit node and guild progression. Such as "harvest wood" "kill boars" or "defend the caravan"

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