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(Bonus!) Dev Discussion - Level Progression



  • In pretty well all instances I agree with Aerius's post.

    I do have an unpopular opinion though.
    Locking players out of content based on level in my opinion makes an optimal grinding method necessary. I think that if this is going to be the case it is good to have a place/method/system where you can level faster than in others, up to the level that late game content becomes accessible.

    Primarily I think this is necessary, because there are going to be many instances of a player starting the game after their friend(s), and in the end an MMO is a social game. So it's important to make it possible for the friend that is late to the game to catch up to content access quick.

    Perhaps a system reminiscent of FFXIV's refer a friend system? When starting the game you enter a friends code, and so long as the two of you are partied you gain an exp boost up to the level necessary to access the same content that your friend has access to? And any persons code can only be used once?
  • homogenized between leveling and mob killing, some addition exp from gathering activities but a smaller amount. I find if you put to much emphasis on quests you just don't give a shit about anything else and you experience less. FF14 is like that.
  • BlancoBlanco Member, Alpha One, Adventurer

    Im in the train of giving XP for everything. If killing is the only thing that moves your character forward, then you are a murderer, not a hero. I completely agree that someone wants to be a murderer, but I am looking for the possibility of becoming a hero. A hero is created by advancing in all aspects: collecting, exploring, hunting for treasures, manufacturing and of course, killing.

    I think you should aim for both. If you dont like to quest at all, you always will be able to grind. But if you dont like to grind and there is no quest, then you are out of the game.

    We should be able to achieve all the goals of the game both by doing missions and killing. And I mean leveling up, reputation, renown, pvp ranks, etc.

    I remember the old WoW (1.0.4) And quest there was amazing, but you always run out of quest for your level and you were forced to grind.

    Quest should always be in a MMO as part of the leveling process and i think that they should give you at max 80% of your level. Forzing you to grind the last 20%. Like the original Barrens. Quest should be spread all around the world and could be undercovered farm, like "Give me 10 medals from that soldiers with 10% Drop chance".

    I will love to see all kind of quests: hunting, scorting, renown quests, reputation quests, event quests, all types except daily. I don't like feeling forced to connect. I like to connect because the game is worth it.

    I think questers and grinders all agree that we hate to feel like we are mailmans. That feeling should be removed from the game. Im not talking about the quest that help you chain diferent zones, but the quest that literally make you walk 10 steps to complete.

    (sorry for my english, i tried to express myself as best i could)
  • GnadaGnada Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I would like to see a broad array of leveling options, with consequences or outcomes resulting from such a choice. For example, groups of players might find that it is faster to level by racing around and mass killing mobs, but as a result, lose out on some quest rewards, maybe all quest EXP, maybe some faction or reputation bonuses, etc.

    Conversely, players who are solo and cannot kill mobs efficiently would probably very much appreciate chains of quests that allow them to level at a solid, but likely not as fast as a efficient group mass killing mobs.

    I would definitely like to see some other innovative ways to level also, so give us your best shot Intrepid!
  • GigibytesGigibytes Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021
    I prefer balanced XP across grinding or questing. If you don't do that, people likely to exploit the easier route. A little XP for gathering/crafting too would be sweet.

    EDIT: Reading some other peoples comments too, yes Events is another appealing way to get XP, and adds variation. Just being in the area with others preferable so not the hassle of getting into a group if you're time poor. I really enjoyed that in GW2 and also FF14.

    Please NOT TOO FAST to Max level. I think 3 months for average playtime might be a good length of time?

    Please NO XP DEBIT. Not everyone is able to group. Some people die more than others due to.. .well.. lots of reasons. XP Debit is a real turnoff for me, especially with real life commitments / limited playtime.

    A good leveling experience in MMO's is what keeps me playing a game long term. I love a good 'ding' ;) Make them challenging, and reward them accordingly.
  • myrcmyrc Member, Intrepid Pack
    This is such a good topic to bring up, and I think there's a decent chance that - as a player base - there's a lot of opinions on it.

    As a healer, I have a huge bias towards preferring group content, and would like to see progression that requires group activity be rewarded more greatly. Healers frequently get snubbed in MMOs and often have to level up with a DPS focus or specialization because doing otherwise would be inefficient for leveling. It would be really nice if I were able to play the game the way I like to play it, and in a manner that benefits others, without disadvantaging myself.

    I think the safest bet is to have a plethora of leveling options. I saw it mentioned in another comment, but if the main focus early on it leveling, you need to incentivize the other activities accordingly. Nobody wants to slam tens of thousands of boars, day-in and day-out for 40 days. But if it's the most efficient level path, people will do it.

    I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that most people would like variety. To run dungeons, do a few quests, run a quick caravan, etc. But they will do it far less if the rewards aren't worth it.

    I like the mentality of "risk vs. reward". Group content has several ways it can fail. You teammates might be bad, you might need to wait on them, they could have technical difficulties - all of which will make YOUR leveling less efficient. It's important that there are benefits to bridge this gap. Because if there aren't, what's the point of doing anything as a group? If rewards come faster to play solo, that will be the predominant play style.

    Questing is straightforward. It's also pretty low risk since it involves moving back and forth between encampments/towns and the wilderness so lots of opportunities to drop off and sell your loot and not carry around a big backpack, prime for the ganking. As such, I think questing should be rewarded in other ways and not necessarily as the most exp-efficient leveling format.

    Deep, open-world, caves should be very lucrative. It's a dangerous place to be, a difficult corpse to retrieve, pvp could be lurking around every turn. Perfect example of rewards being worth the risk? If they aren't, why go there?

    I acknowledge my bias as a healer because in order to play the game the way I want to, I need teammates. But if the content isn't worth it, no one will ultimately care about grouping up. If it's more efficient to level solo (as it almost always is in MMOs), people will do it that way. It's hard as a healer because the player base of MMOs is predominantly DPS players and you very often see developers cater to that majority. Every leveling method is improved by doing it "faster". Kill the mob faster = more efficient exp gain. Quest objectives completed more quickly? More efficient exp gain. DPS can do it faster, and so they always have the advantage. Call it a pipe dream, but it would be pretty sweet if the most efficient way to level was to take a small group of a tank, a healer, and a few DPS, and go deep into a cave and farm giant elite mobs. The drops would be rarer than the hides from all the boars the solo players are killing, the exp would be juicier, and it would encourage teamplay so I wouldn't need to level my healer as a "DPS" build until endgame. I'd like to be able to heal my whole leveling experience, and not have to be a subpar DPS until I'm finally done leveling.
  • pyrealpyreal Member, Warrior of Old
    Homogenized (not my dairy though)

    Why for:

    You won't feel penalized if you decide to try out crafting today, or exploring that way and offhandedly whacking every critter you come across because its been a long day and you don't want to think anymore today.

    Players will find the fastest formula to max level, a proper and dynamic (diminishing returns perhaps) homogenized system might actually have lvling guides say: "There's no one best way to get to max level, so just play the game and have fun!"

  • MrPavMrPav Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    honestly i prefer quests that make you feel epic, like raid a dungeon etc. just as long as its not all (go here, now go back where you came from, now go over here, etc non stop "looking at you brenda" tho the kill parts of it are fun. )
  • PenguinosPenguinos Member
    edited September 2021
    I am of the opinion that completing every single non-max level quest in the game should provide for all of the xp needed to get to the max level. This does not mean that quests should give large amounts of xp, rather that the process of completing the quest gives enough xp! I think that there should be SO MANY quests that it is nigh unfeasible to complete them all in less than several months of playing 4 hours a day.

    Questing guides players. In low level WOW classic, especially on the horde side, you could completely complete the quests in an area and just barely get enough xp to get to a higher level to be able to do even more quests. However, you could take an airship to a forest on another continent for a new huge amount of quests. I do not want Ashes to become a themepark MMO like WoW, but having a large amount of directing quests is vital for me.

    I prefer life-skilling (professions) over all else. However, this should absolutely not help with your main level! Maybe crafting a legendary item or harvesting a new resource for the first time should give a small amount of xp, but nothing more.

    Regarding an idea that was already mentioned, a revolutionary idea is that some quests shouldn't be turned in. Some quests should be a tip that an NPC gives you due to a high relationship with them or after you complete a quest chain for them. Perhaps the reward for the quest chain would be the hint, which then spawns a new quest. This new quest would complete once the objective is done, with no need to report back to the NPC. The NPC who gave it should still remark about the completion of the quest.

    I think that an admirable goal and alternative to dailies that is far better is to release a quest a day after release. A small team that alternates the day they release a quest internally should be able to handle decent quality quests. This does not mean an entire quest chain in a day, but simply one part of it. Given a work day, coding an average quest should take an hour at most, and writing the quest should take up the remainder of the work day. Quest creators would be able to make their own smaller, non-central narratives and enjoy the process of creating stories within the world.

    Imagine a quest chain that spans IRL weeks, as one quest in the chain is uploaded a week and the story of a lonely fisherman has players waiting each week for another 10 minute installment. Not everyone would initially keep up to date with this, but the sheer amount of content for future players would be staggering. As the world evolves, some older quests would become invalid and this system of continuous quest developments would be a good backbone.

    In regards to player retention, I feel like this is even better than dailies. Instead of being time-locked to complete a task, that quest (until the world changes significantly) should be available for completion. It both gives people a reason to come back each day, builds up the game for the future, and doesn't punish the player for missing a day.

    TLDR: Homogenize it while allowing for efficient group xp grinding to be 30% more efficient than the next best task, and introduce a system of a new quest being published each day.
  • Happymeal2415Happymeal2415 Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021
    Just make everything really challenging. If I wanted to be mindless I would rewatch something on netflix. The harder it is to overcome the more it means when its completed. Instead of coming in with the mindset of making everyone feel like they have some preferred easy way of getting to some arbitrary level, come with the mindset of making the process feel meaningful.
  • Happymeal2415Happymeal2415 Member, Alpha One, Adventurer

    MrPav wrote: »
    honestly i prefer quests that make you feel epic, like raid a dungeon etc. just as long as its not all (go here, now go back where you came from, now go over here, etc non stop "looking at you brenda" tho the kill parts of it are fun. )

    right but if everything is epic then nothing is epic
  • SoggyBandaidSoggyBandaid Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Shoelid wrote: »
    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.

    ^^^This 100%
    I can see from reading posts, I'm a bit of an odd man out on this thread because I genuinely prefer completing a variety of quests to a mob grind. I'm actually surprised how many people want to emphasize the "grind," something which by definition is boring and repetitive. So, in honor of the grinders out there I want to echo @Shoelid and ask for balance. Please balance progression speed for time, difficulty, and potential loss. Some quests take a long time even if they're easy. Some mobs are easy kills and even easier in groups. Sometimes pvp is going to stick you with a hefty xp debt.

    Personally, I prefer variety in my progression experience, but I think as long as any path is balanced and viable, players will be happy for the roughly 225 hour trip to max level.
  • Questing sucks!

    Last 2 MMOs I've tried playing (final fantasy 14 and BDO) I've just given up on. I got sick and tired of the constant go out, do a couple objectives and return to town cycle.

    The other thing I don't like about quests is how they are stuff that everyone does and the outcome is repeated over and over, like for example an NPC wants to find out the fate of their wife, apparently a 2nd opinion is not enough, they go to be told by everyone that shes dead.

    What would be amazing is if you could log on, go scouting and collecting resources and stumble accross a dynamic group event, go back to town and form up a group and go complete it

  • This may be a side point to the actual question, but I would like to see quest XP be semi-specific to what you are trying to level.
    Example: As someone who wants to be a Master Gatherer, I want to have task that specifically level me in that "Category". This will help feeling of uniqueness and accomplishment when achieving personal goals, such as Master Herbalist.
  • Azherae wrote: »
    The initially implied rate of progression sounded good to me (270-ish hours to max level).

    Assuming the 'standard' where 1-25 is around equal to '49-50' in terms of time, I'll enjoy that.

    I don't usually think of quests as a way to get exp, only as a way to get something that will make it easier to get exp otherwise, but based on my experience with it in games where questing is a valid way to get exp, I don't enjoy it when this method is efficient compared to facing mobs, since things get built around the concept, from the developer side, and I don't like the results of that in the open-world games I have played where this is a possibility (BDO being the biggest offender).

    I especially don't like it when players can level rapidly using 'standard' quests early on, but admittedly this doesn't affect things as much.

    While I do enjoy non-questing means as a way to level up, making mob-hunting an equally-rewarding activity for experience-gain will only lead to AFK speed-levelling. The devs won't allow macros - but that won't stop the players with macro-keyboards from using them as a work-around.

  • While there should be a multitude of ways to gain EXP and get to max level, QUESTING should - by far - be the fastest route. It's the intended game-content, and there should always be a clear-cut, "fastest" way to level.

    Mob-hunting is just way too easy to AFK-farm with a macro-keyboard.

    That said, I would like to meet players whom have levelled *entirely* through crafting and side-activities; This should still be a viable option - just not nearly as-fast of one.

    While the devs are going to dis-allow any in-game macros, there are nonetheless players who will setup AFK gathering and kill-macros via a macro-keyboard; I'm against ANYTHING that will allow you to walk away from the keyboard and be gaining experience.

  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Azherae wrote: »
    The initially implied rate of progression sounded good to me (270-ish hours to max level).

    Assuming the 'standard' where 1-25 is around equal to '49-50' in terms of time, I'll enjoy that.

    I don't usually think of quests as a way to get exp, only as a way to get something that will make it easier to get exp otherwise, but based on my experience with it in games where questing is a valid way to get exp, I don't enjoy it when this method is efficient compared to facing mobs, since things get built around the concept, from the developer side, and I don't like the results of that in the open-world games I have played where this is a possibility (BDO being the biggest offender).

    I especially don't like it when players can level rapidly using 'standard' quests early on, but admittedly this doesn't affect things as much.

    While I do enjoy non-questing means as a way to level up, making mob-hunting an equally-rewarding activity for experience-gain will only lead to AFK speed-levelling. The devs won't allow macros - but that won't stop the players with macro-keyboards from using them as a work-around.

    That's valid, and I can't personally challenge it because if your MMO can be defeated by 'afk-speed-leveling' with a Macro Keyboard, I don't want to play it anyway.

    I like the way it was in Alpha-1 because it's what I know and understand from the game I like the most.

    If I defeat something 6-8 levels above me, I get 10x the exp of defeating something 1-2 levels below me.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
  • GruntagGruntag Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021

    I would love to see a good variance in progression speed between different leveling activities. I love long quest chains that reward you with story, experience and the occasional special item. Additionally, I sometimes like to grind some mobs or even to harvest/gather certain resources if it makes sense for a quest (such as "we need more leather for our leather smiths, please go hunt some x mobs that give leather", or "we need more lumber and stone so that we can build our encampment"). Exploration experience is also fun; perhaps this is slower, less experience per zone or area of map discovered, but it does add a little extra to the enjoyment of exploration and discovery.

    As for progression speed; I really love the idea for leveling to take some time. I really dislike the quick leveling to max level in days, or even a week or two. Make leveling fun and make it take some time, like a month or more for us average gamers. I would love to enjoy each level and not feel that I have to rush to max level to get to 'end game' content like some other mmorpg's push you towards.

    Keep up the great work! I really enjoyed testing in Alpha 1 and look forward to testing more systems in Alpha 2.

    thank you
  • I enjoy experiencing the different aspects of the game while leveling up. I want to be able to level up while exploring the world. If quests can push you in directions and give you goals I think they achieve their purpose. I don't want to see quests as just merely a package of experience points, but rather as an incentive to experience the world.
    However if quests give no rewards they provide no incentive so I believe finding a middle ground is important. So that quests don't become mandatory in terms of leveling speed, or item rewards. But rather provide ample rewards that could be achieved playing the game in a different perspective. Therefore still providing the incentive to move out into the world, but without the fear of missing some sweet loot because you didn't enjoy the questline.
    Say for example if someone dislikes quests and just wants to grind monsters, they should also have a way to earn gear, in terms of crafting or bounty rewards or something similar.

    I definitely wouldn't mind if some questlines had great loot. But I don't think that belongs in the scope of leveling.
    That said I'm all for story questlines and I would love to see lore about the world be told as you experience Ashes of Creation.
  • Nova OrdemNova Ordem Member, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I would really like a slow progression... and with slow progression - I mean Slow, because what happens is devs make it so a regular player can level up within a few weeks, but dedicated players can rush to endgame within a few days, and I really dislike that.

    I hope ashes will have a slow progression that takes at least a month if you play 8h~10h a day, and for a casual player maybe 2 months.

    I dislike quests that make us walk around the map just to talk to an NPC, I'd rather kill mobs, have a good story line or have actual objectives
  • SargariusSargarius Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 2021
    VASTLY prefer getting xp through killing mobs.

    I cannot put into words how much I and many others LOATHE wow style chore based questing.

    A quest should be like they were in everquest, Long and epic and rewarding.

    Collecting kobold foreskins for food and water is not a quest.

    Lets also look at it from a technical point of view, If you focus the reward structure around quests, When players run out of quests they run out of things to do leading to recycled and shovelware daily quests.
    Exploring the world and interacting with it should be what provides the rewards and experience, which in turn provides incentive and desire to venture out into unknown locations looking for sweet farming spots for loot and xp.

    Reward players for doing what they want to do and enjoy doing instead of creating arbitrary text blocks that make you do things you dont wanna do.

    Quests should be strictly reserved for INTERESTING things that tell a story and enrich the world. BEst example I can think of is the Fiery defender quest in Everquest. If you had one you got mad respect and it was highly sought after by all paladins not only for its power, But its effect as a status symbol
  • i agree that first 25 levels should be much easier to earn to get ur second archetype and test ur full class
    then it can be much slower
  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I was thinking that I prefer homogenized progression, but...

    Questing is supposed to reward significantly more xp than grinding mobs.
    The whole reason why grinding mobs is a grind is because doing so does not provide a lot of xp.
    I would think something similar for the Artisan path... quests should provide more xp than grinding resources.

    I'm an Explorer first, so I like when exploring provides some xp, but... that probably should not be providing as much xp as killing a mob...unless you're exploring areas above your level.

    I think we don't know enough about Social Org and Religious progression to meaningfully weigh in there.
  • Chaos MachinaChaos Machina Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I like a more homogeneous progression rate between activities generally.

    One thing Archeage did right was character leveling, in my opinion. Combat and vocation (crafting) were both good ways to increase your overall character level. Using vocation to level up was a little bit slower than grinding mobs, but you also gained proficiency in that vocation.

    It would be very easy to use a similar model in Ashes. Grinding combat gives XP and loot, grinding vocational activities gives slightly less XP but improves your vocation proficiency (and of course you can sell your harvested material / crafted goods).

    One thing I will add: I would like to see limited, once-per-character big XP drops for clearing difficult content. Limited so that you can't just grind them all day, but big enough to attract people to complete those challenges at least once. It could be implemented through a formal achievement system.

    One possible issue with that sort of thing would be groups carrying low-level characters through those challenges in order to "boost" them. If that could be an issue, one possible solution is to not count the completion if one or more of the party members have already completed it.
  • Sargarius wrote: »
    VASTLY prefer getting xp through killing mobs.

    I cannot put into words how much I and many others LOATHE wow style chore based questing.

    Isn't wow style chore based questing basically killing mobs? So I don't know why you would vastly prefer getting xp through killing mobs over what is essentially killing mobs.
  • Miss XaniMiss Xani Member
    edited September 2021
    It's good when the different options for gaining XP are closer to each other in effectiveness.
    in many games certain "Sources of xp" are completely ignored because they are ineffective.
    I think it would be nice to just pick out whatever you're going to do today and regardless of what you've picked most of the time you end up with a similar amount of progress.
    You know, Unless you repeatedly die during said activity and end up with less XP than you started with.
  • MrPocketsMrPockets Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I think there should be options that are all similar in xp/hour. Let me choose to either grind mobs or quest.

    With that said, one thing that seems to be often overlooked, is bosses and/or challenging content is almost never worth a players time from a leveling perspective. This leads to the said content being more niche, and fewer players engaging in it.

    This also puts the concept of "end game" in to question. Why is challenging content typically locked behind 100s of hours of grinding mobs/quests (often not very challenging)? Another avenue for leveling should be the 'raiding' gameplay loop. Let us form a group, fight challenging/interesting bosses AND be rewarded with XP for the time spent and challenge that we overcame. If all the engaging boss encounters are placed at endgame, this just encourages players interested in that to level as fast as possible to play the game they want.

    This all boils down to avoiding the common "why would I do X when I could have done Y for double the xp?"
  • Personaly id like to have a long journey to max lvl, but is is cruicial to be able to feel the character is evolving.
    Larger donwntimes (some levels) without having to make choices or true progress is not encouragig to me.

    Questing and Node buliding / supporting should be the fastest way to level as we all want the node system to be a true success.

    There should be a bonus for content that is done together with a guild to strenghen the small communitys that later will write the true story in AOC and enter the political stage (sieges, wars or even diplomacy).

    At 10 levels below max PVP should also become a viable way to progress to be well trained for the things to come.
    [Fleo Verum] Carolus Dynamicus - Vaelune - Tank
  • I think homogenized progression is good, but with opportunities (quests? events? books?) that would give the player a chance to progress a little quicker in one specific area. i.e. find a cookbook, talk to a scholar about up-and-coming fighting techniques, or sit in on a lecture regarding animal husbandry. Is it obvious I'm in university? Learning like this could give another level of immersion. I think it would bring in a nice sense of community engagement, and I wouldn't have to watch a youtube tutorial to figure out how to get better (unless I wanted to). Adding practical knowledge with a slight exp gain to a specific area would be pretty cool. It'll definitely add variety to homogenized progression.
  • I'd prefer if everything i did gives exp. Instead of 'kill all of this thing', it should be part of the node advancement, or skill/job/etc. I want to be able to go in and wander, find a random diary, go on a strange quest chain, then end up killing some evil being that ends up being the diary owner. Problem with open worlds is that nothing is really tied into anything else. Ex; you grind materials out of a mob for 6 days to go make an item you need to do xx that you really want to do, only to find out you have to go to another continent with no way to get there, be 30 lvls higher to get 1 drop, then return to do that xx you really want to do, only to find out you don't meet the requirements because you're missing a skill you need at max lvl. BUT - I would love it if there was a quest chain to go behind enemy lines dressed as enemies, poison their water supplies, then frame like an enemy general/boss, then watch them fight themselves and run away to rejoin my side to lead a charge against them, this would be great. Fun things like this. Even better if i find a hidden map that only is available to my class under that situation and i have to investigate it to further my class?
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