Author Topic: How will leveling work?  (Read 13180 times)

Offline Nice Save

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How will leveling work?
« on: January 27, 2011, 07:23:54 PM »
I have a question: how are you going about leveling in an unlimited world? Are you going to have a level cap or will you be able to keep leveling indefinitely? I can see problems with either, but of all the developers in the world you guys will most likely find the best solution.

Also are you planning to open a forum specifically for AVWW discussion?

Offline TechSY730

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How will leveling work?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2011, 07:31:30 PM »
I have a question: how are you going about leveling in an unlimited world? Are you going to have a level cap or will you be able to keep leveling indefinitely? I can see problems with either, but of all the developers in the world you guys will most likely find the best solution.

Maybe make experience needed to advance to the next level grow at a higher order of magnitude than experience gained by killing an enemy. Something like (with n being the relevant level) making level needed to advance to the next level can be O(n^3), but experience gained by killing an enemy would only by O(n^2).

Thus after some point, trying to level up by killing enemies becomes impractical, but at that point you should be improving your skill at the game, not your stats. (Of course, this point would need to be pretty high)

Just an idea.

Also are you planning to open a forum specifically for AVWW discussion?

EDIT: Oops, forgot this part

Already let them know of this.
http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=2592

Offline x4000

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How will leveling work?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2011, 07:36:24 PM »
Well... there are certain things we're not quite ready to talk about, just as fair warning with questions like that.  That opens a whole can of worms, and to explain how we've solved the problem requires explaining the "five main pillars" of new ideas to the game, which I've only really hinted at so far.

That said, the incomplete answer is that there will be a level cap, but it's insanely high: 9999.  The world itself will gradually gain in levels as you do, but at a much slower rate.  And, lastly, you can sort of set your own difficulty by which regions you choose to explore.  There's a sort of natural fast-travel system in the form of an overworld, and the four compass directions have different meanings.  Traveling east gets linearly harder.  Traveling west has a sort of mottled difficulty range, with pockets of very hard stuff amongst generally easier stuff.  Going north and south at whatever X coordinate keeps the same general difficulty.  And of course, rewards and experience gained from killing lower-level stuff is lesser, that goes without saying.

Again, that's the incomplete answer, but hopefully that should set your mind somewhat at ease.  I know that even just saying the above raises a whole lot of other questions, though, most of which I'm not ready to get into discussion about. ;)

We'll have a forum for AVWW really soon, I just haven't gotten to it yet.  To some extent we're not really looking for community feedback on things like game mechanics prior to alpha, because, well, we generally are never interested in feedback from people that haven't played the game in question.  And we just need a kind of quiet time with the project to experiment in peace, and see what works and what doesn't in practice without getting players attached to one mechanic only to take it out later, etc. 

Granted, after alpha things will still change a ton, and to a large degree based on that very sort of player feedback, but we have to get sort of a cohesive core in place before we're ready to hit that point.  We're super excited about it all, though, and will be sharing an increasing amount of info as we get closer and closer to alpha, and as we nail various design questions down as "our theory definitely seems to work," etc.  Hope that makes sense!
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Offline Nice Save

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2011, 08:07:31 PM »
Wow, I didn't think it was possible to get an answer that put my fears to rest so well. That sounds awesome.

Just to make it clear, I am immensely excited about this game, and the price of it is my money in your bank as soon as you are willing to take it.

Offline TechSY730

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2011, 08:10:21 PM »
That said, the incomplete answer is that there will be a level cap, but it's insanely high: 9999.

Ah, going with the Disgaea approach to leveling I see.  ;)

Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2011, 08:16:30 PM »
Directional difficulty sounds very fascinating. I'll be interested to see how that plays out. Is the difficulty going to be static once it is set? Like if I go west for a while and pass through a few varied areas, then hit something that I decide is too hard, if I go back east will it still get linearly harder, or am I going to pass through the same difficulties that I have already 'set' by my previous passing? Do I have to get back to my 0,0 point before going east will again effect the difficulty level? So many questions! Also you mention that the world will level up as well. That sounds interesting. My only worry there is that it doesn't get into something like what Oblivion did, where everything leveled up with you to the point that leveling really had no meaning. I got bored in that game quickly because the challenge was basically always the same no matter where you went. I like to be able to go back to the starting areas sometimes and stomp the monsters that once gave me trouble. If everything in the world gets stronger just the same as you do, that's not possible.

Anyway, I know you're not soliciting feedback, so I'll try to restrain myself. But I am intensely curious about what's planned. On the other hand, I'm sure you don't want to release too much while the game is still fluid so people aren't coming back at you three months down the line quoting your own words back at you and asking where features X, Y, and Z are.

Offline Ozymandiaz

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2011, 10:06:41 AM »
Wow, I didn't think it was possible to get an answer that put my fears to rest so well. That sounds awesome.

Just to make it clear, I am immensely excited about this game, and the price of it is my money in your bank as soon as you are willing to take it.

If its one thing about Arcen I love (there are more then one thing), its their ability to actually think things through and focus on delivering solid quality.

Its a reason I much perfer AI War over Sracraft II to say it like that ;)
We are the architects of our own existence

Offline snrub_guy

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2011, 10:24:08 AM »
Wow, I didn't think it was possible to get an answer that put my fears to rest so well. That sounds awesome.

Just to make it clear, I am immensely excited about this game, and the price of it is my money in your bank as soon as you are willing to take it.

Oh, I should echo this. As soon as you are willing to take my money, you have it. For some reason I'm already more excited about it than I can remember being about a game in the past.

Offline Hyfrydle

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2011, 01:50:49 PM »
Wow is all I can say after reading the aims for this game it sounds really interesting and I wait with bated breath for more snippets. This will be a day one purchase for me and if possible I would like to help during the alpha and beta phases.

Offline x4000

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2011, 05:23:08 PM »
Directional difficulty sounds very fascinating. I'll be interested to see how that plays out. Is the difficulty going to be static once it is set? Like if I go west for a while and pass through a few varied areas, then hit something that I decide is too hard, if I go back east will it still get linearly harder, or am I going to pass through the same difficulties that I have already 'set' by my previous passing? Do I have to get back to my 0,0 point before going east will again effect the difficulty level?

Yes, the difficulty level is basically set by tile on the overworld.  Each tile is called a "region" and contains a lot of territory inside itself, hence the sort of "fast travel" aspect.  You don't travel through all the space in the region each tile, you travel over the overworld instead, so that means you can cover an immense amount of ground pretty quickly.  On the flip side, though, the world is even more immense, so that's really needed.

So if you travel in one direction and get into a dangerous spot, you first have to escape from the region you are in, and then make it back across the overworld to a safer area.  Or if you die, then your new character will... wait, I'm not going to get into that just quite yet. ;)

Also you mention that the world will level up as well. That sounds interesting. My only worry there is that it doesn't get into something like what Oblivion did, where everything leveled up with you to the point that leveling really had no meaning. I got bored in that game quickly because the challenge was basically always the same no matter where you went. I like to be able to go back to the starting areas sometimes and stomp the monsters that once gave me trouble. If everything in the world gets stronger just the same as you do, that's not possible.

Yes, I hate that sense of "treading water," too, no worries.  As I noted in my original post, the world gains in levels slower than you do.  So the starting area will always be pretty easy, but it won't always be as easy as when you first encountered it.

Anyway, I know you're not soliciting feedback, so I'll try to restrain myself. But I am intensely curious about what's planned. On the other hand, I'm sure you don't want to release too much while the game is still fluid so people aren't coming back at you three months down the line quoting your own words back at you and asking where features X, Y, and Z are.

No worries.  And you're right, that's a big part of why we aren't answering certain questions yet.  There's a lot of stuff that sounds great on paper, but that will need to change at implementation time.  A lot of the best ideas for AI War weren't thought up until we ran into problems during implementation (actually, pretty much the whole game as you know it came about in that fashion).  We're very excited about it, too, though. :)
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Offline Fleet

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2011, 07:58:31 PM »
The dying mechanic sounds somewhat more forgiving than nethack, but less forgiving then every other save-scumming adventure out there. Should be a nice balance, since having the pressure to keep your character alive does add a sense of urgency when something in the game threatens your character. And Nethack style deaths are not for everyone...just leads to frustration and rage-quits for many. An with unlimited lives/replay, it is too easy to feel "detached" from the game, and thus lose interest.

Or maybe this was completely off the mark, I'm just guessing.

Offline x4000

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2011, 08:05:45 PM »
Well, I've honestly not played nethack so I can't comment.  But my wife is the sort who really doesn't like things that cause too much loss of progress and/or which are "hair trigger losses" type of games.  She's a hardcore gamer in the sense that she likes Left 4 Dead and such and will play AI War with me on a very occasional basis, and she was into games like Baldur's Gate and Pharaoh and such before I even knew her.  Anyway, she's the sort that would absolutely hate even something like Super Meat Boy, as she'd just find it frustrating.

All that said, when I explained the mechanic of how we're doing death to her for this game, she really liked the sound of it right from the start.  I was surprised, because I thought I'd have to defend it to her.  The mechanic isn't all that amazingly unique, but it is slightly different from anything else I've personally encountered, and we're really excited about it.  But to explain that would require explaining several other large aspects of the game that we're not ready to divulge quite yet, so I'm going to contain myself and leave it at that.

I'm honestly not trying to tease and torture you guys, I'm just trying not to get myself into trouble if one of these aspects has to change, or if some of the design descriptions get taken out of context elsewhere when there isn't a playable version of the game people can point to, etc.
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Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2011, 04:14:53 PM »
The idea of being able to just go explore anything I see in the game is fantastic. That's been my bane since the first games I ever played. No matter what it was, there was something on the horizon that I wanted to go poke around in, even if it was just a single jagged glowing pixel line doing its best to represent mountains. I look forward to the ability to go explore everything and anything I see. When I played WoW (no longer, I'm on the patch now) I was always the one trying to climb over the mountains that were supposed to mark the zone edge and get into the blank spots between zones, simply because I wasn't supposed to be there. I guess that's pointless if they made it so you can fly everywhere now. Oh well, I digress.

Minecraft sort of does the infinite exploration thing, but it doesn't exactly scratch that itch when you know that everything is going to be made up of certain block types stacked on one another in various patterns. Once you've explored a few caves, you've pretty much gotten the gist of what you can get out of it. The crafting of your own things is really the draw there, of course, not so much the exploration.

Is AVWW going to reward exploration? If I poke through those 300 different floors worth of office buildings, am I going to see the same offices with a slightly different moldering chair in them over and over, or is there really going to be a variety of interesting things to find? Not that I'm opposed to the aesthetic value of desolate crumbling cityscapes, but the occasional interesting knick-knack to find is always appreciated.

And since I'm fishing for information, any word on what sort of combat system we might be looking at? RPG style combat scenes? Real time? Turn based? Strategy style with a pseudo-board game look? Something with cards and dice? Mini-games for special attacks? Sitting down and trying diplomacy?

Offline x4000

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2011, 04:30:38 PM »
The idea of being able to just go explore anything I see in the game is fantastic. That's been my bane since the first games I ever played. No matter what it was, there was something on the horizon that I wanted to go poke around in, even if it was just a single jagged glowing pixel line doing its best to represent mountains. I look forward to the ability to go explore everything and anything I see. When I played WoW (no longer, I'm on the patch now) I was always the one trying to climb over the mountains that were supposed to mark the zone edge and get into the blank spots between zones, simply because I wasn't supposed to be there. I guess that's pointless if they made it so you can fly everywhere now. Oh well, I digress.

Minecraft sort of does the infinite exploration thing, but it doesn't exactly scratch that itch when you know that everything is going to be made up of certain block types stacked on one another in various patterns. Once you've explored a few caves, you've pretty much gotten the gist of what you can get out of it. The crafting of your own things is really the draw there, of course, not so much the exploration.

I definitely feel the same on all of that. Never played WoW, though -- I knew I'd get addicted, so stayed away!

Is AVWW going to reward exploration? If I poke through those 300 different floors worth of office buildings, am I going to see the same offices with a slightly different moldering chair in them over and over, or is there really going to be a variety of interesting things to find? Not that I'm opposed to the aesthetic value of desolate crumbling cityscapes, but the occasional interesting knick-knack to find is always appreciated.

The idea is that you always get something.  Our scavenging mechanics are not something that I'd talked much about yet (because then that gets into our light crafting mechanics, which gets into the character classes, which gets into... wow, that's a lot of stuff we're not ready to talk about yet!). ;)  But, the general idea is that it will be simple and immediate (no riffling through 30 lockers in every hall you come into -- that sort of thing killed my interest in finishing Fallout 3, though it was fun at first).  And so even if you go into an office building that has not much of anything in it, you can at least pick up some low-value crafting materials that will be of use later.

And all of the best items and such are found by exploring, so a lot of times you'll find something very valuable.  Certain types of books that you can find are very valuable, and underground there are crystals that give you new magic spells, and there's all sorts of stuff for crafting various types of consumables, weapons, armor, and traps.

The goal is also to have widely varying art, but that is one of those things that depends on player adoption as to how far we're really able to push it.  That said, it's way cheaper for us to make a new chair sprite than it is for Fallout 3 to get a new chair object.  So there should be more variety than your average 3D game, or at least that's the goal.  Exploration is the prime focus of this game above all else, though, so most of the reward structure is focused around that fact.

And since I'm fishing for information, any word on what sort of combat system we might be looking at? RPG style combat scenes? Real time? Turn based? Strategy style with a pseudo-board game look? Something with cards and dice? Mini-games for special attacks? Sitting down and trying diplomacy?

Realtime -- think Zelda, Crystalis, or similar.  This is an adventure game through and through, with some other stuff layered on top.  The JRPG aspects integrate with the game as they do in Crystalis or Secret of Mana, that sort of thing.  Except we do plan to have some riffs and twists on the good 'ol standbys, but some of that is TBD during implementation.  The idea is for everything to be more surface-accessible, though, so that you aren't looking at a page of character stats that are 80% useless clutter, heh.
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Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: How will leveling work?
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2011, 05:30:01 PM »
Hi Guys,

I haven't read all the inputs on leveling, but wanted to throw my two cents in. I have seen high caps and low caps and played many games where the difficulty increased, or decreased according to where you went, what section of the city, say, or in a neighborhood that you load when you cross over.

Anyway, the short of it is this.

Is it possible to have characters that don't level at all?

I mean, say i am in the woods, in the dark, in the cold, and it takes me x amount of time, to draw together wood, light tinder and some way to make fire, say flint. So my character has to find this stuff, has to go into the woods and find broken branches, go out across the meadow to find dried grass and smaller twigs for tinder and go down to the stream and dig in the rocks at the edge of the water to find flint.

But once its done, i can make fire, now i've got a way to stay warm, a way to ward off some smaller animals when it gets really dark, a way to cook food so that i don't get sick from eating uncooked food that still has germs in it and it hasn't been killed by raising the temperature of the meat. Anyway, once done this skill goes in my basket. Since that is my first one, i'm really glad, it now means that i can travel further from the encampment because i won't freeze.

Second skill is probably how to use a tool, or weapon, like using a club to kill a slow moving beaver, then skin it and cook it, the furs could be accumulative, like say i get five and now i can learn how to sew and so i make a fur coat. Keeps me alot warmer, which means i can stay out in the weather longer before having to find shelter to bring my body temperature back up.
If i don't then i die.

Then my husband sets out to find me, he comes across my now cold campsite and finds nothing, the animals probably wouldn't leave anything anyway. But he does find a bracelet of mine, which gives him a value that he can trade with other people he runs across if he has to. Or lose if he is robbed. He finds my flint stones and tinder in a pouch and so he acquires the skill that i had for making fire. In addition he travels farther south, getting into thick woods and taking limbs and rocks from the stream he smashes one stone against another and creates a sharp edged stone, which he uses as a hand axe and later fastens it to a sturdy tree limb and fashions a handled axe, which allows him to cut down larger trees and build a shelter that lasts longer than the grass and tree limb lean to's that the village where we came from uses.

So now i have two characters, one which was me and lost when i was out in the cold without shelter too long, and my husband who has acquired 'some' of my skills, the flint stones and a bracelet, however the fur coat and the sewing skill that i learned after accumulating five or so furs he doesn't get because he didn't find my coat, nor the sewing kit in the leather pouch in the pocket.

The first ten days he is out traveling after he has left the village, is the hardest, his body isn't used to it, but as time goes on, he gets strength in his legs, he can now walk 5 miles a day easily, can ration a single waterskin of water for three days and rations his travel food to hard cured jerky and water. Which means he uses less the longer he is out in the country traveling. Which means those all go into his skill basket. Walking strength, less water and food usage as time passes. He is also tougher by about 20 days out, and his stamina against smaller animals is better. Large animals are still a problem, he either has to run, or have higher ground and use heavy boulders, or sharpened sticks, that he later learns to burn the scraped ends of, and eventually to fastening with leather strips sharp cut stones to the ends of long limber sticks which he uses for spears, and adds that to his inventory of skills, so even if he loses his supply, given an area that contains the right materials he can re-fashion spears, or find food, or water, or travel far afoot.

Staying in villages, offers other things, like being able to trade, or to meet other people and learn other skills, like singing, or banjo playing, which means he is less depressed after months in the countryside, because he has a way to entertain himself.
But the longer he stays in a village, the softer the skills get that he uses in the countryside, he can't walk as far, he gets tired quicker and drinks more water and eats more food and he doesn't move as fast and it takes him longer to get a shelter built.

What all of this is, is my way of saying, why level at all? Why not implement a system where skills are learned and go into an inventory, and each has a purpose, and it goes up when its used and down in slow degrees when it isn't. And for bears and mountain lions or wolves in the wild, maybe there isn't a good counter that a person can carry on themselves, except perhaps to climb trees, or to work yourself into a wedge and use a spear to get the mountain lion before it can get all the way into the wedge and get you. Or digging a hole and covering it over with twigs and leaves as a hole trap for larger animals?

If some animals are close to the stats of humans, and some are not, i mean no way is a man ever going to take on a bear, except with his wits and a trap, or using spear after spear on him from a safe vantage.

But what i mean is, in this way, the terrain right outside the village is still dangerous, even if i've been gone for three months and have a dozen skills in my basket. And the valley on the other side of the mountains is harder and will kill me quicker in some places or is easier and less dangerous in other areas in that same valley, as much as if i was standing on the edge of the village itself. In this way, the acquiring of skills is what broadens and enables a character to better deal with the world, but it doesn't mean that once leaving the village that i can come back and everything is way easy to solve or kill, because there is no level. And places are always a mix, by the natural disasters or swamps, or rock falls or dangerous animals that migrate through there at different times of the year.

Not to offend anyone, but to be honest, i really don't care for this leveling thing. And wonder why no one has figured out something like what i propose and make it fun and interesting, but not have to worry, oh, i'm level 85 now and i can't go back across the mountains because i can whip everything there.

Seriously, i'm just a player. I'm not half as smart or inventive as developers are.
But to be honest, i haven't seen anything like this yet.

I still hope.

I'm looking forward to AVWW and want to buy it as soon as it is available.

Even if it doesn't have my dream of a level-less world.

One of these days somebody is gonna do it, haha, maybe i'll have to learn how to code and do it myself.  :)

Sorry if i sound antagonistic on levels, it has always been such a bother when i thought something else might have been more fun.

Just my opinion though,
Thanks for listening guys,
Cheers!

-Teal