Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I am hoping that I can boil down a discussion that has been going on outside the forum for over year into a few lines.

 

RPGs in general have skill progression in a linear curve*. Your character spends or gains experience as a gradual progression. +1 to +2; 30% to 32% and so forth.

 

However, the thrust of thinking at chez Walsingham has been that progression in real people doesn't go this way. it is less of a curve and more of a staircase. For whatever reason (and there has been a LOT of debate on this) the effective capability of people/trainees etc. tends to move in bursts. They achieve a certain level, sweat and fume, and make mistakes for a while, then suddenly change a lot of what they are doing all at once, and improve.

 

Hopefully, those of you who are trainers or coaches or teachers are already pretty familiar with this point and will back me up.

 

My point is that the affective experience of improvement is periods of frustration interspersed with massive elation and improvement.

 

The current system is just a gradual and unimpressive slide into getting better.

 

Therefore, would it not be more dramatically exciting, and more realistic to implement character progression that worked in the staircase fashion?

 

 

 

*straight line or not, it's technically a curve.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

Link to post
Share on other sites

depends on how long you are talking about.  small steps when looked at from a distance looks like a diagonal line, and when people are just learning things progress faster than later on, so a cure over someone's lifetime seems reasonable.  the problem is timescale.

 

each level is a step, in the D&D 3.0 dungeon master's guide it stated that 1 level should be about 1 year's worth of adventuring, so you wouldn't see any progress in many cRPGs as they take less than a year usually.  each level is a step, so the way RPGs are designed is that they are supposed to be a staircase, not a gradual line.

 

now if you have taught people, then you know that they will learn something, then refine their skills along what they have learned before their next epiphone, when things shift to accommodate this new knowledge.  this new knowledge doesn't undo the refinement that they had undergone, so if take some time to reach their epiphone they may end up performing better once they get it than someone who reaches the epiphane quickly (at least relative to when they first learn their epiphone).  also when you are constantly adjusting to new methods via rapid epiphanes then your refinement suffers, which hopefully you make up once the epiphanes stop or slow down.  this refinement process is something that isn't modeled in almost all RPG systems.  if it did it would provide a contrast to leveling and make it so that people only see the levels as progression, which prods developers of cRPGs to increase the rate of leveling so that a character is not stagnant throughout a game.

 

now keep in mind that some instructors will hold back students so that they go through some refinement before they reach their next epiphane.  generally this is done in a group teaching environment so that you don't have one student doing one thing and others doing something else.  when this happens students that have yet to reach an epiphany that another has reached they get discouraged, and they try to force an epiphany instead of refining what they know which harms their own progression.

 

most refinement you notice when you have spent many years learning stuff, then turning around and teaching others.  guiding them to an epiphany is easier than remembering all the tiny details you picked up over the years that refined your skill, and then as you teach more, and communicate to others that have taken the same journey to know what is specific to you, and what isn't.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am hoping that I can boil down a discussion that has been going on outside the forum for over year into a few lines.

 

RPGs in general have skill progression in a linear curve*. Your character spends or gains experience as a gradual progression. +1 to +2; 30% to 32% and so forth.

 

However, the thrust of thinking at chez Walsingham has been that progression in real people doesn't go this way. it is less of a curve and more of a staircase. For whatever reason (and there has been a LOT of debate on this) the effective capability of people/trainees etc. tends to move in bursts. They achieve a certain level, sweat and fume, and make mistakes for a while, then suddenly change a lot of what they are doing all at once, and improve.

 

Hopefully, those of you who are trainers or coaches or teachers are already pretty familiar with this point and will back me up.

 

My point is that the affective experience of improvement is periods of frustration interspersed with massive elation and improvement.

 

The current system is just a gradual and unimpressive slide into getting better.

 

Therefore, would it not be more dramatically exciting, and more realistic to implement character progression that worked in the staircase fashion?

 

 

 

*straight line or not, it's technically a curve.

Isn't a level up system a staircase normally? The gain of experience between levels is the sweaty, fumey part. But I see what you mean. Rather than a staircase of +0s and +1s, you're envisioning a sort of +0.1, +0.1, +0.1, +0.1, +0.1, +1.5 type progression? It's interesting, but in terms of actual gameplay effect I'm not sure it'd really be noticeable to devote the resources to. If you want to go down that path, I think a more rewarding area to look into would be in revising and adding nuance to the way skills are learned itself. Like you, I've given this a bit of thought, but my dinner's ready. I'll post more later.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

So something like Torchlight 2's skill system where there are minor increases each point put in with a major increase in utility every 5 levels spent?

"You know, there's more to being an evil despot than getting cake whenever you want it"

 

"If that's what you think, you're DOING IT WRONG."

Link to post
Share on other sites

All you're suggesting is extremely slow leveling and extremely large increases in character stats on level-up. I fail to see how that's more "realistic" or "dramatically exciting." It's just grinding. Kill 100x more goblins for a 10x larger stat increase doesn't sound fun, dramatic or exciting at all.

 

When real people train for marathons it takes a long-term commitment. You don't suddenly go from out of breath at 100 yards for 10 years to Kenyan-class champion runner after some sudden instant of providential reward. It's fundamentally fallacious to posit that changes in human physiology work in any fashion similar to arbitrary rules made for games.

Edited by AGX-17
Link to post
Share on other sites

As a few others have said I already envision experience as a staircase. That's what the experience represents. The trails and tribulations of trying to improve your skills through active use then suddenly you have your eureka moment when you gain a level. All those magic missiles you've cast have given you enough insight to figure out how to create a fireball instead.

The other way I envision what you're talking about is that some levels you'd get no benefit at all, no stats, no new spells. So level 1 you start off, level 2 nothing, level 3 you get stat points, skills, and new skills. I personally hate this sort of system so I wouldn't want to see it implemented at all. The idea of gaining a level with no reward whatsoever makes me wonder what the point of the level was in the first place, you might as well have just doubled the experience gauge instead.

  • Like 3

K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not sure this is how it works in the real world to be honest.  I am going to be direct, people don't "suddenly" get better at their job.  Companies have this problem, it is called short term tracking.  Over the short term an employee may have seemed to suddenly get massively better... but if you look at the long term, last year, or even two... No, they had ups and downs and overall on average consistently got better until they got as good as they were going to get.

 

All this aside many leveling systems already simulate this.  Such as WoW where you only get new skills or skill ranks on even levels.  Or D&D where you gain new feats in 3.0... but only every 4 levels.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember that in bg/iwd/pst/nwn i was really really looking forward to lvl up and gain an other tier of spell level with my caster chars. It made a huge impact and it was awesome to.Level up and gain tons of new spells in my arsenal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately I'm termporarily indispoed hungover. I will reply to the many interesting points when I can understand them.

  • Like 1

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately I'm termporarily indispoed hungover. I will reply to the many interesting points when I can understand them.

When are you not?

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Unfortunately I'm termporarily indispoed hungover. I will reply to the many interesting points when I can understand them.

 

When are you not?

Between 4pm and 4:30pm, if I'm not mistaken.

"I am the expert, asshat." - Hurlsnot

"You need to be careful, lest I write another ten page essay on mythology and how it relates to Sailor Moon." - majestic

"I won't say what just in case KaineParker is reading" - Bartimaeus

"Oh no! Is there super secret ending as well? I don’t care." - Wormerine

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the sound of what the OP is saying, but I must also agree with the replies that (1) leveling up is precisely that staircase progression he suggests, and (2) it may not be completely realistic to claim that progression naturally occurs in short bursts.

 

In regards to the first, it can become a question of how tall we want each "stair" to be, which is probably related to the total number of stairs that must be climbed; in other words, would you rather climb taller stairs that were fewer in number, or shorter stairs that were greater in number? Keep in mind that the farther one goes toward the latter option, one begins to approximate a linear progression (a million tiny steps might as well be a diagonal slope).

 

Regarding the second issue, I think that a lot depends on the nature- active or passive- of the "experience" in whatever progression we are discussing. For lack of any better example, evolution is a somewhat passive process, at least as far as the individual organisms are concerned, and it tends to occur along a relatively smooth trajectory rather than having new species poofing into existence over a couple generations.

 

I suppose the same might be said of any process where progression only occurs through the "passive" repetition of certain actions, which is the abstraction of skills that many RPGs seem to favor. This probably makes sense for skills based on muscle memory and mental conditioning, but for those skills that require a more "active" approach to learning this kind of trajectory may not be appropriate.

 

Some skills that focus more on problem-solving and other higher cognitive processes might be better modeled as jagged staircases, as tutelage and research could conceivably lead to sudden revelations/realizations of new knowledge, however most RPGs tend to discount this "knowledge" component of progression in favor of the more gradual and frequent rewards of linear "experience".

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Unfortunately I'm termporarily indispoed hungover. I will reply to the many interesting points when I can understand them.

When are you not?

 

 

A terrifyingly good question.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As people have stated, this is how the leveling system actually works. 

 

And it's pretty common in older RPGs that you only get skills every other level. This has been changed in later RPGs and you normally get skills every level (even WoW changed from to this). This is because getting skills every level is actually more rewarding and makes the game more exciting. 

Edited by moridin84

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 
Link to post
Share on other sites

And it's pretty common in older RPGs that you only get skills every other level. This has been changed in later RPGs and you normally get skills every level (even WoW changed from to this). This is because getting skills every level is actually more rewarding and makes the game more exciting. 

Yeah, I'd rather have a halved XP gain and level cap, but with with important stuff to put points in every level.

 

Leveling up should be significant.

Edited by AW8
  • Like 1

Batman: [intimidate] "Let her go".

Joker: [Failure] "Very poor choice of words."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...