Come on, you have to suffer these topics, I don’t post these as frequently as before. This one is spawned by the discussion in the other thread about the PvP endgame between WoW, DAoC and other games.
We gave a glance to the advantage/disadvantages of them. I said that better models are possible and this thread is to suggest a solution to explain my point of view and demonstrate concretely what I consider a “better model”. So you can see directly what I mean and agree/disagree.
To build it I borrowed the best parts of WoW, DAoC and Planetside. Adding my own ideas to the general shape.
The idea I suggested a year ago was built on this principle:
“Designing a game which allows players not to HAVE to play regularly”.
At the base the system works like DAoC. You gain points and progressively unblock ranks. The relevant difference is that these points are only gained by achieving PvP goals and never by killing players directly. The enemies are considered simply as “obstacles” that step in your way and that you need to get rid of in order to reach your goal.
As you gain points you unblock ranks in a similar way to what happens in both WoW and DAoC but as a “flat treadmill”.
Ranks unblock new skills but you do not gain them automatically. You do not fill a rank as you unblock it. You unblock only the possibility to fill it.
The skills and spells a rank offers aren’t cumulative. So you can use exclusively the skills/spells that are tied directly to the single rank you fill at that precise moment.
Ranks get assigned to groups and raids through a voting system (also based on ranks). So, for example, every group of “normal players” will have just one commander assigned and each raid will have a finite number of officers and just one leader (to simplify, the actual system offers many different ranks/“roles”).
These ranks will be assigned through the voting system and to the players that were able to unblock them by gaining the appropriate amount of points.
When a character is within a specific rank he gets access to specific new skills that are tied to his particular role. These skills are for the most part area-based effects that affect his squadron, the enemies or the environment. So, generally, not just more powerful versions of the same skills/spells he uses normally. This to give each rank a different role in the battlefield and not just making the character directly more powerful. Ranks are meant to unblock specific purposes and possibilities, not to make the single player more powerful.
This system allows to appoint players that are considered “naturally” leaders by giving them a recognized role in the game and specific skills that are appropriate for the situation. It also differentiates the gameplay so that different ranks behave in different ways on the battlefield.
The system can then be extended to PvE to create more dynamic situations instead of the repetitive models in the endgame content in games like WoW.
Plus, the bigger goal, it brings together the casual players and the catasses. It allows them to join their forces and rely on each other. Since the ranks are unblocked and assigned in groups and raids, not everyone will just become more powerful. A group of five players will always have just one commander. Even if ALL the players in that group have the “commander” rank already unblocked, only one of them will fill that role after being voted by the group.
So if you want to be a leader you don’t just have to catass but also build your own reputation with the community so that after you unblocked a rank you are also voted to fill and use it.
The system is called “Flat Power Treadmill” since it doesn’t define direct advancement paths like in other games. You don’t gain directly more power between the ranks. Instead you gain a different roles, different goals and differemt responsibilities, making the gameplay more interactive and dynamic. At the same time you always need “normal players” in your group in order for someone to fill an higher rank, so you’ll NEVER see in the game a full group of commanders or higher ranks. It isn’t an endless race to be more “leet”. The higher ranks will always have to rely on the “casual players” to have access to their powers.
This offers an incentive to go on and unblock new interesting roles in the battlefield (for example in a game with vehicles only higher ranks could get access to them or some specific weaponry). So this is an incentive to play and enjoy the game in the long term (retention of subscriptions). At the same time it doesn’t creates GAPS between casual players and catasses that ultimately breaks the game when the groups progressively outdistance each other. Instead it helps them to play together. The catasses will help the casual players to get involved and understand the game and the casual players will help the catasses to gain access to what they want.
[ul][li]This is a model that works on the long term (because it provides always incentives to unblock new gameplay and not just more powerful version of “the same”).
[li]It is always accessible for both the catasses and the casual players and throughout the whole life span of the game.
[li]It adds dynamism to the battlefield by giving the players different roles and purposes.
[*]It finally brings together catasses and casual players. Producing an heathly community that doesn’t shatter in pieces, progressively damaging the accessibility for new players as they join.[/ul]