An End to XP

I was thinking again about the upcoming 40K MMO, and what I might do if I were designing it. One interesting sort of design question that I’ve been pondering is whether you could get rid of levels in an RPG, or in an MMO at all, for that matter.

Levels are a nice way to measure and reward player progression steadily. As long as players do stuff for which you give them XP (or whatever your leveling currency is), they will eventually level up, along with that nice heroin-shot-in-the-vein feeling that always accompanies a good ding. Levels also allow players to easily compare characters against one another, and they are a handy way to gate content, for example by only allowing characters of a certain level into various content.

Still, levels feel awfully artificial in the context of most fiction, and it’s the fiction that draws in people like me. Worse, XP in particular lends itself to grinding, that soul-sucking treadmill that so many gamers put themselves on in the course of turning their fun into work. I was pondering what you might replace levels and/or XP with, at least in the context of 40K, and began thinking about campaigns. Nobody talks about how many levels a Marine captain has gained, but they often mention how old they are. This doesn’t really have enough reward for player effort; you can’t get old any faster or slower than other people, and you gain age even if you don’t play at all. The other thing that often arises in a discussion of a marine’s history is what campaigns they have served in. Ding! Continue reading An End to XP

Bonus: Tac Chat

Sonic Rob: Best
Sonic Rob: loss
Sonic Rob: ever
Sonic Rob: 0-78, went down fighting
Sonic Rob: two orc waaghs + SM (us) vs 2 eldar and SM
Sonic Rob: I’ve never killed so many walkers in my whole life
FyreHaar: did you save it?
Sonic Rob: I did
Sonic Rob: or I thought I did
Sonic Rob: where’d you go, you effer
Sonic Rob: ah, there we go
Sonic Rob: files are saved with the level and the date, not the name you save them under
Sonic Rob: tricky Relic grotz
FyreHaar: yeah
FyreHaar: sneakery
Sonic Rob: so, a couple lessons from this one about tankbustas Continue reading Bonus: Tac Chat

Ordo Cartographicus – Resource Distribution

This isn’t really much of a post, but I’ve been mucking around with the DoW2 map editor to see if I can use it to work on my design chops – “Christ, another blogger and/or game tester who wants to be a game designer?” Yes. Sorry – and I figured I may as well share any results in a public forum.

One of the early things I like to do when I’m working up a map is put down power and requisition points. In fact, it’s the third thing I do, right behind placing bases and positioning victory points. However, it’s occurred to me that I don’t really know how many of each is a good balance. I suppose more points will equal more resources and a faster fight, but too many would lead to clutter and imbalance. With these concerns in mind, I decided to have a look at Relic’s official maps for the game.

The short version is that for 1v1 maps Relic likes 4 or 5 of each, usually with a bit more requisition if you don’t feel like keeping it identical; the 6 requisition points in Green Tooth Gorge are a bit of an outlier. For 2v2, they like 5 of each, maybe 6 for a crowded slugfest map (p.s. I hate you in all your evil forms, Calderis Refinery). For 3v3 Relic likes 6 of each, with 5 in a map that needs lots of room to maneuver and 7 in a really big open map or another ugly sluggathon. Ugly but complete chart of data follows:

1v1 Maps Power Req
Green Tooth Gorge 4 6
Siwal Frontier 4 5
Calderis Refinery 4 4
Legis High Stratum 4 4
Leviathan Hive 5 4
Outer Reaches 4 5
Green Tooth Jungle 4 5
2v2 Maps Power Req
Calderis Refinery 6 6
Medean Cliff Mines 5 5
Golgotha Depths 5 5
Ruins of Argus 5 5
3v3 Maps Power Req
Angel Gate 6 7
Typhon Arena 5 5
Argus Desert Gate 6 6
Calderis Refinery 6 6
Tiber Outpost 6 6
Capital Spire 5 6
Siccaris Plateau 6 7

Ante Carto, Nullum Mundus


SonicFyre Episode One

In this episode Fyre and Sonic

  • Present the “Top Five Tips for Noobs” in Dawn of War II
  • Talk about tailoring geeky theme shirts for PAX.
  • review the first seasons of Dexter and True Blood.
  • discuss the painful decline of the Harry Potter film franchise.

Bonus discussion of Fyre’s pettest peeves in online gaming included!!

SonicFyre Episode 1 MP3  45:48   41.9 MB