Spy Game Design – Advancement

The typical way characters advance in MMOs is ok, but I think it could be a lot better. I have a couple of ideas, none of which are really revolutionary, but which would change the way the game is played.

AFAIK, most MMOs use either an XP system or Skill system for advancing the character. In an XP system, every time the character does something (kill a mob, complete a quest, etc.) he gets experience points. When the total experience points reach certain levels, the character’s level increases. For example, here’s the level progression from the 4th edition of the D&D ruleset:

Level

XP

1

2

1000

3

2250

4

3750

5

5500

6

7500

7

10000

8

13000

9

16500

10

20500

11

26000

12

32000

13

39000

14

47000

15

57000

16

69000

17

83000

18

99000

19

119000

20

143000

21

175000

22

210000

23

225000

24

310000

25

375000

26

450000

27

550000

28

675000

29

825000

30

1000000

In a Skill system, as characters use different skills the proficiency with those skills increase and the character becomes more effective at using those skills. There may or may not be classes associated with those skills, limiting the skills that a character can use to different classes.

Skill advancement should be happen of course, but it shouldn’t be the measure of advancement of the character. The character advancement should be pretty transparent IMO. The reason for a level-based system is to give the player the feeling that he’s accomplishing something. Shouldn’t those accomplishments be defeating enemies, completing missions, etc.? Why implement an artificial system just to make the player feel like the character’s getting better or becoming more powerful? If the player is so busy worry about that, isn’t that a sign that the gameplay isn’t what it should be?

If the player needs/wants something to keep track of to feel he’s going something, I think things like the number of missions accomplished and stats associated with that would be good, kind of like a personnel file for the character. Is that enough? I’d love to hear different opinions on how advancement in a spy MMO should be done.

2 Comments

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