Scaling and MMORPGS

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King Dunce
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Scaling and MMORPGS

Hi all,

So level scaling is somewhat of a hot topic right now, if any of you have been paying attention to the mess WoW has made recently.

Massively Overpowered made this write-up today: Scaling and Meaningful Advancement in WoW and Other MMORPGS.

I was curious as to what the communities thoughts are on this topic as well as potential plans, if any, for similar mechanics in CoT.

Recently, on a different MOP article, I voiced my opinion on the subject and thus will copy/paste below (this was a reply to another user).

Quote:

I will state, I am NOT against the idea of scaling as a whole.
As with most things, a properly implemented mechanic could sway me.

My main gripe: a lot of entities in most (especially fantasy rpg) settings have some sort of a set “power level”. When you see Skeletal Golem Boss and can determine his power, you decide to either slaughter him with ease, attack with a plan (i.e. a group or strategy), or hold off til you can compete with it.

It ties in to making the world feel persistent, real, alive.

When X player looks at something and says “I’m level 2 thus this mob is level 2 and it takes me 5 seconds to kill it” and then Y player says “I’m level 57 thus this same exact mob is now level 57 and takes me 5 seconds to kill it” it just…ruins the experience for me.

There are ‘scaling’ systems in tabletop RPGs for the DM to make variations of a lower CR mob at higher CR, but usually the DM roleplays it a little bit (in my experience) as to why this specific mob is the same type of mob you fought at level 3, but much stronger.

The types of scaling I have seen implemented into MMOs generally ruins that progression of character, which is (to me) integral to the RP part of MMORPG.

I feel that CoX had a good scaling system, which was stated in the article. Essentially you could mentor down and your numbers would be crunched, but you retain more abilities to hurl at enemies and are therefore objectively stronger.
It's an interesting topic, even more so for superhero MMOs.

For example, I saw a thread on here about open world giant monsters. Many seemed to be on the boat that, similar to CoX, anyone would be able to participate.
I agree with this statement 100%, but I feel there should be more layers to it then just saying "anyone can hurl their blasts at this giant monster".

It feels somewhat inorganic to have mega experienced top level supers dukin' it out with this intergalactic being (or whatever) and then seeing, say, a level two fresh out the gate hero throwing 1 ball of fire at the monster and it being able to do ANYTHING.

Perhaps there could be layered mechanics within an encounter, such as X monster is destroying down town. The top (higher level) supers are going to go fight this thing, but there is more to do then just that. Evacuating of the area, saving people from debris, minions of the monster running rampant down the city blocks and need to be stopped. Completing these tasks could grant buffs to those fighting the monster, or debuffs to it that increase damage taken, etc.

As I stated above with fantasy RPGs, in superhero universes a lot of characters have "power levels".
The term 'street-level' hero comes to mind, which is somewhat nullified in an RPG environment considering you gain power (to an extent) the more your character experiences the world.

I am just spitballing here but I look forward to your responses.

TL;DR

Scaling mechanics - how do they fit in?

Best,

King Dunce

"The world is full of evil and lies and pain and death, and you can’t hide from it; you can only face it. The question is, when you do – How do you respond? Who do you become?"

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If they follow a loose CoX

If they follow a loose CoX system I will be pretty pleased with the scaling.
it was one of the easiest games to group with people at very different character development stages and play together.

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Steamtank wrote:
Steamtank wrote:

If they follow a loose CoX system I will be pretty pleased with the scaling.
it was one of the easiest games to group with people at very different character development stages and play together.

I agree. CoX was my first MMO. And really my first big game. I never really realized how good I had it in terms of scaling until it was shuttered and I started playing other games.

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"It feels somewhat inorganic

"It feels somewhat inorganic to have mega experienced top level supers dukin' it out with this intergalactic being (or whatever) and then seeing, say, a level two fresh out the gate hero throwing 1 ball of fire at the monster and it being able to do ANYTHING"

This I disagree with as out of the gate at level 1 your hero can be Superman or Thor.

Mechanically you're weaker, but should this be narratively so?

Makes for a pretty good start to a superhero career to be able to be like "When I saw Galactus I knew I wouldn't be able to do much, but I had to help."

On the opposite side it makes no narrative sense for new heroes to just ignore the giant galactic threat.

Which is where and why it makes sense to have this sort of threat (especially if it's happening in a lowbie zone) accessable by everyone and anyone.

Honestly in a Superhero MMO it makes the most sense to not even have traditional leveling and instead have a lateral advancement to the heroes. You don't necessarily get stronger but you find new ways to use your powers.

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Project_Hero wrote:
Project_Hero wrote:

"It feels somewhat inorganic to have mega experienced top level supers dukin' it out with this intergalactic being (or whatever) and then seeing, say, a level two fresh out the gate hero throwing 1 ball of fire at the monster and it being able to do ANYTHING"

This I disagree with as out of the gate at level 1 your hero can be Superman or Thor.

Mechanically you're weaker, but should this be narratively so?

Makes for a pretty good start to a superhero career to be able to be like "When I saw Galactus I knew I wouldn't be able to do much, but I had to help."

On the opposite side it makes no narrative sense for new heroes to just ignore the giant galactic threat.

Which is where and why it makes sense to have this sort of threat (especially if it's happening in a lowbie zone) accessable by everyone and anyone.

Honestly in a Superhero MMO it makes the most sense to not even have traditional leveling and instead have a lateral advancement to the heroes. You don't necessarily get stronger but you find new ways to use your powers.

I never said they would just ignore the threat, hence the layers to the encounter that allow them to participate in areas that are suited to characters power level.

I see what you are saying, but at this point the game becomes less traditional RPG and more...MMO super hero creator. Which is fine, I have no gripes with that really.

And, in my opinion, in a world where everyone everywhere is able to do everything with relatively the same difficulty, you can't be a Thor or Superman right out the gate. You may be similar to them graphically, sure.

Lightning powers, some hammer melee, whatever it is you wish. But power levels play a big part in a superheroes identity. The obvious difference in power when he harnesses the Odin Force, for example.

So, two characters come out the gate fresh. These two COULD be Thor and Odin Force Thor mimics (please no one use copyright stuff in-game <3).

Again, graphically sure, but the power structure undoubtedly forces them to be one in the same.

I will say that I understand this is a video game when it comes down to it and that some things I dream of may not even be technologically realistic or may just be unfun for the player base as whole.

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I agree with the folks above

I agree with the folks above who recommend something like the old game's system.

The thing I hate the most about overall scaling is the fact that you never feel the progression of power as you level. If 3 minions present the same challenge to me at 50 that they did at 5, I'll feel like I've been wasting my time.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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I feel the exact same,

I feel the exact same, Cinnder.

Power progression is rewarding, it feels good to go back and wipe out 15-20 enemies when you used to only be able to wipe out 3-4.

Scaling either removes or down-tunes this power creep too much, to the point that my character who once only knew how to throw 1 Fireball but now has 4 different tricks he can do, still takes the same time to knockout a street thug that I was fighting back in my wee crime fighting days.

This is why I really enjoyed the CoX scaling, you kept that powerful feeling from your abilities while still seeing your numbers down tuned. I think that system just needed to be fleshed out a little bit more.

"The world is full of evil and lies and pain and death, and you can’t hide from it; you can only face it. The question is, when you do – How do you respond? Who do you become?"

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King Dunce wrote:
King Dunce wrote:
Project_Hero wrote:

"It feels somewhat inorganic to have mega experienced top level supers dukin' it out with this intergalactic being (or whatever) and then seeing, say, a level two fresh out the gate hero throwing 1 ball of fire at the monster and it being able to do ANYTHING"

This I disagree with as out of the gate at level 1 your hero can be Superman or Thor.

Mechanically you're weaker, but should this be narratively so?

Makes for a pretty good start to a superhero career to be able to be like "When I saw Galactus I knew I wouldn't be able to do much, but I had to help."

On the opposite side it makes no narrative sense for new heroes to just ignore the giant galactic threat.

Which is where and why it makes sense to have this sort of threat (especially if it's happening in a lowbie zone) accessable by everyone and anyone.

Honestly in a Superhero MMO it makes the most sense to not even have traditional leveling and instead have a lateral advancement to the heroes. You don't necessarily get stronger but you find new ways to use your powers.

I never said they would just ignore the threat, hence the layers to the encounter that allow them to participate in areas that are suited to characters power level.

I see what you are saying, but at this point the game becomes less traditional RPG and more...MMO super hero creator. Which is fine, I have no gripes with that really.

And, in my opinion, in a world where everyone everywhere is able to everything with relatively the same difficulty, you can't be a Thor or Superman right out the gate. You may be similar to them graphically, sure.

Lightning powers, some hammer melee, whatever it is you wish. But power levels play a big part in a superheroes identity. The obvious difference in power when he harnesses the Odin Force, for example.

So, two characters come out the gate fresh. These two COULD be Thor and Odin Force Thor mimics (please no one use copyright stuff in-game <3).

Again, graphically sure, but the power structure undoubtedly forces them to be one in the same.

I will say that I understand this is a video game when it comes down to it and that some things I dream of may not even be technologically realistic or may just be unfun for the player base as whole.

Yeah, I get what you're saying. And I'm aware that the set up I proposed is Ill suited for an MMORPG (maybe a TTRPG, though).

My point essentially was that well, not all heroes out of the gate are going to be weak new recruits. They will be Mechanically, but narratively they could be anything. Which is why I feel for zone wide events at least everyone should be able to pitch in with whatever they feel like their hero should be doing.

Also probably a good argument not to have a Galactus style event drop down in the lowbie areas.

Also hopefully Paths will play a large role in making a character feel like they're a big shot even at low levels.

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Fair points all around

Fair points all around Project_Hero.

And yeah, I think that's why these type of mechanics are especially special to the superhero genre.

Like you said about 'new' heroes, what if I want my characters backstory to be that of super super strong intergalactic warrior whose relative power is WAY higher than everyone else?

I think this is where player narrative and the developers world narrative clash. Since, obviously, the devs can't allow someone to just go in and make a overpowered end all be all superhero.

Maybe some type of in-game narrative explaining the new abundance of heroes. The only downside there is the forced limiter on player narrative / backstory.

Some good thoughts on the subject though :)

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King Dunce wrote:
King Dunce wrote:
Project_Hero wrote:

"It feels somewhat inorganic to have mega experienced top level supers dukin' it out with this intergalactic being (or whatever) and then seeing, say, a level two fresh out the gate hero throwing 1 ball of fire at the monster and it being able to do ANYTHING"

This I disagree with as out of the gate at level 1 your hero can be Superman or Thor.

Mechanically you're weaker, but should this be narratively so?

Makes for a pretty good start to a superhero career to be able to be like "When I saw Galactus I knew I wouldn't be able to do much, but I had to help."

On the opposite side it makes no narrative sense for new heroes to just ignore the giant galactic threat.

Which is where and why it makes sense to have this sort of threat (especially if it's happening in a lowbie zone) accessable by everyone and anyone.

Honestly in a Superhero MMO it makes the most sense to not even have traditional leveling and instead have a lateral advancement to the heroes. You don't necessarily get stronger but you find new ways to use your powers.

I never said they would just ignore the threat, hence the layers to the encounter that allow them to participate in areas that are suited to characters power level.

I see what you are saying, but at this point the game becomes less traditional RPG and more...MMO super hero creator. Which is fine, I have no gripes with that really.

And, in my opinion, in a world where everyone everywhere is able to do everything with relatively the same difficulty, you can't be a Thor or Superman right out the gate. You may be similar to them graphically, sure.

Lightning powers, some hammer melee, whatever it is you wish. But power levels play a big part in a superheroes identity. The obvious difference in power when he harnesses the Odin Force, for example.

So, two characters come out the gate fresh. These two COULD be Thor and Odin Force Thor mimics (please no one use copyright stuff in-game <3).

Again, graphically sure, but the power structure undoubtedly forces them to be one in the same.

I will say that I understand this is a video game when it comes down to it and that some things I dream of may not even be technologically realistic or may just be unfun for the player base as whole.

That's always going to be more of a RP thing, which as an RP thing, a lot of RPers will just ignore anyways, as it doesn't mesh with the game meta play. :p

"I'm a powerless pre-teen with a baseball bat who fights crime!"

"I'm a powerful and experienced half-alien with the powers of a god."

"I can still kick your butt because the game makes us equal."

:p

People who make weak concepts, tend to like to still beat the more powerful concepts.

Which isn't to say, normal person with a bat protecting a neighborhood and then getting caught in a galactic mission isn't awesome, the point is, if you make a concept that can be beat by Superman, don't get upset when it happens :p

That's from an RP perspective. From the MMO perspective, I don't think we'll ever go that way outside of seriously gimping your own character and the game isn't going to change it either. Just the way the game has to be. Accept it.

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Yep, agreed.

Yep, agreed.

I think the only way, at least the only one that comes to mind right now, to combat this is for there to be a developer narrative for the world that states why the sudden influx of new heroes.

Some chemical or alien substance activates X thing within blood streams.

It allows for character backstory for what you were before the super powers, but again the story is limited due to the fact that X thing being activated is an inevitable part of the timeline.

DCUO, with all it's faults, did this fairly well with the character creation backstory.

From there, it makes sense as to why there would be a power curve over time.

Why your hero is stronger than many other newly activated heroes and has whatever extra amount of room to gain power.

"The world is full of evil and lies and pain and death, and you can’t hide from it; you can only face it. The question is, when you do – How do you respond? Who do you become?"

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:
King Dunce wrote:
Project_Hero wrote:

"It feels somewhat inorganic to have mega experienced top level supers dukin' it out with this intergalactic being (or whatever) and then seeing, say, a level two fresh out the gate hero throwing 1 ball of fire at the monster and it being able to do ANYTHING"

This I disagree with as out of the gate at level 1 your hero can be Superman or Thor.

Mechanically you're weaker, but should this be narratively so?

Makes for a pretty good start to a superhero career to be able to be like "When I saw Galactus I knew I wouldn't be able to do much, but I had to help."

On the opposite side it makes no narrative sense for new heroes to just ignore the giant galactic threat.

Which is where and why it makes sense to have this sort of threat (especially if it's happening in a lowbie zone) accessable by everyone and anyone.

Honestly in a Superhero MMO it makes the most sense to not even have traditional leveling and instead have a lateral advancement to the heroes. You don't necessarily get stronger but you find new ways to use your powers.

I never said they would just ignore the threat, hence the layers to the encounter that allow them to participate in areas that are suited to characters power level.

I see what you are saying, but at this point the game becomes less traditional RPG and more...MMO super hero creator. Which is fine, I have no gripes with that really.

And, in my opinion, in a world where everyone everywhere is able to do everything with relatively the same difficulty, you can't be a Thor or Superman right out the gate. You may be similar to them graphically, sure.

Lightning powers, some hammer melee, whatever it is you wish. But power levels play a big part in a superheroes identity. The obvious difference in power when he harnesses the Odin Force, for example.

So, two characters come out the gate fresh. These two COULD be Thor and Odin Force Thor mimics (please no one use copyright stuff in-game <3).

Again, graphically sure, but the power structure undoubtedly forces them to be one in the same.

I will say that I understand this is a video game when it comes down to it and that some things I dream of may not even be technologically realistic or may just be unfun for the player base as whole.

That's always going to be more of a RP thing, which as an RP thing, a lot of RPers will just ignore anyways, as it doesn't mesh with the game meta play. :p

"I'm a powerless pre-teen with a baseball bat who fights crime!"

"I'm a powerful and experienced half-alien with the powers of a god."

"I can still kick your butt because the game makes us equal."

:p

People who make weak concepts, tend to like to still beat the more powerful concepts.

Which isn't to say, normal person with a bat protecting a neighborhood and then getting caught in a galactic mission isn't awesome, the point is, if you make a concept that can be beat by Superman, don't get upset when it happens :p

That's from an RP perspective. From the MMO perspective, I don't think we'll ever go that way outside of seriously gimping your own character and the game isn't going to change it either. Just the way the game has to be. Accept it.

Always bugs me whenever RPers use game mechanics as justification. Non powered preteen with a bat (LVL 50) TotallynotSuperman (LVL 20) then in RP Batgirl is totally like "Oh there's no way your character can do anything to mine cause you're only level 20." Not IC, but still it's dumb as funk. Like if you made a concept play your concept, you know?

Again hopefully Paths will allow for some kind of power scaling in universe. If at level 50 your Batman is fighting crime bosses and my Superman at level 50 is taking down planet busters there should be no contest in RP who's hero is "stronger".

I mean there shouldn't be anyway but it's always nice to have mechanics or the game's narrative back up your RP, you know?

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This shouldn't be an issue in

This shouldn't be an issue in CoT. From what I understand, baddies in the open-world will be level-locked, meaning they won't level-adjust to you. So you'll be able to run around when you are higher level, just like in CoX, and pound big groups.

However, in mission instances, you pick the difficulty you want and the enemies are scaled to that variable adjusted by your level. So 'normal' might be equal to your level in difficulty, 'medium' might be your level plus 1, hard might be your level plus 2, and so on. This way you can always pick the difficulty you want and not out-level content.

This might not be 100% accurate but I think that's the gist of it.

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Well, I'll give you that. It

Well, I'll give you that. It's nice to have stories that your concept can still be in, even if it's max level.

Makes for the same basic difficulty game wise, just different stories to follow along.

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I'm glad to see that level

I'm glad to see that level-locking will be a thing, and that there will also be scaling mechanics just like CoX.

Mainly, I just hope I feel rewarded and powerful at the end of it.

That ties in to the TTK (time to kill/knockout) numbers on baddies, but also it ties into how I view my characters relative power against new / 'lower power' heroes.

World scaling kinda nullifies that feeling, but also allows lower people to participate and play with higher level people. I see both the pros and the cons.

Maybe, world events don't scale, but it utilizes the sidekick system to circumvent low level players not being able to participate with the big main guy. As in, you can take a lower level character and SK them, so they are brought up to a % of your relative power, but they only have whatever abilities they have at their actual level (I think CoX did this too?).

On top of that, for lower levels who do not know any high level super friends or whatever, there can be 'side' events that are triggered such as those stated before. These would be level locked to allow lower level players to feel challenged, still feel like they are participating in the overall zone wide event, and aid the bigger heroes with debuffs to said monster or MORALE buffs to heroes. AND they have an option to hop in on the main bad guy if they so wish.

High level supers can mentor down to aid lower levels or show them the ropes, but since some events are level locked to be lower, they cannot receive rewards if they try to do the event as a level 50 for example.

This sounds like it adds a little bit of something for everyone, while still maintaining that powerful feeling of hurling nuclear blasts or what-have-you at a mega monster and then seeing some 'street-level' heroes still helping out down below.

That would feel...good.

Maybe the mechanic would be only used for the SK and big monster kill, not sure, but on paper it sounds great. :)

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MMOs have always been

MMOs have always been designed to produce a consistent combat duration. This is so that it is easy to predict how much time a player will spend doing X activity because the entire goal of the game is to keep players playing and paying. Newer games have been able to alleviate the repetitive nature somewhat, but claiming that scaling monsters is the start of repetitive gameplay just isn't true. Older games would just take that same rat or skeleton that you fought at level 1 and give it a new name and higher level. Now it is a giant rat or extra evil skeleton. The experience is basically identical. At the end of the day a mob is a mob. Saying "but my level 1 character shouldn't be able to hurt a giant rat" has little meaning in a game about being a superhero. You're already super powered at level 1. The discussion about levels feeling strange should really begin with the players themselves. Someone already alluded to this, basically that someone with a bat is just as effective as ancient powers or robots or whatever.

The logical progression of this discussion is basically that the entire concept of levels feels weird in a super hero game, something that was kind of mentioned with lateral advancement, and I totally agree. I'd even go so far as to say make all "progression" be badges, titles, cosmetics, and the like. Of course, CoT won't do that, I already know that. But that is the direction of the conversation and I have to say I would enjoy that game. I am not big on the idea of grinding for the sake of grinding. I like to spend my free time having fun, not grinding towards a carrot that was arbitrarily placed behind glass until I pressed a button 500 times. I do understand the exploitative psychology behind grinding as it is very similar to the operating strategy of casinos and I understand why it was adopted as a means of generating income. A bit of repetition isn't bad if it helps fund decent games. It only annoys me if it starts to feel like content is being locked away or the game itself feels like a chore.

My point is that scaling of levels, stats, etc is just another tool in the toolbox for developers to use. As with most things it comes down to implementation. I tend to agree with most people here that CoX did a pretty solid job with it, and leaning to the side of fun gameplay, encouraging easy teaming, and participation in events is generally a good idea.

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Right, it makes sense that as

Right, it makes sense that as I get it stronger, the mobs themselves get stronger too. The TTK remains relatively the same as if I was level 1 vs a level 1 rat, or if I was level 50 vs a level 50 MEGA RAT!

The issue I have here with world scaling is after I've slaughtered all the level 1 rats and have moved much further on with my character; I come back to that same rat and, all the sudden, it is level 50 and takes me just as long to kill it as it did at level 1. The same rat.

I have no issues at all that it takes me probably the same amount of time to kill that level 50 version, but it at least makes SENSE. It's a stronger version, it's biomechanically enhanced, it's whatever the devs reasoning is.

Going back to where I was knocking out some thugs as a fresh hero on the streets and them putting up just as much of a fight as they did back in the day feels wrong. I would probably be like...why isn't my character any better?

I 100% agree with you tho, Janitor, that whatever mechanic there is, it ultimately needs to be fun.
Encouraging teaming is a huge part of that, because who DOESN'T wanna see all of our crazy and badass Superhero concepts join up and fight some baddies?

I think I outlined a decent middle ground in my most recent previous comment - at least it sounds good on paper. Players tend to find the 'best' way to use game features for the fattest reward and other things are left to the wayside.

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We do plan to have similar

We do plan to have similar scaling to the old game.

Our basic combat loop includes 4 mooks to a basic pc (that is no protections and 2 basic attack powers).

Now NPCs to improve power wide with levels, but not at the rate that PCs do. Which means that as you gain levels and powers, it will feel as though your character has not only been able to do more, but will feel as though doing more equates with accomplishing more.

As for events, we do plan on having them scale to the character level. We don’t want to end up pigeon holed into design limits when it comes to zone events. However, because we know that for whatever the reason, some players don’t want to be stuck on a map with an event going on. To resolve this, whenever a zone-event occurs, a non-event copy of the map will be generated to allow those who don’t want to deal with the event to go about their business.

We may have mini-events (district or neighborhood-scale) that are level restricted by the location. These would not require a new map to be made.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

We do plan to have similar scaling to the old game.

Our basic combat loop includes 4 mooks to a basic pc (that is no protections and 2 basic attack powers).

Now NPCs to improve power wide with levels, but not at the rate that PCs do. Which means that as you gain levels and powers, it will feel as though your character has not only been able to do more, but will feel as though doing more equates with accomplishing more.

As for events, we do plan on having them scale to the character level. We don’t want to end up pigeon holed into design limits when it comes to zone events. However, because we know that for whatever the reason, some players don’t want to be stuck on a map with an event going on. To resolve this, whenever a zone-event occurs, a non-event copy of the map will be generated to allow those who don’t want to deal with the event to go about their business.

We may have mini-events (district or neighborhood-scale) that are level restricted by the location. These would not require a new map to be made.

Thanks for the reply Tannim.

I do hope to see some mini-events one day, just because more content = more stuff for us to do ;)

EDIT: Thanks to all y'all for an actual discussion. Lately I've been in the echo chamber that is reddit with people saying "I don't like this!" or "It doesn't bother me!" without much conversation on the actual topic of scaling in MMOs. It's nice to get some discourse.

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Having zone events trigger

Having zone events trigger another copy of the zone is a great way to handle it. Does that mean players will also be able to join those events when they want, or only that, if a giant monsters shows up, you have the option to bail out?

Because giving the players the opportunity to fight giant events more often if they feel like doing so is pretty cool. You could even allow players to manually trigger events if there isn't a copy of it to join.

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TheInternetJanitor wrote:
TheInternetJanitor wrote:

Having zone events trigger another copy of the zone is a great way to handle it. Does that mean players will also be able to join those events when they want, or only that, if a giant monsters shows up, you have the option to bail out?

Because giving the players the opportunity to fight giant events more often if they feel like doing so is pretty cool. You could even allow players to manually trigger events if there isn't a copy of it to join.

Some may need a trigger. Some may be random. Some may be seasonally and static for that season window. Some may be a combination of all of these.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

We do plan to have similar scaling to the old game.

Our basic combat loop includes 4 mooks to a basic pc (that is no protections and 2 basic attack powers).

Now NPCs to improve power wide with levels, but not at the rate that PCs do. Which means that as you gain levels and powers, it will feel as though your character has not only been able to do more, but will feel as though doing more equates with accomplishing more.

As for events, we do plan on having them scale to the character level. We don’t want to end up pigeon holed into design limits when it comes to zone events. However, because we know that for whatever the reason, some players don’t want to be stuck on a map with an event going on. To resolve this, whenever a zone-event occurs, a non-event copy of the map will be generated to allow those who don’t want to deal with the event to go about their business.

We may have mini-events (district or neighborhood-scale) that are level restricted by the location. These would not require a new map to be made.

Thanks Tannim. I've heard bits of this before, but it's nice to see it all stated concisely like this and definitely describes a game I want to play.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

We do plan to have similar scaling to the old game.

Our basic combat loop includes 4 mooks to a basic pc (that is no protections and 2 basic attack powers).

This is very welcome news, and harkens back to one of my (now years) old posts about what I called Gearing Ratios, and what we'd want them to be for City of Titans.

City of Heroes built itself on a foundation of 3s.
3 Single Origin Enhancement = +100%
3 Minions = 1 PC
... that sort of thing.

I proposed back then that City of Titans ought to move to building itself on a foundation of 4s instead ... partly so that the game would "feel different enough" from City of Heroes to be distinctive, but also so that the sense that your PC is "powerful" simply due to the fact that your PC is the underdog in EVERY fight simply due to numbers. Basically a Conservation of Ninjitsu approach that produces the "heroic" elements you find in images like this one:

Even when your PC is perfectly capable of mass slaughter on an unfairly massive scale (think map herding in Perez Park back in the day before the aggro cap), it still FEELS powerful to be ONE AGAINST MANY (let alone an army!) ... even when the "many" are just crunchies that you're supposed to be able to wade through without getting worried.

Because what's Heroic?

ONE FOR ALL


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Yeah for a basic set up it

Yeah for a basic set up it works out. Interestingly, there is some fun math that applies to figuring out how well that scales with different enemy ranks where you get a more precise “worth” of units to player character ratio.

Then having NPCs with tiriggered powers (like with momentum) kind of breaks the ratio formula.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Yeah for a basic set up it works out. Interestingly, there is some fun math that applies to figuring out how well that scales with different enemy ranks where you get a more precise “worth” of units to player character ratio.

Then having NPCs with tiriggered powers (like with momentum) kind of breaks the ratio formula.

That's Great! Every hero needs a villain that can break the rules. Right?

The real question is, how badly do triggered powers break the ratio? is it just enough to make a player go, "WTF?" and then be able to carry on? Or does it break it so badly, that the ground gets wet at your feet and you starting repeating "OMG, OMG" etc?

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Private instance scaling I

Private instance scaling I don't see an issue with, Open world mobs are the real issue I see. Wouldnt be easier to just minimize the rewards for overpowered players making less attractive to farm. Open world mobs that are buffed to the level of a higher player can be a real issue to another player of less power in the same area. (maybe make it so if a mob is being scaled then lock them to only be able to target players of equal level and be immune to damage from lower leveled players)

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So you'd like NPCs to be

So you'd like NPCs to be aware of the 'level lens'? I admit, I was strolling through Kings Row one time and got SMEARED by a spawn of L35 Council. I knew they were an ambush from someone else's mission, but that didn't make it a pleasant experience.

Perhaps an answer is for the 'level lens' to apply to any 'death penalties' we suffer, so being smeared by some overwhelming force doesn't cost too much?

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I would rather see something

I would rather see something implemented versus having a new player stumble across a high-level mob (Left Behind from somebody else just trying to get from point A to point B), discouraging that player from ever coming back.

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Higher level players taking

Higher level players taking on lower level content in the open world isn’t an issue. The level lens will adjust the reward ratio appropriately.

If the system auto-scaled to the player character’s level it presents a number of problems which aren’t easily (or even righttly) resolved. It can be done but since we fdesigned our world differently than say GW2, it can be problematic.

Such as crossing a street to a different level range suddenly makes a high level player a lower level and they lose powers.

Lower level characters scaling upward can be done but combat won’t be fun (and tong).

Personally, I think that being a lower level in higher level areas creates a unique tension. You know if you’re caught alone you can get pasted. But if you’re smart and careful you can get around (at least in most games).

Heck, in the old game, my SG would run events using new heroes (level 1) running from AP to Lab Corp in PI..


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Such as crossing a street to a different level range suddenly makes a high level player a lower level and they lose powers.

Mayor of Titan City: "I knew it was a bad idea to make our street signs out of Kryptonite..." ;)

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

If the system auto-scaled to the player character’s level it presents a number of problems which aren’t easily (or even rightly) resolved.

I certainly wouldn't want any scaling in the open world, I meant missions and instances.

I also recall (cleverly) running the gauntlet to PI as a lowbie. Or dashing off to Icon in Steel Canyon, or slipping over to PI, to tweak my costume. Later, we could change clothes in the Tiki Room, which took a lot less stress.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

We do plan to have similar scaling to the old game.

Our basic combat loop includes 4 mooks to a basic pc (that is no protections and 2 basic attack powers).

This is very welcome news, and harkens back to one of my (now years) old posts about what I called Gearing Ratios, and what we'd want them to be for City of Titans.

City of Heroes built itself on a foundation of 3s.
3 Single Origin Enhancement = +100%
3 Minions = 1 PC
... that sort of thing.

I proposed back then that City of Titans ought to move to building itself on a foundation of 4s instead ... partly so that the game would "feel different enough" from City of Heroes to be distinctive, but also so that the sense that your PC is "powerful" simply due to the fact that your PC is the underdog in EVERY fight simply due to numbers.

I recall the post. We had set up our combat loop long before that and had even run simulations (to the tune of some hundred thousands).

StellarAgent wrote:

The real question is, how badly do triggered powers break the ratio? is it just enough to make a player go, "WTF?" and then be able to carry on? Or does it break it so badly, that the ground gets wet at your feet and you starting repeating "OMG, OMG" etc?

Well, that depends on the type of pawn we're looking at. The higher the rank, the greater the possibility of some triggered power(s) changing the nature of the encounter.

In general though, this isn't a huge deal. First you have to understand that the formula simply applies a value to the pawn type in comparison to the player character. Again, our basic loop uses a PC with no protection powers (just base regen rates) and 2 basic attacks. Now the loop doesn't say that 4 mooks are "worth" one PC. That is misleading. The loop is a set of variables which includes time, which then affects regenerated hp and recovered power, activated power cycles, damage dealt and so on.

The formula for pawns to PCs takes some of that data and then spits out a provided value. While we can assume that 4 mooks = X amount of a PC, the formula may say something slightly different. Then we add in something like a momentum triggered power. Now, what this doesn't take into account is the fact that PCs will grow in capability. Definitely in offense for all Archetypes, and mitigation (through Protection, Support, or Control powers). Which means that even though we have a rough estimate of what a mook is compared to a PC, and triggered powers can throw that estimate off, it does not necessarily mean that such will mess things up too much. But there can be exceptions. If anyone that played the old game recalls, the early game included a mob from the Vahzilok called an Embalmed Cadaver, which would hunker down (providing a visual cue) and then explode doing plenty of damage. Imagine something like that happening of some mook were to build enough momentum - definitely something to be aware of.


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I can't tell you how pleased

I can't tell you how pleased and confident it makes me to know you've tested all the bare bones foundation so well before moving onto the upper layers of design.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Scaling in the open world can

Scaling in the open world can work fine as long as you adjust towards lower levels and not higher. That way you get the tension and sense of accomplishment for venturing into more dangerous areas or being able to take them on once you are high enough (no scaling needed) but higher players have a reason to come back to lower areas. Other games have done it like that. Scaling also can be towards the higher end of the range for a zone, so a higher level player coming back can still feel fairly powerful. EX: if a zone is set for a level 10-12 experience, a level 50 player coming back would be scaled to 12. It is also important that the loot and IGC that drops for the level 50 is scaled to their real level, though, or they have little reason to do the content.

Having clear boundaries that communicate to players that they are venturing into a different area with a different threat level is also important. I remember Perez Park doing a great job of that in the old CoX.

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We have not designed our game

We have not designed our game to work with adjust scaling. We would have to redo so much work to make it plausiblle.

Even then since the game is not a gear based game, having a higher level player suddenly lose abilities just b cause they crossed a street into a new area could be jarring. What if the battle is areal and moving and crosses districts?

Not everything is bounded like the old game was sectioned off by massive walls. We want to impart a sense of progression through the game. Otherwise we could have designed a completely levelless game and done something quite different (it was a proposal dying preproduction).

If the main draw for adjusted scaling is to bring higher level players to lower level areas again, there are plenty of other ways to accomplish this.

If is to avoid out leveled content - some of that may be unavoidable but again we can provide tools - such as adjusting xp slider. We will eventually provide a system for repeating content that will hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls that can come up with doing so.

Stories pgroees based on decion points (which also
Affect alignment). Going back to an earlier part of play theoufh lower level content may have an impact on decions already made which can affect later l held that was already played through - which won’t work. We have to code a separate way for this to work so later levels aren’t affected if it was played through. If it was just steeet sweeping it is abit easier to resolve but adjusting levels involves more than just the world map encounters. It is already an concern for auto-adjusting to the team leader where a higher level player can be in a lower level player’s team. But that gives us an extra layer to work with to fix issues as compared to a solo player.

Adjusting lower levels upwards presents another host of problems.


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I think MWM has made all the

I think MWM has made all the right choices on this.

Tannim, when you mention choices affecting the world, will there be any character-based phasing like the old game had where if you rescued a contact's wife she would appear next to him when you spoke to him later, but only for you and those on your team? Or the similar effect in the revamped Dark Astoria if you had completed the solo Incarnate arc there? (All controlled by the actions of the team leader, so there was no conflict if people had made different choices.)

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

I think MWM has made all the right choices on this.

Tannim, when you mention choices affecting the world, will there be any character-based phasing like the old game had where if you rescued a contact's wife she would appear next to him when you spoke to him later, but only for you and those on your team? Or the similar effect in the revamped Dark Astoria if you had completed the solo Incarnate arc there? (All controlled by the actions of the team leader, so there was no conflict if people had made different choices.)

Not for launch. We have the tech but we don’t have the resources to work on phasing right now.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

We have the tech...

We can rebuild him!

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Not for launch. We have the tech but we don’t have the resources to work on phasing right now .

While I understand that's not a promise, the 'not for launch' responses from MWM always fill me with hope for the future. :-)

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Not for launch. We have the tech but we don’t have the resources to work on phasing right now.

Please; when/if you add phasing, have it put everyone in a group/team into the same phase based on the active mission.

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Ardrea wrote:
Ardrea wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Not for launch. We have the tech but we don’t have the resources to work on phasing right now.

Please; when/if you add phasing, have it put everyone in a group/team into the same phase based on the active mission.

Aye, please. As the old game did.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

You heard that they are trying to make a new Six BILLION Dollar Man movie with Mark Wahlberg right? Seems a bit much when you could buy two semi-decent aircraft carriers (or maybe three B-2 bombers) for that much money but I guess that's what happens when you factor in inflation since the mid-70s. ;)

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

You heard that they are trying to make a new Six BILLION Dollar Man movie with Mark Wahlberg right? Seems a bit much when you could buy two semi-decent aircraft carriers (or maybe three B-2 bombers) for that much money but I guess that's what happens when you factor in inflation since the mid-70s. ;)

'More expensive than two semi-decent aircraft carriers' isn't a bad hero tagline but it rather lacks the snappiness of 'Faster than a speeding bullet'

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

You heard that they are trying to make a new Six BILLION Dollar Man movie with Mark Wahlberg right? Seems a bit much when you could buy two semi-decent aircraft carriers (or maybe three B-2 bombers) for that much money but I guess that's what happens when you factor in inflation since the mid-70s. ;)

Initial R&D, Tooling, G&A, Program Operations & Security,: $5.9 Billion.
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Not to mention the man will

Not to mention the man will get into places the air craft carrier can't. :)