Before I begin, let me say that I am not advocating that all MMOs implement what I’m about to describe, however, it would be nice if some more MMOs (the ones not published yet) were to implement models of design that weren’t yet another clone of the same model that the majority of games are putting out.
What I suggest is, in rough terms, a model that allows for everything to be possible from the moment your character enters the world, but not necessarily probable.Â This all springs from a couple of posts and the comments over at Kill Ten Rats.Â Post one is here, and post two is here.Â Read those and make sure to read my comments, I’ll wait.
Okay, so to rephrase and refine what I said, what I’d like to see is where, from day one, any character has the possibility to fight and defeat any monster in the game (obviously not all solo, but even in a raid a new character should be able to contribute), what changes throughout the life of the character is their probability to do so.
At level 1, if you engage a level 50 monster, you are highly unlikely to win, but if you’ve been twinked out and know how to play your character well, there is a tiny chance that you’ll win.Â And when you win, you’ll be rewarded, and rewarded well.Â Obviously you wouldn’t earn “level 50” experience, but you’d earn a scaled amount that would indicate that you overcame a great challenge without being obscene.
Conversely, at level 50, if you engage a level 1 monster, you are highly likely to win, but if you are poorly equipped and screwing around, there is a tiny chance that you’ll lose.
If a game were to implement this sort of scaling, there are a few odd benefits that can come of it.Â First, you can artificially tune a raid encounter by setting its level high.Â If your max level is 50, you can make a raid mob level 60 to reduce the effectiveness of the level 50 players, but just like the rest of your game they’d still retain a probability to win.Â Second, you can use underleveled mobs with “better” AI to create different types of encounters.Â Mobs that appear to be easy, but are in effect “NPCs who know how to play their character well”.
Another element this brings to a game is that nothing ever really becomes trivial.Â At no point would a single player be able to go into a low level zone with a high level character, tag all the mobs and AE farm them for loot (or grief).Â In a PvP environment, it means that a level 50 player camping the newbie area could get his ass handed to him by a small group of level 1 players.
I think its definitely a mechanic worth exploring, and I would love to see someone take a stab at implementing it.