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Numos Profile
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Registered: 12-2006
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High Level Advancement


High level advancement is an issue I think the server has struggled with since its had more people playing for larger chunks of the day. I'd like to discuss ways we can reform it in order to maintain good balance, keep the server fun, and quality of role-play high.

1) When we began advancement beyond 15th level was fairly slow, and moving into the 21-30 bracket required an application. This seemed to work pretty well.

2) When DM activity was lower, we eased up on both dungeon difficulty and removed the epic requirements. I don't necessarily think ease of advancement without DM intervention did much to make the server more dynamic or retain players.

3) Now that we have a lot more DMs and activity, the DM staff has noticed there seems to be the expectation of easy loot and character power without characters taking on risk of death or loss; or players being proactive and creative. It isn't that we don't want players more interested in monster hunting, but as it stands DM-given experience for server-shaping events cannot compete with scripted experience. It kills any sense of risk and reward if an afternoon of gnoll-killing makes a PC more powerful than attending an event where they might die.

This is something of an indicator that scripted experience has gotten a little out of hand. We want players to hit 12th level with ease, that's the intended average, but advancement beyond that should be more continent on story-telling. There are a few ideas we have, so far, as to how to fix this. Some have been implemented, some have not:

1) Bring back epic levels, and the application requirement. It was removed at a time when the server may have been shut down. I see no reason not to require an application and set up a system where 21+ advancement is almost entirely based on DM xp.

2) Curtail automated role-play experience. I just removed it and upped the gains for PCs below 15th level. I think that may have been a little extreme. I'd like to maybe put a cap/reset for PCs after 15th level, instead. Its nice to see people level-up from chatting and plotting, but I don't think it should be linearly proportional to time spent on the server. All time is not quality time.

3) Fix exploration Experience. The entire point of these areas were to make revisiting old areas worth it, and give players some random encounters to react to when they travel. Mostly a success but people silently sprinting across the world to level-up as fast as possible seems kind of lame. Its now based on how many players you visit the area with. Whole point is to encourage role-play.

This doesn't mean we don't want people pursuing scripted experience. We just don't want it to be surpassing the value of DM given experience.

Last edited by Numos, 11/1/2013, 7:55 pm


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Numos: Shapeshifting wizard
Taevis Bentham: Woodsman
11/1/2013, 7:51 pm Link to this post Send Email to Numos   Send PM to Numos
 
theintrepidgnome Profile
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Registered: 02-2013
Location: Australia
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Re: High Level Advancement


I feel it's pertinent to mention that the DM team is always receptive to ideas. If you want to do something, or want to spend a while coming up with ideas, feel free to add me to Skype or otherwise contact me. I want to avoid a problem wherein OOC friends of the DM staff are able to achieve 21 whereas other people aren't: that'll be my focus with the new system.

Further, I'll add that perhaps we ought to increase the amount of XP we're handing out as DMs. Leveling up in a videogame shouldn't ever be some drawn-out, infuriating process. If we're going to make it a co-dependent system on the server, we should make it as painless a co-dependent system as possible.

Last edited by theintrepidgnome, 11/2/2013, 4:12 am


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Calchas Blaesus: A mad seer.
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Eowomyrill Profile
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Registered: 11-2004
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Re: High Level Advancement


I concur with the point about the amount of DM XP handed out. As it stands, I have been part of perhaps 5 or 8 major events (1000 XP-size events). This is enough XP to get me from level 8 to level 9, for instance - and it has happened over a time of a couple of months. It would take half a year for epic level characters to rise a single level under these circumstances (20.000 XP and upwards required per level).

I don't know what the average "quest per week rate" is for players around here, but with the rate I have seen (which isn't bad I should add, I feel like I have gotten my share of attention) the 1000 XP awards seem small.

On a server I used to frequent, quest XP was handed out using a DM wand tool which awarded XP based on character level. This served to give high-level characters a definite sense of progression, while avoiding low-levels rising a whole level from one quest.

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~Eow
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Totems Profile
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Re: High Level Advancement


It's difficult to predict how many quests per week we will see. There will always be fluctuation. I think in general DM exp should be higher, and perhaps more frequent for PCs who are online and actively contributing to roleplay, even if they aren't in an event at the time. By design higher levels are supposed to take longer, but there's no need to make them take years. This will especially be important with epic progression reliant on DMs

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Isania Jalitana- The Huntress (and Mistress Egofantastic.)
Calisto - Gryphonrider
Nyx Talonbite- Amazon Crystal Champion of Death By Snu Snu
11/2/2013, 1:19 pm Link to this post Send Email to Totems   Send PM to Totems Blog
 
Sabella Profile
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Registered: 03-2013
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Re: High Level Advancement


Seems like every server jumps through hoops over these things and for the life of me I can't understand why anymore. We have all leveled up endless amounts of characters by now and I would hazard to guess that the experience has long since lost its luster.

So why are we all still doing this dance?

Why not just give people enough XP for level 20, let them build what they want to build, and balances all spawns for that level?

It makes everything so much easier.

Have some other motivation for dungeon delving that isn't XP. Stop having to worry about how much XP you give out on a DM event and do it for the fun. Stop having to worry if your high level ubermonsters are going to instakill some lower level tagalong.

We have been so conditioned on the level up grind part of this game that no one ever stops to consider any alternative to it.

Radically rethink how servers work and save yourself headaches in the process.

Last edited by Sabella, 11/2/2013, 11:34 pm
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Totems Profile
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Re: High Level Advancement


While radical means of approaching leveling are great, I've played on servers with a single set level before. The end result isn't as grand, universally it seemed to just be more stagnant.
There is something valuable about progression, I think, in helping grow a character in RP as they also grow in power.

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Characters:
Isania Jalitana- The Huntress (and Mistress Egofantastic.)
Calisto - Gryphonrider
Nyx Talonbite- Amazon Crystal Champion of Death By Snu Snu
11/3/2013, 3:38 am Link to this post Send Email to Totems   Send PM to Totems Blog
 
Eowomyrill Profile
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Re: High Level Advancement


In the end, XP progression is a great motivator for people to log on more frequently than they would otherwise.

I know for a fact there are a lot of players here who have taken long breaks from NWN and for us (allow me some generalization) getting high level characters is part of the fun. It is not the only motivation, but ignoring it would be dishonest.

Allow me to share with you an idea that is integral to D&D and that a lot of RP servers seem to forget about; once your character reaches the highest level, he or she should retire.

The problem with fast high-level progression is two-fold as I see it. 1; it creates a lot of max-level characters who have no further options for advancement. 2; everyone ends up being "hero level" and if everybody is a hero, no one is.

For a NWN server project I conceptualized with some friends some years ago, we tried to make this integral to the experience; upon reaching level 20, the character progression would stop. If the player wished to advance further, he or she should submit an idea for a plot line that would result in the character putting his mark on the world, and disappearing in the process. This 'disappearance' would be open to interpretation; did the character sacrifice his life? Maybe he just retired to live a quiet life? Travelled the planes? Step back to train the new generation of heroes? Become a God?

The idea with this system is to have a definite and formalized incentive for retiring high-level characters. Avoiding a permanent epic-level "senior squad" and instead motivating such players to start new characters, to keep the social dynamic fresh and interesting.

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~Eow
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Lanthar Profile
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Re: High Level Advancement


I think lvling should be slow, atleast abow 15 as it is.
I am going to be honest and say it has been a motivation for me to grow in lvl, but i never wanted to do it fast.(Took Lanthar around 9 years to get to lvl 23)
I have played here for many years and spent so many hours on my characters.
I think it would be unfair if someone would end up at the same lvl as my character directly after character creation or well (3 lvls behind).

If everyone started up as a lvl 20 character, they would need massive background stories full of great acomplichments, if not we should just make all the commoners on the server around CR 20 aswell.
But isnt it a part of making a character to have him weak at start but working his way to get a reputation and eventually be called a hero if he manage to survive along the way.
What would motivate people if their characters had fullfilled all their gosls at start?

I think what is needed is to give those who havent acomplished all their goals yet some space to do so. maybe the epic characters should take a step back and be in the background of things, step in when all others fail.

Maybe the problem is that all treaths on the server is all CR20+ making it impossible for mid lvls to make a change.
These type of treaths will always appear now and then.
But perhaps we shouldn't make the leader of the invading orcs higher then lvl 12. because a lvl 12 character should still hold quite alot of power.
Make the treaths what they are instead of shaping them into a chalenge for everyone
I don't think Elminster telepororts in everytime a band of goblins try to attack Shadowdale.

Announce lvl range on certain quests.
Example.
Orc Troubble in Bodkin lvl: 8-14
If the heroes on the quest can't handle this on their own they can go and look for help from the known orc slayer Deyerth that will come and slice them to oblivion with his scyte as a last resort.

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Totems Profile
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Re: High Level Advancement


A system to reward permanent retiring of high level PCs would be cool but I don't see it being used by any large number of people. (That certainly doesn't make the idea without merit. I might look into something of that nature soon.)
I completely get that everyone has their own idea on how to handle progression, and new ideas are always welcome, but radical changes aren't likely to come quickly. The points Numos outlined are what we are looking at doing soon.

Lower level PCs making a bigger impact on storylines can be a focus of the DMs, but I think it helps if its a group effort. If a bunch of level 12-16 PCs are about to go on an event, consider switching to someone lower level or sitting out, rather than bringing along a level 19-23 character. A great deal of the time I've had to push monster power/levels up to accommodate for a single high level to keep them from walking all over my spawns. If you do this to help make the event better for everyone, I'd be happy to run something your level later to make up for it.

I can set level caps on quests, yes, and if I do so, there won't be a 'last resort' of calling in a high level character. I think that would cheapen the effort players made, even if they lost, they'd win on virtue of having someone else clean up their mess.

Keeping that in mind, I also don't want to expect all epic PCs to start playing background roles. While some may certainly be nearing a mentor state in their growth what made them epic was their deeds, and those don't have to stop just because they hit level 21.

I think also (sorry early 7am rambling emoticon) that on big, server changing events like the Barghest, being low level does not negate the impact you make. Isania wasn't epic (or anywhere near it) for the death of the Huntress. A great deal of characters who were along for the Barghest were sub 15, but their efforts were stoll recognized and rewarded.

Last edited by Totems, 11/3/2013, 1:53 pm


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Characters:
Isania Jalitana- The Huntress (and Mistress Egofantastic.)
Calisto - Gryphonrider
Nyx Talonbite- Amazon Crystal Champion of Death By Snu Snu
11/3/2013, 10:10 am Link to this post Send Email to Totems   Send PM to Totems Blog
 
Eowomyrill Profile
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Registered: 11-2004
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Re: High Level Advancement


quote:

Totems wrote:

A system to reward permanent retiring of high level PCs would be cool but I don't see it being used by any large number of people. (That certainly doesn't make the idea without merit. I might look into something of that nature soon.)



I think it depends a lot on how it is done - there are loads and loads of variables to tweak in such a system. I don't expect it to happen overnight, should it be something you wish to experiment with; but I'd be glad to discuss the system we devised back then if it has any interest.

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~Eow
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