« on: March 05, 2012, 05:36:46 PM »
Long post, there is a TLDR/conclusion at the bottom.
I'll start off with a few of my opinions so you have perspective on where I'm coming from:
RPGs like Xenosaga/FFXIII: Annoyed by the fact that the fields are set up to encourage sneaky fight avoidance, yet the level up system is set up to encourage fighting them. I ignore the stealth and enemy avoidance options and fight for maximum EXP. Some lost potential in the game design, but still fun.
Stealth games like the classic Metal Gear Solid: Love the fact that encounters are so difficult and punishing so as to reward stealth. The reward and satisfaction for killing an enemy comes in the form of easier navigation of the map, not exp or items. The satisfaction is equally great when you can navigate an area without killing.
Isometric perspective action games/RPGs like Diablo: Love, love, LOVE grinding and the sense of progress you get by getting small amounts of exp and gold for each kill. I generally explore every map to its fullest and kill everything I find. Even more rewarding to find rare drops.
So I guess you can say I am capable of enjoying any game the way it was meant to be enjoyed. These days though, the isometric style action rpg leveling system seems to be finding its way into more and more types of games. Thats a good and bad thing, depending on your perspective.
To me, at the very start, AVWW feels like the kind of game that should have a leveling and grinding system, and it will be confusing to new players why one does not exist. As you get deeper into the game though, the player can realize why the game doesnt have one, and doesnt need one. That being said, if the primary goal is to hook new players, the game should have some form of reward (no matter how trivial) for killing random monsters, for the sole purpose of establishing a sense of progression with every action you take in the game. If the goal is to keep the spirit of the game intact, that system should also not encourage endless grinding by providing endless incentive to do so.
For the purpose of maintaining the design of the game and making it fun for long term players, I think the solution lies somewhere along the
lines of making it more desirable to avoid random enemies, to the point of giving you a sense of accomplishment from avoiding them and "getting on with the game" rather than having a trivial reward for wasting time fighting them (you could easily explore the map faster yourself than by grinding enemies to have a scroll to do it for you).
So, I propose a best of both worlds solution: a rubber band system. There are several ways it could work, and therein lies the true beauty of it. For the sake of keeping the spirit of the game intact, the system should probably affect only the player's interactions with the random enemies, and not with bosses. To me, a good rubber band system is one where you are incentivized for keeping the slider in the middle.
One example would be, at the left side of the slider, the player has moderately reduced stats (this could be explained by the glyph not being fully attuned to its owner yet). Not an ideal situation. As the player kills monsters and moves towards the center of the slider, he gains his stats back, until they are at normal levels. If the player continues to kill lots of random monsters, the slider moves past center to the right, and something bad happens, like monsters getting stronger, or the player's stats going back down. If the player is on the right side of the slider, it will slowly "rubber band" back to the center as they explore new areas and successfully avoid killing too many monsters (other things could cause the rubber band effect too, not just exploration). It's debatable as to whether or not the slider should ever move back towards the left past center except on death.
Another example would be giving the player an ambient light charge for being in the center of the slider.
Another would be making the monsters drop more health orbs at the center of the slider.
Another would be giving a minor consciousness shard or upgrade stone income for being at the center of the slider.
If you wanted to go crazy with it, you could even allow the player to "equip" themselves with different sliders, or even unequip them entirely if they dont want to bother with it.
The point is, it would be best if the player were rewarded for killing monsters to a point, and then incentivized to avoid them, or penalized for killing too many, until they "rubber band" back to the middle of the slider. I think it would actually be kind of cool to feel "crap, I have to kill this enemy" in a few cases because of your slider position. In any case, an important component of this is that people see some kind of element of progression as soon as they start killing monsters, and wind up realizing the true depth of the game before seeing that the it is indeed not an action rpg at its core.