[MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when.

Travis Casey efindel at io.com
Sat Jan 2 14:59:06 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Tuesday, December 29, 1998, Till Eulenspiegel wrote:

> "All skill-based systems are level based.  It just takes a pendant
> and a magnifying glass to find them."  J Lambert.

> I've heard this argument before, and I wonder how many people agree
> with this sentiment?

> I differentiate level and skill systems based on whether the player
> gains HPs as they achieve more power as one of the prime measures.
> Sounds like an odd yardstick but it works pretty well.

For muds, maybe... I come from a paper RPG background, and many paper
RPGs don't even *have* hit points, so that doesn't work for me.

Personally, I'd say that a "level-based" system is one which

 (a) has levels.  That is, it has a single number or a small group of
     numbers which give a broad indication of the character's
     proficiency at what he/she does.


 (b) in which those levels are a major determinant of what characters
     are capable of.

Having (a) without (b) is not sufficient.  Note that the levels need
not be exposed to the players, so whether a game indicates a level for
characters or not doesn't tell us whether it is level-based or not.

Why require (b)?  Well, I'd like to point out that an economy can have
money without being "money-based" (e.g., if the majority of
transactions are still conducted by barter) and that a program can
have objects without being "object-based" (e.g., if the majority of
the program's work is done without reference to the objects).  Thus,
it makes sense to me that a game should be able to have "levels"
without being "level-based."

(For that matter, those who are arguing that many "skill-based" RPGs
can be considered "level-based" are implicitly arguing that an RPG can
have skills without being "skill-based".  Why not apply the same logic
to levels, then?)

       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'
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