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

Koster Koster
Tue Jan 5 12:02:20 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Travis Casey [mailto:efindel at io.com]
> Sent: Saturday, January 02, 1999 1:59 PM
> To: mud-dev at kanga.nu
> Subject: [MUD-Dev] Re: Levels versus Skills, who uses them and when.
> 
> 
> On Tuesday, December 29, 1998, Till Eulenspiegel wrote:

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

The question is whether levels are a measuring stick of power or whether
they grant power in themselves. In AD&D, levels grant power in
themselves. In UO, "fame" levels are a yardstick (of nothing much, I
might add, not that people care). But skills in UO have values that can
be treated as levels, if you so choose. Hence the point made by a poster
(whose message I just deleted & cannot find in my voluminous Deleted
mail folder) that UO's system has very amboguous advancement--a weakness
indeed.

Having clearly visible levels is a very good thing, because it allows a
clear path for progression for characters, and players really need that.
On the other hand, it can also be a bad thing because it limits the
scope of the easily perceptible game to whatever gets you levels. This
is why one of the first moves by those who want to broaden their muds
into areas other than combat is usually to give experience points for
doing things other than combat.

Rather than argue the semantics of what a "level" is, it seems like it
would be more fruitful to discuss methods of giving visible levels
without curbing the myriad ways of advancement possible. Thoughts?

-Raph




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