Concept: Levelling Backwards

Discussion in 'NOTD Discussion' started by Ability, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. Ability
    • Development Team
    • NOTD Creator

    Ability NOTD Creator

  2. Lord NiteShade
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    Lord NiteShade NOTD Staff: Wiki Founder/TeamSpeak Admin

    Its an old trick, start the player strong, then take that power away after they've experimented with it.

    I think Metroid pioneered the concept. In every Metroid game (from old SNES titles to the modern Metroid Prime trilogy) the player starts with "most" of their core powers. Basic versions, ie, a missile launcher instead of "a 5x shot lock on missile launcher" but its far powerful compared to what always happens next.

    Typically the first boss is either A: Powerful enough to destroy environment during/after battle (Ie, crashes ship, activates volcana, ect) or B: is the Final Boss/Final Boss Main Henchman, and in case B they usually escape/flee rather than die. Anyways this triggers a run/escape sequence where the player looses all their armor's power aside from basic functions.

    Over the course of the game, player's regain earlier, more familiar powers, becoming even stronger than they were at the start. Having play tested most major skills earlier, you already have some mastery of them. By the end of each game you are a powerhouse armed to the teeth, with more weapons and powers you could have believed were in the game based on the start.
    Also, yes, the Warpig model's visor is HEAVILY inspired by Samus Aran's visor.
  3. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    It's interesting that he mentioned Metroid Prime in the article. I was actually thinking of CastleVania: Symphony of the Night. That was the first game I played that really had something like that.

    Unless you count Lufia: Fortress of Doom, during which for the first 15 minutes of the game you control the previous generation of Heroes at the end of their quest, all fully decked out and putting a hurt on the final bosses.

    But anyway, CastleVania: Symphony of the Night. If you haven't played it, first you have a short little bit where you play Rictor Belmont and have a little scuff with Dracula. But then you appear as Alucard, who is fully decked out, everything you face dies in one slash, nothing can stop you. Then Death appears and steals all your power and items, turning you into a little bitch that has to hit enemies about 3 times as much as they need to hit you to kill you. Common, weak, trash enemies at that.

    I mean I can somewhat understand what he's getting at. Game designers lately seem to be lazy bastards. It's usually set up to try and reward Grinding instead of Challenge. Because Grinding adds hours of gameplay that fair challenge doesn't necessarily. And hours of gameplay does matter. About every game review I read that comes up. Sometimes as "replay value", but they're talking about sheer hours you can put in.

    It's a lazy, simple process. Instead of having to figure out some wicked challenge that forces players to evolve in some way it's a lot easier to just put some Grind Marker up and tell players that they need to go back and kill random sewer rats or bandits until they are ready.

    The problem isn't really a matter of leveling up or leveling down. It's a problem of making it so "Get more XP" is not the solution to every problem.

    As for the idea of leveling down and getting weaker? It could work. It could be interesting. I disagree that it would work out for MMOs. Griefers, being jackasses by nature, will just constantly be making new characters to constantly grief. I think Griefing would actually flourish instead. The logic that Griefers are gaming veterans who are getting bored is inherently false. Newbies given a chance will grief too. The only reason it's almost always an oldbie who's griefing is merely because you had to be an oldbie in order to get all the power gear/skills in order to do so.

    As a storyteller I'd be fascinated to see a storyline where the player gets weaker and it's not some arbitrary system. Not "I killed 20 bandits so now I am weaker" but it came from some benchmark like titanic boss fights or truly harrowing challenges.

    I might play that game. But it'd be entirely based around the execution of the story and the setting instead of the mechanics of it. I do buy some games for that reason so it's not outrageous. Just that I think it's a more narrow demographic.
  4. Lord NiteShade
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    Lord NiteShade NOTD Staff: Wiki Founder/TeamSpeak Admin

    Best way I can think of is to use a fantasy setting. The player is some great/mighty hero. As the game begins he is at his physical prime. However, the character (and player) are relatively inexperienced and a lot of their strategy is just strong arm through everything in sight. As the story progresses, the player becomes older and more feabile, but not necessary weaker. As the player has played, he has learned. In theory after hours and hours of gameplay, he has mastered most ingame combat, has extensive knowledge of enemies and their weaknesses, and a wealth of other useful knowledge. So the player (and character) transition from a more A-typical "Kill the dragon, save the princess" smash n crash hero, to a kind of "Badass Old Man" figure. In his old age he has become more physically weaker, but his knowledge of his world and mastery or conventional combat more than makes him a match for his younger incarnation.

    The problem would be having an interesting story, making the character human, realistic, and likable, and lastly, making the progress a fun honing of skills, not just an arbitrary difficulty increase.
  5. ArcturusV

    ArcturusV New Member

    Jesus Christ syndrome. Possible blasphemy aside (And drawing from stories that exist). Born with this halo of light, ripping a new star into existence with just his birth, chorus of angels singing his praises. Goes to becoming a brat of a kid who uses his miracle powers to show off, prank, and generally be a smartass cocky bastard. Mellows out as he gets older. Relies on his wisdom and will more than popping off miracles.

    Sure, you can take out the religious messages in there and have the basic structure for how something like that would work.

    I could see it working for more modern/Sci-fi settings too. Particularly say a 40k thing, as Technology there is all black box, we don't know how it works or how to fix it, stuff. You start out with all this gear. As war goes on more enemies are drawn to you but you are steadily losing gear over the course of battles. You end up maybe going from some punk Inquisitorial Stormtrooper decked out with all the gear the Inquistion can get by flashing a Rosette, to being someone with just a las pistol and your wits, with a legend so hardcore that Orks from across the sector are WAAAAAGHing just for the sheer thrill of facing you in battle.
  6. fox

    fox New Member

    PERSONALLY I don't like the concept.

    I think this guy got his Hollywood movies mixed up with games. The scenarios he described suits most hollywood action movies, where the hero starts with his full health and condition. The hero gets wounded gradually and end up in the worst possible shape when he faces off with the final boss; then somehow pull off a miracle and saved the world....sounds familiar?

    Watching a movie/anime is different from playing a game imo. Similarly if you apply the same leveling up logic to movies people will just complain about the movie being bland and predictable. However when I'm playing a game, controlling a character, I would like to feel a sense of growth and accomplishment, eg doing more physical damage or powerful spells as the game progress. Sure, the game needs to offer more challenges as it progress but taking away my hero's ability one by one is just.....unsatisfying. Handicapping the hero is only one form of challenge and it should not be permanent in a game, not to mention doing it over and over.

    The author of that article thinks that it "make sense" to level down and that confirms my speculation that he got movies mixed up with games. The only scenario where I see his concept may happen is in a multi player game, if a hero is badly damaged he gets to kamikaze for the team and that's about it.

    Just my 2 cents...

    P.S. Forget about "making sense," personally I enjoy exaggeration far more than something that makes sense:

    Warning: Violence/grotesque content
  7. Peerawatz
    • Development Team

    Peerawatz NOTD Staff: Sound Mixer and NOTD Troll Chieftain

    You guys forget Arthas in Frozen Throne XD

    He's getting weaker and weaker every single mission until he's back at level 2, then he has to race his level fighting against enemies with 3 lv.10 heroes XD.

    Basically the story is, Arthas powers came from the runeblade Frostmourne, which was powered by The Lich King, at the start of first misison you appears as level 10 Death Knight, but then it appears Lich King is losing power, thus also weakening him, after this, every mission he will lose 1 level at the start, and another level on a cutscene in which Lich King contacts him, warning him to return to Northerend before ALL WILL BE LOST ! THE SCOURGE WILL BE UNDEA.UNDONE.

    On the final mission, Lich King will grants all of his power to Arthas, allowing him to level up again (but not upgrade you to level 10 suddenly), and you have to grind your level back from lv.2 back to lv.10, mostly by gangrape Kael'thas cuz he's Lv.10 Bloodmage who can be easily raped by mobbing him up and gains shitloads of exp :D.
  8. fox

    fox New Member


    The way I read that article is that the author emphasised the idea of levelling backward ALL THE WAY so when you face the final boss the hero should be his WEAKEST state. No bull crap power up.

    I'm all for reclaiming lost power and stuff but not getting weaker all the way till the end...

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