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Column: 'A Journalistic Bent: Leveling Down'

In Jim Rossignol's latest 'A Journalistic Bent' column, he looks at the concept of levels in MMOs, suggesting that the idea of progression-by-level gameplay is essentiall...
In Jim Rossignol's latest 'A Journalistic Bent' column, he looks at the concept of levels in MMOs, suggesting that the idea of progression-by-level gameplay is essentially flawed, and that "the next generation of online RPGs should do away with levels entirely". In this extract, Rossignol explains the crux of his argument: "The point is that there are alternatives to the level-based structures. There are systems that are modular, organic, and even ones that hide the numbers. They don't need to completely collapse the way that these games work, but they can deliver new and interesting ways of interacting. In doing so they remove the gulf between players. With a level system there's almost no reason for a level 1 dwarf and a level 60 dwarf to interact - they might as well be playing different games. But create a game where the spread of powers and skills shallow but very wide, and even the most venerable player will need something that a newbie can do. A naturalistic approach is all that's required - don't make a sword too high level to use, make it too expensive to buy. Or make there be magic that is too sophisticated to learn, or technology that requires a lot of training before use." You can now read the full Gamasutra column on the subject for more insight on this interesting issue (no registration required, please feel free to link to this article from external websites).

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