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Horizontal scaling, a new type of progression.

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion > Suggestion Box
Horizontal scaling, a new type of progression.

thewatcheruatu's Avatar


thewatcheruatu
06.05.2012 , 10:55 AM | #11
Speaking of grindy games...Age of Conan. But they did do something in their expansion that I thought was kind of interesting. The incentive to collect new gear from the new dungeons was to combat different sorts of enemies and also to add some variety to your statistical distribution, should that interest you.

So basically, most of the enemies in the expansion pack did the bulk of their damage with critical hits, so all of the new gear had some stat (I no longer remember what it was called) that mitigated damage from critical hits. So to put that in SWTOR terms, wearing a set of gear like that would probably be great when fighting a player who specced crit/surge but be weak against a player who specced power/accuracy.

Options. I always think those are better than a purely vertical progression. Of course, AoC made you grind to high heaven for that stuff and there were many, many other problems with the game, but that concept, at least, I did like. I do understand that horizontal progression comes with its own set of problems, but in the realm of PvP, at least, it's just plain stupid to have vertical gear progression for the reasons that have already been stated.
Project Broken Compass | Hapan Delegation

Riven's Avatar


Riven
06.05.2012 , 11:19 AM | #12
I fully support horizontal scaling and have done so ever since the forums opened. Sadly the devs chose the WoW route.

As another poster here in this thread suggested, I don't think it would be beneficial to retroactively remove the gear grind that is currently in the game since it would realy piss off the current player base who is in the majority enjoying this type of content. What could be done however is that going forward the gear progression as it stands gets piece by piece replaced with horizontal scaling rewards. This way, the existing gear and effort put in by the players would not be devalued. The best gear would remain the best gear, they simply should not add any more on top of that.

As far as reasons to engage in in content that is not tied to a gear grind there should be rare vanity items, rare crafting scematics, etc.. The focus here must be on rarity. In SWG for example, Mandalorian Armor wasn't a huge improvement in stats, but everybody that saw it knew that it took some huge effort to get and there weren't all that many people that actually had it. Braging rights are a massive factor in MMOs and I honestly believe it would actually lead to an increase in participation as compared to a gear grind.

Regarding PvP, the gear grind should be completely removed. Period. It was THE most stupid idea ever to even include it in the first place. PvP should always be about skill and not gear. PvPers are already a relatively small part of the player base so the focus should be in making it inviting for new players and vertical gear scaling is simply not helpful in that regard. Fact is that nobody enjoys content in which he/she get steam rolled without having a chance to compete. Instead there should be fun PvP activities offered like giving players ACTUAL things to fight over. Be it planetary control, access to a special flashpoint/operation, etc.. Something that motivates the community to colaboratively work towards a goal an not only for personal advancement.
Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

eclipce's Avatar


eclipce
06.05.2012 , 12:57 PM | #13
I'm pro horizontal, very pro and I agree with OP.

Gear should compliment your character (builds), not the other way around. I want to be able to develop and form/build my character with attributes, skills, talents, feats, perks and other advances, have a sertain look to the character and then gear up to maximise my pros, support my weaknesses or a mix and match approach depening on what "I" as the player want to be able to do.

Passive abilities, talents, feats perks etc is the way to go imho- and a trimmed down ability bar like we'll see in GW2, TSW etc is the future. Wich also gives developers the tool to create more interactive combat dynamics.
"you cannot kill what you did not create"

Majspuffen's Avatar


Majspuffen
06.06.2012 , 12:05 AM | #15
Quote: Originally Posted by Riven View Post
As another poster here in this thread suggested, I don't think it would be beneficial to retroactively remove the gear grind that is currently in the game since it would realy piss off the current player base who is in the majority enjoying this type of content. What could be done however is that going forward the gear progression as it stands gets piece by piece replaced with horizontal scaling rewards. This way, the existing gear and effort put in by the players would not be devalued. The best gear would remain the best gear, they simply should not add any more on top of that.
Yeah, or perhaps add it in an expansion in the future or something. It kind of worries me that we're seeing a raised level cap announced already but , who knows, it could be a blessing in disguise and transition the game into horizontal scaling? One can always dream. ^^

Quote: Originally Posted by Riven View Post
Regarding PvP, the gear grind should be completely removed. Period. It was THE most stupid idea ever to even include it in the first place. PvP should always be about skill and not gear. PvPers are already a relatively small part of the player base so the focus should be in making it inviting for new players and vertical gear scaling is simply not helpful in that regard. Fact is that nobody enjoys content in which he/she get steam rolled without having a chance to compete. Instead there should be fun PvP activities offered like giving players ACTUAL things to fight over. Be it planetary control, access to a special flashpoint/operation, etc.. Something that motivates the community to colaboratively work towards a goal an not only for personal advancement.
I can only speak for myself but before 1.2 and even after 1.2 I haven't ever played pvp for the gear. I've picked it up, certainly, but it wasn't because of the farm that I played. It was because it was fun, and I still think that it is fun and that's why I'm playing. However, it's also the reason why I'm not very enthusiastic about rolling alts.

I may be alone in feeling like this but, let me know if you feel similarly. The reason I've always stuck to one character in games with vertical scaling is because of the inevitable gear grind. You invest a lot of time simply to be competitive and, while that itself may sound good, it really prevents me from levelling alts. SWTOR has got the story aspect at least so if I reach level 50 and end up not playing the alt in the future, then at least I've experienced the story. But it's kind of sad that I can't try a new class at end game without having to invest months into gear grind. I suppose you could argue that it's possible through 10 to 49, but I scoff at that statement. Explain that to a new player and expect him or her to be hyped about SWTOR's endgame.

There are other rewards to show for having invested time and effort into your character. The Rakghoul event for example. I only have the codex entries and the titles from that event on one character, making her feel more complete than my others. That doesn't affect the gameplay. Then there's statistics, such as valor ranks and MVPs received and warzones won etc.

VegaPhone's Avatar


VegaPhone
06.06.2012 , 07:09 AM | #16
Horizontal progression in not new its basically a sand box feature to make the crafting system, and drop items work together in a simulated reality. Sand boxes by default adapt a horizontal progression.

However, even in sand boxes there is a few rare items which slighty increase peoples advatages. So that has to exist as lure to get rare items.

The premise of horizontal scaling is 1. people are more on an eveining field. That foundation of logic is something I am very fond of, and therefore beleive something close to that should be in swtor. For example pvp gear is OP and varied from pve gear for lvl 50, to entry lvl pvp, to WH gear. Those are big differences. Also there are only a few tiers in between the long grind. And to emulate a horinzontal grind with pvp would mean at lvl 50 the gear does not vary too much and there are more tiers as well. That is something I would like to see in pvp.

For end game in general it would be nice to have more content that scales. If the content scales to our lvl and we can get rares which are beneficial for our lvl from any area, which are also unique to that area then it would be same benefit of horizontal progression. Thus at end game what ever the lvl cap is, is to introduce a system that brings all content to our lvl difficulty, and allows us to get special rewards which are unique... also in spirit of the horizontal progression all gear is close to the same capacity of effectivies for it designated class.

However, I beleive for such a system to be in place there needs to be more. Since it removes the carrot on the stick, or that grindish long term goal of themepark games by putting an over powered gear or weapon and making it a long time to attain... and replacing with close to everyone eles gear... then the alternative ius by going what is natural... and that is a sand box system of long term goals of housing/castles/seiging and conquering.

The only problem with implementing horinzaontal progression is that you remove the long term plan of themeparks, and there is not other long term plan in swtor to fill up that void. Which is unfortunate since themepark long term goals of getting the best gear is a boring grind, and not the same as the more rewarding goals of a sand box game with more realiztic and better simulated goals of a virtual reality with a complex crafting system, rare resources in dangerous areas, and guild cities, and expensive castles and areas that can be conquered for riches.

Majspuffen's Avatar


Majspuffen
06.11.2012 , 07:03 AM | #17
Quote: Originally Posted by VegaPhone View Post
The premise of horizontal scaling is 1. people are more on an eveining field. That foundation of logic is something I am very fond of, and therefore beleive something close to that should be in swtor. For example pvp gear is OP and varied from pve gear for lvl 50, to entry lvl pvp, to WH gear. Those are big differences. Also there are only a few tiers in between the long grind. And to emulate a horinzontal grind with pvp would mean at lvl 50 the gear does not vary too much and there are more tiers as well. That is something I would like to see in pvp.
Indeed. I think Bioware has done a great job with the recruit gear, but again it isn't fun to pay just to be suboptimial. And again, this makes it even harder on new players. Most players should be able to afford the pvp gear when they reach level 50 but I can understand that a large amount won't be able to. Perhaps they'll prioritize speeders or mats for crafting or [insert reason here] which means they won't be able to buy the recruit gear. Then they enter a warzone and immediately people will look down on them and tell them to get the recruit set first before entering a WZ, and more often than not they do so in a very rude manner.

I cannot stress this enough, if there's anything that scares away new players it's vertical scaling. It makes end game seem complex and the only way to catch up to the current tiers, in case of pve, is to grind flashpoints. Again it's the same damn problem we had in world of warcraft where the drops in instances were only useful for the fires tier of raiding.

Like you said, they could scale the content. That way the entire game progresses, but I think that's harder to achieve than just having a basic horizontal scaling where the reward is cosmetic items, titles and other bragging rights.

However, Taugrim touches this briefly in the video in my main post; one thing that could still serve as progression is set bonuses. Set bonuses doesn't have to be major or game breaking. Set bonuses that I really like are those that alters our abilities slightly. For example, on my operative I have a set bonus that gives my orbital strike one extra tick. So it strikes 4 times instead of 3 times. I have a set bonus that increases the range of my interrupt by 5 meters. I have a set bonus that increases my energy by 5. I have a set bonus that increases the duration of evasion by 1 second (from 3 up to 4). Then I can remember some set bonuses from other classes that I like; Sith warriors have a set bonus that removes the minimum range for saber throw. They have a set bonus that heals them for 8% of their total health when they intercede ETC. Have to stop myself ;P

If those things could only be achieved through pvp/pve then that could serve as progression. As long as the set bonus doesn't make too big a difference.


Also, here is another downside with Vertical Scaling:
Currently I have three level 50s. An operative, a jedi shadow and a sith warrior. My operative is my main and I consider my jedi shadow my alt. I don't have time for my sith warrior, unfortunately. It's not that I don't want to play him, it's just I can't put time and effort into three characters. Had this game had horizontal scaling, I would be able to play him as well, but alas... vertical scaling ftl.

ShavedEwok's Avatar


ShavedEwok
06.11.2012 , 08:09 AM | #18
For what it's worth, I 100% agree with Taugrim.

Being mainly into PvP myself, I think he often has good things to say and definitely knows what he's talking about.

Speaking of PvP, currently in SWTOR it's all about the gear grind and very little about actual skill. In other words, it doesn't really matter how skilled you are, if you don't have good enough gear you're basically screwed in post 50 PvP...which is also one of the main reasons why I don't find PvP as enjoyable anymore.

I think the current system (or the vertical scaling if you will) can pretty much be summed up in one word: Frustration.

Not being able to take down an opponent simply because he/she has better gear than you just makes it frustrating and annoying. It also makes the playing field uneven as participants aren't competing on an equal basis, since the one with the best gear will most likely win regardless of skill.

IMO this is a flawed system at its core. Proper competition should be based on your skill, not simply having the best stuff as it is now. The time you put into the game should be used to improve your actual hands-on skills with the game, not to grind the gear you need just to have even the slimmest chance of even surviving in PvP.

Thankfully it seems some developers are catching on to a more "horizontal" approach. For example, a lot of the interviews with the Planetside 2 devs seem to suggest that they are going for a progression system which at least sounds very similar to what Taugrim describes.

Again, I fully agree with Taugrim and would welcome this in SWTOR. However, I fear that it may not be possible to implement, mainly because everything in the game is so focused on the gear grind and it is such an important and intricate part of the overall system.

Bottom line: SWTOR = Gear > Skill.

And nothing I've seen so far seems to suggest this is going to change.

SE
80% less stupid

svartalfimposter's Avatar


svartalfimposter
06.11.2012 , 08:25 AM | #19
Mythic told us that Master Levels were horizontal advancement in DAoC. Strangely, it wasn't as horizontal as the already implemented Realm Rank system, but I digress.

I like the idea of horizontal advancement, but it isn't any less cookie cutter than vertical and means that people only do what they have to for the cookie cutter spec and don't touch the other stuff for the variety of gear/abilities - thus a lot of content is not experienced by these people.

I think the nearest thing we have to horizontal advancement is the amazing-looking, but awful spreadsheet gankfest: Eve Online.

If players need and have different roles within a team, then horizontal advancement can work, otherwise I think you will see the same old cookie cutter nonsense but also a lot more skipped content.
Quote: Originally Posted by killgorde
a great PvP game requires the devs only to facilitate and improve the environment within which the players themselves create their own content.

Pavixx's Avatar


Pavixx
06.11.2012 , 09:17 AM | #20
Yes. Yes times a million.

The best example of horizontal progression itemization is TF2.
There are the basic items everyone has, and then sidegrades of all sorts of variations that can be unlocked/crafted/etc

Imagine every sniper had a basic snipe shot that dealt 1000 dmg. You could unlock incendiary rounds that deal 800dmg and then 350dmg over 12 seconds, freezing rounds that deal 700dmg and apply a slow, explosive rounds that deal 500 aoe damage, etc
These numbers are obviously just made up on the spot but you get the idea... There is no clear best ability. They are sidegrades and let you fill whatever roll you want to fill in a team and let you gear your playstyle to your own liking.

This type of progression is far more fun to "grind" through because you don't feel you NEED to do it to be competitive. You do it because you want to try it out and flesh out your character to your liking.
Grinding towards something fun and cool is way more rewarding to grinding so you aren't terrible.

The other advantage is flashpoint/operation/whatnot balancing.
They can set up normal/hard/nightmare difficulties knowing how strong all characters will be. Its no longer a gear grind to be able to advance.
Nightmare is for hardcores willing to put in the time to practice and perfect execution of an encounter.
Having unique looking gear or crafting schematics drop from these harder instances gives players status as the elite (aka baller status) that truly sets them apart and that will never be cheapened.
(By cheapened I mean this: in wow we were alliance first to kill Illidan. We had status because our gear and people stopped to look at you because you had gear they could look up online.
Fast forward a few months and everyone had cleared BT and pugs were doing it weekly.
Our once amazing gear was now commonplace.
It severely cheapened the experience for me and is the reason I left wow. What we poured hours and hours into every night was all for a few weeks of being unique. )

People will often bring up that there is no reason to play a game when you aren't grinding gear.
I can tell you that this is false. I have 2000+ hours on TF2 because it is fun to play and learn all the difficult playstyles possibly with the different items.
Playing against other people on a level playing field is exhilarating and rewarding.
The progression you see will be your own abilities getting honed instead of your gear getting a stat boost.
When you beat that player 1v1 after weeks of him mopping the floor with you... you know its because you as a player got better. Not that his gear fell behind.

I've been saying for years that horizontal scaling is the breath of fresh air that MMOs need in this era of WoW clones. Idk who this Tagrim is but he's absolutely right!
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