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Netheril : Age of Magic

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Poll

Adding Epic Levels (21+); what is your prefered method?

Yes, Epic-Levels with unique abilities and the risk of potential perma-death.
2 (14.3%)
Yes, Epic-Levels with unique abilities and the risk of potential perma-death; however lives are only lost in PvP with players/DM NPCs not to wild monsters.
9 (64.3%)
Yes, Epic-Levels with unique abilities, but no risk of perma-death.
1 (7.1%)
Other (Place alternative as a reply)
2 (14.3%)

Total Members Voted: 14

Author Topic: Implementing Epic Levels  (Read 190 times)

Nomos

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Implementing Epic Levels
« on: July 18, 2020, 12:15:45 pm »
During the development of V2 we have been reflecting on the level range we want to bring into the new version. The intent is to keep the standard level cap at 20th, but allow characters to continue onto level 30 at an exceptional cap.

How we are currently thinking to do this is to have level 1-20 achievable through hunting creatures, questing, crafting and so forth. Upon reaching 20th characters will be unable to level up further but can apply to the DM team to progress to the epic levels, at which time they may continue to level as normal up until level 30. Characters who elevate themselves to the 'epic tier' will gain access to abilities unique to those in the epic level range, as well as being mechanically stronger, however will be assigned a certain number of lives (for example 5, though the number has not been finalized) which, with one lost per death, will culminate a character's permanent demise once all are depleted.

Summary:
  • Characters have to apply to increase their level after reaching 20th.
  • Characters who move into the epic levels (21+; ending at 30th) will gain access to unique abilities only accessible to epic characters.
  • Characters who increase into the epic levels will be given a set number of lives where one is lost each death. Once all are lost the character is permanently dead.

Going by this logic we can assume characters above level 20 are unique exceptional individuals who have a much greater weight in their actions but also a greater degree of risk. This is however a fairly big change so we would be curious to hear your thoughts in the above pole; or below by replies.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 12:44:46 pm by Nomos »
The avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote.

Aetrion

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Re: Implementing Epic Levels
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2020, 01:50:59 pm »
I don't think permadeath is a meaningful counterbalance to epic levels. People who want to retire characters that get too powerful will do so without a rule, but when you try to enforce it on people who want to keep playing at best they build the most unkillable cheesy munchkin character to avoid it, and at worst just go play another game.

As far as I'm concerned epic levels shouldn't be tied to losing your character, it should be tied to being a character that substantially contributes to the RP on offer in the world. You can do that by playing out a story that ends with the retirement of your character, but you can also do that by being a guild leader, a mentor, an agitator, or any number of things that give other people RP prompts to work from and cool stories.

If a character puts themselves into situations where death is the likely result and the player laughs it off and treats it like it can't happen that's IMO an entirely different issue that shouldn't be tied to epic levels or any other mechanical reward. That's just bad roleplaying and should be handled in that context.

Leyoz

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Re: Implementing Epic Levels
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2020, 02:31:50 pm »
Hi all - this is my intial thought because it is late her.

I agree with Aerrions comments that epic levels should be tied to RP. It should definitely be application only and the team should consider the application on the characters RP contributions.

That said I also like that is tied to permadeath. Adding risk, plus turn over so that the majority of characters on the server is not epic is a good thing on all counts. Also having an opt in system so that caters for all players is a good thing. It is for the DM team to decide the server vision, but I've always seen it as an inclusive place, but still with dedicated RP and real consequences. This rule bridges that line imo.

Voss

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Re: Implementing Epic Levels
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2020, 02:42:28 pm »
I'll start by saying that I'm an advocate for permadeath and retirement of PCs in general, it helps keep the stories going and prevents things from getting stagnant.

So I think permadeath is fine, and even necessary for powerful and grandiose characters so their stories can come to a conclusion. And not leave them as a sort of Elminster character who never dies and is always around to solve problems with their godly powers. I feel this is very important for a roleplaying server to keep the story going in any meaningful way, and to enforce consequences to a player's actions. We are given a lot of freedom to tell our own stories on this server, with that freedom comes the risk of things not always panning out the way we planned. Your character might die in an anticlimactic way but that risk in my opinion is most definitely worth it.

I am fine with the proposed system of epic characters having "lives" but I understand some players aren't. It needn't necessarily be done by that system, but epic levels characters should have an eventual end. Be that through either death or retirement.

Whatever is decided epic levels should definitely be kept behind an application.

TL;DR: Epic level characters should be held to a higher standard than non-epic characters and strife toward completing their story with eventual retirement.





« Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 02:44:57 pm by Voss »

Solomon

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Re: Implementing Epic Levels
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2020, 02:50:10 pm »
Quote
      This server has had a very significant problem in regards to late/endgame content and roleplay. Opting in for permadeath in order to mechanically have more levels/power is fine and all, but that means that there needs to be things to do at those levels. And not just three quests to repeat on the daily. It means active story lines that bring people back often enough to keep the community together. It means having some serious interaction between DMs/EMs and the players. There's not going to be any motivation to go into those epic levels if there's nothing to do and rerolling a new character will only be encouraged with having an active player base that has stuff to do, more than just an economy -- the economy will always flatline unless you're making some items unavailable and interesting new ones of a similar power level but different directions. Good luck doing so without power creep and/or running out of items.

      I like this place. I like the theme, the setting, and I do like the players I've encountered. But the interaction with DMs has always been difficult and all decisions have been obfusticated, hidden, undocumented, and there's even been miscommunication between the DMs when there were more active ones. You guys need to have change logs, you need to have some serious organization, and even though it's not a job in which you're getting paid, you guys need to approach it with professionalism and efficiency. If someone comes in, kicks ass with their own personal story, applies for some bigger DM story, goes into epic levels, and then either sits around because there's nothing to do or because their tickets/requests aren't being followed up on or aren't even being integrated into the server, they're not going to want to make a new character just to do the same thing. They'll just be on that high level character and socially roleplay until they are bored and move on.

      Permanent death is fine if handled well and if there's a draw to it. If it's just there to limit high level players who are already limited in the content they can enjoy and be rewarded for, then it's not worth it.
[Reposted from Discord]

      I do not personally think that permadeath is a bad solution or a good solution on it's own. It is the context in which it lies and the surrounding options and reasons that determines that. If this is designed to deter people from wanting to be high level (not consciously, perhaps), then it would be effective if seemingly pointless. The difficulty lies in creating an engaging end-game content that encourages the playstyles that you'd want to see from people at those epic levels. If you want them to roleplay important things, there needs to be important things that they can actually do and affect. If you want them to be mechanical monsters of strength and to be made a challenge point for other players, for events, etc. then you have to ensure that there's a reward worth having. And, generally, that reward is going to vary from player to player and character to character. Some are fine just with a title or acknowledgement. Some want fluff stuff like a house, custom npc junk, and some want crunch stuff like extra gear, powerful spells, what have you.

      If there is no reason for someone to play long enough to reach high levels (soft cap+no DM interaction/events/cohesion), then having permadeath will not entirely matter one way or the other. If there's a mechanical lag in entertainment, you'll lose people who want to stomp on things to pass the time. If there's a large story/roleplay lag in entertainment, you'll lose people who want to progress metaplots and intrigue. If there's a player base fallout in which most of the population up and leaves, be it because of either of the two previous problems or because the DM team cannot work together effectively and create an enjoyable experience with active ongoings,  then you'll lose out on the people willing to reroll and stick around. Permadeath is a big decision. It can be rewarding to those willing to make new characters and who want to make an impact. If there's no impact to be made or if the player has no interest in progressing into epic levels, then it's even more critical to have a mid-late game that they can enjoy without losing out on events and rewards. Otherwise you enter a trap. 'If you'd like to have more things to do and are bored, enter epic levels!' can really be interpreted as 'Well, you chose not to go in for permadeath, so you are just shit out of luck. Maybe roll a new character that will go epic, huh?'

      My response may feel like a non answer or some sort of attack, and I promise it isn't. My personal stance on permadeath is 'meh, sure, if there's reason.' But I just want to ensure that either outcome, there is activity to do, options to enjoy, and choices to make. If there's no reason for them to log on and keep going, regardless of opting in for permadeath/epic levels, then the system fundamentally fails and needs to be fixed. So, perhaps treat those who reach those levels as a sort of testing board. Eventually (I would think) the whole server will at least have gotten one character to this critical point and DMs need to stay aware and engaged at this level to ensure if the levelling process was enjoyable, if their time spent on levels was of an acceptable/expected/designed pace, if the things that they can do at those different levels was enjoyable. There needs to be a constant stream of feedback and of interaction. And it very much needs to be visible. Not just for the player base but for the DM team to accrue information and statistics and ideas so that they can keep making an enjoyable place!

Vydaera

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Re: Implementing Epic Levels
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2020, 02:58:44 pm »
First of all, I wanna say that I 100% agree with having to App for a character as they move into Epic levels, as they represent a change in tone and scale for a character's story. It's a very good idea for DMs and players to be on the same page as to where a character is going in regards to roleplay, and the transition to epic levels is the perfect cutoff for that to happen. It won't be every day that a character makes the leap, and making it special feels GOOD.

You know what doesn't feel good? Having control taken away from you. There is a big difference between collaborating with players to bring their story to a natural conclusion and someone's story coming to an unexpected halt for something they had no control over. Netheril's strength is in the connection the players have with major story events, and seeing the world change as a result of their actions. There is nothing about introducing the threat of Permadeath, epic or not, that is going to improve that advantage.

Putting epic levels behind a permadeath risk is a huge turn off for some players. It's akin to putting epic levels behind a paywall-I'll say it again for those in the back: USING PERMADEATH TO GATE PROGRESS IS THE SAME AS USING MONEY. Sure, some people are willing to pay the price to increase the mechanical power of their characters, but it feels just as dirty to those who cannot and will not.

I noticed a partial option in the polls, that only PvP deaths would count against your Lives- I have seen this work well on other servers, with the following caveat: PvP MUST be agreed upon by both parties. Some players live for the thrill of challenge and risk- that's absolutely okay, and I feel this compromise would allow the people that WANT that to find it with other like-minded individuals. What is absolutely NOT okay, is bullying. If consent is not required by PvP, some players will inevitably build a mechanically strong character to abuse others, and once it happens, that means every other player needs to build around that threat or just accept that their character can be taken away at any moment if one of the powergamers decides it. The absence of Consent has just as many problems IG as it does IRL.

A lot of players have strong views on this subject, and that's to be expected. In the end, I think the system that allows for the most player choice is the one that is best for the server, and from the list of options, that's probably the middle ground of PvP deaths counting towards character deletion. It lets the players that are interested in the risk involve themselves with others who also do, and for those that don't there isn't any unwanted predatory behavior.



Update after reading some of the other posts: If you feel the need to kill off characters so that they will constantly reroll to have lower-level people playing, you are going to steadily lose your playerbase. Players that want to finish their character arcs and move on to something new are just as valid as those that want to keep a veteran character around and tell more stories with it. Netheril should be a place where people WANT to keep telling their stories, not a place where they keep getting their stories cut short when someone else decides they are bored with you.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 03:07:08 pm by Vydaera »