Segregating Player Power

This is sort of a compromise that is made when the disparity between high and low power players is too great for a truly cohesive system to handle.  Unfortunately this never works very well either.  The basic idea is to force players of varying power levels into different regions, e.g. high-level land, newbie land, uber land, etc.  Generally the solution is to limit certain hunting grounds to players that are (theoretically) within the power curve of the enemies found in that area, like a dungeon that restricts access to players of level A to B.  There are three basic problems with this system:

  • It effectively makes the world smaller for every player, as the potential explorable landmass is restricted.
  • In most cases, safe zones like towns are still open to everyone, so the trickle down of unbalanced equipment cannot be stopped, raising your power curve for lowbies and encouraging twinking.
  • It mandates something like a level-based system (or one based on total character point value) which, in addition to being a silly artifice with its own set of problems, is not a decent barometer of actual player character survivability, punishing characters who spend more time on noncombat activities and associated skills.

A compormise solution I came up with during one of my numerous pointless eternal arguments with Allerion involves a variable power limiter built into the structure of the game world.  The idea is to separate the game world into various "planes" or "regions" that allow for varying levels of total player potential.  For example, in Great Britain player characters have a reasonable power limit, and once you reach your potential cap, you cannot advance further in terms of raw prowess, though you can pursue things like construction and baronages if the system allows for this.  However, step into the land of the Fey, and you can keep improving to normally superhuman levels, returning to your normal power cap when you step back into Great Britain.  Thus, you allow the power player to go forth and be Superman in a dangerous realm full of enemies that merit such levels of power, but in the "real world" the character can still enjoy the challenge of the Pict invasion, fighting side by side with his not-so-uber comrades.  The drawback of this (besides code to scale down characters when they return from the Fey) is that it necessitates the use of a cheesy black box like "high mana area" or "different physical laws" to explain why people can become godlings in one area but not another, and the tracking of 2 or more sets of attributes for every player character.

3 Responses to “Segregating Player Power”
  1. Actually, individual players would need only one set of attributes. You can set up an algorithmic difference between the “planes” – for example, the maximum attribute in Britain is 15 – in Feyland, make it max 30. Then, Feyland characters have their attributes simply halved when visiting Britain. The next area could have a max of, say, 45. Divide by three for Britain, and by 1.5 for Feyland. Fairly simple. The only issue here is if a player of power 15, in Britain, reaches power 16 in Feyland, then returns to Britain, he’ll mysteriously only have power 8, despite having been 15 slightly earlier. Could be justified through another black box – “energy drain when plane-shifting”, maybe?

  2. “The only issue here is if a player of power 15, in Britain, reaches power 16 in Feyland, then returns to Britain, he’ll mysteriously only have power 8, despite having been 15 slightly earlier.”

    Umm, that’s fairly significant. The point of arbitrary power caps by region is to allow player A, who powergames a lot, to team up with player B, who doesn’t, in an arena where player B is comfortable operating at a competitive level. Let’s say Britain is capped at level 15. Player A has long since gone into Feyland and has gotten to level 20, but gets a call from player B (level 13) who wants to go adventuring in Britain. Player A returns to Britain and is capped at 15, and they go off hunting rabbits or whatever. Cutting player A to 10 is pretty harsh and disincentivizes him to ever return to Britain, and then you have the same problem you have before, inability to team with players of disparate playstyles.

    Note that the use of levels in the example is for simplicity’s sake. I dislike level systems in general.

  3. I am wrestling with this concept at the moment. A suggestion would be to have the realms negotiate the numbers between the realms. So everyone knows when you go from Realm A to Realm B you will be nerfed by 2, but the exp you gain there will transfer back at a rate of 10:1 but if you go to Realm C, you get buffed by 4, but none if the exp OR loot is transferable back, because Realm A guys think that Realm C has too much powerleveling. You can still play it, but whatever you gain there would stay there.

    So question would then be, could you send a clone, which would stay there, while your original toon stays in first realm? Well, Realm A may allow it, because hey, not like clone is ever coming back, and Realm C may allow it, because ‘players are players, bodies are bodies’. Or they might not allow it.

    Realms which players like to play in, and behave in a manner to encourage players will thrive, and realms which don’t, won’t.

    That is the idea anyway.

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