“Micajah” Bye brought together a panel of
developers that explored the two main advancement systems
in current MMOs: leveling and skill-based progression paths. Due to the
discussion that these questions brought to the forefront,
to supplement the article
with a few more answers from the developers at 38 Studios, specifically
Lead Game Designer Travis McGeathy. Although he couldn’t talk
about the two systems because his game is still in development,
McGeathy did weigh in on two of the questions that the Ten Ton Hammer
staffers presented to the panel.
Skill-based systems offer a lot more customization for characters than purely class and level-based ones, but the additional options come at a cost. They not only make the overall game more complex and less accessible, but they can also introduce difficulties in communication between players; a cardinal sin for a community-driven game. Finding other people to play with becomes its own puzzle when looking-for-group messages read like a spreadsheet: "LFG: +300 in hitting things with a stick, +210 in not visibly bruising, and +357 in upsetting monsters"