Community Input - General Player Progression

BioXide

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Hey Guys,

I've been researching current/upcoming MMOs and I've had this internal dialogue that I would love to flesh out with some community input, I'll go over some points :

(Keep in mind this is just a brainstorming session and nothing here is official or being considered for the game)

- Would you like Mankind Reborn to have some sort of player progression?
- If yes, what kind of player progression?
- If no, why?

The progression can be combat/economy (anything really), if you want to outline different sections, feel free.

Also this:

- How can we prevent the game from becoming stagnant/plateauing after a few months? (In terms of progression)

- You can wear any equipment without restrictions, you can produce any item in the game, how can we keep this loop fresh for older players who've already went through everything?

- Should we have a system where the more you do a certain action (produce ballistic pistols), the better you get at it?

- Should we have an experience system where you gain ranks/levels/mastery based on anything you do? Mainly for bragging rights or other bonuses that don't impact the gameplay as much (Getting exclusive camos/color mods, cosmetics, etc)
 
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Shakespears

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I've never cared for skill systems or XP in FOM. The class system wasn't terrible but was pretty restrictive which led to many alts.

Shaping progression around a combination of money and faction control would be the most optimal. Having plenty of bonuses to be achieved from paying in game money or controlling territories/colonies promotes the continual push towards activity. There has to be extremely high costing options for people as they continually get richer and richer to spend their money on with real benefits. This could range from gear, upgrades, items, property, etc that has actual use and benefit besides just "looking different".

As for control, factions need extra desire to control certain locations besides just income. There could be bonuses to mining/production yields or speed. Unlockable upgrades when controlling more areas for their HQs or additions to the colony that can benefit the faction as a whole.

The last major piece of progression is Social/Faction. Often enough, people tend to drop highly in activity after becoming HC in a faction over time. There has to be additional avenues to go after being a r6/r7 in order to ensure player retention. This could be a number of things such as government roles, prestigious rank/positions in factions that hold no real power but honor them, easily promoted RP opportunities to take on a whole new gig, and even a special character remake that's designed to be like a hard mode with handicap but gives them a special title?

All in all, there has to be goals that take awhile to reach but not in grinding ways like levels. There has to be a desire to obtain some super rare or unique upgrade, some limited/rare/coatly collectable items, and generally have something to do besides fighting or eco'ing.
 

Tron

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As far as progression goes, Maybe take a look at DAoC's Realm Points as inspiration. Or possibly even having reputation be a sort of progression.

I like the original idea of having everyone be on the same page combat/crafting wise. I feel like a progression system is really needed to ensure player retention. Take a look at Fortnite, everyone is on the same page yet people keep playing week after week because of new skins and challenges.

I would propose a faction reputation system that would be a form of progression.
Whenever you complete a mission/objective set by your faction you get some faction points.
This could come in the form of crafting/taking an objective/completing an ECO contract etc.
These faction points would allow you to purchase certain equipment only available to people with X amount of faction points.

I would also like to propose some "challenges" or "achievements" that reward cosmetic/trophy items.
There could be daily achievements that give a little bit of credits/basic items and longer term achievements that reward housing/clothing/gun skins etc..

Also I would like to suggest that there be many different types of apartments that players can rent.
Having a decent player housing system that can be upgraded over time can also be a good form of progression.

All in all, MR seems to be in good hands and I have no doubt you guys will figure out something that will work for the majority.
 
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Shiro Ryoshi

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Regarding skills, if you make them finite game will stagnate eventually, if infinite it will turn off newer players later into the game's life. (EVE?)
As for combat, why do people fight? how do shooter mmos survive? idk, I don't play them. I guess haven enough people and give them reason to fight and you'll have loyal beeflords in the game.
Also thought of tournaments where there are global rankings, which are displayed throughout the world. Winning increases your score, loosing decreases, if not participating for a while it naturally degrades. While thinking about this, it reminded me of "employee of the month" some businesses run, you can do for every faction.
Also the whole fombat, it's a skill, a real one. One needs to invest time and master it. Maybe have something similar for ecoers. Most I can think of right now is more "free" schematics, like it only defines the basic idea of the item, rest is up to creator depending on components put in. Probably one of those ideas that sounds good but doesn't work, oh well.
Another thing to consider would be expansions. These sure to make players curious and come back to the game.
And lastly, content recycling. Best name I could come up with. In short allow others to create content based on your work. This can take the form of streaming, videos, memes, comics, etc.
Did I go off -topic in the last part here? ehh..
So to recap, any finite advancement system will at most delay the end. Going to infinity and beyond will create huge gaps between players. So the best way is probably keep expanding the game, adding new systems and game elements that will keep the veterans interested. Wohoo, even more pressure for the devs, congratz.
 

Cadonez

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Skills and Leveling Up:
Combat and Ecoing need to be standard from the jump. If you have the money to make it happen you have access to all of it. No skills or leveling, it was awful when implemented.
Achievements:
I agree there should be cosmetic rewards to completing a certain objective that requires time and effort. Skins, apartments, and clothing. MAYBE items for the hardest ones that are in limited in use (Special Alien eggs for say killing a queen).
Area Progression:
Upgrading areas and zones under your control is something that I personally do not like, but seeing as how it hasn't been tried yet it could be alright as a money sink.
Rankings:
There needs to be rankings either in game or offline (forums). Most kills, most deaths, most time logged in needs to be tracked and maybe special titles and rewards for achieving those could be implemented.
 

Winston

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I don't like the idea of skill based progression. If you have the social connections or enough money to acquire gear, there shouldn't be any magic game rule that stops you from using it. The restriction should happen at the production/buying of said item, everything that happens after that would be up to the players.
The way I imagine it, progression in MR should happen through money and faction ranks.

Money could buy you all kinds of stuff, from properties to gear or vehicles. But next to the generic stuff available to everyone there could be restricted items / properties / vehicles, these could be bought from faction vendors at very high prices and would be limited by rank.
For example: a huge luxury corporate appartment for high ranks of OZ / NSM / AE, an underground hideout for the Syndicate, a Megachurch for FoE, and more military/police headquarters for the high ranks of CPC/TDC/GotC.
Same idea for uniforms, armor and vehicles. Each faction should have its own specific gear but it should be expensive stuff available to very experienced players who want to show off, newbies would use generic gear as it is significantly cheaper.

Faction specific blueprints could also be a thing, only available for confirmed members who have earned the trust of the faction:
A more advanced mining tool only for North Star Mining, more efficient drugs for the Syndicate, Non lethal weapons/ammo for the CPC, Armored vehicles and better armor for the TDC, illegal modified weapons for the GotC (to counter TDC gear)... For FoE I have no idea what they could be producing as it is more of a ideology based faction.
Note: these faction or rank specific items should still be tradeable from player to player, so if someone wants to sell some faction gear to someone else they should be able to. It would be up to each faction to enforce rules around trading these faction/ranked items.

The thing with that kind of system without skills or classes is that we need a lot of money sinks to balance things out. Otherwise every player will end up being a billionaire with tons of gear in storage within a few weeks/months.
Traveling, using gear (decay), cloning, healing, paying rent if you don't own your appartment, maybe even feeding your character. (without overdoing it ((like DayZ)) otherwise its just a chore)
The idea being: playing the game should cost ingame money over time. You should always be looking for a way to make profit, this could push for more interaction between players as you need to participate in faction life and business to make money.
 
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NoahKirchner

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I've always enjoyed systems based entirely off of skill, for eco and for combat. A system of R&D and the ability to make unique weapons through minmaxing and careful development would be interesting, and would allow combat metas to be shifted by the work of eco factions with enough time/resources to put into making new weapons. I think the more open and the higher the skill ceiling is with eco, the better.
 

Hari Seldon

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- Would you like Mankind Reborn to have some sort of player progression?
Depends what you mean but in terms of mechanics then broadly no
- If no, why?
Not a fan of avatar player progression in the normal MMO style for MR, you should be able to use and produce anything from the start and hold any position in a group so long as you meet any other requirements set by that group to hold that said position. The game shouldn't stop you doing things within its systems, other people should because that is what a player driven game is all about.


Very much a fan of the idea of territory development unlocking high level functionality/advanced production/other advantages as this is creates variance of approach and requires collaboration though I wouldn't suggest a flat system of all map development spaces being of the same size and scope, probably shouldn't be able to develop anything anywhere to keep decision points for the powers that be in how they want to prioritise what.

Potentially it would be nice for a dedicated faction to work with the Devs to be able to over a long period of time dump in game resources off screen to turn a dust bowl outpost map into a shanty, into a walled hamlet, into a town that can them specialise on into a fort or production hub or marbled Capitol ect ect but that is an ad hoc thing that would have to be carefully considered and tightly controlled rather than part of systemic/automated progression of territory. No one wants WoW garrisons in MR.


Score boards of most X could be recorded within a faction for player use as a metric of prowess/need but have no mechanical enforcement. notMotB can post it in their ads to get more contracts if people tend to sort for that sort of thing when looking to hire, notFDC can derive combat ratings from it with the top combat department presumably getting the best gear, notBoS can use it for whatever criminal scum get up to, notLED can claim workers comp off the number of deaths they are subjected to ect ect

For most wanted lists would be nice to see notLED have more input into that based around how badly they want a person for the DeMorgans mining crew for various reasons rather than it being directly related to the number of times someone has ganked players or been scanned while traversing unclean.

If you had a more structured sort of combat league in some sort of half sphere that sounded like lightening then there would be another sort of ranking but that can always be player organised if it isn't implemented at the game mechanic level.

Also this:

- How can we prevent the game from becoming stagnant/plateauing after a few months? (In terms of progression)
N/A in terms of progression but in general; periodic adjustments of meta via introduction of alterations to and new instances of; maps, resources and items. I would favour very infrequent such patches but there are arguments to be made. Largely speaking players should keep things rolling by competing over the things they want which are in uneven distribution be that faction rank, legal power, rare natural resources, advanced production facilities, secure homes, defensible positions ect ect

- You can wear any equipment without restrictions, you can produce any item in the game, how can we keep this loop fresh for older players who've already went through everything?
The main point of a gun should be what you can do with it not that it is a new and sleek looking item, not that good atheistic aren't nice. The point for North Korea unlocking Nukes in the tech tree isn't because they are new, just swell to look at and provide a sense of pride in the achievement (though it is also all of those thing), the implications of their potential use is the main driver.

If an arms(/defence) race is in the offing then I would suggest the majority is based around providing options for situational niches rather than general case power creep to reflect the progress of technology.

- Should we have a system where the more you do a certain action (produce ballistic pistols), the better you get at it?
Not beyond the same way doing any action in the game helps you get better at it, so if there is a production mini game that effects some stats of the end product then hopefully doing it more often will mean you get better at it in the way the more you shoot at people hopefully the better you should get at it. Possibly there could be hidden info like batch size cost reductions but again that should be discovery based not repetition/grind based.

- Should we have an experience system where you gain ranks/levels/mastery based on anything you do? Mainly for bragging rights or other bonuses that don't impact the gameplay as much (Getting exclusive camos/color mods, cosmetics, etc)
I could see some sort of Achievement CV people can look at with maybe "title" or minor cosmetic rewards but it won't add that much in the way of "end-game" content. A bloated or open ended list to my experience tends to rather quickly loose the sense of achievement it is supposed to reflect.
 

Royoun

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Would you like Mankind Reborn to have some sort of player progression?

If by progression you mean raising numbers by doing tasks, except for money earned by real participation in the game economy and possibly promotions in faction rank earned by participating in faction efforts, I'm against it unless someone has any really good ideas that wouldn't violate the original spirit of FoM.

- How can we prevent the game from becoming stagnant/plateauing after a few months? (In terms of progression)

Expand the gameworld itself. Create new and interesting clothes, objects, weapons, or even technologies. Expand the story so that humankind discovers new worlds or colonies for factions to vie control over (maybe even take inspiration from Planetside in this area). Have apartments again as in FoM except make them customizable and continually release new furniture and ornaments. People loved having their own little place and people love customization, making things "their own." The possibilities are really only limited by imagination.

You can wear any equipment without restrictions, you can produce any item in the game, how can we keep this loop fresh for older players who've already went through everything?

Well, a big part of what made FoM what it was was that it was RP driven and "content," in terms of new situations and so on, was created by the players. Of course, to keep things fresh, I think it would be important to have new cities or expand existing areas, new items and cosmetic objects every now and then as I have mentioned above, but ultimately the appeal of FoM was the platform it gave to people to play freely and create their own life and adventures in the world.

Should we have a system where the more you do a certain action (produce ballistic pistols), the better you get at it?

In FoM, part of what made it wonderful was that except for equipment, I was effectively on equal standing with someone bigger than myself (wealthier, more experienced, etc.) and the most important thing that determined who would succeed in a firefight was skill with the mouse and keyboard. Of course I had very little so naturally I died often, but it was something that I really appreciated about the game that I was not weak because I hadn't sunk so many hours into the game, but because I was just so naturally unskilled at video games in general. Practice meant that your skill was your own, undetermined by points and levels and to me that felt much more fair, interesting and rewarding overall.

Should we have an experience system where you gain ranks/levels/mastery based on anything you do? Mainly for bragging rights or other bonuses that don't impact the gameplay as much (Getting exclusive camos/color mods, cosmetics, etc)

Except as a reward for purely cosmetic things, I don't agree with experience in any numerical form. Ranks can be gained by in-built faction systems and so on. FoM was unique because everything was decided by the people who played the game and not calculated numbers.
 
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Cammy

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- Should we have a system where the more you do a certain action (produce ballistic pistols), the better you get at it?

Bio, i think on this front, instead of people grinding to get good at everything, there should be a balance.

i.e the period of time youve not produced equals to a reduction in how much progress you have towards creating items quicker.

I.e if someone focuses on producing meds all week long, and they realise once a war comes allong - "theres a gap in the market for 7.62, i think ill focus on that" so they start producing something they dont usually do, which is at a slower rate, but if they continue making 7.62 for another week without producing meds, the quickness of meds attribute drops, unless you were making multiple different products at any given time.

The reason i say this - is its unsustainable for people to produce so many things at one time given funds/credits, and time getting raw and production materials, which gives a fair market gap for some people, and especially corporations who own colonies that can produce at better rates than say; a Gotc member who is manufacturing on a colony owned by someone else which would reduce the margins and profits in comparesen.

There is plenty of choice in the game for people relating in guns, ammo, armour, meds, implants etc - the higher the player count in the game the more of a market there is for ALL players producing their desired products, especially when factions are looking for beef.

I really beleive the game should have a balance to maintain a fair and competitive market for everyone.
 

BioXide

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Revisiting this thread, curious to see updated opinions after the pre-alpha has been live for half a year now.
 

Wilbon

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Mankind Reborn to have some sort of player progression?
Also this:

- How can we prevent the game from becoming stagnant/plateauing after a few months? (In terms of progression)

- You can wear any equipment without restrictions, you can produce any item in the game, how can we keep this loop fresh for older players who've already went through everything?

- Should we have a system where the more you do a certain action (produce ballistic pistols), the better you get at it?

- Should we have an experience system where you gain ranks/levels/mastery based on anything you do? Mainly for bragging rights or other bonuses that don't impact the gameplay as much (Getting exclusive camos/color mods, cosmetics, etc)

Bio from Discord:
personally id like to explore some sort of skill system like in eve although limiting the amount of skills the player can train to allow specialization, with the option of resetting skills back to 0 by spending UC



Yes, MR should have some sort of player progression, but I don't think mechanics for skills is the way to do it. Part of what was great about FoM was that the skills were by the player themselves, not some arbitrary stat that said they were good at something just because they did it a bunch of times.

The good fighters were good at the combat mechanics, the good ecolords had good organizational and preparation skills. Creativity, charisma, wits, etc should all be parts of the human that define the skills, rather than some stat on a server somewhere.

Skills of literally every kind will just lead to an unfair advantage that someone will have purely based on playtime. Add an endurance skill that at higher levels makes your stamina drain slower, and somebody at level 5 of that skill is easily superior than somebody at level 2. See: Tarkov skills. Why should that be the case? Plus, a skills system will just lead to XP grinding. Imagine people who just run around planets doing laps to grind their endurance skill up. That's not entertaining content.

There should still be progression, but in a unique game like this where we're toting player freedom, I think player progression should be based by leaning onto that. Mechanics for player progression should be designed to support those tenets, rather than define what player progression means. By that I mean, let players decide what they want to be their goal.

"I want to be the best fighter in MR". Supply mechanics that supports that. The Arena system. Track stats within that Arena. Implement that ranking system from that discord server into that Arena system. Blast the #1 Arena Ranked player on signs on various planets giving them a pseudo-celebrity status.

"I want to be a politician and make change in the game as one." Build a proper player-driven admin-overseen political system that allows players to campaign and/or acquire political seating, and allow them to inflict levels of mechanical and societal change all through their actions (in-game preferred).

"I want to own a player-ran business." Provide mechanics to support that, both for factions and civilians. Give them tools to manage their finances, their employees, their business operations. Perhaps mechanics that allow salaries, some sort of goods-trading system in which the buyers money goes to that businesses account (rather than the employee) and they get their item, while still having the employee as a middle-man. Etc, etc.

You can't possible account for every goal and motive that a player coming into the game is going to have or develop. It needs to be open-ended so that players can decide what their goals are and how to achieve them, and have mechanics that are broad enough to support all these different goals and the different ways players are going to try to achieve them.


Regarding Specializations..

There is a way to do specializations without skills. It just requires specific thought on those elements. For instance, hacking. Instead of having a game skill that players can train that makes them a better hacker, the minigame associated with it should be based in a real-world skill. Those who spend their time practicing and/or are naturally talented at it are going to be better hackers. Those who suck at them should be expected to fail regularly and probably not worth doing it. It should be truly challenging to hack, so that not everyone can do it.

Thus those who are good at it are naturally specialized. They're important because they are good at something most aren't. Someone can always become good at it by practicing and learning that themselves. They can then apply that skill in the game.

Regarding economic specialization, I think part of the problem is that it is simply too easy to be an ecolord. For the purposes of the playtest, this is a great thing. We should be able to produce items and UC with ease. In fact, we should be making more items and money right now than we currently are. Because in a playtest, the point is to test things so we can provide feedback. The more steps and time to do that, the less feedback is going to be gained.

But for the actual game, it should be much more challenging. In two wipes, I have been the primary supplier to the SYN faction pool, donating thousands of items to our faction, and way more than a faction of our size really needs even if we warred everyone constantly. And this was while we were the biggest active faction of the game. I did it mostly by myself, but even with assistance from my faction members the second time around, it only sped up the process, not made anything more of a possibility. As long as I had the financial capital to do it, I could easily shit out tons of gear. And we've all seen the pictures of HBNY's great stocks for GOTC.

That's where the lack of specialization is prevalent I think. It's not that there's no skills associated with it, just that shitting out gear as one man is really not that complicated or time consuming. If we can make thousands of pieces of gear for our factions in a week or 2 alone, a department will do it in a day. And an entire department can supply an entire faction on their own.

The actual methods to making ecoing more challenging and more based in specializations vary and honestly could be a thread of its own. But ultimately to get players to specialize in a particular market, there needs to be a real need to focus in one area, and there needs to be significant benefit to working as a team that isn't just a slight time boost. One person creating a handful of pistols to sell is okay, but I can shit out 100-200 in a day on my own when that should be a process for a department.

One more addendum; you've seen my threads about illegal production for SYN stuff. Part of the kicker to those ideas is that they're designed to be "production chains", so that rather than each individual person in the faction being able to run those rackets, they're designed for groups to work together. Everybody has a role to play in that process, and we're all depending on each other to make it work fluidly. Perhaps something in there can aid to the economic specialization angle.


To wrap up an already long post, I don't think the skills based system is necessary nor makes any sense. And if it's done half-baked it'll be even less viable. I think we as a community can brainstorm ways to develop opportunities for player progression and specialization that are not too rigid for player freedom and the likes.
 

Wilbon

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Heading to bed but wanted to leave this point here on the thread rather than lost in discord and so I don't forget it;

If we brainstorm enough, we can come up with a basis for player progression, and we have the opportunity to make room for both individual player and factional progression. When we did the Solari event with Chip, one of the nice things about it was that it gave every faction some goals to focus on. While fairly small in scope, it was nice. Unfortunately in FoM it rarely seemed like the faction was all working towards one unified goal in which everyone was chipping in, unless we were in war.

Perhaps not through a rigid system of admin-ran events or fully-fledged mechanics, but if we also approach the concept of player progression through the factional angle, it can have the same outcome. If there are ways for factions to have these long-term goals that require lots of daily work and is inclusive to everyone in the faction, you can spark a sense of progression both on a factional standpoint (i.e factions can have something to gain if they can work together and accomplish a goal) and a personal standpoint (i.e I helped my corporation do X factional goal by contributing and as a result for my work, they promoted me.)

You combine that with supporting mechanics so that individual players can decide their own motives and goals and be able to seek them over time through the methods they desire and there could be a good sense of progression there. Sort of a thing of having;

1. Wilbon's personal goals and progression as a character/individual through the methods he deems adequate.
2. Wilbon's contribution to the goals of his faction (or his family, in the case of SYN).
 

Banjo

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I don’t think much has changed, I still agree generally with the older threads, on no traditional numerical levels and bonuses. However, to give you more data to work with I’ll answer the original questions.

- Would you like Mankind Reborn to have some sort of player progression?
I like the current avenues of progression and would like to see them fleshed out more.
So no in the sense of numerical level progression and yes in the sense of accumulating wealth/status/knowledge/skill.

- If yes, what kind of player progression?
The current avenues are combat, economics and faction. Where Combat can be progressed through improving actually getting better at aiming, dancing and situation awareness.
Economics are progressed mainly through the accumulation of UC and gear/pmods.
Faction progress comes in the form of Rank, leading and maintaining the group, increasing faction pool/economics.
These progression avenues were plenty to keep me active in the alpha even with low pop.

- If no, why?
The traditional level system of RPGs does not fit with the gameplay of MR. The slow and incremental power increases, mainly serve as a pacing and reward mechanic. The pacing of content just doesn’t work in MR as all areas are sort of equal in importance, and all weapons are equal in power. This sort of evenly distributed importance and balance between areas and weapons are important to MR as the story of the game unfolds through the players actions and speeches. In a traditional RPG you don’t want the player to randomly stumble upon the final boss or the final story NPCs because it would ruin the storyline, and thus the player needs to be paced through the content for it to make sense and so the player experiences all the important story elements. This kind of content gatekeeping is just not necessary in MR. Rewards on the other hands are of course necessary to motivate and interest the player. However, plenty of rewards can be and are given in the current avenues of progression. If you eco a lot you will be rewarded with a lot of resources, if you fight a lot you will be rewarded with loot and bragging rights. If you lead a faction you lead your faction well you will be rewarded with fame and colonies. This is why MR shouldn’t have a traditional level system, it does not match the sandbox storytelling.

Before continuing I want to touch on specialisation through limitation which is sometimes added to level systems in MMOs. Specialisation incentivises people to fracture the gameplay into closed groups that need to cooperate to increase progression/productivity. This is good in an MMO as it serves as a way to drag people into social settings where the rest of the game mechanics can flourish and enrich the player experience. So I’m all for player specialisation, however, specialisation does not need to be in a levelling system. It can just as well be mechanically introduced through role or slot restrictions or through action chaining.
Introducing a traditional level system for the sake of specialisation will just make it feel tagged on and out of place, as the meat of traditional level systems doesn’t match the gameplay as detailed above.


- How can we prevent the game from becoming stagnant/plateauing after a few months? (In terms of progression)
Balance and Content changes/ additions.
If the game is balanced and the mechanics incentivise player interaction and environmental change, then the game will continuously offer to change meta perspectives and challenges for the player to deal with. This is hard and FOM did not have this nailed, as prolonged peace and war periods would drain/frustrate/bore people either through over stimulating them with combat or by providing little to no content.
Could an artificial numeric levelling system keep player retention in downtime periods for very little development cost? Maybe. Would it be the preferred and net-positive solution? I doubt so.
New environments and new mechanics and new items are good ways to respark players rejoin the game. Providing new tools in a sandbox environment can yield exponential increase in possibilities but comes at the cost of development time and balance. New content is always necessary for the long run, but at the core, the main gameplay loop needs to be solid to not bore the players.

- You can wear any equipment without restrictions, you can produce any item in the game, how can we keep this loop fresh for older players who've already gone through everything?
This is in the vain of the question above, but I can go deeper into specialisation as the questions seem to hints towards. The specialisation can be done in at least 2 ways: 1) through power restriction/difference, as in one player drives the tank and the other player shoots the tank, or 2) through efficiency, one player X is good at A so he spends all his time on A and player Y is good at B and spends all his time on B. Both of which are cheaply and easily implementable through a traditional level system which we have already shown is not the preferred option. Instead, you can implement this mechanically through the environment and the items.

Example 1, specialisation through power restriction/difference:
To efficient produce red DOAs, players need to cooperate, Player A will have to maintain the power circuit to ensure efficient power distribution and prevent a meltdown, while Player B will have to maintain the production line of raw->processed materials and Player C will need to maintain the production line of processed materials -> items. This actions needs to be completed asynchronously across 3 different locations, and preferable in synergi for the best result.

Example 2: specialisation through power restriction/difference 2:
Player A spends most of his time producing gun parts as the overhead of the production pipeline requires a string of time consuming tasks to be executed in order to be efficient.
Meanwhile, Player B spends most of his time producing Red DOAs with components from Player A as focusing all his time on just DOAS is easier and less demanding.
In both production pipelines, a series of actions need to be performed to get efficient output, learning and remembering these actions is a serious time commitment, and thus players prefer to focus on a couple. Only a few players with no life are able to single-handedly produce everything from Raw minerals to the final item.(current eco mechanics needs to be expanded to fulfil this example)

Example 3, specialisation through efficiency:
To take over a territory players needs to gain influence in 3 ways, combat, eco, and politics. Player 1 is good at/likes to combat and thus is part of the main combat group. Player 2 is good at / likes to find the most cost-efficient ways to utilize a colonies resources, and thus spends his time switching between mining and production tasks as the market, transportation and the available resources on the planet changes.(current eco mechanics needs to be expanded to fulfil this example)

- Should we have a system where the more you do a certain action (produce ballistic pistols), the better you get at it?
This is a possible way to create specialisation but would like to see it not be enforced by an artificial levelling system, but instead through either player skill/knowledge of how to create items efficiently like puzzle games as Opus Magnum/Tetris or maybe like manager mechanics.
Another way example could be to do it through wealth, as in the cost of buying and upgrading PMODS to efficiently produce items means that a player will focus on a few PMODS, while on a faction level faction will want to upgrade terminals to more efficiently produce one kind of items further specialising the faction.

- Should we have an experience system where you gain ranks/levels/mastery based on anything you do? Mainly for bragging rights or other bonuses that don't impact the gameplay as much (Getting exclusive camos/color mods, cosmetics, etc)
Tracking and showing players what they have achieved is a good way to make players feel accomplished from what they have done. It would be a good thing to display this to the player in meaningful and understandable ways, like through item donation log to the faction or through killboards. Putting a reward mechanic on top of it could be an ok idea as long as it is just visual change.
 
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Soociki

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Looks like general consensus is against the idea of skills, so my input might be a drop in the ocean, but here goes...

- Would you like Mankind Reborn to have some sort of player progression?

Absolutely! My character just feels like a skin I'm wearing most of the time, I could make a whole new character and lose nothing of value except my money. Without progression on the character side, avatars just don't have any real impact of loss or gain with the exception of money. It can also give something to work on in the less populated periods of the game!

- If yes, what kind of player progression?

The least intrusive to gameplay would be the time-based skill system that FoTD had, where you can queue skills to study for an amount of real life time. A far more interesting but likely tougher to balance and more intrusive system would be a use-based skill system, gathering/crafting certain things to improve at efficiency with the materials/nodes, smaller accuracy cone with a Frontiersman from favoring that rifle and knowing its recoil patterns from repeated use, etc.

- If no, why?

N/A


- How can we prevent the game from becoming stagnant/plateauing after a few months? (In terms of progression)

Nobody can be great at everything. Perhaps a skill decay that gets worse the further out of scope a skill is from your regular activities, or a need to "recertify" certain skillsets because the field is always changing, to make sure that there is always something to progress while being able to focus on certain areas of the game without having it all decay away.

- You can wear any equipment without restrictions, you can produce any item in the game, how can we keep this loop fresh for older players who've already gone through everything?

The skills themselves won't restrict whether or not you can use things, instead they would be small passive bonuses. Again, using the Frontiersman as an example, being used to the timing of firing it, so having a small passive increase in fire rate, or being skilled in shooting it accurately so the aiming cone is a little smaller. For crafting, small passive improvements to the time it takes to craft certain items or process materials, maybe a repair skill that slightly reduces the decay rate per repair, for certain items or all items.


All of the gains from the skills would make small, passive improvements to how that character goes through the gameplay loop of combat or ecoing. Players can still use any weapon/armor, craft anything they have the license and materials to make... a skilled character has more mileage doing all of that and the player is rewarded for that time put in, like their character improved in addition to themselves.

- Should we have a system where the more you do a certain action (produce ballistic pistols), the better you get at it?

That's a tough call. I did list it as an option at the beginning of my post, and I would absolutely LOVE a system like that, but at the same time I can see the challenges with balancing something like that. It would be an ideal system in my mind, if balancing out skill gain with the eventual purposeful grinders can be done.

- Should we have an experience system where you gain ranks/levels/mastery based on anything you do? Mainly for bragging rights or other bonuses that don't impact the gameplay as much (Getting exclusive camos/color mods, cosmetics, etc)

Now this is something that I do disagree with. In my mind, this part of the game, with getting commendations and bragging rights, exclusive cosmetics, camos, color mods, and that sort of things, should be gotten from the political struggles and ladder climbing of the natural game. That new outfit, or badge, or what it may be, should be a symbol of progression within the player world of MR, showing that you have more pull or say about faction decisions, or did something amazing in character that this cosmetic item solidifies the impact you made on the game. Where the skill system could fit in to MR's world in a realistic way, cosmetics and other non-impacting items from an experience system don't really fit in, in my opinion.



I respect the viewpoints and arguments made against the idea of a skill system that have already been made, and despite that, I still believe MR would benefit from a skill progression system, or at least some progression system. As things are now, characters don't really have any purpose except, again, as the skin you wear, the faction you align with, and the money you have. I would definitely be playing the game much more if there were a skill or progression system in the game, and feel it would give purpose to the game even in periods of inactivity.



I have given my $0.02 for what little it is worth, and am happy that I had the opportunity to share it.
 

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Copying and pasting from discord:

"I vote nay to skills, this isn't really a traditional RPG where skills makes sense to have. MR/FoM has always been about raw player skills and abilities and the progression you have is really of yourself as a player and not your avatar. The draw is that everyone is always on an equal playing field mechanically. That's how people have always made names for themselves, not because they have a better talent tree or whatever, but because you know they will bomb your head in, because they are good. It always feels better to know you killed someone because you were able to do it, not because you had a higher level, or because you had a +5 dagger or something. "

The progression in MR/FoM was never about the gear, the gear was always a means to an end. The progression and the actual real content has always, and will always come from the players and them interacting. Content and progression are social and political goals. Like working your way up to R5 to get the green text in FC, or making it to a senate position, maybe it's taking over a colonial market and having a monopoly on PP7 ammo or medkits. Maybe it's taking over a colony, or maybe even the whole star map. That's the beauty of it, each player has different ideas and goals for what their own personal end-game looks like, and they are all right.

The gear was never the main event, or honestly even that important unless you were brand new, and that's good enough. That gives newer players a good and familiar goal to work towards while they learn and adjust to the social and political climate. Gearing up is a standard progression of MMOs and RPGs already. Once you have the gear sorted then the game truly opens up and now you are free to explore other avenues. That's the MR/FoM endgame and that's the free-form progression we all fell in love with. Please for the love of god do not add in skill trees or anything like that, players will absolutely min-max the fun right out of it. Players will 100% not engage with each other if they don't have to. Why help out my faction members by making medkits if I can go grind out aliens for that sweet purple PP7 they drop, or if I unlock more perks in my skill tree? The reason we are here instead of playing other MMOs is because we don't like that style of progression, That style of loop is unfun and it's unrewarding. The reason MMOs were so much fun back in the day is because nobody had any idea what they were doing. So people didn't worry about what they didn't know, and just engaged with each other. That's what FoM/MR offers, it offers that feeling of not knowing what to do or where to go next, because it doesn't matter. You can go do whatever you want.

The lack of item production and skill requirements is good, there is no need for them outside of faction perks. That loop is already engaging due to item drop on death and durability loss. Everyone needs those things all the time anyways and once things pick up in game, people will be running through those items at a quick rate. There is no need to gatekeep anything, gatekeeping items behind perks or skills also removes the ability for players to try new things out. "I would really like to try a res amp and a energy rifle, but I specced into armors and ballistics so I guess I won't". Removing player agency is never a good idea in a freeform sandbox game like this, and this is a freeform sandbox, not an MMO.

There should 1000% not be bonuses for those who produce more of an item than another, the bonus they get is being efficient by themselves, knowing the best places to mine/produce and knowing which markets need what in order to make the most profit. You shouldn't give vets or no-lives an advantage because they don't do anything but play MR. That also shuts out new player engagements in the markets. How can they compete if they have to use their limited starting capital to make stuff to sell at a higher price than a player who is a multi-millionaire just because the older player has played longer? That's how you keep the same few people doing one specific job while everyone else watches. The end-game for mining, production, and selling comes from good use of market knowledge as well as political allies or contracts. You have a rivial in NSM beating you out on a sale? Well, either get smarter about where you do your ecoing, or go search out private player contracts. Maybe you could raise NSM taxes to sell on a colony, or just go and take their colony for your own. Everything in FoM/MR comes back to politics.

As for the rewards for in-game cosmetics/skins/whatever. I also say no, let that be a community driven thing as well. Roland Vant made a really cool dueling discord server that tracks ranked duels and assigns players ELOs, complete with leader boards and everything. The first idea we had when we got in there was "Man, it would be cool to do dueling seasons, and each season the winner gets a cool custom jacket or something to show off they finished that season in 1st place." Similar to a PGA jacket or something, but the point is that was all player driven and player made content. This player base is a creative and dedicated group, and given the tools they will do a lot of really cool things. I think adding in hard coded rewards would stifle that creativity and that ability to think outside the box, because atm the box isn't there. But if you start putting up hard-coded rewards it will subconsciously start putting those box walls up. People won't think "What can I do to make a special item?" they will think "What can I do to get a special item?". The differences are subtle but they are incredibly important.

Sorry for the rant, but I'm very passionate about MR/FoM.
 
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Banjo

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- Would you like Mankind Reborn to have some sort of player progression?

Absolutely! My character just feels like a skin I'm wearing most of the time, I could make a whole new character and lose nothing of value except my money. Without progression on the character side, avatars just don't have any real impact of loss or gain with the exception of money. It can also give something to work on in the less populated periods of the game!

- If yes, what kind of player progression?

The least intrusive to gameplay would be the time-based skill system that FoTD had, where you can queue skills to study for an amount of real life time. A far more interesting but likely tougher to balance and more intrusive system would be a use-based skill system, gathering/crafting certain things to improve at efficiency with the materials/nodes, smaller accuracy cone with a Frontiersman from favoring that rifle and knowing its recoil patterns from repeated use, etc.

...

I'm interested in learning more about your drive for a skill system, so please don't take this as an attack.
From your post I read that you don't feel connected to your avatar which I agree with is something we would want in MR. We would like players to "live the fiction" through their avatars eyes, which will require some sort of connection with the avatar.
Personally, I don't see how you can not feel connected after playing for a while. I'm one of those players who paid extra in FOTD to keep my FOM name and even carried it over to MR, to enable me to bring my avatar with all his history, friends and enemies over to MR.
I don't understand how a number and some tiny bonuses (seems like you favor small over big bonuses), can make you feel more connected to your character than having established your name in the community and have friends and enemies react differently depending on what actions you have made your avatar do. If numbers are the thing you can look at your wallet and storage and bask in the glory of all the items and money your avatar have collected through the time. All of this history and richness are bound to your avatar through your actions, and it will all be lost if you made a new.

Yet you would feel more connected to your avatar if you get a mediocre accuracy boost, which makes almost no difference if you had it or not. Making the shift between your avatar and making a new one indistinguishable. Hardly a loss to let go of some hardly noticeable boosts.

I don't understand how this is the case.
If I were to think outside the box, I would guess you feel like this because you have yet to invest yourself into the game. As not much history, and wealth can be generated in 3 days of game time with almost no population. In this case I could see why 1% accuracy boost for playing for 3 days would make you feel more connected. But even a single war campaign should make you feel ten times more connected to your avatar and the friends, foes and events you have played with him.

Another possibility is that you might just like getting these level up popups and number increases which clicker games are all about.
Which is somewhat understandable and is quite an interesting phenomenon.
However, I'd wager that better communicating a player's actions on the game world would fill the need to get progress handed to you on a silver plate.
 
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Wilbon

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r.e Specializations

Some more thought on this. Regarding combat specializations, I think that will likely already happen based on:

1. Balancing of the equipment
2. Faction Structure/Specific Factional Mechanics

The balancing of equipment is rather obvious, and we have a small glimpse into how it can change the tides for MR vs FoM. In FoM, the RGI-9 was near exclusively a meme weapon, it was rarely viable. So far, the deployment of autos has been more prevalent and more effective. I recall a few weeks ago a few skirmishes with another group where they had T3 armor and semi rifles vs us with autos and pistols, and we were pretty efficient at winning those battles. I think if that sort of thing is balanced deeply in the right ways, combat can be varied and individual strength can shine more because going in with an auto or choosing to use a DMR/sniper isn't necessarily detrimental to your team like it was in FoM where you needed as many fuckers with pp7s in your zerg. These are broad specializations that anyone can be, regardless of your faction.

What I mean by faction structure encouraging specialization comes down to things like departments and roles. Take CPC for example, I'm sure the majority of their people will patrol Earth or manage Ceres, but with the implementation of true concealment mechanics and true tracking mechanics, you'll have departments like SWAT or similar who function as groups that are not just beeflords but people who try to hunt down fugitives and MW and unlike FoM, they'll have the tools to make that pursuit viable. When you eventually add the investigation mechanics, detective departments/roles will be necessary and they will have their own specialization in the focus of investigating rather than patrolling or hunting MW/fugitives. There will be specialization in factions depending on the roles needed for that faction, and the goals the faction tries to pursue.

Economic Specializations

Economically, factions will specialize towards their relevant exclusive pmods, perks, etc. But there are also other ways to encourage specialization. And it is specific to the industries.

Consider the furniture industry. If you make it so that new apartments a player acquires come unfurnished as empty shells, then the impotence is on the player if they want to furnish it. Thus they require somebody selling those objects, and thus people have reason to create those objects. With each new apartment, they require more furniture, but only if they decide they want their apartments furnished. You could further encourage apartment furnishing by giving some of the objects in apartments an actual use. For instance, include various kinds of storage objects and there may be reason to store things there, such as storing my drug money in a safe object so its not visible in my main account or my drugs in a shoebox object in my closet. We could further brainstorm different objects with different purposes, but it's a way to make apartments more functional for more than rp, so that they are used and thus encourages the furniture industry. This plus all the deployables that are based for the world and combat (barriers, TCs, C4, and other shit that comes out), and if the recipes are fairly similar between the two categories, there's demand in the deployable/furniture industry and room to specialize in it.

Regarding the clothing industry, there was a thread a time ago discussing how clothes need to be done in a way so they need to be replaced. In FoM it was put it on and then you never had to worry about it again. But if clothes had durability and/or you couldn't change their color on the fly (they're produced as a certain color), you'd encourage people to make clothes as eventually people would need to replace them and they would need multiples if they wanted say a t-shirt in different colors. Gotta stay away from the idea that once you buy and use a clothing item you're set for life because the clothing industry only scales so far and its all depending on the playerbase.

The cooking industry, i.e consumables. Especially with how you're planning on having custom mechanics for producing food, then perhaps it would be a good idea to provide more use for food that isn't exclusively boosters for fighting or eating for rp. I think I read a thread before that mentioned the idea of food/drink bars like a survival game, or you could take the approach of making it so food expires and destroys itself after a period of time, and make that time rather shortly. Thus stacking 100 pizza is rather flawed because a good portion of it will expire and be lost before it can be of use. That's the trade off to using a cheaper, no-debuff weaker version of a booster, is that you can't buy bulk and hold it forever. Thus it will be in regular demand, and thus chefs are in regular demand.

When you combine these with making ecoing more challenging, especially as a solo ecoer or someone who produces in multiple industries, you'll encourage people to specialize more.


I've already discussed misc. specializations like hacking and such in a previous post. My point being is that I think just by designing things out and coming up ways to solve some of the problems individually, you can still get things like player progression and specialization without the use of broader frameworks like skills and skill trees.
 
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