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Interesting theory... (Criticism)

by Korny @, Dalton, Ga. US. Earth, Sol System, Tuesday, July 24, 2018, 08:29 (500 days ago) @ CruelLEGACEY

I suspect that the only reason anyone “likes” power levels in Destiny is because we get a dopamine hit every time we see our numbers go up. It stimulates our most base-level motivational instincts. Which isn’t inherently good or bad, I suppose. My personal issue comes down to the fact that it is so blatantly layed overtop of a gameplay experience that works perfectly well without it. I’d go even further; I think Destiny’s net gameplay experience would be better without the gating and filtering effects of the power level economy. You can still have a game where players gain health and do more damage as they progress. That can be achieved through other mechanics and systems that are divorced from any sort of RNG-based level climb.

You know what game did Investment systems right? Wa Dying Light. You initially level up as any normal RPG, earning points to put into unlocks such as Parkour abilities, tools, damage, crafting, etc. But once you unlock every skill on any one of your three skill trees, the game unlocks a fourth leveling tier, called "Legend", where you earn points by playing the game like normal, as well as by doing specific actions like turning in resource drops. These points can be used on the Legend system, which helps to improve specific aspects of your character beyond the normal leveling system, without impacting that system at all, as it's stat-based as opposed to affecting your abilities or perks.

So you can have a player who has put 200 hours into the game being rewarded for it, without punishing a player who only has 20 hours in the game, as both have the same exact access to skills, and can do every part of the game. While the legend system only adds ten skills to level up, each one has 25 levels, so you'll be putting points into that tree long, long after you've hit max rank and unlocked everything else.


I believe that is the fundamental point of contention around the RNG-based power levels; it isn’t clear what they add to the game that couldn’t be achieved in other, more player-friendly ways, aside from the obvious and shallow “numbers going up” effect, plus the more manipulative aspects of gating access to activities through an RNG loot system (as a simple example, Halo gave players access to new weapons and equipment over the course of the game that helped the player feel more “powerful”, even if only situationally).

This is why I've always championed the "Everything should be good" style of development, and an easy fix has been there since Day 1 of Destiny. Let the rarity define the number of perks of a piece of gear. Let us improve our common gear up to Rare through use (except for armor, which should be able to be upgraded to Legendary). Make it difficult to earn Legendary weapons, but make them stand on even ground with a player-built Rare (Rares made by players should have better stats than a Legendary, but fewer perks). Let the Legendaries keep the most interesting perks, such as Dragonfly or Cocoon, but let me bring my damaged Traveler's chosen into a Raid if I want to.

They could even reintroduce the +/- system that Destiny 1 had for our personally leveled gear to further differentiate it from the Legendaries.

And Exotics all need to have a specific method to obtain. The Whisper quest shows how to do this at it's absolute greatest, but there can be so many ways to do this. We're getting a record book/stats page, which would be a great way to make Exotics unlockable. Want those now-awesome Doomfang Pauldrons? Sure, you can try for an Engram, OR get 500 Defender Super kills. 1000 Super Kills unlock the Masterwork.


In no way am I against power levels as a concept. I’ve played plenty of games where I felt like they added nicely to the experience. I just feel that Bungie has yet to implement power levels in a way that justifies their existence, outside of the “hours played” metadata.

I think the move to a four day reset will help a lot. That way you can have two opportunities during the week to do things, leading to a more consistent climb (which explains why the new Max Light is so ridiculously high now compared to previous scaling). The downside is that the higher they make the climb, the less meaning it can have, otherwise they're putting a serious disconnect between players who grind for hours a day, and the casual folks. If a person at 360 Light sees that some of the new content requires 600 Light? Why should he bother? That shows a steep time investment required, and so he'll likely just give up and move on to another game that respects his time.


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