Non Level Related Grinding

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by hiromu656, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. hiromu656

    hiromu656 Praise the Sun (Arcana) Veteran

    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    122
    Location:
    Chicago
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    Couldn't think of a good title, but the concept I'm referring to is having to grind/farm for something other than experience or leveling up. Instead of feeling weak because you're underleveled, you feel the need to farm to improve some other aspect of the game. For my own game specifically, you collect various Souls that have 3 total skills, and you can only equip one Soul at a time. The end game "grinding" aspect revolves around a creature that eats these Souls, so you feed them to said create and it pays you in various materials. The materials you get can be used to craft items that will teach you skills permanently (instead of only having 3 skills at a time).

    If that's still confusing, lets say with a Soul, you have 3 skills, if you kill an enemy and take their Soul, that specific Soul has 3 different skills. Since you can only have one Soul equipped at a time, you will only have 3 skills usable in any fight. The system I'm thinking of using would allow you to learn permanent skills, so you're effectively much more powerful in what you can do in combat.

    Does this sound like a system that could work (feedback etc)? What do you think about having non level related grinding.

    (although, obviously you'd still be killing enemies and getting experience)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2015
    #1
  2. Scott_C

    Scott_C Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    37
    First Language:
    English
    I'm currently playing a mobile RPG called “Symphony of Eternity” that uses a very similar mechanic. Characters have one slot for “tablets” which each hold a handful of skills and buffs. Winning battles with a tablet equipped eventually allows you to permanently learn the skills on it. So besides grinding for XP and levels there is also motivation to grind for tablet skills.

    And it's been fun so far, so I think your system would work just fine.

    What I like most is that swapping “tablets” lets me specialize my party for specific fights while the permanent learning lets me customize my character's long term abilities. That way if I really want a thief or a mage I can focus on permanently learning those skills but if the game requires me to temporarily have a healer or a tank I can just switch tablets for a couple fights. No grinding a class from scratch just for one boss fight.
     
    #2
    hiromu656 likes this.
  3. gruberik

    gruberik Vein of Stars Veteran

    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Sunset Beach, Hawaii
    First Language:
    English
    I'm actually working on a very similar thing for my game. I want the player to have the option to "grind" for more gold, but the exp factor will be removed. For example, an arena type feature would make sense. Player would join the arena as a contestant or whatever fully knowing he's only in it for the loot and not the exp.

    Does that kind of sound like what you are talking about? 
     
    #3
    hiromu656 likes this.
  4. hiromu656

    hiromu656 Praise the Sun (Arcana) Veteran

    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    122
    Location:
    Chicago
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    @gruberik It's definitely not grinding for experience, but if you have no exp, your "gold" becomes the exp in a way. Although, I really like that concept, without leveling up, essentially every purchase you make is an "improvement" to your character. That can turn out to be really awesome, sort of like Dark/Demon Souls where you have to make the decision of spending Souls (your currency) on either improving yourself, your gear, or purchasing various items.

    @Scott_C I think I'll look into that game, it sounds interesting, it could also help me out as a reference point.
     
    #4
    gruberik likes this.
  5. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

    Messages:
    2,027
    Likes Received:
    526
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    So:

    Level-grinding yields stats

    (Sigh) soul-grinding yields skills

    Are (sigh) souls comparable to Materia of FFVII in that they grant skills to be used in battle upon being equipped? Are (sigh) souls the only means by which actors learn skills or do they also gain them with levels? Are separate points gained for these (sigh) souls?

    am I comprehending the nature of your post?

    Either way, asking the player to do things like grinding is asking a lot of them, and only certain players actually enjoy the grind. I think the grind serves two purposes, one of which is obsolete:

    1 - to keep the player subscribed and,

    2 - to add longevity to the game, especially during a time when consumers were too conservative to buy lots of games.
     
    #5
  6. Scott_C

    Scott_C Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    37
    First Language:
    English
    Following on Eschaton's thoughts:

    The pacing of the secondary grinding is definitely important. Just like with XP you want to reward players who grind with extra power while still making sure more impatient players have the strength they need to beat the game, if just barely.

    So if it were me I would make certain “important” souls have drop rates common enough that even without grinding your average player would still end up with a handful of useful healing spells, buffs and special attacks.

    I would then have some medium rare souls that dropped often enough that a casual player would probably get enough to perma-learn one or two random upper tier skills. But to guarantee you get the souls and skills you want at this level would require at least a little grinding.

    And then I'd have a handful of genuinely rare souls that only a dedicated player would ever find enough of to permanently learn. A casual player might find one or two to use as equipment but not enough to permanently enhance his character.
     
    #6
  7. Aceri

    Aceri Author Veteran

    Messages:
    431
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Bullhead City, Arizona
    First Language:
    English
    You can have any type of character progression you want. You don't have to rely on the Monster Skill + Experience = Stats(/levels) + Skill Ups.

    You can have a progression system based solely on gear. Make the gear scalable with the mob difficulty. Once mobs get too hard to handle, time to grind out some gold or crafting components for better gear. Replace level requirements with gold/component requirements.

     
     
    #7
  8. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

    Messages:
    2,027
    Likes Received:
    526
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    Indeed.  Creating more features means your game is that much more difficult to balance.

    However, if you are encouraging grinding, then your player base would have no problem with any diffiuclty, because if strategy and tactics fail, grinding prevails.
     
    #8
  9. hiromu656

    hiromu656 Praise the Sun (Arcana) Veteran

    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    122
    Location:
    Chicago
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    Speaking about my own game: Gear is for sure going to play a large part in improving your character. I may have been too vague with my description though, getting Souls and experience are practically linked. The Soul is the very soul of that enemy, so you will always get experience, but you won't always get the enemy's Soul. I'm glad to hear some counter arguments to the "Soul" system, because I personally felt it would eventually become to much to handle for the player. I wanted to stick strongly to my concept of ONLY having 3 skills but thinking ahead I felt that would become boring, so I decided on trying this Skill farming system. Maybe I'll allow you to purchase the more common Souls so that you aren't grinding on weak enemies for too long?
     
    #9
  10. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

    Messages:
    2,027
    Likes Received:
    526
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    Depends.

    If money is easy to come by without lots of grinding, then buying souls is a fantastic alternative to grinding for them.  If most of your money comes from fighting enemies, then all you're doing is taking the random number god out of acquiring souls.

    In fact, a suggestion for a paradigm of acquisition would be

    *you can grind for things

    *you can buy things

    *you can find things
     
    #10
    hiromu656 likes this.
  11. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

    Messages:
    4,221
    Likes Received:
    3,549
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    This system sounds pretty decent to me, but I'd recommend skipping the middleman and just letting the player siphon one of the skills right off of the enemy soul rather than getting the soul trading it for items, and then using those items to craft other items that might or might not teach the same skill as was on the soul they originally earned.
     
    #11
    hiromu656 likes this.
  12. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

    Messages:
    2,027
    Likes Received:
    526
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    Siphoning at the beginning of every battle will become a serious chore.  This WILL happen.
     
    #12
  13. hiromu656

    hiromu656 Praise the Sun (Arcana) Veteran

    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    122
    Location:
    Chicago
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    Maybe I can combine those ideas! Since there's a chance of not getting a Soul to drop, how about whenever one doesn't drop, you will instead get Soul Material. So even if you don't get a full Soul, you're getting closer to building new skills. I can have that, and allow you to salvage Souls you don't need, for more Soul Material. It's not a complete removal of the "middleman" but it should overall result in less farming (and or frustration).
     
    #13
  14. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

    Messages:
    4,221
    Likes Received:
    3,549
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    Maybe I wasn't clear.  I have no idea where I implied siphoning was an action you take in battle, but I meant it as something you do with the soul item that you get from enemies (possibly as a battle drop or whatever other way you get it from enemies in Hiromu's game).  The closest analogy I can think of is "Spectrumizing" items in the Dark Cloud series, and a more common (but imperfect) analogy would be Salvaging items in an MMO (except you're salvaging a directly-applyable "property" of the item rather than a crafting ingredient).
     
    #14
  15. Clord

    Clord Nya~ Veteran

    Messages:
    2,376
    Likes Received:
    394
    One way to make grinding more enjoyable could be to let player to pick what item they want to grind towards on. Then once bar is filled, the player would receive the said item.
     
    #15
  16. hiromu656

    hiromu656 Praise the Sun (Arcana) Veteran

    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    122
    Location:
    Chicago
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    That could be interesting, although the items the ghosts will drop are based specifically on the type of ghost you kill. Since I'm using random encounters, I wouldn't want the player choosing who they'll run into. Maybe there could be a "guide" type character that tells you the places where finding a specific item is the most common. For example if the Dark Factory houses a high amount of enemies that drop Red Material, this Guide will tell you that information. If I were to do that it seems like something to introduce a bit later into the game, when you have multiple dungeons to visit.
     
    #16
  17. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    1,290
    Likes Received:
    450
    Location:
    NYC
    There's only one game I've ever played that I actually semi-enjoyed grinding, and that was Diablo II, because of farming quests for rare item drops.  So, the idea of non-level grinding can definitely work I think, if it's executed well.  It might be more challenging to do this in non-action based rpg though. 

    This actually just gave me a great idea that I think I want to use in my own game:  having skills/items that increase the value or chance of getting good items from quests...(basically a version of D2's magic-find gear) so that players could opt to use these but they make the quest more challenging (because the MF items/skills aren't as effective at killing enemies as the other items/skills are). 
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2015
    #17
  18. hiromu656

    hiromu656 Praise the Sun (Arcana) Veteran

    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    122
    Location:
    Chicago
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    That's definitely a concern I have, the fact that the combat system I'm using may not mesh well with the need to farm. Magic Find gear in dungeon crawler games is really cool, because there's a fair payoff to it. I play a lot of Path of Exile, which tends to be compared to D2, I like the idea that you can find better gear but you have to equip magic find gear that you're weaker and squishier in. It's something I'd also like to experiment with in my game, just not sure how to go about it.
     
    #18
  19. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    1,290
    Likes Received:
    450
    Location:
    NYC
    What I'm thinking of doing, rather than involve a whole mess of complexity with random properties on items and affixes and all that junk...I'm just going to make an event that occurs when you defeat a troop, using variables/conditionals to check the 'level' of your MF gear, and then reward players with stronger/weaker items or versions of items depending on their MF level.  

    in other words, let's say your helmet gives you +1 MF, your armor gives you +2 MF, and your weapon gives +1...so you have 4 magic find in total.  For non-boss troops I might say if MF is 0 give Item A, if it's between 1 and 5 give item B, if it's between 6 and 10 give item C.    Then for bosses you could get more depth, like say there's a boss that drops a super rare item but only if you have an MF of 9 or 10 (I'm just randomly assuming a system where 10 would be the cap).  Another boss could drop a decently rare item if your MF is higher than 5.  

    Something like this is what I plan to use...actually to make this even easier simpler, instead of factoring it in for every troop event, I might just make it apply to only bosses and treasure chests.  
     
    #19
  20. Kvich

    Kvich Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Usually somewhere around my PC.
    First Language:
    Danish
    I don't know if you can use some of what I'm doing in my current project for your game, but on the chance that you may, I'll share it. :)

    My current project use a system of "skill stones" and most monsters will have a decent chance of dropping a stone at like 10% (factoring in, that most fights have 3-5 enemies) the players will see a stone drop on average every 2-4 random fight.

    Combining 4 different of these stones (there are 49 different stones) may result in getting a skill or spell book - which give a character said skill or spell.

    Some chests will have stones in them, and most bosses will drop at least one stone, usually a hard or impossible to get stone, at the current place in the game.

    For instance a boss at the end of a dungeon could drop a "Strong Power Stone" where the normal enemies only drop a moderate or weak version of said stone.

    Most designs for these skills or spells will be found during the game, from books or sages etc. but could also be found by experimenting. (at the cost of the skills stones)

    My plan is that the players won't be forced to grind for skill stones if they don't want to, but then they won't learn all skills, but enough to get through the "main" story, where those who don't mind, or actually like grinding, can do that to their heart content, and get a upper hand, in form of slightly stronger skills and spells.

    In terms of power, the grinder will be between 10 and 25% stronger.

    What I aim for, is not to penalize those who just want to play the story, and don't want to spend hours at a dungeon farming skill stones, but reward those who do.
     
    #20
    hiromu656 likes this.

Share This Page