Scalability Beyond Moria

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What I mean by scalability is extending the current systems into multiple expansions and an increased level cap. The question I want to raise is how these systems will perform as the game is scaled.

We've already seen Turbine overhaul a system due to a level cap increase. This was the combat system. As I understand it, the previous system used direct percentages whilst the new system uses an index rating. After looking at the mouse-over tool tips on my stats, these indexes seem to correspond to an underlying percentage anyway, so I'm not sure how this new system changes anything except for burying the information deeper into the user interface. I'm trusting what I cannot see here will make the combat more scalable as the levels increase with new expansions.

What I can see is that certain other systems will be a problem, most notably in its use of superlatives, which are adjectives denoting a hierarchy. With the new tier of crafting, instead of a grand-master crafter, I'm now a supreme master crafter. The problem is that superlatives are limited in number. We're going to run out of them, and fairly quickly. So what do you then call the next best tier or crafting item (such as hides)?

Another scalability issue was briefly touched on in my last post about the deeds and associated virtues. There's a finite number of virtues and an ever-expanding list of deeds. Not having gone through most of the Moria content, I'm only guessing, but I'd say it's highly likely that every virtue can be leveled to the tenth and final tier, making additional deeds that reward that virtue useless for all but any title they might also reward. The advanced portion of the slayer deeds are completely unnecessary, so players will pick and choose completing the easiest deeds for their virtues and ignoring the rest. And ignored content, to me, points to a problem - this one being scalability.

How does one solve these problems? For the superlatives, I'd just switch the whole thing over to numbers, unnamed tiers of crafting and material. It's not nearly as pretty as words, but I don't see how it can continue much farther down the road. This is by far the easiest thing to do.

But what about the deeds and virtues? Sure, some of them like the explorer deeds that reward a title have a reward that doesn't cause a problem, but there are far more that have an associated virtue upgrade. We might be able to tack on more virtue tiers for a while, but this is only a bandaid. Like the combat system before it, the virtues will become too powerful. A diferent reward for deeds would be the easiest way to reinvigorate the deed system at this point, however they need to be just as compelling as virtue rewards. What that might be, I don't know. Titles are pretty compelling for me, but I'm a title and content whore.

We'll just have to wait and see what Turbine comes up with. There are a lot more people and smarter people working on this problem than me.

2 Responses to "Scalability Beyond Moria"

mars505 Says:

Very good read, keep it up !

Jaxom92 Says:

Thanks for the comment! Glad to hear you like the post and blog.