Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Reward and Advancement in RPGs

Gonna ramble a bit.

One of the things that is so addictive in MMORPGs is the instant gratification of little improvements. Whether this is in the form of a new weapon, or a level advancement. Improvement is what drives certain types of games, more than storyline. I know what I enjoy in Earthdawn is that Legend points can be spent after every session, or during a session if you gain a thread weapon which you can weave a thread to.

Certain FATE systems which focus more on story than advancement. In these systems you don't advance, you can just rearrange your skills into a different pyramid. This is not one of my personal favored systems. Pathfinder is good at first with advancement, levels come quickly, but as encounters begin to slow and take longer to complete, this goes from 1 or 2 sessions to level to 3 or 4, or more sessions. Is this one of the reasons some people consider 6 or 8 to be the sweet spot of Pathfinder/d20? Where advancement and combat are still quick?

Different games handle it differently, but some of my favorite games are more along the lines of instant gratification.