What if We Leveled Backwards?!

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I like the idea but "No plan surives the battlefield."

I really do like the idea but for each type of game it you may have to change it.
But I think it could be amazing for say shooters not that they need any help but imagine say a multiplayer mode called tournament or whatever, at the start you have access to everything, I mean everything but the higher you get on there ranking the less gear you have access to, it could be binary where its 10 to 1 or it could be say one basic gun of there choosing.
Either way they would have to prove there skill each time they got on and the guy with the rocket launcher would be the noob, but still he has a rocket launcher.

RPGs, well the problem is you want to recapture that energy again (both metaphorical and there powers) like for example Dragon Age 2 the start of that was a fantastic example of how tutorials can be done right, you have all these powers your like "I am on top of the world!" but before you get to that I am bored moment they take it all away and if you know it or not you want it back!
I can see it work just, it would have to have alot of work done.

I think in a stratergy game this could work best because, you bleed reasourses in a war, it just happens, so at the end all of the bad guys are making there final stand but you still have to have your various places protected, so you can only go in with a small elite team to take down the BBEG, which means you have to use your men properly or lose. Rather than having the bloat battle where its who can capture the most resources and spam the other guy.

It's an idea to think about that's for sure.

There's a manga I read that follows this evolution very similarly. Demon Detective Nogami Neuro tells the story of the king of the demon world who came to Earth to find and devour puzzles. The story begins as him being practically omnicient and immortal with 666 special spells but as it progresses he becomes weaker due to it being impossible for demons to survive on Earth. Finaly, he is as frail as an old man and must fight the strongest and most vile of all humans with no powers at all. It worked for the story. The beginning as fast-paced and exciting while the end was tense and dramatic.

One question that comes to mind is the matter of sidequests and exploration... if you lose power with every quest, then logically skipping every bit of content you can would let you end the game with more power, which seems... odd, to say the least. At that point, you're pitting the urge to experience the game world directly against your own power (or, in extreme cases, the ability to even complete the game without godlike skill.)

One possible solution would be a dual system, where you actually have two different sorts of experience/power markers/whatever. As suggested, you would start with a large amount of gear, and a simply staggering amount of natural ability, which would all degrade thanks to its being legendary, irreplacable equipment and thanks to some wasting disease, the degredation of both of which would be helped along by the main story plot points until you're level 1.

However, a secondary experience curve... you could call it Wisdom or some such... would work counter to that... an in-game manifestation of the increased skill you've gained by continuing to press on through the loss of all this power. This leveling up mechanic wouldn't replace what you were losing, not by a long shot, but it would give you a bit of an edge... maybe as your health and magical faculties wasted away, you would get a little better at haggling, lockpicking, and setting up cheap traps through exploration and sidequests. That way you don't get the powergaming bastard who's skipped half the game so that he can be level five at the end, instead of level one.

Of course, you could also solve this problem by making the whole thing a linear corridor you have to go through, but I think that's heading in the wrong direction.

Too much like real life, but it would be interesting. Maybe like real life, you should start getting stronger, then quickly losing strength.

interesting concept, but to implent it.....
hard to wrap my head around it, but i woiuld certainly play

Primus1985:
Ya know I think Yahtzee is wrong about this. His main argument is you get stronger and stronger in RPG's so the difficulty goes down...

He fails to realize that a developer with any skill gradually increases difficulty as the player gets stronger and more bold.

His theory = fail

And what you fail to realize is that this doesn't always hold true for a lot of games. The Witcher 2 is a good example. It's really challenging in the beginning, but you're an outright tank at the end and the game becomes incredibly easy. The toughest boss battles were in the beginning of the game. Skyrim is another good example. Your enemies do get tougher, but if you level properly you outfight them easily with your vast array of different skills and weapons.

DarkSpectre:
I like the idea in concept but in practice I see it hard to make work. I think it would be better as a single player mechanic. The only thing I see able to motivate the player to give up power is to progress a storyline. The skinner box mechanics of an MMORPG doesn't work well with this because that getting stronger is a big reason to level. But if you can make a compelling story that needs the player to sacrifice something of themselves to progress the storyline.

this could be the perfect mmo storyline or starting area as in level 1-20 with endgame stuff, then get thrown in a dungeon for some reason and begin again as Bethesda style

at which point you know how to play the game

it's sheer genius I tell you!

to break the binary and bilateral thinking, we should develop systems with at elast 3 axes of development or such where xp and levels are only symbolic progress indicator and real changes are in the character development.

There is a small example of this being employed in Final Fantasy 7, at the gold saucer casino area. There's an arena mode where you select one player to fight for I think eight rounds and after each round you lose an ability. It was fun because it was challenging so I'll buy into your idea.

I've actually seen a game recently where overexerting yourself would physically hurt you, as in lower your stamina and that's kind of realistic actually. I think i'd be tired if I had to climb a bridge and I was already hungry/starving.

I've had an idea like this since I was little boy. I wanted to see a game where you start out completely healthy and normal, and then your character is struck with a horrible disease. In the struggle to find the cure, the game's enemies and obstacles remain the same difficulty, but the disease hinders your abilities further and further, gradually increasing the challenge. I'm surprised no one has done it yet.

One game that had a interesting mechanic was Maximo: Ghosts to Glory. Maximo begins the game with three slots which he can "lock" special powers in. He can gain more than three powers, but if he dies, he only respawns with the "locked" powers. The player gathers many different powers, but they must decide which powers are the most important to keep, because failure results in losing most of those powers. As each boss is defeated, Maximo is gioven and extra slot to "lock" an additional power. So you still grow stronger like a classic RPG and can amass an impressive arsenal of powers, but in a time of crisis, you can easily lose some of those powers, keeping the difficulty at a good challenge at all times.

This idea sounds pretty awesome. I like to think of it as the player starting off with the game being "easy" - you have many unskilled, maybe fool-proof skills or attacks or what nots, but as you progress you have to rely on the harder to use skills as the others are removed or whatever as you level down. Also rely on experience you gained from playing the game for long.

Flatfrog:

redisforever:
That. Sounds. AWESOME!!!!

In fact, I have an idea. While every stat gets lowered, one should go up. Intelligence. That could help with the "Wise old man on a mountain top".

This is what I was thinking - as you lose weaponry and armour, you gain in other skills like stealth. It would be great in the context of a soldiering game. A very simple mechanic would just be to have a game with no ammo or health packs - start off fully equipped, then as you use up your weapons or your armour becomes useless, you have to leave it behind and rely more on skill. That would also give you the option to save up some of the weapons for later.

I second this!

Reminds me of WC3: Frozen Throne. In the Undead-campaign, Arthas actually grew weaker from level to level as the Lich King lost his power. It was a nice twist to the usual formula, although it was somewhat undermined by the fact that your bug-hero levelled normally.

This is a pretty old discussion, and I've had some dumb arguments with people over whether this constitutes an RPG, but whatever. Oregon Trail is exactly what you're describing, and it works out great. You start with a giant pile of money and you can buy yourself out of every problem, but over time the money runs out and you're forced to do more and more with less and less, until by the end you're desperately trying just to figure out a way to survive, maybe one of your guys randomly died of typhoid because you couldn't afford to take care of him right then so you've already given up on zero casualties, in any case you can't hold it together any longer and you're just praying for that finish line to come. I understand that you are an aficionado of FTL which I've been told is a similar kind of game except in a space setting, so maybe it's moot by this point anyway.

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