Advancement for everyone
Massively recently posted a developer diary with designer Tim Sweeney from Paragaon Studios. The post talks a bit about the new Incarnate system for advancement for max level characters in City of Heroes.
I think this system is a pretty nice one that tires to cater for both casual players as well as the more hardcore ones. In general, each incarnate slot provides some ability or boost. For each slot there are four different choices which allows variations of that ability or boost. For the initial Alpha slot there are four general type of boosts:
- Cardiac – improves (decreases) endurance consumption when using powers
- Spiritual – improves recharge time of powers
- Nerve – improves accuracy of powers
- Musculature – improves damage of powers
For each variant there are also four levels of rarity – common, uncommon, rare and very rare. A more rare items gives higher boosts and/or additional boosts than the less rare ones. But even common incarnate abilities gives a significant improvement in some area.
In addition to this no choice here is eternal; one can swap and change different variations suited for a certain slot as one see fit.
There is also no gating of gaining the components to build these new abilities – certain ways are faster, but it is always possible to get there. A casual and dedicated solo player can get the abilities, but it may take some time. Team play is encouraged, but not enforced, which is how it should be IMHO.
This pattern seems to have been applied for all the different incarnate slots – four different varations for each slot and four levels of rarity and different ways to combine things for the different rarity levels.
I like this system – if I want to get to a certain point quick I would need to think a bit what to play, but otherwise I can almost play whatever suits me and feels fun and I will improve that way also. That is much better I think than to be forced to do certain pieces of content to get anywhere.