I’ve been working lately on the Art system implementation. It took some time to code it, but most of the work actually went into its design. The window in the screenshot above is not fully self-explanatory, so let’s talk a bit about this system, and what it provides.
Why it exists
Usually, MMOs and online RPGs tend to be very restrictive when it comes to what they allow players to do. Crafting jobs are limited in number or levels, you can’t change your class or use a weapon other than the intended one(s), etc. While I can live with such limits, I rarely like them, mostly because if you want to experience what is beyond them, they become a cheap way to force you to consume again the same content with another class/job/whatever by creating an alt. And if there’s one thing I’m sure of about MMOs, it’s that they already take more than enough time for a single character.
As you can guess after reading the previous paragraph, I didn’t want to put too many limits regarding how characters can be built in Metaworld. Or rather, in this case, I didn’t want to put too many locks that couldn’t be removed. The Art system is the key for these locks.
How it works
A new player does not know any Art. It’s a novice that can’t do much until it acquires some bits of knowledge about how to use a weapon or a tool, what will be done by starting to research Arts.
The mechanic behind Arts is very simple. Pick an Art, research it, and after some time (whether you’re online or offline), it will be complete, and you’ll have access to new items, classes, etc. It’s a core part of Metaworld’s character progression.
Once a player has acquired the first level of whatever it may want to try, the research time start to increase drastically. Most of the first Art levels take around 5~15 minutes of research. Level 2 rise to ~40 minutes, Level 3 to ~2 hours, and so on. The higher the level of an Art, the more time it will require to be researched. Needless to say, higer levels can take up to days. Oh, and there isn’t any upper limit to Art levels.
The time resource will encourage players to make choices about how much they’ll level a class or equipment. They can be jacks of all trades, but can also be very specialized. A new player can quickly be efficient if it goes straight to his Art goals.
Aren’t early players advantaged?
Take two players. Because the researches are done in real time, the one who started first is indeed advantaged as it could have learned more Art levels. But, that will be true only if none of these two players interacted with other “teacher” players, since there are actually two ways to lower the research duration:
– to be taught an Art by someone who already knows it,
– to use a book to learn an Art, book that can only be written/crafted by someone who already knows it.
Both of these methods involve other players who have either different Arts levelled, or have been playing longer than the learner do. There are no drawbacks for the learner, but the teacher/writer has some, so be prepared to see an economy based on Art transmission in the game :)
And that’s all for now. I tried to summarize as much as possible the essence of the Art system. I’ll gladly answer any question.