Story Ownership

By Shamus Posted Saturday Jul 5, 2008

Filed under: Game Design 28 comments

Tim G. left an excellent comment on my post about the XP reward vs. Risk in RPG games. That post is a little old and the conversation has trailed off, so I thought I’d quote it here. Also, it’s always nice when I can just have visitors write my posts for me:

[…]I see an underlying difference in what people think the goals of the XP system mechanic should be.

Is the goal to force an optimum solution to levelling up? (fighting creatures that are dangerous enough to be a threat, but not impossibly hard)
To allow any method of levelling up within certain boundaries? (disallowing only leveling up methods that hurt other players like PKing and resource hogging)
To allow anything at all? (if one player wants to kill a million rats, and another wants to risk his character on a two sequential natural 20’s, why stop them)

I find myself agreeing with Shamus’ invisible-rail and self-balancing philosophies and think the player should be first gently then firmly guided towards the methods that will help them get what they want. Setting hard boundaries makes them feel constrained and jars them from thinking about the world and into conscious meta-gaming. Experienced players should be naturally drawn towards higher-risk faster-progress level up paths, and new players should be drawn towards the safer slower-progress paths. I don’t think the point should be to force one pattern of behavior on people with very different skill levels or temperaments.

Here are some of the goals I see for XP/Leveling systems in general:
1. Allow new players to have fun immediately before mastering intricate rule sets. That means we should never hear “this game is impossible; I give up”.
2. Allow experienced players to still be challenged. No “this is too easy/boring; I’m gonna play something else”.
3. Allow players of all skill ranges to play and have fun together. No “we don’t want new players holding us back” and no “I don’t want to play with the l33t player cause I can never keep up”.
4. A psychological reward for playing the game and making progress.
5. Simulate real-life skill increases with a simple mechanic. Note that this is pretty much dead last in priority.

One of the most interesting things about the Spore GDC video was when Will Wright was talking about story ownership. Isn’t that really what RPGing is all about? Owning the story by owning the character? The more you force a player to act against their nature, the less ownership they have of that character and the more unwelcome they feel in that game world.

I do note that in my original post nearly all of the objections to offering XP rewards were driven by the desire to discourage players from doing things which would make the game less fun for others. Although, the Zero XP system is often present in single-player games as well. In any case, it seems like an inelegant solution for unwanted player behavior.

I do like how World of Warcraft handles it. Between the way low-level monsters ignore powerful characters and the slow tapering off of XP, I never felt like I was being punished for backtracking. Also, on a medium population server I’ve never had to really compete for foes. When I need leather in a hurry, I can run out and kill a bunch of (to me) feeble foes for skinning without cutting into anyone else’s game.

His comment about hard boundaries encouraging meta-game thinking is also true. In WoW, I often choose where I’ll adventure based on what scenery I’m in the mood for, not how I can maximize my leveling speed. Sure, I could probably level faster in Ashenvale, but I’m having fun in Darkshore and I’m still making forward progress. The harder the limits, the more mechanical and arbitrary the system seems, and the more it encourages players to think about the mechanics and numbers instead of the story and setting.

No, I’m not leveling or making money as fast as I could, but I am having fun.


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28 thoughts on “Story Ownership

  1. Flying Dutchman says:

    XP systems can also be used to rewards certain behavior, and thus stimulating players to behave in that way. This should always be done in a way that the experience can also be gained in many other ways, as not to give the impression that you force your players to behave in a certain way.

    An example would be role-playing XP awards. But that would be hard to accomplish in WoW, or any MMO.

  2. Jadawin says:

    No, I'm not leveling or making money as fast as I could, but I am having fun.

    The argument could be made that you are having fun because you are not leveling or making money as fast as possible… usually when I am doing either of those 2 things it’s to try to catch up with someone, who is continuing to make progress while I try to catch up, which is usually pretty much the opposite of fun.

  3. James Pony says:

    I’ve found certain level/area combinations in WoW to be sweet spots. Grinding-wise atleast. The theory is that the level-range of the player and the mobs, and the particular positioning of the mobs in the area allow for optimal grinding.
    The downside is that you won’t level up as fast as when you’re doing quests and dungeons, but the gained gold and other essential materials are greater due to the lessened difficulty involved.
    And atleast for me, as grinding is a pretty brain-numbing thing to do, being able to just keep going like a robot with the minimum possible amount of downtime is entirely essential.

    Part of the problem – for me, atleast – is that I level up very very slowly. I just don’t feel like doing particular quests or the risks seem too high.

    Anyways, with my gnome warrior I found a sweet spot in Tanaris, the pirate camp. For my level – and for my alts – I gained money and materials, as well as exotic goods (Volatile Rum) and food. There are treasure chests, containing relatively useful stuff. The gained silk and mageweave cloth was also really good for my tailor alt. AND I still got some XP, contributing to level-ups, and my reputation with the goblins was improved as well.
    And the pirates were kind enough to leave some food for me, so I could easily and consistently minimize any downtime inbetween runs to the town to sell my bags clean.
    For a rogue, that place is also good, if your lockpicking is up to date, with a decent number of locked chests lying around. Also, lockpicking!

    For a hunter, there’s a raptor cave in the Wetlands.

    And this is good for me, since I solo a lot. I’m not very social in a game either.

    Unfortunately, there are also some opposite spots. For some reason, atleast certain mobs are HARDER to kill when they’re EXACTLY one level below you. Equal level mobs are hard, but for some reason those 1 level below me punished me seriously.
    Some areas and quests also are a bit counterproductive, where the quests do not provide enough XP for what you’re doing and/or are too quickly done, leaving you either traveling so much that your feet start hurting “IRL”, or having great difficulty dealing with the puny mobs that you have direct access to.

    These things seem to go in waves, so that every three or five levels you’re having unnecessary troubles.

    Although I believe that this could be fixed if I did instances to gain EPIXXX, but as I said, I don’t go well with people. Too bad WoW doesn’t come with single-player.

  4. David V.S. says:

    From what I have seen in WoW, those “sweet spots” are not consciously put there by the developers but are simply a natural effect of a market economy and a world which is so darn big.

    There will always be some place where grinding fits your ‘toon especially well. Usually this is fighting humanoid foes (as with your Tanaris pirates) because humanoids drop more gold, drop cloth, and tend to have treasure chests in their territory.

    For example, the Badlands is known to be great for mining mithril. Except it’s really not. The density of ore deposits is not uncommonly large. But a lack of flight a point and comparatively few quests for Alliance ‘toons makes that map area underpopulated, so for most characters it is the best place to mine mithril. Although some ‘toons fit better in the Hinterlands for such mining.

    On another server your Volatile Rum might not be worth much because lots of people have recently adventured in Tanaris and gathered it from the pirates to sell on the AH. But if that happened then some other commodity would be less farmed, and whomever realized it first could earn some gold in a new “sweet spot”.

  5. Cuthalion says:

    I got here with only three posts, so I’ve really got to think of something to say…

    It sounds like WoW has a good leveling system going for it. By contrast, perhaps the worst leveling system I’ve seen is in Maplestory. The rewards are tiny, the xp requirement increases steep, and the levels needed to get a big boost many. I spent essentially all my time trying to level in order to keep up with friends, who went up absurdly fast. Also, the classes weren’t well-balanced in leveling up: my class, the archer, was apparently the most miserable to level from 20-30, and 30 is one of the big boost levels (your class changes). I never got there. It took hours and hours to get every level. I was metagaming the whole time. Despite doing the math to make sure I got the best skills in the best order, it was slow and incredibly boring. Plus half the people were annoying, there were a lot of hackers for a while, and the Korean company’s swear filter was a joke. (It blocked the wierdest things and let through all kinds of actually swears, making me rephrase my sentences without telling me what harmless word it didn’t like.)

    So, yeah, I’m not playing that game anymore, and the number one reason is because of how they handled leveling. I didn’t feel like playing when every second was punishment for not having the attention span my friends did.

  6. robert says:

    SPORE!!! There’s one huge time sink coming down the pipe I tell ya what. The creature creature alone kept me busy for HOURS.

    I can’t believe Shamus has not posted his favorite abomination yet.

  7. MRL says:

    Ideally, no game should have grinding, ever. It is the antithesis of what gaming stands for; I generally refuse to grind at all, if it is at all viable (or unless the grinding-type thing is fun – for example, I love robbing banks in City of Heroes, even several different banks in a row).

  8. Shamus says:

    Robert: I won’t be playing Spore. Online activation on a single-player game is a deal-breaker for me.

  9. Katy says:

    Would you like to see THE END OF THE WORLD? ….of Warcraft??

  10. Clint Olson says:

    @robert: I believe Shamus is boycotting Spore because of the DRM it will contain.

    EDIT: I see he’s already replied to that effect. Ah well.

  11. Having come from EverQuest, I’ve now experienced two, um… experience driven systems that have their own advantages and disadvantages.

    EQ: Experience is gained primarily through killing mobs. Even though their are plenty of quests from which the game gets its name, the quest experience is almost nonexistent and the only reason to do them is for story or rewards. The mobs are particularly tough in comparison to equal level character classes, and their experience rewards are great. The experience tapers slowly toward low level mobs so characters can gain experience off mobs that are far below their own level of experience. I believe the low level limit is based off half the characters level before the mob no longer rewards experience. Grouping up splits the experience between the characters, but also provides % increases to the amount of experience rewarded. The amount of % bonus increases as the number of group members increase.

    This helps encourage group cooperation to take down many more mobs within a span of time than any one of those characters could take down alone. In this way the game helps encourage those classes for which soloing is particularly hard, but grouping is almost impossible without: Healers and Tanks. Their is also those classes that are considered “soloing” classes that do particularly well alone. Even with a mythical status concerning their perceived power however, those same classes tend to be shunned by the remaining population at large. With the large cut off for experience earned, their is also a certain amount of encouragement for high level characters to help low level characters. The amount of experience earned off such low level mobs is very small, but its something rather than nothing.

    Of the two games I would say that EQ is the more sociable. However it also requires the most time investment to get to level 70 (or whatever the cap now is), much of that time spent mindlessly killing mob after mob after mob.

    WoW: Experience is gained primarily through quests. Mobs do reward experience and the game has a built in function for rested experience that helps to encourage people to log off every so often… at least with one character while they play another. However, the amount of experience earned through turning in quests far exceeds the amount of experience earned off grinding mobs for the same amount of time, even with rested experience. Mobs are evenly powered in comparison to characters of equal level, even being less powerful than an equal level character. Experience rewards drop more sharply with a 10 lvl limit before the creatures no longer reward experience.

    There is no particular lean toward any class as being a soloing class. All the DPS classes can easily level, and even tanks and healers by doing low level quests can level easily and quickly playing solo in comparison to their counterparts in EQ. However, tank and healer leveling is still particularly hard compared to the ease of soloability the DPS classes have. This creates a focus on soloing that discourages playing tank and healer classes. At high levels tanks and healers are even more difficult to find in WoW than they were in EQ despite the relative ease of leveling them. With the short cut off of experience earned from lower level mobs, there is little reason for high level characters to help low level characters. I’d never heard of paying for a run through of instances until I joined WoW.

    Experience systems have a spectacular impact on game play, particularly on the community of said games. EQ had a much nicer community than WoW, people were generally more helpful and less aggressive. Just today in WoW, I was called a bastard by another player after having helped that player.

    Part of the reason the experience system has so much of an impact however is because it really is the focus of the game to get to high level.

    With a system as difficult as EQ’s, it was a very rewarding thing to have a character at level 70. There was an expectation that grouping with other level 70’s, everyone would know their roll together in group. Whereas in WoW, it doesn’t seem to mean much that a person has a lvl 70 character. Even having purple gear doesn’t seem to mean much, a player has to have T5 or T6 before they’ll be respected for their prowess at playing the game, and even then those same players can be expected to be arrogant jerks.

    I’m rambling into commentary that goes beyond risk vs reward. My point is that the two systems seem to have very extreme differences between how much reward is earned for risk. EQ has very little reward for a great deal of risk, while WoW has a lot of reward for very little risk. This difference goes beyond simple enjoyment of the game to nurturing the types of communities they have. EQ had a tight and trusting community while WoW has a loose and very greedy community.

    So I guess my question becomes: How do you balance risk and reward, while still maintaining a community of players? Is there a way to take the focus off of experience gain while still rewarding risk and simulating character growth?

    No, I'm not leveling or making money as fast as I could, but I am having fun.

    When the focus is no longer on experience gain, I find that people have the most fun.

  12. Wow that got wordy… sorry for taking up so much space there Shamus.

  13. ShadowDragon8685 says:

    One of the big deal-breakers for me, in MMORPGS, is feeling forced to level-up. It killed the Final Fantasy MMO for me, more than any of their other crap, the fact was that players that farm and power-level zoom up in the levels, and players who want to roleplay and have fun with their friends, like me, often get left behind by said friends.

    It really sucks to hear “I can’t come play with you, I’m six levels above you and I’d get no XP from killing monsters you can fight, and you’d get no XP and be needing rescuing all the time if you tried going with me”. So eventually I simply quit, because I coulden’t just have fun with my friends; I was *forced* to do something I did not want to do in order to have fun.

    That’s kind of the deal-breaker with MMORPGs, actually; you should not be *forced* to do something not-fun before they let you start having fun. Star Wars Galaxies is the best MMORPG I’ve played for that, I only quit because my internet became unreliable and sucky, and because I got really frustrated at a confluence of stress in my life. I miss my old homies, actually. That game was good to RP in.

  14. Damian says:

    Two things.

    Firstly, I agree with Shamus on Spore and its tool-of-the-devil DRM. With that said, I happily went out and bought the full version* of the creature creator, because my 3-year-old son just loves sitting with me while we make things and then play with them. Can’t be recommended enough for that purpose.

    Secondly, you prefer Darkshore to Ashenvale? Crikey.

    * which, naturally, does silly stuff like put an EA downloader in that whines if you don’t give it 5Gb of disk space. Oh dear, how sad, uninstall.

  15. I admit that I liked the scenery too, and the quests.

    The only character I ever had trouble with was my priest I tried to level up hordeside.

    I’m tempted to return.

  16. Joseph says:

    1st. Jadawin? The Jadawin I know? Hey there!

    2nd. Shamus:

    Go is not an RPG. It doesn’t have an experience system. It is deepest and almost-oldest pure abstract strategy game played in the world. It has a sophisticated handicapping system which allows people to play “even” games against players of dramatically different skill levels.

    If you are always playing against much better players, you get better. You get better FAST. And you don’t lose all the time, because of the handicapping.

    The problem is, as you get better, you start to run into players who are worse than you, even much worse. And you have mastered playing with a large handicap in your favor…

    So, while you learn general games skills, you do specialize in a particular type of handicap game.

    The reason I bring this up is… Well, anything you do in life, you will get better at. Why should XP be awarded more for one thing than for another? Why not award /different/ XP for different actions? Fight lots of weenie enemies, and you should get better at fighting weenies. Fight stuff that’s tougher than you are, and keep pushing it as you get tougher, then you should get good at fighting stuff that’s much tougher than you. Of course, these capacities all improve your overall skills, and can be applied to other tasks, but why not just let players get good at whatever they choose to do the most of, instead of deciding what actions to reward them for?

    This, of course, does not apply fully in cases as those you mention, where one player’s play interferes with other players’. But in a single-player game, that’s not an issue.

  17. Kaeltik says:

    @ Joseph: Funny that you should say that. A friend of mine wrote me just last week to say he was developing his own tabletop RPG rules. In his system you gain XP toward whatever skills you use to succeed in an XP-granting task. This is in lieu of character levels. Unused skills also decay over time. He’s having trouble keeping down the bookkeeping load, but he’s literally a rocket scientist, so if anyone can do it he will.

    PS My apologies for the following non sequitur, but I thought this crew would appreciate getting in on the ground floor of this particular meme:

  18. Kaeltik says:

    Apologies again: my link syntax was wrong.
    Jar Jar, you’re a genius

  19. Veylon says:

    The XP-per-skill system has been used in everything from Final Fantasy II to Betrayal at Krondor to Morrowind.

    It always seems to come down to grinding away at one thing. Which, I suppose, makes sense. The problem is having meaningful practice. Do I get better at swordfighting faster if I fight slimes or swordsmen? Can I just throw fireball at every tree and get XP the same way as if I were nailing kobolds and goblins? Should I get more skill XP for trying my cooking skills at Duck ala Orange or Toast?

    I do like the XP-per-skill method as opposed to arbitrary “levels”, but it so often comes down to Runescape-style “light a million fires in a row” or FF2 “whack each other for more HP” stuff.

    On the other hand, who’s up for a game where one must take one’s mage jogging to keep his stamina up?

  20. Dan Shiovitz says:

    XP-for-doing systems have almost nothing to recommend them except a certain superficial realism, and, as Veylon points out, in practice it’s even less realistic than other systems. Sometimes it’s even worse than unrealistic — SWG’s economy was notoriously destroyed by people practicing craft skills.

    Anyway, my take is that the best way to understand XP systems is that higher levels are an exclusive club, like a college fraternity or the boy scouts or the Masons or something. The main concerns of admissions at a club like this is to make sure that you let only the right people in, and to make sure people properly respect the club and take it seriously. Therefore you have two kinds of requirements: sacrifice and aptitude. Sacrifice means that you require people to pay stuff and do stuff to get in — this is why fraternities have crazy initiation rites and MMORPGs require you to spend hours grinding. If a club requires a sacrifice to get in, when you’re in, you know everyone else has sacrificed too, and they’re not just some goofball off the street who decided on a whim to come in. But it’s not enough to make a sacrifice, because the point of the club isn’t just to be exclusive, it’s also to accomplish some mission or achieve some objective: so you need a skill requirement too. In some cases it’s a pretty low bar (maybe just “be able to get along with the other guys in the club”), while for, say, being an Eagle scout, there’s a pretty big project required that takes some skills.

    So the upshot is that XP systems are intended to enforce both a time-investment requirement and a skills-developed requirement. And therefore, you don’t want to let people kill a million rats to get to the top level, because then they’re just sacrificing, they’re not proving they’ve developed any skill, so level 70 ceases to represent any prowess at playing the game and loses its luster for everyone. (And this still applies for single-player games; there’s a principle of game design that if you offer a dumb, tedious solution to win a game, people will take it, and then say “man, that game sure is dumb and tedious”.)

  21. Zukhramm says:

    I think, my problems with MMORPG grinding is that leveling is the main way of progressing through the game. In a single player game, I level to be able to complete quests, in MMORPGs I quest to ba able to level.

  22. Scipio says:

    I’ve always wondered why games don’t use a tapering XP for doing system. By ‘xp for doing’ I mean a system that grants xp for doing a given task. Thus if you do a lot of fishing, your fishing skill increases. Lots of games do this, and it mostly just leads to boring old grinding.

    The key is to add a tapering element. By that I mean the amount of skill xp generated by a given activity decreases asymptotically as an activity is repeated. Thus performing a given activity, say fire balling a goblin or catching a fish the first time generates 100% of max xp for that activity. Repeating the activity would generate say 98% of max xp. Do the same thing 50 times and you’re only getting 10% of max xp. Do it 1000 times and you’re generating only .5% of max xp.

    This means that players are encouraged to do new and different things after a certain point. It also avoids the problem where players may WANT to explore new areas and try different quests, but the ease of grinding in a certain area means their xp per hour is simply way better than questing or taking the time to travel to a new area. But because xp generated decreases asymptotically, players are never FORCED to leave a good grinding spot if that’s what they want to do.

    I like how this works for skill systems too. One cannot become a master chef simply by creating a macro that makes toast and then go to bed. You can get part way there by making toast, but eventually you’ll have to go find the ingredients to make, say, scrambled eggs. Once you’ve ‘mastered’ that sub-skill, you have to move on until you’ve actually cooked a variety of dishes.

  23. Kaeltik says:

    Thanks for your advice on XP-for-doing systems, I’ll relay it all to my friend.

    Some of the problems you mentioned seem to be particular to unrefereed games. My friend is working on a table top system. I don’t know any GM worth his salt who’d let players get away with repetitive XP acquisition.

    @ Scipio: He also takes tapering into account. I can ask him for his latest algorithms, though he’s a bit of a perfectionist (a requirement of his job) and may not want to release anything until he’s good and ready.

  24. Nurgh says:

    I’ve been playing tabletop games at least 25 years now, and I’ve developed some opinions about experience grants. Being old and crufty, I’ll subject you to them.

    In my opinion, experience in a tabletop game is a way of granting a measurable reward for playing. You come to a game, you play the game, you get slow progress to new and fun powers. The GM should have control over the rate of progress.

    Experience is not a method of changing the players’ behavior. You change behavior by talking to the players out of game and altering the situations into which you place them.

    Starting there, that says to me everyone gets equivalent advancement for attending the game and participating socially, regardless of what their characters actually do. If someone does something really wonderful, give _everyone_ a bonus. That way, one player doesn’t resent the fact that another player both got the spotlight and got rewarded for it. Similarly, slightly shy players – or players who roleplay a shy character – aren’t penalized.

    On the other hand, you have to do something to let players who miss sessions catch up. It’s no fun to be “behind” for ever. So I generally modify things to let people catch up. This has evolved into the following convention, which a lot of my friends use for level-based games:
    A campaign has “par”, generally equal to the highest character level. A single game within the campaign has an experience award. All characters at par get that award. All characters below par get that award, times a multiple (the multiple depends on the GM, usually 1.5 or 2) as long as they don’t go past the highest experience total in the group.
    Essentially, for those games where having less experience made a difference you get a boost to catch up. Aside from that, everyone who attends gets the same amount.

    It handles things like experience loss reasonably – at some point in the future, the experience loss makes a level difference and until you’ve felt that difference for a run you don’t catch up. New characters catch up rapidly, but still get a chance to familiarize themselves with their abilities as they are acquired.

    In the game I’m currently running, I do this. I hide the actual XP totals to reduce discussion and deemphasize experience but the players know how I award it. They just don’t know how much I award.

  25. Tizzy says:


    Since most of the XP-for-doing comments concern computer games, I thought I’d mention that the xp-for-doing in tabletops games (with tapering) dates back to the early days of the hobby, probably introduced by Chaosium (Runequest, Call of Cthulhu etc…).

    Your skills are expressed as percentile. Any successful use of a skill gives you an opportunity to raise it at the end of the story (whether you were successful once or 100 times doesn’t matter). To actually raise it, you need to roll *above* your current rating (hence tapering).

    Simple an efficient. Also prevents having level 30 characters running around who can take on whole cities and not get scratched. Depending on the kind of games you want to run, that can be handy (I could never wrap my head around a D&D-like world and have it make sense, how can a world accommodate such variations in power?).

  26. It’s not a new idea for tabletop gaming either, by the way (Ah, I now notice Tizzy also points this out). Twilight 2000, for instance, used to have a “Use the skill to improve it” approach. You’d literally put a little check mark beside a skill every time you used it; accumulate enough and it would increase.
    GURPS is a bit of a hybrid. GURPS is largely based around its skill system. It gives out generalized character points, but when you’re going to use them to upgrade skills you have to ask the GM and the idea is if you’ve used and practised that skill sufficiently since last time you bumped it, the GM will say OK. “Sufficiently” is a GM call, and there is a general notion that it will take a bit more use, and/or more impressive use, to be allowed to improve if you’re a master than if you’re a beginner. All pretty informal, but I suspect it actually works better that way. This approach is not uncommon nowadays.

  27. Katy says:

    @Scipio — WoW has some places where it uses a tapering skill system, specifically when it comes to leveling professions.

    For production professions (like Tailoring, Blacksmiths, First Aid, etc.), you learn recipes or patterns of how to create various items. Most of these require a certain skill level to learn them, in the first place. Generally, you’ll know a range of recipes, some of which are more difficult than others. If you make the more difficult items (which take a greater amount of more expensive materials), you’re guaranteed to get a skill increase.

    Gathering professions (herbalism, skinning, mining) work similarly — hard-to-gather items will guarantee a skill point if you succeed in the gather attempt, while easy-to-gather items may never give you a skill point.

    Fishing is another story entirely — aside from a required quest to allow you to advance fishing skill at one point of progression, fishing simply requires successful casts — 1 cast per point at low levels, up to 13 casts per skill point at high levels.

  28. ArchU says:

    The goal of the game (and, interpolating indirectly to the XP system) is to keep you playing for as long as possible. The more you enjoy it, the more money is made from you. I found that the constant updates in MMORPGs add enough content to maintain interest and keep even highly experienced characters learning new things because it effectively forces the players to want to learn new things in order to participate in the game with the new features (or in a worse scenario, changed features).

    For instance, let’s say the game has a skill that allows characters to shoot with bows. You want your character to train to be proficient in shooting with bows so you spend lots of your experience learning to do so. Later a patch is released that adds various types of arrows, only it is quickly discovered that this, combined with a high shoot-with-bows skill, greatly unbalances the game. To that effect another patch is released that includes skills for using each type of arrow that must be learned after having sufficiently high amounts of the shoot-with-bows skill. Suddenly the player, wanting their character to use the new array of arrows, must spend more time training said character to become proficient with using those arrows.

    It’s a stupid worst-case kind of example, but I’ve seen similar things happen. I guess that if the player enjoys the game even after such silliness, then that’s their perogative…

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