Capping! Many GemStone players only dream of the very idea, having played on and off for years or even decades without seeing a character through to that magical level 100 mark.
And yet, among those who’ve reached the top of the mountain, some are filled with unrest and dissatisfaction.
What’s gone awry? Put quite simply:
Consider the problem: after a certain point, there are little and finally NO mechanical gains to be made by gaining further experience.
It is not acceptable to leave post-cap players working toward increasingly irrelevant goals.
Not everyone has agreed with the sentiment above, particularly in years past. Sometimes the disagreement has been more about principle while other times it’s been more about practice:
Simutronics has already said, “Congratulations, you won the game.” They created a top. It was part of the intentional re-design for GS4. 100th level. You’re there. Finis.
I know everyone wants to keep growing their characters forever, but the game isn’t designed for that. It’s designed with a very specific apex, one that is a considerable accomplishment for most players.
There has to be a point beyond which no further progress is possible. You can keep moving that point a little farther to make power-players happy, but […h]ighly motivated players will always reach the next cap, and the problem will start all over again. I’m not actually opposed to moving the cap a little farther ahead, if it will help spread out the herd a bit.
I don’t see the need for a post-cap reward system until other major systems are done. Monks, savants, EL lore review, spells, thrown review, player mail, Voln/CoL reviews, forging updates, mining/smelting, etc.
The plate is overfull, and before adding to the list, need to cross some of those much needed items off.
We do NOT need more professions. We need existing professions improved. We need new systems for our EXISTING characters to enjoy.
[…] the post-cap system should be considered a priority. Growth for the characters we have been playing for 5, 10, 15 YEARS is what is important.
There are always going to be players who outstrip the ability of the GMs to code new challenges and while I might sympathize with the lack of mechanical carrot for players at 5x cap, hugely revamping the game mechanically to account for them would likely be an unwise use of resources.
Personally, as my main character is approaching 3x cap I’m sort of happy to know that I’m over halfway to where I don’t need to worry about such things anymore.
I have kept out of this discussion mainly because my suggestions in the past have all been shot down. […] I have coped by just semi-retiring my three capped folks.
[…] if you’re Premium and have […] 14 characters, you will never lack for things to do and goals to achieve.
[…] for some people, branching out into other characters is the way they want to keep the game fun, and for other people, playing that same character is the way they want to play. And both of those are totally fine, but one of them needs some development help right now.
An Evolving Conversation
The larger consensus among players has over time come down heavily on the side that there is a problem leading to boredom with capped characters:
Look around, there are dozens of players who have hit cap, gotten bored and left. Some went into permanent limbo, some sold their characters and moved on[…]
[…] there are many folks who are very attached to one specific character and want to keep advancing them, and for those players, more so than the bored ones, it is important to give some other goals to reach for, and some post-cap dev love. This game is much poorer every time one of those folks leave.
[I want] to continue playing Leafiara and growing her into as distinct a character as I can while keeping her RP history and relationships, not get her to some acceptable stopping point and then leave her snoozing in TSC […] while I go have fun with my paladin or empath in another window.
I want progress made on satisfying players who have otherwise reached the “end of the game” and are now struggling to stick with it. Asking players to start over by creating an alt and then working on that character for ten years while their main that they just put ten years into languishes because […] “it’s over” is not a marketable answer from a business side or customer side.
Hopping from character to character is a lot more palatable when it doesn’t require a decade of real time to “achieve the end.” Since that’s where we are at, I want more player goals to be supported for their characters that they’ve invested thousands of dollars and thousands of hours into. And I want the respect to be there for them for supporting the company this long and engaging with the product.
Our current system of letting you backfill skill with more TPs works well, but it is not going to last forever in a game where people spend decades on characters. That time on one character adds the RP depth we all love and I really hope we eventually get something to work on after the post cap training starts to run out. The character building is as much a part of playing Menos as is the interactions with other players. At least that is how it is for me.
Whenever I run out of ways to improve Menos, will be my last day in Gemstone. I’m not prepared to abandon the character I’ve spent 13 years roleplaying, but nor am I prepared to play a character forever unable to improve himself.
Perhaps more importantly, a few key current GMs agree today that there is indeed a problem:
I guess what I’m really starting to become aware of is that the growth of my character is coming to an end. 3x spells, check. 2x lores, check. 1x CM, check. 1x Weapon, check.
[replying to Veythorne] That’s a reasonable concern. It applies to every profession, but some more than others. Hopefully, it’ll be addressed with Post-Cap Development.
[The current post-cap experience] is merely an allowance for capped characters to continue to train in skills whereas they would not be able to, normally. What I mean by that is that had we decided to, [when the level cap was implemented,] stop post-cap training at level 100 you would gain no more TPs to allocate anywhere and can only maximize a limited range of skills based on whatever TPs you managed to get when you capped.
I am sure nobody wants that[…]
Allowing one to continue to train in skills past newly capped is not what I call post-cap development. If anything it is a band-aid to keep players engaged, but as you can see once that’s (in the view of player’s goals) reached the player is left in the same place they were when they newly capped. That is, nothing else left to work towards.
[…] true post-cap development […] is going to have to be something completely different than just allowing players to continue to gain TPs and train further in skills. It has to be something grand enough to be appealing to numerous professions, and have the longevity to provide years of challenges, and goals well past capped.
But what could be done? What can have that appeal and longevity?
That question brings us to our next section and every section thereafter, where things really get interesting as every possible proposal is met with advocates and detractors alike.
Part 1: What’s the Problem?
Part 2: Post-Cap Points
Part 3: Character Differentiation
Part 4: Scaling Up or Down
Part 5: Remorting
Part 6: Full or Partial Multiclassing
Part 7: Going Sideways
Part 8: Powers That Be
Part 9: Enhancive Convenience
Part 10: Non-Mechanical Perks
Part 11: The Salad Bowl of Commentary