byChris Chester||February 8th 2008 at 4:30pmFebruary 8th 2008 4:30 pm
As a gamer who was holding a controller long before I'd ever even heard of a D20, the attribute systems that seem to be standard in the world of RPGs were always a little foreign and foreboding. The idea of Strength and Dexterity were easy enough to grasp, but what the heck did Constitution mean? And for that matter, what's the difference between Wisdom and Intelligence? Even as an adult, the attribute system in a game like World of Warcraft is a bit strange to me. They give general descriptions on the website and in the game's manual, but when you start throwing in things like crit chances, the five second rule, and attack power, it all becomes a dense, tangled mess.
On his blog, Brian Green ponders whether such a system can't be simplified in a way that would encourage a deeper understanding for players who don't take their games so seriously that they've got their gear progression mapped out in Excel. His first suggestion is to sweep away derived stats, or more accurately, JUST have derived stats, and ignore the base stats that influence them. Seems reasonable enough, if a bit more long-winded. His second suggestion is to take away the level curve, making stats behave the same regardless of the player level. It's an interesting idea in the abstract, but one wonders whether developers, and indeed the players they're developing these games for, are ready to put in such a radically different system.