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What are your thoughts on "sidekicking"?

Discussion in 'WildStar General' started by Pixie, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. Pixie

    Pixie Cupcake-About-Town

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    Sidekicking, so well liked in CoX a lot of gamers simply call the concept of being down- or upleveled to match someone you play with that, despite other games' efforts to re-name the practice.

    I liked it in CoX, and I see the appeal, but I must admit, I'm not sold...

    I haven't heard anything to or from when it comes to grouping in Wildstar, but me and my boyfriend had a long conversation about how we felt about sidekicking as well Guild Wars 2's way of changing your level to fit an area, and as we argued away I realised this is an interesting discussion in general and should be had outside our four walls as well! ;)

    My problem with the way level match was implemented in GW2 was probably quite game specific. Me and my boyfriend tend to play on American servers because our gaming community is American. This means we have a fair few gaming hours with few friends about to play with. One thing me and him enjoy is going back and seeing some of the group content that we haven't been able to get around to do, once we are high enough level to duo it. In this way, we get to take our time and really explore the lore of a dungeon, or try again and again to down a group boss a few levels below us, and the awesome feeling you get when you succeed. I feel that doing so isn't gamebreaking or unbalanced at all, simply because the rewards you receive aren't exactly something you'll use anyways.

    When you sidekick, or get downleveled, in most games you'll receive loot and rewards that are useless to you anyways, so you get the same drawback, but no real benefit beyond "Repeating content with your friends is more challenging that way".

    My boyfriend defended sidekicking as well as GW2's area levels, stating as his main argument that the content stayed fresh for longer because it was still a challenge, instead of becoming pointlessly easy if you go to an area you've vastly outleveled, as well as the fact that playing with your friends can feel a bit patronising if you bring a character twice the level to the fight.

    Of course, I see his points, but would argue that if a game (say, wildstar? hehe) would like to implement a sidekicking or area-level system, they should then also make sure you can get rewards that are somewhat useful for your higher level character out of it. Suggestions would be crafting materials of higher "level", currency, buffs etc, rather than a low level weapon or loot you can't use for anything.

    I understand that that causes further problems with things like markets overflowing with high level crafting materials or too much currency to go around etc, etc, etc... so it would of course have to be balanced...:confused:

    Anyways, what do you think? How do you feel grouping should work, what "errors" have been made in grouping systems in other games? Do you prefer sidekicking or area levels, or neither?
  2. Elthic

    Elthic Cupcake-About-Town

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    I have no problem with the ability to reduce your level to play with your friends, so that you don't just steam roll content for them, and steal some of their exp.

    However, I am not a fan of the downleveling that happens everywhere you go that isn't max level. i want to feel like my character is getting stronger, as I play. So if I do go back, it will feel as though my character has progressed, and has become stronger.

    Just make a level sync in groups, and make in optional. Perhaps give the party leader the ability to even out all of the levels in the group to the person with the lowest level.
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  3. Aheadache

    Aheadache Well-Known Cupcake

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    I did like and supported side kicking in CoX to a point. When I noticed low levels in a high level zone and learned you could blow through levels, I changed my mind on it.

    I think its good in allowing to overcome the level divide in content and play with your friends as it was intended. But when it turns into a leveling machine and, you can bypass content, then its a negative for me.

    Edit.
    If its handled like GW2 then its fine with me, but could do without it all together. I would rather not have it in game and be able to go to a low zone and not bother with gray mobs.
  4. Hope

    Hope Cupcake-About-Town

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    I feel the same. I didn't really care for the forced downleveling in GW2, I simply missed the feeling of getting more powerful as I progressed. I mean, if I'm level 50, I should be able to squish that damn lowbie rat with my foot, not struggle with it as if I was level 2 and equipped with a ragged robe and a stick. :laugh:

    Yup, this would be perfect.
  5. Veckna

    Veckna Well-Known Cupcake

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    My preference would be for downward scaling only (ie you can scale down to help your lower level friends but they can't scale up to you) either by group or by zone level for example and, as Elthic says, make it optional.

    Is definitely a nice feature for those with differing amounts of time available, it does take away one excuse for alts though ;)
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  6. Norlamin

    Norlamin Cupcake

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    I have no problem with sidekicking, preferably only down scaling, Rift implemented it perfectly imo. If we could get that in Wildstar I'd have no complaints, however, like a poster above said, I'm not okay with the downleveling akin to GW2. Leveling in GW2 honestly felt null and void thanks to that system.
  7. Zinn

    Zinn Cupcake-About-Town

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    I have no problem with mentoring type systems but with leveling being so fast in modern MMOs the need for mentoring has been diminished. I don't think it should be a priority until well after a game releases. No offense to fans of mentoring or the OP but both time and money is a limited commodity for developers and those resources need to be prioritized. Mentoring while a nice feature for many is something at least IMO that can wait until a game is more complete and mature.

    I thought the way Rift implemented it after release once it added low level IA content and AA levels was well done. It allowed max level characters to then help friends and still get rewarded for playing content while mentored down.
  8. Pixie

    Pixie Cupcake-About-Town

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    I, too, find this to be a much better sounding option.

    I think these things is something a lot of players find less important between the many things that make up a game and sometimes I almost feel like developers care a lot more for it than players.

    I won't dislike wildstar if it has a area level system but I won't enjoy that system, I'll still enjoy the game though.

    I do think it is a lot more important to find ways to entice players into grouping and being social than to find ways to levcel-match groups however.
  9. Brightag

    Brightag Cupcake

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    Just to clear up any confusion, sidekicking refers to a player level scaling up. Down leveling is called Exemplar/Malefactor, depending on which side of CoX you play. As someone who played CoX, the title of the thread immediately made me think you were going to talk about scaling levels up.

    I wanted to try to clear this up because some players from CoX, myself included, did not view sidekicking as a good feature. It made sense in the context of the game world, but in practice it was lacking. When you sidekicked someone, their level and output increased, but they didn't gain any additional abilities. For example, travel powers, such as flying, were unattainable until level 14. If you sidekick anyone that low with a group of level 50s, navigating through a map was slow. Also, missing other key abilities in your power set reduced your contribution overall.

    When it comes to Exemplar/Malefactor or down leveling, I'm a huge fan. The kind of system I'm referring to is the one where I can control what level I am at any time, not the party leader and not the automatic level sync area/zone type like GW2. For me, the primary reason I like mentoring systems or down leveling is because it allows me to level at my own pace without prohibiting me from playing with my friends. But, the benefits extend beyond just friends playing together.

    Carbine says they plan to launch with a LFG system. They even went so far to say that a game today would be hurting itself if it didn't have one at launch. Currently, when you use a LFG tool, you are matched up with people your own level. However, with a mentor system, the type where a player can reduce their level at will, higher level players could flag up for lower level dungeons.

    Tired of waiting for a specific role or a group, you can put out a message in LFG chat for a higher level player to mentor down to join you. Basically, you would potentially have access to every higher level player on the server.
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  10. John

    John "That" Cupcake

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    Not a fan of sidekicking...it violates the 'sanctity of character'...I just don't like that my character can gain or lose power and ability for no real reason. It doesn't fit into lore and breaks immersion, it just feels like a tacked on band-aid to squeeze more life out of leveling zones.
  11. Witless

    Witless "That" Cupcake

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    Exemplar (downscale) is great, side kicking (upscale) is not. If you have already done the content then playing it again with a friend is fine. Side kicking is a fancy way of saying power leveling, which is of the Debil! ;)

    I also must be one of the few that liked GW2 version. Yes my 80 was scaled to a 4 in starter areas but I still had all my skills, gear and abilities and never had a worry about dying. Took a bit more than one shot something. After all you are leveling down to play with your friend, shouldn't they actually play? If not that's power leveling too ;) .
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  12. Draogon

    Draogon Cupcake-About-Town

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    Right click on another players name > mentor = reduces you to their lvl and auto lvls you up with them. Also maybe gives a bonus xl gain to them.
  13. Dpz

    Dpz Cupcake

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    I don't like at all. Mostly if it happens automatic, it feels wierd to go back as a big powerfull lvl 60 warrior only to have trouble killing of that mob you had same problem killing when you was level 5, it's immersion breaking to me.

    Usally i just create an alt to play with my friends that are new to the game, i really enjoy that alot because i get to level up a new character at the same time as i'm helping them. Or if they already feel they have experienced the story and ask me to power level them i can do that.

    So you get to chose how you or your friends want to level up, instead of getting forced into playing a certain way.
  14. Duckdee

    Duckdee Cupcake-About-Town

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    I wouldn't have had half as much fun in CoX if there was no sidekicking. I used it both ways, but I also alted to an appropriate level where possible. Was it used by others for powerlevelling? Yes. But I was too busy having fun with friends to care.

    IIRC, you couldn't do Task Forces until you were the minimum required level, so I still had stuff to look forward to.

    Do it exactly like CoX!
  15. Lethality

    Lethality "That" Cupcake

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    Personally, I'm not a fan of dynamic level adjustments.

    One of the core pillars of an RPG is of course progression, and if you sidestep that even temporarily, I feel it neuters the whole idea of doing it in the first place!

    If you're a low level and get scaled up by joining a friend in a group in a high level area, there's little incentive to go back to starter zones and level at all, making the game feel punishing.

    If you're a higher level being scaled down, you're not getting that feeling of power or progression against creatures you've long since bested. I think that's a key aspect to fun... The sense that your character has gone forward.

    It may sound like a good idea to say "the starter zone should always be as challenging as any zone to the player" but in practice, I don't think it plays out well.
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  16. Ender

    Ender Well-Known Cupcake

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    Hehe, I actually really like dynamic level adjustment, for the simple reason that I almost always play with my husband, though there will always be times where one of us can't play. When a game doesn't have dynamic levelling, we're always forced to either play a different character so we don't get too much ahead, or risk the level discrepancy between our characters becoming large enough that one of us, or even both, get nothing out of playing together when it comes to XP and gear.

    However, I do think it should only be scaling down. I agree with Lethality that if you group with a higher level friend and are able to go into higher level zones that way, there's no real reason to come back to the lower zones again.
    Scaling down however would be your choice. If you want that feeling of power and progression, you can always stay in an equal level zone, but the ability to play with friends sometimes without having to put a lot of effort into staying around the same level is extremely useful I find. Despite the fact that over half of the players might play solo, an MMORPG is still at its core a multiplayer game, and I find that many games make grouping with specific people, friends, partners, guild members, harder than it have to be.
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  17. Dragnog

    Dragnog Cupcake-About-Town

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    I too was (and still am) a fan of the automatic scaling in GW2 for a number of reasons:
    1. Instead of the world becoming smaller, the world becomes larger as you progress. In most MMORPGs as you progress the viable areas to make progression become smaller and smaller.

    2. Progression by numbers is not as good as progression by skill in terms of reward. I personally like that when I go back to a low level area and burn through content it is not because I just have higher numbers but because I got better at the game. It feels much more rewarding to be able to go back and face monsters that I have fought before and best them quicker because I know how they are going to act than go back and see a bunch of misses come up on my screen.
    I think the issue was not the system itself but in the sense of progression - you did not feel that you were getting better. I am hoping with Wildstar with the inclusion of kill counters (double kill, triple kill etc) and challenges you will feel more of the progression in skill.

    3. I do not have to worry about rushing ahead of my friends because I have more time or them rushing ahead of me because of other commitments, we can still come back and play whenever we like and it is still a challenge for everyone and everyone gets accordingly rewarded. This also touches on dynamic content in area. I love going into an area I have been before in GW2 and going "I don't remember this event...." and it happens quite often.

    I know it can sometimes feel frustrating for the completionist in me, but I think in the long run it feels much more rewarding when you actually get things done.
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  18. Zee

    Zee Cupcake

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    For me it all depends on reusing of low level zones. If for instance there is a event in a low level zone I would like to participate it would be great if the content would be a bit challenging.

    Since there are multiple issues with scaling mobs to your level, the "sidekicking" seem to be the only option. I would be OK if sidekicking would work in public quests, events and dungeons. Outside of this your would retain your actual level.
  19. Pixie

    Pixie Cupcake-About-Town

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    Hehe, to be honest I'm way to OCD for us to do it this way...:oops:

    We tend to play through the storyline together on one set of characters, and then we have alts for when one of us is not able to play, alts with slightly different purpouses than our mains.

    The wonderful thing about Wildstar for us, is that it is perfect for that. I'm 99% sure that our mains will be an explorer and a scientist, and that he will have a soldier alt and I will have a Settler alt. He loves "mindless slaughter" and tough solo challenges so the Solder's perfect for that purpouse, and since I love having a more social Alt (usually crafting, my alt was an entertainer in SWG), the settler is beyond perfect for that purpouse. Since we play through the storyline together, scientist/explorer seems like such a cool duo combination because their purpouse is to dig deeper and discover more.

    I can't wait to play *sigh* hehe

    Oh and, I know sidekicking is when you're levelled up in CoX, I couldn't remember the term for being downlevelled, but mentoring is the term I was looking for, so thanks guys!

    However, I keep hearing people referring to all kinds of different versions of this level tweaking as "sidekicking" in different games, so I felt it's become kind of the "term" for it in general...

    I love seeing that people have strong opinions about this field, it's not just me and my BF! And I think it is very important that these opinions are heard, because you guys have mentioned a lot of things I hadn't thought of at all in this regard :up:
  20. Slyndria

    Slyndria Cupcake-About-Town

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    I have always liked the idea, however not sure how you balance XP and the system as a whole.

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