Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Exit Strategy

I thought this would be an interesting topic to talk about, as it's something that's near and dear to many NERO players.

For those of you unfamiliar with the NERO world, the game system has been around for over 20 years now, with some characters being almost that old. Unfortunately, the game was never designed to handle characters over level 30 well, and with 20 years of gameplay, NERO has many characters who breach that mark, with some going as high as level 50+. Add that to the fact that there is a pretty significant gap in effectiveness between low and high level players, and you've got a serious problem.

See, NERO has no "Exit Strategy."

There comes a point in every game where it makes sense to start getting high level characters out of there. Some games do this by trying to make it more deadly so that those high level characters permanently die, but this is a very weak strategy.

On the other hand, some games offer some kind of compensation for players to retire their characters, or have a set timeline before a full reset, thus providing more effective exit strategies. The Dreaming even had a system of experience decay that made it so that you eventually could only maintain the abilities you already bought (unless you wanted to learn something else and let your skills lapse).

So if you're designing a new LARP that has advancement built into it, please think about an exit strategy for characters. Otherwise, when you're game's being run 20 years down the road (good for you!), you'll run into issues like NERO.


  1. I feel as though perhaps the situation would be less problematic were plot teams more proactive in offering those high-level players an "epic retirement". After playing a character for so long I feel as though many players actually have the urge to retire, or at least to play another character. But, if a character is going to go, you want it to be at least as impressive as their life.

    I like the retirement package that comes with an extra-planar transform, but I feel like the idea could be extended. My personal suggestion? When a character dies, let their spirit infuse an item of personal value and turn it into a powerful magical item whose enchantments can be renewed over time. This could help create the sort of epic, lasting legacy that people want from their characters.

  2. I'm all for a retirement system, and it's not too late for nero to add one 20 years later.

    Rewards could be anything a few examples:
    -specialized plot line to start
    -perhaps a unique race only accessible after character retires.
    -unique item
    -perhaps let them retire their 30 for a new lvl 10 (1/3 the lvl)
    -might even be as easy as an awesome retirement plot line option.

    There are tons of possibilities.

  3. I know a couple folks in the Midwest and in Texas in NERO who have ALREADY crested the 100th level mark and handful more who are in the 70-80s.

    I'm level 50 after starting to play since 94..I have a 30th level secondary and my tertiary is in the 20s?

    Even scattering my build to the 4 corners its hard not to be broken.

    -Jeremie Collins