Progression is a key element to your game. Progression allows you to give users a more dynamic experience, allowing the game-play to constantly expand itself and feel more "fun" without getting boring.

Progression is absolutely essential in games like MORPGs, because they are often long term games and if the player isn't fed with new opportunities then he/she is often going to quit earlier on.


I often say that, "There is no reason a player shouldn't start out epic." This is true. It's never good when a player feels powerless, or insignificant.
But it's even worse when a player feels masterful in early levels.
Progression is all about adding depth to your game. The longer you play the game, the better you will be at it. Therefore, by adding more elements to the game-play, you constantly have something new to master or to help you hone your skills.
If you start a MORPG with every skill in the game, then you're automatically going to get bored with it. It turns you off. Why is this? You have no idea how to even play the game. You have not developed your own play style. You'll probably end up using around 3 of the skills you get and just say "screw it" for all the other ones.

Let's look at some great examples of progression.

PLANTS VS ZOMBIES: This game's progression is excellent. When you start the game, the simplicity is almost brain-numbing. Any creature with thumbs could figure it out. This is a good thing! The more you play, the more that simple game-play gets extended. You're suddenly deciding which kind of plants you like to use, where you like to place them, etc. At the start of the game, these decisions were extremely basic. About an hour in, you'll have a lot of depth at your finger-tips. This crosses the bridge between the hard-core gamers and the casual gamers.

DRAGON NEST: Let's look at a MMO example. I absolutely love the progression in Dragon Nest. Players start out with two combat abilities and a basic attack action. Combat in the beginning simply involves pure hack+slash game-play. Eventually, the newbie learns some finer skills, such as attacking knocked-down opponents, a secondary attack action, and dodging. The game's simplicity is still there, however there is enough depth and "coolness" to keep the player entertained. As you progress, you learn new passive abilities which expand the basic actions your character can do(Rolling expands into running, your secondary attack gains combos, etc) along with some more primary abilities to allow your combat to become more advanced. They are introduced perfectly, so that the player creates a very illustrated play-style nicely and slowly. That is good progression.

Okay, so now we know what good progression is. Time for the fun part, as I point out a game with AWFUL progression:

TERIDAL: This one was no surprise. Teridal has a lot of things going for it that should make it successful - Players select a class with some pretty wide options, dive into dungeons, and fight monsters right off the bat. When you FIRST START THE GAME, you're asked for a class selection. You say, "Oh, no big deal, I always play a tanker, so I'll be that." Then you start the game. You're completely over-loaded with abilities. This is absolutely awful, and though while on the surface it attracts a lot of short-term users, long-term players are much less likely to show up. The game should be pacing players, slowly feeding them more and more complex abilities so that they can learn to use them in a meaningful way.

That's it for my rant on progression. I've been playing a lot of new games lately since I got a new Toshiba Satellite, and this has been on my mind. Hope you actually read it and got something out of it. If so, click nay.

And if you tl;dr'd the post like a bawss click yea+
Good Post. Very nice job.
im a stupid dirty bad yall!
Nice post.

I've had my Toshiba Sat. for a year now. I pretty much admire it. [Till my fan exploded yesterday]

Anyway, Toshiba Sat. is the only thing I read :)
Good post, but I'm not sure that I agree with the Teridal example. I've never played the game, but based on what you said it sounds like the game doesn't have bad progression - it doesn't have progression at all!

You could say that a complete lack of progression is a form of awful progression, but it's slightly different. The lack of progression is a problem but you don't really mention why. You explain that progression keeps the game interesting but that's not the problem Teridal has. The problem is that the player is overwhelmed with skills at the very beginning. This shows another way you can use progression - to gradually introduce concepts to help the player understand a complex game.