DayZ Ideas: Progression System
One way to add value of life to characters within DayZ and to make the experience deeper is to add some sort of progression system.
It is important to note that when I say progression I don’t meant a literal translation of an RPG system, you kill 10 zombies and gain a level then spend a point in a pyramid/tree style system with each getting increasingly more powerful. No, I mean more like a proficiency whereby your character gets better at certain tasks as they are repeated, they become better at surviving.
In some regards a progression system within DayZ would make a lot of sense and potentially add a lot to the game, not only in features but also in effect. Naturally as your character survives longer it would make sense they become better at surviving. Progression of any kind increases the value of your character, changing player interactions and how you play the game.
You also don’t want to make the progression system too steep otherwise the fall when you die and get reset would be perhaps too much leading to real world consequences (I joke, but seriously…), or players simply avoiding interaction all together because there’s too much to lose. That is assuming progression is lost on death which would seem appropriate and most likely a necessity.
My suggestion would be more subtle upgrades to activities as you perform them more, such as: Ladder climbing speed, vaulting ability, crawling speed, swimming speed, resistance to zombie infection and sickness, sneak (how well you can sneak past zombies), and stronger stomach to digest human meat (just kidding… but seriously).
While I don’t think a vertical progression system is entirely out of the question, I also don’t think it should empower players beyond all belief. For example, a base stat upgrade to accuracy or damage would obviously be the wrong approach, instead I suggest things such as requiring less food and water to survive the longer you live until a cap. Running has less effect on aim steadiness, which wouldn’t be overpowered but would still be fairly beneficial. Other such progression could include faster use of items such as bandaging and reloading (not a huge a deal in a slow paced game like ARMA compared to a run and gun game like CoD), that is, if the server complies. Obviously all of these stats would improve as you do them, which would make sense within a survival game.
Looking a little more outside the box, at possibilities with future features. Finding blueprints, kind of like crafting instructions. So if you found a blueprint to assemble a motorbike with certain parts, studying these blueprints (because let’s face it, how many people could assemble a bike out of scrap and without instruction?) to be able to craft it would take time, after “learning” the blueprint you would no longer need it. Maybe even allow players to assemble the motorbike without studying it and just having the blueprint, but it will take longer than if you learn it first.
You could have different blueprints for the same thing, each allowing you to build it with slightly different parts allowing for multiple ways of crafting something making things more interesting.
Of course there is the question of how many motorbikes you would craft within one character’s lifespan and if you care to spend the time studying a blueprint. Keep in mind though that there is a defibrillator in the game, though we don’t know what exactly it does, if it revives players squads will surely have a much longer life-span, kind of like in Battlefield (though hopefully not too much like that). It goes without saying that the players who live long enough to craft a motorbike are probably in a squad, solo players tend not to get very far in the harsh land of Chernaraus.
Other outside the box suggestions include being able to build structures, etc with less resources or more quickly. Harvest more resources from game you hunt. Consume less fuel in vehicles with better driving skills/knowledge/experience with that vehicle.
I would recommend that a character is able to reach the cap of each proficiency within a few day’s worth of play, say 10 hours or so depending on how much of each activity they are doing (being able to get more out of water/food for example being the most commonly used and fastest to upgrade). That recommendation is of course based on current average character lifespan; I’d say most people die within 4 hours, obviously that varies greatly depending on play style.
At the moment I think a lot of people are sticking near the coast (forcing them into a compact area) because the server populations are too small to make North West interesting. I know I got blood hungry after trying for a whole day and resorted to hunting bambi and I wasn’t alone.
The suggestion of characters getting better at survival would certainly make a lot of sense within the world of DayZ and wouldn’t necessarily make older characters more powerful than new characters in a 1vs1.