Every year I’ve tried to create a ranking system that is tied into my level up grading system. In an RPG the player’s avatar starts as a weak and unskilled character and has an equally weak and unimportant title and ranking. As the player demonstrates more skill and earns more experience points and, as a result levels up, the player’s avatar may achieve a new rank. A new rank is often accompanied with a new title; a warrior type may start as a ‘Squire’ and earn the title of ‘Knight’ and the ‘Palidan’. Along with a new title the new rank may be accompanied by new powers. In RPGs with different types or classes of avatars (warrior, mage, thief, archer, etc…) the powers may be individualized for the player’s avatar type. For example, a warrior type might earn more attack points or a mage might learn a type of spell. Another benefit of a new rank might also be the ability to carry a new weapon or learn a new skill. The new Paladin might learn to carry the Sword of Unending Power or that new Wizard might learn The spell if Resurrection.
An issue with my past rankings have been my efforts to automatically update the ranks digitally. As I’ve learned with my badging the ranks need to be public. Since they are not directly tied to grades the public displays should be ok. I have been working on a ‘necktie’ ranking system similar to a karate belt system. I am intending to have a chart on the wall with the different ranks in the top tow and the students name on a card down the far left column. As the students rank up we will have a promotion ceremony and thepromoted students’ cards will be moved into the appropriate column.
I’m also contemplating how how to create different ‘classes’ or ‘types’ of player avatars. My initial thought is to allow students to select an avatar type (fee thinker, researcher, tech wiz, etc…) that will the rank into new powers and skills. Some of the powers might be an exam ‘phone a friend’ or ‘cheat sheet, a ‘free will’ card, ‘smultiple choice mercenary’ card, etc. Certain player types will earn the skill as a permanent ability or only that type will be able to wield that skill. To go along with my narrative I’m also thinking about making certain assignments more valuable for certain types. Each of the side missions would be labeled as a ‘type’ – artistic, technical, research – and if a student completes a mission marked as their type they would get a bonus. I don’t think this would be tied to grades, but might link to our ‘gold’-based alternative class economy. In the #games4ed and #xplap chats we’ve been talking about how to include randomness, like dice rolls, into the game. Using a D & D style polyhedral die each number could have a different reward with some ok rewards and some awesome ones.
To mark each player-student avatar type I’m thinking of giving them different tie related images on their cards – a researcher might get stripes, a tech wiz gets polka dots, and a collaborator gets paisely. I still need to determine the avatar types and the ‘powers’ in each type still but the overall idea will follow these guidelines. I’ve done a similar type selection when first starting game design and it served as an interesting interest inventory style activity on the 1st day; however without the alternative economy I now have in place or rewards worked out I wasn’t able to utilize the types as much as I wanted into the game.
I’ll update more on this system (with pics!) as I get it set up . As always I’d love to have feedback and suggestions – especially in creating different class rewards!