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Games with pointless/counterproductive leveling.

FritzJ92

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Jul 19, 2020
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as far as I know, OT doesn't have level scalling.The thing that happens in that game is that enemies get bumped a fixed ammount for every chapter you complete.

So if you grind and/or take your time doing things on your own pace, you will be rewarded for it.
I mention OT because you could be a low level character but if you have the right equipment you’ll keep up with some high level characters. That’s why I played only 4 but keep high level gear for the other stories.
 

deathsaber

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Sep 14, 2017
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Yeah, scaling is the worst. To me, the right of passage to any RPG is to start out weak and highly vulnerable, eventually level up into a walking golden god, and then finish being able to swat everything like flies. Yes, some say this trivializes the "late game", but I disagree- its entirely the fun of it all. If I can't grind my way past a foe in an RPG, then it isn't an RPG at all.
 
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Laptop1991

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Apr 3, 2018
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I don't like level scaling in games personally, getting more powerful is meaningless, i used to mod that out in Oblivion back in the day,

In AC Origin's you could turn it on and off, on my first play through, level scaling was off until next the game + mode, but in Odyssey it was on all the time and it is annoying, you never seem to get any benefit from skills and added abilities until you are really high level at the latter part of the game.
 
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KiteGr

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Apr 27, 2011
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I love to powerlevel too and destroy bosses.

Lost Odyssey

I hate games that reduce the EXP you get the higher your level is.

Trails of Cold Steel Series

Same as above. The higher your level the less EXP enemy give. I HATE THAT!

Suikoden Series

EXP Scaling

Rogue Galaxy

Exp Scaling

Legend of Dragoon

Enemies give so little EXP that it takes forever to level up one level. Mostly you just level up from bosses unless you fight very rare Unique Monsters.

TESO

Stopped playing this game after they put level scaling in the game. You actually get weaker the higher you level until you reach max.
Bizarrely enough I never had any issues with Suikoden's EXP Scaling system.
Essentially if you are over-leveled you get peanuts, and if you are underleveled you might get multiple XP bars at once. It doesn't differ much from traditional leveling and instead of showing an ever multiplying XP bar, it just shows essentially the percentage bar of that. There might be some diminishing returns if you are over-leveled so you won't be, but it's extremely important if you are leveling a bench-sitter character to make him quickly relevant in a couple of battles. Works perfectly for a game with 108 characters and just 5 slots in your team.

Also, as I just mentioned, I give a free pass on MMOs using scaling. Those worlds are intended to be lived in and not just passed by like solo RPGs, so finding ways to keep them relevant is essential. I've played plenty of WoW in my life where they advertise all those beautiful new areas in each expansion, and once you reach the end level you'll spend the rest of your life on the few miserable zones the game intends for max levels.

I don't give a free pass however to badly distributed exp systems like Legend of Dragoon. Getting the bulk of your levels from bosses is very annoying, especially since you might end the fight with a downed character or 2.
Still, even if badly implemented, it's still traditional leveling without scaling, and there are obvious advantages to becoming stronger, therefore it's off-topic here.
 

SlimeGooGoo

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Jun 29, 2020
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Assassins Creed comes to mind.

One of the things that so freeing with retro games is they don't put in collectibles and weak RPG mechanics at every turn.
This.

For JRPGs any sort of grinding and leveling is fine, since player skill usually is not taken into account, but characters skill instead.
For action games it's just dumb to add these things. I miss old Tomb Raiders that didn't require "skill trees" or other dumb zoomer mechanics, just raw player skills and weapons.
 

Zannegan

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Feb 20, 2018
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I hate level-scaling in the Elder Scrolls games.

If you want to add new and harder enemies to areas to keep up with me, that would be one thing, but when I wander into a new area and have to scramble up a rock in my dragon bone armor to avoid the jaws of a mangy starter wolf, something has gone terribly wrong.
 
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Rest

All these years later I still chuckle at what a fucking moron that guy is.
Feb 28, 2014
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Any game with autoleveling defeats the purpose of leveling. Leveling is supposed to make the player character stronger. If you gain better and better abilities and skills as you level, yet enemies maintain the same relative level of combat effectiveness, it means that leveling makes your character weaker. Getting weaker isn't what I want to do as a player.
 
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Feb 23, 2018
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Final Fantasy Tactics is one of the few games where it actually works well IMO. That game is more about how you set up your characters/jobs than just about levels and #s though.
Yeah, it works with Tactics because as you said, the job stuff is more important. Plus, the scaling isn't just enemy levels, but the enemies themselves on a map will change sometimes which adds variety. And the real thing that saves it - the story fights are fixed. So you still do feel progression when following the story.
 

Meicyn

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Jan 22, 2010
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This is actually one of the biggest reasons I'm struggling to enjoy FF14.

My character has far far out leveled the main story quests, but the game has made it clear that any level/skill/gear progression is pointless. Every single dungeon and any worthwhile content gimps your level, skills, and equipment down to what the devs want you to experience. If any over the top effort/customization I put into my character is just going to be stripped away, then I just stop caring about my character. I'm about 100+ hours into it now and I think I'm done, I'll go play an RPG where I get to enjoy the fruits of my grinding.

It's Anti-RPG to me. RPGs are really fun because they allow you to play your way. Want to avoid grinding and experience the difficulty as intended? Want to spend time grinding and obliterate everything? Want to avoid all exp and make the game more challenging? RPGs typically allow for this, but FF14 tries too hard to force the players experience to be a specific way.
You can literally turn on a setting in duty finder to run content with level cap removed. In fact, this is what folks use to grind old content for mounts, clearing old raids for story purposes, and so forth. You can also turn on min ilvl to scale it down and experience the content with the weakest version of yourself allowed.

I ran through six level 50 and level 60 dungeons with my best friend as level 80 characters and mowed everything down in seconds because he’s working on his Heavensward relic weapon.
 

Solarstrike

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Destiny 2. Spend hours and days grinding for gear that's ultimately worthless in PVP and generally unappealing in terms of power, overall. Never really feel powerful unless using a super. There should be a "Dark Level" or "Dark Meter" in which to level up which does idk... Chaos, Blitz, or Rage damage. Something like that. Kinda like the "Dark Side" in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I & II or (Paragon/Renegade) in Mass Effect 3
 
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Xeaker

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Sep 23, 2019
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Bizarrely enough I never had any issues with Suikoden's EXP Scaling system.
Essentially if you are over-leveled you get peanuts, and if you are underleveled you might get multiple XP bars at once. It doesn't differ much from traditional leveling and instead of showing an ever multiplying XP bar, it just shows essentially the percentage bar of that. There might be some diminishing returns if you are over-leveled so you won't be, but it's extremely important if you are leveling a bench-sitter character to make him quickly relevant in a couple of battles. Works perfectly for a game with 108 characters and just 5 slots in your team.

But it means the game limits your level for each area.
Like, you HAVE to be Lv 40 in this dungeon, no you can't grind to 41 sorry. I don't like if games limit me like this by giving me suddenly only 1 XP per battle.
 

MagnesG

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Apr 20, 2019
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I very much don't mind if the game also introduces you to multiple sets of skills or incentives from leveling - OP equipments, combos or spells, new systems that mostly could broke the game balance if done right.

Your characters would still grow basically.
 

Nautilus

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Feb 3, 2021
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I mention OT because you could be a low level character but if you have the right equipment you’ll keep up with some high level characters. That’s why I played only 4 but keep high level gear for the other stories.
Oh yeah, that happens!
 

FrozenFlame

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Jan 4, 2020
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Didn't The Last Remnant had a system where if you had to be careful with the random battles/grinding, otherwise the game would become too hard? That's even worse.

Anyway, I think it only makes sense in coop games where the game needs to adapt to the number of players and/or level to avoid making the game too easy.
 

nkarafo

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Nov 30, 2012
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I still can't fanthom who thought it would be a good idea to make enemies level alongsidr you.
I remember the first time i heard about this system, it's point was that the enemies will always be challenging so the game won't be boring if you become too strong.

Something idiotic like that.
 

Metnut

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Jul 18, 2017
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I really hate level scaling. It’s part of why I’ve never liked the Bethesda open world RPGs. The scaling really ruins the exploration for me.
 

Shifty1897

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Sep 22, 2014
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Final fantasy 12 would, truly, be my favourite FF game by a lot further if it's skill tree.. minigame was less pants.
This isn't really relevant to the thread but my brain won't let me not ask: are you talking about the original FF12 license board, the zodiac remaster license board, or both?

What didn't you like about it?
 
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Tschumi

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Jul 4, 2020
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This isn't really relevant to the thread but my brain won't let me not ask: are you talking about the original FF12 license board, the zodiac remaster license board, or both?

What didn't you like about it?
i'm sorry, i'm talking The Zodiac Age, the remake for PS3/4... So the zodiac job board thingo...

I just, you got a surfeit of points quite often, and you went to this screen and you were like 'okay time to buff up my toon' and, like, u had 15 different things to choose from, half of them were automation slots (i understand that if i really wanted to i could micromanage these things but at my age ain't nobody got time fo' dat) and the rest were, like, talisman teirs you've already superceded, or armour classes, whatever, basically when i level'd i didn't get the 'oh wow what new things can i take on/down or achieve now' feeling, i got the 'oh boy time to go click on a pointlessly convoluted chess board for a minute or two.

I know that i'm being really simplistic and if i had really cared i would have got it more and maybe even revelled in its ingenuity... but like, i am, i didn't, i didn't, and i didn't... so i posted it here

france wink GIF by Robert E Blackmon
 

nemiroff

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Feb 19, 2018
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Forza has pointless level up system that is used to just spin the wheel for cosmetics or cars. The whole influence system is just pointless and the game could function and be just as fun without it.
Isn’t that the topic of this thread?

Not really, no. Most of us are talking about level SCALING in some games, not how pretty much every racing game known under the sun is working when it comes to loot and bragging rights.
 
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FritzJ92

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Jul 19, 2020
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Not really, no. Most of us are talking about level SCALING in some games, not how pretty much every racing game known under the sun is working when it comes to loot and bragging rights.
So ignore the main question to please what “most” are talking about. Okay got it. You’re the king.
 

nemiroff

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Feb 19, 2018
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You’re the king.
I know.

Anyway, that's not what I meant, I meant that most people didn't misinterpret what the OP wrote:

I love leveling in RPGs. I love how you become stronger with every victory and kick the assess of enemies who gave you trouble before.

In the recent years however I've come across plenty of games where in an attempt perhaps to keep content relevant introduce scaling that make leveling pointless.
Lets discuss the worst offenders here.
 
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R6Rider

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Jan 22, 2020
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Divinity OS 2 is really bad about the leveling. Plus the amount of quests and possible XP is so strict and the difference between a single level at the end is so large, that it can easily become frustrating if you played "wrong".

In turn, this also affects the loot system.
 

fart town usa

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May 31, 2009
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Yea, FF8 for sure.

My first time playing, I was essentially blocked from making any progress after a certain point because my level was so damn high. Level grinding is one of my favorite things to do in JRPGs and I had no idea that enemies were scaling with it. That was a concept I'd never even heard of at the time.
 

CheshirexChrono

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May 23, 2020
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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion blew my mind at the time for that reason. Made me feel that leveling up had no purpose whatsoever.
I can in fact prove that levelling counts for little. When I was a wee lad of 11, I had no idea you had to sleep to level up. I passed a majority of the game at level 1.
 
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DonkeyPunchJr

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Nov 1, 2020
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FF8 deserves some kind of lifetime achievement award for counterintuitive and broken gameplay mechanics.

- when you gain levels, enemies out-scale you unless you take full advantage of the junction abilities that boost your stats on level up

- spells are like items and they boost your stats, and there’s no limit to how much you can draw from any enemy

- most effective way to power up your characters is by…. playing triple triad and converting cards to spells

- summons don’t cost anything to use, but they usually aren’t worth your time

- as long as your HP is low you can sit there canceling until you get your limit break


I don’t even know what they were thinking. Just throwing random shit at the wall to see what sticks.
 
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Xerazal

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Mar 31, 2017
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The thing about ff8 is that leveling isn't the point. The junction system is.

By that point, ffs players were used to grinding for levels. In a way, I thought of the leveling system and junction systems as a message from the devs; "oh you wanna grind? Well, that lvl doesn't mean squat. If you think it does, you're gonna be punished."

It was a way of punishing players who tried to just grind for levels early and push them towards actually using the junction system, which gave a lot of freedom over how to control character stats, effects, defense, etc.

I loved micromanaging my characters and their growth back when I played this in the late 90s/early 2000s.
 

DonkeyPunchJr

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The thing about ff8 is that leveling isn't the point. The junction system is.

By that point, ffs players were used to grinding for levels. In a way, I thought of the leveling system and junction systems as a message from the devs; "oh you wanna grind? Well, that lvl doesn't mean squat. If you think it does, you're gonna be punished."

It was a way of punishing players who tried to just grind for levels early and push them towards actually using the junction system, which gave a lot of freedom over how to control character stats, effects, defense, etc.

I loved micromanaging my characters and their growth back when I played this in the late 90s/early 2000s.
Punishing players for gaining levels is a stupid way to design an RPG. Plus the junction system was far more broken and open to abuse than any character level-based system I’ve ever seen. You can literally sit there and draw 99 of any spell in your enemy’s inventory in a single battle. Instead of cheesing your way through by gaining levels, you do so by stocking spells. I don’t see how that’s any better.

I enjoyed FF8 but I’m not going to pretend like the gameplay was some brilliant subversion of traditional gameplay mechanics. It was nothing more than a hodgepodge of completely broken and counterintuitive systems that was easily abused once you figured out how it worked. The fun factor came from breaking the shit out of it and gaining godlike power.
 
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Kupfer

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Nov 20, 2018
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Gothic 3, I didn't get how leveling works exactly and glitched my way through the game until it broke and I was progress stuck.
 

TheMay30thMan

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Aug 23, 2018
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Pointless? Far Cry 3. You level up and spend skill points on basic game mechanics that should be available from minute 1. It really feels like they designed the game, then ripped out core mechanics and put them behind a leveling system because that’s what was trending at the time.
 

CitizenZ

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I think there is enough proof out there the DS series, none of it really means anything. I always run the series naked(except for a hat) and only put points into health and stamina and always works out fine.
 
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thefool

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May 31, 2020
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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion blew my mind at the time for that reason. Made me feel that leveling up had no purpose whatsoever.

This is what came to my mind reading the title. I still love the game to death.

On the other hand, without any level scaling Witcher 3 leveling is also a bit of a bore after having all the attacks unlocked.
 
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