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What is the point of levelling up?

Iorv3th

Member
Jan 16, 2013
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Are you drunk?

It's the entire "game" for certain games.

It's also usually an indicator for progression as far as learning mechanics of the game in something like a souls game.
 

Amiga

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Jul 8, 2020
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It's method to convey character growth through hardship cumulating in a sense of accomplishment. in a good RPG NPCs would react to the character differently throughout this growth.
 

nkarafo

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Nov 30, 2012
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A game needs to have fixed levels for world and NPCs, for the character leveling to work. It needs to have low and high level "areas". So, as you level up, it becomes easier to explore the more dangerous places and stronger enemies. That's rewarding.

In games like Oblivion or Skyrim there is no point leveling up because of level scaling, possibly the worst gameplay mechanic in the industry.
 
Last edited:

Filben

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Oct 13, 2014
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The point would be, if done correctly, to reward you with (necessary) progression. An enemy, area or quest not doable before becomes manageable or even easy depending on your player AND character skill, the latter to help you with a certain lack of the former.

In many open world games and some so-called "RPGs" they just give you a reason to do mindless busywork, to keep you in the hamster wheel, to see stats increasing and feel the sense of progression without real progression, though. Worst cases gate you from proceeding just because one or two numbers (mostly the level) not even consider your whole stats (or your stats are diminishing in regards of overall character level).

Naturally, there shouldn't be strong scaling. A bandit or monster has a certain strength and that's it. There's no sense in scaling them according to your own level or stats. The legitimate reason might be that you'd meet a certain character throughout the game multiple times and they get stronger, too. Or there's some slight scaling on certain enemies so you can't steamroll EVERYTHING after hours of endless grind (if the game allows it).

The Gothic series don't need scaling at all because there's no infinite grind; enemies only re-spawn when proceeding with the story, e.g. it's not possible to go beyond lvl 21 in the first chapter because by then you have killed every single monster, beaten every NPC and did every quest in chapter 1. You can't go any further. In that way the game prevents overleveling (to a certain degree, because you can also proceed to chapter 2 with early as lvl 4, for example).

In MMOs, however, which aren't "true" RPGs because it's not about choice and consequence the modern trend is to unite players. So instead of offering zones with certain level ranges and the NEED to level up and increase your stats, the zones scale to your character so you can do zones/quests in any order, with any player without missing out, skipping or one-click everything.

It seems hardcore MMO days are over and the majority of players prefer this recent trend. At least WoW offers you WoW Classic if you want oldschool progression. It's still not very RPG in a classical sense.

Also, a good game with skills and level ups should be played differently on level 30 than on level 5 because even if enemies scale you get more options, more skills and perks and should make use of it in order to survive or achieve your goals. Ideally the first few levels is to familiarize yourself with the game and basic mechanics and later, when you get more options, the gameplay should become more intricate but also opens up on the options at your disposal. Something The Division is actually very bad at (also not a cRPG), because you can only have two active skills and it doesn't play any different or is getting harder on level 30 compared to level 5.

It feels the same and the progression is only noticeable by the numbers. And this is generally bad design but is highly accepted today because the gameplay loop itself feels highly satisfying to the mass audience.
 

D.Final

Banned
Oct 18, 2018
5,111
2,779
620
The point would be, if done correctly, to reward you with (necessary) progression. An enemy, area or quest not doable before becomes manageable or even easy depending on your player AND character skill, the latter to help you with a certain lack of the former.

In many open world games and some so-called "RPGs" they just give you a reason to do mindless busywork, to keep you in the hamster wheel, to see stats increasing and feel the sense of progression without real progression, though. Worst cases gate you from proceeding just because one or two numbers (mostly the level) not even consider your whole stats (or your stats are diminishing in regards of overall character level).

Naturally, there shouldn't be strong scaling. A bandit or monster has a certain strength and that's it. There's no sense in scaling them according to your own level or stats. The legitimate reason might be that you'd meet a certain character throughout the game multiple times and they get stronger, too. Or there's some slight scaling on certain enemies so you can't steamroll EVERYTHING after hours of endless grind (if the game allows it).

The Gothic series don't need scaling at all because there's no infinite grind; enemies only re-spawn when proceeding with the story, e.g. it's not possible to go beyond lvl 21 in the first chapter because by then you have killed every single monster, beaten every NPC and did every quest in chapter 1. You can't go any further. In that way the game prevents overleveling (to a certain degree, because you can also proceed to chapter 2 with early as lvl 4, for example).

In MMOs, however, which aren't "true" RPGs because it's not about choice and consequence the modern trend is to unite players. So instead of offering zones with certain level ranges and the NEED to level up and increase your stats, the zones scale to your character so you can do zones/quests in any order, with any player without missing out, skipping or one-click everything.

It seems hardcore MMO days are over and the majority of players prefer this recent trend. At least WoW offers you WoW Classic if you want oldschool progression. It's still not very RPG in a classical sense.

Also, a good game with skills and level ups should be played differently on level 30 than on level 5 because even if enemies scale you get more options, more skills and perks and should make use of it in order to survive or achieve your goals. Ideally the first few levels is to familiarize yourself with the game and basic mechanics and later, when you get more options, the gameplay should become more intricate but also opens up on the options at your disposal. Something The Division is actually very bad at (also not a cRPG), because you can only have two active skills and it doesn't play any different or is getting harder on level 30 compared to level 5.

It feels the same and the progression is only noticeable by the numbers. And this is generally bad design but is highly accepted today because the gameplay loop itself feels highly satisfying to the mass audience.
Basically this
 

RoboFu

Member
Oct 10, 2017
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Its everything to me. building your custom character with custom stats is almost a must for most games for me these days. only a few games ( mostly nintendo made games) can keep my attention.
 

Kadayi

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Oct 10, 2012
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I must admit I'm not overly keen on levels as a mechanic. The whole levels thing with cRPGs largely has its origins in P&P D&D, which in itself was derived from skirmish-style tabletop wargaming, where you'd have each side commanding individual battlefield hero units fighting over small objectives versus squads or platoons fighting over vast battlefields, and the notion that you could have a campaign of several encounters and those units would gain 'battlefield experience' if they survived which would carry across to the next chapter in the campaign and make them a bit tougher/harder to kill. Throw in the popularity of JRR Tolkien and the LotR and pretty soon Anglo Saxons versus Viking Raiders gave way to Elves and Wizards versus Orcs and Goblins, and 'battlefield experience' transmuted into Levels, hit points, magic weapons/items and spells.

The issue with levels and hitpoints etc is, it puts you on a treadmill of having to increase the difficulty to generate player challenge. You either have to have more enemies or more powerful enemies (or a combination of).

However, not all P&P RPGs followed the D&D formula to the letter. Some went down a route of characters having skills, expertise and equipment that was improved upon as they advanced through a campaign but didn't necessarily afford them crazy invulnerability to low-level opponents. In RPGs where a bullet to the head could and would kill you regardless of how much battlefield experience you had, 'go to Ultra-violence, go directly to Ultra-violence, do not try Diplomacy do not make Friends/Allies' wasn't always the best move versus actual engaging in a bit of actual role-playing and trying to overcome obstacles using player ingenuity and a variety of skills, many of which that didn't revolve around solely improving your ability to kill monsters/antagonists.

Problem with CRPGs is that it's a lot easier to write & code using the D&D approach versus go the other way, and for many people, D&D was the only kind of RPG they ever knew and became the template for what an RPG should be versus merely one version of it.
 

Spukc

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DonkeyPunchJr

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Nov 1, 2020
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It’s to give you a constant little dopamine reward, which is easily mistaken for entertainment. Most turn based JRPG battles would be boring as fuck if you weren’t constantly gaining XP and abilities.

I remember when Final Fantasy XIII came out and people were complaining that battling was “pointless” during the first 3 chapters because you didn’t get XP from it yet.
 

Retinoid

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Dec 13, 2019
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It is supposed to represent the player character's journey and create a sense of growth in the protagonist, a qualitative metric translated into a quantitative form. You are right that enemies also increase in level as the player moves through the game into different zones, but usually these enemies have markedly different designs and more challenging AI compared to the trash mobs you were fighting earlier to represent that you are growing stronger. The biggest sin in RPGs is universal level scaling (like on Oblivion) where ALL trash mobs level with you, the player. I don't mind games that do the former and have static scaling, but if you are fighting the same enemies and they have arbitrarily leveled up with you, that is the worst kind of design in my book.
 
Last edited:
Aug 28, 2019
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A good game with enemy level scaling still leaves room for you to “level up better or worse.”

If you feel like you are never really surpassing the enemies there is a good chance you may have chosen the wrong stats.

Many games also let you level social abilities so you can talk your way out of things, or stealth abilities so you can avoid enemies entirely, therefore getting around the fact they are level scaling.