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If you want to up the scales needed for progression without slowing the progression itself — well, what's the point? Do you just feel it's not epic enough without big numbers?

It's not the size of the numbers that matter. It's the curve.

This, as you've already mentioned, also ties into my own sense of how easy or how difficult the game itself (and the rules it uses) makes it for me to identify with my party members.

 

With a linear progression, there's a game play need to introduce such nonsense as group leveling which makes no sense to me from an individual character standpoint. With that linear progression, though, that newb character will always be just as far behind my character as they were before, which messes with encounter balance and item usage (it items are restricted by character level) and who knows what else.

 

You also run into a more stringent need for that level cap: Baldur's Gate: TotSC had things like infinitely respawning monsters, but because of the exponential curve, there would come a point when it simply didn't matter how many times you rested in the wilderness: the XP you gained simply accounted for proportionately less of that next level you were grinding for in the first place. I actually removed the XP cap for that game with a mod once, and with the way I played the game (occasional monster grinding, resting in dungeons to try and replenish my mages spells, etc) it still didn't make a difference in terms of the levels my group of six characters were able to acquire. Not a single extra level was had by my removal of that XP cap. Which is good, because it means that the designers of the game and the system that game used actually got it right.

 

Basically, will agree with the notion that the choice of rule system for your game can make it easier on BOTH the players to identify with the story elements you're trying to convey with those rules, and the designers who have to try and put it all together. Nothing screams "poorly thought-out mechanics" like artificial limits and arbitrary barriers being thrown up all the time that, at best, do nothing to positively reinforce the story elements that are being portrayed, or, at worst, actively tear down the story your writers have created. This is what frustrates me so much about Bioware these days. The game, while still fun enough, simply ooze with such contradictions, to the detriment of the very story they're trying to tell.

 

I just wanted to quote this as hopefully one of the designers will read this post. Absolutely 100% true.

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I'm not sure how anybody can come up with an experience table without knowing what the actual value of a single experience point is.

 

Having said that, if the goal is a geometric increase in the amount of experience needed to go up a level, or generally "slow levelling" then I'm fine with that. Mostly it just comes down to what kind of story the devs want to tell and whether or not they see this an episodic game, with the first chapter being P:E with subsequent games being true, linear sequels (Like BG 1 and BG 2).

 

In the larger picture, experience points are such an abstraction, that it's completely pointless to talk about them until you know the actual mechanics of the game.

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I agree with exponential curves (or perhaps fibbonachi curves, or something like that), but I really disagree on the point of big numbers. To me, 1,000,000 and 1,000,000,000 feel the same. Sure, I can compare them and say, "One billion is one thousand times as large as one million," but that's an intellectual point for me, not an emotional one.

 

On the other hand, if I start out getting five experience points for killing a goblin, then I get twenty five for killing an orc, then I get one-hundred-and-fifteeen for killing an Ogre - that feels huge. I can really picture the difference, y'know?

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It's really all about rate of progression and scale of experience rewards. Large scale is only required if you'd want to track very tiny (read: insignificant) rewards. For example, in Rolemaster Standard System (pnp rpg) you require 10 000 experience to reach next level through levels 2-5, but experience tracking is very detailed, e.g. every point of damage you take or cause earns you a point of experience, as does every mile the character travels - with multipliers applied as appropriate. So in RMSS's case, there's a reason why large numbers are used initially.

 

So basically, when designing the exp/level scale - or whatever your character progression is based on (I mean, the system could even be *gasp* WITHOUT LEVELS!) - it must serve the gameplay needs first and last. Any other need is insignificant and should be ignored. That said, I don't really care what kind of numbers they use to track exp. It bears no meaning whatsoever, and I recommend everyone to try and realize that as well, since the discussion in this thread is pretty much fruitless :)

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I love the idea of an exponential XP curve like this, because it eliminates the need to auto-level companions to match the PC. With an exponential XP curve, any level 1 companion can be leveled to the PC's level minus one by leveling the PC a single level.

 

Honestly that also helps solve the HUGE problem in RPG's of level scaling and powering up your character WAY past the level of the content. I find in games I'm super thorough and do everything, but the difficulty is balanced so that someone who just ploughs straight through can still get the game finished. The end of games are almost ALWAYS too easy with the way that I play.

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I can't remember what I thought was so funny last night. Go figure. Also, I think the arguments I've read here make more sense than anything I have in mind right now. I actually don't hate the idea on its face. I think I should have stopped myself from posted a little earlier than I did when I posted in the topic. Beg pardon.

 

I think the point about auto-leveling is probably the most compelling to me personally.

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I actually prefer the 3.5 D&D XP tables.

 

However, I could get behind a slower levelling system IF (and I feel this is important) all classes level at the same rate. No 2k XP for a fighter, 1.25k for a thief, 2.5k for a mage... etc.

 

I am with you there. Everyone should have to attain the same xp amount to level up. How they do that is up to them. But one class shouldn't have an xp advantage over another.

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The problem with large numbers is that they are difficult to read and even more difficult to quickly put in relation to one another.

 

For example, if two quests got you 50 and 500 XP, respectively, then you will only need a split-second to look at those numbers and see the the second was ten times as "profitable" as the first. However, if it was 500000000 and 5000000000 XP respectively, it would take you much longer to extract the same information...

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Actually, no matter what table they use for the game, what I'd really like is that the player not know the numbers. Give some sort of graphical feedback to let him know how close the character is to leveling, but keep the actual numbers hidden.

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I love the idea of an exponential XP curve like this, because it eliminates the need to auto-level companions to match the PC. With an exponential XP curve, any level 1 companion can be leveled to the PC's level minus one by leveling the PC a single level.

It doesn't eliminate the need at all. The problem with adding a level 1 companion when you're level 8 is that they die as soon as a level 8 enemy sneezes in their general direction. If they don't die instantly, they certainly don't contribute meaningfully, which means that you're effectively down a party member before the combat even starts. If the combat is balanced to be challenging, then you can only level up under-leveled companions by doing trivial content (aka grinding). Grinding trivial content is not fun, and a complete waste of my limited gaming time.

 

I understand that some find auto-leveled companions to be un-realistic. I'm not sure why, as surely it is more realistic to assume that they have an existance seperate from your own - and thus continue training, practicing, and generally getting experience in their class while you're gone - as opposed to assuming that they have no life without you and thus spend your time apart just twiddling their thumbs.

 

But in any case, given the choice between adding a feature that occasionally slightly breaks immersion for some people, and requiring all those that chose to switch companions - or chose to explore the game's freedom and thus only come across a companion late in the game - to be saddled with wasting their time by leveling up companions against trivial content, or negatively affecting all players by balancing the combat around having a lvl 1 companion in the group, the optimum choice is obvious. It may be a Hobson's Choice, but occasional minor immersion breaking of some is better than wasting the time of many or negatively affecting all.

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I love the idea of an exponential XP curve like this, because it eliminates the need to auto-level companions to match the PC. With an exponential XP curve, any level 1 companion can be leveled to the PC's level minus one by leveling the PC a single level.

It doesn't eliminate the need at all. The problem with adding a level 1 companion when you're level 8 is that they die as soon as a level 8 enemy sneezes in their general direction. If they don't die instantly, they certainly don't contribute meaningfully, which means that you're effectively down a party member before the combat even starts. If the combat is balanced to be challenging, then you can only level up under-leveled companions by doing trivial content (aka grinding). Grinding trivial content is not fun, and a complete waste of my limited gaming time.

 

I understand that some find auto-leveled companions to be un-realistic. I'm not sure why, as surely it is more realistic to assume that they have an existance seperate from your own - and thus continue training, practicing, and generally getting experience in their class while you're gone - as opposed to assuming that they have no life without you and thus spend your time apart just twiddling their thumbs.

 

But in any case, given the choice between adding a feature that occasionally slightly breaks immersion for some people, and requiring all those that chose to switch companions - or chose to explore the game's freedom and thus only come across a companion late in the game - to be saddled with wasting their time by leveling up companions against trivial content, or negatively affecting all players by balancing the combat around having a lvl 1 companion in the group, the optimum choice is obvious. It may be a Hobson's Choice, but occasional minor immersion breaking of some is better than wasting the time of many or negatively affecting all.

I'm with this guy.

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The problem with adding a level 1 companion when you're level 8 is that they die as soon as a level 8 enemy sneezes in their general direction.

 

Yeah, you would need to baby-sit them...

 

It can be annoying, but is quite possible as BG2 shows (where you can get into a similar situation when you dual-class one of your party characters)

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I agree with exponential curves (or perhaps fibbonachi curves, or something like that), but I really disagree on the point of big numbers. To me, 1,000,000 and 1,000,000,000 feel the same. Sure, I can compare them and say, "One billion is one thousand times as large as one million," but that's an intellectual point for me, not an emotional one.

 

On the other hand, if I start out getting five experience points for killing a goblin, then I get twenty five for killing an orc, then I get one-hundred-and-fifteeen for killing an Ogre - that feels huge. I can really picture the difference, y'know?

Agreed. I'm fine with exponential XP curves (don't all RPGs kinda do this already? I mean, in every RPG that I've played it always takes longer to get to level 12 than it does to get to level 2), but big numbers just make it unfriendly and unwieldy. I don't want to count the number of 00s to be able to compare numbers at a glance. I don't want to have big numbers just for the sake of having big numbers.

 

Also, for me, going from 5 HP to 10 HP, or 10 HP to 20 HP feels like a bigger, more meaningful difference than going from 1000 HP to 2000 HP. The same for experience. Once you have more than four 0s behind a number, my brain just starts to tune out.

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The problem with adding a level 1 companion when you're level 8 is that they die as soon as a level 8 enemy sneezes in their general direction.

 

Yeah, you would need to baby-sit them...

 

It can be annoying, but is quite possible as BG2 shows (where you can get into a similar situation when you dual-class one of your party characters)

Exactly! IMO, if it's annoying, it's a poor game mechanic that should be changed. The old IE games were great, but they were great in spite of the D&D mechanics, and not because of them. D&D is great for a table-top dungeon crawl, but far from ideal for a CRPG. I see one of the main benefits to PE being Kickstarted is that they're not tied to a license, and thus aren't saddled by having to adapt game pen and paper mechanics to a medium they weren't designed for.

 

I understand that some people feel nostalgia towards the D&D mechanics, but there have been so many games that used them (just off the top of my head there's 6+ Gold Box games, BG, BG2, PS:T, ToEE, NWN, NWN2, Pool of Radiance). Let's try something different for a change.

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Basically, will agree with the notion that the choice of rule system for your game can make it easier on BOTH the players to identify with the story elements you're trying to convey with those rules, and the designers who have to try and put it all together. Nothing screams "poorly thought-out mechanics" like artificial limits and arbitrary barriers being thrown up all the time that, at best, do nothing to positively reinforce the story elements that are being portrayed, or, at worst, actively tear down the story your writers have created. This is what frustrates me so much about Bioware these days. The game, while still fun enough, simply ooze with such contradictions, to the detriment of the very story they're trying to tell.

 

I hate pointless/sensless artificial limitations. But level cap really isn't one of them.

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

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Basically, will agree with the notion that the choice of rule system for your game can make it easier on BOTH the players to identify with the story elements you're trying to convey with those rules, and the designers who have to try and put it all together. Nothing screams "poorly thought-out mechanics" like artificial limits and arbitrary barriers being thrown up all the time that, at best, do nothing to positively reinforce the story elements that are being portrayed, or, at worst, actively tear down the story your writers have created. This is what frustrates me so much about Bioware these days. The game, while still fun enough, simply ooze with such contradictions, to the detriment of the very story they're trying to tell.

 

I hate pointless/sensless artificial limitations. But level cap really isn't one of them.

reaching the level cap is typically a sign of a poorly paced game though.

Edited by ogrezilla
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I loved D&D (2nd Ed.) as a child, but I didn't really have anyone to play it with. My friends weren't interested. Only once or twice did I have the opportunity to play with a group. I occasionally bribed my sister in some way to be the player while I DMed, but mostly what I did was intensively study the beautifully illustrated DM Guide and Player Handbook and Monster Manual and modules like Tomb of Horrors and The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan and draw my own dungeons on graph paper. Immersing myself in all those tables and charts and numbers was great.

 

I don't particularly care about the level progression curve so long as the progression curve data is published. It doesn't have to be a table. It could be an algorithm or an equation, but I do like to be able to anticipate how close I am to the next level. I do hope there will be levels. For me, progressing to the next level is part of the fun of RPGs.

 

I don't like the system Bethesda uses for their games. The idea of practice improving your abilities is logical, but it shouldn't be used exclusively. It might be nice as an added flavour to a more conventional leveling system though. Standard experience tables or the equivalent algorithm or equation weighted at 90% and the Bethesda way of practice-makes-perfect weighted at 10%. One thing I don't like about Bethesda's system is that it rewards you for going through the motions of , say, swinging your sword, but standard experience tables already reward you for swinging your sword by giving you experience for actually killing the enemy. I think swinging your sword in a way that leads to success is a more important lesson to learn from than merely blindly swinging your sword without doing any damage.

 

The Bethesda method also seems to remove some of the strategy involved in character creation and level progression. I like the fact that thieves progress faster than other classes for instance. I think one of the problems Bethesda has is trying to simplify/streamline more traditional systems in a way that seems logical to them without actually testing whether or not their streamlining made their game less fun to play.

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JoshSawyer: Listening to feedback from the fans has helped us realize that people can be pretty polarized on what they want, even among a group of people ostensibly united by a love of the same games. For us, that means prioritizing options is important. If people don’t like a certain aspect of how skill checks are presented or how combat works, we should give them the ability to turn that off, resources permitting.

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I hate pointless/sensless artificial limitations. But level cap really isn't one of them.

 

Why not?

I never understood the point of the level caps in the InfinityEngine games, and tbh. found them pretty unfair.

 

So I'd be interested in hearing your reasoning.

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I'd be interested as well.

 

To my mind, it's only one of the lesser offenders these days because the caps (level or XP) are usually pretty well placed, and people only reach them as they're winding down the game anyway, if they reach them at all.

 

But consider what happened (ironically) with the Un-TotSC-ified version of Baldur's Gate, where players on the old Interplay boards were reporting that they were reaching the XP cap in Cloakwood forest or early upon arrival in the city of Baldur's Gate in Chapter... what was it, five? That left a great big chunk game to play with no character advancement even possible for those players that chose to explore every nook and cranny. That's a pretty serious flaw in an arbitrarily set limit, IMO, particularly considering how important a motivation the next level up usually is in RPGs (Baldur's Gate remains an example of a game with not only one of the best level caps in crpgs, but one of the worst as well, I think).

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It doesn't eliminate the need at all. The problem with adding a level 1 companion when you're level 8 is that they die as soon as a level 8 enemy sneezes in their general direction. If they don't die instantly, they certainly don't contribute meaningfully, which means that you're effectively down a party member before the combat even starts. If the combat is balanced to be challenging, then you can only level up under-leveled companions by doing trivial content (aka grinding).

Not all of the combat encounters can be challenging without making the game world feel contrived. If all of the encounters are challenging, then either the game is extremely linear, or all of the content is scaled to your level. Neither of those is okay.

 

As such, there will usually be content that is beneath you, and there will usually be content that is beyond you. All you need do when you first switch to that new level 1 companion is avoid the more challenging content.

 

Moreover, if you switch regularly, this problem never occurs, as characters that are only slightly behind you quickly catch up.

Grinding trivial content is not fun, and a complete waste of my limited gaming time.

I would agree. No one is advocating grinding. grinding consists of fighting trivial encounters for their own sake. Why would anyone do that? But in an unscaled game, there often exist trivial encounters that are worth facing for other (quest-related) reasons.

I understand that some find auto-leveled companions to be un-realistic. I'm not sure why, as surely it is more realistic to assume that they have an existance seperate from your own - and thus continue training, practicing, and generally getting experience in their class while you're gone - as opposed to assuming that they have no life without you and thus spend your time apart just twiddling their thumbs.

If they were subject to the same risks associated with gaining XP as the PC is, that would be fine. But they're not. They gain XP entirely risk-free. They never find loot. They never complete quests. What are they doing? And why isn't that risk-free XP available to the PC?

But in any case, given the choice between adding a feature that occasionally slightly breaks immersion for some people, and requiring all those that chose to switch companions - or chose to explore the game's freedom and thus only come across a companion late in the game - to be saddled with wasting their time by leveling up companions against trivial content, or negatively affecting all players by balancing the combat around having a lvl 1 companion in the group, the optimum choice is obvious. It may be a Hobson's Choice, but occasional minor immersion breaking of some is better than wasting the time of many or negatively affecting all.

Way to downplay the other side's issues. Occasional. Slightly. Why do you think that's true?

God used to be my co-pilot, but then we crashed in the Andes and I had to eat him.

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Basically, will agree with the notion that the choice of rule system for your game can make it easier on BOTH the players to identify with the story elements you're trying to convey with those rules, and the designers who have to try and put it all together. Nothing screams "poorly thought-out mechanics" like artificial limits and arbitrary barriers being thrown up all the time that, at best, do nothing to positively reinforce the story elements that are being portrayed, or, at worst, actively tear down the story your writers have created. This is what frustrates me so much about Bioware these days. The game, while still fun enough, simply ooze with such contradictions, to the detriment of the very story they're trying to tell.

 

I hate pointless/sensless artificial limitations. But level cap really isn't one of them.

reaching the level cap is typically a sign of a poorly paced game though.

But if the companions don't gain XP unless they're travelling with you, then a higher cap would mean that some characters could never reach it.

 

And, as I've been telling BioWare for years, pacing isn't the designers' job. Pacing is the player's job.

God used to be my co-pilot, but then we crashed in the Andes and I had to eat him.

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In Baldur's Gate 1 it was rare to pick up a level 1 companion.

 

Imoen, Khalid and Jaheira.

 

The rest were either level 2 or somewhat scaled depending on when you recruited them. I recruited Kivan and Minsc at level 3 and they were level 4 and about 4K XP higher than me, but Branwen and Dynaheir were under-levelled.

 

One idea is sort of a similar system (but more optimized), where if you pick up certain companions late, you may miss out on portions of their story, but they will be higher level (rather than them just sitting there 'status quo' as the 3E DM guide would say, but that's probably another thread all together).

Edited by Sensuki
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