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Level scaling - don't scale individual enemies, scale ENCOUNTERS

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So now that we have a confirmation that, after all, it's "if at all"... what about the apologists that all of sudden had started liking level scaling, but "smartly implemented"? Are you sad?

No. :)

 

My opinion is that level-scaling can be done smartly and doesn't always completely fubar a game.

 

I do not need it to be present, I'm indifferent about it. If they can pull it off without any level scaling, fine! If they choose to implement it somewhere for playability's sake, also fine.

 

It's hard to please everyone with their design decisions, but so far, I think Obsidian is doing a really good job. No need to bitch and moan just yet.

 

Alrighty Mr. Flanders, whatever they do is fine with you. That's ok too. *thumbs up*

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I think why most people are vehemently against level scaling is that we expect enemy NPCs to be of a certain standard when we face them. With level scaling especially Elder Scrolls: Oblivion style, an extremely powerful enemy NPC would be scaled to your level, say Level 2, when everything in-game suggests the enemy NPC should be Level 30 and above.

 

Granted, Obsidian wouldn't do something like that... but even the mention of level scaling triggers shivers down some people's spine, mine included.

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Now, on a serious note, just in case they change their minds in the development process, and from "if at all" it goes to "maybe a bit more"... considering you're going to include various modes such as a mode that deletes saved games, modes that completely change encounters; how about a mode that eliminates all traces of level or encounter scaling based on the player's level/exploration order, Obsidian?

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Alrighty Mr. Flanders, whatever they do is fine with you. That's ok too. *thumbs up*

I said "so far", not "whatever". I'd rather see what they come up with and not run in a circle like my hair was on fire before we even had confirmed dev statements on the topic.But hey, to each their own.


When in deadly danger

When beset by doubt

Run in little circles

Wave your arms and shout.

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Alrighty Mr. Flanders, whatever they do is fine with you. That's ok too. *thumbs up*

I'd rather see what they come up with and not run in a circle like my hair was on fire before we even had confirmed dev statements on the topic.But hey, to each their own.

 

So, we should actually wait for someone to confirm what Feargus says?

 

Yep, voicing concerns is akin to running in circles with burning hair, Ned. You nailed it.

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Yep, voicing concerns is akin to running in circles with burning hair, Ned. You nailed it.

Not interested in a flame war, kid. Have a good one.

 

Sorry, are you perchance Chris "E..xtremely childish" Priestly? :D

 

http://social.biowar...14315447-1.html

 

"I'm not evil, I'm actually very nice and kind. I can prove it. Here, loan me your wallet and sister/mom/daughter for a few minutes." Today's pearl. Ah, the Bioboards.. :cat:

Erm, that was kinda harsh. :D I have no interest in anyone's mom. And I'll also stop derailing this thread, hehe.


When in deadly danger

When beset by doubt

Run in little circles

Wave your arms and shout.

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Don't do either. Scaling is the devil.

 

I disagree.

 

Like almost anything, it depends on how it is implemented.

 

I think that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning did it fairly well... something along those lines (each are has a given range of difficulty, and how powerful the PC is when in said areas determines where on that scale the challenge level is set.)

 

It's what a DM would do in a table top game, and anything that can make the game mechanics try and emulate that is good.

 

Of course the concern is reaching max level as a maximum munchkinned character and still finding a sole sugar ant to be a challenge in combat. That's the extreme. Extremes, however, are bad places to argue from.

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Don't do either. Scaling is the devil.

 

I disagree.

 

Like almost anything, it depends on how it is implemented.

 

 

In the case of level scaling, it does not. Whatever form it takes... it's still there and it's still an abomination.

 

I don't want enemies to scale in strength depending on my character's level or where I go first. Even if it's just a small scaling range.

 

It doesn't make sense and it's not fun knowing that the world artificially adjusts itself with the level of the character I'm playing. Range or not.

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I get it now!

 

Level scaling is only required in open-world RPG games, like Fallout, Oblivion, Skyrim etc.

 

Project Eternity isn't a open-world RPG. It supposed to be like Baldurs Gate and etc so it will probably be act based. So Act 1 might be levels 1-8 and Act 2 might be 9-15 or something.Since the level cap is so much smaller, level scaling isn't required.

 

I feel so dumb for not realising this.


. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 

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Seriously, no. No scaling. If you follow the story, as some are prone to do, you will not be outleveled and it can be the story-on-rails thing you seem to want. But if some of us want to go all munchkin, games should damn well let us. It's probably my biggest complaint in games nowadays.

 

The only thing that makes free form games fun for me is figuring out where I'm not supposed to go, then going there and working at it for hours to kill whatever thing lives there. Right now I'm playing a bit of torchlight 2, level 59, doing 105 level dungeons.

Don't ruin this game by scaling everything. The most memorable moment in my gaming career was running into the huge troll in Gothic 1. Killed me in one hit, but I think I spent an hour there figuring out how I could get at it's chest and run off with the loot. Good times.

 

To me even limited scaling means limited freedom, less feeling of progression and a push by devs to keep me on track through a story I might not want to follow.

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As far as I'm concerned level scaling in every shape or form is one of the worst offenders in modern RPG design.

I know decent games that offered some degree of scaling? Yeah, I do. Not many of them but there are a few. Still, i liked those games *despise* level scaling, I never liked the expedient itself.

 

Now, my guess is that designers could read this thread and say "Well, it's easy to complain, but why don't you try to come out with a better solution to grant balance?".

Well, my problem with this is: there are *already* better solutions and they were already used in some games.

 

For a start, if you want enemies that are challenging but not exceedingly strong at pretty much any level, you could design your progression system around a horizontal growth instead of a vertical one. You can have characters that become more powerful and versatile over time without multiplying their HP X10.

In a game like Mount & Blade, for instance, a character that start at level 1 with 40 HP can aim at best to reach 60 HP at level 30 or so.

 

You can also scale encounters, adding enemies or switching some of them with a stronger substitute. This can work, but it needs to be dosed carefully, because it can go out of control very easy and then you have fire giants roaming in packs just out of the city gate where previously you had goblins.

 

The world design and story progression can help, too. Sure, it's an open world map, but that doesn't mean that you should be able to roam anywhere at any time. The story should suggest direction and while reaching dangerous zones should be possible, it shouldn't be pointed as wise. Dark Souls is a great model in this sense.

You can also design your world map like a "leopard's pelt", and I beg your pardon for the weird metaphor: you have all these "yellow fur areas" where you can wander pretty much at any level all across the world (almost), but you have these "black spots" that are very dangerous areas, not set in a linear progression but scattered all around the map, that are intended just for players that are ready for the challenge.

 

I won't make a fuss, i won't scream "betrayal", but I surely will be *deeply* disappointed if Obsidian will go for plain and simple enemy scaling. It's the laziest, most annoying immersion killer I can think of in a RPG.

Edited by Tuco Benedicto
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Zero level scaling forces the player to follow a set path, the problem with that is people like freedom of choice.

 

Some regional level scaling can be used to let people adventure and explore without feeling pressured into playing like it is a rail shooter. They also said not everything will be scaled, which I would assume means we will never have dragon powered rats.

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There is no such thing like a game with properly developed level scaling. In the end it concludes to rats turning into either dragons or epic rats. Keep this crap away from this game and leave it for Bethesda.

Edited by Flying Magician

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You can also scale encounters, adding enemies or switching some of them with a stronger substitute. This can work, but it needs to be dosed carefully, because it can go out of control very easy and then you have fire giants roaming in packs just out of the city gate where previously you had goblins.

This is just a different form of level scaling.

 

The world design and story progression can help, too. Sure, it's an open world map, but that doesn't mean that you should be able to roam anywhere at any time. The story should suggest direction and while reaching dangerous zones should be possible, it shouldn't be pointed as wise.

Ever played Skyrim? You can go almost anywhere and do almost any quest in whatever order you liked.

 

There's 10 cities or something? I've put 60 hours into the game and done quests in like of them 5 .

 

And I just happened to do quests those 5 cities. Someone else could have spend the same amount of time and done the quests from the other 5, resulting in a different experience where the only overlap is the start of the game.

 

 

You can't do that without level scaling.

Edited by moridin84

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 

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There is no such thing like a game with properly developed level scaling.

 

New Vegas did it quite well, Deathclaws were dangerous from early game right into the late, radroach's were always a one shot kill.

 

The world still scaled, but it was within reason.

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This is just a different form of level scaling.

Yeah, one that isn't an immersion killer and doesn't mess with gameplay feedback too much. Differences that are relevant enough for me.

 

 

 

Ever played Skyrim? You can go almost anywhere and do almost any quest in whatever order you liked.

Yeah, and that's pretty much all I don't want this game to be. Or any TES, for all that matters.

Bad gameplay, bad balance, bad world design, abysmal dungeon design, horrible combat, horrendous quest design, unrewarding (scaled) loot, lifeless characters.

Now, if you were pointing me Gothic or Risen as examples of open world done right, I could agree... But in fact they don't use any sort of scaling.

Edited by Tuco Benedicto

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Just to make sure, everyone is still just debating the merits of scaling in general, right? Didn't one of devs clearly state that scaling is out or very limited in PE? Or am I hallucinating again?

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Just to make sure, everyone is still just debating the merits of scaling in general, right? Didn't one of devs clearly state that scaling is out or very limited in PE? Or am I hallucinating again?

 

He did.

 

I don't know where this topic came from, but I don't expect to use level scaling much, if at all, in PE.

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Ever played Skyrim? You can go almost anywhere and do almost any quest in whatever order you liked.

YOU CAN BE WHOEVER YOU WANT DO ANYTHING YOU WANT GOTY 2011 BEST GAME EVARRR

 

Level scaling was one of the major flaws of Skyrim. It killed any motivation to explore the world, unless someone enjoys walking for walkings sake.

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This is just a different form of level scaling.

Yeah, one that isn't an immersion killer and doesn't mess with gameplay feedback too much. Differences that are relevant enough for me.

So you don't have a problem in scaling, in principle?

 

Then have you played Fallout: New Vegas?

 

That game did it really well I think. It did levelling really well too. I didn't even think about what my level was or about levelling up, let alone what level the mobs were.

 

Ever played Skyrim? You can go almost anywhere and do almost any quest in whatever order you liked.

Yeah, and that's pretty much all I don't want this game to be. Or any TES, for all that matters.

Bad gameplay, bad balance, bad world design, abysmal dungeon design, horrible combat, horrendous quest design, lifeless characters.

Now, if you were pointing me Gothic or Risen as examples of open world done right, I could agree... But in fact they don't use any sort of scaling.

Well I haven't play Gothic.

 

And I wouldn't point out Risen as an example since I found the game to be really boring though I somehow managed to bring myself to play 7 hours of it (according to Steam). I didn't even realise it was a open world game. I remember a swamp area and a city area. And if you went to the city area you couldn't leave until you were done.

 

I'm not trying to be offensive or anything but I am honestly baffled that other people actually enjoyed it enough that they were able to make a sequel.

 

Level scaling was one of the major flaws of Skyrim. It killed any motivation to explore the world, unless someone enjoys walking for walkings sake.

Well I guess?

 

I did do a lot of walking around as you have to go to a lot of random places to complete quests and you can't fast travel to places you haven't been to. I suppose that's a separate thing to exploration? Since you aren't just randomly around looking for things to see and do?

 

I'm not sure how level scaling relates to exploration though.

Edited by moridin84

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 

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There is no such thing like a game with properly developed level scaling.

 

New Vegas did it quite well, Deathclaws were dangerous from early game right into the late, radroach's were always a one shot kill.

 

The world still scaled, but it was within reason.

 

"The world still scaled."

 

When you're saying that the world scaled, you're implying that it scaled as a whole. And you just said that deathclaws and radroaches for example didn't. So what you're saying is in contradiction. Do you even know what exactly scaled?

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The difference is that beefing up individual monsters encourages lazy design ("LOL LETS JUST PUT THESE MONSTERS HERE, LEVEL SCALING WILL MAKE IT WORK"), while setting up a scalable encounter requires careful thought and planning.

 

How does it encourage lazy design, you only get lazy design from lazy designers, not from specific game mechanics. A scalable encounter is exactly the same as monster scaling with appropriate AI and yes AI is included in all level scaling if you plan to approach it properly. A monster will do nothing, absolutely nothing in a game, even a dragon, if it has no AI. A level 10 bandit with AI will trounce a level 50 mage with no AI at all, the mage will just stand there like a plank and get hit. I could just as easily write a script that produces 2 monsters instead of 1 when you double in level and it would be equally as lazy as you say level scaling would be.

 

To be honest It looks like to me that you just have taken a dislike to level scaling monsters with no thought for what you can actually do with the system.

 

 

But that is stupid. That wolf shouldn't be dangerous to my level 10 fighter. My fighter eats demons for breakfast. The OP is right, level scaling is lazy.

Your fighter doesn't eat demons for breakfast, your fighter just got his ass handed to him by a level 10 wolf, live with it. You were in a forest, there was no reason for a demon to even be there, the wolf bit you in the ass, you lost.

 

 

Because this kind of scaling cuts into suspension of disbelief. A low level bandit makes sense, but why would a high level bandit still be a bandit when he can singlehandedly subjugate or destroy entire villages?

 

I strongly agree with the original post: don't just scale the level of the enemies. Either replace them with more powerful versions or increase their numbers or both.

 

Why does everyone always take the worst case scenario and then play it out and call the system terrible because of their imagination gone wild? What if there was a bandit camp and in the camp there were 5 archers, 3 assassins in stealth, 2 mages and a Captain. Why does that need to change to 10 archers, 6 assassins, 4 mages and 2 Captains when you could just as easily make the original group stronger, use different abilities appropriate to their new level and provide a challenge that way? To me that seems much more realistic and logical than just increasing numbers for the same imaginary reason (you leveled up).

 

As for the suspension of disbelief with regard to the power of enemies you encounter, it is all relative. The bandit doesn't take over the world because the King has an Army, the same reason you don't go on a rampage in most games either. Did you ignore everyone in Athkatla in BG2 and just kill everyone you met, merchant and child and guard and cowled wizard? You could probably do it a few at a time but it would severely hamper your movement in the city right? The suspension of disbelief is a strange thing because it just as easily applies to fighting dragons instead of wolves as it does to fighting a level 1 wolf or a level 10 wolf, it is in your head.

 

To be honest I think most people need to really stop and think about what their level means to them and your place in the game world relative to your level. Your level is basically just a reward system that the game uses so you don't get bored only killing things instead of actually seeing some progress for that effort. If you have a decent imagination there should be no difference to you between a level 1 wolf and a level 5 wolf, they are just wolves right? So what is wrong with a level 20 wolf? It is just an indication of its power relative to you, it is not an indication of its power relative to the King or anything else in the world. If a wolf is a suitable enemy in a particular location then it shouldn't matter to you if it is level 1 or 20. If level scaling was active in the game then passing through a forest you would think at level 20 you might be attacked by a level 20 wolf in order to provide some challenge to you instead of sticking in a random...dragon? That is when suspension of disbelief is broken, not when wolves attack you in forests.

 

This is why I think level scaling can be a decent system because if you think about it, then it can be done properly, it just has to be done properly. It is not inherently a lazy system or a bad system unless it is made so but then ANY system can be made bad by lazy and bad designers.

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Just to make sure, everyone is still just debating the merits of scaling in general, right? Didn't one of devs clearly state that scaling is out or very limited in PE? Or am I hallucinating again?

 

He didn't say resolutely there won't be level scaling in PE, sadly. He just doesn't plan to use it much, if at all. And we all know plans can change.

 

I believe this is one of those things you either like or dislike as a designer and therefore you kind of know if you want it included in your game, so I expected a concrete answer. This is still "maybe".

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