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Do NPC Companions level up with you even when they aren't in your company?

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Not sure if anyone has mentioned this before, so apologize in advance but,

 

will your companions / adventurer's hall characters get to level up with you even when they're aren't in your company?

 

Let's say you've been adventuring with Aloth for the last 10 levels and suddenly you decide to use Forton instead. Will he have gained extra levels or still the same ol' when you first met him?

 

Since different companions have different skills, if you decide to change companions after playing into the middle of the game it'd make switching NPCs for certain quests/skills kinda tough.. it'd be more like an escort mission for said companion.

 

Thanks!

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This is a bit old but there was a topic on this at one point.

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/61883-characters-not-in-party-gaining-experience/

 

I don't know these forums well enough to know if it's better to comment on old threads or start new ones though.

 

Personally I think party members should all be on the same level regardless of whether or not they're in your party. If you're ever in a section where you're forced to take an underleveld companion it's an awful experience. I think the fact that their gear tends to grow outdated is a good enough way to keep them from being as powerful as the characters you always take with you.

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I don't think characters you are not using, should gain experience based on what you are doing. Maybe they could gain some experience to say that they have not just been sitting on their asses while you were gone, but if they are all the same level as you all the time, it cheapens the time you have used on the characters you actually have played with. I am extremely loyal to the party I first pick up, so maybe I don't understand what people who changes companions all the time have to go through to get all characters to be usefull, I don't know.

 

In BG new characters you could get would have roughly half the xp of the main character, but would not gain xp while not used after picked up. I hope this will be how it is in PE as well.

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To me, this is actually one of the more problematic issues in RPG design - while it doesn't feel right that if your party has been fighting to the very brink of death against insane odds for them to get back to the nice warm pub and discover that your 7th party member has been sitting on his or her backside eating unicorn steaks and has levelled up as much as you it kind of makes your own levelling less cool. The other problem is it they match your own level and XP was shared across the party, if you soloed the game for a bit to concentrate the XP just into you and then went back to get them you could effectively power level them. Conversely though, making companions become rundundant is possibly even worse.

 

One partial solution would to be to have companion achievement-bonuses along the way that only unlock if a certain companion is with you, say, if your party does something particularly noteworthy that has some connection to that character. Say, your wizard gains a bonus from being in the party when you find the great lost library of doom, or your monk gains a bonus when you defeat the leader of a rival monk school.

 

Add to that perhaps say a 1 or 2 level penalty to those left behind so if your guy reaches level 10, the guys left back slobbing around at the Inn only end up at level 8.

 

One other option would be to be able to allocate tasks to those not coming with you, tell them to guard something, scout something, steal from someone, patrol something or just study something. This way you are offering a plausible reason for them keeping levelled with you, plus you might get a bit of minor bonuses from their activities in form of money, loot, information or reputation.

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I don't think characters you are not using, should gain experience based on what you are doing. Maybe they could gain some experience to say that they have not just been sitting on their asses while you were gone, but if they are all the same level as you all the time, it cheapens the time you have used on the characters you actually have played with. I am extremely loyal to the party I first pick up, so maybe I don't understand what people who changes companions all the time have to go through to get all characters to be usefull, I don't know.

 

In BG new characters you could get would have roughly half the xp of the main character, but would not gain xp while not used after picked up. I hope this will be how it is in PE as well.

I absolutely disagree. The entire reason you don't just take every one of your characters is because of artificial party limits. If the game is going to impose that nonsense on you it should make up for it somehow.
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Nothing official, just discussion.

 

Never stated my own opinion, so herebye;

* Left behind allies should not gain XP. If they are underleveled compared to your party however, they gain a XP-boost when traveling with you. This way you still need to "train" them, but the gap gets smaller and smaller doing so.

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I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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I think all characters capable of joining your party should always follow the level of the PC closely, whether they are in the party or not. Having characters fall behind in terms of experience only means one thing: that character will not get used. I didn't even like how dead characters wouldn't gain any XP from encounters in the IE games, it just encouraged you to reload because the penalty for not doing so was having weaker companions throughout the game. I'm not saying it's realistic, but I'd rather play with a game mechanic that works well than have it be entirely realistic. I've heard some talk that there may not be XP for killing monsters, but rather solving encounters - without the option of grinding monsters to levelup companions, it exacerbates the problem of falling behind in terms of XP even more.

 

If there must be some mechanic where companions fall behind in terms of XP, maybe make it that you can take them to an arena or trainer where you can pay gold to catch them up to the PCs level quickly. That way there is a cost barrier, but it still allows you to pick companions without having to worry about them being woefully underlevelled.

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I think companions who are not currently in your party should still get XP, but not as much (maybe 66-75%).

That way, you wouldn't have to bring along companions that you don't want in your party just to keep their levels up, on the off-chance that you'll need them later on in the game (if companions have personal quests, for instance), but it would also feel slightly more "realistic" than if they were to automagically level up as soon as the PC did.

A party member who slays dragons and wades through hordes of goblins should level up faster than a companion who's left at home/the inn all day, but I think it's fair to assume that the latter would not just be sitting around while his allies were out there fighting for their lives. They have lives of their own, even if it's not shown on screen, and will probably spend at least some of their downtime honing their skills.


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Companions not in the party shouldn't get XP, it's just not realistic (I feel dirty now). Personally I will use the AH at the beginning to create my party, and not very frequently afterwards (provided they don't die very frequently). It will lead to the unrealistic situation where your new chars just stand around waiting for XP but I'd rather that than NPCs who are miles away magically getting XP.

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This is a bit old but there was a topic on this at one point.

 

http://forums.obsidi...ing-experience/

 

I don't know these forums well enough to know if it's better to comment on old threads or start new ones though.

 

Personally I think party members should all be on the same level regardless of whether or not they're in your party. If you're ever in a section where you're forced to take an underleveld companion it's an awful experience. I think the fact that their gear tends to grow outdated is a good enough way to keep them from being as powerful as the characters you always take with you.

 

Thanks Pshaw, I don't visit the forum enough. Sorry.

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Here are my feelings:

 

If you're using a particular party composition for a while, it's extremely unlikely for you to suddenly swap out stuff -- unless there are game mechanics like permanent death or if it's rather easy to piss off somebody and make them leave. You might experiment a little bit in the early game, while you're still gathering new companions. But that's probably it.

 

Many RPGs (like DA2) have given party members you're not using free experience. It feels... wrong. But it's just a feeling.

 

We should encourage people to mix up their play, but at the same time, I like the feeling of permanence. It's one of those 'choice things'. You know, where you choose to make your character to become a mage? And then use daggers? You're developing some kind of a story here. To mix and match party members on the fly, without any sort of barrier, feels wrong. It feels like you're trivializing the journey. You're turning the PnP roleplay into arcade-ish mechanics.

 

I guess I'd be fine with either mechanic. People who grew up on less hardcore RPGs probably are going to expect free level ups for party members. It's the same with respecs really.

 

I think a good compromise though, would have experience-based mechanics that give tons of bonus experience to "under-leveled" characters, so if you do swap out people, you can quickly get someone up to speed.

Edited by anubite

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I don't think characters you are not using, should gain experience based on what you are doing. Maybe they could gain some experience to say that they have not just been sitting on their asses while you were gone, but if they are all the same level as you all the time, it cheapens the time you have used on the characters you actually have played with. I am extremely loyal to the party I first pick up, so maybe I don't understand what people who changes companions all the time have to go through to get all characters to be usefull, I don't know.

 

In BG new characters you could get would have roughly half the xp of the main character, but would not gain xp while not used after picked up. I hope this will be how it is in PE as well.

I absolutely disagree. The entire reason you don't just take every one of your characters is because of artificial party limits. If the game is going to impose that nonsense on you it should make up for it somehow.

This guy is correct.

 

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I prefer my party members to level up with the party if they are not in the main party, unless there is a story reason why they can't level up or get any experience with you while they are away. A JRPG called Tales of Phantasia pulled this off very well with a character named Chester, and the game even mentions that he was weak due to his lack of getting experience. One of the most enjoyable moments in the game (for me) was leveling him up so he can be on par with the other characters (and that didn't take long).

 

Otherwise, let the characters level up with you. I mean, just because that character isn't in that party doesn't mean they aren't getting experience. Perhaps they druids you left in the end is still training and communicating with the spirits while you are away.

Edited by Bill Gates' Son

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I don't think followers leveling up when they're not with the main party is a great idea, it's essentially rewarding the player for work they're not doing. At the say time, it's hard to imagine a follower would sit idly by twiddling their thumbs when they're not with the PC - so an argument can be made quite easily for either side. Maybe they level up, but at a greatly reduced rate.

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I prefer a story design that doesn't require me to take along a certain party member, and if I never add them to the party, I'll never even notice if they leveled up or not.

 

Frankly, the whole non-party party members concept is silly. All those guys that squatted in the Ebon Hawk, the small army camping in the Sunken Flagon, the trek of neglected party members following my clandestine party across Ferelden. Why do they even follow me? I've talked to them for maybe 5 minutes then dumped them with the rest of the bums, and even if *I* had some use for them later on, why should *they* still be willing to help me after being treated so badly?

 

BG had it right IMO - If you don't want them in your party they won't follow you but do their own thing, if you come back later they might be willing to follow you, but need a while to catch up. Of course they could get random amounts of XP for "adventuring on their own", but this shouldn't be the same amount the party members got.

 

It's really dependent on how XP per level scales, though, usually the XP required for the next level increases exponentially, so the low level characters will quickly catch up when they join a high-level party. Another way to accomplish this is making the XP that is gained by an encounter dependent on level. (the more difficult the encounter, and the lower the character's level, the more XP he'll get) If the XP per level stays linear troughout the game, then the out-of-party characters are more dependent on getting bonus XP for just sitting around.

Edited by JOG

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I'm with Jojobobo on this one, let the non used npc that hang around you're camp or home or stronghold get the exp but in a slower rate (like when your main party is 15lvl they would be 12-13) that's the good aproach because we will not have a massive party selecion (it will be a 6 pt +2 waiting right?) like in BG1 where there were 25 NPC to select from. BG1 did "good" his system of NPC that follow you around because it was made for it but implying this system in a game when you have around 7 characters that would follow you isn't a good idea. (By following i mean 5 in the pt. and 2 waiting in the house) And to be frank the bigest problem's in this is that i dont want a character that skill's or some talents are uber important so that HE is a core party member and without him i cant get a 100% efficiency (like a rouge with lock picking and i cant open a chest without him OR a mage with a CC spell or buff that will make mine play better).

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I don't think followers leveling up when they're not with the main party is a great idea, it's essentially rewarding the player for work they're not doing. At the say time, it's hard to imagine a follower would sit idly by twiddling their thumbs when they're not with the PC - so an argument can be made quite easily for either side. Maybe they level up, but at a greatly reduced rate.

There are several ways the game can "punish" the player for not keeping a follower in the party. For example, they can have the follower "follow" their own path of level up progression, rather than the one you choose. They can also avoid having the follower standing around waiting to be picked up again. Finally, they can make sure that the follower can't be stripped of useful gear prior to being released (by having the follower object to being released without their fair share of the loot).

Edited by rjshae
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I prefer a story design that doesn't require me to take along a certain party member, and if I never add them to the party, I'll never even notice if they leveled up or not.

 

Frankly, the whole non-party party members concept is silly. All those guys that squatted in the Ebon Hawk, the small army camping in the Sunken Flagon, the trek of neglected party members following my clandestine party across Ferelden. Why do they even follow me? I've talked to them for maybe 5 minutes then dumped them with the rest of the bums, and even if *I* had some use for them later on, why should *they* still be willing to help me after being treated so badly?

Party size limits, be they the 3 of KotOR or 4 of Dragon Age or 6 of the IE games, are all totally arbitrary as far as the game world is concerned. They exist for balance and ease-of-use purposes. With an inherently unrealistic system, I'm really not bothered by how unrealistic it is if I've got people waiting back in camp (possibly earning EXP).


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I don't think followers leveling up when they're not with the main party is a great idea, it's essentially rewarding the player for work they're not doing. At the say time, it's hard to imagine a follower would sit idly by twiddling their thumbs when they're not with the PC - so an argument can be made quite easily for either side. Maybe they level up, but at a greatly reduced rate.

There are several ways the game can "punish" the player for not keeping a follower in the party. For example, they can have the follower "follow" their own path of level up progression, rather than the one you choose. They can also avoid having the follower standing around waiting to be picked up again. Finally, they can make sure that the follower can't be stripped of useful gear prior to being released (by having the follower object to being released without their fair share of the loot).

 

Except the game should never be punishing the player for not using a given companion character.

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I don't think followers leveling up when they're not with the main party is a great idea, it's essentially rewarding the player for work they're not doing. At the say time, it's hard to imagine a follower would sit idly by twiddling their thumbs when they're not with the PC - so an argument can be made quite easily for either side. Maybe they level up, but at a greatly reduced rate.

There are several ways the game can "punish" the player for not keeping a follower in the party. For example, they can have the follower "follow" their own path of level up progression, rather than the one you choose. They can also avoid having the follower standing around waiting to be picked up again. Finally, they can make sure that the follower can't be stripped of useful gear prior to being released (by having the follower object to being released without their fair share of the loot).

 

Except the game should never be punishing the player for not using a given companion character.

Rubbish. The game rewards players for selecting particular companions by granting them special missions and unique equipment; why should it not disincentivize the player letting them go?

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The other problem that I haven't noticed anyone make is that if NPCs level up without you being there, they will be picking skills and other level up "feats" without your input, sometimes picking things that you wouldn't want. This happens in Arcanum where your NPCs level up their own stats without your input and can sometimes lead to annoying decisions where it wasn't the reason why you chose them as a companion in the first place. Too many fighters' skills not enough healing; too many pickpockets, not enough locksmiths, etc.


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An alternative approach would be to actually build into the game reasons for the player not to include selected companions at various segments of the game. Letting those companions leave allows them to follow special quests of their own and to achieve special rewards. The latter could be things like custom feats, or else special equipment or honors. Sure, the companion may return at a lower XP level, but that can easily be compensated for by the game engine: let those characters gain XP at a faster rate until they've caught up.


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This is a feature for Expert difficulty and Iron Man difficulty, the two things I won't play. I'm all for something called FUN.

 

I don't mind recruiting folks I won't use and shove them into my spaceship. "Get in there, you stupid jerks." "Aaaah, but it won't fit!" Even though they end up on the B-team or even C-team, I still like their dialouge. I'm probably just a class that's incompatible with their skills often enough. Sometimes I bring along characters I don't like, but who are extremely useful to open locks for instance. In my first game, I might have been lucky enough to be the tank, and have room for all the cool people. In the next game, I might be a rogue or a mage, and I will need to replace my favorite for a tank since I now fill the role of my favorite. I'll put them by the camp and go: "I might be going with miss Cass and Veronica, but I'll secretly be wishing I was with you, Craig Boone! <3" And he'll slowly nod and go: ".. Gay..."

 

Anyways.. Maybe I'll have the companions gathered in the camp/castle spaceship/underwater hotel/whatever, and suddenly, one from the C-Team goes up to me and says: "I know I haven't been fighting for a while with you, but I was wondering if you could help me do this FUNNY quest of bla bla bla?" And then I'll go: "Awesome! I can't wait to do it and see the outcomes! Sounds FUN. Let's do it!" "But first we need to fight a bunch of people." "Well.. Alright, I don't carry around equipment appropiate for you. I give my best stuff to the people in my A-Team and B-Team. Are you at least the right level?" "..." "Well, do you want me to put on my iPod, drag you outside and kill random mobs for a few hours?" "..." "Are you flippin' kidding me!?"

 

So spending time leveling up everyone or whatever isn't fun. It sounds like grinding, which should never be a necessary aspect in a game. There should only be enemies obstructing your path and you need to clear a way through, or avoid it, whatever. I know some of you equivelate fun to limiting yourself and punishing yourself, but isn't that just busy-work during your third-fifth play-through? Doesn't the the true fun lie in good impactful dialouge options, responsive combat mechanics, satisfying feeling that an attack feels like an attack? What about good sounds and visuals? Doesn't unleveled companions belong to the expert difficulty perhaps and Iron Man difficulty for people who REALLY want to limit themselves?

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Which goes back to my point that if companions don't level up along with you, you end up playing escort missions / quests when you finally add them to the team for whatever reasons (ie he's really funny and I like to keep him in the team for the funny comments he makes or I finally chose companion because he's got this really interesting quest I want to complete for him).

 

However if they do gain their own skills in their own way, wouldn't we need to consider them getting injured / risk of dying when away on their own special adventures. I mean hell you run the risk of a total party death event during your adventures, shouldn't those companions who go adventuring / gain adventures themselves face the same risk of suffering some form of injuries / death as well?

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However if they do gain their own skills in their own way, wouldn't we need to consider them getting injured / risk of dying when away on their own special adventures.

 

Not in favor of totally randomizing things, but this could be pretty cool if done well.

 

Leave a companion to later found out he went on to this expedition but never returned (new expedition quest), or get a note he's been captured by the bandits (try a rescue or pay the ransom). Find him badly wounded in the inn telling about this wyvern he tried and failed to kill (kill wyvern quest). Or maybe jus find him a vampires thrall later on, as a corpse on the lair of the trolls, or on the opposing side having hooked up with a mercenary company (talk him to switch sides?).

 

Could be a bunch of things for different companions. And would be a reasoning for them to gain XP on their own.

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