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Let's Not Have Everyone Level At Once


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I have tried to argue for Your thesis, not against it, Sarex. Getting back on topic - wouldn't it be nice to have personal XP rewards for class-specific tasks? It would alter level-up time for different classes and prevent whole-party upgrade.

 

An awesome, if impractical to implement, extension of this would be to provide exp based upon the manner in which the quest was completed related to alignment/allegiance. I.e., if you have an Orlan supporting npc and an Orlan hating npc, and solve a quest in a pro-Orlan manner, then he first character receives 1000xp, while the second receives only 500xp.

 

Realistically, in terms of stopping people from levelling at once, I maintain that the most elegant solution is simply different class exp tables.

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I have tried to argue for Your thesis, not against it, Sarex. Getting back on topic - wouldn't it be nice to have personal XP rewards for class-specific tasks? It would alter level-up time for different classes and prevent whole-party upgrade.

 

I misunderstood your last sentence, I apologize. Didn't the BG series have xp rewards for learning spells and lock picking/disarming traps?

Edited by Sarex
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If the companions start at differing experience levels, they will probably end up leveling at different times anyway. The NWN2 system was rather odd in that it scaled everyone to the same level as soon as they joined the party.

I actually understood this, as it allowed you to choose any companions for your party without worrying about when you picked them up. In the first Baldur's gate I passed on the Paladin in my first playthrough, because I ran into him very late in the game, and my party was already much higher level. I thought "Gosh, if only I had found him sooner. . ." This can be interesting in that allows for a raidcally different party in a 2nd playthrough. In NWN2, though I took which characters I liked the best based on their personalities and what classes they had, not due to their level.

Edited by forgottenlor
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I have tried to argue for Your thesis, not against it, Sarex. Getting back on topic - wouldn't it be nice to have personal XP rewards for class-specific tasks? It would alter level-up time for different classes and prevent whole-party upgrade.

While that sounds good on paper, in a party-based game, that may be hard to implement.

As I assume most checks aren't specific for class, but rather skills or feats. Potentially you could then grant the bonus XP to the character succeeding the skill-check, but what if you have 2 or 3 who can? Always the highest skilled one? Then XP will get unbalanced again. Random?

 

Sounds good on paper, but I see difficulties translating it into a game-format like PE.

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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 actually understood this, as it allowed you to choose any companions for your party without worrying about when you picked them up. In the first Baldur's gate I passed on the Paladin in my first playthrough, because I ran into him very late in the game, and my party was already much higher level. I thought "Gosh, if only I had found him sooner. . ." This can be interesting in that allows for a raidcally different party in a 2nd playthrough. In NWN2, though I took which characters I liked the best based on their personalities and what classes they had, not due to their level.

 

It's possible that your memory may be playing tricks on you, or else you played a different version of BGI to me, but in the BG I played all companions levelled in the background with your party. Generally this made no difference, except to make the thieves Safana, Coran and particularly Alora practically useless because by the time you reached them most of their thieving points had already been mispent by the AI.

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It's possible that your memory may be playing tricks on you, or else you played a different version of BGI to me, but in the BG I played all companions levelled in the background with your party. Generally this made no difference, except to make the thieves Safana, Coran and particularly Alora practically useless because by the time you reached them most of their thieving points had already been mispent by the AI.

Other games at least afford you the opportunity to spend the points. Which I think is a good way to go about it, I think. Of course, I don't think they should be blank slates. Maybe you only get to spend points from their Level 3 or 4 on, or something. If the AI or whathaveyou didn't spend ANY of the points, then they wouldn't really be the companions they were supposed to be. "The whole story keeps talking about this guy being really stealthy, but he has 1 stealth because I never put any points into it! HAH!"

 

Unless the game could react to your point spenditures... But I doubt that, :). Besides, that kinda makes a conflict between the purpose of the Adventurer's Hall, and the more-pre-tailored-properties style of the companions.

 

Anywho, I agree about leveling in the background and having the AI spend all the points like an idiot being a terrible thing.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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(This is all based on reading the unofficial Baldur's Gate patchlogs for both games)

 

Actually, the AI didn't level them, BioWare had different character files for various levels for each and every character. So it wasn't he case of "(s)he gets leveled up to you, auto-spend" but rather "PC is level 2, NPC is level 2 file. PC is level 5, NPC level 5 file."

So any and all bad spending can be accounted to whichever BioWare developer set up those sheets. And poorly too, according to the unofficial patch, removing points giving too many, or adding points added to few in quite a few of those NPC files.

^

 

 

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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That's rather interesting, actually. But, it is sort of a clunky functional equivalent to "the AI leveled them." I mean, the "AI" isn't actually thinking and pondering, then spending their points when they level. It's simply saying "Oh, they're joining your party? They should be level X, because. And they should have their points allocated thusly, because." Whether that's because it allocated the points one at a time, or just set them to values from a sheet, the sigh-inducing effect is the same: The player had no say in their allocation.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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But you would think a developer would set skills and what-not based on what people probably would pick.

Apparently though, many would disagree with the BioWare developer who leveled those characters. If we would know their reasons, and the gamers who disagree, that would be an interesting thing to look at. But I don't think we have, or can anymore.

 

It's also rather funny with the "handcrafting is perfect!" going on in the other thread about random items, and then seeing just how many errors still remain in Baldur's Gate II. I have faith in PE, but with the scope of this project, I would expect many such similar errors or different viewpoints between devs and gamers.

But it seems also pretty much a given, looking back at previous BioWare and Obsidian (IE) RPG's, we as community can always do something about it. Hope of course it wont be necessary, but well, prepared to do my duty :).
 

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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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True. In a way, I'd almost rather it be purely one way or the other: either let me assign ALL points and levelings-up as if it were my own, hand-made PC (so that the only things you can't change about your companions are their personality, appearance [save for equipment and coloring/dye], class, and maybe starting equipment), OR just make up a "this is how that person would advance" and let me pretend that it's just beyond my control, and it's naturally happening according to that character's focus and desires (as if they were a real person).

 

Of course, if it's blatantly ridiculous, I'll probably still get a little upset. "Yay, my Fighter leveled up again... and took a point of Proficiency with thrown fruit rather than his Longsword... yet again... *facepalm*". :)

 

Anywho... yeah, I mean, the fewer actual feasible options there are, the more becomes a "compare and contrast, then choose," no matter what everyone's intentions. It's a tricky thing with almost any design choice, and I sympathize with developers.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I don't know... KOTOR2's system of... "here's a new teammate, spend time to manually level up 15x" isn't exactly... great.

Though of course I don't think PE even *has* 15 levels (does it? I'm not sure), the point still stands.

 

And if you really don't like the default characters layout there's always the Champion's Hall to manually craft a new character.

^

 

 

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.

 

TSLRCM Official Forum || TSLRCM Moddb || My other KOTOR2 mods || TSLRCM (English version) on Steam || [M4-78EP on Steam

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hmm, w

 

 

I actually understood this, as it allowed you to choose any companions for your party without worrying about when you picked them up. In the first Baldur's gate I passed on the Paladin in my first playthrough, because I ran into him very late in the game, and my party was already much higher level. I thought "Gosh, if only I had found him sooner. . ." This can be interesting in that allows for a raidcally different party in a 2nd playthrough. In NWN2, though I took which characters I liked the best based on their personalities and what classes they had, not due to their level.

 

It's possible that your memory may be playing tricks on you, or else you played a different version of BGI to me, but in the BG I played all companions levelled in the background with your party. Generally this made no difference, except to make the thieves Safana, Coran and particularly Alora practically useless because by the time you reached them most of their thieving points had already been mispent by the AI.

 

Well its been a long time since my first playthrough of Baldur's Gate. . .Maybe my memory is failing. :huh:

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It seems there are 4 ways to make leveling spread out:
 
1) Different starting xp, i.e. a bonus at creation. This is a good idea if the xp to get to the next level (lets call it leveling xp) is constant or very slowly increasing. PE could do this, it could just decide to give constant xp for objectives of similar size and difficulty and therefore not increase xp gain in the later game. It is somewhat more difficult in games with kill-xp because everyone expects to get more xp for more difficult monsters. If levels need progressively more xp for higher levels, this method gets ineffective quite fast (No class should have a bonus that gets it to level 2 instantly and every doubling of leveling xp halves the effective difference the bonus gives).
 
2) Different xp gain for classes. We made the xp system easy and play style balanced by giving xp only for objectives and now we should throw that advantage out again. Not a good solution.
 
3) No or different xp gains for companions not yet in the party. If leveling xp is constant late-comers will always lag behind, otherwise they will catch up fast. Advantage: You control their skill setup, not some automatic leveling-scheme. Disadvantage:  Adventure Hall companions created at the same time still level at the same time
 
4) Classes have differing leveling schemes.  Bureaucracy for a pen&paper but here the computer takes care of it. Gives the designer another dial to balance the classes.

 

In summary, IMHO method 2 is out, 1 and 3 depend on the leveling xp scheme and 4 just works

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4) Classes have differing leveling schemes.  Bureaucracy for a pen&paper but here the computer takes care of it. Gives the designer another dial to balance the classes.

 

 

I have thought long and hard about it, and I have settled for option nr 4. Perhaps it's nostalgia getting the better of me, but I'm getting excited just by the thought of different xp tables for different classes. Like you said, it also becomes yet a class-balancing dial for the game devs, so fingers crossed! :)

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Didn't the BG series have xp rewards for learning spells and lock picking/disarming traps?

It did, but these points were evenly distributed among party members if I recall correctly.

 

2) Different xp gain for classes. We made the xp system easy and play style balanced by giving xp only for objectives and now we should throw that advantage out again. Not a good solution.

It's only true if there will be only one way to reach certain objective. I believe it's not going to happen and in most cases player will be given a choice to hack'n'slash, talk or do whatever his character is capable of to accomplish his goals. And this is the point where different classes can be rewarded differently.

 

4) Classes have differing leveling schemes.  Bureaucracy for a pen&paper but here the computer takes care of it. Gives the designer another dial to balance the classes.

While I like the idea in general, I don't think it is a right way to balance classes. It can be used in such manner as a last resort, but classes should be balanced without it. These tables should desynchronize level ups, not put multi-level gaps between characters.

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I thought its self evident for this game that characters lvl up on different times bevore reading this topic, because we stay close to baldurs gate and icewind dale and neverwinternights already proofed it, that it sucks.

It can be very tactical when u have a wizard who is 2 lvl behind and u have to take some extra care of him. When all characters lvl same time, in my opinion , it can be annoying and interrupt the game when u have to spend some 15-20 min on leveling cause u want to do everything right  and forced to read every description for every skill for that reason  and later u have to wait ages, just to sit there again 20 min for lvl up.

 

Divide it over a longer time of the game is more tactical and also provides u with a constant feeling of success.

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2) Different xp gain for classes. We made the xp system easy and play style balanced by giving xp only for objectives and now we should throw that advantage out again. Not a good solution.

It's only true if there will be only one way to reach certain objective. I believe it's not going to happen and in most cases player will be given a choice to hack'n'slash, talk or do whatever his character is capable of to accomplish his goals. And this is the point where different classes can be rewarded differently.

 

You seem to misunderstand the principle of objective-only xp. The xp is given for the objective, for example finishing a quest. That way the xp gain doesn't depend on how you reached the objective. So it only makes sense if you have multiple ways of reaching an objective.

 

You are correct that at reaching the objective different classes could gain different amounts of xp simply because their class is different, but that would just be a more rigid variant of method 4. (To make it clear, different xp gain for classes in method 2 is meant to be reached by giving xp for skill use, this was one of the discussed options in this thread)

 

 

4) Classes have differing leveling schemes.  Bureaucracy for a pen&paper but here the computer takes care of it. Gives the designer another dial to balance the classes.

While I like the idea in general, I don't think it is a right way to balance classes. It can be used in such manner as a last resort, but classes should be balanced without it. These tables should desynchronize level ups, not put multi-level gaps between characters.

 

It is not necessary to allow multi-level gaps. For example a class progression could be faster for a few levels but then slow down before it would lead to a 2-level gap with the slowest class progression. Progression speed could also be entirely erratic by assuming that a class needs more xp to achieve a level giving new skills than one giving only some more hit points.

Edited by jethro
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You seem to misunderstand the principle of objective-only xp. The xp is given for the objective, for example finishing a quest. That way the xp gain doesn't depend on how you reached the objective. So it only makes sense if you have multiple ways of reaching an objective.

You are correct that at reaching the objective different classes could gain different amounts of xp simply because their class is different, but that would just be a more rigid variant of method 4. (To make it clear, different xp gain for classes in method 2 is meant to be reached by giving xp for skill use, this was one of the discussed options in this thread)

Perhaps I did misunderstand the concept, but to be perfectly clear - is the situation below against said principle?

Quest - travel to X,

Obstacle - the way to X is infested with enemies,

Reward - the party have reached its destination killing everyone in sight = more XP for warriors, they have sneaked past most enemies avoiding combat = more XP for rogues.

It's nothing like method 4. and it is somehow objective-oriented. I also see nothing wrong in different rewards for objective with only one solution (this time to warrior's advantage, next time to rogue's).

 

It is not necessary to allow multi-level gaps. For example a class progression could be faster for a few levels but then slow down before it would lead to a 2-level gap with the slowest class progression. Progression speed could also be entirely erratic by assuming that a class needs more xp to achieve a level giving new skills than one giving only some more hit points.

Levels that offer nothing but some hit points are pointless anyways. As I said before - this solution is fine if done right, but should not be used as a balancing tool.

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Perhaps I did misunderstand the concept, but to be perfectly clear - is the situation below against said principle?

Quest - travel to X,

Obstacle - the way to X is infested with enemies,

Reward - the party have reached its destination killing everyone in sight = more XP for warriors, they have sneaked past most enemies avoiding combat = more XP for rogues.

It's nothing like method 4. and it is somehow objective-oriented. I also see nothing wrong in different rewards for objective with only one solution (this time to warrior's advantage, next time to rogue's).

 

 

Yes, your solution has problems:

The program has to record what you do and interpret what you do. In a relatively open area you could have just missed the enemies instead of actively sneaking by. Why should you get sneak xp then. Or you fight some of the enemies and sneak by others. The recording and evaluation is additional work for the game designers, every quest with multiple solutions has to be weighted how much diplomacy, fight and sneak is in any of the solutions and in any of your actions. And at the end across all quests and objectives the sum of xp should be approximately the same for diplomats, fighters, and sneakers.

What about other classes like the priest class? Is it the diplomacy class because it neither fits fighter and sneaker? What about a solution where you solve a puzzle? Do we have a class good at solving puzzles?

 

Sure, such a system could be done with some effort (and as you say we don't need to balance it to the last xp and weigh single mouse-click you do), but that would be quite a lot of effort just to make PCs not level at the same time. Pure objective xp is really simple. It gives equal xp to all solutions and it is easy to implement (as easy as kill-xp).

Edited by jethro
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Yes, your solution has problems:

The program has to record what you do and interpret what you do. In a relatively open area you could have just missed the enemies instead of actively sneaking by. Why should you get sneak xp then. Or you fight some of the enemies and sneak by others. The recording and evaluation is additional work for the game designers, every quest with multiple solutions has to be weighted how much diplomacy, fight and sneak is in any of the solutions and in any of your actions. And at the end across all quests and objectives the sum of xp should be approximately the same for diplomats, fighters, and sneakers.

In most cases such info is recorded anyways. However, I can't deny that it may overcomplicate things and end up in being not worth it. Still, I would love to see it in game.

What about other classes like the priest class? Is it the diplomacy class because it neither fits fighter and sneaker? What about a solution where you solve a puzzle? Do we have a class good at solving puzzles?

I dislike the concept of being "just a priest". All the religious classes should be connected with a certain deity and be treated that way (you worship a cruel and malicious god? - killing the innocent is your thing; you believe in the goddess of valor? - act boldly to please her!). Solving a puzzle may give equal reward to everyone, no point in forcing this scheme where it does not fit.

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You seem to misunderstand the principle of objective-only xp. The xp is given for the objective, for example finishing a quest. That way the xp gain doesn't depend on how you reached the objective. So it only makes sense if you have multiple ways of reaching an objective.

 

You are correct that at reaching the objective different classes could gain different amounts of xp simply because their class is different, but that would just be a more rigid variant of method 4. (To make it clear, different xp gain for classes in method 2 is meant to be reached by giving xp for skill use, this was one of the discussed options in this thread)

I think that's an oversimplification of the "quest-only XP" system. Yes, you will only gain XP for accomplishing things and handling situations. Specifically, for completing things labeled as "objectives" by the game code. However, whether through stated sub-objectives, or simply hidden handlings of different methods of accomplishing a different objective, you could receive a different amount of XP depending on exactly what you accomplished and how you accomplished it.

 

I seriously doubt even the majority of quests objectives are going to be as simple as "get to dee choppah!", where "if character (any) exists at location (choppah), then + 100 EXPERIENCE! 8D!" is how it's handled. And any outcome of that scenario in which the choppah is destroyed or something just = 0 XP.

 

Also, I'm not following why one of the main ideas is to grant varying amounts of XP for things depending on class: A Rogue is going to get a slight, permanent bonus to the Stealth skill, but the Stealth skill does not belong to the Rogue. You could feasibly have a Wizard with 100 Stealth, and a Rogue with only 70. Why, then, would the Rogue receive more XP for sneaky objective accomplishment than the Wizard?

 

I think the best way to handle that is to have certain methods of accomplishing said objective (or accomplishing some objective/handling the situation) to require a given amount of skill in something, and for points spent in that skill to therefore allow for the gain of the adjusted XP reward for the results of the application of that amount of skill. In other words, it might be impossible to sneak through a given area with only 20 Stealth. It might be EASY to do so with 90. But, somewhere in there, it's possible, but really tough, then easier, an easier, all the way up to 90. You still have to manually have your characters sneak through, though. It's not a hard-coded thing. Therefore, if something is gained by not-alerting those you're sneaking past, then that should be it's own sub-objective, at the very least. And maybe you won't always know what those sub-objectives are (maybe you don't know something is gained by being sneaky until you do so and discover some documents that the enemies burn once the alarm is sounded, etc.).

 

It's probably best to stick to XP based upon the results of your actions, and allow variances in skills and skillsets and such to make the achievement of those particular results easier or tougher, possible or impossible.

 

Also, I'm really not a fan of the "This class levels at 2,000, this one levels at 4,000" setup, because you can already adjust what is gained and what isn't at each level. There's no point in making one person play for 5 hours and another (just because he picked a different class) play for only 1, just to allow them to gain SOME amount of anything new, when you could just spread the potency of that 5-hour class's level-up out across 5 different one-hour level-ups. (Just for what it's worth... Not counter-arguing against anyone in particular on that system.)

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Also, I'm really not a fan of the "This class levels at 2,000, this one levels at 4,000" setup, because you can already adjust what is gained and what isn't at each level. There's no point in making one person play for 5 hours and another (just because he picked a different class) play for only 1, just to allow them to gain SOME amount of anything new, when you could just spread the potency of that 5-hour class's level-up out across 5 different one-hour level-ups. (Just for what it's worth... Not counter-arguing against anyone in particular on that system.)

 

 

Please no strawman examples like 1 hour against 5 hours to make a level or even 2000 against 4000. Also said person plays a group, not a single toon, and the objective of this thread is to find a way that that group doesn't level at the same time. That is the point. It is not about balancing, more balancing is just what you get for free if you adopt such a leveling scheme.

Edited by jethro
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Why bother with levels at all? Wouldn't it be more natural to just gain new skills and abilities through performing actions specific for a character, like:
Rogue - the more he/she is *actively* sneaking/disarming/setting traps the faster he she receives 'expertise' and new abilities,
Warrior - the more he/she is engaged in combat/delivers blows/avoids being hit, etc...
Mage - the more he/she casts/learns spells/effectively concocts potions etc...

 

Of course this kind of mechanic needs certain safeguards to prevent exploits like: press "sneak" button and leave the game running for 3h to max your character abilities.
 

Or, for those who vehemently defend the use of experience points and levels, this kind of mechanic could be blended with a traditional level-up style. 

 


   

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Why bother with levels at all? Wouldn't it be more natural to just gain new skills and abilities through performing actions specific for a character, like:

Rogue - the more he/she is *actively* sneaking/disarming/setting traps the faster he she receives 'expertise' and new abilities,

Warrior - the more he/she is engaged in combat/delivers blows/avoids being hit, etc...

Mage - the more he/she casts/learns spells/effectively concocts potions etc...

The problem with do-it-to-improve-it (aside from feeling even more grindy than conventional levelling; hello casting "detect life" every 30 seconds in Oblivion to grind Illusion) is how easily it pigeonholes you. You took an aggressive approach early in the game? Well, you never get to use stealth now because your Hitting Things With Sticks is level 10 and your Sneaking By Things With Sticks is level 1, and by now all the NPCs have Detecting Hidden People With Sticks level 8. You avoided most combat with stealth and diplomacy early on? Hope you never wanted to win a fight in the mid-to-late-game.

Edited by Tamerlane
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Also, I'm not following why one of the main ideas is to grant varying amounts of XP for things depending on class: A Rogue is going to get a slight, permanent bonus to the Stealth skill, but the Stealth skill does not belong to the Rogue. You could feasibly have a Wizard with 100 Stealth, and a Rogue with only 70. Why, then, would the Rogue receive more XP for sneaky objective accomplishment than the Wizard?

It works in the opposite manner. Both Rogue and Wizard gain new abilities when they grow in level, but these abilities are different. While learning to attack from shadows by sneaking makes some sense, getting new spells in such manner does not. Sneaking can make one a better Rogue, but it won't make him a Wizard.

 

Why bother with levels at all? Wouldn't it be more natural to just gain new skills and abilities through performing actions specific for a character, like:

Rogue - the more he/she is *actively* sneaking/disarming/setting traps the faster he she receives 'expertise' and new abilities,

Warrior - the more he/she is engaged in combat/delivers blows/avoids being hit, etc...

Mage - the more he/she casts/learns spells/effectively concocts potions etc...

The problem with do-it-to-improve-it (aside from feeling even more grindy than conventional levelling; hello casting "detect life" every 30 seconds in Oblivion to grind Illusion) is how easily it pigeonholes you. You took an aggressive approach early in the game? Well, you never get to use stealth now because your Hitting Things With Sticks is level 10 and your Sneaking By Things With Sticks is level 1, and by now all the NPCs have Detecting Hidden People With Sticks level 8. You avoided most combat with stealth and diplomacy early on? Hope you never wanted to win a fight in the mid-to-late-game.

It will also discourage mixing characters of different classes. Bunch of warriors will use brute force and level evenly. Party of five warriors and one diplomat can talk its way and boost one character or fight and strengthen the rest.

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