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Will PoE have level scaling? (Please no)

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there are many forms of level scaling and many games use them, but in most cases it is subttle enough to go unnoticed. the problem is not the scaling itself but the explicit and "in your face" use of it made by games like oblivion, that simply dont let you feel stronger as you get more levels but rather seem to penalize you for it.

games like PE dont need scaling because the pacing can be controlled by the developers up to a point. for example when you meet a certain boss, it is lv5 and you can be lv3 if done only the main quest or up to lv5 if you did all available side quests. if the design of the game simply does not allow you to be lv8 at that point, there is no need to make the boss scale to your level

now in case of free roaming games like FNV or the TES series, a type of scaling is needed, because the developer cannot restrict the pacing and how many levels you get by going around doing stuff. in that case what matters is to make it less obvious


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I kinda skimmed at the end ... Level scaling (if done properly) is pretty good.

 

I mean, you wouldn't expect that a D&D Module built for a party of L10-15 characters would have a ton of ECL 3 encounters (or ECL 20) -- and it probably even has some caveats for the encounters (if party = L10, then gnoll x4 ... if party = L12, then gnoll x4 + gnoll shaman)

 

However, when done poorly (I'm lookin' at you, Oblivion), it makes the game an un-playable mess, because you never get any of those "hilariously easy" fights that happen because you've been fighting enemies of your party level, or +1-2 for a long time ... then you get one equal to, or -1-2 your party level and just stomp all over the thing (say a gargantuan scorpion ECL 10, when you've been fighting ECL 12 wraiths the last two or three encounters).

Edited by neo6874

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He pretty much says, that enemies that have levels (ie. mages, warriors, etc...) will be scaled and only in a few instances and after that he reiterated that monsters will do consistent damage, ie. no scaling. That is not the same level scaling as in Diablo or DA where all enemies take less and do more damage depending on your level.

Edited by Sarex

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i'm fine with scaling as long as it is limited to some extent (no lvl 20 wolfs, more powerfull than dragons, please) and doesn't produce illogical results (oblivion-like bandits in super mighty armour + 5)

same thing goes for the kind of encounter scaling all of the dnd based computer games used

Edited by lolaldanee
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Thank you, because we are all to dumb to understand what JS wrote.

 

JS described exactly the way of level scaling I claimed will be used i PoE in my discussion with Stun. JS post was my reference and source of the claim which Stun doubted.

 

No you said that some monsters will have a fixed level, where JS said all monster of the same type will have the same damage no matter what level you are and the only ones who will either be a higher or lower level, depending on the PCs level, are major enemy NPCs.

 

Also level scaling has to have a direct correlation to the level of the PC, or it's not level scaling.

Edited by Sarex

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Level scaling done well can be fantastic. However, many games don't do it right. Afterall, pnp lives and dies by 'level scaling' for the most part. BG2 did it right mostly. ES does it wrong (like everything else it does).

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DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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LOL

 

It can be as subtle as you want it to be.

^that's from your very first post on this thread.

 

Now, I'm sure you're all c*cked and ready to give me your own Lephysville definition of what subtle as you want it to be, means, and that this definition in no way can ever mean so subtle that it cannot be noticed, ie. it is CONCEALED. But I'm really not interested in partaking, again, in your bizzare, nightly mental gymnastics.

 

Hahaha. BRB, guys... I'm gonna scout ahead with my Rogue. Activating SUBTLETY mode!!! 8D!

 

Subtle doesn't mean "concealed", you mind-boggling person, you. It can sort of mean "difficult to detect," but only in the sense that small/faint/rare things aren't easily noticed. If someone's use of perfume is subtle, they're not putting scented stuff on them to HIDE the fact that they smell like scented stuff. They could've just not applied the perfume at all if that was the goal. No, they can go with a subtle scent as opposed to a blatant/pungent scent.

 

Art. You can put a subtle texture in something so that it's there, but doesn't steal the spotlight from the rest of the design, since the design isn't about that texture.

 

The meaning I was going for when I said "subtle" there was delicate. Have fun looking up the definition, then ignoring it and telling me it doesn't mean delicate. And/or have fun explaining how "delicate" and "concealed" are the same thing.

 

Go nuts, buddy. :)

 

 

Also, you've blatantly ignored 75% of everything I just typed,

Lephys, this has already been explained to you a year ago. It is because you ramble on pointlessly. You are like a bubbly teenage girl with a phone. You are the Don King of message boarding. You take 10,000 words to say what a normal person can say in `1 quick sentence. And I told you that I will NOT waste my time addressing your deliberately long-winded rantings. I will pick and choose the parts that approach coherency.

 

So... you know the stuff you admittedly and voluntarily did not read is nonsense, somehow? Furthermore, your best option is to ignore it, but still reply to it as if to an argument you actually read?

 

Seems legit. 8)

 

 

^I think it's time for you to cease this pretentious arrogance of yours and speak for yourself. I have never played a game that had level scaling and didn't realize within halfway though the first playthrough, that I was being subjected to level scaling.

That's friggin' amazing, actually. I'm beginning to see the patterns of clairvoyance, here.

 

I'll speak for physics, rather than myself, if you don't mind. If you only ever encounter ONE instance of something, how can you ever know it had more than one? Those of us who aren't clairvoyant don't. You speak for yourself, you wizard, you.

 

Yes, this can be done in a strictly linear game. The Icewind Dales do this. Of course, such a design WORKS in linear games.

How do you know it didn't scale everything?

 

Because you looked it up, or because you could just magically tell? :)

 

 

Oh, what a great talking point. The giant Blanket catch-all to fix any game flaw that has ever existed: JUST IMPLEMENT THINGS APPROPRIATELY.

I hate to tell you, but nothing works if it's not done appropriately. You can take something that you think is the absolute best thing ever in video game design, and should be in every game, and screw it up by simply doing it wrong.

 

I dare say almost the entire production process of a video game is appropriation. "Sure, crafting should be cool, but how do we do that for THIS game? Sure, combat is great, but how do we put that in THIS game?"

 

Level scaling is a mere tool. Like a hammer. Throw a hammer through your neighbor's window, and it's bad. Use it appropriately and it's good. Hammer a nail in the proper way and it's good. Hammer the nail sloppily until you dent up the fence post and/or crack a board, and it's bad.

 

The sheer determinance of what kind of foes you're going to face at some given point in an RPG is not bad, and that's all level-scaling is. Until you use it in some specific instance/implementation/context, and to some specific degree, it's neither good nor bad.

 

 

You, sir, are intentionally... okay, whoa, maybe not intentionally, but knowingly being a pointlessly stubborn fool right now, and it's a ridiculous waste of even your very own time. I'm done with you. There's nothing else that needs saying for you to be capable of comprehending what I've typed here, other than a modicum of effort on your part, and to take off those damned Rocket Boots of Assumption from your feet, so you can actually sit still long enough to process a point before deciding what you think about it.

 

Enjoy your forums. :)


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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The most recent quote from J. Sawyer, a few months old, about level scaling (already posted) is this one:

 

"JS: It’s all pretty much set from the beginning. We may—we haven’t really looked into it a lot but we might do specific encounter scaling on crit-path stuff, but we haven’t so far done anything like that."

 

Note how he uses the term encounter scaling instead of level scaling.

 

 

Regarding the "but BG2 had it too!", that is invoked every time this topic pops up, there are two things to point out.

 

The vast majority of encounters don't scale at all in BG2. I'm talking 99% of encounters (the game has well over 4000 creature files). Those encounters that do scale, never scale by level. The script has 2-3 encounter variants, composed of  creatures with different names, stats and abilities.

 

Was this encounter scaling necessary? It wasn't. Did it improve the game? No. 

 

 

BG1 level scaling, that is sometimes mentioned, is much like the Bigfoot. Some claim they've seen it, but nobody has any proof.

 

Even Bioware realized that level scaling is simply dull and decided they're getting rid of it for DA:I, and said so proudly in the first gameplay video showcasing big open areas. 

This is the best decision they've made in the last 10 years.

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Lephys, this has already been explained to you a year ago. It is because you ramble on pointlessly. You are like a bubbly teenage girl with a phone. You are the Don King of message boarding. You take 10,000 words to say what a normal person can say in `1 quick sentence. And I told you that I will NOT waste my time addressing your deliberately long-winded rantings. I will pick and choose the parts that approach coherency.

So... you know the stuff you admittedly and voluntarily did not read is nonsense, somehow?

 

If it's from you, absolutely.

 

 

 

 

Oh, what a great talking point. The giant Blanket catch-all to fix any game flaw that has ever existed: JUST IMPLEMENT THINGS APPROPRIATELY.

I hate to tell you, but nothing works if it's not done appropriately. You can take something that you think is the absolute best thing ever in video game design, and should be in every game, and screw it up by simply doing it wrong.

 

I dare say almost the entire production process of a video game is appropriation. "Sure, crafting should be cool, but how do we do that for THIS game? Sure, combat is great, but how do we put that in THIS game?"

 

Level scaling is a mere tool. Like a hammer. Throw a hammer through your neighbor's window, and it's bad. Use it appropriately and it's good. Hammer a nail in the proper way and it's good. Hammer the nail sloppily until you dent up the fence post and/or crack a board, and it's bad.

 

The sheer determinance of what kind of foes you're going to face at some given point in an RPG is not bad, and that's all level-scaling is. Until you use it in some specific instance/implementation/context, and to some specific degree, it's neither good nor bad.

 

 

You, sir, are intentionally... okay, whoa, maybe not intentionally, but knowingly being a pointlessly stubborn fool right now, and it's a ridiculous waste of even your very own time. I'm done with you. There's nothing else that needs saying for you to be capable of comprehending what I've typed here, other than a modicum of effort on your part, and to take off those damned Rocket Boots of Assumption from your feet, so you can actually sit still long enough to process a point before deciding what you think about it.

 

Enjoy your forums. :)

 

Missing the point. Right on Cue.

 

Lephys. Responding to a gripe about a game play mechanic (ANY game play mechanic) by simply saying "well, if it's done right it can be good!" is Meaningless, unless you follow it up with an example of HOW it can be done right. You haven't yet done this for level scaling. You've tried. And you've failed spectacularly. It speaks volumes for how inherently sh*tty Level scaling is that the single best answer anyone has given on how to make it good is to: HIDE IT - make it rare and unnoticeable... like you're not using it. lol

 

But I DO love that you are at least admitting that any mechanic, no matter how crappy, can be made Good via "appropriation". I can't wait for the next 'Save or Die spells' discussion we have. I'll be sure to remind you of this convenient viewpoint you just sprung at us here. I promise. :)

Edited by Stun

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Thing is with D&D (sorry, I have to use the reference ...) things went more toward the "encounter scaling" that some people have mentioned -- and it works out pretty well (IMO).

 

If you're level 3 (for example), you fight the BBEG (say a crazy necromancer), and maybe a skeleton or two. Say the cleric is ECL 2, and the skeletons are (combined) ECL 2, for an ECL 4 fight (because it's supposed to be hard). If you fight him at L5 ... the L2 necromancer gets replaced with a L4 one, and he summons zombies instead (or maybe a zombie that if you kill it before the BBEG, he then summons skeletons). If it's not a BBEG fight, then things only rarely scale (e.g. "this is supposed to be an ECL 10 fight ... but if the party is >L12, make it an ECL 12 fight by replacing [creature_set] with [new_set]")

 

Games that do level scaling poorly (Oblivion) usually leave it pretty obvious -- e.g. going to that rat-infested basement in the first town (when you're normally L2-3) at L8-10 means there's the same 5 rats, but instead of it being a cakewalk, it's just as hard as when you were L2 (if not harder, because the rats are always you plus X levels, and their creature type gets abilities or something).

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I guess level scaling can not be avoided for open world games like Oblivion, unless you want to restrict the player in some of their choices.

 

That being said, I guess you can ship around that problem in a cRPG if you design the game to have bottleneck events. This could either be by traveling to a new environment or by doing time jumps.

In Baldurs Gate II, the idea is that the money you'd have to spent to get to spellhold limits you from going to spellhold too early. In theory. I could still get the required 15.000 in copper coronet alone if I wanted to, so the actual implementation somehow failed on that.

 

Another idea is to have quests that actually change the world.

For example, once doing a specific quest for a guild, makes you enemy with a hostile guild. This will create several new NPC camps throughout the country. You might now encounter a couple of headhunters in a tavern that you already visited. Or a guild camp around a campfire that would be abandoned if you hadn't completed the quest the way you did.

Not only does that effectively help combating the outleveling effect (wolves and kobolds in that area will still be totally outleveled, but that only adds to realism, imho and adds to the feeling of power, which is important in an RPG experience), it also makes the environment feel more "alive".

 

I'm not totally against a certain amount of "progression" on encounter difficulty depending on how long you take to reach it. But it should be explained and have some kind of underlying narrative and make sense, not just adjust for the increased party level.

 

If you, for example, battle a group of mercenaries in a quest to free a stronghold, but it took you five weeks to go there as you got distracted with other sidequests before, then of course the leader will say "Hah, fool, do you really think we wouldn't prepare ourselves?" and have a lot more mercenaries at his side than if you go there right away.

 

 

I'd say scaling encounters bound to the player level is a bad choice in general, as it makes leveling feel pointless. Scaling encounters on ingame-time or game events, however, does not only serve the narrative and immersion, it also makes leveling still feel important. And also gives a player a reason not to rest on every single battle to get that one level 7 spell back. It actually adds an interesting gameplay aspect of choice: "Do I rest here and risk the bandits growing stronger in numbers, or do I attack right now, when they might not be prepared for it yet?".

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I think one aspect of "controlled" level scaling has been overlooked in this thread. Some people seem to have implied that level scaling within a range is somehow better than full blown oblivion scaling, but I contend it is actually worse.

 

Even in a limited form where encounters scale within a range, level scaling does the opposite of what it is intended to do, which is provide an appropriate challenge.

 

Without level scaling, if the player becomes over-levelled from side questing, they will be getting less xp from kills because of fighting lower level monsters. So while things will be easier for a time, it will even out in the long run compared to a player that skips the side-quests.

 

Level scaling interferes with this natural moderation of xp gain. The over-levelled player finds that the encounters are scaled up, and there is now more available gross xp on the table. So instead of gaining less xp than normal, they continue to gain at the same rate because of higher level or simply more numerous monsters, or possibly even gain xp at an accelerated rate if the devs weren't very careful with the scaling implementation. The player continues to stay above the level for which the encounters were designed, and will continue to race further and further ahead with every optional thing they do. Even though the encounters are scaled up, they were designed for a lower level party, so they are still inherently easier.

 

Now imagine the player that skips the side quests. They are under-levelled for an encounter, which not only makes it inherently difficult, but the encounter is scaled down slightly. So they gain less xp and loot than they would have if it were not scaled. As with the last example, but opposite, the player is prevented from "catching up" to the expected level that the encounters were designed for, and they will get further and further behind as they are using more potions and whatnot to get through the more difficult encounters.

 

Even if loot is not deliberately scaled, simply placing additional creatures or higher level creatures will affect the amount and/or quality of loot, assuming that those monster's corpses can be looted. It might only be rusty swords and trinkets, which would be meaningless to the over-levelled guy, but the under-levelled guy might be scrounging for every last scrap to buy more potions and get sorely needed gear, since they have been getting less loot overall and skipped some optional areas.

 

So you can see that inappropriate use of level scaling can undermine itself. Giving a more appropriate short-term challenge while making things worse in the long term. I say this is worse than oblivion style scaling because oblivion was (sadly) actually designed to be the way it is, it therefore successfully achieved its design goals, whether you like them or not. The same can't be said for a system that does the opposite of what it is intended to do.

 

 

I won't go into how level scaling negatively impacts exploration, since exploration is my favourite thing and when I think about such things I start hissing, foaming at the mouth, and clawing at my eyes.

So others have pointed out that combat xp is no thing, my argument is different:

What does that matter that one player would find max level and the other player would not if the player challenge remains similar? They will still have the same enjoyment of the game.

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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I'd say scaling encounters bound to the player level is a bad choice in general, as it makes leveling feel pointless. Scaling encounters on ingame-time or game events, however, does not only serve the narrative and immersion, it also makes leveling still feel important. And also gives a player a reason not to rest on every single battle to get that one level 7 spell back. It actually adds an interesting gameplay aspect of choice: "Do I rest here and risk the bandits growing stronger in numbers, or do I attack right now, when they might not be prepared for it yet?".

Not necessarily, even. I mean, I understand what you mean, but it takes time to level up. Especially in a game in which, by the end, you will only be level 12. If you can level up 3 times in one quest, then the leveling's a bit screwed up, I'd say.

 

So, yeah, it should make sense, as with anything else that happens. But, the main prompting of some kind of adjustment like level-scaling still boils down to:

 

- Sir Attacks-A-Lot is supposed to attack you when you reach SettlementVilleHold Keep, and it's part of the "linear" story (even though you have a lot of free range to do various optional quests in various orders before actually reaching this Sir Attacks-A-Lot), so he's supposed to be quite tough in relation to your party.

 

- You can possibly be one of three different levels when you reach SettlementVilleHold Keep, because this is later in the game, so you could've either done everything possible up until now, or skipped pretty much anything you didn't HAVE to deal with yet.

 

- Sir Attacks-A-Lot has to be easy enough to not be impossible for the person who's only level X (didn't do a lot of optional stuff yet), and thus easy as crap (relatively) for the person who's X + 2 because they did all the optional stuff and JUST reached a new level before actually setting out for SettlementVilleHold Keep... Why? Because if he's friggin' impossible to the Merely-Level-X people, then all that content isn't really "optional," now is it? "Oh, you don't have to do this stuff... if you don't want to be able to get past Sir Attacks-A-Lot in Chapter 9! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!"

 

Thus, an objective dilemma. To adjust, or not to adjust? That is the question. I'm really unclear on how the very idea of adjusting something's challenge "amount" in a situation like this is somehow inherently bad and nonsensical. I get that if you just do it for the sake of doing it, and don't care about how you do it, it can produce a lot of unintentional negative side effects.

 

But, the fact that you've gone from level 7 to level 9 in a matter of weeks "adventuring" is already an abstraction. There's no way the game world's intent is for Sir Attacks-A-Lot to ONLY be ludicrously impossible before you handled those 5 quests you did, but somehow quite slayable after only 30 minutes of adventuring a day, 5 times a week, for rock hard adventuring abs (skills).

 

Tell me one place in a fantasy story in which the adventurers, thanks to their diligence in tackling situations and improving their combat skills and prowess, EASILY dispatch all of their opponents at some momentous encounter, when before they couldn't even lay a hand on them. Frodo traveled around enough and stabbed enough things through the chest that now, he can just kill trolls with relative ease. No... it's still friggin' tough.

 

Nobody scales the opponents in static fantasy stories, because they're static. There's only one possible state in which they can encounter that foe. When you throw a dynamic into the mix, I don't understand why it ONLY applies to the adventurers/protagonists. "Oh, you guys get to 'scale' yourselves all day long, but the entire rest of the world is under strict orders to remain exactly as it is the whole time. Sir Attacks-A-Lot is actually just standing around at SettlementVilleHold Keep, waiting for you to gain some more levels before attacking him. He's just yawning the day away, waiting on you."

 

And lastly, the adjustment of things doesn't mean they're no less easy. It just means they aren't disporportionately easy or difficult for either the non-optional-quest-doer, or the all-optional-quest-doer.

 

People don't do quests JUST to max their level. That's not the goal. It can be a goal, but so is the friggin' interaction with the content in the first place.

 

Besides... you become better equipped as you go, too, regardless of your level. If you take the time to earn some nice rewards from wealthy/resourceful hands, instead of skipping such things, you're going to be able to handle that baddie better than before, no matter if he just stands around stagnating at now-two-levels-below-you or is actually a level higher and/or has more cronies with him, etc.

 

It's not as if the entire game hinges upon everything in the world only ever being a very specific, static level, and nothing ever being appropriate (however it got that way) to your capabilities as a player party.

 

I, personally, don't want to stay ahead of the curve and have the game feel like it's stuck on Easy just because I decide to partake in all the non-mandatory content I can. I want the story to be based on what choices I make, and not on what choices are somehow the "default" ones. "And then, since he actually stopped to help the three factions along the way, the dragon atop the volcano was only of middling difficulty, as the party had much better equipment and like 15 new skill points a-piece."

 

The purpose of advancement in an RPG is to simulate the progression/development of your characters, not to somehow make you the only dynamic in a static world. The point isn't that the whole rest of the world falls behind. It's that you don't remain stagnant the whole game. That's why, even in non-level-based action games and such (assassin's creed, Legend of Zelda, God of War, etc.), you advance as you go.


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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The purpose of advancement in an RPG is to simulate the progression/development of your characters,

Kinda hard to do that when all enemies everywhere progress/develop along with your character so as to make that character feel like he's standing still, instead of progressing.

 

In fact, even objectively, that is the #1 gripe people have with level scaling - that it makes the player feel like he's "staying afloat" the entire game, instead of what leveling is SUPPOSED to feel like: "Getting more powerful".

 

- Sir Attacks-A-Lot is supposed to attack you when you reach SettlementVilleHold Keep, and it's part of the "linear" story (even though you have a lot of free range to do various optional quests in various orders before actually reaching this Sir Attacks-A-Lot), so he's supposed to be quite tough in relation to your party.

Why? What kind of sorry ass open world philosophy dictates that the more work you put in (exploring those optional areas first), the more it WILL NOT MATTER, since Sir Attacks-A-lot will level scale with you in order to fulfill the developers decree that he be a tough opponent for the party no-matter-what.

 

BG1. Tarnesh (the mage at the entrance to the Friendly Arm inn), is a fantastic example here of how to do things RIGHT. He is not level scaled. He is static. He is designed to challenge a small party of 1st-2nd level characters who decided to tunnel vision their way there from Candlekeep.

 

But do you know what the TRUE beauty of BG1's open world is? Freedom. The party can decide to go adventuring instead, and head south. Taking their lumps, paying their dues, then heading to the Friendly Arm Inn when they're 3rd or 4th level and then crushing Tarnesh like a bug. This is as it should be. And it's consistant with a believable world (there's no reason why a lazy bounty hunter who decided to wait in one place for his bounty to come to HIM, should be allowed to gain levels like a party of adventurers who went out and earned their power.)

Edited by Stun
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Leyphys brought up a good point about level progression why does the world remain static while a player increases in strength?

 

Frankly this is the best rebuttal to that, it also leads into why critical path characters might scale as well. In an rpg world adventurers gain levels and equipment because they take on risks. By that the barkeep in the local inn, or the rats subsisting in the basement of widow MacGee didn't brave the forgotten keep of the Craven Lord Dragovich (Insert any dungeon here) Slaying him, and ensuring no more undead rise and attack travelers going through the forest. The idea that the barkeep, or god forbid the rats that have been living in the widows basement eating her foodstuffs - if attacked after the forgotten keep is now character level +n is ridiculous.

 

The main antagonist and his minions are like the player characters - proactive pursuing their goals. They are taking risks which lead to power progression in rpg fantasy land. Potentially taking enough risks to scale with the players own progression.

 

I have to say, having DM'ed quite a few people over the years character progression - from the players perspective - is often power fantasy. If I ever dm'ed a game, the idea that guards in a sleepy township patrolling try to arrest a group of paragon level players committing crimes. It's going to go terribly wrong for the guards. If it goes any other way, total player revolt - besides it makes no damn sense.  Was this town the retirement centre of the heroes of the last great war and they all work as petty guards now? If not immersion broken.

 

Crpgs at least at heart, tend to take more inspiration from the pen and paper games. At the same instance if a group of starting characters lv1-3 take on the city guards the players should expect to be defeated. Usually in my games guards are around lv3-4 with the captain being around Lv10-12 due to them usually being a named retired adventurer. Using planned encounters in D&D usually the formula of CL-1, CL (2 encounters), CL+1,CL+4. Bam got enough encounters for an adventure. If the players start a battle outside of planned encounters, then CL is meaningless. A beggar, rat, barkeep, or old widow should be relatively weak and easily dispatched. Same with wolves or other animals. Players decide to go hunt a black bear, they should roll over them at high levels. Players taking on and defeating a dragon or extra-dimensional god entity does not mean every wolf on the Prime material plane just grew adamant teeth.

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I think one aspect of "controlled" level scaling has been overlooked in this thread. Some people seem to have implied that level scaling within a range is somehow better than full blown oblivion scaling, but I contend it is actually worse.

 

 

 

I won't go into how level scaling negatively impacts exploration, since exploration is my favourite thing and when I think about such things I start hissing, foaming at the mouth, and clawing at my eyes.

What does that matter that one player would find max level and the other player would not if the player challenge remains similar? They will still have the same enjoyment of the game.

 

 

Players who don't enjoy level scaling would not still have the same enjoyment of the game.

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Leyphys brought up a good point about level progression why does the world remain static while a player increases in strength?

 

Frankly this is the best rebuttal to that, it also leads into why critical path characters might scale as well. In an rpg world adventurers gain levels and equipment because they take on risks. By that the barkeep in the local inn, or the rats subsisting in the basement of widow MacGee didn't brave the forgotten keep of the Craven Lord Dragovich (Insert any dungeon here) Slaying him, and ensuring no more undead rise and attack travelers going through the forest. The idea that the barkeep, or god forbid the rats that have been living in the widows basement eating her foodstuffs - if attacked after the forgotten keep is now character level +n is ridiculous.

 

The main antagonist and his minions are like the player characters - proactive pursuing their goals. They are taking risks which lead to power progression in rpg fantasy land. Potentially taking enough risks to scale with the players own progression.

 

I have to say, having DM'ed quite a few people over the years character progression - from the players perspective - is often power fantasy. If I ever dm'ed a game, the idea that guards in a sleepy township patrolling try to arrest a group of paragon level players committing crimes. It's going to go terribly wrong for the guards. If it goes any other way, total player revolt - besides it makes no damn sense.  Was this town the retirement centre of the heroes of the last great war and they all work as petty guards now? If not immersion broken.

 

Crpgs at least at heart, tend to take more inspiration from the pen and paper games. At the same instance if a group of starting characters lv1-3 take on the city guards the players should expect to be defeated. Usually in my games guards are around lv3-4 with the captain being around Lv10-12 due to them usually being a named retired adventurer. Using planned encounters in D&D usually the formula of CL-1, CL (2 encounters), CL+1,CL+4. Bam got enough encounters for an adventure. If the players start a battle outside of planned encounters, then CL is meaningless. A beggar, rat, barkeep, or old widow should be relatively weak and easily dispatched. Same with wolves or other animals. Players decide to go hunt a black bear, they should roll over them at high levels. Players taking on and defeating a dragon or extra-dimensional god entity does not mean every wolf on the Prime material plane just grew adamant teeth.

 

This is very close to what our DM does. And it makes sense that as a general rule, guards in one city will be similar to guards in another city. It doesn't make sense that guards in City 1 are level 3 and guards in City 2 are level 10, just because you arrived at City 2 when you're level 10. It's totally immersion breaking and I have to wonder if I'm actually fighting guards in City 2 or if half the realms of adventurers decided to retire in City 2 just before I arrived. 

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@ W.MacKinnon:

 

That's a very good point. That's what I mean by actually employing some sense-filled decision-making when deciding when and where to make any kind of adjustments.

 

Guards guarding a town are pretty static. I mean, sure, sometimes they die, and new ones get trained up, etc. But, when are those guards going to be there? Always. If you spend 2 extra months getting to that city, they're still going to have the same guards. The guards are just there.

 

The only place I'll disagree is that different cities might, understandably, have different "levels" of guards. I mean, that small trading hub you start in on the outskirts of the capital region, for example, is probably not going to have as hardcore of guards as the friggin' palace in the heart of the capital. And this touches on that whole "RPGs' progressions are designed such that the player will 'arbitrarily' face appropriate challenges." It's perfectly feasible that the capital city will have more hardcore guards that are tougher foes. But, why don't you just start there, and face them early on, and lose horribly? Then, later on, have to face guards on the outskirts, who are little more than militia? Because appropriation, amongst other reasons.

 

Anywho, so guards just stay guards. But, what about story events? When is such-and-such in the city to assassinate you? When you arrive there. When is that? Well, it depends, really. He doesn't just live there, and you're traveling to his house. His progression is tied to the story, which is tied to your progression, and back to his, in a triangle. These things are already abstracted in a video game, by the dynamic nature of the story. It's all supposed to be the same story, but each playthrough is a different instance of the same story. If you do things A and B before making it to such-and-such place, then the bad guy arrives later (when you do). If you go straight there, then he arrives sooner (because you do).

 

Why is THAT abstraction perfectly fine, but heaven forbid we actually allow him to be of differing specific levels?

 

It's extremely apparent that just what you adjust and what you don't is of great importance in this whole "what's the result?" assessment. As well as specifically how you adjust it. That's all I've tried to emphasize this whole time, which is why I don't understand the "Nuh-uh" sentiments in response to that. Like it's not true.

 

Is there any reason to adjust guards in a town? Not really. So we probably shouldn't do that. The how doesn't even come into question, then. Should we adjust random encounters while traveling? Maybe. If it's time based or something. How much, then? Always just match the party's level, like in Elder Scrolls games? Maybe not.

 

I even pointed this out before (I think this was on the 360 version of Oblivion, so I dunno if it's on the PC version), but, the scaling actually had a slider adjustment in Oblivion. The default was like 1:1, but you could slide it down to off, or .1:1, .2:1, etc. Granted, there are still plenty of things in any game world that really have absolutely no reason to be adjusted (unless you're making Diablo, and it's more about appropriate combat than it is about a persistent world), so I'm not saying this is the ideal solution to anything. Just... a lot of people don't seem to know that was an option (again, might've only been in the 360 version?). The thing is, once you actually decide that you DO, in fact, have a reason to adjust SOMEthing in the world, you still get to adjust it precisely. Nothing makes you just slap a higher tier of equipment all over it, and/or increase its level by 1.

 

One of the only reasonable arguments I've heard is "I want stuff to actually become weaker compared to me, and not just keep up with me." The thing is, just because you scale SOMEthing in the game world doesn't mean NOTHING will ever become weaker relative to your becoming stronger. In fact, as I pointed out above with the less-than-1:1 ratios, you could actually scale every single thing in the entire game, and it'd still be weaker than you. At that point, the problem would simply be "why was there any reason for this thing to be presented in a more powerful form, relative to what has taken place?"

 

In essence, just because challenge appropriation is a valid consideration does not mean that all combatants/situations are appropriate for its use, much less any specific extent of its use.


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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@ W.MacKinnon:

 

That's a very good point. That's what I mean by actually employing some sense-filled decision-making when deciding when and where to make any kind of adjustments.

 

Guards guarding a town are pretty static. I mean, sure, sometimes they die, and new ones get trained up, etc. But, when are those guards going to be there? Always. If you spend 2 extra months getting to that city, they're still going to have the same guards. The guards are just there.

 

The only place I'll disagree is that different cities might, understandably, have different "levels" of guards. I mean, that small trading hub you start in on the outskirts of the capital region, for example, is probably not going to have as hardcore of guards as the friggin' palace in the heart of the capital. And this touches on that whole "RPGs' progressions are designed such that the player will 'arbitrarily' face appropriate challenges." It's perfectly feasible that the capital city will have more hardcore guards that are tougher foes. But, why don't you just start there, and face them early on, and lose horribly? Then, later on, have to face guards on the outskirts, who are little more than militia? Because appropriation, amongst other reasons.

 

They don't need to be tougher foes. They don't even need to be at a higher level. They can be at the same level as guards in another city. The difference in your example is there are more guards in a city than a trading hub. And that's where the challenge changes. Your party are against 2 or 3 guards in a trading hub compared to 7 or 8 in a city. This is one way our DM can change a possible encounter. eg. More guards means more time to despatch them which means more time for enemy Mages to get off more spells. No need for level scaling by making the guards stronger.

 

And from a story sense and what our DM explained to us in D&D terms, guards are usually going to be around level 2 or possibly 3 in Heroic Tier. Not level 8 or 10. From the DMG: Even 1st-level characters are heroes, set apart from the common people by natural characteristics, learned skills, and some hint of a greater destiny that lies before them.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II

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They don't need to be tougher foes. They don't even need to be at a higher level. They can be at the same level as guards in another city.

I didn't say they needed to be. I said it's perfectly feasible that royal guards be tougher/more skilled/better trained (in abstract RPG terms, higher level) than guards in a semi-rural trading hub. Friggin' Aragorn is not going to be on the payroll to protect Townville.

 

The difference in your example is there are more guards in a city than a trading hub. And that's where the challenge changes. You're party are against 2 or 3 guards in a trading hub compared to 7 or 8 in a city. This is one way our DM changed a possible encounter. eg. More guards means more time to despatch them which means more time for enemy Mages to get off more spells. No need for level scaling or making the guards stronger.

That is also very true. However, I think you've missed the point that a different city simply having better trained guards, purely for world/lore reasons, has absolutely nothing to do with level-scaling. You haven't scaled the guards from the podunk town up to royal palace guards. They're simply two different things. Just like a bandit and an assassin are both just human roguish fellows, yet one is WAY more trained to whoop your arse than the other. Sometimes you'll just run into random "Whoever comes down this road at night, I'm gonna try and jump them" bandits, and sometimes you'll encounter trained assassins. It is then common sense game design that the lesser skilled bandits be in your way more so in the earlier bit of the game, while the assassins would be more likely to get in your way toward the later part of the game.

 

You don't write a game that says "Oh, you're level 1-6? We'll just throw master assassins at you all day long. Oh, you've hit level 7? For the rest of the game, you'll be confronted only by meager bandits just looking to empty travelers' pockets." Hence, why, in D&D based games, you don't fight beholders in Old Man Steve's basement. You fight rats (which is kind of a joke, even though there are some scary effing rats in that bestiary that aren't normal rats). And later on, you fight beholders. Why? Because fighting beholders when you're level 1 is nonsense. That's not a tough scenario. That's game over or skip it if you can.

 

Also bear in mind that I'm not talking about ONLY facing things when you're exactly capable of easily taking them on. Sometimes you'll encounter things that, while you CAN beat them, will be VERRRRRY tough. And, if you come back better equipped and more skilled, you'll have an easi-er time, but still not an easy one. And some things will be moderately tough if you encounter them as early as possible, and only mildly difficult if you tackle them after some further progress.

 

While all of that is true, there are still valid reasons that warrant the consideration of dynamic adjustments being made to specific encounters. Again, the overall general idea is "If you can progress all the way to level 12, you should get to actually put that progression to good use. Thus, the closer you get to level 12, the closer to level 12 foes should generally become." Why? Because the closer you get to level 12, the closer to the end of the game you are. You can't just go out in a field outside of town 1 and grind to level 12. Thus, it's all a bit tied together in this type of game. The underlying structure is a very linear progression. Or, directional, rather. It's "linear," but it's a very wide line (all the various choices you can make that still move the narrative forward but in different ways and with varying results.)


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 didn't say they needed to be. I said it's perfectly feasible that royal guards be tougher/more skilled/better trained (in abstract RPG terms, higher level) than guards in a semi-rural trading hub. Friggin' Aragorn is not going to be on the payroll to protect Townville.

 

And it's perfectly feasible they are not better skilled or trained. And wrong with Aragorn. Aragorn and his rangers were protecting Townville (The Shire). If you're going to quote Lord of the Rings, perhaps reading it or doing some research might help before you go off on wild tangents and incorrect analogies.

 

 

 

That is also very true. However, I think you've missed the point that a different city simply having better trained guards, purely for world/lore reasons, has absolutely nothing to do with level-scaling. You haven't scaled the guards from the podunk town up to royal palace guards. They're simply two different things. Just like a bandit and an assassin are both just human roguish fellows, yet one is WAY more trained to whoop your arse than the other. Sometimes you'll just run into random "Whoever comes down this road at night, I'm gonna try and jump them" bandits, and sometimes you'll encounter trained assassins. It is then common sense game design that the lesser skilled bandits be in your way more so in the earlier bit of the game, while the assassins would be more likely to get in your way toward the later part of the game.

 

You don't write a game that says "Oh, you're level 1-6? We'll just throw master assassins at you all day long. Oh, you've hit level 7? For the rest of the game, you'll be confronted only by meager bandits just looking to empty travelers' pockets." Hence, why, in D&D based games, you don't fight beholders in Old Man Steve's basement. You fight rats (which is kind of a joke, even though there are some scary effing rats in that bestiary that aren't normal rats). And later on, you fight beholders. Why? Because fighting beholders when you're level 1 is nonsense. That's not a tough scenario. That's game over or skip it if you can.

 

Also bear in mind that I'm not talking about ONLY facing things when you're exactly capable of easily taking them on. Sometimes you'll encounter things that, while you CAN beat them, will be VERRRRRY tough. And, if you come back better equipped and more skilled, you'll have an easi-er time, but still not an easy one. And some things will be moderately tough if you encounter them as early as possible, and only mildly difficult if you tackle them after some further progress.

 

You've also missed the point. That Podunk town could have guards from the City. Therefore they would be the same level. And why is an assassin way more trained than a bandit if they are both Rogues? All I see is they both have two different skill sets. The bandit could have different skill sets that are more potent than the assassin. This is the case in D&D 4th ed. The rogue is a better class to play than the assassin.

 

You don't fight Beholders at Level 1? Really? You don't fight Dragons or Demi-Gods at level 1 either. So what is your point?

 

 

 

While all of that is true, there are still valid reasons that warrant the consideration of dynamic adjustments being made to specific encounters. Again, the overall general idea is "If you can progress all the way to level 12, you should get to actually put that progression to good use. Thus, the closer you get to level 12, the closer to level 12 foes should generally become." Why? Because the closer you get to level 12, the closer to the end of the game you are. You can't just go out in a field outside of town 1 and grind to level 12. Thus, it's all a bit tied together in this type of game. The underlying structure is a very linear progression. Or, directional, rather. It's "linear," but it's a very wide line (all the various choices you can make that still move the narrative forward but in different ways and with varying results.)

 

 

No. Guards don't need level scaling. And my entire post was all about guards which I agreed with W.Mackinnon which you seem to agree and now disagree with. Either make up your mind. You are for or against level scaling for guards compared to your character progression. Also, I wouldn't call a guard in a town at level 2 and a guard in a city at level 3 as level scaling if those guards remain at that level throughout the game. As I said before, guards can be level 2 or 3 in D&D terms. Guards should not be level 12. It doesn't make sense at all. No reason for them to be level 12, not in the story, not in the game world. Not at all.

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^yep. Also

 

While all of that is true, there are still valid reasons that warrant the consideration of dynamic adjustments being made to specific encounters. Again, the overall general idea is "If you can progress all the way to level 12, you should get to actually put that progression to good use. Thus, the closer you get to level 12, the closer to level 12 foes should generally become." Why? Because the closer you get to level 12, the closer to the end of the game you are. You can't just go out in a field outside of town 1 and grind to level 12. Thus, it's all a bit tied together in this type of game. The underlying structure is a very linear progression. Or, directional, rather. It's "linear," but it's a very wide line (all the various choices you can make that still move the narrative forward but in different ways and with varying results.)

Ok, here you are operating under the false assumption that only by Level scaling encounters can a developer deal with a power progressing party getting to level 12. And even more noteworthy is that you make this assumption even after seeing with your own eyes how the Mega Dungeon will handle difficulty progression (ie. without level scaling)

 

I rest my case. You don't know what the f*ck you're talking about.

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Can you actually rest your case this time? I'm tired of seeing this neverending debate in every thread I follow. Like watching snails f**k, it is.

 

LOOK EVERYBODY I'M DEFINITELY TROLLING AND HAVE NO LEGITIMATE COMPLAINT AT ALL IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT RATHER A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY JUST AS TIRED OF THIS ARGUMENT AS I AM AND WISH IT WOULD GO AWAY

 

I DON'T WANT TO CONTRIBUTE PRODUCTIVELY TO THIS DEBATE EVEN THOUGH SAYING I'M TIRED OF READING THIS NONSENSE IS TOTALLY VALID EXCEPT IT ISN'T BECAUSE HIROPROTAGONIST SAYS IT ISN'T AND HE IS THE FINAL ARBITER OF ALL POSTING DECISIONS MADE BY ALL POSTERS ON THIS FORUM DESPITE BEING UNELECTED

 

^There, Hiro. I made a fool of myself just to save you a post. Ain't I sweet?

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Can you actually rest your case this time? I'm tired of seeing this neverending debate in every thread I follow. Like watching snails f**k, it is.

 

LOOK EVERYBODY I'M DEFINITELY TROLLING AND HAVE NO LEGITIMATE COMPLAINT AT ALL IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT RATHER A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY JUST AS TIRED OF THIS ARGUMENT AS I AM AND WISH IT WOULD GO AWAY

 

I DON'T WANT TO CONTRIBUTE PRODUCTIVELY TO THIS DEBATE EVEN THOUGH SAYING I'M TIRED OF READING THIS NONSENSE IS TOTALLY VALID EXCEPT IT ISN'T BECAUSE HIROPROTAGONIST SAYS IT ISN'T AND HE IS THE FINAL ARBITER OF ALL POSTING DECISIONS MADE BY ALL POSTERS ON THIS FORUM DESPITE BEING UNELECTED

 

^There, Hiro. I made a fool of myself just to save you a post. Ain't I sweet?

 

ah Ffordesoon. At it again. Trolling from the sidelines.

 

I was actually agreeing with W.Mackinnon on his post and it was Lephys that is arguing and debating the point. Why don't you have a go at him for his incorrect analogies, his incorrect points? No? Easier to attack me because you have some weird problem with me. But not Lephys who won't let it rest, even though he is wrong. And nice way to deflect your backbench moderating onto me when it's been you who's been backbench moderating. You really do have some problem with some posters on this forum. Looks like I know how to push your buttons. All I have to do is post. :lol: That's some serious issues you have there. Here's a tip. Get a life.

 

So you agree with Lephys that you should have level scaling and guards at the same level as you? Or do you agree with W.Mackinnon, Stun, myself and others who say guards should stay at the same level throughout the game?

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II

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