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Matt516

The leveling and XP curve. What's wrong and the only way to fix it.

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So there's been much discussion of the difficulty of PoE (or lack thereof), and a good deal of the problem seems to be related to how easy it seems to be to hit the level cap very early in the game. Players (not myself, I'm not that far yet) have reported reaching level 12 literally before even starting Act III. This is a problem for a number of reasons that are hopefully self-evident - no reward for completing more quests, all combat encounters become trivialized, etc.
 
Was this a design decision? I don't think so. I think it was a mistake. My basis for saying this is a quote from Josh Sawyer - earlier on in development, sure - but still a reflection of their design goals, I'm sure.
 

On a normal non-completionist playthrough, the characters will not reach 12th level.  We need to have a level cap because we can only make so much content (spells, talents, abilities, etc.) for all of the classes.  You can hit second level relatively quickly, but the overall leveling rate should feel somewhere between BG and IWD -- sort of to be expected since our cap is between the BG/IWD caps.

 

Taken from: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/65074-level-cap-and-pacing/?p=1421141

 

So if you were never even intended to reach 12th level without being a completionist (and presumably reaching it while still in Act II should be out of the question entirely), why is it happening? Since there's only a finite amount of XP in the game, we can fairly easily reach the conclusion that XP rewards and the leveling curve are out-of-whack. Where, I can't say.

 

But you'll note that the IE games did not have this problem (in general). And the reason is not because their XP rewards were perfectly tuned for where the player should be at any point in the game - that's nearly impossible to do. It's because their leveling curve is exponential.

 

In Baldur's Gate, you need to double your XP every time you level up. Straight-up double it. Different classes had different curves, but this trend was the same. So for a fighter, you'd need 2000 for lvl 2, 4000 for lvl 3, 8000 for lvl 4, 16000 for lvl 5, etc... all the way until lvl 10, where it switched to a flat XP amount per level. PoE, on the other hand, uses a linear growth formula - each level needs 1000 XP more than the previous level needed over it's previous level. So it's more like 1000 for lvl 2, 3000 for lvl 3, 6000 for lvl 4, 10000 for lvl 5, etc... (don't crucify me if I got the starting point wrong, the trend is what's important).

 

The implications of this difference are staggering. In Baldur's Gate, even if the difference between a completionist and non-completionist playthrough led to the completionist having 4x the amount of experience as the non-completionist... that translated to 2 levels. Only. So they didn't have to worry about balancing XP rewards perfectly, because the system was robust enough to handle players having a wide range of XP-gaining tendencies. In the PoE system, on the other hand - if you get even 2x the amount of experience as a non-completionist, that's a lot more levels. Assuming the critical path puts you at level 9, doubling your experience from 45000 to 90000 would put you almost at level 13 (91000)!!

 

That's 4 levels difference.. from just double the experience in PoE. Versus 2 levels difference... from quadruple the experience in Baldur's Gate (or a single level from double the experience). You cannot balance an encounter to be fun for people on both ends of a 4 level spread. Not in a game like PoE. So you can see that conceptually... fundamentally... even if they fix bounties giving craptons of XP... the PoE leveling curve is fundamentally very sensitive to the differences in XP we might expect completionist vs non-completionist players to have. About 4 times as sensitive in the area we care about right now (the high end of PoE's levels).

 

Josh Sawyer and co. are welcome to try and balance the sidequest XP in PoE such that the game stays fun for both completionists and non-completionists. But the only way to do so (literally the only way mathematically), to replicate the BG leveling "feel", while keeping the current PoE level curve is to make sidequests give a pitiful amount of XP compared to the critical path (please no) or to make individual levels much less meaningful (please no).

 

The PoE leveling curve has to go. I don't know why they decided on it in the first place - but it's fundamentally incompatible with a game with the amount of side content (and side quest XP) we would expect in a game like PoE. No matter how well you balance things, you can never get past the limitations imposed on you by the leveling curve. If you want a game in which completionists and non-completionists can be within a few levels of each other at any given points (and where side quests are still meaningful), you have to bring back the exponential leveling curve of BG. 

 

I expect they'll do something to fix this issue, and I expect it won't be what I'm suggesting (because that's hard to do). I think what they'll end up doing is just toning down side quests to only give about a fourth of the XP of the critical path. That'd replicate the results of BG's system - at least for this game. But as they move into the expansions and sequels, this problem will rear its ugly head again. The exponential leveling curve would fix it where it's broken. I suspect we'll get a band-aid instead (which would still be better than the current system)... but I hope they'll at least consider adopting a more robust leveling curve.

 

 

EDIT: As some have pointed out, doubling the requirement each time might be a bit much. Fair enough. The actual coefficient isn't that important - what's important is that the mathematical formula for "next level's XP requirement" changes from XP_n = c*[(n)+(n-1)+(n-2)+ ...] to XP_n = c*a^n. The base, a, was 2 in the BG games. It could be whatever you want it to be in PoE. Just use that formula instead of the current one.

Edited by Matt516

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I can't really say that I disagree at all. The leveling curve definitely needs to be adjusted upwards - considerably so. I'm not sure I'd want the *same* exponential curve as BG/II, but it definitely needs to be adjusted to grow exponentially in some fashion. I suggested the very same thing just today.

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Or maybe it's just that design has changed. I mean, there was a big fuss about how firearms can pierce Arcane Veil. Blunderbuss was a Peastant weapon, and some quests in the game reflect that. Some item descriptions say such and such weapons are liked by Adventurer and Soldier. But weapon focus groups have become disjoint in the meantime. No weapon appears in two talent groups, unless you want to take Knight and Magran priest talents for +16 Sword accuracy.

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There isn't just one way to fix it.  I think bounties are the biggest offenders.  After that side quest xp probably needs nerfs (especially the ones that basically amount to talking to people and nothing more).  Altering things so you have to have double your xp to level every time will actually make the cap unreachable based on the xp available in the game as it stands now. 

Edited by Atheosis

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There isn't just one way to fix it.  I think bounties are the biggest offenders.  After that side quest xp probably need a nerfs (especially the ones that basically amount to talking to people and nothing more).  Altering things so you have to have double your xp to level every time will actually make the cap unreachable based on the xp available in the game as it stands now. 

 

I never said this change wouldn't have to come with a rebalancing of the XP in the game - of course it would. This would be a very comprehensive change, and it would take a lot of time and energy (which is why it probably won't happen).

 

But this is the only way to fundamentally fix the system so that players who do everything and players who do the critical path are still within a few levels of each other. That or (as I said) make sidequests give little to no XP (not a preferred solution).

 

It's a mathematical reality - those are the only two solutions. If X is crit path XP and Y is sidequest XP, the only way to ensure that the level difference between "X" and "X + Y" is only a few levels is to make Y very, very small, or to make the XP requirement double each time (or triple, or multiply by 1.5 - the coefficient doesn't really matter. The important thing is the mathematical form.) The current system scales quadratically (exactly quadratically, actually), and you need the system to scale logarithmically. Again, I don't care if you double the XP requirements each time or just multiply them by 1.5 (or 1.2, or 1.8759 - it really doesn't matter). But you MUST base the requirement for the next level off of your current XP, not a linearly increasing amount.

 

Because the way the current system is, the amount of experience required for the next level is an increasingly small amount compared to your current experience. That's the fundamental problem. The amount of experience for the next level needs to be a constant percentage of your total experience at the previous level. Like I said - doesn't have to double each time, but does have to multiply by something each time (instead of adding something).

 

Maybe Obsidian will prove me wrong and fix it in such a way that sidequests still mean something and you don't overlevel to oblivion by being a completionist. But I'm not holding my breath. You can't fight math.

Edited by Matt516

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It can depend on how long you stick with few party members. There's a bonus of +10% xp for each member below 6. If you want to level up a long time, get 5 companions FAST.

 

Doesn't address what I'm saying at all. I'm talking about the difference between doing all the sidequests and only doing a few. With the current leveling curve, you WILL overlevel like hell if the sidequests have any worthwhile XP. Doesn't matter how many companions you have.

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Yep.  I've been suggesting significantly reduced sidequest xp as the solution because I do sidequests for the story and any item rewards, so them not having a major impact on my levelling is not a problem for me.  But this would certainly be another way to ensure that the devs are better able to predict where people end up and balance the game reasonably for different playstyles.  That said, whatever the solution, it needs to be coupled with straight-up difficulty tuning of the encounters in some parts of the game.

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That said, whatever the solution, it needs to be coupled with straight-up difficulty tuning of the encounters in some parts of the game.

 

Fair enough. More challenging optional encounters would be nice. Though I'm not bothered in the least if encounters on the critical path are indeed tuned for the critical path. I just don't want to be 4-5 levels higher than the critical path for doing all the sidequests. 1-2 levels is just fine. :p

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There isn't just one way to fix it.  I think bounties are the biggest offenders.  After that side quest xp probably need a nerfs (especially the ones that basically amount to talking to people and nothing more).  Altering things so you have to have double your xp to level every time will actually make the cap unreachable based on the xp available in the game as it stands now. 

 

I never said this change wouldn't have to come with a rebalancing of the XP in the game - of course it would. This would be a very comprehensive change, and it would take a lot of time and energy (which is why it probably won't happen).

 

But this is the only way to fundamentally fix the system so that players who do everything and players who do the critical path are still within a few levels of each other. That or (as I said) make sidequests give little to no XP (not a preferred solution).

 

It's a mathematical reality - those are the only two solutions. If X is crit path XP and Y is sidequest XP, the only way to ensure that the level difference between "X" and "X + Y" is only a few levels is to make Y very, very small, or to make the XP requirement double each time (or triple, or multiply by 1.5 - the coefficient doesn't really matter. The important thing is the mathematical form.) The current system scales quadratically (exactly quadratically, actually), and you need the system to scale logarithmically. Again, I don't care if you double the XP requirements each time or just multiply them by 1.5 (or 1.2, or 1.8759 - it really doesn't matter). But you MUST base the requirement for the next level off of your current XP, not a linearly increasing amount.

 

Because the way the current system is, the amount of experience required for the next level is an increasingly small amount compared to your current experience. That's the fundamental problem. The amount of experience for the next level needs to be a constant percentage of your total experience at the previous level. Like I said - doesn't have to double each time, but does have to multiply by something each time (instead of adding something).

 

Maybe Obsidian will prove me wrong and fix it in such a way that sidequests still mean something and you don't overlevel to oblivion by being a completionist. But I'm not holding my breath. You can't fight math.

 

 

Sorry, but I just don't agree.  First of all, halving side quest xp and reducing bounty xp to ~1-2k xp per bounty will go a long ways on its own.  Then they just need to buff the underperforming monsters' damage/accuracy/spell selection.  It might not be as all-encompassing as your rebalance notion, but it would be a lot easier and would accomplish what most people want.  The issue as it currently exists is that there is too much optional xp in the game and too many enemies that don't live up to their level.  These issues can be fixed without wholesale redesign of the xp and leveling system in the game.

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That said, whatever the solution, it needs to be coupled with straight-up difficulty tuning of the encounters in some parts of the game.

 

Fair enough. More challenging optional encounters would be nice. Though I'm not bothered in the least if encounters on the critical path are indeed tuned for the critical path. I just don't want to be 4-5 levels higher than the critical path for doing all the sidequests. 1-2 levels is just fine. :p

 

Agreed; too much level variance at any given stage of a game simply leads to a mess.  While how much I do in the way of sidequests before reaching any given point should have a noticeable impact on how hard I find the encounter, it shouldn't be the primary factor dictating it; that's a job for the difficulty selection. 

 

 

Amusingly enough, it was a... well, a crit path related quest that gave me the only real challenge in the Act 2/Defiance Bay area portion of the game.

 

 

The forge knights in Crucible Keep

 

 

 

eta: another possible solution, of course, would be more gates on content, but I don't think anyone wants that

Edited by sparklecat

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You're comparing the results of people playing as completionists (ie hitting level 12 before act III) with a quote that specifically talks about non-completionist play (ie finishing the game before getting to level 12).

 

I can appreciate that people want to be able to do "everything" in the game and still continue advancing until the very end, so that they can feel that they are being awarded appropriately for their efforts.  Adjusting the rate of xp gain to make that happen will cause the game to fail in one of its design goals, however.  The idea is that a casual player will be able to play the game without needing to be a completionist and reach the end of the game in a state where success is possible.  If a completionist gets to the end of the game and hits level 12 just before the final encounter, where will that put the casual player who opts to do only the main questline?  Level 9?  I'm not sure, but clearly there would be a difference.  Trying to balance that final encounter to be equally challenging to parties with such a wide level range doesn't sound possible to me.

 

The alternative solution would be to have enemies scale to the level of your party.  Then they wouldn't need to restrict player advancement at all, because (in theory) any group of enemies would be an appropriate challenge for any group that encounters them.  There's nothing wrong with this design strategy, but you have to build it into your game from the initial design stages because it will affect almost every aspect of the game's design.  Changing to this system would probably make a lot of people happy, but I don't think that it is realistic for Obsidian to rebuild the entire game system and every encounter to make this change.

 

Personally, I look at it like this:  As a feature, the game includes a great deal of optional content that allows players to decide what their character will or will not allow themselves to be distracted by as they pursue the main questline.  The player is free to pursue it all, if they desire, but the intent is that players will primarily focus on the main questline and only deviate for those sidequests that are most compelling for their character.  This design acts to preserve the replayablilty of the game, in that playing the game with two different characters doesn't necessarily involve doing all the same things with them, but can potentially be a very different story depending on the paths they are drawn to.  Consider the difference in the story of two characters, one who fully explores the Endless Paths and one who chooses not to do so.

 

Adjusting the rate of xp gain would necessarily change more of the optional content into required (to achieve the same level at the end of the game).  At the extreme, it would make all of the content required.  The more this happens, the less room there is for the story of two characters to vary.  At the extreme, every character's story will be the same (with the exception of variance with regard to the order that things are done).  So, the point of my rambling here is that "fixing" the xp situation to reward the completionist player for their completionism will come at the cost of punishing the casual player for wanting to be able to just play the game without having to dot every i and cross every t.

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That said, whatever the solution, it needs to be coupled with straight-up difficulty tuning of the encounters in some parts of the game.

 

Fair enough. More challenging optional encounters would be nice. Though I'm not bothered in the least if encounters on the critical path are indeed tuned for the critical path. I just don't want to be 4-5 levels higher than the critical path for doing all the sidequests. 1-2 levels is just fine. :p

 

Agreed; too much level variance at any given stage of a game simply leads to a mess.  While how much I do in the way of sidequests before reaching any given point should have a noticeable impact on how hard I find the encounter, it shouldn't be the primary factor dictating it; that's a job for the difficulty selection. 

 

 

Amusingly enough, it was a... well, a crit path related quest that gave me the only real challenge in the Act 2/Defiance Bay area portion of the game.

 

 

The forge knights in Crucible Keep

 

 

 

Huh, I found that fight rather easy.

Edited by Atheosis

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Bounty XP is definitely too high, they are just a (hard) fight basically - and pillars decided against fight xp. Right now they net more xp than a normal quest, they should recieve less xp than a normal quest imo, the great unique items should be sufficient reward. Other than that, i agree with the OP about an exponential scale for better late-game comparability.

Edited by pstone

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You're comparing the results of people playing as completionists (ie hitting level 12 before act III) with a quote that specifically talks about non-completionist play (ie finishing the game before getting to level 12).

 

I can appreciate that people want to be able to do "everything" in the game and still continue advancing until the very end, so that they can feel that they are being awarded appropriately for their efforts.  Adjusting the rate of xp gain to make that happen will cause the game to fail in one of its design goals, however.  The idea is that a casual player will be able to play the game without needing to be a completionist and reach the end of the game in a state where success is possible.  If a completionist gets to the end of the game and hits level 12 just before the final encounter, where will that put the casual player who opts to do only the main questline?  Level 9?  I'm not sure, but clearly there would be a difference.  Trying to balance that final encounter to be equally challenging to parties with such a wide level range doesn't sound possible to me.

 

The alternative solution would be to have enemies scale to the level of your party.  Then they wouldn't need to restrict player advancement at all, because (in theory) any group of enemies would be an appropriate challenge for any group that encounters them.  There's nothing wrong with this design strategy, but you have to build it into your game from the initial design stages because it will affect almost every aspect of the game's design.  Changing to this system would probably make a lot of people happy, but I don't think that it is realistic for Obsidian to rebuild the entire game system and every encounter to make this change.

 

Personally, I look at it like this:  As a feature, the game includes a great deal of optional content that allows players to decide what their character will or will not allow themselves to be distracted by as they pursue the main questline.  The player is free to pursue it all, if they desire, but the intent is that players will primarily focus on the main questline and only deviate for those sidequests that are most compelling for their character.  This design acts to preserve the replayablilty of the game, in that playing the game with two different characters doesn't necessarily involve doing all the same things with them, but can potentially be a very different story depending on the paths they are drawn to.  Consider the difference in the story of two characters, one who fully explores the Endless Paths and one who chooses not to do so.

 

Adjusting the rate of xp gain would necessarily change more of the optional content into required (to achieve the same level at the end of the game).  At the extreme, it would make all of the content required.  The more this happens, the less room there is for the story of two characters to vary.  At the extreme, every character's story will be the same (with the exception of variance with regard to the order that things are done).  So, the point of my rambling here is that "fixing" the xp situation to reward the completionist player for their completionism will come at the cost of punishing the casual player for wanting to be able to just play the game without having to dot every i and cross every t.

 

I get what you are saying, and I had the same mentality earlier on, but as I've progressed I've realized you can hit the cap while leaving huge amounts of stuff untouched.  And considering you don't need to reach the cap to beat the game (not even close), it seems rather clear that optional content is giving too much xp.  Bounties in particular are just absurd at the moment. 

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Bounty XP is definitely too high, they are just a (hard) fight basically - and pillars decided against fight xp. Right now they net more xp than a normal quest, they should recieve less xp than a normal quest imo, the great unique items should be sufficient reward. Other than that, i agree with the OP about an exponential scale for better late-game comparability.

 

I firmly believe bounties should give 10% of their current xp rewards.  You get gold and unique items from them, you don't need crazy xp too.

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There isn't just one way to fix it.  I think bounties are the biggest offenders.  After that side quest xp probably need a nerfs (especially the ones that basically amount to talking to people and nothing more).  Altering things so you have to have double your xp to level every time will actually make the cap unreachable based on the xp available in the game as it stands now. 

 

I never said this change wouldn't have to come with a rebalancing of the XP in the game - of course it would. This would be a very comprehensive change, and it would take a lot of time and energy (which is why it probably won't happen).

 

But this is the only way to fundamentally fix the system so that players who do everything and players who do the critical path are still within a few levels of each other. That or (as I said) make sidequests give little to no XP (not a preferred solution).

 

It's a mathematical reality - those are the only two solutions. If X is crit path XP and Y is sidequest XP, the only way to ensure that the level difference between "X" and "X + Y" is only a few levels is to make Y very, very small, or to make the XP requirement double each time (or triple, or multiply by 1.5 - the coefficient doesn't really matter. The important thing is the mathematical form.) The current system scales quadratically (exactly quadratically, actually), and you need the system to scale logarithmically. Again, I don't care if you double the XP requirements each time or just multiply them by 1.5 (or 1.2, or 1.8759 - it really doesn't matter). But you MUST base the requirement for the next level off of your current XP, not a linearly increasing amount.

 

Because the way the current system is, the amount of experience required for the next level is an increasingly small amount compared to your current experience. That's the fundamental problem. The amount of experience for the next level needs to be a constant percentage of your total experience at the previous level. Like I said - doesn't have to double each time, but does have to multiply by something each time (instead of adding something).

 

Maybe Obsidian will prove me wrong and fix it in such a way that sidequests still mean something and you don't overlevel to oblivion by being a completionist. But I'm not holding my breath. You can't fight math.

 

 

Sorry, but I just don't agree.  First of all, halving side quest xp and reducing bounty xp to ~1-2k xp per bounty will go a long ways on its own.  Then they just need to buff the underperforming monsters' damage/accuracy/spell selection.  It might not be as all-encompassing as your rebalance notion, but it would be a lot easier and would accomplish what most people want.  The issue as it currently exists is that there is too much optional xp in the game and too many enemies that don't live up to their level.  These issues can be fixed without wholesale redesign of the xp and leveling system in the game.

 

 

Disagree by countering my math, not with your intuition. The solution you propose could work... somewhat. It's basically equivalent to making sidequest XP negligible in comparison to the main quest. In PoE, that means making the total available sidequest XP roughly on the order of 20000 or so. Assuming critical path has 45000 (getting you to level 9), this would mean that sidequest XP comprises ~30% of the XP in the game. Fair enough.

 

But what about the sequel? What about when we're talking about the difference between level 24 for a crit path player (300000 XP, let's just assume that's the crit path max in PoE 2) and level... hmm, that'd be level 28 for a completionist at 406000 XP (if we want to preserve the "sidequest XP is roughly 30% of total XP" rule). So now we're talking about a difference of 4 levels. And the game becomes trivially easy for the completionist. Do you see the problem? I said it before and I'll say it again:

 

"If X is crit path XP and Y is sidequest XP, the only way to ensure that the level difference between "X" and "X + Y" is only a few levels is to make Y very, very small, or to make the XP requirement double each time (or triple, or multiply by 1.5 - the coefficient doesn't really matter."

 

The problem is not with the XP tuning. The tuning isn't great right now, granted - but even if its fixed the fundamental problem remains. The mathematical form of the "XP to next level" function does not support sidequest XP that is any constant percentage of crit path XP, because the percentage of total XP needed to level up decreases dramatically as you get higher in levels. Compare 2 -> 3 (3000 -> 6000, a 100% increase) to 11 -> 12 (66000 -> 78000, an 18% increase). And it doesn't get better. What about 24 -> 25 (300000 -> 325000, an 8% increase)? The functional form of the "XP to next level" function simply does not support sidequest XP being any constant percentage of crit path XP. I don't know how to put it any more clearly than that.

 

If they want the game to remain fun for both completionists and non-completionists, and they want sidequests to not award pitifully small amounts of XP in the sequel, the leveling curve has to change. Again - I don't know how to put it any clearer, it's a mathematical fact. They can put band-aids on it for now, but the system is flawed and will give them buckets of trouble later in the series.

Edited by Matt516

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Huh, I found that fight rather easy.

Oh, the enemy AoEs were destroying me.  I was also rushing in to try and save the others in the building where possible, which I expect didn't help much.

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So there's been much discussion of the difficulty of PoE (or lack thereof), and a good deal of the problem seems to be related to how easy it seems to be to hit the level cap very early in the game. 

 

I agree, and I would imagine that the xp requirement per level is something player-created mods can address.

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There isn't just one way to fix it.  I think bounties are the biggest offenders.  After that side quest xp probably need a nerfs (especially the ones that basically amount to talking to people and nothing more).  Altering things so you have to have double your xp to level every time will actually make the cap unreachable based on the xp available in the game as it stands now. 

 

I never said this change wouldn't have to come with a rebalancing of the XP in the game - of course it would. This would be a very comprehensive change, and it would take a lot of time and energy (which is why it probably won't happen).

 

But this is the only way to fundamentally fix the system so that players who do everything and players who do the critical path are still within a few levels of each other. That or (as I said) make sidequests give little to no XP (not a preferred solution).

 

It's a mathematical reality - those are the only two solutions. If X is crit path XP and Y is sidequest XP, the only way to ensure that the level difference between "X" and "X + Y" is only a few levels is to make Y very, very small, or to make the XP requirement double each time (or triple, or multiply by 1.5 - the coefficient doesn't really matter. The important thing is the mathematical form.) The current system scales quadratically (exactly quadratically, actually), and you need the system to scale logarithmically. Again, I don't care if you double the XP requirements each time or just multiply them by 1.5 (or 1.2, or 1.8759 - it really doesn't matter). But you MUST base the requirement for the next level off of your current XP, not a linearly increasing amount.

 

Because the way the current system is, the amount of experience required for the next level is an increasingly small amount compared to your current experience. That's the fundamental problem. The amount of experience for the next level needs to be a constant percentage of your total experience at the previous level. Like I said - doesn't have to double each time, but does have to multiply by something each time (instead of adding something).

 

Maybe Obsidian will prove me wrong and fix it in such a way that sidequests still mean something and you don't overlevel to oblivion by being a completionist. But I'm not holding my breath. You can't fight math.

 

 

Sorry, but I just don't agree.  First of all, halving side quest xp and reducing bounty xp to ~1-2k xp per bounty will go a long ways on its own.  Then they just need to buff the underperforming monsters' damage/accuracy/spell selection.  It might not be as all-encompassing as your rebalance notion, but it would be a lot easier and would accomplish what most people want.  The issue as it currently exists is that there is too much optional xp in the game and too many enemies that don't live up to their level.  These issues can be fixed without wholesale redesign of the xp and leveling system in the game.

 

 

Disagree by countering my math, not with your intuition. The solution you propose could work... somewhat. It's basically equivalent to making sidequest XP negligible in comparison to the main quest. In PoE, that means making the total available sidequest XP roughly on the order of 20000 or so. Assuming critical path has 45000 (getting you to level 9), this would mean that sidequest XP comprises ~30% of the XP in the game. Fair enough.

 

But what about the sequel? What about when we're talking about the difference between level 24 for a crit path player (300000 XP, let's just assume that's the crit path max in PoE 2) and level... hmm, that'd be level 28 for a completionist at 406000 XP (if we want to preserve the "sidequest XP is roughly 30% of total XP" rule). So now we're talking about a difference of 4 levels. And the game becomes trivially easy for the completionist. Do you see the problem? I said it before and I'll say it again:

 

"If X is crit path XP and Y is sidequest XP, the only way to ensure that the level difference between "X" and "X + Y" is only a few levels is to make Y very, very small, or to make the XP requirement double each time (or triple, or multiply by 1.5 - the coefficient doesn't really matter."

 

The problem is not with the XP tuning. The tuning isn't great right now, granted - but even if its fixed the fundamental problem remains. The mathematical form of the "XP to next level" function does not support sidequest XP that is any constant percentage of crit path XP, because the percentage of total XP needed to level up decreases dramatically as you get higher in levels. Compare 2 -> 3 (3000 -> 6000, a 100% increase) to 11 -> 12 (66000 -> 78000, an 18% increase). And it doesn't get better. What about 24 -> 25 (300000 -> 325000, an 8% increase)? The functional form of the "XP to next level" function simply does not support sidequest XP being any constant percentage of crit path XP. I don't know how to put it any more clearly than that.

 

If they want the game to remain fun for both completionists and non-completionists, and they want sidequests to not award pitifully small amounts of XP in the sequel, the leveling curve has to change. Again - I don't know how to put it any clearer, it's a mathematical fact. They can put band-aids on it for now, but the system is flawed and will give them buckets of trouble later in the series.

 

 

I didn't say make side quest xp negligible.  50% of what it currently is would still be significant xp overall.  The difference is that you would actually need to do most of the stuff in the game to reach the cap.  Presently my guess is that you only need to do roughly half the side content to hit the cap, though I'm not certain of the numbers.  Since reaching the cap is not necessary to beat the game it just shouldn't be this easy.  And projecting issues into the future with the sequel just seems silly to me.  Hell they can redesign the whole leveling system and simply convert characters to that system when you import them if they want.  The point is that they can't realistically redesign this element of the game after release, but they can adjust what is actually there to solve the issues that exist to an acceptable if not totally ideal level.

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For me, having a overpowered Party happened at a certain point in the game, probably somewhere in the middle of act 2. I found (or bought, because I got rich suddenly) one magical item (armor and weapons) after another and my party started to level up really fast. I don't know which quests I did exactly, but I think quest xp and loot should be looked into as well. I still remember that I did all of the first bounty hunts and the endless paths until level 10. 

I don't think it would be right solution to only adjust the xp curves, also maybe to extreme (doubling it). Luckmann's idea of an exponential growth of 3-5% per level sounds good imo.

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I get what you are saying, and I had the same mentality earlier on, but as I've progressed I've realized you can hit the cap while leaving huge amounts of stuff untouched.  And considering you don't need to reach the cap to beat the game (not even close), it seems rather clear that optional content is giving too much xp.  Bounties in particular are just absurd at the moment.

 

Fair enough.  I haven't done any of the bounties, so they haven't influenced my viewpoint yet.

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For me, having a overpowered Party happened at a certain point in the game, probably somewhere in the middle of act 2. I found (or bought, because I got rich suddenly) one magical item (armor and weapons) after another and my party started to level up really fast. I don't know which quests I did exactly, but I think quest xp and loot should be looked into as well. I still remember that I did all of the first bounty hunts and the endless paths until level 10. 

I don't think it would be right solution to only adjust the xp curves, also maybe to extreme (doubling it). Luckmann's idea of an exponential growth of 3-5% per level sounds good imo.

 

The game economy is definitely a huge mess, especially late in the game.  I'm surprised that more people aren't talking about that.  It is so easy to basically buy every magic item and every high price gem in the game by the end.  I blame the stash, which I have disliked design-wise from the very beginning. 

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