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Matt516

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

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I'm a bit more conflicted on XP now.  On the one hand, the easiest way to fix a power differential would be lowering sidequest xp.  On the other, there's more and in some cases more interesting content based on sidequests.  A lot of times characters who do sidequests have accomplished a lot more, and that should be noted by somewhat significant in game progress.

 

XP just needs to match the challenge better. Around mid level, quest XP rewards plateau and so instead of the player being pushed to continue going after the appropriate levelled challenges, instead the player is pushed to go after the easiest challenges available. So after level 5 or so you'll be overlevelled for basically every fight, just doing a normal non-completionist run.

 

This could be easily solved by, oh idk, implementing a system where killing monsters rewards XP based on their difficulty. You could call it "Kill XP System". It's so simple and effective, I can't believe nobody thought of it yet!

 

You get a lot of xp from killing monsters already.   There's at least 32 categories of creatures, and (I think) 82 creatures within those categories.  Most of those creatures give at least 120 xp for filling out the entry.  That's at least 10,000 xp for killing things, which is enough to get you through the first five levels.  In reality it's probably more.

 

People act like kill xp is complete gone, when it's still relatively lucrative.

Edited by anameforobsidian
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I'm a bit more conflicted on XP now.  On the one hand, the easiest way to fix a power differential would be lowering sidequest xp.  On the other, there's more and in some cases more interesting content based on sidequests.  A lot of times characters who do sidequests have accomplished a lot more, and that should be noted by somewhat significant in game progress.

 

I firmly believe what they need to start with is bounties and other Caed Nua xp rewards.  If they cut those by 70-80% they address a huge part of the problem rather easily.

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Has anyone tried to do a completionist playthrough (complete all quests as soon as available) without using the stronghold at all? It would be interesting to see whether that still lands you at level 11-12 before Act 3.

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Has anyone tried to do a completionist playthrough (complete all quests as soon as available) without using the stronghold at all? It would be interesting to see whether that still lands you at level 11-12 before Act 3.

It's pretty doubtful that you can hit level 12 before Act 3 without the bounties/Endless.  I did literally every possible quest that I could find prior to finishing Act 2, and that included every bounty and level ten of Endless and I just hit 12 after doing one of the first available bounties in Act 3.  On my current playthrough, I'm about 20% through Act 3 and I just hit level 10 using the +50% XP requirement option with IE mod.  Actually seems almost right.  Not quite, but almost.

Edited by Sanctuary

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Has anyone tried to do a completionist playthrough (complete all quests as soon as available) without using the stronghold at all? It would be interesting to see whether that still lands you at level 11-12 before Act 3.

It's pretty doubtful that you can hit level 12 before Act 3 without the bounties/Endless.  I did literally every possible quest that I could find prior to finishing Act 2, and that included every bounty and level ten of Endless and I just hit 12 after doing one of the first available bounties in Act 3.  On my current playthrough, I'm about 20% through Act 3 and I just hit level 10 using the +50% XP requirement option with IE mod.  Actually seems almost right.  Not quite, but almost.

 

 

Yeah, I'm planning on using the +50% requirement for either my second playthrough or just the rest of my current playthrough if XP doesn't get rebalanced in 1.05.

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Has anyone tried to do a completionist playthrough (complete all quests as soon as available) without using the stronghold at all? It would be interesting to see whether that still lands you at level 11-12 before Act 3.

It's pretty doubtful that you can hit level 12 before Act 3 without the bounties/Endless.  I did literally every possible quest that I could find prior to finishing Act 2, and that included every bounty and level ten of Endless and I just hit 12 after doing one of the first available bounties in Act 3.  On my current playthrough, I'm about 20% through Act 3 and I just hit level 10 using the +50% XP requirement option with IE mod.  Actually seems almost right.  Not quite, but almost.

 

 

I did all sidequests sans one, all bounties and Endless Paths down to level 14, and I was a few thousand XP short of level 12 before Act 3. I would have hit level 12 if the RNG had given me more stronghold adventures by that point.

 

I felt that the sweet spot on Hard for level 9-15 of endless paths was a level 10 party of 6 characters, and most of the "trash" fights in Act 3 would probably be more interesting at level 8-9. Even the Sky Dragon is not balanced for a level 12 party - I almost made a beeline for the Sky Temple as soon as I heard there was a dragon there (since I wanted his eyes for Superb enchants), and it felt like Eder could have solo'd the beast when I got there.

 

Assuming Obsidian does not do any major balance changes from this point, I think my next playthrough will be a 4 character party on Hard with 50% XP gain. Hopefully this can make the intense experience I had with the average level 1-5 encounter last at least halfway into Act 2.

Edited by Concordance

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I did nearly everything except the bounties, the Endless Paths, and a few quests that would've been out of character, and I went into the final fight about halfway to level 11.  So not completionist-minus-those-two-things, but pretty close.  You could perhaps reach 11 without them.

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Has anyone tried to do a completionist playthrough (complete all quests as soon as available) without using the stronghold at all? It would be interesting to see whether that still lands you at level 11-12 before Act 3.

It's pretty doubtful that you can hit level 12 before Act 3 without the bounties/Endless.  I did literally every possible quest that I could find prior to finishing Act 2, and that included every bounty and level ten of Endless and I just hit 12 after doing one of the first available bounties in Act 3.  On my current playthrough, I'm about 20% through Act 3 and I just hit level 10 using the +50% XP requirement option with IE mod.  Actually seems almost right.  Not quite, but almost.

 

 

I did all sidequests sans one, all bounties and Endless Paths down to level 14, and I was a few thousand XP short of level 12 before Act 3. I would have hit level 12 if the RNG had given me more stronghold adventures by that point.

 

I felt that the sweet spot on Hard for level 9-15 of endless paths was a level 10 party of 6 characters, and most of the "trash" fights in Act 3 would probably be more interesting at level 8-9. Even the Sky Dragon is not balanced for a level 12 party - I almost made a beeline for the Sky Temple as soon as I heard there was a dragon there (since I wanted his eyes for Superb enchants), and it felt like Eder could have solo'd the beast when I got there.

 

Assuming Obsidian does not do any major balance changes from this point, I think my next playthrough will be a 4 character party on Hard with 50% XP gain. Hopefully this can make the intense experience I had with the average level 1-5 encounter last at least halfway into Act 2.

 

 

Something better be done by Obsidian. All this talk of handicapping yourself to create challenge sickens me.

Edited by Justinian

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On the other hand, if a greater portion of the game is extra content than the critical path, then there will always be severe imbalances in XP.  

 

Yes, but the imbalance in XP isn't what matters - only the imbalance in level matters. With the same exponential formula the BG games used, you could have three times the amount of sidequest XP as story XP and still have no more than 2 levels difference between a total completionist and a completely critical path player. Ever. The reason severe imbalances in XP translates to severe imbalances in level is the quadratic level curve. Exponential simply doesn't have that problem. It allows for severe imbalances in XP to only translate to very slight differences in power. That's why I suggested it. :p

 

You'd hand out levels based on % content completion tuned to land the players in certain level ranges at certain points of the game (if there are 10 quests and you want the player to progress 5 levels after completing all of them, then you hand out a level for every other quest).

I just completely fail to see how that wouldn't work for PoE.

 

Then you're just replacing XP with % content completion. Looks different, but is for all intents and purposes almost the same thing. With tons of sidequests with differing levels of difficulty, you'd have to weigh each one differently... and then you're basically just back to XP. Not to mention that doesn't solve issue with completionists overleveling unless you just don't give levels for sidequests at all. Which is something you can do with an XP system anyway.

 

Like I said though - it certainly could work. But as I mentioned above it doesn't really offer much beyond an XP system and still runs into a lot of the same challenges. It's also very very different from the IE games, which would piss a lot of people off. And from where I'm sitting I see no chance that it will happen - I prefer to make suggestions I think actually have a chance of being implemented, that's all.

 

 

 

Thanks so much for your XP insights Matt! There's just no refuting the logic behind your concerns with the current XP system. I hope Josh & Co. do the math and re-balance the XP distribution in the next patch. ^_^

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So, people wanted numbers, right... I've logged the bounties, didn't do the first batch, but the second, third and fourth revealed:

 

2-

11250

11034

11034

11250

 

3-

11250

11250

11250

14130

 

4-

14130

14130

14130

 

For a total of 135108 (prob +40k for the first batch)

 

Which accounts to, taking into account a 6 people party, a personal XP per party member of:

22518 (2 levels)

(approx 29184 if taking 40k for the first bunch)

 

Which is 2-3 levels... in a 12-level game. Yeah, I think it's overdoing it a bit.

 

Mixing with the XP required numbers doesn't prevent this being out of scale with the XP of most other sidequests in the game...

 

Maybe we need a full list of all XP rewards in the game, beastiary full, quest done etc.

Does that exist on the Wiki?

 

Thanks for doing the research. This is clearly the biggest problem in the current XP progression (combined with way too large trap/lockpick XP).

clearly, 29k XP in a game that only has 66k XP to cap is way too much for a single optional stronghold questline. Doing all bounties pretty much grants you almost half of the XP required to level cap.

 

I'd say if we tune down bounties a lot and remove trap/lockpick XP, the game is pretty much balanced in XP gains.

Edited by Zwiebelchen
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Since this is the more serious discussion on the topic, I'm going to repost it here:

 

Nerfing XP across the board isn't enough, imo. What's needed is to drop the murderhobo experience and the lockpicking/trap experience, and then increase the necessary experience for levels exponentially, so that higher-level requirements gets bigger than the lower-level requirements.

 

My proposal was +3% per experience level.

 

Currently it looks like this:

Level 	1 	2 	3 	4 	5 	6 	7 	8 	9 	10 	11 	12
XP 	0 	1,000 	3,000 	6,000 	10,000 	15,000 	21,000 	28,000 	36,000 	45,000 	55,000 	66,000
My suggestion would result in:

Level 	1 	2 	3 	4 	5 	6 	7 	8 	9 	10 	11 	12
XP 	0 	1,030 	3,180 	6,540	11,200 	17,250 	24,780 	33,880 	44,640 	57,150 	71,500 	87,780
And:
  • No bestiary experience.
  • No experience for lockpicking instead of using keys.
  • No experience from disarming traps instead of evading/tripping.
  • No crazy 10-50% bonus for small parties.
  • Reduce the experience awarded for bounties by ~40%.
The result would be that instead of just shy of level 11 by the end of Act 2, you should be firmly in level 9, maybe just below, assuming you did ~7 levels of Endless Paths of Odd Nua. You would likely not reach level 12 until the very end of the game at best, which is as it should be.

 

For reference, currently, assuming that you do ~7 levels of Endless Paths, you end up with almost exactly 50 000 experience by the end of Act 2. Or, in other terms, halfway between level 10 and 11. My suggested changes should bump this down to approx. ~40 000 instead - so in the vicinity of "firmly level 8/just about level 9".

 

Which should actually result in a much better pacing overall.

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Just chiming in to say that I agree with Matt and Luckmann overall. I'm not a fan of trap XP, bestiary XP, and exploration XP (the latter being as immaterial as it is dumb.)

 

In my first play through I reached level 12 before I got to Twin Elms. I upped difficulty to Hard and I can still get away with auto-attack in most encounters.

 

Don't get me wrong--I'm all for reaching the cap a bitesrlier than the final fight (sorry Luckmann; we'll have to disagree on this one). One thing I've always hated in other games is that by the time my character is at their full potential, the game is over and I had no time to enjoy it.

 

BUT... If I reach max level before the end, subsequent content should be balanced for it. I don't want to brainlessly auto-attack everything for I'm so much more powerful.

 

With that in mind, and fundamentally agreeing with an exponential XP curve progression, I wouldn't mind for crit path to scale with level (but optional content should not.)

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"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke

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Exp is fine , 12 Level Should never be end game goal , what is the point of your character builds then if you finish them at the very end of the game . Id rather leave exp as it is and see combat encounters rebalalanced heavily : Trash replaced with less but tougher mobs , AI Improvements etc.etc. Make last third of the game to require level 10+  on POTD because of how challenging it is and overleveling wont be a problem anymore . Also this would fix 2 problems at once . 

Edited by Exoduss

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I'm a bit more conflicted on XP now.  On the one hand, the easiest way to fix a power differential would be lowering sidequest xp.  On the other, there's more and in some cases more interesting content based on sidequests.  A lot of times characters who do sidequests have accomplished a lot more, and that should be noted by somewhat significant in game progress.

 

XP just needs to match the challenge better. Around mid level, quest XP rewards plateau and so instead of the player being pushed to continue going after the appropriate levelled challenges, instead the player is pushed to go after the easiest challenges available. So after level 5 or so you'll be overlevelled for basically every fight, just doing a normal non-completionist run.

 

This could be easily solved by, oh idk, implementing a system where killing monsters rewards XP based on their difficulty. You could call it "Kill XP System". It's so simple and effective, I can't believe nobody thought of it yet!

 

You get a lot of xp from killing monsters already.   There's at least 32 categories of creatures, and (I think) 82 creatures within those categories.  Most of those creatures give at least 120 xp for filling out the entry.  That's at least 10,000 xp for killing things, which is enough to get you through the first five levels.  In reality it's probably more.

 

People act like kill xp is complete gone, when it's still relatively lucrative.

rolleyes.gif Please.  You're saying that if you kill every enemy in the entire game, that after ~50 hours you will have been rewarded cumulatively for the Bestiary with a little less XP than you get for one single bounty (~5 minutes of playing, can be completed easily starting around level 6). There is no way you can call that "lucrative" with a straight face.

 

The Bestiary is great. Bestiary XP is dumb.

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My party was 11-12 when I reached Act 4. I did all quests I was aware of (including Old Nua), except the bounties, and only did Palegina's and Aloth's companion quests. So I'm not sure the XP curve is so broken. When I realized it was a point of no return though, I went back and did the bounties, and yes, they brought me to 12 very quickly. So maybe only the bounties are too opulent.

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The Bestiary is great. Bestiary XP is dumb.

Agreed. They should just take it out completely. No need for murderhobo XP at all.


"Wizards do not need to be The Dudes Who Can AoE Nuke You and Gish and Take as Many Hits as a Fighter and Make all Skills Irrelevant Because Magic."

-Josh Sawyer

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Leveling didn't seem too big of an issue to me, but that's because I filled up all my companion slots ASAP so my guy wasn't getting 2000xp per quest alone at the beginning of the game. Hell, I was only level 11 by the time I killed the Adra Dragon. (I had not completed the story yet). Personally I don't think levels are that big of a deal except only to unlock some cool abilities that are locked via level restraints. I think levels should matter more.

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The Bestiary is great. Bestiary XP is dumb.

This. The reward for filling out the bestiary is that the bestiary is filled out. It's a flavourful asset that serves a purpose in itself. The experience is contrived and counter-intuitive to the idea of goal-oriented experience.

 

I've said it before and I say it again - I do not think Obsidian ever understood the discussion on Murderhobo-Based Experience vs. Goal-Oriented Experience.

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The Bestiary is great. Bestiary XP is dumb.

This. The reward for filling out the bestiary is that the bestiary is filled out. It's a flavourful asset that serves a purpose in itself. The experience is contrived and counter-intuitive to the idea of goal-oriented experience.

 

I've said it before and I say it again - I do not think Obsidian ever understood the discussion on Murderhobo-Based Experience vs. Goal-Oriented Experience.

Well, they put lock/trap XP in...

 

So...... Yeah. I'd say you're right. Either that or they just compromised on the original principles behind their XP system.

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'sides, in this game disarming traps already grants a reward that is often overlooked: You get the trap itself, which you may reuse against the enemy. And traps in PoE are pretty darn deadly. Do we really need to also be gaining XP on top of it?

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"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke

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Honestly, we are awarded for every action taken already:

 

  1. Exploration - the joy of finding a new area
  2. Combat - the joy (bear with me) of combat and filling beastiary lore.
  3. Traps - proceeding safely AND gaining a trap.

 

There's literally zero reason for this other than trying to appeal to everybody, which is a mistake IMO. Niche titles and decisions are fine, look at the BG/IWD series and PS:T.

 

Regarding the IE mod with xp requirement increase, it feels a lot better now. Outside of the ****ty AI, battles are proving to be more interesting in Act 2 and I may actually need to do side content to get my characters to "god" status.

Edited by View619

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Playing with 25% increased XP requirements for level up, 3 characters, and I reached level 12 only after doing 8 bounties, half of Act 3 quests and half of the Endless Paths on a fairly completionist playthrough. That's pretty great for me.

 

Of course, you couldn't make this the default - then everybody not doing bounties or skipping some quests would get stuck at level 9 or something. The wailing and gnashing of teeth will be ten times as loud as now. 

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Playing with 25% increased XP requirements for level up, 3 characters, and I reached level 12 only after doing 8 bounties, half of Act 3 quests and half of the Endless Paths on a fairly completionist playthrough. That's pretty great for me.

 

Of course, you couldn't make this the default - then everybody not doing bounties or skipping some quests would get stuck at level 9 or something. The wailing and gnashing of teeth will be ten times as loud as now. 

 

I thought the original idea was that you should be around level 9/10 if you do nothing but the critical path, max level if you go hard on the side content. Isn't this why a lot of end game content is balanced around level 10 parties?

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Playing with 25% increased XP requirements for level up, 3 characters, and I reached level 12 only after doing 8 bounties, half of Act 3 quests and half of the Endless Paths on a fairly completionist playthrough. That's pretty great for me.

 

Of course, you couldn't make this the default - then everybody not doing bounties or skipping some quests would get stuck at level 9 or something. The wailing and gnashing of teeth will be ten times as loud as now. 

 

I think bounties will be tuned down in the 1.05 balance patch. I'm pretty sure the devs (even while not responding to it) have read these threads and will react according to it. I'm not sure if trap or beastiary XP will be tuned down, but I'm pretty sure they are aware of the ridicolous bounty XP.

 

Bounties are already plenty rewarding in that they provide the only significant challenges in the game (especially on PotD ... holy **** some of those bounties are difficult as ****!) and often feature some unique item drops. I don't see why we need that much XP for that.

Edited by Zwiebelchen

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Playing with 25% increased XP requirements for level up, 3 characters, and I reached level 12 only after doing 8 bounties, half of Act 3 quests and half of the Endless Paths on a fairly completionist playthrough. That's pretty great for me.

 

Of course, you couldn't make this the default - then everybody not doing bounties or skipping some quests would get stuck at level 9 or something. The wailing and gnashing of teeth will be ten times as loud as now. 

 

I think we can and should make it the default. Well, not a blanket 25% increase, of course, but the buffing of experience tables and such as I proposed.

 

Ending the game at level 9 or 10 is entirely possible. You don't *have* to max out hours upon hours before the endgame, or even at all. I think that if you want to reach the level cap, you should have to work for it, and do most of the content in the game. The cap is supposed to be a high-end cap in terms of overall gameplay, I think - any cap like that should be.

 

You're not forced to reach the cap, and you're not forced to be at maximum level when the game ends. I think changing it would improve pacing tremendously, *especially* for those that aren't utter completionists.


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