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What leveling or class system do you like most?


Which leveling system do you like  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. Which leveling system do you like?

    • no choice
      2
    • fixed classes
      3
    • class swapping
      0
    • multi class
      4
    • classless, level based
      3
    • classless, experience based
      12
    • classless, skill based
      6
    • something else
      1


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After playing PoE and Tyranny (and tons of other RPGs) I thought about what is the best leveling system.

This is not about what obsidian should use in their next game ( I assume PoE2 will have a similar system as PoE).

I just want to know what other people think about it and why do they like or dislike this and that.

 

I will descibe what I think:

- No choice: Each char has a fixed role and most stats and talents increase automatically as you gain exp. This system is used in many JRPG, like Final Fantasy 9 or Legend of Heroes: Trails in the sky. I think it is good if you want to focus on the relationship between characters in an epic story, but it is not good for a classic RPG.

- fixed classes: You select one of many classes at character creation and you cannot change the class later. PoE has the best system of this type, at least from the games I know. The advantage is, that each class feels unique somehow, each class is good in something else but all of them feel useful (at least if done right, like PoE. There are tons of bad examples). But some players might think that they are limited too much.

- class swapping: You have only one class at each time, but you can change between classes, like FF3,5,X-2 and TNO in PST.

- Multi class: Your char can learn things from many classes as he levels up. The best example is NWN2. The advantage is that you can create any char you can imagine (some are more useful than others, of course). But some players might feel overwhelmed with the huge amount of optins and requirements they have for each class and skill.

- classless, level based: There are no classes, each level you can select some stats or skills to improve. The Divinity games and arcanum are good examples for such games.

- classles, experience based: There are no classes and there are no levels or levels have only minor importance. You get exp and you can spend these exp to improve whatever stat or skill you like. Good examples are Shadowrun: Dragonfall or Drakensang.

- classles, skill based: You increase your skills by using them. Examples are The Elder Scrolls or Tyranny. The good side is that "learning by doing" seems to make sense role playing wise. Unfortuanatly I have never seen a game of this type that was well balanced and the system was not easy to exploit.

- something else

 

From all these system, I think I like the ones from Shadowrun or Drakensang most. You are not limited in your choice but you must focus on something if you want to be good.

 

I will try to add a poll. This is the first poll I make, so I hope it works.

 

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I find class systems to be the ones that change the most over the course of a game, granting new abilities and ways to play as you level. Skill based too often just tend to ramp up damage, accuracy, or the like. I'm not taking that as a rule, but it's the impression I've gotten.

 

But at the end of the day, it depends on the nature of the game. Lots of abilities from classes works mainly for games that are either turn based or at least have tactical pausing. Less so in a real time affair.

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Classless, skill based.  The system has drawbacks, especially when implemented without giving too much thought to people abusing the system (e.g. hopping around the land like a rabbit to level athletics), that said, it still feels the most natural of all the choices.

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Classless experience based. Assuming I can lump games like the Fallouts into that category?

 

Not being much of a "power gamer" in general, I love creating outlandish, outrageous characters. A bit hit or miss if they perform well in a game, but more fun for me to play none the less.

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I liked the leveling system in Wasteland (1988).. A lot of skills to choose from, no classes. You used a skill and it got better. That simple.

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Classless, skill based with perks/feats/whatever. Too often classes are somewhat basic and as a result we get lots of fighter subtypes before you factor in multiclassing, kits, or PrCs. It's not perfect and probably not as many cool unique abilities as a well-designed class system, but it's more flexible and allows me to build a character or party that's more interesting.

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Any of multi-class, classless level-based or classless experience-based. The common thread is that these systems go hand in hand with the idea of a dynamic *character* instead of a fixed-function machine, but the rate of power gain can easily be regulated by the "game master" as to eliminate any perverse incentive to grind.

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I don't have much of a preference, really, as at the end of the day, it depends on how any single game implements its character progression. From experience I'd say class-based systems work better for party-based RPGs to differentiate characters (you then don't have to cheat like Tyranny with companion-specific trees :-P) and classless for character or action-based games. The two games with the best character progression that I've seen in recent memory was Pillars of Eternity for combining classes with great flexibility and Dying Light, yes not much of an RPG, where each and every skill you picked felt like a significant addition as opposed to a lame percetual bonus.

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Classless is always my preference. The only class-based systems I've enjoyed were Shadowbane and Star Wars Galaxies--the former because there was such a huge selection of classes to choose from and so many different combinations to toy around with, and the latter because of the ability to mix and match skills from different classes so I could make a commando medic with a few smuggler tricks.

Edited by eimatshya
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Skill based. Well actually I really like skill proficiency based system, so what the players got depends on what they've done, as for classes, I much like what have done in Heroes of M&M 4 's heroes development system, so it is the skills decided the classes, not skills based on classes, so you became a class because you choose the actual skill path. Further more the Divinity OS also made another sample that the class only mean initial skill set, late on in game it's up to you.

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I still prefer the HERO/Champions system, where your skills and abilities are point-based according to their relative power, rather than upon the experience needed to acquire them. That approach makes much more sense from a game balancing perspective.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am back from vacation.

 

So it looks like the skill based system won.

I am surprized. I never played a game with a good skill based system.

- Tyranny is much too easy after act1

- Morrowind and Oblivion encourages you to jump and run all the time, repair everything after each fight and select your main skills very strangely.

- Skyrim was an improvement, but you became totally overpowered anyway.

- Betrayal at Kronor became boring fast. I picked the same lock 100times to max my skill and repaired everything I found.

- Final Fantasy 2 has the worst leveling system I have ever known.

 

Every skill based system I know lets you become overpowered if you repeat the same things again and again. Sometimes you have repeat most bizarre or unintuitive things to become strong, if you play normally you become weaker (Like choosing the most unimportent skills as main skills so you have a low level while having high combat skills).

 

Does anybody know a good game with a skill based system that is not broken?

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Wizardry 8.  Yes, you can break it if you want (well, not every skill, but some of them), but you don't need to to be powerful.  It's certainly less broken that Wizardry 6 and 7 were, even if I still love those games.

 

Granted, your mileage may vary, but it's one of my favorite games, and would be a starting point for any system I would design (I'd go classless, but other than that there's a lot of things I'd take from it.)

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Can my answer be "all of them as long as I don't get the same one over and over"?

It seems like that is your answer. You had the power all along.

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"I am the expert, asshat." - Hurlshot

"I'm fine with humanity being wiped out" - majestic

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I'm down for classless with perks/etc. I love classes but main reason is usually u can create ur own "class" from such games that u can make up.

 

My 2 favs would be the fallout and TES if we talking about video games. Lots of good combinations in fonv and morrowind

Edited by redneckdevil
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Mostly because I play it a lot on P&P, but the classless experienced based system of White Wolf (Vampires: The Masquerade, for instance) has my preference.

I know it has some balance issues, but it gives as the same time more freedom than class based systems and more control (from DM or dev perspective) of power (less cheasing or unbalance because of a poor tactic of development that could easily ruin your game).

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  • 2 weeks later...

It depends how much game is around main character, and how much about party play.

Tyranny system (skill based) is generally good since it allows to make main character my way, no matter how crazy idea is. The main flaw of Tyranny is that total number of skills and trees was low, so you cant really mix much if you have 4 weapon style and 1 magic 1 support

 

If it is more about making a party more fixed classes are ok, since then we play specific characters NPC and we cant expect from Mage to suddenly switch to 2h barbarian style.

 

Shadowrun games did it ok, since we have alot of freedom for main character (experience skill system) but for companions we have simple trees where we need to stick to the theme of each companion but can pick details. Tyranny did similar, since each companion have 2 (or 3) paths to pick from, but it still same character not another perfect build.

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