REPLACING LEVELING WITH DIFFERENT PROGRESSION IN ESTABLISHED GAMES

Posts

Pages: first 12345 next last
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14360
I don't like leveling that much. It's okay but I don't like how you need to get all mathy like Suikoden to get people to the correct power level instead of over or under -- that just reeks of a poor system to me. It also bothers me when everybody has a level counter for themselves when your entire party is static, like in FF1.

BUT INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING, LET'S REPLACE!!

Hellion
Gain a party level every time you reach a new floor of the dungeon. Completing certain sub-objectives (kill 10 of a certain enemy type, open 15 chests) grants 1/4 of a party level.

Tales of the Abyss
The entire party levels up after fighting each boss. Unlocking Artes via usage is still intact, even if you can't start unlocking some until you hit a specified level. Capacity cores now grow based on how many battles they are used within, usually having max stats after 30-40 battles. Boss battles count as 20 battles for capacity core growth, allowing for risk/reward when entering a boss fight with less than the highest stats possible on a core. Also, certain one-off enemies hidden in dungeons are worth 5 battles.

Shadow Hearts: Covenant
You get stats as well when unlocking a character's unique skills. For Karen, due to her limited skillset, she gets stats from finding the Ring of Judgement hidden in each dungeon. So, dresses grow stats for Geppetto, dog fighting for Bianca, etc.

Final Fantasy I
Since the game is all about exploration, your bestiary works as progression. Killing an enemy for the first time provides basic info, and after four total kills you unlock all info on the enemy and maximum stats gained by your party. Rare enemies (one-offs and bosses) provide anywhere from 2-5 enemies' worth of power. Lighting a crystal and class changing all provide 10 enemies' worth of power.

Final Fantasy II
Normal leveling for the love of sakaguchi
unity
You're magical to me.
12403
This is a cool topic idea! I generally like the standard leveling system, but I fully admit that it's highly nostalgia-influenced, and coming up with alternatives is always fun. I also really like the idea of different characters leveling by different methods like your Shadow Hearts example.

My biggest obstacle is that I always want players to feel like they're properly rewarded once finishing a battle. Dropping gold and items can certainly help with this, but I'd like to tie character progression to it somehow, even if it's not by the normal leveling method. That makes the FFI example you made a bit more desirable to me.
Sunflower Games
The most beautiful user on RMN!
13284

The Elder Scrolls has a unique system.

Using something gains you points for that discipline.
(I use a sword and gain points towards becoming a better sword user.)

In addition when you level up you spend points on STR / AGI.
Depending on your disciplines you will have more allotted points towards an attribute.

ie. spend 1 on LUK or 5 on END.

In Morrowind this this system is completely abuse-able due to all the money you can get and training you can do. And you can choose when you level up. That way you can make your multipliers for attributes really high. Later Elder Scrolls games made it harder to do, but there's still some room for abuse if you know what your doing.

Morrowind (Easy leveling = speech craft)

Oblivion (Easy leveling = conjugation)


Did you mistake Hellion and Generica for one another?
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4011
"Whenever you defeat a boss, you can choose to increase stats or gain a skill (passive or active)."

This gives you the chance to choose between versatility and new abilities, or, if you're comfortable with a character's current party role, you can just increase their raw power. Of course, you'd have to balance carefully to make sure both are valid choices. I liked this part of D&D 5E, where you can choose between feats or stat points. This would work really well for a single-player RPG like Dark Souls, but could also work for a JRPG (you could choose Stats or Skill for each character).

Rewarding characters only after a boss makes the boss a more exciting target but also removes the incentive to fight smaller enemies - which could be a good thing! This could work for games without random battles where the smaller enemies (possibly unique encounters) don't grant EXP but act as training grounds for boss battles. Plus, you always get to spend the next dungeon playing with the skills you earned from the previous dungeon's boss, which makes smaller battles more fun!

TES IV: Oblivion

Level up upon clearing an Oblivion Gate or obtaining a Daedric Artifact (or keeping Umbra). Always gain 5 points in non-luck stats. Retroactive CON.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon

Gain XP upon clearing a dungeon, which is a set amount. Raise it for lower level Pokémon. Also, massive cutdown on EXP needed past Level 30.

While not a new mechanic, I really want Pokémon to have an Exp. Off item that nulls all Exp gain. I don't want my Aron strat to be ruined by leveling in the middle of the battle.
A bonus of getting a level as you complete the storyline objectives of Ultima 5 would be fucking fantastic, or even just quest EXP. The exp curve in that game is exponential (100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400) and you lose EXP proportional to your level when you die and enemy EXP scaling is garbage. Completed the shrines quest? +1 level and you get the word of power to open the final dungeon! Get the Crown, Scepter, or Amulet? Another +1 level (caveat that the Scepter only gives one level since you can lose and reclaim it)! Defeat all three Shadowlords? +1 level! You have to do all these things anyways to beat the game and being able to cast In Vas Grap Corp / Greater Death Energy Cone without grinding for forever with U5's super slow combat would be fucking fantastic.


Not that it's needed but being able to nuke that room in Doom where there's a pile of mongbats and demons on one side, a forcefield you need to dispel, and your side that fills up with lava on the second turn would be nice.


e: really I just want to play U5 with some of the modern niceties that have since been developed since I was born while still having the classic feel of the 2d and artstyle and parts of how you interact with the game.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14360
Sated
Did you mistake Hellion and Generica for one another?


Yes, I did. Thanks.

unity
This is a cool topic idea! I generally like the standard leveling system, but I fully admit that it's highly nostalgia-influenced, and coming up with alternatives is always fun. I also really like the idea of different characters leveling by different methods like your Shadow Hearts example.


SH:Covenant was easy because everybody already learns their skills differently in that game. It's something that Kinetic Cipher (Again) emulated, too. (KC(A)should be mandatory playing for all aspiring RM* users.)

unity
My biggest obstacle is that I always want players to feel like they're properly rewarded once finishing a battle. Dropping gold and items can certainly help with this, but I'd like to tie character progression to it somehow, even if it's not by the normal leveling method. That makes the FFI example you made a bit more desirable to me.


You could easily use the bestiary method to push people along, too. If there's nothing left to scout out in this area, then it's fairly clear that it's time to go! Just gotta balance that with chest placement and such.

kory: That's still "fight battles to get endlessly powerful and overload your enemies." It's just different, not necessarily a fix to my underlying problems. See also: FF2.

LightningLord2: I like that Oblivion idea a lot!

GRS: I haven't played an Ultima game but I like the general idea, as far as I understand at least.
unity
You're magical to me.
12403
author=Craze
You could easily use the bestiary method to push people along, too. If there's nothing left to scout out in this area, then it's fairly clear that it's time to go! Just gotta balance that with chest placement and such.


Can the player check their bestiary to see if they've fought all the enemies in a given area?

What if you combined some of these methods with the standard leveling method, but made the experience dropped by enemies very sparse? You could have unique stat progression systems but still have the old leveling as well. Or is that adding unnecessary complication to the game?
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14360
One of the most important things to remember is that there are usually multiple things to lever towards power. EXP, Gold, AP, stat-up potions, etc... they're all power currency. The beautiful thing about Gold (in most games) is that there's only SO POWERFUL that you can get. There's a cap. And, most importantly: it's power growth, just like traditional levels. There are games where that's not quite the case, like where equips provide unique effects and levels just provide stats, whatever... but yeah. I think that you can do whatever you want, just remember that there's more than just EXP for power.
author=Craze
GRS: I haven't played an Ultima game but I like the general idea, as far as I understand at least.

I'm not capable of meaningful contribution so I'll regurgitate how U5 plays so my post hopefully makes more sense in context. Big post hidden in hide tags of what you have to do to beat Ultima 5. Read at your own peril!


Ultima 5 is an open world RPG, like a predecessor to the Elder Scroll games. As mentioned above it has an exponential exp curve and a max level of 8. When you level up you get +30 max HP, some random stat gains (if any), and a new level of magic. In U5 you start in a hut with two of your old buddies from the previous game with a plot hook (the previous and rightful king Lord British disappeared in an excursion to a newly formed underworld! The regent in place turned up the dick levels and also three evil specters called Shadowlords are out to ruin you. Please find and rescue Lord British) but few clues on how to proceed. The player has to explore the land and talk to NPCs and get other hints to find out to find out what they need to do. The gist of it is the Shadowlords trapped Lord British in a dungeon in the underworld called DOOM and you need to rescue him but doing so also has a lot of extra steps:

#################

1) Reaching Doom! Unlike the overworld the underworld is full of areas sectioned off from each other. To access most of these sections you need to enter one of the seven dungeons on the overworld (requires a word of power to open, gotten from NPCs) and reach the 8th floor of the dungeon. There's two hidden entrances but they don't take you to Doom anyways. Once you find the fight section, have the tools to get around a mountain, and a means to fly you can reach the area where Doom is! Except it is pitch black and you can't see anything in it. You have to find Lord British's amulet to reach Doom from here. Once you reach Doom's tile it becomes visible if you have the amulet but if you don't you can't even stop on its tile.

So the amulet is absolutely required to reach the endgame and getting it (also in the underworld. If you read Lord British's journal in the manual it details his expedition and following his directions takes you to the graves of his party and where the amulet is hidden) would give you a level because it's a major objective completed.

#################


2) Open Doom! Like the overworld dungeons its entrance is sealed and nobody knows the word of power to open it. Thankfully in U4 you found the codex of ultimate wisdom which knows everything but is a jerk and won't even let you near it unless you're on a sacred quest. Ever since Ultima 4 there are eight shrines to the eight morals* the game is built on and you need to visit each one, meditate on their word (same from the previous game or NPCs tell you), the shrine gives you a quest to visit the codex, visit codex where it spiels some shit, return and repeat the meditation and mantra and you get a stat boost based on the moral and that shrine is done. Once you finish all eight the codex finally tells you the word of power to open doom. I believe the game checks for this so you have to do this quest and not just get told the word from your friends or w/e.

Another major quest, another level!

* Humility, Compassion, Valor, Honesty, Justice, Sacrifice, Honor, Spirituality

#################

3) You entered Doom but when you do so the three Shadowlords appear in combat with you in an arena surrounded by force fields. If you have Lord British's scepter (more on this on #4) they steal it immediately and there's nothing you can do. You can't even defeat them without a Glass Sword that breaks on use and you're supposed to only have one. Even if you kill them you can't advance (again #4). So you need to deal with them before hand. Fighting them at all either results in you running away, dying, or using a Glass Sword and they just ignore that they lost the fight anyways so you can't kill them that way. Instead through NPCs you find out the Shadowlords are the opposite of the three principles * the eight morals are based off of and if you find the Shadowlord's shard that represents them, shout their name (told by NPCs) in the Castle of Principle in front of the Flames of Principle to make them appear before you and throw their shard in the flame the Shadowlord dies permanently. The shards are in the underworld in different subsections.

Once complete the Shadowlords are history and can't harry you any longer. Most importantly they can't steal the Scepter from you. Major objective complete, +1 level! Hell, maybe even +1 for each Shadowlord slain. Fuck them and fuck the underworld.

* Courage, Love, Truth. The Shadowlords are Cowardice, Hated, and Deceit.

#################

4) So you entered Doom with the Shadowlords slain. However you still enter the combat arena the Shadowlords would appear in, surrounded by force fields. At this point you are boned if you don't have the Scepter because you can't flee the fight nor can you dispel the force fields. Lord British's Scepter is the only item that can do this. It also can negate any other magical field and doesn't cost reagents or money so it's handy to have. The resistance tells you it's in Stonegate, a keep hidden in the mountains that the Shadowlords call home. You gotta climb there, fight a demon, and deal with the Shadowlords (either through #3 or outmaneuvering them. Again if they touch you at all they steal the Scepter back) and fly (to avoid pitfall traps) you can snag the Scepter.

Another mandatory objective complete! It's not too difficult to get once you know what you need to do and is super handy to have. Also great if it gives +1 levels.

#################

5) So you're in Doom and used the Scepter to dispel the forcefield in the Shadowlord arena. Welcome to F1! You gotta get to F8 and the right room (you drop in from F7). But in the first action room you're fighting some dragons or w/e when suddenly an invisible enemy mind controls your main character and everything goes to shit. This is where you need Lord British's Crown as wearing it negates the horrible mind magics of wisps hiding in the walls where you can't see nor fight them. The crown is hidden in the evil regent's castle guarded by super assholes and you can sneak in, join the bad guys and show them your official paperwork, or fight your way through. Get the crown and put it on when you enter Doom and you're golden.

Technically not required, the Wisps aren't guaranteed to use their mind shit but if you get through all of Doom without the crown you probably just wasted every drop of good luck you had for the next ten years.

#################

6) So you fought through Doom and reached the final room: A simple looking area with a mirror. You approach the mirror and see Lord British in the mirror side before the mirror sucks you in into green mirror land. Lord British greets you, revives your party, and asks for... his sandalwood box. Do you have it? Of fucking course you don't, you never heard of the damn thing nor ever seen it. You say no and Lord British tells you to get comfortable because you're trapped with him too. Good job!

If there's a clue for this nobody has ever found it... in Ultima 5. In Ultima 6 there's a talking horse that'll tell you about it but not where it is. You need to play a set of notes mentioned in the manual and a NPC on a certain harpsichord (in Lord British's room) to open a secret room with his sandalwood box. Once you bring it to Lord British he'll use it to create a moongate and everybody will use it to teleport the hell out of mirror land and you win the game!

The box is dumb but still a mandatory objective and would be better rewritten in some way so a player might actually find out about it before they reached the final obstacle of the game.

e3: I was curious and did a bit of research and it turns out you can find out about the sandalwood box ahead of time! It also requires joining the bad guys, or save scumming or otherwise finding out what their password is which is why few people have probably seen it (or found reason to ask a NPC about the password to get them to reveal they are a spy looking for said box).
/e3


#################

7) There's a karma score hidden in the game. Being a jerk like stealing things reduces it. Doing any of the above or not being a jerk raises it. It's mostly inconsequential unless you're selling your buddies out to join the bad guys or stealing all the time. It is required to beat the game at some point, I think you can't find Doom if your karma is too low? I'm going to ignore this one for the purposes of 'major objectives' and 'getting levels' since it's a value in flux.

#################

So to tie it all back together there's six major objectives you need to do in order to complete the game. Some have immediate benefits (stat boosts from the shrines, free dispel field magic from the scepter) and others you might not even know what they're for if gotten too early (sandalwood box). They're the closest the game has to major quests. There's lots of little side quests but they all generally tie in to completing the above quests. If you don't know the mantras for the shrines some NPCs will help you with a kind word and others might need a bit more leg work (usually talking to one NPC in a town then running to another for another NPC). The game expects you to get EXP from killing shit running around doing all the above but that's a whole lot of padding and U5's combat system is super slow, dungeons can be a slot, enemies exist to slow you down (slimes split into two if you hit them at all unless you kill them in one hit), and enemies give small amounts of EXP so getting the 6400 to hit level 8 takes fucking forever.

Getting a level from each objective will make you hit max level by itself before you get into killing dudes for EXP. You don't start at level 1 and you'll get six through these quests alone under this system. You do lose EXP when you die (50 * level) and it can delevel you too. Maybe EXP would be better and you can give different weights to each quest. The amulet might be worth less EXP than killing all the Shadowlords for example. That would also balance out the metagame of trying to achieve objects after you level up to maximize the amount of EXP you get. On the other hand getting a whole level or so through finishing a major objective sounds cool and can help further excite the player or to help top up allies who haven't hit level 8 yet. Or balance it, the scepter doesn't give a level because it is a good item to have anyways while the Shadowlords do. I'unno, I'm just here to post about Ultima 5.


e2: To be clear, Ultima 5 doesn't care how the user learned of most stuff. You could medidate at every shrine or open every dungeon by looking up the mantra on the internet or w/e. Finding out information isn't a goal the game tracks besides the word for Doom. If you walk up to the dungeon Deceit and yell: "FALLAX" the dungeon opens. There's no missing input prompt because the game is tracking what information you should know.
/e2



e: fuuuck I hate our bbcode parser

e2: Added a bit more info at the end of my hide block

e3: I was wrong about something!
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7419
I've found going without levels and instead having enemies drop stat boosting items for killing them to be a better alternative than granting EXP. Not having to worry about your characters falling behind just because they keep dying solves a lot of the problems many face while developing a game (hence why some side on not giving EXP rewards for fighting bosses because it's always such a massive jump).

Then have merchants that sell stat boosting items so that the player still has some level of control over how they increase in strength, while levels in general would just be used as a means of obtaining player-specific skills.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20691
My favorite way of non-standard leveling was from Illusions of Gaia. In that game, you got a stat-upgrade whenever you cleared a room of monsters. Probably the best part is that, since monsters never repopulated, that was an additional reason to explore the room more fully, maybe even finding a treasure players would otherwise miss.
Progression in Illusion of Gaia is also set. Clearing out a dungeon would only help against that boss as you'd get all the upgrades once you complete the dungeon anyways. There's no way to actually permanently lose stats because you missed a room.

Red Jewels on the other hand
Sunflower Games
The most beautiful user on RMN!
13284

Well you don't need to fight anyone in Elder Scrolls to level up tech.

You can spend the whole game = mixing ingredients, stealing, lock picking, influencing people, flying in the air, turning invisible, running around, jumping. None of these require battles at all.
I misread your Hellion part and thought 'gives a character each level'. That might be an interesting idea - each time you gain a level you can add a character to the party, so it's more about party make-up than levelling up. Add a system of finding skills or equipping them, restricted to classes, and it might be interesting.

Or even unlock class per level, with a choice of, say, three classes per level to unlock that you can switch to.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Oh that would work awesomely for Suikoden. Give you an 'army level' that affects how many characters you can bring into combat, and increase your army level by earning army XP from recruiting characters. Start the game with two party members and end with up to fifteen. This way, you progress by recruiting characters, and your reward is actually getting to use them! That's what Suikoden's all about anyway, right? Individual characters would also gain levels but they would be far less meaningful; a level 70 character at endgame might only be three or four times as strong as a level 1 character.

Controlling fifteen party members would make battles quite long in most games, but in Suikoden none of your characters can really use anything but normal attacks anyway except during boss fights, so it would only take an extra ten seconds per battle to keep mashing A! How's that for backing into a solution.




Relatedly, in the original red/blue/yellow Pokemon games, some aspects of your progression were based on how many Pokemon you caught. Your actual strength wasn't, but you got new items and new skills and unlocked new areas that way. In later games and in the remakes of the originals, this was removed whyyyyyyy
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20691
author=GreatRedSpirit
Clearing out a dungeon would only help against that boss as you'd get all the upgrades once you complete the dungeon anyways.


Wait, what? Am I reading that right? I don't recall this feature! Though, to be fair, I tended to clear rooms as much as possible before even getting to the boss. So, it might have been something I never observed?

Totally right about the Red Jewels, though. Some of them were in such Guide Dang It locations, it wasn't even funny.
Urgh, Oblivion made me so mad. Even before it glitched and my video card screwed up.

The gladiator things were level-based (if you were level 3, the random non-story enemies were too). Sounds fine, except... I had a character that I was building as a warrior-mage, so I was training their swings in gladiator battles, and training magic (mostly healing). But off battle, I was also training destruction and alteration, because I wanted to lock-pick high-level treasures. So I'd level up, and be underlvl for the battles despite being overlvl, because sword fighting was half what it should be.

I would have liked them to do away with levels, and just use skill stats. Yes, I know, levels were a multiplier in some of the spells. And they allows ability stats to up. But there could have been a different system there. Like upping the stats as skills go up enough.
Pages: first 12345 next last