[POLL] CHARACTER PROGRESSION MECHANICS

Poll

What kind of experience system do you prefer?
- Results

1. Typical XP: foes give a certain XP amount. When XP exceeds level requirements, player earns a level. All of the stats of the player increase.
7
26%
2. Adaptative XP: like in "Paper Mario". Foes give less and less XP as the player becomes stronger. This is to prevent grinding which eventually break the game and eliminates the challenge.
6
23%
3. Challenge, like in Wolfenstein. No XP. Achieving certain challenges gives skill points (like you'd get if you earn a level).
5
19%
4. No XP, only money: To simplify the experience. Money is used to buy upgrades and skills as well as items.
1
3%
5. No upgrade system: Player improve with practice (non-game experience). This is how they manage to progress in the game.
2
7%
6. Other ideas:
5
19%

Posts

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For example in Bioware games grind doesn't exist.


You could actually grind in Baldur's gate through random encounters. They didn't happen very often but you could. Then again, Baldur's Gate and an XP cap (which I find THE worst system ever).
Grinding is only boring if the battles are boring.

Also games should be designed to not require it, but that should be based on the best player imaginable. Grinding is just an option for players that aren't so good to beat the game without it.

The advantage of grinding over a difficulty setting is that when you overcome a challenge after grinding it feels like an accomplishement, like you earned the win. If you just die at a boss, then switch difficulty to easy and then beat the boss, it feels lame.
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4011
author=RyaReisender
The advantage of grinding over a difficulty setting is that when you overcome a challenge after grinding it feels like an accomplishement, like you earned the win. If you just die at a boss, then switch difficulty to easy and then beat the boss, it feels lame.

Yea, I can get that, for sure. It's why I like the idea of giving players, say, an easier-to-use weapon set or skill combo as a backup. So if they're losing on the boss, they can mess around with skill combos until they find one that just works really well, or is easier to use, and then switch back to their favorite afterwards. It's ~very similar~ to just switching it from Hard to Easy, but it doesn't feel as bad because it's not as blatantly obvious.

EDIT:

For example, in Phantasy Star IV, you can pick your 5th team member for the final dungeon & boss fight. You have a choice of a few characters you've had on your team throughout the game, but one of them (Raja) is a priest with amazing healing spells that generally makes the final boss much easier. But, if you have a favorite who's kind of weak (poor Hahn), you might want to try them, and only fall back to Raja if you get really stuck. It's a good way of giving you a difficulty option that isn't outright "Easy or Hard?"
1 and 2 are essentially the same, right? Normally, higher levels require more exp, which is in effect the same as if enemies gave less exp.

3 sounds neat but it's kind of counter intuitive to reward skilled players by making the game easier. That might be a problem.

4 is excellent, and I was considering doing it for my first RPG. However there is a drawback to this, it means the player has to manually do everything. Exp is automatic. Upgrades and equipment and customization are obviously staple elements of any good RPG, but it's also nice to have that added layer that a growth system provides, one that takes care of itself and the player doesn't have to worry about. It's also realistic to the concept of "experience". you naturally get better as you do something, without having to do anything else.

5 is difficult to pull off and it's also no longer an RPG at that point. Kind of boring since there's nothing to discuss. A game like this has nothing to contribute.

6
other ideas? How about enemies that become weaker over time. you'd put a conditional branch on each battle event with a global switch that counts the number of bosses that player defeated.
But this is dumb since the idea is essentially the same as 5. Also there's no way to grind.

Another idea is to make it so dying is the only way to increase your level. So like a handicap.
Oh, maybe my game should do it this way. It's a really neat idea.
Player dies, then is forced to grind. After grinding, the party gains a level, and the process repeats.
The genius is in the fact that the level is gained not upon death but after post-death grinding. Though on second thought this is irrelevant. It really doesn't matter when the level happens.

What I don't like about RPG Maker is that levels are permanently displayed (I think?) and there's no way to remove them. So you're forced to have a level system. Which means I also want to use methods to make levels vary between party member because it's weird if everyone has the same level and if everyone levels up at the same time. Because in that case the party should have a level instead of each individual character. This can be problematic in games where you have the same 3-4 characters for the entire duration of the game since they all gain the exact same amount of exp for the entire game, making individual exp counts redundant.
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
6615
author=Toaster_Team
For example in Bioware games grind doesn't exist.
You could actually grind in Baldur's gate through random encounters. They didn't happen very often but you could. Then again, Baldur's Gate and an XP cap (which I find THE worst system ever).


Pff... It's not supposed to be grind but a threat. It works, unless you find out that you can running in circles with the strongest character and have other shooting at the target.
Also I don't like being on level 150. It's kinda dangerous.
1 and 2 are essentially the same, right? Normally, higher levels require more exp, which is in effect the same as if enemies gave less exp.


Not really because with adaptive xp it gets to the point where if the level difference is too big, the weaker enemies give no xp at all. This means a player can't grind to beat a boss by overpowering him level-wise.

With 1. you could stay at the same spot and grind until you're level 99 in theory.
Shit I forgot one. It's kind of related:

7. Enemies level up as you do.
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
6615
7. is like: You're stronger but you're not stronger. It worked in Oblivion, tho.
Monster level up with you is probably the worst system I've seen so far. The main reason I hate FFVIII so much next to the awful drawing system.

I can accept it when game progression makes stronger monsters spawn in old regions, though. But same monster should always be similar as strong.

Yea, I can get that, for sure. It's why I like the idea of giving players, say, an easier-to-use weapon set or skill combo as a backup.

That's not grinding or an easy way to overcome the boss, though. That's just for skillful players that enjoy trying out different combinations. It's not a good replacement for grinding.
That's not grinding or an easy way to overcome the boss, though. That's just for skillful players that enjoy trying out different combinations. It's not a good replacement for grinding.

Yeah, I agree with that.

I forgot another one. Limit the amount of battles, like in Superhero League of Hoboken. Then again, it's sort of like adaptive XP.

And another one:
No XP system but enemies drop things which can be used as crafting material to boost your character.

What I don't like about RPG Maker is that levels are permanently displayed (I think?) and there's no way to remove them. So you're forced to have a level system. Which means I also want to use methods to make levels vary between party member because it's weird if everyone has the same level and if everyone levels up at the same time. Because in that case the party should have a level instead of each individual character. This can be problematic in games where you have the same 3-4 characters for the entire duration of the game since they all gain the exact same amount of exp for the entire game, making individual exp counts redundant.

Or you could do away with levels as a concept entirely.


author=Toaster_Team
I forgot another one. Limit the amount of battles, like in Superhero League of Hoboken. Then again, it's sort of like adaptive XP.



Wait, isn't this what I suggested? Except for limiting the amount of battles I suggested limiting the amount of battles that give you EXP. XD
Well in one case you don't have to bother with battles and with the other one you do. Seems like a pretty big difference to me :).

Earthbound also had a nice take on weaker enemies where you don't even need to beat them at all.
author=Toaster_Team
Earthbound also had a nice take on weaker enemies where you don't even need to beat them at all.


Not sure how they handled that in Earthbound, but there are a few JRPGs (Paper Mario included) where if there's a "first strike" method in the overworld where you use a field action (like swinging a sword) then weaker enemies will just POOF! Not a bad way to do it if you have a field action in your game.
author=Toaster_Team
Or you could do away with levels as a concept entirely.




Not if levels are permanently displayed. Because it means the characters would be Level 1 through the whole game. It would be redundant to display the number if it never changes and therefore the game must have leveling unless there is a script or something out there that lets me remove it.
You know there are other engines out there than rpg maker if you don't want to deal with certain limitations. :)
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5331
author=zeello
author=Toaster_Team
Or you could do away with levels as a concept entirely.


Not if levels are permanently displayed. Because it means the characters would be Level 1 through the whole game. It would be redundant to display the number if it never changes and therefore the game must have leveling unless there is a script or something out there that lets me remove it.


You could always just make it a different numbered thing. The Witch's House renamed it to age.
On a sidenote, I like it when game developers actually put the effort in and give each character different XP requirements so they don't all level up in the same way.

Two games that did this quite well are Phantasy Star II and Breath of Fire II. For example in Breath of Fire II you can't switch out the main character and to balance that he needs significantly more XP than all the other characters. The character that is most absent needs least XP.

You can even tell part of the story via XP requirements. Like if a strong character joins the group, he might be 10 levels higher, but also need less XP so he stays stronger than the group for quite a while.
author=RyaReisender
You can even tell part of the story via XP requirements. Like if a strong character joins the group, he might be 10 levels higher, but also need less XP so he stays stronger than the group for quite a while.

I like the idea of characters having different growth requirements. Not of fan of Interface Spoilers.

Although this brings up SaGa Frontier, and possibly other SaGa games. SaGa Frontier used multiple styles of growth.

Humans leveled normally.
Mechs required gear to be better. So they were attached to item drops and money.
Monsters needed to absorb other Monsters to adopt stats and skills after battle. (It was needlessly more complex than that.)
Mystics... exist. XD

And the whole game used a system where enemies semi-leveled with you. The strength of enemies were partitioned into Tiers, and as you fought more battles you might jump to the next Tier (it's discrete). This Tier applies globally. If you hit the next Tier and had mismanaged your own growth you'd be in for a tough ride.
And the whole game used a system where enemies semi-leveled with you. The strength of enemies were partitioned into Tiers, and as you fought more battles you might jump to the next Tier (it's discrete). This Tier applies globally. If you hit the next Tier and had mismanaged your own growth you'd be in for a tough ride.


That's interesting, I like that a lot. The different level growth for different characters is also a nice one. This is what I meant by exploring new alternatives!
SaGaFrontier's growth system is pretty brilliant. I mentioned it earlier too (calling it Akitoshi Kawazu design). But you need to be a real good game designer so you don't make players stuck with it. In SGF it's actually pretty hard to get stuck because your growth also increases when enemies are stronger than you, so it auto-balances itself. Also there is some ceiling to monster tiers so if you get stuck you can simply grind for 10 hours and then you can beat even the highest tier, so that still works out. Also the stories in SGF are all pretty short and have good replay value, so even restarting completely is not as harsh here as in most other JRPGs.

If the game isn't from Akitoshi Kawazu, I usually avoid games that have a monster growth with your level system. Too many bad experiences. In FFXIII for example I tried to use all the characters available, but you can't switch out Squall, so I was pretty fast at a point where Squall reached level 99, but the other characters were still like level 60 and I was not very far into the story yet so I didn't have any good draws. The bosses just became impossible to beat at this point (because monster level only depends on Squall's level not on the average party level and stats).

Really can't recommend it to indie developers unless they really know what they are doing.
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