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kingy

Character progression in RPGs

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How often should characters go up levels in an RPG? Is it better for it to be easy, or harder? How much customisation should be possible - none at all, or a complete points based system that the player spends as they like?

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it depends on the game, and who is making it, and who they expect to play it. some people like fast easy leveling, others want to struggle for a level but then get a sweet-ass benefit when they do... a lot of people would say to leave out levels altogether.
the same goes for what happens at levels; some people like to customize as much as they can, others want to just get their stats and play some more.
pick whichever one fits best into the game you are envisioning...

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Here are two really wide examples, both from the same series.

Dragon Warrior I, for the NES. The character (one, not a party) went up levels about once every fifty or so fights, if you played careful.

Dragon Quest V, for the Super Famicom. The party all leveled up about once every five fights, and the game remained challenging because of a better difficulty curve.

The second one''s better. :D

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in the end it doesn´t affect gameplay much at all - it´s more a question of style (small, frequent rewards or infrequent big rewards). the balancing usually eats up all the levelling - as the player char advances the environment gets tougher with him.

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Its really a matter of taste. Frequent levels could be good, but your bonuses would have to be small. Infrequent levels are the opposite, never happening, but when they do you get a huge bonus out of it. What it then boils down to is a matter of difficulty and... look I suppose. Covering the look aspect first, what you have to ask is how you want the numbers to look. Does the player work his way from 8 to 43 strength points throughout the course of the game, or do we have triple or quadrouple digits? Does the singular "Level" number follow the same mentality, end out the game at 30, 70, 190? This is where you have to judge how everything looks in comparison to the general theme of the game.

The other area is difficulty. Heres where its more important. The primary reason for fighting endless amounts of livestock monsters is to make the fight with the bigger enemies easier. And the bigger enemies, they''re for show apparently. Since this about sums up RPG gameplay, its important to note who gets harder and when. Infrequent levels has on advantage to it. If the player is only going to see 30 levels throughout the game, then you can divide the game up according to levels. Make the EXP curve bend right and you can almost directly control what level the player is at in each area. However, with infrequent leveling, you lose control, but you get to make demands of the player. For instance, have some badass monsters in this cave thats on the linear plotline, and the player is effectively not allowed to enter until he/she goes out and builds up to where you want him/her to be.

-> Will Bubel
-> Machine wash cold, tumble dry.

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not really, in that case you´d have continuous progression with levels only to give the player an idea of where he is.

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It''s tough to strike a good balance with leveling however one game I played recently that did a poor job balancing this was Pool of Radiance. I played that game off and on for a week and I only upped one level. In this case the problem wasn''t just not increasing in level, but my characters were very weak and killing people didn''t help much. This frustration was enough for me to quit playing the game.


--
http://www.3dcgi.com/

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It''s not really the level up that matters to most RPG players it''s what you gain from leveling up. If you gain reveltivly nothing like some stats and then the monsters get harder, the person has just accomplished nothing because fights take just as long as before and theere is nothing really new. However if you increase the difficulty but add in special attacks or something. Now the characters how new combos/spells/skills they can use to make fights more interesting.

Bleu Shift - www.bleushift.tk

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In the RPG I''m making I''m using a combination of slow and fast progress (inspired from Asheron''s Call). Let your characters advance levels rather slowly, but reward improvements during the progress.

In Asheron''s Call this worked in the way that you received experience points (WHOA?! ) that you could spend on your skills to improve them. Then, when your total experience pool has reached a certain value, you will gain a level. The good thing about this is that it can take you several days to gain a level, but you don''t have to wait all that time to see your character improve.

In Akarra (the game I''m making) we''re using a system similar to Diablo. Each level you get 5 "attribute points", but instead of rewarding all of these when you gain a level (as in Diablo) you get them one at a time during the progress of the level.

My point: If you use a "slow" system you should still reward the players frequently.



My Stuff : [ Whispers in Akarra (online rpg) || L33T WAR (multiplayer game) || The Asteroid Menace (another game) ]

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