Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Kest

Level caps

This topic is 3651 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

After reaching level 20 on Fallout 3 before exploring half of the game, and having all experience points suddenly cut off, I felt myself losing inspiration to play. This made me aware of two things. One, RPG gameplay still needs some work to be as fun as non-leveling gameplay. And two, level caps suck. I looked it up on the Internet (Google search) to see what people were saying, and there seem to be a lot of players defending this decision. Most of them seem to believe the level cap is like insurance to prevent players from having a jack of all trades character. They also seem to think that people who hate the cap just want a perfect character. Well, I for one don't want a perfect character. I just want something to look forward to. Even if it takes me a week to level up again, it would be something that each successful endeavor gets me closer to. An incentive to keep exploring. Any opinions on level caps?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I would appreciate a system that gave you infinite room to grow, but restrained what directions you could grow in based on your previous growth. I remember in Diablo 2, if you pick a level 1 skill and level up till you have access to the higher level skills, you can choose skills that use your level 1 skill as a requisite, but after a certain point, you couldn't choose any new level 1 skills (or 5, etc) so after awhile, your path through the skill tree and what you had access too was set. I dunno if thats the best way, but I'd sure prefer that to a level cap if the devs don't want me to max every skill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I hate level caps. More specifically, I hate level caps that are easily reachable through normal play. You can't avoid having level caps in any system with character experience - there's always practical limits of how high a number can go on a computer (you can get around this, but you'd have to really hate level caps to bother [wink]).

The kicker is, as you've said, that your character no longer has any growth. Given that in RPGs part of the appeal is the growth of your character, cutting that off removes one of main appealing elements of the gameplay. You've cut off one of the biggest reasons for doing quests.

In the one commercial game I've had any design say in (the unfortunately forgettable Starship Troopers: Terran Ascendency, which was a tactical game not an RPG but did have experience for troopers), we had originally had a linear experience curve for the soldiers. This irked me to no end as if you looked after your favourites they'd max out with a fair chunk of the game to go. So I suggested and got implemented an extra few levels where the experience curve went exponential: i.e. the amount of XP to gain one level was the same up to level 40, but this amount would then double for each level up to the true limit at level 50. It was insanely hard to max someone out, so they always had room to grow. You'd get more results if you trained up the rest of the team, but you never felt you "wasted" experience by using your top soldiers either.

Unfortunately though I've played too many RPGs where your character maxes out two-thirds through the game under "normal" play - when I wasn't going out of my way to level up through pointless grind. For example, I always maxed out in Knights of the Old Republic at the top of Level 20, although usually towards the end game. The kicker in the game was that you had to multiclass, one normal class, and one jedi class, and the jedi classes were often more useful. I'd feel bad in replays spending levels on normal classes, knowing that every level I spent now was one less level of jedi later.

Strangely, Fallout 1 and 2 didn't seem to have this problem. It was darn hard to even get enough experience for the top tier abilities before finishing the game. I haven't got Fallout 3, but knowing this makes me less likely to get it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Trapper Zoid
I hate level caps. More specifically, I hate level caps that are easily reachable through normal play. You can't avoid having level caps in any system with character experience - there's always practical limits of how high a number can go on a computer (you can get around this, but you'd have to really hate level caps to bother [wink]).

I think the trick is to make your leveling last long enough for players to get bored of your gameplay.

Quote:
..the amount of XP to gain one level was the same up to level 40, but this amount would then double for each level up to the true limit at level 50. It was insanely hard to max someone out, so they always had room to grow. You'd get more results if you trained up the rest of the team, but you never felt you "wasted" experience by using your top soldiers either.

That was a great design decision. In many ways, it's also highly realistic. Training is pretty smooth going until you become masterful. At that point, you have to start inventing your own methods for improvement, which takes a lot of testing and experimenting.

Quote:
Strangely, Fallout 1 and 2 didn't seem to have this problem. It was darn hard to even get enough experience for the top tier abilities before finishing the game. I haven't got Fallout 3, but knowing this makes me less likely to get it.

Fallout 3 is HUGE. It has far more gameplay content than leveling content. The engine already has experience "end points" for levels above and beyond level 20, and there's a mod to remove the cap. So as long as you're not above using a mod to fix the game design flaws, it's a good game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Trapper Zoid
Strangely, Fallout 1 and 2 didn't seem to have this problem. It was darn hard to even get enough experience for the top tier abilities before finishing the game. I haven't got Fallout 3, but knowing this makes me less likely to get it.


Yeah, I remember hearing about some interesting perks that I never saw come up as a selection. When I checked a FAQ, I realized that I'd beaten the game and most/all the quests relevant to my charater without being a high enough level to get those perks. I actually had mixed feelings at this point. I could over level and get the perks, but I was already having an easy enough time at the lower level so the perks wouldn't add much to my character.

I have a similar problem with Final Fantasy Tactics. I like playing around with the different jobs, but getting JP and XP go hand in hand, so if I want to try lots of different things with different classes I'll be over leveled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had the exact same reaction to Fallout 3 as Kest. I really enjoyed exploring the world, until I hit level 20. I tried to be interested in exploring a few more areas, but I just couldn't do it. It felt like I was wasting my time. So, after I hit 20, I just powered through the main quests and called it finished.

I have to say, I don't have a problem with level caps themselves, just level caps that are too low. If a game is going to have a cap, it should only be reached by players playing the game far longer than originally intended. In the case of Fallout 3, I hadn't even explored more than say 15-25% and I had already maxed out my character. If the level limit was higher, or if the xp curve was steeper, it wouldn't have been so bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's a safe bet that the demographics that frequents this board isn't in the main stream of gamers, so we'll likely have to find unusual ways (mods, etc) to enjoy games to the fullest.

For my part, I don't have a problem with limits on player growth, but the sudden removal of a component of the game is a huge jolt to the player. I don't want to have perfect skills across the board, but suddenly taking away the XP that's been there all along would be like freezing your score in Pac-Man when you hit 67108864 points, and never counting anything else the player does toward it. Sure, you can still clear boards and eat ghosts and fruit and power pellets, but without the points, the wind would go out of your sails.

A game that I simply cannot stop talking about is Kengo II for the Playstation 2. You had four or five stats, of the speed/strength/toughness variety, and each affected different components of your swordsmanship. You started out feeble, and performed various training exercises between swordfights to beef them up. The trick was, there was a maximum net skillpoints you could have, so once you hit the cap, the training regimen you selected wouldn't add points, it would merely redistribute them. So if you chose to meditate to build up your focus for the coming tournament, you'd lose some of your speed, stamina and strength through inactivity. The "end game" was an endless process of rebalancing your character's physical attributes to perfectly complement your style of play. It also had a variety of weapons and customizable strokes and combos that allowed you to further refine your style.

The important thing was that the "Get tougher every day until you can beat the master of the dojo" and the "get tougher still until you can beat the master of an opposing dojo" and the "refine your technique until your school of swordsmanship is shown to be the greatest in the land" phases of the game all have the exact same gameplay mechanics. You're always standing naked under the waterfall, or slashing your way through a bamboo grove, or extinguishing a ring of candles with a single sweeping strike. So you never feel like you've reached the bottom of the barrel until the final adversary falls before you and the Emperor names you grand champion, or whatever happens at the end. I never beat it, even though I rented it twice.

So if Fallout 3 would let you "Level Up" every few bajillion XP, but you'd still be level 20 and you could change one perk and redistribute 30 of your skill points each time, would that be enough to counter the level cap? You'd always be a level 20 character, but you'd be able to grow and change to meet new challenges in new ways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From what i've seen F3 plays very much like a FPS, a lot like Planetside in fact (which also had a lvl 20 cap). I likely wouldn't care one way or the other because you aren't forced to rely on VATS (and thus your stats) to play. I'd likely fill my time with exploring the various Vaults and other wasteland wonders, or running through Super Mutants with a pistol before shelving it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
For my part, I don't have a problem with limits on player growth, but the sudden removal of a component of the game is a huge jolt to the player. I don't want to have perfect skills across the board, but suddenly taking away the XP that's been there all along would be like freezing your score in Pac-Man when you hit 67108864 points, and never counting anything else the player does toward it. Sure, you can still clear boards and eat ghosts and fruit and power pellets, but without the points, the wind would go out of your sails.

That reminds me of the PC version of the Aladdin platformer. It wasn't that bad as movie based platformers go, but unfortunately you would always max out the score at 999999 about two-thirds of the way through. And given that a lot of the bonus pickup goodies was just for points in a platformer, there was no incentive to go collect them and risk losing a life. It made the whole score element pointless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
It's a safe bet that the demographics that frequents this board isn't in the main stream of gamers, so we'll likely have to find unusual ways (mods, etc) to enjoy games to the fullest.

How is that relevant here? You don't have to be a certain type of player to lose interest in a game when a huge part of it simply disappears.

Quote:
So if Fallout 3 would let you "Level Up" every few bajillion XP, but you'd still be level 20 and you could change one perk and redistribute 30 of your skill points each time, would that be enough to counter the level cap? You'd always be a level 20 character, but you'd be able to grow and change to meet new challenges in new ways.

I've considered this type of gameplay before. I think I would get tired of training myself to use a skill I've mastered five times before. It's the gameplay equivalent of changing armor and weapons, very slowly, and having to work hard to do it.

Quote:
Original post by Gyrthok
From what i've seen F3 plays very much like a FPS, a lot like Planetside in fact (which also had a lvl 20 cap). I likely wouldn't care one way or the other because you aren't forced to rely on VATS (and thus your stats) to play. I'd likely fill my time with exploring the various Vaults and other wasteland wonders, or running through Super Mutants with a pistol before shelving it.

As a role playing game, Fallout 3 is pretty nice. As a first person shooter, Fallout 3 has a lot of issues. Yeah, if the controls and characters weren't so stiff and clunky, and the combat was far more realistic (at least compared to other shooters), I wouldn't mind the leveling dumping off so much. Without character development, the game just wasn't fun for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!