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Progression system for RPG

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I am currently prototyping an rpg jump'n'run and was thinking about a level
progression system.
 
The rough concept is an kind of open world with an small hub (kinda like
Firelink Shrine and the Zones around that in Dark Souls).
 
The basic idea is that you don't get straight up better when leveling up and
the enemies stay roughly the same during the game.
 
So let's say the enemies in different zones have different weaknesses. Like for
example you have a zone where most enemies take more damage from fire attack.
 
If you start as an pyromancer you can take out most of them in a few hits
during the first few hours of the game. So this is your natural starting zone for low levels.
 
If you venture into another zone where most enemies have weaknesses against
divine attacks you need a lot more hits.  So while you could do this from the
beginning of the game, you need more time for it during which you can make more
mistakes and die. So you need items or skills to deal with that more efficiently.
 
If you start as an cleric you have an advantage in the latter zone, but need to
find items and skills for the fire-weakness zone.
 
So the idea is that:
 
* You don't find weapons/armor/items that are straight up better, but
that do other damage/give other resistances that plays to your enemies
weaknesses or gives you more options in your playstyle.
 
* You are not artificially gated or hardlocked against specific zone (you first
need to find the key to this door, the pickaxe for this wall, the jumping boots
for this wall, a whistle to certain things to appear, etc.), but rather
discouraged through the perceived toughness of the enemies in that zone.
 
 
Any ideas or concerns about that? Does anyone know any games that work like
that or can be inspiration for aspects of this?

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A lot of games do this to some point, often these games are not recognized/classified as RPG's, basically because they do it better(but also harder) than RPG's.

Have you checked out Zelda ?

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A lot of games do this to some point, often these games are not recognized/classified as RPG's, basically because they do it better(but also harder) than RPG's.

Have you checked out Zelda ?

 

Playthroughs on youtube; so kinda. It does not feel like a RPG though. I am still trying to find out why and how I could avoid this.

 

Probably giving the player more different options for character development would work.

 

Other than that I found this http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BeefGate yesterday while researching this question.

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Well, you kind of have sliding scale here:

On the one end you have your typical RPG-Gear and on the other end you have the orthogonal Upgrades of a Metroidvania. What you want to do sounds like a mixture, so a "soft" metroidvania where the sequence of the zones becomes blurred.

Another thing that comes with this scale is the amount of customisation in the experience: You cannot really customise your playstile in a Metroidvania but you can do so in Dark Souls and most other RPGs.

So what you will probably want to do is have multiple items for each area, so that the player can have a stile that suits them.

If you want to mix it up, you can differ the sets for each area (no range weapons are strong in the underworld and in the stone zone you cannot use any fast weapons).

Keep in mind that not all stats have to be explicit bonuses. Sometimes a weapon with same dps but higher range can be wildly more effective in a specific situation (enemies that explode when close to you), so you might want to toy around with that.

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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night had gear and levels that boosted stats. You could find the gear in chests or random drops from enemies and you gained XP from killing enemies.  It sounds like it might be a good point of reference for you to look at.

 

Although recently I heard of a concept for game that sound interested its a metrodvania game were grinding and killing an enemies doesn't provide XP.  You only get XP for exploring, loot, and discovery.

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