Enemies get stronger as the player's characters get stronger

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How should we handle levelling up enemies when the player levels up?

Do it.
1
6%
Don't Do it.
9
56%
Even out the playing field between chapters, but not before.
6
38%
 
Total votes: 16
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Enemies get stronger as the player's characters get stronger

Postby Winter Knight » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:01 am

Enemies get stronger as the player's character gets stronger. Not the usual sort of game progression where the game gets harder, but the strength of individual enemies is determined by how strong the character is.

I think the reason is to make it easier to balance. However, I feel this is a cop-out. It doesn't make any sense, and it makes it mean less when the character's gain levels. Who wants to gain levels when the enemies will just get stronger? If all you are trying to do is make it so the player doesn't get too much stronger than the enemies too fast, then don't make the character gain levels so much. Personally, I prefer the old Dragon Warrior I tempo of leveling, where you gain a few levels your first day, but after level 12 or so, it takes several hours to go up a single level.

There are also balancing issues when the enemies get stronger with the characters. As it is currently, both of my characters are level 50. They can't hit the slimes. They have less than a 10% success rate at hitting them. And where it used to take only one hit, now it takes 2 or 3.

I think the simplest, best way to balance the game would be to have a slow leveling tempo, and have the enemies be however strong they are, rather than increasing strength with the characters. This doesn't mean that the player has to grind for hours, like in Dragon Warrior I, but rather that the player can do a few quests without going up a level. I think maximum level should be around 20.

I also think that enemies should change their behavior based on your level. For example, slimes, which would attack you if you are level 1, should try their best to stay out of your away if you are level 10. It's more realistic, and it prevents the player from having to fight slimes when it won't do them any good.

I got excited every time I increased a level in Dragon Warrior I. But in modern RPGs, where somebody goes up a level every 20 mins, and every character goes up several levels every quest, it is difficult to care.
Last edited by Winter Knight on Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rujasu » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:23 am

I don't like the enemies leveling up myself (nor did I think it was a good idea in FF8) but I've never really had an alternate suggestion in mind. Actually, I've grown tired of "levelling" as the standard growth system, but developing a new system would be a radical design change that we don't really need right now. The idea of levelling being a slow process might not be a bad idea to put on the table for the 0.3 demo.

Some tenative thoughts from me would be that dungeons should have easy monsters in some areas, and some monsters who are very difficult (but easier to avoid) for the party to battle when they first tackle the dungeon. That way, the party can't easily clean house on the first run through a dungeon and has to dodge enemies to get through, but the player can come back later and pick up all of the side-treasures.
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Postby Steu » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:31 am

I believe the original plan was to have the enemies growth in strength but not at the same rate as the player characters.

I personally love leveling up, it's the thing i like best about RPG's after the stories, I also don't like low lvl caps as this limit's the amount of lvl up's i can get.
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Postby ChopperDave » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:54 am

Enemies leveling up with you is what really killed Oblivion. It makes leveling up pointless, which as Steu said is half the fun.
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Postby Roots » Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:08 am

First keep in mind that the demo is currently very unbalanced. It was much harder to level in demo 0.2.0 than it is in the current build. The fact that you can now have 2 characters in the party also makes a world of difference from the previous release. Anyway, in response to the numerous points brought forward:


> Low level up frequency

Yeah, I kind of feel you with this one. Level ups in DW1 were huge. But keep in mind that DW is a completely different game (single character, single enemy battles), so in a game like Allacrost with multiple characters and multiple enemies I don't expect the player to feel the same way (I bet they'd feel frustrated more than anything).


> Enemies getting stronger

The reason that this feature was put forth was because if you clear an early section of the game, then go back to that section much later battles are a major annoyance because they are A) ridiculously easy and B) not worth the time (very low XP/money/item yields). The purpose here is to allow battles to get easier, but not "too easy" by matching the enemies with the strength of the character party. If we think of character growth as a rate of x, then enemy growth would be something like 0.5-0.75x.

Another reason we do this is so that the player doesn't intuitively know that enemy X has exactly 60HP after fighting the same enemy a few times. Predictability is boring. As far as the leveling "making sense", I couldn't care less (although I can reason that it does make some sense). Its a game: as long as we make things fun, who gives a shit if they make sense or not.

> Enemy tactics changing in higher levels

Definitely. The AI should improve as the enemy does (although at a much more coarse granularity). And we can do the same thing as far as determining the type of enemies that the player encounter as a factor of their XP level.

> Stronger enemies guarding pathways/treasures

I love this idea :approve: We can artificially create barriers to the next region simply by making the enemies too strong for the player to handle (they did this in FFXII IIRC).
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Postby Winter Knight » Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:44 am

rujasu wrote:I've grown tired of "levelling" as the standard growth system, but developing a new system would be a radical design change that we don't really need right now. The idea of levelling being a slow process might not be a bad idea to put on the table for the 0.3 demo.


I don't like levelling either. But levelling is what makes an RPG and RPG. Without it, it would be an adventure game, like Zelda.

rujasu wrote:Some tenative thoughts from me would be that dungeons should have easy monsters in some areas, and some monsters who are very difficult (but easier to avoid) for the party to battle when they first tackle the dungeon. That way, the party can't easily clean house on the first run through a dungeon and has to dodge enemies to get through, but the player can come back later and pick up all of the side-treasures.


I like that idea. And when the players come back later, they won't have to fight the weak enemies unless they want to?

Steu wrote:I also don't like low lvl caps as this limit's the amount of lvl up's i can get.


Yes, that would be the definition of level cap. Perhaps a level cap wouldn't be so necessary, as much as making the required level ups until you beat the game less. The problem with having too many levels is that they become meaningless.

Roots wrote:First keep in mind that the demo is currently very unbalanced.


Yeah. Each level up is about 20 xp. After about level 3, each battle raises both character's levels multiple times. After 20, each battle raises it many times. I assumed that this low xp requirement was so devs could test leveling up. We're probably going to change this for the release, right?

Roots wrote:The reason that this feature (enemies leveling up) was put forth was because if you clear an early section of the game, then go back to that section much later battles are a major annoyance because they are A) ridiculously easy and B) not worth the time (very low XP/money/item yields).


That's where my low level enemies are afraid of high level characters come in. If the player goes back to an earlier section, they don't have to fight the worthless enemies.

Roots wrote:If we think of character growth as a rate of x, then enemy growth would be something like 0.5-0.75x.


How about just making the character grow at 0.25x-0.5x?

Roots wrote:Another reason we do this is so that the player doesn't intuitively know that enemy X has exactly 60HP after fighting the same enemy a few times. Predictability is boring.


I agree that predictability is boring. Most games give an enemy class a "base HP" and then randomly give individual enemies between 0 and 5% extra HP. Dragon Warrior I did this. I think most RPGs do this. Of course, if we want the player to be surprised regarding how many HP a particular enemy has, we will have to remove that info from the target selection window.

Roots wrote:We can artificially create barriers to the next region simply by making the enemies too strong for the player to handle


I like that idea too, but exactly how does that qualify as an "artificial barrier"?
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Postby Steu » Fri Nov 30, 2007 5:44 am

Winter Knight wrote:
Steu wrote:I also don't like low lvl caps as this limit's the amount of lvl up's i can get.


Yes, that would be the definition of level cap. Perhaps a level cap wouldn't be so necessary, as much as making the required level ups until you beat the game less. The problem with having too many levels is that they become meaningless.


Of course, but I was meaning, I don't like low lvl caps, like some dnd games (because of the nature of dnd rules) cap you at like 10 or 15 I don't like this, it's too low for me.

Winter Knight wrote:
Roots wrote:First keep in mind that the demo is currently very unbalanced.


Yeah. Each level up is about 20 xp. After about level 3, each battle raises both character's levels multiple times. After 20, each battle raises it many times. I assumed that this low xp requirement was so devs could test leveling up. We're probably going to change this for the release, right?

It's exactly 20 xp per lvl atm, I put it here so I could test gaining skills on lvl up.

Winter Knight wrote:
Roots wrote:We can artificially create barriers to the next region simply by making the enemies too strong for the player to handle


I like that idea too, but exactly how does that qualify as an "artificial barrier"?

It's artificial, because it's not a barrier like a mountain or a wall.
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Postby Jetryl » Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:13 am

Seiken Densetsu 3 had an interesting system for one part of this problem - namely "if enemies level up alongside me, then why bother gaining levels at all?"

What they did was they "evened things out" only once, at the beginning of each "chapter" of the game. Monsters would be raised to the same level as the character (give or take a level), and as you adventured within an area, you'd gradually get better than them. If the boss was too hard, you could level up a few times, and face it again.

Typically, you'd only get about 2-4 levels above the monsters, since the amount of XP you needed to level increased exponentially per level, and the monsters gave xp depending on their level - meaning that the rate of XP per time spent fighting was fairly constant. What was so beautiful about this was that there was very little incentive to grind - gaining levels would become exponentially more time consuming as you stayed within an area, and it wouldn't give you any long-term benefit, because as soon as you stepped into the next chapter, the enemies would be as tough as you.

What was clever about this was - it made levelling up very rewarding for short-term gameplay, since you could use it to overcome obstacles like bosses; however, it removed all of the long-term balance problems with levelling, since monsters would always be a reasonable challenge when you came to a new chapter - never "overbearingly hard", and yet, never "absurdly easy.

What they did, afaik, for revisiting older chapters, was they levelled the monsters up to something a few levels below the main characters - enough to not be a pushover, but weak enough to be significantly easier than the first time you faced them.
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Postby Winter Knight » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:05 pm

Notice that I added a poll to this thread.

One of the things that I don't like about the enemies levelling up is that it is harder to get a feel for them. It makes it harder to set up tactics if you don't know your enemy.

Also, it wouldn't be difficult to change. All we would have to do is 0 out the growth stats for all the enemies. And lessen the stats for the players, so they don't get too powerful. We wouldn't have to change anything in the c++ code, and I recommend that we don't. If we ever change our minds later, or come up with a better idea that requires increasing the strength of enemies, we will still have the code there.

I like Jetryl's idea for levelling the enemies. It think I might have had the same idea when I was designing a game years ago. But I voted for "Don't do it", because levelling is an important part of an RPG, and I don't think diminishing the value of levelling is a good idea.
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Postby Auris » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:23 pm

I also agree that leveling monsters according to the character level is unintuative. When you meet a monster say a goblin on clvl 1 and it has 10hp and you kill it with a blow. And you meet it again on clvl 10 and it has 100hp then. Either you still kill it with one blow - then why level it at all - or it gets a lot harder to kill it. Then why level your character at all if it makes killing former easy to kill monster harder to kill and you still get those small rewards (xp, items, ...) that mean nothing to you at your current level. If the rewards would also increase then there is no reason at all to explore and fight different monsters. And if you would have the same difficulty fighting a goblin when your character is level 100 as fighting a dragon there would no RPG sense at all to it.

One possible solution to keep the game balanced is to keep the level down by reducing the number of xp a player gets from fighting enemies that are a lot behind his level. So if you spend all your time fighting on map 1 untill you get zero xp from fighting monsters there, you will have a few levels more than someone who rushes through to map 2. If you fight with your higher level character on map 2 you will gain levels more slowly than the lowlevel character. So by the end of map 2 both will have close to the same levelgap again if you repeat the cleanout everything vs. rushthrough else they would close to equal. So eveybody can decide for himself which *reasonable* level he needs to move on to the next map, but can never get so far ahead that the game becomes ridiculous easy because of his level.
There should be also a general difficulty setting so that a weaker player is not annoyed needing to spend countless hours for each map to feel able to survive on the next.

To prevent the too much too easy monsters between highly frequented waypoints there could be an upgrade with each new chapter (either remove monsters at all or put more difficult to kill ones in).


Two totally different approaches are: Fill the maps with monstertypes more or less depending on the level you have. If you go through map x you will find like (MAPLVL + random(clvl) monsters - for example goblins on clvl 1 and orcs on clvl 10) but only types that can appear on that map (for example only water monsters on a watermap). There are quite a few games that do this, it is more logical and less frustrating than the level all monsters on my clvl. Only real drawback is you can run out of 'new' monsters before the player finishes the final quest :heh:

No xp at all for killing monsters (but for example for getting to different locations for the first time, doing quests, ...). Lostlabyrith does this quite well but I don't know if it is fully transferable to allacrost.

As for the random strength I like this. But it should be really reare, like the more exeptional a generated monster of type x is the less often it should appear. It will give battles a nice turningpoint if you fight a monster you think is strong and another normally weaker one hits you constantly harder. So you have to change your strategy for that fight or possibly loose it. But this should be really rare because else the whole thing ends up into constant frustrating randomness.
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Postby Brian » Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:41 pm

I'm definitely against the monsters leveling with the characters. It ruins rpgs. Half the fun is leveling your guys up to Godly status, and there's few pleasures greater than owning monsters who were previously giving you a difficult time. We should just make it so the enemies at each different stage of the game are different, and stronger than their earlier counter parts. But the player should be able to be over powered if they spend time leveling.

I mean how silly would it be to have your party be level 99 and still struggling to kill enemies in the field.
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Postby Roots » Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:08 pm

Brian Aloisi wrote:Half the fun is leveling your guys up to Godly status, and there's few pleasures greater than owning monsters who were previously giving you a difficult time.


I disagree. There's nothing fun about fighting battles that you know you can't lose unless you do something idiotic like attacking your own characters. I feel an even better pleasure than being a god is to be able to continue to run into challenges that need to be overcome.

The whole reason I proposed the enemy level growth feature in the first place was mostly because when I revisit an area of a game, it really sucks to keep running into encounters that:

a) can't put up a decent fight
b) don't give enough XP/money/items to make the battle even worth it
c) serve to do nothing but waste my time as I'm trying to travel to my next objective

The two extremes to this type of problem are to allow the player to avoid contact with enemies entirely, or to only allow encounters that are significant enough to make the fight worthwhile for the player.



Stepping back though, maybe a gradual leveling up system was the wrong way to go after all. I think that in theory it could work alright so long as the player's growth rate always exceeds the enemy's growth rate using the "expected XP level of first encounter" as a base (I'll elaborate more on this when I get home). I think I might like the idea of larger level steps instead. Ie, every 10 XP levels for an enemy changes their stats by a pre-set amount. So if your character is on XP level 5 fighting spiders, some of the spiders will be the "level 0" weaker ones, and some will be the "level 10" stronger ones. As the player gains levels the level 20, 30, etc spiders appear, but the growth between these levels is much less than the player, so eventually the player is pretty much capable of taking on any spiders with ease, but the spiders don't return the now incredibly meager "5 XP and 10 drunes" that the original level 0 spiders were giving out.
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Postby ChopperDave » Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:56 pm

There's nothing fun about fighting battles that you know you can't lose unless you do something idiotic like attacking your own characters


Which is why you move on further in the game to fight tougher monsters.

The whole reason I proposed the enemy level growth feature in the first place was mostly because when I revisit an area of a game, it really sucks to keep running into encounters that:

a) can't put up a decent fight
b) don't give enough XP/money/items to make the battle even worth it
c) serve to do nothing but waste my time as I'm trying to travel to my next objective


It sucks more to go back to a place you beat 30 hrs ago and still get your ass kicked. I'd have no problem going into a battle and killing everyone in one hit then moving on. Or just flee and keep going.

In most RPGs if you fight against enemies far weaker than you, the first thing they try to do in battle is escape. We can do that, as well as in map mode have them try their best to avoid the characters as they walk through the dungeon.
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Postby Brian » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:12 am

I agree with Dave.

The battles wouldn't be so tedious in the demo if there was a way to kill the enemies faster. I wrote more about it here:
http://www.allacrost.org/forum/viewtopi ... 6&start=40
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Postby Jetryl » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:01 am

Roots wrote:
Brian Aloisi wrote:Half the fun is leveling your guys up to Godly status, and there's few pleasures greater than owning monsters who were previously giving you a difficult time.


I disagree. There's nothing fun about fighting battles that you know you can't lose unless you do something idiotic like attacking your own characters. I feel an even better pleasure than being a god is to be able to continue to run into challenges that need to be overcome.


Brian is right that this is fun, but there's a key issue he's missing. It's only fun the first few times. Once you get over the thrill of realizing how badass you've become, it then becomes tedium, just like Roots said.

Roots wrote:The whole reason I proposed the enemy level growth feature in the first place was mostly because when I revisit an area of a game, it really sucks to keep running into encounters that:

a) can't put up a decent fight
b) don't give enough XP/money/items to make the battle even worth it
c) serve to do nothing but waste my time as I'm trying to travel to my next objective

The two extremes to this type of problem are to allow the player to avoid contact with enemies entirely, or to only allow encounters that are significant enough to make the fight worthwhile for the player.


I absolutely agree.

Roots wrote:Stepping back though, maybe a gradual leveling up system was the wrong way to go after all. I think that in theory it could work alright so long as the player's growth rate always exceeds the enemy's growth rate using the "expected XP level of first encounter" as a base (I'll elaborate more on this when I get home). I think I might like the idea of larger level steps instead. Ie, every 10 XP levels for an enemy changes their stats by a pre-set amount. So if your character is on XP level 5 fighting spiders, some of the spiders will be the "level 0" weaker ones, and some will be the "level 10" stronger ones. As the player gains levels the level 20, 30, etc spiders appear, but the growth between these levels is much less than the player, so eventually the player is pretty much capable of taking on any spiders with ease, but the spiders don't return the now incredibly meager "5 XP and 10 drunes" that the original level 0 spiders were giving out.


I do think a gradual leveling system was the wrong way to do it, and I really prefer your proposed solution.

Part of what makes it offensive comes from the fact that the players are fighting the same monsters. If there's some explanation of why the hell they're suddenly tougher (them actually being different but similar-looking monsters works well), it feels a lot more right to the player - especially if there are new quests involved. What roots offered up is a good solution - making the monsters a different breed of the same; it works especially well if we offer a new name, and hopefully, slightly different graphics (recolors with maybe one or two new body features would be fine here). For example, rather than fighting the rather tame green snakes, you're now facing the L20 black adders, and they're poisonous.



I think we should do:
1] Start by doing what roots said.

2] Add some visual/namewise indication that they're a different, more dangerous batch of nasties.

3] Add some plausible reason, storywise, for the player to suddenly be encountering new monsters. This is an excellent hook for side-quests, and only needs to be done about twice per area.

4] When the player has truly exhausted an area, and is now grossly overpowered compared to all the levelups given to it, reduce the number of monsters there to about 5-10% of the normal amount. -OR-, allow the player the ability to make this happen through a side quest (eliminate the source of the monsters). There should be just a few of them so that the player can revel in his/her power if he/she wants, but so few of them that the player can completely ignore/avoid them if they so choose.
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Postby Winter Knight » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:05 am

Jetryl wrote:
Roots wrote:The whole reason I proposed the enemy level growth feature in the first place was mostly because when I revisit an area of a game, it really sucks to keep running into encounters that:

a) can't put up a decent fight
b) don't give enough XP/money/items to make the battle even worth it
c) serve to do nothing but waste my time as I'm trying to travel to my next objective

The two extremes to this type of problem are to allow the player to avoid contact with enemies entirely, or to only allow encounters that are significant enough to make the fight worthwhile for the player.


I absolutely agree.


I don't think anybody disagrees that easy monsters are a problem. However, most of us don't like the solution of enemies levelling up.

I suggested twice already, and ChopperDave suggested once, that enemies should run away from characters who are much stronger than them. In map mode, they should do their best to avoid the players. Nobody has come up with any arguments against this. In fact, nobody else has even acknowledged the idea. It seems like the perfect solution to me.

Roots wrote:Stepping back though, maybe a gradual leveling up system was the wrong way to go after all. I think that in theory it could work alright so long as the player's growth rate always exceeds the enemy's growth rate using the "expected XP level of first encounter" as a base (I'll elaborate more on this when I get home). I think I might like the idea of larger level steps instead. Ie, every 10 XP levels for an enemy changes their stats by a pre-set amount. So if your character is on XP level 5 fighting spiders, some of the spiders will be the "level 0" weaker ones, and some will be the "level 10" stronger ones. As the player gains levels the level 20, 30, etc spiders appear, but the growth between these levels is much less than the player, so eventually the player is pretty much capable of taking on any spiders with ease, but the spiders don't return the now incredibly meager "5 XP and 10 drunes" that the original level 0 spiders were giving out.


This is a better solution than gradually levelling up monsters, but not a real good one. One problem is that it allows the character to continue to gain significant xp in an easy area. They should have to go to a harder area to gain xp if they are too strong for an easy area. It also doesn't solve the big problem, that monsters are levelling up just because the player is.

Jetryl wrote:Part of what makes it offensive comes from the fact that the players are fighting the same monsters.


Yes, that is part of it. However, it is more offensive that the world is changing just because the player is. The world is catching up, just to try to bring the player down. It's basically a form of lying to the player about their level. We claim that we gave the player five levels, but we also raised the strength of the enemies three levels. Net gain of two levels? The math isn't that easy, of course, especially if we make the enemies jump in levels, rather than doing it gradually, But the point is that rather than lying to the character about how strong they are (strength relative to enemies' strength) we should just be honest and have them level up slowly.

Jetryl wrote:4] When the player has truly exhausted an area, and is now grossly overpowered compared to all the levelups given to it, reduce the number of monsters there to about 5-10% of the normal amount. -OR-, allow the player the ability to make this happen through a side quest (eliminate the source of the monsters). There should be just a few of them so that the player can revel in his/her power if he/she wants, but so few of them that the player can completely ignore/avoid them if they so choose.


Decreasing the # of enemies is only a partial solution. The side quest is unncessary. The player shouldn't have to do a side quest just to prevent the game from getting too boring.

I like the idea of making new versions of enemies though. Pretty much every DW and FF game did this. They made new enemies just by recoloring old ones. It is an effective way to triple the number of enemies you have with just a little work.

I think we should:

1) leave the monster levelling code in the engine. We might want it later

2) Zero out all of the monster growth variables in lua.

3) Balance the game so that the player can beat the cave at around level 3 or level 4. Make the monsters not too easy at those levels.

4) Have map mode monsters try to avoid players that are 5+ levels above them.

5) Expect that the player will gain 1 or 2 levels per new map. Adjust the required xp for next level to increase exponentially, so that fighting easy monsters doesn't make much sense. And because of #4, they won't have to fight easy monsters, ever.
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Postby Ragwortshire » Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:52 pm

I think the best solution is to have monsters avoid the player if they (the monsters) can't possibly win. That means that a powerful party can still just saunter through a relatively safe area, they just don't have to fight a pile of random battles in the process.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with surprising the player by 'repopulating' an area at a certain point in the game, particularly if there is some story-driven reason they'd want to go back there.

Problem with monsters levelling up:

Often the power of your characters is determined by more than just level; e.g., equipment, skill choices, how good your stash of potions is etc. OTOH the power of the monsters is determined solely by your level. That means that being lower level could actually be an advantage, in that having very good equipment makes a bigger difference.

Conversely, if the player is stuck on an area, they have to get stronger by finding better stuff; levelling up won't help them at all. If they have missed that sword in a chest a while back, or they messed up their skill choices (assuming they have a choice), then they could be stuck permanently.

Of course you can solve these issues by making sure there's always some decent equipment available to the player, or by not giving them any skill choices, or by doing a half-measure and having the monsters level at only half the player's rate or whatever. But IMO it introduces more problems than it solves.
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Postby rujasu » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:46 pm

Quick thoughts:

I'm 100% in favor of having weak enemies disappear and/or avoid the player when the player levels up enough.

I am NOT in support of arbitrarily increasing enemy levels to keep up with the player's level because this destroys any sense of accomplishment coming from level increase. (As a side-point, it would be murderous to balance.)

I like Jetryl's idea of "destroying the source of the enemies," an idea that I thought was well-executed in Might and Magic III. Sometimes this can be a side-quest, other times it can be a necessity to destroy the enemy source before they overwhelm even the toughest character party. I also like the idea of repopulating a dungeon with tougher enemies, but this should be dependent only on a character's advancement in the story, and NOT the character levels. This could give us flexibility, in that we wouldn't have to implement some of these side quests until we release later modules.
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Postby Jetryl » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:53 am

An alternate tack on things is not letting the character get so f***-all ridiculously strong, like they do in most RPGs.

There's plenty of room to provide interesting opportunities to give out "level-up-candy" to players, the trick is that these become special abilities that allow them to win fights without having a raw power level that could rival zeus. With enough strategic options, you can win battles without having to be "more powerful than everything". This certainly isn't going to happen in the "punch out" battle mode we have now, where all that happens is a simple back and forth trading of blows. But it could be done with enough strategic options.


Wesnoth, of all games, is actually rather interesting and fun in this regard; there are only 3 levels of unit (they could be split much finer, but we chose to have unique graphics for every level) - however, they don't scale up so sharply in power. Some 3 or four level-1s can wipe out a level 3; (or vice versa) depending on who plays their cards right. There are enough strategic options that can magnify or lessen the power of a unit, that playing intelligently can allow you to win; these include terrain defense ("I have the high ground!"), or armor against certain damage types, or special abilities that bypass regular defenses (like marksman or poison).

Most RPGs get patently ridiculous - the player at the end of the game may as well be a deity. And it breaks the flow of certain things - it seems absurd for your party to get captured by XYZ group, because you could (and later sometimes do) just annihilate them with one spell. Many things no longer seem nearly as legitimately threatening as they do in games where your power-level doesn't increase by more than a few fold over the course of the game.
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Winter Knight
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Postby Winter Knight » Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:39 am

I completely agree with you Jetryl. This reminds of me of when I started FF II. I was Dark Knight Cecil, captain of the King's Air Guard. I probably had years of fighting experience with the Dark Knights. I was level 10. After about an hour of playing, I was several levels higher, and 2-3 times as powerful as I was before. I would have thought that a Dark Knight would be powerful enough to not get significantly stronger in an hour.

As for getting captured by enemies much weaker than you, that happens all the time. In pretty much every RPG and MMORPG that I've played. It's like a running cliche joke. Except it's not funny if you're actually trying to play a role.

For the battle mode, we should do one of two things. 1) we can implement strategy. 2) we can not implement strategy (be like most RPGs) and implement a feature where you can tell your characters to auto-fight. Press a certain button, and they will just attack when it is their turn. I had an ASCII pad for the Super Nintendo. I got through FF II and III by putting the "A" button on auto-turbo for every fight.

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