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Creating a Balanced RPG Level System


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#1 Vile Smile

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:42 PM

This is a question for those who have worked with RPG games. In most cases, RPG's have some sort of level system. As the player gains levels, their stats increase, giving them more power in various fields. How do you balance those levels so that the player is challenged, but not overwhelmed?
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#2 Zeddy

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:54 PM

Don't have infinite enemies. That way you can limit the max level of the player at any given time.
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#3 Fihrilkamal

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:46 PM

You can do this, for example just like in "Rogue Galaxy" leveling system. In the game you get experience for each monster you defeated, but each time you kill SAME TYPE of monster over and over again, the Experience bonus will be decreased. So this will make player should leveling up the characters without being over powered. That's my opinion :)
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#4 PetzI

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 08:53 PM

You can do this, for example just like in "Rogue Galaxy" leveling system. In the game you get experience for each monster you defeated, but each time you kill SAME TYPE of monster over and over again, the Experience bonus will be decreased. So this will make player should leveling up the characters without being over powered. That's my opinion :)


I would recommend basing the EXP the player receives on their level rather than how many of those monsters he has defeated. That's how it worked in Paper Mario.
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#5 Vile Smile

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 11:47 PM

Don't have infinite enemies. That way you can limit the max level of the player at any given time.


This would work in some special cases, but I think that there should be a level limit rather than a enemy limit. If you run out of enemies, the game would feel awfully empty.

You can do this, for example just like in "Rogue Galaxy" leveling system. In the game you get experience for each monster you defeated, but each time you kill SAME TYPE of monster over and over again, the Experience bonus will be decreased. So this will make player should leveling up the characters without being over powered. That's my opinion :)


That's definitely an interesting way to encourage players to vary there play style.


You can do this, for example just like in "Rogue Galaxy" leveling system. In the game you get experience for each monster you defeated, but each time you kill SAME TYPE of monster over and over again, the Experience bonus will be decreased. So this will make player should leveling up the characters without being over powered. That's my opinion :)


I would recommend basing the EXP the player receives on their level rather than how many of those monsters he has defeated. That's how it worked in Paper Mario.


This is a good way to keep the player from level grinding on weak monsters.


Thanks for the suggestions! I have experience down. Does anyone know any good methods of balancing the stats of the player to keep them from being too powerful? And what about classes that have specialized stats, like warriors vs. mages?
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#6 Yal

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 08:24 AM

I would recommend basing the EXP the player receives on their level rather than how many of those monsters he has defeated. That's how it worked in Paper Mario.

In most RPGs, you need more EXP for each level, but in Paper Mario it was always 100. I don't think it's a good idea to combine these systems in general, picking either is the best. But if you combine them, you efficiently limit the player's level pretty well.

Does anyone know any good methods of balancing the stats of the player to keep them from being too powerful? And what about classes that have specialized stats, like warriors vs. mages?

Myself, I'd say that it's no real problem if the player gets overpowered against weak enemies - blasting half the screen empty with a single attack is quite fun. What you should have would be enemies that have a certain strategical weakness, and needs something else than just mashing "attack". For instance, look up the Darknuts of LoZ: The Windwaker. To beat one of them, you need to keep out of their reach, wait until they start one of their slow, powerful sword swings that peel off three hearts if they hit, and in that moment, you need to react. If they use a vertical slice, you roll out of the way, get behind their back, and start to slice at the bands which holds it armor together: once they break, armor parts will fall off, allowing you to attack them and deal damage. (The armor makes them impervious to your sword) If they make a horizontal roundhouse slice, you need to jump out of the way - either backwards (which is chicken) or jump up on their shoulders, taking a slice on their helmet (which might break if timed correctly) or, if it's broken, stab your sword into their head. (This is actually how you kill the final boss).

Got it? Try to have something like that in your RPG (it should be possible to fit into most battle systems, but active/action battle systems are the best suited ones. You could perhaps have action commands (like in the paper mario series) where you need to press buttons at the right times to get the most juice out of your attacks?)

Conclusion: give the player a steady stream of enemies that require a certain tactic to defeat, no matter how high the stats of the player are. Then have a steady torrent of normal enemies around them so that the player can just use his Powerful Powers to satisfy his need for explosions.

Edited by Yal, 09 March 2011 - 08:26 AM.

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#7 sabriath

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 10:58 AM

I have always liked the Tactics style of leveling....where you gain special points for doing something meaningful. For example, swinging a weapon and missing gives you nothing in comparison to hitting and doing X damage. Although you do not have to do the battles exactly the same, the point system can still work the same. You have to take care in "cheating" though...in tactics, you could actually have your allies hit each other while having another heal the damage (1 battle and you could gain maximum job points in a few minutes if done right).

Besides that, it won't really matter how you do the system for the players...it matters how you do it for the enemies. If the player's characters are able to gain 10% more damaging power after a level, then they are able to kill the monster 10% faster, which allow them to survive 10-20% better. The key is to "level" the monsters at a rate parallel (at a skew) to the players. I could give you a bunch of ideas, but instead, I'll give you 1 way of doing it, and you can figure out if you like it or not (or change what you need):

For each monster in your game, decide on what level the player is _suppose_ to be at when fighting it for the first time (keyword here is "first time"). Figure out how much life the characters have at that level, and about how much damage they will be dishing out. Take the damage they would be dealing and expand it to 2 minutes, make that the enemies life (if the enemy is a healer, divide it in half). Take the life of the characters and divide it among the 2 minutes for dps (damange per second)...make that the enemies damaging power. Theoretically, if this is _suppose_ to be the level you fight it for the first time, then you and the enemy should die at the same time (stale mate)...but most RPGs have items to bring members back to life, so it's always in the player's advantage.

Take it further and figure out how many levels the player will most likely "grind" his way in the area fighting the same monster before moving on (maximum level you want the player to stay there). Using the same algorithms above, figure out for the same 2 minute battle using the new level. Reduce the life and damage of the enemy by 30%, and use that as a 2nd point in interpolating for all levels for this monster (which would make it very difficult to fight before you are "suppose" to, and very easy after this point).

If your experience system is linear (like FF10) rather than progressive (like the good FFs), I would suggest reducing the enemies experience if you are above the "suppose to fight" level. Progressive experience games, you can just keep the exp gain the same for all levels.
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