Experience Curve, leveling, leveled enemies

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Pyrathas, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. Pyrathas

    Pyrathas Veteran Veteran

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    So the biggest turn off for me in RPGs, other than not seeing the enemy, is each enemy is a set stat and that's it. So slime is a challenge early in game, but annoying at high levels. VERY annoying. I found it more challenging and immersive when monsters level with you.

    So what I trying to figure out is how do others figure the experience curve?

    From my understanding for players you need a certain level of exp to level up. You also need base stats. Then you add modifiers per class.

    With this in mind, how do you mirror this with enemies? What is a good practice and where do you turn to for inspiration and a model for skills states and leveling.

    I'm actually drawing a blank for my battle and leveling mechanics here. One of my buddies uses Dnd 5e and a parroboloc curve. I don't know what that is. Lol but what do others use to build thier mechanics?
     
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  2. Jules98

    Jules98 Veteran Veteran

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    I don't use enemy levels; it's too much of a balancing hassle. My game is also rather linear, so scaling up enemies with levels is unnecessary anyway. Also, I personally feel that making enemies stronger as the player levels up kind of defeats the point of leveling up. After all, why bother grinding to level 100 when that slime is going to be just as tough to take down as it was at level 10?
     
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  3. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    I don't. I find it diminishes the reward of being level up. Might as well as don't add rewarding experience on being level up like ditch the leveling system altogether (which personally I don't like it either). Level 1 slime, stays at level 1 slime. What to do is to introduce a new encounters says level 10 slime that introduce a new mechanic that you have to familiarize with it.

    I'm not clever enough to come up with my own exp calculation. So most of the time I just slap the default exp generator from the default database, look up at the numbers, run through some simulation, or actually play the game, and see if it hits the right spot.

    Battle test, of course. A certain encounter is optimized to be beaten at a certain level with a certain gear equipped. Beyond that boundary is unknown.

    I design my game from my actor first. What they can do, and probably want the player want to do. Then I design my enemies to encounter all the actor's ability.
     
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  4. NinjaKittyProductions

    NinjaKittyProductions Professional Murder Hobos Veteran

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    I have always been a table top fan so I typically use a system akin to Pathfinder (or D&D 3.5). It gives me a good place to start and since I know the system inside and out, so I have very good idea of what level my heroes need to be to fight certain enemies.

    I have to agree with TheoAllen. If the enemies leveled up with you, what is the point of you leveling up?... new skills, more stats, chance at better loot? Typically with a system that levels monsters along side the hero, the monsters also learn new skills and receive just as many stats points.

    You could instead introduce a system that checks the heroes level and prevents the hero from running into "lower level" monsters or the monster runs away because of your hero's power level.
     
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  5. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

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    Enemies shouldn't even have flexible scaling unless you're going for an open-ended, non-linear game.

    But if there must be enemies who get stronger, it should not be tied to the player's level. Instead, it should be tied to how much player's relative progression in the game. It sounds counterintuitive, but examine the enemy and equipment scaling in Breath of the Wild.

    You can come up with a way to scale up enemies that's tied to variables other than the player's level, such as when you complete quests, kill bosses, open treasure chests, or whatever you can think of. Anything other than the player's level. There cannot be direct parity between the player's level and the enemy's, or there is no real sense of progression.
     
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  6. Pyrathas

    Pyrathas Veteran Veteran

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    I agree! I always figured the best way was to tie it into the player level. But this causes the opposite immersion breaking like why is that rat stronger now? I psuedo coded something like If player.level = x (rat.level = base * player.level * size%). So the rat would level with the player based on their base stats, but reduced based on size. so if the size was .5, it cuts base and player's level in half. If it was humanoid it would equal player stats with a size 1, and if it was bigger in size, it would be twice the player level with a size 2.

    But as for variables, could you give me an example of how that would work? I am taking scripting in college right now so I know it is like memory storage, but my coding is basic.

    As for enemies running, I am forgoing the encounter steps for an event that has AI to initiate the battle event. Players can still hunt monsters, monsters will detect them, but if you are trying to get to town to restock and replenish? yeah, I think Enemy chase events would be better. you still have the risk, and you can better avoid encounters like in real life.
     
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  7. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

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    @Pyrathas, follow the link I posted. It goes into detail about how enemies get stronger based on a variable that goes up with kills. When the variable meets a certain threshold, the enemy is replaced with a stronger one.

    But it need not be tied to enemy kills. It could be tied to chests opened by the player. Quests they've completed. The equipment in their inventory. All kinds of variables.

    Like in Skyrim, you could create an enemy level cap based on how strong the player is when they enter that area.
     
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  8. Pyrathas

    Pyrathas Veteran Veteran

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    Wow that is detailed! I had to print it out to read it better. Thanks! Yeah skyrim had a decent level system for enemies. I thought it was tied to player though.
     
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  9. lianderson

    lianderson Veteran Veteran

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    I personally use enemies that level up over time, with things you can do to slow or even reverse their progress. Its got its own issues and things to worry about, but it doesn't make your levels feel useless or counterproductive like some other enemy leveling systems do.
     
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  10. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    As a player one of the things I really dislike about enemies that level up with me is this.

    I hit a level 60 rat. The amount pf damage it deals is commensurate with that level. I have to use resources on higher level skills and resources on healing. But I still only get the 5 exp and 2 gold of a level 2 rat. I am massively in deficit. I personally have not played a game where the rewards are also levelled up. Maybe they exist, but I haven't seen them. This strikes me as being deeply unfair to the player.
     
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  11. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I've actually ran into another version of this problem with games too. I played a game where the enemies didn't scale, but the EXP rewards did. This resulted in me having a 5 minute long battle with a dragon which did all sorts of special attacks, and in the end I got...1 EXP, as the game decided I was overleveled for that battle somehow so it scaled down the EXP reward. Seeing as I needed 40,000+ EXP to level up, I nearly screamed.

    As it is, I personally hate any sort of scaling in the game, whether it is level scaling the enemies to EXP scaling the EXP rewards. If you do your math right EXP scaling is not needed at all (just raise the EXP per level appropriately instead, it does the same thing in the end mathematically), and level scaling makes me feel like there is no point to leveling up if the enemies are just going to level up with me.

    Case in point...FF8. I actually found that game easier to play by NOT leveling up as everything scaled with me. Ended up getting Encounter None as fast as I could, then put it on for the rest of disc 2 - the end of the game. Was around level 23 or so when I did that, and you know what? The game was easier than my earlier attempt when I was like level 53 on disc 4 and every enemy was curb stomping me due to the level scaling.

    Edit: I also disagree that level scaling is needed for open world games. Gothic 2 didn't do it and you know what? I honestly liked it that way. Sure I might get in over my head when I go into that area at level 4 and run into a Shadowbeast that could one hit KO me at that point in time, but it also required you to play smart. And if you did, you just might survive an area you weren't meant to early on and get a nice reward in the end.
     
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  12. woootbm

    woootbm Super Sand Legend Veteran

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    It's interesting how many people are against enemy scaling, too. I am against it as well. I just thought it was more popular.

    To go along with this:

    I would add that the game also needs to be quite long, and features grinding quite heavily. Because for a small RPG Maker game, there's no reason you can't just manually design every encounter, as well as avoiding giving players any reason to kill the level 1 enemies at higher levels.

    Also, this is what your friend means by "parabolic." It's the shape of a curved graph.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parabola
     
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  13. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

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  14. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    I love this feeling. I'd be glad if more open world games did this. Enemies don't need to scale in any manner. It's honestly fun to find super powerful enemies in the wild, and great to curb stomp worthless fights quickly. Both FF8 and Skyrim got me to the point of "don't level, there's nothing to be gained" with level scaling.

    On the note of BotW, a large part to me that made it work is that it still relies on player skill. You might eventually be fighting silver enemies, but the skills you learned for fighting bokoblins works no matter the color, plus the better rewards helps. You also don't level up. There's no inherit upward progression in the character, it's up to the player to deal with that, and the player doesn't have to play keep up with random mobs.

    Hmm, now that makes me wonder if leveling needs to exist in open world games. Maybe skill gains through JP and stat increases through equipment might be enough.

    On the note of DnD, you could take a "rule" from that. Enemies don't level with you, you just get encounters tailored to the story and party. Quests can mimic that, based on when you can take them (unless quests have no ties and don't heavily build on each other). You could also do "fake" scaling through something like FFTA2, where quests generally level with you, but more accurately as you unlock things. Then again, random encounters not tied to anything might also not need to exist.

    Challenging, maybe, but definitely not immersive. One thing you could do to "scale" enemies is the "kick out" method; You beat enemies and the boss in one area, next time you come back a stronger set of enemies have moved in. Not based on level, but on the number of times this has happened. It can even be tied to other progressions or quests; Say you end up killing the lizard king. Well, empty all the areas of lizardmen now that they flee with no leader and the next set of enemies show up.
     
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  15. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    If you want enemies to level with you, it might just be easier to remove levels altogether.

    Levels exist for a reason, and that's to make the player stronger so they have an easier time going up against monsters. Level the monsters with the player, and you remove the entire point of it.
     
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  16. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    That's actually the approach I used, except the kick out was based on plot progression too. For instance, my story requires you to return to a Chapter 1 dungeon in Chapter 9. Obviously a Chapter 9 party could KO the enemies with a sneeze, so I kick out the old enemies and put a new set that is more appropriate for the current power, and explain that it happens as the city finally cleaned out the monsters here (rats and slimes)...and replaced them with guard robots, which are now hostile to the party.

    I also have zones that if you KO the leader, the entire dungeon empties out. in that case you can go through the dungeons with no encounter risk whatsoever and grab the rest of the loot easily. Of course, it was more useful *before* the boss battle, but it is still useful even afterwards.
     
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