Tips on balancing & scaling a non-linear game?

Lorenze

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Hey guys.

My game use a semi-nonlinear style of gameplay. 

There's a tutoiral-ish level, then you get three preliminary levels to choose from in any order.

After that, there's a story event, and you get two more stages (in any order), another story event, and finally the last level.

My question is how to scale this type of gameplay? I don't want to have third stage be ridiculously hard for a low-leveled

player who selected it first, but I also don't want to nerf the difficulty. I also tried using Yanfly's Enemy Levels script, but

that didn't help much. Any advice on this?

Thanks in advance!
 

Cozzer

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Assuming it's an RPG, you could make the characters advance very slowly, so that even after completing two "levels" they're not too strong. Still, the game's difficulty will decrease instead of increasing, which is not good.

I fear the only "complete" solution would be changing the levels themselves according to when they're played.

Maybe you could work with restrictions: for example, the player gets more healing items for the first of the three levels, while in the third one he has to count on his characters' improved skills.

Still, it wouldn't work in a "normal" JRPG system where enemies become basically harmless as you go on.
 

Seacliff

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An idea would be to remove leveling up all together and have items you buy in the store to boost your stats, but that might take a lot out of your way to accomplish.
 

Eschaton

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There's a script by Yanfly that allows enemies to level up.  You can adjust how strong they are with each level, and can determine each enemy's minimum and maximum level. 

I'm not sure if there's a script, but you can use variables and conditional branches to "level" the loot the player finds.
 
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SVGK

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i really don't know, xenoblade pulls this off like a boss, but for anything other than a similar action system with enemies all over the map, as well as the very clever thing of enemies being way outta leage at times.

i don't see it happening.
 

EFizzle

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What you could do is... and this would take a bucket load of balancing... have 3 different versions of each area. A Lvl 1 version, a Lvl 2 version and a Lvl 3 version, all influenced by switches that are set off after the player completes an area.

For example let's just call each areas A, B, and C. Let's say the player chooses A first, he encounters Lvl 1 enemies, then goes to B, fights the Lvl 2 enemies, and then finally C, and combats the Lvl 3 foes. But then another player does it in a different order, B, C, and then A, but by messing around with switches and the like, you can still get the player to fight the Lvl 1 foes first. And then in area C the player will fight through the Lvl 2 variant. So on and So forth. It'll be a pain to balance, and hard to set up, but I hope you get the idea.
 

OceansDream

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I personally am of the idea that the player should go where they want, but that not every place is safe for them to go to. I'm not really a fan of levelled creatures or anything myself. Like, if the player really wants to go to a higher level area, then sure why not? I'd say a player should have multiple areas to go within their general level range, but I'm fine with a player wanting to try to take on a high level dungeon and try to fish out some treasure from there and hope they can make it back alive so they can use it in the lower level dungeons or something. Or just slowly but surely take on that higher level dungeon. Some people like the challenge!

You should have multiple options always for where to go though, because if not then players will generally go through the same path of difficulty if each dungeon is just harder than the next. It's a good idea to have a message or something tell what level enemies are in that area, or have it on their monster name (Level 8 Wood Elf). And if levels make too much of a difference, then a player would HAVE to take on the areas by way of grinding the lower ones so then in that case it doesn't really offer the freedom.
 

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