Level up systems in RPGs ?

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jack1974
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Level up systems in RPGs ?

Post by jack1974 »

Been talking a lot with Anima about different approaches to RPG rulesets. We're talking about PS2 because that's what we're working on next, but some general considerations might apply to other RPGs as well.
For example, on level up. I am used to the old system of level up, where you need to get a certain amount of XP to gain points to assign to skills/attributes whatever you want to call them. However Anima suggested a more gradual level up, something already seen in Skyrim for example, where you get points every time you have enough XP.

Plain simple examples to explain better:
A) you need to gain 1000XP to level, and you get 5 skill points every time you do it
B) every time you gain 200XP, you get 1 skill point to spend, anytime during the game
C) You can buy skills directly with XP. (So skills have an XP cost.)

Personally I like the first system more, but I know even the second is very popular, so I'd like to hear what people think :)
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Anima_
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Re: Level up systems in RPGs ?

Post by Anima_ »

Add:
C) You can buy skills directly with XP. (So skills have an XP cost.)
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jack1974
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Re: Level up systems in RPGs ?

Post by jack1974 »

Done :) that is interesting indeed.
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Franka
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Re: Level up systems in RPGs ?

Post by Franka »

I've always liked the approach of: The more you use a specific skill, the more it naturally increases - but the higher the skill, the more uses it will require to increase it (this is pretty much the Elder Scrolls approach). Coupled or not coupled with an XP system and "levels."

Of course, the ultimate approach to that was Final Fantasy II, which had no levels, but entered the realm of silly: In battle, you'd hit yourself with your weapons to increase weapon skills and hit points. :D It was quite funny actually.
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jack1974
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Re: Level up systems in RPGs ?

Post by jack1974 »

Yes same system used in Morrowind/Oblivion (if I remember well, has been a while since I played them). While I like that system, because of how we structured the next game (PS2) is probably not practical, but I want to remember your suggestion for a future RPG :)
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MarSel
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Re: Level up systems in RPGs ?

Post by MarSel »

Anima_ wrote:Add:
C) You can buy skills directly with XP. (So skills have an XP cost.)
I liked the Grandia 2 system where you level up as normal (gaining points to str, dex and what not) but you also gained BP I think it was (long time since I played but the idea still stands) after each battle and once you gained enough you could buy the unique character skills, plus level them up to 5 each. (also gained magic points to level up/gain your magic)
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Lonestar51
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Re: Level up systems in RPGs ?

Post by Lonestar51 »

Franka wrote:I've always liked the approach of: The more you use a specific skill, the more it naturally increases - but the higher the skill, the more uses it will require to increase it (this is pretty much the Elder Scrolls approach). Coupled or not coupled with an XP system and "levels."
I always loved the system since I first played Morrowind. Feels much more "natural".
Jack1974 wrote:C) You can buy skills directly with XP. (So skills have an XP cost.)
I believe P&P "Das schwarze Auge" (The dark eye? not sure about translation) uses the approach. Drakensang was one computer game of the system.

This would be my second choice.
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Jaeger
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Re: Level up systems in RPGs ?

Post by Jaeger »

Skills gained from usage, while it seems appealing on paper, forced players to do awkward tasks in practice. For example, in Skyrim, getting increases in armor skill required the player to get hit while wearing a piece of armor, forcing odd tactics like letting a enemy wail on the player. I found weapon skills outpacing the armor skills, even when playing as a pure melee character, which meant inevitably taking a lot of hits.

I like the Fallout approach to gaining experience. Besides killing people and completing quests, you also can gain experience by successfully stealing, picking locks, passing speech checks, etc.
Last edited by Jaeger on Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jack1974
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Re: Level up systems in RPGs ?

Post by jack1974 »

Recently I'm playing Guid Wars 2, and while it cannot be compared to normal indie games (for obvious reasons) I like the idea that you can experience even gathering resources and crafting. Granted, in that game they did it so that people would go around and gather low-level resources or craft new items, since is a MMORPG, but is nice.
I still think though that the level up should be separately. I mean, if you level up only with non-combat skill, is not much realistic that you're good in combat, and vice-versa. So is not an easy thing to design :)
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Lonestar51
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Re: Level up systems in RPGs ?

Post by Lonestar51 »

The nice thing in Morrowind and Oblivion was: it encouraged you to spread your action, do some magic even as a fighter, try to influence people and haggle with merchants, whatever. This was because the level up was after 10 skill improvements - but only in the skills chosen at the start. In Skyrim any skill improvements will count against a level up, so there you need to be wary not to get ahead too fast in the non-combat skills (or non-caster skills, if you try the mage route.)

Which tends to lead me to the same conclusion you already arrived: If skill improvements in non-combat skills make you level up too fast, most players will ignore them - and that would be a shame, as then you would implement lots of nice possibilities which are not used.
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