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The biggest failure of Dragon Age: Origins was level-scaling...

#11rainedownPosted 7/24/2014 9:21:51 PM
I think it could be a good thing, but I haven't really seen it work right yet. The closest was actually, funnily enough, guild wars 2; considering a single player game should have those mechanics nailed down easier.

Basically the appeal is that it would allow all content to be challenging and fun no matter the level you rise to--but without negating the gains you get for building your character. If you skip killing giant rats for a quest early on, for instance, if they die in one hit later it trivializes them; but if they're as hard as golems from mid game just because you're now level 25 it trivializes leveling and character building, which is honestly worse (IMHO).

I think the best times it has worked is when leveling itself scales, but gear does not. Therefore that genlock in the op example would die quicker because you now have an iron sword. Other times the level scaling only works at something like 90% so you do have an advantage in early areas compared to later areas.

Either way, I'm hard pressed to point to a perfect example of it in games so far, as it usually skews too far one way or the other on the trivialization scale.
#12myztikricePosted 7/24/2014 9:56:10 PM(edited)
You have better spells/abilities and are smarter. Just because they have the same stats as golems and your level doesn't mean they're comparatively harder. I don't think it trivializes leveling or character building at all.
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#13Ningishzida(Topic Creator)Posted 7/24/2014 9:56:59 PM
rainedown posted...
I think it could be a good thing, but I haven't really seen it work right yet. The closest was actually, funnily enough, guild wars 2; considering a single player game should have those mechanics nailed down easier.

Basically the appeal is that it would allow all content to be challenging and fun no matter the level you rise to--but without negating the gains you get for building your character. If you skip killing giant rats for a quest early on, for instance, if they die in one hit later it trivializes them; but if they're as hard as golems from mid game just because you're now level 25 it trivializes leveling and character building, which is honestly worse (IMHO).

I think the best times it has worked is when leveling itself scales, but gear does not. Therefore that genlock in the op example would die quicker because you now have an iron sword. Other times the level scaling only works at something like 90% so you do have an advantage in early areas compared to later areas.

Either way, I'm hard pressed to point to a perfect example of it in games so far, as it usually skews too far one way or the other on the trivialization scale.


^ Good post.

I did lots of research on level scaling, after Oblivion shoved it down my throat and nearly choked me to death with it, and I found out that some of my beloved master race RPGs also have level scaling, but it was done so mildly that you hardly ever noticed.

For example, Baldur's Gate 1 will have one wolf at lvl 1, but if you come back to that spawn point at max lvl, there might be three wolves there. But the difference is those wolves ARE wolves, with base wolf stats, they only pasted two more in there to give you something to laugh at and kill as you went past. Similarly, Baldur's Gate 2 might throw a lich into an undead encounter, if you're >lvl20.

Arcanum scales gear and enemies in random encounters, but everything in core main quest and sidequests is static (though somewhat random).

Neverwinter Nights scales spawn number directly to player level, but it's so subtle you won't know unless you cheat in 20 lvls, and suddenly you're up against 20 beggars instead of 2. But they're still beggars, they don't have HP bloat.

So level scaling has probably always been with us, but it's been implemented in a subtle way so that we can't really detect it unless we actively seek it out. And if you're gonna put in lvlscaling (and you really shouldn't), that's how it should be - more or less undetectable to the player.

Gothic 2: NotR avoid level scaling of enemies and gear, everything has the balls to be what it is fullstop. The game repopulates the world at plot-progression intervals, it's all handplaced, and I think this is the best way to go about things.

Level scaling of Origin magnitude is a casual phenomenon, it's in there to sterilize games for the masses so they can't make a wrong choice, and always can get by without adjustments or reflection.
#14blade6321Posted 7/24/2014 10:08:24 PM
All Ning has to do is admit that WRPGs are laughable in the face of the true master race- JRPGs.
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#15PraetorXynPosted 7/24/2014 10:10:35 PM
I thought it failed by being incredibly bland and shallow compared to its Infinity Engine predecessors.
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#16Ningishzida(Topic Creator)Posted 7/24/2014 10:21:21 PM(edited)
PraetorXyn posted...
I thought it failed by being incredibly bland and shallow compared to its Infinity Engine predecessors.


Well yeah, it did claim to be a spiritual successor. But the thing is, generic story aside, the lore, characters, writing, quests and origin stories were actually very well done. And the tactical framework had the potential for so much, except that all encounters are ruined by level scaling.

I guess by "biggest failure", I'm talking about what stops me playing Origins these days, now that I've exhausted the Infinity Engine offerings (and I definitely have, including mods). So I'm looking to Origins, and the brick wall for me replaying it is simply level scaling, as I play these games more for tactics than anything else, and Origins does flirt with me on that level with it's tactical framework and potential to far exceed IE battle system, especially when you throw a few mods in there to make combat more faster (similar to IE @ 60 AI updates), and more lethal.
#17x_stevey_xPosted 7/24/2014 10:55:52 PM
Ningishzida posted...
i have another worthless opinion about an rpg that i just have to share via blogfaqs
#18DawnshadowPosted 7/24/2014 11:00:31 PM
So how do you do an open world game with set levels? Wouldn't making certain areas high level, by their very nature, force a character into a "correct" path? If your open world game says "no, you can't clear the quest that sends you to this cave because the RNG made it a level 20 cave and you're level 5, come back in six hours" it's not open world anymore, and you're punishing the player of making the "wrong choice" of not guessing how the developers wanted you to play their "open world" game.

Then, even if a player was skillful enough (or good enough at exploiting cheap mechanics, or savescummed until the RNG went in their favor) to play in a higher leveled area, when they come back to the lower level zone it's trivial and they have an hour or two of one-shotting everything in their path. No challenge means no gameplay.

For an open world game, I'd rather see level scaling that sets as you quest in a region (so you can't pop your head into a region as you pass by and have the enemies be low level when you come back to actually quest there.) Come to the city of Dageron for the first time at level 12 and the wolves are level 10. Finish questing there, then come back at level 60 and the wolves are still level 10. Arrive at level 8 in the next game and the wolves are level 6, and stay level 6. Go the other direction entirely and reach Dageron at level 40 in your next game, and instead of normal wolves you find winter wolves that are also level 40 (because the top level for wolves is 15 and something needs to spawn here.)
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#19akuma634Posted 7/24/2014 11:02:35 PM
The real failure was the total lack of reactivity and consequences to player choices. There is nothing after 5 minutes that sticks around until the game resumes the status quo. It's really shallow, nothing you do even matters until you pick which ending you want.
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#20PraetorXynPosted 7/24/2014 11:44:47 PM
Dawnshadow posted...
So how do you do an open world game with set levels? Wouldn't making certain areas high level, by their very nature, force a character into a "correct" path? If your open world game says "no, you can't clear the quest that sends you to this cave because the RNG made it a level 20 cave and you're level 5, come back in six hours" it's not open world anymore, and you're punishing the player of making the "wrong choice" of not guessing how the developers wanted you to play their "open world" game.

Then, even if a player was skillful enough (or good enough at exploiting cheap mechanics, or savescummed until the RNG went in their favor) to play in a higher leveled area, when they come back to the lower level zone it's trivial and they have an hour or two of one-shotting everything in their path. No challenge means no gameplay.

For an open world game, I'd rather see level scaling that sets as you quest in a region (so you can't pop your head into a region as you pass by and have the enemies be low level when you come back to actually quest there.) Come to the city of Dageron for the first time at level 12 and the wolves are level 10. Finish questing there, then come back at level 60 and the wolves are still level 10. Arrive at level 8 in the next game and the wolves are level 6, and stay level 6. Go the other direction entirely and reach Dageron at level 40 in your next game, and instead of normal wolves you find winter wolves that are also level 40 (because the top level for wolves is 15 and something needs to spawn here.)


People that actually know how to build characters and use proper tactics and strategy can scrape by in areas they really shouldn't be in. Then later on when they're finished their build those areas may as well be a school playground. It rewards you for intelligence, perseverance, and you generally get unique pieces of equipment or other loot to justify the risk you took.

In a scaled game, you get what, some randomly leveled piece of garbage that's probably worse than what you already have.

Though it's far from a difficult game, starting Fallout: New Vegas is a perfect example of this. If you want to properly build your character, you put your Intelligence at level 6 if you have all DLC's, then you need to make your way to New Vegas at level 1 in order to get the Intelligence implant before level 2. This basically means you have to head through the quarry and dodge around Deathclaws at level 1.

Doing this allows you to get the most skill point upon level up. There's many more skill points in the game than are necessary assuming you have all DLC's, but you have to have your Intelligence at 7 or so.
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