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Posted by Jimbo

I hated it in Oblivion.  I think the first thing I did was go to the Arena and become the greatest fighter in the land at about level 2 or something.
 
You don't really have the freedom in something like Dragon Age for it to become an issue either way.

Posted by Branthog

If the environment scales, there's no point in having levels in the first place.

Posted by SirBlimE
@FourWude said:
" @SirBlimE said:
" Hate it.   I love when you feel like your hard work pays of, Oblivion made the whole leveling part feel pointless. "
The levelling was only scaled to around Level 18 and then stopped. If you levelled higher than that, achieving past level 20 shoud have been pretty easy; then the game becomes really easy. "
Actually think i stopped at 17... the game never really got a hold of me.
Posted by Murdouken

I think it worked well in Mass Effect and Dragon Age. They cocked it up in Oblivion.

Posted by TheGreatGuero

It's pretty lame. It makes you feel like you're not really getting much stronger.

Edited by Lordborg909

Hate it... I want the feeling of accomplishment, where some level/area is off limits to me, the monsters are waaaaay to scary to even attempt.... THEN, coming back when you are stronger and whooping some ass! Awesome feeling imho 
 
Actually now I think of it WOW is a good example of this... you wouldnt go into SM with a level 10 guy now would you.... unless a 80 was running you :)

Posted by JoeyRavn
@haggis said:
" @JoeyRavn: I'm not sure that it's right to assume that default difficulty is the "truest" way to play the game. Just that it happens to be in the middle of easy and hard difficulties. Yes, this might in some cases be the developer's ideal, and in other cases it might merely be a calculation based on feedback from testers. I think, for instance, that Dragon Age's developers would really like everyone to play on the harder difficulty levels and micromanage everything. I imagine you'd find that opinions among developers even of the same game vary as to the ideal difficulty. And that's the point: there really is no average gamer. They try to adjust the game to meet an average difficulty target, but I can imagine developers not being happy with that. I always imagine that developers want everyone to play the hardest possible version of their game and that all other difficulty levels are to help people. They put a lot of work into making the game hard but still beatable. I think there's probably devs who approach it either way. "
You bring up very good points. I agree with you, but I tend to see Normal as the compromise between difficulty and accesibility. It's, after all, what's used to measure how hard Hard is, or how easy Easy is. In other words, like the starting point for that game. Anyway, I'm just using the Normal difficulty for standarizing purposes, so we have a reference frame to speak of. Scaling/fixed levels react differentl on different difficulty levels.
Posted by odintal
@Brodehouse said:
" Just make the combat good and I don't care about anything else.  There are games of both varieties that wind up either being good or bad, and it depends on the combat. "
Posted by Sin4profit

Hate level scaling. You play at yer own pace and if you want to grind up to blow past later enemies you feel a sense of accomplishment and bad-assery.
I literally had to "tune" Oblivion when i got to a certain point where i thought the enemies were too hard..they have a damn difficulty slider..that just struck me as lazy development.

Posted by Brodehouse

Just make the combat good and I don't care about anything else.  There are games of both varieties that wind up either being good or bad, and it depends on the combat.

Posted by stoppre

I didn't mind the oblivion system to
much. But the combat was an after thought to me. I just enjoyed the quests and screwed around with NPC's.

Posted by Grumbel
It completly depends on the game. In Mass Effect or Dragon Age level scaling works, as they are not open world games, they are mission based and there just would be no point in being stuck in a mission that is unbeatable with your current low level. On the other side in games like Gothic 2 the lack of level scaling makes the game great. You can walk anywhere any time, but you might not survive it. So staying on the path, not walking off into the woods at random and stuff like that becomes an important part of the game. The higher you level, the more of the game area becomes manageable and it just feels great when you can finally slay an enemy that has been bothering you for the last few hours of gameplay.
Posted by huntad
@haggis: Fallout 3 did the level locking stuff.
 
I am not a huge fan of it, but I see why it's necessary.
Posted by yinstarrunner

I don't like it.  It feels more like you're character is the center of the entire universe, and less like you are in an actual living world.  It breaks my immersion.

Posted by JoeH

Depends entirely on the RPG. If they rpg is very story based, like Mass Effect, I'd love scaled levelling, cause I'm here for the story. But if it's an RPG. That focuses on levelling and character development then no, since then it defeats the point of the game.

Posted by haggis
@JoeyRavn: I'm not sure that it's right to assume that default difficulty is the "truest" way to play the game. Just that it happens to be in the middle of easy and hard difficulties. Yes, this might in some cases be the developer's ideal, and in other cases it might merely be a calculation based on feedback from testers. I think, for instance, that Dragon Age's developers would really like everyone to play on the harder difficulty levels and micromanage everything. I imagine you'd find that opinions among developers even of the same game vary as to the ideal difficulty. And that's the point: there really is no average gamer. They try to adjust the game to meet an average difficulty target, but I can imagine developers not being happy with that. I always imagine that developers want everyone to play the hardest possible version of their game and that all other difficulty levels are to help people. They put a lot of work into making the game hard but still beatable. I think there's probably devs who approach it either way.
Posted by JoeyRavn
@haggis said:
" @JoeyRavn:  "The problem with level scaling is that you know that you'll be probably able to handle everything the game throws at you."  The devs try to ameliorate this by adding difficulty levels in the options menu. That allows them a bit larger of a gap between your abilities and the enemies they are throwing at you. So in Mass Effect and Oblivion, if you set the difficulty level low, the enemies will be a level or two lower than you, and on the difficult settings a level or two above. So the enemies still scale, but they're scaled differently depending on what difficulty you've chosen. Sometimes this approach work well and sometimes it doesn't. "
True. Higher difficulty levels try to compensate for the level scaling, and for the most part they do. But I'm speaking from a "Normal" perspective, which I assume is the difficulty setting at which the developers thought most players would be playing. Anything lower is there to help those who get stuck, anything higher to add more challenge. But I assume that the default difficulty is what the devs deemed "truest" to how they imagined the game should be played in the first place. If not, they would have made it harder to begin with, no? :P
Posted by haggis
@JoeyRavn:  "The problem with level scaling is that you know that you'll be probably able to handle everything the game throws at you."
 
The devs try to ameliorate this by adding difficulty levels in the options menu. That allows them a bit larger of a gap between your abilities and the enemies they are throwing at you. So in Mass Effect and Oblivion, if you set the difficulty level low, the enemies will be a level or two lower than you, and on the difficult settings a level or two above. So the enemies still scale, but they're scaled differently depending on what difficulty you've chosen. Sometimes this approach work well and sometimes it doesn't.
Posted by Johnny5
@ryanwho said:
" @Johnny5 said:
" @ryanwho said:
" Unskilled people hate it. Skilled people understand you're constantly unlocking new skills and abilities and that's what gives you the advantage from then on. Honestly if your solution in every situation to difficulty is grinding instead of figuring out the battle system you just suck at games and people shouldn't be making games based on your preferences. Keep scaling, and offer an easy mode for sucky people. Simple solution. "
A good game will be hard enough without making you grind to progress. If the game is too difficult, you should turn down the difficulty setting. "
Of course. The solution should never be to grind. If a game is balanced in such a way that that's your only choice, the game is at fault then. If you always include difficulty settings, nobody will ever be forced to grind. But then its a matter of developer ego. Some may think their game is balanced and this one difficulty is how you play it, and you're supposed to grind. *coughnamcocough* In cases like that, I'd just avoid the game completely. People are paying for a product, they should have options on how to experience it. "
Unless its Dynasty Warriors? :P
Posted by JoeyRavn
@ryanwho said:
" @ProfessorEss said:
" I'm not of fan of it.  There's just something cool/fun/hilarious about accidentally stumbling into an area that you're nowhere near leveled enough to be in - leaving you running for your life from mobs that'll one-shot you into next month. "
You can have that in addition to scaling. FF8 had scaling with min-max enemy stats. As in, the lowest level version of the T rex is level 30, the highest level 50. So once you hit level 31, that enemy starts scaling. Once you hit 51, the enemy stops. "
That sounds like the perfect balance between set levels and scaling, if you ask me.
Posted by Kiemoe

I find scaling to be lazy on the developer end. Like they couldn't figure out a solid balance for the game and so they just tied it all to the player to figure out. That said, I really enjoyed the bracketed AI in games like FF8 because of your ability to grind to win and the fair challenge of every enemy in the game

Edited by Cornman89

  @ryanwho: Yeah, I heard. God dammit, Japan. If DQ9 was an action RPG I might have checked it out! Incidentally, if death threats really do get the gears moving at SE, I wonder if they'll trash the FFXIII Japanese 360 port...

Posted by valrog

I like the system in Piranha Bytes' games (Gothic, Risen) and I despise the system in Oblivion.
 
There's always danger and a special feeling that you can get torn by a pack of wolves if you wander too far into the woods.

Posted by sarahsdad

I like scaling within a range; if it's done right then you can beat an area as a lower-level character by playing smart, or you can go grind for a bit not have to worry so much about tactics.

Posted by ryanwho
@Cornman89 said:
" @ryanwho: I've heard IX is grindy as hell. Sadly, I didn't get far in VIII. DQ is just too vanilla for me, I can't get into the gameplay. "
Well 9 was originally an action RPG, and they changed that because of blowback. Like, death threats. No really. A lot of DQ fans are luddites, especially the hardcore Japanese ones. If SE thinks grinding is part of the appeal, they'll keep it in the game.
Posted by Cornman89
@ryanwho: I've heard IX is grindy as hell. Sadly, I didn't get far in VIII. DQ is just too vanilla for me, I can't get into the gameplay.
Edited by Tennmuerti
@ryanwho said:

" Unskilled people hate it. Skilled people understand you're constantly unlocking new skills and abilities and that's what gives you the advantage from then on. Honestly if your solution in every situation to difficulty is grinding instead of figuring out the battle system you just suck at games and people shouldn't be making games based on your preferences. Keep scaling, and offer an easy mode for sucky people. Simple solution. "

Errrr?
WTF ?!
Scaling is there to help the unskilled people not the reverse. Because with scaling no matter your level or your character progression the enemies will always be the same relative to you. It's a safety cushion for the console kiddies who whine too much when they get their ass wooped by a hard enemy because they went into the dragons lair as soon as they killed their first rat.
In games without scaling you can do harder areas at lower level or the reverse. It increases the feeling of progression. Just because one person on this thread equated non-scaling games to grinding out for higher level to get easier difficulty, this is not how most good non level scaling games work. Most non Japanese RPGs have limited enemies and you cannot grind at all, scaling has nothing to do with grinding out XP. They are completely separate concepts that can be both absent or present in a game. In fact enemy scaling has not become relatively popular (in western RPGs) until the recent trend of new "modern" RPGs to put it in and they are by FAR much easier games in general as a result.
Good games do not have to rely on the scaling as a crutch to make encounters difficult.
Posted by ryanwho
@Cornman89 said:
" @ryanwho:  How do you feel about RPGs that are designed specifically with grinding in mind, then? Dragon Quest tends to fit this template more often than not, for example. (I don't like DQ, but for several reasons besides that.) "
You don't need to grind in DQ8. If you utilize tension, you'll never get stuck. Yes even on Dhoulmagus. Outside of 8 my experience is limited. Prior to 8 most every game required grinding, so I don't fault old games for being products of the time.
Posted by Cornman89
@ryanwho:  How do you feel about RPGs that are designed specifically with grinding in mind, then? Dragon Quest tends to fit this template more often than not, for example. (I don't like DQ, but for several reasons besides that.)
Posted by Pezen

The only true downside is the fact that you miss out on the "oh shit, this area is way above my level" and thus you accidently draw aggro and have to fight your way from rubberband AI hunting you. It creates a bit of tangible tension if handled correctly. Still, scaling does reduce the chance of being stuck in a place where you haven't been grinding enough. And that's pretty sweet. Also, if scaling makes it too easy, just counter it with some higher difficulty. Not saying scaling is right for all games, but for some, it fits.

Posted by ryanwho
@ProfessorEss said:
" I'm not of fan of it.  There's just something cool/fun/hilarious about accidentally stumbling into an area that you're nowhere near leveled enough to be in - leaving you running for your life from mobs that'll one-shot you into next month. "
You can have that in addition to scaling. FF8 had scaling with min-max enemy stats. As in, the lowest level version of the T rex is level 30, the highest level 50. So once you hit level 31, that enemy starts scaling. Once you hit 51, the enemy stops.
Posted by ryanwho
@Johnny5 said:
" @ryanwho said:
" Unskilled people hate it. Skilled people understand you're constantly unlocking new skills and abilities and that's what gives you the advantage from then on. Honestly if your solution in every situation to difficulty is grinding instead of figuring out the battle system you just suck at games and people shouldn't be making games based on your preferences. Keep scaling, and offer an easy mode for sucky people. Simple solution. "
A good game will be hard enough without making you grind to progress. If the game is too difficult, you should turn down the difficulty setting. "
Of course. The solution should never be to grind. If a game is balanced in such a way that that's your only choice, the game is at fault then. If you always include difficulty settings, nobody will ever be forced to grind. But then its a matter of developer ego. Some may think their game is balanced and this one difficulty is how you play it, and you're supposed to grind. *coughnamcocough* In cases like that, I'd just avoid the game completely. People are paying for a product, they should have options on how to experience it.
Edited by ProfessorEss

I'm not of fan of it.
 
There's just something cool/fun/hilarious about accidentally stumbling into an area that you're nowhere near leveled enough to be in - leaving you running for your life from mobs that'll one-shot you into next month.

Posted by Johnny5
@ryanwho said:
" Unskilled people hate it. Skilled people understand you're constantly unlocking new skills and abilities and that's what gives you the advantage from then on. Honestly if your solution in every situation to difficulty is grinding instead of figuring out the battle system you just suck at games and people shouldn't be making games based on your preferences. Keep scaling, and offer an easy mode for sucky people. Simple solution. "
A good game will be hard enough without making you grind to progress. If the game is too difficult, you should turn down the difficulty setting.
Posted by ryanwho

Im also not opposed to the idea of scaling sidequest enemies but not main quest enemies. So no matter when a sidequest is done, there's some element of challenge.

Posted by JoeyRavn
@ryanwho said:
" Unskilled people hate it. Skilled people understand you're constantly unlocking new skills and abilities and that's what gives you the advantage from then on. Honestly if your solution in every situation to difficulty is grinding instead of figuring out the battle system you just suck at games and people shouldn't be making games based on your preferences. Keep scaling, and offer an easy mode for sucky people. Simple solution. "
That's true, but on the other hand, why would you want to unlock new skills if you can kill that same enemy without them in the first place? I don't think it's a problem of being unskilled or skilled, or "sucky". Rather, it's all about how you feel with your character's progression. Being able to overcome a certain enemy or boss because you became noticeably more powerful gives a great feeling of achievement. Level scaling smoothens the process, I think. But then agan, I like a mix of both, where those skills you unlock can become a lifesaver in a though battle.
Edited by Cornman89

Depends on the game. Generally, a wider suite of abilities will always make encounters easier, regardless of enemy levels, but the thing is, that kind of mentality is more at home in, say, an action adventure game. The conceit of the RPG has traditionally been "make numbers go up, beat the shit out of enemy with lower numbers than you." The fact that this is even a debate tells me that other genres have bled quite a bit into the RPG, or vice versa.
 
Also, Oblivion is a poor example because the character progression system is fucked in about a million ways besides the level scaling.

Edited by ryanwho

Unskilled people hate it. Skilled people understand you're constantly unlocking new skills and abilities and that's what gives you the advantage from then on. Honestly if your solution in every situation to difficulty is grinding instead of figuring out the battle system you just suck at games and people shouldn't be making games based on your preferences. Keep scaling, and offer an easy mode for sucky people. Simple solution.

Posted by Video_Game_King

HATE it. What happens if the game itself becomes too hard at some point? You can't exactly grind away the difficulty.

Posted by fuzzyponken

I think I've only played one game that used level scaling and that was Fallout 3, in which I didn't notice at all. 

Posted by JoeyRavn
@haggis said:
" It depends on the game. In a games like Mass Effect where you don't revisit completed areas, it makes sense. Otherwise players could get hopelessly behind in experience and be unable to level up enough to finish the game. In open world games like Oblivion, though, where you can go back to already-visited areas, it's nice to go back when you've leveled up and crush enemies that once gave you trouble. But if I remember correctly, didn't Oblivion freeze enemies at a certain level when you first arrive in an area, and then not level them up later? Or was that Fallout 3?  In any case, if games didn't level up enemies as you leveled, the difficulty would vary a bit too much. So it's a good idea. In theory. If it's done correctly. But it hasn't always been. It's a difficult balance to strike. We want challenge and progression, but we don't want excessive grinding. Level scaling is probably the best way to achieve that, but given the very different ways people play RPGs (especially open-world RPGs like Fallout 3 and Oblivion) it's never going to be a perfect solution. "
  I agree with you. In open-ended, sandbox games like Oblivion level scaling makes little sense, especially if the respawn rate is so high (3 in-game days, IIRC). I'm playing Mass Effect now and I don't feel the increased difficulty. In fact, enemies are much easier to kill now than when I started... I would welcome a challenge now and then, to be honest. Having one or two enemies once in a while that come with a fixed set of stats above the common enemies. The problem with level scaling is that you know that you'll be probably able to handle everything the game throws at you. With fixed levels, entering a high-level area means insta-death. A balance between the two is the best option, I think.

@Tennmuerti said:
" It sucks. Period.  Dragon Age only scales in a certain bracket, it's not so bad. "
Yeah, there's a map that shows how the game manages enemies' levels. Not that it makes the game so much more hard going into a +10 area before a +6, though.  

@WitchHunter_Z said:
" Diablo 2 doesn't have level scaling. All the monster are at pre-set levels/stats for each difficulty."  
Yeah, sorry about that, I should have phrased it better. I wanted to imply that regardless of what you do, enemies have their pre-fixed level. Wrote it in a hurry :P
Posted by WitchHunter_Z

Diablo 2 doesn't have level scaling. All the monster are at pre-set levels/stats for each difficulty.
 
I don't like it, it tends to rob the player of any accomplishment, as all enemies stay challenging throughout the game you don't get a sense of danger or power. It's lose lose.

Posted by foggel
@MasterOfPenguins_Zell said:
" I sort of like having the option to grind a bit to get an advantage. It's not very RPG for me to not be able to do that. "
Yes, this.
Posted by Tennmuerti

It sucks. Period.
 
Dragon Age only scales in a certain bracket, it's not so bad.

Posted by haggis

It depends on the game. In a games like Mass Effect where you don't revisit completed areas, it makes sense. Otherwise players could get hopelessly behind in experience and be unable to level up enough to finish the game. In open world games like Oblivion, though, where you can go back to already-visited areas, it's nice to go back when you've leveled up and crush enemies that once gave you trouble. But if I remember correctly, didn't Oblivion freeze enemies at a certain level when you first arrive in an area, and then not level them up later? Or was that Fallout 3?
 
In any case, if games didn't level up enemies as you leveled, the difficulty would vary a bit too much. So it's a good idea. In theory. If it's done correctly. But it hasn't always been. It's a difficult balance to strike. We want challenge and progression, but we don't want excessive grinding. Level scaling is probably the best way to achieve that, but given the very different ways people play RPGs (especially open-world RPGs like Fallout 3 and Oblivion) it's never going to be a perfect solution.

Posted by Leptok

Hate it. I like going back to old enemies and being able to stomp them easy. It makes it feel like you've actually done something.

Posted by FourWude
@SirBlimE said:
" Hate it.   I love when you feel like your hard work pays of, Oblivion made the whole leveling part feel pointless. "
The levelling was only scaled to around Level 18 and then stopped. If you levelled higher than that, achieving past level 20 shoud have been pretty easy; then the game becomes really easy.
Posted by SirBlimE

Hate it.
 
 I love when you feel like your hard work pays of, Oblivion made the whole leveling part feel pointless.

Posted by MasterOfPenguins_Zell

I sort of like having the option to grind a bit to get an advantage. It's not very RPG for me to not be able to do that.

Edited by JoeyRavn

I feel that, recently, a lot of RPGs or games with strong RPG elements have been using a level scaling system instead of the traditional fixed level for enemies. In case you don't know, "level scaling" means that enemies become stronger as you get stronger. If you level up, they level up. On the other hand, in a fixed-level game, like for example in Diablo II, enemies have their stats and levels pre-defined, so if you're too weak to take them on, you have to level up a bit more (aka grinding) or you'll die. The most glaring example is TES IV: Oblivion. You can basically beat the game at level 1 with the right set of major/minor skills. But other more recent games, like Mass Effect  Dragon Age, also scale the enemies to match your character's progression. 
 
What do you think, GB? Do you feel level scaling takes away the importance of character progression in RPGs? Or on the contrary, it makes the game much more fair, reducing grinding?