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Favorite/Least favorite leveling-up system

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1 Favorite/Least favorite leveling-up system on Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:57 am

We all have different tastes in RPG's and some of us like different level systems. For me, I like level systems like in Final Fantasy 9, where each character has there own moves and you get to choose which moves you learn next. I know people like things like the materia and FF5's class system but I prefer my characters to have there own role in combat.

As for the worst. While I do dislike the grind of Kingdom Hearts: Re:COM and the walls in the hallway in FF13 but the worst I played was in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. The problem is that after a while, the fights become pointless as they started with good experience but soon every enemy well just give 10 xp and this includes bosses. I'm not even kidding. That just makes fight enemies more tedious than they already are.

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2 Re: Favorite/Least favorite leveling-up system on Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:17 am

Favorite: FFV/FFT, FFVI, and FFVII. In order; Class systems with customization and hybrids, the ability to tweak stats and spells but still have flavor and focus differences between characters, and leveling up your abilities directly (which are also transferable) instead of characters via Materia. Of course, I'm a huge fan of customization so that's probably why.

Least Favorite: FFII, Skyrim, FFI. In order; Grind your brains off in counter-intuitive and poorly designed use it to make it system, a flawed representation of the ES system as a whole which penalizes you for multi classing, and FFI represents the most plain jane level up system that exists AKA you level up, your stats go up, and this is it. There are other games that use the FFI system of course but man.

Bonus least favorite: FFLII. Looks like a good idea on paper, but then you play it and man...

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Favorite: Sphere Grid in FFX and the levelling system in Amalur, the sphere grid allows for so many different character playstyles it's not even funny and in Amalur the way it incentivizes you mix and experiment the character progression trees felt like they truly did hybrid classes right (Universalist 4 life).

Least Favorite: can't really say that i hate any type of leveling system, bad level scaling yes, but leveling systems at worst are a "meh" to me like FF1's just straight up stat boost per level.

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Last edited by DeutscheKind on Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:30 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : expunging.)

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My favorite would be some strange hybrid between Kingdoms of Amalur and Dragons Dogma. I love that in these two games you can switch between classes/ specializations easily. It keeps it from getting dull. Combining the game play would also make my inner geek very happy.

Right so the worst for me is probably Pokemon. I love the series as a whole but I always found its system to be a bit dull and repetitive. You get a pokemon level it up and every few level it can learn a new attack and once in a while it can get better and change shape the end. Aside from getting a few pokemon that I like I always just leveled up 1 or 2 exclusively and made them really tough. There isn't much customization, except for what pokemon you carry and what attacks you choose. It just makes me bored after a while.

Since everyone else has mentioned an FF that they like I have to say that my favorite FF system leveling is...FFII. I know I know I need to be sent off to a mental institution but hear me out first. The reason I like it so much is because a.)I play the GBA version and happen to like grinding more than most people and b.) it isn't so much the system but how it is integrated with the setting.

In this FF unlike all the others there is no magic doodad that makes the heroes/villains kick-ass just their own strength and experience. In FFII you see both villain and heroes that have crawled up the power ladder by work and determination alone. There is no prophecy no crystal to power them up, just themselves. That is where the teeth grating level system comes in. Yes it takes a long time to get strong, I don't use the game breaking mechanics to level up, but that is what the heroes had to do. They had to inch their way forward all the while being outmatched again and again. And remember that the Emperor did the same thing. Nothing was handed to him all of his power is of his own making. It's because of this that when you finally beat the bad guy it feels so satisfying. The Emperor was one of the few strong bad guys in the FF series, for me. So after all of that effort when I beat him I felt quite satisfied. Can't say the same when I fought Kefka or Sephiroth.

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Hmm... all my favourites were mentioned already...

Does NWN1 count? There are quite a few D&D based videogames out there, but that's the one I've liked building characters in the most. A huge part of it are the visuals of the UI - the font, the buttons, the menus, the icons, that kind of stuff. But out of them all that was the only I've ever called one of my IRL buddies over and went off on 'those Red Dragon Disciple requirements look an awful lot like an invitation to throw some paladin levels in, let's check out how it works' tangents for hours.

I also have someting of a love/hate relationship with Fire Emblem leveling system iterations. One could say lots of things about them - both good and bad - but one fact is, IMHO, indisputable: leveling up in a Fire Emblem game is more exciting than in any other game I've played so far. Very Happy

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Path of Exile - basicly combines the sphere grid of FFX and the Materia system of FF7
Final Fantasy Tactics - love the class system and mix and matching skills from all the varied classes
3/3.5 D&D - for basicly same reasons of FFT unsure of later D&D as i have not played them and no video games that i know of use the newer D&D rules which is a shame.

least Favorites:
ad&d/balder's gate 1&2 - just feels far to limiting i pick fighter I'm stuck as a fighter i pick a priest i can't use a sword for no good reason.
any game where leveling up does nothing but boost your stats etc...

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-Final Fantasy V: Flawless love the diversity.
-Pokemon DS games: They improved on the system so much over the years with the EV/IV training, breeding with the natures and happiness, really makings levelling up interesting.
-Elder Scrolls: I like how you level up based on your actions like D&D.
-X-Men Legends: My guilty pleasure, nothing complex it’s basic, but the options they give you to spend your points are enjoyable and rewarding like flight, iceman's slide, wolverine's healing factor, leadership etc. stuff that fits the character traits.

Least Favs
-Final Fantasy II: When I have to hit myself to level up that's where I draw the line.
-Final Fantasy XII: This system is such a mess. There are parts in the game where you can actions for the party, turn off the TV, put down the controller and wake up the next morning having gained 20 levels each. I mean who needs to play video games right?
-Kingdom Hearts:  There was a point in the first game when you have to fight Rikku and it literally halted my progress to the point I put the game down for years because of the grind.
Elder Scrolls: Yeah this is funny since it’s one of my favs. Thing I don’t like about it, is it took me years to discover “how to level up” in the game and even when I did at above half difficulty it still takes me an hour to battle a troll. Something doesn’t add up…

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  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep: Holy crap, the sheer amount of customization in this system is insane. Everything has a level and/or a branching advancement path of some sort, often having auxiliary effects on top of their regular attributes (the ability to use crystals in command melding comes to mind immediately). I admit that I also have a bit of a...thing for seeing bars fill up, so that might factor into how much I enjoy it.

  • Final Fantasy V: Again, customization is purely the selling point here. With the job system, you can mix and match attributes and abilities from any job onto any other job, often making weird hybrids like a knight who can steal, or a black mage who can wear heavy armor. This makes the replay value significantly higher than most FFs, and enables challenges like the Four Job Fiesta and Elemental Job Fiesta (both of which I highly recommend), in order to add difficulty to a game which, by nature of being customizable, tends to be easy.

  • Dark Souls: This is a bit of an odd one, so I'll explain to the best of my ability. Your experience and currency being the same unit in your inventory? I'm definitely with that. It forces you to choose between a stat increase or new (or upgraded) gear. Where this really shines is in the...for lack of a better term, "stat gating". You need 16 strength to use this sword, or your appendages are apparently noodles (insert Pastafarian joke here). Past that basic requirement, most weapons have a system that allows them to scale off of your four major attributes. This means that you will almost always receive some sort of noticeable return on each level up, be that the ability to use new equipment, cast a new spell, have more stamina and available equipment load, or deal more damage through a weapon's scaling. There's a lot of thought that goes into Dark Souls character builds, and the system has been analyzed and deconstructed to hell and back. Optimizing it is incredibly satisfying and, in my opinion, is key to getting the most out of your experience.

Least Favorites:

  • Kingdom Hearts: Re: Chain of Memories: The card thing DID have a lot of potential, had Square just applied it to a different area. In my opinion, using cards for combat was a VERY bad thing, and one of the reasons why I rate this as the only truly bad KH game, gameplay wise. The strategy element is there, it's just poorly implemented. In its default form, the "leveling" we got only increased your deck's capacity for carrying higher-rated cards, giving a character more HP, giving Sora a new sleight (an ability activated through combining cards), or giving Riku more points for his Dark Mode. Instead, my proposed leveling system for Re:CoM, if I were designing the game, would be as such; the standard KH combat would apply (copy-pasted from KH1, as that's the game that Sora and Riku's animations, model and physics were ripped from). Cards slotted into your deck would give you more HP, MP, attack power, magic power, and determine your current set of passive abilities (e.g. Second Chance, Leaf Bracer, Treasure Magnet) and active skills (e.g Sliding Dash, Strike Raid, Ars Arcanum). Map cards would still be in effect, and rooms would be affected by them, due to the lore integration. Battles would take place inside these rooms directly, spawning more Heartless (and more varieties of Heartless) than before to compensate for the lack of a separate battle screen.

  • Final Fantasy II: The system that probably inspired what we now call "Elder Scrolls" leveling. Probably the originator of its kind, if I had to put a label on it. Unfortunately, the first attempt was far from perfect. Allies could hit each other to increase their attack and accuracy stats, as well as their "victim's" HP, defense and evasion. Magic leveling took forever, and magic ended up costing more to cast as a result, sometimes hindering you for relying on a spell too much, even if "too much" happened to be one cast too many. In addition, many skills would stop leveling partway through the process simply because you need to fight stronger enemies. This is good, because it prevents level grinding, but this is also bad because it discourages true specialization. If one character reaches too far in their preferred skills, they WILL NOT get better until you start fighting harder stuff, which may very well curb-stomp you. Oh, and I don't even think I have to mention the bug on several versions that allows you to simply select an action many times in the same turn in order to level many skills exponentially in a single encounter. Overall, definitely not one of Square's good design choices.

  • Final Fantasy VIII: Do I even need to explain this one? The junction system itself is intuitive, but its sister component, the draw system, is obtuse, tedious, and one of the worst forms of grind I have EVER seen in an RPG, and one of the reasons I refuse to pick up FFVIII for even a second playthrough. Sure, you can really break the game when you finally get your stats really high, but the grind is hard to overcome. Not to mention the fact that, due to enemies scaling to your level, the game actively punishes you for fighting battles and leveling in a traditional matter, punishing people who are used to, I don't know, EVERY OTHER FUCKING RPG UNDER THE GODDAMN SUN.

*twitch* Square, I love you a lot, but...*twitch*...could you please remake those three games to actually be intuitive? Maybe take my design choices of Re:CoM into account? I'd buy an updated Re:CoM in a heartbeat if it were only designed properly...

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10 Re: Favorite/Least favorite leveling-up system on Mon Jul 06, 2015 1:24 am

Least Favorite: Any thing requiring Grinding or Farming, or is a significant chunk of total game play.
I rather play than work at being able to play.

Favorite: Stuff that allows you progress at your own pace and mixes smoothly with total game play and story.
The idea though is get it and forget it.  Just have fun....

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