Leveling up


What does it mean to level up in a game? Usually it’s about the Hero getting more hitpoints  and skills and is then able to beat down harder monsters. Also lower level monsters become much easier to vanquish. But is there more to it?

In a modern computer games, we have used to seeing a somewhat realistic model of leveling up where your progress slows down level by level. Next level will always be harder or should I say more time consuming to reach than the previous one. It’s just like in real sports. Starting is easy and you get results pretty fast but it gets much harder as you advance.

“When you reach max level, you stop leveling.”

Some games limit maximum level and raise it in time a little by little. Should there be a maximum level? I guess idea of a maximum level is a money thing. You get more money when you have the chance to increase maximum level when you publish a new add-on. Also it’s much easier to control the end-game balance issues when all players are on the same level.

This isn’t as realistic as progressively increasing level of hardness. In reality people will never reach maximum, we evolve. When reaching a maximum level in World of Warcraft the game actually merely starts. Game is about getting better gear and the items have levels too. So it’s all about leveling up and it never ends. Or it ends up in killing the boss monsters. Like it or not, the game is a huge success. But I’m certain players are starting to want more.

Difficulty curve: Fun vs. rewarding hard work?

It is completely up for the designer to decide what will the difficulty curve be as you advance. If you first had to kill 7 monsters to level up, you might have to kill 7 thousand monsters to reach level 20. It all depends. It’s worth asking how much time should it consume? Some people certainly like to grind a lot of monsters and will be happy when they reach their goal. But as I listed repetitive tasks one of the things I don’t like to see in a game, it probably isn’t the way I’m going to go.

Also as you take time grinding those low levels, the villain should also have the time to enhance his/her skills. However what’s the point in leveling up if your villains do as well?

You have reached level … of significance.

I would like to see leveling up as one of the most important things in a game. It should be a remarkable event where the player has to make significant decisions on how the rest of the game will be played out.

It might be a safe and good idea to build a hero from the basic properties like Stamina, Strength and Dexterity (Get in shape, build muscle, build and gain power). As you level up, you get to choose what properties to increase . This way we could make random events that actually matter and require different set of properties. Like we can have a monster which makes so much damage you require a certain amount of hitpoints in order to survive in the first place.

Now when I think of all these possibilities, I guess it’s better to go back to drawing board and actually finish something. I have long list of ideas and I must prioritize in order to finish my game some day. See you later…