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I don't think level scaling would be in because that seems like a major change for what is still at heart essentially a big patch. But of course they are doing a bunch of other stuff, so...

None of Larian's previous games have had level scaling. Instead Larian uses experience scaling based on the difference between your level and the enemy's. I don't even know if they used that in D:OS, though, it might just have been completely fixed.


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I see it as way more than a big patch. They are essentially reworking every aspect of the game, from story to balance to UI. I don't expect them to implement level scaling, but it really wouldn't be terribly difficult to implement. It'd require some testing for sure, but It's not any more major than a new difficulty mode or game ending. There's this big aversion to level scaling which I can understand when it's extreme, but It can be an extremely helpful mechanic when used sparingly to make games less linear.

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I'm not completely against level scaling like some people, I just don't think that will be part of this part. From what I've heard, Larian went the reworking the enemy composition, skills and AI route, which is a big enough job to balance on its own, never mind adding in level scaling.

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Level scaling in any shape or form, i.e. enemies' levels (or stats or power) change based on your level, is a disgrace.

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Originally Posted by Eli
Level scaling in any shape or form, i.e. enemies' levels (or stats or power) change based on your level, is a disgrace.


Why? It's a little immersion-breaking if you actually see enemies scale their levels up, but most of the time if a player doesn't see a group of monsters and come back 3-4 levels later, the level scaling is relatively in the background. If I had never gone to the Black Cove, and went a couple levels higher than I should have to fight monsters at my level, I wouldn't even know that the monsters had scaled up. Of a course, it might be more obvious on a second play through, but then you can play in a slightly different order which in my opinion is a bigger benefit than knowing the enemies were level 4 instead of level 6 in your first playthrough.

One can even justify it in an immersive way. If players level up, why can't monsters? They can be living and becoming stronger, training or being magically strengthened in some way (the Cyseal undeads' magical bond could be strengthening as Braccus regains his own power, for example.)

I don't really see level scaling showing up in the EE either, but it would actually be relatively simple to implement. A few lines of scripting. Not sure if making it optional would be as easy, but I can't imagine that would be too difficult either.

Level scaling enormously opens up game design by letting the player choose the order he plays the content in, instead of trying to predict or force the player's path as is done now. As is now, Cyseal has quite a specific order it should be completed in. Otherwise, based on player and enemy level alone, certain fights will be very hard, and others will be absurdly easy as you get extra experience from those harder fights that overlevel you for the easier ones. With a limited upscaling of monster levels, it's harder to get overleveled and you have to worry less about trivializing content based on the order you play the game in.

Larian could then design content in their next game to be a bit more open and non-linear with less worry of how players are going to get frustrated by hard fights and stroll through easy ones. Even two levels of scaling can make a big difference in how content can be organized.

Last edited by Baardvark; 12/06/15 08:44 PM.
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^Love the hardline!

Like anything both systems have strengths and weaknesses.

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Originally Posted by Baardvark
Originally Posted by Eli
Level scaling in any shape or form, i.e. enemies' levels (or stats or power) change based on your level, is a disgrace.


Why? It's a little immersion-breaking if you actually see enemies scale


This is not about seeing or not seeing LS, which is irrelevant. Just like cheating on a test is wrong whether someone sees it or not.

The design philosophy behind level scaling is shallow, banal and cheap. It diminishes c&c and player agency.


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I don't see how level scaling affects choice and consequences. The vast majority of choices (should I steal this thing? What should I do for this quest?) have little to do with levels at all. Are you going to decide not to fight something just because it leveled up a level or two? Do you feel jipped when you run into a hard fight, and decide to do some other quests and level up so that fight is easy? Maybe you feel your agency is being interfered with since the computer is "cheating," but I personally feel my agency is much more limited by the linear game design that comes with static levels.

Tell me, how would you design something like a city where the developer can't predict the order the player will go remotely at all? With static levels, you more or less have to make the quests near the starting point a bit easier, and just sort of randomly have harder ones deeper in the city in other districts. Or you can just distribute the levels of enemies fairly randomly through the city. So the player has to wander around finding the easier quests, and then build up to the harder ones. To alleviate frustration, developers will often be generous with XP and then you'll find after a few easy quests, the rest of those easy ones will become trivial. So level scaling not only helps deal with your choice of order, but also the number of them you complete.

Level scaling can be horribly implemented, yes. But I also find it hard to imagine an open world game without it at all. It wouldn't really be an open world if all the enemies outside of the starting area would wreck you. But having a few enemies which are quite hard in an easier area is okay as well. D:OS isn't an open world game, but it might benefit from limited level scaling to allow a bit more choice in how the player goes about completing the game.

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Originally Posted by Baardvark
I don't see how level scaling affects choice and consequences.


Here's an example:
You choose to go to an area, which lore says is populated by creatures that are meant to tear apart inexperienced adventurers.
You end up surviving because level scaling saved your inexperienced ass.

Your choice to go to an area where you're meant to not survive (consequence) is laughed at by level scaling.


Repeat this 1000 times and perhaps things will become more easy to understand for you: There's nothing wrong with areas that are way too hard to adventure in until you reach a certain level.


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I think the concern was areas that were way too easy because you out levelled them, either doing things in an unexpected order or being a completionist and doing all the side quests, etc.
Level scaling doesn't have to be implemented so that it drops opponents below the level they were intended to be.

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Originally Posted by Eli
Originally Posted by Baardvark
I don't see how level scaling affects choice and consequences.


Here's an example:
You choose to go to an area, which lore says is populated by creatures that are meant to tear apart inexperienced adventurers.
You end up surviving because level scaling saved your inexperienced ass.

Your choice to go to an area where you're meant to not survive (consequence) is laughed at by level scaling.


Repeat this 1000 times and perhaps things will become more easy to understand for you: There's nothing wrong with areas that are way too hard to adventure in until you reach a certain level.



That's a bit of a stretching of C&C, but I see your point. But that's the kind of poorly implemented level scaling I'm not talking about. I'm asking for monsters to level up to meet you maybe two or three levels. You'll still get decimated if you go east right away to fight the fire undead, but it won't be a breeze if you do all the other content first and find yourself at level 9 when they're level 7 initially (if I recall). They'll be level 9 to meet you, and you can justify that as a choice to focus on other things while knowing an evil is growing more powerful over the days.

That's basically the extent of level scaling I want in D:OS or Larian's future games. Enough to account for completionism or doing things in a slightly different order, but not so much that you could kill the final boss at level 3 because he scales down for you. I don't want any scaling down at all, really, just minor scaling up.

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Originally Posted by Raze

I think the concern was areas that were way too easy because you out levelled them, either doing things in an unexpected order or being a completionist and doing all the side quests, etc.
Level scaling doesn't have to be implemented so that it drops opponents below the level they were intended to be.


But that's the point... areas should be easier when you outlevel them. That's the boon, that's your choice; making late game easier by taking the hard way early on.
Smart encounter design would make late game challenging even for a completionist (without any level scaling). People who find it too hard? That's what difficulty levels are for; you have the option to reduce difficulty.


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Originally Posted by Eli
Originally Posted by Raze

I think the concern was areas that were way too easy because you out levelled them, either doing things in an unexpected order or being a completionist and doing all the side quests, etc.
Level scaling doesn't have to be implemented so that it drops opponents below the level they were intended to be.


But that's the point... areas should be easier when you outlevel them. That's the boon, that's your choice; making late game easier by taking the hard way early on.
Smart encounter design would make late game challenging even for a completionist (without any level scaling). People who find it too hard? That's what difficulty levels are for; you have the option to reduce difficulty.



Areas will be easier when you outlevel them a great deal, but boasting even a one level advantage on your enemies basically guarantees you win since the way hit chance scales. Smart encounter design is important and ideal, of course, but when you gain such a statistical advantage from having even one level over your opponent, it doesn't really matter how smart or cleverly designed your enemies are. If they miss you a whole bunch and you can hit them almost every time, the best tactics won't make up for their lack of damage and defense.

Another option might be to reduce the bonus you get from fighting enemies one or two levels below you. It should probably go the other way, too, so that being one or two levels below a monster doesn't give them such a huge advantage, but I wouldn't mind so much if level advantage benefited enemies more than the player.

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Anyone know when to expect Larian E3 info?

Edit: Ahh looks like late Wednesday.

Last edited by Horrorscope; 15/06/15 11:24 PM.
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Oh, about the "limited level scaling" thing that's been mentioned before.
Limited LS is perhaps slightly less awful, but it is still absolutely awful.

Imagine playing chess.

Unlimited scaling:
Nice, I just captured an enemy rook! *my rook disappears inexplicably*

Limited scaling:
Nice, I just captured an enemy rook! *my bishop disappears inexplicably*

Or for those who are not familiar with chess:

Imagine eating a cake. You taste something utterly awful and disgusting.
Shocked, you ask the baker what's been put into the cake.

Baker: "Feces."
You: "Feces!!??"
Baker: "But just a little!"

It ruined the cake, limited or not.


***


If an RPG development team starts pondering about including level scaling they should immediately scrap that idea and instead focus on a shallower power curve. smile

Anyhow, I applaud Larian's decision to avoid level scaling altogether (unless Raze knows something we don't).

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I do know some stuff you don't... but not about level scaling.

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It is a game meant to entertain and I honestly pissed that some arguments here actually ignore some of the essence of classic D&D experiences.

Interesting that chess is mentioned because when it comes to level scaling chess softwares actually revolve around it. Sometimes people boast about beating a 2100+ computer opponent but if you're observant some chessbase programs actually adjust their playing level real-time (you make a mistake, it then adjusts and intentionally makes a mistake, maybe a positional mistake or something subtle).

Blanketing level scaling with a freaking narrow mind like a rook or a bishop disappearing on the board is idiotic. Trying to exaggerate things to push your agenda when in reality the implementation is much more complex.

The point here is entertainment. People forget the classic role of a Dungeon Master, adjusting things here and there to keep the game entertaining.

Truth be told, right now I honestly don't care about Larian. They've made a lot of decisions that I really don't like. I drop by casually to see if anything has changed.

Skyrim is known for level scaling. Oh the horror of what a failure it became because of that. It is so game-shattering. rolleyes

---
side note:
Larian has made some decisions that even months before the game's release and even before kickstarter I got the feeling that the modding aspect will fail. Oh the smirk on my face when I returned and actually encountered a thread confirming my instinct to be spot on.

Last edited by J747L; 16/06/15 11:27 AM.
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Originally Posted by Eli
Originally Posted by Raze

I think the concern was areas that were way too easy because you out levelled them, either doing things in an unexpected order or being a completionist and doing all the side quests, etc.
Level scaling doesn't have to be implemented so that it drops opponents below the level they were intended to be.


But that's the point... areas should be easier when you outlevel them. That's the boon, that's your choice; making late game easier by taking the hard way early on.
Smart encounter design would make late game challenging even for a completionist (without any level scaling). People who find it too hard? That's what difficulty levels are for; you have the option to reduce difficulty.



I don't see areas becoming easier as I outlevel them as a boon. When I do all the side quests I'm not doing it to make the late game easier, I'm doing it because I enjoy exploring all the game has to offer. What always ends up happening is the game becomes too easy because I outlevel everything and I end up getting bored.

I do not at all mind a little bit of level scaling. I am cursed with the completionist affliction and end up ruining my fun because I over level.

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Originally Posted by J747L

Interesting that chess is mentioned because when it comes to level scaling chess softwares actually revolve around it.


That's DIFFICULTY LEVEL, not level scaling.

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Also.

Originally Posted by J747L
your agenda


Truth be told, right now I honestly don't care about Larian.

Skyrim



Just go away and resume your IQ 50 meltdown elsewhere.

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