Leveling up in RPGs


  • Posts: 163
There's also the user interface to think about. Part of the reason classic turn-based gives off that "it takes forever" vibe is because of the "grand wall of text" format that exists for player commands (we all seen this at least once). The RPGs I like tend to have a more fluid interface that makes it seem as if you're breezing through the fight. The screenshots below demonstrate how much of a difference the user interface makes in battle, the top from Shining Force, the bottom is from Super Mario RPG.
Don't be a critic on the internet while eating and drinking at your computer.


  • Posts: 74
I generally was never annoyed by leveling up in RPG's, just random battles annoyed me the most. My first MMORPG I played had a system that I still think was a great idea (but they replaced it with a point system, long story) which was a skill system that leveled up per usage. Basically each skill had it's own exp bar and it made a lot of sense in some ways, the practice makes perfect way.The only thing I ever cared about was getting new abilities or skills, I could care less how high of a level my character was.

Some games make leveling fun. Tales of Symphonia? was the only game I wanted to get over 100+ in levels, just for the title and to me there wasn't really any grind since the battles are really fun that I never noticed it. The only reason I would hate leveling up is if it stalled the progression of the story.


  • Posts: 12
You could think of a well-balanced level system as a kind of automatic difficulty adjuster. This works best if you allow your player to keep his experience points towards the next level, even after dying.

If a player is highly skilled, they can just breeze through easy early stuff but will soon get underpowered, which will make things harder for them. But if they are really that skilled... they will continue to make progress. If they are not quite skilled enough, they will start dying and having to repeat stuff until they either figure it out, or gain enough levels that it becomes easy enough for them.

It still takes good balancing though. If the game is almost 90% stats based, then being under-leveled just means it's impossible.

On the other hand, other posters are probably right its mostly used as a goal/reward system. Nothing wrong with that, but there are probably better systems possible.


  • Posts: 14
It depends on how the game implements levels. I generally enjoy RPGs, but I've been straying away from JRPGs because more often than not, they make grinding a requirement.

The important thing is that levels shouldn't constantly impede the forward momentum of the game. If I forget what the story is because I'm out in the desert killing crabs for three weeks, something is wrong.

The new levels should be used as a means to introduce new strategic options to the player, first and foremost. To me, the stats come secondary. Becoming generally stronger doesn't keep the game fresh like a new skill or ability can.

Ideally, an RPG should be paced so that if you are going to the right areas and doing a moderate amount of exploration or side quests, you are being constantly challenged, but rarely overwhelmed. Grinding should generally be reserved for completionists and people that want to headbutt their way through a game.

I like levels, the way most games these days use them. Even in my FPS's, they're there to give me access to new equipment or abilities, and that can keep a game fresh for months. That being said, the game itself has to be fun first.