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Enemy Levels: Preset or Level Up?

How do you prefer your RPG enemy levels?


  • Total voters
    7

CrimsonCavalier

Fuzzy Pickles
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United States
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Typically, RPGs follow one of two models when creating enemy levels. The enemy levels are either preset or the enemies "level-up" with the character. Now, arguably, both have their pros and cons.

People who prefer the enemies to level up with the character usually talk about being over-levelled and areas of the world that are no longer challenging if you ever go back. This makes sense. Some people like the difficulty level to remain more-or-less constant throughout the game. Additionally, going back to a region you've visited before can be very boring if all of the enemies are so weak that they do not even pose a threat.

On the other hand, people who prefer set enemy levels talk about the mystery and excitement of explorations. You never know what you'll find in that cave, or if you wander off the beaten path. Further, finally being able to go into a section that you couldn't before makes it so much more satisfying. Slaying a monster or enemy that gave you a really hard time before is also very rewarding.

Personally, I prefer set levels. One great example of a game that did this perfectly (imo) was Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. There were enemies that, at early levels, would totally annihilate you. There were caves that you wouldn't dare explore at low levels. To me there was nothing more exciting or thrilling than trying to sneak into a Daedric ruin for the treasures therein knowing that if I were spotted, a dremora or ogrim would surely eat my face off with no problems.

And then finally being strong enough to go into a cave where the bandits inside were so hard before, and just tearing them to pieces, watching them run from me screaming "No more! Please!" and still killing them. Very satisfying.

Games with enemies that level-up with don't give me that sense of accomplishment.
 

Viral Maze

Verb the adjective noun
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Feb 5, 2010
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Canada
I'd like a mix of both.
Such as areas will have enemies with set levels, but as the player progresses and has a higher level than the enemies in previous areas, those enemies will level up with the player. Certain enemies should stay weaker (like rats, or crabs) but within a level or two.
That's my perfect RPG.

But if I had to choose one, I'd say set level if the game didn't throw XP at me for quests and side-quests (over-leveling would make the game unfun).
 

SavageWizzrobe

Eating Link since 1987
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Jul 27, 2010
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The Wind Temple
I prefer set levels. What tends to happen is you go up against lower-level enemies that gave you trouble earlier in the game and take them out with ease, or you fight higher-level creatures and get both a challenge and a lot of experience points if you succeed. Either scenario can be immensely satisfying, despite the lack of consistent difficulty.
 
Joined
Oct 13, 2013
Location
Australia
This totally depends on the game. If the developers want you to go and farm the previous areas over and over then they will level up the enemies with your character.
Example of this - Diablo 3 RoS

But if the game is more heavily story scripted then the mosters will not level up with you. Most RPGs/Adventure games without levels like the Metroids and Legend of Zeldas follow this route because they do not have character levels.

If you want to go back to the early areas sure level up the enemies. But if the game forces you go back to the earlier areas to get some piece of loot but you don't want to go back (just pointless backtracking) then there is no ened to level the older enemies with you. You're not there to kill them over and over. You just want the piece of loot. You'll get it and never return.
 

CrimsonCavalier

Fuzzy Pickles
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I think Xenoblade handled the whole issue pretty well. The enemies were of the level the developers expected you to be when you reach a certain area, yet there were areas that had enemies that were definitely way out of your league.

That didn't stop me from trying to go there anyways. For example, in Colony 9, you fought weak enemies. Levels 3-6 or so. But then there were those places like Agora Shore that were just packed with level 30s or even 60s. And then the other shore with the level 70s and 80s. It makes it more fun, to me. I couldn't wait to level up enough to explore those areas without fear of getting pummeled into the ground. It also made it so going back to old areas didn't seem a chore, but more of a challenge.
 

selicyc

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Oh gosh, I remember when Squaresoft was in that weird phase of their heyday when they decided to make enemies level up with you. This led to breaking Final Fantasy VIII so badly that you can beat the game with your party's level in the single digits. Heck, going through the game without getting a single level up is a Steam achievement now!

That being said, I like preset levels. I liked how Xenoblade Chronicles handled enemies by mixing enemies that were your level when you got there and mixed in levels thirty levels higher than you, sometimes even more! (I remember finding a super boss on accident while exploring the Valak Mountain and holy ****, did it scare me -- I didn't expect to find a monster sitting pretty at level 120). I also like games that program enemies to run away from you if you're too powerful. It eases a lot of the tedium of battles and backtracking.
 

CrimsonCavalier

Fuzzy Pickles
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Oh gosh, I remember when Squaresoft was in that weird phase of their heyday when they decided to make enemies level up with you. This led to breaking Final Fantasy VIII so badly that you can beat the game with your party's level in the single digits. Heck, going through the game without getting a single level up is a Steam achievement now!

That being said, I like preset levels. I liked how Xenoblade Chronicles handled enemies by mixing enemies that were your level when you got there and mixed in levels thirty levels higher than you, sometimes even more! (I remember finding a super boss on accident while exploring the Valak Mountain and holy ****, did it scare me -- I didn't expect to find a monster sitting pretty at level 120). I also like games that program enemies to run away from you if you're too powerful. It eases a lot of the tedium of battles and backtracking.
Yeah, those Super Bosses were something else ... especially when you're looking forward to reaching level 100 so that you can better challenge them, when you realize 99 is the cap. That level 120 up there made me run for it.

And yes, EarthBound's enemies running away from you when you beat their sanctuary boss makes things a lot easier. I also enjoy when you get a back attack and you insta-win.
 
Joined
Oct 13, 2013
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I am going to abstain from voting here. Because I like both options. It depends on the type of game, in my opinon. Both options can work if done well.
 

Dio

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I prefer that enemies dont level up with you but have set levels. This way the game can prevent you from going to certain areas too early on without using invisible walls.
The other thing is that it is so satisfying to finally return to an enemy that destroyed you in the past that you are now more evenly matched with.
 

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