When do you want to reach max level?

In Kingmaker, originally you don’t even have enough XP to reach level 20 by endgame. Later on this was updated and it became possible to reach 20 somewhere just before the last section of the game.

How do you feel about this pace of progression? What is your preferred pace?

Personally I would have preferred much less powerful magic items (like the +x to every stat items) during the game, and much faster leveling. I would have preferred to reach max level around halfway through the game, with further power increases occurring via items or factors outside your character like global buffs.

I find the game more enjoyable if I can spend a fair amount of time with a “complete” build.

But obviously once you reach max level, XP becomes meaningless which takes away a big part of the reward structure in these games.

There’s some solutions to this, although I don’t know how compatible they are with the Pathfinder ruleset. You could “bank” the extra XP to spend on powerful temporary abilities, or buy global permanent buffs. You could have some sort of special magic shop that sells items in exchange for banked XP.

You could have some sort of infinitely increasing bonus leveling system that grants tiny boosts of additional power, as a token way of keeping XP useful.

So anyways, what’s your preferred pace of leveling in Wrath? Do you want to reach max level not at all? Just before the last dungeon? Or even earlier? Would you be put off if XP becomes totally useless at some point?

Never?

I will personally like to never reach max level but also be able to reach level 20 at the same time.

Overall i don’t really mind as long as there is no exploit like the first game where you could have a main character spec in trickery and persuasion and reach max level extremely fast. too fast…

Right before the last chapter if you do all the sidequest. so that I have something from it. In Kingmaker you did like only the last boss with it. I would like a bit more of the full level gameplay

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For me it isn’t so much about the max level as it is about the peak of my character’s power… that can coincide with hitting max level, but it might also be earlier, for example when the Mythic Lich gains access to his Level 10 spells… there are no more powerful spells than that, and wether or not the damage output would be so significantly higher at lvl 20 than it would be at lvl 18, oh well.

That said, I definitely want to reach said peak a good long while before reaching the end, because to my mind, there are few worse game design decisions than only giving us our mightiest powers at the very end of the game, i.e. when we can barely even use them anymore, what with the game being as good as over.

Worst example for this would be the otherwise brilliant D:OS2… you finally reach your ultimate goal, the goal you’ve struggled and fought for ~100+ hours, only for the game to immediately end as soon as you’ve finally become a god… so your ultimate reward is for nought, you can’t enjoy your newfound powers at all, and that sucks to the max.

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I also would like to see max level (or peak power) around 75% of the way through the game at most (assuming you did as much content as you could find). However, I don’t think that is likely. They have said this game will be much shorter than Kingmaker and they are going more for replay ability with a lot of content getting locked out by choices you make.

I know that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get to max level. They could have a lot of opportunities for big XP no matter how short the game is but I don’t think it is a promising sign to have a shorter game where the amount of content you can access is limited.

Maybe at max level you find a relic, artifact or intelligent gear that levels up from your XP past level 20?

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APs typically put the PCs at ~18 by the last fight. It’s always good to consider what level 20 means. Golarion has maybe a dozen level 20 characters on it at any time. At that point, your primary concerns are on other planets or planes. With the 10 mythic levels, you’re basically indistinguishable from a god at that point.

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I think the expectations are different for a computer game. One of the criticisms of Baldur’s Gate 1 that I always had, is that the DnD levels are too far apart and you don’t get the regular dose of dopamine from leveling that you need. Contrast to JRPGs at the time where you have a linear increase in levels to 99 or 999.

Tabletop is all about the social interaction and RP. You could spend many sessions and months at the same level. Computer games have a bigger numbers and rewards component to fill that gap.

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I also am in the camp of wanting to reach max character power somewhat before the endgame and not just before. Perhaps around 80-90% of the game. The only time when max power is attained just at the end of the game is ok is if you have DLCs that are meant to be played post-endgame with your base game ending character.

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A minor deity, not a full-blown one, according to Paizo official lore on Mythic Paths, but yeah, we’ll be plenty powerful for sure.

Honestly, level 19-20 isn’t that fun throwing around 4-5 town-destroying spells a day, it gets a little silly.

I’m ok with that…but then don’t show me level 19 and 20 abilities, feats, etc then. If I can’t get them (and get them early enough to spend time with them), then I don’t want to see them.

I mean you can solo the game and get level 20 no problem (going from Kingmaker). With the 2.0 patch (Free but called “Enhanced Edition”), Beneath the Stolen Lands, doing everything, and setting XP for group members only, then you can get a 6 member party to level 20 right near the end of the game.

A 4 member party would hit it sooner.

Think of the Owlcats as a good DM who makes you work your butt off for rewards. It’s possible, but they’re not going to hand it to you just for playing the game. By standard Paizo APs, the party gets to 17-18 for the final fight with a 4-5 person party. Some APs have an extra chapter (follow up adventure) that pushes that to 19-20 by the end.

I remember being slightly sad that despite seeking every optional quest i could find, i still ended my 1st kingmaker run (at 1.1) at lv 18. I think WoTR should be planned to reward those who did most if not all sidequests with a lv 20 just before the end.

It’s a bit of a difficult balancing act. Based off of some of the replies here and a bunch of the discussion I saw on the Obsidian forums when the DLC for Deadfire was coming out, some players lose a lot of motivation when they reach max level and don’t have any way to measure them getting stronger. At the same time, some people really love being able to reach max level and enjoy being able to use their strongest powers and abilities in several fights. Kingmaker balanced things so that unless you were going with no experience outside of your party or playing without a party, you would only be able to reach level 20 if you completed all of the side quests, skill checks, and DLC. That helped for the first crowd, but the second group was disappointed that they had to wait so long - and that it required extra content and rebalancing to even happen. It’s probably difficult to design how much experience goes out when you know that some players will do a solo challenge and want to get extra EXP so that they can get to the levels where their builds will actually be able to solo encounters while also designing the amount of EXP so that players using all of the companions also get a satisfying experience.

I personally want to reach level 20 and Mythic Rank 10 a little before the end of the game so that I can use my strongest party for more than just the last few fights in the final dungeon. So maybe be able to do a few bonus side quests and one or two of the final dungeons at mac level. That would maybe be around 85% or 90% of the way through, depending on how you can even measure that. If WotR is less open-world than Kingmaker, it might be easier for Owlcat to calculate the expected EXP of players, so maybe the balancing will be a bit better this time around.

I don’t really want anything like earning special extra EXP for other bonus stuff. Part of it is that it feels different than Pathfinder, which this game is aiming to represent. Another part is that having extra stuff like that is basically just extra levels, so even when I’m at “max level” I’m actually not because I still have to get the bonuses of these extra levels.

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I think there is an obvious solution to the problem of ‘continued growth until the end’ vs ‘play the full character build you have designed’ … Slow, Medium, Fast XP progression as an option in the settings.
As per the Pathfinder SRD this would mean that if you play slow XP you would be level 17 when someone playing fast XP is level 20 (and level 18 when someone on medium hits level 20).

It would not change the difficult of the monsters, dc of the traps or anything else (which can be controlled via there own settings) it would just mean that you can select your rate of XP gain to suit your playstyle.

Mythic Paths would likely be a bit different as they seem more story based and so for them you would need to have completed narrative goals rather the XP gain.

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Great idea. I second that completely. Besides, it’s core ruling and would not be too difficult to implement.

That is actually already the official Paizo rule on Mythic Progression!

You don’t “level up” your Mythic Path by just grinding XP, but rather to reflect just how insanely powerful you are becoming, you are supposed to overcome epic challenges to gain a new Mythic Tier, and yes, that’s one “Epic Challenge” per Tier.

These challenges are apparently also supposed to be much more than just, say, slaying a Dragon, but rather some monumental achievements that directly reflect your character’s path… for example, with the Lich Path, one such monumental achievement could be sacrificing an entire village for a dark ritual, or creating your very first Undead Champion, or even raising your first Story Boss as your undead minion.

Additionally, the Owlcats have already said that these Mythic “Tier-Ups” will all be part of your character’s Mythic Path story, as in the Path itself represents a self-contained story arc, within which you’ll be presented with said challenges to overcome, all of which are (again, official rules) supposed to be so monumental a task that non-mythic characters wouldn’t even remotely stand a chance of either surviving or otherwise completing them.

td;dr: I think we can safely assume that Mythic “Tier-Ups” won’t just happen en passant, but rather will require dedicated effort and following unique narrative arcs for each path.

For me, some games became more boring once you reach max level.
For me walking the path of growing stronger is more importent than reaching the goal.

Fallout 3 and New Vegas were such examples. Once I hit max level it felt less rewarding to do quests and explore areas. You are already as powerful as can be and you kill all enemies easily.
Ages ago I played WoW. I did not understand why players rush to max level only to repeat the same dungeons every week. It was the only online game I ever played and when I started I played just like any other RPG. I guess I am one of the few players who did most quests in most areas before reaching max level. Later I finished the achievement to do almost every quest in every area.

As for this game, reaching lv20 when you go to the final dungeon would be OK, but it would feel wrong if you reach max level after 1/2 or 3/4 of the game. For me it was totally fine that I beat the final boss in P:K at lv 18.

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I guess the thing is, (and explaining WOW players), it’s nice to have your build “complete” and working mechanically in its final form, and then using that build to pursue statistical power increases.

So WOW players would reach max level, then run raids for better gear.

Similarly, I’d be happy if I reached 20 pretty early (like halfway through the game) in Wrath, and then the 2nd half was all about increasing your Mythic levels according to the story, and spending banked XP for global bonuses / magic items / etc.

This lets me complete a character whilst still offering additional numbers to chase after. Some classes have nice lvl20 abilities that would be fun to actually use for a while, for example.

The suggestion made by someone to allow a difficulty setting to determine how quickly you level was a good one, but that doesn’t offer a way to earn/spend XP after you hit 20, which would be a nice bonus feature.

i completely agree with this. game should allow a “complete” build at least 70% of the progression. it’s really pointless when you get to “complete” your build and the game the game credit rolls… - THE END -

i also value more content or at least some endless dungeon or a mode where we can really just focus on the combat of a full party.