11 January 2018

I'm Max! Experience? I Don't Care!

I already might have kind of addressed this in my Over Consumption of Luck post, but now I'm going to focus on this and go into more detail.

Experience in Games

If you played any RPG games or games that implement leveling you may have come across this weird thing called experience. So apparently you seem to get it from doing certain things and once you've reached a certain amount your level increases and you need more experience to continue.

As experience shows this will go on for a few levels until you reach one certain level which people refer to as maximum level, max level or level cap.

Your goal until then was to collect experience all the way. Now you don't need experience anymore. It has no further use for you. So let's stop farming it.

Content Loss

This may not be the case for every person but I imagine quite a bunch of people that would actually stop playing content that has been interesting earlier. Luckily there's a simple way to prevent this from happening.

Simple Problem - Simple Solution

If experience is still worth it for these players. They will still have an interest in it, of course. So the goal is to figure out what to do with the experience after the maximum level. You could probably do like anything from a game designer's perspective. Though something I like to do is select and write about examples that have already been used. So let's go over my two favorite games that implemented this.

Guild Wars 2
In Guild Wars 2 experience is still used after the maximum level. Here it plays a role in crafting unique items and item skins or other useful stuff. It's also used to buy items to upgrade materials to a higher tier. So as you can see even as a max level character this is still more than just useful.

WildStar
After reaching your level cap in WildStar your experience is converted to a currency called Elder Gem. This currency is used for several useful unlocks and to buy neat stuff and that's not all. It goes even further. The elder gems are capped weekly. You can get 250 each week. Once you have capped your elder gems all experience is instead converted to gold, silver and/or copper. So even if you max your level and have everything you can buy with elder gems experience is still worth it.

Diablo III
Reaching the max level in Diablo III allows you to collect paragon experience. So your leveling continues like before, but instead of unlocking new abilities and passives you increase your stats now. Most of your stats are capped at paragon 800. This is not the case for vitality (increases health) and your main stat (increases damage) though.

What Can We Take From This?

Something I already posted in the Over Consumption of Luck post. As game designers, we should make sure that the content of our game is not lost due to missing interest from rewards. Aside from enjoying content with friends, no one likes to run something that brings absolutely nothing. It's the same problem with power creep. Bringing in more and more content having the old content grow mold is not how we should handle these things. Solving this issue like solving the experience problem in a way that is described here or similar will allow even the oldest veterans to still be able to enjoy gaining experience. If done right, maybe they'll even focus on it?
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I'm a junior game developer and software developer and I created this blog to share my ideas, thoughts and whatever I'm working on or doing.