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The XP Cap: A Flaw in the Game's Design

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Comments

  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    @Bhaaldog

    Completely true...

    I start each science lesson with a bad impression of Jon Irunickerlesses voice

    "...it is time for more experiments..."

    They just think I'm nuts.

    [Deleted User]Debaserlolien
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,399
    ... and as mentioned above there isn't enough XP for a full party to get to the next level from 161k to the next level anyway, so the added XP is literally meaningless... so, all the OP is really worrying about is seeing the little numbers change, meaninglessly.

    Again: play the game. Be happy. It takes real work NOT to get to 'hooray' in this instance.

    AnduinMessi
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

    Anduin
  • DebaserDebaser Member Posts: 669
    edited February 2013
    Bhaaldog said:

    Debaser said:

    atcDave said:

    Well this got a little ugly.

    Seriously, this is no big deal either way. The main point of an RPG is playing the character; experiencing the story and exploring the world are close adjuncts of that. I happen to think a professional adventurer however WOULD take seriously the idea of improving their skills and capabilities. It's literally a matter of life and death for the character. THAT is good role playing.

    As a game, balancing is very important. It's more important to the GAME than it is to the CHARACTER. But it is truly silly to panic over game balance every time someone questions the cap. With a cap at 161K experience, characters will need between 60K and 140K to gain an additional level. In a full party, even one additional level will require some significant work. I have no problem with the idea of player who wants to put in that kind of extra effort getting an extra level for their trouble. Smaller parties may gain an extra level or two more easily, but the trade off is the smaller party! These extra levels categorically will not break the game.
    More high end magic items would be a far bigger problem than an extra level (or two). But guess what. Those powerful, high end, game breaking magic items don't exist in BG unless you cheat them in!
    It will be very difficult to damage game balance in any significant way without a far more egregious cheat than a cap remover. Like maybe finishing Black Pits or BG2 first, then transferring your character over WITH all their stuff. That WILL break game balance pretty badly. But that is not what was being discussed here.

    There is nothing magical or sacred about a 161K experience cap. It is high enough to ensure a character capable of winning the game, so strictly speaking nothing more is needed. If that works for you, don't mess with it.
    But some of us don't like such artificial constraints. If I earn 20K over the cap, I want to see my 20K over the cap. Those higher levels are hard enough to earn, I don't want an artificial and unneeded game balancing mechanism interfering with my professional adventurer's learning and growth.

    @atcDave @hummer010 @the_spyder @shawne @bigdogchris @Bercon @FinneousPJ @subtledoctor @Anduin @Fardragon @Madhax @ryuken87

    What is this @Debaser ? You have called fourth all the forum test subjects? How wonderfully mad of you. I didn't expect this in the least, so dangerously risky it is.
    @Bhaaldog

    Hehe! Right...I'm sure I risk instant decapitation by flaming. =P I dunno dude, I just wanted to point out, that if you do complete the quests that eventually in the next game the XP gets applied when it's not making you overwhelmingly powerful in the face of the first game.

  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    @debaser Are you sure? Going to go check...

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

    Anduin
  • DebaserDebaser Member Posts: 669
    edited February 2013
    Anduin said:

    @debaser Are you sure? Going to go check...


    @Anduin

    I am DEAD certain this works.

    Just did it with the classic games, and kind of faked it in the Black Pitts for BGEE using Simple XP Cap Remover mod.

    Think about a PNP game where maybe you can't level up until you finish a story arc...that's how it literally works.


    @Bhaaldog

    Later meng. =)

  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    Well I haven't tested that Debaser, but if anything it strengthens my case. One additional level means a few hit points, maybe another +1 to hit, maybe some slighter better saves, and a few extra spells. For no class is the 8-11 level range a huge earth shattering improvement. As I've said several times, for most of us, it's not even about gaining a level, it's just about seeing the progress on screen. And yes, that matters to me.
    And going into BG2, you will quickly reach the point where experience can come in 50K chunks, so the extra experience you might have earned in BG was not going to be a huge issue anyway. If BG2 doesn't even worry about the BG cap why should I? (to be honest, I do not remember this being the case, but I've long used cap removers and its probably been 10 years since I played vanilla BG2.)

    Anduin
  • DebaserDebaser Member Posts: 669
    edited March 2013
    atcDave said:

    Well I haven't tested that Debaser, but if anything it strengthens my case. One additional level means a few hit points, maybe another +1 to hit, maybe some slighter better saves, and a few extra spells. For no class is the 8-11 level range a huge earth shattering improvement. As I've said several times, for most of us, it's not even about gaining a level, it's just about seeing the progress on screen. And yes, that matters to me.
    And going into BG2, you will quickly reach the point where experience can come in 50K chunks, so the extra experience you might have earned in BG was not going to be a huge issue anyway. If BG2 doesn't even worry about the BG cap why should I? (to be honest, I do not remember this being the case, but I've long used cap removers and its probably been 10 years since I played vanilla BG2.)

    @atcDave

    I don't think it matters too much, but allowing things to cap without leveling you at the end of BG1 makes the end fights harder / more strategy driven, it's a matter of personal taste since the mod is available and it's easy to manually lift the cap as well.

    But getting that slight boost from doing all the extras in BG1 when you import to BG2 is rewarding too. If you were a DM and trying to set a pace I could see that working in PNP.

    Post edited by Debaser on
  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    @debaser Just realised I removed all the caps anyway! lol! WORST EXPERIMENT EVER!

    Debaserlolien
  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    edited February 2013
    I have some sympathy with @shawne on this, because I do agree that developing your characters is a significant component of the enjoyment for many of us, so it'd an improvement if development could continue until nearer the end. However, I do like there to be a cap eventually, preferably sometime in the last Chapter, so that I can feel that I've now "completed" the development of that character (at least so far as the BG1 part of the saga is concerned). Then I can go in and win the final battle to prove the success of this character's development, and feel ready to plan a different type of character for my next attempt. Of course your mileage may vary, but this is how I'd like it to work.

    There isn't a vast amount of added content in BGee, but every addition to content also adds to the likelihood that you'll cap out when you're only about half-way through the game (i.e. entering BG city), and that's really a little too soon. I therefore reckon that Overhaul should have raised the cap, although only slightly. In a similar thread a couple of weeks ago, I suggested that 175K would have been a good figure for BGee.

    HOWEVER, the big problem with a more substantial increase in the cap (or with abolishing it) is that this game is intended to dovetail into the start of BG2ee when that comes out. The opening stages of BG2 are designed to be suitable for characters around the level which Charname reaches in BG1. If characters could be imported into BG2 with too much XP, the early part of BG2 would be trivialised.

    Thus I think there's a good case for slightly reducing XP awards (from combat and quests) and slightly increasing the XP cap, but both adjustments should be minor, not more than around 10%. That way, characters could continue developing until nearer to the end of BGee, but the beginning of BG2ee wouldn't be wrecked.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    atcDave said:

    Well I haven't tested that Debaser, but if anything it strengthens my case. One additional level means a few hit points, maybe another +1 to hit, maybe some slighter better saves, and a few extra spells. For no class is the 8-11 level range a huge earth shattering improvement. As I've said several times, for most of us, it's not even about gaining a level, it's just about seeing the progress on screen. And yes, that matters to me.
    And going into BG2, you will quickly reach the point where experience can come in 50K chunks, so the extra experience you might have earned in BG was not going to be a huge issue anyway. If BG2 doesn't even worry about the BG cap why should I? (to be honest, I do not remember this being the case, but I've long used cap removers and its probably been 10 years since I played vanilla BG2.)

    @atcDave, all of your reasons are perfectly valid for wanting the XP cap removed. But you sensibly remove the XP cap with the mod and continue having fun. You don't make inflammatory threads about it and then attack responders who have a different opinion. I respect that.

    I have no problem with someone expressing an opinion as the OP has done. I do wonder though, when faced with a problem for which there is a ready and easy solution, and one that in the grand scheme of things really doesn't make all that much difference anyway, why people post threads like this. Yes, they have the right, but the approach could absolutely use some work. Nuff said.

    atcDave
  • DebaserDebaser Member Posts: 669
    @Anduin

    Hehe...DOH! Yeah, the best way to check it is to load a game into Shadowkeeper that you exported from BG1 into BG2 without using the XP cap remover in the Vanilla original game.

    That shows clearly that it worked that way from the start.

    The Black Pitts test just proves to me that it still rolls that way, and that TuTu probably worked the same. =)

    Anduin
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    Well a big part of my point is that in most cases it won't even add a level, so the end fight is not at all different. In a few cases it may add a level, but no more than that unless you're doing something highly irregular, and the difference one level makes at this point is very small.

    I do think my PNP background is part of why I'm so adamant about this. I like the idea of being rewarded for preparedness. Although it is true a human DM could use other mechanisms to enforce balance, like reducing experience rewards without even telling anyone he was doing so. Or an even better mechanism might be making time an issue, forcing the players to chase down Sarovok more quickly if too much time is wasted harvesting experience, then maybe the side quests could be completed afterwards, but before BG2. But capping experience is not something I would accept graciously in a PNP game. And for the record, most PNP games I play in or run do away with level limits one way or another too.

  • GrakkelGrakkel Member Posts: 55
    @atcDave I get that a big part of your enjoyment of the game is seeing your character level up with XP and getting new gear. I love that too.

    That said, with the knowledge that without using a mod, you do get an XP award once you import to BG2, that would be motivation enough for me. Knowing that I might not see the benefits now, but I will later, satisfies me.

    As for doing TOTSC adventures before heading into Baldur's Gate, and thus having higher-powered items than you otherwise would...

    That is an interesting puzzle. Before, you'd complete the standard Baldur's Gate, then once finished, tackle TOTSC. Now, as you've shown, that order isn't necessary. And while the quests in the game might lead you to go to Baldur's Gate before Durlag's Tower, yes, nothing's stopping you from doing so.

    But really, what change could you reasonably expect to accommodate the order you chose to complete quests? If even more higher-powered items were added into Baldur's Gate, then the reverse would be true. People who go to the Gate before tackling TOTSC quests would find the loot in TOTSC areas unsatisfying.

    That's the inherent challenge of an open RPG.

    As for the XP cap... personally, I want my end battles challenging. If I finish a game, and the end is too easy, it's a big letdown. So the benefit of eliminating the XP cap doesn't outweigh the drawback of a too-easy end battle for me.

    Your mileage may vary. And, as others have suggested, the best solution for you seems to be to use the remove XP cap mod.

    Might it be nice to put that as an option in the game, but with a harsh warning that turning the cap off may unbalance the game?

    Maybe.

    But time is limited. And I'd rather the devs work on getting BG2EE off the ground, personally.

    DebaserWolk
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    Hmmm, not sure what all you're getting at there Grakkel. You have to finish TotSC prior to Saravok, the game won't let you do so otherwise.
    My point on magic items was simply that there are no game breaking items in BG, that does include TotSC. Many items from BG2 could break BG, but nothing in the game itself.
    There's also no game breaking Mage spells in the game. No scrolls exist for spells of level six or higher. And this is all good news. It is good game design to not include items that will make the game too easy.
    As far as the cap goes, again, I think it's much ado about nothing. No one will ever unbalance the final battle by earning another 40K experience. You would have to use additional cheats, like playing the game twice or importing from another source.
    If you don't want to use a cap remover, that's great! But it is a little silly to suggest those of us who do use one are somehow unbalancing the game and facing an easier final fight. In most cases, we won't see a single level out of doing it. And even if we do see an extra level, good tactics matter far more than an extra 5% to hit ever will.
    And THAT is my point about magic items. Adding an extra Girdle of Giant Strength or Flail of the Ages into the game would be seriously unbalancing, but a few extra experience points, even if it means a couple characters gain a level out of it, is not.

  • GrakkelGrakkel Member Posts: 55
    So, if I'm understanding you right, it's not that you want to actually earn extra levels, nor that you want more high-level gear, you just want to be able to see the extra XP on your character sheets?

    I mean, that doesn't seem crazy to me, but it also doesn't seem something to get too worked up about, either.

    Debaser
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    shawne said:

    This thread is a bit confusing.

    1) Is gaining XP the only reason you want to do those quests? Well then, congratulations, now you don't have to. Hooray!

    2) Alternatively, do you do quests because you enjoy playing the game? Well then, go ahead and play the game and enjoy it. Hooray!

    I can't see any course of action that doesn't get you to hooray.

    * oh yeah, and if you truly think the XP cap is really a problem, you can go ahead and - wait for it - remove it. Quite easily. The OP must have put a lot more points into the "complain" skill than me, because I can't make it work here...

    There's a very serious problem on this forum wherein any criticism of the game is shouted down and classified as "moaning"/"complaining". I've seen this kneejerk reaction before, and I'm not impressed. If you don't have anything constructive or intelligent to add to the discussion, find some other thread to troll.
    And I think it's a very serious problem when someone starts a thread, then when they find that no one else agrees with them, starts acusing them of being "kneejerks" and "trolls" and their comments "unintellegant".
    Attempts at derailing the subject aside, I'll reiterate: this is a RPG - a genre that literally defines itself by the developmental process of its player characters - in which you can move just past the midpoint and have your entire party's progress plateau. In a game where the impetus for doing anything is a reward of some kind (whether XP, gold or equipment) I find it problematic that you can basically hit a dead end long before the endgame.
    Attempts to define what constitutes an "RPG" are highly contentious. However, if you look at their roots, it is as "story telling" games. People play them for the story. Some have other forms of reward as well, some do not.

    Debaser
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    edited February 2013
    shawne said:

    @Fardragon: That explanation rings a bit false to me - it's not like the maps only reveal themselves in specific circumstances. If Ulcaster is accessible, there's absolutely no reason for me not to go there.

    I have a map here (actually an Atlas). Lots of places are revealed to me - Cardiff, Slough, Oslo, Kiev. Do I have to go to all those places just because they are marked on my map?

    You don't really get this role playing gig, do you? The protagonist has just seen his foster father killed, and has met up with a couple of Harper agents investigating the iron shortage. Some guy in an Inn mentions this place called Ulcaster. It has no connection with the Iron Shortage, it has no conection with Gorion's death. So ther is no reason why the protagonist should feel any compelling reason to go running off there.

  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    Grakkel said:

    So, if I'm understanding you right, it's not that you want to actually earn extra levels, nor that you want more high-level gear, you just want to be able to see the extra XP on your character sheets?

    I mean, that doesn't seem crazy to me, but it also doesn't seem something to get too worked up about, either.

    Well I did say its not a big thing either way. But yeah, I want to see the experience I earned. I don't like the artificial experience limit. We earn far more money than we can use, after a point, it's purely a matter of keeping score. And I like numbers. So it's fascinating to me to see the last game I won I had 180k experience, the game before I had 220K. Yes, I'm a nerd, but I want to see that difference.

    It does matter more when I'm running a short handed party. If I have four characters with me it will likely mean an extra level for everyone. If four characters are capped at 161K just like six, well there's little motivation for me try a smaller party. But without the cap the whole experience becomes a more interesting tactical exercise. How capable is a party of four who are a level higher? What's the impact on a party of five or three? Removing the cap adds a new and fascinating (to me) dimension to the game. And just for the record, I've done this many times, and the smaller parties are only slightly weaker than the bigger parties. That is; six characters of level 8-9 are slightly more dangerous than four characters of level 9-10 (depending some on class and ability scores).
    There are so many factors that effect the power and potential of characters and parties in D&D, and I love exploring them.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    @Fardragon, far be it from me to accuse someone of being a Troll, but I kind of suspect that the OP created this thread out of some other desire than raising an issue. I could be way off base on this, and I apologize in advance if I am.

    You will note that when pressed on their play-through 'Plateau' 'Half-way through' the game, that they carefully skirted around that. I am not saying it isn't "Possible", but I personally complete every single quest and generally hit the wall somewhere only a bit prior to the last battle. Leastwise it is quite a distance further than "Half way". They are clearly doing something different than the normal. Either that or they are exaggerating the point merely to make a point.

    In the end, they can simply apply the mod and be done. it is perfectly valid way to go, even if it doesn't gain you much. And so long as they aren't using WereBears, there shouldn't be a problem with balance. (joke)

    atcDaveDebaserFardragon
  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    And in the end, the OP has not participated in the discussion either.

  • WebShamanWebShaman Member Posts: 483
    Much ado about nothing.

    Seriously. Shouldn't you all be playing?

    "Surfacers can be so stupid!"

  • IecerintIecerint Member Posts: 414
    A compromise might be allowing the game to continue to log additional experience points without those points leading to levels in-game.

    This way, players continue to feel the sense of progression and advancement that is part of the fun of RPGs, but the points just become a way to keep score (or maybe they could impact BG2 import in some way).

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    @Lecerint, it does that (or so some have posted), you just don't see it on screen. But if you import into BG2, it apparently carry's over.

    Iecerint
  • IecerintIecerint Member Posts: 414
    Cool. In that case, continuing to receive EXP receipt notifications would be a nice cosmetic fix. It feels good to see that you earned EXP. :]

  • OurQuestIsVainOurQuestIsVain Member Posts: 201
    I encounter this exact problem almost every time I play through BG. I usually run quickly through the story line at that point so I can export my char to BG2. I would have no problem raising the xp cap if BG was the only game in the series...but as it is, I'm not going to take a level 20 char into BG2, that would just be way too OP and no fun at all. I think lowering all xp gained from kills and quests in BG would be a good way to even things out.

  • OurQuestIsVainOurQuestIsVain Member Posts: 201
    Wow...just wow, I posted before reading everybody elses reactions...holy crap dude. OP don't let all of these elven arses get you down. BG is my favorite series of games ever but even so I can admit to the flaws that are present in the game...I don't even know what to say about these people being so rude and belligerent, I just hope they are trolling and that this isn't how the people actually are. OP brings up a valid point and explains it in a thorough and well thought out manner and all that you can think of to do instead of discuss it civily is to insult him? I'm sorry for all the mutt mongering rit raff on this forum OP.

    DebaserIecerint
  • LuigirulesLuigirules Member Posts: 415
    Yeah, how dare people disagree with the OP. They're just so mean.

    But seriously, if you think there's a problem with the game, and this is the reaction you get, chances no one is going to change anything.

    Go visit the mods forum.

    To raise the XP cap, you have to download three files and put them in your override folder. It's not exactly rocket science.

    Debaser
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