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Photoshop skills level down

Use it sparingly.

Imagine you are stuck on a boss in an RPG. No strategies or walkthroughs will get you past this boss. Maybe you’ve attempted the fight several times. Every single try results in zero HP, a game over and some loading screens.

You have two options – you can give up and stop playing the game. But if you really want to get past that boss and enjoy the rest of the entertainment product you’ve spent your money on, or if you just want to see the story – you can run back to the area just before the save point and ‘grind’. Run in circles, repeating the same fights with the same monsters to make numbers slowly count up on a screen. You put in potentially hours of work in the hopes that you make your characters strong enough to beat this boss. Maybe you try again afterwards and find you’re still not strong enough. Back to the grind again.

Does anyone actually enjoy this?

I’d like to see a game where a person in this scenario could simply go into the profile of their characters and hit a nice shiny “Level up” button. It would be perfect for casual players, people just there for the story, or those of us who don’t enjoy slowly leveling up in the same place.

The idea would be to use it if the difficulty drags you too far from your comfort zone. You could also have some fun with it when replaying the game. You could even just have boost one character up to the level cap and bring them into the party whenever you’re stuck early on.

“That would be too easy!” “It’s cheating!” some might say. But it would be optional. Gaming is interactive, choice and options are what make the medium. If you so choose, the grind would still be there.

The system could be balanced in a number of ways.

  • The level up button could just give you EXP, not AP or skill points. It would improve your general stats, your HP, your overall damage output, etc. But maybe it won’t give you access to those shiny maxed out spells.
  • Who Wants To Be A Millionaire-esque prompts. “Are you sure? 100%?”
  • Only have it available in Easy mode.
  • Mark your main menu, maybe your save file. Just a simple counter (in red – just because) of how many times you’ve hit the level up button. In the Final Fantasy VII menu pictured above, it would fit perfectly in the box with Time and Gil. The counter wouldn’t bother casuals, but it would be a branding to the challenge-obsessed “hardcore” gamers.

I’d definitely like to see it tried and it would be interesting to see how players use (or abuse) it. Mistwalker‘s next game would probably be perfect for it.



  1. I’d impose some limits on this– maybe doing this has some cost, maybe you can only do it a certain number of times period. Maybe it’s only available in “easy mode.” Often the reason players need to levelgrind (on games that aren’t broken in terms of difficulty, anyway) is that they made bad strategic decisions before– used one character more than anyone else, for example. This could be good for helping out new players, but they eventually should be able to get through things on their own. It’s quite an interesting idea though. 🙂

  2. Horrible idea. I love it.

    Actually, I think that you should have to do some sort of challenge in order to get the level up. Not anything as tedious as grinding, or as difficult as the boss itself. Rather, a short, fun challenge to see if you deserve it.

    Like maybe have to sit through a ten minute Larry the Cable Guy routine. Or maybe be forced to listen to country music.

  3. I generally like the idea, but I fear I myself could be tempted to use it more often than necessary. Maybe offer it as an optional DLC so thos who definitely don’t want it, have to go out of their way to get it.

  4. This would have been fabulous, especially for those moments when you have your party about 3 levels higher than others.. and you want to even them all out.. or you get a new member, and they’re 4 levels lower than others.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] (Click here for previous game mechanic idea!) « Avatar: The Last Airbender and Jade Empire – cut from the same cloth? […]

  2. […] there’s the ability to level up. When an RPG doesn’t use grinding to pad out its length, the option to make your characters […]

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