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Bethesda: Skyrim Level Scaling Similar To Fallout 3

As the details for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim begin to circulate, there's one particular element of the new entry that has generated plenty of discussion.

This has to do with the leveling or rather, the level scaling that will be featured in the game. Fans of the series didn't particularly like the leveling system in the last entry, Oblivion, and after seeing the info, many believed Bethesda would be utilizing that same system again in Skyrim. Well, not quite. A reader has pointed us in the direction of one particularly long forum thread in the Bethesda Softworks forums, where the complaints are vocal and numerous. But a studio representative jumped in to clarify matters:

"Since people are asking, wanted to briefly touch on level scaling. All our games have had some amount of randomness/leveling based on player level. Skyrim‘s is similar to Fallout 3‘s, not Oblivion‘s."

The level scaling sort of eliminates the need for grinding but then again, there are a lot of hardcore role-players out there who like the grinding. They want to spend the extra time so as to dominate their foes. With the level scaling, many argue that you never feel as if you have any advantage, and the fights all start to feel the same throughout. The other side, if we're understanding this whole argument correctly, claims that with proper preparation and the correct equipment, spells and skill sets, you can dominate your foes. It just takes planning rather than repetitive grinding.

That being said, the choice to go with the Fallout 3 leveling system might be a good one. At the very least, it might eliminate some of the squabbling.

Related Game(s): The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Tags: the elder scrolls v, skyrim, bethesda, level scaling

1/10/2011 10:49:03 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (49 posts)

coverton341
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 11:13:53 AM
Reply

Whatever happened to the days of fighting rats early on in the game and running from big things until you were strong enough to beat them?

I guess I am just one of the ones on the side that feels like in an RPG you should feel like you are working your way up and relying on the strength of your character and their attributes and not so much on your equipment and its attributes.

Also, when you are dependent upon gear it opens up the whole can of worms where the developer, if they so choose, can make new uber-gear and charge for it as DLC.

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big6
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 11:38:10 AM

I totally agree with your first paragraph. I guess I'm a "grinder" as well, cuz I just expect to kill rats and bees for the first several hours to build my character up. I usually like to do that, and build up a strong character, before I do the actual quest, so I just own all the bad guys. haha
I also hate level caps. I was really into Fallout 3 until I hit the level cap. After that, I lost complete desire to play the game...

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coverton341
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 11:41:43 AM

110% agree about level caps. I mean I can understand to a certain degree a level cap of like 99 or something like that but a level cap of 20 or 30 is bollocks.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 12:09:19 PM

Not to mention DLC often raises the cap

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coverton341
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 12:19:35 PM

Yeah, I am on the fence about this game for those simple reasons. I really liked Oblivion and both Fallout games but I don't like how Bethesda hits us with DLC to up the level cap and what not. I hope there is no cap in this game or at least a sensible one, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 6:31:17 AM

Hear hear!
Grinding and running from big bad mothers only makes later revenge oh so much sweeter.
Not to mention heading into a deep dark place you're very not meant to be yet, knowing that anything that moves, the smallest worm equals instant death... "Curiosity killed the cat"...

So THIS is why Fallout is so easy and even Steven all the way... The mobs adjust to my level? Why level then... Bah. Dullness!

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bigrailer19
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 11:25:03 AM
Reply

Meh, i particularly liked the leveling in oblivion, and didnt care so much for it in fallout 3. I guess that makes me a "grinder", idk. I felt to restricted in Fallout 3, i felt like i didnt have a lot of freedom in my character as compared to Oblivion. Maybe thats why i enjoy it more.

Anyways as upsetting as that may be to ME, ive been waiting for this game for a long time. It sounds like i might be in the minority haha! I didnt realise their was an issue with the level scaling in oblivion!

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 1/10/2011 11:25:52 AM

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coverton341
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 11:33:47 AM

The level scaling of the enemies...not of your character.

Like the enemies level up with you so no matter how high of a level you get the enemies are always about the same and you never feel like you are getting more powerful, it just feels like your gear gets better.

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bigrailer19
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 12:03:02 PM

I must have mis read something. Hah. Ok well this makes good sense i guess. There were times i felt like i got stronger for no reason in oblivion so... Sounds like we'll be getting the best of both worlds!

Thanks for clarifying that for me!

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 1/10/2011 12:04:41 PM

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JROD0823
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 11:25:36 AM
Reply

@coverton, I agree.

It may have taken massive amounts of time and repitition to build up certain skills in Oblivion, but the sweet satisfaction of handing out large doses of pain with a high level character left you wanting to grind some more to see just how bad-ass your character could actually get. I have two 200+ hour save files from Olivion, so I'm super excited either way.

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maxpontiac
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 11:46:57 AM
Reply

Well, I am happy about this.

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Gabriel013
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 11:48:42 AM
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I am definitely one of those who prefers to grind to the point of total domination. It makes it feel more worthwhile to go back and slice up all the enemies you see rather than just charging through the game main story knowing that for the most part the enemies will always be more or less beatable at whatever point you run into them.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 12:35:06 PM

I'm with you. :)

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spiderboi
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 11:15:13 PM

Amen, man. Amen.

I like to grind early on so I can focus on the story rather than thinking too much about the battles. Also, I like getting tons of items early on :)

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Alienange
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 11:50:21 AM
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Well now all the babies can stop crying. From the sounds of it we're getting the best of both worlds. Great character development with the more subtle creature leveling/randomness of Fallout 3.

And dang the graphics look good.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 12:12:49 PM
Reply

Sounds great, the Fallout 3 levelling was good. As far as enemy levelling goes, I like the way the old JRPGs do it. You can be clobbered, but you can grind away and then do the clobbering.

I remember on one playthrough of FFVII I refused to sneak past the Midgar Zolom (or whatever the giant snake was called) and levelled up enough to whoop him. That felt good.

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coverton341
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 12:17:40 PM

Lol! My most recent play through when FFVII was released on the PSN I did this exact same thing. I must have spent 20 hours or more fighting anything and everything in the initial world map area.

On a side note, that was the only play through that I managed to get Aeris her final limit break and get her levelled to max before the "incident".

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Underdog15
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 12:32:49 PM

@World
Yeah, I did that every time too. I was typically close to level 25 by that point and had Meteorain. Easy kill. :)

What's funny though, is right after killing one or two of them, you see the one Sephiroth butchered and everyone is like, "Woh... How did Sephiroth manage to kill something that impossible to kill!" Seems SquareSoft forgot about how awesome guys like us could be. :)

@Coverton
The saddest part of all is that Aeris has the best base magic stats by FAR and wicked awesome limit breaks. I did the disk change trick (or maybe it was the gameshark... I'm pretty sure it wasn't gameshark though) on the original PS version. At key storyline parts where the 2nd or 3rd characters would say something, it would freeze if you had Aeris... except when staring at the waterfall when re-watching the "event". Aeris just stands there and watches with you without saying a word. LOL!

If you do events in disk 2 and 3 that can happen on disk 1, like the thing at Wutai, Aerith will be there talking and everything despite the event. ^.^

Last edited by Underdog15 on 1/10/2011 12:36:55 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 12:36:16 PM

I remember wanting to get Aeris' final Limit Break, but I didn't start training until just before you lose her (in the temple).

I stayed there for a WHILE doing that. But I finally saw it. :) ...I forget what it was called, though.

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Gamer Girl Gemo
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 1:40:16 PM

Wow, I STILL need to play FFVII! Haven't even played it at all! I am so ashamed...

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Underdog15
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 2:26:20 PM

@Ben
It's called, "Great Gospel" I believe. She gets all angelic, some angels come and help her out, she flies a bit, rays of sunshine beam down on her with radience, and you're completely healed, recovered from status effects, and everyone is made invincible for 3-ish turns.

Best support-based move in the game by a freakin' MILE!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 2:57:06 PM

Yeah, too bad you can't freakin' use it unless you go a million miles out of your way, and then it doesn't matter, anyway. :(

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ZShadowninja
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 12:40:27 PM
Reply

Off Topic: Hey guys this is my first here but I've been reading ALOT of articles here I just never created an account until recently.

On Topic: The leveling really never bother except whenever I started fighting this one creature and for some reason the same type of creature or whatever it is is in every RPG that I play the one where u hit it and it just tickles it but when it attacks u its like its the attack God would use. I dunno maybe its because I don't grind that much or something.

Last edited by ZShadowninja on 1/10/2011 12:41:36 PM

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Gamer Girl Gemo
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 1:31:44 PM

Welcome! All these guys here are great and I'm sure you'll fit in just fine :)
This is a really great community! :D

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Underdog15
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 2:32:40 PM

Welcome!

But before we get started, you should tell me who and from what your avatar is!

I like it!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 3:21:31 PM

Welcome and yes, very cool avatar!

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BikerSaint
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 3:23:10 PM

Welcome!

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ZShadowninja
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 8:42:10 PM

Thanks guys ^_^

Not really sure what her name is I stumbled upon her and alot more a long time ago.

Last edited by ZShadowninja on 1/10/2011 8:42:58 PM

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Lawless SXE
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 12:45:09 PM
Reply

I don't understand the difference TBH. In both games I was usually up against something ridiculously underpowered with only the occasional truly killer critter... Even so I never felt particularly underpowered, or overpowered, both of which I enjoy in games. I suppose that those who 'get' the changes may enjoy it, until someone enlightens me, I remain unimpressed.
Peace.

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Gamer Girl Gemo
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 1:29:35 PM
Reply

I am also a "grinder" like some of you here. I enjoyed the beating up on the smaller levels to get stronger and just completely take out the enemies on the next quest. Sure, the enemies keeping up with your level adds a sense of challenge and whatnot but... I'll miss killing the little guys in the beginning.

Bottom line, I'll miss the grinding and leveling up to beat little guys or big guys, but I'm sure it will matter little overall.

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Underdog15
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 2:41:50 PM
Reply

I, too, am more of a grinder. I typically don't advance too agressively at first though. I really enjoy playing most of the game and a minimalist level and trying to incorporate a solid strategy instead. I don't typically grind until end game.

A great example is FFXII. I prefer to make each character specialize in something as opposed to being above average in every stat. What some people need to be at level 40 to kill, I can usually take out at level 30-35. I'll typically grind at end game.

People don't realize that making everyone good at everything can actually hurt you in the long run. A good strategy literally takes 5-10 levels off the recommended level! Especially near the end when equipment makes a big difference in your stats! (There's a lot of hidden stats you don't initially see. Seriously... check your stats before equiping a new item and see all stats after. There are lots of stat changes you won't see in the EQUIP menu!!)

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natclark619
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 2:44:51 PM
Reply

I remember the giant snake in ffVII haha! I also remember the tyranosaur in ffXII, and slashing at easy to kill wolves while avoiding the huge dinosaur was fun and realistic. It was quite gratifying to return to the desert and whomp the same t-rex after gaining a few levels. I was just playing oblivion and I have to say I am confident in bethesda, and I am excited to see how this game compares to fallout: new vegas, as I compared fallout 3 with oblivion IV. Now I need to write up a business plan that involves getting others to buy me videogames...

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DemonNeno
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 3:46:02 PM
Reply

Definitely a trend for new rpgs. I'm not fond of it, but I honestly can't say I'll turn my back on this game purely based on the leveling system. I just get very annoyed when enemies are handicapped at my loss. I've bumped into fights in fallout 3 where regular enemies put on boss-like difficulties to beat them. While that's ok on the first 10 hrs of gaming, at most, I just end up walking away from the game too much during sessions.

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kraygen
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 3:57:04 PM
Reply

Level scaling is dumb beyond belief in a rpg.

What is the point of leveling at all if no matter what everything is the same difficulty. I have always hated level scaling as it totally defeats the purpose of leveling at all.

If you're going to level scale your game, you might as well remove levels entirely and just give us new armor and equipment every 3-5 hours of gameplay.

I'm a grinder, because hard work is supposed to equal reward. Why should working hard ever amount to eternal equality in an rpg. Just stupid.

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bigrailer19
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 4:20:09 PM

I like what you have stated here, today!

Id add to it but i think you nailed, why its such a concern!

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 1/10/2011 4:20:50 PM

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Fane1024
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 1:32:59 AM

The point of an RPG is to experience the adventure, not to level-up.

Having the enemies scale to the player character's level allows the player to progress the story regardless of their character's current abilities.

Not even remotely stupid.

Being forced to wander around a field killing hundreds of respawning enemies just so you can get past some boss and back to the interesting part...that's stupid.

I was going to rush to save the kidnapped princess, but instead I think I'll putter around here for a few hours until some artificial number goes from 25 to 30. Makes tons of sense.


Last edited by Fane1024 on 1/11/2011 1:40:31 AM

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kraygen
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 11:35:43 AM

If you feel that way, that's fine, I won't argue with that, it's an opinion.

However if you enjoy playing that way there is no reason to have a level. You could progress without a level system and get new gear and stuff, but a level and experience is pointless because it doesn't change anything in the game.

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Veitsknight
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 9:46:34 PM

iWith the skill system oblivion had, they could have created the game without a level system.

I had a Breton who specializes in magic and just used marksmanship and block the whole time. Well, I did have to conjure up some backup at some of the harder battles.

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evilmunkie
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 7:07:25 PM
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This might get me into alot of trouble here, but this is really not a bad idea. Hear me out now, I've played a RPG where level scaling would have made me enjoy the game more, and that game is Final Fantasy X (yes,blasphamy on my part I know),let me explain. I grinded so damn hard on FFX that I almost got everyone's ultimate weapon, when it came down to the first time I ever reached the final game ending battle all it took to kill the last guy was a single hit, and I do mean a single hit, from Wakka, no one else (99,999 damage = overkill lol)!! Can you imagine how I felt, after hours upon hours of side questing and just plain enjoying the game,just to push the final boss over as if it was a senior citizen thats trying not to crap in their depends? It didn't ruin the game for me - I take that back, all I remember about the last guy was that he looked like a damn jellyfish. It just felt like I had undermined my own gaming experience by over exploring and getting too strong. While it feels great to dominate in games (any God of War game for example) there are games that give that experience if thats what you want. You can still dominate in Skyrim if you just use magic and equipment that your going to find anyways so whats the problem here? I perfer holding on to the edge of my seat not knowing what I might bump into in Skyrim. I perfer that to being mostly unaffected by the game's atmosphere because I know I don't have to worry about a single damn thing, being a level 50 guy in a level 30 dungeon. It might be fun for a while, but speaking for myself it would make the grinding so lame, atleast give me a challenge if I am going to grind. As for people complaining about level scaling in oblivion,did you notice the completely adjustable difficulty bar that you can access at any time you want? If you want overkill power set it to a low setting, lets all be realistic here, thats basically eliminates your issue with the way the game is. Want to look like a total bad ass, play it on easy after afew levels, simple as that, don't tell me its not the same, it gives the same experience that you would get with no level scaling in that game.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 7:18:22 PM

yeah you aren't really supposed to get God like to fight the end battle. You are supposed to get God like to fight the bad guys that are much stronger than the end boss like the "Weapons" and stuff.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 1/10/2011 7:18:32 PM

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evilmunkie
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 7:36:07 PM

Yeah I should've seen that happening when I was playing it being no stranger to ff7's emerald weapon and that damn desert rose I never got to pick up. I don't know if I just forgot to change out my weapons for that last one or what, what I can tell you for sure is that was a facepalm moment for me, I want to say its in my top 5.

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kraygen
Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 11:06:24 PM

I understand your point, but I got a little satisfaction in ff7 when it came down to just Sephiroth vs Cloud and I killed him in one hit.

Hey, when I grind out levels like there's no tomorrow, I expect to be the man.

And no forces you to level any higher in those games, you always have a choice. With level scaling there is no choice.

Last edited by kraygen on 1/10/2011 11:07:08 PM

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evilmunkie
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 8:04:33 PM

Hell, nothings wrong with the final boss on ff7, the only reason I wouldn't count that in the same catagory as what happened to me on ffX is that before that can happen you have to take him down afew pegs. Not to spoil it for anyone that hasen't played it yet (like maybe 15 people on this site) but you need everyone at your disposal to take him down before that. Just realized its like the PS1 equivelant of taking town a massive boss like on shadow of the colossus or when Cratos takes down Chronos and thats just plain awesome.

Yeah theres nothing wrong with being the man on any game (except Silent Hill), its just that on Oblivion I think you need to use what magic you choose to learn and what equipment you find in that game to your advantage. The damn mountain lions pissed me off eary in that game, then I learned my paralyze and conjuration spells then bonked those suckers on the head afew times. Later I found magical boots that made me run like a damn greyhound there by letting me choose if I even wanted to even bother with them. There is always a choice, with all the magical loot there was in that game theres plenty of choices in there. What I thought was kinda lame was that you could only use one ring in each hand, but its for fairness since even rings are magic infused. No I didn't want to be a wizard/pimp but I still enjoyed the game even with just being able to equip two rings. According to the released info, on this new one you can infuse equipment with magic just like in Oblivion, just hope its more accessible.

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evilmunkie
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 9:50:01 PM

Oh, forgot to mention that while no one makes me spend more time in those games to do the side stuff, maybe I do it because I like the game? The last game that I played where I wanted to spend more time playing but knew I was comming to the ending of said game was Uncharted 2. Thats what I always loved about final fantasy, I could go around doing new things and maybe learn new things about the characters along the way. If I didn't grind to my enjoyment I would've missed out on Yuffie and Vincent, what type of ff7 playthrough would that be?

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natclark619
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 12:18:14 AM
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Final fantasy tactics features both: level scaling on random battles and set levels for story battles. That game is genuis yo!

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evilmunkie
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 8:59:47 PM

That game is awesome, I loved the hell out of it, one of the best strategy games I have ever played. Wish there was a console sequel to it, and you know what I knew it had both types of level progression in it but till you pointed it out I never noticed. I haven't known the technical terms for these leveling up schemes for long, never cared to know, I take my games for what they are as a whole, just like I'd never pass up on an attractive woman just because she had brown hair when I like black or red hair. Have I thought about how I would tweek a game or two so I could enjoy it more? I sure have but I think I would stick to what I know when it comes to leveling up schemes or game modes and that would make me miss out on anything new or at the very least create a lack in variety.

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Veitsknight
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 9:53:17 PM

Replaying FFT: War of the Lions. Your right, " That game is genuis yo!" Hahaha.
Skyrim should have set level dungeons as well. Like a badass dragon's nest or a rat dungeon.
(What is it with rats?)

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Temjin001
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 1:24:19 AM
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I'm okay with this change, I'd rather not go obsolete due to Oblivion's natural selection process. Everything else gets tougher and I'm no longer fit to survive.

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Zorigo
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 @ 10:07:23 AM
Reply

im not too good with terms.
grinding?
is that that thing like in pokemon where you have to spend god damn FOREVER trying to level up your pokemon just so you can take on your next boss. most likely misty because her starmie is fcking magic ¬_¬

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