Progression, experience and upgrades


Speaking of Horizon and unclear numbers, I didn’t realize until like 20 hours in that stacking the same mods gave diminishing returns. This isn’t exactly hidden since you can see all the damage numbers but it’s not really noticeable until you get better mods and equipment with more slots. For the early game I just did the easy math of 15% + 10% = 25% and trusted that result because why wouldn’t I? It’s not until later when you can use 3 +33% mods and clearly see without doing the math that the bonus isn’t 100%.

Luckily it’s not the biggest deal for a game like Horizon, but the higher difficulties can get pretty tricky and I wish I knew earlier that diversifying got better results than min-maxing.


Definitely agree with appreciating the types of games that @diglett mentions. I think one of the most impressive things about Hollow Knight is that between its progression systems and its equippable charm system, there are tons and tons of collectibles that all feel meaningful. It’s not like playing a Metroid game and getting yet another capacity upgrade for your missiles. Each discovered thing is worth money, progress towards a major upgrade like a health slot or weapon upgrade, or a unique charm that will actually change how you play.

Another interesting example that came to mind was Pyre, which strikes a wonderful balance of having upgrades that are infrequent, but big enough to be meaningful. The boosts you get from items are underwhelming, but the progression trees for each character are full of interesting decisions with real repercussions that benefit varying playstyles. The numbers are big enough to feel meaningful (e.g. Jodariel’s Enduring Flame ability makes you start with 135 health for your pyre instead of 100, which is substantial!), and they descriptions are usually easy to understand. The fact that you have a whole cast of characters with totally unique skill trees also does a lot to mitigate how small the trees are. As a person who’s neither totally number-averse nor ravenous for complicated formulas, this balance worked really well for me.


I play FFXIV and I have someone else go to the reddit and tell me what I need to meld b/c I’m bad at math and also I don’t want to go on reddit.


There’s only 2 kinds of numbers I like: small whole numbers and big percentages. If you surface a number larger than 1000 for anything but currency, I’m unhappy. If you use a percentage smaller than 25, or - god forbid - used a decimal anywhere, you’ve actually failed.

(obviously in the backend you’ve gotta use fractions, and hilariously large/small numbers. I get it. I’m not a narc. but your player doesn’t need to know they have 17,459 HP that shit’s whack)


I love numbers but I do not like minmaxing. I am weird.

I played the Division almost exclusively because my lizard brain liked seeing the green numbers. I jumped off twice once the progression became horizontal. Diablo is better in that aspect because there’s a lot more “effects” that I can install, but seeing the green arrows keeps me going.

Less hardcore RPG’s like Destiny are easier to deal with because there aren’t little percentages to keep track of. I’m actually glad Bungo decided not to list numbers with the stats.


Despite having an actual learning disability, I don’t hate the numbers, but if I had to choose, I wouldn’t mind more games adopting the GTA V/RDR2 method of “doing thing=stats go up”



I kind of dislike systems like these because they’re usually used as a way to make an arbitrary road block to progression and get used a LOT in games with forced in microtransactions that grant experience or levels because it’s an easy way to trick someone into spending even more money so they can have fun with a game they already bought.

I prefer it when you have skill trees that aren’t all going to be maxed out by game’s end. The Shadowrun games from Harebrained Schemes handle this pretty well by giving limited karma and making you ask what it is you want to focus on most, and because there are so many possible options in dialog besides charisma checks, any focused build is perfectly manageable. This system isn’t good for jack of all stats sort of builds, though.


Just wanna say that I have been playing AC: Odyssey and all of those + 3% of Asssassin’s Damage (I hope that’s how it’s written in the english version) are 1000% meaningless. I mean, ok, they make a difference, maybe a huge one, and I’m a moron, but I don’t really feel anything. The only thing that make me go Wow. is the design and the name of the weapon/armor. My sense of progression comes from “Wow I’m killing these morons a lot faster” or I finally can beat that one guy, but all of these things seems tied up to my level/skill tree, not for paying attention for those stats.

I’m not exactly a fan of RPGs, and I don’t like to keep track of stats at all. I know that my level is 12 and I’m playing as an Archer. If my armor gives me -5% Poison Damage, I don’t care.