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 Post subject: Experience and Levels
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 12:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2002 1:00 am
Posts: 584
Location: Austin, TX
Experience and Levels

The experience (XP) system of Neverwinter Nights has been completely redesigned in the Neversummer 4 implementation. Our goal was to promote party-style play as opposed to having the majority of players "going solo", as well as to tailor the rewards to the world of NS4, and reduce or eliminated possible XP exploits such as "power-levelling". Comments and suggestions are, as always, more than welcome, and we invite all players to discuss the system and to help improve it in any way that we can.

When we began to rethink the way experience was doled out in an online PW setting, we started with the basics: What does XP mean, and why do you receive it? There are perhaps several different answers to these questions - all of them correct, in their own way. We chose to think of experience in NS4 as being a measure of effort, and that the XP reward should be commensurate to that effort.

Who Gets Experience

When a creature is killed, every PC in the killer's party who is alive, in the same area, and within 40 feet of the killed creature will be considered a part of the attack force and eligible for an XP award.

Note that the 40 feet is calculated from the location of the killed creature, not the PC who killed it. Also, the 40 feet figure may change up or down depending on beta tester feedback. Summons, familiars, and dominated creatures are not counted, although all PCs receive benefits through them if their associate kills a creature. This system treats companions and other summoned creatures as "extensions" of yourself - their kills are your kills. Henchmen, however, are considered seperate entities, and may have an impact on party XP distribution.

How Experience is Calculated

XP is now awarded on the basis of what we call "percent contribution" to the total party effectiveness against a particular creature. This percent figure is calculated using a formula that determines how important each player was in killing the creature. This percentage factor means that abnormally high levels will drain the XP from the rest of the party.

Each player's XP is calculated based on their own level vs. the CR of the creature, then each player receives a percentage of that XP equal to their determined contribution to the fight. You will also receive a bonus to that amount based on how many people are in the party with you.

What About ECL?

Many subraces have what is called an "Effective Character Level", or ECL. This ECL level is added to your combined class levels to determine how powerful you really are due to subrace bonuses. Drow, for example, have an ECL of 3, so a level 12 Drow is really as powerful as a level 15 Human. While these races start out with significant advantages, their difficulty in accumulating experience means that other races will be able to raise their levels, and become more powerful themselves, a bit more quickly.

ECL is only used in the calculation of the party member's XP - it does not affect the amount of XP others receive, nor does it affect group or synergy bonuses, or the average party level. The only thing it will affect is the XP lookup (Player level vs.creature CR = amount of XP).

This means that, in a party consisting of a level 4 Drow and two level 5 Humans, the two Humans would receive the exact same amount of XP if the Drow were also a Human. The Drow, however, receives XP as if she were a level 7 Human. This is done to eliminate the affect of ECL on party members and prevent ECL-ed characters from drawing away all the XP in a party.

Examples and Comparisons

Party 1: Level 5, Level 4, Level 10 fight a CR 9 creature

Level 5: 19.12 % of 126 XP = 24 XP + 7 XP Group bonus
Level 4: 13.97 % of 138 XP = 19 XP + 6 XP Group bonus
Level 10: 66.91 % of 67 XP = 45 XP + 13 XP Group bonus

Party 2: Level 7, Level 6, Level 7 fight a CR 10 creature

Level 7: 36.22 % of 123 XP = 45 XP + 13 XP Group bonus
Level 6: 27.55 % of 136 XP = 37 XP + 11 XP Group bonus
Level 7: 36.22 % of 123 XP = 45 XP + 13 XP Group bonus

And now, the "power leveller" party:
Party 3: Level 20, Level 1, Level 1, Level 1 fight a level 15 creature

Level 20: 92.51 % of 29 XP = 27 XP + 8 XP Group bonus
Level 1: 2.49 % of 127 XP = 3 XP + 1 XP Group bonus
Level 1: 2.49 % of 127 XP = 3 XP + 1 XP Group bonus
Level 1: 2.49 % of 127 XP = 3 XP + 1 XP Group bonus

The Level 20 is calculated to have done 92% of the work, but since the creature is only level 15, the level 20 doesn't get very much XP for their effort. If the creature were CR 20, the PC would get about as much XP as if he had gone solo (After all, how much help are a bunch of level 1s anyway?) ;)

Favored Class Bonus

In Neversummer, the Favored Class designation works a bit differently than regular NWN. When leveling up, or when you first enter the module, if your class matches your subrace's favored class, you will receive 10% of the experience points needed to reach your next level for free. This is the only time the Favored Class comes into play.

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