Leveling Styles


Hello there,

I’m curious if anyone has implemented or played MUDs (or other games) that do not implement the classic experience per level method of character progression.

My thoughts on balancing out classes and non-combat characters and avoiding combat-awarded XP is to do two primary things:

  • Skills are not progressed by % but rather a raw numerical level (Sword Level 5 instead of Sword 40%, etc).
  • Requirement to Level a Character is Character Level x 10 Skill Levels

IE - Level 3 requires a total of 30 Skill Levels (Such as six different skills at Skill Level 5 = 30)

This way crafters only need to advance their craft skills, healers can simply heal and gain levels, etc.

When it comes to items and equipment…
A Level 10 Sword Item, requires a Skill Level 10 to use to its full potential.

For the sake of avoiding class vs class-less, and levels vs level-less, I’ve already mapped out simply allowing all four in the game at the same time, but characters must select the type up front (or convert through an in game cost).


You have a point there. The math in games is starting to piss me off too. And the levelling system and exp points and hit points are so freaking lame if you think about them. It’s about time we shifted the paradigm.

For example, in the MUD I’m developing I have a simulated anatomy instead of hunger/satiation/nutrition.
A character has an integral part in its “inventory” that is actually a stomach and all the food you eat will go into the stomach where it is slowly “digested”. The stomach is like a bag of any kind, it has a maximum capacity which helps to indicate your level of satiation. Doing so I am able to simulate different nutrients and have malnutrition in the game as a feature that comes for free with this system. All the edible items contain nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, fats and so on. If you don’t get enough vitamins you will develop malnutrition sickness and could eventually die. I have deliberately not defined an item type food because anything can be food for any creature. For a cave slime a sword is food and so on. So rather than having an item type food to determine if it’s edible, I am calling a function character->is_nutritious(item) which tells me if it is a food item.

Now of course each character has metabolize() function which calls 2 subfunctions anabolize() and catabolize(). Anabolism happens during sleep, catabolism during waking hours. I think this is what happens when the lead dev is also a bodybuilder :joy:

I am yet to figure out how to solve skills and “levelling” without relying on arbitrary stats such as XP and LVL. I need to substitute these with something more logical that would still give the player a sense of progress as they develop their character.


That’s a lot of detail for food!

I’ve played a MUD where food has a volume to it, and a quality to it (steak vs cupcakes, as an example). You can eat a bunch of cupcakes but you’ll get hungry faster, to simulate a quality problem, whereas a steak will last longer.

My attempt at an idea such as:
Level 3 = Requires 30 total skill levels
Level 5 = Requires 50 total skill levels

coupled with skill gains and improvements through USAGE and not killing/success checks, is so that you can get those gains without the requirement of having to kill a mob or complete a task.

In theory you could spar and practice with other PC’s and still level up, without killing a soul.


I’ve been thinking about recording the history of your kills that can be queried to determine the variety of your victims. If you have killed 50 dogs you’d obviously know their strengths and weaknesses a lot, so everything would be relative. If you have used all the different swords in the game then you would obviously know everything about swords, and as a result the game would present you with the fact that you are a master swordsman. You see, that way you would produce the description of your mastery in a particular field by the relevant atomic units of experience rather than from abstract number under the generic label of EXP.


this level of detail is very useful to produce more fine-grained role-playing experience. For example, the game could then easily give you a title of “the Dog Killer” if you have killed abnormally high number of dogs :stuck_out_tongue:


One of my first MUDs as a Nightmare LP that had it to where when you killed mobs you got exp that was stored, and then you spent exp on things like stat points and skills… somehow or another, the level of your skills and the values of your stats determined your level, but you didn’t really “level up”, level seemed more of a statistic to represent your overall power than anything else. Your HP or anything else ultimately came from what you chose to spend your exp on.