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Old 08-04-2012, 10:38 PM   #1
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The deathblow of this game...

...is a surprising one, to me at least.

I'd seen the somewhat-lukewarm reviews before I bought it, but I figured it was just a symptom of the usual "Very similar to a popular game, but still not similar enough" issue. As Yahtzee's 'Zero Punctuation' review put it, it's 'Baby's First Skyrim'.

I thought that was a good thing, at first. Skyrim and its ilk can easily get too overwhelming, too complex. The boundlessness of the world makes it hard to feel that you're getting anywhere. So I've been enjoying Amalur quite a bit - more action-y, fun-filled combat, and a manageable scope in terms of quests and exploration. Seemed like a winning combination to me.

...that is, until I got halfway through, and suddenly ran out of game. That is, I hit the level-cap at 40. None of the reviews I'd seen even TOUCHED on that aspect. I still have half a game left to explore, but NO REASON to do so, since I've already hit the roof. I can't level anymore, so XP rewards are pointless. I've already got 5 million gold banked, so monetary rewards are pointless. I can still get new equipment, but since my Blacksmithing-skill is maxed out, none of it is as good as the stuff I can make myself, so it's pointless.

I still need to save the world, and there's a bunch of achievements left to earn, but I just can't work up the energy when I know that it's all for its own sake.

And worst of all, I can't see WHY the devs put that roof there. I mean... WHY?!? There are 3 paths of advancement to explore. No matter which 'destiny' you choose to pursue, you'll have PLENTY of stuff left unearned at level 40. Worst of all, if - like myself - you went with the 'Jack-of-All-Trades' destiny, you'll have JUST EXACTLY one level worth of ability-points too little to hit 50 in any one category.

There are only 2 good reasons to have a level-cap... 3 if you count 'Programming limitations on the size of the numbers involved', which hasn't really been an issue for a while. Firstly, the "We can't think of anywhere to go from here" reason, where the player already got everything he CAN get, so there's nowhere to go. Obviously, not the case here. Second, "The game would get too easy if you could keep advancing". Well, this game is pretty bloody easy ANYWAY, and while they don't use level scaling to quite the same degree as Skyrim and its predecessors, they still DO use it, so there's no reason why the monsters couldn't keep scaling along for another few dozen levels.

Capping you at 40 is a pointless limitation, one that serves no purpose, except to deliver a deathblow to an otherwise pretty decent RPG. Before, I'd planned another run. Now, I doubt I'll even get around to finishing it at all.
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Old 08-05-2012, 06:58 PM   #2
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I agree with you.
That's my main concern in this game.

I just left Dalentarth and I'm already at lvl22
I mean... I'm pretty sure I'll hit 40 before I reach Klurikon.
For explorer players like me, who like to get evertything and explore everything, that's a bad fact.
That's really sad
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:03 PM   #3
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I played through the main quest before doing all of the side stuff. So, luckily I didn't run into this issue. You could always restart and do it that way, or just don't play it for a while and maybe you'll get an urge to finish the game.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:24 PM   #4
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Yup, I did that with Fallout 3 and Lost Odyssey.
Much likely will happen again
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:48 PM   #5
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I'm guessing the devs didn't calculate the experience before endgame.

Also, you're not supposed to hit a higher point in a Jack of all Trades build. Otherwise that would defeat the purpose of the name.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:42 PM   #6
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Also, you're not supposed to hit a higher point in a Jack of all Trades build. Otherwise that would defeat the purpose of the name.
Ah, but only the FIRST tier of that destiny is called 'Jack of All Trades'. The top ones are stuff like 'Polymath' and 'Universalist', where it outright states that you've mastered every path. Looking at the rate I was gaining XP, what I'd EXPECTED to happen was that I'd hit Universalist, and then put the rest of my levels into one of the specific destinies to make that the 'primary' of the build. For example, a Sorcery-Focused Universalist with 37 points in Finesse and Might, but 60-70 in Sorcery, so you can have the main traits of the other two classes, but the top-tier - or at least second-to-last-tier - abilities of your preferred class. That, of course, doesn't work when you 'max out at 37-37-49.

As for leaving it a while and then finishing it when you get your appetite back... I just don't see it happening. Due to the low cap, the game's narrow focus winds up working against itself there, I think. In stuff like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, you might get tired, leave, and come back later to continue, because there's always more stuff to do.

Even if you hit the level-cap in Fallout, you never really have perfect equipment because there's always some even-more-over-the-top piece of sci-fi weaponry out there waiting for you to discover it (Portable MIRV Launcher, anyone?), and the world itself is loaded with oddities to seek out and discover. In Skyrim, hitting the apparent level-cap (that is, maxing out the skills related to your chosen playing-style) is merely a signal to CHANGE your style - from light armor to heavy armor, from one-handed and shield to two-handed, from archery to Destruction-magic... and hitting the 'true' level cap will actually take most of the game if you don't deliberately grind.

And, perhaps most importantly, you've got a huge world to explore. Every time you re-enter it again after some time away, it's back to being huge and alien - just walking around everywhere and getting your bearings is a great experience.

In Amalur, well... the environments are so tightly focused that you can - and, if you're a dedicated explorer like myself, probably WILL - completely 'clear out' each area as you finish 'em. In Amalur, I've effectively FINISHED the first 3 major areas. All done, nothing left to come for there, finito, done with. You never really 'finish' Whiterun in Skyrim, or New Vegas in the Fallout of the same name, because they tie into the entire world around them.

And... well, there's no real way to be polite about this: Amalur is a cliche-fest. If you take out the interesting combat-system, what you're left with is the most bog-standard Epic Fantasy Setting you can imagine. There are no surprises, no twists you don't see coming a mile away, no neat surprises or humorous interludes. Once you get your bearings - within the first two or three areas - you've pretty much seen it all. Well, not literally, the environments are still quite different visually, they're just not any different in EXECUTION. The combat's what keeps the game interesting, so when you lose the ability to gain new combat-moves, the game loses its reason to exist.

So yeah, I've gone back to playing Skyrim. It may be dizzyingly complex, but I never feel like I have no reason to do anything. Rather, the hard part is to prioritize the dozens of different quests you have at any one time, and deciding which is really more important right now. A much better problem to have than 'why should I even bother', wouldn't you agree?
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:43 PM   #7
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Yup mate. You did it.
Now I am depressed
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:53 PM   #8
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I see your point, but I'm not sure I agree 100%. I am always looking for stronger components in order to smith stronger weapons, which require finding those weapons and then successfully dismantling them. I agree that maxing your guy and still having hours of game left is lame, but I fnd there's still stuff to work towards besides XP.

Plus, the achievement list here is pretty good about giving extra stuff to do.
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:38 PM   #9
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I envy your problem. I have done the main missions and the majority of the side ones but am only level 35. Any ideas on how I am so slow to level up (without saying I suck)?
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:17 PM   #10
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I envy your problem. I have done the main missions and the majority of the side ones but am only level 35. Any ideas on how I am so slow to level up (without saying I suck)?
You probably aren't fateshifting enough so you aren't getting the bonus XP.
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:01 PM   #11
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Advice for the OP: Just stick to Bethesda games. Maybe touch a BioWare one from time to time. All you did was compare this game to Bethesda RPGs. Those companies are good at what they do for a reason. The fact that you really just seemed biased to what Bethesda has offered to the RPG genre makes your soap box speech seem poorly envisioned. I'm a huge fan myself of Bethesda, but I know better than to just use one element of a whole genre as a standard of comparison when approaching a criticism.

The best way to summarize this game is what a poster said a while back: "It is what Fable should have always been."

Sidenote: I have kinda enjoyed horses and skeletal dragons not flying all over the place and knowing I can turn in my quests however I see fit without hitting a critical game error. Just sayin.... It's refreshing.
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:56 PM   #12
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I don't know - I'm level 38 and just about to hit Alabastra and it feels pretty right. I did both DLCs, all the faction quests (other than winter court, which i haven't finished yet) and most of the sidequests. i did a lot of fast traveling so that i didn't accidentally grind by running between areas, and i didn't enter the last few areas until higher levels so that the monsters weren't too easy.

I hit the level cap of 99 in Xenoblade recently and since there are monsters in the 112-120 range, it was frustrating too. No matter what they set the cap at, it will be frustrating for someone.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:17 PM   #13
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I ain't that far yet but levelling isn't that hard, so a level cap of 40 is a bit meh :s 60-70 would probably be a better cap
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:50 PM   #14
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I envy your problem. I have done the main missions and the majority of the side ones but am only level 35. Any ideas on how I am so slow to level up (without saying I suck)?
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You probably aren't fateshifting enough so you aren't getting the bonus XP.

It could also be the fact that you're killing enemies in an area that are a lot lower level. The enemies at the beginning give you next to nothing once you're a higher level and they don't level up along with your character.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:53 PM   #15
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I beat the game, minues a few sidequests and was only at lvl 38, so it wasn't really an issue for me. But I'm not a super hardcore gamer, either. This game was perfect for me, not overly daunting, and a hell of a lot of fun. I'm getting the DLCs this weekend.

While I think the cap should probably be a little higher, I also don't find it a turnoff that they aren't.
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:29 AM   #16
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I've just avoided fateshifting, and when finishing bosses I'll never tap the button for XP bonuses.. I'm hoping this will allow me to do a lot of quests and exploration witout maxing my character too early!!
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:14 PM   #17
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I just beat the game today at level 37, however, I could of easily capped myself before doing so. I have somewhere around ~25 uncompleted side quests, not including the many I skipped over (knowing I wasn't going to do them until after I finished the main quest).

Just my opinion, the cap really doesn't hinder the game that much. I am one of those peoples who like to do every quest as well, fortunately, I found this thread before continuing on my crush-path. If I hadn't known about the cap, I'd still play, that's what achievements are for, continued replay value.

Now, once I've gotten all achievements, it'll probably be a few years until I play again.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:59 PM   #18
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True, I hit lvl 40 with still many hours of gameplay left, but at that point I changed my goals from leveling up to making better Equipment or finding set pieces... not the ideal gameplay of course. Would've been nice if they had increased it (even by 10 levels or so) with one of the 2 DLCs, particularly as most of us played through those entirely at max level.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:29 AM   #19
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Within the core game, I didn't have so big a problem with hitting the cap. I did every side quest I could find and used the fate shift xp boost every time. I hit the level cap right after entering Alabastra, which felt ok to me.

That did mean that I did both DLCs with a full cap, but they were fun, so that was not a big deal.
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:56 AM   #20
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I finally hit Level 40 when I played the Dead Kel DLC. I played Teeth of Naros first. For half of my run through (keyword being "run"), I ran past every enemy unless I really had to fight them.

It was the most boring 2 hours of my life.
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