The lost levels

Here’s a question for you. What level are you? Overall, I mean. What level are you in total? How do you even start that sum? What would the rules be? Let’s make one key decision straight off: main characters only. It’s easy enough to begin with – tot up all 11 normal Final Fantasies leads and World of Warcraft alts. Add in all your Laharls (or Etnas, depending). What about Links? Alright, another key decision: only games with actual numerical levels, rather than ranks or grades or whatever. Except I can barely remember which did and which didn’t. Did Deus Ex? Did Dark Chronicle? VF4?

Even after thinking about it on two trains and one bus, I’m not even sure what the magnitude of the number is. 5000ish? Or is it going to be one of those numbers which is much lower than you expect, like the number of books you read in a lifetime? Or maybe huge! Maybe 200,000? I have done a lot of levelling, in a lot of games, some of which have very high level caps. It seems crazy to me that something which has been such a big focus for so many hours adds up to nothing more than a big question mark. There should be an app that tallies it for you. Somehow it would depress me less than my /played in WoW (too high) and my Gamerscore on 360 (too low). For now, though, it gives me something to ask people at parties other than ‘what’s the furthest you’ve walked in a day and why.’

So, not that this is much of a party, what level are you?

Rule revisions: let’s include tabletop, let’s include games you played for any length of time, let’s say you take the top level your main character reached, regardless of what level they started at, but let’s say you only count your top-level Pokemon (or whatever), whichever it was. But that’s top-level Pokemon per version of the game, and per play-though per game – so you might be adding up three or four different Pikuchus that you raised at different times.

Actually, I think everyone should totally be allowed to make up their own rules as long as they explain them, but I’ll keep a tally above for anyone who wants a level (!) playing field.

5 thoughts on “The lost levels”

  1. Do I count tabletop roleplaying characters? What about ones that began at a level above 1? What about ones that I only played in a single, 4-hour game? NPCs I created as a GM?

    And what about Pokemon? Do I just count the level of my starter pokemon?

    I’d guess the total for me is below 5000 and above 1000.

  2. It’s all aobut a final number, really, or else you get stuck in horrendous scaling.

    So: gamerscore of high-four-figures right now. Mid-forties in WoW; mid-fifites (non-prestige) in COD4; can’t remember my Halo ranks (but the 2 rank is OK, 3 rank is bobbins).

    RPGs: I have never got nearly, nearly far enough in any RPG to have anything decent. We could probably throw about 100-200 levels between all my JRPG mains. Including poor Laharl, who’s really not been given a chance to shine. Another 100-200 levels from assorted Fallouts/Black Isle games/one or two SSI D&D games/KOTOR/Mass Effect. Level 8 (out of 13) on MUD2.

    I think my best bet for levelling is actually Rogue, on which I must have killed off a couple of thousand level 10-15 avatars over the past twenty years. Given Rogue’s about attrition, I’m not sure you can count a single, highest-levelled character from it; it’s more about burn rate.

    A couple more levels from games I forgot even had experience.

    I think it comes to something low-mid five-figures; the only sensible comparison I think I can make is one of orders of magnitude.

    Lower than it should be, I think; all I can say in my defence is that I probably transmigrated a lot.

  3. The big question, I think, is what to with party-based RPGs. 20 years ago I rolled parties and characters through the Gold Box Krynn games. Each of those is a good 100-140 levels for characters I created. And then if you add characters I didn’t create, like most JRPGs, and you get…

    Hell, I just realized that each Suikoden game probably adds 500 on its own. That’s not really fair. I think you have to toss out party-based games, or have an average included in them.

  4. What about nethack? Where getting one character to ascend probably involved playing 100 to 1000 characters that only reached levels 2 to 10 or so before dying.

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