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Where would I look to get guidelines for how much XP and gold/items to give as rewards for quests? The following is the algorithm I'm using to determine the XP needed for each level:

/** This starts at level 1. If you're at level 1, to get to level 2 you call getXpForLevel(1). */
public static long getXpForLevel(long level) {
    return 40 * level * level + 360 * level;

If I know roughly how long it'll take the player to complete a quest, how much xp should I award for that quest? How much should difficulty factor into the xp for the quest?

How do I balance the amount of gold you get for completing a quest vs the cost of items that can be purchased?

Do people just go by their gut feelings and then try to balance the values through playtesting or are there good rules to follow?

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In what kind of game? You've said nothing about what gold buys or what the player does with XP. You've said nothing about whether the game is linear (and therefore you can generally predict how much gold/XP the player has accumulated at various points) or non-linear. How do "levels" empower characters; is it mostly about accuracy or damage or defense? What is the relative utility of level gaining vs. money gaining; which matters more for success? All of this information is vital to knowing how to answer your question. –  Nicol Bolas Sep 24 '11 at 7:05
Most (rpg or similar) games I know don't take time as referral for the exp rewarded, they just reward with exp when quest "checkpoints" are reached. You should provide a little more information on the gameplay and what the quest solving is about (gather items? talk to an npc? defeat an enemy? solve a board puzzle game?), because a solution for this kind of problem is bound to the gameplay and it may not apply for every quest, even being the same game. –  Pablo Ariel Sep 24 '11 at 10:26

1 Answer 1

Game Balance Concepts likely has everything you need to know about that.

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