For my own game I'd like to know if any of you have an idea about how some popular RPG games handle XP distribution? What I'd be particularly interested in is how the amount of XP a certain enemy gives the player after it's defeat is determined.

For my game I'm struggling to find a proper algorithm/formular to determine that specific amount, since it's a rather small game with not that many enemies types it might be okay to set a value for each enemy type by hand. At first I was experimenting with a formular which takes certain stats of an enemy and then calculates the amount of XP the enemy is 'worth' but as I already said I could not achieve a satisfying result by this.

Nonetheless it would be interesting to know how large games handle this determination. I'd assume that it's not done by hand because you have too many different enemies but I also might be wrong. If anyone could give me any insights or good reads on this I'd be very thankful.

Another thing I'd be interested in is how the XP gaining for the player with a level difference is handled. For instance: If the player is 10 levels ahead of an enemy he should gain 100% less XP from that enemy. If he is 5 levels ahead he only should get 50%. Of course that's a bit depended on my game and the entire design but would that be a common approach to deal with farming low level enemies and still gaining full XP from that? Or are there other approaches such games usually use?

Thanks for any hints, comments and opinions!

  • \$\begingroup\$ How a specific game mechanic works in a specific game is rather a question for gaming.stackexchange.com (please ask separately for each game). But we can help you with your formula if you give us a proper problem description. Asking for help with copying what another game is doing is usually not a constructive question, because what works for one game does not necessarily also work well in your game. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philipp
    Oct 17, 2017 at 12:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not about specific game but rather about best practices and problem solutions in terms of this topic in game design in general. I'm not looking for a certain solution as I stated in my question but rather for some inspiration, approaches and understanding how large scale games solve this issue since I think it might be a little bit too much work if your game has +500 enemies and you set the amount of XP each enemy provides by hand. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 17, 2017 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, a really good read. Weird I did not find this question while gathering information on that topic. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 17, 2017 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


In Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, each enemy has their own level (up to 50) and the number of XP available is fixed and calculated on a percentage of the level of the player.

This means that a player who somehow manages to kill an enemy much higher than themselves gains a massive amount of XP but those who go back to earlier enemies get zero for farming lower levels.

In my head, I'd always worked this out based on what level the player should be when completing the mission, it should give a reasonable XP reward.

This is where your algorithm comes in. Fix the level and total XP available and calculate it against the level of the player.


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