All players begin at level 1. Performing various game tasks will award you experience points. Once you reach the required experience for the next level, you level up.
Due to the characters persisting after each match and the mod being focused towards competative play, many constraints have been put in place to keep the top tier players from completely dominating the game. Reducing the gap between low level and high level players has been a a primary concern due to it being one of the biggest weaknesses of the original mod.
The max level a player can reach is 101. The required experience for each level follows an exponential curve so while the first good portion of the leveling is very fast, the last levels take much longer. A new character can potentially reach up to level 51 in a single match although reaching the max level isn't expected to be reached in under a week except by the most dedicated players
All experience rewards follow some kind of logarithmic formula. This means that the reward will vary based on a time condition and will continue to grow forever.
This system allows you to get larger rewards for killing players that managed to survive for a long time or by capturing a flag that was held for a very long time. The logarithmic curve has a very fast falloff so while you are technically getting higher rewards for taking longer to capture the flag, the captures per time investment is actually less effective if you can capture the flag again rapidly. This is to discourage selfish players from hijacking the game.
The events that award experience are listed below:
- Enemy Kill
- Flag Carrier Kill
- Flag Return
- Flag Capture
In the past, exploits and glitches have popped up that have allowed players to gain absurd amounts of experience points in a short time. An additional failsafe has been included in the game that prevents players from gaining unrealistic amounts of experience in a single match.
If you reach 10000 experience in a match, you'll be alerted by an in-game message of what's happened and you'll be unable to gain experience for the remainder of the match. It isn't expected that a player should ever reach this much experience in a single match so players shouldn't be concerned.
This is a new feature added in an attempt to reduce griefing. Some players like to suicide when their death is imminent to deny other player's their experience reward.
The Suicide Watch system will track the last person who damaged you so when you die, they are rewarded experience. The traker is removed after 30 seconds or if the damager is killed so you can still deny experience by beating them.
One of the fun aspects of the original mod was competing with other players to see who could get the highest experience at the max level. With the new mod, we've added a leaderboard that can be viewed both in-game and on the main site so you can see your standing with the rest of the server.
In order for the leaderboards to be practical 10 years down the road, a decay system has been introduced. We want to make it possible for new players to have a competative chance at being the top of the leaderboards. We accomplish this by decaying experience for players that have been absent for very long time. Our stance is if you aren't interested enough to drop by once in a while then your standing on the leaderboard isn't important to you and you can pass the torch to new blood.
The decay system will only run on players that have reached the max level. At the beginning of every match, all characters are scanned to see how long it has been since they logged in. Players that have been absent for more than 6 months will have their experience decayed by a small amount. The amount is exponential to their current experience so players with millions of experiene will lose more than someone with thousands.
Idle Character Cleanup
All characters are stored using the engine's config system. We do this instead of a SQL database because we reserve the possibility for the mod to be run offline and it makes management simpler. This presents a load problem, however, as all chracters are accumulating in a single large text file. This problem is only significant when we start dealing with thousands of characters.
In the same process that scans for Experience Decay, we also test to see if there are any characters that we consider to be junk characters. All junk characters are automatically deleted from the character file to keep its size small.
Two criteria must be met for your character to be considered junk:
- You must be under level 20
- You must not have logged in for more than 6 months
Historically, the only characters that would be affected by this are one-time players and misspelled character names when players try to change characters.