237: The Tao of Leveling

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*For showing the light to a wandering pilgrim, Miso, the monk, achieves lvl 37!*

EDIT: I'm probably abt lvl 26 or 27. Charisma score is decent, intelligence rank is also okay, but I need to start training to raise my strength score :P

Level hmm... 12 maybe

I wonder how many people know how to pronounce Tao?


I personally consider myself a 32. I'm competent, but I honestly lack the experience necessary to see some more impressive areas of the world. It's pretty far, but still a long way to 85. This is, of course, something I hope to remedy.

For now, however, I have my mount.

My best guess is that I'm sitting in my late 20's, probably 27. Been through University (Reasonably skilled but never top of my class) and had a few different jobs; Have loved and lost and loved again; Seen foreign lands and Gems of beauty in my own country; Climbed mountains and sunk to the bottom of lakes (lost a shoe that day); even have a good supporting group of party members to help with the more difficult challenges.

My 'character' has come far, but isn't even in the mid levels yet, got a lot to see and do before I can really call myself 'Elite'

LVL: 56 Class: Computer Guru
HP: 17
EP: 443
St: 9
Dex: 14
Int: 31
Wis: 32
Cha: 10

Breaking shit then fixing it (50% chance)
Breaking shit and not fixing it (50% chance)
Breaking shit (100% chance)
Breaking shit I didn't touch (150% chance)
Chance that you broke it 0%.
-- at least that's what you tell me.

Really well written. I came to the site today just looking for something fun to read, and found something that really made me think. Well done Sir.

As for level, well seeing I'm out of college with two years of work experience, and on the cusp of the next big thing (graduate school/long term relationship), and that H.S. brings you to around level 10, I don't know around level 25 I'd say.

I'm an embarassing level 22 I think. My college education launched me quickly to 20, including a lot of life lessons (Though I didn't level up more than maybe once until near my sophomore year I believe, after which I gained a lot of levels quickly). Then, assuming this was a certain type of game, I lost a level after that. (if not I went all the way back to the beginning of 20) I spent my time moving very slowly, and I feel like I am on the brink of breaking level 23 soon, but I need to push through hard soon.

My professions, however, are much better. I'm a level 37 video gamer, a level 26 programmer, a level 34 literature aficionado and a level 28 board gamer.

lvl 35 Perspektivator. lvl 25 Gamer. lvl 5 programmer.

But maybe life is more like the X360 and you unlock achivements?
Then I would have the finished School, X-wife, Got-Fired, Existential Crisis and Super-lover badges unlocked by now. - Hope that unlocks a pet or something nice and not a Broken-Condom-Surprice

Whoa thats deep, thanks for the good read

Id have to say i enjoyed the fact that the author used titles along with the Lv, hopefully you've put most of the work in your life towards specefic goals, and that gives you a title to be proud of...

Im going to have to go with Disgaea for my level, 1400ish, reincarnated a few times (thought it would be good to rethink my goals a few times) but have my weapons and armors with maxed innocents (been handed great tools in the form of successful relatives and friends,) so i may be ready to take on "The Land Of Carnage" (life past school) pretty soon. I haven't experienced enough to obtain a title yet though. :P

very well thought and written article!

I play my life like I play Shadow Run: no levels. Just points to be assigned.

Like you said, there is no simple answer. My goals (now that a good many of them have been met) are a lot harder to define then that of the amnesia stricken hermaphrodite we usually see in rpgs.
Even in the origin of level numbers (old fashioned pen&paper rpging) , they were only used as a rudimentary summary of everything else that had been picked up, it's not a good indication of what the character has done or can do. As such they've become a bit unnecessary in video games but we do see a drifting away from it in games like Borderlands and Fallout where a character of a higher level is given a title on top of the number which indicates skills or experiences.

I think Miso should've shared another bit of wisdom with you: like the map is not the place, the level is not the character.

Many of my own personal monsters have yet to be adressed, and maybe I just lack the certain skill set to challenge them. Other demons have long since been vanquished, like confidence speaking (or singing) in public, and confidence enough for another chess game. I'm sure more troubles show themselves as life goes along, but for now, I guess we can only take it a level at a time.

I'm gonna take a shot in the dark here, and say... Level 16 Choirmancer

I'm level 100, and as soon as I get better at something, I go up to level 100. (sic)


I guess I am a level 5 apprentice engineeroreroch thingy
I who have gotten high grades in my classes and I who have the ability to put my leg behind my head!

Do not look down at my level for I am a veteran player!
I also have a fair amount of hats"tf2 reference ftw"

speaking of tf2 is levels just as meaning full as weapon levels?"tf2 reference again and again ftw"

that was a awesome read

id say im level 9 or 10 im not done with high school yet but since ive played sports basically all my life and on varsity wrestling team as a freshmen in high school

A brilliant piece. What a concept!

And yet, when i think about it, i find myself realizing that i've thought of that as well - what level am i, in this great Mumorpeger that is life?

And its not as simple as a mathematical algorithm. Like Staebell said, its difficult to place down exactly how good at a skill you are. I know for a fact there are things that i can do almost to perfection, without thinking - but there are other skills that require a touch of thought before i peform properly.

And thats just physical skills. The mental and personal skills are harder to perform, and to master, especially the emotion aspect.

I suppose, if you wanna look at life like a video game, then Real Life is one of the hardest, most indepth game out there, with out of this world graphics and interaction.

From now on, whenever I achieve something in life, I shall make the Final Fantasy Level Up sound.

I can honestly say that not only do I not know my level, I don't want to know it.

That probably stems from my belief that once you clearly define yourself you tend to limit yourself.

I had a similar epiphany at one phase of writing this piece, and actually ended up axing a paragraph that addressed it. Too many thoughts, not enough page space I guess. As I'm glad a lot of you are finding in the comments, divining your level is a pretty complicated maneuver. I ended up going down a lot of the paths people are exploring here, but - as ever - you guys are expanding the possibilities beyond the breadth of my own digging. Expand on!

TO MANY WORDS MY SMALL BRAIN CANT HANDLE SO MANY WORDS! But im level -0 because i havent even figured out how to walk in a straight line yet.. HOW DO MOTOR SKILLZ?

erm. It's very rare for me to be critical of an Escapist article, and especially one on the Editor's Choice issue. but this article seems to have missed the point. it's a very deep issue, which leaps off a gaming analogy all of us can relate to but shoots off in deep philosophical waters. But the writer seems to be more interested in semantic and shallow metaphors, only glimpsing at the true meaning of it towards the ending. A great topic more or less wasted.

I guess I'm level 11, because I haven't done anything I like with my life since I completed college, and barely so before.

I've often struggled with this myself. I think I am likely a level 1 philosopher, but I am a level 20 employment counsellor coupled with a level 20 dilettante/flaneur.

To: The Random One

I think you're the one who is missing the point. The point is that there is no clear definition. He has no more ammunition then semantic and metaphor, same as any Zen or Buddist teaching.

The sound of one hand clapping, if a tree falls and no-one hears it, who are you? They are all vauge, deep questions which require actual meditation before the true meaning is revealed.

I feel like I might be Level 18. I've handled a few beasts and grabbed some levels, but too many of my quests are sidequests. I need to get back to the main questline after grinding some more.

if Miso is around 36ish level , i'd go with 26? 27? This Grasshopper still has a looong way to go.


The personal level concept is something in place to help relate real-world happenings to a familiar setting.

It's partially the same as how some people relate exercise to gaining exp. It doesn't actually exist but it's a passive thing that just helps you go along with it. When you're trying to consider if your life is going the way you want it to be, you can just sit back and think. Do you have the right party members? Do you know all the skills you should? What skills do you not know but really should learn? It just goes on from there. Placing levels into reality manages what you do by making it easier to relate to. If you want to be better off so you can get better equips, you should take the time to learn what you want to from the correct 'schools'.

A part of me feels like I'm saying this slightly skewed from what I'm trying to say. I'll stick with it.

Level 22 or so, though college is making me level a bit faster than I was before.

level 10 at age 25.... egad.

Uh... Level 8 Artmage.

I'm a level 29 Jack of All Trades

I need to get a class spec before I finally get to level 30

The thing is I never grinded on the stats I needed, now I have to start those from level 1

That floored me. My head is racked right now. You made me think of my life right there.

Real good article.

And I'd say I'm a level 19. I know my fill, but not enough to get through that scary patch of woods.

surly if the lv is in relation to theyrs of experince plus how well you cna and have done...surly it would be that easy to call yourself a lv 30 somat...

but me i recon...fe eyars as shopassisnt/supivor thats lv 5 (lv 10 being area manger) lv 3 art student (say 10 bening university graduate) plus my own devolompent through yrs of schooling working and my sheer age (23)......so id say 5+3+11 =

lv 19
proficent with broom,has compuslion to carry pencil and paper
speicalist skill of being able to talk way out of anything

I would submit that our leveling up is more like the Dungeon Siege scheme in the sense that we level up our abilities and traits that then factor into some sort of aggregate level. That being said, is anyone offering to power-level me for a nominal fee?

The Random One:
erm. It's very rare for me to be critical of an Escapist article, and especially one on the Editor's Choice issue. but this article seems to have missed the point. it's a very deep issue, which leaps off a gaming analogy all of us can relate to but shoots off in deep philosophical waters. But the writer seems to be more interested in semantic and shallow metaphors, only glimpsing at the true meaning of it towards the ending. A great topic more or less wasted.

I guess I'm level 11, because I haven't done anything I like with my life since I completed college, and barely so before.

He hasn't missed the point. His musings seem perfectly appropriate for someone at that level. Sure, the monk's might've had something different in mind with this metaphor, but that's why he's level 36 and we aren't. =)

Level 18. Not long ago I was talking to my sister and referred to the first person to reach 100 years of age as "the first to reach level 100." So now I'm going to refer to my age as my level.

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