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[[quoteright:184:[[Franchise/{{Disgaea}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/9999_7354.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:184:The FinalBoss can be beaten at level 90.]]

->''Q: What is the maximum level?''\\
''A: Uh... something really really high. I was hoping by the time anyone reaches that point they would have decided that they've sufficiently beaten the game.''
-->-- FAQ for ''VideoGame/RPGShooterStarwish''

In many games with {{Character Level}}s, you'll probably never reach the highest level possible. Maybe this is just because of scaling and pacing of experience, and the game simply isn't long enough for you to naturally reach the maximum level. Can [[FridgeLogic make a player wonder]] why the developers bothered to make such a pointlessly out-of-reach level {{Cap}}.

The common "endgame level" tends to be around the "halfway mark", usually. In some games, this is actually where your stats begin to max out anyway.

Note that this is not just about games with really big numbers as the level cap, but for games where poor pacing of experience means you won't get anywhere near the cap without absurd amounts of LevelGrinding; a level cap of 999 wouldn't count if you can be reasonably expected to be at least level 950 by the time you reach the endgame. Conversely, a level cap of simply 30 would be absurdly-high if you only need to be level 10 to beat the game.

Note that TropesAreNotBad. This can be a useful gameplay feature for games with very open-ended and sandbox-like gameplay:
* In the age of [[DownloadableContent DLC]], [[GameMod modding]], and [[ExpansionPack expansion packs]], game companies can add on (or have added on by modders) content that extends gameplay without needing to rework basic mechanics. Although games with expansions can just add "level cap upper" expansion packs.
* Games can have "proper endings" to the plot achievable at lower levels, and then a BonusBoss or even full-on BonusLevelOfHell that requires far higher levels to challenge, letting most players off with an ending while giving the hardcore players the additional challenge they seek.
* If the player reaches the maximum level beforehand, a part of the game will have stagnated, thus taking away from the experience. After all, what is the point of receiving a reward in experience from a quest or mission if you have already maxed out your level?
* It makes it hard to predict what level the character will be by the time they get around to finishing the main storyline or simply get bored of exploring.
* In addition, some players see a rather high level cap as something to accomplish before they are truly finished playing, provided it does not require days of repetitive grinding for little to no payoff.

Contrast AbsurdlyLowLevelCap, although the two are by no means mutually exclusive. Compare OverlyGenerousTimeLimit for when it's a time limit that's ridiculously high.


[[folder:Action-Adventure Games]]
* Most of the {{Metroidvania}} iterations of the ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' series end with the main character around level 50 (and the max being 99).
** In ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'', the hardest respawning enemies in the game, the Guardians, only give 1 exp when you get to about level 70. After that, there's no point in grinding anymore. You take out the last boss in a few hits way before you reach 70. If you really want to try to max out your level after you hit 70, you can abuse full-screen hitting attacks in rooms with 10+ enemies, but even that takes close to an hour to get a single level.
** In ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaHarmonyOfDissonance Harmony of Dissonance]]'', once you hit level 53, all non-boss enemies are worth 1 exp (and all bosses get to this point at level 59). Reaching Lv. 99 after that would take over a year of just killing bats.
** In ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaOrderOfEcclesia Order of Ecclesia]]'', after you beat Hard Mode Lv. 1 (the level cap is set at 1), you unlock the highest level cap, that being Lv. 255, as opposed to merely Lv. 99. Once one reaches around Lv. 80, even an entire run through the story won't get you even one level.

[[folder:First-Person Shooter]]
* ''VideoGame/HaloReach'', while having the average-ish 50 ranks, requires 20 ''million'' experience points to hit the level cap, the distance between rank 49 and 50 being 3 and a half million alone.
* Played with by the ''VideoGame/{{Call of Duty}}'' franchise, starting with ''Call of Duty 4: VideoGame/ModernWarfare'' (well, the console versions; PC didn't get to do that until ''World at War''). Players are able to level up (the cap is different for each game), unlocking new weapons, support equipment, and [[RPGElements Perks]] as they go. At the maximum level, the player has the option to [[SelfImposedChallenge "Prestige"]], reverting to level 1, essentially starting again. Later games use this to unlock unique cosmetic elements and extra Custom Class slots, but ''[=CoD4=]'' simply let you start climbing the ladder again, up to five times, not really gaining much of anything for your trouble.
** With Call of Duty ELITE for consoles, it's now possible to have your 1000 hours of gameplay time actually shown to the world. Plus, though ''Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3'' started with 10 Prestige levels, people were getting to Prestige 10 and had nothing further to show, so it was increased to 15th Prestige, then 20th Prestige. At 80 levels a Prestige, that means leveling up 1600 times. Which means, when something goes wrong and an account is hacked or data lost, you better believe there will be people calling Customer Support. (Who, except in cases of mass resets or widespread viruses, can do absolutely nothing to modify in-game stats. It even says as much on the Support web site, but with 1000 hours of playtime, you can't really fault people for trying.)
* ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield}}'' is a somewhat notorious case for this - ''Battlefield 2'' in particular has the average player go through about sixteen ranks, but the low amount of points gained per kill makes it take forever to actually rank up without going to specific point-farming servers. The requirements, in fact, were actually lowered when it was discovered that the highest-scoring player account - which was actually multiple people playing on one account so they could play more often than normal - would still take ''two years'' to reach the highest rank.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' series zigzags this trope. The main story of each game will get you to about level 30, but the level caps let you go up to 50. These extra levels were intended for your NewGamePlus, known as True Vault Hunter Mode in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'' and ''VideoGame/BorderlandsThePreSequel'' and simply Playthrough 2 in the original game, as well as the raid bosses in the first two games. Completing the main story a second time like this ''would'' put you right around the level cap... until DLC came along to raise it. The final cap for the original game was 69, but while no Playthrough 3 was ever added, completing Playthrough 2 would cause all enemies to scale to your current level. ''2'' and ''Pre-Sequel'', on the other hand, did add a third playthrough alongside the new level caps[[note]]72 and 70, respectively[[/note]], Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, in which everything scales with your level, negating all advantages of level-grinding except the additional skill points you'd get in the process; ''2'' took things one step further with Overpower Mode, in which characters that had reached the level cap could level up the enemies and loot they'd encounter even more. All in all, while the level caps were great for players that wanted a challenge, they were completely gratuitous for players that were just interested in one run of the story.
* Where the overall cap is, if one exists, for ''{{VideoGame/Overwatch}}'' is not entirely certain, but players can continue earning new player portraits all the way up to level 2391.
* ''VideoGame/PAYDAY2'' has one by way of its "Infamy" system. The normal level cap, the one for actually unlocking skill points and weapons and the like is 100, which isn't that difficult to hit (even up to the midway point, Overkill-difficulty heists can get you ten or so levels at once). Where it gets into the absurdly-high territory is with Infamy, in which you reset your level for small bonuses and start over, keeping your weapons already in your inventory but requiring going through the ranks again to regain access to them. In the initial release of the Infamy system, there were five tiers to Infamy, granting a total of 600 levels, with plans to eventually move on up to 14 Infamy tiers for 1500 levels in total - and when "Infamy 2.0" eventually hit, it came with ''25 tiers'' instead, bringing the total level cap up to 2600.

[[folder:Hack and Slash]]
* In ''VideoGame/DiabloII'', the pace of experience slows down to a crawl by the mid-80s. A handful of people do reach 99, but it takes an insanely long time. Most characters will have attained optimal skills long before this. This is because shortly after it was released, ''Diablo II'' ended up with hundreds of Level 99 Hardcore Barbarians on Battle.net, much to the chagrin of the game designers who were certain reaching level 99 in Hardcore (where dying even once permanently ended your game) was impossible. Several nerfs to the signature Barbarian skill (Whirlwind) were applied, only for other game-breaking abilities to be uncovered in other character classes. Finally, they simply applied a patch that set all experience gains for level 80 or higher characters to be 1/10th normal, all past level 90 to be 1/100th normal, and past level 95 to be 1/1000th normal (most non-boss enemies, even on Hell difficulty, give only one experience point per kill at that level). By mathematically guaranteeing that players would need to kill 10 enemies per second, 24 hours a day, for nearly a year to go from level 98 to level 99, they finally succeeded in killing off interest in attaining the maximum level.
* Its sequel ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'' also applies. Pre-patch 1.0.4 the cap was at level 60. Patch 1.0.4 added 100 extra "Paragon" levels[[note]](which permanently increase your character's Gold Find and Magic Find in addition to the usual stat increases)[[/note]] on top of that, so yes, the cap is now at level 160. Considering that monsters are the same when capped at level 60, you can guess how hard is to get level 160 (the game designers try to make it as hard as getting level 99 in the previous game). To put this in perspective: it takes about 23.5 million XP to reach level 60. Getting to Paragon 100 requires nearly 10.5 '''billion''' XP - enough experience to level '''445''' characters to the original level cap.
** After patch 2.0, though, the level cap on paragon levels is entirely gone, meaning the player can keep leveling up into infinity. Even then, after a certain point, [[AntiGrinding the levels become mostly meaningless]]. Each paragon level now gives the player a chance to level up one of sixteen stats, and each one can only be leveled up fifty times, except for a base damage stat and a defense stat. By Paragon Level 800, the player will have maxed out every stat except the base stats, so grinding past that point will result in a (by that point) insignificant stat growth, when the players characters are so strong, they're basically unkillable.
* The ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'' franchise of games usually have ridiculously high level caps, with the main Dynasty Warriors series usually sitting at level 99.
** ''Pirate Warriors'' has an initial level cap of 50. However, this cap can be broken by collecting the right Coins and Limit-Breaking your character, allowing them to progress past level 50 and up to the real level cap of 100. Doing so allows the character's stats to continue increasing and unlocks new combo finishers for them.
** ''VideoGame/HyruleWarriors'' started out with the standard level cap of 99. The game then received several patch updates, which increased the level cap significantly, going up to 150, then 200, then finally settling at a record for the ''Warriors'' series of 255.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Gauntlet}} Gauntlet Dark Legacy]]'' had a level cap of 99, even though the game could be beaten by level 60 or so.
* ''VideoGame/PathOfExile'' has a level cap of 100 and exponentially growing EXP requirements for the highest levels, along with 5%/10% of your EXP progress to the next level being lost when dying on higher difficulties. Almost 3 years after the game's release (and with 11.5 million registered users), the "Standard" league has only 826 characters on level 100.

* The original MMORPG example was ''VideoGame/AsheronsCall'' -- the level cap was logarithmic, with the hard cap on experience being 4 ''billion'' at level 127. Given that the game was launched at the same time as ''VideoGame/{{Everquest}}'', which had a level 50 cap, this was rather jarring for the time. It took most of a ''decade'' for any character to actually reach the cap, although MMORPG inflation made it easier a few years after that. A later update changed the cap again -- to 4 billion experience points ''per skill'', putting the actual level cap near 300.
* In ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarOnline'', you can plausibly play through the entire story on even the highest difficulty level at about level 80 or so, especially if you're playing online or multiplayer. The level cap is 200.
** It isn't as bad as it seems. There's no diminishing return. Rather, people rarely hit 200 because you have [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters so many character slots]]. That and the fact that, even earning XP at the fastest possible rate, it takes close to 1000 hours to reach the Level 200 mark...
** To give an idea of how ridiculous ''Phantasy Star Online'' is for this trope, Level 200 requires 82 million experience points in a game where enemies on the highest difficulty seldom give more than 400 XP a pop. And thanks to the exponential experience requirements for level-ups, you pass the halfway mark to the level cap at Level 182...
* The level cap in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' is 256. You're expected to clear the main game at level 13, though you can still earn new skills until level 15. There's a [[CosmeticAward trophy]] for reaching level 30 for each class, and players looking to complete a particular sidequest might grind until level 20-35, depending on how much money they're willing to spend on buffs. Actually reaching the level cap was something only a few players accomplished for most of the game's lifetime, until a certain [[BribingYourWayToVictory donation item]] introduced an area with procedurally-generated enemies that [[http://forums.kingdomofloathing.com/vb/showthread.php?t=209841 made that sort of long-term powerleveling much easier]]. Even now, very few people actually do it because there's very little reason -- it ''used'' to be a reasonable PvP strategy, but shortly after the release of that item, PvP got revamped in a way that completely destroyed its viability.[[note]]Formerly, when engaging in PvP, you could pick a stat to lead off with, and the rest of the battle would be six arbitrary-goals comparisons picked randomly from a set of twelve, or you could pick Ballyhoo and replace the stat test with a seventh arbitrary comparison. Players at the level cap would, of course, ''always'' win a stat test. After the revamp, the stat tests were removed entirely, and players engaging in PvP just pick one of the twelve arbitrary comparisons to lead off with, and being at the level cap almost never helps with any of them.[[/note]]
* In ''VideoGame/LostSoulsMUD'', the maximum level is 675. According to developers, the limit only exists because of integer overflow problems on XP values, and if anybody were to actually reach level 675, experience would be re-implemented using floating point math, removing the cap.
* ''VideoGame/EveOnline'' has close to 400 skills, which while only have 5 levels each, can take upwards of a month or more to max each skill.
** Depending on how you set up your characters, it'll take [[http://community.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1482223&page=1#9 20+ years]] to skill up everything to level 5 if no new skills are ever introduced.
* In ''VideoGame/GranblueFantasy'', the current maximum Player Rank (the main character's equivalent of Character Levels) is 225, yet Rank 101 is enough to unlock the ability to host and join most Impossible Raids, which serve as endgame content for high-level players. A new set of raids, the Magna 2 bosses were introduced in 2018, yet their Player Rank pre-requisite for hosting and joining is set to 120 and above.
* ''VideoGame/BattlestarGalacticaOnline'' has a cap of 250 in a game where it takes weeks for all but the most dedicated or [[BribingYourWayToVictory money-throwing]] players to hit ''20''!
* In ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'', reaching the level cap is most likely impossible, as the ideal way to level is by rebirthing back to level 1 every week or so, adding to the total level. Some say the total level cap may exceed 9000.
** Apparently, the "current level" cap is 200. The exploration level cap is definitely 25. But all that really matters for are those who seek to gain as much AP as possible in as little time as possible. The maximum you can get each week while still having a life outside the game doesn't even get close to the cap until your total is many thousands high and your character a veritable engine of destruction already.
* ''VideoGame/{{Neocron}}'' and its expansion/sequel didn't even have levels in the traditional sense. The two numbers which denoted a player's average power (expressed as '''X/Y''') was dependent on multiple factors, such as the currently equipped weapon (influencing X) and the amount of levels a character had obtained in the five skills (Strength, Constitution, PSI Power, Intelligence and Dexterity, influencing Y to some extent). However, despite the four classes having varying caps for each of these, the total amount of levels spread across them all amounted to an identical 300.
** For the classes which had caps of 100 in certain skills (everyone except the Private Eye class), the amount of experience required to gain one level after hitting the low-nineties was in eight or nine figures. In a heavily PvP-focused game, this meant a lot of grinding of the highest-level areas, usually in groups. The grind was, however, exacerbated if a player made the decision to respec from one discipline into another (for instance, a Spy wanting to quit using rifles in favour of pistols). In addition to having to buy specific "Loss-of-Memory" (referred to as LOM) pills for the subskill they wished to remove the skill points ''from'', the pills themselves only removed the points five at a time ''and'' incurred the game's "Synaptic Impairment" effect (the only way to get a stronger degree of the SI than the LOM pills is ''dying''). This meant that there was a few minutes wait before the player could pop the next pill, meaning that respeccing a high-level character literally took hours to do. Add this to the fact that a fully-capped character usually '''un'''capped themselves due to the pills snatching away a bit of XP every time...
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIMAGINE'', the level cap is 97 (98 in the japanese server), but to get from 95 to 96 you need more experience than from 1 to 95. And then to get from 96 to 97 you need ''two times'' the experience you needed to go from level 1 to 96.
* ''VideoGame/{{Bots}}'', before it got taken down, had a level cap of around 2900.
* In the ThirdPersonShooter MMO ''VideoGame/S4League'' reaching level 100 and "S4" rank requires 63,703,100 EXP. The most experience you can gain from a 30 minute match is 1280 exp so it is estimated that you would need over 1036 days of continuous nonstop optimal playing. Of course, Alaplaya has included an ''AntiPoopSocking'' that would cut off all exp and pen gains after playing 8 hours per day. Luckily levels don't matter at all obtain weapons which are given out for free or purchased at the shop for extremely cheap prices. The only things that are affected by levels are the channels players can participate in and clothes that change the appearance of the player. All clothes give the same bonuses so levels stop mattering at all after level 20.
* ''VideoGame/{{Everquest}}'' now has a level cap of 100. This may seem low compared to other games in the genre, but keep in mind that, even with the regular "exp smoothing" administered to the game in recent years, it still takes an absurdly long time to reach that 100 cap. And that's not even getting into Alternate Advancement points, which, while easier to get than general levels by a wide margin, only have a theoretical cap (and one imposed by the game on silver accounts) that inevitably expands each time an expansion hits whether or not the level cap is raised. ''Everquest II'' has a very similar system.
* ''VideoGame/{{Ryzom}}'' has a level cap of 250, which in a normal MMO wouldn't be too bad as your stats tend to max out at that level, and even with four fields to hit the cap in (Fighting, Magic, Crafting, and Foraging) your stats and level remain fairly similar. Unfortunately, these four fields branch in to insanely complex skill-trees, ending with more than 50 fields to hit the level cap in, a feat that can take years.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'', without expansions, has a level cap of 50, which is required to reach the end-game, but with the large experience rewards the main-story quests give can be comfortably reached with only a minimal time investment in side-quests or level grinding in the daily duty roulette. Its two expansions later raised the level cap by 10 each... but before you can actually play any of the content from them, you must beat not only the main game, but its '''very extensive''' post-game content as well. Leveling past the old cap at this point is a massive chore, since the post-game pre-expansion content is obviously designed with the old level cap that the player will inevitably already be at in mind, thus the experience rewarded for completing a quest are absolutely paltry, equivalent to the amount you got for quests back around level 25 - a player who doens't spend a significant amount of time grinding out the duty roulette or playing sidequests will find themselves hard-pressed to level up more than maybe a ''single'' time across several story arcs that take almost as long as the main story itself did. The actual expansion content soon smooths things out again (since they both also require reaching their new level caps for their endgames) by bumping up the experience you gain for completing quests, which helps reach the new caps faster... but then you have to contend with the fact that there are a bunch of '''other''' classes and jobs that ''also'' have that same level-70 cap to reach afterwards. At the very least, there is a system to give bonus experience for classes that are significantly below your highest-leveled class, and the new classes added in the expansions don't have to worry quite as much since they already start at high levels (level 30 for [[TheGunslinger Machinist]], [[BlackKnight Dark Knight]] and [[StarPower Astrologian]] from ''Heavensward'', and level 50 for {{Samurai}} and [[MagicKnight Red Mage]] from ''Stormblood'').

* ''Videogame/RatchetDeadlocked'': Not really a levels, but since HP is upgraded by gaining experience, it counts as a variation. In Challenge mode, your HP can be upgraded all the way to ''999''. For comparison, the maximum HP obtainable in the previous games was [[Videogame/RatchetAndClank2002 8]][=/=][[Videogame/RatchetAndClankGoingCommando 80]][=/=][[Videogame/RatchetAndClankUpYourArsenal 200]]. Needless to say, it'll take a lot of playthroughs to get there, even with ten XP-mods on your weapons.

[[folder:Real-Time Strategy]]
* ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresIII'': The shipments from the Home City in the Campaign mode. You pick a card with supplies or upgrades that can be sent to your settlement. After a certain amount of Experience, you can unlock another card and place it in your deck. In Skirmishes this is capped at 20 cards. In Campaign, it is 44. Short of cheat codes, it is extremely difficult to achieve enough Experience to unlock all 44 cards.

* If there is a cap in ''VideoGame/DungeonsOfDredmor'' no-one has found it yet, you can comfortably beat the game in around the mid 20 range and you stop gaining stats from your levels if you don't have anywhere to spend your skill points, so even if you grind, your level ups become pointless at around the 30+ mark. At [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/WTF_LEVEL_CAP_784.JPG ridiculously high levels]], the XP bar will begin freaking out and demand more XP than a player is ever likely to gain across all their characters and then start rolling back to zero if you keep going. The jump from 98 to 99 alone takes 197828720 XP. The game just was not built with anyone reaching those kinds of levels in mind.
* VideoGame/AncientDomainsOfMystery only has character levels go up to 50, but weapon skills, on the other hand, go from 'unskilled' to 'grandmaster'. Most [=PCs=] will never reach grandmaster within the span of a single game, but those that do are unbelievably fearsome with their chosen weapon.

[[folder:Role-Playing Games]]
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'':
** In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'', you can beat the final boss at around level 80-90. The level cap is 99... on paper. In reality, you can still keep levelling up, but it never displays as higher than 99. For those dedicated (and crazy) enough to keep grinding that much, you can reach the actual level cap of ''256''. You'll run out of stats to max out long before hitting that point.
** By default the level cap of you and your demons in ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse'' is 99, and it's possible to beat the FinalBoss ([[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard who is level 100]]) with a level 99 party. However, a piece of free DLC allows you to extend the level cap all the way to 999. However, [[DiminishingReturnsForBalance past level 99, stat growths decrease dramatically, you can't gain any more App Points, and demons cannot gain any bonus stat points from Apps]]. On the enemy side of things, the Fiends of Twisted Tokyo on repeat runs exceed level 99 and will continue to skyrocket in level until the final Fiend, En no Ozuno, is level 999. You ''will'' need the extended level cap to defeat these CameBackStrong versions, much less at level 999.
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona'':
** Given the level of late-game enemies and bosses, and when the major persona selection starts to peter out, ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}: Innocent Sin'' sets you to reach the mid-to-high 60s out of a possible level cap of 99. There are a couple very high-level personas up near the cap, but due to the limited enemy selection it is a ''grind''. If you're mad enough to do it, you've earned the BraggingRightsReward awaiting you.
** The level cap in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'' is 99. There aren't many opportunities to grind that high, since dungeons can't be accessed after they're completed. A player who reaches the end can be anywhere from level 65 to 70, depending on how many Confidants they completed and how often they went to Mementos. And unless the player knows [[GameBreaker the trick to farm experience from]] [[BonusBoss the Reaper]], it's going to take at least a few dozen hours of grinding to reach the maximum level.
* ''VideoGame/FairyFencerF'' has a level cap is 99, in a game that can be beaten comfortably sometime in the low-40s. The player can also purchase some DLC that increases the level cap all the way to 999, complete with three separate BonusLevelOfHell stages just to give them something to conceivably reach this new cap with.
* ''VideoGame/SecretOfMana'' does this two different ways, the first cap being with character levels. The level cap for the three playable characters is 99, in a game you can comfortably finish at level 50, and HP will max out at about level 55 or so. Past level 60, the characters become powerful enough that the enemies in the final dungeon are pathetic, even without magic spamming. The other AbsurdlyHighLevelCap is in weapon levels. Getting the final Weapon Orbs is either done through a [[GoodBadBugs glitch]] or [[RandomDrops randomly dropping in treasure chests in the final dungeon]], and they may end up [[PermanentlyMissableContent lost forever]]. Even then, grinding for those last few weapon levels is fairly pointless. The charged attacks past level five are AwesomeButImpractical, since in the time it takes you to charge any higher, you'll have not only hit the damage cap, but could spam the lower-level attacks much faster for greater overall damage.
* ''VideoGame/SeikenDensetsu3'' has a level cap of 99, but the game (including the BonusBoss) can be beaten at level 50, and that is the highest level that normal enemies are in the game. The player will reach all their characters' stat caps not too long after, and leveling up more will only give miniscule max HP gains.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' has a level cap of 25, which is impossible to reach without the [[LevelGrinding Elfroot grind]] or [[GoodBadBugs Ostagar exploit]]. Getting to level 20 gains you a class-specific achievement, while new characters in the ''[[VideoGame/DragonAgeOriginsAwakening Awakening]]'' expansion start at level 18. The game's manual flat-out states that there is no level cap, and the unreachable (without cheating) programmed limit is there for design purposes only, rather than a true level cap.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' plays it utterly straight again. The level cap is 50, which has only ever been reachable through a since fixed bug exploit; in a single playthrough, you can go up to level 25, tops, which is about one fourth of the XP needed to reach the cap. The likely explanation is that the cap was set with future {{DLC}} campaigns in mind, but all planned DLC levels after ''Mark of the Assassin'' (including an ExpansionPack) were CutShort.
* ''VideoGame/HyperdimensionNeptunia'' gives you the option of this. The default level cap is 99 and you'll have opened up every purchasable item and be strong enough to pound all the foes if you hit it. DLC gives you the option of bumping it up to 999, so you can max out every stat for every character and improve your odds at the DLC dungeons.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' games, you're likely to beat the [[BossRush Elite Four]] and [[FinalBoss Champion]] with Pokémon around level 50 or so. Later generations have added endgame content that will probably bring your Pokémon up to level 60-70, even though the level cap is 100. Of course, [[TrueFinalBoss Red]] and [[BonusBoss Barry]] have teams in the 80s.
** In the ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon'' series the final Boss, be it [[spoiler:Rayquaza, Primal Dialga, Bittercold, or Dark Matter]], can be defeated around level 30 and 40, and like in the main series, the level caps at 100. However, post-credits storylines can usually take the player up to around level 60, and in some of the games, a couple of the bonus dungeons will require the player to be near or even at the level cap to stand a chance of beating them.
** ''VideoGame/PokemonGo'', unlike the main series games, has levels for the player character. The cap is 40, which sounds reasonable until you [[https://pkmngowiki.com/wiki/Leveling look at the numbers.]] All items are unlocked and wild Pokémon levels are maxed out at level 30; level 40 requires ''ten times'' the total experience of level 30. Increasing your level beyond 30 allows you to level up your Pokémon slightly farther, but even that stops at level 38 which, incredibly, requires only 60% as much experience as level 40. The candy/stardust expense of Pokémon-level boosts ''also'' increases sharply after a mon reaches level 30, requiring about 1500 captures, ~50 of which must be a specific species, to get a mere 15% increase to "combat power" for a single critter. For casual players, grinding past level 30 is largely pointless, but [[StopHavingFunGuys the competitive types]] play several hours a day for months to get that slight edge.
* In ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'', the highest-tier spells are learned at around level 54 and you can go up to 99, but you only need to be about level 30 to defeat the final boss of [[VideoGame/GoldenSunTheBrokenSeal the first game]], while level 40 is enough for the final bosses of ''[[VideoGame/GoldenSunTheLostAge The Lost Age]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn Dark Dawn]]''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Legasista}}'' has a straight-up hellish level system. You can beat the game at around level 40 to 50, if you find some good equipment in the random dungeons. Those same random dungeons are the best way to grind exp, and getting to the level cap of 99 is hard, but doable. Then the curveball hits you: the actual level cap is at 999, but the level curve increases a hundredfold after 99. Why? According to the game itself, "so that you wouldn't feel like the EXP you gain at max level isn't wasted." Oh, and there's six classes for each character to max out, as well. And you'll likely want to run a three-man party for the most of the game.
* Most ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' games have an AbsurdlyLowLevelCap, but ''2'' and ''4'' are the exception:
** The level cap in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}}'' is set to 99. That is outright impossible to reach with a character not geared for it (high Outdoorsman skill and all related perks) because of the in-game time limit of 13 years. Without LevelGrinding, it's entirely possible to finish the game before reaching level 24 where the two best perks become available - or if you go for SequenceBreaking, you can finish the game at ''level 2'' (not counting the tons of XP gained during the final mission). Oh, and all skills max out at 300% which is AwesomeButImpractical as nothing in the game have skill checks above 150. Finishing the game has one NPC rewarding the player with a cheat item that maxes out all skill and gives you a massive amount of XP as many times as you want to use it.
** ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'' surpasses ''Fallout 2'' in absurdness by merit of the revamped [[SkillScoresAndPerks perk system]]. Like ''Skyrim'', there's an effective level cap (above which there is [[EmptyLevels no gain from leveling up but a small HP increase]]), in this case 318 (lower if you find the items that increase your base stats), and a hard level cap of ''none''--unless you count level '''[[UsefulNotes/PowersOfTwoMinusOne 65535]]''', above which the game will literally break due to overflow.
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', while there's an achievement for reaching level 50, you can go beyond that if you keep increasing your skills. However, all your stats max out at 100, meaning that while there's no level cap ''in theory'', in practice, you're not getting past level 81. And even the cap of 81 is absurdly high; you can finish most of the game's quests long before that, after level 40 or so that level-up bar moves at a snail's pace, and the enemies' levels usually cap somewhere between 40 and 50 (the Volkihar Master Vampire has the highest possible cap at 53). The highest level character in-game is the Greybeard Arngeir, who has a set level of 150. The ''Dawnguard'' expansion includes an achievement for killing a Legendary Dragon, which only start spawning at level 78.
** Of course, due to GoodBadBugs, it's possible to see your friends play the game as a level 81 very, '''very''', early in-game.
** Patch 1.9 adds a new feature that basically removes the cap altogether. Once you've got a skill to 100, you'll have the option to reset it to 15 (and get all your perk points in that skill refunded), allowing you to level the skill up ''again'' and ultimately increase your character's level past 81. The game even keeps track of how many times you've done this with each skill. With this change, you would need to reach level 255 to acquire every single skill perk. And you can ''still level up beyond that'', though it has [[EmptyLevels no benefit whatsoever]] apart from a paltry amount of at this time useless extra magicka/life/endurance. In theory, there's no level cap, but enterprising players have discovered that having more than 255 unused perk points [[GameBreakingBug crashes the game]], making the effective level cap 510. For a game in which the highest-level killable enemy (the [[BonusBoss Ebony Warrior]] in the Dragonborn {{DLC}}) is level 81.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'' trilogy:
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'' has a level cap of 60, which is impossible to achieve in one playthrough (because levels 51-60 are unlocked by beating the game) and difficult to achieve in two (because of the ridiculously high amounts of experience needed to gain the last 10 levels[[note]] it takes more XP to level from 59 to 60 than it does to level from 1 to 45[[/note]]).
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' has a level cap is 30, which is easily reached in one playthrough. Plus, if you [[OldSaveBonus import a level 60 character from the first game]], you [[BagOfSpilling restart at level five]], making it easier to hit the cap, especially if you have the {{DLC}}.
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' increases the level cap back to 60 (once again impossible to achieve in one playthrough), but with a twist. Your ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' levels [[OldSaveBonus carry over into]] ''Mass Effect 3'', meaning that a max-level character from the second game will start the third game at level 30. However, this trope ''still'' applies; a level 30 import Shepard who does everything possible in the vanilla game will end up somewhere in the mid-50s, meaning you either have to start a NewGamePlus or get at least two of the four story DLC packs (''From Ashes'', ''Leviathan'', ''Omega'', ''Citadel'') to reach the cap. There is an achievement for that, but it can also be unlocked by reaching level 20 in multiplayer, which [[AbsurdlyLowLevelCap does not take nearly as long if you focus on leveling a single class]].
* ''VideoGame/MassEffectAndromeda'' has no level cap for Ryder, and one can buy every upgrade around level 120, and a single playthrough usually gets a player on 50-60. On the other hand, the Nexus maxes out on level 20 (You can't get every upgrade for it, something the game doesn't tell you beforehand.), as do multiplayer characters and strike teams.
** This was changed as of the 1.06 patch; the level cap for the Nexus has been raised. The level cap for multiplayer characters stands.
* In ''VideoGame/StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime'', the FinalBoss is beatable before level 80, but levels cap at 255. There are ''three'' {{Bonus Dungeon}}s containing numerous enemies and bosses that can help you get to 255. There are even battle trophies for doing this.
** 255 is the typical level cap in the ''VideoGame/StarOcean'' series. ''[[VideoGame/StarOceanTheLastHope The Last Hope]]'' breaks this tradition by dropping it down to 200; however, earning half of the Battle Trophies of a character bumps it right back up to 255. Then again, when you're trying to defeat {{bonus boss}}es with millions of HP, and earn Battle Trophies that require inflicting max damage, you'll want every last stat point you can get.
* While the first ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' had a sensible max level (level 27; just above what you'd end with), ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'', ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', and the ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi Mario & Luigi]]'' series cap at 99 (100 in ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime''). The Amazy Dayzee in both of the pre-Wii ''Paper Mario'' games is the only enemy that will give the necessary Star Points to do so, however. This isn't hard to do in the first ''Paper Mario'', since these creatures only appear in one predictable place and give enough Star Points to max your levels early on, but doing so in ''The Thousand-Year Door'' requires supreme patience. Just maxing out badge points alone to 99 requires 32 level-ups; a few more than you'd typically beat the FinalBoss with.
** ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Bowser's Inside Story]]'' nearly halves the effect of each level up after 50, making it even more pointless. Doesn't help that you need to keep resetting the final dungeon to even find enemies worth fighting for more experience. However, once you get to "rainbow rank" you can kill most bosses in one hit.
** In theory, the level cap in ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam'' is level 100, but in practice... not only does the effect halve as you go up, but the amount of experience required to get there means you'd have to spend an additional 60 or so hours just grinding to reach it. In a game which usually takes about 35 hours to complete. On the bright side, if you do get there, even the final boss dies in one turn.
** In ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPaperJam'', you can beat the final boss in the low- to mid-thirties, and can be strong enough to fight the BonusBoss [[spoiler:Dry Bowser]] at Level 50.
* In the ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' series, you'll likely reach the end of the storyline around level 50, while the level cap is 99. There are usually a few {{Bonus Boss}}es that require you to level grind a bit, however.
** ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth by Sleep]]'' takes this even further. The game is split into three storylines, in which each protagonist has to start at level one whenever you start their story, regardless of how many playthroughs you've already finished. In order to avoid having to grind back up whenever you start with a new character, the storyline is meant to be finished by the time you're in your low 30's, even though the maximum is still 99 like the previous games. Even then, one of the game's bonus bosses can be beaten quite comfortably at level 50.
** ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded Kingdom Hearts Re:coded]]'' has a level cap of 99. While that's not unusual, the amount of EXP required for higher levels is. In total, about ''10,000,000 EXP'' is required to get all the Level Up chips.
*** Of course, it is possible to double the effectiveness of each Level Up chip, effectively allowing the player to reach level 99 when he has accumulated the experience to approximately reach level 50.
** In ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainofMemories Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories]]'', it's possible to beat Sora's story at level 40, and Riku's story at level 25. The level cap for both characters is 99, and it's made worse with the absence of any {{bonus boss}}es to use all that power on.
*** Not to mention the pain of getting the trophies for getting Sora and Riku to Level 99. Sora is easier because of slights. But Riku is just a struggle.
* Games in the ''VideoGame/TalesSeries'' have level caps of either 200 or 255, depending on the game. Normal game content typically lasts until your party's levels are in the upper 50s, [[NewGamePlus EXP modifiers notwithstanding]]. Even with the highest possible bonus, which can be up to twelve times the normal amount of experience depending on the game, you're liable to only be in the upper 100s by the time you reach the final boss, so you'll still have to grind to reach the maximum level. Even then, fighting the {{Bonus Boss}}es on [[HarderThanHard Unknown or Chaos difficulty]] would be the only reason to reach that high, but that's a SelfImposedChallenge.
* In ''VideoGame/DigimonWorld3'', the level cap is 99, but most Digimon can achieve their unnecessarily powerful top-level Digivolutions by about level 60-70. While the final boss does require massive offensive and defensive power to beat, by that point in the game you have access to items which can boost your attack power and other parameters without having to fight, so it's entirely possible to beat him at level 30.
** In ''VideoGame/DigimonWorld4'', the cap is 999. Even playing through all three difficulty levels, you're unlikely to reach 300.
* In ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'', you end the game around level 50, and the max is 100. You'll probably have to do a lot of grinding to finish the post-game content, though levels aren't very important; they only increase your HP, Bravery, and ability to adjust drop rate by temporarily lowering your effective level.
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' had a level cap of 20, which could easily be reached halfway through the game if no experience was missed. Complaints of this probably led to [[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicIITheSithLords the second game]] having a max cap of 50. Of course, it was very rare for players to hit 30 before the end of ''that'' game, making the extra twenty somewhat superfluous (it is possible the level cap was set with some of the DummiedOut content in mind, especially as the developers were quite willing to finish up some of it and release a patch re-adding it), though its possible to exploit a glitch that spawns infinite enemies and (tediously) reach that cap. In fact, ''[=KotOR=] II'' was advertised as not having a level cap, which for all practical purposes is true. It probably would be literally true if the game engine supported it, but levels can't be procedurally generated; all information on leveling up is stored in (obviously finite) tables.
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' seems to have NO level cap, though it's pretty much impossible to get an insanely high level without exploiting glitches. You're only supposed to beat the game at the high 20s (and if you don't use glitches you won't get much higher). With an hour of glitch exploitation, one can go as high as level 200. The experience for one level up caps at 250000, and very late level ups won't give much more than increased health.
* ''VideoGame/BaldursGateIIThroneOfBhaal'', with its XP cap of 8,000,000, which means level 31 to 40 depending on class. Normal finishing level is maybe a bit under thirty, and the cap is so absurdly high for 2nd edition TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons rules that even the new special abilities introduced in this game can't make for meaningful content for so many levels. Wizards cease to gain any new powers at all long before the maximum.
* The ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series tends to play this straight, with the exceptions of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'', ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', as they don't have the traditional level-up system. Otherwise most games have a Level cap of 99, and can mostly be completed fine by a party at Level 50.
** The original ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'' applies if you're using an average-strength party. The final boss can be beaten at level 25 or so well before the level cap of 50. If you're playing with a weaker party (say, all mages) or playing a duo or solo run, you're grateful for the ability to level. Even at level 50 a solo Thief or Black Mage has a hard time beating the final dungeon.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX''
*** The Sphere Grid plays this trope straighter than most traditional level-up systems. And that's not even considering if you want to start replacing nodes with stronger versions. There's nowhere enough stat nodes on the entire grid to max all stats including HP and MP, even if you go through the hundreds of hours of effort of clearing all nodes and replacing them with optimal versions and activating them with every character. Depending on if you count the practical level cap or the theoretical, it's either absurdly high or impossibly high.
*** It also plays the trope straight with blitzball players' levels. The cap is 99, but you can easily win all of the important items that blitzball has to offer by a much lower level. Players only gain XP by performing actions (passing, shooting, making a save), and considering the length of blitzball games, few players will gain that much each match. Higher-level passing and shooting abilities increase the amount of XP per action, but they require substantially more HP to perform, and since HP goes up with level, low-level players can't abuse the highest-level abilities to level up quickly.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' had its max level cap to 50, so the average level for an end game party was about 30 to 35. The sequel had the level cap to 99, so most parties would be around level 50 by the final boss.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' capped the Crystarium (essentially a SkillTree whose nodes have to be purchased by spending [[ExperiencePoints Crystogen Points]]) and expected you to have unlocked all available node by the time you unlock the next Crystarium stage after a specific plot event. On the other hand, it eventually opened up side portions of it that you ''weren't'' expected to use until the [[EndgamePlus post-game]], and the post-game complete cap removal requires grinding to take advantage of.
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'' on the other hand, you will max out your characters in the process of getting OneHundredPercentCompletion without ever needing to grind for it.
** ''VideoGame/LightningReturnsFinalFantasyXIII'' seems to be all over the place with this: while there's no traditional levels to speak of, your stats naturally max out at 5000 Strength, 5000 Magic and 50000 HP. These are also your permanent maximum base stat values, which you can increase by completing quests multiple times in NewGamePlus. However, all equipment directly increases your stats and thus counts towards your normal maximum stats, but even with that, you're lucky to reach 2000-3000 in either stat with every quest completed and endgame equipment on your first playthrough: this is where the said NewGamePlus comes in, which gives you an option to double your maximum stats to 9999, 9999 and 99999 respectively and greatly strenghten your equipment, but even with those benefits, it'll take a good while to max out even a single one of your stats by finishing said quests multiple times, especially since every one of them gives you a smaller stat increase after the first time you finish them.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXV'''s final boss can be beaten at around level 30, in a game where the maximum level was 99 before a patch raised it even further to 120. This is in part due to the AP/ability mechanic that could make up for a lot of levels if the player invested the time, though all that really does is replace one kind of grinding with another.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' played with this trope. The maximum level is 100, but the game discouraged LevelGrinding, as junctioning spells to your characters' stats was far more efficient overall, encouraging a LowLevelRun which still resulted in hours upon hours of using Draw and Card.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyAdventure'' can be beaten at level 40 with some effort and the best equipment. If you took the time to level up to around 50, the final boss becomes much easier. At level 60+, you can win with your eyes closed blindly swinging your sword. However, the level cap is 99, which requires an absurd amount of time to reach given the EXP gains of the enemies in the last area.
* For ''VideoGame/NetHack'', the experience level cap is 30. This sounds reasonable for a fifty-floor dungeon, but around experience level 12 the conventional methods of level-gaining--killing stuff--are no longer efficient. A more regular interval emerges for experience levels 20+ but getting from 12 to 20 looks daunting on paper. A wily player has to develop other strategies to compensate for the growing violent horde while scraping together whatever other experience levels they can for the endgame. The way the game's monster-scaling algorithm works means that ''avoiding'' leveling past the minimum required (you have to be level 14 to unlock part of the main quest) is a viable strategy, as being a lower level means weaker monsters will be generated.
* ''VideoGame/EtrianOdyssey'' played with this trope just a bit in its first game; The player's level cap is 70, but beating the story final boss can be done at slightly lower than 60. However, its BonusDungeon pretty much demands you to use all those 70 levels. However, this is played even straighter in the sequels: The level cap has been increased to 99, but not only you should be able to beat the main game at 50-60s, your characters' level cap is also 70 at natural, but can be increased by retiring those characters which resets their levels but ultimately increases their level cap by ''1'' per retiring. Yes, you need to retire your characters '''29''' times ''plus one last time to give a maximum stat bonus'' to finally reach their level cap.[[note]]If you want to do the math, that means you need to raise your character to 69 + (29 x 55) + 69 levels... that's '''''1733 LEVELS'''''[[/note]] The third and fourth games are ''slightly'' more merciful - defeating each of the BonusBoss dragons increases your level cap by 10 (or 9 for the third). But then again, even with grinding someone to lv 99, retiring them and doing it again to get the maximum number of skill points possible, you still can't max out every skill.
* The earlier ''VideoGame/RuneFactory'' games had a maximum level of 99, far beyond what you needed to complete the game. ''VideoGame/RuneFactory3'' bumps this up to ''10,000''. The followup for the 3DS, VideoGame/RuneFactory4, boosts this to 50,000, while curiously decreasing the skill level cap to 99. Given that you can eventually craft level- and stat-raising items in bulk, the only real limit to that is your willingness to craft and consume each one of them one by one.
* ''VideoGame/ZoidsLegacy'' has a level cap of 99 despite the game being easily finishable ''in the low 20s''.
* Present in the ''VideoGame/{{Suikoden}}'' series as a whole. In fact, it may be one of the more extreme examples. You see, in the series, each new level requires 1000 EXP to reach--the catch is that the amount of EXP awarded to a character after any battle is calculated based on the character's strength/level vis-a-vis that of the defeated opponents. Fairly soon, monsters that gave a good chunk of EXP required to reach a level will give out a mere pittance, and even the hardest encounters in the game will eventually yield a mere 5 EXP per encounter (the average minimum possible EXP). When, precisely, this happens depends on the individual game in the series, but it's usually somewhere in the 60s or 70s, for a game where the level caps at 99. Only the most determined Suikoden players will see characters that have reached level 99, and probably no one has done it legitly with the large number of playable characters (since not all of the OneHundredAndEight are playable) ...
* The level cap in ''VideoGame/LegendOfLegaia'' is 99. Even with extreme grinding, the levels granted are stingy, and you'll probably beat the game somewhere between levels 35 and 40. If you want to beat the obnoxiously difficult BonusBoss, you'll want another ten or twenty levels on that. If you want to complete the sidequest to get usable Juggernaut magic, you are ''required'' to be at level 99. Even grinding every single day for a few hours, that will take a long time [[note]]An optimized strategy grinding nonstop from level 45 to level 99 requires about 20-22 hours of pure tedium, and it can require much, much longer if you don't know what you're doing[[/note]]
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'', the level cap of 99 is impossible to reach without serious grinding, especially if you want to do it in a single playthrough. Even if you complete every single sidequest in the game, and exploit time travel to run through the Black Omen several times, your party's levels will still only be in the mid-50s. Lavos can be beaten at this point without too much trouble. Grind your way up to 99, however, and you'll be basically unkillable. NewGamePlus is the most fun way to grind, but [[CantDropTheHero Crono]] will probably max out far before everyone else since he can't be switched out until late in the game.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' takes this straight into AntiGrinding territory. The level cap is 99, and you only gain a level after defeating a boss, with some minor stat growth for a few battles after each boss. The maximum number of levels you can gain in a single playthrough is 48. Meaning, if you want to hit the level cap, you'll need to beat every boss in one playthrough, start a NewGamePlus, beat every boss again, beat the game again, and start over for a ''third time''.
* ''VideoGame/MightAndMagicClashOfHeroes'': Depending on the campaign, you'll be around level 7 to 9 when you reach the final boss after completing all the sidequests, out of 10 possible. If you want to get experience, you'll have to find an area with random encounters and walk around until you trigger them. Random encounters rarely are higher than 7, so this takes a while. Better yet, you might have to do this for your units as well if you need to use one you haven't used much before (or simply haven't had access to yet).
* In ''VideoGame/{{Ys}} VI'', the highest level is 60, but the EXP values [[AntiGrinding drop to 1 for all enemies]] at level 55, so it takes many hours of grinding to reach the cap, which you need to do to beat the BonusBoss.
* The ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' series as a whole has a habit of this.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestI'', the level cap is 30 at 65535 EXP, but you can curbstomp the Dragonlord well before then, around Level 24 (you need a minimum of Level 20 to have the least chance at beating him). If you reach level 30, the king will {{Lampshade}} this by saying "Thou art strong enough! Why can thou not defeat the Dragonlord?" Unlike most others on this list, however, it actually becomes ''easier'' to gain levels, as the XP amount between levels is static at that point, even though you're dealing more damage and taking less in return. However, since 98% of the entire game is grinding, it's all a matter of whether you even want to bother grinding more than you have to.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIV'', the level cap is 99, but players are likely to beat the game before they hit level 40. The game implicitly recognizes this in the [[UsefulNotes/NintendoEntertainmentSystem original release]] by having every character learn all of their spells and abilities by then. Come [[UsefulNotes/NintendoDS the remake]], however, the hero now has a new spell at level 50, and a SecretCharacter can learn spells all the way up to level 60! Even with the BonusDungeon and new FinalBoss, however, players are quite capable of beating everything with levels in the low-to-mid 40's.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIX'', the level cap is 99; you'll be needing over 65535 XP ''per level'' when you get much past 50! Oh, and XP is not shared between vocations (classes), so you could be a level 99 warrior but only a level 1 mage. And you can reset back to level 1 if you want, in order to get more skill points and a "special" item related to the vocation.
* Cheaters in ''VideoGame/ProgressQuest'' [[http://progressquest.com/knoram.php?cheaters=1 indicate]] a memory-allocation-based level cap of 2^31, possibly [[http://progressquest.com/oobag.php?cheaters=1 amended]] to 2^15; a lower one for non-cheaters might exist, but reaching level 99 [[http://forum.progressquest.com/viewtopic.php?t=9472 requires]] over 20 real-life years of continuous "play" (in a game launched in 2001), so it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Anachronox}}'', the maximum level is 99. Reaching this level, however, is nigh-impossible. Enemies don't usually respawn, so you can't kill them over and over for experience. Add on to that the fact that the game uses DynamicDifficulty, and it's basically a useless cap.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'' has the usual level cap of 99, but the endgame level is around ''80'', higher than pretty much every other game with that cap. You'll also want to hit the cap for some {{Bonus Boss}}es. (Especially since the bosses go up to around level ''120'', and because the level difference between you and the enemy heavily figures into whether you can even hit the enemy successfully and vice versa.)
* ''VideoGame/TheWitcher'' has a level cap of 50, yet reaching this level requires far more experience than you would get from completing every quest and killing every boss. Getting anywhere above level 40 in a full playthrough is not only time-consuming, but unnecessary, since you gain [[AntiGrinding less experience]] from killing enemies per level and you'll have gained enough talents to comfortably finish the game well before then, anyway.
** Actually, the level isn't capped at 50. But at level 50 you stop getting skill points, making leveling up any higher quite pointless (except for negligible amounts of HP if you invested into the appropiate skill).
* Both ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'' and ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' have a level cap in the low 700s range (around 709-713 depending on the starting class). Both games have you normally ending your first playthrough in the low 100s with their 60,000+ soul requirement, with amount of souls needed to level near the cap being in the millions. Most {{PvP}} players aim for between 99-120 and will probably [[CasualCompetitiveConflict complain if you're much higher than that]]. And due to the DiminishingReturnsForBalance of raising stats in both games, it is utterly unnecessary unless going for a specific build.
** While ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsII'' goes beyond its predecessors in sheer number by having a max level of 838, no matter which of the eight starting classes is chosen, it's actually less relative to the amount you'll be ''reaching'' (endgame is usually around mid-late 100s) because the cost of leveling up compared to the amount of souls enemies drop is less than it was in the previous games.
* ''VideoGame/RecettearAnItemShopsTale'' has two level systems: Merchant, and Adventure. The game is designed to take advantage of the NewGamePlus system that sets in if you ever finish the storyline or fail to pay the required amount of money needed each week. Each adventurer can level up to 99, which can take many playthroughs of the story, and even being level 99 is no guarantee that your adventurers will survive the BonusDungeon's BossRush mode. As a merchant, you gain more perks such as larger inventory, a larger store, and other benefits to help you make more money. The merchant level cap is 99, but the added privileges stop at level 50.
* ''VideoGame/GuardiansCrusade'' had a level cap of ''65535'', even though you'd probably be facing the FinalBoss at around level 50. This limit is likely due to it being the maximum value representable by a 16 bit integer.
* ''VideoGame/TouhouLabyrinth'' can be beaten with characters in the 100+ range. The post game [[{{Expansion Pack}} Plus Disk]] content will probably require a level upwards of 500. The actual level cap is far higher than that.
* In ''VideoGame/BeforeTheEcho'' the {{Bonus Boss}} is typically beaten and the game [[{{HundredPercentCompletion}} 100% completed]] around the mid to late twenties depending on your luck with item drops. The technical level cap is 34, after which it takes ''ten billion'' experience points to reach the next level and being insane enough to actually reach it would probably cause the game to crash.
* In ''VideoGame/ResonanceOfFate'', completing all the side quests and playing through the game in a normal fashion will let your characters reach somewhere between levels 80-90, which is more than enough to take on the final boss. However, the level cap reaches all the way to 300, with a maximum of 100 in each weapon (handgun, machine gun, and hand grenade). Reaching at least 200+ is ''vital'' for having any success in [[BonusDungeon Neverland]] and the highest arena stages. Unlike other examples, though, levels have absolutely no bearing on stats other than total hit points: The game has no armor or defence mechanic, so you'll always take the same damage from a level 1 {{Mook}} at the beginning and end of the game, and increasing your characters' attack strength comes from customizing your weapons.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Terranigma}}'', the level cap is 50; the exp cap is 999,999. But you reach level 50 at 802,435XP, so the last nearly ''two hundred thousand'' experience points are purely for Bragging Rights anyway. To further add to this, most players will typically finish the game between levels 33-37 (experience range of 80,000-100,000).
* The level cap in ''VideoGame/SoulBlazer'' is 50. That sounds low, but the amount of experience required to get there is impractically high; you have to reach the cap of 99,999,999 (that's one less than one hundred million), when the strongest enemies give a mere 4,000. For comparison, level 25 requires a total of 150,000 experience -- and at that point your attack and defense are the highest they can get without accessories, and your HP bar has already reached its maximum length and changes color instead to signify additional HP. Your HitPoints max out at level 47 (59 million XP), and after that the levels do nothing at all.
* ''VideoGame/ParasiteEve'' has a weird case of this. The cap is 99, but you learn your last ability in the early 30s, and the high 30s require a ridiculous amount of EXP (around ''200,000!''). However, once you reach level 38, level requirements become far, ''far'' lower (a mere 4,500 EXP). It's also an odd case since leveling up only increases your HP and other base stats by a few points. The majority of your stats come from tweaking your weapons and armors, which they can all be capped to 999.
* ''Sailor Moon: Another Story'' has the typical level cap of 99. Hitting it without cheats takes ages, as higher levels require progressively larger amounts of EXP. However, you only need to be around level 40-45 to survive the last few battles, and anything above 50 makes most characters almost godlike (in fact, at level 48-49 some of them start to hit the HP cap, which is 999).
* ''VideoGame/MugenSouls'' has a level cap of 9999, similar to ''Disgaea''. However, it's not made by Creator/NipponIchi but instead, it's from Compile Heart in collaboration with G Crest.
* ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic III: Isles of Terra'' has an unknown level cap (likely one based on memory space, like 255, 32767, or 65535) and an exorbitant gold cost to get there. It ''is'' possible to get that much gold by repeatedly duplicating and selling a high-value item and/or taking advantage of compound interest, but the toughest monster in the game can be defeated at level 70ish, if you have a good weapon.
* ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic IV and V: World of Xeen'' uses a very similar structure to Might and Magic III and likely has the same level cap. However, the duplication spell no longer exists, so your only source for unlimited gold is by gaining interest on banked gold. (On the other hand, it is said that the most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.)
* In ''VideoGame/LiveALive'', the level cap is 99 - for a game where each character's final skill is learned at level 16 and the hardest bosses can be comfortably beaten in the mid twenties.
* In ''VideoGame/EarthBoundBeginnings'', the level cap is 99. It takes over 100,000 Exp. points to get to this level, and you can beat the game at levels 25 to 30. Also, Ninten and Ana learn their final PSI moves at level 35.
** In ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER 3}}'', you'll likely finish the game with most of your party around level 60 when Lucas and Kumatora learn their final PSI. The level cap here is also 99.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Miitopia}}'', the caps for levels and relationships are 50 and 99 respectively. You'll get about halfway for the levels by the end, but unless you dedicate yourself to building relationships, your Miis probably only have one relationship over 20 each by the time you reach the final boss, let alone having three of them. Though it is possible to be level 50 even before you leave the first world, along with relationships being 99 with all members amongst themselves. (Though this leads to this kind of battle; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fll0phQ92Wc) Your allies are boosted because of you too!
* This is a constant in Role Playing Games developed by Zeboyd Games. ''VideoGame/BreathOfDeathVII'', ''VideoGame/CthulhuSavesTheWorld'' and the last two episodes of ''VideoGame/PennyArcadeAdventures'' stop granting skills to your characters at level 40, but if you keep grinding nothing prevents you from going to infinity and beyond. ''Penny Arcade Adventures'' does not have ways to reliably level up beyond 40, however.
* In ''VideoGame/LennusII'', the level cap is at its usual 99. However, it is possible to finish the game in the mid 30's due to its absurd experience requirements for the next level. Made even worse when you realize that the game splits experience among your party members. Even good battles will give Farus and his party not enough experience as the endgame was designed to be beaten around those levels.
* Most high-level challenges in ''VideoGame/FantasyLife'' can be beaten with a level 50 character, yet the standard game has a cap of 100 and the DLC pushes it up to 200. There are still benefits in higher levels as each give the player extra HP and skill points. Given the games has a JobSystem and no real ending, both become handy at some point. Some challenges also require beating a high-level boss several times to get item drops; if the player needed an hour to beat the boss the first time while being assissted by PhysicalGod twins, it won't hurt to reach a level that will make the same battle only last half an hour.
* Like the ''Xenoblade'' example above, the level cap in ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarNova'' is Level 100, but the game expects you to be high-Level 80s by the time you fight the FinalBoss. Played straight after an update, which boosts the level cap to Level 150, and then played even straighter after a second update that increased the level cap to 200. Reason being those levels are practically necessary for the post-game content that got added alongside them.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'', the player's maximum level is 20, which is only obtainable at the very end of a Genocide run where you have [[KillEmAll killed literally every monster]], including the FinalBoss. There is one more encounter after that, but it's a PostFinalBoss that gets taken out in [[CutsceneBoss a cutscene]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Sudeki}}'' caps at Level 30. However, due to the way the game is set, the two male characters will be somewhere in low 20s and the female characters will be in high 10s before you fight the final boss, [[spoiler:[[DuelBoss not that most of these matter]]]]. It doesn't help that each level after 17th requires 5000XP to level up, for a total of 65k (22 is the midway point to 30). For comparision, the best yielding regular monster gives out 350XP per kill and final boss gives 9999XP.
* If ''VideoGame/LordsOfXulima'' even ''has'' a level cap, it won't be found without combing through the source code. Enemies do not respawn, ever, and there's no repeatable xp gain. Depending on how early and how high you stacked xp bonuses, you'll end up somewhere in the 60s to 80s if you kill everything.
* In the original ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfHeroesTrailsOfColdSteel'', level 99 is the maximum level for any character. Level 68 is generally the recommended level for fighting the final boss, and that's on Nightmare Mode. The are no optional bosses and therefore no practical need for anything close to level 99. Reach Level 80 or higher with Rean will grant you a bonus in ''Cold Steel II'', but that's it. Furthermore, gained EXP is relative to your current level, so after a point, even fighting the toughest enemies will grant only a pittance of EXP. You can even things a bit by taking advantage of easy multipliers, but it's still a grind.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfDragoon'', the level cap is 60 but virtually all leveling up will come from fighting bosses so you will be 40-42 by the time you reach the FinalBoss. While difficult at the intended level, if you actually spend the insane amount of time it will take to reach 60, you'll probably kill the FinalBoss in 3-5 turns.
* The original campaign of ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'' averts this (cap is 20, you'll probably hit it in the final act), as does the ''Mask of the Betrayer'' expansion (cap is 30, but you start at 18, or you can export a level 20 from the original campaign; you'll usually hit it, again, in the final act). ''Storm of Zehir'', on the other hand, falls right into this - the cap in that game is 40, and your character starts at 4th level. Even if you slaughter every random encounter you come across and fill out every companion sidequest, you'll have a hard time going over 20, and the FinalBoss can be killed by a party in the high teens without much trouble.

[[folder:Simulation Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/Heartache101SourIntoSweet'', the player's stats can be raised up to a cap of 100. The three uses of stats are to pass storyline checkpoints (which use a simple "Is the stat higher than this value" pass-or-fail check), to give correct advice to [[HaremGenre girls]] when asked (where points in the relevant stat increase the chance of Ferdinand's advice being correct), and to determine how many [[RelationshipValues relationship points]] are gained when spending time with girls. Storyline checkpoints never require any value higher than 50, advice will reach 100% chance of being correct somewhere between 50 and 60, and it is possible to max out relationship values for girls without any stats ever even reaching 50.

[[folder:Third-Person Shooter]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Splatoon}}'': A patch raised the game's level cap to 50, even though all abilities, modes, and gear customization is unlocked at level ''20''. There are a few rewards for levels past 20, but they're [[AndYourRewardIsClothes strictly cosmetic]]. And assuming you gain experience in the most efficient way possible (winning ''every'' ranked match you play without ever going into overtime) it'll take you over 90 hours of play time (not counting time spent between matches) to go from level 20 to level 50.

[[folder:Tower Defense]]
* Both ''VideoGame/CursedTreasure'' flash games have a ''very high'' level cap, but the highest level you'd ever want is Level 41, as that's the minimum level needed to max out all the skills. However, the most EXP gained from a single map is nearly 1,700 (at least, that's the case for the Level Pack), and since EXP needed for the next level is current level x 100 [[note]]for example, EXP needed for Level 18 is 17 x 100 = 1,700[[/note]], that means repeating that map many, many times. Worse, you'll likely get a Brilliant rating on all the maps way before maxing out all your skills!
* ''VideoGame/BloonsTowerDefense 4'' has a rank cap of 94. Sure, it doesn't seem so big, until you realize that the last two level requirements skyrocket into the outer space and beyond.[[labelnote:Note]]To elaborate, rank 92 needs 30 billion XP. Rank 93, one ''trillion'' XP. Rank 94? ''Ten quadrillion'' XP.[[/labelnote]]
* There is no level cap in ''VideoGame/{{Gemcraft}}''; instead, it has a cap on how much experience you can get due to the fact beating the same field twice gives you only difference between your new and old record - fail to beat it and you get nothing.
** Downplayed in ''The Forgotten'' due to the fact it's much harder to grind than in the later games. You can reach the last level as early as late 50s, but if you go out of your way to grind on all levels, you will likely reach it with level somewhere in 80s, which will allow you to max out most of the skills.
** Maxing out all skills in ''Gem of Eternity'' requires your level to somewhere around 200. This is much higher than the level required to beat the game, but also nowhere the level you can get by grinding as much as you can. This entry is unique in the fact that each of the level's battle modes are considered to be unique for the purpose of gaining levels.
** In ''Labyrinth'' and ''Chasing Shadows'' it's high enough to make even Disgaea hang its head in shame. By stacking difficulty, talisman bonuses, and battle settings/traits, you can gain billions of XP per level. and with 169 fields in ''Labyrinth'' and up to 191 in ''Chasing Shadows'' (including Magician's Pouch-exclusive and Steam-exclusive fields), your wizard level can get absurdly high. The soft level cap is generally considered to be somewhere around Level 10,000 in ''Labyrinth'' and 50,000 in ''Chasing Shadows''.

[[folder:Turn-Based Strategy]]
* Nippon Ichi games like ''VideoGame/LaPucelle Tactics'' have ridiculous level caps where you can get to 9999 even though the maximum level needed to win the game is around a hundred. You actually do need huge levels to kill the BonusBoss, however.
** Even in the case of ''La Pucelle'', the BonusBoss in the original release is "only" level 2000, and can be beaten at a much lower level than that with good equipment and strategy. The enhanced re-releases add higher-level bonus bosses, but equipment and setup matter far more.
** ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' is a great one for this. Level cap is a whopping 9999, but you can easily finish the main storyline around 80-100. Of course, no one really goes straight through the main storyline, so levels are usually 200 or so for endgame. The other 9799 can be gotten with NewGamePlus fairly easily, though, since you get access to some awesome high-level areas. Also take into consideration the Reincarnation system, which can be used to restart a character at level one with some of their previously gained skills and increased stats. The level cap can be hit several times over.
*** This is made even MORE prevalent in Disgaea games as the side and bonus bosses often have levels eclipsing the main story. Disgaea 2 on the PSP alone has bosses starting at the level 90 point and working themselves all the way to the level cap. When it comes down to it, the grinding and leveling REALLY comes into play once the game is over.
*** It's important to note that with the Cheat Shop in ''VideoGame/DisgaeaD2ABrighterDarkness'', this was essentially removed, as reaching 9999 can take just a handful of battles, and the same Cheat Shop in ''VideoGame/Disgaea5AllianceOfVengeance'' allows you to reach 9999 in ''a single command''. They replaced it with slow grinding functions that increase stats instead.
** ''Phantom Brave'' [[SerialEscalation escalates]] since you can level both weapon AND character, meaning you can beat the final boss (and probably the first bonus boss) if you have the optimum skill/weapon/created character loadout for such a task at around 40/40, some have gotten it as low as 30/30 (Pump those weapon HP skills!) And not only is the max level 9999, but, while the highest character re-creation level in Disgaea gives you 10 extra skill points per time, Phantom Brave can give you as many as 255 skill points each time. A character that has gone to 9999 twice at 255 points each will likely hit the 'true max.' It also supports an extra digit in the stats column. (at this point any attack resembles the scores from Gigawing) [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1P2L3W5RtE Here as an example is a 9999999 attack mage.]]
* In ''VideoGame/StellaGlow'' the level cap is 99. Players can complete the game around level 45.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Since the release of the ''TabletopGame/EpicLevelHandbook'' in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' 3.0, there literally was NO level cap. You could make a level 1 million wizard if you took the time out to do it (although it would be useless because no sane [[GameMaster Dungeon Master]] would ever let you use it, or put the time into running a campaign where it could be used), but still technically possible.
** In practice, it's difficult to get a character from level one all the way to twenty. In a pencil and paper RPG, real life tends to disrupt the game before that point and if you're lucky you have a group that can play ''once'' a week. Be grateful if you have a DM motivated enough to keep the game going that long. Also, modules and monsters written for this level are less common. For this reason, ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' (a.k.a. "D&D 3.75") hasn't yet released rules that go beyond this level (aside from a brief few paragraphs for just in case.) And their adventures paths take characters from level one to about level sixteen.
** The third-party Immortals Handbook contains encounters and adventures for characters of levels well into the hundreds. One wonders the kind of screwed-up XP charts that would result in such an insane level system existing.
** Older versions placed level caps on the classes of nonhumans, as an attempt to balance against their racial abilities. The result was essentially this and AbsurdlyLowLevelCap ''combined''. If the campaign wasn't going to hit the cap, it didn't balance anything. If it was, the cap would make your character worthless.
*** This could also be said about certain classes before 4th Edition. Due to LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards, players of Wizards and similar classes had to put up with being very weak in comparison to other classes until at least level 5 or so. Once it got into the teens, Fighters and Rogues might as well stay at home. Like in racial caps, this meant that a lot of short-lived campaigns meant that wizards never got rewarded for sticking it out through the low levels, whereas longer-lived and/or high-level campaigns saw non-magical classes become obsolete. 4th Edition's solution to solve all of this was to make most classes nearly identical.....which did not go over well. 5th Edition's solution was to smooth out wizards and other casters so they were more powerful at lower levels and not so over-powered at higher levels, mostly by fixing the effects of spells at a medium power level(unless using a higher slot). This has generally worked much better, but YMMV whether it really makes higher-level play in the teens still feel like a natural level progression without an unofficial "cap".
* The power level stat in ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', Essence, has an soft cap of 10. Most magical beings (including the majority of player characters) begin their existence with Essence of 2 and have relative caps. The most common way to increase Essence is through age and extensive meditation -- until a character is 100 years old, they may reach up to Essence 5 with each increase taking months equal to the new rating. To reach Essence 10, the character must be ''several thousands'' of years old and devote a ''year'' of nothing but meditation for the final enlightenment. Characters can go on world-saving (or destroying) adventures even at Essence 5. Theoretically, one can go for higher Essence ratings than 10, but the authors do not see the point of providing rules for those eventualities.
* The old BECMI Dungeons and Dragons series had a level cap of 36 but you can evolve into a four-dimensional immortal being with the last ruleset, Immortal, telling you how to play this. You can then reach the top of the of the immortal hierarchy and become leader of your faction. However, there is more, if you become leader of your faction and give away all your power to be born a perfectly normal mortal and succeed in becoming a immortal again and then succeed in becoming leader of your faction and then give away all your power again, you will apparently be hunted down and destroyed irrevocably. This has only happened twice ever in the history of the immortals. [[spoiler:You are not really destroyed, but recreated as something called an Old One something that is to immortals what an immortal is to a human -way too powerful for a human to imagine or role-play so the game ends. The Immortal module, however, hints that there is something beyond even Old Ones.]] Reaching this would require a LOT of time and a Dungeon Master who has a even more time and a lot of creativity since he must create almost all the Immortal level material and adventures himself.

[[folder:Other Games]]
%%* In ''Esgrima Online'', You could reach a level above 100. The highest level players are around the 105-150 level.
* This is a staple in many allegedly free to play games, where you begin to advance quickly but later on will slow down at a certain level, sometimes even extremely so, that it would take a year of grinding to reach one more level, when what you really want is the new abilities 5 levels on. This of course should entice you to buy master currencies or special items to speed up the progress.
* In ''Monsters' Den: The Book of Dread'', There is no real level cap, As long as you keep going deeper and deeper into the Den of Endless Evil (That you reach when you complete one of the two story modes).
* Bleach Training has a 3-Digit level cap of 999, although you can finish the game at around level 80 or so.
* Clicker {{Idle Game}}s in general have a theoretically infinite level cap thanks to being built on exponentiation, and as such both the player as well as enemies have no limit. As such, the level caps are only limited by the natural limitations of the underlying data type. Most of them however have a DiminishingReturnsForBalance applied to damage vs. cost, making it more and more impractical to level up heroes/buy more production units.
* As one of the clicker games, the original implementation of ''VideoGame/ClickerHeroes'' used floating-point numbers, which meant that Heroes had an effective level cap of 4,100. For reference, the highest upgrade a Hero normally attains is around level 100. As long as the player has enough money, he or she can keep upgrading a character. When the developers switched to bignums, the level cap was essentially removed completely.
* [[http://www.kongregate.com/games/xmmmx99/the-perfect-tower The Perfect Tower]] is an IdleGame that takes this to an extreme. The level cap on certain upgrades can reach 100000, and if you max yourself out, most enemies of a same tier won't even be able to scratch you. But once the enemy's level gets high enough and their damage and health go over the numerical {{Cap}} (about 10^308)... they tier up, and if their tier is higher than yours, they don't take any damage from your tower AND they OneHitKill you. To counter this, you need to tier up your own tower, and in order to do so you need to max out all your tower's upgrades. Doing this resets your upgrades, which also means you need to buy all the massively leveled upgrades all over again to get to the next tier and so on, making this game a huge example of a ludicrously high level cap.
* Level cap for ''VideoGame/RPGShooterStarwish'' is so high that it practically doesn't exist. Final boss is usually beaten around level 60-70. At the time of writing there are players who reached level higher than 5000.