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In games like {{MMORPG}}s, powerful items ([[RandomlyDrops looted]] [[WeSellEverything or not]]) often come with additional character requirements that must be met before they can be used. These requirements--which can include [[CharacterLevel level]], [[CharacterClass class]], [[CharacterPoints stats]], [[FamedInStory fame]], and even [[KarmaMeter karma]]--prevent players from purchasing [[DiscOneNuke massively overpowered gear]] and spoiling the challenge, and as such are the bane of the {{Munchkin}}.

Games with these do generally have a few [[PowerEqualsRarity rare and powerful]] items, which may actually be more powerful than a higher-level but more common item. The InfinityMinusOneSword will almost certainly be such a weapon, although the InfinityPlusOneSword is more likely to be "honest". Such items are generally denoted with odd-colored {{flavor text}} or some similar effect.

A game-specific subtrope of PhlebotinumHandlingRequirements, and a form of DoubleUnlock unless the loot is received at the start of the game. Compare with PowerEqualsRarity, StatSticks & YouHaveResearchedBreathing. See also ClassAndLevelSystem, AnAdventurerIsYou, and [[InfinityPlusOneSword Infinity Plus]]/[[InfinityMinusOneSword Minus One Sword]].

'''Note:''' Since this is such a common trope, please only list aversions, subversions, or [[PlayingWith/LevelLockedLoot interesting variants]].



[[folder:[=MMORPGs=] ]]
* ''VideoGame/RohanOnline'' allows players to wear much higher level equipment but imposes stat penalties that may end up making the gear less powerful than what the player ''is'' qualified to wear.
* ''VideoGame/{{Vindictus}}'' has the usual class and level restrictions, and also has a set of Proficiency skills that allow you to use higher-grade gear of a particular type (e.g. [[SinisterScythe battle scythes]], [[BoringButPractical plate armor, secondary weapons]], etc.)
* ''VideoGame/{{Mabinogi}}'' mostly averts this, relying on [[AdamSmithHatesYourGuts price]] or [[ThatOneBoss difficulty]] [[PowerEqualsRarity of ]][[UltimateBlacksmith acquisition]] to keep the heavy stuff out of the wimps' hands. A lot of gear is [[FiveRaces species-specific]], though.
** Also, many enchantment effects activate at a certain level, and if you rebirth they become dormant until you reach that level again. Enchantment-effect triggers can also involve age and skill rank.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' has stat requirements for equipment, but in the earlier days of the game, there were no such requirements for consumables. This made it possible to skip from level 1 to level 4 immediately after a NewGamePlus by simply eating some of the best food in the game at the time, so it was eventually {{Nerf}}ed by adding level requirements for consumables.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' restricts both gear and consumables by level. Yes, this means your character needs to learn how to [[YouHaveResearchedBreathing eat anything besides stale bread and tough jerky]]. Averted with specific items meant to facilitate the levelling of alts which can be handed down from a high to low level character, but even those don't give you more stats than a good level-appropriate level gear piece would because they scale with character's level and increase in stats only when you do. The upside is, you don't need to upgrade them until maximum level.
** A few items are actually unusable AFTER you reach specific levels. These are typically remnants of buff mechanics from previous expansions, such as sharpening stones, wizard oils and drums, which were discontinued in new content due to complaints about excessive grinding required to obtain them. Thus they cannot be used in content that isn't balanced around them being available.
** Some classes learn how to use a heavier armor class at level 40, locking them out of using items of said class before that point. While this isn't too bad for Warriors and Paladins since you'll barely find any plate items before that point anyway, Hunters and Shamans aren't so lucky.
** Speaking of Hunters, some beast families are effectively locked until you reach a high enough level to tame the lowest level beasts of that family, with a hard lock placed on Exotic pets (you need level 69 to learn how to tame these). Everything else needs level 10 to learn the Tame Beast skill, except for the beast hunters start out with (depending on their race).

[[folder: Role Playing Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{FATE}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Torchlight}}'' both have a whole slew of character, stat and feat requirements for any equip you care to name, and the [[PowerEqualsRarity Legendary gear]] in ''FATE'' also requires a high Fame level. It's possible to remove an item and have several others unequip themselves because they were depending on its stat bonuses...and in your adventuring career this ''will'' happen at least once.
** ''Torchlight 2'' plays with this a bit, as items can be locked by class(es) (e.g. only the Outlander and/or Engineer can use it), by level, and by stats - but the latter two are generally either/or requirements in that you either need to fulfill the minimum level ''or'' minimum stat requirements, not '''both'''. This lets builds with a touch of CripplingOverspecialization use certain items well in advance of when more evenly-spread builds would normally be able to.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Fable}}'', it's possible to carry and even equip a weapon you don't have enough Physique for, but if you do so you end up [[SwordDrag dragging]] it laboriously along the ground and being completely ineffectual in combat.
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'': There aren't any level restrictions, but there are a few items that can only be used by a [[IncorruptiblePurePureness light-]] or [[TheDarkSide dark-side]] character.
* In ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarOnline'' the different kinds of items are restricted by different stats: armor is level-restricted, blade weapons are restricted by your attack strength, guns are restricted by your accuracy, and wands are restricted by your mental strength. Your other equipment is counted for the limit, so if you equip an [[StatSticks item that increases your accuracy]] you can equip better guns than you normally could.
** Do note you only need the stats when equipping the weapon. It wasn't uncommon for players to carry around crappy weapons that gave a decent boost to a stat for the sole purpose of replacing it with a weapon they didn't have the stats for yet.
* Almost all of the items in ''{{VideoGame/Diablo}}'' have statistic-based restrictions: melee weapons and armor require strength, bows require dexterity, and books require magic. However, rings and amulets never have restrictions, which means that a beginning character can easily be given jewelry that adds 15 or more points to all of his stats.
* ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'' has "reduced level requirement" as a possible random ability on some gear, making level 60 kit that you can wield at (say) level 46 ''that still has the stats of level 60''. The gap between 46 and 60 is a ''[[GameBreaker lot]]'' bigger than that between 32 and 46...
* Somewhat averted in VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion as weapon/spell/armor effectiveness scales with relevant [[StatGrinding Skills]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Summoner}}'', ability to use weapons is dependent on whether to character has the right weapon skill (and whether it's explicitly character-restricted), but gear for everyone but [[BlackMagicianGirl Rosalind]] is also dependent on their Heavy Arms skill.
* ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'', much like its spiritual predecessor ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls'', uses stats to determine the effectiveness of weapons. Any player can equip any weapon, but if the player character doesn't have the minimum stats to properly wield it that weapon's performance will be severely penalized.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', armor and most weapons have strength requirements. Daggers and bows have dexterity requirement instead. Some equipment is also restricted to specific classes or specializations, and some personal items are restricted to specific characters (including the PlayerCharacter).
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' had two-stat requirements (e.g. strength and dexterity for swords and armor) but because most loot in the game scaled with the player's level, you would rarely pick up items that you couldn't use right away or within a single level-up.
** Loot in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' is level-locked, but [[ItemCrafting crafted equipment]] isn't.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}''
** In both ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' and ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'', you need to undergo the requisite training to use PowerArmor, which generally doesn't occur until late in the game. This is meant to prevent a common situation in the first two games where you'd find power armor [[DiscOneNuke early on]], then the vast majority of enemy could not damage you at all. Although power armor isn't nearly as effective in the [=3D=] games, especially ''3'', so this ends up being somewhat redundant.
** ''New Vegas'' has a slight twist on the trope: you ''can'' use weapons tiered above your skill level or strength level, but this causes a penalty to range weapons accuracy[[note]]With down-the-sites aim this means more SniperScopeSway, while VATS and hipfire take a direct penalty. The given skill level is what's required for maximum accuracy, though more skill will still increase the damage you do.[[/note]] and non-range weapon attack speed proportional to how far below the requirements you are. The penalties don't really come close to matching the benefits of a stronger weapon, so it really shouldn't keep you from using a stronger weapon.
* In ''VideoGame/PathOfExile'', equipment can have not only level requirements but also Strength, Dexterity, or Intelligence requirements. Yes, this means that it is possible for a character to not be smart enough to wear a pair of witch's boots (maybe the lacing is really complicated?).
* {{Downplayed|Trope}} in both the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' series[[note]]Starting with [[Videogame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Gen IV]][[/note]] and ''Videogame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory'': In both games, shopkeepers offer high-power equipment that they, theoretically, have on hand at all times. The catch is: in the former, the shopkeepers don't offer them until you have enough badges while in the latter, you are kept out of the shop ''itself'' by a {{Bouncer}}. The downplay is the fact that this doesn't prevent you from ''using'' such items if you can get them [[RandomDrop off the street]],[[note]][[CheatCode or in the alley]],[[/note]] it just prevents you from ''buying'' them.

[[folder: Other VideoGames]]
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' games, guns, shields and (in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'') relics have a level cap, although it's hard to find an item above your level outside of the early game if you're not in an area you're not supposed to go to yet. You can share the stuff you can't use yet with your multiplayer pals, and you can challenge them for a duel in case they find it too awesome to give it back to you.
* ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' games use the weapon rank system, where every weapon but the basic ones (Iron, Bronze or Slim, depending on game) requires a certain amount of experience with this particular type before a character can use them.
* In ''VideoGame/ShopHeroes'' (in which you supply the equipment rather than use it), you can technically defy this, but it's impractical. Heroes can be equipped with items above or below their level, but doing do substantially increases the chance of the item breaking, since the heroes are either putting too much pressure on cheap gear (if they're over level) or don't know what to do with it (if they're under level). This means that if you mismatch gear and hero, you'll just end up having to replace it (and although you're a shopkeeper, you aren't allowed to [[WithThisHerring tell the heroes to pay for those replacements]], since you're the one wanting the quest done).

[[folder:Non-Game Media]]
* ''Literature/TheGam3'': Most weapons and armor we see the description for have a list of abilities required to use the item, effectively preventing a new player from finding the Infinity+1 Sword and becoming god. Some also have a second list of recommended abilities, which unlocks extra uses of the item or makes the item more effective.
* Parodied in reference to an announced ''VideoGame/DungeonSiege'' film in ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'', shown [[http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/2/25/ here]].
* Joked about in [[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comicsandcosplay/comics/stolen-pixels/5086-Stolen-Pixels-7-Vulture-Milk this]] Stolen Pixels strip.
--> You need a Ph.D. in Kicking Ass to slurp down a bowl of soup, and you'll need to be more than halfway to godhood before you're allowed to face the challenge and responsibility of eating pie.