Absurdly High Level Cap

The Final Boss 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.

In many games with Character Levels, 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 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 Level Grinding; 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 Tropes Are Not Bad. This can be a useful gameplay feature for games with very open-ended and sandbox-like gameplay:
  • In the age of DLC, modding, and 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 Bonus Boss or even full-on Bonus Level Of Hell 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 Absurdly Low Level Cap, although the two are by no means mutually exclusive.


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    Action-Adventure Games 
  • Most of the Metroidvania iterations of the Castlevania series end with the main character around level 50 (and the max being 99).
    • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, 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 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 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.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Halo: Reach, 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 Call of Duty franchise, starting with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (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 Perks as they go. At the maximum level, the player has the option to "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.)
  • 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 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 New Game+, known as True Vault Hunter Mode in Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! 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 capsnote , 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.

    Hack and Slash 
  • In Diablo II, 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 Diablo III also applies. Pre-patch 1.0.4 the cap was at level 60. Patch 1.0.4 added 100 extra "Paragon" levelsnote  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, 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 Dynasty Warriors franchise of games usually have ridiculously high level caps, with the main Dynasty Warriors series usually sitting at level 99.
    • The 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.
    • Hyrule Warriors 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 255! (For Warriors games at least).
  • Gauntlet Dark Legacy had a level cap of 99, even though the game could be beaten by level 60 or so.
  • Path of Exile 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 Asheron's Call — 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 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 Phantasy Star Online, 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 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 Kingdom of Loathing 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 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 donation item introduced an area with procedurally-generated enemies that 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 
  • In Lost Souls MUD, 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.
  • EVE Online 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 20+ years to skill up everything to level 5 if no new skills are ever introduced.
  • Battlestar Galactica Online has a cap of 250 in a game where it takes weeks for all but the most dedicated or money-throwing players to hit 20!
  • In 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.
  • 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 uncapped themselves due to the pills snatching away a bit of XP every time...
  • In Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE, 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.
  • Bots, before it got taken down, had a level cap of around 2900.
  • In the Third-Person Shooter MMO S4 League 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 Anti-Poop Socking 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • If there is a cap in Dungeons of Dredmor 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 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.
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery 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.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, 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.
  • Fairy Fencer F 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 Bonus Level Of Hell stages just to give them something to conceivably reach this new cap with.
  • Secret of Mana 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 where 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.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has a level cap of 25, which is impossible to reach without the Elfroot grind or Ostagar exploit. Getting to level 20 gains you a class-specific achievement, while new characters in the 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.
  • Dragon Age II 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 Expansion Pack) were Cut Short.
  • Hyperdimension Neptunia 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 Pokémon games, you're likely to beat the Elite Four 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, Red and Barry have teams in the 80s.
    • In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Series the final Boss, be it 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.
    • Pokémon Go, unlike the main series games, has levels for the player character. The cap is 40, which sounds reasonable until you 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 the competitive types play several hours a day for months to get that slight edge.
  • In Golden Sun, 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 the first game, while level 40 is enough for the final bosses of The Lost Age and Dark Dawn.
  • 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 Fallout games have an Absurdly Low Level Cap, but 2 and 4 are the exception:
    • The level cap in 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 Level Grinding, it's entirely possible to finish the game before reaching level 24 where the two best perks become available - or if you go for Sequence Breaking, 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 Awesome, but Impractical 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.
    • Fallout 4 surpasses Fallout 2 in absurdness by merit of the revamped perk system. Like Skyrim, there's an effective level cap (above which there is no possible gain from leveling up besides a small HP increase), in this case 318, and a hard level cap of none—unless you count level 65535, above which the game will literally break due to overflow.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, 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 Volikhar 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 Good Bad Bugs, 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 no benefit whatsoever. In theory, there's no level cap, but enterprising players have discovered that having more than 255 unused perk points crashes the game, making the effective level cap 510. For a game in which the highest-level killable enemy (the Ebony Warrior in the Dragonborn DLC) is level 81.
  • Mass Effect trilogy:
    • Mass Effect 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 levelsnote ).
    • Mass Effect 2 has a level cap is 30, which is easily reached in one playthrough. Plus, if you import a level 60 character from the first game, you restart at level five, making it easier to hit the cap, especially if you have the DLC.
    • Mass Effect 3 increases the level cap back to 60 (once again impossible to achieve in one playthrough), but with a twist. Your Mass Effect 2 levels 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 New Game+ 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 does not take nearly as long if you focus on leveling a single class.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda 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 Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, the Final Boss is beatable before level 80, but levels cap at 255. There are three Bonus Dungeons 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 Star Ocean series. 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 bosses 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 Paper Mario had a sensible max level (level 27; just above what you'd end with) Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Super Paper Mario, and the Mario & Luigi series cap at 99 (100 in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.) 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 Final Boss with.
    • Bowser's Inside Story also about 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.
    • Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has this with its level cap. In theory, it's 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.
    • Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam is similar. You can beat the final boss in the low to mid-thirties, and can be strong enough to fight the Bonus Boss Dry Bowser at Level 50.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts 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 Bosses that require you to level grind a bit, however.
    • 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.
    • 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 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 bosses 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 Tales Series 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, EXP modifiers notwithstanding. Even with the "earn ten times as much EXP" bonus, you're liable to still only be in the upper 100s by the endgame, so you'll still have to grind to reach the maximum level.
  • In Digimon World 3, 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 Digimon World 4, the cap is 999. Even playing through all three difficulty levels, you're unlikely to reach 300.
  • In The World Ends with You, 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.
  • Knights of the Old Republic 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 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 Dummied Out 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.
  • Planescape: Torment 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.
  • Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, 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 Dungeons & Dragons 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 Final Fantasy series tends to play this straight, with the exceptions of Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XIII, 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 Final Fantasy I 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.
    • Final Fantasy X plays this straighter than the rest, given the nature of the Sphere Grid. And that's not even considering if you want to start replacing nodes with the HP needed to max out your counter while using the "Break HP Limit" weapon skills. There's actually nowhere enough nodes on the entire grid to max all stats including HP and MP even if you go through the 100-1000 hour effort (depending on how many leveling-up shortcuts you abuse) of clearing all nodes and replacing them with optimal versions and activating them with all characters, so. Depending on if you count the practical level cap or the theoretical, it's either absurdly high or unattainably high.
      • It also plays it 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 BB 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. Probably the fastest way to get a full level 99 team is to move the two players lined up as defenders as close to each other as possible and constantly spam the best passing move they can handle, making sure to rotate different players into those spots if one wants to keep the team evenly leveled.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 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.
    • Final Fantasy XIII capped the Crystarium (essentially a Skill Tree whose nodes have to be purchased by spending 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 post-game, and the post-game complete cap removal requires grinding to take advantage of.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII-2 on the other hand, you will max out your characters in the process of getting 100% Completion without ever needing to grind for it.
    • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII 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 New Game+. 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 New Game+ 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.
    • Final Fantasy XV'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.
    • Final Fantasy VIII played with this trope. The maximum level is 100, but the game discouraged Level Grinding, as junctioning spells to your characters' stats was far more efficient overall, encouraging a Low Level Run which still resulted in hours upon hours of using Draw and Card.
    • Final Fantasy Adventure 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 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.
  • Etrian Odyssey 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 Bonus Dungeon 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  The third and fourth games are slightly more merciful - defeating each of the Bonus Boss 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 Rune Factory games had a maximum level of 99, far beyond what you needed to complete the game. Rune Factory 3 bumps this up to 10,000.
    • The followup for the 3DS, Rune Factory 4, 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.
  • Zoids Legacy has a level cap of 99 despite the game being easily finishable in the low 20s.
  • Present in the 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 108 are playable) ...
  • The level cap in Legend of Legaia 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 Bonus Boss, 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 
  • In Chrono Trigger, 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. New Game+ is the most fun way to grind, but Crono will probably max out far before everyone else since he can't be switched out until late in the game.
  • Chrono Cross takes this straight into Anti-Grinding 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 New Game+, beat every boss again, beat the game again, and start over for a third time.
  • Clash Of Heroes: 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).
  • Name any Idea Factory/Compile Heart game. Any game they made. Chances are, the level cap is going to be at 999.
  • In Ys VI, the highest level is 60, but the EXP values 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 Bonus Boss.
  • The Dragon Quest series as a whole has a habit of this.
    • In Dragon Quest I, 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 grind, it's all a matter of whether you even want to bother grinding more than you have to.
    • In Dragon Quest IV, 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 original release by having every character learn all of their spells and abilities by then. Come the remake, however, the hero now has a new spell at level 50, and a Secret Character can learn spells all the way up to level 60! Even with the Bonus Dungeon and new Final Boss, however, players are quite capable of beating everything with levels in the low-to-mid 40's.
    • And in Dragon Quest IX, the level cap is 99; you'll be needing over 65535 XP per level when you get much past 50! Oh, and did I mention that 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 Progress Quest indicate a memory-allocation-based level cap of 2^31, possibly amended to 2^15; a lower one for non-cheaters might exist, but reaching level 99 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 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 Dynamic Difficulty, and it's basically a useless cap.
  • 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 Bosses. (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.)
  • The Witcher 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 less experience from killing enemies per level and you'll have gained enough talents to comfortably finish the game well before then, anyway.
  • Both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls 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 complain if you're much higher than that. And due to the Diminishing Returns for Balance of raising stats in both games, it is utterly unnecessary unless going for a specific build.
    • While Dark Souls II 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.
  • Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale has two level systems: Merchant, and Adventure. The game is designed to take advantage of the New Game+ 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 Bonus Dungeon's Boss Rush 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.
  • Guardian's Crusade had a level cap of 65535, even though you'd probably be facing the Final Boss at around level 50. This limit is likely due to it being the maximum value representable by a 16 bit integer.
  • Touhou Labyrinth can be beaten with characters in the 100+ range. The post game Plus Disk content will probably require a level upwards of 500. The actual level cap is far higher than that.
  • In Before the Echo the Bonus Boss is typically beaten and the game 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 Resonance of Fate, 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 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 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 Soul Blazer 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 Hit Points max out at level 47 (59 million XP), and after that the levels do nothing at all.
  • Parasite Eve 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).
  • Mugen Souls has a level cap of 9999, similar to Disgaea. However, it's not made by Nippon Ichi but instead, it's from Compile Heart in collaboration with G Crest.
  • Might and Magic 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.
  • Might and Magic 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 Live A Live, 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 EarthBound Beginnings, 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 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.
  • This is a constant in Role Playing Games developed by Zeboyd Games. Breath of Death VII, Cthulhu Saves the World and the last two episodes of Penny Arcade Adventures 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 Lennus II, 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.
  • Given the level of late-game enemies and bosses, and when the major persona selection starts to peter out, 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 Bragging Rights Reward awaiting you.
  • Most high-level challenges in Fantasy Life 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 Job System 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 Physical God 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 Phantasy Star Nova is Level 100, but the game expects you to be high-Level 80s by the time you fight the Final Boss. 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.
  • Played straight in any path you take in Undertale. The player's maximum LOVE (yes, the game uses LOVE instead of level, it means Level Of ViolencE) is 20, which is only obtainable at the very end of a Genocide run where you have killed literally everything, the final boss giving you what you need to get to level 20. On the neutral path, it shows that Flowey's save file is level 9999.
  • 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, 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 Lords of Xulima 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 The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, 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 The Legend of Dragoon, 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 Final Boss. 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 Final Boss in 3-5 turns.

    Simulation Games 
  • In Heartache101, 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 girls when asked (where points in the relevant stat increase the chance of Ferdinand's advice being correct), and to determine how many 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.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • 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 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.

    Tower Defense 
  • Both Cursed Treasure 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 , 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!
  • Bloons Tower Defense 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.Note 

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Nippon Ichi games like La Pucelle 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 Bonus Boss, however.
    • 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 New Game+ 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 Disgaea D2, this was essentially removed, as reaching 9999 can take just a few short days. They replaced it with slow grinding functions that increase stats instead.
    • Phantom Brave 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) Here as an example is a 9999999 attack mage.
  • In Stella Glow the level cap is 99. Players can complete the game around level 45.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Since the release of the Epic Level Handbook in Dungeons & Dragons 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 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, 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 Absurdly Low Level Cap 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 Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards, 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 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. 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.

    Other Games 
  • 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 Games 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 Diminishing Returns for Balance 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 Clicker Heroes 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.
  • Level cap for RPG Shooter: Starwish 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.