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Absurdly High Level Cap

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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 won't need to reach the highest level possible in order to beat the game. Maybe this is just because of scaling and pacing of experience, or the game simply isn't long enough for you to naturally reach the maximum level. But sometimes, the highest possible level is so far beyond what's needed to beat the game that it would take hours upon hours of work just to reach it. When this happens, the game has an Absurdly High Level Cap.

This can make a player wonder why the developers bothered to make such a pointlessly out-of-reach level Cap. Sometimes, the bonuses or perks for leveling up past what's necessary to reach the end of the game start to become less effective. This results in a high level number that really isn't much different from lower levels. Other times, the perks get so incredible that reaching the maximum level allows a player to breeze through the game and remove all challenge. In this situation, reaching the cap just feels like overkill. (Then again, There Is No Kill like Overkill.)

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 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. A level cap of 999 when you are expected to reach that level at the middle of the game would instead count as its opposite trope, Absurdly Low Level Cap. 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 Tools. 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 Superboss or even full-on Brutal Bonus Level 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. Compare Overly Generous Time Limit for when it's a time limit that's ridiculously high.


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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.
    • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, as a Creator-Driven Successor, largely follows this trend. The level cap is 99, but a straight run through the story will probably end in the 30s. If you go out of your way to do everything, you might crack 60. The game even has an achievement for hitting 50.
  • Timespinner
    • When the game was first released, there was no level cap for orbs, allowing them to level up so high that it crashed the game. This was eventually patched to where there is a cap at level 999, though it's still absurdly high, since the game can be finished with orb levels in the low thirties.
    • The max level of main character Lunais is level 100, in a game that can be beaten pretty comfortably at level 40. Even the True Final Boss goes down fairly easily at around level 60, and the hardest difficulty level isn't much of a challenge at around level 70.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Battlefield is a somewhat notorious case for this - Battlefield 2 in particular has the player go through 21 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: There's a trend where the main story will get you to around a certain level, but the level cap being somewhere a lot higher:
    • Borderlands: The main story will get you to about level 30, but the level cap is 50. These extra levels were intended for your New Game Plus.
    • Borderlands 3 subverts it. If you do all the sidequests and Circles of Slaughter, you should be edging right at the level cap when you finish the game. The story DLC packs raise the level cap, and if you start the DLC at the old cap you should be at the new one by the end.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Shifted Spires: At around Level 80, and possibly before, the hardest enemy in the game, the superboss at the bottom of the Pit of 100 Faggots/Trolls, can be taken down in one turn. The cap is 99.
  • Fallout 4 requires you to get around, oh, level 50, to comfortably beat the main story, but you can keep going past that. A lot past that. The game has a level cap of 65535, so high that the developers didn't even bother coding any logic for it. Earning another level beyond that crashes your game due to a programming limitation. At level 286, you run out of perks to even spend your levels on, so this oversight is somewhat justified, even if the reasoning behind the lack of a hard level cap remains a mystery.
  • Where the overall cap is, if one exists, for Overwatch is not entirely certain, but players can continue earning new player portraits all the way up to level 2391.
  • 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, but usually between 50 to 70), 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.
  • 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.
  • PAYDAY 2 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. Worse, the number of infamy levels added with 2.0 meant they had to drop the playing-card-deck theme they had planned for the system, and with it any real reason to go through every infamy level — whereas the opening five levels have noticeable (though still rather small) bonuses applied,note , Infamy 6 through 25 grant little more than the occasional mask and more experience bonuses, giving advancing through further Infamy levels little reason to exist other than to make it easier to advance through even further Infamy levels.
  • Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 features the ACES system, which rewards you for specific actions in-game by granting you new weapons that are specialized towards that playstyle, e.g. close-range shotguns and submachine guns for killing enemies in close range or from behind. Once you reach level 20 in one of the specializations, you have everything that can be unlocked through it, but the levels continue going up to 100, with the only reason to keep grinding out ACES kills being that they grant flat experience bonuses, which is good for quickly rising through the regular ranks that grant new pieces of armor or other cosmetics to dress Bishop up with.
  • Time Warpers: Your units can reach up to level 40000. You can typically beat zone 5000 at 16500, which is also the last zone you need to clear for an achievement. Even then, if you decide to go for zone 10000 in the post game, level 40000 is far from needed, with you only needing somewhere between 35000-36000.

    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, 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.
    • One Piece: 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: Both the original and Legends set a default level cap of 99, with updates gradually raising it to 150, 200, and finally 255; and Definitive Edition just sets it to 255 to begin with. However, where most of the basic Adventure Mode map can be completed with level 30-50 characters, the additional DLC maps and a select few of the Level 3 weapon stages on the basic map can still be difficult with levels around 60-70. Although, it's safe to say that once you do reach 255, most of the game will pose little to no trouble.
  • Not character levels, but the dungeon in Fate goes up to two billion floors, even though the story mode's "Final Boss" would typically reside in level 40 - 50. The actual character level cap in the original game is set at 99 (Undiscovered Realms increases it to 199 and Traitor Soul and Cursed King remove the cap entirely), so it's not a good idea to continue too far after clearing the primary quest, anyway.
  • 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. The highest zone level in the game is 84, and most endgame builds will have their level hover around 90 and generally don't need more levels than that to be effective. Getting to level 100 requires dozens of hours of optimal leveling strategies, but it's been made much easier to do than over the years. When the game was 3 years old, there were only 826 level 100 characters in the "Standard" league. Now, the number of level 100 characters can exceed 7000 in the current challenge league, and it's often a requirement for the "Endgame Grinds" seasonal challenge.

  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Bots, before it got taken down, had a level cap of around 2900.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, 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.
  • In The Infinite Black, there is no hard level cap, but experience gained from kills gradually reduces for each level gained, while the amount of XP required to level up increases, creating a soft cap. The highest-level characters of the most dedicated players can reach the 300s with years of work, but Ultimate-tier gear only requires Level 30 to equip.
  • 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.
  • In Mabinogi, the apparent level cap is 200, when you'd likely tackle most content comfortably at a quarter of that. Due to how progression works, most players prefer to rebirth back to level 1 every week or so, since what matters is the AP gains you get per level for your skills, making the level cap irrelevant for all intents and purposes. That said, it does keep track how many levels your character gets from the first life and every rebirth, resulting in the cumulative Total Level of your character, which can reach absurd heights. Some say the total level cap may exceed 9000. This doesn't apply to Exploration Level, however, which is 25.
  • 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 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, and players seldom hit that cap due to the extremely steep curve. 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. Even earning XP at the fastest possible rate, it takes close to 1000 hours to reach the Level 200 mark. That's not even factoring in the possibility of getting sidetracked by levelling another character for a change of pace.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Anti Poop-Socking features that 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.

  • The level cap in Azure Striker Gunvolt is 99, but most players will be around level 30-40 by the time they challenge the final level. The last unlockable unlocks at Level 65, but the last 34 levels are pointless beyond getting even more HP than you could possibly need (especially when high-level play encourages you to not get hit at all for maximum Kudos potential).
  • Ratchet: Deadlocked: Not really a level cap, 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 8/80/200. Needless to say, it'll take a lot of playthroughs to get there, even with ten XP-mods on your weapons.

  • The level cap in Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 is 100. The game can be finished quite comfortably below level 20, and reaching level 100 requires beating the final Skill Battle stage in Adventure somewhere in the ballpark of 680 times.

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • Age of Empires III: 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.
  • Warcraft III: Heroes are limited to level 10 (and in skirmish games, can only go up to level 5 by killing neutral monsters), with the RPG-esque Rexxar campaign going up to 15. Many custom maps go far beyond this, some allowing level 100 characters, although this causes problems as spells are only intended to have three levels each, meaning it's simply more effective to right-click/attack-move the heroes at targets until the targets are dead.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Loop Hero has the Equipment-Based Progression version of this trope. After maxing out your main buildings, the only thing you can build more of are houses which increase your Supply cap and items to fill it out with. Almost every Supply item can be stacked infinitely and it will take more than 60 houses to fill your entire base, which at that point you can have enough stacks of items to completely steamroll every boss and the first couple dozen loops. You won't need more than a few house's worth of Supplies to beat the final boss.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers:
    • The level cap for Pokémon is at Lv. 100 like in the main games. The True Final Boss is at Lv. 53, and you'll likely be around Lv. 60 when you beat him.
    • Every non-story mission you complete gives you exploration points. The final level in the original game is the Master rank, which you need a full 77,777 points for (even the hardest mission gives you 1,500 points, and most doable ones a lot less). By the time you beat the True Final Boss, you'll likely not even be halfway there. The Updated Re-release added some intermediate ranks, but the final rank was pushed even further, so you need 100,000 points now.

    Simulation Games 
  • In Heartache 101 ~Sour Into Sweet~, 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.
  • Dead In Vinland originally had a level cap of 30 upon release... but the developers later patched it to 99.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The Division 2: The Warlords of New York expansion introduced the SHD Level, a different leveling system that slowly increases the player's stats across the board, at least up until level 1000. Thanks to at least one cheater, it's been discovered that the cap wasn't 9999 as people assumed, and it likely isn't capped at all.
  • Splatoon:
    • The first game's 2.0.0 update raised the level cap to 50, even though all weapons and gear is unlocked by original cap of level 20. There are additional pieces of gear rewarded every five levels past 20, but said clothing has no unique traits that can't be found from others in the store. 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.
    • Splatoon 2 goes even further by having the original level cap be 99, despite being able to unlock everything by Level 30. Then the 2.0.0 update allowed any players that reached to get to that level cap to essentially prestige ala Call of Duty to reach a new level cap of 99★. Expect to spend several hundred hours to reach that cap. And another several hundred hours if you chose to prestige again after that to reach 99★★, which only the mobile app will even acknowledge. However, instead of clothing every five levels, every new level from 30 onward grants the player a Super Sea Snail, a useful item which can be used in lieu of cash to help augment and re-roll gear abilities.
  • Warframe: Every weapon and warframe maxes out at level 30, and you can reach that with half a day's grinding. Character level also maxes out at level 30, but since the only way to level that is by leveling weapons and warframes, it takes much longer. In fact, by 2019 (six years after the game's release) the effective max character level was only 27, because there flat-out were not enough weapons to get it any higher. Even getting to that point takes months of grinding, at a minimum.

    Tower Defense 
  • 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 
  • 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!
  • There is no level cap in 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.
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: Level 10 or 20 may not seem like much by most video game standards, but it takes a lot of grinding (or money) to get a plant there, way longer than it takes to simply finish the single-player campaign. At that point, most max level plants will completely trivialize any Adventure challenge anyway. However, the developers added in a Player Versus Player mode, Battlez, which does take advantage of the over-leveled plants. A later update raised the level cap even further by adding Mastery levels which increase their damage output by a certain percentage, capping out at M200. The vast majority of players will never get to that point, let alone see Mastery, due to the astronomical amount of Level Grinding required.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Most games in the Fire Emblem series cap levels at 20, and provide the option to "promote" to an advanced class that gains XP more slowly but also levels to 20 (or have the character start in their advanced class). In most games, if you don't outright skip chapters, you'll usually have your endgame squad hitting at least level 15 or so of their advanced classes by endgame, and it's pretty likely they'll cap out if they were promoted early or grinded up somewhat. But in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, levels cap instead at 99, which due to the Time Management Game formula of the game, is impossible to reach playing through the story as normal without gratuitous abuse of Level Grinding extra Normal mode maps, which do not require the limited time resource. At the end of a normal playthrough, a party of units will be around level 40 through 45, and units will have capped most if not all of their stats long before level 99.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, Roy successfully promotes at a point in the game where there's only four maps remaining. Unless you feed him every kill on those maps (which is a bad idea when his signature weapon breaks after twenty attacks), he isn't going to get close to 20/20.
  • 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 superboss, however.
    • Even in the case of La Pucelle, the superboss 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.
    • 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 Plus 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: A Brighter Darkness, this was essentially removed, as reaching 9999 can take just a handful of battles, and the same Cheat Shop in Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance allows you to reach 9999 in a single command. They replaced it with slow grinding functions that increase stats instead.
      • Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny then outdoes itself by raising the level cap. By 10000 times. Level and stat gains are scaled accordingly; you'll reach level 100 by the end of the first chapter.
    • 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 
  • In nearly every edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the maximum level is 20, and it's quite difficult to get a character to that level in practice. Real life tends to disrupt the game, as you'd be lucky to have a group that can play once a week consistently. Even if you could, it takes about as many experience points to go from level 19 to level 20 as it takes to go from level 1 to level 9. This means it could be several months of playing before you get anywhere close to level 20; be grateful if you have a DM motivated enough to keep the game going that long.
    • After the release of the Epic Level Handbook in 3rd Edition, there was no level cap. In theory, you could make a level one million character if you took the time to do it. No sane Dungeon Master would ever let you use it, or put the time into running a campaign where it could be used, but it was still possible according to the rules and game mechanics (if only in theory).
    • For all of 5th Edition's official game modules and content, a character starts at level 1 and will end up at around level 15 if they make it all the way to the end without dying. The expectation after that is that the party will want to start a new module with new level 1 characters; official published material for parties above level 15 is practically nonexistent. The power level of monsters tends to be very erratic at higher levels, given that high-level monsters have increasing numbers of abilities that simply kill the target outright that can't be defended against, on top of having very high HP, armor, and damage outputs. For all these reasons, getting a character to level 20 is vanishingly uncommon.
    • Older versions placed level caps on the classes of nonhumans, as an attempt to balance against their racial abilities. The result was essentially an Absurdly High Level Cap and an Absurdly Low Level Cap combined. If the campaign wasn't going to hit the cap, it didn't balance anything. If it was going to hit the cap, it would make your character worthless.
  • 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 BECMI Dungeons and Dragons series had a level cap of 36, but you can evolve into a four-dimensional immortal being; the Immortal ruleset shows you how to play this. You can then reach the top of the of the immortal hierarchy and become leader of your faction. However, if you then give away all your power to be reborn as a mortal, and succeed in becoming an immortal leader that gives away their power again, you will be hunted down and destroyed irrevocably. This has only ever happened twice in the history of the immortals. Reaching this would require a lot of time, since the Dungeon master must create almost all the Immortal-level material and adventures on their own.
  • Pathfinder makes a distinction between character level and class level; while class levels max out at 20 (or 10 for most prestige classes), the character level is technically limited only by the players' and GM's patience. If you manage to max out a class, and haven't gotten tired of the campaign yet, just add on another one. That said, most of the published Adventure Paths are designed to be completed around level 17, and the "beyond level 20" rules are explicitly designed only as a patch to keep things going for a level or two beyond 20 if a campaign runs long.

    Other Games 
  • The arkanoid game Ricochet Infinity has a maximum rank of Ultimate Legendary Supreme Master of Infinity, which requires a whopping 100,000 golden rings to collect, or collecting every ring on exactly 20,000 levels. Not to mention the cheat that gives you the rank boost only goes up to Grand Master of Infinity (1080 rings or 218 levels) which fills up the last ship slot. Getting this rank gives you the extra ships, such as the number ships from Ricochet Lost Worlds,
  • 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.
  • Anti-Idle: The Game: The level cap is 9002. IT'S OVER 9001!!!! 9000 is about 5/6 of the way to 9k1, as 9001 requires 500 billion EXP more (at half the speed so more like a trillion) on medium ascension, where as 9001 is not even 1% of the way to 9002, as 9002 requires 997 trillion EXP more (at only 1/20th of the speed!).
  • Breakbar RPG can be beaten reasonably in the mid 50s in terms of level, but high score tables have shown that people reached a much higher level than that. As of 2020, the highest is 218, which due to each level up requiring (x-1)^3 EXP, would need over 10000000 EXP to go from lv. 217 to 218.
  • 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.
  • Dragon Quest Builders 2 combines this with Absurdly Low Level Cap, starting with a very easy to reach cap of 10 in chapter 1 and raising it at the beginning of each subsequent one. By the time of the final boss, the player is almost guaranteed to be at the current cap of 35. Then the post-game opens up, and the cap jumps to 99.
  • Endless Sky has a Combat rating system: destroy other spaceships to raise your rating. Completing the main campaign will usually make you end up at Combat rating 7. The maximum Combat rating of 21 is more than one million times harder to get than Combat rating 7.
  • Fairy Bloom Freesia: You can defeat the final bosses of the main story and optional Guardian mode at around 45 and 65 respectively, but the cap is 99.
  • Originally, Ingress had a level cap of 8. Reaching Level 8 can be done in as little as a week in spite of the exponential AP curve or even a day, if you live near a large cluster of Portals to make Fields (which give the most AP out of any single action) with and you have factionmates helping you power-level (which is very common and important, as many items are Level-Locked Loot and eight individual L8 players are needed to create a Level 8 Portal). However, a 2014 update increased the maximum Level to 16, with the same exponential curve as before and with each new level requiring more Badges of higher tiers, which were previously just Cosmetic Awards. It is common for players to be stuck anywhere between Level 8 and 10 for years because they can't find ways to build up their Badges. That said, Agent Levels past 8 are not strictly necessary because items cap at Level 8; the only gains are one-time packages for leveling up, an increased Exotic Matter gauge, and an increased long-distance recharge range (which is useful for national- and global-scale ops, but not necessary if all you do is maintain local Portals).
  • Karous: The player can attain a total level of 300 for leveling up the main shot, sword, and shield to 100, however, most players are likely to reach the final boss at a level of 200-250 depending on the difficulty.
  • Legends Of Idleon: The class level cap is technically 2.1 billion for this Idle Game, although the player gets shadowbanned at level 300.
  • Medabots AX: Metabee and Rokusho: Medals can reach level 99, but they stop getting new AI commands around level 25. Furthermore, you'll likely finish the game's story around that level.
  • Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden: Tools and trees have level caps of 100, but only less than 40 is needed for the trees to drop the fruits needed in the main quest, and the watering can's minimum level would be around 70, perhaps? Along with needing no use of the Mincemeat Grinder for the main quest, so that could stay at level 1.
  • Experience in Minecraft is only used for enchanting and combining enchantments with an anvil. Doing either consumes levels, but the amount you can use up at once is capped at 39 in the Survival game mode (but not in Creative, i.e. cheats-enabled mode). Despite this, your current level can theoretically go up to 21,863; this is virtually impossible to achieve without cheats, since it would require over 2 billion XP, and most enemies give less than 10 per kill. And if you're going to use cheat commands anyway, you might as well just set your level to the 32-bit integer limit of 2,147,483,647.
  • The Perfect Tower is an Idle Game 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 One-Hit Kill 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.
  • Pokémon Ranger (at least the second one) apparently has a level cap of 99. You can beat the postgame and still not have reached Level 50.
  • 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.
  • Versus Umbra does not seem to have a level cap. You earn the last achievement for levelling up when you reach 40 in First Strike and 20 in side campaigns. While with side campaigns you're likely to get that last achievement, in First Strike it's possible to beat the campaign at level 16 and Paradox mode at level 32. All perks are unlocked at level 61 in First Strike and level 41 in side campaigns.