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"This is the Booyah Base, a shopping mall for all your Inkling needs. You can buy all kinds of fresh gear and weapons to use in battle. But check it — the staff in the shops can be a snobby bunch. They won't serve you if they don't think you're fresh enough."

A way to introduce a specific storyline progression to an otherwise Wide-Open Sandbox video game is to give the player a Stat Meter representing their current fame (or infamy) in the game world and only unlock main story quests after a certain threshold therein has been reached, whether by sidequesting or other interactions with the environment. Of course, this can also be applied to sidequests themselves.

Compare Beef Gate, Cash Gate, and Level-Locked Loot. Related to No Fame, No Wealth, No Service. Not to be confused with the Fame Game from Sale of the Century.

In narrative fiction, this would be Famed In-Story.


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  • Dungeon Fighter Online had a system where some endgame dungeons were locked by means of an "Exorcism" stat. If your character didn't have the minimum stat requirement, their stats would be severely reduced (up to a 70% reduction of all HP/MP and basic stats); conversely, it would increase your stats if you had more than the minimum requirement (up to a 20% increase). However, the system was replaced in Season 6, Act 18 (2021) with a new stat called "Adventurer Fame", which increases with every equipment (including Avatars, Guild Insignias, and Skill Talismans) and doesn't result in stat penalties by playing on endgame dungeons, as long as your character meets the minimum Fame required to enter.
  • World of Warcraft has always had gear locked behind certain levels of reputation, varying with expansion:
    • Mists of Pandaria took the reputation mechanic to the next level by locking some of the story quests behind it, namely the Golden Lotus storyline (removed in patch 5.4), Klaxxi and Shado-Pan storylines, and the patch 5.1 Alliance and Horde storylines. In all cases, the story is told in small chunks, with a specific reputation level to proceed to the next one, mostly by doing daily quests.
    • While this does crop up again in the next expansion, Legion, it is only confined to a single faction, one with whom the player only interacts once they reach the new level cap of 110 and are able to venture to Suramar, a story-centric zone which is home to the Nightfallen, an underground resistance faction comprised of exiles from the Nightborne, who are now living with the Legion patrolling the streets like an occupying army. So not only does the player have to become sufficiently badass for the Nightfallen's leader to even try contacting Dalaran, they then have to get in said leader's good graces so that their cause progresses.
    • Zig-zagged in Battle for Azeroth, in which Allied Races were unlocked via getting exalted with certain reputations.
    • Shadowlands required the player to gain Renown with their chosen faction - which could not be changed easily until a patch removed the penalty. Unlike Mists and Legion, this was largely a side story - though the "main" story would still require some renown as well. This required the player to still grind it, though the "Catch up" mechanic(s) caused players with low renown to get more Emblems of Renown until they got caught up.
    • Renown returns in Dragonflight, but much like before, most of what is unlocked are aesthetic gear and sidequests. Additionally, if you happen to be an altaholic, you not only get a boost until certain checkpoints (Multiples of 10), but any extra questlines you unlock on your main are automatically available on your alt.
  • Final Fantasy XI has a fame meter for every major city behind which less petty sidequests are gated. Some places use the average of other places' fame meters and have their quests contribute to both accordingly, such as Selbina. In addition to these fame meters, you also have an official rank with your home nation. While this rank is largely a cosmetic indicator of your progress within a nation's own linear storyline, rank 3 and rank 6 serve to gate a small amount of unrelated content.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has a mechanic like this. Doing more quests for the Beast Tribes will earn more trust. Thus, they are more comfortable tasking you with more thing(s) to do and selling gear and recipes to you. This is somewhat zig-zagged in that none of this is part of the main story at all, even though they will be introduced as part of the main scenario.
  • City of Heroes actually says this is how the character levels up. They gain a greater security clearance/threat level, which makes the superhero/villain stronger.

    Racing Games 
  • Need for Speed: Underground and its sequel has a style gate for certain points in the campaign, where you had to customize your car to reach a set stylish rating. The thing is that the meter only rises if you purchase and install aftermarket parts, and it doesn't increase on purchasing performance parts, the only parts that mattered and the only parts you want to sink in your money for. This pretty much enforces players to grind more for cash so they can rice their car just to progress through, and the Underground games are rather stingy with the money gained from races compared to other Black Box NFS games.
  • On the other side of the spectrum, Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005) has a Pursuit Bounty system that acts pretty much like Underground's style gate where you can't progress and fight the next boss before reaching certain notoriety level, though, unlike the Underground's style gate, gaining bounty doesn't require you to spend money on your car except for performance parts, and buying aftermarket/visual parts actually makes it harder for you to grind for bounty because doing so lowers your current heat of the car. More heat in the car = more bounty = faster progression, though having high heat also increases the threat level you receive from pursuit, which upgrades the pursuing cop cars to be faster, stronger, and more abundant.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Cyberpunk 2077 has a mechanic called "Street Cred", which is effectively a secondary Character Level that represents how respected you are in the Night City underworld. You gain Street Cred by completing story missions and side quests (just like regular XP and levels) and unlocks additional side missions, as well as certain expensive offers in in-game shops. By decoupling Street Cred from Level (and having the former grow at roughly double the rate of the former), the game effectively lets you punch way above your current league, if you so desire, by unlocking missions intended for much higher character levels early.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind:
      • Certain Guild and Faction missions are only available once you reach a certain rank within said organization, which requires certain levels of internal reputation (as well as meeting the skill level requirements). This reputation (which functions something like an Alliance Meter within the organization) is raised by doing smaller sidequests for the faction. However, no single guild hall offers enough of them for you to raise your rank to the top. You'll need to seek out additional Quest Givers within the organization.
      • More like a Fame Bypass/Backdoor: Normally, you need to visit all Great House nobles and Ashlander chiefs to convince them that you are The Chosen One, and only then will the Corrupt Church listen to your claims. But if you are already famous enough (at least level 20, with at least 50 Reputation,) the Archcanon will grant you a meeting immediately, allowing you to skip what would otherwise be a very long quest.
    • Oblivion:
      • Heaven Stones can only be activated and grant you their Greater Powers after the sum of your Fame and Infamy reaches a certain value. Also, the Knight of the Nine expansion has an inversion; it requires your character to be free of any infamy, which means (unless you've been an absolute saint for the whole game) you have to go on a pilgrimage to every single shrine in the game to receive a blessing.
      • You're barred from buying a house in Chorrol or Skingrad until you reach a minimum Fame score. Whether those cities only cater to luminaries or the vendors are just reluctant to deal with a wandering adventurer with a suspiciously blank history isn't explained.
    • In Skyrim, becoming a thane in most holds requires, among other things, establishing a good reputation with the local population, normally by completing 3-5 minor side quests for them, which effectively functions as a fame gate to thanehood.
  • Fable: Certain quests require a minimum amount of Renown. You will also be forbidden from accessing Bowerstone North up until you successfully complete The Arena quest (raising the question of how the average people living there got in).
  • In Fable II, Reaver refuses to have anything to do with you until you hit a certain level of Renown. The quest to get his attention is even known as "Renown for Reaver".
  • The third installment of Gothic has this everywhere. The main character earns reputation with various factions in cities and other places around the world but is only allowed to enter some areas (usually inhabited by the city leader) after completing 75 % of the local sidequests.
  • Grim Dawn: Certain quests and every faction's better items can only be accessed and bought, respectively, after achieving a certain level of high reputation with them, which can be done by killing certain enemies they particularly hate, doing Bounty runs for them and certain storyline quests. In somewhat of an inversion, getting Nemesis bosses to spawn requires a certain level of infamy with that particular enemy faction, which is naturally achieved by slaughtering every last one of them you can find.
  • When you visit Nar Shaddaa in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, you'll find yourself doing various sidequests about the city until you've earned the attention of the Exchange, positive or negative. There's an NPC who can track your standing, and if you haven't leaned too far on either side, he can greatly nudge you that way for a fee.
  • In Monster Hunter: World certain quests are locked until you've reached a high enough Hunter or Master Rank level. Some of those unlocked quests also act as a Cap on the rank until it's completed, though thankfully any accrued experience before it's completed will be retroactively rewarded afterwards.
  • In Pok√©mon X and Y, the Boutique in Lumiose City won't let you in if you aren't "stylish" enough. "Style" is gained by visiting various places around the city and making use of services. There are also a few places that won't serve you until you've proved you're stronger than the Pokemon League Champion.
  • In the Genesis version of Shadowrun, your Reputation stat influences whether you'll be able to get into certain clubs and meet with important people. In most cases, however, you can avoid the fee by paying a bribe or cover charge, or by advancing the plot to a certain point; there's only one mandatory event where you need a high Reputation to get in at all.
  • Progressing to the Neutral ending in Shin Megami Tensei IV requires that the protagonist become a beacon of hope for everyone in Tokyo, which means taking on a multitude of sidequests to build up that reputation.
  • Uncharted Waters:
    • In the original game, the King of Portugal only hands out missions after you raise your Fame to certain levels by doing sidequests for merchants and guild halls (or by buying over ports, or by defeating pirates and Portugal's enemies, or by discovering new lands, or...). However, massive Sequence Breaking can ensue if your fame rises too fast, to the point where you can be sent to Save the Princess while still a lowly Squire (instead of the intended endgame Duke).
    • In Uncharted Waters: New Horizons, the various royals' missions are handed out the same way as in the original game, but so do some story missions (the ones that are not handed out immediately after beating the previous ones). Additionally, there are now three types of fame (explorer, merchant, combat), and each character has to raise one of them to advance their respective storyline. The kings, however, react dynamically to your fame and only hand out missions pertaining to your highest score (so if your combat fame eclipses your explorer fame, your king will stop asking you for discoveries and instead start sending you after pirates).
  • This is a core mechanic of Dragon Age: Inquisition: by doing sidequests and exploration, you get Power for the eponymous organization, which can be used to scout out new world areas and unlock main story missions.
  • Twice in Torna ~ The Golden Country (the prequel/expansion pack to Xenoblade Chronicles 2), the story stops while you have to build up your community level by doing sidequests and talking to various NPCs. While it helps explain why Addam is such a fondly remembered hero even centuries in the future, this is also with a war looming threatening the city, even occurring after the main villain has gained access to and is threatening to use a superweapon.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal: Some bosses will refuse to fight you unless your fairy collection is extensive enough, blocking the plot advancement and forcing you to go capture wild fairies.
  • Genshin Impact has the Adventure Rank system, in which you need to raise it by exploring the world, opening chests, and completing quests. It's necessary to explore the next regions and to advance the story. Trying to enter another region with a lower Adventure Rank early will result in a warning that the zone is "Highly Dangerous", until your character(s) is/are at the recommended level.
    • The 1.1 update introduces a "Reputation" mechanic for each region. By completing World Quests related to the region and Requests and Bounties from the local organization, the "Reputation Level" will go up for more rewards, including food/forge recipes, discounts on local shops of each region, and wind glider skins.

    Simulation Games 
  • In the console version of Urbz: Sims in the City, you need to raise your "rep" high enough to unlock new districts, as well as to gain access to the VIP room in each district which contains unique features and is the only way to meet up with Darius so he can give you what you need to defeat the villain of that district.
    • The DS version also has certain missions that need your "rep" high enough. Furthermore, you have four meters showing your status with the four "Rep Groups": your own, your rivals, and two others. Raising the meter for your own Rep Group earns you rewards, and filling it gives you access to their clubhouse. Filling the meter for a different Rep Group allows you to join them.
  • Evil Genius has a "Notoriety" meter, which you need to fill by completing sidequests in order to progress the main quest.
  • 911 Operator: In the Career mode, you are only able to move on from the town you picked as your starting point to larger ones, and the correspondingly greater workload and more difficult situations, once your reputation grows high enough for the transfer to become approved.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • The shops in the Splatoon series will not sell to you until you reach a certain level of "freshness," which is gained by participating in multiplayer and online battles. However, the freshness required is actually quite low, making it a Downplayed Trope — being on the winning team just once is enough for friendly neighborhood arms dealer Sheldon to start selling to you, and the others will do so not long afterwards; even if you're on the losing team every match, an hour of play will be enough. Sheldon will sell weapons with varying levels of required freshness, which correspond roughly to their ease of use; he seems to not want to sell you something if he feels you're not experienced enough for it. The clothing shopkeepers, meanwhile, will open up their entire inventory to you once they feel you're sufficiently fresh.

    Wide-Open Sandbox 
  • In Grand Theft Auto 2, which missions are available to you depends on how much respect you have from each gang. There are three gangs in each level, and killing members of one gang decreases respect with that gang, and increases respect with another gang. Once your respect becomes negative with a gang, the gang stops giving you missions, and might even start shooting at you.
  • In Saints Row and Saints Row 2, every story mission costs a respect point to unlock. So you need to acquire respect from side missions and various actions (stunts, taking out rival gangs, cool driving, etc.). Additionally, in 2, you get unlimited respect if you pile up enough points.
  • In Scarface: The World Is Yours, story missions are locked to your Reputation level.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Iron Gods adventure path for Pathfinder, the party arrives at a Wretched Hive of a town where Asskicking Leads to Leadership. Downplayed in that the party could go straight for the final boss of the chapter right away, but building up their local reputation first by completing several sidequests makes the dungeon considerably easier.
  • Scion embodies this trope. To increase their character's power players must amass legend rather than mere experience.