Increase EXP gain and overall level scaling for future Holiday Caves

Quick suggestion here:

For future level reset content, increase the amount of EXP gained per NPC, and proportionally increase the rate at which NPC levels grow per floor. The effect of this is twofold:

  1. Mons’ will get access to their various moves (particularly those later in their movepool) earlier in the run, allowing them to hold more relevance in any given run.

  2. Mons’ will get access to additional moves they wouldn’t normally be able to reasonably learn during a run due to the higher end level.

The end result is that mons’ with powerful move options at higher levels will become viable options, and mons’ which rely on moves learned after Lvl. 1 will feel better to use as they will have access to their kit earlier. This will widen the HC meta by increasing the amount of strong options for any given dungeons. Instead of focusing on mons’ who have very strong lvl.1 movepools, or who learn powerful moves very quickly, more diverse options will become appealing choices. I feel that having more viable choices is always a good thing.

For discussion’s sake, lets look at Lucario (original, I know):

The typical HC run (from my experience) caps at around level 30 if most NPCs are dealt with. Lucario learns bone rush at 29, which - while being a fun and strong option that strengthens his moveset - ultimately has little relevance on the run as it is learned right at the finish line.

Say instead that this exact same dungeon was instead balanced with a final level of roughly 50. Now, Lucario will be getting bone rush decently early, and will be able to play around it for a large portion of the run. Additionally, Lucario will also get access to some additional moves late into the run.

I am not saying that level 50 is the right level to be, of course. Any raise would be a good raise I believe.

Also probably just start theese dungeons at level 5…

In my case this is how all level resets go:
Find a random mon that doesn’t have a contact-based ability → use scratch like 10 times in a row against the same enemy just so I’m not stuck at level 1 → grind till 22 so I get access to flail → actually get to play the game proper

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i’m quite skeptical of this proposal,

npcs in hc are already extremely high level outleveling the player by a ton in the last floors of hc, reasing both the exp gain of the player and the npcs level will further widen the difference between levels, and force the player to stop and grind more due to exp requirment for each level up scaling exsponentially.
this would be the gap between player and the npc he faces is gonna be much much higher because a pokemon needs to outlevel the player 2 to 1 to provide enough exp in a single floor to give half a level at high levels :murkrowuhoh:
For reference the amount of exp to go from level 30 to 40 is 469973 exp which is around 4.5 times more then the total amount needed to go from level 1 to 30 which is 107420 exp total.
holy gee.
i cannot even begin to imagine how on earth the game is supposed to give you enough exp to make this work, having exp multypliers floor based rather then dungeon based? like on floor 20 you get a 2x exp booster and on floor 30 you get 10x exp booster? it sounds like a scary balance mess.

hcs are in all honestly of a rather controversial level of balance already, and playing at low levels is much easier to balance then high levels, if the overall powerlevel of hc is raised is gonna be much harder to balance everything in it to a smooth degree and the gaps and shortcomings of each hc is gonna be bigger ten folds,


At least with me using Azumarill and Altaria, the current level scaling works fine enough:

  • Use the first two floors to get Safeguard on Altaria, then use it every floor because the enemies are going to proc statuses if I let them.
  • Maybe get Rollout on Azu from the mushroom, if not that’s fine.
  • Bubble Beam at level 13 to snipe early dangers (electric and poison types) or rooms with 3+ enemies.
  • Keep Tackle after learning Aqua Tail for the grass types (after getting attack boosts from them)
  • Learn Play Rough by the time the anti-Azu brigade appears (Water Absorb)
  • Get Aqua Ring on the final floors, in which i’m already ignoring most spawns.

Aqua Ring is neat, but i don’t need it to beat the dungeon, same thing with Rollout (even if the damage dealt is really funny). As for Lucario, he only needs to get to Power-Up-Punch to win.

I personally don’t like level reset dungeons, as they feel very luck based (more than the usual dungeon, except on the usual dungeon you get to prepare for bad rng with items and/or being a higher level), skill coming from bringing a good Pokemon for that dungeon and then praying you get a good moveset for it. But thankfully I don’t have to find a Pokemon for each HC, as Azu tends to be a valid answer for all of them.


this also kinda brings up a good point, choosing a pokemon who’s good at early level is kinda part of the skill,
if you could use anything that would ruin one of the skills you need to beat it,
strategizing from the characther select screen is part of the fun of strategy games,
i understand people may not enjoy having thier tools limited and it ruins thier casual fun, but as competitive oriented minded individual i enjoy quite a lot having my tools limited, it also makes my choice paralisys a lot less prominent lmao.


Thing is: PMU Isn’t a strategy game, it’s more akin to a dungeon crawler.
Besides that’s already ruined the moment someone asks for the HC “meta” tbh

You can argue it’s a skill, but most people really aren’t gonna be diving through moveset tables just to make things slightly easier. They will just ask what works and use that instead.

Ain’t gonna say “nuke the difficulty” either, but having some extra options is just a good thing imo.

I don’t think this is a good idea.

HC works pretty well right now, and it has been doing that for the past years. Messing with the level balance can cause unnecessary issues that I don’t think we have the time for to solve them.

There’s plenty of early options that are either good enough to beat it, or completely destroy HC. I actually think that HC having a meta is a positive thing.

This would add moves to the movepool for a lot of pokémon, maybe some you don’t normally want to have. Tiny mushroom has been helping save people’s movesets, but if we change this, we might be going backwards again… The exp needed to get to level 5 is very minimal, so the change from 1 to 5 is near pointless if we’re talking about gaining levels. But if we talk about starting moves this is actually a slight loss.


Sure, but what I’m suggesting isn’t a removal of the meta - just a widening of the meta that enables more options and leaves more diversity of choice. While yes, HC has worked well enough over the past few years, I don’t see that as a reason to leave it to stagnate. I think that switching things up and introducing larger changes would help to freshen up the format and make new HCs more interesting - and to be honest, I think there is plenty of time to iron out potential issues given the time gaps between HC releases.

This is kind of an extreme extrapolation of the concept; its not like suddenly everything would become equally viable - plenty of mons’ still rely on TM or tutor moves for their viability. Care would still need to be taken to plan out runs, its just that now there are more possible strategies.

This is kind of missing the point. Yes, there are plenty of mons which can do perfectly fine as is - the intention is to bring out power in other mons and increase the variety of moves being used.

Lucario was kind of a bad example to choose - just happened to be something I am already very familiar with and can speak easily to. Still, the point wasn’t for Lucario to “win harder”, but to be more engaging to play. Bone Rush is a fun and unique move that helps to set Lucario apart in a run.

This is a very fair point to make, and while it is something I thought about as I was writing the post, it wasn’t a huge focus in my mind. I do not know enough of the technical side to say for sure whether or not such a thing would be an unfixable mess - I still think that there is some amount of number tweaking which would lead to a desirable outcome. Ideally, the player wouldn’t need to “stop and grind” as the numbers would be tweaked to a point where the actual runs themselves would feel about the same.

Still, I concede that it may not be possible to balance.

To be honest, I wrote the post late last night as the idea just sorta popped into my head. Mostly as a “hey, that’s kinda neat” sorta thing, not as a super serious suggestion or anything. Still, I think that it would make future HCs more fun and varied to play without infringing on the current state of HC. The idea isn’t to make HC more “balanced”, or easier, or anything like that - just more fun to play. I appreciate the responses.

Personally, I’d say no to this idea. And not just because there’s always gonna be some arbitrary number people want to hit to get that move that’s just barely out of reach.

The issue is that half the point is for mons to not get their really good mid level moves. Cause to reference another post here, hc is about skill, and planning, and choices. And you should have to play around the thunderbolt jolteon, or the flamethrower slowbro, or the shadowball froslass. Low 30s endpoint is actually a really good level for mons to end to make sure a majority of them don’t get powerful move options like these. Good example is a mon like arctovish, who’s barely held back from having aurora veil by having it as a level 36 move.


I think looking at ways to expand the meta and allow for more viable options in Holiday Caves is a noble goal. One of the assets of PMU in its current state is that you can reasonably achieve everything you want to achieve with anything in most dungeons. Holiday Caves are a bit of an exception to that rule in their current state. That said, naturally as you make more things viable, you tend to either make it even easier for the meta picks or honestly, just in general. And when you do that, the game becomes a bit unengaging and you tend to have to introduce more “challenge” in the form of a grind rather than just completing the content, which has its own problems.

In particular, one of the big problems here is that the marginal % progression in terms of stats between each individual level gets smaller and smaller the higher you go up the curve. For example, the stat difference between level 10 and 20 is much greater than the one between 60 and 70. If we move up the level curve a little bit, are we further encouraging more players to run many floors without engaging with the dungeon itself to get better reward chances? Hard to say, but I’d wager yes.

One thing I think we could do a better job of addressing is possibly adding options so that holiday caves don’t force you to only level up a single Pokemon and you can bring a more diverse team to use in the dungeon. That might open up possibilities for Pokemon who really don’t get going until say, level 15 or to at least use your other Pokemon if your main runner dies mid-dungeon.

Alternatively, we could look toward holiday caves which are much longer in general. For example, we used to have a Well dungeon in Halloween that would be 99 floors. That might give you more time to have fun with certain Pokemon that don’t get really cool moves until level 30. We could also potentially do holiday content that operates off already released dungeon content, rather than creating a dedicated event dungeon, although as of writing this post, there’s no real plans for that at this moment.

I certainly think more creative solutions and challenges could exist as well to expand the HC “meta” in certain ways and encourage more Pokemon as well, but I can’t really think of any off the top of my head at this moment. Either way, thanks for the suggestion!