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You may have seen my questions about Classes (like Dancers) or Monsters (like Plop). However, one problem particularly concerns me; while creatures (monsters, animals, and the like) don't have Classes per se, all Classes are chaos energy organized within a human, energy that has taken on the form of that person's true calling (or the career they're best suited for, it depends on their mindset). Creatures don't have occupations, but they do have niches, roles they play within the ecology, and thus the same rules will apply!

In other words, creatures will gain Levels. As they gain Levels, they will become better at what they do, and the skills they've been using will naturally upgrade. A good example would be a Jaguar.

Let's say we have an adult Jaguar at Level 1. He has six Skills: Prowl, Pounce, Climb, Swim, Claw, and Bite. A Jaguar's Priority Stats (what they're designed for and will naturally develop no matter what) are Strength and Intelligence (jaguars are surprisingly smart, capable of living alongside humans without detection and mimicking bird calls to attract prey).

If that Jaguar mainly focuses on taking down large, tough prey, the result will be a high-level Jaguar (let's say Level 12) with Lvl. 12 Strength and Defense and maxed-out Bite and Claw. This Jaguar will be supernaturally strong, with claws to match, allowing him to smash or slice plate armor with a single strike.

If that Jaguar lives the stealthy life, the result will be a lower-level Jaguar (Level 6?) with Lvl. 6 Stealth and Agility and maxed-out Prowl and Climb, maybe Swim as well. This Jaguar will be ghostly silent and lurk in the shadows, and also have two new Skills: Acute Senses and Vigilance. It will be able to see, hear, and smell twice as far and twice as well as a regular Jaguar.

If that Jaguar loves aquatic prey, it won't necessarily have much Levels, but it will have maxed-out Swim and Bite, maybe Claw as well, and it will have Agility and Speed equal to its Level. It will be an able swimmer with able hands, about as able as a human's, adapted to grab and hold slippery fish and bat away caimans, and it will have otter-like adaptations (waterproof fur, special membranes to protect the eyes and keep water out of the lungs, etc.) to better hunt down fish.

If that Jaguar sticks to the trees, it will have disproportionately high Strength, Agility and Speed (the better for chasing down monkeys) and will have maxed out Prowl, Climb, and maybe even Pounce. Its able hands and claws will aid it in climbing trees and even swinging on vines after its monkey prey (since you can pounce on a vine-swinging monkey, but you'll likely fall and die in the process if you can't grab ahold of something before you hit the ground!).

Obviously, Levels will impact evolution. The more Levels a given creature has, the better its physical capacity and the more developed it is. Plus, higher Level creatures have higher Level offspring, due to a rule of magic that says offspring reflect their parents (Lvl. 50 parent, Lvl. 5 baby). Plus, if the above examples haven't made it obvious, Levels allow an individual to evolve, and therefore to pass on its acquired traits to its offspring, allowing new species to arise in mere generations instead of thousands or millions of years.

Thus, my question is simple: What Are The Ramifications For Levels And Evolution?

In other words, how will Levels impact evolution?

Clarifications:

  1. The more Levels a creature has, the better developed it is. Faster Leveling has no real consequences (it does not decrease lifespan proportionally to an organism's amount of Level-induced growth), but it does cause animals to grow and therefore reach sexual maturity earlier than their slower-Leveling forebears. This will most likely induce a 'baby race' when it comes to Leveling, with the winners outcompeting their brethren.

This gets even worse when one considers that higher-Level creatures have higher-Level offspring; Lvl. 50 parents will have Lvl. 5 offspring, while Lvl. 60 and Lvl. 50 parents will have Lvl 6.5 offspring.

  1. Levels are gained by experience or personal growth, or by slaying monsters. As animal ages, it will naturally meet the first two criteria and gain Levels. As further clarification, the more experienced an animal is (the more it has experienced) or the more it has grown (progressed) mentally and physically, the more Levels it will have. In other words, putting your dog through school (training it successfully) will give it Levels, and a police or military dog will naturally end up high-Level.

  2. Levels are not equal. In other words, different species have different Level Caps, with more powerful and capable species having higher Level Caps. Rats would have a Cap of 125-500 (akin to humans), bears and tigers would have Caps of 250-370, while elephants would have Caps of 400-500.

  3. Higher Levels are obvious. The chaos energy, or "magic," behind Leveling has obvious effects on high-Level creatures. Telltale signs include but are not limited to: runes (potentially of the glowing, neon-colored variety), crystal formations, armor plates, horns, spikes...it really depends on the creature, but the more mutated and/or cool-looking something is, the more Levels it has. If it looks like it's from a well-made movie, comic book, or anime, chances are it's extremely high level.

This means it's not hard to identify high-level creatures. Thus, a lucky or intelligent enough creature can target only high-level creatures and level up extremely quickly. This will likely be a common adaptation amongst life on Earth after levels come into play, but I'm not sure...

  1. Herbivores eat plants, but most plants have extremely low XP, negligible amounts of it even. This means herbivores, in order to Level faster, either need to eat a lot more plants, start eating more meat, or start killing more predators/members of their own kind. Increased aggression and omnivorous species is therefore likely, if not assured.

  2. Working off 2, it appears Levels will give 'arms race' a whole new meaning. In order to survive, herbivores will need to gain more Levels than other members of their species, which implies they will need to get more aggressive (eat more animals, kill more predators) but at the same time, predators have an innate advantage (since their lifestyle is already pretty well-suited to gaining XP) and will be getting more and more dangerous as they gain Levels.

  3. Leveling allows new species to arise faster, but in all reality (if my examples are on the money) these new species will merely be specialized versions of normal Earth animals. This means each new species will not compete with others of its kind but rather form new niches and compete with the creatures already in those niches. I'm not sure what would come of that, but it should be interesting....

Specifications For Best Answer:

  1. The best answer will take the points under Clarification, one at a time, to determine what Levels would change about life and its development (evolution) on Earth. For evolution, I am referring to "survival of the fittest".

My question could be summed up as one thing:

  1. what changes should be seen in animals as they develop to gain and maintain the Level advantage needed to survive. However, one of the points under Clarification concerns Level's capacity to make new species arise in just one generation, because I'm wondering whether Levels will lead to more species or more genetic diversity. It should in the short-term, but will those species survive in the long run?

The best answer will answer that question as well, as #1 requires it.

That's it, thank you for your input, I hope you enjoy the question and let me know if it needs to be fixed or improved!

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    $\begingroup$ That's a remarkably complex question. If evolution can be summarized as "survival of the fittest" than your system can be summarized as "survival of the highest level." But to be honest, I'm not entirely sure what you're asking for? Evolution takes bazillions of years and incorporates both "survival of the fittest" and "survival of the luckiest" (since environment impacts evolution, too). Explaining how a Jaguar would evolve under any circumstances is pretty broad. So... do you have a specific question? (I gotta go with VTC:needs-focus on this one, happy to retract, though). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Apr 17, 2021 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ One more thing: if you really want to focus on evolution, then your question's answer should reasonably apply to a flower. Flowers evolve, and one could assume that the act of growing produces "levels." (Do you see my problem with asking about evolution?) I'm not sure a level-20 daffodil would worry me, but a level-20 dandelion scares the b'jeebers out of me. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Apr 17, 2021 at 23:49
  • $\begingroup$ Since you have innate level caps your world will eventually reach a state of ecological balance. Your predators and prey will fluctuate in numbers and abilities over years a bit, but it should still be pretty stable in a long-term perspective unless you have species like humans that can affect ecological dependencies. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Apr 17, 2021 at 23:51
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH: I've just edited. First, I added a point under Clarification on how Levels are gained and then I added some clarification on my question. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Apr 18, 2021 at 0:52
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    $\begingroup$ I retracted my close vote... but I regret it. I shouldn't have. I tried to create an answer feeling at first that you'd clarified enough. You haven't. Your question is NOT "simple." If you are trying to develop a leveling system that reflects evolution, you don't have it. Especially with the offspring bonus. As written, your system will cause substantial evolutionary narrowing. But, what's "evolution?" I'm still not clear on what you're really asking. If you're asking, "given my leveling system, how would a Jaguar evolve?" that's simply beyond the scope of the site. (*continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Apr 18, 2021 at 3:23

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Evolution is impossible in this system

Mechanisms for Evolution

There are five mechanisms for evolution.

  1. Mutation
  2. non-random mating
  3. gene flow
  4. finite population size (genetic drift)
  5. natural selection

The problem is that this system will fail the second requirement.

If the levels a animal get provide a greater advantage than small incremental changes then the "fittest" in any generation is not the most genetically fit, it is the most levelly fit. This will make the mating random as the individual with the most chance to survive and reproduce is random. Since it is easy to randomly score more xp then the most successful animal is determined by luck. This means minor changes will never accrue and speciation will nearly never occur. Minor genetic drift will occur and with enough separation speciation may occur, but this will require long periods of time even by evolutionary standards.

Example

Suppose we have a micro population of ten wolves. There enough food for five wolves, the five fastest wolves survive and make two wolves for the next generation. There are 9 normal wolves between 9 and 11 kph speed whose offspring will have between 9 and 11 kph speed. But there is one wolf that is 12 kph and will have children between 10 to 12 kph. Now normally under this system unless the offspring of the first fastest one are unlucky they will tend to live more, have more children and become the dominant phenotype.

However, lets say we add a level system that gives a random half of the wolves an additional six kph. Well, now the +1 kph average of the fast wolf is inconsequential. Now even a more "fit" wolf will lose to a luckier wolf since the difference caused by luck is greater than the difference caused by fitness. The fitness of a wolf has no effect its chance to survive, only levels matter.

Immediate ecosystem collapse would also occur

Animals don't hunt as little as possible to barely sate their hunger, they hunt as much as they can to gain food or reserves. Eating to being full gives more nutrients and helps animals grow stronger. There are some cases where this isn't 100% true, such as if the animal is full and can't eat old food, but in most cases it is. However, if some animals are better hunters, they will immediately over hunt. Then when the weaker hunters can't compete, the strong hunter survive and reproduce, leading to the next generation of hunters being even more strong. In order to combat this the prey must get stronger, but to do that they will need to eat more. This will continue until you hit the lowest point at the food chain, and that food source will be eliminated, the prey that eat that will be starved and either be eaten by predators, or starve to death. Once all the prey are dead the predators will die without any food.

Immediate ecosystem collapse would occur part two boogaloo

By having lower creature of the food chain have lower skill caps that means that The lower on the food chain you are, the more likely you are to be hunted and die especially as other animals become higher level. This will cause the lower parts of the food chain to deteriorate rapidly. However, the lower part of the food chain support the level above, and the level above that. so when the lowest species go extinct the animals that prey on it will go extinct, then the ones that prey on those animals, until we get ecosystem collapse.

Going after stronger targets isn't actually better

You claim that smart animals will go after more high level animals to get xp boosts. the opposite would actually be true. higher level prey have a lower chance of being caught, and higher chance to do damage to the predator. Most predators already target younger members of their target species for a reason similar to this. This would let slightly more leveled predators hunt whole prey populations to extinction.

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