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During my last game I had plenty occasion to wonder about the random loot generator. This was the fifth play-through and so I had a pretty good idea what to expect. Or so I thought.

 

On one hand I was pretty lucky: two Barab Ore Ingots and two Pontite crystals. Never got more than one of those before, if at all. But apart from sabre crystals all drops were uniformly poor; the only interesting item I got was the Tech Belt. By leaving all merchants untalked-to until the last possible time and hearty reloading I was at least able to buy Bothan Precision Gloves and a Bothan Sensory Visor, plus some lesser items like Regal Visor, Bindo's Band and Eriadu Strength Amplifier gloves.

 

But that was it. No Circlet of Saresh, no Force Focussing Visor, no Dominator Gloves, no CNS/GNS Strength Enhancer belts, no high-grade implants, not even something like the middling Bavakar Strength System (+3 STR, similar to the +3 DEX Reaction System that you can craft). That is, no high-level STR boost items, no high-level WIS/CHA boost items, no high-level DEX boost items. Nothing.

 

In fact, apart from the sabre crystals, Tech Belt and Sith Power Gloves all the loot was like what you would expect in the teen levels or earlier, not the twenties and thirties. The endgame was especially frustrating in this regard - nothing at all on Citadel, crap on the Ravager, crap on Malachor. Lots of utterly useless junk like almost a hundred Life Support Packs, fifty shields, plenty of Chemicals (last lab bench is on Telos, before the chat with Atris), plenty of grenades. Plenty of lowest-grade implants of the sort that you can craft around level 10.

 

There are only two notable differences between this run and the earlier ones. First, right from the start I had been hounded by bad luck. Found dead T3's remains in the fuel pipe on Peragus (although he was re-incarnated later during launch), and the incidence of automatic misses (roll of 1) seemed to be higher than normal. For example, once I got string of five combat rounds with one or more automatic misses at a very inopportune time, while battling a big group of Deadly Laigreks. At that time my Exile was not yet strong enough to kill a Deadly Laigrek in a single round unless all five attacks connect and she did not have any area-effect damage spells either (meaning that mopping up an almost dead foe costed a full combat round without also softening up the other enemies in the area). So she was forced to retreat. The likelihood of such a string is less than one in ten thousand (1/25600th or 0.00004). Of course, even unlikely events do happen occasionally and so this particular incident means nothing. But the automatic misses did seem unusually frequent overall when I cleared out the sublevel.

 

The other notable difference was that all my earlier characters were pretty balanced with regard to attributes; the last of those, a Guardian/Weapon Master, had 14/10/14+4/15+1/14+3/10 (the '+' values are the level-up choices). But the current character - a Guardian/Marauder - was not balanced at all: 18+8/12/16/8/8/8. Note especially the extremely low INT/WIS/CHA, middling CON and extreme STR (with another +6 from LS mastery). It just so happened that my Exile found no less than six of the weakest Mental Boost Something implants that give +1 on each of INT/WIS/CHA, four of them during the endgame. So it is not inconceivable that the game tries to be smart about random loot in some utterly stupid way ... But it may simply be bad luck after all.

 

I liked the KotOR approach better. At least you knew where to get a Circlet of Saresh if you wanted one, or where you could buy a CNS Strength Enhancer, or even Baragwin Assault Blades if you were so inclined.

 

TSL has a small handful of sensibly planted loot - Breath Mask and Safety Harness on Peragus, Stealth Field Enhancer on Citadel, Detonator Gloves on Dxun and the Czerka Utility Belt that you can buy from Kodin on Nar Shaddaa, Ossus Keeper Robes on Onderon - but the game should also give us opportunity to get the more coveted items like Circlet of Saresh or Dominator Gloves.

 

Also, the game lets us craft +3 DEX implants and implants that add +3 to Force DC (+2/+1 WIS/CHA), but the strongest craftable STR implant seems to be +1 ... So, if we get anything at all then only from random loot or random merchant inventories.

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I'm not a fan of the "random" loot generator.  While killing sith lords in the treya academy, I found a total of seven lightning gloves.  That's pretty much it too.  Is it just me or doesn that not sound right? :thumbsup:

 

Now I really feel cheated - I only got four pairs of those! :D

 

But what really gets me are the plentiful drops of Chemicals and Life Support Packs a long time after you've seen the last lab bench, which is in the Telos Academy, before the final chat with Atris. The other stuff, including shields, can be broken down at the workbench and grenades can be lobbed at enemies (although they don't do any damage worth mentioning at the levels in question).

 

On the Ravager there was a locked locker behind a DC63 High Security door and it contained ... 2 medpacks. :(

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I had a game like that once....where nothing was falling. My stats were my usual 'fairly balanced' except for wis/charisma at 10. And then I had another game where I was getting all kinds of stuff dropping - very few of the super-duper items but still, lots and lots of good stuff....not that I used most of it...heh

 

I like the random loot personally - random loot is part of many RPG's (at least in part) and without it I find games rather boring - since items are often so focused upon, if you get the same stuff every time you play it's....dull and predicatable.

 

That said, it is a good idea for there to be 'special' items that are always in the same place, or always dropped by the same enemy, etc. to provide continuity or motivation.

 

So there could've been a few/several more situations like the Ossus Robe, but the rest of the game still be random loot.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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Yes it's quite bad, but it can be good at other times. Even worse some of the removed items from the generator pop up on xbox and utterly **** up the game. For example i found some kind of robe from the prima book and i tried the Robe on and strangly it game froze, saved game froze, you name it. I had to reload from before i entered the area, it's quite strange however thats the only time ive ever seen a removed item. I believe the robe gave me +3 to my strngth and a 3 defense.

There is nothing there for you Jedi, only weakness surrounds the Jedi Order, just Give in

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I like it.

Makes things interesting.

 

Right. Like when you are level 30 on the Ravager and you loot all those high-DC security rooms, the suspense can really kill you. What'll it be? 37 Components? 23 Chemicals? An Ion Grenade? A Verpine Prototype Shield? A medpack? :rolleyes:

 

Even TSL's ancient precursor - NWN - was lots better in this regard, because there a treasure chest yielded some sort of treasure every time and not useless junk 99.9% of the time and something valuable 0.1% of the time. The supporting mechanisms are probably still in the engine. And even if not, how difficult could it have been to handplace certain strategic items in the game, like it was done in KotOR with the Circlet of Saresh?

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I think the Ossus Robe did it about right - a place you can't get to too early in the game - sure you can rush it, but you know what I mean.

 

They could have placed a fixed treasure or two in Dxun's Tomb, Atris's chambers (end game - in a chest or something), Ravenger, etc.

 

I would have actually liked it if there has been more places like the crystal cave - ie, where a certain type of item always spawned but what it specifically was was still random/level based. Or something.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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I like the random loot personally - random loot is part of many RPG's (at least in part) and without it I find games rather boring - since items are often so focused upon, if you get the same stuff every time you play it's....dull and predicatable.

 

Me too. Getting an early drop of a good item is a nice surprise and it can open new possibilities - like allowing you train another skill earlier than planned or perhaps using tactics that would otherwise not be feasible.

 

But if treasure chests yield healing potions or even stale air then there is something wrong. And if you play the whole game from Peragus to Malachor without getting even a single high-powered item then this it is frustrating.

 

Now that we are talking about this, it seems to me that there are a few true treasure hoards in the game. The two caches on Dxun and the puzzle-locked storage room in the Iziz palace; perhaps also the storage room in Khoonda and Vogga's hoard. There is little choice regarding when to loot the room in the Iziz palace; one of the Dxun caches (the Thorium one) is spoiled when you first enter the jungle, Vogga's hoard is spoiled when you first enter the docks, and the Khoonda storage room is spoiled when you first enter Khoonda. But the 'Permacrete' cache on Dxun does not get spoiled until you enter it, and it is freely accessible any time once you have done the first Dxun/Onderon expedition. So it is easy to leave it until the last possible moment, which would be around level 29 ...

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But if treasure chests yield healing potions or even stale air then there is something wrong.

 

*mirthful voice* Hey now...stale air could be valuable to the right market....*giggle*

 

But agree with you - it's a problem inherrant to games that feel a need to have almost all enemies drop something. It's like running through BG and finding nothing but.....piles and piles of arrows...off of most enemies. Man that drove me nuts. But at least BG had enough 'mini-bosses' and chests for the good loot.

 

Did you ever play Nox? It had it's plentiful share of the arrow-syndrome, but overall I liked it's loot drop system, considering it's very linear nature.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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I think the Ossus Robe did it about right - a place you can't get to too early in the game - sure you can rush it, but you know what I mean.

 

They could have placed a fixed treasure or two in Dxun's Tomb, Atris's chambers (end game - in a chest or something), Ravenger, etc.

 

I would have actually liked it if there has been more places like the crystal cave - ie, where a certain type of item always spawned but what it specifically was was still random/level based. Or something.

 

I fully concur with that.

 

The random loot does make the game more interesting in a way, but it needs a little fine-tuning. It could be a little less... well, random. Like a limitation to the number you could get of the same item. In my current game I have received 5 of that belt which give 75% immunity to electricity (think that's what it was anyway, I don't actulally use those), and I've only just arrived on the first planet after Telos.

 

Or at least make sure that you don't get only crap items, because that's so annoying it could do alot to ruin the game experience.

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The randomn loot system in this game kind of blows. Half the time it doesn't make any sense. Like getting blaster rifles in the Dantoine Academy ruins (even after getting your lightsaber), getting a lightsaber or lightsaber crystals from exchange thugs. If I kill a Sith I shouldn't get grenades or upgrade parts for a blaster. The loot should make sense for the area and the NPC character being looted.

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The problem of the random loot system is not only everything (with a few exceptions) is random but the list ends up being pretty much the same.

 

What would be done would be seperated drop lists so enemies would random drop item they would use (Sith assasins stealth generations for example) and containers would have logical items for their location (such as the Jedi Enclave having Jedi expecific items)

 

Stores sould have permanent items on their list, some random items sould be fine but having a entire store inventory being random is a little too much.

 

This games appears to be half-assed in everything, random is not a bad idea but as implement is a god damn joke.

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Ever played Morrowind?

That loot system was occasionally inexplicably buggy (engine problem, I guess) but above all it made loot drops logical, due to the fact that it had a ridiculous number of random loot lists, so it would customize drops based on the creature/chest. Loot lists for thugs, wizards, creatures, warriors, rogues, trash barrels, ornate treasure chests, etc ad infinium. KoTOR really needs something like that- having those critters on Telos drop medpacks (I had it happen) just really throws you off. Or start wondering if they're sentient.

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I think it's pretty silly that every foe drops loot. Okay, the developers managed to explain why the local pestilence contained usable items, but I agree that it is patently absurd to have high level items that are unusable by an enemy in their loot. At least give them something they can use in the battle, making it harder to defeat them and thence more of a reward. (Interactivity, anyone?)

 

I also hated the fact that you had to pick up every item in the loot. And it was only possible to drop single items (or all of them!). So I kept everything and melted them down as required. (Do I hear anyone mentioning the blatant logic flaw that the weight of the inventory was more than the Ebon Hawk could transport, let alone the PC on their fighting escapades? And the implicit tranferability of items between the characters, providing they weren't worn ... laziness.)

 

I think less is more. Have less drops with better stuff. And yes, the Ravger loot drops were ridiculous (although at least you get experience for opening the lock ... so that your character could become even more ridiculously overpowered ... but I digress.)

 

Perhaps there is a hidden attribute "luck" that is used as a co-efficient in attack rolls and loot drops? Or perhaps it is a derivative of the charisma score? (Or wisdom?)

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OPVS ARTIFICEM PROBAT

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LOL, the game nicely explained why Cannoks can drop pretty much anything, but blaster turrets that drop money (or that make a Reflex save against a grenade throw) are definitely among the stranger CRPGisms.

 

What I don't like is systems that kill motivation and take fun out of a game. Take Morrowind, for example. The loot drop lists are nice in one way but utterly stupid in another: apart from fixed things (like armour in the case of Ordinators and DB assassins), higher-quality items drop only for higher-level characters even though the mob stats remain the same. A high-level character kills a Dremora Lord with a single hit and there would be no danger even if it took longer; a low-level character has to work quite a bit for this and they face considerable danger, yet the high-level char can get a Daedric or Ebony item and the low-level char can get only a knobby club or something Dwarven.

 

It was similarly bad in Freelancer where the quality of drops was determined by your net worth, not the difficulty of the fight.

 

Be that as it may, it is similar in many games and so you simply try to gain plenty of levels before hitting the more promising mobs/dungeons, or to grow a fat bank account before going fishing for nice weapon drops (Freelancer).

 

What I don't like is when you are at the mercy of a random loot generator with regard to 'strategic' items like Circlet of Saresh or Force Focussing Visor for Force DC, Dominator Gloves or CNS/GNS Strength Enhancer for strength, and so on. At least not if things are such that you can play a whole game from start to end and not get any of the high-powered items, let alone the ones you were hoping for ...

 

I agree with LadyCrimson and Drakon et al that a hybrid system with partially controlled randomness would be better, and a few more plants a la Ossus robes would have helped too. The latter did work well in KotOR and it actually gave you an incentive to go out and acquire money, as the best items had to be bought (e.g. Dominator Gloves). In TSL there is little to spend money on exept for lightsabre colour crystals or an occasional lucky find like Bothan Precision Gloves.

 

As regards infinite inventory capacity: NWN, Morrowind and Dungeon Siege have finite character inventory capacity (Morrowind: weight limit, Dungeon Siege: volume limit, NWN: both) and in these games you have to worry quite a bit about the logistics of loot transport. But while this may add a small bit of verisimilitude it does not add a whole lot of fun to the gameplay, and sometimes it can be downright annoying (like in SoU where magic bags are extremely scarce and loot transport involves a lot of travel time). KotOR, TSL and Freelancer don't have such restrictions and in my eyes this doesn't hurt the fun any.

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Well, I agree with almost everything that has been "said" here.

The random loot is good, but shouldn't be so random.

 

I've played the game twice and on the second time I got the Master Robe and lightning gloves (never saw one on the first run through).

 

Another thing is, why does the game give us items that have no use whatsoever?

What use does an electrical capacitance belt has, if there isn't A SINGLE ENEMY in the whole game using a force power, like force storm, against me???? (at least in KOTOR1 we had malak)

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I like it.

Makes things interesting.

 

Right. Like when you are level 30 on the Ravager and you loot all those high-DC security rooms, the suspense can really kill you. What'll it be? 37 Components? 23 Chemicals? An Ion Grenade? A Verpine Prototype Shield? A medpack? :blink:

 

Even TSL's ancient precursor - NWN - was lots better in this regard, because there a treasure chest yielded some sort of treasure every time and not useless junk 99.9% of the time and something valuable 0.1% of the time. The supporting mechanisms are probably still in the engine. And even if not, how difficult could it have been to handplace certain strategic items in the game, like it was done in KotOR with the Circlet of Saresh?

 

 

NWN is ancient? Damn. I'm still playing 5 year old games like Oni, Myth, Legacy of Kain etc :p Those must be prehistoric. Now what would games like Chrono Trigger and FF1, 2, and 3 rank as? The beginning of time? :p

 

 

Being an avid modder for NWN I've seen much of Bioware's scripting and I have to say it is simple and effective.

 

The way they worked it was:

 

There are several different types of chests/treasure containers with a certain tag.

Low, Medium and High. From what I remember is they made a loot table and use the character's level and class to determine the loot.

 

Now when you open or destroy a container it runs the random loot script and rolls a number modified by level and class. If you fail the roll you get regular loot and some coin. If you pass the roll you get good loot (in low or medium) and a CHANCE at something specific to your class(es). If you open a high container you get at least one unique item pertaining to your class and you have a chance for more but the roll is much more difficult. If you fail the 2nd roll you get a high grade item, but it's gold value is calculated and liquidated into gold.

 

I was very impressed with the random loot generator in NWN: HotU. I made some modifications in my modules but I kept it relatively the same. I tried my own and when I got to about 4 pages of script code I gave up hehe.

 

TSL's loot script seems to be VERY primitive. It does however make the game more interesting. I wish all games had random loot. I used to play MMORPGs like EQ and DAoC and the thing I found most annoying about them is you KNEW EXACTLY what you could get in each zone from each different enemy. Once you had all that you wanted/needed the zone held very little interest other than mindless XP grinding. I think DAoC changed this but I haven't bothered wasting my cash in the form of a monthly fee for sub-par gaming in a long time. Probably never will again. Not to mention the time sinks and politics. Yeesh! Some folks literally LIVE in those games...

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Another thing is, why does the game give us items that have no use whatsoever?

What use does an electrical capacitance belt has, if there isn't A SINGLE ENEMY in the whole game using a force power, like force storm, against me???? (at least in KOTOR1 we had malak)

 

Both Nihilus and Traya have used Force Storm against some of my chars; as with Malak it may depend on fighting distance whether they prefer Force powers or melee combat. But that is probably beside the point since even the most powerful form of lightning does only pitiful damage against a single enemy, and so there seems to be no reason to use an item like the belt you mentioned.

 

The Thermal Shield Generator is a similar belt which reduces fire damage by 75%, and I used it once to get Mira out of the Pit without levelling her up. After equipping the fire shield belt and some similar items I had her drop a couple plasma grenades on the floor; she took no damage but the rug was burnt badly. :D

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TSL's loot script seems to be VERY primitive.  It does however make the game more interesting.  I wish all games had random loot.  I used to play MMORPGs like EQ and DAoC and the thing I found most annoying about them is you KNEW EXACTLY what you could get in each zone from each different enemy.  Once you had all that you wanted/needed the zone held very little interest other than mindless XP grinding.

 

dabise, your insights into the NWN loot genny are interesting, and overall I agree with your above statement. However, in my eyes the loot scheme in TSL is too random if you consider that - apart from the Ossus Keeper Robes - none of the 'strategic' items can be bought or crafted or otherwise obtained except by pure chance.

 

In the case of my Guardian/Marauder playthrough - which I had intended as a 'Study in Strength' - the loot genny basically thwarted the aim of the whole campaign. The characters in the four previous runs had plenty of GNS Strength Enhancers, plenty of Dominator Gloves and plenty of high-grade STR-enhancing implants, on average at least two of each, not to mention plenty of other high-grade stuff like gloves with +5 DEX, several Circlets of Saresh, several Force Focussing Visors, roughly 10 high-grade implants and so on. My Guardian/Marauder got nothing at all except for a nice skill belt (Tech Belt).

 

So it is sure nice if a Sith blaster grunt drops a Barab Ore Ingot for you (even you already have one), but in addition to the purely random chance loot there should be some treasures that always yield something decent, as LadyCrimson and others have suggested, and/or some sensible plants (like the Ossus Keeper Robes).

 

As regards being smart about loot drops - it is a difficult thing to get right. Would a character with maxed-out natural WIS/CHA welcome a Force Focussing Visor or a Circlet of Saresh? A character with 8/8 WIS/CHA? A character with more balanced attributes? You cannot know what the player wants to do and under no circumstances should the game try to make smart-aleck judgements about who of the three characters I mentioned 'deserves' a Circlet of Saresh (+5 WIS) or a Mental Boost D-Package (+3/+3 WIS/CHA), and who 'deserves' only a Meditation Band (+1 WIS) or half a dozen of the lowest-grade implants with +1/+1 WIS/CHA.

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