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Loot versus Artifacts

  

143 members have voted

  1. 1. Artifacts or Loot?

    • Artifacts
      27
    • Loot
      1
    • Mostly Loot, occasional artifacts
      79
    • Primarily artifacts, with some minor but common loot
      36


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One trend that has bothered me a bit in recent RPGs is the focus on loot. I would define loot as any drops from enemies that you get pretty much any encounter, often randomly generated and about 90% of the time is just sold for money. Diablo is a prime example of a loot driven game.

 

By contrast, I would call Planescape a more "artifact" driven game, where you get fewer items overall but those items have far greater meaning behind them and tend to be more interesting. In fact, the player learns a lot about the lore of the game simply through the artifacts, even if they don't delve that deep into the flavor text for them.

 

In a perfect artifact game, imo, you would have artifacts that make a significant difference to your play experience, and resemble the artifacts of old fantasy myths. Cloak of invisibility, excalibur, the Ring of Power, etc. Items that aren't just throwaway junk you looted off a random kobold, but that the player recieved in some awesome fashion, and carry significant power and weight to the game world.

 

In a less perfect artifact-driven game (like Planescape), it can be taken too far, to the point where you have items that are novel and interesting when you pick them up, but are practically useless. Bone charms were cool in Planescape, and perhaps even that weapon made of Chaos Mater that did random amounts of damage, but they weren't terribly great. So its just as easy to end up with junk artifacts.

 

So given all that, what do you guys think? Do you like the "pinata" style gameplay of something like Diablo where your inventory is constantly flooded with items, or do you prefer your powerful items to be delivered in a more dramatic fashion?

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I agree I didn't like how common and generic magic items felt in IWD2 by the end I had a huge collection of Keen Exploding +5 longs swords. It made the game feel cheap compared to the rich history in BG games.

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I'm fine with the standard progression of treasure in D&D. It's an important part of the game experience and one of the more enjoyable elements of the PnP version.


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Well Diablo is a bit of unfair example because the whole game is designed around loot rather than being an RPG that just has an abundance of randomly generated loot. Personally for this sort of game I like the artifact approach. I want any loot of significance to be hand crafted and placed in specific locations. Random loot has it's place in item hunt games like Borderlands and Diablo but I feel like it's a bad approach in just about any other sort of game.

 

Now from what I've read in one of the interviews they have no intention of doing random loot beyond saying random bandits have either a sword or dagger or mace or axe. So I'm totally ok with the junk loot being random so long as the quality gear isn't done the same way.

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I think a reasonable amount of loot gives the world a lived in feel ... it also gives you something to work for in the beginning when you know you will need to buy basic items to keep your characters going and surviving ... I think as long as they balance the difficulty correctly, with a traditional RPG (like this one sounds like it will be) you tend to be very loot driven at the beginning of the game while you are leveling and trying to get a few levels under your belt ... as you mature you become a little more balanced in the mid game where artifacts and artifact hunting become more important ... and the end game is mostly about artifacts or really high level loot ... if you spend the whole game hunting for loot then you are like all the other ARPGs ... but if it can progress through the balanced stages I think that makes for a better traditional RPG

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I think asking for more loot instead of artifacts -- or the other way around, is somewhat strange. First off, what is an artifact? Is, for instance, a D&D 'Longsword +1' already classified as an artifact? In my opinion, it is not. Sure, it is enchanted, but my guess is that it's just a longsword that was either crafted by a very experienced blacksmith, or enchanted by the town's temple. I believe an artifact is an item with very unique features and, if possible, background lore. I always love reading about the origin of a weapon: Where did the item come from? Who was it from? How was it lost?

 

That said, I think it would be nice if artifacts are not too common. 'Masterwork' items, such as those seen in Icewind Dale, are a good substitute for the lower-level artifacts you could encounter. The problem with Icewind Dale, however, was that these masterly crafted items were quite common and were very soon replaced by items that possessed much greater enchantments. I would've liked to see these items to be much more useful.

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Mixture of both.

 

Common items as loot, dropping from the majority of the enemies/fights I have no issue with. I mean, you kill a bunch of bandits who were trying to waylay you, you're probably going to rifle the bodies and see if they have anything useful. Cash/stuff to sell, spell scrolls, arrows, basic gear. Not that one has to take the spoils of war so to speak, but it makes sense to me that the possibility is there (edit: but not EVERY enemy in the lot has to have it...good enough if it's somewhat random if they have any "loot"). But it shouldn't be that every enemy has a potential to drop some uber/lore related item. I prefer to find the more interesting items via certain quests, tougher enemy encounters, chests/areas that aren't easy to get to, etc.

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“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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The question here is not 'Would you like a loot-based game or and Artifact-based game?' Those are both arbitrary labels that you've assigned value in order to give them different significances.

 

The question you are trying to ask is 'Should the items we receive from exploring the world and defeating opponents be fewer in number, and feel more singular and unique?'

 

To which I believe the answer is an obvious Yes.

 

This game is being designed around harkening back to the feel of a PnP rpg being brought to life upon your screen, and the progression and pacing of such games has always been on more meaningful and individual items as opposed to a procedurally generated treasure pinata in the same way that an Action-RPG like Diablo and Borderlands-style games would prefer to use.


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someone suggested in another thread that not all loot should be sellable or valuable. Clearly there should be some indication to the player if that were the case, but I think it would be nice. Because investing in an appraise skill would make sense, because it makes the player take care of it's inventory better than by just limiting inventory space. (no more encumbrance, rather you just don;t carry crap that merchants won't buy anyway.


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Some good points, but perhaps you need to factor in the crafting mechanic we know PE will have.

 

Some of the loot will therefore not just be good for selling, but also for forging items.

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Whatever BG2 did. The artifacts were spread out enough that getting them felt great. However, I think ToB went a little to overboard in terms of artifacts. Every fight gave you some godly piece of gear. I guess that's how high level content works, but... I still didn't like it!

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I'd like to be able to take the loot my enemies were carrying when I killed them, so ordinary items (combat-related, no silly Elder Scrolls baskets) from ordinary humanoids, artificats from humanoid bosses, and crafting materials from animals and demons and monsters. I think that generally keeps the number of special items down enough that finding them feels special and exciting. It can further be reduced by not having any artifacts for sale in stores, or only having an extremely limited number of them for sale.

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So given all that, what do you guys think? Do you like the "pinata" style gameplay of something like Diablo where your inventory is constantly flooded with items, or do you prefer your powerful items to be delivered in a more dramatic fashion?

 

Personally, I enjoy finding lots of different items all over the place (yes, even lots of "silly Elder Scrolls baskets"), but it would be great if the vast majority of stuff you find is very low value, almost worthless stuff, like rags you can break down to craft bandages for injuries, clothing or armor, various items you can use to craft traps, animal organs or other alchemical ingredients for cooking food or brewing potions and poisons.

 

It's great when everything has at least some use, even common miscellaneous items. However, crafting higher value items should require at least one or two rare components.

 

I like to find lots of items that can be collected and used for crafting, even perhaps some interesting in-game book, or recipe, etc., as these are great rewards for exploring the heck out of every area.

 

However, those loot driven games such as Diablo and Borderlands seem to be more about constantly finding the most overpowered items possible, and the entire game is designed around it, so it would be incredibly challenging, almost impossible to go through the entire game with a low level weapon. I understand the appeal of that type of game, but finding overpowered gear is the least interesting aspect of any RPG in my opinion.

 

I may wish to role play a character who carves and fletches his own arrows from reeds and goose feathers, brews his own poison from the glands of deadly treefrogs, carves his own bow from the wood of a felled oak tree, with a bowstring woven from animal sinew, etc. For me, finding all those ingredients and making my own relatively weak weapons would be infinitely more enjoyable. Even if the end result is much weaker than finding some +90 Legendary Vorpal Sword of Doom, etc., I might take some pride of ownership and prefer to play through most of the game with my character using a weapon he crafted from scratch. (Depends on the type of character, of course.)

 

As for artifacts, if they are treated in an interesting and genuine way, they should be extremely rare, like only perhaps 10 - 15 in the entire game, with a very lengthy quest and detailed backstory. In my D&D campaigns, there were only a couple of artifacts ever available in the world, and these involved tremendously lengthy quests for the highest level characters. Some of these artifacts were also sapient, with some ideas of their own about what they wanted their owner to do.

Edited by IcyDeadPeople

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I get loot-fatique fast in Diablo-esque games.

Original Borderlands started good, became progressively worse. The DLC just threw too much stuff at you to the point I was "stop... I don't want more loot!"

 

I hear B2 drops more loot than B1, so I kinda fear playing it and get the same.

 

So my obvious answer here would be; less, more important drops. Don't drown the player in stuff.


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I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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I would really only want rare artifact drops, but they should actually be worth it. It should take a good amount of effort to find good stuff.

 

loot for the sake of loot is just junk that you sell for cash anyways.

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Artifacts lose their appeal if they comprise 90% of all drops; I would even argue that DnD tends to have too much magical loot, such that magical items don't feel special like they should.

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IMO there should be limited loot from killing mooks, but the major rewards should come from pre placed artefacts in dungeons or on named creatures. I really don't need 20 rusty longswords obtained from killing skeletons that are worth nothing compared to the longsword +1 that I already have.

Edited by Wench

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I would say, have a lot of loot, but definitely a few unique and story driven Items, because I do really love it when I can find a legendary sword, or item that has some awesome history to it. But yeah, mundane gear should be more common to emphasize the rareness of magical items and make you really appreciate the few you do get.

Edited by jezz555

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Mixture of both.

 

Common items as loot, dropping from the majority of the enemies/fights I have no issue with. I mean, you kill a bunch of bandits who were trying to waylay you, you're probably going to rifle the bodies and see if they have anything useful. Cash/stuff to sell, spell scrolls, arrows, basic gear. Not that one has to take the spoils of war so to speak, but it makes sense to me that the possibility is there (edit: but not EVERY enemy in the lot has to have it...good enough if it's somewhat random if they have any "loot"). But it shouldn't be that every enemy has a potential to drop some uber/lore related item. I prefer to find the more interesting items via certain quests, tougher enemy encounters, chests/areas that aren't easy to get to, etc.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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Enemies should drop enough gold or items to make up for some of the expenses you had fighting them (potions, scrolls). So a skilled player could go on grinding (that is if grinding will be in the game). Apart from that, even though it's not a low magic setting, I'd like to see few magical items, about the same as BG1. No floods of items/ gold plz.

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Agree with many who have posted here, common enemies should have realistic items that for leaders or in a small % include Masterwork style higher quality weapons/armour etc...

 

Named higher level enemies such as the adventuring parties that were a great feature of later BG1 could have higher tiered Masterwork + magical items (low level artifacts? that have some history or lore to them).

 

Highest level / elite boss type enemies should have the most chance of a rare, genuinely powerful artefact weapon/armour/ jewellery/ or high value crafting item such as high end gems.

 

I'm just not sure how to balance the need to keep magical items novel and interesting from the fact that at the higher levels, enemies should be correspondingly tougher, which in turn means that they tend to have +X weapons. This results in the plague of having far too many +X Swords of Fairy destruction, a problem that took a little shine off ToB.


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