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Update #29: Fulfillment and the Pros and Cons of Nostalgia and Realism


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I'm just copying my Kickstarter comment, I have no idea what is read more: Forum or Kickstarter.

 

You all do know how "real medievil combat" worked right. One or two direct hits aaaaaand you're gone. Not real fun for a 2D-Isometric-Party-RPG so no matter what the guys at Obsidian will design it will never be "realistic" or some fights could end real quick. PE is a game which is supposed to be fun first, and not a real medieval + some fantasy simulator. And it is fun to get progressively better. In your stats and your equipment. If they mess this one up not many ppl who haven't pledged will buy this game or any follow-up games.

What makes you think short combat would not be fun?

It would make combat MUCH more important because you would avoid it more, lest the enemy get some good roles and your pc's die.

It would prevent diablo syndrome where all you do is point and click and pot, not that infinity engine games had that, but a lot of modern "rpg's" do.

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If i can make some humble suggestions here, we can first take the problem into two branches.

...

Once we treat this as two completely different things, it would be very easy and game-friendly to make armours and items based on it.

To me that's just rehashing the age-old binary distinction between a STR tank and a DEX tank. We have to go deeper than that to solve these issues in my opinion.

Maybe add "armor experience" or something like it, making familiarity with the armor play a factor during play.

Personally the last thing I want is to have to level up armor.

 

Not necessarily, IMHO strength only influences how heavy can your armour be. If we get a Skill like "Armour Using" (STR based), heavy and intricated armour, complicated ones, would be harder to wear, requiring more practice, it will generate lots of penalties for one not skill in. For example, historically a full plate was made specifically for a single knight, anyone else wearing it would have lots of problems to adapt (the skill is the capacity to adapt to certain armours).

 

Anyone that has already used a heavy combat coat (like in Kali Silat or Kempo) knows that this stuff is really tyresome and requires ability just to wear it.

 

And if we put Dodge as a Skill that boosts your defense (your chance to avoid hits), based on DEX.

 

To end this dicotomy, not a great problem for me (what is the big problem using this division anyway?) we could have lots of other skills that would boost evasion and damage reduction...

 

I can see a "Combat Tactics" skill based on Wisdom, improving your position during battle benefiting evasion.

 

Or a high skilled user of a Sword gaining frequent parrying bonus to Defense (to avoid hits). A good spear/polearm fighter would in fact never let another fighter get into his "Guard" (this is why it was the most common soldier weapon). The same goes to Acrobats and the chance to avoid some strikes with incredible corporal feats.

 

 

We could have many skills depending on both, the math summing skill points (or proportions of it) can be complicated for pen&paper RPG but it will be very simple for a videogame. This would be the game very diverse and sinergy between skills much more fluid.

 

I'm all for a skill-based system, classless, but i dont think this will be the way.

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There are quite a lot of interesting ideas summed up so far.

 

My favorite so far is the idea of having armor be upgradable. Using tiers for armor bases(leather tier - leather, new material leather, new material leather, etc) and then having customizations within those tiers that tie in with the crafting disciplines seems like a complicated enough system that it would make for some long lasting\interesting armors. I also like the idea of having to change base armor sets only a few in the game. Over the course of the story, I think you should likely have to change armors at like 20% completion markers. That way you get more of an epic feeling when you find a sweet new set of base armor because you know that it's going to be the start of something you may use for the next decent chunk of the game.

 

So overall, I would rather have my armor come along with an interesting background or lore and deep customization than be something that I might be able to find in a history book. (Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.)

You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villian. - Harvey Dent

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This is kind of off-topic, but please, less endgame reliance on ridiculously over-enchanted items! Weapon/armor statistics should be complex enough in and of themselves that you don't need every piece of equipment to have multiple enchantments to be competitive. Enchantments should be rarer and therefore more valuable, no more throwing away enchanted items that are comparatively crappy!

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This is kind of off-topic, but please, less endgame reliance on ridiculously over-enchanted items! Weapon/armor statistics should be complex enough in and of themselves that you don't need every piece of equipment to have multiple enchantments to be competitive. Enchantments should be rarer and therefore more valuable, no more throwing away enchanted items that are comparatively crappy!

You mean, don't make it like the Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale series end games? Or something else?

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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I want to rally behind the upgrade / enchanting route, but I have two issues.

 

Remember the lore that came with the unique magical items found in IWD?

While the upgrade / enchantment routes are interesting, it will mean upgrades will most likely come in the form of raw material, gold, or both.

From a developer's perspective, you would be placing dragon scales, wolf pelts etc. as lootable items, which are sort of generic in contrast with pre-designed attributes and lore that came with magical armors of old IE games.

 

The other problem I have with this is similar to the potion hoarding syndrome. This is what goes through my head when I'm about to use consumable items. Ok I found these magical scales and can use them to upgrade the set of basic scale armor that I'm wearing now...but what if I find another set of scale armor around the corner that is far superior? I'd feel bad if I wasted these magical scales on my pos scale armor! This uncertainty drives the hoarder inside me, and I tend to stock pile upgrade material until the end game and dump it all into the best full plate mail I can find. This would not make for a very smooth upgrade curve. I also suspect a lot of players back in the day ended up hoarding potions and scrolls for this exact reason.

 

If we can solve these two issues I'd be sold.

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I want to rally behind the upgrade / enchanting route, but I have two issues.

 

Remember the lore that came with the unique magical items found in IWD?

While the upgrade / enchantment routes are interesting, it will mean upgrades will most likely come in the form of raw material, gold, or both.

From a developer's perspective, you would be placing dragon scales, wolf pelts etc. as lootable items, which are sort of generic in contrast with pre-designed attributes and lore that came with magical armors of old IE games.

 

The other problem I have with this is similar to the potion hoarding syndrome. This is what goes through my head when I'm about to use consumable items. Ok I found these magical scales and can use them to upgrade the set of basic scale armor that I'm wearing now...but what if I find another set of scale armor around the corner that is far superior? I'd feel bad if I wasted these magical scales on my pos scale armor! This uncertainty drives the hoarder inside me, and I tend to stock pile upgrade material until the end game and dump it all into the best full plate mail I can find. This would not make for a very smooth upgrade curve. I also suspect a lot of players back in the day ended up hoarding potions and scrolls for this exact reason.

 

If we can solve these two issues I'd be sold.

 

Both problems aren't necessarily problems. Upgrades can be gated by region. Start off in a poorer area that can't afford the parts for the higher tiers anyway. Then when you transition to an area that can afford it, you can upgrade the armor at the blacksmith/tanner/whatever for a nominal fee (and possibly some time). They don't even need to all be available at the same time. And then later or more specialist tiers would require you to find an armor specialist to upgrade and customize the armor further. When you're dealing with mass produced armor, there's no reason why you need to go gathering for parts. It's when you get to the magical stuff where that might be an issue.

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This is kind of off-topic, but please, less endgame reliance on ridiculously over-enchanted items! Weapon/armor statistics should be complex enough in and of themselves that you don't need every piece of equipment to have multiple enchantments to be competitive. Enchantments should be rarer and therefore more valuable, no more throwing away enchanted items that are comparatively crappy!

You mean, don't make it like the Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale series end games? Or something else?

It was more a bit of paranoia creeping in that things would go the route of most MMO's lately (including DnD Online) in that for most of the game one is progressing through various tiers of magically enchanted items that could easily be farmed. Enchanted items in my opinion should be the endgame; they shouldn't be commonplace junk. It's all summed up in the fact that running around with magical gear just doesn't feel magical in many RPGs, since it's so mundane. I'm big on mechanics that are interesting enough to function without magic and enchantments; they've already said the setting is low-magic in terms of healing, so maybe that's a good sign. I just think that modern RPGs have just generally become saturated with enchanted items, such that you're behind the curve if you don't have one by level 3, and I don't like it.

Edited by mcmanusaur
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Looks like I'm somewhat late to this particular party, but here goes anyway =P

 

Mathematically, the amount of armors that are viable in a given system is limited by the amount of (relevant) parameters each armor has. As you noticed in the example, the jump from one to two stats (AC to AC and dex modifier) made a previously scrappy type of armors suddenly useful. With even more parameters (stuff like DR, DT, stamina usage, penalties to block/parry and/or attack are examples that come to mind), it becomes quite hard to say that some specific armor is simply better than the rest.

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Josh: Damage Resistance to armor is good, better than AC, but please consider that various methods of creation or materials used for the armor may make a light armor more durable than a standard steel full plate, as example a dwarven/elven metal crafted light chainmail. Even deflection (which AC basically always was) may still work, if as example adamantine in this world has the property of blocking many hits as they slide away -instead of that the DR stops the damage- so it may still be experimented with light armor tha has great DR, or heavy armor that may have high AC in case you didn't fully drop the concept of AC to begin with.

 

As for armored mages: I love those, never understood the need to restrict mages to pointy hats and whatnot, sure you can make requirenments for learning skills and powers/spells mentally very dependent so the character has no time/energy left -usually- to also do physical training and excercise, but there should always be exeptions. Those who go to become mages and already have physical traits like being more naturally tall and strong would more likely choose to wear armor than his skinnier friends. A noble family which is renown for skill at sword and with magecraft would require from its sons and daughters to traditionally be trained in them, battle and war mages would probably be willing to take their time to train for close combat in armor, and train in use of 1-5 weapons. These warlords -magelords- would probably trade in most of their defense spells for area control and ally support spells anyway.

Edited by Jorian Drake

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I want to rally behind the upgrade / enchanting route, but I have two issues.

 

Remember the lore that came with the unique magical items found in IWD?

While the upgrade / enchantment routes are interesting, it will mean upgrades will most likely come in the form of raw material, gold, or both.

From a developer's perspective, you would be placing dragon scales, wolf pelts etc. as lootable items, which are sort of generic in contrast with pre-designed attributes and lore that came with magical armors of old IE games.

 

The other problem I have with this is similar to the potion hoarding syndrome. This is what goes through my head when I'm about to use consumable items. Ok I found these magical scales and can use them to upgrade the set of basic scale armor that I'm wearing now...but what if I find another set of scale armor around the corner that is far superior? I'd feel bad if I wasted these magical scales on my pos scale armor! This uncertainty drives the hoarder inside me, and I tend to stock pile upgrade material until the end game and dump it all into the best full plate mail I can find. This would not make for a very smooth upgrade curve. I also suspect a lot of players back in the day ended up hoarding potions and scrolls for this exact reason.

 

If we can solve these two issues I'd be sold.

My take on the first issue, is it wouldn't be a problem to have unique items, but balance still dictates that these can't be over-powered. Perhaps they can have certain attributes specific to that piece of equipment.

In this way, unique items can encourage a further specialisation later in the game (upgradeable unique weapon gives a damage bonus to undead, if you are a paladin who can use the weapon to its full potential. And as you upgrade it the weapon becomes more potent against more powerful enemies).

 

You would still have cause to keep and use equipment that you've been lovingly upgrading, for they by right should have the widest range of customisability/upgrades.

 

I don't like the idea of hard class restrictions either, so unique items would be able to be worn/wielded by any character, but only those with the proper training/class will get the special bonuses associated with it.

 

Personally as a hoarder, I also noticed a tendency to keep stuff 'just in case', and end up with a huge stockpile of materials, scrolls, gems etc.

 

To deal with this issue, unique crafting materials can only be used to craft specific, high level items, or when your own armor has reached a certain tier of quality. Materials shouldn't be too hard to obtain, and some games (like Kingdoms of Amalur) have even allowed players to 'break down' armour and salvage crafting materials (an exception can be made for unique items, which cannot be broken down and salvaged).

 

Again, if hard limits to upgrades isn't desirable, then have the NPC smiths advise you to save it for later, but will still upgrade your current equipment if you insist.

 

Adding this level of flexibility would mitigate the hoarding syndrome and make the upgrade curve smoother.

 

All this in addition to the suggestions Somna put forth, like gating upgrades by region/upgrade time/cost as and when its necessary.

Edited by Lynx88
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As others have already mentioned, I'd be more in favor of a system where different armor/weapons have different attributes and you would wear whatever you felt was most suitable to the tactical situation and your particular character build. For realism, this would rank "ehhhhhhhhh" but it turns armor choice vs character build a rewarding tactical decision.

 

Throw in the idea of damage mitigation vs evade, and you now have a tactically rewarding system. That is, armor offers damage mitigation, but keeping your agility (or equivalent) higher means you have a better chance of not getting hit at all. Of course, if/when you DO get hit, it's a lot more damaging since your armor isn't mitigating any damage. You could even balance this with a set of evade-specific abilities that become unavailable with heavier armor selections (to help ensure evade characters have a fair shot at staying alive).

 

For example, see these simple samples (I DARE you to say that ten times fast):

Plate - Very strong against bludgeoning, moderate against slashing, weak against piercing, disables all evade abilities & seriously hinders movement

Chain - Strong against piercing, moderate against slashing, weak against bludgeoning, some limits on certain abilities & movement

Studded Leather - Strong against slashing, moderate against bludgeoning, weak against piercing. few limits on certain abilities or movement

Leather - Moderate against all types of damage, very few limites, if any

No Armor - No protection, but gives a bonus to evade chance (see below)

 

Attributes like this allow you to populate the world with armor that is definitely better than others, but also somewhat specialized and diverse. It's no longer ONLY vertical armor progression system, but a horizontal one as well.

Edited by Veraxus
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Rather than nitpick your strong/weak against I'll ask this: if different armor is better in different situations then how am I supposed to know what to put on before a fight? Wouldn't enemies carry multiple weapons to better crack my armor no matter what I choose? Would plate and leather armor cost the same amount of money, or would I just have to pay a lot more to be strong against bludgeoning (should be slashing) than I'd have to to be strong against... Studded leather never existed. You get the idea.

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Rather than nitpick your strong/weak against I'll ask this: if different armor is better in different situations then how am I supposed to know what to put on before a fight? Wouldn't enemies carry multiple weapons to better crack my armor no matter what I choose? Would plate and leather armor cost the same amount of money, or would I just have to pay a lot more to be strong against bludgeoning (should be slashing) than I'd have to to be strong against... Studded leather never existed. You get the idea.

 

Two things. For one, there a lot of ways to work deducible clues into the world so that players can prepare... so it also becomes a bit of a matter of world design. For instance, you can find out that guards/soldiers of a particular kingdom or caste use one type of weapon or armor, and adjust your party to compensate.

 

Second, you could allow players, in certain circumstances, to quickly re-equip at the start of battle... provided they aren't being caught off guard (slightly similar to D&D's old flat-footed rules). You should be able to tell, just by looking, generally what the enemies are wearing. You might then have the opportunity to spend you first turn quickly changing out your gear to be more appropriate to the situation. Alternatively, you might send a thief/rogue to scout ahead, sparing you from spending a precious turn/time changing gear.

 

As for studded leather, I know there isn't a historical precedent, but I don't tend to weigh high fantasy against actual history. Magic isn't historical either, so I give it a pass. Who's to say someone in a fantasy world hasn't invented it? I'm not saying I want it or not, I really don't have a horse in that race. I'm just saying it's plausible even if it's not historical ;-)

 

I'm also of a mind that fun trumps realism unless it starts getting REALLY wacky... which is why I can recommend changing armor at the beginning of a battle with a straight face. Heck, in my PnP D&D days, there were a couple instances where a player wanted to change gear mid-fight (technically against the rules), and the other players protected (or tried to protect) them while they did. I allowed it because was actually a rather fun and interesting scenario.

Edited by Veraxus
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It's not as much that studded leather hasn't an historical precedence, it's that it doesn't make sense, it's an error made somewhere in the beginning of the "standardized fantasy setting". Historically, the "studs" were the heads of rivets to keep in place the metal plates on the other side of leather or cloth.

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I always come back to the issue of enchanting when questions armor restriction based on class. Why couldn't you enchant leather to be just as strong as plate, but more flexible or chain to be silent, ect.

 

I would like unique crafting/enchantment system that would allow you to build your own. If you want to wear plate as a weak mage then you can either pay a NPC to make it lighter, or make your leather stronger. I think this could even tie into your strong hold by either recruiting stronger NPC, or locating better resources/arts to change the variety that can be produced.

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Yeah, studded leather didn't just not exist, it doesn't even make sense.

 

If different armor and weapons are good against each other, why would a kingdom use the same weapon/armor setup on all of its soldiers? That's like in Pokémon where the different gym leaders all use teams that are easily countered because they're all the same type, except gym leaders are supposed to be beatable gate keepers so at least they have an excuse. Armies play for keeps, and I don't care how much they want to standardize things it just wouldn't make sense for the Iron Kingdom to wield swords and plate armor if any idiot who wanted to take their lands just had to equip their men with cheap spears and studded leather to crush their armies.

 

If the party can fast-switch their armor at the start of the combat to adjust for what weapons the enemy has, what's stopping the NPCs from doing the same? And what's stopping them from fast-swapping weapons to account for the players' new armor?

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I always come back to the issue of enchanting when questions armor restriction based on class. Why couldn't you enchant leather to be just as strong as plate, but more flexible or chain to be silent, ect.

 

I would like unique crafting/enchantment system that would allow you to build your own. If you want to wear plate as a weak mage then you can either pay a NPC to make it lighter, or make your leather stronger. I think this could even tie into your strong hold by either recruiting stronger NPC, or locating better resources/arts to change the variety that can be produced.

 

That's sort of how the mix-and-match enchanting works in 3rd edition D&D with all of the +Xs. Considering they don't want Scale Mail +Xs floating around though, they are definitely going to need an alternate system in place.

 

That doesn't mean some of the stuff in place in D&D can't be carried over though. For example, item hardness strikes me as a good way to compare material durability -- if you want to enchant leather to be as tough as metal, what you are actually doing is enchanting it to make the item hardness match up. If they did this though, they'd probably want stats for other factors of the material. Maybe a stat for item "flexibility" where the higher the flexibility stat, the less hampering the armor gets. Then if you get it high enough, it can enhance the character's own movements.

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Yeah, studded leather didn't just not exist, it doesn't even make sense.

 

If different armor and weapons are good against each other, why would a kingdom use the same weapon/armor setup on all of its soldiers? That's like in Pokémon where the different gym leaders all use teams that are easily countered because they're all the same type, except gym leaders are supposed to be beatable gate keepers so at least they have an excuse. Armies play for keeps, and I don't care how much they want to standardize things it just wouldn't make sense for the Iron Kingdom to wield swords and plate armor if any idiot who wanted to take their lands just had to equip their men with cheap spears and studded leather to crush their armies.

 

If the party can fast-switch their armor at the start of the combat to adjust for what weapons the enemy has, what's stopping the NPCs from doing the same? And what's stopping them from fast-swapping weapons to account for the players' new armor?

 

I agree. I think it's one thing to change weapons which could be done quickly on the fly, but changing a whole set of armor is not a quick process, and should be done prior to battle.

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I always come back to the issue of enchanting when questions armor restriction based on class. Why couldn't you enchant leather to be just as strong as plate, but more flexible or chain to be silent, ect.

 

I would like unique crafting/enchantment system that would allow you to build your own. If you want to wear plate as a weak mage then you can either pay a NPC to make it lighter, or make your leather stronger. I think this could even tie into your strong hold by either recruiting stronger NPC, or locating better resources/arts to change the variety that can be produced.

 

That's sort of how the mix-and-match enchanting works in 3rd edition D&D with all of the +Xs. Considering they don't want Scale Mail +Xs floating around though, they are definitely going to need an alternate system in place.

 

That doesn't mean some of the stuff in place in D&D can't be carried over though. For example, item hardness strikes me as a good way to compare material durability -- if you want to enchant leather to be as tough as metal, what you are actually doing is enchanting it to make the item hardness match up. If they did this though, they'd probably want stats for other factors of the material. Maybe a stat for item "flexibility" where the higher the flexibility stat, the less hampering the armor gets. Then if you get it high enough, it can enhance the character's own movements.

 

I could see a system like this working. It would be more invovled, but would also make it a area where you could spend more time/effort to build your unique armor sets for you party.

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Upgrades can be gated by region. Start off in a poorer area that can't afford the parts for the higher tiers anyway. Then when you transition to an area that can afford it, you can upgrade the armor at the blacksmith/tanner/whatever for a nominal fee (and possibly some time).

 

My take on the first issue, is it wouldn't be a problem to have unique items, but balance still dictates that these can't be over-powered. Perhaps they can have certain attributes specific to that piece of equipment.

In this way, unique items can encourage a further specialisation later in the game (upgradeable unique weapon gives a damage bonus to undead, if you are a paladin who can use the weapon to its full potential. And as you upgrade it the weapon becomes more potent against more powerful enemies).

You would still have cause to keep and use equipment that you've been lovingly upgrading, for they by right should have the widest range of customisability/upgrades.

 

I like these suggestions. Here's what I got after considering them.

 

At base level, you can think of all item types as side-grades instead of upgrades. However each type should retain their own flavor. As an example, raw hide allows for more attacks and plate mail maintains good defense while being surrounded etc.. This ensures plate mail is still superior in protection, but the two options even out when you factor in attack speed and look at overall combat effectiveness. It will be up to the player to decide which items they want to focus on and upgrade vertically. (the +1's in the old sense)

 

All magical items can be upgraded to reach a similar potency by end game.

- Keeps all magical items relevant and allows for the dagger wielding Barbarian bundled in magical raw hide to be a viable option in the end game

- Makes every item worth developing as players will be able to extend their longevity.

 

Item upgrades are gated (in various ways to make it feel organic)

- Cost

- Region: Can be explained as lack of material in stock, or the skills of the particular blacksmith/tanner

- Enemy; must slay X and retrieve the material from it's corpse

- Crafting skill of your characters? (crafting simply becoming a money saver skill is boring, some more thought needed here)

 

An upgraded item will sell for more (Addressing the hoarding problem from my previous post)

- Upgrades would feel less of a commitment

- Encourages experimentation

- If a unique material was used for the creation of an upgrade / enchantment, you should be able to break it down to retrieve it, or do away with unique ingredients and make them common.

Edited by Kaz
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I don't know what the rest of you think, but this has been one of the best discussions around mechanics I've seen on the forums for a long time, and there are some interesting ideas here that have made me think about my own views on the subject.

 

Two things have come to mind:

 

(a) I'm more chilled out about the subject than I thought I would be, and like how the developers are thinking

 

(b) Have noticed as much of a consensus as you'll ever get here amongst the community on the subject.

 

Already looking forwards to the next mechanics discussion.

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Yes, what this tells me is that if the devs give us constraints on the topic, tell us what they've thought, and give us some questions to consider, we can get a good discussion going and trying to problem-solve. You're basically crowdsourcing design problems. That's a really good way to get player feedback and some innovative ideas.

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Item upgrades are gated (in various ways to make it feel organic)

- Cost

- Region: Can be explained as lack of material in stock, or the skills of the particular blacksmith/tanner

- Enemy; must slay X and retrieve the material from it's corpse

- Crafting skill of your characters? (crafting simply becoming a money saver skill is boring, some more thought needed here)

Crafting skill in this kind of circumstance could end up being a time saver rather than a money saver. For example, let's say the game introduced a "downtime" option where you could list the passive things your party wants to do while visiting a town/city location. (This can include the minorly annoying things like selling loot that you don't care about with a "haggle" skill of some sort to try to increase the funds gained.) A character with a blacksmith utility skill can use town downtime to take an offer up with the local blacksmith (or pay him/her) on learning the region's smithing quirks and techniques. Once learned, you don't have to go back to that location in order to do its upgrades, although you're still going to have to pay whatever the material cost is to upgrade the item yourself.

 

An upgraded item will sell for more (Addressing the hoarding problem from my previous post)

- Upgrades would feel less of a commitment

- Encourages experimentation

- If a unique material was used for the creation of an upgrade / enchantment, you should be able to break it down to retrieve it, or do away with unique ingredients and make them common.

 

Unique materials should generally be shied away from unless you're creating "endgame" equivalent equipment. Even then, it should only be used in the creation of one specific item, not a range of items. That would make it a non-issue. It's really not fun to have to pick one of X things to make if you could only make one of them, because then it just boils down to a "which is the best" question...which can get irritating. Better quality/grade material could do that though.

 

For example, you go through the game in the equivalent of...let's say Plate mail, and as you go through the game, the metal you are preferring for your armor is mithril, after comparing benefits/drawbacks. But you're really not finding any mithril plate mail, just mithril daggers and mithril chain mail and other equipment. As a result, you could take the equipment to a blacksmith to convert into the armor you want instead (or you could do it yourself if you could find a forge/anvil closer and were a blacksmith).

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Yes, what this tells me is that if the devs give us constraints on the topic, tell us what they've thought, and give us some questions to consider, we can get a good discussion going and trying to problem-solve. You're basically crowdsourcing design problems. That's a really good way to get player feedback and some innovative ideas.

Lol well that's how a discussion forum is supposed to work. Sure beats forums with little to no developer feedback/involvement. Those are easy to spot, they're the ones with a higher number of speculative polls than anything else.

 

Crafting skill in this kind of circumstance could end up being a time saver rather than a money saver.

A sound suggestion, there's a somewhat similar system in games like Gothic/Risen, where you had to find a suitable trainer to be able to gain certain abilities and increase your skill levels. Certainly crafting skills don't spontaneously come out of thin air (yes i'm looking at you, Skyrim), and having trainers makes more sense, and could potentially provide new sidequests where the trainer wants a favour in return.

 

Unique materials should generally be shied away from unless you're creating "endgame" equivalent equipment.

That's only if the effects granted by the unique materials made the item game-breaking/imba, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. As Kaz put it, side-grade.

 

An example would be using a manticore's spines (that you have thoroughly murderized to death, of course) to give your armour an immunity to poison attribute. Getting hit by other poisonous foes while wearing the armour would still damage you, but the poison isn't applied.

 

I do agree that unique materials should be difficult to obtain, and generally only used to improve specific item/armor types at a sufficient level of quality.

 

And if a material can be used to upgrade a range of equipment, it shouldn't be unique, at the most rare so if you really, reeeeaaaalllyy want to upgrade all your armour including your polka dot pantaloons with iridescent wyvern scale powder (so you can out-bling everyone else and possibly cause blindness, nausea, vomiting and headaches to enemies), you can do a little grinding in wyvernville.

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