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

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I love that Bayeux tapestry :lol:

 

Ol' Willie the conqueror didn't need +2s.

 

Real armor is strapped on using belts, so it doesn't necessarily have to be custom fitted (although if you were very wealthy it was, but still used straps).

 

If a lord or noble ordered a suit of plate armor, it had to fit right, like a tailored suit. It's not a matter of "one size fits all." Range of movement is severely restricted by plate armor, and chafing is also a problem.

Edited by AGX-17

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I had a strange thought while reading this line in particular:

 

"Should something like hide armor be supplanted/made obsolete by leather as an "improved version" or does that effectively kill the visual concept of the rough-hewn rawhide-wearing ranger or barbarian?"

 

Perhaps armor shouldn't be a one-way street. Right now it seems to be defining the protection/abilities of the wearer. What if this were a two-way street and the wearer also affected the features of the armor?

 

For instance, in the example above, what if the barbarian, by virtue of being a barbarian and coming from a location/background in which "rough-hewn rawhide" is the norm, is can wear the armor more effectively than other classes? Perhaps the comfort/practice that the barbarian has experienced with this kind of armor makes the armor more effective for him than it would for a fighter or mage from the city?

 

In this way, various armors from earlier in the game or from lower "tiers" could stay or even become more viable for certain builds in a logical way that also allows a player to decide to stick his preferred type of armor or move to something new as he discovers it.

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Dear Sir,

Do you remember those summer days when you smelled like vanilla- vanilla Christopher!- and how sweet life seemed then? Did you ever think that we could come to be as we are now? So separated by time and space and having never met? Our souls are like 2 (two) broken bells attached by fraying lace and antique dreams. Tinkle, jangle, boom- thus (sic) is the sound of my deep regard for you, sir.

-An Acquaintance?

 

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IMO the best solution would be to retain class restrictions and implement this new system over it. Removing the class restrictions is only going to shift the problem and ultimately, eventually, end up with degenerate builds.

To me, class restrictions are only a cover-up for the fact that the qualities of the armor itself (as described by its statistics) aren't sufficient in describing its potential for use. Maybe we should fix that problem by making the armor system more complex, or ensure that the statistics themselves prove prohibitive in certain cases, instead of trying to cover it up with restrictions that have no justification outside of mechanics.

Edited by mcmanusaur
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For instance, in the example above, what if the barbarian, by virtue of being a barbarian and coming from a location/background in which "rough-hewn rawhide" is the norm, is can wear the armor more effectively than other classes? Perhaps the comfort/practice that the barbarian has experienced with this kind of armor makes the armor more effective for him than it would for a fighter or mage from the city?

 

Sounds a bit like Class Bonus Feat (Barbarian): Armour Specialisation: Hide Armour - "Your warrior feels more at ease in dead animal skins and receive xyz bonus to protection" :)

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“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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To me, class restrictions are only a cover-up for the fact that the qualities of the armor itself (as described by its statistics) aren't sufficient in describing its potential for use. Maybe we should fix that problem by making the armor system more complex, or ensure that the statistics themselves prove prohibitive in certain cases, instead of trying to cover it up with restrictions that have no justification outside of mechanics.

 

They do, however, support classes in archetypical roleplaying way.

This is Wynne from Dragon Age, an old, wise motherly-like mage who is also a healer: http://blog.bioware.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/wynne2.jpg

And this is Wynne played by someone who choose Arcane Warrior as a second prestige class for her, which gives an option of using Magica stat as substitute for Strength to wear armor and cancels some penalties for that: http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/8658/daorigins20091117015314.jpg

What an outfit. Fits that character like a glove, does't it?

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Currently designing my own "tabletop" system as I have a number of issues with standard d20.

 

My thoughts on armor/weapons:

  • "+" and "-" were once awesome and made upgrades easy to identify. However, they have been supplanted by thematic upgrades. Examples: build quality, material, magic properties, item history, and upkeep status. Upgrades are not as easy to identify, but us min-maxers love a challenge.
  • I strongly believe that a player should be able to end the game with the same weapon/armor that they started with. Crazy? My reasoning is that we often find ourselves looking for that next legendary item such as a certain dark elf ranger's scimitars, but what makes these weapons special from any other weapon? True magical enhancement - or more likely - the user imbues something into the item. So I like to make means for players to create the legendary items for the next generation.
  • No limitations to armor/weapons via class. All items have pros/cons and are easier to use given certain skill sets or abilities. A strong rogue may wear plate armor and still maintain the "class" ability to sneak, but it sure will be difficult as plate makes a hell of a lot of noise unless you have been trained for years specifically to sneak in plate because you've been assigned a position in the royal guard. Phew. Point: allow player choice -> enforce consequences.
  • Real armor and weapons aren't drastically different in terms of protection and damage, but rather provide a variety of secondary modifiers. So rather than look at armor as purely a range of ACs, I like to tighten the range, leave true defense and offense to player ability and choice (e.g. stances.) I then put secondary effects, like plate making noise, chain protecting from arrows, elven mail gives diplomacy bonuses when talking to elves (unless you're an orc, then it'd likely be a negative as they assume you got it through undesirable means), cloth armor catching on fire easily, master work weapons have a higher critical chance because they hit like a ton of bricks due to solid construction, master work armor can withstand more as there are less gaps, armor made by people who live in cold places likely protects from the cold, etc.

Those are the basic principles, from there I generate arrays of keywords and nouns that sound like something I would want to loot.

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What does this mean for Project Eternity? It means designing a new armor system that rectifies deficiencies of older systems while maintaining a familiar feel is tricky. Additionally, the more dissimilar the armor relationships are to those found in A/D&D, the more they will be re-evaluated for verisimilitude (i.e. "realism").

 

We would like our armor system to accomplish the following goals:

  • Make wearing different types of armor a real choice for the player based on both character build and circumstance. E.g. a swashbuckling lightly-armored fighter will tend to wear one of a variety of light armor types (maybe a gambeson or leather cuirass), but in a circumstance where protection is of utmost importance, the player may still choose to wear heavy armor with a loss in build optimization.
  • Disassociate armor value from class type in favor of different build types. E.g. a wizard can wear heavy armor and be a different type of wizard instead of just "a wizard who is bad".
  • Allow a character to maintain a character concept throughout the game without suffering extreme mechanical penalties. E.g. a character who starts the game in some form of light armor can complete the game in some form of light armor with appropriate gameplay trade-offs compared to wearing heavy armor.
  • Introduce new or upgraded armor types throughout the game instead of using ++ versions (which in itself would pose problems unless we directly duplicated A/D&D's d20-based attack mechanics).

Whether it is called realism or believability, I'd like to see cultural descriptions especially when they are deeply rooted in the setting - even the same thing can be called in a different words. That said, no matter how these in-world descriptions would be, the game-mecahnic should be clear to the players. I beleive this is more of interface design issue, though.

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"Your warrior feels more at ease in dead animal skins and receive xyz bonus to protection" :)

For some reason that just strikes me as sooooo.... dirty.

 

Anyway, regarding your GW comment, ya bastard, I have to say that the way the models work in Warhammer, oversized weapons, armor, and doo-dads have the practical side-effect of letting the players know who's more powerful. Aw hell, I guess that isn't even always true. The good thing is, last I heard they weren't going to do over the top stupid looking weapons and armor.

 

As far as the tier thing goes, I think the important thing is to make it intricate (and complicated) enough to provide a robust experience for folks during character building, but still simple enough to be intuitive. It's all beyond me, of course, but I can understand tier system and it seems to suffice.


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To me, class restrictions are only a cover-up for the fact that the qualities of the armor itself (as described by its statistics) aren't sufficient in describing its potential for use. Maybe we should fix that problem by making the armor system more complex, or ensure that the statistics themselves prove prohibitive in certain cases, instead of trying to cover it up with restrictions that have no justification outside of mechanics.

 

They do, however, support classes in archetypical roleplaying way.

This is Wynne from Dragon Age, an old, wise motherly-like mage who is also a healer: http://blog.bioware....9/09/wynne2.jpg

And this is Wynne played by someone who choose Arcane Warrior as a second prestige class for her, which gives an option of using Magica stat as substitute for Strength to wear armor and cancels some penalties for that: http://img80.imagesh...91117015314.jpg

What an outfit. Fits that character like a glove, does't it?

But to me that points to a deeper problem with people being allowed to make characters that don't make sense. I don't think covering it up using arbitrary restrictions is really the way to solve that; the other mechanics that allow it to happen need to be fixed, or we just need to acknowledge that not everyone will have characters that "fit". In an MMO, I could see it, but in a single-player cRPG, people should be able to do what they want within the constraints of actual concrete costs in the form of logical statistical penalties.

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linear tiers and direct superiority relationships are boring. i would like to see armor that is more of a collection of properties than a single value number. these properties could encompass protection vs different damage types (piercing, slashing, fire, etc), disadvantages due to encumbrance, how intimidating it looks, whether it will keep you warm in the snow, etc. distinguishing between different damage types increases the feeling of realism and makes the combat more strategic. for example, maybe you should send the guy with the plate armor against that pack of enemies holding swords while your nimble leather-wearer deals with the troll with the club. there's a whole world of strategic depth lost by having that single AC value.

 

the type of armor a character wears should impact how that character can (or must) be used during a battle. protection vs different damage types does this somewhat, in that it suggests different assignments for characters in a specific battle. another good way to do this is by having armor affect movement speed. with light armor, a character should be able to move faster and therefore have an advantage at positioning. however, if you don't take that advantage, your character will be hit more and generally would have been better off wearing something heavier. there's a great opportunity for dealing with character advancement here: your level 20 uberwarrior should be able to sprint around in full plate due to his legendary strength and endurance. this is a way better way to make him feel more powerful to play with than simply increasing his health and damage.

 

i would try to avoid overbalancing though. having every armor type work out to be equally viable feels flat and gamey. in a lot of real life scenarios, plate armor would simply be superior to other armors due to its protective qualities (of course in other scenarios, the encumbrance from it could mean your death). this is not really a problem though; if it's more powerful you can just make it cost more and be harder to find and give it an ongoing maintenance cost somehow. it would be great to be able to save up a bunch of money and equip every party member with heavy armor and have an unusually durable team. most likely this wouldn't actually be an optimal strategy though, as you could get away with having your non-frontline fighters wear lighter armor by keeping them out of harm's way and use the money for something better. basically the armor system would be implicitly allowing players to opt out of some of the positioning/microing gameplay by spending in-game funds, which is pretty cool imo.

Edited by mes
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I've always felt armor should be kept in 4 some-what abstract categories/tiers

Please correct me if I'm misrepresenting your suggestion, but that seems pretty status quo when it comes to how DND-based RPG's do things.

 

Yes, that piece stems from a classic, DnD approach, but if you look at the concept, even the light, medium, heavy are really more of a baseline quality then anything. The point is people need a frame of reference and immediate context so that they can make quick informed decisions about whether the armor they found is better then what they have. Having 4 tiers of armor represent simple ideas allows this to happen; Since it's fairly intuitive that Light Armor offers less protection but better mobility, and heavy would offer more protection for less mobility, the tiers work, they make sense. Seperating out the designs, qualities and materials into their own tags (qualifiers) is where I diveraged from the traditional DnD mechanics.

 

Most 'original' ideas get their inspiration from someone or something else, ideas, concepts evolve so to speak, It's not a perfect system, and I've already thought of issues that one might run into due to the design, so it needs refining but I still like my evolution of the DnD model for armor stats. Not that I am biased or anything :)

 

Whatever Obsidian decides to do as far as the armor mechanics go, I feel that the following ideas are important to remember:

  • Complexity presented simply - Video games take care of a lot of math in the background, therefore you can create much more complex and intricate systems without nessecarily overwhelming the player. A well thought out UI is a powerful weapon here, as a general rule I prefer to be overwhelmed then underwhelmed by choices.
  • Information at a glance - You should be able to glance at an item and get a solid idea of its worth. Not detailed information, such as specific stat modifiers (that's still available of course), but a quick reference that says "Hey, this armor is good for your agile warrior and it's better then what you're wearing now because it has the "Couragous" quality."
  • Meaningful > Quantity - Having meaningful choices generally trumps having many choices.
  • Why would I wear X - Since Obsidian wants it to be possible for mages to wear full plate, and warriors to hack away wearing loin cloths barbarian style, they need to ask why. Why would a mage wear Full plate over a robe, and does something inbetween hold enough value to be considered? In DnD, it's pretty much mechanically a non-choice, you wore the heaviest armor you could, with the least penalties, that didn't restrict your powerful class abilities.
  • Form and function - An items appearence will always be connected to the stats it delivers, otherwise things can get silly. But the more flexible you can make this relationship, the greater the visual customization can be. Especially in single-player rpgs, being able to achieve the proper look for the character you've build in your mind is important.

This is neither a definitive list, nor is it really anything new, Obsidian likely has similar things scrawled on white boards as reminders (at least I hope so). These are just things I feel are important to remember and reiterate.

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Thank you for the fulfillment site. I believe its the best way of handling the pledges and rewards, better than through email.

 

And I love the ability to upgrade our pledge, which I hope will be there for awhile. I certainly am aiming for higher tier once I can afford.

 

Thank you all.

 

PS: Congratulations to Darren Monahan for his first kid.

Edited by Hornet85

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Armor Design

Design update from Josh Sawyer

 

 

 

Let's talk about armor design.

 

...

 

What does this mean for Project Eternity? It means designing a new armor system that rectifies deficiencies of older systems while maintaining a familiar feel is tricky. Additionally, the more dissimilar the armor relationships are to those found in A/D&D, the more they will be re-evaluated for verisimilitude (i.e. "realism").

 

We would like our armor system to accomplish the following goals:

  • Make wearing different types of armor a real choice for the player based on both character build and circumstance. E.g. a swashbuckling lightly-armored fighter will tend to wear one of a variety of light armor types (maybe a gambeson or leather cuirass), but in a circumstance where protection is of utmost importance, the player may still choose to wear heavy armor with a loss in build optimization.
  • Disassociate armor value from class type in favor of different build types. E.g. a wizard can wear heavy armor and be a different type of wizard instead of just "a wizard who is bad".
  • Allow a character to maintain a character concept throughout the game without suffering extreme mechanical penalties. E.g. a character who starts the game in some form of light armor can complete the game in some form of light armor with appropriate gameplay trade-offs compared to wearing heavy armor.
  • Introduce new or upgraded armor types throughout the game instead of using ++ versions (which in itself would pose problems unless we directly duplicated A/D&D's d20-based attack mechanics).

 

Retaining a familiarity isn't wholly necessary, aside from finding a niche for each armour type. Padded armour (for example) doesn't need to work the same as it does in D&D, it just needs to have a similar position (the lower end of the spectrum of protection, but with unhindered motion because it's essentially thick clothing). There's also no real need to invest thought in "better" armour when "different" armour is also a potential idea. Perhaps some kind of plate armour is made of lighter metal, so it hinders motion less but offers slightly less protection. Perhaps some kind of padded armour comes with plating on the arms and legs to allow a special bonus for blocking, while weighing a good deal more. This means that you're not jumping wildly away from the base armour (padded armour is still the weakest type of all), but you're enabling a playstyle choice for the player.

 

For example, maybe that padded armour with the plated limbs would be good for the monk who would be adept at blocking with his limbs, but would benefit greatly from the mobility of the lightest armour available. Being a warrior type he's probably got the strength to bear that extra weight, and so it's strictly an improvement over regular padded armour for him. Likewise perhaps there's some sort of ornate plate mail with runes etched into it which helps to channel magic. The shape and etching of the plate reduces its protective qualities a little, but it would be appealing to a wizard who just cares about the magical boost while having comparably the best physical protection available (even if it's only a little better than the next type below).

 

...

We could (as an example) structure some of Project Eternity's armor advancement like this.

 

Tier 1

...

Tier 2

...

Tier 3

...

This could probably accomplish our stated goals (we can assign them whatever stats we'd like, after all), but it does raise some questions for us:

  • Should something like hide armor be supplanted/made obsolete by leather as an "improved version" or does that effectively kill the visual concept of the rough-hewn rawhide-wearing ranger or barbarian?
  • If armor types like hide (or scale, or mail) should remain viable on their own, how should that "upgrade" be expressed to the player? Functional descriptors like "fine scale", "superior hide", etc.? Cultural or material descriptors like "Vailian doublet", "iron feather scale"? Olde tyme numerical descriptors like "scale armor +1", "half-plate +2"?
  • Is it okay for an upgrade from a visual type of armor to maintain its relative position to other armor types even if "realistically" that upgraded armor is now probably superior in protection to other armor types? E.g. an armored jack or brigandine armor is probably more protective than even nice suit of leather armor... but mechanically, we're presenting it as an upgrade of a padded (doublet) armor type.

These are the sort of things we have been discussing and I have been thinking about. And while it is just one subsystem in Project Eternity, we will likely face many similar considerations as we approach the design of weapons, classes, spells, and other aspects of gameplay. I'm sure a lot of you have opinions on what you'd like to see, so please let us know on our forums!

 

In order:

  • No, obsolescence is bad. No armour should replace previous armours, or else you're going with the Diablo style of loot drops where you start off as a level 1 barbarian finding quilted jackets and end your romp searching for the next piece of armour with +2 to awesomeness to replace your aging full plate of lesser badassitude.
  • I never liked the idea of +1. It made it an arbitrarily better piece of equipment because some drunk wizard decided to waste a level of experience to make a piece of equipment he couldn't wear (+4 full plate for example) and then stuffed it in a chest somewhere just because. I don't like the idea of "better" in general, because then you have to deal with power creep as well. I like "better for me" however, gear that's skewed in favour of my playstyle which may hinder another playstyle I don't care so much about (as I mentioned above).
  • Mmmm... Hard to say. I'd rather that armour made sense in protective values more than be forced into a list because it's an upgrade of a similar type below it. And again, I don't like the idea of obsolescence, so this is kind of a moot point as far as I'm concerned.

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Regarding armor, I like choice but I also like cause and effect. Any class (profession, discipline, whatever) should be able to wear any armor-type – a caster should be able to wear plate, a warrior should be able to don healing robes and receive the arcane benefit, and all classes in between should be able to wear whatever – but there should be consequences to those armor choices.

 

Ask yourself, really what is the difference between a ninja and a full plate knight? They’re both melee warriors, the difference is their equipment which have different pros and cons. A ninja is essentially a ‘glass cannon’ of the melee world, they wear cloth which makes them agile and able to get in close very quickly to reach vital areas on the body and then retreat just as fast, but one solid hit from a claymore and they’re split in two. On the other hand, a plate warrior like a knight is much slower moving and gets tired much easier, but those vital areas are very difficult to exact critical blows through all of their shielding.

 

So, I’d like to see cause and effect with armor systems. If my character is wearing plate gloves then it should lower dexterity; plate boots or leggings should lower agility or movement speed. If my character casts magic, they should not be able to wear any type of metal alloy on their hands or face because doing so will cause reverb in the spoken words of the spell from their helm or the effects of the spell could have an unpredictable outcome due to the metal gloves when thrown from their hand. This is also why most casters opt to using staves and wands as weapons, because they’re made from wood which doesn’t negatively affect the spell. This doesn’t mean a casters couldn’t use a shield or a metal sword, it just means that one hand would need to be left open to release spells from. Essentially, if you want to cast spells in a traditional sense then no metal on the hands or covering the face (maybe a talent would change that later on).

 

I imagine a paladin-like class that would use an open-faced chainmail helm, as to not affect casting, a plate chest piece, leggings, and boots, leather gloves and then a shield in one hand and a mace in the other, but, because the mace is a long piece of wood with a stone head, it doesn’t affect casting negatively.

 

Likewise, maybe plate and chain take extra damage from lightning effects. I like the idea of all of my teammates needing to change out their armor set because I know we’re about to go face a bunch of lightning -spewing beach drakes or something. Or perhaps we’re about to go face a bunch of necromancers so no one can wear hide or leather armor because the necromancers can influence the dead flesh of the armor in some devastating fashion.

 

I want armor to rise above just stats, I want the armor type itself to have situational effects to my character’s abilities; like chain boots making stealth impossible due to its noise, tower shields being too heavy and dig into skin so they require metal gloves to wield, necromancers can manipulate hide and leather, and any class that wishes to cast spells must do so without plate covering their face or metal on their hands.

 

I want armor to become situational to battle mechanics and combat circumstances should change what armor I want to wear depending on who or what I’m fighting.

 

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I don't want to see any gear get replaced or left behind like it's tiered. All gear should have it's place and time, maybe that starting piece has lower defense bonuses but it gives me the stamina regen I want because it weights less and that's what I'm looking for in regards to the fight that's right around the bend.

 

 

Oh yeah, it also has to look cool as hell. I’m not big on the full-blown super fantasy stuff like World of Warcraft’s glowing and pieces floating armor, I like the more grounded in realism armor of Dark Souls.

 

Seriously, you should just take a look at Dark Souls' gear/stat system. It's one of the most open-ended and diverse systems I've ever come across.

Edited by TerraMantis
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Well... this thread is advancing rapidly and I have no idea if this has been mentioned already, but I'd like to copy-paste something I saw in the comments for this update:

 

It would be great to see a system that rewarded the player for sticking to specific equipment. Over time, as the equipment is used, it could accrue stat bonuses. Nothing crazy, just enough to incentive the use of specific equipment suited to the players chosen role. Having well used equipment with a few bonuses might just make the choice between super protective heavy armor and something that is more suited to your role a bit tougher.

 

I like this idea. The more a character wears a piece of armour the more he or she will get used to it, and this "learning" over time can be simulated by giving the armour some bonuses over time (but only for that character). It could even get certain special bonuses based on something the character experienced with that armour, e.g. (I don't know) fighting an ogre for the first time and getting a strong knock on the head could give the helmet worn at that moment a certain special bonus.

 

The only problem with this is that it is very difficult to balance, because if it's overdone then the player will never be motivated to change the character's armour.

Edited by Veeno

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Hey, I just backed you,

and this is crazy,

but here's my money,

so stretch goal maybe?

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My few cents on armor discussion:

1. Historicly ("realisticly") when plate armor came into play it had superseded other, less technically advanced (and therefore less effective), types of armor such as scale, brigandines and chainmail (with some exeptions).

2. Plate armor in most cases used atop of gambeson. So, generally: "fullplate" = gambeson + breastplate (cuirass) + plated protection for limbs and head. With addition of full mail shirts or mail patches to cover areas unprotected by plate. So it's more like a layers of an onion.

3. Brigandine is NOT evolution of gambeson. This type of armor is more of predecessor of plate armor and due to it's heavy and inconveniently destributed weight, brigandine is more encumbrancing than plate. Therefore there it's could not be assigned to light armor category.

It is a common misconception that the plate armour of European soldiers adversely affected mobility in a significant manner, but in fact plate armour was less heavy and featured more even weight distribution than a modern firefighter's oxygen gear.

Edited by Comedian
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Is nomine vacans liberarit vobis ex servitut.

Is nomine vacans redit vobis ars magica.

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Nice new greeting from Josh to get the update started - he certainly has a sense of humor, and I'm not talking about his Halloween face paint. ;)

 

I think we can all understand if Darren is a bit busy right now, so I for one am fine with the fulfillment site's current schedule. Congrats, Darren! :)

 

The preliminary armor system sounds like something worth pursuing, as long as armor diversity can be maintained without mechanically making it infeasible to use some of the armor types featured in the game.

  • Should something like hide armor be supplanted/made obsolete by leather as an "improved version" or does that effectively kill the visual concept of the rough-hewn rawhide-wearing ranger or barbarian?
  • I think they should be made obsolete by the more advanced armors in their "class", because that's how it historically progressed as well. There should be exceptions to this rule though, such as enchanted armors and "lesser" armors made from a superior material. E.g. rawhide armor made from wyvern hide should outperform deerskin leather armor.

  • If armor types like hide (or scale, or mail) should remain viable on their own, how should that "upgrade" be expressed to the player? Functional descriptors like "fine scale", "superior hide", etc.? Cultural or material descriptors like "Vailian doublet", "iron feather scale"? Olde tyme numerical descriptors like "scale armor +1", "half-plate +2"?
  • I'm all for cultural and material descriptions, they're much more interesting to me personally than the other two options. Something like Vailian Coral Armor could easily be one of the local specialities for non-metal armor types.

  • Is it okay for an upgrade from a visual type of armor to maintain its relative position to other armor types even if "realistically" that upgraded armor is now probably superior in protection to other armor types? E.g. an armored jack or brigandine armor is probably more protective than even nice suit of leather armor... but mechanically, we're presenting it as an upgrade of a padded (doublet) armor type.
  • I'd be fine with the highest possible padded (doublet) upgrade being on even terms with a leather cuirass (tier 2). No need to artificially sustain their relative positions.

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Exile in Torment

 

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linear tiers and direct superiority relationships are boring. i would like to see armor that is more of a collection of properties than a single value number. these properties could encompass protection vs different damage types (piercing, slashing, fire, etc), disadvantages due to encumbrance, how intimidating it looks, whether it will keep you warm in the snow, etc. distinguishing between different damage types increases the feeling of realism and makes the combat more strategic. for example, maybe you should send the guy with the plate armor against that pack of enemies holding swords while your nimble leather-wearer deals with the troll with the club. there's a whole world of strategic depth lost by having that single AC value.

 

the type of armor a character wears should impact how that character can (or must) be used during a battle. protection vs different damage types does this somewhat, in that it suggests different assignments for characters in a specific battle. another good way to do this is by having armor affect movement speed. with light armor, a character should be able to move faster and therefore have an advantage at positioning. however, if you don't take that advantage, your character will be hit more and generally would have been better off wearing something heavier. there's a great opportunity for dealing with character advancement here: your level 20 uberwarrior should be able to sprint around in full plate due to his legendary strength and endurance. this is a way better way to make him feel more powerful to play with than simply increasing his health and damage.

 

i would try to avoid overbalancing though. having every armor type work out to be equally viable feels flat and gamey. in a lot of real life scenarios, plate armor would simply be superior to other armors due to its protective qualities (of course in other scenarios, the encumbrance from it could mean your death). this is not really a problem though; if it's more powerful you can just make it cost more and be harder to find and give it an ongoing maintenance cost somehow. it would be great to be able to save up a bunch of money and equip every party member with heavy armor and have an unusually durable team. most likely this wouldn't actually be an optimal strategy though, as you could get away with having your non-frontline fighters wear lighter armor by keeping them out of harm's way and use the money for something better. basically the armor system would be implicitly allowing players to opt out of some of the positioning/microing gameplay by spending in-game funds, which is pretty cool imo.

 

I agree. As I see it, an attack should be checked in stages:

A) Did it even hit? (If not, zero damage)

B) If it hit, did it hit the armor? (If not, lots of damage)

C) If it hit the armor, did it glance off? (If so, low/zero damage)

D) If it did not glance off, did it pierce through or bludgeon the defender anyway? (depends on armor type)

 

Armor stats should have stats for this full sequence, imo.

 

My few cents on armor discussion:

1. Historicly ("realisticly") when plate armor came into play it had superseded other, less technically advanced (and therefore less effective), types of armor such as scale, brigandines and chainmail (with some exeptions).

2. Plate armor in most cases used atop of gambeson. So, generally: "fullplate" = gambeson + breastplate (cuirass) + plated protection for limbs and head. With addition of full mail shirts or mail patches to cover areas unprotected by plate. So it's more like a layers of an onion.

3. Brigandine is NOT evolution of gambeson. This type of armor is more of predecessor of plate armor and due to it's heavy and inconveniently destributed weight, brigandine is more encumbrancing than plate. Therefore there it's could not be assigned to light armor category.

It is a common misconception that the plate armour of European soldiers adversely affected mobility in a significant manner, but in fact plate armour was less heavy and featured more even weight distribution than a modern firefighter's oxygen gear.

 

Absolutely. For they purposes of simply not being killed when hit by a lance, it is reasonable that there should be no armor as good as a good chunk of metal between you and the lance, regardless of class build. I am of the opinion that armor should be limited by expense and availability rather than arbitrary stats. Also, I'd love someone to fly in the face of RPG clichés and have salvaged armor have a "fit" where it is less effective because it was not made for you, and to get armor actually made for you, it costs a LOT of money.

Edited by AdmThrawn
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Armor Design

 

We would like our armor system to accomplish the following goals:

  • Make wearing different types of armor a real choice for the player based on both character build and circumstance. E.g. a swashbuckling lightly-armored fighter will tend to wear one of a variety of light armor types (maybe a gambeson or leather cuirass), but in a circumstance where protection is of utmost importance, the player may still choose to wear heavy armor with a loss in build optimization.
  • Disassociate armor value from class type in favor of different build types. E.g. a wizard can wear heavy armor and be a different type of wizard instead of just "a wizard who is bad".
  • Allow a character to maintain a character concept throughout the game without suffering extreme mechanical penalties. E.g. a character who starts the game in some form of light armor can complete the game in some form of light armor with appropriate gameplay trade-offs compared to wearing heavy armor.
  • Introduce new or upgraded armor types throughout the game instead of using ++ versions (which in itself would pose problems unless we directly duplicated A/D&D's d20-based attack mechanics).

 

Those first three goals seem very closely tied together and the easiest solution I could come up with off the top of my head is this: Have each class behave differently depending on what type of armor they are wearing.

 

What do I mean by this? Well take that hide wearing barbarian for example. Let's say that when the barbarian is wearing hide armor he feels more attuned to the wilds and creatures he has slain for his own survival and gains a sort of totemic ability. So depending on the material the hide armor is constructed from the barbarian gains some bonus to his combat abilities. Wolf hide armor allows the barbarian to "stalk" his prey, bear hide armor gives him a ferocious charge or swipe, drake hide gives a leap attack ect. This bonus could simply be a passive bonus as well, it really depends on what works best with the combat system.

 

Put that same barbarian in chain or scale mail and suddenly he becomes less of a straight damage dealer or light warrior and becomes a medium fighter with a increased bonus to damage mitigation and possibly a skill that stuns enemies.

 

Put him in full plate and now you have a warlord that rallies his troops and increases allies damage through a warcry.

 

Now, take a different class altogether, a mage. Put them in hide armor and mess up their hair a little and they can be a sort of wild mage. Their spells gain a random component that can cause them to do increased damage but they now have an area in which the effect might occur instead of pinpoint accuracy. With friendly fire on this can be a real concern.

 

Place that mage in a robe and their spells cost less, cast quicker or have a chance to not be consumed; Or they gain more spell slots/ magic resource. Basically they become a more versatile mage.

 

Place that mage in chainmail and now their spell range is reduced but they can charge their weapons with various effects that are released when they strike.

 

Finally put the mage in full plate and their range is reduced to zero; they can only cast spells on themselves to buff their combat prowess. However they can charge their armor to release effects when they get hit and they can charge their shield to reflect different types of damage depending on what they charged it with.

 

This kind of system effectively adds a subclass to every class depending on their armor type, and that can become pretty daunting. So maybe whatever benefit the class gains from the armor is limited to a single additional skill type or spell line.

 

The final element to this system is damage and how it is going to be handled, and how armor is going to mitigate it. The benefits of the heavier armor types should come with trade-offs built in for each class. Otherwise heavy armor, through it's greater mitigation, becomes the only armor anyone should wear.

 

I think a pretty basic but effective way to get a balance is to have armors accentuate the defensive properties of a character as they get heavier while reducing the offensive properties. So every class will effectively do more damage in lighter armors based on the type of bonuses they confer, but they will also not handle reprisals as well. However this leaves medium armors in the lurch a little. To min/max a team you would just stack heavy and light armors for damage mitigation and dealing damage. So maybe give medium armors the support role in combat. These armors give access to better crowd control, and buffing abilities while still maintaining decent damage and being able to take some hits.

 

This gives players something to think about when planning their teams. Having a whole team of maxed out damage dealers might seem cool until you see how much damage they start taking and you realize your team doesn't have the staying power to handle extended campaigns.

 

OK onto the final point, how to introduce armor to the player without + modifiers. I guess if each armor type were to effectively change how a character handled then picking a TYPE of armor would be more important than the quality. So then each armor type could be given upgrade options that would take a character all the way to the end game and these could be expressed via the material the armor is constructed from.

 

Hide armor starts with gopher hide and ends with elder dragon hide, Leather starts with boiled donkey leather and ends with studded reinforced demi-gorgon.. ect. Now, the player may wind up finding two really awesome sets of full plate and only a mediocre set of hide as they progress. This might make them decide if it would be better to change out their totemic barbarian for a warlord to get the better mitigation and stats or stick with their chosen type to maintain their current damage bonus and skills.

 

So maybe this solution isn't the easiest to implement... but I think it nicely ties together all of the stated goals and makes armor a decision with multiple pros and cons to weigh. What role do I want this character to fill? A heavy armor front line character, a light armor flanking character, or a medium armor support character? What kind of mitigation do I want this character to have? What unique properties does this class exhibit in this type of armor over a different class?

 

Well that's my idea on the topic anyways.

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I like the idea of linking defense rating of armor to action speed as suggested by some folks here.

It's simple and intuitive, and solves some of the problems posed in this update.

Light to no armor would mean more attacks for warrior types, and faster casing for mages. It will be up to the player to tune each character between glass canon and sluggish tanks. It will also give incentive for fighter types to wear very light armor. I can see some battles panning out like this;

 

FighterA in plate mail tanks while fighterB in leather armor rushes the nasty archers and mages in the rear. Of course he will be toast if he gets caught in the back with CC spells like web or hold person, so better buff him with some protections before sending him in. The specialization of fighterB will cost some spell slots in the mages grimoire.

 

another scenario

 

Midway through a dungeon you realize the party composition doesn't provide your mage with enough protection and he keeps getting flanked. No problem, I'll track back a little and grab some light armor off an ogre I pwned earlier and give it to the mage for some temporary defense. Now he will take longer to cast spells but at least he won't be interrupted.

 

It will keep all armor types relevant throughout the game and is compatible with the tiered system suggested in the update.

 

As a side note I think we should avoid damage types affecting various armor differently. (things like plate having bonuses against slashing damage) Was I supposed to pack multiple suits of armor to optimize my gear for each encounter? Or have a wide selection of weapon types in my limited inventory to counter the type of armor the enemy is wearing? Why would I want to use blunt weapons when I spent all my points in swords anyway?? I guess it would add some twists to things, but the effects should be kept minor or it will call for too much micro management.

 

Edit: Seeing the amount of thoughtful responses this update has revived so far, why not end every update with a mechanical or balancing problem for the community to chew on? Perhaps a new thread started by one of the devs in the mechanic section of the forums. It would give us stuff to talk about between updates.

Edited by Kaz

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Quality may work. Studded leather armor from drunkard village armorer won't be the same as masterwork Studded Leather from famous armorsmith from the capital. Also, material differences could work as well. Dragonscale leather and deer leather for example.


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Cultural or material descriptors:

 

I think that adds to the immersiveness. Names should be what the armour is called in the world.

 

Amour attributes:

 

All armours should have attribute values that define how they work in the game system. Some examples could be:
  • Damage reduction
  • Hit reduction
  • Reduction in movement speed
  • Reduction in nimbleness
  • Weight
  • Impact on spellcasting (perhaps for each type of spellcasting)

Armour system:

 

I would suggest a limited number of fundamental armour types (e.g. cloth, leather, chain, banded, plate). And then take the armour attributes and define allowable upper and lower limits for each armour type. To balance the armour types you look at the best possible armour of each type and determine if it is balanced against the other types across the set of character classes, roles, and play styles. The best plate will never leave you as nimble as the best leather, but it could leave you more nimble than an average suit of leather.

 

Comparing armours:

 

A very easy way to compare armours is to have the system determine a price. At a glance a player can get a sense of how good the armour is, and then delve into the details as desired. The algorithm used by the system should inflate the price as an attribute value nears the top of the range for that type, and if multiple attributes have high values then it should be very expensive.
Edited by RTWAP

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From what I've read (and reread) from JESawyer's post on armor, I've started thinking of the armors in certain classes. You have your doublet class, your hide class, your scale class, your mail class, and your plate class. These classes "level-up" if you will into higher-tiers.

 

Armor Classes:

Doublet -> Gambeson -> Armored Jack

Hide -> Cuirass -> Leather Armor

Scale Vest -> Scale Armor -> Lamellar

X -> Mail shirt -> Mail armor

X->X->Half-Plate->?

 

A lot of people have been discussing allowing for adjustments being made to the armor by adding enchantments and so forth to improve certain armors. Others discussed allowing certain classes to be beneficial against certain attacks/damage types.

 

Well, what about "multi-classing" armor or crossing-over between armor? Say you started with a hide armor but as you went up in tier, you can switch over to a scale class instead. That way you get a partial benefit of the hide class but have now shifted over to the scale class. Perhaps this locks your armor out of the previous hide class and you can now only move down the scale armor tiers.


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http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

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http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Some of the idea here are pretty elaborate, pretty cool

 

I for one am a little against the cultural/material descriptor, as it makes evaluating gear a little more difficult, if not supplemented by numbers. I think DAO had a similar system where this exploded somewhat, see this link http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Item_sets_%28Origins%29

And there were only sets, in addition, there were also 9 tiers of materials for 3 types of equipment (leather, metal, wood). This is simply too much.

 

Looking at it on a high level, I would like the armor system to be something, that makes the player looking forward to upgrades. When I look back at BG2, I think my party really changed armor a handfull of times during the complete story. Most of the time, I would find a new suit of armor, which went to one of my party members, which in turn gave his old armor to another one. After the first few levels in the game, you did not change your armor that much anymore, as you already had a solid alotment of protective items, so IF you found something better, it was an event worth celebrating.

Nevertheless if I think back, BG2 (or IE games in general) made it not that easy to spot if an armor was better or not. I for one just tried on every new armor that looked interesting and if the AC went up, I kept it.

 

In regards to armor classes, I would tie it into the stamina system - I think thats something DAO touched on a little, but there, stamina was more like mana.

Giving heavier armor more protection of "health" but in turn reduce stamina regeneration or max stamina may be a tradeoff worth of looking into. Or incorporate more crowd control into the game (trip attacks) which take longer to recover from in heavy armor that light.

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