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Update #58: Crafting with Tim Cain!

project eternity crafting tim cain

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#601
Sylvius the Mad

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Verisimilitude is a nice aspect to have in a CRPG. But since the decision has been officially announced, I very much doubt they will add durability back in without a stronger counter-argument.

The mechanic was officially announced, and they appear to have abandoned it for little or no reason.

#602
Tsuga C

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The mechanic was officially announced, and they appear to have abandoned it for little or no reason.


J. Sawyer did mention having doubts about the proposed system. Whether those doubts centered on implementation or user acceptance I do not recall.

#603
RedSocialKnight

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Abstract realism 

 

 

That is hot ice and wondrous strange snow.



#604
Adhin

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Oh the wondrous topic of inch chick duct tape armor, I can with a high degree of certainty say 'probably extremely well'. They're are records of paper armor which hold up surprisingly well for combat of the times. Mythbusters did a test of it vs metal of the same design and it did a good job. Duct tape, by and large would be far more durable and last long and have less issues with rain then pure tape armor would so... yeah. Though I wouldn't want to rely on duct tape being the thing that 'binds' the duct tape plates that would just fall apart to easily. But if you can make a boat and a shobby functioning bridge out of it, and paper works for armor (inch thick folded paper). :yes:


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#605
rjshae

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Verisimilitude is a nice aspect to have in a CRPG. But since the decision has been officially announced, I very much doubt they will add durability back in without a stronger counter-argument.

The mechanic was officially announced, and they appear to have abandoned it for little or no reason.

 

The explanation from Josh Sawyer seemed clear enough, and I respect his choice. I'm sure the designers have had to make many such decisions about what to keep and what to cut--it's just an inevitable part of the product design process. Hopefully there will be a little something for everybody to enjoy in the end result.


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#606
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You mean you don't carry multiple weapons that deal different damage types?!? Christ, my DM would eat you alive. Heck in my P&P games I don't cross the street unless I have at least two different swords, a mace, two daggers, a cudgel, a silvered dagger, a short bow (with four different arrow types) and at least one cold iron weapon ready to hand. In RPGs different damage types are incredibly important and that is why you should hang on to multiple weapons not because you forgot to spend 5 minutes laboriously repairing dozens of different weapons and armours.

 

Has your DM ever implemented things like in the early Might and Magic games, where a number of monsters are completely immune to melee attacks from either male or female characters? That was interesting to run across, imo.
 



#607
ScionKai

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I'm late to the party, but community feedback was requested, so I'll give my 2 cents (I have some time to kill so I'll give this a shot, even though it will likely never be read). Interesting(?) note - I really wish brevity was one of my strong suits.

 

Money Sinks:

Long-winded exposition: (Money in many single player games does get excessive and pointless, especially in games like BG2: ToB where the player reaches such a high level of power. Typical mechanics for dealing with the problem do come across as contrived more often than not. Item durability can be one solution, but it focuses on penalizing players, not so much adding gameplay value... I'm sure Obsidian would have made a system that worked fine and didn't have a negative impact on the game experience, but to be honest I'm not that sad to see it go. Plus, they don't have to worry about coding it in, so hopefully Mr. Cain can use that balance to invest more into other elements of his crafting system.

 

Also, I don't think anything I suggest is really feasible at this stage in development, so unless I am regurgitating their ideas, whatever sinks they come up with will not be such resource hogs as those Iisted below.

 

Quick Overview:

A list of things I believe would make excellent money sinks in a single player RPG (others have suggested many of these, so they are in no way novel concepts):

  1. Politics
  2. Bribery
  3. Give them a sporting chance
  4. Stronghold
  5. Army / Personal Security
  6. Training
  7. An extraordinarily greedy NPC
  8. Crime
  9. Romance

I. Politics

This is may be my favorite, and something I really hope is already being worked into the game. Being able to manipulate what happens in a city or region by using exorbitant wealth. Don't like the mayor of a city? Have certain NPC's designed to be quite despicable in places of power vulnerable to being replaced in election or buying favor with the person who appointed them to their station.

 

In fact, as with several of my other suggestions, an RPG could develop this into a core mechanic, where many NPC's can be demoted based on your influence. Killing a particularly haughty noble in a game makes you the monster, but what if many people of power could be arrested or outcast based on player actions? (the Roenall quest in BG2 jumps out).

 

Brute force is always a motivation, but in later stages of an RPG, players often reach a level of power most people in the game world would never encounter or expect, so the consequences to offing them will not be very gratifying... Ruining them might, though it likely isn't the path a good character would follow. Be it having them removed from office, loose their family fortune, going to jail (setup a sting or even frame them in case of evil characters, or exposing their past misdeeds otherwise).

 

The preceding was a simplistic interpretation, but ideally, politics would encompass a much more pervasive role in the game... Running for office, manipulating powerful guilds, political assassinations (more about hit squads under "Crime") up to and including regicide, privately funded welfare projects (the town of Creek's Bend could use a windmill), campaign financing, creating a political faction even. These events can be developed into a repeatable mechanic that goes beyond the realm of individually scripted quests.

 

II. Bribery

Everyone has a price, make this a mechanic.

 

"I need you to run to the other side of town and get my sword. Do this, and I'll tell you where you can find such and such."

If FedEx quests play a part in the game, I would love to see an option to give money in some situations to avoid doing menial tasks. Hopefully the game design already addresses this, but it would still be neat to see situations where I can give someone 5,000 gold to get valuable information. This makes me think about a lot of movies that start with the whole, "maybe this will help your memory" thing...

 

In BG2, bribing almost always lead to a fight, but avoiding conflict through payoffs is a legitimate tactic that certain guards (possibly a random trait) are susceptible to. And it doesn't need to stop their, what if many encounters could be paid off? If I'm just trying to get past an area and it is inhabited by sentient beings, why not offer money to get by them. Maybe I just want to get to a certain part of the map now, why wouldn't some dragons forget they ever saw me for say, 50,000 gold? This introduces narrative problems  in some instances, but if used wisely could be interesting. Besides, whose to say later on when we're bored, we won't venture back to the lair and kill the dragon for sport? That wasn't part of our deal anyway...

 

III. Give them a Sporting Chance

This should probably be 2B, but if I'm level 20, and a group of obviously overpowered kobolds parlays before the inevitable fight, it would be amusing to have the option to give them some gold to hit the gym and gear up before we would even bother. This could be a taunt that they randomly respond to with violence or maybe even accept. And maybe there is a very small chance that these kobolds or whatever pop back up down the road in full plate with magical weapons.

 

IV. Stronghold

I think this is probably the best, but I understand how the opt in nature of it is problematic. But strongholds hold so many promising opportunities...

 

From improving your keep itself, to making the surrounding land more livable should it be on an estate, strongholds give an excellent opportunity to investing vast amounts of money. I liked the estate in Assassin's Creed III, and it would be interesting to see RPG's implement a variation of this. It would be cool to build up a town with an inn, tavern, smithy, windmill, apothecary, butcher, map maker / book binder, stable, tailor, bakery, and merchant post; and spend your money helping train your townsfolk and make them more productive / happy. Something like that would be a treasure trove of quests and can't wait to see it in a game one day.

 

This could be done in the most elaborate way, where you can interact with a beautiful city and really appreciate your work, or a more simplistic approach can be made, where you have a storekeeper in your keep that gives you access to more and more items, based on the proficiency of the townsfolk in a small village next to your fortress.

 

V. Army / Personal Security

Building up a small army for defending your stronghold would be great fun. I remember to this day when playing BG2: ToB, where you go after the drow and can go through the slave cave, you fight a huge army of duergar and orogs, and after killing them all, searching their bodies I think I got like 40 suits of +2 plate mail, +2 swords, and +2 crossbows... I remember thinking it would be cool to be able to use all of that gear for my soldiers at De'Arnise Keep.

 

I'm not suggesting outfitting individually of course, but being able to spend gold to equip your security with better and better weapons would be amazingly expensive and if there was just a simple card for each branch of your forces, showing what your archers, infantry and cavalry were equipped with, that would be satisfying. And should any conflicts ever happen, they would get the appropriate bonuses and even be capable of taking on more advanced enemies. Maybe the top tier would allow you to conquer a neighboring keep and expand your lands.

 

A personal security force? Seems kind of out there considering what a machine of destruction your party is, but say you are in a certain province or something, maybe you get a special ability button that allows you to call forth a small force of 4-10 NPCs that will teleport into the fight and hang around for a short period of time. They would require a lot of upkeep to feed and equip them, but maybe they can turn the tide or make some extremely tough fights just a little easier.

Maybe that personal security force would be a team you could send on missions to retrieve powerful items, recon areas, or even assassinate second tier and below NPC's that cross you or step on your shoes, whatever your character's threshold is.

 

VI. Training

This has two implications I'll list here... If #5 were in a game, you could spend money to train troops to learn skills or improve stats, and if #4 is implemented, perhaps you could sign your villagers up to apprentice under a master in their field in some far off land.

 

The second implication is for yourself. Say you don't like that your constitution is so low, or your level progression is so slow... Allow players to spend totally ridiculous sums of money to improve their character. You can high a gypsy sword master from some ancient, reclusive sect. Just getting an audience with them (say they travel to your keep) would be an unbelievable sum of money, and on top of that, you have to pay them for specific services once you have access to them. Want to gain a level? 5,000,000 gold please. Something that you wouldn't be able to afford using (without cheats) but a few times. And maybe even have them offer less expensive services that only offer temporary rewards.

 

VII. An Extraordinarily Greedy Joinable NPC

Combine a great voice, some comic relief, and a penchant for demanding gold constantly and make an NPC that is very fun to have around, and very expensive.

  • Every time you strike camp, this NPC wants gold before he'll even bother waking up. The higher his level, the more expensive he gets.
  • Walking through a town? They're are going to see a lot of things they just can't do without. Meaningless stuff most times, like a handkerchief with an embroidery they have to have, or a prostitute / noble family's heir that offers themselves for ridiculous amounts of money. Maybe some of these encounters can lead to a quest(s), but they always prove entertaining if not annoying.
  • And once the player has met this character, they will be a burden on their coin purse. Even if you kick them from the party or go hostile towards them, they will become a nemesis set to wring every coin they can from you, even if they have to pry it from your cold, dead fingers.
  • Spells have a coin cost, swinging a sword isn't free, etc. Maybe they keep a running tally or something and bring it up every 24 hours or so (this needn't be calculated, just some arbitrary number and a ready list pf petty things they have done). Once you worked out the mechanics, it could prove t be pretty entertaining. Maybe they know how the money situation is and aren't so pushy when the purse is thin...

 

VIII. Crime / Risky Ventures

Thugs, bandits, thieves, and the like are common names of enemies in games, but all they ever do is attack.

 

Maybe like how walking on lava in final fantasy games drains health, some cities drain your pocket over time. If you sleep in a certain tavern with over a certain amount of money, you're going to be missing some of it come morning. And let's not forget to address the fact that players without some magical means aren't going to be carrying 500,000 gold across the kingdom on their person. Be it at their keep, a hidden stash, or whatever, there is a possibility it will become a target. If a player loses everything, maybe they are able to go on a quest to recover most of it, but they find a bunch of Harry & Loyd style I.O.U.'s when they reclaim their coin. 

 

Corrupt politicians, shady business dealings, law enforcement shake downs, etc. are all possible sinks. You could go into business with that thieves guild, and you could end up spectacular gear, but you could also just end up getting ripped off.

 

Obviously the nature of this sink is a penalty, so how it is handled would be very important in order not to ruin the game for some players. Maybe if you encounter that shady figure in the alley and they make an offer to look at their wares for 5,000 gold you should trust there is a chance they will disappear in the night...But if you are lucky, and they dice roll your way, they show you an inventory that includes some incredibly powerful random items. The neat thing about this is - if the player saves before saying yes, they can reload if losing the gold bothers them, but if you have 90,000 gold saved up, you might not care, the player gets to decide how they want to play the game.

 

IX. Romance

Be it a joinable NPC, an encounter with a princess that offers the chance for you to advance your station, or a beautiful lady with a huge extended family suffering in the filthy slums of one of the larger cities, love don't come cheap.

 

In the case of a joinable NPC, they could prove to be like the greedy NPC described under #7... "If you loved me you would buy me those roses!" Too often in RPG's, romance is idealized as some mushy crap where they are just sooooo in love, but you know what? Sometimes people use relationships to get something they want. Written well, this could be very entertaining, and it could be a life lesson for some of the naive youngsters who have yet to feel the sting of a manipulative significant other. Let's not make everyone total cynics before their time though. "Do you want to go to the next step? OK!!! We're getting married! I'm inviting EVERYONE!" Most. expensive. church. EVER. You thought you were talking about sex? "Oh, what type of woman do you think I AM!?" Maybe some opportunity for comic relief, but definitely would need to be written well not to be annoying.

  • A betrothal is one of the other option, but the dowry customs work against the player no matter their gender in this fantasy setting. If you want to take a noble's child you have to compensate him with a vast sum.
  • And moving that poor beaut out of the slums might sound nice, but it would break her spirit if Uncle Fester and the rest of her creepy family couldn't return to their family estate that was wrongfully taken from them when she was a child.
  • Any attempt to have romance be so costly would obviously need to return a reward somehow, maybe a priceless family heirloom or relatives that can move to the keep and offer irreplaceable services for your town, something like that... And there should also be alternatives that aren't so costly.

Maybe for the character to get married or less noble relations it isn't a long drawn out thing, but just an offer to fulfill the promise of love at first site, all the while getting a unique reward for a lot of coin, and a few dialog options.

 

-----------------------------------------------

 

If you made it this far, thanks for reading my ridiculous dissertation!


Edited by ScionKai, 15 July 2013 - 08:22 PM.

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#608
JFSOCC

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that's an impressive post, I don't agree with everything, but it's got some good suggestions and you really thought it out.
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#609
Shadenuat

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my 2 cents

Expensive cents, you can buy a car on these.

Quality post.

 

Might&Magic used training and item durability as a money sink. It worked fine, although nature of the game (respawning monsters, AoE spells, flight and relics falling from dragons and titans) still meant player could collect millions with nothing to spend them on.



#610
ScionKai

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that's an impressive post, I don't agree with everything, but it's got some good suggestions and you really thought it out.

 

 

 

 

my 2 cents

Expensive cents, you can buy a car on these.

Quality post.

 

Might&Magic used training and item durability as a money sink. It worked fine, although nature of the game (respawning monsters, AoE spells, flight and relics falling from dragons and titans) still meant player could collect millions with nothing to spend them on.

 

 

Thank you gentlemen!

 

Aside from a few misspellings and improper uses of there / their (I still don't get how these slip through the cracks, I know well the difference between the two!), I like to think I shared most of the things that popped into my head while reading through this thread.

 

I gave crude examples for most, but hopefully people will see those as generalities, and not me requesting specific encounters be used.

 

One other thing I didn't give my thoughts on was taxes... Something we all begrudgingly deal with but never makes it's way into games. Obviously we play games to escape reality, but maybe if properly done, taxes could be introduced into a a game as a practical gold sink. And if you were to introduce a string of quests where unjustly squandered tax revenue was put to good use, and those guilty of misappropriating funds were severely punished for their actions, maybe it could be gratifying too.

 

Ciao!


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#611
JFSOCC

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You want to avoid penalizing a player for his work, taxes are most certainly a penalty.

#612
ScionKai

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You want to avoid penalizing a player for his work, taxes are most certainly a penalty.

 

I absolutely agree, it was something I was hesitant to bring up in the first place. I think in order for any such system to be effective it would have to offer a rewarding storyline, and provide the player alternatives. Perhaps the tax is opt in if the player decides to join a certain group that offers a lot of fringe benefits, wants to become a noble, or it could factor into player involvement with politics or strongholds.

 

I'm not sure how it could be done, but I think a clever team could make it work and be a rewarding feature of the game.


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#613
Lephys

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I think taxes could actually be a cool narrative element to have to deal with. You know in THIS town, you have to pay a tax to carry your weapons. Or you can give them up at the gate. Or, maybe there's a tax in place for out-of-towners using the inn/pub. Citizens present some sort of identification, and you don't have it, 'cause you're "not from around there." So, you have the option of trying to figure out how to get fake identification credentials, at the risk of being discovered and getting into a troublesome situation, or just paying the taxes. OR, maybe there's enough interest in getting these taxes removed to provide a quest-type opportunity to actually do so. Maybe a lot of people in the town feel that such taxes are hurting the town's financial well-being by discouraging out-of-town traders and travelers from actually stopping in that town, etc.

But, if you're at all referring to "You just pay a portion of all the stuff you earn, for the overall benefit of this whole region," then I'd say that doesn't really fit into a game like this. First of all, you're playing as characters dealing with an ongoing crazy situation, and not just people sitting around, being good citizens and reaping the benefits of city/town infrastructure from your tax-money. So, there's not even much of a reason why you'd fall into any kind of always-taxable situation. Again, though, maybe once you get a stronghold, you have to deal with that, in regard to the well-being of your stronghold. Maybe it earns you money (that you don't necessarily have to earn), and the lord or whatever over that region learns of your stronghold (maybe it's some old manor/keep you fix up that people kind of forgot about, or maybe it's already being run and somehow falls into your official ownership, *shrug*) and demands taxes. Maybe he's wrong to, and you tell him to shove it. Maybe he's not wrong to, and just wants a mutually beneficial relationship. Maybe you STILL tell him to shove it. Maybe you spend resources/make choices to keep your keep a secret, smaller-scale operation, so as to avoid things like taxes, or public knowledge of its existence.

I wouldn't at all say taxes have no place in a game. But simply going for the "what if you have to pay taxes" blanket across the whole game would be all annoyance and no beneficial choice or affectability.

#614
ScionKai

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...

I wouldn't at all say taxes have no place in a game. But simply going for the "what if you have to pay taxes" blanket across the whole game would be all annoyance and no beneficial choice or affectability.

 

Yeah, I agree completely. I definitely didn't mean a system where you simply lose a percentage of your money and have no recourse. It would only work if presented as a story element or a mechanic you could influence. I don't have any specifics in mind, but I think they could be developed into a great mechanism to function as a gold sink, and it could be multi-faceted too, with various applications of the theme.

 

I think taxes would have to be worked into a game design early on with a clear vision, perhaps regional, or perhaps game wide being one of the sufferances a tyrant or shadow group imposes on the people. You would have to provide a black market, and you would have to allow players to affect change.

 

Taxes may not resound in younger players the same way they do the older generations, but it is a fairly universal concept everyone can relate too, and would appreciate the opportunity to do something about.

 

Also, it allows a game to make social observations and communicate the pros and cons of different beliefs across the political spectrum. Perhaps higher taxes in some regions are evident in the good lives the lower & middle classes live, but also maybe it shows sloth in others if too much is distributed down, or out of control opulence in the how government officials live in others. Maybe in some regions you can see the 0.1% effect, or you see how anarchy and no law are the result of no taxes in different areas.

 

There is much to explore in the that word, and like I said, it would take a clever team of developers to design a system that contributed to the fun of a game, rather than diminishing it.


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#615
Lephys

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Yeah, just, at-a-glance, I'd say that if taxes aren't a significant enough thing (even if they're understood to exist in all cities/towns to some degree) to really affect you, they maybe shouldn't even be brought to your attention. That's why I mentioned the "You have to pay a weapon-carry tax in this town" example. Clearly, that has a large impact not only on your finances, but also on your capabilities while within the town. As well as the goings on of the town, itself. How people react to people with weapons, how people react to the people enforcing the tax, etc.

Whereas, in some other town, there might be a 2% sales tax in place, but it's not really of any significance. Shy of making the whole game into a politics/economy simulator (in that you can always affect politics/taxation in any place, no matter what), there's not much benefit to having something like taxes permeate the entire gameplay experience.

It's a little tiny bit like race reactivity. Some towns aren't even going to comment on the fact that you're an elf or whatever. Some towns might commonly see every race imaginable (some big trade hub or something), so it's just not even a big deal. But then, other towns might NEVER see Elves. So, you stroll in there as an Elf. Boom. Impacts the situation.

I hope that makes sense. And I'm not trying to shoot down your suggesting. Just trying to help hash it out is all. 8P
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#616
Gizmo

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I'd like a sincere answer to this question, though I know not all of you are of the same mind: what do you want to spend (in-game) money on?

It's been an old joke that the adventurers delve into the old caves and mines and return with untold riches and wonders... then spend fortunes in small towns and suddenly the locals are all millionaires [presumably]; or just some of them.

 

One would think that there would be a class shift; sudden resentments, grudges... The Blacksmith has a fortune and can hire three at [exorbitant rates] from the neighboring towns (leaving them with none). He buys out all the month's timber to make an extension to his shop and forge... and none is left to repair the inn from after that awful sorcererous debacle them adventures had with that mercenary company ~the place ruined.

 

Could not the excess gold be spent on (among other ~usual~ things)... fines from writs for damages, and tariffs. If brigands can perform highway robbery... why can't city government? chaos_zpsd47953f3.gif 

But to this end:  Could towns have a city coffer? and certain changes and 'upgrades' occur when they have enough money to do them? Could things not degrade when they don't? Eg. less city guards, less clean (seedier) cities; higher crime frequency.

 

I liked [the] Baldur's Gate's methods, but I also liked Arx Fatalis' methods.  I like that the player might buy what they cannot make ~until they can make it cheaper themselves; but IMO this should be a character (development) choice. IMO it's not punishing the players that don't use crafting to allow those who do to get gear cheaper ~they chose to develop crafting.  I have seen neighbors throw away bicycles with a broken handbrakes ~and then go buy a new ones. If I pick up those bikes and fix the brakes... I get the bikes for the cost of the repairs, and of knowing how.

 

  The important thing is that the PC's with advanced crafting skills are not [should not be] spending all of their time practicing their own personal craft [ie. sword training; spell casting; slight of hand, religious rituals... for them those points are going somewhere else, and those that are [instead] have the option to become better skilled mages, paladins, and rogues because of it; so it's not really a free lunch after all.

 

IMO item degradation becomes 'watching the clock' ~that's not good.  In Arx Fatalis, the player can ignore item degradation until it becomes critical, and they get an icon of the critically damaged item. This works well in my experience.  I would think that high-quality gear should degrade at a noticeably slower pace; perhaps some not at all (part of the enchantment).


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#617
Chippy

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The best money sink IMO in any game was NWN2's stronghold.  It was financially believable, incorperated played choice and consequence (I was pretty shocked when I actually ran out of money becasue I'd bought almost even shiny thing in the game, and the state of the keep could potentially effet the story) and most importantly fed back into crafting as a playstyle;- I decided not to buy any magical items on a second playthrough and rely on crafting to survive - this left me enough money to renovate the stonghld quickly.

If that could be replicated, but also allow for surrounding economy in the town to go up, and for that to have an impact on crafting (e.g. the smith can now make refined carbon steel saws and planes for the miller/carpenter to work on harder wood > this allows for a stonger drawbridge and greater traffic) and from this "upgrade" the player learns a new recipe for a weapon enhancement.

 

I thought it worked well in NWN2 and SOZ.



#618
Hassat Hunter

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Well, BG2 had a "tax", the fee you had to pay to use magic in Athklatla (probably misspelled, I never got it right). It also added right in with the plot, and the critical cutscene of Imoen being taken away.

Something like that would have far more my preference. Not just a money sink, abstract and away from the game, but one that actually fleshes out the gameworld, adds into the plotline and doesn't appear "alien" to the gameworld just to add a sink.

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Sannom

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Well, BG2 had a "tax", the fee you had to pay to use magic in Athklatla (probably misspelled, I never got it right). It also added right in with the plot, and the critical cutscene of Imoen being taken away.

Something like that would have far more my preference. Not just a money sink, abstract and away from the game, but one that actually fleshes out the gameworld, adds into the plotline and doesn't appear "alien" to the gameworld just to add a sink.

If you could even call that a "money sink", at least in BG2 proper. I think by the time you finish the main slavery quest in the slums, you have enough money to bot pay that bribe and pay the money necessary to pass to the next chapter.

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Xienzi

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IV. Stronghold

I think this is probably the best, but I understand how the opt in nature of it is problematic. But strongholds hold so many promising opportunities...

 

From improving your keep itself, to making the surrounding land more livable should it be on an estate, strongholds give an excellent opportunity to investing vast amounts of money. I liked the estate in Assassin's Creed III, and it would be interesting to see RPG's implement a variation of this. It would be cool to build up a town with an inn, tavern, smithy, windmill, apothecary, butcher, map maker / book binder, stable, tailor, bakery, and merchant post; and spend your money helping train your townsfolk and make them more productive / happy. Something like that would be a treasure trove of quests and can't wait to see it in a game one day.

 

This could be done in the most elaborate way, where you can interact with a beautiful city and really appreciate your work, or a more simplistic approach can be made, where you have a storekeeper in your keep that gives you access to more and more items, based on the proficiency of the townsfolk in a small village next to your fortress.


V. Army / Personal Security

Building up a small army for defending your stronghold would be great fun. I remember to this day when playing BG2: ToB, where you go after the drow and can go through the slave cave, you fight a huge army of duergar and orogs, and after killing them all, searching their bodies I think I got like 40 suits of +2 plate mail, +2 swords, and +2 crossbows... I remember thinking it would be cool to be able to use all of that gear for my soldiers at De'Arnise Keep.

 

I'm not suggesting outfitting individually of course, but being able to spend gold to equip your security with better and better weapons would be amazingly expensive and if there was just a simple card for each branch of your forces, showing what your archers, infantry and cavalry were equipped with, that would be satisfying. And should any conflicts ever happen, they would get the appropriate bonuses and even be capable of taking on more advanced enemies. Maybe the top tier would allow you to conquer a neighboring keep and expand your lands.

 

A personal security force? Seems kind of out there considering what a machine of destruction your party is, but say you are in a certain province or something, maybe you get a special ability button that allows you to call forth a small force of 4-10 NPCs that will teleport into the fight and hang around for a short period of time. They would require a lot of upkeep to feed and equip them, but maybe they can turn the tide or make some extremely tough fights just a little easier.

Maybe that personal security force would be a team you could send on missions to retrieve powerful items, recon areas, or even assassinate second tier and below NPC's that cross you or step on your shoes, whatever your character's threshold is.

 

VI. Training

This has two implications I'll list here... If #5 were in a game, you could spend money to train troops to learn skills or improve stats, and if #4 is implemented, perhaps you could sign your villagers up to apprentice under a master in their field in some far off land.

 

The second implication is for yourself. Say you don't like that your constitution is so low, or your level progression is so slow... Allow players to spend totally ridiculous sums of money to improve their character. You can high a gypsy sword master from some ancient, reclusive sect. Just getting an audience with them (say they travel to your keep) would be an unbelievable sum of money, and on top of that, you have to pay them for specific services once you have access to them. Want to gain a level? 5,000,000 gold please. Something that you wouldn't be able to afford using (without cheats) but a few times. And maybe even have them offer less expensive services that only offer temporary rewards.

 

IV. So it would just be a mesh between Sim City and Warcraft/Starcraft? I'm fine with that. In fact, aside from that, I do think your idea's certainly making good use of the time-gating mechanic. The part about having quests only open up after a certain level of upgrading, I mean. Perhaps your stronghold could be a temporary home for refugees of some village while you go clear the area and make the land safe? Stuff like that would be neat.

 

V. I dislike the idea of having a skill that summons a band of NPCs to fight with you, even more if they are generics. If you had the opportunity to create that personal squad of bodyguards with the Hall, though, that idea doesn't sound quite so bad. Also, I don't really like the idea of having them pop out of nowhere. Maybe the research into a portal stones could be a stronghold option that then unlocks the skill to call upon them? Other than those two issues, I like the idea.

 

VI. I actually like the idea of training villagers and party members. If in addition to that and after returning from training that party member could act as your personal crafter that you can request jobs from, that would be super. Expanding on the idea of researching portal stones in V, jobs like researching those kinds of magical devices or weapons that can cleave the earth could act as EXP troves for the lower-leveled characters. Furthermore, that would actually give reason to make a character or use an existing npc for the sole purpose of crafting and would give added permanent gameplay bonuses to investing in leveling up a different character.


Edited by Xienzi, 21 July 2013 - 12:11 PM.

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