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I don't understand why something that makes use of gold/money simply must be nothing more than a "sink." Are items' very existence in the game at shops/merchants a money sink? Or is that simply an actual use for money?

 

Are enemies in the game simply a damage sink, or an HP sink?

 

You can gamify anything if you focus hard enough on the fact that it's all really just a virtual simulation of a supposedly real (within the context of the game world) thing. That doesn't mean that the ability to gamify something makes it bad.

 

 

Here's, I think, what makes something a sink: The fact that it doesn't really serve any other purpose than to use up money. I think people's legitimate issue with something like degradation, for example, is that it is purely an incentive to spend money. Obviously no one's going to have "damaged" weapons and armor, and decide "Hey, screw repairs! LET'S GO TAKE ON A DRAGON!" So, now you've got what essentially amounts to "I HAVE to go spend some money so that my stuff that I've already paid for doesn't suck." But then, any impact of that degradation on combat and the strategy therein is simply divided by a single, static threshold: items are either damaged because they're out of points, or they're totally fine because they still have points.

 

So, you've got two options: have to go pay someone so that your weapons and armor don't suck (not really any amount of fun), fix it yourself (also not really contributing to the fun-factor, since it's just a different resource than money -- materials -- and the same quick button-click expenditure), or have your stuff suck (a third still not really very fun option). Basically, you're offered a choice between 3 negatives, or, at the very least, 3 neutrals.

 

I think there simply needs to be a positive range in there, as some others have pointed out and proposed. Maybe gathering (or even buying) the necessary resources to make repairs and putting points into the skill provides actual bonuses to your items, like more armor, resistance to certain effects, etc.

 

Anywho, with stuff like crafting/repairs, I don't think there's any need to make sure it's a money-generating thing. I think THAT'S the difference between a single-player game and a multi-player game. The important thing about a crafting system is how it supports gameplay, when opted for, and not that it serves as some additional means of income. Really the only time that ever became a concern was in the "craft-to-improve" systems of MMOs and the like. Plus the whole multi-player bit making an actual economy matter more.

 

And as far as the "what all should cost money/how to avoid too much/too little money" thing, again, I just think other "currencies" such as skill points are a good example. Have you ever heard anyone say "Man, I've got an abundance of skill points at the end of the game, with nothing to spend them on!"? Nope. And there are plenty of things you never HAVE to spent skill points on, even though you COULD spend skill points on them. I don't see a problem with money working the same way. You find it along the way, without having to specifically go out of your way JUST to acquire money, just like you complete tasks, gain experience, and level up to obtain skill points, all without really having to go out of your way JUST for the skill points. Then, when you have them, you spend them on useful things.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Great update, I always get a warm fuzzy feeling when reading updates from PE, W2, etc that reminds me that the best CRPG developers are finally being released into their roles to make games however they like.  I'm firmly in the camp of 'let em get on with it, they've already proven themselves' so will provide a comment on this update regarding people being concerned about trekking about to and from forges: there are methods that can be used in the field that lessen wear on weapons and armor, I'm confident Obsidian know what they are (waterstones and case hardening with materials containing carbon come to mind) but this crafting system seems more complex than past examples, so I'm pretty glad this stretch goal was reached. :yes:   

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So, regarding money sinks, I tend to agree with what Gumbercules wrote: although you are experienced developers, maybe you need to wait a bit more and see how exactly the money will flow (from fallen enemies, shop prices, both buying and selling ones, crafting prices etc.) in relattion to game lenght, story and party formation.

 

It's true that we will have to tune whatever values we wind up using for money you get and money you spend, but my higher-level concern is systemic.  If there aren't core systemic drains, many players will simply wind up with a lot of money toward the end of the game.  Many of you don't seem to care about this, but as I said earlier, I've heard complaints about it on every game I've shipped.

 

 

Well, my thought process was:

 

  • Having to periodically repair equipment seems like busywork.
  • But what if it were abstracted into an Upkeep cost? Instead of having to go back to a smithy every once in a while, you could set a slider to automatically deduct money down to a certain threshold in order to pay for upkeep, and the actual repairs could be considered to happen "offscreen", similar to using the privy or other boring, repetitive tasks.
  • But wait, you could simplify it further by ensuring that the player earns less money to begin with, or that all purchases cost more money, instead of giving the player more money and then looking for ways to subtract further money.

You might need to do something like make superior items increase in cost in a non-linear way, but I think you could solve/simplify the problem solely by tweaking player income and non-upkeep expenditures. Of course, you still end up with the potential problem of what feels right. It could be that players simply expect the monetary reward at the end of a difficult quest to be a certain amount, or they decide that the pricier equipment is a complete ripoff. Still, I think it might be better to risk those problems, and maybe solve them through clever writing and encounter design that encourages buying "ripoff" items, since the item degredation solution is leading to lots of complaining anyway.

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I wonder if the objection to being massively wealthy at endgame is simply a dissonance, we are not usually treated as being so wealthy, and it does not fit in with the story being told? In NWN2 being the lord of Crossroad Keep, and maintaining the lands, it felt like we were wealthy and powerful, matching our financial status. Being fantastically wealthy in Icewind Dale seemed to work against the internal logic of the adventuring party however, these were desperate men and women, seeking their fortune on the frontier.

 

While it would be original to play as a cash strapped desperado, with a half empty purse all game long, I don't think that it would be appropriate to what Eternity is trying to achieve. Perhaps the game needs quest and locales that only open up when certain levels of wealth are reached, thereby reflecting our hard work in loot gathering and giving us a reason to spend extravagantly or even invest in more important matters, political or ecclesiastical in nature perhaps?

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Why does Sawyer answer important questions on SA and not here?

 

I just find it startling when he speaks at all. It's like my pancreas suddenly venturing an opinion on what I want for dinner. Valid, expert, but startling.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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So, you've got two options: have to go pay someone so that your weapons and armor don't suck (not really any amount of fun), fix it yourself (also not really contributing to the fun-factor, since it's just a different resource than money -- materials -- and the same quick button-click expenditure), or have your stuff suck (a third still not really very fun option). Basically, you're offered a choice between 3 negatives, or, at the very least, 3 neutrals.

 

I think there simply needs to be a positive range in there, as some others have pointed out and proposed. Maybe gathering (or even buying) the necessary resources to make repairs and putting points into the skill provides actual bonuses to your items, like more armor, resistance to certain effects, etc.

 

This is very valid criticism. By choosing to invest into the repair skill, you only get "yay, I can have normal weapons!". It is therefore important that a Craft- maxing character gets unique opportunities for game/story content. Take for example a Crom Faeyr-like weapon which can only be forged together by a maxed-out repair character, or perhaps just letting the crafting character take the role of Cromwell in BG2.

 

I'm for weapon degradation for reasons of realism, but that does not mean I would be guessing that I will have a fun playthrough with my Repair expert character, unless of course our Devs see to that ;)


"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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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?

 

I worked on IWD, HoW, TotL, and IWD2.  In virtually all of these games, I heard these two complaints over and over and over:

 

When unique items were in stores:

* I don't want to buy unique items in stores.

My thoughts in this:

First issue:

When unique items were in stores: * I don't want to buy unique items in stores

I think the main problem with this is how much unique the item is and what kind of store. People like to think that unique items are rare,special things that can't be recreated and most people in the world haven't seen. When you can buy it from a store, it looses  something af its allure. Possible solutions: Make a reason for the store to have them. Maybe a realy special store that it's difficult to gain entrance and deals only with special items? Bonus points if the seller is unique himself. (I don't think I ever heard anyone complain about the "Adventurer's Mart" or the Collector's Edition shop but I may be wrong).

 

This I agree with. An upscale store with a restricted clientele would validate the process of buying an expensive magic item. Or perhaps a high end auction house with limited and varying items for sale.

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

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It's true that we will have to tune whatever values we wind up using for money you get and money you spend, but my higher-level concern is systemic.  If there aren't core systemic drains, many players will simply wind up with a lot of money toward the end of the game.  Many of you don't seem to care about this, but as I said earlier, I've heard complaints about it on every game I've shipped.

 

 

Personally I would rather have an excess of money than a durability system if it adds nothing more than a moneysink and tedium. I'd rather you up the price of items to sell or having a hunger and thirst system in the game, for instance.

 

Then again, I've never felt that money is power in roleplaying games. If being rich changes a lot in terms of options which open up and things you can afford (bribes, bodyguards, castles), then that's great, though. But given the average playthrough, I imagine it shouldn't be that difficult to figure out how much money/wealth a party needs at any given time. Okay, okay, maybe it is, though, but then it's better to err on the safe side.

 

 Of course, players who grind random encounters or who explore every nook and cranny and do every quest will have more wealth, but that's not such a bad thing unless money is in some way too important in terms of progress. 

 

Another thing you haven't mentioned (but probably have considered) is the income. If whatever the party gains outside of quest-specific rewards is useful, but of relatively low value when sold (rather than used, in crafting or as gear, etc.) then taking the scenic route will not 'overburden' the party with too much wealth. Nothing they can really cash in on, at least.

 

Regardless, I generally find durability systems add tedium rather than fun to games. In some games they fit, and if you decide to carry on I hope it's not too much of a bther. Or optional, even.

 

All the best.

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regarding getting unique items, i would prefer something in between. that is, both in dungeons and in stores. maybe an adventurer was in  dire need of money and selling it to the shopkeeper was easy cash. and having a city guard in the store as in bg 2 makes it more believable that people don't just rob the place.

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hmmm... I had much over 100k gold in BG2 and I must say, that i liked how it looked in the inventory window ;p but it's true, that I bought every item I needed and still had soo much gold. it would be nice to have something to spend it for. I like the crafting idea.I belive there will be some armor sets, so it will be a good way to collect them fully and kill monsters wearing items you want to show them before they die ;)

 

I can't say that I like the idea of derubility on items in IE-like-game. I understand that my sword can breake when I parry an attack. Some time ago I played BG1 again (the enhanced one), the poorly made swords that broke in the middle of a fight - I had 4 weapons of one type for times like that. But when I found the magic 2h sword... it was a glourious day, because i knew: "it's indestructible!". it will be fairy dissapointing to find a super-mega-legendary sword and after, lets say 1h of fighting, it'll be like: "oh... it broke? what kind of artifact is it?" this item waited hundrets of years to be found just to be broken after few hits? i hope there is upgrade to weapons like 'doesn't lose derubility', and those powerful items will have it from the start.

 

consumables? there always were, and will be some of those in RPGs. consumables will surely be very useful on higher difficulty. go fot it!

Edited by Istmal

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I think the weapon degradation/upkeep system could work if there's some kind of bonus associated with it. For example, if you keep using the same weapon or armor for a long time, you get some attack/damage/defense bonus or if you repair it a lot of times, then you can upgrade/mod it more.

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The durability thing feels really inconsistent.

 

Either make it matter for everything the same (all armor gets worn) AND make it so that durability damages use, thus making it an actual game mechanic players need to care about, or just don't do it. At the moment it sounds like a halfway measure at most, just something that might be a slight annoyance but nothing actually worth taking into consideration 99.99% of your time.

 

Also, it's a small suggestion, but someone is going to add it as a mod. Make crafting take "in game" time. You open the crafting menu in the (game) morning, build something, and when you're done it's (game) afternoon at least. Just a nice touch.

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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?

 

I worked on IWD, HoW, TotL, and IWD2.  In virtually all of these games, I heard these two complaints over and over and over:

 

When unique items were in stores:

* I don't want to buy unique items in stores.

 

When unique items were in dungeons:

* I have nothing to spend my money on.

 

In all of these games, items you found on adventures were almost always one of the following: a) directly usable (i.e. gear or consumables) b) wealth items or c) quest items.  If something wasn't usable, it was usually a wealth item (gold, gem, etc.).  A wealth item only existed to give you gold, but for gold to have some sort of value, there needs to be something you want that costs x gold.  If high-value items aren't what you spend your gold on, what do you spend your gold on?  In PE, you may spend gold on your stronghold, but there's no guarantee of that.  And according to a lot of you, you don't use consumables, so if consumables aren't used, they're just wealth items -- not something you would want to spend gold on.

 

Part of the reason for having a crafting system was to make consumables less common in the world.  Only people who want to make/use them would see a relatively large quantity of them.  Since crafting ingredients are stored and sorted separately from other items, their presence subtracts nothing from the carrying capabilities of players who ignore the system entirely.

 

There are recurring trends I'm seeing:

 

* Don't like crafting.

* Don't like durability.

* Don't like consumables.

 

Combining those with with the two points at the top, it's hard for me to figure out where the gold is going to go.  There is also the possibility that players don't actually want a long-term gold economy in a SP game, that gold in the mid- and late-game is ultimately something to accumulate and that most/all forms of gear upgrading simply happens through quests and exploration.  That's not an invalid way to go, but I'd like to hear thoughts on it if you have the time.

 

The bottom line on money spending for me is to only spend on what I need to progress further in the game.  This is PROBABLY really easy for wizards and their grimoires, but become more problematic with other classes that don't have a permanent part of themselves in the same way that wizards do that is permanently improved by dumping money into it.  In addition, "what I need" is going to be determined by how the game gives me items.  

 

Now, I think I can reasonably assume that although everyone has varying levels of stinginess, no one likes to feel like they just wasted their money.  When you put a unique item on a vendor that happens to be a vastly superior upgrade of something a character is wearing and had to buy or craft, I guarantee the idea of "Why did I waste my time/money getting this instead of saving up for that" will float through the player's head in some degree.  That doesn't mean there should never be unique items on a vendor, but it'd be better if a vendor unique item was something non-standard.  

 

So given the fact that this is a game where magic is based on the soul, why does it have to be material goods that enchanting is working on?  Personally, given the information that's been provided to us so far, I'd think it make more sense if the main, expensive moneysink regarding permanent items opened or changed the options for the character to use his/her soul to cause the desired effects on the items he/she wields and wears, and any gear used simply being conduits for the effect, or even amplifiers for the effect if they are made a certain way.  You can then invoke caps on the customization with the justification that you can only play around with your soul like this so much without experience.

 

If you were to take the D&D 3.5/Pathfinder weapon/armor crafting chart to base examples on, instead of spending all that money on enhancing the weapon, you're spending the money on enhancing the character, giving the character the ability to emulate a -- let's say Rimefire from the Frostburn splatbook, so half Fire and half Cold damage, with priority on cold when rounding -- effect on a weapon, choosing between a weaker general effect (say 1d4 with any weapon) or a more specialized, stronger effect (say 1d3+3 with halberds only), with the character's class determining which specialized options were available.  

 

Then on the flip side, you can have the equivalent of masterwork equipment created a particular way that resonates with these customized abilities and further amplify it, so someone able to make a weapon become Flaming would get a Flaming Burst effect when wielding a weapon created to amplify that Flaming effect.  Since the amplifying weapons wouldn't do anything for anyone who didn't have their soul customized for them, there shouldn't be a reason for the weapon to be any more expensive than the D&D 3.5/Pathfinder Masterwork weapon version compared to a standard weapon, so that the crafting-phobic people don't feel like they're being ripped off if they don't want to craft their equipment.  Any unique gear can then be special in that they allow resonance with two or more possible abilities, with some found and others reassembled by crafting and the really nice ones requiring NPC intervention to do things with.

 

And if durability is staying in, I'd fully expect to see an option to sunder equipment on enemies, with possibly an option to sunder the enemy's weapon. Maybe with a damaged weapon or armor, it stops him/her from using a really nasty effect that would cause problems to the party?

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Well, my thought process was:

  • Having to periodically repair equipment seems like busywork.
  • But what if it were abstracted into an Upkeep cost? Instead of having to go back to a smithy every once in a while, you could set a slider to automatically deduct money down to a certain threshold in order to pay for upkeep, and the actual repairs could be considered to happen "offscreen", similar to using the privy or other boring, repetitive tasks.
  • But wait, you could simplify it further by ensuring that the player earns less money to begin with, or that all purchases cost more money, instead of giving the player more money and then looking for ways to subtract further money.
You might need to do something like make superior items increase in cost in a non-linear way, but I think you could solve/simplify the problem solely by tweaking player income and non-upkeep expenditures. Of course, you still end up with the potential problem of what feels right. It could be that players simply expect the monetary reward at the end of a difficult quest to be a certain amount, or they decide that the pricier equipment is a complete ripoff. Still, I think it might be better to risk those problems, and maybe solve them through clever writing and encounter design that encourages buying "ripoff" items, since the item degredation solution is leading to lots of complaining anyway.

 

I like the idea of upkeep. Or, of that kind of streamlining, at least. If you're only going to find a forge at certain places, why not just have a sort of little "field forge" at rest spots/campsites? You know, not good enough to full-on create entirely new pieces of equipment, but good enough to do repair-work.

 

We've already got a sense of replenishment going with resting. Why not have a repair/crafting skill check upon rest, then repair things accordingly? That plus shifting the whole thing from staving-off-a-negative mode to actual incentive mode, and you've got yourself as un-bothersome of a system as I can fathom.

 

If you never maintain any equipment, ever, you'll never get any worse or suffer any penalties. Technically, you're already suffering the penalty of going without the bonus of well-maintained equipment. The higher your crafting/repair skill, the greater the benefits (from sharpening/oiling and/or armor repair/reinforcement) you get. It could even be relative to the type of gear, so that you're not just getting +100 sharpened damage at level 20 from having 100 crafting skill on a Wooden Sword. Instead, you get a range, from 0 effect to a maximum (but still not too crazily extreme) effect. For an Iron Sword, maybe you start getting a benefit at 5 skill, and you hit the cap at 10 or so. BUT, at 10, you can start providing maintenance benefits to a more quality tier of equipment.

 

You've even got 2 factors on the effects of the maintenance: The extent of the bonus (is it +5% bleed chance or + 3%?), AND the duration of the bonus. Maybe once you've passed the maximum effect threshold (like 10 skill relative to an Iron Sword), the effect starts lasting longer and longer. It could even still gradually "wear" with use. So, maybe instead of sharpness lasting 25 attacks, it now lasts 50, because you're that much better at sharpening.

 

The system could automatically (although still with a choice, much like a toggle) make such repairs on all viable equipment at resting, and/or maybe at forge use (for when you're at your stronghold crafting some stuff, and OBVIOUSLY have some time and are there at a forge, but you aren't necessarily using the "rest" system), and automatically use the materials necessary to do so.

 

And on that note, I'm with whoever (in whatever thread) suggested an intuitive sort of "grocery list" option, so that, when you get to town, and you go to someone who sells you materials that are obviously consumable, and you're just going to be visiting them and buying them a lot, there's no need to have to individually pick out what you want. Out in the field, you should be able to say "Oh, man, I need materials A, B, and C to repair our current equipment, and I'm low on those," and set some sort of list up for "10 material A, 10 material B, and 10 material C" (or however much you'd like to have on-hand in place of 10). Then, when you get to a valid shop that has these things in-stock, simply click "Buy List." Boom. If you ave 5 left in your inventory, it will buy 5. If you have 1 left, it will buy 9.

 

Basically, if you know what you need before you even look at the store, you should just be able to say "Here's what I need," and have the store owner/merchant efficiently fetch it for you. Not "I might have that, and I might even have the number you need, but you'll have to find it, first! MUAHAHAHA!"

 

Not that it's super difficult to find things in a store interface in these games. It's just... not really contributing to the fun-factor, at least on "I'm going to buy this every time I come back to town, because I'm always inevitably going to run out of it" consumables, at least. I don't think there should be a "automatically buy best new equipment" option or anything. You should have to pick what you want. Mainly because equipment should have circumstantial benefits/detriments, rather than all-out better/worse ratings and nothing more.

 

But, I digress.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Combining those with with the two points at the top, it's hard for me to figure out where the gold is going to go.  There is also the possibility that players don't actually want a long-term gold economy in a SP game, that gold in the mid- and late-game is ultimately something to accumulate and that most/all forms of gear upgrading simply happens through quests and exploration.  That's not an invalid way to go, but I'd like to hear thoughts on it if you have the time.

Personally, I don't see a problem in my party getting wealthy in a single player game.  One of the reasons why degeneration seems to be getting relatively negative reactions is, probably, it appears passive and taxing rather than giving an active choice.  If the players complain whatever the designers do, why not take the former choice of allowing the party to be wealthy since I think it is not a problem in practical sense (The designers still should be able not to give the players items which break the game balance)?

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two more thoughts on crafting. I've mentioned it before I other threads, but one of my favorite uses of crafting was in the original star wars galaxies. If you were fortunate enough to unlock your Jedi character the first part of that story was to build your own light saber by hunting parts for it as you progressed throughout the world. They went pretty deep in how you could customize it, but it was fun. In a similar theme, if you make crafting a story driven event why the heros need to craft an item either for themselves or a companion, that will make it fun. Possibly one of the mechanics is the ability to upgrade your tool kits to craft slightly better gear. The basic one maybe anyone can use to craft a torch with, or a basic potion that gives infravision or something like that. Then if you stick with it your skills evolve, or maybe you find rare resources that allow you to craft better materials, such as a Diamond headed hammer that adds +3 to your crafting skill.

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So, regarding money sinks, I tend to agree with what Gumbercules wrote: although you are experienced developers, maybe you need to wait a bit more and see how exactly the money will flow (from fallen enemies, shop prices, both buying and selling ones, crafting prices etc.) in relattion to game lenght, story and party formation.

 

It's true that we will have to tune whatever values we wind up using for money you get and money you spend, but my higher-level concern is systemic.  If there aren't core systemic drains, many players will simply wind up with a lot of money toward the end of the game.  Many of you don't seem to care about this, but as I said earlier, I've heard complaints about it on every game I've shipped.

 

Yes. By your own words you admited that you can't please everyone and some people will always find something that didn't like in any game.

But item durability is punishing(irritating and annoying,not difficult),for people who don't like it(which are many) unlike having 1000000000 GP at the end of the gaame that while is a design flaw for some people, it don't makes their gameplay excperience worse,

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Concerns about Crafting:

 

-I am a bit concerned by this. In most games that offer crafting, it is pretty much the only way for a player to reach maximal potential. In other words, crafting is typically the only way for a player to get (1) the right items and (2) the right amount of said items. In ToEE, for example, the player was many orders of magnitude more powerful with crafting than without. Why? Because he could build a party AROUND the specific items he could create. That is a massive advantage to the player that chooses to craft over those than don't.  I strongly hope this will not be the case in PE.

 

Suggestions:

 

-Make sure that NPC merchants offer all crafting services for a fee. In other words, if you want a mundane item with a specific set of attributes (think ToEE) or a legendary item created from specific dungeon loot (Cespenar), then please make sure than some merchant NPC can do this for the player if he can't craft it himself. In other words, I should be able to get any item I want/need without crafting so long as I have the gold, the items (in the case of special items like the Holy Avenger) and can find someone willing and able to put it all together for me. Also, I should be able to partially mitigate the gold cost to create said items with a Haggle skill or some such. In this way, those that wish to avoid the crafting system can have an experience very similar to the crafting BG2 offered the player (albeit a bit more robust).

 

Concerns about Durability:

 

-Durability is fine so long as it is a minor annoyance. I see that you guys went that way a bit by making it so items dont actually break they just wear down. However, its very unfun to make this a major money sink. The player feels a bit jipped when he gets effectively penalized for doing what he should do with said items. Moreover, players like amassing large amounts of gold they have no plan on using. Its like some hold over from Guantlet or something. We enjoy getting tens of thousands of money units for the simple reason that we want our avatars to be filthy stinking rich. I should be able to meet those ends without feeling forced to take crafting.

 

Suggestions:

 

-Please make the gold cost to fix this stuff relatively small even on the uber items. I don't care if the player has to repair Excalibur or Anduril or something. Having to lay down some silly amount of gold for swinging my sword is no fun. I would offer that durability is fine as a minor micromanaging tool. It can be an effective way to get players to have to carry backups in case they hit a rust monster or are going on a long dungeon crawl. Durability is also a fine way to make the player's visits to town more purposeful but as a gold sink... ugh.. no fun.

Edited by Shevek

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I thought I'd add my recommendations:

 

Durability:

 

I think you need to cater to player psychology here. The combination of durability and crafting are, so far, perceived as avoiding a penalty rather than gaining a bonus. Players hate being penalized, but all are more likely to tolerate not getting a bonus, even if the numerical impact is the same. I'd prefer crafting went to craft whetstones or otherwise went to buff gear rather than maintain it. It's a silly sleight of hand, but it works. Given that durability seems to be a mechanic not exploitable in combat, and it ultimately bottoms out at usable but not optimized equipment, I would rework it so that the skill maintains "masterwork" status or something similar on equipment. Again, players can be simple-minded. Living without a buff is vastly more tolerable than accepting a penalty. Strongly implied in this is that I think durability shouldn't have a large impact one way or another.

 

I also think you've not created an interesting gold sink -- and until you make an interesting gold sink, you haven't *really* solved the problem of too much gold, have you?

 

Crafting:

 

Inventory management and ease-of-use are key here. Crafting components should automatically sort themselves into crafting satchels or something similar, and, having no weight (like all other items, as I understand it), should be things the party can carry at all times. It also needs to be as simple as possible to know how close you are to having enough components to make something.

 

The best items in the game should exist in the world and not be craft-able. These are your artifacts, your legendary treasures with rich lore and custom appearances that the player should highly covet. Letting players replicate them makes them mundane. I think crafting should enable all item/play styles to be viable, but not equal. A flaw in BG2, IMO, was that +3 long swords were incredibly common while other weapons were not (especially since +3 weapons were required to damage certain nasty enemies). Crafting should enable diverse gear profiles. A counter-point is, "Well, why still leave some builds reliant on mid-quality craft-ables? That's just soothing their second-class status." That's a point. But, if you're going to have a few items that really deliver that "uber" quality, you have to make them actually superior. How exciting is Carsomyr, considering how few +5 weapons were in original SOA?

 

My one addendum is that best-in-slot items could be craft-able for secondary item types, especially ones not visible on the character. These are good targets for letting the player create idiosyncratic items that round out their builds. I also wouldn't mind unique components that added bonuses and 'flavor' to basic items. In this case, I think it should add a unique appearance or effect to the item it modifies, much like legendary armor/weapons should have unique appearances.

 

As far as the concern of one character becoming a "crafting mule" so to speak, why not allow characters to only have one craft skill? Or force specializations to force the party to divide recipes? Both of those sound at least marginally more interesting than durability.

 

For crafting consumables, I'm ambivalent.

 

As to gold sinks:

 

As I said above, if you're not giving the player interesting things to spend their gold on, you're not really solving the problem of them having too much gold. I think there should be a few uber purchasable items later in the game to suck up money -- you could make this more interesting to the player by making them have to earn access to the merchant somehow. You could also make in-game events that eat up money. Stronghold investment is one option. Finding specialized class trainers is another. Hiring mercenaries, bribing guards, and the like also wouldn't be bad. So many things would be more interesting than durability -- even buying vanity unlockables like hair styles or non-combat pets, while silly, would still be more interesting.

 

Lastly, about the player having too much gold: I think that's something kind of desirable at end game. Mr. Sawyer said players have complained about that. I don't doubt him. But I'd ask: how strongly did they really complain about it? Is the cure worse than the (very mild) disease here? No player will think a game is perfect -- you'll never 100 % satisfy anyone with anything. But if you get them to 90 % or higher, I think most will still tip their hats to you. :)

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Here's a notion I had for a simple repair mechanic:

 

Repair kits

The durability mechanic could be abstracted to some degree through the use of 'repair kits'. While not in combat the player can view a summary report showing the equipment damage. For example, it could read: 3 items lightly damaged (>50% dmg) and 1 item heavily damaged (>75% dmg).

 

If the player has purchased repair kits, these can be immediately spent in the dialog to repair the items; one kit to repair light damage and two for heavy damage. Dragging a kit over an item icon repairs it. A 'repair all' button allows all to be repaired at once (if sufficient repair kits are available).

 

Repair kits can be purchased at a crafting store and stockpiled for a mission.

 

 

In a sense, this approach is similar to stocking up with anti-toxins and healing kits for dealing with poisons and diseases. Plan in advance and you are rewarded by keeping your equipment in top form and your party in good health.

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

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I've never heard anyone complain about having too much gold in BG for instance.

 

I've heard people complain about having too much gold in every game I worked on.  Until the end of F:NV when we introduced (entirely optional) GRA unique weapons that cost a fortune.  Then people complained that the items cost too much.

 

 

I certainly don't mean to tell you guys your business here, but it seems like you are just going to have a pick a system and let the chips fall. Someone is going to whine, no doubt about it.  But this is probably not a deal breaker for anyone, either.

 

I strongly feel that a lot of this turmoil is growing pains.  We have seen tremendous advances throughout the years in CRPG systems.  But unfortunately, the one system that seems to have been forgotten is the economy.  Without fail, almost every CRPG I've played has suffered from a broken/gimped/exploitable economy.   The basic assumptions of non-MMO RPG economies have not changed since my first games of Phantasie and the Bard's Tale. 

 

It is probably too late for this but the two best economies I ever played with in a game were found in Quest for Glory 1 (which was a highly restrictive but also a highly reactive economy) and Betrayal at Krondor.   In both cases even mundane items had value, money was appropriately allocated to the player, and there were effective storytelling elements that took that money out of the player's pocket in an equitable way.  That's how an economy should function, in my view.  

 

It all comes down to the scarcity of money.  Is grinding for cash going to be possible in P:E?  It was not really possible in BGII (just as an example) because grinding was pretty much non-existent.  There is an upper cap on the limit of gold you can earn in that game, plus or minus a few thousands depending on how lucky you get.  But as far as the numbers go, there is a limit of how much money you can earn where, if there is no hard cap, there is a point beyond which your income slows to a trickle.   On the other hand the Elderscrolls games, going at least back to Morrowind, allow for the endless accumulation of money as long as everything is respawning.  That's why their economies are so busted, and eventually so boring to play with.

 

If P:E has a hard cap (or close to it) of how much money you can earn, then it is matter of figuring out how much you "want" the player to have at the end of the game; or better yet, figuring out what percentage of income should go to certain areas.  As in, "By the end of the game the player will have spent 50% of their income on their strong hold, 20% on gameplay objectives, 10% on consumables and the rest on weapons/armor/bribes/what have you."  The bottom line is, though, that it must be a PLANNED ECONOMY.  I know this feels like taking control out of the player's hands, or making a game that is too scripted.  But if you don't do this, the economy will be a mess.

 

Anyways this is a long ass post.  I think the devs should do two things: put a cap on the amount of gold I can earn, and work backwards from there.  Then, give my expenses weight and heft.  Make them feel real, and important.  Make potions worth spending the money on; make durability worth spending the money on; make bribes or quest objectives feel like real decisions if I have to choose whether to fight or pay my out of a jam. 

 

I have confidence that you guys can do all of this ****, by the way.

Edited by decado
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I'd like to reiterate that I think item durability belongs in expert mode. By description, "Expert Mode will also enable more punitive and demanding gameplay elements, in and out of combat.", which, like fallout new vegas which has things like dehydration, I believe damaging equipment falls under. That way the people who don't like the busy work of paying for repairs don't have to have it, and the people who want the realism can have it.

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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?

 

I'd like to answer your question and add an observation about why I think the trend is the way it is.

 

I'd like to use my money on training, buying a merchant ship to travel to other islands. Maybe if you buy your own boat you can upgrade it as well. I'd buy Vanity gear, or buy a slot for extra storage until I have my house. Even then, maybe in your house you have a chest you can upgrade. I'd like to purchase certain things to customize my interior. I don't mind the idea of buying a mule that acts like a storage device that follows you in the outer world and you can buy bigger storage bags for it. I'd buy some rare items that are better than loot drops and that periodically update based upon how you've progressed in the story, but I think the epic items shouldn't be for sale and should be earned or stolen some how. At the least, limit them for sale. I find it silly the only item in game strong enough to save the world has been waiting for you to save up 200 more kills to afford it to beat the game. One final point, please consider having enough gear for multiple characters of the same type. If I want to make a party of all mages or as close to it as possible for example, don't only give one item per class type unless there are comparable options.

 

As for the trend, I think the reason the trend shows don't like crafting goes. Crafting is not fun in most rpg's. You need to create it like you would design a quest. Make it part of the story. Make it personal, and don't add it in on a whim. Consider it like you would a character's attack swing or walk cycle. Ask yourself how does this make me feel smarter, or help my party, or why is this crafted thing unique or helpful? The worst thing is making the crafting repetitive for no reason. Why would I ever make 30 sets of armor to level up my skill in a SP game? There should be a reason to craft x to get to y. Maybe a better way to level up the skill is to collect recipes and create recipe books. Too often crafting feels like it was added in to fill a check box. I think the community has given ample reasons why durability might not fit in the game, primarily it comes down to it not being fun. Consumables also just feel gimmicky. Everything should be in the game to enforce the mechanics, it's a game and we want to play. If a battle averages 7 seconds, why in the world would I use a potion that adds 10% chance to hit? Similarly, if you are playing through and you find the beta testers are maxing out on XP by 2/3 of the game and have only done 1/4 the side quests, maybe adding xp potions in game is a bad idea because they are a worthless commodity.

 

As a side note, I really appreciate the openness the developers give to the community. So even though some of us disagree or agree with your decisions,  it's just nice to know that our feedback is being considered and listened to. So thanks a lot for that!

Edited by Falkon Swiftblade
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Thanks for the update, love it.  Let me opine:

 

Crafting: can be good, if it is not tedious.  I found the crafting in NWN2 (for example) tedious.  What you described sounds promising.

 

Durability:  I usually find such mechanics annoying.  IMO, 'money sinks' should be rewards not penalties - even if they are simple role-playing rewards (story, lore, decoration etc.)

 

Unique items in stores: I'm fine with a limited amount of them, especially if it makes sense for extraordinary items to be in a particular store.  I always liked saving up for that one cool looking item, and it felt good to finally be able to go back and buy it after looting that dragon hoard.

 

What to spend money on: as above, I think money sinks should be rewards.  Also, it's okay for my character to get wealthy - if he can feel wealthy.  My wealthy character can:

+ Drink high price (and questionably legal) liquors at the exclusive nobles tavern (entrance fee required)

+ Enjoy is personal gardens, or marble statue made in his likeness

+ Buy a "pet" ogre for his home

+ Make a large donation to a cause, or an NPC

+ Bribe the guards to look the other way when he feels... mischievous.

+ Hire a sage to translate (or teach me to translate) those runes I found in that old crypt

+ Why use a regular blunderbuss when you can carry a blingin' gold plated ruby-encrusted one?  This is especially effective if you hear a young maiden passing by say to her friends "Oooh, did you see that man's shiny hand cannon? *swoon*)

 

All of these things can be rewarding in a role-playing sense.  They don't necessarily need to be major story points.  Even an interesting bit of dialog can be rewarding, or minor fallout later in the game.

 

But most important of all:

 

Dear Obsidian,

Will there be some deviant crafting recipes?  For example, if we need to increase our magical prowess and elves are naturally gifted with arcane magic, will any recipes require the blood/internal organs of elves?

 

This is a good way to finally find a use for pieces of elf (which, as we all know, are greater than the sum).

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Not necessarily advocating this, but we always use gold to buy components in RPGs, but has there ever been an RPG where gold is an actual component? In other words, using gold in ways other than buying.  Such a concept is more humorous to me, but I cannot think of a single game playing around with gold outside of buying.  (probably for good reason).

 

I thought the 'bullet economy' in Metro 2033 was interesting.  I don't really know how it could be applied to a PE world though.

 

In terms of 'what to spend money on', I know we're 13 pages deep but in case you're still reading, Josh:

 

* I think unique items are more fun if they're mostly found in dungeons, but with any game with a form of loot table, at some point one of your characters is going to be under geared.  For instance, by the end of dragon's eye, you may have been unlucky and your mage is still using the normal 1GP sling you bought in Easthaven.  In this case, you can use gold to buy a sling+2: not a unique, but it'll probably cost a fair chunk of gold.  Shops should be used to gear your characters to expected level, not above it like you'd get from uniques (ignoring the fact that everyone playing the game will find some uniques so actual level for everyone will be above expected).  I remember being pretty pleased when I got the robe of the evil archmagi from the High Hedge shop - not a unique but a good, expensive item.

 

* I think consumable ammo is a great way to spend money, but you have to somehow get it into people's heads that it's worth using.  I was one of those people who hoarded all the special ammo 'just in case' and completed basically all of BG1 and 2 using standard bullets and arrows.   Only in my recent playthrough of IWD did I start using special ammo and it's been a good gold sink (other than that there frequently isn't enough of it to buy!)

 

* I think a minor change could be that mages had to buy most of their high level spells.  Why would scrolls be left around in a dungeon? Most mages would learn them and then they're consumed in advance of a battle, not like potions etc. where they may be killed before they get a chance to use them  (you could use them from your quickbar but I would say this isn't the 'normal' method of scroll use).  They can be expensive in stores because they're very powerful, but aren't unique like weapons, and it means every level up a mage will want to sink some gold into new spells.  Obviously scroll mechanics can be different in PE, but a similar method could be applied.

 

* I think, as many others have said, that the idea of spending gold as part of story progression is a good one, and it should be used more than it is. I'm not a creative dude, but it makes sense that information should cost more, and the standard 'give the beggar 5GP for quest info' could be improved.

 

* I also don't mind paying for crafting, but I would much prefer the crafting was the kind of thing where you craft a few uncommon (or unique) items into a (better) unique, I don't enjoy the mechanics of crafting where I collecti junk 'just in case', and typically it means I won't use them.

 

*As long as gold is a factor for much of the game, I don't think it matters if you get wealthy when you start clearing high level dungeons and selling expensive loot.  If items are priced fairly you will have to have some kind of increase in the amount of gold being acrued as you start finding better weapons.

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