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I really enjoy reading the updates on gameplay mechanics. It's great to know that the developers are focused on both the world/lore and the actual mechanics as well. I've liked everything I read so far about the various classes, and it does sound like the game is going to be really fun to play both on the meta level (character creation, making skill choices, etc) and the practical level (battles, exploration, etc). But the crafting update did raise some warning flags.

 

I fully understand the intent behind the durability system - a) it's a sort of money sink so players are taxed for the equipment which get used the most, b) it serves as a good way to make the crafting skill beneficial in a passive way throughout the game. But let's not kid ourselves - durability sucks. I don't mean to say it's poorly designed most of the time, but rather it's just not a fun system. It's a system fans expect in dungeon crawlers because the attrition is part of the gameplay. It's not fun, it's a waste of time and money to repair stuff after dying 10 times in Diablo or after clearing half an Act. Even with "repair all" as an option at vendors, it doesn't make it any fun, but it just lowers the annoyance. But if attrition is part of the game design - as it is in dungeon crawlers, that's less of an issue. But in a party based single player CRPG, I think it could get psychologically draining if the player gets into a "must fix all, goddamnit!" mindset at every rest stop. Say there's a party of five, and two are front line fighters who use shields. That's 12 pieces of equipment which need to be individually checked/repaired. Unless the player is really into roleplaying a blacksmith warrior, that's probably a little annoying, rather than something interesting or fun.

 

So then I guess my question is this - how much of a disadvantage are equipment which are damaged? Is it a heavy penalty or a minor one? If it is a heavy penalty, that kinda sucks for players who don't really like dealing with this sort of ****, since you have to deal with it for every character in the party. If it's a minor penalty, then how can it be presented to players in a way whereby it's more of a bonus advantage for characters with crafting, rather than something they have to actively think about all the time?

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Degrading gear: I don’t find this a bad idea, it may play out quite nice, but not the way you plan to implement it. Namely, as some mentioned, if you plan a wear-off mechanics it should be more generic. Adding durability exclusively to weapons, armour and shield is a lame idea, it sounds like let it be, but let’s not spend too much implementation effort on this. It’s too simplistic and unrealistic. Why don’t boots and helmets etc.  have durability? They should. Furthermore, staffs should have limited charges, mages should have expendable ingredients: all good money sinks. The idea itself, IMO, is fine, mostly for those who like RP. It is repetitive, but these sort of repetitions do add some atmosphere for slow placed players like me. Usually after a dungeon adventures I would anyway go to town, to rest in an inn and visit some shops, it then sounds a nice chore to go through my stock and replenish and repair stuff. Ideally I imagine, my gold would go down to a level, where I cannot afford a powerful weapon, which is nice, makes the game harder and more reliant on loots. So I would recommend to consider a more generic approach, or just drop it altogether, because this way it feels half-baked. What do you think?

Edited by Bitula
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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?

 

Having a balanced economy in a single player RPG is never easy, and towards the latter part of the game usually almost impossible. I do not think the concern should be "does the player have unlimited funds, how do we stop them?", but based on the rest of the post you're clearly not thinking of that, which is good. Instead the concern should certainly be "are there things in the game players will want to spend money on?" because if there is nothing interesting to spend gold on, gold becomes useless.

 

Personally I like buying unique weapons, so I'm definitely not complaining about that. I love visiting new cities, seeking out merchants, and checking out what they have. I don't like merchant lists to be predictable because that's not fun. If all I do at merchants is check for the newest versions of each weapon type my party uses, buy those and equip them, and sell the old stuff, that's boring. I prefer it when merchants around the world generally sell the same base items, so anyone who missed them previously can still get them at the next location, but at the same time different locations offer unique and sometimes exotic stuff which might or might not be better depending on the player's party makeup and play style, but are always interesting. I wouldn't mind spending premium coin on something which might turn out to be useless for me, as long as it is interesting enough that I get to experiment with something different. Simply having the possibility of trying something that seems cool is good enough for me, but of course it shouldn't be a gimmick item - if it's not useful for me, I should at least recognize after trying it out that it has uses for some other type of party build.

 

Another thing I enjoy spending money on is stronghold/base upgrades. Loved that in Neverwinter Nights 2. I like roleplaying options when it comes to strongholds. It should not just be general upgrades which cost more and more, all doing the same sort of thing (larger hall, more cannons, extra NPC options, etc). I like flavor. I love cosmetic options too. So having different upgrade paths for a stronghold would be appealing, and having completely optional extensions which change the feel of the base without necessarily changing or improving a specific function can be appealing too. For example spending 2000 gold on a Ballroom could lead to optional events where a certain people want to rent it for weddings and other events, and you could choose to charge them different amounts for it. Sometimes by giving it away free you might get better rewards. It would have no other functional purpose, but it creates lite simulation elements which can be good ways to add more flavor to the world.

 

Another suggestion I would have in terms of making wealth meaningful, is to occasionally make it an option for solving situations in quests. This is something I feel most RPGs don't really do much of. Paying your way out of a problem should be an option whenever it is realistic to do so. Bribing people would be the most obvious scenario, but there are also other possibilities. Say a bridge is damaged and the party is unable to proceed to the next destination. Some people offer to help rebuild it if the party can rescue one of their kidnapped child from bandits. An alternative option could be for the player to pay a high sum of money to reopen the builder's guild by financing the reconstruction of the bridge and various repair and upkeep on the entire town. The choice here also wouldn't be seen as entirely good or bad, simply a matter of which is more practical or efficient. If stuff like this is designed throughout the game, it could also encourage parties built on economic ideals - merchant princes. Would be really cool imo.

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In the end, should this mechanic stay, I think it'll be solved in a traditional manner - mods will fix it.

Oblivion had horrible level scaling, and mods fixed it.

Skyrim had terrible UI, and mods fixed it.

Fallout NV had no inventory sorting and mods fixed it.

Baldur's Gate Trilogy transformed entire experience with BG1 and allowed smooth character progression from one game to the next.

Arcanum unofficial patch enchanced the gameplay acrocc the board.

Vampire: the masquerade- Bloodlines unofficial patch completely overhauled the game and balance.

 

I suppose "No Durability" will be the first mod to pop up shortly upon PE release.

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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.

 

 

If people complain that items cost too much then I would say mission accomplished. Because that is the point were money really is valued as a scarce and needed resource. There is nothing wrong with someone not getting everything on a single playthrough.

 

I meant to read everything first before posting my own comment, but this thread is growing so fast ;-). I'll just say my piece (some of which was already said):

 

Money Sinks:

* Crafting should cost money, preferably because a blacksmith does the crafting and has to be paid. Or if you really want to keep the crafting skill in the game there should be ingredients that have to be bought.

 

* consumables are fine, just don't add buff potions (similar to buff spells, either they get used never or for every fight, then they are a chore) but resistance potions, healing potions, potions that allow tactical variations

 

* Quests, i.e. bribing, information gathering, getting access to areas

 

Examples:

  Buying expensive stuff (tapestries,chandeliers,jewelry) for your stronghold to get accepted by a wealthy circle so that you get access to a specific area. This would even give a purpose to the stronghold.

  You try to bait some bandits with cash you give to a poor urchin and tell him to show off his money a bit. You get the bandits but the urchin vanishes with the money. You later find him in another city where he already spent all that money

 

Such a money sink is even possible on the main quest. To fix the bug that players could already have spent all money available to them on other stuff, add an alternative solution to the quest that pisses off the trader faction (which makes prices for you higher, you practically pay off the debt)

 

The good thing about quests that cost money: a) Players who do many side quests get naturally more money, but they also get most of the money quests to burn away the money. b) Money lost through quests is gone 100% (while vendor stuff can be sold again, so only removes part of the money)

 

* buying books (medieval books were VERY expensive), faction buy-in.

 

By the way: The vendor buy/sell ratio for items is IMHO the easiest point to affect how much money is in the game. The ratio should be really low on higher difficulty settings (so that the money you get for loot is really low compared to what things cost).  Most RPGs I have played simply made that ratio too high, I think it was 0.25 in IE games. Make it 0.1 and you should have less problems providing enough money sinks

Edited by jethro
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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?

 

...

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.

 

I think you misuderstand "sink" to being something negative. It isn't. You just need sinks if you have wells of something, otherwise your world will overflow with it. Enemies for example are, among other things, damage sinks, but nobody looks at it that way because your damage well (i.e. your sword) is an infinite source. You just have to balance how much damage you can extract from the well at a time, not the sum.

 

skill points are a good example of the problems you get when you have too many of them. Because if you have too many, your party gets too strong and combat becomes boring. Or it could even be the case that you don't have any sensible skill left that you can put them in, which makes leveling up boring. Fallout 3 is a good example, I was maxed out on any skills I wanted long before I was at maximum level. Not game-breaking, just not ideal.

 

So you want to avoid too much money as well, since that makes money worthless and it also might make you too strong if you can buy high-level items too early.

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I would like to see some unique items in shops, in fact I'd be disappointed if there weren't a few sprinkled across the world.

 

For me, looking in various shops for interesting items is just as fun as exploring dungeons and opening chests for them. The difference is that when you see something very nice you'd want it gives a tangible short-term goal to go for. It may seem impossible to have enough money at first, but soon it becomes accessible if you're saving.

 

It also does not matter if the item is superior in the long run, as long as it either superior at the moment, or has a specialized use throughout the game. When I buy something strong from the shop I'm not expecting it to be the last thing I buy, I'm expecting it to get me through some future encounters easier. One defining thing in a weapon's usefulness is not only what is is, but also when you get it. And I believe even though you usually can't plan ahead without meta-gaming, it should still remain the player's choice - pick up a stronger item now for most of your money, or hope for the best and save the money to buy something even better later.

 

Or even without that, we have to remember that we have a party of 6(?) people, with each of them needing specific equipment, due to player choices. Playing BG2, if you had a paladin what would you put on it as the ultimate weapon? What if it was specialized in 1-handed? What if it wasn't a paladin? etc...

 

With IWD2 I didn't really have a problem with unique things in shops. If something bothered me I'd say it was that there was a bunch of named weapons without description and some weapons seemed like they didn't belong to shops due to their more extensive back story. 

 

What kind of unique items I'd like to see in shops? Perhaps items that are unique in the game, but not the world. I mean there'll be like 50 epic artifacts just from the backers, I'm not sure it's a good idea to put even more. But some culturally different items, or rare finds... I'd guess merchants in areas with a large flow of people would like to buy stuff most people don't need cheap and sell it for a high price to those that have a use for them.

 

Buying and selling items is also a cash sink in an of itself, as you don't buy/sell the stuff for the same price. The numbers just have to be adjusted so that you don't get super rich off of stuff you find and there actually have to be incentives to buy/sell stuff. You could even make it a bit dynamic with prices changing a bit with time and your "contributions" to the economy. Is there an appraise skill?

 

Finally, I really think that (negative/normal state) as opposed to (normal/positive state) in the mechanics is a bad idea. I realize that it's just a difference in math and the results are the same, but psychologically I think most people would find the latter more favorable. Just looking at games over the last few years in general (even just life), the approach steadily moved from stick to carrot. PE is geared towards "older" generations that enjoyed IE games, but I'll go out on a limb and say that we've changed in these years, too. Nostalgia works much better from afar I think, and when it comes down to it we all have our own preferences, regardless of whether we remember a certain game as perfect.

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By the way, can anyone tell us about example of a single-player RPG game with durability system that not annoyed people?

 

Betrayal at Krondor.

 

 

I also thought Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was not aggravating. It was there and I felt had enough of a threshold you still needed to repair items, but it wasn't such a nuisance you had to stay on it like fly's on poop after every dungeon. You could play for hours before needing to repair. I think the more you died the more the damage to the item added up, so that could become money sink.

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In the end, should this mechanic stay, I think it'll be solved in a traditional manner - mods will fix it.

...

I suppose "No Durability" will be the first mod to pop up shortly upon PE release.

 

I think most people won't really notice. I expect there will be a button to fix all the stuff in your inventory when you visit the blacksmith. So most people will just hit that button from time to time or when they see one item with the worn graphics. So they never will get into a situation where one of their weapons or shields really is degraded.

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I agree with nearly every single creative example for what could be alternative ways of giving purpose to money throughout the later stages of the game. In general, I think money should be made rather scarce, unless the player spends a goodly amount of time doing alternative quest lines.

 

I just want to add that if the game will take after BG2, which has been widely agreed that it should, it's open world nature will result in big differences in how much money and loot players end up with before embarking on the main quest line. It's simply part of what having a semi-open world means, if I want to spend all that time helping people, scouring caves, and slaying dragons I should end up notably richer than someone who does not. My two playthroughs of BG2 varied widely due to this fact, and I found both times enjoyable in different ways.

 

The developers will have full control of the money available in game, and full control of how much questing any player will have to do before being able to progress through the story line. In for example BG2, each separate map location was worth maybe 10,000 gold (wild estimate). If you are a completionist, you'd end up with maybe 100k before chasing after Imoen. Enough money to make more mundane things, like potion and spell management, an easy task, and after having spent roughly 80 gameplay hours doing nearly all the content, why shouldn't it be? The money still had some value though, thanks to rare shop items costing 25k or more, that was pretty much the only thing that added any value to your gold though. There are MANY examples in this thread that could add further value. It wasn't until ToB that money became entirely pointless, I ended up with over a million in the end, after having purchased every possible item, but due to the money having had a rather tangible value through most of the play through it felt quite good to have more than enough for once.

 

The above is just an example, maybe the intention of Project Eternity is for you to never be able to amass any sizable amount of wealth, but the same theory still applies even if the numbers are smaller and items more mundane. Think BG1 compared to BG2.

 

If the intention is to make even basic equipment hard to come by, maybe adding durability is actually a meaningful thing, where buying a sword costs 100 gold and maintaining it will require most of the money earned through the rest of the game. The entire focus of the economy would be to maintain that which you already have, rather than collecting money to attain new things. That still doesn't get rid of the fact that durability is a tedious mechanic that encourages backtracking.

 

If you estimate that durability would cost an average party 1000gold during the first 5 hours of gameplay, why not replace it by adding an "entry fee" of 1000gold to an alternative quest line? With a compelling reason to pay up. Or make a very light and strong rope available in a shop for 1000gold, and in the next area create a chasm that just so happens to remind you that if you had that rope, maybe you could descend it.

 

Whatever the solution, I don't think the issue of controlling the economy is as large as it's being made out to be. If we want a relatively open world feeling, Baldur's Gate-esque game, your wealth will be relative to how much time you actually spend on exploration. With or without money sinks, people will end up with varying amounts of money, unless sinks are designed to even out player economy so that regardless of what you do throughout the game you end up with the same amount of money at the end. That, I believe, would be even worse than ending up either rich or poor.

Edited by mstark
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As to what players should spend money on:

 

-Random stronghold costs (upgrades, etc)

-Items (as in buying them)

-Consumables

-Quests (bribes, etc)

 

Also, the player having no problem with cash by the end game is not an entirely bad thing. Its helps the player feel successful. Once the player gets over the money hurdle, he can now feel like a real wheeler and dealer in the gameworld. He has made it. He is rich.

 

This is very much how BG2 did it and it felt good there. At first, you are in this huge city. Stores have these amazing items on sale but you can't afford them. People are promising to aid you in your quest but you do not have enough to enlist their aid. Once you have enough money to move the plot forward, the cash starts pouring in. Suddenly you can afford many of these items and can use your gold to have master smiths create epic items for you. You are filthy stinking rich! The moment this happens the player suddenly feels he has truly become a major fixture in the gameworld.

 

The key is not to let this get out of hand. I can understand having meaningful things for the player to spend his cash on. However, penalizing my warrior for swinging his sword as a way to take away his money just seems wrong.

Edited by Shevek
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My first cRPG was I believe Might & Magic 6 and it had a really effective money sink: You could improve a skill only by visiting a trainer for that specific skill and give him lots of cash, more the higher the skill you wanted. You also needed enough skill points or the right level, can't remember. Part of the fun was also finding the right trainer for the skill you wanted to improve.

 

Now I could imagine that a similar mechanism could work in PE. You would just need a training hall in every major city (and the starting town irrespective of size). That training hall would have experts for every skill possible. Only for the highest skill levels you would have to seek a grand master of that skill (giving nice exploration quests for the end game).

 

Advantages:

1) Very adjustable money sink.

2) No leveling up inside dungeons (more realistic: Why does the mage know new spells in the middle of a dungeon?). Makes leveling up something special for which you have to go to town.

3) Another reason to visit a city once in a while (which also makes triggered events easier to include)

4) Makes it possible to start quests at that point or questify skill upgrades. For example an aspiring master paladin has to do a honourable quest to succeed. A master wizard has to summon an elemental in front of his peers...

 

This is used in some pen&paper RPGs as a money sink as well (midgard for example), by the way.

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I agree with nearly every single creative example for what could be alternative ways of giving purpose to money throughout the later stages of the game. In general, I think money should be made rather scarce, unless the player spends a goodly amount of time doing alternative quest lines no matter what.

fix'd

 

I hope that, at least on the higher difficulties, doing more repetitive fetch quests isn't going to net you a fortune compared what you would have if you were more selective of what you do. An ongoing demand for consumables and repairs would ensure just that, which is why I want to see those in the game.

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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.

It's a difficult thing and many games struggle with it, I'm not sure if I can help, but I'd like to try.

It sounds to me like you are looking for more utility.

 

I'd like to use in-game currency for content. IE: You can bribe a guard, pay-off a threat, lobby a politician. Buy an invitation to a large party.

Alternative ways to progress in quests.

 

I think it's ok for some items to be more expensive.

 

Alternatively, perhaps wealth can factor into reputation. It becomes a sort of a "You have to be this wealthy to get the attention of the local power players" (my favourite so far, because this means there is some point to hoarding wealth, and combined with other gold sinks a player must choose what to spend their wealth on (if at all)

 

For those who've joined a faction, there may be costs of expanding. Investments for narrative rewards.

 

Perhaps you can scale wealth (especially with multiple currencies, if that idea is still going) Different wealth for different purposes.

I liked that you could use NCR or legion money in F:NV as an alternative to bottlecaps.

 

Perhaps the adventure hall offers mercenary companions, although not everyone may like that.

 

Crafting some items may require expensive components, some of which need to be bought.

 

A trick Guild Wars used, which I think may actually have some love with min-maxers, is to make useful tools decently priced, but marginal increases become ever more expensive. the closer you get to perfection the more exponential the price goes up. This way the best gear will always be more expensive than what you sell, without having to change the resale value. So a +1% damage item costs 5 gold, +2 ten gold, +3 sixteen gold, +14% 800 gold, and +15 2500 gold.

Decent gear will be available to everyone, but getting all decked out will cost you.

 

 

And perhaps some vanity items (different wallpaper for your stronghold, a marginally better but awesome looking suit of armour which may elicit some dialogue)

Ego stroking the player who uses his wealth this way.

 

Ultimately, I think the main balance issue is that no-one should be able to do everything.

You know how in some games a player gets a weapon an ammo he needs right before an encounter?

I remember it used to be that we learned to be careful with our resources. 3 shotgunshells and 1 revolver bullet for gordon freeman, meant 2 powerful enemies dead and the crowbar for the rest.

 

If a player is swimming in cash and has no way to spend it, that's no fun either. It becomes a pointless resource.

 

And some risk could be involved too. Yes you can pay 10.000 gold pieces to see the King of Crime at this (not so) reputable bar, but he may not show up, it may be an impostor, he may not like what you have to say. Players could make mistakes.

 

It could be that as the player gets wealthier more demands are being made on him or her. (which a player may or may not indulge)

(quest and dialogue triggers based on wealth)

Money to enter a competition, clothes to enter a noble dress party, a contribution to the cause, tithes to the church (in return for the title of benefactor, of course)

Or quests which blackmail the players for their wealth.

 

There'd be content both for those who hoard their wealth, and those who spend it.

 

Anyway, that's all I can brainstorm up right now.

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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.

Having read a lot of the people's comments here, I'd have to agree with many of them:

 

We like spending our coin on unlocking content, not on allowing us to continue the game without a disadvantage. Many of the examples given here are along the vein of what Baldur's Gate/2 did with the economy: it unlocked further quests and allowed players to further explore the world. Instead, what you are proposing here does not add anything to the player experience: it only punishes them.

 

I know you have worked on IWD/IWD2 and its expansions, and you are looking at the criticism there, but you also need to look at the criticisms leveled against BG/2. Namely, crafting and economy was not an issue for many players. Look at what those games did right and build on that: don't try to make P:E an answer to your critics of IWD/2. Your solutions don't have to be binary either: put some unique items in stores and some unique items in dungeons.

 

The adventurer's mart, the 20k to continue the main quest, etc are all things that players didn't particularly hate from BG/2. These things added content that rewarded players for hoarding wealth. At the same time, they weren't the only method to add content to the game. The games were varied enough that there was plenty of content to go around without having to only spend money.

 

Perhaps one thing you can do is to make several large quests huge money sinks. Either players get the stronghold (new content) or they spend their money on sherpas that take them near Godhammer Citadel (new content) or they spend a majority of their money to travel (maybe by buying a map) the lower levels of Od Nua (new content).

 

I have more to say on the whole topic of item durability and crafting as a skill, but I'll post this in a second post.

Edited by Hormalakh
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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

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

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One thing I was thinking about is limiting the amount of available gold per playthrough - don't make it so easy for players to accumulate huge amounts of gold, and thus make purchase choices carry weight in the game.

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By the way, can anyone tell us about example of a single-player RPG game with durability system that not annoyed people?

 

Dark Souls.  Of course, that whole game was about survival and using your resources, so it fit there.

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My ideas about crafting/durability

 

No Durability loss with normal attacks.

Have skills / spells/ weapons / traps, that reduces durability, If durability =0 item is broken!

 

I would give each weapon two stats Durability and Essence.

 

Like the Cipher uses the souls of people to make magic buffs, the crafter can use the Essence of a item, for buffing / repairing an item.

 

E.g. a Out of combat buff could be a +10 % and reduces the Essence by x Points, and ha a long duration.

An in Combat buff could be an extrordinary + 50 % Bonus but reduces the Essence by 5 times x points, and could even cost durability when the buff runs out.

 

Increasing the durability of a item, costs essence.

Some items could be unbreakable, but on the drawback they have no Essence left.

 

Dwarven made items have high durabilty / low essence

Elfen made items have low durabilty / high essence

...

 

A mundane item, should be easily easiliy be destroyed, by enemy skills that reduces the durability.

A mundane item, should only be once max twice get the high in combat buff, before running out of essence.

 

The characters that are crafters get more and more buffs when the skill is increased, and can also build some unqiue items (why crafting mundane items, if i can purchase them anyway in masses. ONly bonus is to be able to make amunition on the fly, without the need to go back to towns)

 

I also like the tactics behind this. If in an encounter you find out that an Enemy can not be injured with your current weapon, you could try to give it a ice/holy/flame buff, to overcome the enemies imunity. This gives the crafters more options during combat, also a lot of cheap loot weapons can be used during the fights.

 

I think there is plenty of possibility and room for improvements, i tried to keep it short.

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Hello, Obsidian forum lurkers & staff.

 

I have been following the KS updates but I seldom feel the need to discuss anything I read. I just think "awesome!" and move on. I realize that, as someone that isn't normally around here, it is not nice of me to just suddenly appear out of nowhere to give opinions. That being said, you did bring this upon yourselves by asking for feedback.  :)

 

A disclaimer: I play retro D&D dungeon crawls. I keep track of how many torches my players have and how many turns have passed since they lit the last one. Yeah, I'm one of those people.

 

About the proposed crafting system: it seems pretty vanilla to me. If I understand correctly, your run around grabbing everything that isn't nailed down in the off-chance that you need it for something. You don't even know what you need it for, but you feel compelled to pick it up. It is there, so you need to pick it up. This is contrary to what I believe to be good dungeon crawling.

 

Please, if I did not understand your proposal correctly, then disregard everything I'm saying from here onward.

 

Let me tell you how I run my PnP game.

 

First, adventurers are adventurers. They are not crap haulers or blacksmiths. They pay other people to do that. They have better things to do with their time.

 

Second, they spend money to be able to go on adventures. This is their main "money sink", because adventuring costs a ****load of money.

 

The feeling I shoot for in my dungeon crawl campaign is that of a horror movie. Imagine you're embarking on an adventure. You've found out about an ancient temple in a strange land far away. You'll need to hire a boat to go across the sea, and you're leaving civilization behind, so you need to bring everything you need with you. What do you bring with you, and who do you bring with you? You might want to bring mercenaries to keep the expedition safe. Or hire a physician. When you finally reach your destination, you'll need a local guide, and probably some workers to haul supplies and dig up the temple's entrance. Then, when you finally get inside, there will be deadly traps and maybe even a monster. You might get trapped in there with limited supplies of food and water. You might run out of torches. This is what inventory is all about.

 

In my PnP game, inventory is not a "chore" or "busywork"; it is a trade-off. Yes, you could use a platemail, and you could carry a 60 feet rope + a 10 feet pole + 10 torches + 50 rations. The question is: are you sure you want to do that? Because if you do, you might not be able to run away when you stumble upon the monster. You'll not be able to run as fast as the next guy, who is just carrying a light backpack. You might even find yourself in the dark when the only person with a torch decides to run for his life in the opposite direction.

 

Of course, if the player is *expected* to succeed at every turn (as he is in D&D 3rd Edition), then it doesn't really matter how he approaches this. If you can just fall back to civilization for "more of everything" (more rations, more lamp oil, more!), then yeah, inventory becomes busywork. In the same sense, if you can just bring with you 50 daggers, then getting one damaged doesn't matter, and keeping track of each one's condition makes no sense.

 

So, in short: I don't like the crafting system, it looks like an incentive to pick everything up and it cheapens the value of "adventuring".

 

EDIT:

 

I've read on this thread about how people feel like swords breaking is busywork, and how "simulation" is "tedious" and "a chore". I agree in general, but I think those people are missing the point. These things are tedious because computer games do it wrong. If you can bring 5 swords with you, or just immediately "auto-travel" back to a city and repair your sword, then yes, it is tedious.

 

If however, you can only bring one sword with you; if a sword is an expensive item; if you can use it to parry against a mace, knowing that it will break but save your life, and you won't have a sword anymore, you'll have to somehow stab that guy with your dagger (basically you're ****ed); then it is no longer tedious, it is part of the whole adventuring thing.

Edited by Kamos
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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).

We already saw it in FNV. Never helped anything. You just hoarded a lot of repair kits but mostly used them on unique weapons\armor that you could not find spare parts to repair them.

 

You're contradicting yourself. If you used the repair kits then clearly it did help, didn't it? Now consider the case where you only used repair kits rather than seeking individual replacement parts as you did in FNV. Wouldn't that be an easier mechanic? In a game like this where you are managing a party rather than an individual character, as a gamer you probably want that level of simplicity for maintenance tasks.

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And now for my thoughts on crafting and item durability.

 

Firstly, I don't think that crafting and item durability are "bad" in and of themselves. The problem lies in that they tend to not be very fun aspects of the game and become more Skinner Type boxes and chores that players end up wasting a lot of time on.

 

Item Durability:

For example, I don't think most players find item durability fun, not because it poses a challenge but because they dread the hours of time they'll have to spend going back and forth between dungeon and town to repair all the items in their shop after every outing. I have heard a few people be fine with big spikes in damage to items (e.g. acid destroying armor, or single enemy special attacks - a la Might and Magic 4 diamond golems destroying weapons, or iron golems in Arcanum). They however don't like the slow wittling down of weapons and armor because it enforces a chore on players. I call these mechanics "Frustration type mechanics" because they aren't particularly fun or challenging, they just serve to frustrate the player.

 

So I propose a few solutions:

 

1- Make durability a binary status (broken/damaged vs normal) instead of a granular status (durability). And then make only select enemies/spells/quests/etc affect it. e.g. If you players become unconscious 3 or 4 times then their armor becomes damaged (like Might and Magic did with death and armor).

 

2- Make repairs automated or extremely easy to do with a single button. For example, just have the ability for players to have a daily loss of coin/crafting items that goes into repairs (or upkeep or whatever you want to call it) instead of having players have to go through each item for each character and click on repair and then reequip the item, and then have the next item sent to the player, etc (a billion clicks just to keep questing).

 

 

Crafting

The biggest issue I have with this is that it is sort of becoming a skill that is required for all melee characters to have. The developers are making it a skill that players have to think twice about forgoing (because of the item durability) but then mixing it with a skill that unlocks content (item creation). The problem is that most people never had an issue with lockpick being a singular skill that only one character had to take, but now crafting is a skill everyone has to take because we want to make it a "choice ." I'll admit I don't know the whole pool of skills in this game and I think a big problem is that we don't have a clear understanding of how all of these skills work together, (probably what Tim Cain meant at the end of his post), so it's difficult to properly understand how everything works together. From what I understand right now I propose two different solutions:

 

1- Make "item maintenance" a separate skill that most characters would need to consider taking if they want to deal with item durability (a combat-based strategic skill). Make crafting a separate skill that unlocks content. Then make crafting usable in certain solutions for quests (e.g. craft a doll for the baby troll so he doesn't kill you). This would split skills into skills where a single character would suffice to have that expertise (like lockpick or language:Vailian) and skills where each character gets combat bonuses (like item maintenance or stealth).

 

2- Make sure all your skills have a possible use for each class and have several uses. Crafting does a billion different things, so stealth should be the same and everyone should take stealth or lose out on the benefits. Mechanics should benefit everyone. etc etc.

 

Basically why is it ok to have one lockpicker but we need 5 crafters?

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

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

My DXdiag:

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

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What should our characters spend gold on ? 

  • potions and scrolls of course
  • various pieces of equipement
  • inns' rooms
  • investing in a group of bards so that they come back with new rumors and quests
  • alcohol to gain popularity and learn secrets
  • politics and influence
  • bribing
  • maps (could be bought if possible, and completed by visiting the place)
  • safe (or safer) journey
  • companies, merchents, artists, militia, guilds, each kind providing different outcomes (fame, power, influence...)

Money is not a very good gameplay mechanism I think if it's used only on buying goods. But can be a very nice roleplay mechanism if it reflects the evolution of the group.

 

Are they poor ? Do they give all their money to gain knowledge ? Are they business angels of one city, building political strenght ? Are they threatening their neighbours ? Giving money to charity and beloved by the people ? Or are they rich and investing in several other groups to gather pieces of very very dark secrets ? That's what RPG is all about !

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Well im not sure how to write this but i will give it a try anyway.

 

The core problems for me are that gold in most cases dont make any sense for the game world that you play in.

In my opinion gold coins or whatever currency you use... should be rare or hard to get. A enemy should not drop 1000's of gold coins if a piece of bread cost 1gold coin in the game world. There need to be a balance towards the lower scale so that money become something of value and something that you dont just "throw around". Do you bribe this person? What if i need to bribe someone else? Do i buy this scroll with magic that cost LOTS or would i rather get some armor. Do i spend money on this potion that give my character a temporary boost or do i save the money because i might need it later (not saying that potions should be super expensive but you should not be able to buy 1000's of potions of whatever type... ofc you have things like...

the keep, mercenary heroes, bribes and more things to spend the money on... But overall it should feel like money have a value.

 

Durability for me is a problem where  the system is just "pointless" a "time sink / money sink". You either dont go far enough with it for there to be a reason to have durability or simply like i said above... its so easy that its of no importance anyway.

 

Crafting for me is not something i enjoy most of the time. Mostly because i dont think i have found a system that i enjoy a lot. If i have to say one its when you combine parts of legendary weapons in some games. But i dont see much point in crafting if you are just going to make a "iron sword" if the economy of the game is such that iron swords grow on trees.

 

I guess one could make crafting into something where you can craft some "good" things but you need rare / harder to get items to do it. Then combine it with some magic (this is for "good" items) and you can get a good item. But it should not be easy and it should not be stronger or worse then any other "good" item. It should more be a "side grade" a item choice... Do you enjoy these kinds of items or the other kinds of items.

 

I dont think this made much sense :):p i might rewrite it when im not so tired O.o

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Another thing i don't like is non combat abilities to have a combat effect.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/obsidian/project-eternity/posts/314089
 
 

Non-Combat Abilities


Let's talk first about your goals as a player, about the things you would like to do besides fighting. Then I'll talk about our design goals and explain how we are putting the non-combat systems together.
Player Goals
When you are not fighting, that's when non-combat abilities come into play. We plan to add abilities that will let you become better at achieving four different non-combat goals.

  • Learning new things. This includes finding out previously unknown information, like the location of town or a hidden door, or uncovering secret knowledge, like a potion recipe or the true name of a demon. Or maybe you just want to know a good place to gather materials like ore or herbs. We will make abilities that let you find things out.
  • Traveling around the world. You will want to improve your movement capabilities (such as sneaking around some ruins), or traveling across the world map faster or more safely, or even teleporting directly to your destination. And sometimes movement requires removing barriers like locks or traps, so you will need some way to unlock and disarm. We'll add abilities for these actions.
  • Getting new items. If you are not going to kill a creature to take its things, then we will give you the means to make new items, buy them, or steal them. Or maybe you will choose to support NPC's by bringing them the materials or the recipes needed to make new items for you. We congratulate you on your non-violent and cooperative plans of wealth acquisition, and we'll give you the means to do it.
  • Interacting with companions. Once we have added many interesting and useful NPC companions, we will have to give you ways to recruit them, improve their usefulness, and keep them from dying (or even worse, disliking you!). We will make non-combat abilities that interact with your companions, so you can keep them alive and filled with a grudging respect for you. 

I know the devs said that there will be a balance, but at this point i become woried that the game is becoming tooooo combat focused.

Edited by Malekith
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