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Difficulty Thoughts: Merchants with Limited Gold & High Level Loot

josh sawyer frog helms fan club Question limited gold loot drops

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#1
Osvir

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First of all, I like to discuss a higher difficulty (theme of the thread and my thoughts):

http://jesawyer.tumb...bg-and-iwd-like

 

Josh says it all I guess.

Do you think limited gold is an interesting feature? I think it works well in Fallout & TES games. Though, the only thing it affects is early game really (tends to be a slower early game). But I also think that if it is balanced properly (combined with a harsher and harder economy) it could make the game more difficult for a harder difficulty experience.

I played an interesting immersive mod for Baldur's Gate, it made the "Iron Crisis" more authentic to the story as well as items broke more easily as well. A Short Sword cost like 150 gold, and sold for maybe 10. In the original experience you buy a Short Sword for maybe 5 gold and sell it for like 2. 

High Level Loot:

 

Likewise, I think that if some High-Level Loot is not available, or loot in general is scarce across the game, it'd make the game more difficult as well.

Combine Limited Gold, High Cost Items, Less Loot Drops or Unavailable Loot Placements, and you get a more difficult experience.

Thoughts?


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#2
IndiraLightfoot

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As much as I like casual bouts with ARPGs now and then, I want PE almost to be the opposite as far as loot and gold go:

-Less money available/acquirable (whatever the currencies)

-Less weapons/armour a/a

-No potions and no scrolls a/a (at least they should be extremely rare, treasures in their own right, not fast-food ketchup bags and toilet paper)

-magical weapons/armour should be very rare

-Magical jewellery and special magical items should be even rarer

-No loot explosions when opponents die, just bodies to loot, and the bodies should linger after death (at least awhile). No loot bags, please

-High level loot should be a/a almost as an exception to the rule, if not only for the reason that it's annoying to get the message: You're not of the required level to use this item."

-I like early games to progress slowly, mid-games too, late game as well: meaning: No loot extravagances, please

-No crafting that breaks the system in any way. At best, crafting should be used in order to replenish basic items, whether daggers, short swords, gloves or arrows

-Make shops/stores immune to abuse of the kind: Dump money on them and gear an über-party far too early. Give them scarce stocks and have these stocks undergo changes as time goes by. Minor lucky items could be inserted into these collections, as long as they are just a fraction better and very uncommon


Edited by IndiraLightfoot, 13 January 2014 - 12:25 AM.

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#3
JFSOCC

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I have a different idea to deal with wealth accumulation: Make wealth amounts tie in to unlockable "prestige" content. IE content or reactivity which is only unlocked when your money amounts pass a certain level. Being wealthy would then have a point other than the practical "I can buy anything I want"
More importantly, it might make it interesting not to buy anything you want so that you stay wealthy enough to be invited to dinner parties with the nobs in P:E.

"rich" quests which involve scheming with the nobles, manipulating economies, being asked to participate in grand building projects (leaving a legacy!)

This means that being rich is not pointless after you've perfectly kitted out your team/stronghold.
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#4
PrimeJunta

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Strongly in favor of limited gold and relatively scarce loot. Also strongly in favor of a broader definition of wealth than gold pieces.

 

I ran a long D&D campaign where my players were very wealthy -- or, to be precise, one of them was wealthy (and the others were members of his household). However they often had major cash flow problems because most of the wealth was in land, trade caravans, titles, unique, highly valued art objects, connections, and what have you -- and most of the really cool stuff (e.g. magic items) was so rare it could not be bought for gold. I'd like that sort of thing in a cRPG as well.

 

I like what's been said about crafting, actually. One cRPG trope I don't care for is disposable super-shiny loot ("Oh look, another flaming longsword of death +5, toss it in the vendor trash pile.") Instead I'd like magic items to be unique, and to grow in power with you, so they become a part of your character's identity in a way. Crafting enhancements is a good way to accomplish this, especially if it's set up so that crafting brand new items is really, seriously, painfully expensive, so enhancing existing ones becomes more attractive.


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#5
Brinx

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I played an interesting immersive mod for Baldur's Gate, it made the "Iron Crisis" more authentic to the story as well as items broke more easily as well. A Short Sword cost like 150 gold, and sold for maybe 10. In the original experience you buy a Short Sword for maybe 5 gold and sell it for like 2.

 

This is a general problem with economy in games.  In this example the buy/sell-proportion is either 15:1 or 2.5:1. Problem is, that this doesn't make the game more authentic or realistic, it just makes the game harder. I agree that during the iron crisis iron should be more valuable, but why is it worth less, when you sell it? The smith is in desperate need for iron too, it's not just your character. So in the end increasing the proportions doesn't make the game more immersive.

 

What I would like to see is another handling of magical items and weapons. Because what need does your general Urist McSmithdwarf have for The Flaming Longsword of Doom. If he lacks the necessary skills (And usually Smiths would) he can't make a new weapon out of it and what need does he have for magical sword (And how would you handle a flaming sword anyway.). He's not a second hand magical weapons-dealer after all. Realistically (as realistic as a fantasy setting gets, but hey...) magical weapons should be unsellable except to collectors or stores that specialize in those (The Adventurer's Market in Athkatla for example). This would also decrease the possibility of 'vendor hopping' as was the usuall strategy of selling items in TES games. Of course those could still try to rip you off, but magical items should have a high value to those special vendors, but those vendors should be very rare (Maybe you even have to actively look for a collector of magical weapons) and have limited gold.



#6
Karkarov

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I am not totally opposed to unlimited merchant gold but I think it work's out better if it is limited.  Basically they should go "mostly" the Elder Scrolls route (and it sounds like they sort of are), limited gold per merchant, merchants can sell some good items but it is extremely rare to see anything legitimately powerful.  One thing I would change from the Elder Scrolls concept is just add in no random stock, what they sell is what they sell, let the quantity be limited but regenerate over time, and let anyone buy anything but if you sell a weapon to a weapon smith the smith should pay more for it than a pawn broker would but would pay less for a gold ring.

 

Oh and PS: No high level loot on merchants.  Let them have some "decent" stuff but if I want a +5 sword of badassocity and death-dealing I need to go find that beast, you feel me?!?!?!?!


Edited by Karkarov, 13 January 2014 - 05:17 AM.

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#7
Sarex

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Yeah, see what happened to DA2 concerning limited loot and gold. Doing that would be an epic mistake on Obsidians part. Loot and gold should be plentiful, what should change though, is that more of the items should be viable and not only the 10% of the top tier items. BG and IWD series were spot on, on how and where you acquired loot and gold, what was lacking, as I said, was item viability.

 

There should still be tiers of items, that when you progress through the game get better and better, but what should not happen is that when you get to end tier weapons or armors you regret not putting skill points in to great sword expertise, because the best item in a game is a great sword. And it would not be bad if there were 2 best (top tier) items for each type of weapon, each having a different trade off.

 

I think it would be a very bad move scaling down on items and gold and in my opinion that was one of the best parts of IE games.


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#8
Wombat

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This is another factor where the lack of game masters in CRPGs can screw things up.  I agree that money scarcity can be good for immersion but, if it gets really difficult to build wealth, at the end of the game, tactical difficulty for the players who managed to build wealth and who failed to do so/or was not interested in doing so would be significally different, which can shift the focus of the game.  So, unless there is a clever way to sovle this dilenma, I'd like PoE to be more traditional, means-at the early game, my party may struggle for decent equipments but, at the end of the game, I don't mind how wealthy it is since I'd like the game to be less about investment simulation game.  I liked old Romance of the Three Kingdoms games, where you need to build both your countries and individual heroes, which suited the format, but, for PoE, I'd like the game to focus on tactical combat with relatively small scale resource management.  Simply, they are different games.

As for low magic setting, the lead desinger himself seems to like low magic setting as I do but, considering the item design pledgers, I think there will be a considerable number of magic items, some of which may not be available depending on how you play the game, though.
 


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#9
Osvir

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Quoting Wombat: "Difficulty to build wealth" huh? Gets me loads of ideas. The point you bring up about one Player managing wealth and the other Player not managing it til the end-game sounds awesome. It means there'd be more variety in play style.

Do you know any game, cRPG or not, that serves a sort of end-game difficulty where you are not wealthy? In all games you are almost always the richest man in the world at the end of the game... but what if there was a difficulty or a game that was so difficult that you'd struggle through harsh rains in rags instead of plate? 

"Poor Man's Mod", should be fairly easy to create and balance post-release. Just learn how much gold there is in each chapter and adjust the merchants accordingly. Oh, and removing a lot of high-level drops from enemies too.



#10
PrimeJunta

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Also, building up wealth and not building up wealth could each have their advantages. Perhaps a life of poverty strengthens your soul...



#11
PIP-Clownboy

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Merchants should definitely have top tier items in certain cases, however, their super stock shouldn't be readily available early in the game or linked to dumb pre-order bonuses (hi NWN2/BG2) and they need to be priced appropriately (i'm against of being able to BUY EVERYTHING in one playthough. You should have to make tough decisions with your money and maybe be forced to pawn off a useful item to actually afford something good). Being able to to buy the Robe of Vecna within 30 minutes and then never taking it off was really, really dumb. 

 

An update mentioned special merchants being available through the Stronghold under certain circumstances and I'm down with that and other special requirements/decisions/quests that will open up potential gear through merchants. What I'm against is making merchants meaningless as many of you are suggesting. If they are just there with limited gold and no worthwhile stock so my adventure Baron has to merchant hop to sell his useless crap then whats the point? It just becomes silly busy work. 

 

I am not totally opposed to unlimited merchant gold but I think it work's out better if it is limited.  Basically they should go "mostly" the Elder Scrolls route (and it sounds like they sort of are), limited gold per merchant, merchants can sell some good items but it is extremely rare to see anything legitimately powerful.  One thing I would change from the Elder Scrolls concept is just add in no random stock, what they sell is what they sell, let the quantity be limited but regenerate over time, and let anyone buy anything but if you sell a weapon to a weapon smith the smith should pay more for it than a pawn broker would but would pay less for a gold ring.

 

Oh and PS: No high level loot on merchants.  Let them have some "decent" stuff but if I want a +5 sword of badassocity and death-dealing I need to go find that beast, you feel me?!?!?!?!

 

When you say Elder Scrolls I really hope you don't mean Skyrim where they were absolutely meaningless and you can craft any item into god tier essentially making looting/buying anything pointless. 


Edited by PIP-Clownboy, 13 January 2014 - 07:00 AM.

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#12
Wombat

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Do you know any game, cRPG or not, that serves a sort of end-game difficulty where you are not wealthy? In all games you are almost always the richest man in the world at the end of the game... but what if there was a difficulty or a game that was so difficult that you'd struggle through harsh rains in rags instead of plate? 

"Poor Man's Mod", should be fairly easy to create and balance post-release. Just learn how much gold there is in each chapter and adjust the merchants accordingly. Oh, and removing a lot of high-level drops from enemies too.

In fact, I tried to explain why parties end up with quite wealthy in so many CRPGs.  Personally, I like some survival focused games and Darklands has interesting ways to invest, which enhances the immersion rather than distracting.  So, I guess it comes down to the scope of the game.

In PoE's case, the item degradation, which was given up, was going to be implemented as a money sink-probably in the line of thought similar to the Poorman's Mod (Personally, I haven't played it but, at least, judging from your explanation here).  Even the stronghold seems to have been partly designed as a possible money-sink (This may sound odd but to dry up the player cash, I guess since, somehow, I don't think they were even implementing real estate economy mechanic...).  So, while even the devs seem to have planned something like that, they gave up due to the community reaction.  That said, I don't believe anybody has problem with you or other people making a mod like "Poor Man's Mod".



#13
Jarmo

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Limited gold can work, as long as there's some merchants with practically unlimited amounts.*

And as long as there's a barter system and the most annoying faults possible are avoided.

 

I just hate it when there's a merchant with an ivory sword worth 5000 gp to sell,

I have a 5 sets of knightly armors for which he's willing to pay 1000 gp's per set.

 

But he has only 500 gp's of gold so he can't buy a single one,

while I have 2000gp's so I can't buy his sword either.

 

Making the trade is impossible because of advanced realism.

 

 

* because if I have items that are highly priced and therefore in demand,

there neeeeeeds to be a way to sell them. Maybe the payment is delayed or whatever.


Edited by Jarmo, 13 January 2014 - 07:25 AM.

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#14
rjshae

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To me, limiting gold is at the same level of realism as weapon repair; it's probably something better left to the expert mode.

 

But a comparable option is to have "grades" of equipment, then limit the highest grade that a store deals with. I.e. a cheap Grade I or a good grade II sword is available from the village smithy; buying an expensive Grade V sword requires a visit to the Exquisito Sword Works in the capitol city.



#15
IndiraLightfoot

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I just want to emphasize how tired I am of the "from rags to riches"-setup of CRP-campaigns. MotB worked perfectly fine without any stronghold pile and droves of wealth, as did PST, and those weren't exactly bad games, eh? BG1 almost had all this worked out to perfection, but then BG2 ruined it all. I know the stronghold is in, but personally I couldn't care less about playing a feudal wall street wolf. I want engaging stories and exciting encounters, not tonnes of money and items to micromanage.



#16
Sabotin

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For those epic items that would bankrupt a merchant - how about making them worth little money, but you can find people that would be willing to trade some other artifact for it? Cue easter egg trade chain quest xD .

 

Also thumbs up for bartering.

 

One thing though. I'm not sure if it's mutually exclusive, but how are different play styles dealt with? I mean you have people that stack money to save up for that super awesome sword and you have people that upgrade equipment at every opportunity and people that are everything in between. It seems like different loot quantity/quality is meant for a specific style of play and would bring issues to the other?


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#17
IndiraLightfoot

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Then you have crazy people like me that try to be IR (in character) when playing CRPGs. So my latest playthrough (not yet finished) of FNV I play an evil loner who shoots anything that moves and loot their corpses. Consequently, I've killed a number of merchants, and lovely enough, it was all allowed! Thank you, Obsidian! :fdevil:



#18
rjshae

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I just want to emphasize how tired I am of the "from rags to riches"-setup of CRP-campaigns. MotB worked perfectly fine without any stronghold pile and droves of wealth, as did PST, and those weren't exactly bad games, eh? BG1 almost had all this worked out to perfection, but then BG2 ruined it all. I know the stronghold is in, but personally I couldn't care less about playing a feudal wall street wolf. I want engaging stories and exciting encounters, not tonnes of money and items to micromanage.

 

Recall that in MotB you started out at an already high level so the economy was different. The merchants were selling gear that the average Joe couldn't possibly afford, so the economy was completely and utterly unrealistic for a medieval setting.



#19
Nonek

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I'm all for diminishing the tyranny of loot, however I recognise that there are a lot of people raised on Diablo clones whom expect drops every five minutes, and view this as an important part of their character progression. Personally i think that it de-values any item you currently possess but i'm definitely in a minority, and there was a lot of vendor trash in the IE games, so I can see Poe having a similar amount.


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#20
IndiraLightfoot

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I just want to emphasize how tired I am of the "from rags to riches"-setup of CRP-campaigns. MotB worked perfectly fine without any stronghold pile and droves of wealth, as did PST, and those weren't exactly bad games, eh? BG1 almost had all this worked out to perfection, but then BG2 ruined it all. I know the stronghold is in, but personally I couldn't care less about playing a feudal wall street wolf. I want engaging stories and exciting encounters, not tonnes of money and items to micromanage.

 

Recall that in MotB you started out at an already high level so the economy was different. The merchants were selling gear that the average Joe couldn't possibly afford, so the economy was completely and utterly unrealistic for a medieval setting.

 

 

You got it! That market was just for show at the very beginning, and they sold insane über-crazy-great stuff. And ordinary barrels on the street in Mulsantir could contain fantastic items and hoards of gold worthy of a dragon. I won't spoil anything, but under an ordinary dirt mound by some wall, you had a magic item worthy of gods. Weirdly enough, all this solved the loot problem, as it simply was of no importance any more. And for those that crafted their weapons in MotB, they wrecked their entire game experience, just like you do in Skyrim.







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