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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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#21
Hiro Protagonist II

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limiting gold and magical items is a bad idea.

 

Yep, I've been playing for the last 5 hours and all I have is this lousy +1 sword. A Good way to frustrate players and turn them off the game.


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#22
Sarex

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limiting gold and magical items is a bad idea.

 

Yep, I've been playing for the last 5 hours and all I have is this lousy +1 sword. A Good way to frustrate players and turn them off the game.

 

Especially if the came from IE games.



#23
Hiro Protagonist II

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That was one of the problems with IWD2. There was a huge outcry when the game was released with having very little magical items. Later fixed to some degree in the patch with more loot later in the game, but still a problem early on in the game. When you have to patch loot and fix the loot tables in the game, then the original game is fundamentally flawed.

 

Both BG 1 & 2 and IWD1 had it right. And even if you did get a high powered item near the start of the game, your characters were so inept they couldn't hit anything. eg. Varscona in BG1. One of the best swords in the game but you rarely hit anything because your thaco was so poor until you were mid level. So you didn't use it until later on.


Edited by Hiro Protagonist II, 13 January 2014 - 12:46 PM.


#24
rjshae

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Remember when finding your first magical item was a thrill? Yeah I'm that old... :p


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#25
PrimeJunta

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Munchkins. Munchkins everywhere.


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#26
Mr. Magniloquent

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I liked the way Arcanum handled merchants. It was possible for them to run out of gold, but you could return a few days later after "they've had more business" and sell some more to them. It made sense to sell items to their respective merchants, as you not only recieved better prices, but were less likely to exhaust the NPC merchant's inability to say no. Thievery was also made attractive and practical in many ways within Arcanum, which I greatly appreciated. Sleuthing around at night picking locks or using swiped keys while keeping mum was probably the best shoplift implementation in any RPG I can think of.


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#27
Osvir

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Hidden quest idea!

You find a useless gem that you can sell for some mid-gold value, valuable but not crazy valuable. Selling this item to a specific merchant somewhere could make him perma-disappear, cus the gem was in fact super valuable and it made the merchant super rich.

Or it could go hand-in-hand with reactive world and the merchant becomes some noble that can give some more quests or influence in the world somehow.



#28
Hiro Protagonist II

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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 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 ├╝ber-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

 

 

This is like my anti-list of how to do loot.

 

Less armour and weapons? And trash loot needs to be able to do something. The helmets in IWD2 at the start of the game did nothing. There was no point having them. Just have gold sitting on the ground instead because all we're going to do is sell it to a merchant. At least the trash helmets in the BG games did something.

 

Magical Jewellery and special items shouldn't be so rare that there's only a couple in the game. I finished IWD2 recently and half my characters had blank slots because there wasn't enough rings, necklaces or anything special in the game.

 

No loot bags? They've been pretty much a staple of the IE games with IWD1 and BG2. They're a must have.

 

Also, if you're going to have an adventurers hall where we can make out own characters, then a party of mages should be able to have access to scrolls. This is where the IWD games fall down when making parties of a particular class. While it's fun to take a party of mages through the game, it's also frustrating when usually only one scroll exists for each spell.

 

If you're not going to reward players with loot, then you've taken a fundamental positive experience out of the game which is the game reward system.


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#29
Yonjuro

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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

......

 

 Certainly, it is possible to have too many overpowered items (when you toss yet another +7 ubermunchkinsword of ubermunkinness on the pile, then there is clearly too much stuff).

 

 In BG (1 or 2), if you could have purchased an unlimited number of protection from magic scrolls (instead of 5 in BG1, some of which you have to find, and 2 in BG2), many of the challenges would have evaporated. 

 

 On the other hand, sometimes the right loot can make more play styles viable (including solo runs, but really any party that doesn't include one of everything (especially someone who can cast needed buff spells)). 

 

 

... BG1 almost had all this worked out to perfection....

 

 That's true and I never played BG1 in the original engine, only BGtutu. Now that I think about it, it's surprising how well the weapon choices worked even though the weapon proficiencies were different in the two engines. It made a few weapon choices suboptimal in TuTu but didn't really break things. I suppose it's because there weren't too many critters that were immune to too many weapons - that probably makes things easier to balance.



#30
Tsuga C

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It is my fervent desire that...

...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...


...are sorely disappointed by the lack of Monty Haul swag in PoE. Silver is supposed to be the standard coin. Gold, exquisitely wrought jewelry, precious stones, and magical items of any sort should never become commonplace be it at low-, mid-, or high-level play. As stated by others previously, a Monty Haul campaign quickly diminishes that which should be significant to the characters.

That said, I do hope that there's a bit of scripting here and there that'll give our PC gear in which we are specializing. There's nothing quite so disappointing as finding all sorts of gear for your companions (or not, thus leading to more selling), but never finding the axe, flail, polearm, hide armor, etc. that you've specialized in for tactical or roleplaying purposes.
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#31
PIP-Clownboy

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 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.

 

Those things aren't mutually exclusive. 


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#32
J.E. Sawyer

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That was one of the problems with IWD2. There was a huge outcry when the game was released with having very little magical items.

 

I do not think this is an accurate recollection of events.  There were problems with the loot tables but there was a lot of loot in IWD2 from beginning to end.  We adjusted the stats of items in the patch, but we didn't dramatically change their distribution and I certainly don't remember adding anything.


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#33
Lephys

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Hardly every finding magical items and hardly ever finding better-than-what-you-currently-have items are two distinct things.

Also, as far as limited gold goes, I don't think it has to be just all bad or all good as per a given player's preferences on the matter.

I really like the idea of having something like a pawn shop that deals in general goods on a higher volume, so they always have a lot more currency with which to buy your stuff, but they give you less for it because they don't really specialize in/have need of your specific items. Then, having specific merchants who have less gold on hand, but will give you much more for the items they specifically deal in than the general vendor will.

Combine that with the ability to trade (skipping the currency values altogether), and proper balancing so that you don't NEED to penny-pinch just to adequately equip your party to be able to handle the campaign, and everything's pretty set, I think.

There's a lot of leeway with specifics, however it's done. I have absolutely no qualms about having lots of spiffy things in store for people who go through the extra trouble of managing things a bit better, so long as the people who don't want to bother with that still get adequate stuff. That comes up a lot as a concern when this topic is discussed, and people tend to say "Hey, that's not fair! I don't like managing my money and doing all those side quests, but that player who DOES got this spiffy sword! I shouldn't miss out just because I don't like that stuff!". But, really, that's not true. That sword is an extra. Nothing's being taken from the players who don't get that sword. They just don't get that spiffy sword.

I just think there's a way to do it a little more naturally, without quite having to separate everything into expert-mode-esque options.

You never know when you might find yourself in the position to say "Hey... the weapons stall is the closest one, anyway, and I've got some weapons. Might as well stop by there and sell them for a bit of extra gold."

Or, really, even if you never consciously/voluntarily do so, I think we gamers benefit from variety like that even if we aren't the kind of people who take advantage of it. "Hey, I happened to be closest to the weapons merchant, and sold my stuff there until he ran out of gold, then went to the general merchant, and now I got some more gold!" As opposed to just always getting the same, lesser amount of gold, but never "having to worry" about the potential difference. To put it simply, it can be done without requiring the player to worry about it.

#34
Hiro Protagonist II

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There were problems with the loot tables but there was a lot of loot in IWD2 from beginning to end.  We adjusted the stats of items in the patch, but we didn't dramatically change their distribution and I certainly don't remember adding anything.

 

It says on the official patch:

 

NEW STUFF
- Added new powerful armor into stores and random treasure tables in the later portion of the game.

 

Are you able to clarify the second part of this? What happened with the random treasure tables in the later portion of the game?

 

I found in my recent play through that there wasn't much in terms of magical loot, except for the overabundance of returning frost darts in the first half of the game. Then you get to the underdark merchants and then you see some nice items but not much. It's not until you reach Kuldahar that you go on a spending spree and buy everything in sight and clean out all the merchants which at this stage, you have a ton of gold to do so. However, while all six characters will have some great items, they'll still have empty slots unless you're still wearing the +1 Cold Resistance items (which don't mean much) from near the start of the game.

 

There's also a serious lack of decent armor for mages. There are virtually no wizard robes in the game. there are 2 or 3 unique robes, 1 or 2 of which you wont find until the final areas. And aside from those the only robes you will occasionally chance across are adventurers robes. None of the other various robes in BG2 and the like. Maybe because I had some spell casters in my party that I found the game had a lack of worth while loot for these characters.

 

My party consisted of:

Shield Dwarf Fighter(4)/Barbarian(x)
Shield Dwarf Battleguard of Tempus(x)
Human Morninglord of Lathander(x)
Drow Rogue(1)/Conjurer(x)
Human Sorcerer(x)
Aasimar Sorcerer(x)


Edited by Hiro Protagonist II, 13 January 2014 - 04:16 PM.


#35
Azmodan

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I agree with limiting merchant gold, but also think that the problem of ubiquitous +1/+2 items could be resolved more elegantly.

Common weapons should be common and cheap. But "military grade" weapons/armour should be uncommon and carry a reaction modifier. If you are an adventurer, geared out like the Enemy army, you should be attacked on sight. Above that - truly magical items, should also prompt some kind of reaction due to their rarity (and bling factor).

 

I hope that magical items in PoE do not have "+X" suffix.

 

I do hope that the items are more along the lines of  bronze < iron < steel < masterwork (including silver edged for lycanthropes) < mithril < adamantine

Where the descriptor is an indication of quality.

 

Additionally with "masterwork" items:

- A masterwork item is made by a Master <weapon / armour> smith and their specific school

- Theoretically every major geographical unit could have one

- The traits of an item crafted by a master smith ought to be similar, both physical properties as well as NPC/Enemy types that frequently carry these

- This would additionally solve the following problem common to almost all CRPGs: at certain challenge rating, the enemy is armed with +1/+2/+3 etc. generic items.

 

Example:

In a particular region, the enemies of a certain rank are armed with weapons forged in the tradition of a school of a particular master smith. These weapons are characterised by a soft blue metallic sheen to their alloy, and their hilts and scabbards are completed in the colours of the school. The weapons leave frozen burns on their victims.

In mechanical terms these are +1 weapons for purposes of overcoming weapon protection, and do +1D4 cold damage. But this information should not be immediately available to the player. I hope adjectives and/or graphic effects are used instead.


Edited by Azmodan, 13 January 2014 - 03:46 PM.


#36
Chaos Theory

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I would imagine that, with all the modifications/purchases/bling/servants/etc for our "keep", you will need some rapid cash-- and a lot of it.  Limiting merchant gold probably won't happen because of that.  If I remember correctly, they did a similar thing with NWN2-- they limited items with sporadic vendor inventory resets, but the gold was always available.  This made improving your "captain's keep" fairly smooth.

 

However, I am only guessing with regard to PE.


Edited by Chaos Theory, 13 January 2014 - 04:49 PM.


#37
Jobby

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I'm all for limited gold, makes sense and can help to balance the economy and end game gold levels, I think it is ridiculous that stores should level up with the characters though, this provides balance at the cost of immersion in my opinion.

 

I'm all for stock changing occasionally but there should be a fairly consistent variety of items available at all times, whether or not an early game player can afford them is another matter, if you choose to scrounge every penny and rob every poor bastard that you see then perhaps this could create a real justification for an evil/selfish playthrough.

 

I do agree that in most cRPGS money is far too easy to acquire and becomes a meaningless number by mid-game, but I don't want stores to only stock junk (thus making money meaningless) and I don't want them to level up with the player/chapter (limiting the value of money). It should be a hard earned resource that requires a degree of thought into how you spend it and the player who spends hours stealing it/acquiring it through reputation losses should be rewarded by being able to purchase better gear. 


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#38
Lephys

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I'm all for limited gold, makes sense and can help to balance the economy and end game gold levels, I think it is ridiculous that stores should level up with the characters though, this provides balance at the cost of immersion in my opinion.


Agreed, in terms of specific stores actually just magically getting better wares simply because the player has more need/use for them. However, if you're talking about stores in general (as in, as you level up, you're also coincidentally exposed to stores with better wares), then I'm actually okay with that. Not the JRPG "every single new town you get to sells an even higher tier of stuff, as if the entire world revolves around your party's journey" extent. But, in general, yes.

It's a valley between extremes. I'd like to see all stores only carry exactly what you can use/acquire at your level at all times equally as much as I'd like to see all stores always have 60,000GP Ethereal Plate +7. Which is to say, none. 8P

But, you're right. Nice equipment shouldn't simply not be available anywhere JUST because it's "higher level" than you. I don't like an ultra linear progression with equipment. If you want to spend your 600 gold on a suit of plate for your Warrior, instead of on 5 suits of Quality Leather for the rest of your party, or weapons or something, then I think you should be able to do so. Again, within reason. There's no reason a legendary blade should be available at a merchant stall in a small town.

#39
rjshae

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That was one of the problems with IWD2. There was a huge outcry when the game was released with having very little magical items.

 

I do not think this is an accurate recollection of events.  There were problems with the loot tables but there was a lot of loot in IWD2 from beginning to end.  We adjusted the stats of items in the patch, but we didn't dramatically change their distribution and I certainly don't remember adding anything.

 

I certainly didn't have an issue with the loot in IWD2 and if there was "outcry" I missed it. In fact I particularly liked that it had masterwork weapons at low levels; it made for a nice transition.



#40
Jarmo

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I'm all for limited gold, makes sense and can help to balance the economy and end game gold levels, I think it is ridiculous that stores should level up with the characters though, this provides balance at the cost of immersion in my opinion.

 

As such yeah, and one of the staples of CRPGs that's annoying me more and more.

Shadowrun returns was really bad about this.

 

Then again, there's the: 

"Hey, I made a tidy profit on the 76 million gp's worth of goods you hauled here!

I'm now one of the biggest merchants in the coast and decided to improve my wares accordingly."







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