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Common pitfalls of CRPG games to avoid

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#21
Hiro Protagonist II

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It was especially bad in Throne of Bhaal with shopkeepers selling magical artifacts like they were peanuts... It felt more like I was playing fantasy Dragon Ball Z than anything but that's D&D epic levels for you.

 

 

This is one problem with Epic levels. The higher the level you go, the better the weapons (and abilities) you get. While it didn't make sense for shopkeepers to have those items, you would normally get better items through the expansion. This is always going to be a problem when you have the same character levelling up in games with expansions, exporting them into sequels and more expansions. And when you have so many classes, you have to cater for all those classes, hence the over abundance of magical items.

 

At least ToB didn't have abilities like this:

 

Spoiler


#22
Sir Chaox

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Instead of just "more health and damage, and your enemies get more health and damage!" I'd rather new mechanics be introduced as time goes on, both on my side and on the enemy side. I want to go into a fight and go "Oh! That's never happened before."

Well there will also be passive/active skills in PE, which will introduce new mechanics as levels increase. So the amount of variables in a combat encounter will increase as we rise in levels.



#23
Jobby

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I'm all for lots of weapons that provide distinct tactical advantages in different situations, as opposed to +2 is better than +1 ect. And as I recall the Vorpal sword was pure awesomeness :)

 

I also can't say there was any combat in BG I didn't enjoy although enemies with a sense of self preservation would be good to see.

 

Though I do see where your coming from for the most part. :)



#24
TrashMan

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2. Loot/magic obsession.

 

Finding loot is part of a CRPG charm. But it's not waht a CRPG should be about. It's not why we remember great fnatasy stories. Your average CRPG protagonists goes trough magical items faster than a starving man trough food. Magical items constantly discarded, used for 5 minutes untill a better weapon comes along.

Long before the end of the game, every single inventory slot is filled with magical items. By the end, a character would cause a magic detector to explode. She sheer magniute of magical energy radiated over the hoards of legendary/epic items that the world hasn't seen in millenia would be OVER 9000!!!

 

Magic and magical items are overused. When everything is magical, nothing is. Magic itself loses part of it's charm and "oomph". Powerful magical items are ntohing but trinkets to be discarded.

 

When you think of Aragorn - was every single thing he carried magical? Did it have to be? Do characters in fantasy storeis switch equipment every 5 minutes? No, they find something nice and stick with it.

 

It's one of the reasons I loved BG1 atmosphere so much. It felt so real. A qualtiy steel weapon was viable even at end game. You didn't finish the game with everything being a magical +5,+10 uber-item.

 

I disagree on this, very much so. It would make for a really boring game. Variety is good thing, as can be seen from BG2 which is the more popular game.

 

 

Would make for a boring game? Only if you are obessed with loot.

 

There are plenty of games where characters have limited inventories/weapons or games where they even can't take anything new. In some games you can't even carry weapons at all. In some you are limited to only two. In some there are only a dozen weapons in the whole game.

Are those games boring? No.

 

As long as the game gives you stuff to do, it won't be boring. Collecting items has more in common with jiggling shniy keys than actual good gameplay. It's a distraction more than a necessary element.


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#25
TrashMan

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Well my concerns...

 

2: Loot..... well sorta maybe.  I agree BG2 went too monty haul especially in the expansion.  BG1 though?  Way too sparse.  Seriously if you were a say.... long sword specialist you could find Varscona like 4 hours into the game and guess what?  It was the best long sword in the game.  I think they need to find a happy middle ground.  I shouldn't be changing my gear dungeon to dungeon but I shouldn't only be upgrading my weapon twice for the whole game either.

 

I fail to see the problem. You are rewarded for finding a great swrod early andnow your character can carry it and make it his.

Think of every fantasy character and their weapon. Anduril. Twinkle. Sword of Truth. Etc...

they are all found relatively early and the hero sticks with them. Noone of those weapons are found at hte very end of hte story. None of those weapons are replacable throw-aways. The heroes in those stories dont' go trough 100 weapons beore settling on that one.

I see no problem with it.

Make the weapon part of the character. Give the player the ability to mark/customize it. For NPC to recongnize it. Give it presence. Give a bonus to familiarty because of long use. It only makes sense.

 

I found BG1 to be almost right. Magis should be magical. Rare. Finding a magic item should be a moment of awe. ToB was horribel in that regard, given that it was raining +5 items left and right.

 

You really shouldn't be able to have EVERY SINGLE SLOT ON EVERY CHARACTER filled with magical gear. It's jsut immersion breaking to have your character have more magical items than any person in history.

 

 

 

 


4: Talents/abilities just need to be about purpose and use.  I would rather have a mage with 15 spells that I use every so often than a mage with 30 spells where half of them I go the whole game and maybe cast 2-3 times.  If an ability is not going to see regular use don't create it, it is just too situational and a waste of time.

 

Dunno about that. Not everything has to be equal. So a spell that's used infrequently will not be anyones first pick. So what? It still adds veriety to a class.


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#26
aluminiumtrioxid

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Think of every fantasy character and their weapon. Anduril. Twinkle. Sword of Truth. Etc...

they are all found relatively early and the hero sticks with them. 

 

That's why I like the 4E approach: certain artifacts get stronger with you, assuming they like you. (This was also present in Earthdawn, by the way.) I doubt PoE will have such items, though.


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#27
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But do they NEED to become stronger? If they are already strong. Do they have to be the greatest weapon ever?

 

If the strongest weapon in the game is a +3 and the sword you found and customized is a +2, used it, and made a name for it (maybe even NPCs may recognize it) -  will you throw it away?

 

The out of control level/power inflation is the bane of most RPG's settings


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#28
Sarex

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Would make for a boring game? Only if you are obessed with loot.

 

There are plenty of games where characters have limited inventories/weapons or games where they even can't take anything new. In some games you can't even carry weapons at all. In some you are limited to only two. In some there are only a dozen weapons in the whole game.

Are those games boring? No.

 

As long as the game gives you stuff to do, it won't be boring. Collecting items has more in common with jiggling shniy keys than actual good gameplay. It's a distraction more than a necessary element.

 

I think it is you who is obsessed. One of the great things about BG2 is that it had great variety in loot and you are the first person I heard complain about it, in fact what people complained about was the lack of good non-sword weapons, so in fact people want more variety.

 

As for there being plenty of games that have limited loot, well those aren't IE games and they aren't what people singed up for.

 

So why can't it have lots of loot and give you interesting stuff to do, and you can pick up a regular sword through out the whole game. I think you are in a minority here as far as loot goes.


Edited by Sarex, 06 February 2014 - 01:50 AM.


#29
Sherr

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I fail to see the problem. You are rewarded for finding a great swrod early andnow your character can carry it and make it his.

Think of every fantasy character and their weapon. Anduril. Twinkle. Sword of Truth. Etc...

they are all found relatively early and the hero sticks with them. Noone of those weapons are found at hte very end of hte story. None of those weapons are replacable throw-aways. The heroes in those stories dont' go trough 100 weapons beore settling on that one.

 

      Because games and stories works in different ways. It is more easy and interesting way to develop a character if u familiar with his weapon. Thats why heroes in stories ussually getting the strongest weapon on the start (Excalibur, Agies-fang etc) and stick with it, rather than change noname weapon after each fight.

      But in games, especially rpg, "dress the Barbie" was always one of the most interesting part of gameplay. 

 

 

Make the weapon part of the character. Give the player the ability to mark/customize it. For NPC to recongnize it. Give it presence. Give a bonus to familiarty because of long use. It only makes sense.

 

 

Boooring - almost nobody wants to stick with 1 weapon for whole game, so why should they cripple their game for 99 people just to please one.

 

 

I found BG1 to be almost right. Magis should be magical. Rare. Finding a magic item should be a moment of awe. ToB was horribel in that regard, given that it was raining +5 items left and right.

 

 

Its because BG1 was capped on ~7th level, and according to DnD rools its is something like avarenge middle-age adventurer, so you couldnt possible get some epic items.

 

 

 

You really shouldn't be able to have EVERY SINGLE SLOT ON EVERY CHARACTER filled with magical gear. It's jsut immersion breaking to have your character have more magical items than any person in history.

 

 

U certainly should. And not one item in every slot, but few in each, so u can make choices during game - "ok, i will encounter dragon next, so i should change this ring for fire protaction one". Or should play with vorpal sword with low dmg but with nice onehit abillity, or should i pick this with greater basic damage, or maybe i should pick this with improve haste ability ... etc.


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#30
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Would make for a boring game? Only if you are obessed with loot.

 

There are plenty of games where characters have limited inventories/weapons or games where they even can't take anything new. In some games you can't even carry weapons at all. In some you are limited to only two. In some there are only a dozen weapons in the whole game.

Are those games boring? No.

 

As long as the game gives you stuff to do, it won't be boring. Collecting items has more in common with jiggling shniy keys than actual good gameplay. It's a distraction more than a necessary element.

 

I think it is you who is obsessed. One of the great things about BG2 is that it had great variety in loot and you are the first person I heard complain about it, in fact what people complained about was the lack of good non-sword weapons, so in fact people want more variety.

 

As for there being plenty of games that have limited loot, well those aren't IE games and they aren't what people singed up for.

 

So why can't it have lots of loot and give you interesting stuff to do, and you can pick up a regular sword through out the whole game. I think you are in a minority here as far as loot goes.

 

I can't see where TrashMan has complained about the variety of loot in BG2.  He showed a preference to BG1, but didn't even mention BG2 at all.  People have complained about too much loot in Throne of Bhaal though, its overabundance of 'trash' magical items has been criticised often before.  What many of us don't want is for it to become a Diablo-esque loot whore game, wherein you find a magical weapon, use it for a bit, then drop it for the next weapon you find that has an extra +1, especially since those remove choice from the game since you need to keep grabbing the latest loot to keep competitive with the enemies, dropping a weapon that you may have liked and wanted to keep using because it no longer is of any use.  Diablo games use the loot thing to create an addiction in the players, not to provide enjoyment, the 'need' to keep getting better loot, creating a false sense of progression. 

 

I think what the IE games worked best was giving unique magical items that had a sense of history and character, even if it was just an interesting paragraph of history in the description.  I carried Lilarcor all through the game just because I got so attached to him, along with the Sword of Chaos which due to it's history felt personally important to my character. 


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#31
Sarex

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I can't see where TrashMan has complained about the variety of loot in BG2.  He showed a preference to BG1, but didn't even mention BG2 at all.  People have complained about too much loot in Throne of Bhaal though, its overabundance of 'trash' magical items has been criticised often before.  What many of us don't want is for it to become a Diablo-esque loot whore game, wherein you find a magical weapon, use it for a bit, then drop it for the next weapon you find that has an extra +1, especially since those remove choice from the game since you need to keep grabbing the latest loot to keep competitive with the enemies, dropping a weapon that you may have liked and wanted to keep using because it no longer is of any use.  Diablo games use the loot thing to create an addiction in the players, not to provide enjoyment, the 'need' to keep getting better loot, creating a false sense of progression. 

 

I think what the IE games worked best was giving unique magical items that had a sense of history and character, even if it was just an interesting paragraph of history in the description.  I carried Lilarcor all through the game just because I got so attached to him, along with the Sword of Chaos which due to it's history felt personally important to my character.

 

Let me help you with that. If he likes BG1 loot variety, then he dislikes BG2 loot variety. Do you understand now? Throne of Bhaal is a high level expansion, no one went in to it below lvl 20. That is a problem you run in to when your enemies and you are that high of a level. They need weapons that can harm you and that means they need to be magical(or + weapons). I don't think that any of the IE games were ever in danger of being on a Diablo level loot wise, simply because there weren't any item sets and there wasn't any need to hunt down the items to complete said set.

 

I agree I also didn't sell those items, or any of the items I forged, but that doesn't stop PoE from having loot variety.


Edited by Sarex, 06 February 2014 - 02:49 AM.


#32
Hiro Protagonist II

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I can't see where TrashMan has complained about the variety of loot in BG2.  He showed a preference to BG1, but didn't even mention BG2 at all.  People have complained about too much loot in Throne of Bhaal though, its overabundance of 'trash' magical items has been criticised often before.  What many of us don't want is for it to become a Diablo-esque loot whore game, wherein you find a magical weapon, use it for a bit, then drop it for the next weapon you find that has an extra +1, especially since those remove choice from the game since you need to keep grabbing the latest loot to keep competitive with the enemies, dropping a weapon that you may have liked and wanted to keep using because it no longer is of any use.  Diablo games use the loot thing to create an addiction in the players, not to provide enjoyment, the 'need' to keep getting better loot, creating a false sense of progression. 

 

I think what the IE games worked best was giving unique magical items that had a sense of history and character, even if it was just an interesting paragraph of history in the description.  I carried Lilarcor all through the game just because I got so attached to him, along with the Sword of Chaos which due to it's history felt personally important to my character. 

 

 

You also have some people complaining about SoA and not just ToB. And that didn't really happen that much in SoA. Also, a lot of the good weapons that you started near the beginning of the game, you also had at the end of the game. And these were either +2 or +3 weapons. eg. Scimitars, Slings. However, Trashman is complaining about magic items being discarded every five minutes which is a nonsense.

 

BG1 had +2 and +3 weapons. SoA had a +1 weapon that you upgraded to +2 and I would say the majority of players kept at the end of SoA. eg. Mace of Disruption. The majority of weapons would be +3 which is only +1 better or the same as BG1. Scimitars are the exception with only being +2 in BG2. However, in BG1, you could get +3 Scimitars. Same with a +3 Staff. I believe you couldn't keep Drizzt's scimitars in BG2. So you had weapons in BG1 like scimitars that were better than in BG2.

 

The majority of the ammunition was the same as BG1. The majority of Rings, Cloaks, Amulets were the same as BG1. The Helm of Balduran was the same. Even some of the Armour was slightly better than BG1. eg. Red Dragon Scale was -1 AC and in BG1 you could get Full Plate at 0 AC. In BG1, you could even make Full Plate that had an AC 1 with the Cloak/Ring of Protection +2 into a -1 AC Armour, similar to Armour Class of gear in BG2. You also had Balduran's Cloak in BG1 to make your AC better. Yes, there was +4 weapons in SoA and even +5 with such gems as Carsomyr, but only 1 class could use Carsomyr. And even in ToB, it was upgraded with a +1 to it. And it's not like people discarded these items. The Flail of Ages was upgraded to +5 and people would have kept it.

 

ToB had a lot of loot, but the expansion was also very small. So of course it's going to look like it's raining +5 and +6 weapons. But look closely at the items in ToB. The Armour, Amulets, Rings, Cloaks, Helms, Ioun Stones, etc  were similar to SoA. A lot of the ammunition was the same with the Bag of Plenty +1 and the Quiver of Plenty +1 upgraded to +2 ammunition. In fact the ammunition for those bags are the same bullets and arrows as BG1. Let's think about that for a second. There are items in ToB which is Epic Tier that are the same items in BG1.

 

You have to consider ToB is Epic Tier. The sort of weapons you would expect in Epic Tier is +5 and +6 items. Even in pnp, you're using +3 and +4 weapons near the mid-end of Paragon tier. The biggest problem for me with ToB is not the loot per se, it's the small expansion + items for all classes = Loot raining from the sky. And a lot of those items were only slightly better than items in SoA and a lot of them I sold, because the SoA items were still good. If the expansion was a lot bigger and less linear, then the loot could have been spaced out better. So this argument of discarding items every five minutes is a little exaggerated.

 

If you look at the BG games. BG1 is Heroic Tier. SoA is Paragon Tier. ToB should have been renamed something else and a small expansion with a few new areas in the same style as TotSC. BG3 should have been a totally new game called Throne of Bhaal and all about Epic Tier and your way to godhood (if you so choose) and the loot would have been spread over that game. What happened was the expansion became Epic Tier and everything was crammed in which is why I don't particularly like ToB because it's way too short. It's not the loot I dislike in ToB, it's that Epic Tier was crammed into an expansion when it should have been a game on its own. imo.

 

Note: When I say SoA, I'm not including Watcher's Keep as I consider that part of ToB.


Edited by Hiro Protagonist II, 06 February 2014 - 04:12 AM.


#33
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I can't see where TrashMan has complained about the variety of loot in BG2.  He showed a preference to BG1, but didn't even mention BG2 at all.  People have complained about too much loot in Throne of Bhaal though, its overabundance of 'trash' magical items has been criticised often before.  What many of us don't want is for it to become a Diablo-esque loot whore game, wherein you find a magical weapon, use it for a bit, then drop it for the next weapon you find that has an extra +1, especially since those remove choice from the game since you need to keep grabbing the latest loot to keep competitive with the enemies, dropping a weapon that you may have liked and wanted to keep using because it no longer is of any use.  Diablo games use the loot thing to create an addiction in the players, not to provide enjoyment, the 'need' to keep getting better loot, creating a false sense of progression. 

 

I think what the IE games worked best was giving unique magical items that had a sense of history and character, even if it was just an interesting paragraph of history in the description.  I carried Lilarcor all through the game just because I got so attached to him, along with the Sword of Chaos which due to it's history felt personally important to my character.

 

Let me help you with that. If he likes BG1 loot variety, then he dislikes BG2 loot variety. Do you understand now? Throne of Bhaal is a high level expansion, no one went in to it below lvl 20. That is a problem you run in to when your enemies and you are that high of a level. They need weapons that can harm you and that means they need to be magical(or + weapons). I don't think that any of the IE games were ever in danger of being on a Diablo level loot wise, simply because there weren't any item sets and there wasn't any need to hunt down the items to complete said set.

 

I agree I also didn't sell those items, or any of the items I forged, but that doesn't stop PoE from having loot variety.

 

That's called a false dichotomy, 'if you're not with me you're against me'.  Just because he likes BG1 does not mean he doesn't like BG2, he might prefer BG1 but still find BG2 fine.  Do you want more help understanding that concept?  Throne of Bhaal was a high level expansion but that was no reason for it to break with the loot paradigm of earlier games.  Requiring all opponents to have magical weapons to hurt you is either an example of bad design at that level or that you should not have been facing trash mobs at epic level anyway, since there shouldn't be enough epic level characters running around to be mere mobs.  So either ToB should not have given you such unbalancing powers as immunity to normal weapons or they should not have thrown trash mobs at you.  Bad design, which happens at epic levels since it's so hard to do.  And it's beside the point, the point was that many people DID complain about the overabundance of magical items and felt that detracted from the game, which is the point of the discussion here.

 

Oh, and you are wrong about the minimum level of ToB by the way.  If you started ToB with a new character you would enter it with a level 14 character, and even playing through SoA you could still get through it and start it quite low, level 18 being fairly common, so you didn't have to be level 20 to start it.

 

Dragon Age Origins was no Diablo and yet it had a loot system that forced you to upgrade and removed choice still.  Even the unique items were 'leveled' to your level when you found them, which meant that you had to then ditch the weapon eventually as it would be outmatched by the later weapons you found.  This removed choice, as it meant you just used the weapons as you found them.  The bonuses became meaningless as more powerful weapons had exponentially greater stats. 

 

Loot variety is good, no one is denying that, it's the abundance that is questioned, and the rate and power you get them.  Constant gaining of phat loot or picking up unique items you use with characters for the length of the game.

 

EDIT:  Correction, it's 2 million xp you start with in Throne of Bhaal new game, which puts you at level 16 for fighters, monks, clerics and barbarians, level 15 for mages and sorcerers, and level 19 for thieves and bards, and paladins, rangers and druids start at level 14.


Edited by FlintlockJazz, 06 February 2014 - 03:47 AM.


#34
Sarex

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Dude, you are intentionally being obtuse. Fine, let's do it like this. TrashMan did you like how loot was handled in BG2? Ok, so it was bad design, going overboard, whatever you want to call it, PoE is going to be a low level game so it isn't going to be a problem. So you missed the point of the discussion, like many other things.

 

Majority of the people who played the BG series at least imported from BG2>ToB. But ok you have proven me wrong, they didn't all start at a very very high level, some started at a very high level. Doesn't change the fact that you still need high level gear on your enemies. But again this is besides the point, PoE is going to be a low level game.

 

Good thing this is a "spiritual successor" of the IE games, and the enemies aren't going to scale.

 

So I will say it again, TrashMan was talking about not wanting the end game loot being magical, not just the quantity of the loot, I responded that it would be a bad idea. BG2 hit the sweet spot with the loot, what it failed at was that so much of the end game loot were swords, IWD2 did this much better.



#35
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the thing is not to put certain items on the main path of the game. the "legendary sword of ultimate destruction" should be in a place far off the beaten path, where you have to shed sweat, blood and tears to get to... not in the hands of an enemy you have to face for the main quest. or even worse, have him hold a normal sword and have this in his chest

you cant have the item description say "this item was used by a hero 1000 years ago and it disappeared with him at the end of his quest, never to be seen again..." and the item to be sold in a shop like it's nothing important



#36
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I don't want to be upgrading my weapons/armour every few fights, but I do like finding special gear.

A nice variety of magical weapons (so not just swords) is good - not just +1/+2/+3 which becomes a no-brainer, but different weapons with their own advantage.   E.g: This sword has a 25% chance to inflict additional lightning damage, but this flail has a 40% chance to slow opponents or something.


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#37
Sarex

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the thing is not to put certain items on the main path of the game. the "legendary sword of ultimate destruction" should be in a place far off the beaten path, where you have to shed sweat, blood and tears to get to... not in the hands of an enemy you have to face for the main quest. or even worse, have him hold a normal sword and have this in his chest

you cant have the item description say "this item was used by a hero 1000 years ago and it disappeared with him at the end of his quest, never to be seen again..." and the item to be sold in a shop like it's nothing important

I don't want to be upgrading my weapons/armour every few fights, but I do like finding special gear.

A nice variety of magical weapons (so not just swords) is good - not just +1/+2/+3 which becomes a no-brainer, but different weapons with their own advantage.   E.g: This sword has a 25% chance to inflict additional lightning damage, but this flail has a 40% chance to slow opponents or something.

 

That is exactly how it was in BG2, so I don't see what the big deal is.


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#38
Hiro Protagonist II

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That is exactly how it was in BG2, so I don't see what the big deal is.

 

I agree. A lot of the best items in the game were off the beaten track. They were not on the main quest line and you had to do a lot of optional side quests to track down these items or components. It was the same in BG1. There were a lot of great magical items that you would never have found. I didn't find a lot of these items in BG1 until I read a walkthrough after completing the game. I can understand people's concerns but really don't understand the continual argument since PoE is also going to be a low level game.


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#39
Gorbag

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I found BG1 to be almost right. Magis should be magical. Rare. Finding a magic item should be a moment of awe. ToB was horribel in that regard, given that it was raining +5 items left and right.

I think you are half right. Magic should be magical - in a low level campaign. But magic stops being magical when your characters gain enough levels to be able to stop time and summon planetars out the wazoo. And if you don't get to play around with such high-level abilities near the end of the saga, then you don't really progress and everything stays the same. Maybe abilities shouldn't go this crazy, but that's a different thing. What I mean is that it's just normal in-game evolution - you go from being awe-struck by a +2 weapon to being godlike 20 levels later. So I agree with Hiro Protagonist II about ToB - the loot is fine for a full-sized high-level campaign, it's just that ToB shouldn't have been an expansion. As it is, it hits you with everything it's got way too fast and it's over before you get to try out much of it.

To be clear, I like how the loot is handled in all three (yep three) Baldur's Gate games. And since PoE would be a low level campaign, I wouldn't mind seeing something in the vein of BG1 at the beginning and going just below BG2 in the mid-late game (i.e. BG1 with a bit more variety in the latter part of the game, when your characters' abilities build up a bit).



#40
teknoman2

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the design and placement of the items should be made in a way that makes you consider one over the other and allows you at the same time to just go on with what you have if you think it's the right thing for you, without presenting things that make what you have (or whatever else you may find) look obsolete

and as for the fantasy book/movie example where the heroes find a magical weapon and stick with it, if you take the hobit and lord of the rings, how many actual magical weapons are there in it? the swords of the nazgul, anduril, the sting, maybe the bow of legolas and the staffs of Gandalf and Saruman... when every weapon around is normal, you stick to the one magical you happen to find.


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: tropes, design, crpg, weapons, loot

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