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Itemization feels bland


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Tried the beta for the first time. I won't talk about attributes etc. since it's at present a matter of Number tweaking, and due to bugs i can't judge the feel of combat.

My number one worry from the beta was that the items feel bland. I know it's still beta, but truth be told Sawyer's priorities and crafting system made me worried from the start, and beta did nothing to calm my fears. Doesn't help that i also found IWD-IWD2 items somewhat bland and forgettable as well.

In my opinion BG2 had the best itemization of all IE games(and all RPGs ), and i would hope PoE comes closer to that.

My issues so far can be put in two categories

 

  • Presentation:

Item icons are currently bad, and even if placeholders, the art direction matters. IWD2 items also felt bland, because Unique, named items' icons didn't feel distinct enough from mundane/low enchatment ones, and there were too many of them. SoA struck a good balance with items, where every weapon type had 1-2 good options, and the icons felt distinct. Also there weren't too many unique items to make them feel common.

 

The way the items are presented in right click also matters. Pensil drawings go a long way with that, and combined with BG more solid window as opposed to PoE pop-up, the items just felt better

 

  • Mechanical

So far the only enchatments we have seen is simple numerical values, and percentages, which feels boring. It feels more like Diablo 3 than an IE game. BG2 had weapons that had more varied effects, from (bleeding,stun,life stealing,slow) on hit, to passive buffs and protections(mind shield,negative plane Protection, haste etc.)while equiped, to active abilities and spells.

Made items more interesting, and more difficult to compaire with each other. Which is more powerful, Celestial Fury, Blackrazor, or Vorpal Blade?

Crom Fayer, Flail of ages, Staff of the Magi or Carsomyr?

 

On top of that, crafting make me even more worried on that front. Will there be unique abilities and enchatments on artifact items, or every single enchatment will be recreateable with crafting? If the latter, it will contribut to the feeling of blandness, and i fear it will make having more "out there" effects impossible. Every effect will be more or less formulaic.

 

 

Itemization IE games is unsurpassed until today, and a big part of their appeal. And SoA did it best of all. Pls Obsidian, don't **** this up. To be honest i consider this a more important issue  than how character attributes will be in the end.

Edited by Malekith
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I actually agree with this, I don't have time to make a huge post about it, but I might make a video sometime.

 

It's probably something to do with the Enchantment system design as well. 

I think the only items that will have unique values are the truly unique items that you make from item pieces (they said there would be some of those) but even THOSE might not have unique properties, which is a shame.

Edited by Sensuki
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Malekith: Thank you for a great and important post, since this will affect replayabilty a lot too, now that quest xp only is confirmed. Itemization will be key to get our incentives up for replaying and exploring in new ways as opposed to our first playthrough. All in all - we need to be encouraged to snoop around and try to get our hands on new items, which essentially means encouragement for not taking the quest line routes each and every time just to get our levels up. Itemization in BG2 was brilliant, it would mean a lot for the longevity of the game. A great variety that goes beyond basic numbers, and that gives us unique and varied items would help. Also, btw, in Reaper of Souls, for instance, Blizzard actually improved the itemization of their legendary items a lot, so if they can, Obsidian can too. ;)

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Itemization is indeed an important part of the game you want to feel that progress with your characters.

 

For me I really like the BG1 progress, not every piece of item is magical but at the end you have managed to find and equip your group with rare items that are not insanely more powerful then other items but still they are slightly better then the standard long sword.

This makes for a nice pace of progression.

 

In BG2 there are just too many magical items that just get more and more powerful. Just feels wrong when every smuck runs around with magical weapons.

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This game will probably have bloated itemization due to Backer items and stuff, and the amount of weapons and armor.

 

It's the item properties that are the issue. 

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This game will probably have bloated itemization due to Backer items and stuff, and the amount of weapons and armor.

 

It's the item properties that are the issue. 

They said that backer Weapons won't all be in the game the same time. They made some of them part of semi random tables. So, a chest is scripted to have a moderate enchatment hammer, but the weapon would be chosen among 3 different hammers of similar moderate strenght. It's a clever way to avoid item creep, and while i agree it won't be as spare with loot as BG1 was(and i'm not sure i want it to be so spare), it's possible to be like BG2.

Becoming another IWD2 or god forbid NWN2(which i don't remember a single item as memorable) would be a shame.

Edited by Malekith
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Malekith: I haven't really though about that. I for one loved the entire NWN2 series, but I can't seem to recall a single item, so that certainly wasn't where it's strength lay.

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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I love both ways of going about enchanments, but for a PoE type game I'd prefer more thought out, handmade enchantments. In Diablo or Borderlands I can find a new thing and go "oh cool, whatever, more stuff!" Because those games are all about stuff, stuff stuff stuff, piles of loot reaching to the sky, and numbers that should go ever higher and do the same.

 

For a more story driven game I'd... well I'd personally prefer if the enchantments and magical had more "story" as well. I always read the little descriptions on the unique items in BG2. Always made it feel more special than "Sword +1"

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What's worse is that there is also random loot present in beta, and it works for magical items too. What's up with that.

 

One of the most questionable design ideas in IWD series was that ability to find +2 sword of haste for +1 attack per round from some random loot that made 90% named magical weapons completely obsolete.

Edited by Shadenuat
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I think the only items that will have unique values are the truly unique items that you make from item pieces (they said there would be some of those) but even THOSE might not have unique properties, which is a shame.

how do you come to this kind of conclusion? they specifically stated that the backer beta will intentionally provide as little content as possible as to avoid spoilers. in my mind this includes any kind of unique items. 

 

so when you think that the game will not have them at all based on a vertical slice it makes me wonder: do you have some additional information maybe?

Edited by sorophx

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Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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What's worse is that there is also random loot present in beta, and it works for magical items too. What's up with that.

 

One of the most questionable design ideas in IWD series was that ability to find +2 sword of haste for +1 attack per round from some random loot that made 90% named magical weapons completely obsolete.

That sounds more like a balance issue than a systemic problem. +1 attack/round on a +2 sword seems rather overpowered for AD&D.

 

This thread also seems to conflate two unrelated issues, one being bland presentation of items, the other being item bonuses not being particularly interesting or engaging. The latter of which is hard to really judge accurately based on a limited content beta.

"Interesting" stuff tends to be more error prone as well, so it might have been omitted for now for the sake of the Greater Stability.

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What's worse is that there is also random loot present in beta, and it works for magical items too. What's up with that.

 

One of the most questionable design ideas in IWD series was that ability to find +2 sword of haste for +1 attack per round from some random loot that made 90% named magical weapons completely obsolete.

That sounds more like a balance issue than a systemic problem. +1 attack/round on a +2 sword seems rather overpowered for AD&D.

 

This thread also seems to conflate two unrelated issues, one being bland presentation of items, the other being item bonuses not being particularly interesting or engaging. The latter of which is hard to really judge accurately based on a limited content beta.

"Interesting" stuff tends to be more error prone as well, so it might have been omitted for now for the sake of the Greater Stability.

 

Not unrelated. Both issues are relevant to making the itemization feel bad, and both should be corrected. I never said they are the same issue, but both are problematic.

And if Obsidian knows about it and it is only a beta issue, then great. But the beta is for them to gather feedback, so we are giving them feedback. Afterr all, during the kickstarter pitch they mentioned items spesifically, with written histories and all that, which means they know the importance of interesting itemization to the IE feel. If it's something that they already have corrected, no harm done.

Edited by Malekith
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That sounds more like a balance issue than a systemic problem. +1 attack/round on a +2 sword seems rather overpowered for AD&D.

In beta you often find a lot of Fine or Exceptional weapons and armor that add +4 or +4/+4 attack, +2 DR, and then you find some sword in secret tomb that does same damage and has same bonuses as your Fine weapon, and the difference is only in description.

Edited by Shadenuat
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how do you come to this kind of conclusion? they specifically stated that the backer beta will intentionally provide as little content as possible as to avoid spoilers. in my mind this includes any kind of unique items. 

 

so when you think that the game will not have them at all based on a vertical slice it makes me wonder: do you have some additional information maybe?

Go look up some Josh Sawyer quotes on enchantments. I am fairly positive he said that every item bonus can be added through enchantments and none of them are truly unique.

Edited by Sensuki
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Not unrelated. Both issues are relevant to making the itemization feel bad, and both should be corrected. I never said they are the same issue, but both are problematic.

And if Obsidian knows about it and it is only a beta issue, then great. But the beta is for them to gather feedback, so we are giving them feedback. Afterr all, during the kickstarter pitch they mentioned items spesifically, with written histories and all that, which means they know the importance of interesting itemization to the IE feel. If it's something that they already have corrected, no harm done.

 

Yes, unrelated. One is a GUI issue, the other an issue with the items themselves. They happen to magnify the effect of the other, but they don't actually have anything to do with each other.

 

Making item stats more engaging will not solve poor presentation, and making the 'tooltips' easier to read/more visually pleasing won't make item stats more interesting. I'm also not saying you shouldn't mention your concerns, just that they should probably be in a seperate topic.

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Though I can see why Obisidian was so focused on "Balance" in terms of character creation and - development, I fail to see their reason for doing an item system as bland and unappealing as this one.

Diablo 3 has proven dramatically that people HATE generic +XY% Items. Peoples want Items, epics! so to speak, that distinguish themselves.

I hope Obsidian will be able to correct this approach and make weapons more to the BG2-style.

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Go look up some Josh Sawyer quotes on enchantments. I am fairly positive he said that every item bonus can be added through enchantments and none of them are truly unique.

 

Come again?

What is this? Kindergarten?

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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While I do think "craft your own gear" is nice... It just doesn't fit into these games IMO.

 

Without thinking twice, I could name probably 20 weapons and 20 armor/jewelry items from BG2.

 

it was epic, and it was done right. 

 

Unique weapons and unique gear (IMO) is THE way to go if you wanna do a spiritual successor to BG2 and its likes.

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