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why not hide the numbers?


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#41 Programmer16   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1926

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:51 AM

Wouldn't a better question be: why hide the numbers? RPGs are supposed to be immersive and require the player to understand how the world works. Say you have two rings of fire resistance. Maybe one is stronger than the other, but the player doesn't know that and thus accidentally sells the stronger one. An even better example is a weapon. I have two different bastard swords, but I don't know which one is stronger. But you can overcome this by the way of Bard's Tale (as I'm told by my big brother) by just making them use the stronger weapon (but who determines which is stronger.)

Back to the ring situation. Even if both rings are as strong as each other, what if one character has a higher innate fire resistance, but the player doesn't know this because it's hidden so he says to himself "Well, since PlayerA has a ring on already, I should put this second one on PlayerB."

It all comes down to numbers allowing the player to tell who is better at what (so that they can strategically place characters in a fight.)

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#42 nefthy   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:57 AM

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Original post by hymerman
heh, no, i think we made that the topic. an interesting one though it is (and the reason i began posting in these forums!), it's not what the original post was about :)


Oh yes actualy that was what I was about. Just needed a litle help to formulate it :)

#43 nefthy   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:07 PM

Quote:
Original post by Programmer16
Back to the ring situation. Even if both rings are as strong as each other, what if one character has a higher innate fire resistance, but the player doesn't know this because it's hidden so he says to himself "Well, since PlayerA has a ring on already, I should put this second one on PlayerB."

It all comes down to numbers allowing the player to tell who is better at what (so that they can strategically place characters in a fight.)


Why should you be in this situation? Why should you be overwhelmed with magic items that you throw away/sell just a bit later. Magic items have to be unique IMHO so that they retain their magic (yea :) I mean, the should be something special, so that finding one gives you some excitement. Think about it like this, what is so magical about having a ring of fire when almost everyone has one?

#44 Programmer16   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1926

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:24 PM

Quote:
Original post by nefthy
Why should you be in this situation? Why should you be overwhelmed with magic items that you throw away/sell just a bit later. Magic items have to be unique IMHO so that they retain their magic (yea :) I mean, the should be something special, so that finding one gives you some excitement. Think about it like this, what is so magical about having a ring of fire when almost everyone has one?


Have you ever played Baldur's Gate 2? Magic items are coming out your butt in that game. And shouldn't every player be immune to fire (think fireballs, flamestrike (column of fire hits the character), dragons, fire traps). I have 5 of my 6 players with immunity to almost every type of damage in that game (except weapons). I eat fireballs, acid, poision, and lightning (I say eat because they actually heal me since my resistance percentage is above 100%.) There are magic items (ring of blah resistance, cloak of protection, arrow of piercing, etc) and then you have unique magic items (Carsomyr, Holy Avenger, Sword of Dragon Slaying, Quiver-a-plenty, etc.)

If you're going to hide the numbers, why not hide their strength or constitution? Knowing the numbers is how you strengthen your character. Knowing the numbers is also what makes an CRPG what it is. If I'm playing AD&D and I don't know what my stats are there is nothing for me to do.

The Dungeon Master: "You reach for the handle, but it is locked. The footsteps are getting louder..."
Player: "I attempt to pick the lock."
DM: "Nope, you failed."
Player: "Why?"
DM: "Because you failed, thats why. I hiding the numbers from you, so you'll have to figure that out for yourself."
Player: "Ah screw this, I'm going to do my chores."


#45 c-Row   Members   -  Reputation: 304

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:29 PM

Quote:
Original post by Programmer16
But you can overcome this by the way of Bard's Tale (as I'm told by my big brother) by just making them use the stronger weapon (but who determines which is stronger.)


Maybe the CHARACTER knows which one is stronger by looking at the handcrafted blade, the fine drawings on it and other things. You shouldn't expect the character to know only what the player knows. Conan never needed stats to determine which sword was better... ;)

#46 superpig   Staff Emeritus   -  Reputation: 1825

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:30 PM

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
Here's what I'm getting at: In real life there's much less variance but much more resolution in each stat. Sure, some people have more HP than others, but it doesn't make too much difference when there's a gun in their face. And it doesn't even really matter what sort of gun. I'll need a change of pants whether it's an assault rifle or some six-shooter from the old west. I'm pretty weak. You're probably stronger than me. You could beat me at arm wrestling. But, as far as game stats go, you're not that much stronger than me. We'd probably be within a point of each other.
I think my point of view is best summarised thus: WHO CARES?! HE'S GOT A FRICKIN' GUN IN YOUR FACE! [grin]

Quote:

The other point, which has sort of been made, is that in real life I have much more to go on. If you pick up a knife, you can see how sharp the blade is, feel how tight the handle is, feel the weight in your hand. The game gives me numbers, or combines it all into one number, to tell me this. You're trying to replace a useful abstraction with a poor approximation of the real thing.
The number is attempting to indicate the sum of all those attributes - sharpness, tightness of handle, weight, etc. But in doing so, it completely takes the sword as a sword out of the equation - it's just 'weapon, A/D 10/5.' It's useful within the context of the game, sure, because it gives you a very easy means of comparing them.

However, let me describe my dream sword shop in such a game. You go in, and there are five swords in the rack. Firstly and most obviously, you (the player) can look at them, and see that some look more badass than others. You can tell your character to 'examine' a sword, and he can pick it up, test its edge, hold it and feel it in his hand, and then he 'thinks' (via a text box on your UI), "Hmm, good edge... it's quite heavy though." So this time instead of choosing 'examine' you choose 'compare' and click on another sword. He picks up the second sword, examines it, and eventually produces a thought like "This one is lighter than that one, and the grip fits my hand better. However, that one has the sharper edge." The player is then free to choose which one to go for based on their goals and style (e.g. they could get the blunt sword and then get it sharpened).

I guess what I've described is still stats, but it's relative stats rather than direct numbers. That makes a lot more sense to me, because it's not like there is any absolute scale on which you can judge a sword anyway.

#47 Jiia   Banned   -  Reputation: 592

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:42 PM

So the moral of the story is that we should force the player to identify and make sense of everything in the game world on his own.

Does that also mean that the ring of fire isn't a ring of fire at all unless the words are actually written on it? It's just a red ring, and since it is unique, no one alive has ever heard of it. No one would even know it has magical powers. So unless I want to look like an idiot shouting in magical toungue every time I try on a peice of jewerly, I would just ignore it. Let us also hope it's not a one-time use item, or even shouting in tongues will be a waste, and it's possible I may explode, be transported to hell, or fry my best friend when it goes off. I guess I can save, test it, then reload. [wink]

#48 tolaris   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:46 PM

Quote:
Original post by hymerman
Quote:
Original post by Symphonic
This is actually a really good example of why visual representation is so important (and why ambiguity is so much fun). If your character is a low-level warrior, and has 88% health, and you're sizing up a stone dragon with 23% of its health left, it shouldn't take too much brain power to decide that you're going to loose bad. On the other hand, if you were sizing up an oponent, who just happened to have been playing the game for three years, and intentionally dressed his master assassin in rags, and equipped a basic knife (that doesn't even glow) then that's a wonderful moment of deception. I'm not suggesting that the only thing you get to go on is your opponent's health (aside: I don't even think you should see your opponents health, but that's a different discussion), but if your opponent decieves you into thinking you can take him, that's a whole fabulous new world of PvP that your game has made possible.


and i'd just like to say that i very much agree with you on this one. i'd love to see gameplay like this!

Lineage 2 has this (or had it) The "fabulous new world of PvP" that resulted from it was bored high level characters who would come to newbie areas, provoke fights while pretending to be a newbie themselves, then one-hit kill the other player who never knew they stood no chance. (provocation was used to avoid the 'karma' penalty for killing other player in cold blood)

In environment where some characters are so much more powerful than others the fight is so completely one-sided it doesn't even slightly resemble a fight, the "wonderful moment of deception" becomes just one more way to frustrate people.

#49 nefthy   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:46 PM

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Original post by Programmer16
Have you ever played Baldur's Gate 2? Magic items are coming out your butt in that game. And shouldn't every player be immune to fire (think fireballs, flamestrike (column of fire hits the character), dragons, fire traps). I have 5 of my 6 players with immunity to almost every type of damage in that game (except weapons). I eat fireballs, acid, poision, and lightning (I say eat because they actually heal me since my resistance percentage is above 100%.) There are magic items (ring of blah resistance, cloak of protection, arrow of piercing, etc) and then you have unique magic items (Carsomyr, Holy Avenger, Sword of Dragon Slaying, Quiver-a-plenty, etc.)


I haven't played BGII that much, actually I lost interest so fast as with no other game. But you seem like the kind of player that is happy with just with this type of game.

As for the ad&d example. Consider this:

DM: There is a mean looking orc coming towards you.
Player: Ok I hide in shadows *dice roll* damned I failed. Ok I run instead.

Its a mater of tast. I don't like the above example. Fourther it was all about giving the player the feedback he needs to play the game through other methods than numbers, so that the player knows if he has any resonable chance to pick the look before tries it in a critical situation. If he spend half the game pinking locks, he will know that it has a resonable chance of working. If on the other hand he has never before picked a lock its resonable for him to asume that its no realistic option to learn lockpicking while enemies are aproaching.

#50 Programmer16   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1926

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:53 PM

Quote:
Original post by c-Row
Quote:
Original post by Programmer16
But you can overcome this by the way of Bard's Tale (as I'm told by my big brother) by just making them use the stronger weapon (but who determines which is stronger.)


Maybe the CHARACTER knows which one is stronger by looking at the handcrafted blade, the fine drawings on it and other things. You shouldn't expect the character to know only what the player knows. Conan never needed stats to determine which sword was better... ;)


The player should determine which is better, since the character doesn't know what to use (unless you program the character to know what he is going up against and can automatically equip the best equipment for that fight.) Say I'm fighting a dragon and I have two swords. Dragon Slayer and Carsomyr. Which one should be used?

Edit: And why are you even playing games? Maybe the character should know where to go and automatically do that. Oh and he should know exactly what to say so that you recieve that extra experience points (you don't know how many, because that was hidden from you.)

In response to nefthy: Just because you spent half of the game picking locks doesn't mean you can pick them all. I spent half of BG2 picking locks and then all of a sudden I couldn't pick a single one (and I know its because I only have 50% chance to pick locks, but I wouldn't have if the numbers were hidden.)

And what kind of RPGs are you playing that are so much different than Baldur's Gate?

The point of playing an RPG is so you can customize your character to a certain point. The game shouldn't choose which of the theif's skills to raise (who is the game to determine if I should be able to pick locks or pick pockets better.) I for one always leave my pick pocket at its default, but my friend likes to have that at its highest, but would the game know this? No it wouldn't. Does a ranger need a strength of 18? How about intelligence? Also, why should the game choose my stats for me? I play games like Baldur's Gate because the character is created by me (I can customize his stats so that he doesn't have an intelligence of a mage and the charisma of a rat), I choose what skills he gets, and I choose to have 6 items that each raise his fire resistance by 50%.

And I'm pretty much going to stop right here, since I know that neither of us is going to admit wrong since this seems to be a matter of opinion.

[Edited by - Programmer16 on June 13, 2005 7:53:50 PM]

#51 Genjix   Banned   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:57 PM

humans by nature like definite facts even when not available (look at statistics).

the joy of rpgs is also in the numbers and weighing up of your skill.

#52 nefthy   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:59 PM

Quote:
Original post by Jiia
So the moral of the story is that we should force the player to identify and make sense of everything in the game world on his own.

Does that also mean that the ring of fire isn't a ring of fire at all unless the words are actually written on it? It's just a red ring, and since it is unique, no one alive has ever heard of it. No one would even know it has magical powers. So unless I want to look like an idiot shouting in magical toungue every time I try on a peice of jewerly, I would just ignore it. Let us also hope it's not a one-time use item, or even shouting in tongues will be a waste, and it's possible I may explode, be transported to hell, or fry my best friend when it goes off. I guess I can save, test it, then reload. [wink]


No that was not my point. My point was "How about other means to comunicate this information" with the player. And unique (was not meant literaly, rare would probably fit better) does not mean nobody ever heard of it. (And I am not thinking in MMO terms, where you can't avoid mass production. I'm thinking about offline RPG's or maybe Very Small Scale Online RPGs where items are placed by the level designer *g*)

#53 silverphyre673   Members   -  Reputation: 454

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:01 PM

I would have to say that I agree with the OP, for the most part. As it is, graphics are a large part of the game, and take up a lot of the team's time, like it or not. I think that the graphics and sound need to be utilized more (or less, as in the first example) to enforce rules. For example, if the server decides that a player failed his "spot check" on seeing the Goblin Horde, then it just doesn't send visual data about the goblins. However, if the character managed to hear them, it might send data about the sound. Sure, the player can always turn up the sound, but you could always have the client or the server (depends on how vital it is not to get hax0red) blur the volume somehow.

If the character is getting hurt, there are lots of ways to do visual or auditory clues. Make the screen tinge with red around the edges, make "blood drips" down the screen, make the character's breath audibly pained. When the character gets hit (if it is a console game) make the controller rumble, or make the character yell and flash the screen, or something of that nature.

When the character fails to pick the lock, make auditory clues, such as cussing in frustration if it is way to hard to pick, or "almost got it, damn" if they were nearly finished and their pick snapped. ALternatively, make them spend more time rattling around with the lock if it is harder to pick. Use their visual senses: obviously a thirty pound, solid metal, engraved, glowing magic lock on the iron door of the Wizard's Tower is going to be more difficult to pick than the lock you get at the gym for your locker.

If the game is third person, some sort of character deforming could possibly be used to represent muscles. Also, if they are weak, make them drag around the huge Cloud sword they just picked up. If their name is Hrolfgar the Barbarian, make them twirl it around like its nothing.

Use your imagination! There are LOTS of ways to represent things visually in games, more than ever. This is only going to get easier and easier to do. Of course there are stat-crunchers and munchkins out there, but maybe this will wind up being a whole new "immersion-RPG" genre.

#54 tolaris   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:02 PM

Quote:
Original post by Programmer16
Quote:
Original post by c-Row
Maybe the CHARACTER knows which one is stronger by looking at the handcrafted blade, the fine drawings on it and other things. You shouldn't expect the character to know only what the player knows. Conan never needed stats to determine which sword was better... ;)

The player should determine which is better, since the character doesn't know what to use (unless you program the character to know what he is going up against and can automatically equip the best equipment for that fight.) Say I'm fighting a dragon and I have two swords. Dragon Slayer and Carsomyr. Which one should be used?

Well, you could have something like old, very experienced swordmaster NPC in the game who, when visited by the player and paid considerable amount of money for their time, takes a good look at the swords, and tells the player's character that this particular piece of metal looks like say, some elf work that'd be particularly well suited for slaying dragons, or something to that effect. Same for the magic items, identifying these and what exactly they can do should perhaps be left to wizards (also for considerable amount of money, given that the wizard risks losing a limb or the head while trying to figure out how the item works)

This way you can give the player a fair idea what their gear can do, without actually handing them all the info on the silver platter the very moment the item drops...

#55 nefthy   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:18 PM

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Original post by tolaris

Well, you could have something like old, very experienced swordmaster NPC in the game who, when visited by the player and paid considerable amount of money for their time, takes a good look at the swords, and tells the player's character that this particular piece of metal looks like say, some elf work that'd be particularly well suited for slaying dragons, or something to that effect. Same for the magic items, identifying these and what exactly they can do should perhaps be left to wizards (also for considerable amount of money, given that the wizard risks losing a limb or the head while trying to figure out how the item works)

This way you can give the player a fair idea what their gear can do, without actually handing them all the info on the silver platter the very moment the item drops...


Exactly, I would't make it that risky to identify magic items though, unless magic is hostile and unpredictable in the game world. Thats bad style. Hoever, giving the player some minor drawbacks could be quite fun. I brought an example (some posts ago) of an NPC tricking a player by giving him a cursed sword. I would make sure the player would actualy survive (or atleast have good odds of doing so) but is piss off by the NPC so he goes after him and maybe have a small side quest to get rid of the sword. This would give quite a nice quest, since the character/player has a motive (revenge) and would it be a waste to kill the player.


#56 silverphyre673   Members   -  Reputation: 454

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:18 PM

Quote:
Original post by tolaris
Quote:
Original post by Programmer16
Quote:
Original post by c-Row
Maybe the CHARACTER knows which one is stronger by looking at the handcrafted blade, the fine drawings on it and other things. You shouldn't expect the character to know only what the player knows. Conan never needed stats to determine which sword was better... ;)

The player should determine which is better, since the character doesn't know what to use (unless you program the character to know what he is going up against and can automatically equip the best equipment for that fight.) Say I'm fighting a dragon and I have two swords. Dragon Slayer and Carsomyr. Which one should be used?

Well, you could have something like old, very experienced swordmaster NPC in the game who, when visited by the player and paid considerable amount of money for their time, takes a good look at the swords, and tells the player's character that this particular piece of metal looks like say, some elf work that'd be particularly well suited for slaying dragons, or something to that effect. Same for the magic items, identifying these and what exactly they can do should perhaps be left to wizards (also for considerable amount of money, given that the wizard risks losing a limb or the head while trying to figure out how the item works)

This way you can give the player a fair idea what their gear can do, without actually handing them all the info on the silver platter the very moment the item drops...


Exactly! That's what I was talking about... use hints, lots of hints, in the game to give the players an idea of what's going on in terms of game mechanics, but don't feed them from a bottle. The games are often convoluted enough, since trying to figure out game mechanics that can stabilize a world with a couple hundred (thousand?) players can be rought, especially in the economics department. I personally think that as our technology gets better and better, the computer should start playing more and more of a role with the player.

#57 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1721

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:19 PM

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Original post by superpig
I think my point of view is best summarised thus: WHO CARES?! HE'S GOT A FRICKIN' GUN IN YOUR FACE! [grin]


But what if you're wearing Class A Power Armor? Or you've cast Stoneflesh on yourself?

I'm not sure, but in this example you may be arguing for completely arbitrary resolutions, which would effectively dull the amount of variability and variety of encounter.


Quote:

However, let me describe my dream sword shop in such a game. You go in, and there are five swords in the rack. Firstly and most obviously, you (the player) can look at them, and see that some look more badass than others. You can tell your character to 'examine' a sword, and he can pick it up, test its edge, hold it and feel it in his hand, and then he 'thinks' (via a text box on your UI), "Hmm, good edge... it's quite heavy though." So this time instead of choosing 'examine' you choose 'compare' and click on another sword. He picks up the second sword, examines it, and eventually produces a thought like "This one is lighter than that one, and the grip fits my hand better. However, that one has the sharper edge." The player is then free to choose which one to go for based on their goals and style (e.g. they could get the blunt sword and then get it sharpened).


Yikes! Your dream is my nightmare! [grin]

Here's an easy example to see why:

Mission 1: Go kill bandit kidnappers. Done. Return to town. Wait through five anims and text responses. Get best sword. Wait through 6 more anim / text responses describing loot. Next mission.

Mission 2: Go scare off trolls infesting farm. Done. Return to town. Wait through five more anims and text responses. Buy best sword. Save, quit, go to sleep.

Reload 1 week later: Now what was I doing. Oh, yeah, have two swords. Which did I want to sell. Wait for 2 anims. Oh yeah. Sell one. Now what was wrong with those others? Wait through four anims. Oh, right, "bad grip," "seems brittle," "shoddy workmanship," "too light," etc.

And I still have loot to sell?!?!?! No wonder I'm spending 20 minutes in the freakin' shop instead of playing the game!

--------------------Just waiting for the mothership...

#58 nefthy   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:37 PM

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Original post by Wavinator
And I still have loot to sell?!?!?! No wonder I'm spending 20 minutes in the freakin' shop instead of playing the game!


Yes that would be anoying, but that would just be bad implementation. But I was anoyed like this by Dungeon Seage, which told you that sword gives you +15% swiftness / +5% damage / +5% intelligence. That was also bad implementation.

edit: and you had to take the best wepons to survive the hord of enemies waiting beyond the town wall.

#59 Programmer16   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1926

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:46 PM

But, If I don't know how well I can pick locks, how do I know that I have to improve it. And, if I don't know who has a higher strength rating, how do I know who to use to break the lock (in case I don't have theif.) If I use graphics, then I should assume that because person A is a giant barbarian I shouldn't even try fighting him (I mean seriously, look at how easy he swings that sword!) Or that dragon that I'm fighting, if I don't know that my sword does 5d4 + 5 damage, and my thunderbolt spell does 10d10 damage, and my ranger's magic arrows do 4d4 damage + 2 electric damage each, I might just think to myself:

Ok, I have Carsomyr, a mighty elven empowered, evil-killing sword, a thunderbolt spell that can kill a umber hulk, and arrows that can kill a goblin in one hit and does electric damage. I have no chance against a dragon that spits fireballs and can hit all of my team at once. When in all actuality I can kill him in one turn from each player.

And whats an old master swordsman going to say: Oh, that's Carsomyr. It was forged by elves to cut through the undead? Well that really tells me that it does double or triple damage to undead creatures. It might even have the chance to utterly destroy them if they fail a saving throw of 3d6. But I decide to put on the Mace of Light that the old man also says was made to cut through undead, but it only does 2 extra points of damage and has no chance of utterly destroying them.

There's also spells. I learned fireball at the very beginning of the game, but I learned ball of lightning halfway through the game, so it must be stronger. What if I have 2 sets of lock picks. One has a nice red, leather case and the other one is carried in a cardboard box. Just because the leather one looks better, doesn't make it better.

Are you going to buy a car when the guy says: It goes really, really fast (you can tell because it as spoilers and leather interior, with 2 15's in the trunk), or are you going to buy the car from the guy that says: Oh, its got a 454 in it and comes with an optional spoiler.

#60 Programmer16   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1926

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:48 PM

Quote:
Original post by nefthy
Yes that would be anoying, but that would just be bad implementation. But I was anoyed like this by Dungeon Seage, which told you that sword gives you +15% swiftness / +5% damage / +5% intelligence. That was also bad implementation.

edit: and you had to take the best wepons to survive the hord of enemies waiting beyond the town wall.


My point was the strongest weapon isn't always the best. A sword that does 50 points of damage isn't as good as a sword that does 25 points of damage, 10 points of water damage, and double damage against fire elementals (when you're fighting fire elementals).

Edit: Oh, and thanks for helping me prove my point. If you know that you have a strength of 18, and a regular bastard sword. You can go defeat that horde of 50 goblins without the best weapons. Or, you're an ranger with a longbow, you can make 7/2 shots (thats 7 shots every two rounds), and have a thac0(to hit armor class 0) of -17. I've done this without them even getting within 10 feet of me.

This also brings in armor class and hit points. How do I know how much damage I can take if I don't have a hit points and know how many points of damage I've taken. Just because my character is bleeding and/or limping doesn't mean I'm almost dead. That could just mean that I'm mildy hurt and SHOULD seek healing. If I know that I have 50 hit points left and the monster I'm fighting only does around 5-10 damage each time he hits me, I can assume that I'll beat him long before he beats me (because my sword does 4d6 + 5 damage, and my spellcaster does 10 with here magic arrow spell, and my ranger does 2d4 with his arrows.)




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