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#1 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:50 PM

I have been trying to make up a rarity system that works for Items, Equipment, and Monsters. I have been able to come up with a few ways of doing it, but most are just so similar to other games. Usually a game will have a different color representing rarity, a +1 to +10 system, a naming system, etc. I was planning on just using common, uncommon, rare, and legendary with each name having a varying color to represent the rarity. I tried to look up item rarity systems for other games, but it wasn't that easy and it seemed like I would have to download or play several games to find out. I also am not happy with the rarity system I have come up with so far. So I came here to ask if any of you could think back on all the games you have played and help me out by trying to list the rarity systems from the lowest rarity to highest rarity whether it be by color, name, number, etc.

It would also help if you could give input on which kind of rarity system you like and worked best for you. To me I believe the best ones out there are the ones that allow players to spot and know its a rare or non rare item the second they see it without having to scan through all the stats.



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#2 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 10:03 PM

If you just want to convey the likelihood of the player coming across another of a given item again, color would probably be fine. It's quick, it's instantly recognizable, and it's easy to implement. It can be the color of the item name, or a colored outline around the item itself, or anything similar and still be effective. How you arrange the colors on the rarity chart isn't so important, as players will quickly identify the frequency with which they encounter those colors with their associated rarity.

For monsters, I might not worry about the rarity being so instantly recognizable. It's a lot easier to tell one monster model from another than it is to tell 10 swords that use the same model apart, and I intuitively feel that color coding monsters suggests information about their difficulty relative to my character (or some other pertinent information) than it does information on how often that monster appears. Like above, I'll know a monster is common if I see it a lot, and a redundant interface item would probably confuse me.

#3 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4909

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 10:25 PM

I seriously don't see the point in common and legendary items. Commons are always trash and you just sell them or break them down for ingredients. Why not just give the ingredients in the first place? Legendaries, you never get ones that are for your class and level except in the endgame if you bother to farm for them after finding out in the wiki what boss has the specific legendary you want.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#4 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 10:35 PM

If you just want to convey the likelihood of the player coming across another of a given item again, color would probably be fine. It's quick, it's instantly recognizable, and it's easy to implement. It can be the color of the item name, or a colored outline around the item itself, or anything similar and still be effective. How you arrange the colors on the rarity chart isn't so important, as players will quickly identify the frequency with which they encounter those colors with their associated rarity.

For monsters, I might not worry about the rarity being so instantly recognizable. It's a lot easier to tell one monster model from another than it is to tell 10 swords that use the same model apart, and I intuitively feel that color coding monsters suggests information about their difficulty relative to my character (or some other pertinent information) than it does information on how often that monster appears. Like above, I'll know a monster is common if I see it a lot, and a redundant interface item would probably confuse me.

I agree with you on both accounts and that is what I was trying to go for.



I seriously don't see the point in common and legendary items. Commons are always trash and you just sell them or break them down for ingredients. Why not just give the ingredients in the first place? Legendaries, you never get ones that are for your class and level except in the endgame if you bother to farm for them after finding out in the wiki what boss has the specific legendary you want.


I understand what you are saying, but I can't see a game not having common or legendary items. It does not matter in my case though as I will not have weapons drops from monsters, but given after completing a quest to kill a specific monster. So players will not be getting hoards of crappy common weapon drops as they play. Players might find treasure in dungeons and the like though. One thing that has always bugged me about a lot of games is when monsters drop money, swords, equipment, coins, or some impossible tangible item. (Other than typical monster drops like fur, teeth, claws, etc)






#5 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4909

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 11:06 PM

I understand what you are saying, but I can't see a game not having common or legendary items. It does not matter in my case though as I will not have weapons drops from monsters, but given after completing a quest to kill a specific monster. So players will not be getting hoards of crappy common weapon drops as they play. Players might find treasure in dungeons and the like though. One thing that has always bugged me about a lot of games is when monsters drop money, swords, equipment, coins, or some impossible tangible item. (Other than typical monster drops like fur, teeth, claws, etc)


Oh, if you're not talking about gear then common items make a lot of sense - it would be quite normal to get fur from pretty much every wolf you kill, or a bone from every skeleton. But for legendaries, I'd say you don't have to make them a very rare drop if you just make only bosses drop them. If you have to do an hour's worth of dungeon for one person in the party to get a golden leather, or something like that, that's already functionally as rare as something that only drops one time in a hundred from a normal monster.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#6 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 11:40 PM


I understand what you are saying, but I can't see a game not having common or legendary items. It does not matter in my case though as I will not have weapons drops from monsters, but given after completing a quest to kill a specific monster. So players will not be getting hoards of crappy common weapon drops as they play. Players might find treasure in dungeons and the like though. One thing that has always bugged me about a lot of games is when monsters drop money, swords, equipment, coins, or some impossible tangible item. (Other than typical monster drops like fur, teeth, claws, etc)


Oh, if you're not talking about gear then common items make a lot of sense - it would be quite normal to get fur from pretty much every wolf you kill, or a bone from every skeleton. But for legendaries, I'd say you don't have to make them a very rare drop if you just make only bosses drop them. If you have to do an hour's worth of dungeon for one person in the party to get a golden leather, or something like that, that's already functionally as rare as something that only drops one time in a hundred from a normal monster.


Yes that is exactly how I created the game to be like. I like creating things that make sense I even made it so that players get paid by the government to kill monsters and thats how they will acquire a lot of their money. They will just travel to a local payout kiosk to get the money for all the monsters they have killed.

I just think I need one more type of rarity. Should I use unique? epic? special? etc. and in what order? I think I understand the rarity system I want I just wanted some input on other games I might not have played and if any game does it in a completely unique and cool way.

#7 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 06:51 PM

No suggestions? I have everything rated in this order: Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Legendary. I just want some other words or a better system I could use.

#8 Caldenfor   Members   -  Reputation: 323

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 09:10 PM

No suggestions? I have everything rated in this order: Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Legendary. I just want some other words or a better system I could use.


*This is not an aggressive post, but it is certainly not edited to avoid potential misunderstandings. This is just the form of relaying the thoughts on items and their appendages.*

Why does there have to be any sort of system like this?

You found "Ice Sickle of Immense Power".

Cool, awesome. Now why does it have to be "blue" and titled "rare"? I can stand items of "immense power" being tagged onto an item. You can't quite quantify what makes it what it is so you just say... it possesses immense power. It didn't make sense for Agile Dagger of the Monkey. How do you know it is of the monkey? Does it have a dagger shaped like one? Does it fling feces good? Less items, better names.

Don't I know it is rare just because it is so freaking kick ass and hardly anyone else has it? Don't call it rare, make it rare.

I think it is just making players think less. Developers, designers more specifically, should try to implement mechanics that provide a benefit to the players health, mainly through improved brain function. Challenge the mind a bit here and there even if it is on something as simple as making them interpret the game for themselves.

#9 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 10:26 PM


No suggestions? I have everything rated in this order: Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Legendary. I just want some other words or a better system I could use.


*This is not an aggressive post, but it is certainly not edited to avoid potential misunderstandings. This is just the form of relaying the thoughts on items and their appendages.*

Why does there have to be any sort of system like this?

You found "Ice Sickle of Immense Power".

Cool, awesome. Now why does it have to be "blue" and titled "rare"? I can stand items of "immense power" being tagged onto an item. You can't quite quantify what makes it what it is so you just say... it possesses immense power. It didn't make sense for Agile Dagger of the Monkey. How do you know it is of the monkey? Does it have a dagger shaped like one? Does it fling feces good? Less items, better names.

Don't I know it is rare just because it is so freaking kick ass and hardly anyone else has it? Don't call it rare, make it rare.

I think it is just making players think less. Developers, designers more specifically, should try to implement mechanics that provide a benefit to the players health, mainly through improved brain function. Challenge the mind a bit here and there even if it is on something as simple as making them interpret the game for themselves.





(I didn't see this post as aggressive just to let you know) I totally understand what your saying. I can imagine a system like that for a single player game, but not a multiplayer game. Just about every MMO and multiplayer/co-op game I have recently played uses some kind of a color coded rarity system or a name rarity system. On a game like Mass Effect your method would be fine since you don't even trade weapons with one another. In a game like Borderlands, Diablo 3, and several MMO's it helps to have that rarity system to easily categorize item prices, what item drops to pick up, etc. This way an inexperienced player that doesn't know much about the game will know how rare and awesome a weapon is just like an experienced player would.

#10 Caldenfor   Members   -  Reputation: 323

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 07:19 AM



No suggestions? I have everything rated in this order: Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Legendary. I just want some other words or a better system I could use.


*This is not an aggressive post, but it is certainly not edited to avoid potential misunderstandings. This is just the form of relaying the thoughts on items and their appendages.*

Why does there have to be any sort of system like this?

You found "Ice Sickle of Immense Power".

Cool, awesome. Now why does it have to be "blue" and titled "rare"? I can stand items of "immense power" being tagged onto an item. You can't quite quantify what makes it what it is so you just say... it possesses immense power. It didn't make sense for Agile Dagger of the Monkey. How do you know it is of the monkey? Does it have a dagger shaped like one? Does it fling feces good? Less items, better names.

Don't I know it is rare just because it is so freaking kick ass and hardly anyone else has it? Don't call it rare, make it rare.

I think it is just making players think less. Developers, designers more specifically, should try to implement mechanics that provide a benefit to the players health, mainly through improved brain function. Challenge the mind a bit here and there even if it is on something as simple as making them interpret the game for themselves.





(I didn't see this post as aggressive just to let you know) I totally understand what your saying. I can imagine a system like that for a single player game, but not a multiplayer game. Just about every MMO and multiplayer/co-op game I have recently played uses some kind of a color coded rarity system or a name rarity system. On a game like Mass Effect your method would be fine since you don't even trade weapons with one another. In a game like Borderlands, Diablo 3, and several MMO's it helps to have that rarity system to easily categorize item prices, what item drops to pick up, etc. This way an inexperienced player that doesn't know much about the game will know how rare and awesome a weapon is just like an experienced player would.


It still seems to me like they are trying to treat them as being special/slow/stupid/etc. If a player is inexperienced, why would he have a rare item? If it is due to new players getting "rare" items via random world drops, that there seems like the issue. Who started the color coding?

Color coding just seems like it is dumbing the gear system down and I don't think it should be done. Then again, I dislike gear based play. Allow the players to determine what is good and what is not good by allowing them to gather information about the item. Remember "Item Identification"? What the hell happened to it? Why can every person out there pick up some random item in the wilderness and know exactly what benefits it provides?

I am not saying a form of Item Identification is a must(it is cool though), but if players are incapable of looking at the attributes of an item and determining if it is useful to them or not, maybe they don't deserve to have it. It would be either the player lacks the capabilities to do so or that the developer poorly made their display system/gear system.

I think it is more used as a filter for the Auction Hall search engines because the games are bloated with more items than necessary. I still don't like it and I don't much like game-wide auction halls either, but that is for another topic.

#11 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 05:55 PM




No suggestions? I have everything rated in this order: Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Legendary. I just want some other words or a better system I could use.


*This is not an aggressive post, but it is certainly not edited to avoid potential misunderstandings. This is just the form of relaying the thoughts on items and their appendages.*

Why does there have to be any sort of system like this?

You found "Ice Sickle of Immense Power".

Cool, awesome. Now why does it have to be "blue" and titled "rare"? I can stand items of "immense power" being tagged onto an item. You can't quite quantify what makes it what it is so you just say... it possesses immense power. It didn't make sense for Agile Dagger of the Monkey. How do you know it is of the monkey? Does it have a dagger shaped like one? Does it fling feces good? Less items, better names.

Don't I know it is rare just because it is so freaking kick ass and hardly anyone else has it? Don't call it rare, make it rare.

I think it is just making players think less. Developers, designers more specifically, should try to implement mechanics that provide a benefit to the players health, mainly through improved brain function. Challenge the mind a bit here and there even if it is on something as simple as making them interpret the game for themselves.





(I didn't see this post as aggressive just to let you know) I totally understand what your saying. I can imagine a system like that for a single player game, but not a multiplayer game. Just about every MMO and multiplayer/co-op game I have recently played uses some kind of a color coded rarity system or a name rarity system. On a game like Mass Effect your method would be fine since you don't even trade weapons with one another. In a game like Borderlands, Diablo 3, and several MMO's it helps to have that rarity system to easily categorize item prices, what item drops to pick up, etc. This way an inexperienced player that doesn't know much about the game will know how rare and awesome a weapon is just like an experienced player would.


It still seems to me like they are trying to treat them as being special/slow/stupid/etc. If a player is inexperienced, why would he have a rare item? If it is due to new players getting "rare" items via random world drops, that there seems like the issue. Who started the color coding?

Color coding just seems like it is dumbing the gear system down and I don't think it should be done. Then again, I dislike gear based play. Allow the players to determine what is good and what is not good by allowing them to gather information about the item. Remember "Item Identification"? What the hell happened to it? Why can every person out there pick up some random item in the wilderness and know exactly what benefits it provides?

I am not saying a form of Item Identification is a must(it is cool though), but if players are incapable of looking at the attributes of an item and determining if it is useful to them or not, maybe they don't deserve to have it. It would be either the player lacks the capabilities to do so or that the developer poorly made their display system/gear system.

I think it is more used as a filter for the Auction Hall search engines because the games are bloated with more items than necessary. I still don't like it and I don't much like game-wide auction halls either, but that is for another topic.


I understand where your coming from and what your saying, but not everyone likes to get into the game thoroughly to know what weapons are rare, what they are worth, where to trade them, etc. I understand when you say that inexperienced players should not receive rare drops, so lets say there are no rare drops. If an inexperienced player somehow acquires a really rare item worth a lot of money, but it has horrible stats and is more of a vanity item, what is going to stop them from selling it to an NPC shop? Once they do find out they will just be angry they didn't know sooner. "Most" players want to have an easily labeled system to know these things instead of searching it up online and getting different opinions on the actual rarity and value of an item. Also the feature of identifying items is really unneeded. Its just a gimmick that makes the player travel all the way back to town just to see if the item is good (unless they have some identify scroll or something), before selling it off. Most of the time it is not a great item and the process of identifying things is just worthless. I believe that the second you get rid of an auction house you are making players that need to sell items sell them in a certain way. I believe that there should be both auction houses, player shops, and other forms of trade. People should be able to choose how they want to sell things. Its like getting rid of amazon and ebay and making everyone use garage sales or pawn shops.




#12 Caldenfor   Members   -  Reputation: 323

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 06:07 PM





No suggestions? I have everything rated in this order: Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Legendary. I just want some other words or a better system I could use.


*This is not an aggressive post, but it is certainly not edited to avoid potential misunderstandings. This is just the form of relaying the thoughts on items and their appendages.*

Why does there have to be any sort of system like this?

You found "Ice Sickle of Immense Power".

Cool, awesome. Now why does it have to be "blue" and titled "rare"? I can stand items of "immense power" being tagged onto an item. You can't quite quantify what makes it what it is so you just say... it possesses immense power. It didn't make sense for Agile Dagger of the Monkey. How do you know it is of the monkey? Does it have a dagger shaped like one? Does it fling feces good? Less items, better names.

Don't I know it is rare just because it is so freaking kick ass and hardly anyone else has it? Don't call it rare, make it rare.

I think it is just making players think less. Developers, designers more specifically, should try to implement mechanics that provide a benefit to the players health, mainly through improved brain function. Challenge the mind a bit here and there even if it is on something as simple as making them interpret the game for themselves.





(I didn't see this post as aggressive just to let you know) I totally understand what your saying. I can imagine a system like that for a single player game, but not a multiplayer game. Just about every MMO and multiplayer/co-op game I have recently played uses some kind of a color coded rarity system or a name rarity system. On a game like Mass Effect your method would be fine since you don't even trade weapons with one another. In a game like Borderlands, Diablo 3, and several MMO's it helps to have that rarity system to easily categorize item prices, what item drops to pick up, etc. This way an inexperienced player that doesn't know much about the game will know how rare and awesome a weapon is just like an experienced player would.


It still seems to me like they are trying to treat them as being special/slow/stupid/etc. If a player is inexperienced, why would he have a rare item? If it is due to new players getting "rare" items via random world drops, that there seems like the issue. Who started the color coding?

Color coding just seems like it is dumbing the gear system down and I don't think it should be done. Then again, I dislike gear based play. Allow the players to determine what is good and what is not good by allowing them to gather information about the item. Remember "Item Identification"? What the hell happened to it? Why can every person out there pick up some random item in the wilderness and know exactly what benefits it provides?

I am not saying a form of Item Identification is a must(it is cool though), but if players are incapable of looking at the attributes of an item and determining if it is useful to them or not, maybe they don't deserve to have it. It would be either the player lacks the capabilities to do so or that the developer poorly made their display system/gear system.

I think it is more used as a filter for the Auction Hall search engines because the games are bloated with more items than necessary. I still don't like it and I don't much like game-wide auction halls either, but that is for another topic.


I understand where your coming from and what your saying, but not everyone likes to get into the game thoroughly to know what weapons are rare, what they are worth, where to trade them, etc. I understand when you say that inexperienced players should not receive rare drops, so lets say there are no rare drops. If an inexperienced player somehow acquires a really rare item worth a lot of money, but it has horrible stats and is more of a vanity item, what is going to stop them from selling it to an NPC shop? Once they do find out they will just be angry they didn't know sooner. "Most" players want to have an easily labeled system to know these things instead of searching it up online and getting different opinions on the actual rarity and value of an item. Also the feature of identifying items is really unneeded. Its just a gimmick that makes the player travel all the way back to town just to see if the item is good (unless they have some identify scroll or something), before selling it off. Most of the time it is not a great item and the process of identifying things is just worthless. I believe that the second you get rid of an auction house you are making players that need to sell items sell them in a certain way. I believe that there should be both auction houses, player shops, and other forms of trade. People should be able to choose how they want to sell things. Its like getting rid of amazon and ebay and making everyone use garage sales or pawn shops.




Medieval fantasy games, which is what I am speaking of, aren't futuristic. They don't have the internet. Why can't players create their own Auction services? If you want to know if something is worth anything, check the marketplace. Ask around. Players could have an Item Identification skill. Bring it to someone who has the skill if you yourself don't. Allow it to be a player profession. In Ultima Online, and other games I am sure, had Item Identification Wands. You don't necessarily have to force the player back to town to find out it's worth. I also believe in a game where the players make the majority of gear. The "awesome drops" could just be resources for higher end/rarer gear. Make an MMORPG that is actually a world, not just a game. If a new player misses out on possessing a rare vanity item, guess what? It stays that much more rare. Sure, they lost the value of it, but they should have investigated the item and they will have learned a lesson for the future.

I understand the ease of access to an MMORPG is an important thing, but I don't think color-coding is a necessary addition to a game. Games can teach people to do things they wouldn't normally do. If a player neglects to learn then they should be hindered. Education isn't a bad thing even if it is something so trivial as learning an item system without having colors to go by. We were spoon fed as a child, must we keep eating from the spoon or can we rise up to wield our own fork and knife?

#13 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 10:21 PM

Anyone else have an opinion on how the rarity system should be? If there should or shouldn't be a rarity system in the first place, and if you agree there should be one, what it should be like.

#14 Isometric   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 11:30 AM

In my opinion, you answered your question in your original post. Most games that I have played, which is a common practice throughout the industry, use colors. Colors are easily identifiable. Call them legendary if you want, but players see a golden item and automatically think higher quality because this has already been established throughout many games. I would suggest keeping this standardized system for two reasons. The first being, players already know it and it wouldn't require them to learn a new system. This allows players to focus their concentration on other parts of the game that you could make more innovative. The second reason is because it is easy to learn. New players that might not have ever played a RPG will find it easy it associate color with quality. This goes back to the philosophy, if it is not broken, don't fix it.

The only way I would personally spend extra time developing a new rarity system is if that was my main goal for the game. If the game I was creating revolved around the experimentation of finding a more usable rarity system. I actually just worked on a design where there were different difficulty traps. I placed each trap into its own color category to show how effective that trap was. It is easy for both the designer and player as well as an effective way to display information to anyone reading your doc or playing your game.

#15 Sandman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2116

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 11:27 AM

I also don't really see the point in a 'rarity' system. At the end of the day, what does it actually mean?

Does it mean the item is more powerful? Perhaps in certain absolute terms, but in terms of the character holding it, it's pretty meaningless; the only reliable way to determine whether the item is better than that which I already have is to compare the stats and make a decision based on that. Arbitrary colour coding schemes just muddy the issue.

Does it mean the item is more valuable? Well, if it's not actually useful to me it's just loot, and perhaps if I cared to optimise my dungeon hauling I'd want to ensure I'm looting the highest value/weight ratio items I could find. But then again, it's pretty easy just to display a number telling me how valuable it is.

Does it just mean the item is less likely to be found again? The only reason I might care is if I find the item and I'm too low level to use it; otherwise I either use it or flog it. But then we're just encouraging the player to waste inventory space hoarding items that they think *might* be useful later, and they're too rare to risk flogging until they're sure.

In every game I've played which has had some kind of colour coded rarity system, I've ended up ignoring it; worse than that though, I often find I have to train myself to ignore it as the instinct is to place more value on items marked as rare, even if they're total junk in reality. For this reason, I'm inclined to think it's not merely not a good idea; it's actually a bad idea.

#16 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 03:05 PM

In my opinion, you answered your question in your original post. Most games that I have played, which is a common practice throughout the industry, use colors. Colors are easily identifiable. Call them legendary if you want, but players see a golden item and automatically think higher quality because this has already been established throughout many games. I would suggest keeping this standardized system for two reasons. The first being, players already know it and it wouldn't require them to learn a new system. This allows players to focus their concentration on other parts of the game that you could make more innovative. The second reason is because it is easy to learn. New players that might not have ever played a RPG will find it easy it associate color with quality. This goes back to the philosophy, if it is not broken, don't fix it.

The only way I would personally spend extra time developing a new rarity system is if that was my main goal for the game. If the game I was creating revolved around the experimentation of finding a more usable rarity system. I actually just worked on a design where there were different difficulty traps. I placed each trap into its own color category to show how effective that trap was. It is easy for both the designer and player as well as an effective way to display information to anyone reading your doc or playing your game.


I agree and I had this mindset when I made this topic, but I wanted to know if there was any game out there where a different rarity system was used that also worked well.


I also don't really see the point in a 'rarity' system. At the end of the day, what does it actually mean?

Does it mean the item is more powerful? Perhaps in certain absolute terms, but in terms of the character holding it, it's pretty meaningless; the only reliable way to determine whether the item is better than that which I already have is to compare the stats and make a decision based on that. Arbitrary colour coding schemes just muddy the issue.

Does it mean the item is more valuable? Well, if it's not actually useful to me it's just loot, and perhaps if I cared to optimise my dungeon hauling I'd want to ensure I'm looting the highest value/weight ratio items I could find. But then again, it's pretty easy just to display a number telling me how valuable it is.

Does it just mean the item is less likely to be found again? The only reason I might care is if I find the item and I'm too low level to use it; otherwise I either use it or flog it. But then we're just encouraging the player to waste inventory space hoarding items that they think *might* be useful later, and they're too rare to risk flogging until they're sure.

In every game I've played which has had some kind of colour coded rarity system, I've ended up ignoring it; worse than that though, I often find I have to train myself to ignore it as the instinct is to place more value on items marked as rare, even if they're total junk in reality. For this reason, I'm inclined to think it's not merely not a good idea; it's actually a bad idea.


I don't believe that the rarity system in general is bad. I think it all depends on the skills of the game developers to make one that works.

My understanding is that the color coding shows the rarity, not that the item has necessarily better stats or is even worth much. Players could find an item that is rare, but has horrible stats or find a common item that is better. Some people like to collect these types of things or find them just to show them off. Also rare items "tend" to be more valuable and powerful than common items.

I think you just want a system that highlights an item somehow (not necessarily a color) if it is worth a lot of money or is an item your character can use that has better stats than any of your current items. I still think it's all up to the developers because like you said there are several approaches like the items power, how valuable it is, and how likely you are to find it again to determine how the rarity system is set up.

#17 Caldenfor   Members   -  Reputation: 323

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 03:27 PM

But why can't it be up to the players to find what is "rare" and what isn't? It adds to the mystery. Player understanding should be the determining factor when acknowledging the uniqueness of an item, not a developer post-it note(rarity system).

Let the players determine the value of game objects. Putting a rarity system unnaturally increases the value of an item.

#18 Sandman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2116

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 04:08 PM

My point is that if you are going to use a strong visual identifier like colour, it should *mean* something. I don't find 'rarity' to be a particularly meaningful statistic, it seldom has any real game significance.

I can understand collecting sets or unique items. But do we need to have ten levels of rarity? And is it really important enough to advertise more strongly than other properties?

#19 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 04:53 PM

But why can't it be up to the players to find what is "rare" and what isn't? It adds to the mystery. Player understanding should be the determining factor when acknowledging the uniqueness of an item, not a developer post-it note(rarity system).

Let the players determine the value of game objects. Putting a rarity system unnaturally increases the value of an item.



My point is that if you are going to use a strong visual identifier like colour, it should *mean* something. I don't find 'rarity' to be a particularly meaningful statistic, it seldom has any real game significance.

I can understand collecting sets or unique items. But do we need to have ten levels of rarity? And is it really important enough to advertise more strongly than other properties?


This is the reason I started this topic, but it does not help to get rid of a solution and make a bigger problem. (This is just an example) Let's say you kill a monster and it drops 20 items. How do you know which ones to pick up? All of them? Do you have to search through them all and find out each individual item you want by looking at the stats and then dropping the ones you don't want? What if you don't have room for 20 items in your inventory and have to cycle through the items a few at a time. Do you have to memorize the names of all the good items just so you know what to pick up? I am just saying that having a color coding rarity system makes things instantly recognizable and allows players to also categorize things instantly. You could color categorize it by types like potions are blue, weapons are red, armor is green, etc. What I am hearing from you is to get rid of it altogether which does not make things easier for the players. Maybe you just don't like it, but people tend to like little features, mechanics, and shortcuts that make games easier. Just think of the fast travel options they use in a lot of games recently. The developers could make an easy option for you to turn off color coding Sandman. Caldenfor you say it adds to the mystery, but I don't understand how. Are saying that if an item drops and it is marked as a rare item or color coded it is not a mystery as to how good the weapon is anymore? You also said putting a rarity system can influence the values of items, but as a developer if you make the item truly rare in the game whether you label it or not, it will still be very valuable.

#20 Isometric   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 12:31 AM

I believe the bottom line is no matter what approach you take when designing items/abilities/mobs/bosses, anything in your game that would require a certain rarity, they will always be categorized in some way. What really matters is your target audience and what is usable and wanted by them. For example, you do away with colors. Well you are still categorizing them by level or stats. But now that they aren't labeled by color, players have to spend that extra time, I am going to call it researching, the item to find out if it is valuable to them. This might appeal to some more hardcore audiences. However, you could also get rid of stats(minus the level requirements) and just have the item details in the item name and/or description labeled with a color to determine quality. This might appeal to some casual audiences. In my opinion, developers today are blending these two audiences together and this is one example of how they are doing it. They are utilizing multiple forms of categorization that appeal to both audiences.

**Quick note** The scenarios mentioned in the first paragraph relate to JigokuSenshi's comment, "Let's say you kill a monster and it drops 20 items." ***


Now, when I say valuable to them I am speaking beyond whether or not they can physically use the item. Some people play RPGs/MMOs for the economy features alone. This item could be useless to them, but highly wanted by others. Now what determines value? Like any economy, the need or want for an item compared to its availability. Just because an item is legendary or orange does not mean it is in high demand. It only means it is in par with other items in that category, in terms of quality. If need be you would also compare its quality to its level requirement. This sorts out lower-quality items from higher-quality items within the same level range.

So in the end, all a "rarity system" is, is a way to display information to your audience and others working on the project. The approach you take depends on who you are creating this world for.

Examples of Categorization
  • Colors
  • Names
  • Item levels
  • Stats
  • Location found
  • etc.





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