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Item/Equipment/Monster Rarity


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#21 Sandman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2090

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 03:53 AM

I think you may have missed my point. I've got nothing against colour coding or otherwise highlighting items to make it easier for a player to identify which items are interesting. My issue is highlighting items based on rarity, because rarity is not an interesting property.

Colour them based on their sale value. Or maybe based on how they compare to your current equipment. But not according to some value which has no actual meaning to the player.

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#22 Zethariel   Members   -  Reputation: 310

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 04:11 AM

Basically, that is how items are coloured right now. Compared to other items of a similar level, those that have "better colours" may have more stats that are more powerfull, supplemented by some active/passive ability. I can't remember any game that would have color coding for any other reason than that.

It is true that some items seem weak, like a blue cloack that gives fire resistance +1 but has 0 armor. For you, it may be irrelevant -- for a twink on that particular level, it may be a gold prize. I agree that sometimes the rarity seems arbitrary, but in most cases the items that are highlighted are somehow "different" and "unique" compared to your standard equipment (a white colour coded sword rarelly has any stat bonuses for example).


Disclaimer: Each my post is intended as an attempt of helping and/or brining some meaningfull insight to the topic at hand. Due to my nature, my good intentions will not always be plainly visible. I apologise in advance and assure I mean no harm and do not intend to insult anyone, unless stated otherwise

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#23 Caldenfor   Members   -  Reputation: 323

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 08:44 AM

I suppose the underlying issue is how gear in general is designed within a game. I am opposed to monsters dropping 20 items. Why do they need to drop so much crap? If an item possesses no utility towards a player other than selling it to an NPC, why does it exist? It forces more currency into the economy causing inflation, yes?

I am opposed to gear grind games and the rarity system seems to coincide with it. I have seen blue items be valued higher than others purely because the game told the player it was "rare" so thus worth more. Players determining a value based on an artificial label, rarity, is unnecessarily increasing the cost of items. If something is truly rare and of value it will be worth something. Value determined by the players.

The concerns you and I have are based on a system with excessive loot drops and perhaps the system itself is flawed beyond my lesser gripe with a rarity system. So the resolution would be in fixing the initial problem, bloated loot drops, rather than a subsidy of it, the rarity system.

#24 Sandman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2090

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 11:25 AM

Basically, that is how items are coloured right now....



...It is true that some items seem weak, like a blue cloack that gives fire resistance +1 but has 0 armor. For you, it may be irrelevant -- for a twink on that particular level, it may be a gold prize.



*cries*

One last time: The second quote illustrates my problem with these 'rarity' systems. If it's trying to tell me that this item is interesting, and yet it quite obviously isn't (because it's only interesting to someone 20 levels lower) then it is quite clearly not accomplishing the desired purpose.

And therefore is a poor system which requires rethinking.





#25 Isometric   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 03:55 PM

One last time: The second quote illustrates my problem with these 'rarity' systems. If it's trying to tell me that this item is interesting, and yet it quite obviously isn't (because it's only interesting to someone 20 levels lower) then it is quite clearly not accomplishing the desired purpose.

And therefore is a poor system which requires rethinking.



This is what I attempted to explain in my last post(sorry if it went off topic and/or didn't make sense, it was late and I was tired). I believe the problem you have having with this is that you are thinking too linearly. Different players approach the same game in multiple ways. So maybe that player can't physically wear the item, it doesn't mean that item does not have any use or value to that player. The player can use it in trade, sell it for gold, even use it as an interesting item to give away during a guild event, and probably several other ways.

Just so we are on the same page, I am talking about color categorizing quality, controlled by a rarity system, which determines its availability.

#26 Sandman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2090

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 04:31 PM

I'm not sure if I'm not explaining myself properly or people just aren't actually reading my posts before replying to them, but I don't really have the patience to debate it any further.

#27 Caldenfor   Members   -  Reputation: 323

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 06:01 PM

Sandman, I have read and understand. Fear not, you are making sense.

#28 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 12:03 AM

Color coding items for their value would definitely not work (At least not in an MMO since there is no set price). Maybe this way will work. You could color code them for their rarity (I want to keep that the same) and then when you find an item with better stats that your character can use, there will be a small plus sign or other symbol next to the name. You could also show the level of the item next to the name too. Does this work better?



#29 Zethariel   Members   -  Reputation: 310

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 12:47 AM

Sandman, the rarity system does not work relative to your level. If you want it to work that way -- why would it? It would be too much hassle for the following example:

You are level 30. You are wearing blue items, which are way much stronger than green or white for your level. Now, according to what you want, these items should be ultra-gold, flashing, accompanied by cherubs and horns for a level 1, just because it would be awesome for him to wear it. That would be misleading for the nooblet who knows nothing of the game -- each higher level person would have gold items on them (from his point of view).

In addition, a game isn't only about mechanics and stat bashing (or having only relevant/usefull info). It is about vanity -- a person plays longer to get a stupid item just because it has an appealing visual, or has a gold name. Well, most of it is vanity -- as Jim-ay said, some like to roleplay, selling a crap purple item as a trophy for 100 gold, while an awesome white sword goes about for 5 gold.
Disclaimer: Each my post is intended as an attempt of helping and/or brining some meaningfull insight to the topic at hand. Due to my nature, my good intentions will not always be plainly visible. I apologise in advance and assure I mean no harm and do not intend to insult anyone, unless stated otherwise

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#30 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 07:00 AM

My 2 cents for what they are worth:

1. I never understood the rarity system. I believe it was a procedural way employed to simulate randomness in order to expand grinding in a multiplayer environment. It requires neither skill nor gut, but mostly luck or playtime, both of which aren't actual interesting gameplay decisions.

2. I believe unpredictability doesn't naturally link to randomness. A rarity system feels like it is strongly relying upon randomness. The idea of dropping ingredients/components at set intervals seems a lot more interesting though it may encourage grinding as well.

3. Strangely enough, your rarity system matches exactly that of Magic the Gathering TCG. And they've been quite successful with it (Legendary is called Mythic Rares, but we get the point).
Ironically however, Magic the Gathering cards are not ranked by rarity to reflect their actual power factor, but their complexity. Simple cards (utilities) show up at common, and will appear in several pro-level decks.
Obviously, this could be applied to your game in this way as well, but I doubt it would make sense. The question you need to ask yourself is, do you really need the rarity system for something?

Overall, I feel like you've assumed that because every game had a rarity system, so should yours.
Game Design is the ability perform problem solving, aka, find solutions to problems that spur from the design. I feel like you're developing a solution for a problem that may not exist.

Also, overcompensating by 'categorization' will have the side effect of making people care less (not) about your actual items, and will rely upon the color coding. The idea here is that they no longer need to think for themselves what they need. Typically, that means any item lower on the scale will have a very temporary lifetime in your inventory (1-5% of the game time you spend, when you're just looking for something better) until 95+% of the items dropped are irrelevant.

I believe the idea here rather would be to find a way to make every item interesting and restricting the player's ability to carry all of them around (is this not why the idea of stash was born?). Specialization of item is one way to achieve this. In Castlevania series, there is a sword with very low power, but the random ability to stone the enemies, which turns out to be quite efficient in many scenarios. Most hardcore players keep a copy in their inventory along with their uber weapons.
Also, some enemies are weaker to spears or swords, etc.

Choosing what to keep needs not to be a decision based on 'the computer told me to keep this through a clever color coding that allows me to waste less time' but rather on 'what do I REALLY need to keep around? What's my general strategy here? What must I keep around just in case?'
And choosing is a risk-reward strategy that actually generates interesting decisions.
And that my friend, is what you should be focusing on :)
The fact you were there before they invented the wheel doesn't make you any better than the wheel nor does it entitle you to claim property over the wheel. Being there at the right time just isn't enough, you need to take part into it.

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#31 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 07:00 PM

My 2 cents for what they are worth:

1. I never understood the rarity system. I believe it was a procedural way employed to simulate randomness in order to expand grinding in a multiplayer environment. It requires neither skill nor gut, but mostly luck or playtime, both of which aren't actual interesting gameplay decisions.

2. I believe unpredictability doesn't naturally link to randomness. A rarity system feels like it is strongly relying upon randomness. The idea of dropping ingredients/components at set intervals seems a lot more interesting though it may encourage grinding as well.

3. Strangely enough, your rarity system matches exactly that of Magic the Gathering TCG. And they've been quite successful with it (Legendary is called Mythic Rares, but we get the point).
Ironically however, Magic the Gathering cards are not ranked by rarity to reflect their actual power factor, but their complexity. Simple cards (utilities) show up at common, and will appear in several pro-level decks.
Obviously, this could be applied to your game in this way as well, but I doubt it would make sense. The question you need to ask yourself is, do you really need the rarity system for something?

Overall, I feel like you've assumed that because every game had a rarity system, so should yours.
Game Design is the ability perform problem solving, aka, find solutions to problems that spur from the design. I feel like you're developing a solution for a problem that may not exist.

Also, overcompensating by 'categorization' will have the side effect of making people care less (not) about your actual items, and will rely upon the color coding. The idea here is that they no longer need to think for themselves what they need. Typically, that means any item lower on the scale will have a very temporary lifetime in your inventory (1-5% of the game time you spend, when you're just looking for something better) until 95+% of the items dropped are irrelevant.

I believe the idea here rather would be to find a way to make every item interesting and restricting the player's ability to carry all of them around (is this not why the idea of stash was born?). Specialization of item is one way to achieve this. In Castlevania series, there is a sword with very low power, but the random ability to stone the enemies, which turns out to be quite efficient in many scenarios. Most hardcore players keep a copy in their inventory along with their uber weapons.
Also, some enemies are weaker to spears or swords, etc.

Choosing what to keep needs not to be a decision based on 'the computer told me to keep this through a clever color coding that allows me to waste less time' but rather on 'what do I REALLY need to keep around? What's my general strategy here? What must I keep around just in case?'
And choosing is a risk-reward strategy that actually generates interesting decisions.
And that my friend, is what you should be focusing on :)


I want to thank you Orymus for giving some good input on where to go, but I don't think it works for what I am doing. Strategically picking and using a weapon only works when you can use more than 1 weapon with a specific class or job, etc. A game like Dark Souls (or Demon Souls) would be a good example. Players can choose through a large variety of weapons, spells, and miracles with no rarity or color coded system involved. Each one can be used for specific strategic purposes, but a game where you have a set class and can only use a specific set of weapons limits the players strategy to "I need to have the best weapon for my class and level". Your Castlevania example is the same. If I was creating a concept for a game like Skyrim or Dark Souls then I would probably not use the rarity system since I could use any weapons I wanted. Games like Skyrim or Dark Souls also do not have the thousands of weapons, materials, usable items, etc. that are available in something like an MMO.

Borderlands (diablo is too) is a good example where they use color coding for the rarity of the weapons. I wouldn't say it was a perfect system, but it worked. The rare weapons were not always the best, but it helped to sort through them easily to find out which ones to pick up. The rare guns would usually have better effects, damage, and special stats, but not always. The rare weapons would still sell for more than a common weapon did. Even if a common weapon had better damage it didn't have that cool special effect that the rare weapon had.

What if I could also have the rarity of weapons automatically change depending on how many are available at the time. Lets say there is a "Legendary" weapon. For some reason a lot of players have been able to acquire the materials in order to craft this weapon. Now there are many of these "Legendary" weapons in the market. If too many become available it won't be "Legendary" anymore, but would change to "Rare" status instead. With so many in the market it would decrease in value anyways.

I didn't see other similar games and just decide that my game concept had to have a rarity system too. I looked through my entire document with so many items, monsters, equipment and the way the gameplay works. Then I decided it would just be easier to have a rarity system to make everything easier to categorize and sort through. I came here to find a better way to categorize things, but all I am hearing is to get rid of it, change the color coding to show an items value, level, type or something else instead. I believe that most developers keep using the color coded rarity system because it works better than people think. There are other ways of doing it.

I have to to categorize all the items, weapons, monsters, and equipment with one categorization system (having more than 1 would be a pain and confuse people). Rarity is the best way I could think of categorizing them by.

#32 Orymus   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 07:47 AM

I'm looking at games from similar genre (Diablo) and I always felt that the colors were not the best idea...
Technically speaking, they represent weapons with generally more potency, but the exact way this goes often left me discarding 'rarer' items in favor of more common ones because I was after specific characteristics that made my character work better.
For example:
- I had a barbarian in which I invested very little mana, and his ability to use his advanced powers was diminished by that. I had to seek for items with great mana drain abilities (7% or more) to counterbalance using an ability as a regular attack. It worked well, but I may have missed the payoff of rarer items with poison damage or elemental damage. If I had only looked at the color of items, I would've missed the 'ideal' gear for my character.

As far as Castlevania is concerned, weapons within the same class with different purposes are common. The millican's sword is a great alternative to a regular "power" sword.

Alternatively, what you could do is to allow the player to create an AI regarding 'what they need'
or you could actually record informations about their 'favorite gear'.
That way, you could color code your items based on how close to what they might be willing to use.
Say the player is going for an all-in damage character, some two handed heavy output weapons would show up as 'hot color'
The fact you were there before they invented the wheel doesn't make you any better than the wheel nor does it entitle you to claim property over the wheel. Being there at the right time just isn't enough, you need to take part into it.

I have a blog!

#33 justdashplease   Members   -  Reputation: 98

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 06:18 PM

How about types of metals? Or in this case, music certification.

We know Silver<Gold<Platinum<Diamond in music sells.
Have the animator make it look a certain way as well.

Dull Grey for Silver
Brownish Yellow with a sparkle for Gold
Light Gray with glitter for Platinum
Violet Rainbow/ Light Gray for Diamond

#34 Procylon   Members   -  Reputation: 104

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 08:41 AM

If you want a final rarity name I believe Mythic or Relic are good choices for items after Legendary. You could also fit Epic in there somewhere.

On the discussion of whether colors are needed or not, I agree in general that the colors are kind of useless and perhaps overused. Mostly because developers don't balance the drops to reflect the naming conventions for their item rarity system.

It isn't the fault of the color/rarity mechanic though. It is a failure of design.

If blue(rare) items are raining from the sky and you are selling the majority to vendors or breaking them down for mats, are they really worthy of that rare moniker? And how about Epics? You rarely accept anything less than an Epic, and most Epics you find simply aren't an upgrade. More trash for the pile.

If large proportions of items are going to be dropping, the color system is kind of key. Without a quick way to pick the quality of out the quantity, the player will quickly become fatigued.

If few items drop, then you can get more into systems where the players have more interaction with the appraising process. Or, you can design the game in such a way that the few items the player does receive will obviously be an upgrade because that is how it is balanced(Final Fantasy games for instance).


I think there are a couple ways to improve upon the whole process.

1. Make the system more about Power. Hide the rarity mechanic in the background. More powerful items will obviously be more rare, but that won't be strictly informed to the player. What the player might see, is a new item that perhaps glows brighter the more powerful it is. This can be relevant to the player's level or power, so that a very powerful character would need to find a very powerful item for it to glow to him. Now, the item itself doesn't have to glow, but perhaps just the name.

This is of course similar to the color scheme for item sorting. The difference being that a rare level 1 item will glow for a level 1, and will look dull and boring to a level 50. When a character picks up the "Great Sword of Awesomeness", he knows it's value immediately because it is pulsing with magical/electrical/etc power.

Then of course the player has to determine whether the item is actually useful for him. Sure, it is powerful, but does it have Intelligence, or something useless to your Mage like Agility? That is where the player decision making comes in, just as it does in every game with the useless rarity system.


2. Crafting. Monsters honestly shouldn't drop anything other than monster giblets. You won't need a color coding scheme if instead of looking for an awesome drop, you simply seek out rare enemies for the materials needed to make the awesome item the blacksmith promised you. You would of course want some kind of visual cues for quick sorting(color system), but again it wouldn't be about rarity, but about power.


In the end, the color system is just a filler system to make up for the fact that you aren't actually present in this fantasy world. You can't hold the Legendary Sword in your own hands, and your character certainly isn't speaking to you, so the system is just there to provide you with the information or instinct your character would presumably have by living in this fantasy world.

#35 lrh9   Members   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 07:52 PM

I've never been a fan of any rarity system I've seen in a video game.

I don't see the point of having one unless the rarity of the objects in question have some intrinsic value to the player.

The value of rarity can exist in the game or out of the game, but unless that value exists rarity in and of itself is an irrelevant statistic.

An example of rarity having value inside the game is when an item's rarity increases its price.

An example of rarity having value outside the game is when the game is a social experience and having a rare item elevates a player's status in the gaming circle.

But even if rare objects have a higher intrinsic value than other objects, rarity often serves as an alias for another more useful metric.

Given my example of rarity increasing value, high value can indicate high rarity as much as an arbitrary metric.

Also, even if there were a need to present information about the rarity of an object it is important to use superlative indicators (http://en.wikipedia....iki/Superlative) and tiers rather than categories.

Describing an item as being more rare or "three star" rare or "five bar" rare is more useful than "epic" rare or "red" rare because the former readily and directly indicate how the object compares to another. The latter do not.

#36 ImmoralAtheist   Members   -  Reputation: 118

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 05:39 AM

Describing an item as being more rare or "three star" rare or "five bar" rare is more useful than "epic" rare or "red" rare because the former readily and directly indicate how the object compares to another. The latter do not.


I believe some of the advantage with common/rare/epic is that it makes you feel like you have very good items. The actual stats differences are not necessarily that great,
but the colors/name convey the feeling of being much more powerful.
The main disadvantage I see in typical mmo's is that they're practically only applicable at end level.
Before that, a rare/epic item would be replaced with a higher lvl green item after a short time.
An easy fix to do some balacing could be to remove epic items from non max level,
and instead make rare items more powerful (on non max levels), but not increase their rarity.

#37 Eiviyn   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 03:07 AM

I feel people are missing the point of a rarity system.

I'll use World of Warcraft as an example, as it's the best one I can think of.

The point of a game's UI is to get information across to the user in the most efficient way possible. Text is a horrible way to convey information, and in general I feel people are very resistive to reading unless they absolutely must.

Without even reading an item's tooltip, a user can decide whether they should even consider the item. Leveling a low-level rogue and see a green item? Worth reading. Playing your epic geared warrior and see a blue item? Not worth reading.

This initial "Should I even consider the item?" is the purpose of a rarity system. The faster you can convey information, the better, and a rarity system basically acts as a filter in the user's eyes to immediately see whether the information in the item's tooltip is worth reading or not.

#38 ImmoralAtheist   Members   -  Reputation: 118

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 11:15 AM

I feel people are missing the point of a rarity system.

I don't think they're missing it, it's just that they disllike being told what is good or bad.
An quest arrow pointing where you have to go, quickly enables you to get to the target, but in my opnion it's very non immersive and rather than explore the world, you're just
following some UI helper. The same could be said for items. Insead of looking at what the item actually does, you're just looking at it's "rating"..

#39 Sandman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 2090

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 04:15 PM


I feel people are missing the point of a rarity system.

I don't think they're missing it, it's just that they disllike being told what is good or bad.


For me at least, it wasn't even that; my point was that the rarity of an object only has a very weak correlation to how valuable it is to any given player. The result is that it can actually negatively impact the player when it draws his attention to weaker or less useful items, and/or results in better but more common items being overlooked.

Basically, if the job of rarity systems is to make it easier for players to identify useful items, most such systems I have encountered are very bad at their job.

#40 JigokuSenshi   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 01:10 AM

Thanks for all the feedback




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