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Non-descriptive items

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Do you believe that not giving 'stats' for its items could let an RPG's items feel more unique/interesting? This post was inspired by part of the " MMO's and the disillusioned gamer", specifically, the part about the +5 longswords. If items are given mysterious names(something like what you'd expect a hero of a myth to call his sword) that don't really describe it, and no stats, then the community won't have as much of a need for any specific item. Another possible bonus to this could be that a player could become 'attached' to his items. If he scores a couple criticals with that find. In most games, players throw away their old items as fast as they get them. You don't see anyone in RPGs with their 'trusty old sword', just their '+5 Flaming Longsword of Destruction'. Some games have done this to a small scale, and the community has rallied and figured out the stats as good as they possibly can. This could be a good thing, too. This could, however, have some negative effects. Alot of the appeal of Diablo-clones is the searching for 'the best' item that there is. Making a 'perfect' character becuase aot of the fun in those kind of games. But does this really make it a Role Playing Game or just a hunt for items? How do you think that this would change a game? Has any game already done this on a large scale? If so, how has it worked?

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If you want to make the players attached to their items, make the item level up as the player uses it. The level-up will be for the item in the hands of the player, so if the player sells the item to another player, the item will lose its level. You can say that the player is getting used to the item, therefore he is better with using it.

You can also make the items upgradeable - by stucking gems in them and such.

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"Giving no stats", as far as I can interpret it, can mean two things: really not giving stats (i.e. giving items no properties at all — after all, even fuzzy or stochastic stats are still stats) or not displaying the stats.

If you'll really have no stats, all (say) swords are equal. If this is what you want, fine, but I wouldn't consider it more interesting than to have different kind of swords, no matter how imaginatively you named them.

If you don't want to display stats — at all — the only way to determine which (say) sword is the best is by trying them out, one by one, against each type of enemy, and relying on intuition when determining if the sword is good. The worst-case scenario would include having to try out a whole lot of very bad swords, spending hours and hours just to find even an average one. That's just another kind of grind.

And if the community will be able to figure out the stats eventually, it will ultimately mean that people will just look up the stats on the net and get it over with. You might as save them the trouble.

However, if you want to do this, at least give some sort of description of the item so that you'll have an idea whether the item is worth your attention. Giving descriptions like "this sword looks very fragile" or "this sword looks ancient, yet as good as new, and has emeralds on its hilt" won't really give a lot of information about the sword as such, but will help people to guess whether the sword is worth their time. Of course such information could give the wrong impression, but it's better than just only having really utterly non-descriptive names.

Besides, a good game is like a spreadsheet. Indeed, I am quite keen on saying that. (The links are to similar threads you might find interesting, however, I did link them to my replies instead of the original post in order to induce a bit of a bias in there... [rolleyes])

Don't get me wrong, though. I do agree that calling a sword "sword, copper (634/123/253)" is not really immersive, but you could still allow the player to see the stats at his whim. As for making the items better as the player becomes more familiar with them, I think it is a great idea gameplay-wise, as it encourages people to keep their old equipment and choose new equipment based on style rather than stats.

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One idea I always wanted to see in rpgs is weapon familiarity. Most rpgs have a such huge range of damage between weapons of the same type that until the very end of the game weapons/equipment is temporary. There is always something so much better that it makes more sense to throw away the weapon you're currently using in order to use the new one.

I would much rather see a gradual or small climb in weapon power but the real difference lies in gaining familiarity with a particular weapon. For example, your character may be good with swords if he uses one sword in particular for a while he becomes accustomed to the weight/balance and in turn can use it better. With a system like this a character could do more damage with their starter sword then someone who just picked up a much better sword later in the game. This would also make people want to hold onto their weapons more since if they give up their old weapon they have to start getting familiar with a new weapon all over again.

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Quote:
Original post by tstrimp
One idea I always wanted to see in rpgs is weapon familiarity.


I have to say, this is an excellent idea and a keen observation on how to effectively use a weapon.

I'm going to have to mull this one over a bit in some tests!

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I did mean that the items have stats, but the player can't see them.

The suggestion for short, but not specific, descriptions from Grim is, IMHO, a great idea. That isntantly made me think of pencil and paper games where that is, often times, only what you have to judge what an item, not necessarily an equipable item, is. Besides, those can be fun to read!

Yes, this would have a possiblity to introduce a type of 'grind' to not only look for better weapons, but to find out whether they are better weapons. Unless the power of weapons grew alot (like in most games) as you get twords the end of the game, there wouldn't be much of a reason to do this. So, I believe that a system that combines most of these mention ideas, could be good. With some increasing of power either through familiarity or through upgrades and some not complete descriptions, I think that the weapon system could become alot more immersive, and prehaps fun, in an RPG.

Thanks for the good ideas!

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One possibility for the leveling up of weapons and weapons skills would be to have your skills increase in three areas when you use a weapon. These would be your skill with that inividual weapon, your skill with that exact type of weapon, and you skill with the general class of weapon. This would very realistically model how the skill improves in real life, I think. The downside is that it could be a lot of numbers to keep track of. Of course, if you tend to stick with one or two weapons, then there is less need to look at the numbers to figure out what weapon to use.

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Interresting ideas , i'm currently thinking of some system like this, but i don't see how this will solve the problem .

3 options :
- Your current sword will be alway more powerfull than the new on you pick up . So You nearlly never change of weapon ...
- Your current sword is ( at the time you find another one ) already less usefull than the fresh-found one , so you will always try to grab new weapons
- You know ( after some tests ... ) that its better to keep the new sword and get use to it, and taht it will become more powerfull than your old after some time, so you also pick up new sword everytime ...

The 2 last options lead us to 90% of rpg's , the first leads us to something different but not THAT better (imo).
I think this need to be "investigated"

( forgive my english ... )

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Quote:
Original post by Ey-Lord
Interresting ideas , i'm currently thinking of some system like this, but i don't see how this will solve the problem .

3 options :
- Your current sword will be alway more powerfull than the new on you pick up . So You nearlly never change of weapon ...
- Your current sword is ( at the time you find another one ) already less usefull than the fresh-found one , so you will always try to grab new weapons
- You know ( after some tests ... ) that its better to keep the new sword and get use to it, and taht it will become more powerfull than your old after some time, so you also pick up new sword everytime ...

The 2 last options lead us to 90% of rpg's , the first leads us to something different but not THAT better (imo).
I think this need to be "investigated"

( forgive my english ... )


One thing that would alleviate some of the problems with the first option would be to change the effectiveness of weapons based on what "style" of fighting or what skills it is used with. Also the weapon you currently have will not ALWAYS be more powerful then what you pick up but it can be depending on how familiar you are with it.

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I think its great to have a system where your skill with the weapon increases over time. Of course each weapon has to have different values for 0% skill and 100% skill. And obviously the damage you inflict is somewhere in between there, if you are not yet 100 % skilled with it. Better weapons (or perhaps just heavier) should take longer to be as skilled with (depending on your dexterity and such) but weapons should have sort of an age, along with durability. Weapons can be repaired, but over time, they're just not as good. Metal can rust, wood can rot and split, etc. You can repair them, but over time it should not be able to get to 100%

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