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Frequency

Hm...Should I keep my ATT +3 or buy the ATT +4?

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Greetings: My first aspiration as a game programmer/designer/so is to make a TRPG ala FFT, Fire Emblem, etc. I love the strategy and the tactics, weighing choices on and off the battlefield. One of those choices is how to equip fighting units. Not so long ago as I was playing Shining Force II I realized that in a great many RPGs, most RPGs, the equipment system is not exactly completely pointless, but mostly completely mindless. I'll use Shining Force II as an example: it's a tactical RPG where killing your opponents adds to your money total (Why?) and you use that money to buy the latest weaponry. However, due to the number of enemies you face compared to the size of your own force and the cost of weapons, there is no real thought in purchasing a weapon. When you get to a new town, you check if the weapons vendor there has any new weapons; you can be sure any newly stocked weapons are more powerful than the ones you currently have, so you sell off your current weapon, buy the new stuff and you have, say, 2 more attack points. What is the point of this system? Gold is practically forced upon you since you must defeat your opponents, and even if it wasn't, you would just be forced to grind (if in a regular RPG) in random battles instead to get enough money to buy the latest gear to be competitive. That seems unnecessarily unpleasant and not what an RPG should be about. From a strategic angle it's a mindless exchange for a stat boost, and it makes little sense in most medieval fantasy worlds, too: When you think of the knight who goes off questing, do you see him hitting up every town merchant, pawning off his current blade if he finds one a little sharper, or do you see him hanging on to his trusty family heirloom? ~ Now that I'm done blithering about why this system is bad, some ideas for what it could be replaced with: 1) Make money a resource that's actually limited instead of something the player will just have to grind more to get. More pieces of equipment might also help make purchasing more tactical: this could force decisions about which fighters should be prioritized, which piece of equipment is most in need of upgrade, which will be most important to that character in combat, etc. FFT did a good job of having varied equipment, but the fact that money was unlimited if you fought random battles and that usually money wasn't such a big deal anyway meant you could usually carry any piece of equipment that had a potential to be useful in a future battle. 2) Add some sort of load/carrying system, so players can buy as much equipment as they want (money can always be had) but can only travel with a portion of it. Similar to #1, but gives greater access to equipment as it's needed. 3) Don't make equipment an issue - characters' stats and abilities are completely determined by the character themselves. This seems rather extreme, though; managing equipment has the potential to add depth. 4) All players have X number of basic equipment components - breastplate, boots, weapon etc. that can be tempered or otherwise upgraded through the game in ways that are primarily not just "Plus 1 attack!". Perhaps at certain intervals in the game, or through a skill system players can add a limited number of attributes to their equipment to make it more powerful. One could get very creative with enchantments/boosts for gear on this. More suggestions for making equipment more interesting and/or critique of my own are welcomed.

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Naturally the first thing would be whats done in most games with each class/person only being able to use particular types of weapons.

If you made it so that you don't need to keep buying equipment all the time then I don't see a problem with lowering the amount of money you get from battles, but I would also want it still be possible to become rich. I don't want to have to go round fighting thousands of guys to afford a wooden sword.

On the equipment itself why not make it that the equipment provides you with ablilities and no stats, but only while they are equiped. So the characters gain some ablilities through leveling, but they gain extra abilities with certain equipments but you have to choose which one will help you in a particular situation/play style. (maybe combine this with only being able to have so much stuff so its not possible to just have everything). eg. like how theif's glove (i think thats the one) in FF6 changes locke's steal into mug (capture?)

You could also make it so that some equipment can only be obtained by trading other pecies of equipment and so you can't just go and buy them back. This way you have a choice between which equipment is going to benefit you the most. eg. A rich nobleman has the grand cloak of ice that protects the wearer from all ice damage, but he doesn't go anywhere cold but he gets burnt alot so he wants the grand cloak of fire and will trade you for it. which do you choose, protection from ice or fire? Also you could then let people have a choice in which way to go so they can coose the way that most suits their equipment.

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Making money rarer-

Make it so that there is no automatic reward for winning a random battle, but players can get money by:

capturing bandits and turning them in to the authorities.

Killing monsters and then using a "hunting" skill to get items from the body like furs, meat, or in the case of magical creatures, certain organs or their blood or something.

Mugging people (like the standard "Steal"), killing them and then mugging them, or capturing them and demanding a ransom of some kind (some bandits might try to offer you a reward to not turn them in, some soldiers or merchants might offer to give you equipment to spare them).


The equipment issue-

In addition to the stats like defence or attack, equipment has an effect on how other units treat the user.

For example, if you are attacking a group of Roman guards and you can deck one of your own units in Roman armor, the Romans won't see him as an enemy unless he does something suspicious (like attack them).

This could work in multiple ways like bandits will be attracted to units who wear expensive clothing and don't appear to have weapons, or dragons will attack the ones with the sword and ignore impoverished peasants, etc. In this way, players might take into account equipments effect on the enemy as well as the combat stats.

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Maybe also make the money more realistic. The most blatently obvious mistake, besides monsters carrying gold, is bandits carrying gold. They are trying to rob people. Having large amounts of money with them makes absolutely no sense. People aren't bandits for the thrill of it. Basically, and low hireling should have very little if any at all money. In fact, who would carry money around for battle at all anyway?

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Original post by Dragoncar
If you made it so that you don't need to keep buying equipment all the time then I don't see a problem with lowering the amount of money you get from battles, but I would also want it still be possible to become rich. I don't want to have to go round fighting thousands of guys to afford a wooden sword.

Well, really, that's the deal - I don't want money to be an infinite quantity, neither by handing it to the player nor by forcing them to fight hordes of weak creatures. I'd like it to be guaranteed that the player can buy a wooden sword, but not able to buy the Omega Delta Phi sword because they fought forest rats for two days straight.

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Quote:
Original post by Shadow Nose
In addition to the stats like defence or attack, equipment has an effect on how other units treat the user.

For example, if you are attacking a group of Roman guards and you can deck one of your own units in Roman armor, the Romans won't see him as an enemy unless he does something suspicious (like attack them).

This could work in multiple ways like bandits will be attracted to units who wear expensive clothing and don't appear to have weapons, or dragons will attack the ones with the sword and ignore impoverished peasants, etc. In this way, players might take into account equipments effect on the enemy as well as the combat stats.

The idea of stealth sounds interesting, but I think it would probably only be a story-driven event rather than a strategy thought out beforehand - usually in a game you spend most of your time at war with one faction (here, say, Romans) so it would be sort of silly to be able to buy Roman soldier's uniforms and play through the whole game as a unit of the Roman army.
I'll keep in mind the idea of spies, though. That could be fun.

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Quote:
Original post by anteaterkingMaybe also make the money more realistic. The most blatently obvious mistake, besides monsters carrying gold, is bandits carrying gold. They are trying to rob people. Having large amounts of money with them makes absolutely no sense. People aren't bandits for the thrill of it. Basically, and low hireling should have very little if any at all money. In fact, who would carry money around for battle at all anyway?

A very good point. This is sort of leaving me with the idea of "How could one implement a reasonable system where the player received a fixed amount of money?" I'm asking this mostly as a story angle - as you have said, the game can't just tell you You received 3000 dubloons for defeating the swampblobs! at completion of a story battle; it makes posolutely no sense. The only rational thing I can come up with is a salary from whoever is employing you (say, the king, or your resistance faction) or perhaps merchants who admire you offering X amount of gold in equipment to help you out. Ideas?

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Perhaps in some random battles, you have to save someone from a group of units. Then when you clear the map, if the person was a blacksmith, you might get a weapon (Although it might end up being one you already have) and if it was a merchant, they would give you some good that sells high, or give you money.

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What if you assume that with any new piece of equipment, the player needs to get used to it before being able to use it at it's full potential? Armor, or other clothing, or even bows perhaps, might need to be broken in for a time before it flexes properly. With swords or other hand weapons, the player might need time to adjust to that weapons unique balance & heft.

Sooooo, let's say you start with a family heirloom, a rusty sword, but one you've grown up practicing with. Maybe it has an attack bonus of +0, but you are 100% accustomed to it. When you get a chance to but that shiny new sword with a bonus of +1, you need some time to get used to it. So when you first switch, you are actually less effective with the new weapon. But after a few battles you get the feel for it, and start to notice it's benefits.

At a concrete level, you could assume that how familar you are with the weapon affects your chance to hit, and the quality of the weapon affects the weapon speed & damage. Increased experience could decrease the time needed to get familiar with a new piece of equipment.

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Original post by Frequency
Quote:
Original post by anteaterkingMaybe also make the money more realistic. The most blatently obvious mistake, besides monsters carrying gold, is bandits carrying gold. They are trying to rob people. Having large amounts of money with them makes absolutely no sense. People aren't bandits for the thrill of it. Basically, and low hireling should have very little if any at all money. In fact, who would carry money around for battle at all anyway?

A very good point. This is sort of leaving me with the idea of "How could one implement a reasonable system where the player received a fixed amount of money?" I'm asking this mostly as a story angle - as you have said, the game can't just tell you You received 3000 dubloons for defeating the swampblobs! at completion of a story battle; it makes posolutely no sense. The only rational thing I can come up with is a salary from whoever is employing you (say, the king, or your resistance faction) or perhaps merchants who admire you offering X amount of gold in equipment to help you out. Ideas?


I would go with Shadow Nose's idea of capturing bandits to earn gold. It will make more sense through this kind of reward system if the reward amount is proportional to how tough it is to defeat the bandits.

It would also be better to stick with one weapon for the long run and raising your stats by gaining experience from usage, instead of trading it in for a more powerful one. And the characters' aptitude toward certain weapons could be a good factor to. Suppose that knight of yours with a good grasp of using swords switches to a bow. He won't be so good at attacking with that, until he builds experience for every use.

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