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Drew_Benton

How about items that grow?

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I did a little seaching, but I didn't see any posts that refer to this, so if there have been already... This is purely theoretical, no goal yet on implementing this idea or anything like that. I was thinking how a lot of RPG games are all about character growth. The goal of the game is to get from Level 1 to Level X and as you go along you learn new skills and spells to aid you. As you begin to level, all that matters is the gear you have, the more godly gear you have, the easier the game is. In MMORPGs, gear is what makes or breaks your gaming expereince. As you level the game quickly turns into a "gotta find the next level gear for my character" searching fest. The thing that makes me feel "cheated" is that you can spend a lot of in game money to get an awesome weapon, for example, but that weapon will quickly become outdated as you quickly grow to the next level. Now, what if game mechanics were changed to reward players for keeping their gear, because it "grows" as they do. As it gets more exp when the player kills, it will start to improve, it'd do more dmg, block more, take more magic damage, etc... Of course there would be limits to how the item can grow, since low level gear should not be able to grow to something as strong as the next degree of equipment. The general idea is that equipment is now similar to characters, and in certain cases, it too can learn "skills". The whole interaction of item trading/buying will remain the same. I could go on a bit more, but I think that's it for now. Comments?

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Secret of Mana does something like this, although the weapons themselves don't actually "grow" since you upgrade them with orbs, and you still have to buy armor.

I know some games do "auto-upgrades." For example, Sudeki (if any of you have played it) makes only one weapon per character available through shops. All the rest (seven or eight per character) are acquired through either quests or chests that are kind of hard to miss and not too hard to acquire. Armor upgrades automatically as you progress. Enhancements to your equipment happen through socketed runes, and the runes give pretty reasonable upgrades that supplement your combat.

I'm definitely for making equipment an unobtrusive part of gameplay

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Quote:
Original post by Drew_Benton
I did a little seaching, but I didn't see any posts that refer to this, so if there have been already...


Sounds a lot like those "weapon familiarity" ideas, where you get better with using this particular weapon due to familiarity with it over time. Think Willie Nelson and his guitar. [smile]

It's also been done. I loved Secret of Evermore and, quite often, I would find myself using the last gen weapon or alchemy because I'd raised it a couple levels and was therefore more effective with it than the latest and greatest.

And you could always think of money as "equipment xp". [wink]

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I don't know how that suggestion would be in terms of game balancing and such, but I have an elaboration of your idea.

Here's my take on the idea of item growth. Instead of just having weapons and items that increase in stats as you use them, which doesn't really make too much sense to me, have living creatures instead of items. Something like Pokemon, but going even further with the idea of growth and evolution.

Why not have actual growth from a genetic code like real organisms do? (for possible methods look up "l-systems" or "cellular automata") And not only that, but real learning like the creature in Black & White? So when you get a baby creature, it is pretty weak and can't do much, but it will grow over time, and you can train it do things, from attacking enemies to helping you cast spells or run the shop while you're away. Trading and buying would also be interesting. You could make a living in the MMO world by training and selling creatures as mounts or pets. You could even do creature-breeding and genetic engineering as well. Now that would be interesting.

I think the best part about this is the potential for allowing player creativity. You are not just buying and selling identical items, you are putting your own mark on the growing creature's mind, or even inventing new breeds through genetic tinkering. It could also allow for more nuanced emotional interaction, if creatures were used as avatars (imagine a game where you are a dragon-rider like in the Pern series and you have one mount at time who is basically a part of you). Your creature could act as your face in the game, displaying subtle emotional cues that are hard to convey normally. Since you train your creature to have a similar personality to you, hopefully there would be enough similarity that its emotional reactions would be close to your own.

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The problem I see with this not working in MMORPG's is the nature of them. MMORPGs are about timesinks.

Grinding = one type of timesink, but no one wants to grind forever. They want a reward out of their grind. Fine you say, they are grinding to level up their eqpuipment. But can any monster give the items experience, or only certain raid enemies?

Now, I realize you stated there should be limits, such as different levels of gear, but what defines those levels? And if it is dungeons, doesn't that just lead back to the case of awesome items becoming extinct after a few levels?

Maybe comprimise and do something similar to Final Fantasy 10, where the weapons themselves don't really have properties outside of artistic, rather you upgrade them via orbs? (The higher level items have more free spaces you can add upgrades).

Personally, I've always hated the leveling method, although I can sort of understand it in terms of items, but not players. You can sharpen a sword, and it becomes a much better sword. But when lifting weights, it's not like, I can bench 180, wow, just gained a level, and I can now bench 220.

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Oblivion has it's own variation on this as well. As you level up your character, your weapons level up with you. Infact, the entire world levels up with you (NPCs, enemies, items).

- Andrew

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Another variant on this is Disgaea (a tactical RPG for the PS2). In that game, each item has its base stats, a level, and room for "specialists", which are spirits that augment certain of the base stats. For example, a Physician specialist increases the boost to Max HP that the item gives, and an Armsmaster specialist improves your ability to master weapons. You can level up items by trekking through an optional dungeon; leveled up items give higher boosts to their base stats and have more room for specialists. Additionally, specialists may be encountered as monsters in the dungeon; defeating them allows you to move them about your equipment (thereby allowing you to concentrate tons of a particular specialist onto one item to give it a massive boost to attack, for example). Ultimately, however, you were generally best off starting with a high-grade item (e.g. Excalibur instead of a Shortsword) before you start leveling it up, because the base stats have a huge impact on the item's growth rate. And of course, repeatedly running through the optional dungeon to level up your gear was just another form of grinding, that you had to do in addition to the normal level grinding and grinding for magic spell/special attack levels and so on if you really wanted that über party.

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I think this might have been discussed briefly about a year ago. One of the things we considered was having the weapon develop abilities according to how it was used; for instance, a sword which is used to kill goblins a lot gradually "learns" how to more efectively kill goblins, effectively becoming a "goblinbane" weapon. This provedes the opportunity to "train up" weapons and turn around and sell them. This would make the creation of legendary weapons possible. After you are high enough level that your GiantBane club is of no use to you, turn around and sell it for a LOT of money, because everyone has heard of it.

By the same token, a sword which is used when the player loses a lot of fights might eventually become "cursed", and be ineffective against the particular race which beat up on the swords' owner.

Well, you get the idea: Kind of a Lamarckian evolution system.

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As arudson said, this is used in TES Oblivion too, although I believe arudson said it wrong. You're sword doesn't level at all. The attack level of a sword is just a calculation of it's own strength, your general level and your sword-ability level. So, if one should level up, you're sword would get more attack. On the other hand, that would mean you would only need one sword throughout the whole game.

That's where the balance peeks in. Each sword also has it's own attack rate. If you would have a sword with e.g. an AR of 4, and you would sum up your own abilities with it, the outcome of whole the formulas would be...let's say...8.
Now, would we then equip a sword of 5, you're AR changes from 8 to 9!
Now, would we then level up, you're attack changes from 8 to 10!

Another thing added in TES Oblivion is the poisoning or magicking (forgot the real term) of a weapon. You can easily add abilities to it, in the form of:

Damage health 40 points on strike
Corose armour 20 points in 20 feet (traveling magic, like with a staff).

This doesn't actually differ that much from Tesseracts idea.

Just my 2 cents

~ Stenny

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I posted something along these lines a while back.

http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=219973

Quote:

Item Souls

Lastly is item souls, these apply only to a select few kinds of items primarily weapons, and other equipment. What happens is that an item is used by an owner its soul increases. If the item is used enough it will gain a soul level and gain additional properties that can only be obtained in this manner. The first level is always named, which allows the items owner to give their item a name, thus making it a unique item with the game world. If it is lost or stolen it will now be possible to recover the item. Continued use will eventually apply additional abilities to the item. These abilities are determined by the actions of the owner once they meet specific requirements they will obtain one of a set of benefits related to the action. An example of a requirement is to kill 1000 people, so if the owner managed to kill a 1000 people with this weapon the weapon would gain a rather potent ability. I should note that that is one of the harder requirements to complete and the others ability requirements are a lot more reasonable.

Also an items soul is hidden from the user so they will never know the actual values.


I still think it is a good idea. Evolving items give the player a trade off to choose from. Do you take a new item that has better stats or stick with your current item and let it continue to improve? If the weakest weapon in the game has the potential to become more powerful then a none evolved form of the strongest one then it lets the player choose how they want to play.

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