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Ketchaval

Hoarding Money / Items

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How often in a game do you hoard money because you don''t know what to spend it on? Becuase there is too much choice - shall I get the red cloak of Agahnim? or the green beret of Segal? And because you think that you will need the money for something really expensive later on? Or keep powerful magic potions of shapeshifting / lightning / indigestion-relief because you are scared that a difficult situation will come along which you will need these potions to survive in. So you are denied the entertainment value of shapeshifting, or belching lightning at lowly sewer rat enemies.

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often, but not as often as i used too.... too many times have i beaten the final boss just to realize that i still have a fortune left over and potions to supply a whole army of addicts....

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I have always been a pack rat when it comes to RPG and other games that use potions or money. Even in FF7 I never use the stat enhancers...

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Make the player believe in themself instead of trusting in their potions. I would remove health potions almost altogether. Only VERY RARE is a health potion that will save you, because that will make the player treasure health.

I would prefer to see players not worry about what it might be used specifically for. Maybe have an expiry on an item so that after a certain amount of time the item ''goes off/bad'' so to speak. The player would need to be thoroughly informed of this, and there would need to be reminders that the expiry is approaching.

As to what I think about the hoarding of potions? It is all bad IMO

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - The future of RPGs
Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche

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I could go both ways with dwarfsoft on this one. While I do agree that health potions are far too common in modern games (Diablo, Final Fantasy), this is a design flaw in the combat system, not the economy. I thought HeroQuest (yes, the board game) did quite well in its distribution of restorative items. They were rare and extemely useful. Players were actually excited to find a Potion of Healing, probably because it wasn''t a Wandering Monster.

Regarding Ketchaval and his Monty Haul problem, players will only end up with too much stuff if you give them too much stuff. In most games, 99 percent of my best equipment is found rather than bought. The only reason I have money is because there''s nothing on which to spend it. (Except maybe potions. ) Games generally lack the "faucet drain" aspect of a functional economy, those mandatory expenditures that keep people from becoming inordinately wealthy in a short time.

Money should have a chance to build up, particularly when you''ve been playing for a while, but I do believe constant expenditures are necessary to police the flow of cash. It doesn''t make much sense in a game like Asheron''s Call that 90 percent of your income is generated by selling crappy equipment you looted from dead monsters. Why the hell are shopkeepers buying an endless supply of rusty short swords? Must be a mercantile thing.

I collect a lot of items in Diablo II specifically for the reason Ketchaval stated: they might prove useful someday. There''s nothing you can do to avoid this, and I don''t see why you''d want to. What''s the problem with players carrying around a bunch of junk? It''s not your problem when they run out of room and can''t carry the next shiny magical broadsword they happen across.

Some games don''t really have this problem because there''s a high threshold between power levels of items. You find one best item and stick with it. In Chrono Trigger, each character only used one type of weapon, and every weapon you found was better than the last, so there was never any question of which one you used. I always sold off my old crap to clean my inventory, but this wasn''t necessary since you could carry an infinite amount of stuff. In an encumberance-based system, you''d obviously want to dump your obsolete equipment.

Variety is what causes players to horde things, but we certainly don''t want to strip our games of variety. I say don''t worry about it. Of course, the potion scenario is another matter entirely.

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I think that one major problem is that people don''t know what the items are worth, (or how frequently they will occur in the "world"). They are going to be unwilling to use a powerful weapon on a bunch of low level creatures because they think that they will need to keep it for higher challenge posing creatures, and they aren''t sure if they will get a replacement wand of +7 instant death if they use it know.

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"Hello. My name is Nikkana, the Chosen One, and I''m a packrat. I have a Strength of 10, carry around 275 pounds of equipment, and have collectively stored over 500 rounds of 10mm jacketed hollow-point, 250 rounds of .223, several energy weapons, rocket launchers, and 50 stimpacks in chests throughout the wasteland. *sniff* And now because I hoard so much, none of the merchants will sell to me..."

Yes, tragic but true.

I hoard to manage difficultly level. In my view, most games don''t bother to provide a way for players to deal with difficult situations. Mostly it''s either repeat & die gameplay, or save & restore hell.

I know, for instance in playing Fallout 2, that there''s some *really* bad muthas out there. By being conservative, I know that later I''ll have the option to overwhelm my foe with extravagent force. For instance, the game has already suddenly and completely unexpectedly dropped me into an area with infinitely respawning, extremely tough monsters. I was able to *barely* get through it by wasting TONS of ammo, and option I wouldn''t have had if I hadn''t had conserved.

The only way around this is to give players sufficient means of intelligence gathering. When I play an RTS, for example, often I have the means of scouting and assessing my enemy''s strengths and weaknesses, rather than (as most RPGs do in the name of story & surprise) being dropped into situation after situation who''s difficulty level is unknown.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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So why not improve the encounter system?

1) At the beginning of the battle, give the player a chance to use whatever temporary powerups he has. This is the bit where the hero and the villain engage in witty dialog.

It gives the player a chance to assess his opponent and make a strategic choice about what expendables to use.


2) Also at this point, give the player a chance to run away. there should be some minor penalty for this, and perhaps an option for the opponent to pursue. There may be places where, for dramatic necessity, the player canot run away.


3) An alternative to death would be nice here too. You are beaten and must retreat.


Some games have these, but they''re almost never easy. Click open inventory. Click item. Click use. click target character. Repeat.

Likewise, the recon is done by avoiding activation of the AI/triggers, not a solid design.

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