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Orymus

Renewed Chests?

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Orymus    156
Hey all, I'll be quick this time :P So I'm working on this RPG, and I'm trifling with the idea of having every chest in the dungeons randomly fill with new stuff everytime you enter. The idea is to keep people drawn to entering dungeons and find new stuff. The downside and risk is player turning out to 'farm/loot' the dungeon, which would be grinding in a very bad sort of way. So I was wondering what are the Pros/Cons you see to this mechanics, and whether you'd personally choose to do it or not, and why. Thanks :)

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Hodgman    51324
Sounds ok as long as you renew all the monsters in the dungeons as well of course ;)
You should try to balance it so that a certain percentage of the treasure found will be used to cover the cost of the adventure into the dungeon (E.g. weapon/armour repairs, healing, replacing scrolls, etc...) and a certain percentage is 'profit'

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Orymus    156
Quote:
Original post by WavyVirus
You might want to also consider having less valuable items found in chests closer to the entrance.


Ya I was considering such a system, or making it so that levels dont have chests too slow to entries.
I also thought about using two types of chests, ones who regen, others who dont.

@Hodgman, pretty brilliant idea there, simple but balance-effective. Consumables sound like a solution there.

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Stani R    1070
Sounds like a good plan for not making the game linear. If you also level up both the loot and the monsters with the player then you'll give people reason to come back. Of course, some chests will contain quest items or unique equipment which you will not want to respawn, and there might be sufficiently high-level monsters guarding those unique chests :).

I wouldn't worry about grinding too much. If people are investing time to grind in your RPG, you are obviously doing something right :D

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Daaark    3553
You've pretty much described Diablo 2. All the dungeons refill and randomly generate their layout every time you start a server. People tend to do 'runs' to keep getting loot and leveling, and end up getting through the game's story by accident. :D
Sometimes there are runs just to get the required items to open up passages to do other dungeon runs.

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Orymus    156
well the cool fact is its a jRPG actually, and, well the level won't change. Just the chests getting new stuff.

I'm not too sure about leveling up the monsters though, unless there is clearly a quest element, later, that brings the player there...

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Dekasa    127
One idea I'd like to mention is that you could selectively respawn chests. If your game has consumables, especially if they're such that players practically *must* use consumables (ie you'll never make it through a dungeon without a bunch of potions), you could make those not respawn, and only make shiny swords/weapons/armor/equipment chests respawn (so there's actually less loot on subsequent runs) and the player will have to pay the cost of maintenance(potions).

Also, if there are some super-rare or unique things that are manually placed, I'd make those not respawn.

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Dragonsoulj    3212
Like Dekasa said, try limiting the chests after each run. Perhaps the first run the treasure value is at 100%, the second at 90%, and so on. This way they can grind their way through it, gaining loot, but it lessens what they can receive, eventually capping the grinding for that area.

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It might confuse players if a dungeon has good loot, but each subsequent run has less loot. I think most players would either assume a dungeon's loot doesn't respawn, or it does respawn, but wouldn't expect it to get less after each raid. They'd then probably complain to themselves that they are 'unlucky' and getting sucky loot - They wouldn't know why they are getting sucky loot, and so would assume it's just chance, and keep trying, but each time they try, the loot is getting worse.

I think dungeon loot should be tied to player level, or dungeon level. Not based off of time.

I think the chests shouldn't be instantly refilled, but should be refilled bit by bit as time goes on. Instead of all the chests refilling when you re-enter a dungeon, only 10% of the chests get refilled every, say, 10 minutes your away from the dungeon (to discourage immiediant raiding of the same dungeon, preventing repetitive gameplay, but allowing the player to return later at liesure, or raid a different dungeon in the meantime).

Or, have the value of the items in the dungeon decrease, like Dragonsoulj said, but have it decrease not by having worse loot, but by having less loot (unless I misunderstood what he was saying, in which case, I agree completely [smile]). So the first time you loot a dungeon, have 100% of the chests present. The next time, 90% of the chests present (different items, ofcourse), then 80%, and so on... Stopping at like 25% (and possibly going back up slowly, after each hour of gameplay elsewhere in the world).

I think players will understand 'farming out' a dungeon (Since each time they go through the dungeon, they visually/physically find less), but unless the knowledge that dungeon loot decreases in value is presented to the player, they'll probably just think they are victims of chance, and get irritated.

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Wavinator    2017
Farming in this way might be a means of difficulty management. Players who can't beat the next level (as I've often seen happen with Nightmare level and beyond in Diablo II) will replay the same few levels again and again just to have something to do.

I think it will only become farming if they can, in fact, buy stuff that's better than what they could find. At any given character level repeat trips through the same dungeon will automatically lower the value of goods in the player's eyes (in that what was once great is now considered "trash"). If it's dangerous to get and not worth all that much because they've been through several times I think they'll grow bored and move on.

If you are really determined to stop them from looting the chests then maybe chests could become more dangerous themselves. Chests could have higher levels of traps, or even be monsters mimicking chests. If you explain the process and it's a part of your world I don't think folks will complain all that much.

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wodinoneeye    1689
Randomizing their locations (a large set to have only a subset show up at any 'session') helps to get people to explore looking for them (assuming the area is of any size).

Having a mix of results adds the element of surprise -- empty chests, garbage filled chests, goodies, very good goodies, traps that do horrendous damage or activate alarms/nasties -- all make them more interesting.

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Orymus    156
I'm never gonna use a chest generator (aka, randomize x,y and content). I think it sucks. We have level design to balance things in such a way that gameplay is interesting, why give up on that and risk the balancing to be sucky and turn people away?

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AngleWyrm    554
Random drops with the 'random' stripped out, so each drop advances a counter. Stuff with 1/10 chance to drop do so on the tenth drop. 25% chance-to-drop appears on the fourth drop(and 8th and so on), 1% on the hundredth and like that. So the player is advancing from more common to more rare with each drop.

Let's assume that a healthy human being lives to 80 years old (except you of course). Playing the game 12hrs/day for 80 years (you've got the teether add-on), at maybe 1 drop/second... That's only 2.525 billion -- 2.5 GigaDrops later -- you'll get the Ultimate Prize. On average. Your mileage may vary.

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Stani R    1070
Quote:
Original post by Orymus
I'm never gonna use a chest generator (aka, randomize x,y and content). I think it sucks. We have level design to balance things in such a way that gameplay is interesting, why give up on that and risk the balancing to be sucky and turn people away?


Maybe to add variety? I've seen some RPGs where the chests always contain the same things every time. That's so boring. On the third play-through I can already go for the chests I know contain the good stuff. Or even look up the chests contents on GameFAQs. Good loot tables can save the day and are not truly random, really - you still need to balance them. The idea about only showing a subset of chests sounds pretty good, too.

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Wavinator    2017
Quote:
Original post by Orymus
I'm never gonna use a chest generator (aka, randomize x,y and content). I think it sucks. We have level design to balance things in such a way that gameplay is interesting, why give up on that and risk the balancing to be sucky and turn people away?


Level design is used with randomization just as much as it's used with set level design. After all, your parameters for the random ranges have to come from somewhere. If you value replayability it's a very useful tool, but if the point of the game is to be a consumable product played only once then it's probably not very useful.

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Orymus    156
I'm not particularly aiming at replayability there. I wouldn't categorize it as a consumable either. Chrono Trigger and FFVI didn't really offer surprises on the second and third runs, but they were fun to play regardless. I think there was something satisfying in knowing how things would turn out to be. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who thinks that.

Also, everything put to chance is taken from strategy. I want the game to be 'expectable' I hate the concept of critical attack for this purpose. I've played rpgs where your character always deals damage based on his attack. You get to rely on that, and plan your strategy accordingly. Otherwise, you end up planning an entire strategy, to the last final hit, and then, you 'miss' randomly which breaks the feeling of control you have over this universe. I do understand what randomization tries to establish, but I think it was introduced to compensate where the teams did not have time to compensate. The critical and miss were made to make the battle system more fun when without interesting choices. Random drops feel like a bad piece of design to me.

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AngleWyrm    554
Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Quote:
Original post by Orymus
I'm never gonna use a chest generator (aka, randomize x,y and content). I think it sucks. We have level design to balance things in such a way that gameplay is interesting, why give up on that and risk the balancing to be sucky and turn people away?


Level design is used with randomization just as much as it's used with set level design. After all, your parameters for the random ranges have to come from somewhere. If you value replayability it's a very useful tool, but if the point of the game is to be a consumable product played only once then it's probably not very useful.

Mob drops are generally customized to a monster type, so they don't drop completely random loot. This is both good and tricky: Good because it's better than a killer mosquito with a twenty pound sword. Tricky because 'common/uncommon/rare' becomes intertangled with the rarity and locale of the monsters dropping the loot. The loot's drop rate has more to do with the creature's spawn rate, which is partially controlled by the way players hunt. Which includes things like the usability of the primary game forum, demographic profile of gamers who play it, and personality preferences of the dev team.

In a way, it could be a self-balancing system; good mob drops cause the mob to respawn more rapidly because players hunt that creature. If the value of the treasure were based in part on how many of that treasure currently exist, then supply and demand could kick in.

If we imagine players to be a form of hunting animal, then part of their nutritional intake is slaying mobs for loot. What does it take to sustain a player's interest in loot? How much mobs/player is needed to graze on? A measure of effective loot: It only counts as effective if the player actually swaps it into inventory; otherwise it's just gold pieces waiting to be converted.

[Edited by - AngleWyrm on March 20, 2010 9:05:36 PM]

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Wavinator    2017
Quote:
Original post by Orymus
I do understand what randomization tries to establish, but I think it was introduced to compensate where the teams did not have time to compensate. The critical and miss were made to make the battle system more fun when without interesting choices. Random drops feel like a bad piece of design to me.



I think it's a big mistake to look at this in terms of superior / inferior. Personally I can't stand playing a game where the outcome is known-- where's the surprise, or the sense of self sufficiency in compensating for the unknown? In tightly guided experiences I often feel as if I must conform to the whims of the developer and am punished for thinking outside the box.

That said, however, clearly there are different types of players, and just as I know I don't want to design a book or movie when I'm experiencing it I also know that there are players who want a more relaxing, guided experience when playing a game. So I try not to make the mistake of generalizing my preference to all players.

Randomization is a tool just as a wide variety of set choices would be a tool. Both serve, in the context of what we're talking about, to widen the overall range of decisions (random drops forcing compensation and evaluation of trade-offs) and each has it's own set of flaws. As I mentioned lack of replayability would be a severe flaw but fortunately not one you'd have to worry about for the players you're expecting to cater to.

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Orymus    156
I remember an interview with Dustin Bowder (sp?) where he explained why SC2 did not have 'randomized' damages. Predictability doesn't make the game any easier, but it allows strategic planning. A various amount of things the player simply didn't foresee will eventually break these plans, but the player won't feel cheat if 'he forgot' If the randomized cheats his plan, frustration will occur. "ah cmon, why did I have to miss and he made a critical, this monster was nothing but dead otherwise'.
This is the 'bad' kind of frustration I want to avoid. Random drops feel like that to me. Having non-randomized drops and chest contents can be balanced in a way where the player won't mind. There are other solutions than randomness to make things unpredictable by the player. SC uses time of reaction vs calculation time as a way, which causes mental stressing and makes the addicted players feel 'in the zone'... But it is just one of many solutions.

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Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Quote:
Original post by Orymus
I do understand what randomization tries to establish, but I think it was introduced to compensate where the teams did not have time to compensate. The critical and miss were made to make the battle system more fun when without interesting choices. Random drops feel like a bad piece of design to me.


I think it's a big mistake to look at this in terms of superior / inferior. Personally I can't stand playing a game where the outcome is known-- where's the surprise, or the sense of self sufficiency in compensating for the unknown? In tightly guided experiences I often feel as if I must conform to the whims of the developer and am punished for thinking outside the box.
How does randomized loot in chests make you think outside the box? It seems likely to me that loot randomization would in fact often dumb down the strategy with chests to "get as many as you can and hope for the best", whereas someone who knows where a particular powerful item is could make some kind of rush or tricky approach to it and then capitalize on the power-up.

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Orymus    156
Quote:
Original post by Stroppy Katamari
Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Quote:
Original post by Orymus
I do understand what randomization tries to establish, but I think it was introduced to compensate where the teams did not have time to compensate. The critical and miss were made to make the battle system more fun when without interesting choices. Random drops feel like a bad piece of design to me.


I think it's a big mistake to look at this in terms of superior / inferior. Personally I can't stand playing a game where the outcome is known-- where's the surprise, or the sense of self sufficiency in compensating for the unknown? In tightly guided experiences I often feel as if I must conform to the whims of the developer and am punished for thinking outside the box.
How does randomized loot in chests make you think outside the box? It seems likely to me that loot randomization would in fact often dumb down the strategy with chests to "get as many as you can and hope for the best", whereas someone who knows where a particular powerful item is could make some kind of rush or tricky approach to it and then capitalize on the power-up.


Exactly.

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Wavinator    2017
Quote:
Original post by Orymus
If the randomized cheats his plan, frustration will occur. "ah cmon, why did I have to miss and he made a critical, this monster was nothing but dead otherwise'.


I'm not sure I understand this. Why do you assume that this is automatically frustrating when it's been featured in so many popular games? (Fallout comes to mind).

Maybe it's a difference in player base. If an attack fumbles or somehow fails, there are vast numbers of players who will take this minor setback as a challenge (provided it isn't happening most of the time, in which case they'll probably seek a new challenge).


Quote:
Original post by Stroppy KatamariHow does randomized loot in chests make you think outside the box?


Let's assume equipment is an expression of player capability. In a combat-oriented game it's often at its most basic the ability to absorb or deal damage among whatever tactical dimensions the game allows (ice, fire, emp, etc.); for games that have encumbrance as a factor it can also be a mitigating factor in your overall strategic from challenge to challenge; and in general it often constrains the available strategies open to the player (if I have a shield, maybe I can block; if I have a bow I might be able to attack without enemy reply, etc.)

If this is reasonably true then randomization, even random drops, can add a strategic depth to a game because it forces the player to think about and prepare for the range of possibilities down the road. Because the player doesn't know that the designer has carefully apportioned resources at set intervals, the player has to, in a way, provide their own "insurance plan" for future challenges. They do this, for example, by weighing whether or not it's better to haul around armor they can't yet use or risk ditching it in the hopes that something better will come along.

Rather than being frustrated by the unknown or the fact that the game has not precisely set each challenge to their (expected) abilities I think players who like this design relish facing the unknown.

Quote:

It seems likely to me that loot randomization would in fact often dumb down the strategy with chests to "get as many as you can and hope for the best", whereas someone who knows where a particular powerful item is could make some kind of rush or tricky approach to it and then capitalize on the power-up.


There's no real difference, both have the same potential to dumb down strategy. In your scenario a player could easily grind mindlessly through one challenge wasting all his resources because he knows that they'll be restocked at the next dispenser.

If there's nothing left to chance then there's little reason to strategize. Either you will win or you will lose. If you don't use randomization (which is fine) you'll need a great deal of strategic depth and have to rely on human failure to vary engagements. This would be more like a chess match, and if there's no human failure as an element (in timing or selection of strategies, say) then it would probably be comparable to watching a computer play against itself, which doesn't sound very interesting.

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