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Wickedrob

Who put all these treasure chest here?

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Tons of games have treasure chests in them, okay fine. But who put them there? God? (pssst the developer) 

It kinda kills my immersion when I question why is a chest in the middle of the woods with valuable items in it. Some games approach this situation by having you find a note saying something like "In this chest is my life savings." but that doesn't mean every treasure is someone's hidden savings. I like how in Dark souls most of the items found are on corpses, its sensible and it can make you to wonder how this person died and who they were. Sometimes instead of chests, items can be indicated by a glowing/sparkling light. I like this idea as well because the glowing/sparkling light can represent the significance of the item to the player's character. Spontaneous chests in video games arent hurting anybody, theyre kinda cheesy and I enjoy seeing them. 

 

I just wanted to hear you guy's perspective on this topic in general.

Thanks.

Edited by Wickedrob

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Well, this is the difference between believable story, (realistic) simulation and game mechanism. You will find each of these directions in most games. E.g. your treasure chest example could look like this

 

believable story: your grandpa had buried his treasures to hide (e.g. WWII setting).

(realistic) simulation: raiding war parties bury their loot to recover it later (e.g. fantansy simulation)

game mechanism: the game designer places treasure chest to reward players for exploring the area or accessing an new area after defeating a challenge

 

Everything is valid, thought not everyone like it this or that way .

Edited by Ashaman73

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Is your loss of immersion because of a treasure chest being the actual container or is it the fact that somebody stashed a valuable item?

I mean burying valuables in a container is not totally unbelivable.  In Europe there have been many treasure hoards dug up in fields or found by metal detectorists.  These were found centuries after they were stashed.
In most fantasy games you are in a time period that is much more closer to the time that the valuables were stashed so finding stuff stashed is more likely .  No banks, no safes so bury it in the ground.  Somebody doing this wouldn't really go to the trouble of writing a note.

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Is your loss of immersion because of a treasure chest being the actual container or is it the fact that somebody stashed a valuable item?
 

 The first one. If I went adventuring IRL, I would love to find treasure chest just laying around but that'll never happen. You do make a point by mentioning the time period with the lack of banks and safes though. 

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I completely understand the 'treasure chest' issue. In the 90s, it wasn't a big deal. But now... well it still isn't really a big deal. But there should be a way to indicate findable items than putting a treasure chest everywhere. Inns, forests, homes, sheds, shops, dungeons, caverns, and bases to name a few. Do all the enemies and allies go to the same chest maker?

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I completely understand the 'treasure chest' issue. In the 90s, it wasn't a big deal. But now... well it still isn't really a big deal. But there should be a way to indicate findable items than putting a treasure chest everywhere. Inns, forests, homes, sheds, shops, dungeons, caverns, and bases to name a few. Do all the enemies and allies go to the same chest maker?

Lol @ the chest maker thing

 

Imagine Zelda's OOC dramatic chest opening with Link just picking the rupees up off the ground and an underwhelming 'Item Get' sound effect. Chests are here to stay. Heck FF13 even had futuristic orb-like chests... yep thats a thing

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Burying treasure kind of makes sense, but the chests are usually just out in the open. Also, they're often far from any town or village: who lugged this heavy wooden chest 150 miles to the base of a volcano just to protect their health potion? Were they really planning on making this trek again if somebody happened to catch a flu?

 

It works, though, as a game mechanic. It rewards exploration, it transfers items to the players, it has at least a fig leaf of an explanation. For most games, that's plenty, it's never particularly bugged me.

 

A light hearted game can lampshade the practice. Certain settings (abandoned castles, say) make abandoned treasure reasonable. If you're going for realism, you can provide treasure on a quest in logical ways: actually hidden chests near civilizations, dead adventurers, hording monsters, ruined cities with logically placed items. Or you can have monsters drop valuable body parts and let the player just return to town to buy his reward. It's a handy trope, but it can also be avoided without too much difficulty if you're striving for realism.

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I think chests in games became a standard UI for valuable items. The same way you see the red cross in top right of a window and you know that if you click it then you will close the window, when you see the chest you know it will contain something useful. And this is actually a good thing regardless if it makes sense in any particular setting :)

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Something that makes me more confused than wild treasure chests is when you kill enemies and that somehow gives you gold. Instantaneously. Without it being relevant to any quest (you just stumbled upon them). How the heck does that make any sense? Yet this is what nearly every RPG relies on.

 

EDIT: just to make it clear, I'm referring to the fact this happens even when you kill a random wild monster. It'd make more sense with humans (since people are bound to be carrying money), but random animals? Yeah um... no.

Edited by Sik_the_hedgehog

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Elder Scrolls: Morrowind didn't have quite so immersion-breaking chests in the way you are thinking, but they still had ways of giving the player items in dungeons in ways that were consistent with that world.

 

Basically, dungeons fell into several categories, but the broader ones were:

 

Ancient ruins

  • Dwemer (dwarf) ruins - mostly filled with junk that wasn't worth stealing (gears and such), but some ancient books that have side-quest significance, old armor which mostly sucked but could be sold for medium-ish prices, and gemstones, ancient pottery. The reason why they weren't entirely looted is because either their traps were still active and keeping out intruders, or because the ruins were occupied by some bandit group or vampire clan or necromancers-in-hiding.
  • Daedric shrines - often occupied by cultists, who like placing gemstones on the altars. Sometimes the older Daedric shrines may have really valuable daedric armor. One of them is sunk under the ocean, and you need to use breathing potions or spells to reach.

More modern ruins

  • Tombs (occupied by ghosts, skeletons, corpses), people buried their dead with gold and equipment and so on.
  • Ruined castles (occupied by undead, bandits, vampires, or rebel soldiers), unless you find some secret room that the occupants missed, the only loot there would be the occupants' property.

Non-ruined structures

  • Castles / Fortresses / Cities / etc...  Don't let the guards catch ya stealing. But if you do get caught, you better be able to fight your way out. And know how to stay out of reach of the law from thence onward.
  • Houses / Manors / Stores - Again, don't get caught stealing. But you can, if you're a good thief, or don't mind killing the occupant in such a way that he's unable to call for help.

Caves

  • Mines - often occupied with regular NPCs who don't bother you unless you get caught stealing from them or attack them. You can steal from the miners (not that they had much of value), and you can also mine resources to sell from the mines. There were two types of mines in Morrowind; one gave ore (called "ebony"), the other gave a crystal material (called "glass") used by merchants to craft light-weight but durable armor and weapons. You can sell the materials.
  • Nests - occupied by a specific type of creature, similar to termites I guess, that'd lay eggs that were eaten (?) by the people in the region. You can steal the eggs and sell those.
  • Caverns - Occupied by monsters or (surprisingly often) by bandits or smugglers. You can loot the bandits' / smugglers' property after murdering them.

 

Basically, when looting stuff, the items would often be on tables, on bookshelves, on altars, and etc... not in containers, and when they were in containers, the containers looked more like foot-lockers (i.e. flat-topped chests that weren't anything fancy), or just crates and barrels, or cabinets/drawers.

And most anything good was being equipped by the NPCs, and used against you, until you killed them and took it, or pick-pocketed them. The bodies of your enemies were the chests.

 

Further, Morrowind had so much 'junk' items populating the world (bread, candlesticks, clothing, meat, apples, books, plates, forks, handkerchiefs, etc...) that it gave the world a lived-in feeling, so you weren't surprised at all that there were good stuff mixed in with the junk. And while two of the bandits just charged at you with rusty swords, it still made sense that there was a few minor magic scrolls nearby, because one of the bandits launched a fireball before moving in to engage, as if he was a minor magic-user still learning to use his abilities. And ofcourse if health potions and stamina potions exist in the world, bandits would certainly carry a few with them incase things went bad. As for those bottles of brandy in the city guard tower, those are purely for medicinal purposes, right captain?

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