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suliman

How much equipment is too much for a group-RPG?

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Posted (edited)

Hi!
Im doing a tactical dungeon crawler similar to darkest dungeons and battle brothers but also with influences from diablo, torchlight and the likes.

The player controls 3 heroes (early game) and up to 6 heroes in late game and visits dungeons, towns and travels on a map.

Right now the item management is composed of equipment (main hand, offhand and two ring-slots) potions, trade items and group resources (gold coins, food and medicine).

Equipment has bonuses such as +3 to strength or energy and weapons have damage ratings and shields has block chances. Pretty basic. I have no armour rating right now (heroes are considered being clad in armour belonging to their class, you dont handle armour).

Im now thinking to include armour (body and head slot). But maybe that will be too much items to juggle for a group management game? How to plan or evaluate this? Battle brothers had all those items, but it borders fiddly to deal with all that, move around when you get new recruits etc (although that game had 12 characters to manage!).

Example of a single hero:

image.png.3e8817a41cf5a38fe495d093c39e80a0.png

What are your thoughts? It also feels slightly strange to manage and collect weapons but not armour. Should I then skip weapons as items as well? (that would be simplifying things to much i think)

Edited by suliman

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I think it's impossible to be sure without playtesting it, honestly. If you add more slots and it gets too cumbersome, then either it would have to be simplified again or some other element might need to be adjusted.

That's probably not a great answer, but it's the only one I can think of, since I'm not sure there's an objective benchmark lol

 

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That is indeed a sensible answer, but yeah I was more asking about preferances and examples that could support either way of seeing it.

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This greatly depends on how easy it is to equip an item.

In Avernum the player had 4 team members that could be equipped easily from the interface. Draggin a weapon from one team member to the next was easy. Equipping was also just drag and drop.

When compared to Dungeon Siege 2. That required selecting the party member, going into a inventory menu, dragging and dropping from in there; it was really a pain. I always had someone on the team with weak equipment, just because i didn't want to pause gameplay.

I would say 4 * (2 weapons, 3 armor, 2 accessories) is the standard. So 28 slots divided by team members?

 

In Final Fantasy games, I was often more willing to spend a long time in menus equipping characters. However this was because you only had to do it once at every town. In the FF tactic games you had to equip after almost every battle but that was OK, because each character had only a few items.

It looks like a lot of factors could be involved. Menu time, amount of times it has to be done in a play session, how smooth the interface is and just how many equip slots there is.

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But also how items are aquired I guess. You now have to loot/buy even more items and suitable items as well for the classes you play with. With many slots i becomes more of a puzzle game to always have the right items to fill all slots for all heroes. Im ambivalent on this...

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The biggest problem with Diablo/Torchlight games is too much vendor trash.  If I find equipment that is not an improvement over what I am currently using, it doesn't feel like a reward, it feels like punishment.  I want to spend my time fighting monsters, not picking through thousands of shitty items in order to find the one that has slightly better stats than what I am currently using.

Having a lot of equipment slots alleviates this problem by reducing the drop rate for any particular slot while keeping the overall drop rate constant.  This is very much a good things.  The more, the better.  (Within reason, of course.  A hundred slots may be OK, but a thousand is probably too much.)

A better solution is to only drop loot that is potentially of interest to the player.  If your RNG rolls an item that isn't an obvious substantial upgrade to what the player is currently using, then don't drop it.  Drop money or a consumable item if you still want to give the player some sort of reward.  This better solution still benefits from lots of equipment slots, however.

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Posted (edited)

@a light breeze

I wouldnt want to play a game with "even" a 100 equipment slots. Thats insane dude.

Also I dont see how adding more slots (e.i. introduce more item types) would decrease the amount of time a player has to spend going through all drops to determine if they are worth to keep or not. There is MORE details to keep track of then.

I agree that some games (im looking at you diablo 3) drops silly amounts of trash and that's just annoying. I will avoid this. Your final paragraph makes sense to me.

Edited by suliman

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Posted (edited)

Since you are doing your own game "in the style of" with the gear looking only to be tailored to combat, think about exactly what damage and effects on combat that they will do. 

What is the primary function of this equipment for each gear slot you might use?

What are the stats or modifiers that will show up at a high frequency (75%+) for each gear slot?

Will there only be bonuses or will there be penalties too (will a 2h weapon get a damage bonus but slow your attacks)?

Will you divide up physical damage to Pierce (spears), Slash (swords), and Crush (mace/club)?

Will there be elemental magic/bonus damage (fire/water/etc)?

Will you make specific tiers of gear (iron sword/steel sword/etc)?

Will you have items with specific bonuses, random unique gear with bonuses not normally found on that gear, random artifact gear, fixed/static artifact gear, or even gear that is necessary to drive the plot (defeat the critter while using the sponge of purity)?

Will there be any type of crafting, adding runes or gems to gear for extra bonuses?

 

By doing the above you will be able to feel out if you have too few or too many gear slots.  You will see what the function of each is,  what the expected stats and modifiers are, and if that gear would be worth being in your game.

 

Then you need to check the start to end values for the gear, keeping in mind the players party need their gear to be slightly ahead of the curve.  Losing a few battles or having tough battles isn't a problem, but too weak of a party for a type of encounter too many times will frustrate players.  Of course carving up all the critters in an instant would be pretty boring too.

In the beginning the party needs to be able to defeat early encounters easily to build up for later, but you need to consider what gear and stats/modifiers will be needed when you encounter TUTATEOTD (The ugly thing at the end of the dungeon) aka the final boss.  As an example, if helmets reduce the chance of an incoming critical hit or reduce the amount of damage from a critical hit, it might not be too important at the start, but might be really necessary to survive late game or final battle.

 

If the players like the game and balance and the equipment handling is easy and effective the total number of slots doesn't really matter, only that each slot serves a function to better that character's power along the way so the player believes they have a chance at winning the the next battle.

 

If you can get all 6 characters gear sets on the same screen, and have the inventory and gear sort selections below, using drag and drop for all the items you were thinking of (helmet and armor included) would be quite easy.  Just make sure you can drag and drop from one character to another. 

Sorting problems are normally created by too much junk and limited sorting options.  You might want to think of a gear rating for all gear types.  If you do this and allow the selection of one character, the sort could show the items that have a better gear rating than currently equipped gear for the highlighted character to reduce the pile sorting time.  If you are sorting by "strength" it could show the items that have more "strength" as highlighted (and maybe sort them to the top).

 

Edited by TheRelic

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17 hours ago, suliman said:

@a light breeze

Also I dont see how adding more slots (e.i. introduce more item types) would decrease the amount of time a player has to spend going through all drops to determine if they are worth to keep or not. There is MORE details to keep track of then.

The longer I keep using an item, the more useful it feels to me.  If I find an item for slot A and five minutes later find a better item for slot A, then there wasn't much point in picking up the first item.  If I pick up an item for slot A and five minutes later find an item for slot B, then I can keep using the first item and it doesn't feel so pointless.

Having too many slots also dilutes the value of items, but to a lesser degree, in my entirely subjective experience.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the input! Good stuff.

Im going for a middle of the road when it comes to complexity. My planned damage types are:

  • Physical
  • Arcane ("magic")
  • Fire (both natural and magical)

And (not stricly damage types but) still possible for mobs to be immune/weak to:

  • Poison
  • Bleed
  • Phychology

Im not sure if I will classify loot in tiers (common, rare etc). Maybe just give them some modifiers and let the player decide their value. Although I still need some way of calculating "sell value" for each item, with it's modifiers taken into account. Any good way to do this? I did find this: http://diablo3values.pixels.li/

Edited by suliman

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