Breakable weapons... Yay or Nay?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by PixelLuchi, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. PixelLuchi

    PixelLuchi Quiet Pixel Artist Veteran

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    So, I've been thinking of adding breakable weapons to my new project ( and if anyone can enlighten me on how to make one, I'd greatly appreciate it as well. :3 I know it has something to do with variables and stuff, but from what I've seen, you can only tag items with variables. I know PK8 has the self-data suite set of scripts for stuff like this, but there's no workable demo to see how it can actually be implemented. ;_; )

    It's one of those "I hate that, don't bring it in!", or "Yay, strategic battling! I'm all for it" kind of thing. On one hand, it forces the player to conserve the more powerful weapons for boss fights and such which normally has less uses. ( Eg, in the GBA Fire Emblem games, regular weapons had about 40 or so uses before breaking, while the 'S-ranked'/best weapons only had about 20 or so. Of course, using them hurt your Funds rank, but eh, that's something else ). Since the player will probably know when the weapon will break, they can just change it in between battles. Of course, this leads to a lot of near-broken weapons clogging up your inventory... I suppose the player could sell it for scrap or upgrade it.

    So, thoughts? Yay or Nay?
     
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  2. Lorenze

    Lorenze Veteran Veteran

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    I personally wouldn't go for it. It just seems kind of unnecessary, and knowing my playstyle, I probably would buy a ton of weapons and end up clogging my inventory.

    The only game I've played where it worked is Minecraft...but that's because I kept crafting extra weapons and tools beforehand. :p
     
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  3. Cozzer

    Cozzer Veteran Veteran

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    If it was the basic "fire emblem" system I'd say you'd be better without it, but it could be improved...

    For example, I'd at least include "basic" limitless weapons for everyone so nobody becomes useless because he hasn't brought enough tons of steel with him.

    Also, personally I don't like this system because it causes "stockpile syndrome" where I use stronger weapons/items only when it's absolutely necessary, and I still feel like I wasted them and I would have needed them more later on. Maybe it would be better if there was a way to "repair" every weapon (for a price, of course). Basically, it would be like having a sort of "MP" system for attacks and not only for spells.

    Also, you could abstract the system to make it more "user friendly"... for example, instead of 3 Steel Swords with 20 uses each, a character could have just a Steel Sword with 60 uses, and he could visit the blacksmith to repair it gaining more uses instead of buying more and more swords.

    Just throwing some ideas out there. 
     
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  4. Zechnophobe

    Zechnophobe Veteran Veteran

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    One of the big things to consider in game design, are 'player patterns'. If you make the mechanics in such a way, how will the players actually react to it?

    Consider 'consumables' in most games, like potions that give bonus to damage or defense or speed or what have you. Lots of players will hold on to them for the ENTIRE GAME waiting for that one fight where they are necessary. It's very possible that your 'best weapons' will fall in the same pattern, where they won't ever use them. Not only that, but it's possible they will make the game much too hard for themselves in an attempt to conserve their weapon resources!

    Take a mental step back, and think about why you wanted them to do this. You want them to conserve big things for boss fights. Is there a better way to do that? Is weapon durability the best way, or just one you are most familiar with. Here's a quick list of things off the top of my head:

    1) Abilities you can only use every X combats (saved for big fights)

    2) Implement degradeable weapons, but also have a repair system, costs more per point of durability to repair them when they are closer to breaking.

    3) Maybe special boss items that only work on bosses?

    One other thing to consider, if you expect the party to only use the good weapons on bosses, is there any tension there? Will they ever feel the need or desire to use them on non bosses, but have to decide not to? Or are they just the 'kill the boss' items, and that's that? If there's no good decisions to be made for the player, it's functionally innert. Everyone will use them just with bosses, and never anything else, so why bother?
     
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  5. Choco-Elliot Wyvern

    Choco-Elliot Wyvern Numbah 1 Konata Izumi fan Veteran

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    I wouldn't mind it as long as you present a means to repair it. Look at Dark Cloud, it had breakable weapons but there was a bar indicating it's progress on breaking and whenever it is near destruction point you could fix it, but it all boils down to the battle system you're using, Dark Cloud was an ARPG so it sorta made sense. You could make the items that repair the weapons expensive though or rare or something if you're using another battle system.

    But yeah I wouldn't really mind even if there wasn't really a way to repair it lol
     
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  6. Fafnir

    Fafnir And yet, these hands will never finish anything. Veteran

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    Another option to avoid players just stockpiling without using them (God knows I did that in FE) is to avoid permanent loss.

    Zero durability turns weapons into useless (or very depowered) "broken X" weapons until they are repaired - perhaps at a higher cost than partial repairs.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2013
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  7. amerk

    amerk Veteran Member

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    I've never been a big fan of it. I think the old SaGA games did this (FFL series maybe), and I think Final Fantasy 2 (NES) did it. If you do, you need to allow an option to change equipment in battle; nothing worse than losing your weapon during a boss fight and no way to defeat the boss. Also, make weapons cheap and easily available as well, since it would get costly to replace them.

    Personally, I think it's more hassle than it's worth.
     
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  8. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Yahtzee points out this behavior in one of his games and I found it rang quite true.  I started calling it the "Giant Metal Crab Syndrome", though it may actually have a legitimate industry term.  It is basically where a player hoards all the best and most important stuff in the game because they aren't sure how much of it is even necessary or even if it's important to use.  It runs along the lines of "I'd love to use my Infinity +12 Sword, but it only has six uses, and I might need it later".  Never knowing, of course, that they probably won't ever need it later and it'll go unused for the entirety of the game.  At which point, the player having gotten to the ending goes "why is this even in the game if I don't need to use it?".  Fire Emblem has this same issue.  You can smash through a massive chunk of the game without ever going past the Iron Weaponry or other basic stuff.  In fact, the only reason I ever really held onto the Steel or higher equipment was because I might run up against a boss or something and need to do a ton of damage in a hurry.  In the "Sacred Stones" game, I had a single Steel Battle Axe last the ENTIRE GAME because I only broke it out for bosses or particularly nasty enemies that wouldn't die with a swipe or two of the Iron variant.

    Weapons that break is a terrible idea unless you're adding in 'can fix items' as well.  As a player, I hate cluttering my inventory with stuff that I won't need much later.  I also don't like when my Infinity +12 Swords can break on me just through use on normal mooks.  It makes the point of higher tiered equipment moot and turns into a "cost per kill" formula for players.  What is the most cost effective weapon I can get for damage dealt?  Now, if you make these items degrade over time as well as give the player the ability to fix these things, it becomes more fun.  If I want to continue to use my Infinity +12 Sword, I need to invest money or materials into the process, and hey, I can stockpile both of those things for use later!I can repair as necessary as well as enjoy using my Uber Powerful Sword that causes the heavens to part and drop planets the size of Jupiter onto my enemy's heads. 
     
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  9. PixelLuchi

    PixelLuchi Quiet Pixel Artist Veteran

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    Some interesting ideas being thrown around here ( I suck at battle mechanics, to be honest. It never has been my strong point, but some ideas suggested here got me thinking, at least ). Personally, I am not a fan of stockpile/hoarding syndrome, and storing near useless weapons doesn't float my boat either.

    I also used to arm my units to the teeth in the FE games  but I have a love/hate relationship with that series ( recently, more hate, with the fiasco that is FE13/Awakening. Yeah, it's the 13th FE game to come out -_- ). So it's probably a bad idea to take mechanics from there, especially since my game won't be a TBS, just a good 'ol JRPG.

    Even if there was a way to repair weapons and such, like amerk said, it is more trouble than it's worth. XD Still, I wanted to see what the general view on it was. Thanks for the replies. =)
     
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  10. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

    Engr. Adiktuzmiko Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy' Veteran

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    For me, it totally depends on how well you implement it, and what other things are included in the game...

    Like,

    1) How will the player know if the weapon is nearing it's breaking point (the visuals)?

    2) Is it repairable?

    3) Are the broken weapons totally removed from the inventory or just becomes useless?

    4) If they are totally removed, what's the abundance of weapons in the game? If there's only a few weapons and breakage is quite normal, then there might be a point where the player becomes unable to use any weapon at all

    and so on...

    So unless you have a clear thought on it, don't do it... 
     
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  11. Espon

    Espon Lazy Creator Veteran

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    Maybe if you can repair them, but in most cases I don't like it.  It drove me nuts in Dark Cloud where I would forget to repair something then all the sudden I lost really good weapon, forcing me to reload.
     
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  12. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

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    Instead of having a countdown to failure, there could be an ever-increasing chance of failure.  The difference between 50 Integrity and 50% Wear adds a bit of uncertainty and may encourage the player to gamble a bit, I think.  And even at 99% Wear, there's still a chance the weapon will still be useable after attacking, I'd say the player won.

    The downside is that this creates another luck-based outcome, unless you have a well-designed resource management and economy feature that requires re-honing your sword every now and then.

    Then, there could be options to raise how well the weapon is repaired/honed/constructed.

    But that takes a lot of work creating and debugging.

    Bethesda got rid of equip integrity entirely when they developed TES V: Skyrim.

    If that doesn't give you an answer, I don't know what does.
     
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  13. Indrah

    Indrah Megane Berserker Veteran

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    Most definitely no.

    Unless you're making a roguelike or a similar game type where closely managing your resources (ALL your resources) is a big part of the game, I personally despise having to worry about "running out" of basic abilities.

    As a developer, in paper, it may sound like a great idea, but as a player I can only say it's a royal pain in the ass. Worse, it triggers the hoarder mentality fiercely, meaning that more hoarding-oriented players (and there are a LOT of us out there, ask how many people never use their Elixirs) will just be overly protective of the good stuff and effectively never use it.

    Equipment is something that greatly influences your effectiveness in battle, you should not have mechanics to make the players feel like they have to pace themselves artificially: players prefer feeling STRONGER rather than restricted. Challenge is one thing, externally forced (and often arbitrary) restrictions another.

    Personally I am already reticent of using normal items in games. Call me stupid, but I'm in the perpetual "I'll run out" and "I may need it later!" mode, meaning I never use stuff. If you add equipment to the list of things that are finite...well, it just becomes a paranoia festival and I often get just tired out and annoyed at the whole system. Even if you minimized the function and onyl had to worry once every long while...where's the point, then? If it's too big a deal, it's just annoying. If it's just a small bit, it's shallow and useless.

    Also, if you had a repair mechanic or similar, it forces the player to backtrack and repair or similar. This may be a thing (and annoying) in roguelikes or MMOS, but for an rpg where it's not really meant to meaninglessy stretch out the time you play, it's just busywork that often feels like a cheap tack on. And by the way, encouraging constant re-equiping and micromanagement...does not really make a game "better" by itself. It may annoy a lot of people. I have nothign agaisnt managing my party, and I try to optimize my stuff when getting new items or before bosses, but force it on me too often and I'll get annoyed. Inventory management is the same; and don't get me started on finite item bags, oh ye gods. That sort of thign requires a very specific look and gamplay style to work well)

    To me, the only real reason to use the system is if it was REALLY, REALLLLLLLYY well integarated in the game's style and gameplay (and I honeslty don't think typical RPGs suit it at all, as it jsut feels like busywork), but even then it's one of those thigns that players will mostly either despise, or don't care (I can't really remember anyone saying they LIKED the system, but I could be wrong).

    So yeah. I say NAY. And I'm done ranting excuse me...

    Edit: Frick that, wait. Some ideas: if you don't like having stores sell crappy weapons, just don't do that.

    You can replace buying new weapons by many things: crafting, upgrading, fusing two weapons into a better one... Many games have pulled that off very nicely and it's infinitely less annoying on the player.

    If you want limited "powerful" functions, I'd say long cooldown items/skills are the way to go. For example, skills (or even items) that have a numeber of charges that go back with time, or when staying at an inn/resting/after every combat, etc. Heck, even typical "limit breaks" are a better idea, to me.

    If you somehow really like the idea of "breaking" or losing your stuff, make SURE the payoff is great. I remember, for example, in Romancing Saga 3, some weapons had a "Final Strike" ability ingrained on them: you could break the weapon (and spend all your mp, but I'd say that's overkill) and perform an ultimate, brutal strike to an enemy. The weapons themselves were quite nice, so you may choose to just keep them, or use them if your nature (aka not being a tight-fisted hoarder like me) allows you to strategize and decide you REALLY want to break the big bad's face really quickly. 

    And now I'm REALLY scuttling off ;-;
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2013
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  14. Harmill

    Harmill Veteran Veteran

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    I don't like breakable weapons or "durability" systems in games either. However, I'm playing through Dragon's Crown right now, and I think that they have implemented it in a good way. The durability system in the game has a purpose, and equipment don't actually "break", they just lose a lot of their strength when their Durability reaches 0. But the reason their Durability system works, IMO, is the game's structure. The Player is in a HUB world, and from there they can venture to one of 9 dungeons. After each dungeon, they can return to the HUB to save, accept/turn in quests, repair equipment, etc. But there's also a feature called "chaining" where you play through back to back dungeons. Each consecutive dungeon you play grants you an increasingly large bonus for the next dungeon, should you venture on instead of retiring back to the HUB world. So you can eventually be getting 3x EXP or 3x gold bonuses, which is extremely useful. The durability system serves to limit how many dungeon "chains" they can do before they are almost forced to return to the HUB to repair their broken equipment. The way the Player extends their "chaining", is they can have multiple "bags", which hold different equipment sets. So it becomes important to fill as many bags as you can so that when the equipment in Bag1 is all broken, you can continue "chaining" by equipping Bag2. This extends your "chain" runs. To me, this is a durability system with a clear purpose that is well executed.

    You need to figure out why you would want/need a durability system in your game because most games I play that use it just annoy me (and probably others, too). You said you want players to only use their most powerful weapons on bosses? To me, that doesn't sound right. What defines the most powerful weapon? Equipment is more interesting when you can give them unique properties that make each equipment stand out from one another. If your weapons all had different properties, then there shouldn't be a clear "best" weapon. Players would be equipping the weapon best suited for a particular boss/enemy.
     
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  15. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    The problem with having "best weapons" without making them unique is that the players will just hit the "Optimize" button and never think twice about how their party is equipped.  A good battle system and equipment system will force the players to avoid hitting the "optimize" button because it might equip all the wrong stuff and cause all sorts of problems.

    I remember in Final Fantasy 5, I had to quit hitting the "Optimize" button at a certain point because of a piece of armor I'd picked up.  I picked up this Bone Plate or whatever it was...  It was like 200 higher than anything I had run across for a long time.  The problem?  Equipping it turned the character into a Zombie.  At that point in the game, I didn't have anything to nullify Zombie status as an equippable.  So, hitting "Optimize" and not thinking about it would equip that piece of armor on someone and then I'd get into the next battle and they'd be killing my party instead of the enemies.  It was very clever on the game programmer's side of things.  From that point on, I paid more attention to what I was equipping in the game.
     
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  16. Berylstone

    Berylstone Veteran Veteran

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    I  don't understand what worthwhile benefit adding breakable weapons brings to a game.  Maybe an added sense of realism, but that's the only thing I can think of.
     
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  17. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

    Engr. Adiktuzmiko Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy' Veteran

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    ^ When applied correctly, it can bring more thinking in the part of the player as he chooses his equipments and what he brings in his inventory... if it's more of the normal JRPG style and storyline though, I don't think adding it is a nice idea...

    About Optimize command, I only use it at the super early parts of the game... coz after that, equips tend to be more "specialized"... Like for example, this "best" weapon is the one with the highest damage output, but the enemies are immune to the element of that weapon so if I hit optimize, I wouldn't damage the enemies...
     
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  18. SOC

    SOC "God is my Judge" Veteran

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    I hate it, and I hated it in Fire Emblem. It puts a feeling of pressure on me as a player that I don't like.
     
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  19. Berylstone

    Berylstone Veteran Veteran

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    I guess by this you mean it gives the player a reason to bring back up weapons in case one breaks? 
     
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  20. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

    Engr. Adiktuzmiko Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy' Veteran

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    I'd say, back-up weapons in case you get near breakage, because you won't want the weapon to break...

    Also, I hate it when weapons are breakable but there is no repair option... 
     
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