Dealing with random treasure and loot/rewarding players for exploration.

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by DemonLamma, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. DemonLamma

    DemonLamma Villager Member

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    I've been keeping a notepad of game mechanics I want to change around that don't make sense to me in most rpgs. And I've hit one where I can't just decide what I want to do with it. I don't want my character walking right into peoples homes and taking stuff. That's not changing, No home invasion for my character. What I'm bothered about is finding random items everywhere.

    EVERYWHERE.

    It's wierd that you can walk down a dark alley and find a chest with a +6 super awesome sauce dagger of insta-kill with no good reason at all for it being there OR for your character rummaging around in dark alleys.

    I'd like to do away with random loot lying around in every nook and cranny of a map. BUT on the other hand, I cannot imagine playing with those items not there. When I play an rpg I explore, I check EVERYTHING and I am rewarded with random non-sensical loot for exploring so much. I love it as a player, I dislike it as a designer.

    I'm planning on making the majority of loot be items you take off of dead enemies or are rewarded to you after completing a guild mission. But that leaves the lack of reward for exploration.

    ===

    How would you deal with this if you were planning on adding a more realistic system of item discovery and exploration rewards?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2012
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  2. Jaide

    Jaide "This guy are sick." Veteran

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    I would probably have items you could find if you explored, because as a player I definitely love this and as a developer I can't really fathom doing away with it completely. But if finding amazing weapons and such is too unrealistic, have the player find miscellaneous trash they can sell for a decent chunk of money that makes it worth their time to have found the item. Or maybe components that can be taken to a blacksmith which unlocks the ability to buy or make a better weapon or armor, or items used to make healing items. Maybe the occasional accessory, like an old hair pin that doesn't look like much, but gives a small resistance to Ice damage, or something. I feel like you can be creative and leave rewards for exploration in without making it work exactly like every other RPG. Hope that helps. :)
     
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  3. Levi

    Levi Veteran Veteran

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    I'll assume that you're talking about exploration at the 'micro' level.

    There are a few ways you can go about it. Here are the first four that come to mind:

    Crafting items:

    -Have things like raw ore, scrap metal, sharpening stones.

    Pros: Easy to implement if you already have crafting mechanics

    Cons: If you do not already have crafting mechanics, this'll be a bit of work.

    Alchemy Items:

    -Fungi, molds, slimes, moss, herbs etc.

    Pros: Easy to implement if you already have alchemy mechanics

    Cons: If you do not already have alchemy mechanics, this'll be a bit of work.

    Lost Treasure:

    -Have treasure maps, or clues hidden about, to encourage the player to explore.

    Pros: Easy to implement. The loot can be set [avoids issues inherent to randomization]

    Cons: None that I can think of.
     
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  4. amerk

    amerk Veteran Member

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    Crafting, as the above posters have said. And it doesn't have to be terribly complicated either, nor should it be. Basically, rework battles into exploration. Normal, easy-to-see battles off the main road will give quick drops that can be sold for cash. Monsters hidden in the brush which you wouldn't see unless you explored can drop rare items for heavy cash or rare minerals that can be collected to make unique weapons.

    Human/humanoid monsters (bandits, elves, dwarves, etc), basically intelligent monsters, they could have potential to drop special items and weapons.

    Incorporate small side quests into the main story. The king commissions you to go to the North Tower and find out what's happened to the crystal there. Along the way, you spot an opening in a forest grove that leads to a small camp of bandits, and a family of victims ready to be sold into slavery. You decide to fight the bandits, save the family, and then loot the camp for unique treasures. Nowhere in the story is this required, nor does it impact the story later on, unless you want it to, but hey, it was on your way, and you found some extra loot as a result.

    Edit: Personally, I try not let realism rob me the joy of a standard rpg. While it certainly seems retarded that treasure is laying out in the open, or that I can loot a person's home, those are just game play features meant to help the player vs showcasing a realistic theme.

    Besides, I'm more curious as to why the king chooses to send only 3 people over an entire army into a tower and defeat whatever godforesaken evil has taken root there, knowing very well that if these 3 fail it could piss off said creature into destroying the whole kingdom, whereas an entire army would have had a standing chance.... more so than why is this treasure box sitting in the middle of the road.

    If you want realism, start with the story and why characters act the way they do, and create realistic consequences as a result. Just because you are the hero, is that not more of a reason for the king to give you access to his whole army?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2012
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    FlamingWolf - Zezaph likes this.
  5. DemonLamma

    DemonLamma Villager Member

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    I like the idea of finding special monster fights through exploration that drop items. And I am planning on adding a crafting system to my game so that's not too much work to add the ingredients afterwards on the map.

    I also had an idea last night after I saw an achievement script that gave you items as rewards. I could have the player find (non-lootable)landmarks and other stuff in cities for achievements and be rewarded with better items each 3-5 they find.

    To be clearer, I'm not doing away with finding lost items out in the middle of forests or caves. It's reasonable for things to be lost, for someone to die with a nice item on them, or to find a hidden entrance that leads to a bandits treasure stash in a cave. I just wanted to do away with the character scrounging around crates and boxes in a city like a destitute thief.
     
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  6. Sage

    Sage Veteran Veteran

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    Remember that loot and rewards don't all have to be weapons, health potions, etc. Emotional and entertaining rewards are just as valuable if you know how to weave them into your game. In Profit Motive we dealt with this problem by having unique and humorous things players would discover when looking around that wouldn't necessarily give them tangible benefits such as weapons, armour, etc. but intangible and entertaining scenes, events, interactions, foreshadow narrative events, etc. So far, people have really enjoyed these.

    -Sage
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2012
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  7. Ocedic

    Ocedic Dog Veteran

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    Honestly, nit picking the random treasure aspect is just weird. There's a lot of things in RPG's that don't make sense or require a suspension of disbelief. It just doesn't make sense to me to go for perfect realism, especially at the expense of gameplay. Random treasure in RPG's is so common now that players don't really question it, unless you're being really ridiculous like finding the Ultimate Sword of Slaying in someone's bathroom. Gameplay should ALWAYS trump realism in games. Why? Because realism isn't fun. If a racing game were realistic, you wouldn't go at super sonic speeds or shoot turtle shells at people.
     
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  8. FlamingWolf - Zezaph

    FlamingWolf - Zezaph Veteran Veteran

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    What? Where's the fun in an RPG if you can't barge in people house, steal whatever you want and go out unpunished? It make the game look soooooo real.

    Ok, just kidding ;)

    That's a nice one! :)

    Here's how I'm dealing with all this exploration/looting/iteming... thing in the game I'm developing.

    First, variety. In most RPGs, every time you complete a quest, you get exp and eventually, an item. Or, when you explore a lot, you just get some items ( sometimes useless items ). This, in my opinion, makes the game repetitive and frustrating for exploration lovers like you and me. So, in my game, I'm doing 2 things to overcome this problem:

    1. I lower the need to explore every place by adding more secondary quests ( so, most places, can be found by taking quests ). Still, there are places that you must explore to get your extra loot;
    2. I don't always award exp+item for completing quests or discovering places. I can award the player with a new spell, a suggestion ( yes, suggestions can be worth a lot if they help you defeat big monsters or uncover other secrets ), a training area ( I don't like random battles, so creating an area where players can train and have access to unlimited exp/gold/loot is very nice ) or a new party member ( Final Fantasy 6 teaches a lot ;) ).

    Obviously I tend to mix all of this with what Sage suggested ( most of the times I like doing cutscene + price ).

    About crafting, I personally don't like it too much. I put something in my game to justify the existence of a gun and the ability to upgrade it. But, except for that, I think crafting is used most of the time to artificially increase the length of the game.
     
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