Enchanting vs Augmentation

Guardinthena

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So this one has been bothering me for awhile. I originally designed my game with Yanfly's Item Upgrade Slots plugin, which allows me to 'enchant' independent items, armours, and weapons with permanent enchants. Now, Yanfly also has a plugin called Attachable Augments, where the player can place manastones/materia/stones into the weapons to upgrade the weapon but they can be removed.

For awhile I thought about doing both, but I can't think of any good reason to do both without it being repetitive or game breaking.

Now, I've just been reviewing my mechanics and was wondering about how these affect gameplay. I've never heard of a game doing both, only one or the other to prevent game breaking mechanics.

What are people's experiences with these kind of systems? Have you used others and with what kind of success? I'm curious how others have approached these mechanics in their games.
 

Frostorm

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I went through the same design conundrum you're describing last month. I originally only used augments and not item upgrades, but now I use both.

In my game, Augments are basically layers for armor. For example, a Steel Breastplate would have 2 augment slots called "Hauberk/Shirt" and "Scapular". The items that go into these slots can be worn by themselves as armor, or they can be used as augments as part of certain armor pieces. The downside would be the weight, aka a Speed penalty. I don't use Item Upgrades for armor.

For weapons, I use both Augments AND Item Upgrades. Weapons will have 2 Augment slots: Gem and Rune. Gems simply confer a bonus to secondary stats like Crit, Hit, Counter, etc... Runes, on the other hand, grant more unique procs or passive effects. Lastly, the Item Upgrades only come in one flavor, which I've named Soul Cores. It's fitting because they can't be removed once a Soul Core is bound to a weapon. A Soul Core basically grants the weapon a Weapon Unleash and gives the weapon sentience, allowing it to grow (level up) alongside the wielder. It will also have a personality and engage in pointless banter with you. Soul Cores are obtained from mini-bosses and come in a wide variety, each basically unique.

I mainly chose to utilize Item Upgrades because of how its menu looks separate from the Augments since I really wanted to highlight the importance of the Soul Core. The ability to rename the item was the icing on the cake. I really wanted to emphasize the relationship between weapon & wielder in my game.
 
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CraneSoft

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Can't say I ever saw a game including both, as they are either extremely taxing of player's resources and could potentially create a large power vacuum if left unchecked, not to mention making things harder to balance because a player might not be able to utilize both of the systems the way it is intended to.

Bottom line though, if you are doubting if it could add anything meaningful to the game, then it's better not to include it until you absolutely sure you need it for balancing purposes.
 

Frostorm

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You definitely want to design and balance your encounters with these slots being used in mind. I don't think they should be used as a tool for balancing, but rather to add depth/customization. I'm having a hard time imagining a situation where these systems would tax a player's resources. Typically the items that fit into these slots don't serve any other purpose than to go into said slots, with my case being an exception to the rule. So there's not really an opportunity cost for the player to use them.

If you're going to use both, you'll want to make them serve different functions. I took advantage of the fact that each system uses a different menu layout to accentuate the difference between my Soul Core (item upgrade) slot vs the augment slots.

  1. Make it clear what each type of augment slot does and what bonuses/effects an augment of that type confer.
  2. Make the various augment types distinct from one another.
  3. (Optional) Take advantage of the fact that the various terms for Item Upgrades can be renamed.
    Example:
    • Item Upgrade slot renamed to "Soul Core"
    • Upgrade Command renamed to "Bind Soul Core to %1"
    • Slots Available renamed to "Empty Core"
Edit: @Guardinthena Out of curiosity, what do the augments in your game do currently?

Also, I wanted to add that these "game-breaking" effects you guys mentioned would only happen if the bonuses were poorly designed to begin with or did not consider the rest of your game's systems as a whole. If these things are taken into account, it's not too hard to create a balanced system. I would generally avoid or limit generic direct bonuses. I only offer it on my Gem slots as a way to fine-tune the character's secondary stats.
 
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Finnuval

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I think the way @Frostorm describes is the only sensible way I have ever heard.

Other then that though I Also think this :
if you are doubting if it could add anything meaningful to the game, then it's better not to include it until you absolutely sure you need it
Is very true with all aspect of game dev.

The worst games are the ones that have features for the sake of having features, imo.

Then again I could be wrong xD
 

Guardinthena

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So far, I agree with @Finnuval, that really the best way to approach and look at this is as @Frostorm has said:

You definitely want to design and balance your encounters with these slots being used in mind. I don't think they should be used as a tool for balancing, but rather to add depth/customization.
And:

If you're going to use both, you'll want to make them serve different functions.
With additions by @CraneSoft;
if you are doubting if it could add anything meaningful to the game, then it's better not to include it until you absolutely sure you need it
Now, I do agree that I don't see them as nessecary to balance a game, but to add depth and customization, just in doing so not to make it so that it can break the game with too many slots or upgrades on an item/armor/weapon.

Which would lead me into your question, Frostorm. What do my item upgrades/enchanting do currently? (I'm not using augments, I didn't see a reason at the time). I currently have it set up so that enchanting weapons can give the weapon a permanent element damage bonus, such as fire, frost, lightning, or acid. Armors can be enchanted to resist these elements (by small amounts, I was thinking between 3%-5% because I currently have slots for boots, gauntlets, armor and helmet, with a slot for a necklace and two rings) or boost a players parameter, such as ATK, MAXHP, MAX MP, MAGIC ATK, MAGIC DEF, AGI, LUK, or affect their regeneration rate for health or magic.

Because of the amount of wearable armor slots available, I knew it could break the game if too many enchants could be placed. So currently, enchanting will only be 1 or 2 upgrades slots.

This is also why I was debating if I should add augments, but couldn't come up with any fresh ideas for them outside of what I had given for enchanting. I had tried to toy around with the idea of runestones or gems for weapons, or using augments as a crafting system, (in terms of games like Fallout 4, where a weapon can be constantly built up or stripped down with attachments like bayonets, extended barrels, larger ammo caps, etc), but I couldn't get behind a crafting replacement when I already had one thought out using a different plugin. Replacing the grip on your swords from leather to wire, or silver inlay vs mythril, just seemed silly. Now I had not thought of passive auras for augments, as you had mentioned Frostorm. May I ask what kind you had?

So, the system focuses more on crafting whatever weapon, armor, or item you need, so long as you have the resources available, and then enchanting it as you want to fit your needs using manastones to imbue your weapons, armies, or items with magic. These crafted and enchanted resources are disposable, meaning you can turn around and make a profitable living off of doing this if you so wanted. There really is no other greater tie with your equipment than that--they are tools to aid in your progress.
 

Frostorm

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Here are some examples of Runes I have for my game:
  • Rune of Remembrance - +1 Skill Equip Slot
  • Rune of Rage - Chance on hit +15% Strength for 1 turn
  • Rune of Frost - Adds Frost element to your attacks
  • Rune of Focus - Physical attacks generate +3 Focus (TP)
  • Rune of the Stormcaller (epic) - Casting Lightning spells has a 20% chance to duplicate the spell at half power.
 

Guardinthena

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Thank you for sharing some examples, Frostorm. I've taken time this morning to revisit Yanflys two plugins, it's been some long time since I last saw the videos. And now I'm having to rethink things again. Apparently the augments allowed more versatility for what they can do than the item upgrade than I remember --Why these two don't do the exact same things baffles me entirely, minus one is permanent and the other isn't.
 

Frostorm

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Augments can be made to be unremovable as well if that's a design consideration for you.
JavaScript:
<Augment: type>
Cannot Detach
</Augment: type>
 

Guardinthena

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Wooh, well I have an update on my enchanting vs augmentation dilemma, somewhat. Firstly, I have been working on my project on and off for a long time. And I tend to forget why I did certain things X months ago. So, I was able to take some time over the last few days and figure out what I was doing with the enchanting --and turns out I had most of what I wanted to do with it done. Huh.

So Yanfly's Item Upgrade Slots (extension of Yanfly's Item Core) can do everything that the Augmentation plugin can do -with a bit of extra leg work. I tracked down a video by Driftwood Gaming that I had apparently reviewed before and used as the backbone to do most of what my enchants do. At the end of the video he pulls up a chart that lists all the traits that can be used for coding within the notetag field of the weapons/armors/items -thus giving limitless control over what these enchants can do beyond what the notetags given in the plugin state. I have been able to add enchants that grant skills to the players, and are removed when the player removes the equipment, affect HP/MP/TP Regen rate, Magic Reflective rate, number of times a player can attack, and so on.

With your revelation that even augments can be permanent, @Frostorm, I think the only real difference between these two plugins seems to be that augments are inherently detachable.

 

Frostorm

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Omg, that chart is gonna be so useful, thank you!
 

Guardinthena

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You are very welcome! That's why I posted the link to the video, so if anyone else stumbles across this maybe it can help them out too.
 

Rayhaku808

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I like this. Recently I've decided to essentially go with item upgrades and augments myself.
As things stand, I have VERY few equipment being attainable in the game. Less than 10 per armor type and there are only 3 types. So improving what you have is very important.

The permanent upgrades should be able to last the player longer than the next actual armor piece upgrade if that's how they want to progress. Augments will only add unique and special effects like Spikes that return a % amount of damage taken to melee damage dealers. Or maybe something that nullifies magic attack debuffs.
 

Wavelength

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Your initial instinct was spot on - there is no good reason to include both Enchanting and Augmentation in your game.

Enchanting would be used if you want the feel to be of permanently changing your items/equips, morphing them into something different than the state you found them in. Which I think is pretty cool, although if more copies of an item/equip are hard to come by, then you could end up locking yourself out of a really cool combination that you figure out later on.

Augmentation would be used if you simply want your items/equips (usually equips) to feel like "vessels" for other upgrades. It tends to give the player much finer control over the stats and abilities they'll have, allows players to freely experiment, and generally tends to be very pleasing for min-maxers. However, I feel it also offers less of a sense of adventure and immersion.

Pick which dynamic you think would be more appealing in your game and say "see ya" to the other one!

I like Enchanting much better in an RPG, personally! Augmentation might be better for genres with a huge focus on lots of loot, such as mobile Hero Collectors, Diablo-like games, or MMORPGs.
 

Frostorm

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I wish there were more examples that have pulled off using both Augments & Item Upgrades besides my own project. I agree it usually doesn't make sense to use both, at least in stock form. However, I don't believe it can't be pulled off either. From what I can tell, YEP_X_AttachAugments is a more refined iteration of YEP_X_ItemUpgradeSlots. The former being released in 2016 and the latter in 2015 seems to support this.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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At one point I considered using both. I was going to allow the upgrades to be raw stats, kind of like improving your gear at a smith or something. I wanted to limit the need for a lot of different equipment, and instead focus on two or three pieces for each slot, upgrading the primary stats associated with the equipment. Then I was going to have the augments focus on adding things like chance to inflict a status ailment or change/add to the elemental damage type. So I wanted the player to be able to change out the element and status effect without having to upgrade the raw stats of another version of the same equipment.

As far as the raw stat upgrades, it made more sense to me to have lets say 5 upgrades that could be used for all weapons, instead of making 5 versions of each weapon.
 

Kupotepo

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@Guardinthena, go with your instinct.

For awhile I thought about doing both, but I can't think of any good reason to do both without it being repetitive or game breaking.
If you think that, you do that.

The problem lies under those mechanics: the distribution of parameters and stats in items, armors, and weapons. So you have to play a division game.

I plan to restrict to certain classes to have that Enchanting or Augmentation mechanic. As a player, I do not much about the artistic stuff, my main concern is can I move the next location and see how your characters moving.
 

FirestormNeos

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My equipment is augmented.

Why do I, the player, have to have equipment for my equipment?

It's bad enough I have to sus out 15 equipment slots with the best gear at any given moment, usually through some obnoxious crafting system that's a nightmare to find ingredients for; now y'all are telling me I have to worry about what "bonus stats" to put on my equipment to stay viable in the MMORPG I like playing, too?!

And "enchanting" sounds even worse! Now if I miscalculate the game's damage formula, I have to throw out the entire gear piece and start over!
 

Frostorm

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That's why I made it so the augments in my armor slots aren't always a straight-up positive bonus. Each piece of armor, whether used by itself or as an augment will incur a small Speed penalty, depending on the weight/material it's made of. So stacking lots of layers of armor will mean less movement range, later turn order, lower evasion, and reduced starting TP. This means leaving the augment slots empty is totally viable.
 

TheoAllen

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Why do I, the player, have to have equipment for my equipment?
The answer is it determines your playstyle even if you use the same equipment.

I'm more into augment > enchant.
Mainly because augment gives more options than just upgrade your equipment permanently. It doesn't matter if it's online or offline. Augment also works better in a non-magic setting in which is my preferred setting. You have an assault rifle, you have an option to put a silencer so you could do a sneak shot but the damage will be lowered, or the opposite, or you want to put bigger mags but increase the load time, etc.
 

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