Finding loot in the wild.

KawaiiKid

Local Weeb
Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2015
Messages
507
Reaction score
316
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Most rpgs have loot you can just find in the wild, such as spamming the action button on everything and maybe finding a potion in a cupboard. Some games have changed up how this is done -FFIX had it so when you get close to a hidden item, a giant finger popped up. In Legend of Dragoon there was a small sparkle where you could find items. There are a myriad of ways to implement this, but my question to you is this:

Is it even fun for the player to find things like this? Which implementation style is your favorite? Is the game lacking without it? What new methods could be used?
 

Willibab

The Lord of Whackery
Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
677
Reaction score
1,788
First Language
Norwegian
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
I love this feature personally. I prefer FF9's approach with the addition of the place you looted looking different after the fact. Like a bag looks like its opened after etc. Like chests and such.

Other methods...err...maybe have skills that can interact with the world? Like an earth spell or a spade items/weapon that you can dig up items with? And a err...Knife to skin dead animals you find...That drop treasure...because reasons xD
 

gstv87

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
3,124
Reaction score
2,246
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
I liked the approach of TES Oblivion where everything that could conceivably have something useful, does. Even everyday objects in the homes of NPCs are lootable.
it only helps if you play an alchemist or a ranger heavily based on scavenging and crafting, because anything you loot is deemed stolen and can't be sold... but it helps a lot if you can concoct a potion on the fly, or recover the lockpicks you've spent.
and if the NPC sees you, you're off to jail.
 

Willibab

The Lord of Whackery
Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
677
Reaction score
1,788
First Language
Norwegian
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
I liked the approach of TES Oblivion where everything that could conceivably have something useful, does. Even everyday objects in the homes of NPCs are lootable.
it only helps if you play an alchemist or a ranger heavily based on scavenging and crafting, because anything you loot is deemed stolen and can't be sold... but it helps a lot if you can concoct a potion on the fly, or recover the lockpicks you've spent.
and if the NPC sees you, you're off to jail.

Yes, the loop of finding a bunch of stuff with a small chance of finding something special and then running back to sell it to buy something decent. It sounds boring when explained but I like it xD
 

Iron_Brew

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Nov 19, 2021
Messages
737
Reaction score
2,147
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Most rpgs have loot you can just find in the wild, such as spamming the action button on everything and maybe finding a potion in a cupboard. Some games have changed up how this is done -FFIX had it so when you get close to a hidden item, a giant finger popped up. In Legend of Dragoon there was a small sparkle where you could find items. There are a myriad of ways to implement this, but my question to you is this:

Is it even fun for the player to find things like this? Which implementation style is your favorite? Is the game lacking without it? What new methods could be used?

This can be interesting; in my case I like to combine it with searching areas to reward thoroughness.

If you put down a pot, why not include flavour text for examining that tile and put an item in it. Some pots can be empty, but the broad rule of thumb (for me anyway) is: "If it looks like it could hide something, it probably should hide something".

Edit: Just realised, this is pretty much just the Dragon Quest approach.

As something of an aside, I prefer just finding items to anything resembling harvesting reagents - if I'm gonna find 3 herbs on 3 different "gathering points" when I could just find one discarded potion in a hole in the wall I'd prefer the latter to avoid needless fluff.
 

gstv87

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
3,124
Reaction score
2,246
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
the loop of finding a bunch of stuff with a small chance of finding something special and then running back to sell it to buy something decent
right... and that's why the devs thwarted it with the stolen object condition, because the gear that the shops offer is always half better and half worse than what you currently have, so the more you buy the better thing, the more the even better thing keeps coming up.
there is potentially the way to play as a merchant without fighting, so it could get broken if left unchecked.
 

fizzly

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 23, 2012
Messages
1,616
Reaction score
1,224
First Language
Polish
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
I personally hate the old RPG style of searching, where there was always option to "search" or "look" and in 90% of cases it was like "nothing is here"... I prefer the games with signed searching places, like some stars or shiny something OR search option only in specific/declared places, like jugs, vases, chests, shelves.
 

Ami

World Maker
Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2019
Messages
252
Reaction score
683
First Language
Indonesia
Primarily Uses
RMMV
for open world RPG, finding the wild loot is the interesting idea; but there's what i concern

the wild loot also hard to find & we need the sources from the town (such as Information & Rumor, a Book & Map for the hints), but it takes a time to find outside & acquire them for your crafting items

for the system, i thinking about Mana Khemia Gathering System, which you can using your character to gather the items in specific places (i want you to find something in the Ruins). it takes a day or week to make it done. the chance of item being founded is depending on the difficulty of the places for your character

my method (which is a plan) is the Takeover Location (or whatever it is), i use the Scavenger Unit (resembling of the Item) to take control the places, order them to find the items & it takes a day to acquire them (it still a plan, whether i have to add it into my project or not)

that's what i understand about finding the wild loot
 

TheoAllen

Self-proclaimed jack of all trades
Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
Messages
7,321
Reaction score
11,020
First Language
Indonesian
Primarily Uses
N/A
For top-down RPG, as long as there's a sparkle or indicator that there's a lot. I would loot. Fun or not, I'm gonna unconsciously loot them. But if there is no indicator, I wouldn't bother spamming the button to see if I get something. That isn't fun. Also, if you put a chest behind an obstacle, I would try to pass the obstacle, but if it's too difficult, I move on.

For 3D RPGs, I'm used to the Bethesda looting system. Loot everything, even junk. Looking at every chest and container to see if there's something shiny. For some reason, it is not as annoying as in top-down RPG.

... then there's Hogwartz Legacy where you Revelio for every 10 steps. Please dev, don't do this.
 

ZombieKidzRule

I know just enough to be dangerous!
Veteran
Joined
Jan 9, 2022
Messages
972
Reaction score
1,355
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
I think player preferences fall into broad categories, like you suggested. Some folks like the hints of sparkles or bright neon signs. Others like the exploration. Others don't like it at all.

I agree with parts of everyone's prior responses. And I definitely like the visual representation that an object has been opened. But I also like the ability to close it again, if I want.

As a general rule, I don't necessarily like the automatic indicators. I prefer to just check everything. And doing that is second nature for me. I don't even notice most of the time.

Why? Because the very first games I started on didn't give you any hints. And they had walls that you could walk through. So if you didn't test every wall by trying to walk through it, you were going to miss stuff. As I recall, those games usually warned you about this mechanic early in the game by alerting you will a pop up message the first time saying something was suspicious about that wall. Then you were on your own after that.

I am sure many players hate that sort of thing. Even today, when I start a new, modern game, I will bump into every wall. At least until I get the impression that such things don't exist in that particular game.

I also liked the King's Bounty way of the sparkles appearing only when you were about a tile or two away from the buried object. That prompted you where to dig. But seeing them from far away on the map, I wouldn't especially enjoy that. It isn't something that is going to influence my overall appreciation of the game, but for me, it isn't preferable.

My current thoughts for my game would be a combination of informing the player that containers well...contain things. And they should check them.

I also think I would like to incorporate a "search" feature like Wizardry 8 had. Where any party can set the option, but you can't run/dash while searching. But a certain class (Ranger in W8) automatically searched even while running. Then, if you get close to a hidden object, there was a good chance that it would appear. It was linked to a skill if I remember correctly.

I also think I would like to incorporate a spell for something similar. So the spell can be cast and that highlights those "sparkles" or whatever within a certain radius. And the spell would have a duration effect.

Also, I think I want a skill to passively influence whether the player is alerted to a hidden object. Like perhaps a Perception skill that checks to see if the player notices something in that immediate area. Like within a tile or two. And then flavor text pops up.

Anyway, I like a variety of ways to deal with this. I don't like 100% knowing where everything is. But I also don't necessarily like wasting my time checking if you don't incorporate that into your game.

I would say don't go halfway. If you are going to have objects clickable to check for contents or flavor text, do it most of the time and not randomly.

Thanks for posting this thread. These responses have given me some things to ponder!

Happy game developing!
 

Andar

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
38,434
Reaction score
10,865
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
RMMV
And then there are games like the ones from Spiderweb Software - the Avernum series and the Geneforge series and so on.
There is absolutely no indicator there, but every container can be opened and searched everywhere.
And they aren't even empty, although there are a lot of trash items of zero value scattered through the game.

But in towns they even have a flag for ownership - if you take something flagged as "not yours", the city guards will become hostile when they spot you, until you manage to escape the town and the trace of the stolen goods are lost.

That way of handling things is much more realistic, but it would not fit with the casual player who would consider that to be a waste of time.
 

ShadowDragon

Realist
Veteran
Joined
Oct 8, 2018
Messages
7,509
Reaction score
3,019
First Language
Dutch
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I have low items, but also items that are very rare, but only be found under
the ground (like Pokemon) which loot the item in front of the player, not
directly below it to trigger.

I think loot in bushes or tree's can find some "hidden stash" or inside
a clock.

there are many ways how you can make it work nicely or only in a specific
place or field.

even people are weird that have cash in a vase or sugarjar that aren't
easy to catch or think about :)

if it fit your game, add it :)
 

gstv87

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
3,124
Reaction score
2,246
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
then there's Hogwartz Legacy where you Revelio for every 10 steps. Please dev, don't do this.
two things to that:
-one, it would work fine if it wasn't a 3D camera, as you're always looking down range, and never see what's behind you. A top-down RPG would make it worth using.
-two, it should have been a selectable and upgradable spell like all others, and not a tool that's always available. If you upgrade for pages, it'll always find pages, but not puzzles.
 

BK-tdm

Waifumancer
Veteran
Joined
Jun 21, 2018
Messages
532
Reaction score
1,622
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I have tons of consumables but my approach is to have each lootable item have a map sprite, be it a bottle, a can or a little box, making all drawers/closets/boxes be animated if they can be interacted, if you see a "prop" decoration on top of a table thats bigger than most stuff, its because its lootable... yes this takes more time than your normal sparkly rocks :kaocry:

I also added a small icon to indicate you can "grab" this though it only works on proximity so you have to somewhat "explore" the map for lootables, but skips the part of spamming "interact" and getting useless messages most of the time, i do have interactable stuff that are non-loot based but the icon for them is different so the player knows beforehand what type of interaction they're getting.
 

Maliki79

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
983
Reaction score
495
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I do a mix of treasure chests and completely hidden items.

The treasure chests aren't actually chests, they are more of a visual cue that an item is tucked there. I even use different color chests to show rarity or importance.

Now the occasional hidden items is simply a few bonus items that the player could likely purchase nearby.
They aren't meant to be be game changing and so would usually be skippable without worry. I do plan to have at least one side quest start off by finding a hidden item, but there will be clues somewhere.
 

kirbwarrior

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Nov 13, 2014
Messages
1,242
Reaction score
1,129
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Generally speaking, a mechanic that is only 'trial and error' is bad. If any given tile has an invisible item, then the only way I know to find them is to click every tile. There's an old joke about Pokemon where you find Leftovers in a trash can and initially you're happy (it's an amazing item), but then horror overcomes you as you realize you now have to search every trash can in the game. And the thing is, I did. I know how old school rpgs work, I check things constantly, I'll smash A or even get a turbo controller so I can constantly search while moving. I found every hidden item in Pokemon Red without the itemfinder because it was even slower than just sweeping around. I checked every single container-looking thing in the old Dragon Quests. But looking back, I don't know if I actually had fun doing it.

Sparkles, fingers, anything that makes it clear where a 'hidden' item is sitting is basically a glorified treasure chest (or, uh, unglorified because chests are awesome?). Which isn't a bad thing, it's a way to give players a reason to explore areas and find items that wouldn't visually make sense to have a treasure chest in. I actually really like this because it means you can hide item in places without being obvious but going to the place is enough to see there is something hidden.

FF9 might be the best middle ground; The item is hidden, but you can find it without having to click every where. There's a rhyme and reason to where items can be hidden and walking close is enough to know it is there instead of having to Interact constantly. It even fits with the theme that the protagonist is clearly a rogue and thief, he sees the goods worth picking up.

There's other possible middle-grounds. The main character might have a Perception passive they can buy right away to help see these, but someone who doesn't care, someone who likes exploring for them, or someone with a walkthrough doesn't have to buy the skill and can buy something else. Or when picking the classes for your party, you'll notice the Rogue can see hidden items. Or maybe you can get a compass that points to hidden items and there's a bit of fun in triangulating the item.

My rule of thumb is "Don't make me stop playing the game so I can play the game". Because I don't like it as a player, I won't add it as a developer. I like being able to 100% games, so I'll make games I can 100% with only using information from inside the game. If I want it to require effort to find an item, I'll (try to) make the process itself fun where getting the item is more just icing on the cake. I don't want a game that feels like an unpaid job.
 

mara_vertin

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Feb 5, 2016
Messages
161
Reaction score
211
First Language
german
Primarily Uses
RMMV
There's this old Nintendo game Secret of Evermore where you had your dog with you. You could let him sniff around for ingredients hidden on the map. That was always fun for me and it really helped to build a closer bond with your canine buddy.

What I don't like is when the hiding places suddenly change. For example, you looked at every bookshelf in the first three hours of the game and you always just got the same comment ("I don't have time to read all that.") and then suddenly towards the end of the game, this one rare item is hidden on a bookshelf. -_-
 
Last edited:

ArcaneEli

Mage of Thunder
Veteran
Joined
Mar 24, 2012
Messages
251
Reaction score
65
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
Agree with @mara_vertin , consistency is the key. First town / dungeon location I'm in I fully explore and check every nook and crevice for what the developers are hiding / aren't hiding. I then use that for the rest of the game.

ex: Dragon Quest i'm checking all houses for pots, wardrobes, bookshelves. If none of them have stuff I will ignore them for the rest of the game, but if I find that boxes have loot inside, I will always check everybox.

ex: chained echoes: always has a ! above something you can check, but sometimes you gotta be kinda close to see it. So I usually run close to the edges of maps for a surprise ! to appear. Otherwise no reason to ever check boxes or pots or anything.
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
6,039
Reaction score
5,809
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I'm sort of torn on the subject.

I remember Final Fantasy 6 fondly for the hidden Elixirs and the other items. At the time the game was released and I had played it, it was a new concept to me that treasures were anywhere except chests. That, if I just looked around and clicked on things, I could get free stuff. It made me feel clever and smart and whatever else because I clicked on things and was rewarded with stuff for clicking on things.

Then, I played a lot more RPG's.

I, honestly, don't care so much about the "hidden items" anymore. I'm actually with @kirbwarrior to an extent here. If I click a pot in a game and it gives me something, I suddenly have a growing unease of, "wait, this pot contained something... does EVERY pot contain something? I have to click on every single pot in the game now? What else might be hiding items?"

That sudden unease just comes from the imagined wastes of time ahead of me. I want the loot because... lizard brain has to have all the shinies. I can't just... NOT loot something!

But, knowing this has lead me to just... not checking if items are hidden in things. I'm often avoiding the "hidden items" just because I know that once I click one and find out it contains an item... I am now trapped and obligated to check absolutely everything. All the time. I just... I can't. No. I don't find being trapped by the promise ot loot to be "fun". Especially since, personally, I hate when any game says, "Here's a game of hide and seek!" for any reason (yes, even games that give you a huge circle for you to search for someone or something within to progress a quest... I don't have time for this and I don't find it fun. I find it to be padding most of the time. I am not one of those oldschool gamers who looks fondly upon games that made me have to keep notes, make maps, and find things on my own. I absolutely love quest markers in all their immersion breaking glory because at the very minimum, they keep me from getting bored and annoyed).

As I have gotten older, I have sort of shifted what I like in terms of "extra items". I like when the game tells me, "item here, click it" more often. It means the devs are often not keen on wasting my time. They don't want me clicking on everything. They tell me straight up, "here's some stuff, click it if you want it".

After all, now that my time for gaming is far more limited, I have to use that time more wisely. Is it fun to know that I've spent hours clicking thousands of random objects (pots, jars, clocks, tables, bookshelves, etcetera) only to get nothing for doing so? Is that "fun" exploration? I guess I don't find it to be fun or exploration.

See, if we're talking about "loot in the wild", we're inevitably talking about "exploration" in the game world. At which point, you need to define, as the dev, what "exploration" looks like to you in your game. Then, you need to tell your game players that your definition of "exploration" might not be the same as theirs.

If you create a game like Skyrim that is basically just an Immersive Sim, then it makes sense to have items everywhere, a lot hidden, and nothing to advertise there was anything there. After all, that feature plays into "Immersing" the player in the experience of that world. Of course the bandits hid treasure in that pot buried under 30 other pots. They were counting on nobody wanting to dig through all the pots for the one that holds their valuables. This is exploration in the Immersive Sim. Where and how an item was obtained are often small snippets of storytelling on their own. Or, even, characterization if you're lucky.

But, if you have a top/down RPG that is very much mostly just using RPG conventions... It's a lot less "exploration" and more "a checklist". "Did I click all the pots in this room? Yep. Okay, done."

I think what we should also examine is whether or not there's value in having these instances of "wild loot" as well.

Let me ask a simple question:

"When was the last time you clicked one of these 'wild loot' locations and was truly excited or happy by what you received?"

For me, that tends to be the issue. I'm clicking these things because they're there. Because I know they're there. Just like I can't leave a Treasure Chest unopened. I HAVE to open them all. I HAVE to see what's inside.

But, is that enough for a player to "enjoy" the experience? I don't know. I know that I personally don't like it. I, personally, find little enjoyment in it.

"Got a Potion!". Thanks, I've already got 50 of them that I'll never use.
"Got 3,000 G!". Thanks, add it to the pile of money I can't ever spend.
"Got 4 Reagents!". Thanks, but these aren't even valuable, these are common, and I haven't crafted their recipes for hours at this point.

On an on. At least, for me, that's not interesting. It's not exciting. I'm not finding "something of value", I'm "ticking a box". There's a sparkly in this room, so I clicked it to tick the box.

For me, when you reduce exploration to "ticking a box", it just ceases to be exploration anymore. I love exploration. I love finding hidden things. I found the Sword of Dead Kings in this hidden room! Awesome! I solved a puzzle and was given access to room full of Lore and a couple high tiered Consumables (like the Elixirs). Sweet! I walked into this section of the screen that wasn't obvious it was a transition point and suddenly found myself atop an amazing vista where my party members had a nice conversation? Very nice!

That's just me, though. In general, I don't like these "wild loot" items as an adult, because they tend to turn exploration and immersion into a "checklist". Completing a checklist in terms of exploration just doesn't feel "satisfying" to me as someone who likes exploring game worlds.

And, honestly, that's to say nothing of inflating your economy pretty badly in the game either by adding 50+ instances of "Got Potion!" to the game world. But, that's a topic for another time.
 

ZombieKidzRule

I know just enough to be dangerous!
Veteran
Joined
Jan 9, 2022
Messages
972
Reaction score
1,355
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
@Tai_MT As an ancient-school gamer I must be offended on principle alone, even if I also suffer from the MCE (must check everything) disease. Just kidding…not really offended, but I do have MCE. Or FOMO (fear of missing out) as the cool kids probably say now. I heard the term on NPR so that makes it cool, right?

But, back on topic, another thing I think is important to consider is the concept of Added Value and Totality.

Generally, I think if something adds value to a population of players that you want to target, then it is probably good in general. Now, something can Add Value, but be horribly implemented or not fit in with the overall concept of the game.

But that is also where Totality comes in. Sometimes what makes a game fun or awesome for a particular player is a bunch of little things all totaling into something better. Individually, they might not be anything special and it may seem like something that could just be removed.

But sometimes, removing some of these innocuous little things that don’t seem that important suddenly impacts the totality of the game experience.

And, of course, what ultimately constitutes fun or whatever in the totality is a subjective opinion of each player.

I just find it interesting that in one discussion we might say we don’t like a particular thing, in general, but then in another discussion we lament that such thing is missing and it would have been better with it.

I think we all might do that to some degree at times.

So I would consider asking myself does the way I approach treasure in the wild potentially add value for a specific type of player and does it add to or detract from the totality of the experience?

I have to teach my students to weigh and consider facts, evidence, data, information, documents, testimony, etc. And I liken that process to a scale. Everything tilts the scale in one direction or another. But, when taken in the totality, that scale is usually tilted to one side and rarely balanced.

So, if you think that a mechanic tips the scale generally in favor of the average player enjoying your game, then I would consider keeping it. OR…you can just default to the simplest check of whether it is something you would want to experience in a game.

Unless you are striving to make a commercially successful game, I generally default to making the game that you would want to play.

And this thread has some very interesting points to ponder.
 

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

Random reminder to work on yo games! Good day.
A preview of the second of five hidden arcade machines you can find in The Brothers, an upcoming JRPG from System Masters. They are fully playable, each with multiple levels, tracked hi-scores and related challenges / achievements / trophies!

Ok so-everything is back to normal now. No more glitches, no more page crashes-it's nice. Hopefully it will STAY this way for at least a while.

Forum statistics

Threads
131,576
Messages
1,221,195
Members
173,269
Latest member
fantasyfan2035
Top