How do you design Loot chests? (Fixed, randomly, adapting Player's style...)

Archduke

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I'm kind of torn on this issue. On one hand, having the same loot every play-through seems a bit boring. So random loot seems best.

But then I think about it. Do I really care if that chest was an Ether or a Hi-Potion? Will I even remember on a new game? And what if it's the difference between a potion and the game's best weapon at that point? (FF12 I'm looking at you on this one. Gooddamn blood sword. God forsaken Zodiak spear). Then I'll just savescum, and feel frustrated if I don't get it. Because nothing feels as bad as knowing what you're not getting.

So that's random loot for you. It's either such a small difference that it's negligible, or it's so big that the player will only accept one possible outcome. At least with random loot drops from enemies, I'm getting some XP and Gold every time. (That would be a weird game wouldn't it? Getting XP from random chests?)

I definitely hated FF12 for that. I think that, for lesser chests, it doesn't matter what's in it between ethers, high potions, etc. And then when it comes to items that are important, if this system were to be used, it would be reasonable only if you were able to obtain the items in another way (even if that way may be more difficult). As long as it's a circumstance where only one of that item can be obtained in any playthrough (in the case of it being more difficult). If more can be obtained, then unnecessarily gating people through RNG is just a good way to anger people, haha.

<scoffs at FF12> I love you but you did some dumb things.

RNG definitely has its uses, but if it is the sole variable between something being possible and impossible... that's just bad and lazy design.
 

Anarel

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I decided to go for randomized in my game. The way it works is as follows:

There are three "loot sacks": minor loot, average loot, and great loot. Once the player enter a map, there's a % chance for some of the sacks to appear or not. Then, once the player "opens" a sack, there's a % to get a randomized amount of money or items (with the money being like 80-90%). If there are items, there's a % to get one out of 3-5 bundles of items, with descending % depending on the quality of the loot. For example (I just made this up and does not appear in my game): 70% for alchemy ingredients, 25% for three potions and 5% for one elixir.
Some "loot sacks" are one-time only, meaning that once you "open" them, they are gone for good. "Loot sacks", by the way, respawn when the player re-enters a map.

"Loot chests" work exactly the same as "loot sacks", but the difference is that they do not respawn: they're all one-time only, however their contents are usually better than "loot sacks".

The whole system is heavily inspired by FFXII's chest loot mechanics.
 

freakytapir

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I definitely hated FF12 for that. I think that, for lesser chests, it doesn't matter what's in it between ethers, high potions, etc. And then when it comes to items that are important, if this system were to be used, it would be reasonable only if you were able to obtain the items in another way (even if that way may be more difficult). As long as it's a circumstance where only one of that item can be obtained in any playthrough (in the case of it being more difficult). If more can be obtained, then unnecessarily gating people through RNG is just a good way to anger people, haha.

<scoffs at FF12> I love you but you did some dumb things.

RNG definitely has its uses, but if it is the sole variable between something being possible and impossible... that's just bad and lazy design.
I recently replayed the remake, and the problem is even worse. While the Zodiak Spear isn't missable anymore, just about every piece of Magic is hidden in some random treasure chest, with no way to learn or buy it elsewhere.

You want Dispel? You know, the only spell that lets you interact with enemy buffs? Better open this one random treasure chest in one specific location. Same for all the high level attack spells, Haste, Regen, Protect, Shell, and just about anything that isn't trash. If the game weren't as easy as it is, this would have seriously made me even more mad.

It's a great game for the most part, but boy does it have multiple things an RPG Maker game would be run out of town for. (You know your game has too much grinding if the remake comes with a built-in infinite money cheat).

Now on actual RPG Maker treasure chests, I've had some more time to mull it over, I've solidified my opinion: Randomness in loot has no place in a game you'll only play once.

Harsh stance, I know. But hear me out.

Theoretically there is a loot distribution that would make your game the most fun/challenging, right?
So why not use that one?

As a new player I do not know that that chest might spawn the iron sword instead of the Hi-Potion. Why not give me the Sword? And if I'm playing my second time, and I know that chest could drop the sword instead of the potion, boy am I going to be peeved if it's a potion this time.

Mechanics that invite save-scumming are mechanics that should be placed under serious scrutiny is all I'm saying. (Yes, I will save before that 20 % Chance roll and save scum until I get it)

It also makes balancing easier. There will be the player who reaches the boss with having found 10 potions and a rusty spork, and another who might have all characters decked out in random lucky rolls. Who do you balance the boss for?

Now, does this mean I don't want any randomness in loot? No. That's what enemy drops are for.
But doesn't this contradict myself? Well, no. One, grinding an enemy for a lucky drop feels like making progress, hjowever minimal, in a way savescumming a treasure chest does not. Two, enemy drops are a great way to place random consumable drops. Keep the actual good stuff for the chests.
 

Aesica

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Now on actual RPG Maker treasure chests, I've had some more time to mull it over, I've solidified my opinion: Randomness in loot has no place in a game you'll only play once.
Who says RPGMaker games will only be played once? There's a few I've played that I'd like to replay at some point just like there's some AAA games I never want to replay again. As long as your game is well-made, you can use RNG for lesser chests (potions, gold, misc common consumables) to mix things up and to save yourself the headache of figuring out what forgettable garbage should go in the, say, 20+ lesser loot chests in a given area.

However, it's also worth coming up with some way to make it cheeseproof, so that I can't save in front of a chest, loot it, then reset if I get an antidote herb instead of gold. I'd suggest seeding treasure boxes when the player enters a new map for the first time.
 

freakytapir

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However, it's also worth coming up with some way to make it cheeseproof, so that I can't save in front of a chest, loot it, then reset if I get an antidote herb instead of gold. I'd suggest seeding treasure boxes when the player enters a new map for the first time.
A solution I might implement is having the Chests pull from a loot table, but as soon as an item is selected, it's gone from the list. So if there's eight chests in an area, 5 might be potions, two ethers, and one Elixir, but which chest contains what is random, but if the player finds all chests, he'll get everything.
what forgettable garbage should go in the, say, 20+ lesser loot chests in a given area.
Then again one wonders why there are 20 chests filled with forgettable garbage.
 

Aesica

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  1. A few gold here, a few potions there, it all adds up. It's just not very interesting (as the developer) to deal with placing it all manually.
  2. Players seem to love opening chests. Even if they contain (mostly) junk.
 

Archduke

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I recently replayed the remake, and the problem is even worse. While the Zodiak Spear isn't missable anymore, just about every piece of Magic is hidden in some random treasure chest, with no way to learn or buy it elsewhere.

You want Dispel? You know, the only spell that lets you interact with enemy buffs? Better open this one random treasure chest in one specific location. Same for all the high level attack spells, Haste, Regen, Protect, Shell, and just about anything that isn't trash. If the game weren't as easy as it is, this would have seriously made me even more mad.

It's a great game for the most part, but boy does it have multiple things an RPG Maker game would be run out of town for. (You know your game has too much grinding if the remake comes with a built-in infinite money cheat).

Now on actual RPG Maker treasure chests, I've had some more time to mull it over, I've solidified my opinion: Randomness in loot has no place in a game you'll only play once.

Harsh stance, I know. But hear me out.

Theoretically there is a loot distribution that would make your game the most fun/challenging, right?
So why not use that one?

As a new player I do not know that that chest might spawn the iron sword instead of the Hi-Potion. Why not give me the Sword? And if I'm playing my second time, and I know that chest could drop the sword instead of the potion, boy am I going to be peeved if it's a potion this time.

Mechanics that invite save-scumming are mechanics that should be placed under serious scrutiny is all I'm saying. (Yes, I will save before that 20 % Chance roll and save scum until I get it)

It also makes balancing easier. There will be the player who reaches the boss with having found 10 potions and a rusty spork, and another who might have all characters decked out in random lucky rolls. Who do you balance the boss for?

Now, does this mean I don't want any randomness in loot? No. That's what enemy drops are for.
But doesn't this contradict myself? Well, no. One, grinding an enemy for a lucky drop feels like making progress, hjowever minimal, in a way savescumming a treasure chest does not. Two, enemy drops are a great way to place random consumable drops. Keep the actual good stuff for the chests.

Every feature just depends on the context and its function in whichever game. A game with some focus on repeatable dungeons would benefit from having some randomness in the chest drops. It's definitely not something to just throw into every game, but, as with all aspects of game development, something to seriously consider within the context of your world and the mechanics at play.
 

freakytapir

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Every feature just depends on the context and its function in whichever game. A game with some focus on repeatable dungeons would benefit from having some randomness in the chest drops. It's definitely not something to just throw into every game, but, as with all aspects of game development, something to seriously consider within the context of your world and the mechanics at play.
Exactly. I mean, Diablo 3 having random chests? I wouldn't want it any other way.
Final Fantasy? No. Heck no.
But it isn't just about random chests. It's about hiding key spells away in treasure chests. I mean, dispel is a key spell in the game, and I went through 70 % of the game without knowing I missed it. I had to look it up in a guide to know where it was. If it was a simple weapon, sure. But there is noting that has the same function as that spell. That's what pissed me off. You need that spell if you want to do any of the optional bosses, yet it is hidden in a random chest? That's bad design.

That said, saying a feature depends on context is like saying water is wet.
 

Archduke

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Exactly. I mean, Diablo 3 having random chests? I wouldn't want it any other way.
Final Fantasy? No. Heck no.
But it isn't just about random chests. It's about hiding key spells away in treasure chests. I mean, dispel is a key spell in the game, and I went through 70 % of the game without knowing I missed it. I had to look it up in a guide to know where it was. If it was a simple weapon, sure. But there is noting that has the same function as that spell. That's what pissed me off. You need that spell if you want to do any of the optional bosses, yet it is hidden in a random chest? That's bad design.

That said, saying a feature depends on context is like saying water is wet.

You would be surprise how often that needs to be reiterated, and subsequently the degree that it is not understood. It is not wholly dissimilar to saying water is wet, but the comparison is not necessarily applicable given the circumstance. What may be common sense for some is not common sense for another. Were that the case, discussions like this would not happen and the bulk of posts regarding the engine would be directly related to bugs.
But I digress.

I certainly find the idea of the game hiding rather important spells in esoteric places absurd... it is almost as if the designer thought, "I want something different.. just toss things in random places, it'll be new and fresh" without considering the consequences... That's a yikes from me, as they say.
 

BK-tdm

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Mines are color coded,green for health items,yellow for battle items and red for ammo (its a modern setting)
Besides that i add a check on how many of that item the player has,if it would get over the limit (chest has 2, player has 9, limit is 10) you simply cannot open the chest, with a little notification of what item the chest has so you can either store some on your stash, use one or simply pass.
Since you can only carry a set amount of items any "potion" item you find lying around is more meaningful.
Gear upgrades you can get them for free IF you pay attention and do some backtracking, if you dont want to backtrack or pay attention you can buy them later i guess, nothing is really missable (for now).
 

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