Shop Stuff Availability

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by FergardStratoavis, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. FergardStratoavis

    FergardStratoavis Villager Member

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    Good day.

    I'm making what I believe is slow but steady progress on giving what I hope to be my first game some form of sensible shape. Having just reached the main city bloc, I caught myself wondering about something, namely the selection of items in shops. I do not have that many yet as far as weapons and armor go, but I had this question: what is your stance on stuff sold in shops? Do you have the shopkeep offer the entire stock right away, keeping enterprising players off stronger things with prices? Do you progressively expand the shop catalog? If so, what do you tie the progress to?

    It's just a little thought niggling in my head, but I figured it could be discussed if nothing else. And it's a good first thread to make, I guess. c:
     
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  2. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    I make the shop offer increase progressively through the game. If the player can see the endgame weapons at the beginning, he could just farm money and stop buying stuff (so skipping all the mid tier weapons) and jump directly to the endgame weapons, which will destroy the game's balance.
     
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  3. AmazingKazuki

    AmazingKazuki Veteran Veteran

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    Depends on what is being made, in my opinion. What Mushroom said is good, whereas you progress things get better. Some like just adding better items in newer shops throughout progression. Like the starting town has basic stuff versus the last town to be found having really good things for the end boss. Games like Disgaea that focus around a base, you'd probably want the shop to progress as you go. Whereas a game like [dot]Hack, the higher level towns sell higher level gear.

    Just my take.
     
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  4. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    As a player, I prefer the world "grow" with my characters. I sort of enjoy having reasons to go back to old towns. Whether that's new stock in the shops, new quests, or just the town itself has updated with your deeds.

    With my personal bias in mind...

    I tend to offer the "beginner" stuff at the beginning. I drop "unique" stuff in chests (namely, anything you cannot ever buy). I drop better equipment as the player goes along in the newer shops... but also put "Side Grades" in previous shops. I tend to tie the shop progression to the "story progression". In this way, the player purely grinding does not get access to everything. If they want interesting stuff, they can complete more of the Main Story. Not every shop offers a new thing at every stage of the Main Quest, but at least one shop updates with each stage of the Main Quest completed.

    In my current game, I've tied this "Tier Progression" to Player Choice.

    What I did was put 80 "Guild Certificates" into my game. These are collectibles. You find them in Chests most often, or sometimes through Quest Completion. None of them are "missable". You will always have the ability to get all 80 of them if you want them. What this item does is "upgrade" a shop of the player's choosing. Some shops upgrade a single time. Some upgrade more than once. The upgrade will offer you better prices... new stock... upgraded equipment... whatever. There are more shops/upgrades than there are Guild Certificates. In this way, the player needs to decide who to spend these items on. To prevent players from just hoarding them until the end... many of the upgrades offer "shortcuts" to some items that you may not encounter again until midgame. If it's equipment, it's equipment you can obtain nowhere else. It might be a temporary upgrade or a side-grade (or an upgrade for a character you don't yet have :D ). I have one shop that offers nothing except "unique items". No other shop sells what they have, even the base items. Namely, they're consumables that also have combat buffs. They can only be used in combat. If the player does not think they'll ever use them, no need to invest in the shop. If they like the idea and want to use them, they can invest up to 8 times in order to unlock the entire stock.

    Now, I do have the Shopkeepers tell the player what they will do with the "upgrade", but what happens is ultimately fairly vague. They may say "I can add some Accessories to my Inventory!" and then they'll have an assortment of Accessories. They may say, "I can improve the quality of the weapons I've got!" So, you know that their weapons might get a lot better. I don't outright tell the players what they will be getting (because honestly, where's the fun in that if the players can't explore and experiment on their own?), but I give them an idea of what is going to be sold if they spend the Certificates.

    In this way, I think it adds a little more incentive to come back to old Shops and see what they might have in stock. See if it changes. I leave the changes up to the player to decide on. Which shops they like and think they could upgrade. Some shops might be an early boost to new players. Some shops might be something you need to come back later for after upgrading as you simply don't have anyone who can use the equipment. Some shops might require upgrading as you progress through the game to keep the stock up to par with your own characters.

    Just something fun. Helps breathe life into old areas a little bit. Gives the player a reason to come back to old shops and see if things have changed.
     
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  5. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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

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    Depends on the game, if I am making a game where people will only stay in the city for a certain portion of the game, then leave and never come back, I make them offer everything. Else, I add items to them as the story progress
     
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  6. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Currently, my item/consumable shop dumps the entire load of options in front of the player from the start because I'm lazy and just use a common event for it, although I might gate this behind levels because a lowbie doesn't need the big heal potion when the small heal potion will get them to full health just as effectively.

    For equips though, I use the classic RPG approach where each town has different gear for sale, generally with weak stuff being available in the starting towns, progressively better stuff available in each new town along the quest path, and ending with near-endgame stuff being available in the last town the player arrives at. The best stuff of course is going to be in the final dungeon, and extra-good stuff being available in the bonus challenge dungeon(s).
     
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  7. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Variation on a theme - I also limit the number of any item that a shop can sell e.g. a small village shop might only have 8 healing potions. Why would a back room shop in the middle of nowhere have an infinite number of anything? This is part of getting the player to do some resource management and encourage exploration to find additional items.

    I usually add items as the story progresses, but I always keep an eye on the type of place so that what is on offer fits with the location. So no village is ever going to offer the Infinite + 1 Mighty Sword of Doom and Destruction - unless, maybe, someone in the village inherited it and will sell it for a suitable price.
     
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  8. LycanDiva

    LycanDiva Villager Member

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    I'm a fan of the old "let the equipment match the enemies" model, where your early-game towns have the weakest gear and recovery items, and your late-game towns have the good stuff...with the ultimate gear being things that the player obtains through exploration and/or other side activities. In the game I'm developing now, there isn't even a weapon shop in the first town. I also like having equipment be blocked off by story events, like shop prices being hugely inflated until a certain task is completed (which is what I plan to do in the port town toward the end of the first continent's arc). Basically, having multiple different ways to unlock/discover gear and manipulate the player's shopping habits makes a game more engaging, entertaining, and challenging.
     
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  9. JoelMarler

    JoelMarler Veteran Veteran

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    I increase the stock of major shops based on the 'boss defeated' variable I created. Merchants start selling items and equipment particularly useful for defeating the next boss just before you face them.
     
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  10. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    In a game where you can gate item selection by physical location in the world (i.e. there is no way to get to City X which sells the game's best shop gear until near the end of the game), it's perfectly fine to have shops offer their entire selection the moment you get there. I feel like this makes sense worldbuilding-wise in most cases, anyway.

    In a game where you stick within one town and keep going back to the same shop, it can make more sense to have the shop's available goods grow throughout the game. You can grow it through things like quests or donations, or just tie it to progression within the narrative.

    (Some games also combine the two and have a base selection of items in each shop throughout the world, plus more you can unlock by helping out that specific shopkeeper with various stuff as you play. A good example is Tales of Xillia.)

    I also like @Kes's method of gating available items.
     
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  11. somenick

    somenick Veteran Veteran

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    Aside from fooling around with RM MV, I havent really ever completed a project. However, I'm working on one now and MAYBE I'll complete it, as it ties with other stuff Im doing.

    In this project, I have a random vendor pop up from time to time to sell unusual stuff, like explosives and poison darts (usable items in combat). Things that normal, legal shops dont offer. However, the appearance of my rogue vendor happens once in a while, if a random value on some variable is met. He may show up on different towns.
     
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  12. JoelMarler

    JoelMarler Veteran Veteran

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    I'm going to do a similar thing with a wandering merchant. He's always going to be present in the game, but his location changes with each major boss you defeat.
     
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  13. watermark

    watermark Veteran Veteran

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    I like the idea of shops selling randomly generated equipment with different elemental or status traits. I know there are plug-ins for generating random equipment. Not sure if they work with shops though.
     
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  14. atoms

    atoms Veteran Veteran

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    @FergardStratoavis I like to be super nice and easy on players. So for me, a lot of shop items will match the character's HP and stats at the time, as well as what enemies they'll be fighting.

    I.e. Do you have an enemy that can cast poison in the next dungeon, but none so far that do sleep? Then I won't sell a cure to sleep by itself, unless they're already available from before that town, but I would sell a pure to poison in that town before the dungeon.

    What is the player character's maximum HP at the moment? 500? How about different three potions then that cure 500, 250 and 100 sold in the shop, then.

    That sort of thing is what I think about.


    As for the super nice and easy part, whatever the items the shop sells I'll allow players to find and gather a few of them for free in the same town by roaming and exploring it, including some more gold to buy more items in the shop too, so that's all nice and easy for them.


    Now when it comes to equipment, again the equipment sold in the shop will be roughly right for there level. But I like to give players the chance to buy multiples of the same equipment, and give each one an advantage and disadvantage so they can really customize there equipment and stats the way they'd like.

    I.e. Have a character with high ATK but also the ability to heal based on LUK? Then have one weapon equipment option that just higher there ATK and another that prevents ATK being higher, as much, but instead higher there LUK instead.

    So the player can choose between more attack power or more healing power in that example. I would probably give at least three or four different options between the party members at the time, instead of just two though.

    I hope that last two paragraphs made enough sense.
     
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  15. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Sometimes, I don't think there's enough of us on these forums. ;)

    That said, that's about how my shops are turning out as well. Initially I was going to just dump the whole load of consumables in front of the player from the getgo, but a level 1 party doesn't need 2500 HP Mega Potions that cost more than a full set of starting gear. They also aren't going to need antidotes, eye drops, narcotics, etc in the earliest dungeons because status-bombing players still learning the game is a bit mean. So yeah, I think it'll be better to gate things behind level, main quest progress, etc.

    Also, I like the idea of option-oriented gear with varied stats. Since I'm treating gear as basically a less-crappy stat allocation system (equip gear with the stats you want to increase, equip different gear when you want to change those stats up) it makes a lot of sense to have varied gear selections. A sword with +50 atk vs a dagger with 30 atk but with a bit of mat or def, for example,
     
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  16. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I just had one other idea that I don't think has been mentioned here, and I didn't think of before.

    In certain types of games (particularly ones with a well-built economy and relatively open gameplay), I think it would be a cool touch to have shops offer some staples (healing potions, basic equipment, etc.) in unlimited quantity, and have some other offerings that "randomly" show up in limited quantity, and are only available for a limited, variable amount of game-time (however game-time is measured) before they're bought up by someone else and not seen again for a while.

    This would be exciting in that you never know what nifty things you'll find at a shop (some of which you'll never have seen before), and realistic in that it could kind of reflect the way that other people in the world buy and sell things to shops. Essentially, the "uncommon" and limited things you'd buy from the shops might be things that other adventurers sold to the shop (or they might be rare one-off goods that the shopkeeper made; whatever makes sense in your system).

    A system where shops have a fixed set of items in limited quantities can be a thrilling and cohesive game element, or it can completely destroy the balance and usability of your game. In cases where you think the latter is more likely, this alternative of "unlimited stock of normal items, plus limited stock of uncommon items" might be a great approach!
     
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