Shop Upgrades/Sidegrades

Frostorm

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So I'm getting around to populating my weapon/armor shops w/ equipment but I'm having trouble keeping it minimalist. I was wondering how many choices of gear do you guys offer in your shop NPCs? Do u offer something for every slot? Do u offer stuff for every playstyle or build? And for any given equipment slot, how many sidegrades are offered through the shop NPCs, if any? I'm sure the answer is always going to be "it depends", but I'd still like to hear what you guys have done in your projects.

Right now, I've already created pretty much at least 1 of each weapon/armor type for every level bracket (i.e. every ~5 levels or so). I'm thinking I need to trim it down some, especially for early game shops.
 

PLUEVNR

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I'm putting 1 weapon shop per city/area with 1 equipment for each equipment slot.

So when the player is reaching the next city/area, he has more experience, more level, etc and he can find a better equipment.

Except for the accessories, since they are very expensive and add cool statistics, you find the upgrades in a few cities, in side quests or very well hidden chests.
 

cubeking1

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i would recommend 2 to 3 of each non accessory equipment type
the lowest cost one would be the budget choice while the highest is the grinders choice that makes the next a bit easier if ther are having trouble. now if you make it level restricted equipment then it also lets the player plan for future purchases. for acessories give the simple ones at first, i.e. the first shop to have accessories should have some basic stat boosting ones or resistance boosters. as the game goes on then you start adding the more strategic ones
 

LordOfPotatos

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I think sidegrades are just more efficient than straight upgrades.
If you do straight upgrade equipment, let's say each 10 levels you get a new sword with appropiate stats. At level 50 you'd have 5 swords that did the same thing just with different numbers.
Now if you add for example a fire sword you'd have to either make 5 of it or make it an endgame weapon (so it only matters at the end of the game) or make it an early game weapon (so it's useless at the end, the worst option by far).

That's why all my equips are % based, each piece is unique and useful for the whole game. And I only have to make like 10 of each type.
 

Anthony Xue

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Is this question about keeping shops simple or keeping equipment simple (and thus shops)? For the latter, see @LordOfPotatos - pretty fine approach. For keeping shops simple, I use specialized shops - not only separate armor and weapons shops, but also a separate shop for enchanted weapons, one for nothing but helmets etc.
Most of these are in my main city, but some are only accessible to the party once they are allowed to enter certain districts (i.e. being famous enough for the noble and royal district) or have solved certain quests (freeing the master weaponsmith from a dungeon so he can open his store again, provide the enchanter with certain materials so she can produce enchanted weapons again and so on). This keeps things from being overwhelming at first. At later levels, the player can usually bypass the "cheap" shops and go straight to the special ones, which have only special inventories.
The city also has a bazaar with non-permanent merchants. Whenever the player enters the city after having been away for a while, the merchants present on the bazaar are determined randomly. This means that the number of merchants available is limited, thus avoiding overall merchant complexity overload. It also means that from time to time, there's something new to discover for the player, as some merchants appear far less often than others. Of course, the downside is that the player might simply miss certain upgrades, but the combat system does not depend on the party always needing the very best and specific items to proceed.

Does this answer your question or have I been on the completely wrong track?
 

Finnuval

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Specialized shops has my preference with around 3-5 items per shop.

Downside is there is a bit more running around and managing inventory at times but to me that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to keep the shops from being to overwhelming.

Usually: weapons, armor, enchanted stuff, accessories, upgrades/augments, items, healing items (yes I tend to separate those aswell lol), other (in case of animal companions that also have gear for example).

On Upgrade or sidegrade I tend to like a combination of both where you start with upgrading and at some point get the option to sidegrade or keep upgrading.
 

Milennin

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If I get to a shop that sells me equipment that isn't strictly better than what I'm already using, why would I bother to go through the effort of buying new stuff and equipping it on my characters? I've already made it this far with my current equipment, I wouldn't see a reason to spend my money and I'd rather save it in case the next shop sells me better stuff. Sidegrading in an RPG isn't intuitive, because RPG's revolve around getting bigger numbers.
Now, if the entire game revolves around sidegrading to finetune character builds, that's another story, but then you don't really have that RPG aspect to it anymore.
 

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