To Durability Or Not To Durability

CrowStorm

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So, fortunately, I never really had a phase where I felt the need to stick every plugin possible, no matter how irrelevant, inappropriate, or unnecessary, into my game simply because they were neat and they were there. When XP came round I was very wary of scripting in general, eventing was all I knew, and by the time I was on to VX, I had matured enough as a developer that I had fully embraced "less is more".

Which is not to say that the temptation to import and activate plugins that might not be absolutely necessary for my game never strikes me, of course. Yanfly alone created something like 200 plugins, most of which are at least nifty or interesting if not outright cool, even if in many cases the effort of implementing them exceeds the need for them to be in the game. Right now I am considering whether or not to integrate two options, neither of which is strictly necessary, either of which might potentially add to the game, and both of which depend on Yanfly's Item Core/Independent Items.

1. Durability. Weapons and armor have a durability (degrades when used, can be repaired, weapon breaks when hits 0).
2. Upgrade Slots. Weapons and armor can be upgraded to improved versions (Longsword +2) with better stats by using items (FWIW I'll need to do some moderately heavy eventing around this so it works more like a blacksmith you bring things to and less like just finding items you can use to .

I will admit right up front that the initial appeal for these features is that I am replaying some Souls games. Souls games are good, Souls games have the ability to upgrade weapons and imbue them with different properties which is a fun and satisfying mechanic and Souls games have durability and are fun (which doesn't mean durability is fun). But none of this is exactly rational. Rational would be my choice not to use YF's AttachAugments plugin, which is essentially a Materia system, and considering my love of FF7 and Materia, I realize that such a system is the core around which a whole game's mechanics can be designed, not something added as an afterthought to a game that's already in development.

I am talking about my game specifically here but I feel like virtually everything about this conversation should be generally applicable to RPG design, i.e. everyone's games.

If I do try and do this logically, here are the pros and cons as I see them:

  • Durability
  • Pro: adds yet another factor for players to consider when choosing weapons.
  • Pro: fits the 'Low Fantasy' feel I'm going for.
  • Pro: adds another strategic element to battles.
  • Con: some players find repairing items to be a bothersome chore. This is, for instance, why they changed the Smithing skill in Oblivion from something needed to repair and maintain equipment to something you could use to IMPROVE equipment. (In the Souls games, smithing involves both.)
  • Con: is another thing players need to worry/think about in general and might contribute to a sense of being overwhelmed by mechanics.

  • Upgrades
  • Pro: upgrading weapons is fun and satisfying for the general reasons that leveling up your character is. Taking a Morningstar through Morningstar +1 to Morningstar +6 is fun. PCs in my game level up their "parameters" on a set class based progression, get bonus AP with every level gained to spend on their attributes ("parameters") and can spend Essence earned from defeated foes to learn new skills. I think a fourth way of powering up your character would not be overkill.
  • Pro: while the game already has a robust selection of medieval and renaissance weaponry each with their own strengths and drawbacks, this would allow players that got attached to an early game weapon for whatever reason to scale that weapon up rather than needing to switch to a new one.
  • Pro: blacksmiths doing blacksmith stuff makes the world feel more like a world.
  • Con: doesn't quite fit the 'Low Fantasy' feel I'm going for, as I think upgrades will feel a little bit too much like magic, no matter how much I try and contextualize them as smithing and build a nice eventing system around them.
  • Con: In a game where I'm already struggling a bit with battle balance, variably upgraded weapons add another "X-Factor" and another layer of challenge to balance battles around all of the capabilities the PCs might or might not have.
What are your thoughts on these topics good sirs?
 

TheoAllen

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Ignoring a few paragraph because I don't think it's relevant to the discussion and strictly speaking about durability, I dug up some chat in a certain discord because I've discussed this. To put it simply, I would say no to weapon durability.

Screenshot_45.jpgScreenshot_46.jpg
If you believe otherwise, you can try to make a short game where the durability is the main feature you want to test simply by tracking the durability in the game variables.
 

Tiamat-86

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ive never like durability when used for weapons and armor. tools and gathering on the other hand...
weapon/armor are essential to progressing the game, anything that hinders that seems like a bad idea to me because sometimes i like to just pick up and old game and give it an easy playthrough for fun.
side activities that are not required for MS progress, make them interesting it can be fun.
give your pickaxes/hatchets durability, offset that annoyance by eventing in gather chance and yield skills that get better the more use it. instead of upgrading maybe its high-quality crafting system.
maybe lockpicks have a high chance of breaking when no thief in the party.

weapon/armor durability and how you maintain gear only works good when maintenance and menu'ing is the main focus of the game. just slipping it in randomly for adding mechanics never works.
 
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M.I.A.

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I tend to hate durability of equipment. It takes away from better game play aspects, and it's really frustrating when that special-hard-to-obtain weapon/armor BREAKS and is lost FOREVER.

I kinda just ignore durability being a drag in the Diablo series, because it's very.. forgiving.

Upgrading, however, is more acceptable. It ADDS to the game play a bit more. :p

This is all just my opinion though. Hope it helps!
-MIA
 

Redeye

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The thing about the Souls games is that durability is probably the most forgettable mechanic in there. Equipment in Souls degrades fairly slowly, and fully replenish upon resting at a bonfire, thus repairing your stuff is only necessary if they're outright broken, which will very rarely happen, if at all, throughout the course of your playthrough. It's such a negligible mechanic that I'm not sure why they still insist on keeping it. Dark Souls 2 is the only time they decided to make durability matter, and you know what the general population thinks of that game...

Nobody has really ever been able to make a durability mechanic that wasn't tedious. The most "fair" durability system I could maybe come up with is a mechanic that abolishes durability, instead opting for a straight-up upgrade system that boosts the stats of your gear. The catch would be that, through continued use, your upgrades would diminish over time, eventually reducing the piece of gear back to its original stats. This would ensure that the player doesn't feel like they're losing anything, and it would incentivize semi-regular trips to the smithy to upgrade your gear (or usage of some sort of portable tempering kit), rather than the "apply and forget" method that every other upgrade system uses. And, to clarify, upgrade degradation should happen slowly; slow enough that the player really only needs to re-upgrade whenever they pass through a town on their way to the next objective.
 

MetalKing11417

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Durability is a multi faceted thing one needs to consider as it can annoy the player if used wrong. On the other hand, it can be an essential means of balancing a game if used right- say for example the you have it so that loot is randomly generated- durability can be used to make it so that the player doesn't always gravitate to the most powerful items immediately, which may or may not possibly be given to the player rather early in the game under such a system, but instead saves such tools for later on, when less potent gear may not cut it.
 

RachelTheSeeker

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That is a good question, actually! I've considered such for a post-apoc game further down the line, especially with knife durability in the Resident Evil 2 remake. Initially, I was going to agree with the consensus thus far: all gear having durability seems a bad idea if not implemented well. But I have some points to make for and against such a system.

tl;dr before I begin: I think it depends on the genre for durability, both game genre (horror survival, etc) and setting genre (post apocalyptic, prehistoric, etc). Even if used in a dark fantasy game inspired by the Souls series, I think care must be taken to where you can resupply with replacement gear, or otherwise repair your goodies. Bonus round at the end of a fantasy game that handled this well!

Durability worked well in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, and fit the apocalyptic world well. It made sense to come across an excess of salvaged weapons, and to strip them for parts to fix up your main weapons. On top of that ballistic armor is meant to be broken and replaced; soft armor like Kevlar notwithstanding, even composite plates meant to handle high-powered rounds will break after a few good shots at best. So for the most part, it made sense that you'd cobble together your preferred arms and armor from stuff you salvaged or looted from your slain enemies.

Yeah, you could somehow repair baseball bats with baseball bats, and that made no sense. But finding other guns to strip for parts for the ones you wanna use came in handy. New Vegas added the Jury Rigging perk that let you repair weapons with similar ones as opposed to the same base model; any plasma weapon could be used to fix your Plasma Defender pistol, for instance, due to how similar they were. That perk was an innovation that I wish existed in FO3. The fact that Fallout 4 totally ditched the durability system was a letdown, even if FO1, 2 and Tactics never had it.

Onto the topic of classical weapons and armor, however? No gear was invincible, yes. Soft armor such as linen and leather likely had to be repaired or replaced, mail and brigandines could be bested and damaged, and even armor plating could be beaten out of shape. That's part of why the brigandine was so beloved; it was less expensive than plate harness, and could be maintained earlier in wars and mercenary campaigns easier. They might've even been less time-consuming to make than mail for more durability, but don't hold me to that.

Blades and wooden handles broke, yes. This is especially true with primitive cultures (presumably), where weapons of stone or bone might've snapped all the time and were replaced from nature. But by the time of the late medieval period and early Renaissance, metallurgy was advanced enough in Europe that weapons could be found in a variety of qualities. Beyond continental Asia, the Japanese had methods of turning pig iron into blades that suited their needs in their Feudal period. I'm no expert on ancient weapons but I like to say I'm at least an amateur, from the years of watching knowledgeable HEMA practitioners and scholars on the subject yap about weapons, armor and the martial arts that used them.

From what I can gather, I don't think medieval weapons broke often and critically enough to where a durability system would make sense. The closest era that I feel this would make sense in is the classical era (Bronze Age, etc), but even then bronze wasn't as super-weak as some might think. Even if a bronze blade lost its edge or bent out of shape over prolonged use, its relative softness meant it was easy to sharpen, bend back with some metalworking, or even melt down and recast into a new blade.

In yet another pedantic analysis of game mechanics, the plausibility of a durability system lies on what sort of genre your game is set in? If it's a primitive setting or a post-apocalyptic one, I'd totally vouch for this. That said, care must be taken to make sure a player can't easily soft-lock themselves with no gear to use.

So, onto the bonus round! A fantasy game I really liked the durability system in is Dark Cloud and Dark Cloud 2 on the Playstation 2, the sequel also called Dark Chronicle outside of the US. In the original Dark Cloud, all weapons have durability and can be upgraded. Melee weapons only subtract durability when you hit, but ranged weapons do it each time you fire them; melee also subtracted more or less durability against especially hardy or squishy foes, but always reduced at least 1 point. If your weapon hit zero, it shattered and was gone for good.

Each character starts with a low-powered weapon that, while you *could* upgrade it, the weak stats and lack of evolution into other weapon types meant it was always lackluster. But there's a catch: if this weapon ever hit zero durability, it'd break but not disappear and only lose its upgrades. You couldn't use it until you used a Repair Powder to fix it IIRC, and this powder item can also fix other weapons when they are near breaking. This meant you were never without a weapon, even a wimpy one. In Dark Cloud 2 / Dark Chronicle, all weapons obeyed the same rules as default weapons in the original; melee weapons and ranged weapons even had their own repair powder types.

So long story short? I think a durability system can work, and it lends itself more to darker or less-technologically-advanced worlds. Just, as in all things with making a game, it needs to be implemented with care. Heck, even having ammo for a game with guns and what-not is close enough. Let alone the vast majority of JRPGs with MP systems, especially more old-school ones where magic-restoring items might or might not exist.
 
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Andar

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Assuming the game is balanced, then adding durability has exaactly two primary effects - everything else is only wording and details.

The first effect is that durability increases the amount of micromanagement to be done by the player.
The second effect is that durability increases the required balancing work from the developer a lot.

Now you have to ask yourself the question if micromanagement for durability will improve the game or not - and that is depending on what kind of game you're creating.

If your game has a crafting component or something similiar then yes, durability and it's micromanagement is a good addition because it goes to a central game component.
If your game is story-centered, then it would be a bad idea to add durability because it will distract the player from the main parts of the game.
 

HeyItsKidd

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To quote an overused meme, why not both?

Consider a system where upgrades/durability are two sides of the same coin:

This wouldn't necessarily apply to all weapons, but perhaps for a special sub-category of weapons - I'll call 'em "Relics" for now.


These weapons start out as kinda flawed - higher-than-normal attack, but unlike your "standard sword",they have durability. Maybe there are even "special moves" which damage these weapons more than standard attacks.
This introduces a risk-reward factor: players can choose to switch to one of these Relics for certain battles/areas because they do more damage, but their usage has a cost (ie. repair costs) compared to standard weapons.

Throughout the course of the game, you can find certain special smiths/items who can upgrade these weapons to make them powerful AND durable, to the point where putting in enough time/effort makes these weapons into your "Ultimate Weapons."

The reason I'm saying that durability/upgrades could be limited to a specific set of weapons is for three main reasons:

  • Players who dislike durability/upgrade systems can stick to "standard weapons"
  • It'd allow you to experiment with balancing these mechanics without having to upset/redo your entire weapon system and stats.
  • There's an opportunity to tie in lore/word-building stuff, maybe these weapons have their unique properties/systems because they belonged to famous warriors?
Anyway, I apologize for the rambling, but hopefully it'll help!
 

Soryuju

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I think durability systems are often tricky to implement in games because they’re fundamentally a type of penalty. The mechanic itself isn’t inherently “fun,” and more extreme versions can lead to hoarding behavior if they’re designed poorly. The best implementations of durability mechanics are those where durability serves to create some degree of tension in the gameplay while guiding players away from unfun behaviors.

I would generally divide durability systems into two types: those where items break permanently after a certain number of uses, and those where you can repair items an indefinite number of times.

Good implementations of the former system can encourage players to experiment with different builds and tactics, create memorable gameplay moments where the player’s ingenuity gets them out of tight spots, and allow the player to temporarily wield overpowered abilities without destroying the game’s overall balance. But implemented poorly, it will bog down gameplay with micromanagement, cause regular stress and frustration for players, and encourage players to hoard strong/fun items indefinitely instead of actually using them.

Frankly, I think this sort of system is better-suited to survival and survival-horror games rather than traditional RPGs. I also think it often works best with some sort of limited inventory and/or “use it or lose it” mechanics. These supplementary systems push the player to actively use the tools at their disposal rather than hoarding items for later. This gives players an incentive to actually enjoy their strongest/most fun stuff, and managing a limited inventory can be less of a chore if players are constantly consuming their supplies. Having fewer items available at any given time also makes it easier to quickly determine which items they need to deal with their current situation, so the need for micromanagement doesn’t slow down gameplay as regularly.

The latter system, where players can repair gear, is less controversial and generally creates a less intense gameplay experience. But I think the difficulty with this system is finding situations where it’s genuinely useful (for the developer) and fun (for the player). If you’re letting players repair broken gear at a hub, then this mechanic basically just works as a “leash” to get players to go back to the hub every so often. Or if they can repair with consumables in the field, then maybe it’s a currency sink instead. Both of these ends are important, but most RPGs can already achieve them without introducing a repair mechanic. For a classic example, many RPGs encourage players to return to town to heal and replenish MP at inns, and to spend money on resource-replenishing consumables in stores. If you’ve already covered those bases, durability is just another menu chore for players.

Off the top of my head, I see two scenarios where a repair mechanic becomes a meaningful addition to gameplay:

1) You‘re using some type of alternate HP/MP/other resource system where the player’s resources are fully/partially restored or reset between battles. In this case, a repair mechanic would provide a form of long-term resource management for players to consider and be their main reason for returning to the hub.

2) You’re placing hubs far apart (or limiting the number of repair consumables which players can carry) because you want players to be regularly switching which equipment they use and not always using their optimal loadout. I think this sort of system is tough to design effectively, though. It’s something players will naturally struggle against as they try to optimize the uptime of their best items. As such, it can easily lead to undesirable behaviors like hoarding, or overgrinding near the hub until they can trivialize regular encounters even with crappy gear (and then go on to squash bosses with their overstock of powerful items).

As a final point about both types of systems, consider that the presentation of mechanics affects how players will perceive them. For example, say your system causes “broken” weapons to lose power instead of making them unusable. Imagine how players might react to the following two descriptions of the same effect:

“This weapon’s damage is halved after you hit an enemy 10 times.”
vs.

“This weapon deals double damage the first 10 times you hit an enemy.”

Players are less likely to perceive the latter as a penalty, despite the effect being identical. But it will be difficult to achieve this in a system where the weapon simply breaks after X uses.


For your particular case, @CrowStorm, forgive me if I’m off base, but I feel like you don’t yet have a clear vision of what exactly you’re hoping to achieve with a durability system. The “pros” outlined so far are vague and mostly unspecific to your game. Given the risks I’ve outlined above, I would suggest that you hold off on including durability mechanics unless you can come up with clear and specific reasons why your game is better off for having such mechanics.

Including an upgrade system isn’t quite as risky as a durability system. However, I personally don’t feel like linear, vertical stat progression is especially exciting, and if all you’re doing is adding numbers to items, it could turn into feature bloat. In your pro/con considerations, while you’ve listed out some reasons that including upgrades might be nice, I personally don’t believe that any of them are a convincing answer to the question “Does this feature make my game better?”

Consider that every feature has a time budget for implementation and balance, and adding more features takes away time that you could have spent polishing existing ones. As such, I’d suggest spending a little more time thinking about what specifically you’re looking to get out of your upgrade system, what it provides that other progression systems can’t, and why that makes your game better as a whole.

Apologies if my tone came off as harsh toward the end there - that’s not my intention! It’s good you’re already aware of the dangers of feature creep in design, so I just wanted to reinforce that you’re right to be questioning the inclusion of these mechanics. Good luck with it!
 

CrowStorm

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TBC, I realize now that my OP looks like I was considering including EITHER a durability mechanic OR an upgrade mechanic but that wasn't my intent. "Both" and "neither" are also on the table.

Now this got wayyyyyyyy (ayyyyyyyyyyy) more responses than I was expecting so let me try to catch up on all y'all's input.

EDITT:
Ignoring a few paragraph because I don't think it's relevant to the discussion and strictly speaking about durability, I dug up some chat in a certain discord because I've discussed this. To put it simply, I would say no to weapon durability.

View attachment 131113View attachment 131114
If you believe otherwise, you can try to make a short game where the durability is the main feature you want to test simply by tracking the durability in the game variables.
As I espied my fearless team leader Uzuki watching this thread :)), it reminds me to mention that durability mechanics are much more appropriate in a survival/horror game (such as DEX) than in a game that's meant to be a pure power fantasy. Maintaining your weapons so they don't break is a staple feature of survival games, a counter part to conserving your ammo for firearms/ranged weapons. Ergo I would say, for instance, durability has no place in games where you have infinite ammo. it doesn't belong in games meant to feel empowering.

My game is neither meant to be empowering or a struggle to survive. The world is a crapsack world full of terrible things and terrible people and the PCs are pretty badass but with their limitations and anyone can die, GoT style. So it kind of falls right in between.

The thing about the Souls games is that durability is probably the most forgettable mechanic in there. Equipment in Souls degrades fairly slowly, and fully replenish upon resting at a bonfire, thus repairing your stuff is only necessary if they're outright broken, which will very rarely happen, if at all, throughout the course of your playthrough. It's such a negligible mechanic that I'm not sure why they still insist on keeping it. Dark Souls 2 is the only time they decided to make durability matter, and you know what the general population thinks of that game...
Actually I don't. I mean, I'm replaying it right now and having an absolute blast. I think the way that it handles durability is the best out of any BloodSouls game. A youtuber I like, hbomberguy has a video (probably from years ago) that I've yet to watch called "In Defense Of Dark Souls II" and when I saw the title I scratched my head.

For someone that makes videogames, I don't pay a lot of attention to what people think about videogames (besides the ones I make or the ones my friends make). Part of it is that nearly every game journalism website is absolute trash of the worst, most toxic kind. Part of it is that I just don't care. If I'm considering purchasing a game (not something I will be doing any time soon because poverty), I will glance at the reviews and if critics give it a seven or below, I will look at the critical discussion to see what their problem is.

I don't disagree with you about durability being highly forgettable in DS1 + 3. I have no idea why it's in Bloodborne at all considering literally every other design decision made about that game.

Nobody has really ever been able to make a durability mechanic that wasn't tedious.
No one, ever? IMO that's quite a statement. I mean, I JUST said I found DS2's durability mechanic cool. "Wow the stats for this Old Knight stuff are dope, but you can only use it for a few skirmishes before it breaks" and "alright, better switch from my +2 scimitar to my backup rapier, it's almost going to break" are the kind of things I thought while enjoying this system. Just saying this might be a "your mileage may very kind of thing".

The most "fair" durability system I could maybe come up with is a mechanic that abolishes durability, instead opting for a straight-up upgrade system that boosts the stats of your gear. The catch would be that, through continued use, your upgrades would diminish over time, eventually reducing the piece of gear back to its original stats. This would ensure that the player doesn't feel like they're losing anything, and it would incentivize semi-regular trips to the smithy to upgrade your gear (or usage of some sort of portable tempering kit), rather than the "apply and forget" method that every other upgrade system uses. And, to clarify, upgrade degradation should happen slowly; slow enough that the player really only needs to re-upgrade whenever they pass through a town on their way to the next objective.
Please don't take it personally, but this sounds like the worst durability system I have ever heard of. I would be extremely upset to be losing upgrades I had paid for with my hard earned game currency and feel like I was on a treadmill/hampster wheel where just using my weapon was undoing the progress I'd accomplished in upgrading it.
Andar said:
Assuming the game is balanced,
Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

...hahahahahahahahahaha...hahahahahahahaha...balanced...oh man, you kill me...

Sorry, it's just the game is a WIP and hence a long, long way from balanced, and getting it to somewhere around balanced is going to require a lot of work from me and a lot of help from playtesters.

@HeyItsKidd

That's an interesting idea, but when you consider the connotation/implications of the word "Relic", it seems weird that ancient artifacts would disintegrate faster after surviving hundreds or thousands of years. Also something about the general shape of how you describe it as working reminds me more devices expending magical "charges" than their physical condition degrading.

@Soryuju

I would generally divide durability systems into two types: those where items break permanently after a certain number of uses, and those where you can repair items an indefinite number of times.
This is going to be how it works on my game because of simple pragmatism: this is how the plugin works.

I don't see how those things are mutually exclusive. Anyway, how the YF plugin works is that items break permanently after a certain number of uses, but you can repair items an indefinite number of times BEFORE IT BREAKS. Once it breaks, though, it's gone permanently. Unlike, say, Dark Souls 2 where you can pay a blacksmith to repair broken equipment, albeit at a high premium.

Given the risks I’ve outlined above, I would suggest that you hold off on including durability mechanics unless you can come up with clear and specific reasons why your game is better off for having such mechanics.
Well, the main things specific to my game are:

a) Weapons already have a lot of stats to balance around besides sheer attack power, critical rate, hit rate, special powers (like boosts to stats other than attack), ammo consumption for ranged weapons, even the basic way the weapon works (different weapons' attacks are influenced by Strength and/or Agility to various degrees, and some magic wand type weapons fire magical projectiles that deal Insight and/or Spirit based damage), but I do think it would be flippin' cool to add durability to that list of things. In general and in this game in particular I try to design my weapons around the opposite of how they work in Final Fantasy and in RPG Maker by default, where almost every weapon is just a flat, better-in-all-ways version of the weapon in that class that proceeded it. I want players to have lots of strengths and weaknesses to consider when choosing a weapon.
b) Low Fantasy. You might not be familiar with this term, but it is a metagenre/subgenre that informs my game to a fair degree, as does Lovecraftian horror, although the actual genre/subgenre of my game is Dark Fantasy. Low Fantasy vs. High Fantasy: low fantasy is the opposite of "D&D fantasy" which is how I define high fantasy. Magic isn't omnipresent, omnipotent, or the central driving force in the world/plot, plenty of people are still fighting in the mud and blood with swords and hammers and axes and crossbows, ahorse or afoot, and there's generally more influence of "realism" than your standard D&D/JRPG fantasy: bowmen run out of arrows, wounds sustained in battle cause bleeding and possibly even infection, and, it seems to me, having weapons which break if overused fits well into this milieu.

Apologies if my tone came off as harsh toward the end there - that’s not my intention! It’s good you’re already aware of the dangers of feature creep in design, so I just wanted to reinforce that you’re right to be questioning the inclusion of these mechanics. Good luck with it!
No worries. I've been around the block a few times (translation: I have squandered actual decades of my life making RPG Maker games) and consider myself a bit of a combat balance enthusiast myself so I might have some pushback with some of your suggestions or reject some of your hypotheses/premises but I don't think you're being overly harsh. Compared to the average PH of a post of this kind on RMN, you're actually being friendly.

Rachel,
I appreciate your input but I also feel somewhat confused by it as you announced quite publicly that you were putting me on ignore. For reasons I don't understand very well: if you want to PM me with an explanation, that'd be appreciated, but please let's keep any drama out of this thread. My fav. thing is the absence of drama.

Anyway, to protect my own fragile mental health, of course I put you on ignore as you put me on ignore so I was surprised to see this thread had a little "show ignored content" button and to see how in depth the post you made was, once I clicked it.
 
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This conversation has come up once in a while at tabletop RPG groups and forums.

The general consensus is that it's usually not worth the unnecessary tedium.

If you're doing something like survival horror however, where dwindling resources might add to the atmosphere, durability and limited ammunition mechanics can potentially be useful but still have to be handled very carefully.
 

Wavelength

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NOT to Durability!! The mechanic isn't fun, adds complexity without depth (not to mention forces them to pause their action in some way to repair the equipment), and doesn't add anything to single-player games unless you have a pressing need for a gold sink that will burn at the player's wallet all game long (or constantly switch weapons).

Unless you're designing all of your gameplay around this as a core mechanic, leave equipment durability out of your game entirely.
 

The Stranger

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Durability just feels like such an anti-player mechanic to me. It serves very little purpose beyond forcing the player to waste time and money\skill points repairing their gear. Why do weapons break so quickly, are they made of tin foil? I have a similar problem with stupid survival mechanics in games; why is my character hungry every couple of minutes?

Why do you want to implement durability? Is it an integral part of your game? Will it serve as more than just a general annoyance?

If it's just a money\skill point sink for players, then I wouldn't bother with it. Keep the weapon upgrade system idea though, that can be interesting if done right.
 

XPKobold

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For me it depends on the game i know durability worked really well in the SaGa games. mainly the first two GB games and PS1 Saga Frontier 2 considering there was also the infinite use Excalibur/ (FFL2) And the Steel/Quell tools though the former has a penalty to magic.

Though if your going to add durability then your going to need to make equipment that has infinite durability. (Brandish did this.) to balance it out. or a weapon leveling system that as you get better with weapons the durability use decreases till the costs are more manageable.
 

CrowStorm

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You know what, I basically never do this but I'm going to bow to popular demand on this one rather than my personal preference. No durability mechanic for Malleus. : )

This conversation has come up once in a while at tabletop RPG groups and forums.

The general consensus is that it's usually not worth the unnecessary tedium.
Just as a parting thought, though, a durability mechanic in a TTRPG (which I have a more than passing familiarity with, for which read I am an ENORMOUS lifelong D&D nerd) has the additional drawback of the durability needing to be tracked by the players/GM as opposed to in a video/computer game where the program can track durability.

EDIT: Bonus round, how do you guys feel about limited inventory space/carrying weight systems?
 

The Stranger

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I don't find limited inventories as annoying as weapon durability, but it can still p*ss me off. Devs seem to love giving the player a limited inventory, then filling their game with loads of crap (junk items, crafting materials, etc) which takes up space. Oh, and then they don't give you a chest or something in which to store things you want to keep. This sort of limited inventory is the one that really grinds my gears.

I liked the way Skyrim and FO4 handled it. You could pick up more than you could carry, but you couldn't fast travel or run while over encumbered. Both of these games also gave you plenty of storage space. Oh, and FO4 made junk have a purpose beyond just being something you could pick up.

If you give the player a way to store stuff they want to keep, but which they don't want to carry around on them (or just a way to increase carrying capacity), then it's tolerable. I think I'd much rather have limits on each item (5 poitions max, 2 Hi-Potions, that kind of thing) than a general inventory limit, though.
 

CrowStorm

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Here is how the upgrade system is going to work (at least through the first round of playtesting which is coming up soon). This is heavily informed by my favorite series of objectively bad games that I nonetheless love, the Way of the Samurai series.

For a frame of reference, the standard iron longsword the protagonist starts with has an attack power of 10.

Each time you reforge your weapon at the smithy (using up a piece of Haematite Ore), each of the following happens:
+10% Increase to Weapon's Attack.
+1d7 - 1 to each stat the weapon currently gives a bonus to. Some weapons improve Agility or Armor (Defense) or even Insight or Spirit. As weapons' attacks don't always rely on Strength (Atk), for instance most Short Blades derive their damage primarily from Agility, this is more or less necessary
+/-1d5 - 1 to each stat the weapon currently gives a bonus to. This is randomly either a plus or a minus.
-1d3 - 1 to each stat the weapon currently gives a bonus to.
gains suffix of +x, where x is the number of times it's been reforged.

So it's a little bit of a gamble (and obviously I'll make sure the player knows that ahead of time). It is conceivably possible that reforging your weapon could make it worse, but unlikely the way the numbers are skewed (I haven't fully mathed it out but I believe it is heavily slanted towards a positive result). My game uses save points rather than save anywhere so a player would have to go out of their way to save scum this system if they really wanted to.

One cool thing about this system is that I am in no way shape or form balancing against it in terms of enemy defenses. Enemy defenses will be exactly as they were if this system weren't implemented. So any advantage of upgrading your weapons is just that, an advantage, and you receive the full benefit of that advantage, it's not like I'm making every enemy's Armor five points higher or whatever, a +x weapon will always be an edge, not just a way of "keeping up" with the game's difficulty.

By default, weapons can be reforged up to seven times...in theory. In practice, I don't think anyone playing Malleus will have a weapon better than +4 before the free episode's out and the first (or second, or third) non-free episode is up on Steam and (hopefully) earning me income, because I plan on Haematite Orestone being pretty rare, so the player won't have more than one or two pieces of it at a time until later episodes, and that's if they search their environment closely.

***

And man, I need to get out of the habit of having RMW open while I have MV open to work on my game, either that or get over the temptation to talk about games instead of working about them. I mean, I keep it open because I find I very frequently need SOMETHING or other from here, but I should be more disciplined and keep my nose down in editor.
 

The Stranger

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And man, I need to get out of the habit of having RMW open while I have MV open to work on my game, either that or get over the temptation to talk about games instead of working about them. I mean, I keep it open because I find I very frequently need SOMETHING or other from here, but I should be more disciplined and keep my nose down in editor.
I'm exactly the same. xD
 

dragon1up

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Honestly, I am a fan of it but then again it all depends on how well the mechanic is balanced out, is it a chore for the player or not a chore? Do I want it in every single RPG game no thanks but when it fits sure. I like how FE does it because it fits the strategy like battling and managing things, Diablo makes it super forgiving, not a fan on the way BOTW does it though to be fair not the biggest LOZ fan overall.

Personally, for my game demo, it has durability for weapons/amour but you can buy repair kits, of course, it has the following

Small fix: Slightly fixes a weapon or amour (repair) duality by 10)
Weaponry dream: Repairs a weapon by a large amount (repair weapon durability by 30)
Shields ahoy: Repairs an armor piece by a large amount (repair armor by durability by 30)
And lastly One for the team: Fully repairs a weapon or amour piece

In terms of upgrading weapons that do add a good aspect for RPG games in terms of what the player can do with the weapon loadout and armor set load out. That's normally done by facilitating gem slots for example or augmentation gear. So I mostly see it as a positive thing if done correctly which for the most part good RPG games do.
 

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