Ways to Make Equipment viable throughout a Game

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by PixelHeart, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. PixelHeart

    PixelHeart The Pixel Heartist! Veteran

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    I dont know about you but it feels kind of tedious to me making so many items, mainly equipment, that only end up being used for one span or section of a game, or until something "better/stronger" comes along. That weapon you found way in the back of an out of the way dungeon that has an added effect that can one-hit most normal enemies might seem pretty sweet... until later when you realize its pretty weak against newer enemies and its effect dosent activate often enough to outclass the weapons they're readily selling at the new towns store which are almost twice a powerful. It would have been great if that sweet one-hit-KOer could have somehow scaled so as to be useful later in the game, right?

    At this point in MVs life, there probably is a plugin out there that can do this, but as someone who's lite on the programming aspect of gamedev, I like to find ways to do things without plugins, at least at the present time. The best way I can think to make weapons in MV sort of scale as the player advances in the game is to, instead of giving the weapon an attack rating, give it an attribute that increases the actors stats by a percentage, and giving the weapon/armor special effects that might make the weapon/armor more attractive than another depending on the situation.

    Have any of you given any thought about this subject? What solutions have you come up with? Do you think its unnecessary? Why?
     
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  2. AfroKat

    AfroKat Villager Member

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    FFX did it differently where the equipment would have slots, and those slots had random effects and not just stat boosts.

    Ex: sword gives you Str+3%, another sword gives you Thunder damage on hit, sword C gives you Counterattack.

    Ex: Sword gives yiu Pierce ignoring the defense of armored enemies, sword gives you sensor which tells you the HP of all enemies and elemental wealnesswe.

    So there's alot of options and it's just what you need at the moment. Of course later in the game you could customize it adding on effects to weapons.
     
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  3. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    What you propose is what FFX did. The weapons and armor gave no stats by themselves, they instead had slots which you could add things like DEF + 10% or immune to Poison. Of course, this does mean that you could every easily complete the entire game with the weapons you start with if you wish as well.
     
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  4. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    Honestly I find it completely normal that as you progress, equipment will become stronger, meaning that everything you got previously will get less and less relevant. A wooden sword bought at the beginning of the game shouldn't be strong in the endgame. Now, there are still ways to make past weapons/armors relevant without making them strong in battle:
    • Crafting: You could have a crafting system that takes weapons and upgrade them, or fuse two weapon into a stronger one.
    • Learning skills: this is a pretty classic system, but a system where you learn skills/abilities that are on weapons is a good way to make less powerful weapons relevant.
    • Weapon Slots: Like @bgillisp said.
    • Parameter oriented equip: this is pretty straightforward too. If a character uses physical skills and magic spells, he'll need both ATK and MAT. You could have some of his weapons give more ATK, others giving more MAT, and others being quite balance. That way, depending on the build the player wants to use, he'll have different weapon sets.
     
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  5. PixelHeart

    PixelHeart The Pixel Heartist! Veteran

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    @MushroomCake28 , @bgillisp, @AfroKat - Wow. I mean, I kind of remember FFX.... mostly being bad at it, lol. But its crafting/slot system for weapons is kind of hazy to me. Anyway, unless you know of some tricks Im not aware of, crafting, learning skills and weapon ability slots all sound like things that you might need a plugin for. I mean, unless I set up an epicly complex event that swapped out items depending on what upgrades were being made/were being put in a slot. I think theres something like that on the forums somewhere, but even it used a bit of scripting. I dunno, is there a way to add an attribute to a weapon and only that one instance of a weapon in MV?
     
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  6. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    Well plugins would probably be best for that unfortunately. Although you could get away with only events for crafting, it's just going to take a lot of conditional branches.
     
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  7. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    You don't even need a plugin to make weapons scale, you just need to use a damage formula that allows for it. Between having weapons that have roughly the same attack power, but different properties, you can have a game where the combat strategy involves using the right weapon for the right situation vs the standard "replace the Copper Sword with the Iron Sword" system seen in most RPGs.

    Check out the Epic Battle Fantasy series, because that's exactly how it handles weapons. Some weapons are non-elemental, some drain hp, some are elemental and boost certain elements, some have secondary on-hit effects, some have between-round effects, some apply status ailments, some grant resistances, and the list just goes on. Almost every weapon (and armor) is useful from beginning to end in the right circumstances.

    Edit: That said, the game I'm currently working on sort of does that. There's a climb in weapon power at first, but toward the later part of the game, the weapon strength curve evens out and the choices become more about tactics than about straight upgrades. I even have some weapons that scale with stats (think FF6's Atma Weapon) so they could potentially be used from start to finish without unbalancing anything.
     
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  8. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    While I do see some positives for having weapons that Scale throughout a game, I personally think it allows players to get used to a single piece of equipment and stick with it for the whole game - which means that equipment is no longer a compelling thing to find/earn as you play the game.

    (It also means that equips are no longer a good gold sink, meaning the players should need to spend their money in other places in order to make money useful at all.)

    A good way around this could be that equipment has fixed stats, but its special effect can be taken from it (perhaps by destroying the equip) and placed onto another piece of equipment (either replacing that equip's special effect, or adding to it up to a limit).
     
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  9. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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

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    TBH I find needing to change equips as you progress a pretty fine thing. Its one of the easiest to implement progression system in an RPG..

    Normal flow of rpgs, especially traditional jrpgs is that as you go along, you fight stronger enemies and as such the player also needs to be stronger, and the normal ways to so that is via levels and equipment.

    Before changing it or deciding how to change it, ask yourself first what's the purpose of what you're trying to do. You also need to think how it will tie up to the other systems in place in your game. You cannot just do something in order to be "different".

    If the difference in power between the last dungeon weapon and the next city weapon is huge, maybe your weapon stats just need rebalancing, not changing the way weapons work altogether. This is especially true if the said weapon is only obtained at the last point in the dungeon.

    There's also the case of money, yes the next city weapon might be way stonger but can you buy it right away? If you can (without actually grinding beforehand), then again that's just a matter of balancing problems.

    As a player, if I dont need to change weapons thru the game, then I dont need to care about weapons altogether anymore, so then why do I even have them in the first place?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
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  10. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    You'd need a system where different weapons provide different strengths and weaknesses, rather than a hierarchical set of stat buffs. You could still have progression within this too, though. For example:

    Rapier: +50% damage against enemies weak against pierce
    Saber: +50% damage to enemies weak against slash
    Mace: +50% damage to enemies weak against blunt
    Dagger: +25% damage against enemies weak against pierce; automatically critically strikes when the target is debuffed
    Warhammer: -20% agility, +100% damage to enemies weak against blunt
    Estoc: +40% damage to enemies weak against pierce; ignores 25% of target's armor
    Icebrand: your attacks chill the target, reducing their agility by 25% for 3 turns
     
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  11. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Similar to the above, another approach would be something like this, provided you have elemental strength/weakness transparency in your game so it isn't an annoying guessing game:
    • Steel Sword: Baseline weapon with no specific strengths or weaknesses
    • Firebrand: atk x0.8, Fire elemental, boots fire skill damage, may cast Fire with basic attack
    • Frostblade: atk x0.8, Ice Elemental, boots ice skill damage, may cast Ice with basic attack
    • Defender: atk x0.6, def x1.5
    • Blood Sword: atk x0.7, mag x0.7, def x0.8, mdf x0.8, 30% of damage as HP drain
    • Giant Slayer: atk x1.3, agi x0.5, damage vs giants x2.5
    • Blade of Ruin: atk x2.5, def x0.5, mdf x0.5, spd x0.5, hp x0.3, HP regen -10% per turn, critical hit rate +30%
    • Rune Sword: atk x0.6, mag x1.5, mdf x1.2
    And soforth. Every weapon listed here could be useful in some way from the beginning all the way to the end due to the multiplicative nature of the stats.
     
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  12. atoms

    atoms Veteran Veteran

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    While I think what
    @jonthefox and @Aesica

    Both shared are good approaches to this, and in @Aesica case % based may work better than stats for your game, I still think people are underestimating simple stats as well.

    I.e.

    Sword 1 Defending Sword Via HP - Increases HP by 250 (meaning can take 2 more hits) but ATK is +5 MATK +2
    Sword 2 Magic Attack Sword but decent Attack too - ATK is +15, MATK is +30
    Sword 3 Defending Sword 2 - DEF +25 ATK +5 MATK +5 HP +100
    Sword 4 Critical Hit Sword and IF use LUK for other formula then LUK sword too - LUK +30 Critical Hit +15%
    Sword 5 Attack Sword - ATK +30 MATK +4

    Which would you choose? I'm not saying I've done a perfect job with balance here and the maths, but just increasing certain stats can make each weapon have it's own advantage and disadvantage too.

    If you do it right, it can still be fun to equip anything and you can try different custom builds and enjoy them.

    My example is rushed, so of course it'd have to be tested to make sure there's a good reason to equip any that you'd prefer over one that is most powerful, but if done right, there you go, something interesting with simple stats.
     
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  13. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    Oh, yes of course.

    Depends on the nature of the game, if it's linear like many JRPG, I can see why mushcake see it as not a problem, but my guess is the reason it's because of it's the "tradition" of the said RPG genre. If the nature of your game is more open, then the open possibility of the equipment is encouraged. i.e, the equipment set dictates on how you play the character instead of replacing the old one. For example, if you want to build a character to be a tanker, then you give equipment that let it survive the attack, but with the drawback that they won't do deal much damage than the one that is equipped with damage dealing equipment.

    As for my solution, granted I'm only developing a simple dungeon crawler so not much equipment interaction. Since my characters are story driven (they will not change weapon and armor), the equipment slot is only accessories, two slots for each of them. Those slots can change their playstyle by the artifact through the game.

    These are planned accessories. Some had been made, some are still in the draft (even the name are subject to change), because they're unique, you can only have two of these in one character.
    • Cloudwing Boots: Start the battle with Mirage Effect (evade all attack from a single attack instance from an enemy), additionally 25% chance to get another mirage effect after getting hit.
    • Phoenix Feather: Start the battle with immunity. Leaves 1 HP once per battle (The buff can be dispelled)
    • Arkarine Rod (Free accessory that you unlock by progressing the game): Start the battle with at least 10 AP, regenerate 1 more AP per turn.
    • Blue Lantern (Free accessory): Increase all allies defense by 5% when equipped to one of the party members. Reduce 25% of the map damage effect (like map hazards, floor damage, etc)
    • Spartan Helm: Immune to stun. Additionally if enemy tries to stun the character, the enemy gets stunned instead (Note: Including state that prevents the actor from moving more than 1 turn like paralyze, but the enemy will always get the regular stun, not paralyze)
    • Spatial Hourglass: 10% Chance to reset all skill cooldown after getting hit.
    • Glass armor: Damage that is reduced by the armor rating will be reflected back to the enemy as long as the armor is not broken.
    • Emeth emblem: Recovers 10% armor HP per turn
    • Circlet of perception: More likely to hit the upper damage variance
    • Yggdrasil Seed: Regenerate 10% HP, additionally prevents turn based damage like burn/poison from damaging (It nullify the HP regen instead)
    • Vanguard Emblem: Armor rating increased by 5% at the end of the enemy attack, capped at 25%. Last until next turn (wears off if not get an attack)
    • Ethereal Gem: attack ignore 5% of the enemy armor rating (or maybe 10% instead)
    • Astral Cube: At the start of the battle, the user gains a 50% HP barrier based on current HP. Last for 3 turns or until broken.
    • Devil's Knuckles: Gain 20% chance to react to the enemy (i.e, counterattack)
    Those accessories description is a side effect. They also increase your stat. Some increase HP, some in your attack, etc. So they're all still a stat boost acc with (a kinda broken) side effect.

    It's again, depends on the nature of the game. I honestly don't mind the standard progressing like some equipment become obsolete as you progress. It still can give you a sense of progression and I personally like it. I can sense that I become stronger.
     
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  14. Szebron

    Szebron Warper Member

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    Giving weapons percentage bonuses, instead of flat bonuses will work well, but if your characters have predefined stats and stats growths, this is gonna' simply make some weapons objectively better on some characters then others(High xATK sword on high ATK character). You can make it Dark Souls way, with all weapons being(ideally) balanced, each with a different role(and for RPGMaker games I think flat stat bonuses would work better, giving an option to reduce character weaknesses or magnify strengths) and simply upgrade system from +0 to +10 for example. This would require a lot of database copying or plugin though.
    Also if your game is standard linear JRPG you're probably better off with the standard progression system, with potential money dump and a greater feeling of reward, when you find Lava Sword in secret room and proceed to kill Ice Elemental boss with it.

    Edit: Also you can do it Valdis Story(great, underrated game BTW) style with a weapon upgrade tree, only a couple of weapons per character in the game(ideally balanced one unlocked from the start, more specialized unlocked from exploration/side quests, rather early on), but with ability to choose their development.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
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  15. DJK1NG_Gaming

    DJK1NG_Gaming Villager Member

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    I got rid of them in my game because I got tired of coming up with different armors and gears. Also got tired of managing them.
    Leaving just Weapon and Accessory.
    With having the Weapon give the stats boost through Orbs that you attach to them.
    Sort of like the Junction System. I also only create 4 weapons per party members with the stronger weapons have more slots to use.

    So it a combination of Junction & Materia. Materia for the slots and Junction for the stats boosting like HP+80% or STR+20%.
     
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  16. Doktor_Q

    Doktor_Q I'm not a real doktor, but I am a real Q Veteran

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    If you're specifically looking to make the specific weapon stay relevant through the game, you could always go for literal upgrades- off the top of my head, characters in Wild ARMs 3 have the same weapons from start to finish, but you can spend money and materials to upgrade them for better stats.

    Whether this is just a linear power upgrade or a complex customization system is a matter of your preference and the game's balance.
     
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  17. Tayruu

    Tayruu slate furry thing Member

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    In one project I don't have equipment at all. (That is, it's locked.) The focus is instead of equipping skills, one (or not) being a passive that affects element/ailment defence. This avoids the issue of maintaining equipment that's merely tiny incremental boosts.

    In another project however, I *do* have equipment. And while over time I've changed the design to less and less slots, this thread does have me consider the need to make enough equipment with different passive effects to give the player a sense of choice, that makes the decision to or not to upgrade equipment seem more purposeful.
    This would probably mean making about 3 different weapons or armours per "level" of upgrade? Which might also mean making weaker equipment worthwhile to fall back on sometimes, especially if say there's only 6-8 "levels" of armour. (Still means I might be making something like 48 different armours to cover each piece, level, character...)

    Personally I see two problems with maintaining/designing equipment: that it's essentially a moneysink that gives minor boosts that could be just a part of levelling up, and that it's possible for there to be a "right" choice when it comes to selecting an elemental defence (of, e.g, 3) for the part of the story you're up to.
    In Radiant Historia the former was especially noticeable as I found myself skipping out on buying new equipment every second/third shop because I couldn't afford to constantly upgrade things, and I wasn't sure how much I needed to. In Shin Megami Tensei IV, there was the worry about buying the "right" elemental armour for a location, although it may have solved this by making enemies in a location use elements from each armour's weakness.
     
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  18. Harosata

    Harosata Dramatic Lightning's BFF Veteran

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    Smash Bros Ultimate's Power system seemed interesting as having more power makes fights easier but reduces rewards and vice versa. So what I'm thinking is that you have equipment that boosts Power (some with debuffs) while you have equipment that are good skills but have low Power. And of course it goes without saying that a mix of hard enemies and good loot should ideally make the player balance between power and rewards.

    Also, synergy like Hearthstone can help. For example, an Alchemist has a First Aid Kit that has a 50% chance to not consume the potion. A weak effect by itself, but if you later find a Mixing Kit (consume all potions in one turn) and a Molotov Kit (Deal damage to random enemy per potion consumed), that Alchemist can do big damage for more than one turn.

    Of course, another way is the Trial of Style from Warcraft. As a party of 6, you have 2 minutes to change your style based on the current theme (example: Zen), and over 8-9 rounds, members will choose between the two members currently on stage. Obviously, whoever gets the most votes is more likely to get the top-3 spots. Algorithms would be involved, but having a fashion-show mini-game is an interesting way to dig out old armors.
     
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  19. kairi_key

    kairi_key Veteran Veteran

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    There are mentioning of using Accessories above which I'm also thinking of.

    The idea I can think of is a toned down version of FFX. Instead of equipment having slots, each equipment has fixed property to it with no real progressing in quality. It's like, instead of it being traditional equipment, think of every piece of equipment as accessories type that can add bonus to your base stats. Equipment either give you atk+10%, HP+10%, attack*2 times, statuses resistances, element on attack, enable the usage of skills and so on, like what you expect from accessories.

    I'm thinking of something like this, you're venturing a forest dungeon. Enemies are fond of poison and weak to fire. You're given a choice to either equip item that give you fire element on attack or item that give you resistance to poison. Normally you may be able to equip both, but one equipment slot is now occupied by a story-based key item that must be equipped all time during this particular quest.

    And to make it more interesting, you could give some equipment be a set. Equip items that complete a set can give you some good passive skills, but there is also another equipment piece that give you greater stat boosts. Now you have to choose between equipping cool set of equipment to get the passives or sacrifice the set for one good stats boost.
     
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  20. LycanDiva

    LycanDiva Villager Member

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    A devious little idea that I had years ago is a crafting system where, in order to get everyone's ultimate equipment, you need their starting equipment...which is not available in any of the game's shops. Instead, there is a pawn shop where the team sells all of their used equipment, and the price to buy it back increases with the number of levels gained between the sale and the buy-back. So, in order to get the ultimate gear, the player would either need to hold onto their party's starting gear for the whole game or (as would be the case for a player on their first playthrough without the benefit of any prior forewarning or a strategy guide) buy back the starting gear for an ungodly amount of cash for something they could have gotten much cheaper if they had been more of a packrat. It's sort of my own twist on the annoyingly difficult and out-of-the-way quest for the Infinity +1 Sword...
     
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