Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by lohenien, Dec 1, 2015.
How many different versions of a weapon or armor do you prefer in games?
Personally, I LOVE a game with a huge variety of weapons and armors, even better if they're all slightly randomized/different in stats, like in the Diablo series.
Whenever games have a loot system where as a player, I could grind out armors and weapons to find that "rare" Bronze Attack of MEGA DOOM or whatever, it adds so much dept for me as a player.
It depends on the type of game.
If it's a roguelike or a dungeon crawler or in general a standard western rpg where you make your characte (or your whole party) from scratch, then variety is a necessity to help you flesh out the character you desire.
But if it's a standard jrpg with fixed characters with a preset personality ecc... I only consider it a form of fake longevity (this is the kind of game that tends to have "ultimate weapons" anyway). Usually, in these games, this kind of idea only clutters your inventory and wastes time with its micromanagement for little to no gain at all. I suppose some variety could work here as well, but not as much as with westerns/roguelike/dungeoncrawler/ecc..
To cut it short:
For WRPG: A lot.
For JRPG: A few.
I think I might be somewhere in the middle, but tending towards the "fewer" end of the spectrum, rather than the "more".
Particularly where money is not abundant, it's asking a lot of the player to be able to guess which of the 9 axes they could buy (but can't afford more than one) is the best, given that they all do somewhat different things, and each of them might be the one that has the element that the boss might be weak to. What tends to happen is that many players grind away so that they can get a least a couple of them, and then they hope that what's ahead will be weak to plague, or shot to pieces by ice. Some of the choices presented sometimes seem to be there more to demonstrate the inventiveness of the developer rather than for the benefit of the player.
I've played games where I've had to make this sort of choice and then found myself in deep trouble because i picked the wrong one, or found that at the next shop is the weapon I really needed, but now can't afford.
I don't care if it's a lot or a few, provided that the majority of items available are things I can actually see a use for, rather than inconsequential upgrades or weapons that just aren't as useful as other weapons.
Bad Idea :::
I don't mind if there's ten thousand different weapons in a game, but, there are ways that people make and name their weapons that I hate! this is what I don't like to see :::
- Toy Sword + 1 Atk (why does a warrior carry around a Toy sword?)
- Wood Sword +2 Atk
- Brass Sword + 3 Atk
- Bronze Sword + 4 Atk
- Iron Sword + 5 Atk (boring....)
- Gold Sword + 11 Atk (predictable...)
Osmium Sword + 16 Atk (seriously?)
Uru Sword + 30 Atk (Now you're just stealing!)
Good Idea :::
This is what I'd rather see :::
- Arming Sword + 1 Atk. + 1 Def.
- Longsword +2 Atk. + 10% Critical Rate.
- Rapier +2 Atk. + 25% Counter Attack.
- Spatha + 3 Atk. - 50% Evasion.
- Cold Steel + 5 Atk. Cold Element.
- Butterfly Effect + 10 Atk. Missing an attack increases Critical chance by 100%.
- Tizona +30 Atk. Legendary Firebrand. Fire Element. Attacks set enemies on fire.
there are two things that make the second list better than the first.
1) Weapons that aren't named after just base elements that are gradually stronger than the other. Making such a linear naming pattern may seem easy and simple to remember, and its way faster, but it is boring, and gets old fast. treat your player's intelligence with more respect please and trust us to not immediately get turned off because our first weapon isn't named 'Rusty Sword'
2) Each weapon doesn't just add a slight increase in attack. Each weapon actually offers something useful. you could get offered the Longsword, Rapier, and Spatha at the same store at the same time, and make it just cheap enough to afford two of them. All three weapons are no more or less useful than the others and you can even encourage player experimentation by allowing them to try out several weapons or armors before settling on one.
Sure, the Ultimate weapon is a little...ultimate, that's its purpose! Those things should be special!
You can also consider the weapons can have malus to compensate a nice upgrade to a Stats.
In this way, make equipment more strategic.
The above post from Chrispy is a great example of a standard problem found in JRPGs. Alternatively, WRPGs have a similar issue where most weapon types are useless compared to a best in slot item. In the end, it depends on the type and tone of the game. Weapon upgrades should feel rewarding and make players excited, while also being timed for difficulty increases.
Different weapon types generally fall outside of the JRPG scope and don't fall in line with the tone of most games.
Delicate balancing is needed for a game in which different weapon types are available for characters to use. Here is a good read on balancing and RPG from an Obsidian game designer: http://kotaku.com/how-to-balance-an-rpg-1625516832?trending_test_two_f&utm_expid=66866090-68.hhyw_lmCRuCTCg0I2RHHtw.5&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fkotaku.com%2Fhow-to-balance-an-rpg-1625516832%3Ftrending_test_two_f
Bad: you have a lot of choices but no idea about what would be the right choice, and the game punishes you harshly if you make a 'wrong' choice
Good: you have a lot of choices and no one is totally superior to the other, they all have situational value (and it's very clear and intuitive and doesn't require intricate knowledge of a complex combat formula) but ultimately the choice you make is more about a preferred combat style/strategy.
If you're confident you can do the "good" version, then I say go for it...otherwise, I'd steer away from having too many different pieces of equipment for purchase.
As long as the weapons have an actual impact on your characters statuses and makes a difference against enemies (at least one type) from other weapons I think it's fine.
I really don't like when games force the player to change weapons for measly status increases or one-time utility.
I've worked my game to minimize the overall amount of equipment by allowing the player to customize them to their liking. With this setup I can have as little as 5 per weapon/armor type while extending the life cycle of each individual piece.
Though to be frank, it primarily depends on the game type.
Dungeon Crawlers and such tend to have a larger array of weapons to choose from as both a form of rewards and restrictions whereas games like Epic Battle Fantasy gives each individual character about a dozen or so weapons with unique differences between each piece.
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