idea: humanoid enemies always drop their gear

agris

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31/01/2024
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I really like Archaelund. The way exploration, combat and itemization work really harkens back to an earlier era of cRPGs that I remember fondly. When David wrote "Exploration as you remember it" on the steam page, he nailed my experience.

Yet, my inner murderhobo is at unease. One of the core tenets of those old games, especially the Infinity Engine games, was "see that plate armor and axe he's wearing? kill him and you can loot it".

That dynamic is addictive in a good way, and I feel like it's lacking in Archaelund. The first time I killed the bandit leader guarding the female prisoner, for the Three Wanderers quest, I was really disappointed I didn't get the mino's axe. That thing was huge! And when I kill bandits wearing metal armor and find that all that has dropped is some leather boots, it's disappointing.

So here are some suggestions:
- Make humanoid enemies drop whatever gear they are fighting with
- reduce the value of the gear by 10x. Bandit group equipped in leather hauberk and brigandine? it sells for 8 and 20 crowns, respectively (or something like that)
- keep the high value currently associated with rare/unique weapons (Darksteel, Silvery Mace, Seafarer's Sword etc)

One of the biggest disadvantages of this method is that, without proper consideration of value and item type, it can make the game easier. But it doesn't have to, that is governed by implementation. The earliest bandits you encounter can have their arms and armor be of the rusty variety. Red Axe bandits seem like they would have a mix of iron and steel, but they are more difficult so that is appropriate.

One of the biggest advantages of this method of itemization is that it forces the designer to 'play fair' with the gear loadout of the enemies. Knowing that equipping an easy enemy with chainmail and steel weapons means that the player has access to those things more easily - so don't do that!

If game difficulty is, in part, tuned by rarity of common items, that's an indication something may be off with how you're approaching difficulty. Enemy party composition, AI, environmental restrictions/hazards, these are the knobs that good designers turn to provide challenge - not making rusty mail a unique item.

At the end of the day, do you help the leader of the Red Axes kill their rival? Or do you kill her because you're a good for nothing dirty murderhobo and she's wearing plate? These are the real questions we want players asking themselves, and the game's itemization can be adapted to support it without making the game easier.

It worked well in Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, Fallout 1, Age of Decadence, Dungeon Rats and Colony Ship; I think it can work here.
 
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DavidBVal

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Yep, this is something I will likely add when I rebalance economy after some crafts are added. Loved those dozens of banded mails in Pool of Radiance. I don't discard doing it in the future, because I agree it adds a lot of realism. But for now I decided against, because it would overburden players with more inventory management, and would make the economy harder to balance.

One of the ideas I had is, making lower quality armor often "cracked" as loot, but via crafting you can fix them back, or use the smith's services.

Also please note that, regardign realism, it can be considered that gear can become ruined during the battle, or be of worthless quality, or be so custom-fitted that they can't be looted.
 

agris

New Member
Joined
31/01/2024
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4
Yep, this is something I will likely add when I rebalance economy after some crafts are added. Loved those dozens of banded mails in Pool of Radiance. I don't discard doing it in the future, because I agree it adds a lot of realism. But for now I decided against, because it would overburden players with more inventory management, and would make the economy harder to balance.

One of the ideas I had is, making lower quality armor often "cracked" as loot, but via crafting you can fix them back, or use the smith's services.

Also please note that, regardign realism, it can be considered that gear can become ruined during the battle, or be of worthless quality, or be so custom-fitted that they can't be looted.
Great news. Completely agree on damaged, cracked, worn, etc variants to help balance the economy. I believe Tim Cain said he wished he had done that in Fallout 1, but they ran out of time. Then in Fallout 2 they abandoned the approach all together.

Recently, Iron Tower Studios implemented enemies dropping worn items in their scifi cRPG Colony Ship, with implants. They're always damaged when you 'extract' them from fallen combatants, but if you have a high enough biology skill, the player can repair them and use them. And different implants have different skill requirements to repair, much like how repairing leather padding should probably be easier than full plate, or an iron mace vs darksteel.
 

Darteous

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18/11/2020
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So then will the damage at times be conditional? If I redo a fight because I want to get an item and have it not be damaged beyond repair will I be able to use arrows and fireballs on said enemy character to have it be received in repairable condition?
 

DavidBVal

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So then will the damage at times be conditional? If I redo a fight because I want to get an item and have it not be damaged beyond repair will I be able to use arrows and fireballs on said enemy character to have it be received in repairable condition?

Too early to consider details at this point.
 

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