Upcoming Poll: Item Variety and Inventory

Lark

Adventurer
MSC Developer
MSR Developer
Lead MSR Developer
Dec 30, 2009
36
20
Oregon
Hi all, and a quick shout out to @Thothie for setting up this board. I wanted a public discussion forum partly to share MS:R-related progress without polluting the MS:C board, but mostly to poll the community for ideas on core gameplay elements as I'm working on them. I think this is a good way to keep the community engaged, and increases the likelihood of having a finished product everyone wants to play.

The first poll will be focused on items and inventory. Keep in mind this is a MS:C successor, so I'm not looking for suggestions on Look-and-Feel (per se) or making a modern, flashy UI (e.g., Destiny, Borderlands, etc). I'm more interested in functionality (in Destiny's case, see: Context-driven UI). Also, please don't get lost in a Drop-Rate Discussions rabbit hole.

Also note the title: Upcoming Poll. I want to give people enough time to offer up ideas/suggestions before the poll opens, which will be a new post in 24-48 hours, and the poll will be open indefinitely (or closed for a new, updated poll to be posted and take its place, if needed).


Now, on to Item Variety that will drive the Inventory design. I've offered a few examples of what approach to take:

- Classic RPG (MS:C): Low item variety. Common drops/gold from monsters, leading up to Boss Fights (or hidden secret chests) with a chance at a handful of decent loot that unlocks progression to harder maps/content.
- Elder Scrolls-style: High variety (includes junk), Scaled loot. Items of various quality can be found anywhere - including random barrels - even in low-level areas (scaled by player/party level)
- Action RPG (Diablo, Borderlands): Very high item/mod variety. Fast-paced combat, fight dozens of monsters at a time that drop gold and items of various quality (huge loot tables) that lead to Elites/Bosses with increased drop rates and unique items.
- Some combination of the above

THIS CHOICE FACTORS DIRECTLY INTO GAMEPLAY AND INVENTORY IMPLEMENTATION! If it's MS:C-style, with a relatively low amount of overall items, a simpler Inventory would suffice. But if there's dozens of different items found all over the place, either the inventory gets cluttered, or I would have to get creative with an inventory filter/context system now (or break down items into crafting components?)

I personally prefer a combination of the above, with a focus on low base item variety, but with scaled loot and several item mod/enchant/customization options. What do you think?
 
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Uberzolik

Adventurer
Sons of Babel
Alpha Tester
Jan 24, 2013
188
21
personally have a much stronger preference for the classic rpg style stuff. while i dont really mind diablo-style stuff i do find it kinda annoying to be hoping for good stat rolls on weapons (destiny 2 has an even worse case of this where all weapons feel kinda meaningless outside exotics, and then exotics are... basically classic rpg style lol)

that said, i reckon the loot style might be strongly affected by map availability, as there has to be enough room to distribute items equitatively (to not wind up with msc's current situation where everything tunnels to a few maps). might be worthwhile to factor this in.

i doubt ive played as many rpgs as other people though, so i wouldnt weigh my opinion too heavily
 

zeus9860

Adventurer
Blades of Urdual
Crusaders
The True Followers of the Lost
Alpha Tester
Feb 28, 2008
2,567
16
27
lolwut
Might have gone overboard with this post, ah well.

Classic RPG style is the way to go, the other two involves alot of inventory management which pisses me off honestly. Becomes an issue when you reach a point where inventory space is very small and you have your entire inventory with items you don't want to get rid off because: rarity/usefullness or even perfect roll.

Enchantment system (could be somewhat grindy in the long run, as you progress higher in the tiers, the harder it should be to achieve higher enchantments, meaning you spend more time playing to earn materials used here)
Make the classic way, create an enchantment system that lets users apply magic properties to weapons with random values that add up to a higher value than the base item, thus making them slightly different/better than the normal versions (eg: shortsword imbued with fire becomes a flaming shortsword), use said system to alternate how damage attributes impact the game, if said shortsword does 10 points of damage in the normal state, the flaming one should be doing at least 5-6 points of non enchanted damage and again 5-6 points of fire damage. With a chance to apply burn. If you consider a system like this, please try to avoid the entire idea of having to recharge your stuff every couple of hits, hate that stuff. I would rather have slightly more expensive enchantment options vs recharging stuff constantly. If necessary, apply tiers to the enchantment system with adjectives (eg: weak, mild, mediocre, strong, perfect, mythic, legendary, ancient, etc). Example, you enchant the "shortsword" into a "weak flaming shortsword". Repeat the process to get stronger enchantments that are also more costly.

PS: Do not restrict enchantments into a player only activity within towns, enchantments should also be found at random in the world while playing, directly enchanted items as drops or accessories used to enchant items.

Smithing system (i would suggest this being a mediocre grindy thing, not entirelly annoying but doable as you play)
This idea is simply to improve your gear, based on a tier system for every single item you have or find. Essentially, each item should have the option to level it up through smithing. The way i suggest such a system to be implemented is: when you use your items, they slowly gain experience, every once in a while you have the option to use the smithy to "repair", the repair option essentially makes the items obtain the experience and eventually level up a tier. The idea with this system is to have for example, a lvl 5 weapon be able to level up to lvl 9 with 4 additional tiers. This completly nullifies the need of having items between specific power gaps. I would suggest to limit tiers to 4, so items would not become equals to the next best tier of items, but would be somewhat relevant if max tiered (tier 4, in other words the item would end with #4 or #9 requirement instead of #0 or #5).
With this in mind, weapon requirement should always be 5-10-15-20-25-30-etc, with the only exception of the starter gear, there should be training gear at level 1, that could be boosted up to 4.

Alchemy system (perhaps dismantling makes more sense)
This system is to help the player gain his own wealth in due time, alchemy should be used purely to increase ones wealth when you reach that point where obtaining multiple drops is pointless, unless you are to implement a stats system for items (more on this after alchemy suggestion). The idea here is to have the possibility of converting items into currency or materials used for other purposes. Maybe both options would be good, turn items into gold or materials, which could be used in other tasks such as enchanting items or creating new ones.

Item stats system (kinda iffy on this one)
Another suggestion, i'm usually not into these things since it overcomplicates loot management but it could work out if said system isn't too relevant and is instead something minor, heck even cosmetic if necessary. Essentially the idea is to have each item have specific attributes/bonuses that could be randomized a little, to give that sense of finding the "perfect roll" or "god roll". This is a looter kind of approach, if you consider this, do keep in mind to keep it toned down.

Forging system
This one is meant to be used to pile up materials into better ones. For example, you destroy 5 shortswords and get 5 iron out of them, you could use these 5 iron in the forging to create the next best tier material, in this case, let's consider the next best tier to be steel. So you forge these 5 iron into 1 steel (random values, just trying to get the point across). Perhaps add a fail rate when the materials are of lower quality, to avoid people stocking up on crap and forging their way up to better materials. (eg: initial fail rate for lowest material is 50%)

Inventory system
I don't really care about how the UI looks, the thing that matters to me the most is the simplistic approach to the UI. Too much information when you open your inventory to me = very bad, it should be straightforward and if possible not a clusterfuck of confusion. My advice is to have the good old inventory window with multiple tabs on the side, tabs should be something like from top to bottom: "Favorites" "Equipped" "Inventory" and perhaps a "Bank" tab that is accessible in specific ways. Favorites should be the first thing to pop up when you hit that inventory key, as it is a ways of keeping track of your most important items in any situation. I know binding keys would work out in the same way, but if the game does end up having plenty of items down the road, a favorites tab would work like a charm as a secondary option. The equipped tab is essentially all the gear you are wearing (duh) and then the inventory tab, which is where all the less important gear is in.

Currency/material display/system
This one is critical IMO. Have a display within the inventory window that displays all currencies you have in your pocket. You should consider having a separate window with more in-depth details to all your currencies. Essentially a window that displays: amount of gold, amount of material #1, amount of material #2, ..., amount of material #69. You should consider having more than 1 currency, a specific coin for humans, and then a specific coin for each other interactable race (i would assume: goblins, orcs, elves, dwarves and perhaps undead if you fancy some ghost hunter stuff), perhaps have interchangeable rates between each type of coin, ones being more valuable than the others. Example, elves should have the most expensive/rarest currency, goblins should have the cheapest(most abundant one). So if the player gets an over abundant amount of "sticks and stones" from goblins, they could have the possibility to trade in X amount of that currency for something else in less amount.

Player loot system
This one is also critical, the loot system. Disregard all that "group play" and "damage points" shenanigans. The only thing that should impact the drop table is player impact on the battle. If a player is afk for most of the map, he gets basic loot as reward (eg: consumables and some gold). If the player helped enough with the map, then he gets his fair share at getting his own loot. Loot drops should be unique to each player, if a map drops a specific rare item, that item should drop to anyone present more than once, per run if they earnt it.
I was considering an alternate path to getting loot, or to improve loot drops at least, based in playtime on each map. Item drops should start low and should adjust as you play and beat those very same maps with the loot you want in them. The damage points system could be used for this. If you make an estimate amount of damage points in a specific map, everytime the player bypasses that estimate in a run, the drop rates get better. This should constantly "grow" to the point that drops are generous enough and not extremelly abusive. (eg: item drop rate is 1% initially and you can repeat this process untill it reaches 10%, random values).

Quick travel system
Le good old "votemap XYZ", how should this system work? Create a worldmap that has multiple quicktravel access points in the map, you can quicktravel to any location (unless there is a specific rule that forces you to do a series of maps to reach the point you want to go, similiar to lodagond series). Block quicktravel between locations that are next to each other, for example, if you are in edana and want to go to thornlands, you are forced to move your ass there for being "too close", now if you wanted to go to mscave from edana, you should be able to. If i'm not mistaking, edana leads you to thornlands and thornlands leads you to mscave. There is a gap between your current position and the one you are going to. Only exception to this should be quick travelling from the end point of a map to the initial point of the same map. If you clear out thornlands and want to redo the map, players should be able to do it directly without having to go somewhere else and back into the previous map again to "reset".

Experience system
Experience earnt in battle should be based in npc attribute points. Things like resistances, speed, attack speed, damage, armor, hp, enemy title (enemy = basic tier, elite = stronger tier, deadly = mini boss tier, boss = boss tier, nightmare = final boss tier, friendly = allied tier with no xp reward). Each attribute has its own impact in the xp value of each npc, enemy title should have the highest impact for obvious reasons, not xp caps on enemies.

Weapon class system (lengthy this one, 1h= 1 handed, 2h = 2 handed)
Each item class should have a focus that should be overall balanced in the end. Remove hit rates. It should all boil down to: damage(d)/speed(s)/range(r)/ability(a). (red means bad, yellow means mid, green means good)

Swords (d/s/r/a) = these items should be the "all round" class, able to adapt to most situations (not all, given that ranged situations would be difficult unless throwable swords), i think 2h swords should have right click abilities such as "stun (from the backend of the sword)" and "block" along with passive that "deflects". 1h swords on the other hand should focus in parrying attacks passively, having two 1h swords increases parrying alot (this is to counter the fact that they lack right click abilities). Essentially, all the 2h right click abilities should be weaker versions of the ones used in all other classes. Hence the reason it is the "all round" class.

Hammers (d/s/r/a) = Items that hit like a truck and could potentially stun enemies as a passive, regardless of 1h or 2h. Stronger stun effects than any other class type, somewhat good meele range. 2h right click could be an AOE hit that could stun enemies close to each other. Or a spinning attack that knocks back enemies while also potentially stunning. Dual 1h hammers increases stun effectiveness by alot (to counter the lack of right click abilities again).

Axes (d/s/r/a) = Items that also hit like a truck, these items attack in a radius in front of the player, making them best used to clear out multiple enemies at the sametime. The passive for axes is bleed effect for both 1h and 2h (with 1h dual wield being more effective bleed wise), right click 2h could be spinny attack again with knockback.

Smallarms (d/s/r/a) = These items only come in dual wield format and are also the only dual wield items that come with a passive, which is deflecting/parrying damage.

MartialArts (d/s/r/a) = Defensive type of items, they are always 2H. Passive ability should be damage "barrier" that absorbs damage and unleashes it back at the enemy after a short delay. This class is meant to be "expert" and it is focused towards defense, but can be used offensively if properly used.

Archery (d/s/r/a) = The long range class, comes in 2h only and with 1h "fake format", 2h items can right click to kick enemies, can potentially throw back or stun a little if the bow is a longbow, if the bow is a smaller type, aka shortbow, perhaps have the ability to stack 2 or 3 arrows in 1 shot, with each additional arrow decreasing accuracy by a good amount. The 1h "fake format" is essentially carrying 2 small crossbows in each hand, that act like 2h, using right click would cause a rapid fire with the accuracy being crap, essentially making it a close to mid range ability.

Polearms (d/s/r/a) = Medium to long range class, comes in 1h only, but can't be dual wielded unless it is a shield. Right click is to throw the polearm or lunge forward, piercing through multiple enemies in a line and ignoring shields. Using a shield does not change the right click, however, it does make the polearm less effective when using abilities (smaller throw and shorter lunge)


Spellcasting, we all know this one comes in many flavours, so best thing to say here is that this class adapts to any playstyle based on elements and accessories. Basic elements are entry level elements for spellcasting, advanced ones require some experience in a combination of multiple basic elements, expert elements is a combination of advanced elements.

Mage items:
battlestaff 2h item= the agressive mage playstyle, close to medium range, combine magics with the ability to stun enemies while you hit them with your stick, should do AOE
staff 2h item= the channeling/focused mage type, medium to long range, requires charge up times to deliver damage, does highest amount of damage per cast (not highest dps), damage is focused towards 1 target or line of targets
wand/ward 1h items= the quick caster, weakest spells but highest dps and elemental effects
spellbook 2h item= the support caster, does little to no damage, focuses mostly in helping others
player hands (no items) = dual wield caster, lets the user combine two elements at the sametime at the cost of extra mana usage per cast. Best way to create 2 way combos with elements.

Basic elements:
fire = medium offensive capability (damage), medium defensive capability (shield/barrier), weak support capability (elemental effect)
cold = weak offensive capability, medium defensive capability, strong support capability
lightning = strong offensive, weak defensive, medium support
air = medium offensive, medium defensive, medium support
poison = strong offensive, weak defensive, weak support

Advanced elements:
water = medium offensive, strong defensive, strong support
holy = strong but limited/situational offensive, medium defensive, strong support
dark = strong offensive, strong defensive, medium support

Expert elements:
summoning = strong offensive/defensive/support
earth = strong offensive/defensive/support
necromancy = strong offensive/defensive/support

Combo system
This is the final suggestion for the time being, create a combo system that involves connecting 2 or 3 elements or abilities to create additional effects. Examples:
-stunning an enemy and then applying a bleed effect, makes the bleed effect slightly longer than usual;
-having the enemy stunned, push them back against a wall with a knockback to cause a longer stun and additional damage;
-apply a bleed effect on the enemy, knock them back to make the bleed effect deal additional damage overtime;
-use fire magic on the enemy, apply burn, use air element to increase burn effect duration and damage;
-use water magic on the enemy, make them "wet", use lightning magic to make the element deal additional damage;
-use dark spells on living being to apply darkness on them, use holy spells afterwards to deal holy damage towards them as if they were undead/demonic;
-use poison magic to corrupt enemies, use dark magic to further increase the corruption on the target, use holy magic to deal even more damage;
etc.
 

Lark

Adventurer
MSC Developer
MSR Developer
Lead MSR Developer
Dec 30, 2009
36
20
Oregon
Ok Zeus, I think I'm picking up what you're putting down, but for the sake of brevity (and sanity), a summary:

- For item variety and inventory space, simplicity is best.
- Enchantments = good, but no (manual) recharge system!
- Salvage: I had to read it a few times, but I think you're asking for a Sell-or-Salvage system for excess loot, a la Diablo 3 or Path of Exile. Could work, but with _limited_ salvage types, or you'll clutter the inventory.
- Item Stats: Is this supposed to be more akin to an "Item Stats Reroll" system? I personally hate RNG on item stats, but I'll add it as a Vote option.
- Forging items (kinda goes with Salvage): Great idea, but could also clutter the inventory.
- Inventory UI: Agreed. I was already thinking of a tab system, but ideally, I would really like to enable some kind of system that enables players to create or design their own inventory layout.
- Multiple Currencies: Displaying materials is great, but how do currencies other than Gold fit with the lore? @Thothie do other races (Enlightened or otherwise) use other currencies? What about Copper, Silver, Platinum, etc.? Which ones trade with one another (not counting Bandits, I guess)?
- Loot system: Won't delve too much into this, but yes, expect change.
- Quick Travel: Out of scope of Items/Inventory.
- Experience: Out of scope of Items/Inventory. However, yes, this will be based on an algorithm and not "Why does this Fire Djinn give 162,000 exp?"

As for the weapon categories: Yeah, I've got some ideas that look a lot like the ones you've laid out. More to follow later; it will likely be its own Poll.

Magic categories (and Combos): Some good ideas, glad to see you lay them out here for reference later. But like the Weapon Categories, this will likely be its own Poll later. (Aren't Summoning and Necromancy a bit redundant?)
 
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Age

New Adventurer
Socialist Guild
Alpha Tester
MSR Developer
Jun 15, 2008
499
4
Somewhere over the rainbow.
I'd like to see some combination of all three, though weighted as: mostly A, little bit of C and a splash of B.
I strongly prefer "low" variety of weapons with an emphasis on each weapon feeling unique and special, and allowing some weapons to stand out as truly "legendary" in status with solid design. I have always been rubbed wrong by ARPG's that have an extensive and diluted pool of legendary / unique labeled weapons that can be outclassed by picking up a solid rare label item that rolls precisely every stat you need because a unique item of the same tier cannot. To me avoiding this design not only seriously limits the confusion or possibility to be overwhelmed by stats and choices between which one is better / more efficient, but also allows to design weapons that stand out and feel like they are genuinely impactful in the grand scheme, with deep lore and stylish visuals to boot, and you're not just throwing it into your inventory alongside the fifteen other weapons you've looted this run.

That said, for C, I do like the idea of classic RPG modifiers but streamlined to function on unique items, things like "Odin's Hammer of Slaying" or "Artemis' Sacred Longbow of Accuracy", adding small bonuses to certain stats depending on the modifier, and I think keeping the variety of modifiers low but considerate of the class types that would be using them would encourage both replayability and trading, while also allowing you to somewhat personalize your "build" or loadout if the implementation is right. This could also alternatively be implemented as some form of socket system, a la a more robust version of Diablo gems, with gems being given as rewards for various tasks or dungeons, allowing you to add even more incentive and replayability long-term. I believe I may have mentioned this around you in the past as well, but something I do not think is a bad idea is allowing weapons to be somewhat more easily obtained, but having to either unlock their power through more involved gameplay (or grinding?) or making gems somewhat more difficult to obtain to maximize your power would allow people to be more quickly satisfied by having and using their weapons or builds of choice while they work to flesh their characters out.

For B, scaled loot and junk are a big no-no to me, I don't like filler items in RPG's which means white/blue type items from Diablo, basic magic items from PoE, random household flavor objects from the Elder Scrolls games (though that may be my only exception as they at least add flavor, but there's no strong reason to add them to an actual loot table in my opinion) and scaled loot diminishes the quality and feeling of obtaining powerful items as the scaling mechanic tends to rapidly outgrow what you've got rather non-linearly. Also junk loot makes inventory management, an already very bland and undesirable mechanic, even more grueling. What I do like about B however is obtaining items from a larger pool of options than simply boss / dungeon rewards, whether that includes extensive quest chains, elaborate secret puzzles, a reputation grind with an elder scrolls esque guild system, obtaining favor with a unique faction, or just stumbling across a chest in a dark hole deep down somewhere. While I realize handing loot out easily in a multiplayer RPG is not ideal in the long-term thus making easily accessed chests a no-no, it really adds to the sense of wonder and discovery if implemented well.

TL;DR: I'm a big fan of a low variety of unique items with a high variance of modifiers or customization between them and more options to obtain them than simply bossing all day every day as is the RPG way.
 

zeus9860

Adventurer
Blades of Urdual
Crusaders
The True Followers of the Lost
Alpha Tester
Feb 28, 2008
2,567
16
27
lolwut
Crap, forgot to mention the weight/stamina systems. I knew i was forgetting something. Additionally, i also considered accuracy while writting this.

tl;dr
stamina = used for abilities only, there is non of that ms:c mumbo jumbo where you consume stamina to attack/run/jump. It recovers progressively at different rates, depending on the current situation (combat slows it down, outside of combat it is default, could have other situations that further slows it down or speeds it up higher than default)

weight = heavier gear slows you down by a small portion (both movement speed and attack speed), light gear is the opposite.

accuracy = no hit rates, kkthx. It should all be down to distance between player vs enemy and proper aiming. Perhaps have critical spots to aim at for additional damage or have a hit rate system for critical hits (there is x% that you could do additional damage regardless of where you aim at, as long as you hit the enemy). Critical hits could infact be a passive common to all skills.

(Aren't Summoning and Necromancy a bit redundant?)
Depends on what you plan ahead when you do the class system. I would expect players to have the option to follow summoning or necromancy as paths. This is like having the option to follow the good side or the dark side, necromancy is essentially the dark side of summoning. I didn't go into full details with the class system, but the only thing i left out was the "focused path" option, essentially, a player could focus on a specific class and become slightly better with that class vs everything else. This does not lock out the player from using other things though. It just gives the player the option to become slightly more proficient within a class or two. (eg: imagine the level cap being 40 for all skills, if you pick a path for swords and martial arts, you could level those skills to 45 and become better in those 2 classes, potentially having earlier access to lvl 45 gear, just an example)


Item Stats: Is this supposed to be more akin to an "Item Stats Reroll" system? I personally hate RNG on item stats, but I'll add it as a Vote option.

Inventory UI: Agreed. I was already thinking of a tab system, but ideally, I would really like to enable some kind of system that enables players to create or design their own inventory layout.

Multiple Currencies: Displaying materials is great, but how do currencies other than Gold fit with the lore? @Thothie do other races (Enlightened or otherwise) use other currencies? What about Copper, Silver, Platinum, etc.? Which ones trade with one another (not counting Bandits, I guess)?
I also hate this kind of stuff, hence the reason why i suggested to keep it toned down if you ever consider it.

As for the UI, you mean, something like an empty window that lets the player create tabs with whatever they want? Something similiar to what runescape does, it is customizable in that way.

As for the currencies, the idea to display materials in a separate tab is the reason why it would reduce the inventory clutter, if you have a tab associated with currencies and materials only, that had the single purpose of displaying every single one of them with labels (eg: metals = #x,#y,#z; woods = #a,#b,#c; stones = #!,#?,#/; currency = gold, silver, crystals; limited = map 1 #tokens, map 69 #tablets, map 360noscope #runes, where # = amount of each thing). The currencies, i don't think it has any impact in the lore, i just suggested this with the mentality that there will be interaction between races in your game, and it would make sense to have specific currencies associated with each race. This is like playing ms:c, doing shad_palace to loot the lightning orc tribe currency and going to sorc_villa to buy things with it, instead of getting gold and more gold everywhere you go. Having the option to convert currencies in town banks would also help out balancing the economy of the game and not have it rely entirelly on gold, people would trade specific currencies for others they want/need more, this is also a good thing as it involves using town banks for more than just banking "da lewt". Infact, currency could also apply to reward systems, the idea J-M mentioned a few times in the discord and forums, about playing the_wall and getting a token in the end, which could be traded in for a reward after X amount of tokens obtained. This is essentially another currency, limited to a map, which could not be traded in for other currency types.

I know this is too much stuff to read, and some of it isn't even related to the topic, just felt like throwing it out there for future references. If i'm dedicating some time to write all that down and have a brainstorming moment, might aswell provide some additional ideas that could be of use (or not).
 
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