A roguelike developer's diary.
We want to drop a ton of items, but to really pull off a sense of excitement when finding a great item, there needs to be non-optimal items, both for your class, and in general.
So they are putting garbage back into the game? Great...
Also e.g. Magic: The Gathering...
Not sure I get the 'magic' reference. Are you comparing Diablo's diamond in the manure pile method of gear grinding to the experience of ripping open a magic card pack hoping to find a rare card?
Not so much rare cards, but useful cards. Richard Garfield has admitted that he deliberately designed in cards which are less than useful...
Huh...I cannot help but think that might be a bad design. But then again finding a good item/card is often defined in contrast to a bad or useless item/card.Maybe you need the bad with the good? WoW, Diablo and Magic all use this mechanic. All wildly successful games.Personally I dislike separating the wheat from the chaff. It sort of seems like a chore you must do in order to play the game. But maybe some games need chores in order to increase the feeling of achievement. For example I know gamers that love the unlock system of Modern Warfare 3. Where one is required to play 40+ hours in order to unlock the full game. Somehow the grinding involved in opening up the best weapons for online competition appeals to certain gamers. Not me though. If I'm to pay $60 (US) to buy a game I would like to have the weapons unlocked. Who wants to spend 40+ hours or more at a disadvantage versus other players. Unable to appreciate the full game.All this from a guy that will probably never beat a major roguelike. Never see all that they have to offer. But plays them for hours and hours. Ha! So I guess the question is, "at what point is the juice worth the squeeze?"
Sub optimal items can be useful in challenge games like Ironman Hardcore. If you can't repair your stuff, you need to settle. May be a fringe benefit, but it's the only way to play Diablo & Torchlight that really appeals to me.
Ironman Hardcore huh? Why didn't I think of that. Grah!
Meh... slot machines arguably use the same mechanic but I wouldn't say that slot machines have good gameplay. This sort of mechanic can make a game addictive, especially for people who are predisposed to that sort of thing, but that doesn't mean that the game is fun.
Barf. What a sad reflection of humanity, that one can look at a game prototype and observe that people would enjoy it more if they spent less time engaging with the content and more time sifting through crap.I'd like to think that big-budget MMO-ish games' ongoing convergence to elaborate cow-clickers reflects the developers' poverty of courage or imagination rather than a dismal truth about human nature, but who can say.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I was very pleased with Mass Effect 2's decision to do away with pickups almost entirely. You can actually spend most of your time engaging in combat and enjoying the content. It was a welcome change from Mass Effect and its ridiculous inventory system; toward the end of that game I probably had to spend 20% of my time just getting rid of junk so I could pick up new items.'Course then they had to add a crappy new "scan for minerals" mini-game...
Huh...I cannot help but think that might be a bad design. But then again finding a good item/card is often defined in contrast to a bad or useless item/card.The above quote is why and its not automatically bad design its just that when a large part of a game is deciding which is the best gear for your character there needs to be bad gear. If there isn't you won't ever open the inventory page or spend that 5-10mins after every level of demon slashing checking if you found anything good.That puzzle like inventory solving is what almost all CRPG's are about right back to rogue and the gold box D&D games.I admit such systems can seems really hollow once a given amount of eyes have seen all the data and reduced it down to X = the Best, never pick up anything but X. Wow deffinatly suffers from this, so does Angband... and presumably so will Diablo.But such systems are still a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing what blizzard does with it this time around.
Aron is right, they obviously playtested it with good drops all around and it sucked bad (that is the gist of the post). Imagine if every attack in a roguelike was a crit, or every roll in pnp dnd was a 20. It would make such rolls far less exciting than they are. In dnd it is designed to fall under the 5% (well depending on threat range / secondary roll). Same can be said about treasure tables, I recall one of the tables you had to drill down to was odds of like 1/mil for getting a specific item you want. (d100^3...three tables if I recall correctly). It might be taking it a bit far, but there is some merit to it.
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