The loot system is one of the most advanced aspects of serious MMOs. It must meet several basic conditions:
- noticeable progression
At the same time, several pitfalls should be avoided:
- everyone has everything
- cannot share items
The first problem was visible in the old version of the game – from a certain point in, everyone had whatever items they wanted. Then the need to look for something new or trade with others disappeared. The situation was similar to Diablo 3 auction house – everyone could buy the best equipment, after which the meaning of the game completely disappeared.
The second problem may not be a problem in practice, as long as assigning items to one character is used in moderation and in strictly defined cases. Unfortunately, it happens that all equipment belongs to only one character/account. In practice, this kills the interaction between players and reduces (in this case) the MMO to a single player game.
What went wrong?
Lack of variety and progression can kill a game if it relies heavily on looting. The best example is Anthem. Looter-shooter, in which the acquired items were only a slightly better copy of those already acquired. At the moment, the game is dead.
Lack of usefulness can also be very undesirable. An example here would be a series of games that I love, but the item system doesn’t make any sense: Yakuza, especially part 0. Throughout the game we are drowned in a tsunami of items that are useless in practice. Who needs 50 different types of weapons in the inventory if melee combat is more effective? Why would you need an enemy detector if you can see them with the naked eye from a kilometer? Who needs 10 stores with a giant item stock, if there is no reason to use any of them throughout the game? Fortunately, the item system is secondary, which saves the game in this regard.
The auction house in D3, in itself, wasn’t a bad idea. It was bad in the context of the game as a whole. Trading between players is a good idea, but players must have a reason to trade continuously. At the same time, trading cannot replace the heart of the game.
Vis Arcana currently has a very rich item system – hundreds of types that can have countless combinations of properties. It was similar in the previous version, but the game still fell into the trap of the end of progression. We planned to fix this problem then, but we didn’t have time to make it. Now we want to avoid it from the beginning. The solution is quite simple (in theory) – you need to introduce an economy based on creation and destruction. Items now have durability and can be destroyed. Moreover – each item will surely, sooner or later, be destroyed and will have to be replaced with a new one.
Using an item (e.g. attack with a weapon or defense with armor) lowers its durability. Below 90% durability, the item’s stats drop linearly to 0, where the item is destroyed and the player is informed about it (also informed that the item has low durability). Jewelry has a chance (50%) to reduce durability with each hit received.
Items are repairable. Repairing an item in the forge reduces the maximum durability by half. Ammo breaks with each shot and cannot be repaired. Artifacts also cannot be repaired.
Destruction alone is not enough. The real economy still requires creation and trading. Crafting in this version is much more extensive than the previous one. On expeditions (and by trading) you can get resources that create semi-finished products, which can then be turned into items. To craft an item, you first need to obtain a recipe (from expeditions or by trading). The Polish version of this blog post contains the full map of resources.
Semi-finished products have quality:
Each semi-finished product requires 3 resources (2 for grandmaster). Crafting a better quality requires 3 worse quality (2 for grandmaster). The amount of semi-finished products per item changes with the level of the item. You can only craft items of normal quality (out of five possible). Once created, the item ends up in your inventory. In the future, we will also describe the idea of enchanting items and making them magical.
The new destruction and crafting system should bring this part of the game to life. Instead of going on expeditions every now and then, we have a fully developed economy and the ability to specialize in crafting items. We will describe trading itself soon. Of course, everything described here may still change – let us know what you think!