Jump to content

Item tables?


Recommended Posts

One thing that kinda stops me from enjoying a replay of an Avernum title is that almost all treasure is static. Every replay of the game will give you the exact same stuff 95%+ of the time. Does Avadon create item tables or is everything hand placed again?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most items are hand placed, especially named items (armor, weapons, rings, etc.), but items dropped from generic monsters still have a random element with each monster type having a table of items it can drop.

 

Jeff loves to reuse computer code so some things don't get changed. Same with text for the instruction manual so Slith still were mentioned as getting the Exile intelligence bonus long into the Avernum series.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Too bad. It'd be nice to see a MUCH greater variety of items. Jeff's games have always taken a minimalist view and it'd be nice if he would grow at least in some aspect as a developer. It'd be nice to say that Avadon is completely different than either Avernum or Geneforge outside of the story, which is the least important element of a crpg; in my opinion.

 

We've already seen lots of rehash in Avadon though, so I guess it was too much to be expected. Since he saves so much time and effort by reusing everything, I was really hoping to see items get a massive overhaul. There are millions of tiles for weapons in the public domain, so there's no real excuse not to have the variety. Oh well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I could see this being a problem with game balance too. Jeff doesn't seem to like the respawning of monsters, which means that if there is a chance an item will be dropped, some people will get it and some won't.

 

An alternative is to guarantee a drop but to have the item dropped be selected from a preset list of items. Again, for the sake of balance, I'd expect all of these items to be mostly different with regards to cosmetics. Having a monster drop one of three different items that are all essentially the same doesn't seem to add anything to the game over having a monster always drop the one item.

 

Just my opinion of course.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally Posted By: crpgnut
…outside of the story, which is the least important element of a crpg; in my opinion.
Whether or not you are correct, this is the exact opposite of the philosophy that Jeff has and that he employs with his games. (The success of said employment is a different question too.)

I do agree with you that it would be easy and cool to add to item variety.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally Posted By: Earth Empires
every1 gets quest items, only non-quest things vary between players.


I was thinking more along the line of random drops for crafting items, which would be annoying but not hinder progressing through the main plot.

I would say that I would refuse to play a game that required a random event in order to obtain a key item, but somehow I keep finding myself playing MegaMan Battle Network. That being said, occasionally being required to find a specific item that can only be obtained by skillfully beating a specific enemy that only appears randomly in remote parts of the game world is probably my least favourite aspect of those games.
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking along the lines of monster drops per se, but all the containers. Avernum has a very limited set of items and I'm hoping that this will be addressed in his "all new" game. The few released screenshots though are showing the same tired old crap that was in the Avernums. The color palette is different but we haven't seen much else that looks totally new. We have 4 classes but they seem to have a mixture of the same skills from the last 10 games.

 

There are two new icons of a spider looking ring/amulet so I have at least a little hope that there will be more variety. Surely even Jeff is bored of the same exact skills and items being in everything he releases. I hope so!

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Avadon skill system is really not very much like the skill system used by every other Spiderweb game. Yes, you still end up with hitting things with weapons, and shooting fire, and blessings and curses. But if that's a failure of game mechanics, I don't think there's been a worthwhile RPG in a decade or so.

 

—Alorael, who thinks that random drops have their place. That place is in Roguelikes. Random items in Angband? Great! Random items in Diablo? Also great! Random drops of vendor trash gear in more standard RPGs? Might as well just place sufficient wealth in less stupid forms.

Link to post
Share on other sites

RPGs should just do away with drops and economy in general. They're a cheap way of rewarding a player for pointless tasks, rather than creating accomplishment through means like motive and good storytelling. The same thing goes for experience.

 

Obviously, it's nice to get cool new toys and abilities, but I guarantee that in a good RPG, you'll barely even think about them. In my first playthrough of KotOR, I cared so little about leveling up and collecting phat lewt, that I barely even spent any of the game money I had made before the game was over.

 

EDIT: The Geneforge and Exile series were also good in this respect, since they focused, in my opinion, on exploration.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think your idea is an interesting one, but I disagree. I mostly play games (RPGs especially) for the story, but gameplay is still important. When story is my sole concern, I'd as readily read a novel or watch a movie. This is a bit less the case in games (e.g. KotOR or Geneforge) that allow player choice to influence the story a great deal, but even then I find the "game" aspects of the game matter to me.

 

I think Jeff makes a good point in his blog about "addiction-based design." When I acquire shinier loot, new skills, and so on, it makes me feel like I've accomplished something. This is a positive and enjoyable feeling, at times dangerously so (and seems to be one of the main factors responsible for MMO addiction/obsession). One I've experienced even in the RPGs whose stories I most enjoy.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally Posted By: crpgnut
which is the least important element of a crpg; in my opinion.


Why then spend money on a spiderweb game, when there are so many free to play rpgs running all over the net now a days with complete disregard to the story? So many ff clones and diablo clones and wow clones that it makes you want to poke your eyes out.

Unless you ddn't... Oh but we can't talk about it here, the mods get very cranky.
Link to post
Share on other sites

@Erasmus A couple reasons at to why I buy: First reason, Jeff is at least trying to make the games I love. He also allows a great big demo, which I like to reward. I have a decent job, so I can afford to buy all crpgs, even if I never play them. I do it to support the genre.

 

I'm a critic, so I come across pretty heavy-handed, but I generally get my money's worth out of a Spiderweb title. I gripe because I believe with a little courage, Jeff's games could be so much better.

 

On story being an important part of crpgs: I'm an avid reader. The stories in any crpg always fail in comparison to a book. If I want a story, I read. I want exploration, loot, spells and stat-building in my games. Story comes in a distant 5th for me. I do enjoy riddles and mazes in my games.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally Posted By: crpgnut
The stories in any crpg always fail in comparison to a book.
So are you saying something as brain-cell killing as the Twilight saga has a better story than, say, Nethergate or Geneforge? Becuase that is just madness.
Link to post
Share on other sites

A video game is just another medium to convey an experience, like a book. They have different strengths, so I would avoid claiming one is more effective than the other.

 

Would you claim that a movie like Citizen Kane would have been more engrossing as a book? I'm pretty sure movies are all about story and how to convey it, they just do it with pictures and cinematography, rather than words. Video games are no different.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That said, there really haven't been games, as far as I know, with stories that stand up to the level of novels and films. Yes, different media mean different stories, but I really don't think games have developed better stories.

 

—Alorael, who for his money would put Planescape: Torment up as the greatest story in a game. And it's a really, really weird story for a game.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In theory, a video game could have a story just as intricate and engrossing and genuine and beautiful as a book or a movie. However, it's not an accident that this hasn't happened. Novels and movies are media that exist expressly for the purpose of telling a story. Neither has another primary purpose: you can argue that conceits of language, or of acting or visual effects or music or whatever, can compete, and perhaps they can, but telling a story is still, almost without exception, the broad strokes main point of a novel or a movie. With video games, telling a story is often one of the main points. But it isn't required to be one of the main points, and it is almost never the only point: with the exception maybe of the most linear of text adventures.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally Posted By: Tirien
Originally Posted By: crpgnut
The stories in any crpg always fail in comparison to a book.
So are you saying something as brain-cell killing as the Twilight saga has a better story than, say, Nethergate or Geneforge? Becuase that is just madness.
Alright, so the story in a bad book is worse than the stories found in decent games. But I'd argue that, on average, stories in games tend to be worse than stories in books and movies, for the reasons Slartucker mentioned above.

Quote:
—Alorael, who for his money would put Planescape: Torment up as the greatest story in a game. And it's a really, really weird story for a game.
Agreed. And I would like to point out that P:T would make a pretty subpar novel or film. See The Mystic's point below:

Quote:
True, but video games, books, and movies have one main thing in common: They don't translate very well from one medium to another. Remember the Super Mario Bros. movie?
Also: that movie had absolutely nothing to do with the games.
Link to post
Share on other sites

It did, however, have the redeeming quality of featuring a peroxide-blond Dennis Hopper as the primary antagonist.

 

I think I basically agree with Slarty: so long as story and gameplay are separate design aspects and priorities in video games, story is likely to get the shaft in a great many cases. Not necessarily all, but at minimum this fact brings down the average a great deal. This is hardly a problem unique to video games, as one encounters it in opera and ballet as well. Then again, neither of those media are known for telling brilliant stories.

 

Nevertheless, at the risk of opening a colossal and terrifying can of literary/critical theory worms (which are pretty much the grossest type of worm one can find in a can, particularly if Jacques Lacan gets brought in), I'm curious how we measure the quality of a work of fiction.

 

I can think of quite a few measures: depth/realism of characters; skillful use of medium (whether this means writing style, cinematography, etc.); skill with which the work handles 'themes' and social/political commentary; arrangement and pacing of plot; quality of setting/'world'; originality.

 

We haven't specified which of these measures we've used in our evaluation of video games. I can think of examples of video games that compare favorably to the great majority of books and films in each of these categories, but I'd still say the average quality is lower, and the best video games are still below the best works in other media.

 

On the specific issue of Torment not translating well to book (or theoretically film): so what? Plenty of the great books have ended up as crappy movies, and novelizations of movies are notably poor. This is especially true of something like Torment (and the Bioware school of RPGs more generally), since a large part of the story revolves around player choices. Roger Ebert may hate this idea, but I don't see why I should.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally Posted By: FnordCola
I think Jeff makes a good point in his blog about "addiction-based design." When I acquire shinier loot, new skills, and so on, it makes me feel like I've accomplished something.


This is the allure for me. There is a downside to having lots of random loot though and that is save/reload. I can waste hours in some games just trying to get good loot rolls out of a dungeon. I kinda like the idea of a hybrid system but I think that there needs to be more random loot than what we saw in Avernum. I like the idea of the loot being rolled on your first entrance to a new area. That way, reloading wouldn't work on individual containers, but only by reloading and replaying a whole cell.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Planescape Torment actually was turned into two subpar novels.

 

—Alorael, who has only hearsay on the first novel's inadequacies. Fan reaction to the second seems actually positive, but the fans also seem to believe that it's so good because it's so literal in lifting text verbatim from the game. Having played the game, he fails to think that it could make nearly as acceptable a novel as it does a game. (Again, because much of the game is about making a character and making choices.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, the plot of a game is important not because of the storytelling potential, but because of the satisfaction it attaches to the actions I, as player perform. For example, a game whose goal is "collect 3 unsellable trowels, just because" is much less fun to play than one with the goal "recover 3 crystal souls, thereby restoring dignity of an ancient race and saving our home nation by forging an alliance against our mutual enemy".

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
Originally Posted By: Beer and Motor Oil
I just lolled hard in the middle of crammed computer lab at college at the mention of selling Vyvnas-Bok.
This is why i'm taking a online course from home. If I start laughing like a homicidal maniac, nobody will look at me funny.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally Posted By: Tirien
Originally Posted By: Beer and Motor Oil
I just lolled hard in the middle of crammed computer lab at college at the mention of selling Vyvnas-Bok.
This is why i'm taking a online course from home. If I start laughing like a homicidal maniac, nobody will look at me funny.
Whereas if I start laughing like a homicidal maniac, nobody will so much as blink; they're all used to it by now. grin The only major difference for me is that I'd be at work, not school.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally Posted By: Randomizer
Originally Posted By: Tirien
We're all homicidal maniacs here on the forums! Just look at how most of us play RPGs. (Kill everything that moves.)


You forget it might be a pylon, so don't wait for it to move.


Most unfortunately, I am a diplomat, so I missed out on 50% of the Geneforge combat.
Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally Posted By: Randomizer
Originally Posted By: Tirien
We're all homicidal maniacs here on the forums! Just look at how most of us play RPGs. (Kill everything that moves.)


You forget it might be a pylon, so don't wait for it to move.
Fine, If it has health, kill it. Then loot its remains, then steal everything that is not nailed down. Then steal everything that is nailed down, just to be sure. Afterwords, kill that tree over there, it is obviously stalking you. I should have said that we're all homicidal kleptomaniacs. I have a stash of trowels in A2.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...