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Thaluikhain

What shops do players actually use?

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In my experience, the place where you can sell stuff is the most visited, the sage to ID the stuff so you can sell it just below that. Below that is the blacksmith for new armour and weapons. Maybe the random item hop to see if there is anything nice/cheap today. And of course people to train you or teach spells. I don't use alchemy though others might.

 

I don't usually visit other shops much at all.

 

Archery shops are common, but only as useful as the archery skill, so not much. Paying for healing isn't useful when you've got priest spells to do the same for free (though at lesser levels you won't have all the spells for all the options you can buy). Inns aren't any better than resting in a friendly town. In E3 there were a few "tool shops" where you'd buy lockpicks or torches and lamps which are useless if you have a lvl 3 mage. Being able to buy enhancements for weapons is sorta cool, only way too expensive to actually do.

 

There's also marginally useful shops that sell a limited amount of items that don't need replacing. For example, a store that sells both types of boots which is worth visiting once and then not again.

 

Of course, shops like that can add filling and flavour to a town even if they aren't particularly useful as shops.

 

Was wondering if people tended to use the same sorts of shops. Also, for larger scenarios, how few and far apart can they be before their absence becomes noticeable? Being far from shops can be inconvenient (which can be a plot point, of course), but how far is "far"?

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Too far is reaching full inventory and having to decide what to drop to maximize sales when you hit a shop. E3 having weight as well as inventory slots meant after a fight sitting around and swapping items to get both right especially outdoors.

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There's food shops too, which are important until you get Major Manna or unless food is otherwise plentiful in the scenario. Boat shops are important. Horse shops are important in time-sensitive scenarios, although Celtic Minstrel is doing stuff with vehicles in general that could make them more flexible and/or important, if the author chooses.

 

And a great thing about BoE is you can have other types of shops too. You can buy swords, spells, and healing in a single shop, for instance, without even needing separate dialogue nodes.

 

And you could always include other sorts of items in shops, even in original BoE: Shops that sell powerful equipment, or items that you'll need for a special encounter later but that don't actually do anything on their own. (I hear Pyramids did this and kind of annoyed people who didn't catch on as to why the shop was selling a particular item at the beginning of the scenario, not having which would strand you midway through the scenario.)

 

Using regular items can call special nodes now too, and you can design simple E3-style books that you can even take between scenarios, if you wanted. So have a magazine stand or a shop that sells comfy cushions that drive particular characters crazy and machines that go "Ping!" if you want. Or you could sell items that will magically transport you somewhere, but are used up, so you'll want to buy more than one.

 

Or you could have a shop that sells ordinary, mundane garbage for obscene prices!

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(I hear Pyramids did this and kind of annoyed people who didn't catch on as to why the shop was selling a particular item at the beginning of the scenario, not having which would strand you midway through the scenario.)

 

Oh yeah, the rope. That was annoying.

 

Using regular items can call special nodes now too, and you can design simple E3-style books that you can even take between scenarios, if you wanted.

 

Hey? Would they still work in another scenario? I thought you couldn't move across items linked to specials, the same as you couldn't move stuff that summoned monsters, because you wouldn't know what you'd get on the other end.

 

In any case, yeah, you can have all those shops, but, for me at least, I'd not miss them if they'd gone. In A Ship to Algiers, you can have goblins kill shopkeepers, IIRC, if you aren't fast enough, and if the wrong ones died that could make things very hard. But there's some types of shops I might not notice if the NPCs weren't there anymore.

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Celtic Minstrel has added the ability for summoning items to be carried between scenarios, copying the mob data to the item itself, I believe. There is an item type to make readable items, but they only call a single two-message dialog, like most books in E3. You can't carry special node items between scenarios. I think I asked him once if he could allow only CERTAIN nodes to be taken and not others to prevent problems, but I think he said it was too difficult to program and troubleshoot to be worth it.

 

EDIT: Oh, and custom graphics are copied to the item too, and so can be taken between scenarios.

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Archery shops are common, but only as useful as the archery skill, so not much.

Wasn't archery being useless a bug, though? If so, that should be fixed in OBoE and archery should no longer be totally useless.

 

And a great thing about BoE is you can have other types of shops too. You can buy swords, spells, and healing in a single shop, for instance, without even needing separate dialogue nodes.

I think what you've missed here is that this applies to OBoE and not the original game. :p

 

Hey? Would they still work in another scenario? I thought you couldn't move across items linked to specials, the same as you couldn't move stuff that summoned monsters, because you wouldn't know what you'd get on the other end.

Yeah, I found this restriction annoying and have done quite a bit of work to remove it. It's not accurate that the summoned creatures are stored directly in the item, but they're included in party data somewhere. It may still be a little buggy.

 

There are still items that can't be carried between scenarios, mind you. Mainly ones that call a special node (which is also a new possibility that I added). There are several "item abilities" that make it call a special node in various contexts, such as when you strike a monster with it, when you drop it on the ground, when you equip it, when you use it, etc (can't recall if I did all of those, but most of them).

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Wasn't archery being useless a bug, though? If so, that should be fixed in OBoE and archery should no longer be totally useless.

 

I thought it was just the way the game was balanced, rather than a bug as such.

 

 

Yeah, I found this restriction annoying and have done quite a bit of work to remove it. It's not accurate that the summoned creatures are stored directly in the item, but they're included in party data somewhere. It may still be a little buggy.

 

There are still items that can't be carried between scenarios, mind you. Mainly ones that call a special node (which is also a new possibility that I added). There are several "item abilities" that make it call a special node in various contexts, such as when you strike a monster with it, when you drop it on the ground, when you equip it, when you use it, etc (can't recall if I did all of those, but most of them).

 

Ah, fair enough. I always thought it was weird that there are spells that summon specific monsters that a arty can keep between scenarios, but not items that summon the same ones.

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There may have been bugs in the archery code, but most of its uselessness was just the way the game balance played out. It definitely wasn't intentional, judging from Jeff's commentary in the Exile 1 in-game help, but it also wasn't a bug.

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really, the main problem with archery is just that keeping arrows in stock is annoying enough that archery would have to be better than other damage-dealing options to justify it, and it isn't

 

Ah, fair enough. I always thought it was weird that there are spells that summon specific monsters that a arty can keep between scenarios, but not items that summon the same ones.

 

the monsters those spells summon aren't actually hardcoded fwiw: change the monster definitions that they refer to and they'll summon different things. some scenarios took advantage of this on purpose and others did it by accident

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I know Amazonian Saga, which I would be replaying if the game worked, features its own version of Summon Host.

 

Archery is useless in all four Exile games in large part because there was originally no skill associated with improving it. Archery skill literally did nothing, because of a programming oversight that failed to attach any skills to the game mechanic. I'm pretty sure someone, at some point, fixed that, although if they did, or haven't and will, there'd be a legacy check to preserve balance with original-BoE scenarios.

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Wait, what? I don't remember that from the codebase. Archery skill isn't the lookup determiner for the hit chance table for bows, like weapon skill is for other weapon types? Are you sure?

 

I don't have the code handy, but google turns up

 

http://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/index.php?/topic/1959-thrown-missile-bug/

 

and

 

http://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/index.php?/topic/19634-rebalancing-boe/

 

Taken together, they suggest that in original BoE, Thrown Weapons skill is useless (because the mechanic has the wrong skill attached, not no skills), but Archery works as intended; whereas a bug was introduced in CBoE that causes ALL weapon skills to never be used. It is very clear that weapon skills did have an impact on hit rate in original BoE, so this is a newly introduced bug.

 

Also, in this particular case, we haven't checked if the Thrown Weapons bug existed in E1-3. But that would be easy enough to check for in-game.

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really, the main problem with archery is just that keeping arrows in stock is annoying enough that archery would have to be better than other damage-dealing options to justify it, and it isn't

 

Huh...never saw that as that much of a problem. There's the infinity arrow, for one. OTOH, even when I had arrows, I'd rarely bother using them, so I didn't tend to run out fast.

 

the monsters those spells summon aren't actually hardcoded fwiw: change the monster definitions that they refer to and they'll summon different things. some scenarios took advantage of this on purpose and others did it by accident

 

Oh sure, the editor just tells people not to mess with them.

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Yeah, if you just use archery occasionally, it's not a big deal, but if you want it to be the primary attack for one of your PCs, it's a pretty huge hassle. It also devalues magical arrows, because you get so few uses out of them; and that further devalues archery compared to regular weapons.

 

This was a common pitfall though of adapting PNP mechanics, built for a smaller number of narrated battles, into PC mechanics, with a large number of mechanical battles.

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Yeah, if you just use archery occasionally, it's not a big deal, but if you want it to be the primary attack for one of your PCs, it's a pretty huge hassle.

 

Ah, you mean a dedicated archer, not someone fulfilling another role who has a bow. Never even considered trying that.

 

It also devalues magical arrows, because you get so few uses out of them; and that further devalues archery compared to regular weapons.

 

You mean because fighters will have magic pole/edged weapons they use all the time, and archers can only use magic arrows sometimes? While that's true, they can use magic bows, and I do like the idea of carrying different types of magical arrows with different uses.

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The idea is great, but in Exile, it's like, "Ooh, Arrows of Light! And Exploding Arrows! Oh, wait, I have six uses of each, then they're gone, and there's nowhere to replace them. Hmm, and here's Demonslayer and this Magic Wave Blade that I can use as much as I want..."

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Exile has limited slots to carry different arrows, so you have to decide with a dedicated archer do you want to keep several different arrows or be able to carry something else that might be useful. If you know you are going into a fight where that arrow type is useful, then one or two special types can make a difference.

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The idea is great, but in Exile, it's like, "Ooh, Arrows of Light! And Exploding Arrows! Oh, wait, I have six uses of each, then they're gone, and there's nowhere to replace them. Hmm, and here's Demonslayer and this Magic Wave Blade that I can use as much as I want..."

 

The same could be said of scrolls or wands, though you don't need a bow or archery skill to use them.

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The same should be said of scrolls and wands.

 

Honestly, I think consumable items/equipment that operate independently of character build are impossible to balance effectively in any game that doesn't involve permadeath. If they are about as strong as nonconsumable equipment, or weaker, then they are completely pointless; whereas if they are stronger, they devalue character builds and remove strategy. Either way, they aren't interesting.

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the monsters those spells summon aren't actually hardcoded fwiw: change the monster definitions that they refer to and they'll summon different things. some scenarios took advantage of this on purpose and others did it by accident

I sort of want to fix this so that the monsters summoned by the spells are hard-coded into the engine (though still allowing a scenario to intentionally override them somehow). I might never get around to it though.

 

Archery skill literally did nothing, because of a programming oversight that failed to attach any skills to the game mechanic. I'm pretty sure someone, at some point, fixed that, although if they did, or haven't and will, there'd be a legacy check to preserve balance with original-BoE scenarios.

I don't remember whether it was archery or thrown missiles, but it was indeed fixed. However I have no intention of making a legacy check to preserve balance in original-BoE scenarios.

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The same should be said of scrolls and wands.

 

also it's only a rare few missiles that are comparable in usefulness to the better wands in the first place. exploding arrows, maybe lightning rods, maybe arrows of light/life, and that's about it

 

Honestly, I think consumable items/equipment that operate independently of character build are impossible to balance effectively in any game that doesn't involve permadeath. If they are about as strong as nonconsumable equipment, or weaker, then they are completely pointless; whereas if they are stronger, they devalue character builds and remove strategy. Either way, they aren't interesting.

 

i'd say there are at least imaginable exceptions to this, for example in games where managing sharply limited inventory space is a major part of gameplay, or where there isn't much overlap between what characters can do and what consumable items can do.

 

i can conceive of a potentially interesting design space for a game where, say, items are your primary source of healing, and before a dungeon expedition you have to choose between stocking up on single-target heals, group heals, and status cures depending on what you expect to need. i'm not sure it would be a game that you specifically would want to play but i don't think it's an inherently unworkable idea. many roguelikes do this to a degree and i'm not convinced that permadeath is essential for making it work (especially since some roguelikes scrap permadeath while still keeping the inventory management aspects)

 

you could also go in another direction and give your game a durability system harsh enough that all equipment is effectively consumable. the fire emblem series does this, as do riviera: the promised land and a couple of other sting games. different characters can use different equipment, but you don't really get a lot of choice in character builds as such so choosing what items to keep around and how to prioritize using them is one of the main strategic-level decisions you make, second only to deciding which characters to use in the first place; in a very real sense your inventory is your character build

 

really i think the strongest blanket statement i'm comfortable making about consumable items is "don't just throw a mechanic into a game without a specific purpose in mind for it"

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Honestly, I think consumable items/equipment that operate independently of character build are impossible to balance effectively in any game that doesn't involve permadeath. If they are about as strong as nonconsumable equipment, or weaker, then they are completely pointless; whereas if they are stronger, they devalue character builds and remove strategy. Either way, they aren't interesting.

I thought the idea was that they would be stronger than nonconsumable equipment but only available once or a few times (assuming they're not freely replaceable), so you had to choose your spots. It adds an element of strategy — do I use this here or save it for something later down the road that might be harder? Can I beat this with my ordinary abilities or do I need to burn a consumable? Figuring out whether to use a consumable can be part of the puzzle of a combat (or whatever).

 

But am I missing your point?

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Minecraft features a system where all equipment will eventually break if you don't repair it by putting two damaged ones together. It also features arrows which, if they don't hit a mob, can be picked back up out of the ground/walls where they get stuck.

 

I'm pretty sure Shining Force 1 and 2 for Sega Genesis feature arrows which are not consumable; you equip your elf with a bow and a single arrow, and you're good.

 

Other implementation ideas: 1. Ordinary arrows are not consumable, but special arrows are. 2. All arrows are consumable, unless you get a matching Quiver equipment item. Rare, magical arrows might not have matching quivers, basically amounting to idea 1, and Returning arrows would not need a quiver.

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I personally prefer the mechanic of retrievable arrows (with some exceptions - eg, exploding arrows should not be retrievable), though I certainly won't be implementing this in BoE.

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yeah i don't think anyone here's seriously proposing to rebalance missiles in BoE (if nothing else, because without breaking compatibility with old scenarios there isn't really much you could do that scenario designers can't already do on their own). we're just spitballing about game design for funsies

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really i think the strongest blanket statement i'm comfortable making about consumable items is "don't just throw a mechanic into a game without a specific purpose in mind for it"

well, that's a pretty good blanket statement.

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I liked the idea of having enemy archers drop arrows when they die, so you can restock that way, and because it sorta makes sense. But unless you went all out and made a scenario friendly to archer PCs, it wouldn't do much.

 

Had wondered about that, as being a good archer is a nephil stereotype, so having useful archery might be desirable in a nephil based scenario. Wasn't sure how this could be done, excepting with new, more powerful items, lots of arrows around or maybe level and monster design that made archery useful.

 

I sort of want to fix this so that the monsters summoned by the spells are hard-coded into the engine (though still allowing a scenario to intentionally override them somehow). I might never get around to it though.

 

Why? Was there a problem with telling designers not to muck about with those monsters?

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Why? Was there a problem with telling designers not to muck about with those monsters?

The editor itself didn't actually tell you not to do it. You had to have read the manual carefully.

 

I just don't like that sort of arbitrary thing. But I guess it's not a real problem, no. And I've actually made the scenario editor note in the monster editing dialog which spells can summon it, so it's less of a problem than it was. (This feature accounts both for the hard-coded spells and for the generic summon spells based on summon category.)

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