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Itemization Redesign

Submitted by Wayfarer on Tue, 07/21/2015 - 15:35

We’ll return to level building tomorrow but we wanted to explain a big change that is going into testing today. An itemization redesign.

I. Motivation

Before we get into the details of the changes, we’ll discuss the motivation behind the changes:

  • Better incentive to fight bosses: The difference between boss loot and minion loot is not compelling enough to justify the extra risk in fighting bosses.
  • Better incentive to fight in elite zones: The increase in the quality of the loot is not very noticeable while the increase in enemy difficulty definitely is.
  • Too easy to achieve “good enough” equipment: The quality of common loot is too similar to the quality of rare loot.

II. Solution

We decided on a number of fundamental changes to address these issues:

  • More items with fewer, more powerful modifiers
  • Fewer ranks (e.g. modified, prototype) with more transparency in quality mapping
  • Items dropped in more difficult zones are more powerful
  • All bosses have unique loot with unique properties
  • Elite zones don’t drop lowest rank items (i.e., Stock) and are the only zones that drop the highest rank items (i.e., Prototype).

III. Details

A. Loot types

Loot will be split into two general types “Standard” and “Exotic.”

1. Standard

This loot will be higher damage versions of the starting equipment (e.g., Kantikoy Repeater, Nacre Skein, Cruel Sledge, etc.) or basic versions of other equipment (e.g., Jerkin, Woven, etc.).

Standard loot will be found in chests in the zone. Higher difficulty zones will have better versions of the Standard equipment.

2. Exotic

This loot will have higher damage than the standard version and will also operate in a different way (e.g., Arblast, Baculus) or have an extra effect (e.g., Adjudicator, Balefire, etc.).

Exotic loot will only be dropped by bosses. Higher difficulty bosses will have different or better versions of the Exotic equipment.

Slots and Implants are always Exotic.

B. Modifiers and Ranks

In our current system, modifiers tended to either be small and incremental (e.g., +10% range) or big and item changing (e.g., penetrating). We decided the second type were a lot more fun so we removed small/incremental modifiers. Modifiers (especially on weapons) are now intended to be significant, noticeable modifications to the functionality of the weapons.

Following from those changes, loot will now come in only 5 different ranks:

  • Stock: no modifiers
  • Modified: 1 modifier
  • Custom: 2 modifiers
  • Experimental: 3 modifiers
  • Prototype: 4 modifiers

The ranks will drop according to these general guidelines:

  • Minion Loot:
    • Normal: Stock and Modified Standard Items
    • Elite: Modified and Custom Standard Items
  • Mid-boss Loot:
    • Normal: Modified and Custom Standard Items
    • Elite: Custom and Experimental Standard Items
  • Boss:
    • Normal:
      • Exotic: Stock, Modified, Custom, and Experimental Items
      • Standard: Custom and Experimental Items
    • Elite:
      • Exotic: Modified, Custom, Experimental, and Prototype Items
      • Standard: Experimental and Prototype Items

Note that there are exceptions to these guidelines and they are not written in stone. We may modify them as we get experience with them.

III. New items and modifiers

In order to implement these changes we needed fill out our roster of items and modifiers for all classes. So along with these changes 40+ new items and 10+ new modifiers have been added. Many of the new items are Standard loot but also a few new Exotics made their way into this change.

Some highlights include a “Reflect” property on Mantlets, adding substantial additional utility to Macrons and Antiphons, as well as other new gear and modifiers we think will add new flavor to the existing shells.

IV. Legacy items

Legacy items' modifiers will remain unchanged for at least a few weeks. We may then revert them to the new system in some way.

V. Conclusion

Game design when it’s done right is an iterative process. Games, and MMOs and even more so, are complex systems and no one can completely foresee all the consequences of a given design. We think these changes will make for a more complete and satisfying game experience. But we look forward to hearing your feedback, whether it is positive or not.

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