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Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #629811
11/10/17 04:04 PM
11/10/17 04:04 PM
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Kalrakh Offline

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What I loved most about Diablo was probably 'set items'. If gathered set items and equipped them, they gave even more benefits. Which kept them even worthwile on higherlevels even if they would have been outleveled otherwise.

What I hate most about D:OS: Items are two random. Yay, I found a found a purple crossbow. But turns out it is garbage because it gives +2 for One handed.

A unique item should not last for the entire game, but it should last at least for a longer part of the game. Gear from Bracchus is so old, it is understandable, that it is not uptodate and lost it's strength through aging. But because gear influences to heavily damage for physical fighters, it can't be to strong either.

I kind of liked the idea of improveable items in the first game, but the implementation was flawed sadly, because it was to difficult to improve them, without exactly knowing were to find. What I also remember is spotting a unique items in a birds nest or something like that and going to get it for my friend, which was a really good item and recrafting Swords of the Planet every few levels, which kept it relevant for the rest of the game for our Madora tank. Though calling it 'unique' was quite a stretch in that respective.

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #629932
11/10/17 09:33 PM
11/10/17 09:33 PM
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Hayte Offline
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The purpose of randomness in games is to create uncertainty.

A small amount of uncertainty is good because it facilitates emergent play - something unexpected happens and the player is confounded or surprised and must react. At a fundamental level, this is the point of critical hit/miss systems. It is based on the idea that no matter how competent you are, it is still possible to fail. Or to put it another way, no matter how incompetent you are, it is still possible to fumble your way to success. The outcome in either case is not certain. The odds might be in your favour, or stacked against you but the player can now experience a whole host of emotions they would never feel if the outcome was 100% certain. The player can hope for success despite slim odds. The player can experience doubt over past successes because what if I fail next time?

Too much uncertainty is bad because it takes agency away from the player. The player of the game must be able to affect the outcome with their actions and decisions. If the outcome is entirely random, the player's actions have no meaning. Their past successes have no merit. Their future attempts at success are beyond their ability to control, so why even play at all?

I think D:OS2's loot randomisation sabotages some of its gameplay systems and reward mechanisms. BG2 is a good example by way of contrast because most of the loot in BGII is fixed and placed by hand.

BG2 has very memorable loot like Carsomyr because you don't just randomly find it in a barrel and thank your lucky stars for this gift from the stats god. You had to kill a dragon to get Carsomyr. The build up to the fight was awesome. The fight itself was awesome. The loot was awesome. There is a story behind the blade which you continue to write because it is now in your possession.

In D:OS2's early/mid game, skill books fulfill some of the promise of "static" items because new skills greatly expand the utility of your characters and the synergy between them. Skill books and most unique items are a squandered opportunity because far too many of them are available from traders that you can easily rob. I think more of these static items need to be hand placed into the game world, on to bosses, in to secret areas, inside hidden chests.

Randomized loot in D:OS2 can deprive the player of the satisfaction of getting great loot from a great battle. It can deprive the player of the joy of exploration - of wandering into a cave with a secret door that leads underneath a waterfall with a chest that has awesome goodies inside.

The way loot is randomised is strange. I became aware of certain loot generation patterns in the Tower of Braccus Rex/Gargoyle Maze:

1) at least one table of items is generated for each zone in the game.
2) certain triggers will re-generate or cycle the loot table (I think this also happens to affix combinations too). Some of these triggers are: entering a zone or looting a container in the zone for the first time, opening a trade window for the first time (or after 1 hour lapses in game) and opening certain chests.
3) Loot order is not fixed but distributed into clusters of containers. These are usually groups of similar container types - vases, crates, barrels, corpses.
4) Opening all containers within a cluster will always result in the same type and quantity of loot but not necessarily in the same order.
5) Alternating between containers in different clusters will change the type and quantity of loot from chests. If there are multiple chests, opening the chests in different orders will change the type and quantity of loot.
6) All of the above persists through a save state, so using trial and error, you can find a sequence of containers that results in a lucky charm proc, you can quick load, repeat the sequence until you get to the container that procs, quick save and reroll the item inside. Don't like the item? Change the sequence of the containers.

It isn't my place to say whether this is something you should or shouldn't exploit. It isn't my place to say if this is designed intentionally or that developer intent should dictate how you as a player should play the game.

This is my first Divinity game and I'm blind playing Tactician. I have to repeat many fights and many areas due to poor preparation/decision making. This is what made it easy to spot looting patterns. The Tower of Braccus Rex/Gargoyle Maze was a key for this because I kept reloading and repeating sections of the tower/maze due to accidentally leaving my party members chained. They kept dying to traps. The mechanics of loot generation are far too transparent.

The process is predictable to the extent that I can roughly identify clusters on sight. If there is a trader or chest in the zone, I know that leaving containers unlooted from at least two clusters will allow me to cycle the chest's contents or the trader's inventory without having to wait for an hour.

Despite how predictable this behaviour is, it consistently yields uncertain results because the affixes on the item change on every quick load. Due to the number of affix permutations, it is unlikely I will get my top 4 affixes. There are not enough rules to protect the player against against nonsensical affix combinations. You can roll single handed and dual wielding on the same Legendary Wand, meaning that one or the other stat is always wasted. This should never happen.

Large scale random generation/allocation of items is not compatible with a game that has a finite number of lootable containers and enemies. You cannot re-instance an area and enemies do not respawn.

D:OS2's random loot is most similar to Diablo 3 which is a big problem in itself because Diablo 3 is all about re-instancing and rolling the dice. It isn't an adventure game with treasure hunting elements any more and hasn't been since the design of the game centred around greater rifts. It is now more appropriately described as a gauntlet style arcade game where enemy hp and damage output scale exponentially with greater rift level. The last time I played monster hp was doubling every 4 levels. Keeping pace with the doubling of hp requires damage multiplier stacking and each new season added items that provided damage multiplication. This is how 100k damage numbers became 10 trillion damage numbers in about 1.5 years.

This is fine as long as you know what it is and what it involves. Its a dice roll game you involuntarily play while levelling up. Levelling up inherently involves killing hundreds of enemies per minute, all of which are capable of dropping randomly generated loot. The faster you do it, the faster you level up. The uncertainty of what you might find and how incrementally useful to you it might be is part of what breaks up the monotony of grinding paragon levels.

On a seasonal schedule it makes sense as a way of holding the player captive to a personal goal for a few months at a time. It makes no sense in a game like D:OS2.

Last edited by Hayte; 12/10/17 03:38 AM.
Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #629948
11/10/17 10:19 PM
11/10/17 10:19 PM
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I find randomization a pretty fun part of the game's loot system, but it's always disappointing seeing a unique item that quickly gets tossed aside not too long after it's obtained - especially with how big stat bloat can get later on. I like the idea of uniques scaling with the player level, or maybe having some means to "upgrade" the item to your current level. Might be a good way to utilize the crafting system which doesn't have too much emphasis on it right now.

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #629968
11/10/17 11:02 PM
11/10/17 11:02 PM
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I really think what hayte wrote says everything that makes me feel sad and sometimes frustrated on playing DOS2 at this moment.

ps: i really hate the inventory management but this is another topic.

Last edited by Sikotic; 11/10/17 11:06 PM.
Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #630140
12/10/17 10:30 AM
12/10/17 10:30 AM
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Nice post, Hayte.

I definitely agree that it was a missed opportunity making the skills so available to thievery. How much more psyched would you be if you actually found or earned that skill through glorious combat? At which point, when you move forward to the next act, THOSE vendors would stock all the skills from the previous act so you can double up or get those that you missed.

I think a huge part of the problem is the scaling. By having such aggressive scaling, the items become worthless almost immediately. Damage and armor are by far the most crucial stats and they're the ones that scale obscenely.

That Braccus set had the potential to be a Carsomyr. It gave a unique ability, some pretty decent stats and some nice lore from the first game. But as soon as you can finally wear it you go through a bunch of story missions with a glut of xp and outlevel it nearly instantly. Such a shame. I'd be surprised if anyone actually spent as much time wearing it as they did hunting for the pieces. It totally subverts the whole idea of going on an epic quest for an appropriately epic reward.

It's not game ruining or anything, but it's definitely a big weak spot.

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #630245
12/10/17 04:27 PM
12/10/17 04:27 PM
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ExecutiveCivic Offline
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Since the most recent update, I have to completely agree with the OP. Not only with unique items you can find throughout your adventures, but also on the vast majority of all of the level 18-20 end-game unique items that used to come with 3 rune sockets have been nerfed to 1 socket and their vendor values are all trash now, making them statistically substantially worse than a level 20/21 vendor purchased Divine. The triple sockets made many of these items better than anything you could find or purchase 2-3 levels higher, and the feeling you get when you found one of these items was amazing FeelsGoodMan.

Now though? I don't even bother picking them up as their vendor value has been nerfed to oblivion as well, and my gear is usually better by the time I find them anyway.

To add to OPs statement earlier about hand-placed loot; I completely agree.

If I am going to go out of my way and spend hours on side quests to find that (supposed-to-be) awesome unique item, that item should provide SOME type of usefulness past its spawned level where I wont end up almost being *required* to replace it on my next level-up. It just feels vastly unrewarding and actually hurts the replay value of this game.

As what the OP mentioned, in games like Baldur's Gate 2 where you can get items like Lirarcor +3 or Celestial Bane or Carsomyr +5 very early on, I can use those items for almost (if not) the entire play-through and that doesn't make the game less replayable. It is actually more rewarding to know that I can reliably find these items that will last me rather than doing this dumb vendor grind to find that one Divine item that trumps the one I purchased from the same vendor on my previous level-up.

Further, this game doesn't have randomly generated dungeons or areas with re-spawning monsters to allow a fun method of grinding for this randomly generated Divine gear; I am restricted to scum-saving or waiting every X hours for a vendor to update if I am unhappy with my loot rolls by level 21/22 and am nearing the last few end-game fights.

I also don't think any response that suggests I use mods to "fix" what is broken is a viable solution; I shouldn't have to resort to using a third party mod to fix a fundamentally flawed aspect of the game's base design. The game should've addressed this from the start.

Just to put things into perspective; This game was released just shy of 1 month ago and I am already considering putting it down after my third play-through and nearly 600 hours invested (EA included).

Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, D2LOD, etc. are games that were released 15+ years ago and I still play them to this day, many thousands of played hours later, and to me they never get old. DOS2 already feels played-out to me. FeelsFrustratedMan.

Edit:
One should sense a tiny bit of over-exaggeration in my post, as there is one item I have stuck with nearly the entire play-through (Amulet of the Void) because of the socket and Immunity to Stun on an amulet.

Other than that though, even unique items like An Mafin shield and the unique 2h Mace, Armor of Eternals (crafted to scale with player level - can still find better Divine armor at vendors same level) and the unique 3-layered crossbow with the high water damage all used to have 3 sockets now have 1... I have better items one level later even without having the modifiers like "Deflecting" and such.

Just.... Argh. Very disappointing.

Last edited by ExecutiveCivic; 12/10/17 05:04 PM.

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Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Sikotic] #630251
12/10/17 04:45 PM
12/10/17 04:45 PM
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Tuco Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Sikotic

ps: i really hate the inventory management but this is another topic.

Incidentally, as I already pointed in that other thread linked in the OP, this over-abundance of randomized loot also plays a significant role in aggravating an already cumbersome inventory bloat.

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Stabbey] #630296
12/10/17 06:16 PM
12/10/17 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted By: Stabbey
I think someone had the interesting suggestion to have the Armor and Damage values of Unique items scale with player level. I think that's an interesting idea.


+1

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #630367
12/10/17 09:49 PM
12/10/17 09:49 PM
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Tuco Offline OP
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That someone was me, but to be clear I wasn't exactly talking about scaling items as they are now.
I was pointing as a positive reference model the way Might & Magic X handled "Relics": magic items that leveled up four or five time across the entire game... So you could get them at any point and they would stay useful until the end (if not even the best items in their class, in some cases).

And for context M&MX was also a game with a lot of random loot.
They just handled it the other way around compared to D:OS1 and 2. Randomized items were the "base line" of itemization, and then unique items (relics) were the real deal.
Unlike Larian, the developers there understood that unique items need to feel special and valuable and to stick around for a while.

Of course, it was easier for them, since their items, while growing across the game, didn't SNOWBALL in stats as comically as they do in D:OS 2.

Last edited by Tuco; 12/10/17 09:51 PM.
Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #630385
12/10/17 11:20 PM
12/10/17 11:20 PM
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Sikotic Offline
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Originally Posted By: Tuco
Originally Posted By: Sikotic

ps: i really hate the inventory management but this is another topic.

Incidentally, as I already pointed in that other thread linked in the OP, this over-abundance of randomized loot also plays a significant role in aggravating an already cumbersome inventory bloat.

so dam true mate.

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #630487
13/10/17 10:39 AM
13/10/17 10:39 AM
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Hayte Offline
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One of the interesting things about computer adaptations of D&D is that D&D is designed for the tabletop. The math doesn't involve large numbers and the arithmetic is simple to do in your head. It has to be for D&D to work in a social setting because you cannot expect people to do long multiplication of factors on the fly. It would interrupt the flow of the game. Stop! Its calculator time!

Adventure roleplaying has been entrenched in computer gaming for a while now and this allows developers to do things like damage calculation with huge numbers, fractions and long multiplication because human beings no longer need to crunch the numbers. This is good because you don't have to do mental math anymore but in D:OS2, is there any compelling reason why your damage at level 20 is a hundred orders of magnitude more than at level 1? Base dagger damage at level 1 is single digit range. At level 20 its what? 3 digit range?

Then you pump finesse, multiply by crit factor and multiply by warfare factor until you have a humongoid number.

Between level 1 and 20 its not suprising you toss your gear every couple of levels. The math rapidly turns small numbers into huge numbers you can't easily crunch in your head.

This is one of those strange situations where going back to pre-computer basics might be a good idea for future development. Try keeping the numbers small like in D&D and see how that affects power scaling and difficulty. How it affects itemisation. When the numbers don't escalate rapidly, you can keep items for longer, develop attachments to them, build stories and quests around them because you know players will use them for longer.

You don't need to shower random loot with massive stats from every barrel and pile of skulls. Less in this case can be so much more.


Last edited by Hayte; 13/10/17 10:58 AM.
Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #630489
13/10/17 10:49 AM
13/10/17 10:49 AM
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Kalrakh Offline

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Base damage at level 20+ is 4 digited, crit can be easily 5 digited. So yeah, it is all about huge number bloat in D:OS2, while in D:OS1 it was more about being able to do more per turn.

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Hayte] #630584
13/10/17 05:15 PM
13/10/17 05:15 PM
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NinthPlane Offline
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Originally Posted By: Hayte
One of the interesting things about computer adaptations of D&D is that D&D is designed for the tabletop. The math doesn't involve large numbers and the arithmetic is simple to do in your head. It has to be for D&D to work in a social setting because you cannot expect people to do long multiplication of factors on the fly. It would interrupt the flow of the game. Stop! Its calculator time!

Adventure roleplaying has been entrenched in computer gaming for a while now and this allows developers to do things like damage calculation with huge numbers, fractions and long multiplication because human beings no longer need to crunch the numbers. This is good because you don't have to do mental math anymore but in D:OS2, is there any compelling reason why your damage at level 20 is a hundred orders of magnitude more than at level 1? Base dagger damage at level 1 is single digit range. At level 20 its what? 3 digit range?

Then you pump finesse, multiply by crit factor and multiply by warfare factor until you have a humongoid number.

Between level 1 and 20 its not suprising you toss your gear every couple of levels. The math rapidly turns small numbers into huge numbers you can't easily crunch in your head.

This is one of those strange situations where going back to pre-computer basics might be a good idea for future development. Try keeping the numbers small like in D&D and see how that affects power scaling and difficulty. How it affects itemisation. When the numbers don't escalate rapidly, you can keep items for longer, develop attachments to them, build stories and quests around them because you know players will use them for longer.

You don't need to shower random loot with massive stats from every barrel and pile of skulls. Less in this case can be so much more.



Good analogy. I installed the no-scaling mod originally just so I could enjoy the adventure without spending most of my time in the inventory screen, but a unexpected benefit was that...

I could now do-the-numbers-in-my-head (as you said) and began to get a feel for the relative strengths of different skills, etc. Very helpful!

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Stabbey] #630741
14/10/17 02:20 AM
14/10/17 02:20 AM
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Cyka Offline
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Originally Posted By: Stabbey
Another issue is that unlike Diablo, you can't go leaving town to kill all the respawned monsters to get new drops if the old ones sucked.


Im really shocked you have to explain this simple concept to people. Respawning mobs is preciously why random loot works in diablo AND HAVE NO PLACE IN A GAME SUCH AS THIS.

SERIOUSLY PILLARS AND TYRANNY BOTH WENT FINE WITH FIX LOOT, WTF HAPPENED.

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Cyka] #630747
14/10/17 03:22 AM
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Tyranny's skill and talent system suck though, that skill level up system almost gave me cancer.

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Cyka] #630904
14/10/17 05:12 PM
14/10/17 05:12 PM
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Tuco Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Cyka

SERIOUSLY PILLARS AND TYRANNY BOTH WENT FINE WITH FIX LOOT, WTF HAPPENED.

I didn't play Tyranny, but I played PoE (without expansions) and while I think it still handled it far better than Divinity, itemization was for the most part bland as hell.

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #630909
14/10/17 05:32 PM
14/10/17 05:32 PM
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I did play Tyranny, and my main complaint is kinda similar which is that it also ran out of steam somewhere in its second half: it was interesting up until that point, but both it and OS2 went a bit Bloodlines toward the end.

I feel my comments about the rest of it are probably not especially insightful as they're largely subjective.


J'aime le fromage.
Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #630911
14/10/17 05:42 PM
14/10/17 05:42 PM
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I thought the items in pillar was pretty interesting, there were a lot to choose from, different weapon/armor types, different builds, then later the dlc soulbound items. Also the even the weakest unique weapon in the game can be upgraded into the highest tier. I enjoyed pillar of eternity very much and even wrote a pretty long wizard solo guide for it.

Tyranny on the other hand is something else entirely, the items function in the same way, I like the story and everything, but the entire skill level up system and talent system is just awful in my opinion, so much wasted potential.

Last edited by sfzrx; 14/10/17 05:43 PM.
Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #631408
16/10/17 08:48 AM
16/10/17 08:48 AM
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Sikotic Offline
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So still no aswner from Larian Right?

Re: Dear Larian, can we talk itemization? [Re: Tuco] #631438
16/10/17 12:48 PM
16/10/17 12:48 PM
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Kalrakh Offline

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They hard ever answer, so not surprising at all.

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