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Author Topic: The State of Loot  (Read 2480 times)

booksarefun666

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The State of Loot
« on: August 03, 2017, 07:33:46 PM »
Being a part of the RVT, I get exposed to a lot of equipment. So much equipment that many people aren't even aware of or would notice them being changed like the following two disclosed below. All too often a RVT gets to experience the unique pleasure of having loot that is extra fat only to become literally worthless by the secret workshop of balancing gnomes meticulously working away.

e.g;

Spoiler: show



This is actually a decent blade despite the drawbacks present. With AC and discipline being coveted, especially when you would probably use this in PvP it strikes a balance that is perfect to customers. It'd take awhile, but I could probably sell this for 6k. Maybe more.

So you have two of them in your inventory and you're happy you're about to make 12k, but then suddenly there's a stealth nerf.

I present you exhibit B:

Spoiler: show


-3 AC
-4 Dsicipline
On hit: Lesser dispelling DC-12.
Drops in Sithicus

This blade is officially unsellable without any hint of exaggeration. This would quickly join the giant pile of vendor trash that you'd see in Blaustein.

While Casglu'r itself could use a buff, I'd also like to extend this topic out to the rest of the loot because I think it's quickly going in one direction and there's only a few bits of worthwhile loot left, notably rogue gear, and crafted equipment. I'm all for crafting professions to be relevant, but it's quickly overshadowing the loot drops we have currently because the drops itself are pathetic and with so much drawbacks it isn't worthwhile.

e.g.;

Spoiler: show
Quote


I'm not at all recommending you nerf crafted gear. In fact, far from it, I think the drops and the items themselves could use tweaking and be a bit more generous but I'm insulated by similar opinions and people that typically sell as well and I'd like the rest of your opinions to see if you share my sentiments. Could loot tables, in your opinion, use tweaking? Maybe a developer could tell us what it's like on paper as well and explain why they think it's fine as is.

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 07:40:14 PM »
I'd like to see mid-tier rogue/stealth loot become more common again. It's now so expensive to get a stealther going, it's just straight up not worth it. Other classes can do the stealth thing far more effectively without any equipment requirements.

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 08:02:57 PM »
Stealth gear is less common because we have much more available loot then we used to. To have more stealth loot come up, we would need more stealth gear in the loot table. You can always help with that by giving item suggestion in this thread :)
http://www.nwnravenloft.com/forum/index.php?topic=44496.0
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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 08:10:43 PM »
There 'is' a lot of vendor trash loot these days.  The majority of it is there purely to pad out the RNG of the loot itself, and is worth simply gold of varying amounts, sometimes lots.  That's all well and good, but if its selling for gold that isn't really useful for buying much because there isn't much worth buying, it can get a bit tricky.

That said, I haven't had to buy much for a character for a while now, so take my opinion with a significant chunk of salt on this one!

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2017, 08:23:24 PM »
I find myself sticking to only a specific array of items whenever I make a new char. Almost everything else has massive drawbacks that it's exactly what Nem mentioned - vendor trash.

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2017, 08:48:16 PM »
Being a part of the RVT, I get exposed to a lot of equipment. So much equipment that many people aren't even aware of or would notice them being changed like the following two disclosed below. All too often a RVT gets to experience the unique pleasure of having loot that is extra fat only to become literally worthless by the secret workshop of balancing gnomes meticulously working away.

e.g;

Spoiler: show



This is actually a decent blade despite the drawbacks present. With AC and discipline being coveted, especially when you would probably use this in PvP it strikes a balance that is perfect to customers. It'd take awhile, but I could probably sell this for 6k. Maybe more.

So you have two of them in your inventory and you're happy you're about to make 12k, but then suddenly there's a stealth nerf.

I present you exhibit B:

Spoiler: show


-3 AC
-4 Dsicipline
On hit: Lesser dispelling DC-12.
Drops in Sithicus

This blade is officially unsellable without any hint of exaggeration. This would quickly join the giant pile of vendor trash that you'd see in Blaustein.

While Casglu'r itself could use a buff, I'd also like to extend this topic out to the rest of the loot because I think it's quickly going in one direction and there's only a few bits of worthwhile loot left, notably rogue gear, and crafted equipment. I'm all for crafting professions to be relevant, but it's quickly overshadowing the loot drops we have currently because the drops itself are pathetic and with so much drawbacks it isn't worthwhile.

e.g.;

Spoiler: show
Quote


I'm not at all recommending you nerf crafted gear. In fact, far from it, I think the drops and the items themselves could use tweaking and be a bit more generous but I'm insulated by similar opinions and people that typically sell as well and I'd like the rest of your opinions to see if you share my sentiments. Could loot tables, in your opinion, use tweaking? Maybe a developer could tell us what it's like on paper as well and explain why they think it's fine as is.

+1

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2017, 09:44:29 PM »
I think some more items in the Item Request Discussion Thread were on the way for the hack update...

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2017, 10:10:50 PM »
I think some more items in the Item Request Discussion Thread were on the way for the hack update...

I'll try to have a look at the thread and bring up interesting items to the team for review! :)
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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 08:56:03 AM »
Is it too soon to re-open the whole Vestments of Faith thing? They went from being +5/5 (overpowered) to +3/5 (still just as overpowered at low level, but increasingly useless at higher levels) and none of the compromised solutions were heeded.
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booksarefun666

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2017, 01:46:39 PM »
Is it too soon to re-open the whole Vestments of Faith thing? They went from being +5/5 (overpowered) to +3/5 (still just as overpowered at low level, but increasingly useless at higher levels) and none of the compromised solutions were heeded.

They also did that to Oathbearer too, a +5/5 shield with +1 ac and knocked it back down to 3 like the cloak. Tweaks like these make the items not at all worthwhile to keep around if they keep dropping in high level areas as opposed to lowbie areas.

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2017, 05:25:27 PM »
Vestments of Faith is still the best looted cloak on the server, its just not hyper-broken overpowered with the 5/+3 nerf.

There is alot of items that got nerfed over the years that have their worthless-remakes on the tables. Some tables have multiple instances/versions of the same item description but different properties (bad ones!) With some of the comments that have happened already, I've been preaching that card for years:
 
I find myself sticking to only a specific array of items whenever I make a new char. Almost everything else has massive drawbacks that it's exactly what Nem mentioned - vendor trash.
Depending on your build/class, there are 1-3 items for each accessory/equipment slot that are best in slot. These are typically the items people reserve for auctions, in addition to the legacy items that still exist from previous nerfs. And with how loot tables are generated, there are a lot of items that are genuinely nice/average items to find as a lower level character, but they only drop from high level dungeons due to their price (The old ranger's lore belt, as an example, 1st level wizard spells for rangers as as a 15th+ level dungeon reward? And the only spell on the item that even matters is invisibility)

I've always been unsure why there have been some items that got nerfed and all versions were updated, and other items were nerfed but the legacy items still exist. Those legacy items tend to show up as donkey-trade later down the road.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 05:31:35 PM by Sidhel »
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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2017, 05:50:40 PM »
booksarefun666, I do understand your point of view. But let's be honest, it is actually rare that we, the aforementionned balancing gnomes in the secret workshop, do nerf an item. We do not do weekly nerfs for the fun of it. It is done only after careful deliberation for what we believe to be the good of the server. In the thousand+ items in the loot tables, there's bound to still be a lot of items that remain more powerful than crafted gear.

It is a difficult task balancing it all with so many items around. We would not want all loot items to be more powerful than crafted gear, it would render crafted gear useless. In that respect there is nothing wrong in an item being good only to be sold at an NPC merchant, it is still less boring than only gold in a chest. And what you deem unusable for your own char, might just be someone else treasure. Just as we want the loot drop to be enough of an incentive that once in a while you do find something more powerful. As I said it is a delicate act.

Let's take the Casglu'r Tywill blade. The foremost problem of the original blade was its automatic "Lesser Spell Breach level 1" on hit, no DC. As explained in the Item suggestion thread, On-Hit: Cast Spell effects can cause performance issues. Most spells were designed under the assumption that a character could cast at most two spells in a round. When it is triggered on-hit, however, a spell can be cast much more often, potentially twelve times per round. The newer version of the blade still has an on hit property, but with a reasonable DC so it does not trigger on every hit. Even with its defensive penalties, it remains an enchanted blade, dealing extra divine damage, and with the potential to dispel foes. So I much disagree with your stance that it is useless.

If you do feel an item is worthless though: useless as in unusable by PCs, and unsellable to NPC merchants, do flag it and we'll have a look at them. But the items you suggested here are far from useless.

aprogressivist, I know it is a sore spot, but no, it is unlikely we will ever reopen the Vestment of Faith and Oathbreaker Shield debates.
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booksarefun666

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2017, 06:21:36 PM »
Divine damage itself is lovely, but the -ac itself is quite unsexy when most of the melee builds in POTM compromise of getting the most AC as possible. Normally with the first example of the bastard sword I'd use it for PvP since I'm promised I'll dispell something on an actual successful hit which doesn't always happen, especially against a buffed combatant but now it's unlikely I'll even pull that off all the while suffering the following:

-3 AC
-4 Dsicipline
-4 fort

That's IMP KD/flesh to stone bait. Not that it's only utility could be used in PvP, but with it dropping in Sithicus you aren't going to be using this blade in the high end dungeons where AC is paramount. It'd, at best, be used in the lowbie dungeons on a lowbie that bought it from us. That's why that sword's a personal headscratcher because while on paper it doesn't seem that bad, it actual practice I don't see it being used.

Now granted, my only experience is selling this kind of stuff and I know what sells and what doesn't. I'm not a DM, I don't know who uses this blade as a secondary weapon, maybe people are busting these blades out when they fight alhoon despite the discipline draw back.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 06:23:33 PM by booksarefun666 »

aprogressivist

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2017, 06:31:58 PM »
Vestments of Faith is still the best looted cloak on the server, its just not hyper-broken overpowered with the 5/+3 nerf.

I'd argue the Black Rose cloak is better, but that's just opinion. This doesn't address any of the issues raised, now or then. And I feel vindicated that the prediction I made about the Vestments becoming a hand-me-down item have become true AFAIK.
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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2017, 11:29:10 PM »
Vestments of Faith is still the best looted cloak on the server, its just not hyper-broken overpowered with the 5/+3 nerf.

I'd argue the Black Rose cloak is better, but that's just opinion. This doesn't address any of the issues raised, now or then. And I feel vindicated that the prediction I made about the Vestments becoming a hand-me-down item have become true AFAIK.
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julienchab

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2017, 12:05:36 AM »

Let's take the Casglu'r Tywill blade. The foremost problem of the original blade was its automatic "Lesser Spell Breach level 1" on hit, no DC. As explained in the Item suggestion thread, On-Hit: Cast Spell effects can cause performance issues. Most spells were designed under the assumption that a character could cast at most two spells in a round. When it is triggered on-hit, however, a spell can be cast much more often, potentially twelve times per round. The newer version of the blade still has an on hit property, but with a reasonable DC so it does not trigger on every hit. Even with its defensive penalties, it remains an enchanted blade, dealing extra divine damage, and with the potential to dispel foes. So I much disagree with your stance that it is useless.



I am a bit curious here about your reasoning Mab, as lesser spell breach will only target two wards amongst all of the following: http://nwn.wikia.com/wiki/Breach and will not actually roll against every ward, it will simply dispell them, completly. On the other day, a lesser dispel magic will actually target every ward that is currently affecting the person being hit, which means it could technicly dispell someone entirely in a single hit.

However, this is very unlikely to happen, considering the sword we are taking about has a lesser dispell DC 12. What does this mean? It means that every time the sword hits, it will roll a check of 1d20+5 against every single ward that the target is currently under the influence of. The DC to dispell the ward will depend of the lvl of the caster who did the ward, since the math is 12 + caster level. Effectively, it means that any caster lvl 13 will never be dispelled by this sword since it will bring a DC of 25, which can never be surpassed by the sword.

Considering this blade can only be found in Sithicus, in the Salt Mines, which means you need to get an absurdly powerful group of lvl 17+ people, yes, the sword is useless. It will never be used by anyone high than lvl 12, since it will have no effect against those they will be using it against. And I'm not even talking about the negatives here, only about the actual bonus of the sword, which is suppose to make it a niche weapon.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 12:07:11 AM by Chabxxu »

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2017, 02:13:03 AM »
[...]
Considering this blade can only be found in Sithicus, in the Salt Mines, which means you need to get an absurdly powerful group of lvl 17+ people, yes, the sword is useless. It will never be used by anyone high than lvl 12, since it will have no effect against those they will be using it against. And I'm not even talking about the negatives here, only about the actual bonus of the sword, which is suppose to make it a niche weapon.

It's just my own opinion but, I don't subscribe to the notion that a loot item always have to be of direct use to the person whom finds it. There is nothing wrong in finding a low or mid-tier item and sell it back to lower levels. That is in itself a use for any item. Nor that's its general power absolutely has to correlate with the difficulty of the place it was found in. I do agree however, that you should have a higher chance of finding the best stuff there. Though a "higher" chance does not mean great loot all the time. Especially since it is not to gain powerful items that you should visit these dangerous places, but to test your skills and abilities. I understand high level characters want high level gear, but ultimately that is exactly what enchanted gear is for.
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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2017, 10:19:41 AM »
There is nothing wrong in finding a low or mid-tier item and sell it back to lower levels. That is in itself a use for any item. Nor that's its general power absolutely has to correlate with the difficulty of the place it was found in.

Except that these items are rare and therefore situationally powerful, but increasingly, the only situation they are powerful for seems to be "when fighting against low level characters".

I consider it very questionable design to create high tier loot that is overpowered at lower levels and useless at higher levels, because then you merely encourage a server culture where people call in high level buddies whenever they are faced with a problem they can't surmount due to OP hand-me-downs. On a server which implicitly -- and sometimes explicitly -- tries to nudge higher levels away from starter areas and encourages (but does not strictly enforce) a degree of level segregation, you risk further muddying an already messy line.

I don't like the corner the dev team is painting itself into. And you're leaning excessively on the existence of enchanted gear as a justifier. A one-size-fits-all solution is a poor solution.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 10:29:19 AM by aprogressivist »
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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2017, 10:37:58 AM »
Keep in mind that on POTM we have a very low "maximum value" for loot, which is 8000 + item's base price (ex: a full plate's total cost couldn't be over 9500). In the last hak update, which is about three years ago, we tweaked the cost values of various properties that were not balanced, which raised the cost of many items above the threshold. That was a problem with many Sithican items, which I had to then readjust to be below the 8000gp limit.

In any case, it's fairly complicated to balance items within that cost range. To give you an idea, most items in the NwN single player campaign are worth hundreds of thousands of gold pieces. As soon as you start adding funky properties such as on hit properties, the cost jumps up immensely, so to balance it out price-wise, you have to add quite a few negatives.

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2017, 10:43:55 AM »
Fair enough. If I may venture, the message I am reading between the lines of your post and MAB's seems to distill to, "Only enchanted gear can be that powerful, because only enchanted gear can bypass the 8000gp value rule."

I still think some of the gear dropped could be more smoothly balanced across all levels if there's much leeway in designing them.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 10:45:31 AM by aprogressivist »
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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2017, 11:26:44 AM »
Fair enough. If I may venture, the message I am reading between the lines of your post and MAB's seems to distill to, "Only enchanted gear can be that powerful, because only enchanted gear can bypass the 8000gp value rule."

I still think some of the gear dropped could be more smoothly balanced across all levels if there's much leeway in designing them.

I don't disagree with you but it's not a simple task to do so. I encourage you to pick up the toolset, load our haks and try designing items that are balanced, powerful yet below that 8000 limit.

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2017, 01:22:49 PM »
I think a problem with that loot value is some items have things that artificially inflate their worth without contributing to the item, most often casts of spells on equipment. Offhand I think the boots of the cat have a higher item value than the cloak of silence because of it.

And I will work on some stealth pieces. I've got ideas for equipment, but, the effort part is coming up with a name/description so I'm not just submitting "Cloak of 2/2" with the description of "This cloak helps you sneak better. It's great, it doesn't have any spells on it." In general though, we've got a lot of nice endgame stealth pieces, but very little common mid-tier pieces to help new rogues get going. Things better than a +1 hide cloak or +1 MS boots.

 Boots and cloaks especially need some love, for those if you don't join the Vardo you're SOL since all of the useful pieces are exceptionally rare. Chest and belts are also fairly uncommon, but, not to the same extent as boots/cloak

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2017, 02:02:51 PM »
I think that if there is a problem with creating items that fit the gold value cap and there is a lack of proper rewards for high level characters then perhaps the gold value cap needs to be raised slightly.  Enchanted gear is nice but it's available at the mid level range.  I do not feel that gear available at mid level should be the be all end all of high level gear, personally. That is not what I would consider balance.

Alternatively, perhaps the solution is to make some of the high level gear that does exist less rare than it currently is.  At least then the options would be less stagnant than they currently are.


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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2017, 02:23:06 PM »
I think that if there is a problem with creating items that fit the gold value cap and there is a lack of proper rewards for high level characters then perhaps the gold value cap needs to be raised slightly.  Enchanted gear is nice but it's available at the mid level range.  I do not feel that gear available at mid level should be the be all end all of high level gear, personally. That is not what I would consider balance.

Alternatively, perhaps the solution is to make some of the high level gear that does exist less rare than it currently is.  At least then the options would be less stagnant than they currently are.

We won't raise the 8000 gp limit to accommodate higher levels.

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Re: The State of Loot
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2017, 04:42:10 PM »
I think that if there is a problem with creating items that fit the gold value cap and there is a lack of proper rewards for high level characters then perhaps the gold value cap needs to be raised slightly.  Enchanted gear is nice but it's available at the mid level range.  I do not feel that gear available at mid level should be the be all end all of high level gear, personally. That is not what I would consider balance.

Alternatively, perhaps the solution is to make some of the high level gear that does exist less rare than it currently is.  At least then the options would be less stagnant than they currently are.

But is there even a real problem to address here? Because I don't see it. This is not Diablo or other hack and slash games where the sole real goal is ever to acquire fatter and bigger loot as to grind XP more easily. This a roleplay server, and though we certainly catter to a wide variety of play style, hack & slashers included, emphasis on one's equipment should never be that important. I'm an old timer now, with over 30 years of RPG experience, I have never ever seen a single instance where the inclusion of more powerful gear was an improvement to a game. Quite the contrary in fact. Triumph is at its best when moderatly well equipped characters use their skills and work together to overcome the thoughest situations. THAT there is the true reward to me. Don't get me wrong, I like to find a good powerful item as much as any bloke, I just don't see the current powerlevel of items as problematic. Especially not in the case of higher level characters, the last thing they need is even more powerful toys. And to that regard, it must not be that bad either, because last I check even that dungeon designed on purpose to be the ultimate death trap has been bested once or twice. I would not like to see the inclusion of items for the sole purpose of making the current dungeons easier.

Have you also considered that perhaps your perception that there is not enough items for high level characters is simply because the server has been running so long, that we are now overflowing with items actually meant for high level characters that were passed down to lower level characters in turn? It is a natural process which obviously progressively leads to a normalisation of equipment used at all levels. There is no easy solution to that. Wiping all equipments and starting anew is certainly not an option, and always adding ever more powerful items would cripple the balance we aim to reach.

One thing I would certainly agree to though, is that we need to fully review our loot tables, because yes, some items are obsolete and/or useless. But that would be a guarguantuan task to accomplish. I'll speak of it to my fellow devs, maybe we could set up a panel to review it all one loot table at a time.
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