Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Zombra » January 13th, 2018, 9:39 am

Great post, always good to see that inXile is considering all the angles.

I'm on record as being in favor of minimal itemization. "Looting" and inventory management generally doesn't interest me. Hauling stuff around to sell is busy work and not an adventure. "Junk" items in Wasteland 2 were funny once and then became invisible.

But I'm posting because I'd also like to go on record as being in favor of a shallow progression slope. It's fine to find a gun that is a little better than the one you have, but one that does 3x the damage of your old one is pretty jarring. Particularly so in a party-based game, where one character will suddenly overshadow the entire team until everyone else "catches up" by finding stuff in the new tier.

Obviously this links in with enemy progression as well. If you go from fighting house cats to dragons, your equipment also needs to improve by orders of magnitude; but I appreciate a shallow curve there too. It's okay to not start off fighting mutant rabbits, and it's okay for endgame robots to break when you shoot them a few times with a rifle.

The progression I do enjoy is character progression: gaining more abilities and more ways to manipulate the situation as the game goes on. Getting improved critical chance, better at called shots, being able to group or spread attacks, braced shots, better able to take advantage of terrain, and of course noncombat solutions are all more interesting to me than "got a shinier gun that shoots bigger bullets".
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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Drool » January 13th, 2018, 1:52 pm

sear wrote:
January 13th, 2018, 8:40 am
Container frequency. This is simply the sheer volume of containers. More containers, more loot - simple enough. However, if players feel like they're spending too much time clicking on things and waiting for animations that don't lead to enough reward, then this starts to feel tedious.
Not to mention running around with your hand awkwardly holding down Z or Tab to highlight all those crates and boxes and bags and buried things.
It doesn't feel very believable to find a big chest with tons of awesome items out in the open, just as it doesn't feel very fitting to go to lengths breaking into a vault or armory only to find it empty.
Or to open a level 10 locked trunk to find a used dildo and five rounds of ammunition, cough cough.

And speaking of..
Zombra wrote:
January 13th, 2018, 9:39 am
"Junk" items in Wasteland 2 were funny once and then became invisible.
Furthermore, the Fallout 2 inspired "jokes" of dildos and condoms and other such nonsense weren't even funny once.
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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Zombra » January 13th, 2018, 2:07 pm

Drool wrote:
January 13th, 2018, 1:52 pm
And speaking of..
Zombra wrote:
January 13th, 2018, 9:39 am
"Junk" items in Wasteland 2 were funny once and then became invisible.
Furthermore, the Fallout 2 inspired "jokes" of dildos and condoms and other such nonsense weren't even funny once.
Well ... I didn't want to be harsh, but I really meant that the very existence of junk loot was only funny once. The first time I found a torn up tennis ball or whatever, it was kind of funny because "this is worthless but it's in the game anyway". Then I found a troll doll and was like, "Wow, they made more of this stuff? Huh."

Weird loot that has a context in the game, like the CD-i for Quarex, that's the way to do it in my opinion. If there's no context for it, leave it out.
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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Drool » January 13th, 2018, 2:19 pm

Zombra wrote:
January 13th, 2018, 2:07 pm
Well ... I didn't want to be harsh, but I really meant that the very existence of junk loot was only funny once.
Eh. I didn't mind the pictures or posters or patches or some of that stuff. Usually, the description got a chuckle out of me, and I don't mind having a world where junk items exist. Elder Scrolls goes a bit far with letting you grab anything not nailed down, but having some non-important items (like a Velvet Elvis) makes the world feel more alive.

Like many things, it's a bit of a balancing act. I think part of WL2's issue was that practically each new merchant had upgrades for you, so you could easily drop several thousand (sigh) scrap just updating weapons and ammo, so you wanted to grab that junk because you generally needed the money for much of the game. Whereas in Wasteland 1, I was never tempted to horde all those hand mirrors and maps for the cash.

Also, while we're at it, having more kinds of ammunition are nice, but I think it's not being kept in mind when figuring weapon costs. Not only do I need to spend 700 on a new gun, I'm also spending a few hundred on new ammo for it.
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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Zombra » January 13th, 2018, 2:32 pm

Drool wrote:
January 13th, 2018, 2:19 pm
Like many things, it's a bit of a balancing act. I think part of WL2's issue was that practically each new merchant had upgrades for you, so you could easily drop several thousand (sigh) scrap just updating weapons and ammo, so you wanted to grab that junk because you generally needed the money for much of the game. Whereas in Wasteland 1, I was never tempted to horde all those hand mirrors and maps for the cash.
Sure. It's all in how the economy is built. If the party is supposed to buy some Tier 3 guns for AAB amount before entering Level XX, there needs to be findable/sellable loot worth at least AAB by the time they finish Level XW. I suggest decreasing the cost of the guns as well as the amount of garbage I need to haul to the store to keep things balanced, so I'm still ready for the next level without having to do the inventory maintenance.

I also wanted to say something about Hand Mirrors. I'm not exactly sure why I like them so much more than the wacky W2 junk. I guess I'm okay with a few worthless items if they aren't so silly. I guess I don't think the "joke", if it was a joke, was really intentional. There's a subtle charm about them.
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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Grohal » January 14th, 2018, 1:04 am

Junk items would make way more sense if you could use materials from them - even a dildo has some parts McGyver can use to improve the grip of his knife or something like that.
So if InXile plans on improving crafting (it was a bit lame in WL2), give junk some indirect use. Rubber from tennis balls, metal from other stuff - you get the idea. Could also be a new skill that gives you more rare materials out of junk the higher it is. Some of us want more skills anyway. :mrgreen:

And another tiny thing:
It's not very immersive to find the 100th foto the same actor - unless you plunder the former home of said actor - landscape and so on. So either give the items more slighty different names/descriptions or make the description more vague like "a faded foto of a pre-apocalytic landscape/man/woman/pet" for example.
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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Mole204 » January 14th, 2018, 11:05 am

Some of the random kibble items were nice, but some of them were just garbage items. More-so when you're out hunting encounters to fill up on things you just want to sell off so as to get useful things. Like collecting guns to get some rocket launchers and some heals.
Altering the Find math to give more kibble items or garbage items would backfire pretty quickly- there's only X so many loot boxes (not random encounter drops) and you'd need those loot boxes to get Y items and having the Find math be tilted to give you garbage condoms instead of box-only howitzers is a letdown. Also, it encourages "save scumming" re-dos. If the game isn't going to play fair then there's no reason for the player to play fair. Biasing the random loot math isn't going to do any good. And additionally, there's the boredom of getting your dozenth piece of broken sunglasses when you've intentionally cleaned all the junk out of the packs- I don't need this, I've got a dozen of them in the ammo dump. And THEN there's tilting the Find math to give you mismatched junk when you should get other junk- killing a robot doesn't get you nice mid-level robot junk, it instead gets you worthless animal junk like frog's eyes. So unless it's to keep track of making sure (via loot drop in Final Boss?) that the player has found all the items for the purpose of giving him more ONLY to complete the list, it's a bad idea.

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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Drool » January 14th, 2018, 1:27 pm

Zombra wrote:
January 13th, 2018, 2:32 pm
I also wanted to say something about Hand Mirrors. I'm not exactly sure why I like them so much more than the wacky W2 junk.
I wonder if some of it was the era. I mean, random junk items weren't particularly common in 88. Generally, in an RPG, all you found were potions, quest items, weapons, or armor; there just wasn't much dross.

Adding on, Wasteland had some very niche uses for some items, like using a Match in the Highpool cave to change the Rex fight. You got no feedback, and there were no other uses, but that one use was there. It makes me wonder if there's some super obscure niche use for Maps or Hand Mirrors somewhere in the game that nobody's found.
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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Zombra » January 14th, 2018, 1:33 pm

Grohal wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 1:04 am
Junk items would make way more sense if you could use materials from them - even a dildo has some parts McGyver can use to improve the grip of his knife or something like that.
So if InXile plans on improving crafting (it was a bit lame in WL2), give junk some indirect use. Rubber from tennis balls, metal from other stuff - you get the idea. Could also be a new skill that gives you more rare materials out of junk the higher it is. Some of us want more skills anyway. :mrgreen:
Personally, I am not excited to spend more time digging in trash cans to find 80/80 Rusty Screws to build Yet Another Redundant Weapon. I admit though, I was disappointed that Bullet Swaging didn't make it into W2.
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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Grohal » January 15th, 2018, 5:21 am

Zombra wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 1:33 pm
Grohal wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 1:04 am
Junk items would make way more sense if you could use materials from them - even a dildo has some parts McGyver can use to improve the grip of his knife or something like that.
So if InXile plans on improving crafting (it was a bit lame in WL2), give junk some indirect use. Rubber from tennis balls, metal from other stuff - you get the idea. Could also be a new skill that gives you more rare materials out of junk the higher it is. Some of us want more skills anyway. :mrgreen:
Personally, I am not excited to spend more time digging in trash cans to find 80/80 Rusty Screws to build Yet Another Redundant Weapon. I admit though, I was disappointed that Bullet Swaging didn't make it into W2.
It's more of an immersion thing. In a post-apocalyptic world I shouldn't find shiny new weapons all over the place, but be forced to work with what the world's end left over.
I am not saying I NEED a crafting system at all, but IF they put it in they should make it better/extensive than in WL2.
It would also be a nice way to reinvent the WL1-skill Metallurgy. Or something similar for non-metallic materials too. Those possibilities... :mrgreen:
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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Woolfe » January 15th, 2018, 4:47 pm

Grohal wrote:
January 15th, 2018, 5:21 am
Zombra wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 1:33 pm
Grohal wrote:
January 14th, 2018, 1:04 am
Junk items would make way more sense if you could use materials from them - even a dildo has some parts McGyver can use to improve the grip of his knife or something like that.
So if InXile plans on improving crafting (it was a bit lame in WL2), give junk some indirect use. Rubber from tennis balls, metal from other stuff - you get the idea. Could also be a new skill that gives you more rare materials out of junk the higher it is. Some of us want more skills anyway. :mrgreen:
Personally, I am not excited to spend more time digging in trash cans to find 80/80 Rusty Screws to build Yet Another Redundant Weapon. I admit though, I was disappointed that Bullet Swaging didn't make it into W2.
It's more of an immersion thing. In a post-apocalyptic world I shouldn't find shiny new weapons all over the place, but be forced to work with what the world's end left over.
I am not saying I NEED a crafting system at all, but IF they put it in they should make it better/extensive than in WL2.
It would also be a nice way to reinvent the WL1-skill Metallurgy. Or something similar for non-metallic materials too. Those possibilities... :mrgreen:
Thing is, it doesn't need to be a full crafting system. Getting something working is a skill. Aside from the obvious use functions, imagine the money you would earn if instead of broken rusty crap that everyone brings in, you are able to Repair/Clean/Make usable what would otherwise be old trash.
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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by sear » January 15th, 2018, 9:45 pm

Thanks for the input and discussion regarding junk items, all. It's absolutely useful to hear your perspectives.

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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Lakstoties » January 16th, 2018, 10:09 pm

I'll throw my hat into the ring. I'm all for de-junking Wasteland 3. Junk items just costed both players and developers time and effort overall for very little effect in Wasteland 2. If it doesn't have a significance somewhere in the game, then I don't want an item I have to juggle around in inventory. Now if you still want to put in some jokes and references, just give me a quick pop-up saying something around these lines:

"You rummage around the in the pockets of slain bandit and find: A toothbrush without bristles, two small empty bottles of vitamins, a knitting needle, and a perfectly intact bottle of lime juice shaped like a lime. There's just enough to fill the air with that lime fragrance, you guess. You've never personally smelled a lime and just seen pictures. Also, he had two dollars left to his name, one of them has a penis drawn on it."

Delivery of humor without the in game overhead. You could write an fill-in-blank generator that'd provide plenty of entertainment without pestering developer and player too much.

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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Mole204 » January 18th, 2018, 10:30 pm

You could write an fill-in-blank generator that'd provide plenty of entertainment without pestering developer and player too much.
-
What, like Mad Libs? You could also name items things in Nethack, I guess. If you really wanted to have some potions called shnozzberries, and a sword named Stabby.
While everyone and myself if heaping abuse on WL2's junk items, I liked many of them as they did much to at least have an _effort_ to entertain and 80s-name-drop with them.
I do hope we get the same or similar "ammo dump" system as in wl2. Non-vanishing dropped items are useful to build your own supply depot in a safe zone, as anything else can get sold. It could get streamlined, but y'know, once you open the door to Upper's meddling, there's no end to it.
-
You rummage around in the Leather Jerk's pockets and find a mirror, a shovel, and a receipt from Radon Shack for one cryo-tube.
You rummage around in the serpoid's battle pack and find an egg of disturbing psychic aura. (1 serpoid egg)
You rummage around in the backpack seller's backpack and find a backpack.

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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by unkle » January 21st, 2018, 5:16 am

Zombra wrote:
January 13th, 2018, 2:07 pm
Drool wrote:
January 13th, 2018, 1:52 pm
And speaking of..
Zombra wrote:
January 13th, 2018, 9:39 am
"Junk" items in Wasteland 2 were funny once and then became invisible.
Furthermore, the Fallout 2 inspired "jokes" of dildos and condoms and other such nonsense weren't even funny once.
Well ... I didn't want to be harsh, but I really meant that the very existence of junk loot was only funny once. The first time I found a torn up tennis ball or whatever, it was kind of funny because "this is worthless but it's in the game anyway". Then I found a troll doll and was like, "Wow, they made more of this stuff? Huh."

Weird loot that has a context in the game, like the CD-i for Quarex, that's the way to do it in my opinion. If there's no context for it, leave it out.

The amount of junk i kept because i thought it might be needed for some side mission...

The junk is just annoying coz theres so much of it.. i think eaze up on it

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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by HolyBanish » February 17th, 2018, 11:02 pm

sear wrote:
January 13th, 2018, 8:40 am
Since it's a Saturday morning, and cold as hell outside, I got to thinking about this some more. There's a lot of talk about loot that has the potential to feel "too random", but I actually think there's a lot of different, inter-related aspects that go into what people are identifying.
  • Container frequency. This is simply the sheer volume of containers. More containers, more loot - simple enough. However, if players feel like they're spending too much time clicking on things and waiting for animations that don't lead to enough reward, then this starts to feel tedious. This is one thing that got reduced substantially in the Director's Cut over the original Wasteland 2 release.
  • Loot appropriateness. Almost every RPG uses random drops to some extent - but what I think is really important is not "randomness" but appropriateness to the situation. Although hand-placing every single mundane item drop in the game sounds great on paper, what is a much better use of designer time is making sure that the "significant" drops like mission rewards, hidden and secret items, and so on, are present and accounted for, that the items themselves are cool and satisfying to use, etc.
  • Loot placement. This is more a level design question than a systems one, but people generally want to feel like the loot they're finding makes sense for its context. It doesn't feel very believable to find a big chest with tons of awesome items out in the open, just as it doesn't feel very fitting to go to lengths breaking into a vault or armory only to find it empty.
  • Loot progression. The actual types of items you find over the course of the game, and how they improve (or don't) is important. Getting more mileage out of the existing item progression (more bonuses, trade-offs, more unique variants, special abilities, more mods, etc.) is a great way to make loot feel more valuable and interesting.
  • Loot distribution. By this I meant not so much where items are placed, as the "cool" vs. "junk" loot that you find. You can have two RPGs with the exact same set of items, but the distribution of that loot's quality vs. quantity is going to make them feel very different. There isn't really one "good" or "bad" approach here - it's about picking what works for your game. What makes sense in Wasteland or Fallout doesn't make sense for Diablo, or Gothic, or Deus Ex, etc.
There are all sorts of extra factors that tie into loot as well - like how hard skill checks are, mission rewards, merchants, the overall interface and UX of looting, etc. Like anything in system design, one aspect of the game often has consequences on other parts - this all comes before things like drop scaling and biasing the RNG.
if the loot system is hard to make out from.. why not add in bit more drops from location based areas? like if you are going to one of high level areas. then you should be able to get more loot drops from strong mobs right? you do have to work it out and kill any mobs for it, or example if you want to get a pistol or more exp/ammo then you should visit some low level raiders to hunt for it for more loot drops so when you earn some more pistols? you can sell them for $$$ or break them down for weapon mods, just i think these loot system is fine but bit hard to work out from but i think it should add in bit more end game areas to finalize your team for a showdown against final boss or else for example, and bit more random encounters with enemies that are melee varied types that drops unarmed/melee/blunt or close combat specialists that drop mainly shotguns and smgs? or a medium/long range squads that drops assault rifles and sniper rifles? try to spread out these weapon tiers bit more so you can pick a build like a explosive bomber soldier that collected dynamites from crazy suicide raiders, that they run at you throwing explosives or at last ditch attack if they are wounded.. run at you and went BOOM!!, maybe try to spread out big guns out like more LMGs or else, add in grenade launchers as well?

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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Doni » February 18th, 2018, 6:03 am

In principle I don't like the idea of loot bias, but that might be one of those things that would improve my experience. For example with ammo, by reducing time I spend on hauling and inventory restocking.
undecaf wrote:
January 9th, 2018, 10:38 am
I've heard of that kind of stuff, and there's been cases where a game has felt - or, given the suspicion - that I am being aided. But beyond those situations having a strangely false ("What just happened?") feel to them, I've not given it more thought.

Well, shit. I suppose this will now have the Wilhelm-scream effect where once you're explicitly told about it, you hear it twice louder every time it occurs...
Yeah, but usually its negativity bias at play with us jumping at ghosts ;)
Last edited by Doni on February 19th, 2018, 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Cipher » February 18th, 2018, 6:46 am

You know what would be VERY good ? Weaponsmithing plus junk items = Armor/Ammo/Weapon creation. THAT would make junk item very useful!

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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by unkle » April 29th, 2018, 6:59 am

I just thought of something,

So i remember some of the items i never used in FT BoS,

Those throwable puff balls, darts, javelin with dynamite on them,

Why not have stuff like that instead of half the junk you pick up, so at least if you stuck somewhere against hard enemies, at least you have something that can either confuse, blind or possibly crit and make them explode, instead of said black dildo..? The amount of throwables i usually went and sold was ridiculous, but there were times i ran out of ammo and literally threw everything else in my inventory and scraped through,

Again, like that youtube link the devs posted about those sneaky game mechanics that make you feel like you made it by the skin of your teeth,

The 3rd last dart blinds someone, confuses, etc

I laughed at some of the junk, but least make a higher percentage of stuff usable, even if minimal effect, least you have hope it will help as you throw puff balls from behind your trashcab as the rest of the squad bleeds out

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Re: Idea: Bias random loot in favor of items you don't already have

Post by Gizmo » April 29th, 2018, 10:49 am

Lakstoties wrote:
January 16th, 2018, 10:09 pm
"You rummage around the in the pockets of slain bandit and find: A toothbrush without bristles, two small empty bottles of vitamins, a knitting needle, and a perfectly intact bottle of lime juice shaped like a lime. There's just enough to fill the air with that lime fragrance, you guess. You've never personally smelled a lime and just seen pictures. Also, he had two dollars left to his name, one of them has a penis drawn on it."

Delivery of humor without the in game overhead. You could write an fill-in-blank generator that'd provide plenty of entertainment without pestering developer and player too much.
...And yet they could have had a merchant give the player a quizzical glance at being given that money; and/or the lime juice could say, "artificially flavored"—and still be within the sell-by date. :lol:

I have no problem with trash items. Trash items are great for leaving (an item) somewhere, with no sense of loss, and they present an opportunity for the developers to check player inventories for carrying any of them... and remarking, or acting upon that—if they choose. My preference with this is to randomly pick what they look for, if possible. For example: An NPC needs some miscellaneous junk to repair his machine... and the part is different for every new game. The NPC will send them on a quest for it—unless they happen to have one already.

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