Crafter's Roundtable (Snow Day Edition): Insuring item rarity

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
Hi everyone, and welcome to another Crafter's Roundtable discussion, where we ask all of you for your thoughts on something that will be important for Pantheon! Usually, we try to round up opinions from the Pantheon Crafters staff to help get the discussion started... but this time, well, several of them had mysteriously gone missing! We sent Cromulent out to investigate, and here is what he found:

5


Fortunately, Khaleesi and Trasak were available to help us get this started. Also, ignore the picture on the right. That's not real. You weren't supposed to see that.

… anyway, Today's Question!

It's a fact that anything in an MMO that can be farmed by players, will be. Statistically, something might show up on a loot table only 5% of the time - but if you hit that loot table enough times, eventually you'll have a hundred of those items. This is true whether we're talking about drops from monsters or resources from gathering. So with that in mind, Is there a better method than a drop percentage that Pantheon can leverage to help keep rare things rare, over time?


Here's what we had to say. Take a look, and then reply and give us your thoughts!

Trasak said:

Simple answer: Give up on the concept of Rare/Named items all together instead have rare combinations of stats (slightly different then randomly generated loot).


I am still a huge advocate that all items dropped in the game should be possible to duplicate with the right ingredients. Rare items will just be items that were effectively made with rare ingredients. Conversely a crafter of an appropriately high crafting skill can salvage the rare ingredient out of the rare drop item as one of the sources for said ingredient. That rare ingredient can then be recombined with higher quality base materials and higher skill level to make an item that is even better but retains the rare effect on the original rare drop.

I would restrict unreplicatable items to epic quest rewards and specific lore artifacts from a raid zones final boss at low drop rates. The intent being that there is virtually no way to guaranty a drop on the raid boss such that only one is dropped per server per month or that one must complete a very long and difficult quest requiring both complex team work and personal player skill at said class.

All that being said finding a tier 5 shadow damage weapon ingredient will be very rare. You could kill 1000 named mobs in the highest level shadow element content to get one weapon with the effect. Then you would need to fined a tier 5 or better weapon smith to deconstruct the item for a chance to get the ingredient. You could also kill a small group raid boss shadow demon for a chance at the raw ingredient for a tier 5 alchemist to manufacture the shadow ingredient. Or lastly you could take 100 tier 4 ingredients to the mages guild to have it condensed into tier 4 for a fee $$$$$$.

Now that you have the tier 5 shadow core you still need to make the weapon which requires skilled craftsmen combining ingredients. Those ingredients will increase or decrease the power of the item and will also increase or decrease the chance of success. Combining the shadow core with an obsidian based will have a much higher chance of success vs combining the shadow core with a mithral based item, and a light damage effect would have the opposite chance.

Combining very hard to come by ingredients, with non complementary materials at the highest power levels will be how you end up with the truly rare items and that cannot be effected by a random number generator landing on the same paladin sword 12 raid weeks in a row.


Khaleesi said:

It's important for rare things to be rare - I would re-conceptualize that those things should be marks of true accomplishment, not the simple result of grinding.

This should take ingenuity, craftiness (and crafting ;) ), skill at your class, and teamwork.

I would suggest that it be something of great value but is not trade-able such that it has to be earned. It may be a quest line within an instance that has to be unlocked by the player who will obtain the item. In order to unlock this instance, the payer has to meet several proofs of skill. The player would also need to create items using very skilled craftsmanship. The player will bring a small group of friends and overcome this instanced test of skill and creativity.

I would love to see the instance be so variable that it is not able to be repeated in the same way again. Together, the group would overcome the challenge. Once the instance is finished, it would not be able to be repeated by the same player.

Maybe, making it the result of a quest takes away from the rarity of the item, but I don't think so.


Nephele said:

Just for the record, no one can prove that's my yard. Or my cat.

Anyway, on the topic of item rarity, I think the way to handle this and insure that things stay rare over time is actually NOT to rely on drop percentages - at least, not to only rely on drop percentages. There's a balance that needs to be struck between making loot (or harvests) predictable and still keeping them valuable. So, if it were up to me, I'd try for a three-pronged approach.

1) There absolutely should be multiple tiers of rarity that correspond roughly with power or value. Some things should be simply uncommon, for example they drop 10% of the time. And some things should be rare, dropping maybe 2-3% of the time. Some things should be extremely rare, dropping only say 0.5% of the time. I also think that those percentages need to be lower than what anyone would feel is reasonable - because when any of us personally tries to figure out how rare something should be, none of us really factors in the idea of players killing that mob or hitting that harvesting node every single time it respawns - which is what really happens. We tend to only think about our own personal experience.

2) The rarer something is supposed to be, the less predictable getting it should be. I'm not talking about drop percentage here, necessarily, but more about what you have to do to get the item in the first place. For example, if you need an ultra-rare Skyshard jewel to craft a weapon with the super-powerful Heaven's Tears proc, then finding the Skyshard jewel shouldn't just be a matter of going to a single zone and hanging around the place where those things are known to appear before you get one. No, you shouldn't actually be able to predict when or where a Skyshard jewel is going to show up - it should have the potential to appear in any of four or five different zones, but only one spawn potentially per game day. Do this right, and you can't really go farm Skyshard jewels anymore. They're just sort of happy accidents.

3) For very rare/powerful items, I actually would want to see a limit on how many could be active in the game at once on an individual server. Once five people acquire the Ring of Wishes, that's it. No more Rings of Wishes will drop unless one of the five is destroyed somehow. To make this really work, something else would need to drop in its place, but I think that having a wide variety of very rare things is better in the long run than having dozens or hundreds of the same "rare" things floating around the server.

These are just the lame things I came up with to preserve the concept of rarity while I was totally not building a cat-shaped snow fort, so I'm sure with time and thought people could come up with even more clever ideas that are far better than mine.


Anyway, that is enough from us. What do you think about item rarity and how best to keep things rare over time? Reply and let us know!
 

Barin999

Journeyman
What reasoning goes behind something being defined as rare.
Is it rare because it has a high coin value, it is unique in stats or appearance? Or could it be really low droprate with random stats on it? Or should it by definition be a combination of all the above?

An item can have a low droprate, but it could be useless to your character at that. Would you still consider it a rare find? A lucky break?

Rare to me, would be an item that has it's known use for many players, it's something players desire to have/equip. (No matter if they are salvaging/extracting or condensing.) Items that have a limited drop/server, I find lose their value. Yes, you have those lucky few, but in general for the overall serverpopulation it's excistence becomes meaningless, ones that limit /server has been reached.
Where I'm going with this; an item could have a low droprate, even extreme low droprate. But it should be within reach of the player that can use it. If you can't use it, due to outleveling or too low level yet. It should be out of reach completely!
Why? To prevent farmers clearing lower content or from newby classes going out of wack with the overpowered item equipped.
Here's a more detailed example: A level 20 group or single player, in a level 20-25 encounter, has 90% chance of finding trash items, 70% to find a treasured item, 30% chance to find a legendary item, 1% chance to find a RARE item. (epics not included or classspecifics, I'ld tie those into lore and quests, and no-trade)
That same group or player, in a level 10-15 encounter, has the same chances on finding trash and treasured. But starting from legendary up to rare, their chances of finding such item is drastically Decreased. Why? Because they no longer have an actual need for it. Leave the level 10 group/players to find those upgrades. Each their own. Also I find it less of an achievement when I loot something, that is rare but where I no have a direct benefit for my class/ability or skill, other then cash or storage for the guild.

Another suggestion would be: allow those rare items to be melted into each other to improve them even more. So instead of having 200 epic swords in one server, players would actually melt their first epic sword with the other. This way, you can keep the droprate, but the rare item has a chance it will dissappear in direct use of the finder. Something similar has been tried in eq2, where you could get a rare cloak, but if each time you got the same rare cloak, you could combine them. Stats improved. The cloak itself was able to improve 5 times or so, then it turned into a no-trade no transmute item with maxed out stats.

Personally, I'ld favour the loot-memory system. Short example: I looted an adamantine boulder. And I can only have 1 such item at the same time. (including inventory and bank) So next time I encounter a situation where it might drop, the mechanic recognises that I already have one, and it will prevent the boulder from popping up in the loottable.
This prevents me from farming the hotspot and selling the item.
If you combine that with the mechanic, where you can not trade it with other players and it only has a value to certain npc's. For example, it could prevent exploids like; selling and buying back the item.
Similar mechanic already exsists for quest related drops, but also when certain loots (rare harvestables in eq2) are being tracked passively by the game.
With this memory system, one can still work with a low droprate. So it remains a possiblity for all those that do not have it yet. And something that is sought after and is desired, makes up a lot of the concept and value of a Rare item.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
@Trasak You make a funny but interesting comment there with your 1000kills.
Another way to look at it is that a rare droprate is only unlocked when X amount of the same mobs or situations have played out for that character. Before that point, there would just be no chance to get that Rare item. Only when that character has unlocked the X amount of trials...the droprate is in effect. And from that point on, that player has a chance to get a Rare item coming from this mob or this situation. If this treshold should be known, is up to discussion. But if you don't know about it, it could work very well and only those true die hards will get it. (and deserve it?) Again trivial content should not allow for rare drops any longer.
This could open up a lot of diversity and depending on the playstyle and class, different rares could be looted for different players. A cleric might have a higher chance of encounter rares related to divinity. And a warrior could have a higher chance of finding a charisma related rarity. (I'm just thinking out loud here, but I hope you see where I'm going with this)
 

Barin999

Journeyman
Another way to look at it:
The more of the same rare items one finds/loot. The lower the stats or effects it will have.
So your first epic longsword might give 50str, but if you farm the hotspot and loot another, the 2nd one will only give you 40str and so on. This could be way to counteract farming players, that sell those items for gold.
Players that have found that epic for the first time, (with this mechanic in play), might even avoid looting that item. And in fact could leave it to other groupmembers to loot it.
If you put a short timer on the looting of Rares, or killsignatures, you can prevent auctioning rare drops.

Yet another way to approach Rares;
Let's say it works like a magnet. So even though the droprate was extremely low, you were lucky enough to loot that Rare epic weapon.
Now you farm it again and again, it drops and you loot it. It could automatically MERGE with your first weapon. But instead of increasing the stats, it decreases. And each time you loot that epic weapon, it merges into each other and your stats of that weapon are getting lower and lower. Leaving you with a nearly useless weapon, (other then coin).
Eq2 has a mechanic where an adornment you've placed on an equipped item, increases each time you kill a mob with certain requirements (level of the mob or origine). Here the adorn levels up, without the player actually making that decision. It's a automatic mechanism. My suggested mechanic works similarly but in the opposite direction. You'ld not benefit from looting the same item, but the degeneration will happen automatically.

This sounds harsh, but it could prevent players from looting the same rare item and putting it on the market. In a group, it's still possible that one of the groupmembers can use it. If an entire group is farming to sell epics, then the mechanic will prevent that from occuring. Again as long as the timer to loot is short enough, to prevent auctioning drops. Or if the loot is linked to the players that did the kill. (no one outside that group could loot it, since it wasn't they who killed it)

A lot can be said about misclicks and ninjalooters, but that's another discussion. At least the value of a rare item will remain as long as you don't go hoarding/farming that same item.
 
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Barin999

Journeyman
Now to bring this back to crafting...

Rares are mostly seen as a difficult to find crafting resource or recipe.
Over time these can be farmed or droplocation can be camped.
Could there be a rarity exclusively accessable for crafters?

@Trasak You posted several good examples how rarity could be experienced relating to crafting. Drops that indeed could only find usage to crafters, prior to it becoming useful to the rest of the community. This could be farmed unless you link looting it to the character's loothistory, preventing them from looting it again.

No god-creations during crafting please.
But rares could tie in with perception.
Only a master stonemason can encounter a veign in the mountain with a rare inside it. etc.

If you use the same mechanic for adventuring as you would for crafting, a crafter might be able to loot/find something only one or a very limited amount of times during their entire carrier.
In this case, the crafter can make this unique item only several times through their entire carrier. This could make the item unique, but also the Rare would actually have a hightened value, Because the crafter needs to decide if they want to use it or not. They might prefer to hold on to it for later use.
This resource might have a low droprate/spawnrate. The catch here lays to the actual use of that resource.

With that, one could see a concept being brought in the game such as: a recipe where you can only use this recipe X-amounts of time. Or even one time only.
To me that could work as a rarity for crafters only. It's something unique and valueable. The crafters might even treasure it.

What do you think of such a concept? Rarity exclusively for crafters?
 

Barin999

Journeyman
Sorry, I keep adding here (don't stumble over numbers, it's the concept I'm trying to get across);
Working further with the 'limited-use recipe concept'.. this could actually work with @Nephele Suggestion with there being only X amount of recipes available on a server at one time.

How this works: let's say the recipe allows a crafter: (if the rares with their own low droprate, are found) to craft a rare item 4 times.
The server locks the droprate of the recipe so that only 4 recipes can be "active"/out in the world at the same time. Potentially there would be 16 rare/epic product in the world.
This makes the recipe rare, but also the product that can be generated from it.
When a crafter is willing to craft their 4th craft using that rare recipe, the recipe will vanish from their books. And the recipe itself will fall back in the loottables somewhere in the world.
There is a lot of power that is rare, unique and specific to crafters only. Yes the recipe drop itself would be highly sought after, but that's ok. (especially if that's in a crafter only content, if such a thing were to excist)

If you stop to think about this scenario, it offers quite a lot of potential to crafting and the concept of rares.
This mechanic slows down the rate to finding rare recipes or epic crafted items.
 

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
Wow Barin, you had a lot to say :)

It's all worth discussing (and I hope people do!) but I want to say that I think it's important that the game balance between preserving the thrill of discovery and the thrill of attaining or creating items, and with setting things up so that things stay healthy long term. I see too many games go too far on one side or the other - usually, too much on the side of giving players shiny stuff now at the expense of the game later on. That doesn't mean the pendulum needs to swing all the way in the other direction however.

I realize all of that is really squishy - and in truth, I have plenty of thoughts on how items and rarity could be set up in Pantheon to try and prevent the pitfalls we've seen in other games. But this is a community discussion thread, and not a Neph opinion thread, so I am purposely not saying everything I think because I want everyone else to jump in and participate.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
I want everyone else to jump in and participate.
Same here, I'm just brainstorming out loud, but I'll be glad to see more people jump in.
I much rather use this forum to discuss replies intensly then putting down monologs, but that's how it is so far. I assume things will heat up when more is known about crafting.

Rare resources check, rare recipes check. You have the rare recipe, now one could just stack up on resources and craft so many that the product will no longer be rare, or rare over time either.

So how about, temporary use of specialized crafting stations?
eq2 had such stations that were only present during the holidays. So for a period of X-days everyone could craft specific items only on those stations. That's nice, but it doesn't limit the amount of items being made during that period, and especially over time, no rarity will be left standing. (sadly they turned them in to houseitems and one could build all year round)

So how about a crafting station that only allows 1 crafter at a time to engage with the station for 10-15 minutes. Taking into consideration that one end product would require 5 minutes. After that the station will no longer be accessable to that crafter until the next time it pops up.
Here stacking up with resources, would give you little advantage and item production would still be very limited /crafter. So that the product itself remains scares/rare for a longer period of time. (Seeing that you'll need a crafter that has that rare recipe, you need the resources, you need to know in what conditions the crafting station pops up or otherwise becomes interactable AND you'll need that crafter to be willing to go there and craft the item for you.)
A lot of things need to align for this rare product to be made. But the recipe doesn't have to vanish from the crafter's recipe.

The conditions could be: a traveling merchant arrives in time 1/year. The stars and moons align and the station lights up, an npc returns from their adventures and opens up their home. A magical event occurs and stations appear in certain locations.
Depending how things play out, more stations or more frequent conditions could sprout around Terminus.

This could be experienced as rarity for crafters and could be preserved for quite some time, before the "rare-factor" gets lost through farming or overproduction.
 

Autherial

Apprentice
Staff member
Staff Writer
Late to the party :) That picture is super accurate by the way:).

My thoughts on rares is quick and concise. For something in game to be rare I believe it should truly be rare to obtain. First off it should be a low drop rate, second once someone on the server has obtained this rare it is taken off of the loot table for maybe a month or so. Some items I would like to see is a once per server deal. This is what rare means to me and I would like to see some form of this implemented in game.
 
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