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Basically, we came to the conclusion that it was no fun to be missing all the time, so shifted over to a system with a much higher hit rate with damage mitigation based on atk. vs. def. ratings. (Def rating being contributed by the base bonus from armor, and also from the allowable dexterity bonus on the armor and your stats.)
This will contribute a more "glacing blow" type situation, where those in full plate are still getting hit--just for less than they would without it. (Evasion oriented classes will be able to reach similar ends via different means.) This also allows us more flexibility in the "active defense" systems that Athelan has posted about in the past I think.
Stiler, as for "buffs"--I think Dave is just using that as a generic term for anything that may temporarily raise the attack or defense rating of the player. For a hypothetical example, a warrior may have a combo which causes him to enter a more offensive state--therefore raising his attack rating for a short period of time.time.
Forums, 6th October 2005 (Jayde)
I still believe that in the event of giving players mostly free choice of looks, diversity will actually go down compared to a system where the items are designed as such to not have One True Way for everyone.
Personally, I would rather put my effort into making more choices viable than hiding the fact that everyone is using the same stuff through this kind of implementation.
As you mentioned WoW, I will give an example: Say I'm a level 60 Warrior. The Battlegear of Might set is probably one of the coolest looking sets of armor in the game--if not the coolest in many people's eyes. A full set of Might looks pretty awesome on a Warrior with a massive weapon.
Now, though, Might isn't the best armor for every situation--I have an additional PvP set, and also a fire resist set of armor. Does Might look cooler than my PvP armor set? Yep. If I had the option of always looking like I was wearing my Might set, would I take it? Probably, yes. Would 90% of every other level 60 Warrior take it as well? Also--probably, yes.
So, instead of being a situation where you have multiple Warriors wearing different gear and looking diverse based on which particular pieces chosen, a vast majority of them would be running around in the cool-looking Might set. Personally, I think this would be boring.
Although some would take the opportunity to wear something very unique and interesting, many many players would be prone to gravitate towards the "cool" stuff at all times.
Another example of what I think Dave was trying to say is simply: although there are benifits (anti-ganking) to being able to hide your looks, it can also be quite unfair. Why should someone be able to make their +10 Uber Shoulderpads of Doom look like level 5 shoulderpads so people don't know they have decent equipment?
In implementation, a lot of a piece of armor's "value" can be derived from its looks. e.g. a high-quality piece of armor typically *looks* like it is a high-quality piece of armor--it would always make sense for something with the protection value of X item to look like Y item visually, as the visual representation of its quality/worth (condition of the metal, thickness, size, layers, etc.) would no longer match.
One other thing I would point out is as soon as you implement a system for making visuals a reward, one has basically just created a secondary "item uberness" scale independant of the items. In addition to a focus being on the stats of the items you have, the "cool" or rare looks would become valued just for being cool or rare.
"Dude you have the EvilBlackWarrior look! Where can I camp for that?"
Forums, 28th September 2005 (Jayde)
Anyways, if I understand your idea correctly it can be boiled down to two things:
- Unlinking armor graphics from armor stats/level.
- Having a large selection of graphics available to everybody and a small selection available to few.
Personally, I like being able to see on a character what class he is and/or his approximate level. "O.o here comes a badass warrior" or "now that's a n00b thief" kinda. Connecting an armors visual appearance to the armors stats does exactly that. The armor looks good = the armor is good. We also have a system where not all classes can wear all armor (no mages in plate as an example) so we need to limit character access to armor graphics depending on armor stats anyways.
Having a large selection of graphics available to a lot of people does tend to make some grahpics overused and some underused. City of Heroes is a great example where visuals work great, but in CoH you don't get new armor pieces constantly like you do in Conan. To keep the gritty, dark, look we want to have in Conan, we need to have control of the combinations and color schemes... in CoH the player has access to every color in the palette. We dont want Cimmerian warriors in pink loincloth. A lot of the visual appearances in games where the players can choose their visual appearance tends to be outrageous and humorous, and while Conan will surely be a fun game we will want to keep the fun factor of clothing under strict control.
Forums, 27th September 2005, (DaveDread)
There are really two key issues here... one is resources: we can't produce an unlimited amount of armor meshes (sadly), and two is variety: I wouldn't personally want to see people wearing the same "look" all the time.
I like the idea, but typically what happens in such a situation is that players will gravitate primarily to the "coolest" armor look available.
Take a game like Phantasy Star Online--where you just chose your outfit at char creation, and it had no impact into your stats--how many random players picked a HUmar with the black outfit, some form of spiky hair, and named themselves some variation on a DragonballZ or Final Fantasy VII character? (The answer is: a lot.)
Although it seems as if free-form customization would decrease the amount of "cookie cutter" looks, in most examples I've seen where something like this was implemented, it actually seems to increase the amount of similar looks instead.
The other element is that I think we would prefer for players to "discover" some of the cooler armor looks as they progress through the game, and not have everything available to them right off the bat. From my point of view at least, there doesn't seem to be much surprise or extra achievement in getting something that looks really awesome later in the game if someone level 13 could be wearing something that looks exactly the same.
Forums, 26th September 2005 (Jayde)
I believe this is somewhat a misrepresentation, though. Just because Conan was dressed a certain way does not mean everyone else in the world was, or should be. There will be certain classes that rely more on Dexterity than others, thus will want to wear light (or maybe no) armor. Other classes, however, will not. Warrior types will certainly be wearing chain or platemail most of the time, as it suits the role and nature of their class.
I don't think players want to see a game where everyone runs around with a loincloth any more than they want to see a game where everyone wears the same high-level armor, though.
Forums, 17th August 2005 (Jayde)