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Game News Project Eternity Kickstarter Update #58: Crafting and Durability

Infinitron

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Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Tim Cain

This week's Project Eternity Kickstarter update, written by Tim Cain, is about the game's crafting and item durability systems. The latter is an unusual feature in Infinity Engine-style games and has proven to be controversial. Here's the description:

Item Durability

Most items don’t degrade over time. This means that boots, rings, helmets, gloves, amulets, cloaks, and belts are not worn down by use. However, weapons, shields, and armor (that is, chest armor) do have durability values and are worn down by use. Specifically, every attack with a weapon degrades that weapon by one unit, and armor and shields are similarly degraded when the wearer is attacked.​

Items have lots of units of durability, and they do not suffer any negative effects until those units are completely gone. When an item has reached 25% of its maximum durability, it will become “worn” and appear that way in your inventory, but it will not behave any differently until the last unit of durability is lost. At that point, the item is “damaged” and the following effects will happen:
  • Weapons – damaged weapons do less damage and have less accuracy
  • Armor – damaged armor has lower damage thresholds and the wearer’s attack speed is slower
  • Shields – damaged shields lose part of their defense bonuses
Items can never become worse than “damaged”. They will not break or become more damaged. They just stay damaged until you have them fixed.​

Vendors can repair items for money, so that’s a fast and easy way to keep all of your items in top notch condition. The cost of the repair is proportional to the percentage of the durability lost and the cost of the item, so expensive items tend to be more costly to repair than cheaper ones, especially if you let them lose a lot of their durability before repairing them.​

However, let’s see how you can save your precious hard-earned money by bringing this discussion back to crafting.​

Durability and Crafting

You or any companion can repair items by using the crafting skill at a forge. More importantly, you can use materials instead of money, if you have the right ones. The higher your crafting skill or the more materials you have, the less money it costs to repair an item. Some items might even repair for free!

But wait...there’s more!

The crafting skill also decreases the rate of degradation on items used by a character. So if you have the crafting skill, when you hit someone, your weapon doesn't lose a whole point of durability. Instead it loses a fraction of a point. And when you are hit, your armor and shield don’t lose a whole point each either. And the higher your crafting skill, the less durability you lose. We are assuming that if you know how to make an item, you also know how to use and take care of it.

So a high crafting skill means your weapons, armor, and shields degrade more slowly and you can repair those items (and those of your companions) more cheaply than a vendor. That is such a win-win situation, how can you afford to NOT take the crafting skill?!​

I’ll answer that question in a future update about the other skills in Project Eternity.​

I'm sure that after months of worrying about Project Eternity being dumbed down for the masses, the Codex will appreciate Obsidian's addition of a new and hardcore feature to the game. Right? Right??
 

Scruffy

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I like the damage routine, i think it adds to the management of the party without becoming too much of a hassle. Also, i like the idea of making the skill useful in more than one way. Now all that's left is having half a dozen situations where having a high repair skill opens alternative ways of doing something (the camp is guarded and stuff, but this wall is damaged and a good hit here and there will open a passage. but only if you have 10+ repair). and we have a usually-dump-skill that suddenly becomes meaningful.

loved this update, also, thanks for not forcing silly attempts at humor on us.


edit
loved the food and drink part, because i'm a faggot LARPer evidently.
 

crawlkill

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never really understood the point of durability in single-player RPGs. wouldn't the end result be the same if they just pitched the economy down by a factor of X, where X is the amount we'd otherwise be spending on repairs? is anyone really immersed by having to click the repair button now and then? I guess that same argument applies to multiplayer games, too. but meh, not a big deal either way.

modular item upgrades do sound cool-ish. there's just always that question of "do I upgrade my weapon nowww or wait for a beeetter one?"

neutral, I guess. could be kinda boring, could be kinda fun.
 

Spectacle

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I can't think of any game where item durability has been fun or interesting, and P:E's doesn't sound like anything new that will change that. Meh.
 

undecaf

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I'm pretty ambivalent about item repair, if it's there it's there, a bit more micromanaging won't hurt anybody (though also I don't think anyone would miss it if it wasn't there at all). But form how it is presented, it seems it's for the most part just busywork with no real gameplay effect or value. I think if they are insisting on having that sort of system, they should probably consider makíng it more granular where it matters at least a bit through the whole scale. Like three or four condition states, otherwise the whole conditionscale is dead air up until the weapon/armor is damaged. Unless I'm fucking missing something vital to the subject...

Either way though... Pfft.
 

Gozma

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Money will have to be a genuine limited resource the whole game and the repair costs will have to be a real strain to make any of that interesting. Which happens in about 1 out of 100 RPGs.

I also don't really like the prospect of having trash mob swords and real mob swords you switch between when something kills you and you reload. D&D RPGs have always unconsciously promoted a "play in a dumb trance until something kills you, then reload and cast your buffs" playstyle.
 

ghostdog

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Infinitron, shame on you. You forgot the pic dominating the update, apparently crafted by Tim himself :

pe-thecraft-timcain.jpg
 

Logic_error

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Money will have to be a genuine limited resource the whole game and the repair costs will have to be a real strain to make any of that interesting. Which happens in about 1 out of 100 RPGs.

I also don't really like the prospect of having trash mob swords and real mob swords you switch between when something kills you and you reload. D&D RPGs have always unconsciously promoted a "play in a dumb trance until something kills you, then reload and cast your buffs" playstyle.
Which one? I want to play it.
 

Gozma

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VtMB is the one I can think of. So I guess Cain has that on the resume.
 

Logic_error

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VtMB is the one I can think of. So I guess Cain has that on the resume.
Well, money as a resource does not play a very important role in the game unless you are playing a ventrue. But yes. VmTB is a great game in general. The characters are very memorable. The story is nicely low key that makes sense and is responsive (Except the entire dominate affair).
 

jagged-jimmy

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Having item durability just introduces the fun killing best/decent weapon swapping. As far as i can see this feature just adds a new skill/interaction to the game. It's not hardcore, it's pointless more often then not. Especially in an infinity-like game. It's not like it supposed to be hardcore.
 

godsend1989

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Its not all about economy its about some monsters that could fuck your weapon in one hit, Blade of Darkness had shields with durability and most of the times you shield was destroyed in the middle of a chain combo hits, that felt real and fun, damn that monsters hit me so hard that destroyed my fucking shield, makes him strong in your mind and fear his next attack.
 

DeepOcean

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The only game that I played where weapons degradation made sense was System Shock 2 on impossible and worked because it made me think, when you have only one repair tool and a pistol with 2 of durability, you are very aware that weapon durability can fuck you if you don't pay attention. If repair is cheap and easy or the weapon take forever to be damaged then weapon durability is better to be removed because it is pointless. It make sense that repairing a rusty sword shouldn't cost that much but a magical sword lost on an ancient tomb and made with forgotten forge techniques should cost insane amounts of money or skill to repair. It would be interesting to have to manage your equipment to survive a dungeon, even being forced to improvise and use the shitty equipment left behind by your enemy to preserve your best equipment to the more difficult battles.
 

hiver

Guest
Good update. Seems alright feature to me.


... what a bunch of crybabies and wusses...

Shut up!

anyway,
Items have lots of units of durability,
ok crybabies? lots? is that enough?
one point of durability loss might mean one out of a hundred or 1377. (its a random number stop gogling it)

and they do not suffer any negative effects until those units are completely gone.
Oh gee... not a tiny tiny weeny bit?


When an item has reached 25% of its maximum durability, it will become “worn” and appear that way in your inventory,
but it will not behave any differently until the last unit of durability is lost.
Wow... nothings going to happen even if it became "worn"?

It must be magic.



At that point, the item is “damaged” and the following effects will happen:
So .. like... thats what... after a month play time?

-

We need more exact data on these matters. Someone page mr. Cain, or one of the underlings to get the numbers.
 

Tigranes

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I don't know. Crafting is very rarely good enough to really be exciting and positive (except Arcanum), but it's also rarely bad enough to actively detract from the game. Usually the sins are that it's too annoyingly complicated (NWN2) or that it is too OP; the proposed system seems fairly standard and reasonable as long as the UI is well made, and on the latter, I'll trust Cain+Sawyer more than most. Degradation - as long as it's not too annoying, I don't really care, maybe it'll make for some interesting scarcity situations.

One interesting possibility is to have crafted items have low durability and have crafting skill make a big difference in this, as a way to potentially justify multiple copies of lower-tier crafted items, and balance out the powerful high-tier ones.
 

hiver

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:roll:


-

I mean... obviously, this is merely a token mechanic, since items have lots of units of durability - they dont get any negative effects until the very end - and you have a crafting skill reducing it even further - and you have all the places to fix them.

That means that you will be literally fighting with 100% weapon all the time - and usage might last several game days at the minimum to weeks of game time (realistic projection) at reasonable maximum, with huge warning in advance that the item will get "damaged" - in which time you will surely travel through at least two or three locations, or towns or villages.

How the hell is that going to be inconvenient?
 
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If item damage is not present enough to be a minor inconvenience, why even put it in? If it's a heartless implementation, I'm not really interested, I want something with meaning and consequences.
 

Misconnected

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Having item durability just introduces the fun killing best/decent weapon swapping. As far as i can see this feature just adds a new skill/interaction to the game. It's not hardcore, it's pointless more often then not. Especially in an infinity-like game. It's not like it supposed to be hardcore.


I don't disagree with you in this particular case. It's hard for me to imagine it not being annoying make-work/fetch-quest shit in a combat-centric RTwP game. But in principle is can add both strategic depth and verisimilitude - from having to avoid or postpone combat encounters due to resource shortages or time constraints, to targeting specific bits of kit during a combat encounter to overcome otherwise impossible odds. It's one of those things that doesn't really work with the kind of abundance of combat encounters common in video games. And sadly I'm not really seeing it work in survival horror games either, as they too are increasingly about killing endless hordes of trash.
 

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