A few recommendations regarding item progression

As a passionate gamer who happens to be keen on giving almost all mmorpgs out there a try, after gathering data and feedback from nearly a hundred gamer friends of mine, I’d like to provide some feedback, specifically on item progression. I don’t know if anyone will even read this but I’d like to take my chances after 25 years of gaming.
To begin with, I must say that I’m pretty disappointed with how things have turned up in mmorpg genre. I’ve always been an avid pvp addict (which dates back to the times of Ultima Online even) but the trajectory mmorpgs have taken is mainly if not completely pve oriented. I made my peace with it since this is something a single game cannot completely turn around, so I want this pve oriented experience to excel.
Games nowadays are designed to become a numerical competition between the players which eventually ends up people comparing the numbers written on their character sheets. This is demoralizing because the entire experience an mmorpg has to offer is being reduced to a point where only the color and the numbers on the items are deemed worthy. Item calibration and the perception of items within the mmorpg framework seem to be lacking the necessary depth and dynamism. The variety in items is a mirage since there are only a few types of items being looted and used in all mmorpg games. The term ‘soulbound’ was a revolution in gaming when World of Warcraft introduced the idea first in 2004, and on top of that, there were boe items which also brought depth to the linear item progression. However, it’s been 18 years since these concepts were introduced to gamers. In the course of these 18 years, boe items have lost their importance and basically they have ceased to be enriching elements of an mmorpg. So, now, gamers are left only with soulbound, end-game items.
I think it would be wise to improve the number of the types of items a game has to offer. The problem with linear item progression in games is that the old items or previously looted items become obsolete in a hasty fashion. The time required for a game to turn into a massive item dumpster is approximately 2 or 3 months. Well, these games, mmorpgs, constitute the foundation of the forthcoming metaverse concept and therefore, there needs to be something more than just mindless item grinding. In fact, what itemization damaged can be saved and fixed through itemization again. How? By greatly improving the variety of items. For instance,
We have bops, boes, and grey items which are pretty useless besides transmogrification.
How about adding
1) Red items which have limited durability. So, these items cannot be repaired so once the durability is drained, the item is rendered useless. These items can be more powerful than the items of the same tier, since the user of those items will have limited time to use them. There may be some improvement stones or appliances that are created by blacksmiths or weaponsmiths, which can be used to improve the durability pool of the same item by 10 or 20 points. For instance, if the item has 60 durability, the player may use that item safely for like a week or 10 days; but with the augmentation, the player will be able to use the same item for 2 weeks maybe? This is something people will be looking for, especially if the item is indispensable for the user.

2) Mmorpgs are grey item graveyards. Apart from being a model for transmogrification, grey items can also be turned into important aspects of the game if they constitute a part of a certain achievement progression tree. For instance, let’s say there 22 different types of grey, common axes with different names and different looks. When the player loots one of them, the data of it being looted can be recorded within the achievement tree although the player has already sold the item to a vendor. By collecting 22 different types of axes, which should be completable in at least 6 months, that player will get the title of ‘axe expert’, which, in turn, will boost that player’s damage with axes, crit rating, swing speed and etc. Also, the axes that player wants to craft through weaponsmith profession will get a significant bonus for being an ‘axe expert’. This is how looting grey items can mean something besides turning them immediately into gold.

3) Customized equipment. We have uncommon, rare items which lose their significance in almost no time. With the introduction of 3-tier upgrade availability, these items can be upgraded into better versions of them, with of course a price to pay in terms of gold, materials, or even progress or achievement. The more a player gains lore about a piece of armor or of a weapon, the better that player can specify the buffs the item provides. For instance, if my armorsmith is around 50-60, I may not be able to add anything to what the item offers, but with an armorsmith of 100-120, I can be able to add extra dexterity or life steal to the item I’m customizing. This way, item progression will cease to be tediously linear, instead, it becomes a massive point of interest for those who want to create a unique character in all aspects. Starting from a green item, I can turn that item into an epic one after 3 upgrades which will supposedly take 8-10 months. The player should even be able to change the name of the item once 3-tier upgrade is finalized. So, in a nutshell, within an item that seemed pretty insignificant months ago, the player’s hard work, personal stat preferences, color preferences, utility bonus preferences and even name preferences will come to life. This is how a character forms bonds with his/her personal belongings.

4) Pvp items which can be looted by other players upon death. These items may have limited durability as well. The problem is that nowadays players do not want to be penalized for their incompetency or sheer lack of luck. However, an mmorpg is a micro design of life. It needs to have ups and downs as life. In order to make it work, I suppose there must be a 2.5 secs cast time to loot the item from the body. This loot cast should be channeling and should be open to disruption by an outside influence such as damage or cc. The item stays on the body for 6 secs tops, so basically the one who slew the player will have 2 chances to loot the item before the item and the body with it dissipate. These items may stack souls within them. For instance, if I carry the item as the first wielder and get killed by another player, when the slayer loots it, the item stores my soul within it, which provides a minor boost to what the item has to offer. If the person who has killed me and looted the item gets killed by another person and the item gets looted again, the item will have 2 souls stacked within it. These items should have somehow limited use because the soul stacking may turn into something which can be exploited in the long run. So, making the item limited durability can prevent this potential from coming true. You can even introduce some zones that which can be visited with at least 1 pvp item equipped. In a world where items can be forged, manufactured, upgraded and even created, losing an item to another player should be something the players need to get used to. The main problem with loot based ganking is zerging of course. In 3v1 or 5v1 situations, the unfortunate party can have defense boost for like %5 if the encounter is 2v1, and as the number of the hostile elements rise, this boost can go up to %40-%45 just to give the unfortunate player time and opportunity to flee, not the upper hand to be able to slay all 4-5 hostiles. That’s how the system protects the weak and encumbers the zergs.

5) There may be some reroll stones or augments which can be crafted by certain professions, rendering people able to change the type of the items the players have. For example, I have a brilliant item which has limited durability and I don’t want to lose it for good. With the help of numerous materials and gold, I should be able to change the item’s status from ‘limited durability’ to a regular bop item with relatively small penalties. If I’m confident and blood crazed enough, I may want to change the status of my item from being a regular bop item into a lootable pvp item! These alterations should bring an at least 1-week cooldown to the item to prevent recurring alterations over the same item in a short time period. Red items(limited durability or pvp items) can also be sold on AH by players. This will surely enrich the economic activity along with the variety in item preferences.

6) Last but not least, there may be some items with a certain number of charges. These items provide a certain utility skill that can be used by the ones who wield it but the number of charges should not exceed a certain level. Some high-end crafters may have a chance to create a certain augmentation to fill the charges of a drained item, or to improve the charge pool of the item, giving the players more chances to use the skill the item has.

7) These new types of items should not be intrinsically inferior to the dungeon drops because otherwise, people will just spend a certain amount of time with them until they reach the dungeon levels. Massive raid drops can of course be much better than these types of items but regular drops from relatively easier dungeons, or set items should not be automatically superior to the items players are introduced for the first time in gaming.

8) In the long run, expert crafters should be given the opportunity to create their own item sets (with their own names if they want!) with their own utility bonus preferences and stat preferences. In order to prevent streamers from becoming expert crafters in like 20 days, progression in other aspects of the game should be compulsory in order to progress upward in crafting. For example, I should be stopped at a certain point in crafting because I haven’t completed enough quests, haven’t participated in sufficient encounters and etc. because otherwise, streamers who get all raw materials by thousands from their fans will always get the upper hand in almost all aspects of the game, especially in the time consuming aspects of it, namely crafting.


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    AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Well, you will probably be happy to know that everything you have suggested is already planned (give or take some really specific ones).

    The team will certainly want your feedback on itemization later on.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
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    KarthosKarthos Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
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    I like 8, 7, 6, 5(but 5 needs lots of balancing.), 3, 1
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    CawwCaww Member
    Item 8) - Crafters never get the really good stuff but atleast let us earn some dough for the misery endured...
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    1) I think is planned there gonna be legenday items where only 1 can exist in the world at a time there probaly be a timer on them though instead of durability so people dont keep them all in there bank and not use them cause there pretty :P

    2) i dont think we will see much great equipment drop i feel your not gonna get many weapons from mob drops that are trash and alot of it will come from crafters, world bosses will have rare chance of equipment drop but common drop an item that allow crafter to craft the item instead i feel you would see this system more in the world rather than ur standard grey loot graveyard. however if there is a grey loot graveyard i wouldnt mind seeing a system where you can collect say 100 (Depends on drop rate on the amount if there somewhat rare then 20 works) of the same axe from mobs and u can turn this axe into a trophie for you house/freehold to display i think that would be a cool use of these items.

    4) there will be some item drops in form of corrupted players however i think that should only occur if a bounty hunter kills them if killed by a non bounty hunter they should just take there extra XP penalty, give a little reward to those bounty hunters out there instead of a random player being ohh look corrupted player almost dead bops them and get a nice sword from there corpse :P Although i do support PvP dropped gear could make these slightly stronger non dropped gear since risk vs reward so players might bring these out for wars or when something on the line not so much for every day use.

    6) everyquest had procs or charges on some equipment i quite like them so i wouldnt mind seeing procs or charges for skill on some items, could have a shrouded cloak which has 3 charges that grand 30 seconds of invis for exampe on use however the side effect is you need to have it equiped and it has lower defences that normal gear as a trade off, you wont be able to unequip it in combat or when skill on CD in this case it would need to be longer than the duration i would say 60 seconds would be good.

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