"Soft" Capping Item Levels - No More "You Cannot Equip That"
One aspect of MMOs is items (weapons, armor, etc) are restricted in their use by character level vs item level - Ex. A level 5 character may not equip an item that is above item level 5.
Many reasons are used to justify this; restrict players from "twinking" their alts, add a sense of progression in damage output as well as taken, in systems with a robust economy ensure the in game currency changes hands, as well as many others.
None of the above are undesirable and should be a factor in the following whim of a musing of a thought - What if a character could equip any item above their level but then the item is de-leveled? This includes active as well as passive abilities (damage output, resistances, healing buffs, etc).
Ex. A level 5 character equips a level 30 item. The item is de-leveled to 5.75. As the character level increases so does the items "soft" level, de-leveling less and less until the character level and the item level becomes equal and the item reaches its own "hard" cap. Importantly, the repair cost stays the same as the items original ("hard cap") level.
The item is on a sliding scale which benefits the lowest level character more (relatively) than an character of equal level to the item.
"OP!" is the cry.
But wait, that level 30 item now acts, at best, (in the hands of a level 5 character) as a level 5.5 to 6 item along with the inherent cost of repairing a level 30 item. In their daily grind a level 5 character should make more than it takes to repair a level 5 item. A level 30 character should make more than it takes to repair a level 30 item which is substantially more than a level 5 character would make. But now the level 5 character has a level 5+ item with the repair cost of level 30. If the character is not an alt they are reduced to begging, borrowing, and stealing in order to keep that level 30 item in top repair state.
The de-leveled mechanic would require testing as an item that is de-leveled too much (ex. 1-to-1) may not be used at all while too little de-leveling (1-to-1.75 at start) would make some items way beyond just best-in-slot (BIS).
- No more "hurr durr, what is this hat thingy that won't fit on my foot" scenario. The character can equip it but may not get any benefit whatsoever beyond their own level or slightly above it.
- Can become a currency sink for altoholics - Passing around the gear spreads the repair costs around as well.
- Could be an added mechanic to dissuade grief-ing - Item durability loses will drive non-"twinked" characters into the poor house.
- Items are min-maxed to find the BIS for leveling and combat. Players will spend hours and days pouring over spreadsheets to get the slightest edge they can in PvE.
- Resource scarcity may ensue as BIS items are created which could lead to unwanted economic instability.
- Could lead lead a glut of low level items until the aforementioned scarcity is reached.
This might been tried in other games - Let us know which games you've played that included it and the pros as well as cons you saw it add to the game play.