ESO Gear Progression: Dynamically Generated Stats?

Garbrac May 8, 2013 12 Comments » Share
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[not actual in-game tooltip]

As a leader for an End Game progression guild one of the hardest things to manage is guild activity once you’ve completed everything. New content is released roughly every 3-6months on average in an MMO, but this new content is normally cleared and finished by the top end guilds within a mere week or two. Keeping the guild members active and logging in daily is not always easy. Once gear has been obtained what other reason do the members have to login? If you’re a person who wants to Min/Max their character the best you can, you will eventually get bored once you have obtained the best gear you can. Even if you’re not a Min/Max player and just want the best item you can get, what do you do once you’ve obtained it?

Let’s look at World of Warcraft. The gear in WoW is very static. For example, Soulblade of the Breaking Storm is dropped by Jin’rokh the Breaker and no matter how many times you kill him, the stats on it will never change. So once the item has been obtained, what other reason do you have to keep killing him?

Elder Scrolls Online gear system is going to change how we look at MMORPG Gear progression. The idea that Zenimax has for ESO is not one that is commonly approached by developers. They are building the gear progression system around a similar system that we would see in games like the Diablo franchise, Torchlight or virtually any ARPG (Action Role-Playing Game). By this I mean all the items are dynamically generated when it comes to DPS and Stats.

During my game play at PAX East, I got to experience this feature for myself. During my session I had the same weapon drop for me three times and each time the weapon had a different DPS stat on it. My first weapon had 12.5 DPS, the second had 11.8 DPS and the final one had 12.8 DPS. As you can see the range is not very large but enough to keep my eyes on the loot as I got it. A lot of times in other MMOs I have played, I tend to ignore loot that I pick up unless it is a quest reward or a chest. Normally items from random creatures tend to be what we call “vendor trash.” I’m glad Elder Scrolls Online went with this type of gear system. It kept me engaged and looking at every piece of gear I acquired. It was like Christmas every time the loot window popped up. I am glad that an MMORPG has finally adopted this type of system.

Even with the stats being dynamic we’ll still need to kill higher level content in order to get the next best item. If you have the current “best in slot” weapon and let’s say it says 150.5 DPS, and then new content gets released, the new “best in slot” weapon could have a range of DPS from 155.0 to 175.5 (these numbers are for explanation purposes only and are in no way accurate to numbers we’ll find in game). Even with the stats being in a range, there will still be tiers and we’ll have to do new content in order to get that next “best in slot.”

This type of system being implemented into an MMORPG offers a lot more replay ability on repeat content and keeps those rare items rare. It could get frustrating when you don’t get that better item you’re looking for, but that isn’t any different than in any other MMORPG gear/loot system. The bonus in Elder Scrolls Online is you don’t have to compete against anyone else when it comes to who receives the loot. Everything Elder Scrolls Online is doing is finding ways to keep players engaged and playing and this system I think is the perfect way to do that. It not only  keeps us engaged when leveling and actually looking at the loot window, but most importantly it gives us all another reason to do repeat content multiple times and still have it be very enjoyable.

12 Comments

  1. Messy1 July 21, 2013 at 5:24 am

    Yikes, I hope that the ESO crew took some lessons from the D3 fiasco and can establish a better loot system.

    I do very much like the idea of being able to enhance an item through crafting or different quest lines . . . for example Mehrune's Razor required you to gather the hilt and the blade shards in the Skyrim game and then do a quest for you to reassemble it. I can see this type of method for crafting/loot being used in ESO, but with more variables to customize the item to your specific class and character play style. Another example would be the Atherium shards collected in Skyrim and the different options for creating items at the Atherium forge.

  2. Sandman May 13, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Tiberius Invictus

    I really understand what youre getting at. I THINK that the core idea of where they are trying to go with the concept is that youre supposed to take the raid drops, reverse engineer them and then craft the item into the ideal variant where you do have some control over the items stats.

    I would be a bit frustrated too if even crafted gear was random, other than you dictating which stats it has through the items used.

  3. Zaroki May 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    I believe this could work so long as it isn't too difficult to get the gear that has the highest stats in the game. With Diablo there were too many stats that needed to be perfect that the chances were slim to none in getting the best of the best. But in this game things are totally different as there is one stat that determines the power of an item rather than 50 in Diablo. This idea isn't bad as long as they implement it the right way. They need to keep the range of power at level 50 (in particular) relatively small. Therefore a player has a far greater chance of obtaining the best possible armor/weapons and if the range is small enough then it won't be anything like a lottery where your chance is 1 in a million. If they do this, then keep in mind that the end result isn't much different than any other MMO. Why? Because in raids, if the item you wanted happened to drop (isn't that likely actually), you'll need to roll against several other players more often than not for a 'chance' at obtaining that single piece of gear that may not have dropped to begin with. Yet in this game, each time you defeat a boss you'll automatically get gear without having to roll, and it's something you are always able to equip. In the end… it's all up to chance either way, but if Zenimax reduces the number of item levels found at endgame to a small number let's say a range of 10-15 or even less then you've got a 1 in 10 or 1 in 15 chance to get the best possible piece of armor and each boss drops gear that you can use. What does this idea bring to the table? Obviously plenty of replayability and something to drive you even more so to down a raid dungeon, although it does help to have a fun raid to begin with.

  4. Tiberius Invictus May 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    This is the worst idea ever! The Diablo 3 loot system is almost universally loathed! Here's why randomized loot completely sucks:

    1. I might as well just buy a lottery ticket. The random number generator is a cheap, crappy, lazy surrogate for exciting gameplay. An RPG should entice players with immersive worlds and challenging game mechanics, not in the dice roll.

    2. There's no sense of progression. If you want a good item, you have to get a lucky drop that's on the high end of the bell curve. That means you're no closer to getting the item you desire if you spend all day doing boss runs and still don't get the item.

    3. There's no sense of achievement. To get a 99th percentile drop, 1% of the people will get the item on the first attempt, and another 1% won't get the item even after 458 attempts. And there's nothing to distinguish between those two players. If you have awesome gear, nobody know if you got it from being dedicated or from being lucky.

    4. In some cases, people who have played for 50 hours will be better geared than people who have played for 2000 hours. Is this what you want? Do you want to be the poor sucker who has played 40 hours a week for a year, only to be outgeared by some noob who got a 99.9999th percentile drop after 10 hours of playing and sold it for a billion gold?

    Please, Please don't ruin TESO, which was shaping up to be one of the greatest games of all time, with the lousy Diablottery loot mechanics that are loathed by the majority of players.

  5. Garbrac May 9, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Even if the drops are soulbound. ESO has the social loot system, everyone will be able to get their own loot without having to deal with the SK/DKP/EPGP/Loot Council or any other loot distribution method. If they are not soulbound you can either announce in chat what you received or keep it to yourself or trade it on the auction house (however that feature gets implemented)

    Also remember that crafting will play a large part into making the item even more unique

  6. Sandman May 9, 2013 at 11:38 am

    My big question is how this will work in regards to raid drops. If raid drops are limited and not tailored to every individual typical SK/DKP systems will largely be ineffective unless said drops are NOT soulbound.

    Part of me wonders if they intend for raid items to largely be reverse engineered and players to craft the ideal variant from that core item. Which more or less allows traditional raid looting systems to again be effective, but places much more importance on individual crafting.

  7. Evilcat May 9, 2013 at 9:13 am

    A breath of fresh air. This is getting better and better.

  8. brebenel May 8, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    I was going to say the same thing but Zederok was faster. I really love this, my hype level definitely increased in 2 mins as I read this :D

  9. Zederok May 8, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Amazing news. As a long time player of Asheron's Call, this sort of loot system brings great joy to my heart.

  10. Kash May 8, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    So, I could work towards having two identical sets by name but for different builds. I really did enjoy that about Diablo 2, I'm sure everyone remembers showing off that one piece of gear with the perfect stats, even if was identical in name and appearance to another.

  11. raynor May 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    wow, that's great news indeed, i LOVE the loot system in arpgs and I don't see why this can't work with a MMO. gj Zenimax!

  12. alexe May 8, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    O man, this is good news. Will make everything a lot more interesting :)

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