Loot System  

In the last post, I covered why I thought the loot system in the vanilla game was not really a good option (in my eyes!) for BaL. This has been at the back of my mind for a long time, ever since I started working on this mod.

The first idea I had was to generate random loot items with prefixes and suffixes based on enchantments picked from a pool defined in a 2DA. Not very original, I admit. I mean, it's not like this hasn't been done in every action-RPG out there. While I was very enthusiastic about the idea initially, that feeling quickly (and rightly!) ebbed away once I realized this will not suit the gameplay at all. Then, I came up with the idea of extremely limited world drops but the player will have the possibility to run some dungeons which will scale loot according to level. Way too much work!

So, what can be done to make loot interesting? The loot definitely has to be of some use to the player and at the same time, there should be a feeling of anticipation when clicking the loot bag. The system I settled on revolves around Crafting. I know Awakening has Rune-crafting as a skill but again, in my opinion, I felt it was not enough.

Old-time readers of this blog might remember me mentioning Phaenan's Crafting GUI Framework a long time back; the possibilities this opens up are endless. The vanilla crafting GUI, unfortunately, had hard-coded ability IDs for the craft-skills which severely limits what you can do to extend that interface. However, with this new interface, the restrictions are removed and more important, customization options are present that makes it much more modder-friendly. Phaenan has already implemented this in the latest version of her Winter Forge add-on and if you are a modder, you can read about the implementation details on the Flexible craft UI project.

Phaenan's Crafting GUI in The Winter Forge (c) Phaenan
So, how can crafting make the loot system better?
  • The player is always on the lookout for reagents and this can be used to generate loot tables that will be of interest to the player.
  • The above only works when there is sufficient diversity in the reagents required. As an example, requiring one to just harvest Elfroot while all other reagents can be bought makes the player go ho-hum when he encounters another Elfroot plant/drop.
  • The crafting itself can be designed to keep the player engaged in creating/modifying key aspects of the game. 
Now, I keep saying crafting but only because it is tied to the crafting GUI. As I said before, with Phaenan's modifications, the possibilities are endless. I am working on one such possibility right now and once it all comes together as intended, the player will be presented with a new avenue to strategically modify how the game is played. More later...



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