Work on the new interior level is progressing well. The basic structural pieces are in place now. The tricky part is in finding the right VFX for the level. At this point, I'm not there yet and quite likely, won't get to that part till later. Why? This level was conceptualized around a big boss battle and until I have the mechanics of the battle in place and tested, the level will remain in it's rudimentary form. This way, if at all a rework is required, I can re-do the level quickly and re-test. This will also be one of the final areas the player encounters so as such, there won't be any screenies coming out on this area till release.
In addition to the level building, I have been working on some of the systems within the game, most notably the loot system. I mean, it's high time some of these are done and integrated into the module for balance testing.
First off, the loot system designed for Dragon Age is a very versatile one; requiring one to just modify 2DAs or add additional ones if required. I consider this much more flexible than manually assigning loot for every container/mob and is also much easier to tweak and adjust. So, I won't be making many changes to this system in its basic form.
However, there are a couple of issues with the actual loot in Dragon Age.
One, loot distribution was bad. I am not talking about vendor trash here. Vendor trash is an essential component of any loot system - it is not possible to have every drop contain an item that will be an upgrade to the player. Besides, vendor trash helps generate gold which can be used to purchase other useful things.
|This fish is not meant to be cooked!|
Second, usefulness of the items. Either the items were inferior to what you already had (even in late-game loot since some of the best items can only be purchased) or you ended up with lots of salves and poisons. Now, if the game mechanics required you to use them, it wouldn't be so bad but I hardly recall using any salve or poison when playing in Hard difficulty. Maybe in Nightmare? Further, unless you are min-maxing and/or playing with a reduced party size, you don't need the best equipment to get through DA. Which results in a lot of gold lying around in the player's inventory. Admittedly, it is not possible to implement a good economy in a single-player game but nevertheless, I think some of these points can be addressed.
How? I cannot just cut down the loot drastically because players expect some reward for the fight they just won. In the same vein, I can't just give out rare and powerful items because that will trivialize the gameplay. There has to be a balance between the two and while there are multiple ways to go about it, I hope to deliver an enjoyable and useful system with BaL. I will cover the details in my next post.