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Rares
#1
   

Rares are an important part of the game, which is evident to anyone who has been playing UO for a bit. It is usually not a functional item, but purely decorative. It's a way to aquire wealth that is not gold, and it is also a way to mark your achievments on the server and to remember the things you've done. In addition it's often a way to either decorate your character or your house. It's the end game progression of your material wealth and a way to mark yourself as a veteran of the shard.

So getting rares just right, is important for player motivation and longevity of the shard. In the picture above are some of my thoughts on how to think about rares and how to categorize them. You had to relate rares to one another, since they don't have any inherent value, but derive their value from their position in the "rare hierarchy". It goes without saying that keeping a tight database of which rare items exist, and who gets to create new rare items, is very important.

So using this system, or something similar, you can assign a score to each rare to get some sort of sense on how they relate to one another. It will prevent you from creating a lot of common rares which have too desirable properties, which would devalue the more uncommon rares. It also helps by giving some guidance in how to create a high level rare.


In the table you can see that the top green categories related to the item itself and what it can do. The bottom blue categories relates to how the item was aquired. So you can see that the actual item in itself is not the only thing that matters. How the item was aquired is almost equally important. 

I would myself put extra importance on the factor of luck and wether or not something requires special knowledge of the game/server (secret) or it is an item that is aquired in competition with others (such as very rare drop from boss kills). 

I deliberately put a lot less emphasis on items that can be aquired by just hard work and investment (such as achievments, or bought with special society coins), these items are rare by some definition in the sense that not many people have them, but they do lack a lot of the soul of a true rare item in the sense that it is an expected outcome (do exactly X and you get Y). Thus they are not as desirable in the rare hierarchy as a comparably rare item (in terms of how many exist) but which instead is a lucky drop, would be. A way to combat the devaluation of achievment and society-reward items is to add a random factor to which reward you get. Overall I'm against being able to specifically pick the rare you get, as doing it any other way will almost always give the rare more value.

I'm interested to hear what you guys thoughts are on what properties rares can be said to have and how they rank vs. one another.
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#2
(09-24-2017, 09:01 AM)ViolentBeard Wrote: Rares are an important part of the game, which is evident to anyone who has been playing UO for a bit. It is usually not a functional item, but purely decorative. It's a way to aquire wealth that is not gold, and it is also a way to mark your achievments on the server and to remember the things you've done. In addition it's often a way to either decorate your character or your house. It's the end game progression of your material wealth and a way to mark yourself as a veteran of the shard.

So getting rares just right, is important for player motivation and longevity of the shard. In the picture above are some of my thoughts on how to think about rares and how to categorize them. You had to relate rares to one another, since they don't have any inherent value, but derive their value from their position in the "rare hierarchy". It goes without saying that keeping a tight database of which rare items exist, and who gets to create new rare items, is very important.

So using this system, or something similar, you can assign a score to each rare to get some sort of sense on how they relate to one another. It will prevent you from creating a lot of common rares which have too desirable properties, which would devalue the more uncommon rares. It also helps by giving some guidance in how to create a high level rare.


In the table you can see that the top green categories related to the item itself and what it can do. The bottom blue categories relates to how the item was aquired. So you can see that the actual item in itself is not the only thing that matters. How the item was aquired is almost equally important. 

I would myself put extra importance on the factor of luck and wether or not something requires special knowledge of the game/server (secret) or it is an item that is aquired in competition with others (such as very rare drop from boss kills). 

I deliberately put a lot less emphasis on items that can be aquired by just hard work and investment (such as achievments, or bought with special society coins), these items are rare by some definition in the sense that not many people have them, but they do lack a lot of the soul of a true rare item in the sense that it is an expected outcome (do exactly X and you get Y). Thus they are not as desirable in the rare hierarchy as a comparably rare item (in terms of how many exist) but which instead is a lucky drop, would be. A way to combat the devaluation of achievment and society-reward items is to add a random factor to which reward you get. Overall I'm against being able to specifically pick the rare you get, as doing it any other way will almost always give the rare more value.

I'm interested to hear what you guys thoughts are on what properties rares can be said to have and how they rank vs. one another.

Great write-up and table. I totally agree that it is vital to have a balance in the variety of ways rares can be obtained.

"Luck" rares are important because you want lots of people to have a chance to participate in the rares economy. Monster drop rares and event rares are great for this, with the added bonus of encouraging event participation and regular monster farming (after all, what is more important than keeping people playing actively and regularly). 

On the other hand, knowledge is power and spending time to track down rare spawn locations and competing with others can be extremely rewarding. A good spawning rares system fosters exploration and provides a purpose for areas of the map that might otherwise go unused. Anyone who has done any serious rares hunting knows the feeling you get when you discover a rare spawn, or obtain info about an item spawn from a friend or as part of a trade. This class of rares tends to be the most desirable/valuable, as you need to spend a lot of time searching and/or interacting with other players to obtain them. Providing opportunities for players to discover server secrets (rare spawns, hidden switches, rooms, rare monster spawns) adds tons of depth to the game/economy and helps players stay invested in a server.

MMO's are inherently a social game, and players spend a lot of time and resources in setting themselves apart from others (whether it be through rares, property location, wearables, rare mounts and pets, etc). UO got this right and is why many people are still playing 15 years later.
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#3
I played a server that had spawning rares throughout the world, much like stealable artifacts in Doom on AoS, and they would randomize the timers for the various items plus cycle them around every few months. This way, if you found it, you knew where it would spawn for a while, but would have to find it again after the cycle. Likewise, the timers had a random element to them, so you might know it spawns between 24-48 hours, or even 1-2 weeks, but nothing more concrete than that. It was a lot of fun searching the world for 'em.
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