Saturday, 25 July 2009

Rewards (POLL: What Reward Gets You Excited?)

I don't have much to report this week, as I have not had much chance to work on the module at all. The little I have done involved a script that attaches to a creature's OnDeath script and has them drop some treasure (of gems and gold) according to their level. I wanted to make sure all gems could potentially be found, as the crafting systems require gems in many cases. However, this also got me to thinking about rewards in general and I decided to flesh out this weeks post with another poll: What Reward Gets You Excited?

I decided to only allow one answer in this poll to try to concentrate the answer, but if you wanted more or had something different in mind, then please add a comment. :) NB: By "Reward", I don't just "treasures", but any kind of "return" for your playing the module.


Anonymous said...

Voted: Other

My favorite incentive in playing a game is seeing everything in it. I enjoy finding out what's over that hill, under that cave and why, exactly, people say that cave is haunted. Exploration, for me, is a reward in of itself.

Of course, this must be qualified with the obvious: the thing I'm exploring had better be interesting. Oblivion's cookie-cutter dungeons are not interesting, and I have no plans on playing it again due to this.

I guess I have the blood of an explorer, but the legs and index finger of a gamer. ;)

Starwars said...

I think the two that often *fail* to excite me are gold and magic items (wondrous items). Gold tends to be very abundant in nearly every game, and generally you can make due with whatever loot that drops instead of having to use the gold in a store.

For the wondrous items, I'm not really sure. Just don't tend to use them for some strange reason.

I chose XP here. But as I think about it, I realize that it's not just completing the quest. What tends to get me going is when I'm rewarded XP for some optional thing. Use a skill check and get some minor xp for it? I'm all over it.

When I played Planescape: Torment, I was like... salivating when it turned out that my high WIS score unveiled a special conversation choice which A) was awesome and B) netted me a nice chunk of xp.

Josh said...

Sex Cards. I want a trophy for having conquered that foul beast in her domain.

But more seriously, I don't care what the quest reward is. What I care about is how well the quest was designed. A bad quest with a good reward doesn't get me excited in the least bit. A clever and well-written quest is more than enough however.

If I were to choose one from the list, it'd probably be XP, followed by Story Advancement. Gold is always in abundance as well, so I never really care much for it. And magical items are a mixed package.

Anonymous said...

I selected special items because there are only of few of that kind of rewards and because special items are usualy fun.

Story advancement goes second because the game becomes boring if the story advancement is too slow.
By story advancement I don't mean necessarily that the main quest progressess. It could be something related to it, but still not infuencing it.

Character advancement is always good, and I second what Starwars says aboutg XP.

Finaly, a reward not mentioned in the poll is seeing the concequences of your actions on the world. It really adds a lot to the module when the player feels that his actions have an actual impact on his surroundings.

Nacaal said...

Fancy equipment!!! that's no. 1 to me. I prefer to wear the spoils of battle rather than purchasing weapons and armours, which I very rarely do. that is why gold does not attract me, unless there are peculiar ways to use it (e.g., one of my favourite old CRPG, Sword of Vermillon, had a fortune teller in every town and I spent fortunes to hear that pieces of nonsense!)

I also like wondrous items such as things that allow you to summon creatures, like the elemental in MotB and the djinni in SoZ. And amulets, rings, etc. But not scrolls, those I rarely use.

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi All,

Great responses all round! And interestingly different.

I have to post twice to respond to all due to large word count.

Chaos Wielder:

I enjoy exploring too. And, of course, finding that secret little nook or cranny that others may have missed. I always reckon this can be hard for a single module designer to pull off though, as designing a large place to explore like this requires more resources and time. Hopefully, I will be able to add enough to satisfy this kind of rewarding/pleasure. :)


When it comes to gold, I know exactly what you mean. I do hope I am overcoming this "problem" with my own module by reducing the amount of gold that will be available. In other words, finding gold will (hopefully) become a bit more of a "yeh!" feel to it than it has done in the past. As you probably know already, the "economy" is something I have been working hard on the last few weeks to try to move away from the "gold in abundance" feeling. And XP for doing something optional is another thing I enjoy as well, so hopefully I will be able to offer enough XP rewards of this fashion. :)


It sounds like you like a good story that rewards XP and are less motivated by items. It may be for you (it is for me anyway) that gold and items have become too plentiful in the past to hold much excitement any longer? I remember when I first played that getting a magic +1 sword was amazing and finding my first horde of gold (only about 150 gp) a delight. But if a player is given a magical weapon from the start and a few thousand gold for a minor quest, then these things lose their value in the pleasure they once gave. Hopefully, I will address these issues in my module without compromising the story or XP rewards to help give a new pleasure in their acquisition for players. :)


I agree with all your comments. :) I too like the "unusual items", but these are quite hard to include in a plentiful and useful way. I suppose that accounts for their limited implementaion. However, I want to include as many as possible for the reason you mentioned: They are usually great fun! Getting the story pace right is always a concern for me. Coming from a PnP background, it can be quite hard to adapt to a CRPG style. Side-quests (or at least sub-plots to the main quest) take on a bigger role to help flesh out the game that was once filled more with combat that could last hours in PnP. Your final comment about consequences is a good one, and is one of the major driving factors for me to try to do more with my "Real Life" system, which tries to have real reactions to a PCs actions. However, I have recognised that this is a huge time hog when it comes to implementing it, and I have ideas that I know would add hours to my design if I tried to include them. The frustrating part is deciding what to include and what to reject for the sake of getting the module released. One can always improve on this with later modules, but I think I would like to learn more about what people like to see here before making too many assumptions (and including them) which may fall flat when it comes to gameplay. ;) I may look more into this in another post in the future.



Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...



Using the spoils of battle is definitely something I agree with. :) One of my main aims is to ensure the player has to "work" for their items, either by crafting them (after acquiring the materials) or winning them from a foe. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I hope the module will encourage players to do this, as I do not intend to have many "magic items" for sale. Hopefully, every piece of equipment won or acquired by the player for their PC will bring with it a satisfaction feeling of knowing when and where they got it from. I have even revamped scrolls (which you say you rarely use) in more than one way. Firstly, I allow them to cast scrolls at the casters highest level (which means the scroll will level as the caster level increases). And secondly, I have introduced something called Arcaene Lore Spells, which are basically scrolls (from the previous era in my world) that cast a spell, limited only by the caster's own abilities. It's quite hard to explain, but basically, if a PC has a Arcaene Scroll of Magic Missile, then they can use the scroll to cast Magic Missile as manay times as they have first level arcane spells memorised (even if it is not a magic Missile). This means it helps free a wizard from their overall choices of memorised spells at the start of the day if they carry Arcaene Scrolls. As a consequence of using the scroll, a random spell (of equivilent levl) is removed from the wizard's list of memorised spells. So there is a consequence to this "benefit", which helps to keep game balance intact.

Thanks to everybody for your response, and feel free to carry on the conversation if there is anything extra to add from this. :) It all helps to fuel the creativity! ;)


Shaughn said...

Lance I went with the special item because I like to get neat stuff. As many others have said money is almost worthless in most CRPG, in a short while you end up lumping around an obscene amount. XP is nice and expected with the completion of a quest but I rarely ever check how much I receive. The story is my second choice because it is the reason for playing the game but I would be disappointed if I didn't get my loot.

For rewards I like to find or be giving something that matters to the story or is a really interesting item. The item should have some relevance to the story or quest, almost like a trophy. Unlike a trophy the player should be able to use it either as weapon/armor, open up a story path, or it should contain some type of magic power.

In regards to the powers of the obtained item I tend to like something different other then just a +something. Back story created for the item and powers that make sense with the back story and quest. For myself personally I like powers that help but also hinder the player. To use the item and the powers one must choose to sacrifice something. For me this is more interesting and allows slightly more powerful or different abilities. The player may choose to use it all the time and suffer the penalties or only use it when they absolutely have to.

Wyrin said...

I went story advancement - a big reveal - or character development. If it does come down to a physical reward, I'd like an interesting story-relevant custom item. I love things that may seem simple e.g. a 'crude orc axe' that might have a penalty to hit do to poor weight balance, but extra damage (i do love (non-magical) items with sensible drawbacks to account for some benefits too). These ad a it more flavour - a +1 spear is a no brainer to use instead of a non-magical spear, but withthese kinda items, do you want to trade hit for damage (or vice versa..?)

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi Shaughn,

Your experiences sound very much like my own. :) I think because gold and xp tend to be acquired rather easily, they can lose their appeal. Whereas special items (due to the nature of them often being quite difficult to code and include) are quite a pleasant surprise and distraction when found. I do take on board the idea that items should have a bit more background and history, and I hope I can pull this off when I write the module. I hope that most magic items found will be more "special" than those that can be crafted. And having penalties as well as bonuses is another idea that I hope to work in on some items.

Hi Wyrin,

You touch on the side of my modding that always makes me afraid .... having to create a story that is large enough to play and enjoy and and the same time to be able to pull off an advancement to the plot or PC that does not feel artificially induced within a too small a timeframe. I do have some ideas in mind, but due to the very fussy nature I have in these areas, I find this one of the hardest "rewards" to include that feel right. As these types of reward are often closely tied to the plot (as I see them), it is hard for me to say too much more. ;) As for story-related items, I totally agree. I just hope I don't get lazy as I include them, because it can get very easy to spend less time working in these type of items than other ideas.

Thanks again to all the comments. They are all inspiring and it is good to see what gets other people excited when playing. :) Again, if there are any more comments, please let me know.


Anonymous said...

Heavily dependent on the quality of writing, the development of a good romance makes a good reward. When well crafted, the player will want to see how the characters progress, and making that progress dependent on successful completion of tasks/quests.... that creates your reward.

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi Anon,

While I do hope my writing and plot will be sufficient to entice the player to continue playing, I have to confess that "romances" are not really my forte. ;)

I will have to work harder at making the plot/quest progression feel more fulfilling in the absence of other storylines.