dungeon crawl item system

I've been putting a lot of thought into our item system for our upcoming dungeon crawl lately. For most action RPGs, the item system is very important.  This is definitely true for the dungeon crawl. Our more casual hack and slash, Kivi's Underworld, has a more streamlined item system, but the dungeon crawl is going to be much more hard core, so we are going to need a cool, full item system.

We are essentially starting with the Depths of Peril item system and building from there. Depths of Peril already has a pretty extensive system with items with many different rarities: normal, common, uncommon, rare, very rare, set, unique, and artifacts. This works pretty well, but I'm adding some things that I think will make it even more interesting: elite items, legendary items, cursed items, ego weapons, set item changes, and procs.

Elite items are technically not new. I'm changing the unique items to elite items. It's really just a name change that fits a bit better. It's always been weird telling people, yes you can find multiple copies of a "unique" item.

Legendary items are a new tier of items above artifacts. Essentially, they are
the most powerful items in the game. The plan is that they will have the attributes that the same named artifact will have, plus one random attribute, adding a huge variety to the top tier of items. However, a legendary item could have something relatively worthless like extra light, be awesome with an extra 100% of damage, or even be cursed.

Ego weapons have some level of intelligence that recognizes enemies and/or friends. If you are fighting a monster the ego weapon considers an enemy, you'll get a large damage bonus (currently +200%). However if you are fighting someone it considers a friend, you'll get a large damage penalty (currently -50%). An ego weapon can have multiple enemy types and/or friend types.

Cursed items are going to make things interesting. No they are NOT like D&D cursed items that bind to you if you equip them. A cursed item has at least one negative attribute, like a strength penalty. I think the cursed items are going to be amusing in many cases and add a lot of variety. Is that cool rare sword with the curse better than your merely common magic sword?

The positive side of cursed items is that they have lower level and attribute requirements to use them. So thanks to the curse, you might be able to use an item that is well above your level. Many times a curse will be bad, but sometimes it will be a blessing in disguise. It also lowers the item price which will be good or bad depending on if you're buying or selling. Some possible pure cursed items: axe of
flabbiness (less vitality), staff of lameness (less spirit), mace of impotence (less strength), long sword of the Idiot (less intelligence), and dagger of clumsiness (less dexterity). Ego weapons with a monster friend type are also cursed items.

Set items are always tricky. If you drop too few then no one can complete any of the sets and the items just end up being poor unique items (now elite items). If you increase the drop rate, you end up with more items from different sets. We've made two changes to help complete sets - set items now have a larger level range when they are allowed to spawn, and when a set item drops there is now a chance another item from the same set will drop. For each successful extra drop, it checks again. So it's actually possible, though not likely, that the entire set will drop at once.

And finally we now have items with skill procs. For those who don't know the lingo, a proc is a spell that has a chance to be cast automatically when something happens.  Currently we have -on hit- procs for weapons and -when hit- procs for armor. You can find items like a sword with a 10% chance to cast a level 5 fear each time you hit a monster, or a breastplate with a 5% chance to cast a level 10 ice storm each time you are hit. The other nice thing is that these are random attributes, so they can appear on pretty much any magical item in the game.

I'm sure I'll make more changes before we ship, but this is the state of the current item system (or in a couple cases about to be). As usual feedback is very welcome.


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