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Subject: Thoughts on the Emporium rss

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Mark Kirkwood
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Hi,

My friend is convinced that this is one of the worst shops in any adventure game he has ever played.

He is playing as Thorgar, and says there is no other weapon you can buy that is anywhere near as good as the battle hammer, which is a starting weapon.

He believes that almost none of the weapons are a significant improvement on existing ones, and are often class locked anyway so half of them are irrelevant.

He also hates the idea that we should be spending a lot on consumables (and to a lesser extent, projectiles), despite the larger amount of money you seem to pick up.

I'm beginning to see his point of view, and am not hopeful of that changing in the next wave (there are none expected in the expansions etc., correct?).

To be clear, we are all still enjoying the game overall, but he just can't let this lie...

I'd be super interested to hear some counter arguments for this proposal, given that it is greatly diminishing his enjoyment of the game.

As an aside, he thinks Shae lawful is comically underpowered, and is appalled that the hiding skill is almost made moot by any of the base game starting weapons for her. We were kicking arse with the hunting whip, but it turns out that is an expansion weapon from the Morrigan character.

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David Hoskins
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I agree there's not a lot of purchasing options for Thorgar, though honestly that's the case for most of the heroes. I personally bought him the mace so that he could use a shield and bump up his defense. I've found that the chance of triggering the stun effect on the mace to be quite useful as well, especially with some re-roll abilities. The Flying Maul puts both to shame but I haven't been fortunate enough to draw it from the treasure deck in my campaign with Thorgar. After the first couple quests I seem to be using the Emporium to forge weapons and armors rather than buying anything.
 
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Greg
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Yeah I agree; the battle hammer is really OP for a starting weapon. Seems like money is only useful for forging weapons or buying consumables.

If you want to improve your weapons and armour, you basically have to just pray you get a good draw from the treasure deck.

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Vasilis
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As I've mentioned multiple times and will probably will continue to do, drawing any kind of conclusion about hero power levels by playing half an ACT of the campaign is not a conclusion I'll trust anytime soon.

As for the shop, I think that they wanted to keep the game balanced enough. Having tons of loot in the Emporium will make this impossible. It's also impossible to add lots and lots of items and still keep them fresh and interesting without any repetition. And ofcourse the best ideas should be kept for treasure items so no Emporium for those too.

I know that some people LOOOOVE loot in their games but I prefer a more controlled environment where the designers know more or less what players can get their hands on rather than a lootfest which cannot be balanced whatsoever or even if it can, it will inevitably lead to multiple worthless items or worse a completely OP one.

Crowns should indeed be used for consumables and forging and that's actually OK. I enjoy the aspect of managing my money for buying essentials and choosing what to forge or not, instead of just spending all the money to buy the biggest weapon in the shop which is cliche anyway.

In general, I disagree with all of your friends conclusions and dislikes. Nothing personal ofcourse.
Just my 2 cents.
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Christian Klinton
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Bowmangr wrote:
As I've mentioned multiple times and will probably will continue to do, drawing any kind of conclusion about hero power levels by playing half an ACT of the campaign is not a conclusion I'll trust anytime soon.

As for the shop, I think that they wanted to keep the game balanced enough. Having tons of loot in the Emporium will make this impossible. It's also impossible to add lots and lots of items and still keep them fresh and interesting without any repetition. And ofcourse the best ideas should be kept for treasure items so no Emporium for those too.

I know that some people LOOOOVE loot in their games but I prefer a more controlled environment where the designers know more or less what players can get their hands on rather than a lootfest which cannot be balanced whatsoever or even if it can, it will inevitably lead to multiple worthless items or worse a completely OP one.

Crowns should indeed be used for consumables and forging and that's actually OK. I enjoy the aspect of managing my money for buying essentials and choosing what to forge or not, instead of just spending all the money to buy the biggest weapon in the shop which is cliche anyway.

In general, I disagree with all of your friends conclusions and dislikes. Nothing personal ofcourse.
Just my 2 cents.


I also got really frustrated that the Empirion has only crappy items (that are not consumables) but thinking about it, how would it work if not? If you do give options to buy weapons better than the hammer, should they cost 100, 200. And if you pool all your money for this kind of weapon it would probably be really hard to balance against. You would have an enourmosly strong heroe (most offensively but still). I think that instead have more consumable that are more specific so you can prepare yourself for a specific type of encounter. Maybe something like a "luck"-potion giving you better odds against traps/treasures without having a rogue in your team?

Btw are there any ACT II items in the emporium? only available for that act?
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Kand Affar
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They shouldn't be significant improvements. It would make finding treasure disappointing unless the treasure weapons were also a significant improvement over purchased items. Then there would be a massive difference between starting weapons and treasure weapons, which would make the game extremely difficult to balance and heavily luck-based depending upon what treasure you find.

It is also boring to just buy the best weapon and then never need to go shopping again. What would you do with all the money you earn? Consumables are a necessity, and the key is to have so many different options for consumables (e.g., healing, projectiles, forging) that you have interesting choices as to which to get.

Remember you can forge the stash battle hammer, too.
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David desJardins
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Dr_Z wrote:
My friend is convinced that this is one of the worst shops in any adventure game he has ever played.


Another way of saying this is, "It's intentional that you have to find better weapons rather than just buying them in the store."
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Gene Chiu
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The cleric's only option for equipment is to go hammer and board. I'm currently mulling over whether or not it is worth spending gold on this option. It is not really an upgrade, but more of a lateral shift. Downgrade your attack power a bit to upgrade your defenses.

The sorceress has the same issue with equipment. You have a lateral shift from a staff to a wand. Staff does more damage and has the potential of AoE while the wand can attack at range.

The other 3 characters have a definite weapons upgrade path when purchasing equipment at the Emporium. I don't think that this is entirely a bad aspect of the game. A part of these fantasy games is that different classes have different advantages. One of the advantages of S and D characters is they have better earlier options to upgrade weapons. M and F characters have other advantages elsewhere which can more or less even out.
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Hero Guy
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I found this really strange as well on my initial play. I would have liked to have seen a kind of tiered weapons and armors levels.

Stash weapons < Emporium weapons < Treasure items.

There's really very little point to having any weapons/armors in the Emporium except for maybe if your party has an overlap in one specific area.

That's not to say that I think the Emporium is useless. On the contrary, I find it key to using your player turns to their maximum potential. Consumables are great and they go a long way to rounding out your character's abilities.

But yeah...that battle hammer...
 
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Damon D
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While not the best, but i think all that extra gold is so you can forge (50gp)rather than buy your better weapons. Treasure so far seems to be the real way to improve your gear.
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Ricky W
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I think you/we have this attitude, that shop items have to be better than starting items, because we are used to it from nearly all of the other fantasy games (board or video).

If you think into the S&S world:
The high priest has certainly discussed his plan with the ruler of the city. While the high priest made preparations for the resurrection spell the ruler of the city made some of the most potent weapons he owns available for the heroes to rescue the city.

If you take this backstory as a basis, then there shouldn't be much better weapons in the stores of the city since ruler's armories tend to have the best equipment you can get locally.

Perhaps this circumstance description helps your friend/you cope with the equipment situation.

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Oliver Broom
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The designers of Sword & Sorcery clearly list one of their influences as being the most famous MMORPGs and if you look at how loot works in those, I think the design of the Emporium becomes a bit clearer for me.

Typically all the best loot in MMORPGs comes from drops. Some is crafted (we have Forged options). Some items do drop and can be sold at auction but generally these are very expensive within their own game economies and they also start life as a drop, not from a 'vendor'.

They also list Action RPGs as one of their influences. In most of those games you do end up spending resources on consumables like health potions and 'power-ups' (I love that term, it always sounds so cheesy and old-school these days when referring to video games! No clue why).

Based on those two video game influences I think the Emporium is designed to function much like a vendor would in those kinds of worlds, and all the best loot drops during game play.

Looking at it like that, I am pretty happy with the way it works. It did take a few games to realise that Forge is a genuine option rather than a 'waste' of 50 gold, and consumables really do help in crunch moments. That's the power of the Emporium, not for buying better gear.
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Christian Klinton
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Timbar wrote:
The designers of Sword & Sorcery clearly list one of their influences as being the most famous MMORPGs and if you look at how loot works in those, I think the design of the Emporium becomes a bit clearer for me.

Typically all the best loot in MMORPGs comes from drops. Some is crafted (we have Forged options). Some items do drop and can be sold at auction but generally these are very expensive within their own game economies and they also start life as a drop, not from a 'vendor'.

They also list Action RPGs as one of their influences. In most of those games you do end up spending resources on consumables like health potions and 'power-ups' (I love that term, it always sounds so cheesy and old-school these days when referring to video games! No clue why).

Based on those two video game influences I think the Emporium is designed to function much like a vendor would in those kinds of worlds, and all the best loot drops during game play.

Looking at it like that, I am pretty happy with the way it works. It did take a few games to realise that Forge is a genuine option rather than a 'waste' of 50 gold, and consumables really do help in crunch moments. That's the power of the Emporium, not for buying better gear.


However, loot in morphs are most often dropped based on enemy/hero's level. Here we have pure random treasures with no relation to the gamestate. The only "reliable" thing is gold income.

Maybe loot with LVL requirements would have been better?
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Oliver Broom
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Godvillig wrote:
Timbar wrote:
The designers of Sword & Sorcery clearly list one of their influences as being the most famous MMORPGs and if you look at how loot works in those, I think the design of the Emporium becomes a bit clearer for me.

Typically all the best loot in MMORPGs comes from drops. Some is crafted (we have Forged options). Some items do drop and can be sold at auction but generally these are very expensive within their own game economies and they also start life as a drop, not from a 'vendor'.

They also list Action RPGs as one of their influences. In most of those games you do end up spending resources on consumables like health potions and 'power-ups' (I love that term, it always sounds so cheesy and old-school these days when referring to video games! No clue why).

Based on those two video game influences I think the Emporium is designed to function much like a vendor would in those kinds of worlds, and all the best loot drops during game play.

Looking at it like that, I am pretty happy with the way it works. It did take a few games to realise that Forge is a genuine option rather than a 'waste' of 50 gold, and consumables really do help in crunch moments. That's the power of the Emporium, not for buying better gear.


However, loot in morphs are most often dropped based on enemy/hero's level. Here we have pure random treasures with no relation to the gamestate. The only "reliable" thing is gold income.

Maybe loot with LVL requirements would have been better?


Actually S&S treasure cards do have knowledge of the gamestate, through their ACT value, so we can expect more powerful treasure cards for ACT II which is appropriate.

While I like the idea of LVL requirements I think in board games it sets up a terrible situation where you draw a really good treasure card only to have to discard or 'bank' it because you're not high enough to use it yet. I think Dark Souls suffers from this?
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Andre Oliveira
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Id buy long bow. Better daggers. Shield.

The shop is only poor compared to the hammer. There are significant improvement for other slots.
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Greg
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Timbar wrote:
...
While I like the idea of LVL requirements I think in board games it sets up a terrible situation where you draw a really good treasure card only to have to discard or 'bank' it because you're not high enough to use it yet. I think Dark Souls suffers from this?


Yeah, it's even worse in Dark Souls because there are multiple stat requirements for most items. So even if you upgrade two or three of your stats, the weapon you draw might be unusable because it required you to upgrade the fourth stat. And buying items requires the same currency as upgrading your stats.
 
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David desJardins
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Exo Desta wrote:
Or, another way of saying that is, "Twice the number of available starting items, especially if each build/character had a few designed with them in mind that you had to begrudgingly choose between, would alone increase the replayability of this game that you spent a LOT of money on, by a huge amount."


You could say that, but it would be oh so wrong.

But put it in your game when you publish it, by all means.
 
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Gene Chiu
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Exo Desta wrote:
Nothing wrong with giving the players options to open the game.

Or, another way of saying that is, "Twice the number of available starting items, especially if each build/character had a few designed with them in mind that you had to begrudgingly choose between, would alone increase the replayability of this game that you spent a LOT of money on, by a huge amount."


For a game that is already so complex, I don't think giving players additional options at the start is necessarily going to make the game better. Players already have the option of character classes, law/chaos version and starting powers. There's replayability in that you can choose different classes when you replay the game. You'll be drawing different treasure when you replay as well. Once you get some money, you can then choose to go hammer and board with the cleric by buying additional equipment.
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Christian Klinton
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Stuntman wrote:
Exo Desta wrote:
Nothing wrong with giving the players options to open the game.

Or, another way of saying that is, "Twice the number of available starting items, especially if each build/character had a few designed with them in mind that you had to begrudgingly choose between, would alone increase the replayability of this game that you spent a LOT of money on, by a huge amount."


For a game that is already so complex, I don't think giving players additional options at the start is necessarily going to make the game better. Players already have the option of character classes, law/chaos version and starting powers. There's replayability in that you can choose different classes when you replay the game. You'll be drawing different treasure when you replay as well. Once you get some money, you can then choose to go hammer and board with the cleric by buying additional equipment.


The stash is basically limited enough that characters could instead get a "starting equipment" for their class?
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Jonathan H
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Godvillig wrote:

The stash is basically limited enough that characters could instead get a "starting equipment" for their class?


Pretty much. Although with bigger parties there won't be enough for everyone, you'll need to decide who gets the shield, or who gets the better armor for example.
Heroes will start off better geared if you're running a 2-hero party than say a 5 hero-party.
 
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Christian Klinton
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Exo Desta wrote:
Stuntman wrote:
For a game that is already so complex, I don't think giving players additional options at the start is necessarily going to make the game better. Players already have the option of character classes, law/chaos version and starting powers. There's replayability in that you can choose different classes when you replay the game. You'll be drawing different treasure when you replay as well. Once you get some money, you can then choose to go hammer and board with the cleric by buying additional equipment.

Fair enough. I just like to mention "Replayability" every once in a while on these boards so that perhaps by osmosis the gremlins might gear their next game towards that side of the spectrum, rather than the static, set-in-stone-this-is-how-the-game-plays-out-every-single-time mindset.

I don't mind video games that are on rails, which are more of a pick up/play/throw away type medium for me, opposed to board games, which I want to have high replay value or the investment doesn't look so good anymore...

But you have a point: too many options right up front when the game is already complex, may not be such a good thing for your first play. However the second time you run through this thing, if you are like me, you are wanting that extra complexity.


I agree. Even though I am more for rail type of games because that way it is often a lot more balanced (or at least have the opportunity to be due to a lot less time needs to be spend) but I agree with you wanting just a few more options when starting a new campaign. I haven't fully run through my first campaign yet but hopefully when I do there might be some more heroes to buy for trying out a solo (2 heroes) playthrough as well!
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Gene Chiu
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Exo Desta wrote:
Stuntman wrote:
For a game that is already so complex, I don't think giving players additional options at the start is necessarily going to make the game better. Players already have the option of character classes, law/chaos version and starting powers. There's replayability in that you can choose different classes when you replay the game. You'll be drawing different treasure when you replay as well. Once you get some money, you can then choose to go hammer and board with the cleric by buying additional equipment.

Fair enough. I just like to mention "Replayability" every once in a while on these boards so that perhaps by osmosis the gremlins might gear their next game towards that side of the spectrum, rather than the static, set-in-stone-this-is-how-the-game-plays-out-every-single-time mindset.

I don't mind video games that are on rails, which are more of a pick up/play/throw away type medium for me, opposed to board games, which I want to have high replay value or the investment doesn't look so good anymore...

But you have a point: too many options right up front when the game is already complex, may not be such a good thing for your first play. However the second time you run through this thing, if you are like me, you are wanting that extra complexity.


My impression of this game is that players have control over the character alignment and powers. That includes starting powers and when the character gains levels.

When it comes to equipment, players have less control anyway because you are at the mercy of the treasure deck. You cannot choose which piece of equipment to get like you can choose powers. If you do get another option for starting or even purchased mundane equipment, it will likely become obsolete once you draw that magical item for your class. It is not necessarily that big an issue not having extra mundane equipment.

Replayability is present in your choice of character, alignment and class abilities. These decisions you make at the beginning of the campaign affects your character throughout the life of your character already. You make different choices in and using soulstorm you already have quite a variety of options to choose from.
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N F
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I understand the friend's disappointment that he can't even buy a single upgraded weapon for his guy. But, he also gets the very best weapon there is to start. I have more concerns for Laegon. He can't even be an archer in quest 1. The bow is worthless. The emporium bow is better, but still worse than many weapons. He also really needs to be level 2 with 2 actions to become effective. Then the mage staff is ok, but requires melee attacks, which will get her killed. The upgrade to that in the emporium is a wand that is useless. So, maybe the dwarf option isn't so bad when compared to the others?

I think we all come to a game like this with preconceived notions of what the game is supposed to look like. Maybe it's actually a feature that there are several characters with equipment annoyances instead of a game issue? It makes you play the game differently, less optimal, which can be interesting.
 
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Purple Paladin

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Like I just wrote in another forum, I will be starting my first 5 player game soon, and I remember how the treasure, store, and Battle Hammer really messed up the feeling of any progression in our first attempt at this game.

We are really thinking of making BH a $90 item, or 1R 2B.

Also looking for ANY house rules; developer rule changes; or additions that may have been added the last couple years that may have improved the game.

Game/rules/battles itself was really fun; equipment/weapons/armor and treasure really ruined it for us.
 
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Paul Bauman
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Yeah, I was surprised after going through all of the "replacement cards" rigamarole with Wave 2 (man, that was a fun project to lose my train of thought in the middle of... repeatedly) that the Battle Hammer remained as-is, but something like the spear got "corrected." It does feel like a 90 crown item.
 
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