The J.C. Penney's Effect - Gear vs. Components


Pathfinder Online

Scarab Sages Goblin Squad Member

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Extra Credits: The J.C. Penney's Effect is a video from about a year ago which discusses a game that plans to use a loot system similar to what PFO plans. Mobs will drop crafting components rather than directly-useful gear, and while this sounds better for everyone, the J.C. Penney's story illustrates one way in which people don't always react as they rationally should.

Would gear feel more interesting if it had a more unique look, name, and memory attached to it, or would you actually rather gear be generic so it doesn't bother you to replace it?

Even though we'll start with crafting components & recipes at first, could we transition to gear which could be directly useful, or alternately, taken to a crafter to have it broken down? Not only could the deconstruction produce materials, but it could help the crafter learn new recipes via reverse-engineering.

Goblin Squad Member

This is one of the big conceptual differences between a PVP sandbox game and other games. We don't want players to become attached to individual pieces of uniquely memorable gear because that gear will inevitably be lost. There's very little point in creating items which are too valuable ever to use.

Goblin Squad Member

Guurzak wrote:
This is one of the big conceptual differences between a PVP sandbox game and other games. We don't want players to become attached to individual pieces of uniquely memorable gear because that gear will inevitably be lost. There's very little point in creating items which are too valuable ever to use.

I completely agree with this.

Although, I will point out that we'll be able to "gear up" our Settlements with Artifacts and such. That should provide the satisfaction we're accustomed to getting by gearing up our Characters.

Goblin Squad Member

There's a reason we're waiting for some answers about the Daily Deals, as well.


So sad. I would like to have my precious "The Separator" (no, it isn't an axe, it's a warhammer). Repairing it, improving it, embellishing it and - above all - feeding it. This all would be cool.

Goblin Squad Member

Remember threading of items. Nothing says you can't name anything at all, but you'll definitely be able to hang onto The Separator if it's threaded.

Goblin Squad Member

...until it decays beyond repairability.

Goblin Squad Member

It decays when you're defeated, but it can be repaired indefinitely, unless I'm mistaken. Gonna have to go hunting for "lowered max upon repair"...hmmm.

Goblin Squad Member

A durability zero item is unusable but remains in your inventory, rather than simply evaporating (it may be renamed to "Broken [gear item]" or something similar to explain why you can no longer equip it). If it's a fairly standard item, you'll probably just want to trash it at that point because it'd be just as expensive to get a new one as to repair it. But if it has some rare enchant or other customization, it may still be worthwhile to repair it from zero rather than replacing it.

But, yes, there may very well be a pretty brisk market in extremely-low-durability items that nobody bothers to thread, and if it happens to get destroyed on death, well, threading would basically do the same thing.

[Edit] FYI, Summon Nihimon has no Verbal Components...

Goblin Squad Member

Nor somatic, so no one knows when you're casting it. Except Nihimon.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
FYI, Summon Nihimon has no Verbal Components...

Rats! I'd established a complex formula based on the type of summoner, and that that allowed for sometimes the random cries of non-casters triggering a specialized avatar appearance. Back to the drawing board.

Goblinworks Executive Founder

Summon Nihimon is on the fighter/monk/barbarian spell list, as well as on every other non-casting class.

Goblin Squad Member

Yep. Summon Nihimon is something I have worked hard on to perfect after I completed Wall of Text

Summon Nihimon can, I assure you, be heard throughout all 159 planes and works even in places where a god could not escape. I know. We've tried.

Goblin Squad Member

(I though summon Nihimon was a supernatural ability, not a spell?!)

To the OP: there is 'epic loot' in the game, aka Artifacts (from escalation bosses). Just that they boost settlements and not individuals. Still, there will be the satisfaction of seeing the trophy wall (or list) and thinking "I helped get that".

As for JCPenney effect: 'standard MMOs' have taught us that the best gear drops from the best boss and anything craftable is inferior to that. So we have a preconceived notion that crafting materials are inferior to BOP items that we don't need (but could have used if we were only a different class).
When people get used to the idea that crafted items are better than looted items, then looting some hard-to-find components should be more exciting.

Personally I like the ideas that you go hunting for specific components (bear claws, dragonscales, salamander eyes, whatever), not just for generic powerful mobs to get random powerful loot. But then, I like crafting...

Goblin Squad Member

In EVE I eventually got used to crafting components just as much as regular gear. A valuable piece of wreckage is more of a treat than a useless "named" item. Ex: "Rango Tango's Beta Implant of Space Bumping... wtf is this junk... OH ITS WORTH 100M ISK YES, YES!"

I doubt PFO would have a system that tells you the average local price of each item on mouseover, but it would be nice. In a true player economy game you can find as much value in the cash price of an item as the utility of it. I think PFO would trend towards that, especially if it can link in the mind of the looter the immediate "value" of that item.

Goblin Squad Member

I played Star Wars Galaxies early on. It didn't use a components only system. As I recall it was mostly vendor trash with some components and the occasional worthless piece of equipment. The important part was that all of the best equipment was player made. Personally, I loved it that way. It made getting the gear I wanted very easy.

Traditional loot drop systems actually bother me some. Not only is there usually a huge barrier to getting what I want, but the random loot very likely has stats that I don't care about attached to it and missing something that I do want. It gets even worse when my equipment starts lagging behind in levels and a switch to the more level appropriate equipment that I do have will likely require that I adjust my play style from what I want to play to what works with my equipment.

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