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Hello, was thinking about this and figured it'd be an interesting thread.
I am wondering what kind of role will gear play in CU? Will it be as all-important as gear usually is in mmo's, where the gear usually "makes" your character and you're extremely dependent on it or will gear be m treated more realistically, where it can enhance certain aspects but isn't nearly as important as skill in combat?
Like in the film Conan I find this quote fits best:
"That is strength, boy. That is power: the strength and power of flesh. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"
In MMO's this is usually the opposite, finding an "uber" sword or armor, while it is nice for "loot" games (IE diablo, etc) gives you far more of an advantage over someone, even if they are more skillful as a player. I find it drastically takes away from the "pvp" experience found in mmo's.
DAOC was fairly ok with this, gear wasn't a huge a factor early on and with things not being bop(bind on pickup) and attainable by ways other then pve was good, but TOA kind of killed this with it's uber gear.
UO was a great example of this. In UO gear was obtainable through crafters (which seems to be a major point for CU's crafting system from the interviews) and it wasn't uber nor did it "make" your character. A sword was a sword and generally compared to other swords, swords were more different depending on the type of sword (IE a longsword vs a rapier). Same goes for armor generally as welll. Crafters made gear, you could buy it fromt hem and with full loot drops it kept things turning over when you'd die and lose it. There were a few "rare" things, but because of looting these were something you'd want to use at the right moment (vanq weapons they were called) and losing them hurt bad because of the worth of them.
When it comes to mmo's in general most games , in terms of combat, go something like this:
Gear>Level/character skill>player skill.
Whereas games designed without a huge importance or relience on gear can put character and player skill head of it, which imo seems better for pvp reasons. Would you rather fight someone and win or lose depending on their skill in actual combat, what combat moves they make, how well they dodge/block your attakcs, or would you rather win or lose because one of you had more "uber" gear?
Moving on, there ar ea couple things I'd like to talk about, that are common myths that many video games just get flat out wrong when it comes to weapons and armor in the games. It was just something that irked me a bit, like the people making the game didn't research a lot of things they had or simple didn't care (I can understand if they think it "fits" better, it's their game afterall) but it usually comes off like they didn't know/research things enough or know better, which isn't generally helped by the poor myths perputated by Hollywood in movies and even books (even historical ones).
1. Weight of Swords/weapons and Plate armor.
The Myth that swords used in fighting, could weigh a lot. Simply false, this is one of the most common myths. Some games just flat out run with this (I'm looking at you Elder Scrolls with your absurdly huge weights for weapons). Most swords were pounds, even some of your two handers could be around 3 pounds, with most being under 5 pounds at the max. People simply did not use 20+ pound swords. Not only would it be a pita to swing around, but it would tire you out quickly. The point of fighting was to stay alive, and the lighter the sword the longer you could fight and stay alive, not to mentiont he better balance. Swords aren't some unwieldly piece of steel you swing around like a madman, even the bigger ones, like Hollywood generally portrays. There was so much skill in fighting with them, one only need look at classic historical combat manuals to find this.
This also applies to other weapons, most notably the classic "warhammers" you find in most games, which look like...well big hammers, in reality they weren't nearly that big (the head of the weapon) and looked more like a normal hammer head rather then a huge blunt hammer head, weighed a hell of a lot less as well and were great vs heavy armor.
As well it's a common myth that "plate" armor weighed a lot as well. While it could weigh more then other armors (like light leather, etc) a good suit could weigh as little as 45 pounds and going up to around 65. To give you an idea of that, the average soldier these days can carry around 60 pounds in thier rucksack and even more depending on their mission, and that's ont heir back mostly. Plate armor's weight was more evenly disitributed over your entire body and wasn't focused on one specific point of your body, unlilke Chainmail which had the majority of it's weight resting on your shoulders and could tire you out more easily.
A guy wearing full plate armor can easily do things , such as mount his own horse, run, hell even do cartwheel sin if he wanted.
2. Shields - "Bigger = better" myth. It's another common myth that the bigger the shield the better it is. This is simply false and ignores how important shields were and how much the right shield could add to a fight. It always takes away a LOT of strategy that is untapped in any game with shields.
In almost any rpg or game with shields you find that "bigger=better," you generally start with bucklers and small shields, which have shite protection and are treated as "crap"shields, then you move up to bigger shields, going toward tower shields and such that are treated as some godly shield that can protect you from the weight of the moon falling upon you.
The truth of the matter is that shields of all shapes and sizes had both their advantages and disadvantages. There is no "This shield is thie BEST shield because that's simply not how combat works. It was dependent on both what style of fighting you wanted to do and what enemy you were facing and tactics you planned to use. Some shields are better at one thing, but worse at something else while another is better at the ladder.
A buckler for instance, which is almost always the "Crap" shield in any game, was actually one of the most versatile shields and widely used shields throughout history, and for good reason. When it comes to melee combat they provided the best advtages fighting vs other melee fighters. They were very light, held in your hand by a grip rather then strapped ot your arm like bigger shields. Because of their size and lack of weight you could block attacks more quickly with a buckler plus the smaller sized didn't obstruct your vision as much and you could see the battlefield (and thus attacks coming at you) better. Because the buckelr was simply held in your hand, if it got grabbed or tangled up in something, you could simply "let go" of it and drop it. Also on top of this, the buckler could serve as an offensive tool as well. From simply hitting your enemy with it, to even going as far as adding vairious tools to it, such as a spike in the middle, to a latch (which was used to "catch" swords and pull them out of the hands of your enemy) to even sharpening the edge of the buckler to use as a slashing weapon. Hoewver the weakness of the buckler was range attacks, because of it's small size you couldn't protect as much of your body at once and thus were vunerable to arrows and other range attacks.
This is where bigger shields have an advantage, such as the kite shield and Tower shields. However the disadvantages of thees shields were in their weight which was heavier and could obstruct your vision more because of their size, as well sinc ethey could be strapped to your arm they could be used to throw you off balance and other things.
This is somoething that Irks me because I've alwyas wanted to play with a buckler in rpgs, but not a single game has ever did it quite right. Dark Souls was about the closest that it's come, since shields had weights and weights affected your attack/movement.
See here for some good info on bucklers and their use in combat:
Sorry this went on a LOT longer then I intended, got into a bit of a ranty mode lol.
Just a closing note. I was a big player of UO (more so then DAOC I have to confess) and the player crafting and housing in it was second to none. You could just randomly wander around player towns, meet a crafter sitting on his porche crafting items, strike up a conversation with them and end up getting some great deals and even forming friendships that lasted long after UO was gone. I hope CU has that sense of community with it's housing and crafting system, could even expand on it in more ways.