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How would you improve this experience? I find it's difficult to immerse myself in the world because the act of improving your arsenal is so trite in most games. At present day, gear act as nothing more than lego pieces with stats and little more.
It seems that gear don't change the way you play anymore since it only increase stats so minimally, your combat experience stays the same. Numerous games are like WoW where you try to renew your gear at every level up and you don't get attached anymore. in WoW, you only gain 1-2 strength when upgrading a level 60 weapon with a level 61. In WoW, rare gear may be weaker than uncommom. Why craft when random drops are equal or better? Swords that shoot fireballs don't shoot fireballs; you can't use it at range, and you see no graphical effect. Instead, you rarely see very weak yellow numbers signifying magic damage. How captivating! My mage gained 1 int from lv 82 - 83 but got so much smarter wearing new shoes.
On the subject of crafting, most crafted recipes in WoW are strictly for pvp and have little bearing in pve. Other recipes are forged with random stats so spending all your hard earned mats may yield an unusable piece. Worse yet, you lose all mats and end up with nothing in Aion (and EQ2?) if you fail. Why couldn't you re-smelt the metal after failing?
Even at level cap, you look like you're wearing a quilt unless you're suited in tier gear because devs don't put enough effort in creating random boss drops. In the case of tier gear, Every raider looks the same, how is it possible for every player to have their own Excalibur? Due to having no variety, every X class uses that BIS (best in slot) sword and every Y class wields that BIS wand.
What happened to creative ideas like the Aeleosys Shield from Dragon Warrior that blew away enemies when activated? Armor of Radiance that regen-ed health, or Chestguard of Thorns that made the bearer want to soak up attacks so attackers take damage. The Mirror of Reflection oftenly reflected harmful and helpful spells. The Poison Needle only hits for 1 damage but could instantly kill. In FF6, the Atma Weapon made you keep your health up because life multiplies its damage. The Valiant Knife had the opposite effect. The Fire Shield made fire spells heal you but you take 50% more ice damage. You equipped the Black Belt to retaliate when struck and the Gauntlet to take attacks for others! The Vorpal from the Dark Queen of Krynn can decapitate.You could only wield 1 item but collected them all. Upgrading swords and finding new tools in Zelda was exciting because it offered more strategies.
I say have stats be derived from levels and be customizable (fast cast vs. effectivness) and let gear allow different playstyles and strategies.