Mystery, uncertainty and discovery.
What if players could not see the properties and statistics of weapons, armour and items? If they pick up a new sword, what if they didn’t know that it could deal 2-10 damage, and was worth approximately 90 coins? An intriguingly original and realistic approach we could take, is to completely cut off all visual statistics and properties of all items. Players would have to use the items name, description and appearance to estimate their properties, but more realistically, experiment and use it.
This gives us a lot of power in future release candidates, if we make items with special qualities. They may find a ‘vampire blade’, as an example. It looks like its capable of average damage. When they attack an enemy, they’ll realise that, wow; it has leech life qualities! They will also gain a different approach at learning the world and its items. They may find a spooky looking helmet, try it on to realise its cursed, and they can’t take it off! They may find a mysterious ring; and have no clue what it does; however later realise that it negates a large amount of fire damage, or when they drop down to 20% health or lower, they deal extra damage.
Additionally, requirements on weapons would also be hidden. If a low level character tries to weld a powerful item, they would be confronted with the message “Your not powerful/agile/smart enough to use this weapon”. Now this is a very questionable feature; as I’m aware that various players probably wouldn’t like the concept of not knowing whether they can use a particular weapon before they purchase or find it. Perhaps a balanced mixed between estimating how good the item is, and whether or not the player can use it, would be a simple message on it, (including when its available at the store), saying “You don’t think you would be strong/agile/smart enough to use this”.
It isn’t without its share of negative outlooks however. Players may become frustrated if they purchase a new weapon that isn’t quite what they expected, and some players may try to sell items for high prices, claiming they are something they aren’t.
As for crafting, there world be a ‘nil recipe’ approach. Instead of learning new recipes to make new potions, instead you’d experiment by mixing two different reagents. Mixing ‘fire salts’, and a ‘red solution’, as an example, may conjure up a fire potion which provides temporary fire resistance. Or mixing a ‘healing herb’ with ‘red solution’ may create your standard healing potion. When it comes to ores, mixing two different ores creates ingots. Example, platinum ore and magic ore may create a mythril ingot, or such.
Crafting, itself would obviously take a different approach. Instead of randomly mixing items; you would go across the continent to different cities, finding various weapon-smiths and armour-smiths, who each have different assortments of items they can make, assuming you have the components and some gold to pay. Dwarves deep in the mountains, compared to humans in an imperial city would be able to make different items, using different components, encouraging you to travel.
I ask you, what are your thoughts on this concept? Would you like to see it in a game, or nay?