#1 Edited by GUNxSPECTRE (21 posts) -

Can someone give me a reason WHY item/weapon/armor durability exists?

One game that springs to mind that I've played recently with item durability is Dark Souls. The thing is, the price of repairing your stuff if you kept at least an eye on your equipment is pretty trivial. Killing a single Hollow Soldier is enough to fully restore weapons and armor for the most part. Honestly, I can see Dark Souls play the same even if the "feature" wasn't present.

#3 Posted by Turambar (6784 posts) -

Can someone give me a reason WHY item/weapon/armor durability exists?

One game that springs to mind that I've played recently with item durability is Dark Souls. The thing is, the price of repairing your stuff if you kept at least an eye on your equipment is pretty trivial. Killing a single Hollow Soldier is enough to fully restore for the most part. Honestly, I can see Dark Souls play the same even if the "feature" wasn't present.

At least one of the bosses use attacks that remove durability from your equipment. In addition, it places a limit on the usage of weapons with special abilities as those always take a big chunk out of a weapon's durability as well. There are also the crystal weapons that cannot be repaired.

#4 Edited by PeezMachine (235 posts) -

To piss me off. I remember when a friend first showed me Summoner, and as soon as I saw that your boots wore out as you walked, I peaced the fuck out.

Durability is sometimes used as a gold sink, especially if dying comes with some sort of durability penalty like in Diablo 3, WoW, and Guild Wars 2.

Go forth and learn more about durability!

#5 Edited by GUNxSPECTRE (21 posts) -
#6 Posted by audioBusting (1541 posts) -

Some weapons and armor in Dark Souls specifically target durability and/or have low durability too. I do agree that it's trivial most of the time, though.

My favorite use of item durability was in Far Cry 2, because that makes you want to switch guns all the time and having the gun jam randomly during firefights makes things more exciting. Fire Emblem has an interesting use of it too, where all weapons have limited numbers of uses.

#7 Posted by Iodine (547 posts) -

I am cool with durability because of Fire Emblem, but yeah, it can be used in ways that don't feel fun pretty easily

#8 Posted by Hayt (284 posts) -

It adds depth to the game. Glass weapons in Elder Scrolls used to be compelling as they had high damage, low weight but low durability. You had to consider whether the cost offset the weight. Skyrim removed durability so glass weapons are light and high damage. There's no trade off. It's simply the best option now.

#9 Posted by chrissedoff (2108 posts) -

I'm somebody who enjoys things like inventory limitations based on both items' weight and size and I still think durability is stupid. How would a sword break after being used for a few hours? It makes no damn sense. It reminds me of those games where your flashlight runs out of battery power. In real life, that would take days. I appreciate that these mechanics exist to shepherd the player toward visiting merchants or searching for items, but game designers should think a little bit harder and come up with something that feels more natural.

#10 Edited by Levio (1784 posts) -

Durability and Encumbrance: two mechanics I've never seen used to any positive effect. At best, they're just trivial mechanics to make a game needlessly more complicated. At worst, they screw with you at all the wrong times and cause no enjoyment but copious amounts of stress.

The reason why though is actually fairly interesting. Human brains are programmed to respond positively to "bonuses" or "unexpected benefits", while the human brain responds negatively to "penalties" or "additional harms". Even when the "penalty" and "bonus" result in the same outcome (such as with a $500 bonus on a $500 prize or a $500 penalty on a $1,500 prize for game show contestants), the person who thinks he is receiving a bonus feels happier than the one who thinks he is receiving a penalty.

In the case of games, durability and encumbrance are always penalties. Characters start with no durability damage and no encumbrance and steadily receive penalties until they are fully encumbered with broken gear. And, even if the end result has little effect on game mechanics or strategies, the situation is never fun.

#11 Posted by Fobwashed (2076 posts) -

@chrissedoff: I don't know if you're talking about swords in games but if you mean swords in real life, that shit doesn't last long at all. Depending on the metal, (usually steel mixed with a percentage of carbon) the sword will either be hard and brittle being more prone to straight breaking or softer and malleable so that they would deform easily upon impact. Pretty much movies are bullshit and swords get the shit knocked out of them when used. If you hacked at shit for a few hours straight, no way any sword would last -_-;;

#12 Posted by TowerSixteen (542 posts) -

@levio: Encumbrance is easier to understand- in some games, balance demands the player not be able to have infinite resources on hand, and so the options are inventory slots, encumbrance or both. I actually prefer encumbrance to slots, it's more flexible, but apparently some people never figure out to judge things based on usefulness or value to weight ratio rather than absolute value.

#13 Posted by Fobwashed (2076 posts) -

@levio: Most games actually have a form of encumbrance that you just may not be noticing. For instance in a lot of shooters, you're limited in how many weapons you can carry at any given time forcing you to decide whether you want to swap out what you're holding for a new weapon on the ground. Not every game would work well with Ratchet and Clank or Resistance style, have everything on hand at all times type of inventory management =P

#14 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5483 posts) -

Works vaguely okay in Fallout, doesn't work in most stuff. Completely meaningless in MMOs for instance, literally just a way to waste your time (which I guess goes along with them being MMOs).

#15 Edited by ajamafalous (11994 posts) -

To be annoying. Realistically it's a sink (whether gold or time or both). It's not even remotely as annoying as encumbrance, though.

#16 Posted by SoldierG654342 (1766 posts) -

@levio said:

Durability and Encumbrance: two mechanics I've never seen used to any positive effect. At best, they're just trivial mechanics to make a game needlessly more complicated. At worst, they screw with you at all the wrong times and cause no enjoyment but copious amounts of stress.

Survival-Horror games (I'm thinking specifically of System Shock 2) use them specifically because they screw with you at the "wrong" times and cause stress.

In games like the Bethesda open-worlds, durability and encumbrance add tot eh sense of adventure for me. If my pack is full and my weapons are busted, I feel like I got shit done.

#17 Posted by mina_mina752 (121 posts) -

ya i even made this concept in giantbomb wiki from a long time ago ! it's called "jamming" weapons dura in alot of games jam when they are low dura like farcry,stalker,fallout

#18 Edited by Flappy (2250 posts) -

Encumbrance and weapon/armor durability are buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuullshit.

There are situations where it's warranted (horror games), but it's totally fucked in most instances.

#19 Posted by alanm26v5 (449 posts) -

Durability where you lose a percentage upon dying does serve as a way to reward good play and discourage suicide rushing. It also serves as a gold sink, but that's only as important in online games. I just started playing Firefall this weekend, and it's the first game I've played where most gear has a limit to how much you can repair it, so that even when you make the best stuff, you have to eventually replace it, so you have reasons to keep using resources. I'm not sure how I feel about it as I'm new to the game and starter gear doesn't break, but it's certainly interesting and different.

#20 Edited by AMyggen (3051 posts) -

@levio said:

Durability and Encumbrance: two mechanics I've never seen used to any positive effect. At best, they're just trivial mechanics to make a game needlessly more complicated. At worst, they screw with you at all the wrong times and cause no enjoyment but copious amounts of stress.

The reason why though is actually fairly interesting. Human brains are programmed to respond positively to "bonuses" or "unexpected benefits", while the human brain responds negatively to "penalties" or "additional harms". Even when the "penalty" and "bonus" result in the same outcome (such as with a $500 bonus on a $500 prize or a $500 penalty on a $1,500 prize for game show contestants), the person who thinks he is receiving a bonus feels happier than the one who thinks he is receiving a penalty.

In the case of games, durability and encumbrance are always penalties. Characters start with no durability damage and no encumbrance and steadily receive penalties until they are fully encumbered with broken gear. And, even if the end result has little effect on game mechanics or strategies, the situation is never fun.

I agree with you about durability. That has always been just a pain in the ass in my view, with no visible upside.

Ecumbrance in that you can't carry as much shit as you want in your "backpack", that I'm against. Baldur's Gate II with expansion is probably my favourite game of all time, but I fucking hate the vanilla encumbrance system where you have to juggle gear between your party members, and the mage types can't carry shit! Once I found a mod that remakes that system, I installed it and never looked back. It adds absolutely nothing to the experience when you have to either remove stuff you have on your person to add new shit, or go back to a vendor to sell it.

Encumbrance in that you can only carry x amount of gear on your body based on str. or whatever, that I'm all for as a balancing mechanic. But let me carry as much shit as I want in my backpack, limits on that shit is just tedious.

#21 Posted by TobbRobb (4649 posts) -

I approve of durability and encumbrance when it's an issue of balance. In bethesda games and similar though, it just feels like busywork.

#22 Edited by probablytuna (3664 posts) -

I think the Crystal weapons are the only weapons/armour in Dark Souls I can think of where durability is a big issue mainly because they have little durability and you cannot repair them (other than reinforcing them with shards). This is why I never use them and the durability mechanic in games is probably one of my least favourite, along with encumbrance.

#23 Posted by AMyggen (3051 posts) -

@tobbrobb said:

I approve of durability and encumbrance when it's an issue of balance. In bethesda games and similar though, it just feels like busywork.

When is durability an issue of balance though? If you want to make a weapon extremely powerful but with limited uses, make that weapon have a limited amount of charges or something. If you introduce durability it will affect every weapon in the game, and stop being about balance.

#24 Posted by Fattony12000 (7416 posts) -