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Behind this mysterious title I'm hiding some hard work that might be published someday ;) The purpose of this blog is to share thoughts with you who love/hate MMO.

Author: Deewe

Time to get rid of DECAY!

Posted by Deewe Saturday November 1 2008 at 3:57PM
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Some of you knew it would come so here we are!

Tell me, who really like the decay concept?

Supposedly in crafting economies it helps players have recurring income. It is also a money sink.

As a former SWG crafter, there are a few things I don't like in decay and I think the hassle is bigger than the benefits.

First of all, with permanent decay comes the issue of keeping your equipment. Players are writing stories with their items.

Then, where is the fun to be obliged to look for the same item again and again?

In a WoW like game play, without permanent decay, it's a bit like paying a tax each time you are hit. Guess the smart ones are playing ranged support classes...

There is the feature to make equipment less efficient with decay. Sounds an interesting concept till you realize you didn't pay for X stat equipment but for X minus decay.

A thing I totally disagree with is doing some random instance and finding yourself with worn out items. It is even worse if you have no way to repair them till you get back to the normal world.

For my part item decay is a poor design system to oblige players to spend their hard earned gold, creds... and eventually buy new stuff.

Now what I would think acceptable is specific decay. Few examples:

For a rifle / laser: you need ammos they deplete = replace them but keep the weapon. What you could also have is in the long term a trigger, muzzle, or lens could slowly decay. As a note the ammos would not add stress to the inventory so let them sit in specific free slots bags.

How about a sword? Well as any knife don't you need to sharpen it after some usage? So how about using some sharpening stones? In the long term there could be possibilities for the core to take damage but without diminishing the effect of the weapon till it finally breaks. Now you would take it back to a blacksmith and have it fixed. The wise would have their weapons inspected, by skilled crafters from time to time, to be sure there aren't any internal damages hidden.

For armors, I'd start saying you have to be really lucky to hit an already damaged spot, unless the armor is torn out. So I'm for sub decay that doesn't remove the efficiency of armors till they reach a certain amount. Then, the player being aware of the progression of the damage knows he needs to have it fixed. If he doesn't each time he's hit there is a chance the hit isn't fully absorbed by his armor. Still his armor is efficient when "not hit" in a weak spot.

What do you think?  



Abrahmm writes:

So basically, you don't like decay because there isn't a "role play" reason for it? Your suggestions are the exact same as the current incarnations of decay, except you just give very defined versions of them. How is having trigger break or a blade dulling and you haveing to fix them any different then WoW's version of gear becoming worn and you having to pay to repair them? There the same thing.

Decay is needed for crafter based economies, but incredibly pointless in the loot based linear games.

In games that are more "world simulations" such as SWG used to be, it made sense that stuff decayed. It's the same as in real life. You buy something new, its really nice, you use it a while and it gets worn out. You can repair it yourself, but it never really reaches that "like new" point. Eventually it gets so worn down you can't fix it any more and have to buy a new one. Same thing as SWG's item decay.

The problem with decay is that so many games have gotten rid of it.

Sat Nov 01 2008 4:56PM Report
Deewe writes:

Thanks for your comments Abrahmm.

It seems I forgot to say, in games with a non developped crafting system (read WoW, WAR, AoC...) we should just get rid of it. Yes they are mostly loof oriented games.

In the others ones, decay should be very specific and not force players to keep searching for replacing their gear with the same item. I'm not very fond of ammos but I find it a not so bad incentive for crafters.

As a final note I'm glad WAR doesn't have decay at all. It's very nice not having the feeling to grind gold to pay a tax, same for AoC.

Sat Nov 01 2008 5:58PM Report
Kordesh writes:

 Actually WAR is one of the few games that could benefit from having a decay system. Among other things, its economy is borked right now because you spend gold on absolutely nothing. 

Personally, I think decay has its place, but it should be in games, as mentioned before, that have a crafting system in place to support it. UO was a great example of this.

Sat Nov 01 2008 7:45PM Report
DashNight writes:

Decay has been introduced to many games that I know of, sure it has it's place, however it should not cost the player an arm and a leg to repair their hard earned items...

EU in game name - Dash Night Shade - Soc - High Counsel


Sat Nov 01 2008 11:43PM Report
Raston writes:


I agree with you on levels, but this is one place I disagree with you.  Decay is needed to simulate the day to day expenses a player SHOULD have but doesn't in a MMORPG.  AKA, it becomes a money sink that attempts (often not well enough) to keep the economy in check.

The implementations that have existed to this point have been weakly done, but that doesn't mean that the concept doesn't have it's place.

The problems with most MMOs is there is no real good way to get money out of the system, since money comes so freely into the game and it is rarely, if ever, destroyed.

Take for example, in EQ2, I can buy enough food and drink to last me 100 game hours (from the broker system) for less than a plat and I can earn that money back within a matter of a couple of hours, so the food/drink is not an effective money sink.  Same thing for repairs on my armor (assuming I even need them, which is only the case when I'm either on a raid or maybe a death or two in an instance).  I can earn that money back without any real issue of time, simply by gringing on solo mobs (and I'm almost entirely in raid gear, so it is 'expensive' to repair)

There isn't any real good way to get money out of the system that is mandated, decay is one of those concepts meant to do that, as is food and drink, both fail to appropriately compare to the scale of a level based economy where the price of loot drops begin to become exageratted (19g for a basic treasured drop for example)

IMO, it isn't the concept that needs looked at, but the mechanics of that system (wear on use, not on death for example), but it also needs to be mixed and matched with other mandated money sinks that will keep a constant and healthy flow of money out of the system.

RF Online had one way to do that and that was the currency exchange rates, too much money in the system and the prices of goods went up as well to help absorb that money (ie inflation) on store bought necessities, thus removing more money from the system as more came in.  But again, that one concept isn't enough, other money sinks are needed (housing, consumables, training, etc could all be used here along with decay).

The one aspect of decay I will not agree with is permanent destruction, except in extremely rare cases (in many great stories, the hero has lost their weapon in battle and had to go out and find a new one).  But this done on an event that happens too often loses the impact and the gear becomes disposable, which defeats the purpose of decay and taking care of your gear.

Sun Nov 02 2008 11:14AM Report
jackeccs writes:

farming for equipment never tasted this good.

decay > boe

eliminate instances! world immersion is becoming a thing of the past.

Sun Nov 02 2008 11:16AM Report
Deewe writes:

Thanks for the comments!


I agree with the your no permanent decay feature. I think there are many money sinks possible and they are under utilized.

What I don't like with Decay is it's become more an harrasment to keep our equipment fit.

I played AoC and WAR with former WoW players and they where happy not to be bothered with repairing their stuff.

Mon Nov 03 2008 1:32PM Report
Raston writes:

I think the key would be to make things more readily repairable in the field with the use of consumables and player skill, such as portable tools and whetstones.  Thus you keep your weapons up as the wear occurs, not when something irregular like death occurs.   Let it be as the weapon is used that it becomes worn.

Mon Nov 03 2008 2:50PM Report
Deewe writes:

Yes I like that idea for maintenaing your stuff.

For major repairs, like you don't maintin your equipment I think it would be better to need a workshop.

Tue Nov 04 2008 6:18AM Report writes:
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