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weapon durability makes sense in a stealth game

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Calvar The Blade's picture
Calvar The Blade
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because it provides an excuse for stealth takedowns being treated like ammo rather than an unlimited ability, gives you a reason to try to get in and take out only your target and maybe a few folks in your way, and gives you a reason to eventually need to run from combat no matter how good at fighting you are.

In games where direct conflict is the only option I understand why people dislike weapon durability, but in this case it just makes stealth more powerful and seductive: you feel like you are subverting a system and playing smart.

EDIT: repairing ur weapons is also a good money sink, though it shouldn't be a fiddly process to pay the fee. they've gotta get a good economy in these games one of these days and non-boring money sinks are an important part. (traditional ammo is useless for this purpose because of looting)

the posts a bit guy

DarkAlphabetZoup's picture
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That's some good reasoning. It'd have to be done intelligently, since generally speaking one kind of weapon is used for Stealth Takedowns and another kind of weapon is used for outright Combat. Be that a dagger and a sword in Shadow of Mordor, or a Hidden Blade and a Primary Weapon in Assassin's Creed. Dishonored is a special case in that the player both stealth-kills and fights in direct confrontations with their sword.

If durability is split across two different weapons (which would have to be the case IF the player has two different weapons, otherwise it'd feel stupid for one to never break and one to have Durability) then there's far less tension in that. If my Hidden Blade breaks, I can just fight people with my Sword. If my Sword breaks, I can still stealth kill at least fifty people with my Hidden Blade.

So, am I right to infer that this concept is mainly proposed toward having one weapon only that the character uses for both Stealth and Combat? Or do you have some thoughts on how it could be done with two? With just a single one, it would work really well without much more thinking about it.

I appreciate you bringing up why Durability makes some people angry. In a game where direct confrontation is the only option, it's almost like an unnecessary, grindy element of the game. There's no Choice there, there are no decisions to be made that have real value. The weapon will break after killing X enemies, and killing X enemies is necessarily going to happen no matter what in a game like that. I'd like to play a Stealth game with weapon durability, because it deepens the impact of every Choice I would make regarding hostile agents/AIs.

About repairs being a good money sink, I'd like that. It would be great if it weren't just a flat cost for a full weapon repair. That seems overly Assassin's Creed-y and not very involved. Also, near the beginning of the game, a player would have less income and money than later on, so maybe choosing how much more Durability to restore to a weapon via a slider or variable purchase selector would be cool. The player would always feel like they can do something, even if it's not much, without being forced to save up a massive amount of money in one shot.

((Loot discussion snipped and moved to Loot topic. Keep this one about Weapon Durability. Bringing up how Loot ties into it is okay, but let's try to stay on topic here. Feel free to bring up Weapon Durability to some extent if it's related to Loot in the other topic too.))

Double McStab with Cheese's picture
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How do my bare hands lose durability in stealth takedowns? Are the victims biting fingers off as I put them in a sleeper hold?

As long as you can still do the "knockout" rather than "assassinate" this could actually facilitate a playstyle more in line with the Assassins. Killing only the targets, subduing others as you need to in other ways. It's always bothered me that this society of people that want peace and free choice kill any random guard (non-templars) they want without consequence. Adding weapon durability might be a way for players to be more judicious in who they are actually killing.

Re: Loot, I totally agree. Looting should still be random (amounts), but better guards should give you more money. Snipers should give you bullets. Lookouts should give you smoke bombs, darts, knives, stealth loot. Captains should give you the rare crafting resources (if they keep that), building keys if they're near a building. Etc...

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

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Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
It's always bothered me that this society of people that want peace and free choice kill any random guard (non-templars) they want without consequence.

Sweet, Cheese totally believes in Non-Lethal Target Only. [puts hand over my chest] Amen, Brother.
I obviously have ulterior motives for wanting mechanics like these in place - it would make my preferred playstyle infinitely less clunky to play, not just cool to watch.

Double McStab with Cheese's picture
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DarkAlphabetZoup wrote:
Double McStab with Cheese wrote:
It's always bothered me that this society of people that want peace and free choice kill any random guard (non-templars) they want without consequence.

Sweet, Cheese totally believes in Non-Lethal Target Only. [puts hand over my chest] Amen, Brother.
I obviously have ulterior motives for wanting mechanics like these in place - it would make my preferred playstyle infinitely less clunky to play, not just cool to watch.

In general, I don't understand why the need to use the feather/cloth to prove you've killed your target if you're just going to kill 30 people to get to them anyway!

My preferred style, when possible, is either silent extermination or low-fatality no-detection. Sometimes this is non-lethal. More often than not it's still lethal but not rushing in like a tank and throwing bombs when overwhelmed.

That said. Sometimes you just want to carry a mace (ezio), club (connor) or other huge weapon and smash some heads in with impunity ... but that playstyle doesn't fit the story to me, so I only use it in free play.

In story missions I turn toward stealth whenever possible. And as I mentioned, weapon damage could encourage this. Many people would finish the story before they have access to all the riches in the environment to fix their weapon every 10 minutes.

"Victorian values meant brutalizing people who were often poor." - Charles Palliser

Calvar The Blade's picture
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yeah i like the idea of the hidden blade or whatever one weapon being the only one for everything.

I was going to say that obviously fists shouldnt lose durability but now that I think of it, you probably realize that punching people isn't exactly good for your hands and you'll get bruises/cuts even if you're wearing gloves or brass knuckles. you can break your own hands if you punch people enough

So perhaps this is the thing: you only use your weapon for silent takedowns, and in actual combat you use your fists + maybe your silent weapon as a finishing move. your weapon degrades until it breaks and your fists merely degrade in the amount of damage they can do in combat, which is mitigated by taping them prior to fighting and reset by re-taping them. (or putting them in ice or whatever i dont care how its justified)

Non-lethal takedowns could exist but be really noisy and slow and obvious in comparison, and only useful with extremely isolated enemies (which shouldn't be a common thing in AC, you should be in public places and need to be aware of the public's perception of you)

So they are a thing you do when you can afford to be messy in order to conserve durability or something you have no choice but to do when you break your blade.

stylish efficient non-lethal play could be about avoidance and sneaking but avoiding punching or choking

the posts a bit guy

DarkAlphabetZoup's picture
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Jermaine Tito wrote:
Non-lethal takedowns could exist but be really noisy and slow and obvious in comparison, and only useful with extremely isolated enemies (which shouldn't be a common thing in AC, you should be in public places and need to be aware of the public's perception of you)

So they are a thing you do when you can afford to be messy in order to conserve durability or something you have no choice but to do when you break your blade.

stylish efficient non-lethal play could be about avoidance and sneaking but avoiding punching or choking

Hell yes, I dig that so hard! I like it because it's still totally possible, but it becomes a very conscious decision and grounds the player in the game a little more. To justify this mechanically, the game would need to make all of its inputtable actions more consistent, responsive, fluid and reliable. (IE, everything that's the opposite of how they are now.) If it is delivered in that way, design possibilities skyrocket. We've talked before about how, because Ubi anticipates control fiddliness on a core level, the mission and encounter design can only GET so tough.

@Hands hurting over time, this makes sense to me too. Feels like everything has a Cost, to be spent deliberately, always leading to various consequences. Most of the time, those consequences are also clear. For Non-Lethals, time should at least remain a resource even if it's otherwise "free." Can you afford to choke someone out for four seconds when a guard COULD walk around the corner in the next three? Tension.

EDIT: I've been thinking about this idea all day, crossed with consistent loot and I couldn't get either out of my head. It really feels like both of them could complement each other beautifully.

In a Stealth/Combat Hybrid game like Assassin’s Creed, Durability's interesting since every available action has Cost, which means every action taken has intrinsic value/meaning. Deciding between playstyles is powerful, and those who can play both at once feel truly rewarded. This and consistent Loot is a power-duo for meaningful decisions. Stealth now involves selecting which short-term targets truly worth eliminating based on position and what they're carrying. Combat becomes more skillful, maybe with tough to time Perfect Parries/Counters removing far less durability than sloppy play. Sloppy play is still available and useful, but not nearly as much. A player can get by with it, but a skilled one will never have to. Proper timing of combos and strikes lowers durability less than careless mashing, bringing feelings of tempo from early AC.

With these two things, Ubisoft could rebuild much of the game. Consistent Loot makes learning enemy types a new layer of mastery. With it, each enemy type can be made truly unique, and their placements make for Stealth or Combat challenges that different players will have totally different solutions to. Durability gives fighting and assassination alike tension that the games formerly lacked. Some enemies are unworthy of killing, and the Non-Lethal Takedown takes longer than a stab. Stealth players can feel themselves legitimately improving at the game, because they start to learn which targets to prioritize and how best to plan/execute approaches. Combat Players are met with a kind of challenge they’ve never had, infusing the combat system with depth. Fighting certain enemies is more dangerous and costly than fighting others. Players who seek to master both systems come to realize that the Parkour (even IF otherwise unchanged!) begins to have more usefulness than it did before. With parkour, durability and consistent Loot, an Assassin can not only select which targets they’ll spend Blade Durability on, but also how to reach them. Each building, each block, becomes a genuine arena of possibilities, with each action carrying consequences rather than the ability to climb feeling like a cheap “get out of jail free card.” Even if the Assassin escapes using parkour, they will have expended resources in the encounter, and sometimes getting out with your life could be exhilarating, as your blade is close to breaking and your health is low while you catch a breather on a rooftop.