Almost everyone agrees that the item progression and the crafting in the game is bad. It's not hard to see why. Before power level 300 all drops are expendable. After item level 300 only red drops matter.
The only crafting you will do in endgame is maybe crafting 1-2 level 300 weapons, upgrading them and then endlessly re-rolling until you get the stats you want.
The problem is of course that people already got their gear and would (understandably) be livid if you reset it.
But could there be a way to change crafting and item progression without actually changing the existing items? I think it's possible.
I would propose a switch to a system heavily inspired by other similar gear dependent games.
I would propose to change properties into "runes" and traits into "enchantment". These would be identical in stats to what they have now (but could have many more tiers between the current min-max).
This is identical to the current situation. The main change would instead be that runes and enchantments would be separate entities in your inventory that you could add to weapon slots.
As with many other games you can remove a rune/enchantment from a weapon BUT only if you destroy that rune. Or you can salvage a rune/enchantment but only if you destroy the weapon and the other rune/enchantments on it.
Instead of just dropping weapons the loot system would drop runes/enchantments and weapons with varying amount of runes and/or an enchantment already in them.
You should also be able to upgrade your item-level by paying crafting costs but sacrificing a rune/enchantment in the process.
If crafting costs for producing new runes (blue/green rolled into one, call it gromril dust or something), switching runes, upgrading and crafting weapons etc could be balanced I think such a system would greatly improve both item progression and crafting.
First of all drops automatically become a lot more varied. Runes and enchantments are of course shared between characters but weapons are not. If you get a perfect rune it's always worth keeping.
Second, item progression becomes a lot clearer. If you get a new better rune you can destroy your old one and put that in it's place. If your weapon has too little item power but decent stats you can sack a rune and upgrade it.
Third crafting for what you want becomes more predictable but also more expensive. If you want a specific rune you can craft that rune (for a fairly high cost) and once you get the level you want you destroy another rune and slot it in. This keeps you from needing to re-roll both properties and their values and the crafting cost is way easier to balance.
Fourth, reds could act in exactly the same way by allowing any rune to instantly transform into max properties when slotted in, thus requiring the person with the red to only destroy one rune and then craft a new one exactly once.
I would also propose that red illusions could only be applied to either red weapons or weapons where both runes have perfect stats. This would make it so that there it's clear that your "perfect" non red weapon is in fact maxed out.
I'm aware this changes nothing for players with 2000 hours of gametime and all reds. It's not supposed to. In order to change things up for those players you would have to do something else.
I would personally like to see "uniques" (gold) items added. Instead of having better stats these would have "illegal" stats on them, and not necessarily be 300 power level either.
Examples could be "The swiftest bow" (Swiftbow, 5 % movement speed x 2, Swift slaying), "Slayers greataxe" (Power vs monsters 10 % x 2, Hunter).
These should be carefully balanced to not be ideal but could possibly open up some new unique strats. Make them drop on red chance (preferably increase the percentage chance of getting a unique instead of a red by how much red dust you have stored).
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