Stay with me on this one…its kinda hard to put into words…..

I was thinking of how rpg’s present rewards and loot and how most games now see you moving from one weapon upgrade to another. For example you start with basic equipment, no stats or magical enchantments and then after a while you might find an upgrade that is +1 to hit or something. Shortly after that you will find a +2, +3, +4 etc. Then you’ll find swords with glowy effects or processes and pretty soon you’re even looting magical weapons that aren’t even worth equipping you just loot them to sell for money. “Magical” or “Special” really stop being such when you start getting them every couple of minutes…they become tools, something to compare the stats to and then discard whichever doesn’t have the bigger numbers.

This seems wrong to me, I feel like our obsession with magical stats has kinda lost what makes weapons have personality or uniqueness. Weapons are now tools to be discarded when an upgrade comes along and the only time you stop discarding them is when there is nothing better to use that is in the game. Do you really care that you have the best sword in the game? does it matter by that point? Do you even notice much of a difference from one weapon upgrade to another? I’m not talking dps or hit chance here I’m talking about that feeling of attachment we have to real life items in comparison.

Think about how many mundane general items we give names to in real life, some people name their cars, planes, boats,  guns, toys etc. Why do we name them? they aren’t any more special than another manufactured version of the same object but still we name them and by naming them they become special to us. Is it memories perhaps? memories of time spent with them, of things you have done to acquire them.

Now let’s get back to game weapons, have you ever considered what a game would be like if there were no magical weapons at all? what if all the weapons were mundane, perhaps you can get a weapon that looks different or some armour that looks different. Is it still special? no because it has no stats right? what about special named weapons, why do they have to be special? why can’t they just be named and thus personal?

There are games that feature named weapons with stats of course, the problem is they are already named they already have a history and they don’t really belong to you. It’s a forced attempt at attachment, maybe they look different to all the other weapons of the same type, they usually have better stats then weapons of the same type and that’s why people think they are cool and unique but really they are not because somebody else somewhere has the same thing on their character. Such weapons never really belong to you, you’re just borrowing them.

I wonder if we played games and we could pick whatever weapon we wanted but none of them had any magical properties would we treat them as merely tools or would we form attachments to them….would we, if the game allowed, possibly even give them names and legends of their own? I think there is value in personality and I think many games these days lose that personality in favour of “new shiny upgrade” carrots.

If there are no weapon upgrades merely different types of weapon and appearance we would likely wield the same weapon for a while….long enough to form an attachment that doesn’t literally revolve around the stats of the weapon. Reminds me of the marine chant from the movie Full metal Jacket “This is my rifle, there are many others like it but this one is mine.” ownership is a valuable thing and through ownership and experiences we form attachment.

Still with me?….sure? So that was my thoughts really, that we are losing the uniqueness of in-game weapons (or equipment in general really) by placing too much emphasis on stats and upgrades. In real life we form attachments to things because we want to and we do that without waiting to get the best of whatever is available we simply grow attached to whatever we have at the time regardless of its quality. Sometimes the most rubbish, useless, old item can have the strongest sentimental value. A lucky shirt, a favourite teddy bear etc. They have seen better days but they are important not because they are different but because they belong to you.