I'm doing a playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition right now, and I keep running into The Loot Problem. On the one hand, 95% of everything I get is well beneath my level and current capabilities. This is a problem common to lots of RPGs, and even MMOs. From my mom on Facebook, which got me thinking about this:
(Apple doesn't fall far from the tree.)
But I also just finished the DA:I Descent DLC, and apparently a few levels early -- so I have the opposite problem, carting around a bunch of super great weapons and armor I won't be leveled up enough to use for some time to come.
I feel like loot drops mapped more closely to the player's current capabilities are a thing whose time has come -- and especially in a single-player game. It's not *super* hard to programmatically make it so that a boss drop or a level treasure chest always yields something %+5 better than what you came in with. A lot of games do this with the actual monsters already, right? And it would neatly solve a lot of linearity problems RPGS have, where they don't want to tell you which place you have to go next... but if you go there first, man, you're gonna get squished.
So why not make all of it dynamic? And then the player is guaranteed to get the zingy feeling of always progressing in power and capability over the course of the game.
It's a little more complex in an MMO, of course, because you don't want people grinding an easy boss to get ever-better weaponry. But if you lock the loot a boss or an area will drop to the level of the character performing the looting when it first mastered that area, then you can still guarantee the first time will be amazing, while also guaranteeing diminishing returns for the grind.
It's a thought, anyway. And I'd be surprised if it hadn't been tried already. Anybody know an example?