A component of Floris 2.6's companion management system that I hinted at in the last blog was the newly revamped auto-looting system. The previous work used in Floris, originally by Fisheye and revised by rubik, was a good start, but it left a little to be desired in terms of customization and had a few odd quirks I wanted to get rid of. For Floris regulars you can probably name a few quirks of your own, but I'll throw out a couple of examples anyway:
- Ever change a companion's settings to use a weapon they don't currently have? First fight you tell them to upgrade afterwards they'll ditch their current weapon even if they don't find a replacement. So you may not even notice your companion has elected to bring fists to a sword fight. The original system was built to toss all of a companion's current gear into the "loot pool" then take from the pool whatever was the best item that fit their settings. So if nothing fit, they left with nothing. Since everything else was upgrade or not, weapons were the only place you ran into this.
- I tend to like heraldic gear on my companions simply to give them a more official look, but with the old system you had a simple "upgrade armor" option that fit for every spot. So if I found a nice bit of heraldic armor I had to either tell that companion to stop upgrading all of their armor and do it manually or run the risk of it being replaced and possibly auto-sold at the next town. Shields were in a little better condition simply because each weapon slot could be disabled from upgrading individually. Now so too can armor.
Okay, so what's changed?
Now you'll be able to select upgrade / keep options on every single slot of equipment you own. Even better, you can now select weapon upgrades that understand the difference between a bow, crossbow or shield that can be used on horseback or not. You won't have to deal with a mounted companion upgrading to a bow that can only be used on foot simply because its stats are better. There is even a separate dropdown menu for each weapon slot to select what kind of damage type you want, if you prefer everyone using blunt weapons, or just leave it as "any damage type".
An Improved Rating of Items
Along with the revamp is a redesigning of how the autolooting system looks at the usefulness of an item. Both systems give each item a "rating" to determine how good the autolooting system thinks it is. The old system did this in a direct manner by adding up specific numbers (like +30 armor value = 30 points) and then factoring in a bonus percentage to that rating based on item quality modifiers (lordly, masterwork, etc). This left it sometimes getting confused and taking a masterwork chainmail vest over a battered plate mail item simply because it looked at the quality modifier and not at how much it really helped the item out. The new system took the approach of figuring out a "baseline" value for each type of stat an item can have. For example a shield will be rated on its width, height, durability and resistance to give the rating a more rounded view. Since all of these values do not really work well together each are converted to a % scale of their baseline value. These values are then added together to give us the rating. Since we now know what each item quality modifier gives in terms of bonus those are directly added to their respective stats prior to the baseline conversion making the rating more consistent. It was a design decision to leave these rating numbers visible in the game so you'll see them in ()'s after each item in the "confirmation page" which I will cover next.
Confirmation of Upgrades
Another large change between the two systems is in how these upgrades are executed. The previous system, as described above, tossed everything in and then upgraded what it could without any further input from the player. The new system simply looks at the loot pool to see if any items are worth upgrading and then stores those upgrades in a list. That list is then put up in a "confirmation page" where you can check or uncheck each upgrade as desired. Anything checked will be upgraded when you "accept upgrades" or you can simply "skip to the next" companion in the list. Based on your autoloot settings some upgrades may be automatically unchecked for your convenience such as if your current item is heraldic and the new one isn't, but is much better. It will still be unchecked. Similarly if the new item will break your companion's "dynamic weapon set" then it will be unchecked.
The downside of this confirmation setup is that you will get a page to click through for each companion that wants to upgrade items. This will only show up if that companion finds something worth upgrading to so while it may have a bunch initially after a large battle, generally you'll find only 1-2 at a time as the game progresses. If no one has anything to upgrade then it simply won't do anything when you click "let companions upgrade items" in the menu. This may seem like an inconvenience, but it can't be consolidated and still keep the confirmation setup which the team has decided they prefer more. Because if the first companion in the list wants to upgrade to item A then they lock it down so no one else can grab it and at the same time are not giving up their own item from that slot to be considered by the rest. I think once you see the new system though you'll find this a fairly minor issue. But see for yourself...
And don't forget to comment with your thoughts!