@Christophisis: That thing about few inventory enhancements actually isn't true. Instead of applying an enhancement to an item right away (using the "Apply Now" button), you can purchase it to save for later (using the "Buy and Hold" button), meaning that all enhancements can be in your inventory.
Well, credit where credit is due, so I will start with what I feel AQW has done extremely well, and how to preserve the important aspects of those things, while still improving upon them. What in my opinion makes AQW such a great game, is the insane amount of freedom the game provides, particularly for role players (which is much appreciated for an MMORPG, considering the role playing is half the genre). This freedom however, is granted due to limited functionality. While from the freedom sense it is good to not be chained down by how the game wants you to play, it also limits the strategic variety for those who look more for that than role playing.
This, right here, has up until now been how we have improved our gear, and been a way to ensure that no item ever becomes useless, due to level difference between it and yourself. It is not a bad way of going about it, as it gives the player full control over exactly how powerful they want each of their items to be, which for the sake of role playing, is a brilliant option to have. For instance, say I had a curse put on me in one of my roleplaying adventures, which is supposed to weaken me: I simply put on lower level enhancements, and boom, I instantly see the effect. Say that I have just gotten an item I've been questing for, but unfortunately it is level 1: I just enhance it!
The problems with this approach however, can pretty much be described in the two following manners:
1. All items in the game are pretty much identical. Since you can buff or nerf any item at will, the only things that ultimately seperate them are their damage ranges, graphics and potential trigger effects. If one does not care for these differences however, then they can simply use one set of items for the entire game, and not even bother questing for/or obtaining new items, removing a lot of the game's incentives to explore.
2. Every time you level up, you have to go through all of your gear and re-enhance it, in order to make sure it is up to date. This is a very tiresome task, both early on where you level up much more frequently, and at end game, where you probably have an insane amount of items in your collection.
Suggestion for improvement
So how can we best address these issues, while still holding on to the dynamic aspects of being able to control the stats your items provides? AQ3D is working on that very same thing right now, and DF has it already: Cosmetic equip slots, otherwise known as being able to show one item over another, to get the stats of one and the appearance of another. If we moved to a system like this, all items in the game would have value, both from a roleplaying and stat perspective, but the problem of having to update all your gear with each level would be gone. This would serve as a way to encourage people to get new and better items, even if they still want to keep the appearance of an old one, but does introduce a new problem: More limited inventory. If you effectively need to keep extra items for stats, in addition to the ones you keep for appearance, then it could quickly take a toll on your inventory.
So even the cosmetic equip slots aren't ideal, but it could be something worth considering for the future, or it might even inspire an actually ideal solution down the road.
No element-locked monsters and items
This is perhaps one of the biggest strengths and greatest weaknesses of AQW, in that all your weapons will always be at their maximum damage potential against any enemy (unless they have a boost against a certain kind), and likewise, the enemy will always inflict their max damage on you. This serves as an incredible safety measure, in that you do not need to worry about switching equipment for nearly every fight you engage in, and you can always trust that your equipment is doing the best job possible. In terms of roleplaying, this is an absolutely amazing feature, as it doesn't restrict you from playing certain roles against certain enemies, and even enables you to play a more powerful character than you necessarily have.
For instance, imagine that your character is supposed to be someone incredibly powerful, like say, a champion chosen to represent the sun itself. Alright, using a fire-based class like Pyromancer would be a good choice here, to showcase your impressive control over the element. Since you are the champion of the sun, you should now be able to burn pretty much any living being to the ground, right? Well, you can! Even a creature made of fire, shouldn't be able to stand against the might of the sun, and they can't. Using your "fire-based" magic, you slice through Fire Elementals as well as any other enemy, showcasing your control and power of this element to all beholders.
With all that being said though, not having to take elements of monsters and gear into account, removes a significant amount of strategy from the game, which is often found in RPGs. So while not having "elements" is good for roleplaying, it also serves to remove appeal from the game, for those who are looking for challenging and every stimulating fights. If elemental resistances and damages were forced into the game, that would prevent you from playing out scenarios like the one described above, but would cater to those who prefer a more strategic experience. But could we possibly have both?
Suggestion for improvement
My solution here would be, that all items be given a "default element". For instance, Blinding Light of Destiny would be Light. Similarly, all monsters should be given an element was well, with Skeletons for instance, being Dark (unless a factor in it's design and use warrants another element instead). This alone would only serve to make those looking for strategy happy however, so allow me to introduce the final step: A new kind of enhancement, that can be applied to any item, which overwrites it's default element with "None".
Any item with the element "None" would just treat damage as neutral. For instance, a weapon doing 10-10 with the None element, would always do 10-10, where as a Light weapon doing 10-10 would do more damage to Dark enemies, but less damage to Light enemies. The same concept would be applies to other equipable items, which would either increase or decrease the damage you take from it's opposing element, or simply take the pure damage from everything if the element of your item is None.
This works fine for most cases, but what about class skills that are clearly a specific element, like Pyromancer's? Good question! I propose that these specific skills, if your weapon is NOT enhanced to do None damage, will always use the element they seem to fit the most. For instance, Warrior's skills would all just use your weapon's element, as they don't seem to have any element of their own, but Pyromancer would always be treated as Fire, regardless of your weapon's default element. If you weapon is None element however, the that will overwrite the default element of the given skill, and treat the damage dealt as None.
Many people have over the course of the years, claimed that AQW is a "dress-up game", which to me just translates to they don't roleplay. Since they don't roleplay, they are looking for something different in the game, which it currently doesn't offer. To forcefully make it offer those things however, could well drive away the role players however, which is not an optimal solution either. It is because of this that I have made the suggestions above, to both keep the spirit of what is currently there, for those who appreciates it, and to allow new strategic elements to be introduced into the game, without them being forced onto those who do not want them.
One of the things that makes AQW great, is that the staff is always willing to compromise, and try to satisfy everyone as much as possible. I believe making these much requested changes relatively optional, like I did with my element suggestion above, is the best way to satisfy everyone that is currently playing and those who will come to play in the future.
< Message edited by Ninjaty -- 12/30/2016 7:18:17 >