Rewards for one’s achievements are something that most people can attest to liking. I mean, who can say no to being rewarded adequately for their achievements? Likewise, video-games are no strangers to rewarding players for their in-game accomplishments. Players often like being rewarded with new powers, abilities, or customization options. Games in the RPG genre are all about rewarding their players, giving them unique gear or items.
After all, most RPGs focus on the power fantasy of your character constantly getting stronger. That being said, there’s a problem I’ve got when it comes to RPGs and their rewards. The problem is that too many RPGs don’t really know how to reward its players properly. I’ve played a lot of RPGs, so I consider myself a big expert on the mechanics that go into them.
So, let’s start with the first problem with RPG rewards: Giving too much for too little. Sometimes, a game will give you large rewards for the tiniest of tasks. I think a big example of this was Destiny 2, a game I recently played and reviewed. The problem with the game was that the final level was a complete joke. The enemies were easy enough to dispatch, and the final boss wasn’t difficult at all.
I took out the final boss in a matter of minutes, and I felt like I hadn’t really earned my victory at all. However, the game thought I did! Upon beating the game, I was gifted with way too many things at once! These various objects included: The ability to drive personal vehicles, a ton of “Legendary” items, a new hub area, several new quests and missions, some “Bright Engrams”, etc.
The amount of rewards that I got for simply beating the game was staggering! I really felt as though I felt that I hadn’t earned these rewards, since the final boss was so weak and pathetic. There are also games that reward the player very little for their accomplishments. For example, the Risen/Gothic games usually don’t reward their players all that much.
To be fair, the goal of both of those franchises is to make the player feel weak. They have to earn all of their accomplishments through hard work, and sometimes are given really crap rewards for said hard work. A good example of this is a side-quest in Risen 3, one that involves you meeting a minor character from Gothic 1 named “Mud”.
Now, Mud is by far the most annoying character in either game. He’ll follow you around the entire island of Kila in Risen 3, and is near impossible to get rid of. In order to get him off your back, you have to complete a fair amount of tasks first. After completing several missions, you bring Mud to the temple and clear it out. Your reward for this task is no longer having to deal with Mud. Aside from a bit of experience points, there is no other reward for such an annoying quest.
I would’ve preferred at least a few gold coins. Actually, most of the rewards for Risen 3 are gold. The game will never toss you rare weapons, forcing you to craft them instead. You’ll be given quests to find these individual pieces, and then using an anvil to forge said weapon. To be fair, gold is much more valuable in this game than rare weapons.
The worst RPGs when it comes to rewards tend to be MMORPGs. These games will give out items like candy on a consistent basis, often rendering your current gear obsolete in the process. As much as I love Maple Story 2, I always get annoyed by the fact that my gear is so easily replaceable. It’s hard to go a full hour in that game without changing your gear entirely. Sadly, almost all MMOs have this problem.
They feel the need to constantly shower players in new gear, devaluing your previous equipment in the process. With all these things in mind, we need to answer a very important question: How much should an RPG reward its players? Well, I think rewards should be handled this way:
- Rewards should be given out based on the difficulty of the challenge. It’s impossible to gauge how difficult a boss may be for a specific individual. Still, if you’re putting the player through something you deem a tough trial, there should be a reward equal to said challenge. After all, no one wants to fight a super hard boss and only receive a weak sword as a reward!
- Don’t over-reward the player. If you throw too many rewards at the player at once, then they end up with an overstuffed inventory and too many options for load-outs. A player should earn new weapons and gear at a decent pace, since they don’t need to flooded with too many options at all times. It also cheapens the rush of getting new gear, since you’re always getting new stuff that easily replaces it.
- Give us more unique rewards. Most games just give you cash and items for completing side-quests and side-content, which is a bit bland in my opinion. The best games reward you for completing side-missions by giving you bits of interesting lore, secrets areas, and interesting sights. A player doesn’t need to be given shiny loot all the time, it sometimes helps to just give them something unique for their troubles.
Hopefully, more games can adopt a similar reward system. It seems like a lot of games are severely lacking in giving players the right kind of rewards, but I’m sure this will change over time. I love a good reward in a game, but I find that I always get shafted in most games I play. While the list above is just my suggestions, I feel like they could greatly improve the reward systems in future games. That’s just my opinion though, feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comment section!