I like the tiers personally, and like it better now its to 10 levels, think its a good balance. A few thoughts I had reading this.
The first issue I see with having gems/potions/ whatnot on every level (other than having level 1000 gems someday) is inventory clutter. You'd end up with tons of slots of different level gems or potions, making both crafting a pain and force you to spend a bunch of time sorting and dropping junk, rolling over to see whats still useful.
s, that was long, so thanks if you actually read through it all.
You're absolutely right, inventory clutter would quickly become unbearable with my proposal.
I have a new idea: you could keep the current tier system as is, but introduce a new system to combine gems to get stronger ones. You would have to be able to handle non integer levels (lvl 1.3 for instance), but that's not very difficult (except maybe from an UI pov, real numbers are not really user friendly. But it can be done).
I propose the following formula: when upgrading a gem of lvl A with a gem of lvl B, you get a gem of lvl Log(10^A + 10^B), where Log is the decimal logarithm. This can be extend in a natural way if you want to upgrade more than 2 gems: Log(10^A + 10^B + 10^C + ...).
This formula has very nice mathematical properties:
- The upgrade gain depends only on the difference between the levels, not on the levels themselves. For instance, combining two lvl N gems gives a gem of lvl N + ~ 0.3
- The gain is most effective when combining gems of approximately the same level. You quickly get diminishing returns for combining gems too far away. You always get a new gem stronger than the highest level one, but not by much if the other is just a few levels behind.
- You need to combine exactly 10 gems of level N to get one gem of level N+1, so this is far from overpowered.
- Actually, the exact level you get by combining K level N gems is N + Log(K).
- So, if you are foolish enough to want to get a gem of level N+2, you would have to find 100 gems of level N... not very practical...
I think this would provide a smooth progression, and give an incentive to go into caves between tiers. But you can also choose to not use this system, and then you'll get the current one without a single change. User choice FTW !
You would only be able to combine gems, not spells. So you would always have to decide if you use your upgraded gem to make a more powerfull spell, or if you keep it to upgrade it further. Again, a tough choice for the player.
You would always have something to do between tiers, which is a good thing.
This could also be easily combined with zebramax proposition (chance to get a upgraded gem the higher the level approaching next tier).