Equipment Expertise vs. BoE/BoP

By Dalmarus

If your THAC0 is a 12, you need to roll a 15 to hit a target with an armor class of -3.

For some people, the above statement makes perfect sense, while others will have no idea what I'm talking about. The current EE (Equipment Expertise) vs. BoE/BoP (Bind on Equip/Bind on Pickup) argument raging over the upcoming equipment change in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes holds some amazing similarities to a battle many of us waged back in the emerging days of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition. Wizards of the Coast had recently acquired the D&D license and with the release of the 3rd edition books, they made a significant change to the way combat was handled in the demise of the THAC0 (To Hit Armor Class Zero) system.

To give a quick bit of background to those unfamiliar with the system, THAC0 was used to determine whether or not your character was able to hit a monster in combat. The lower your THAC0, the more proficient you were in melee combat, while the higher it was, the worse you were. Armor Class was also handled differently back then. In the days of THAC0, the lower your armor class the better, with the idea behind it being a lower number represented the lower chance an adversary had of hitting a well protected or highly skilled opponent. The same system was used from the monster's perspective as well, so a monster with an armor class of 9 was an easy target compared to one with an armor class of 0. Getting a –1 added to your armor class was actually a bonus, and getting a +1 “to hit” bonus would actually lower your THAC0 (yes, that’s a good thing). Sound confusing? To those that grew up using the system, it made perfect sense and the thought that someone may find it hard to grasp or understand was unfathomable.

The system they moved to was called the d20 system. The new system was very straightforward in its design. The higher your armor class, the better. If the number you rolled (after adding any bonuses) was higher than your opponent's armor class, you hit them. Now take a look at this paragraph, and the one above it. Which system do you think would be easier to explain to a new player?

For those players that have been with Vanguard since release (or earlier), they've "grown up" with the current EE system so it makes perfect sense to most of them. Many cry that by removing EE, it lowers the player's ability to create a truly unique character. As the system stands, it is possible to have one very powerful item equipped and fill the rest of your slots with equipment that has low (or no) expertise costs. For the players that understand the system, it gives them an exhaustive range of possible combinations when deciding how to equip their character. For those that do not however, the system can prove to be frustrating, if not suffocating.

Proponents of the level based BoE/BoP system argue that it will alleviate a number of headaches within the game, not the least of which is being able to tell if they can wear a newly found piece of armor or not. By removing the mathematical aspects of determining if a piece of gear is useful, the game may be less intimidating for new players. By making much of the high-end drops within dungeons BoP, they hope to remove the incentive for players to continually farm various dungeons. Although the system may seem simplistic to players that favor the versatility of the EE system, the developers are hoping this move will also alleviate some of the economy problems within the game by forcing equipment to be removed from the world as players level.

So what are your thoughts? Do you think that Sony is attempting to "dumb down" the game as is so often heard, or are they trying to strengthen the game's appeal to a broader audience? Should they even be trying to broaden its appeal or should they accept the number of players they have now and keep the game different from its competitors? The decision has already been made, but I want to hear your thoughts on the matter.

And as for the THAC0 arguments? To this day, you can still hear people toll the virtues of the older system, but when it was all said and done, the change wasn't really as earth shattering as we originally thought.

Safe travels and happy hunting!

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style="font-weight: bold;">VOTE IN OUR POLL!

Equipment Expertise or level based Bind on Equip/Bind on Pickup?

  • There's nothing confusing about the Equipment Expertise system - leave it alone.
  • Bind on Equip/Bind on Pickup is the way to go.
  • The developers should leave things the way they are, but provide a tutorial to explain things better.
  • Either way is fine.
HERE and share your opinion in our forum!

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016