Weapon degradation in games


New member
May 10, 2012

As an archer in most mmorpgs, it's kinda the thing that kills us. I mean we're already having to run back to town every few minutes to buy more arrows unless we payed for a few extra inventory slots(which also bugs me). Now our bow is freaking decaying. That means that I have to:
1: Keep up with bow decay.
2: Keep up with arrow supply
3: Keep distance due to decaying armor that never blocked much to begin with.
4: Buy special arrows since regular ones don't do enough damage to grind efficently.
5: Make sure that the mobs I'm killing give more gold than it's costing to kill them.
6: Save up extra cash so that when I pvp, I'm not making too big of a gold gamble
7: Save up even more money to next level equips
8: Worry about the thieves more
9: Partake in being a part time merchant to make ends meet

and finally,

10: Have to find one team that is nice enough to let me join even though I'm a relatively 'weak' class and can only play the support roll in the 'big' fights.

Not to mention the game bugging me for real cash.

Might as well be throwing my wallet at them. No wonder why archers are relatively rare.


New member
Mar 23, 2009
Depends on how its used, as seems to be the consensus.

I'd bring up Soulbringer as a game where it's used well. Weapons and armor degrade at a rate that's determined by what they're used against, so swinging a scimitar against someone wearing plate armor will break it faster than against an unarmored, fleshy thing (you'd want to use a piercing weapon, instead...which would in turn do poorly against a skeleton or rock monster, where a mace would in turn shine). Armor is similar, though it tends to degrade more based on its own weight and heft than what attacks you absorb. And in both cases, performance is tied to how good of condition the item is in (in five stages from "perfect" to "ruined"). The encouragement is towards carrying more than one weapon for different situations, a touch of realism that actually works.

Granted, half that equation breaks apart once you find the indestructible plot sword in the middle of the game, but it's compensated by being only an average weapon otherwise until endgame.

As for where it's used poorly...I'd say Minecraft, but I get the feeling I'm in the minority. I far prefer Terraria's handling of it.

SonicWaffle said:
"Hmm, this shotgun has certainly seen better days. I'll try taping some bits from this other shotgun onto it, that'll fix it!"
It's even better with Jury-Rigging, the greatest perk ever.

"Hmm, my anti-materiel rifle is starting to jam more frequently. I know! I'll glue pieces of this BB gun to fix it! And I'll repair my metal helmet with parts of this baseball cap and sunglasses! I AM A MAD GENIUS I TELL YOU!"


New member
Apr 9, 2009
endtherapture said:
So...weapon degradation, are you in favour of it or against it?

In WRPGs specifically, what are your thoughts on it? Project Eternity last week revealed it would have weapon degradation, but have since removed it due to an outcry of sort from Kickstarter backers on the forum.

Personally I think it is important and immersive in some games, such as apocalypse games like Fallout.

However I definitely don't want it in my WRPGS. It's annoying when your god crafted sword of slaying +50 breaks and has to be repaired. It's downright unimmersive in TES games where Deadric artefacts dull as quickly as a regular iron sword bought off the blacksmith down the street.
Well, the problem with it in a game like Fallout is that it does work pretty well in the begining, but in the end game does become pointless since you have such a high repair skill you basically will never need to repair your weapons, and if you do you need like one gun and thats it.

Really it all a matter of execution. I do not believe weapons degradation needs to be the center of the game, but it needs some forethought put into it. In a game like Fallout, you need X level of repair skill/intelegance before you can actually attempt to repair that laser rifle.

Course, you also have games like Far Cry 2, where all your weapons degraded, forcing you to either pick up and enmies gun or head to the gun shop and pick another one up (I felt this was not well pyut together, but still did work somewhat... save for the AK-47 and USAS, the former would fire just fine while it was turning to dust in your hands, and thre later which would rust in a single magazine.)

In short, there needs to be some thought put into it.


New member
Dec 2, 2009
I like how it was done in far cry 2.
Were as the weapon got more and more worn out it would jam/misfire more often and you would have to wait a while, while it got unjammed. the longer you used that weapon without replacing it it would break and you tossed it away. that in a survival horror film would be awesome adds a whole new set of tension. Would also be sweet if they had panic reloading were it took you longer.

I like it in fallout games not so much in skyrim as it got old very fast.


New member
Oct 25, 2010
im against the improper use of any gameplay element, and for the proper use of any gameplay element. the fallout series probably does it best: survival and scavenging is central to the game, and most gear you find or that is used by enemies is in poor condition. weapons in mediocre condition arent worthless, theyre as they should be: standard. fully repaired items are an advantage, and repairing items is a dedicated skill, making item upkeep a viable tactical decision rather than a requisite money sink. or even a game like condemned, which focuses on the use of improvised weaponry; the tension and scare factor of that game would be greatly reduced if you could just use that flaming nailboard for the whole level.

MMOs tend to implement it poorly, as literally nothing more than a money sink. skyrim could've used a system similar to fallout's, it couldve made smithing a little less overpowered.

Proto Taco

New member
Apr 30, 2013
I don't mind weapon degradation as long as it only impacts immersion. Minecraft sort of gets away with it because it's built around it, but even then the repair system they have implemented is more than a bit unreasonable.

Monster Hunter 3, on the other hand, handles it rather well I feel. A matter of fact I feel MH3 has one of the best character maintenance systems I've ever played with. Back on topic though; your weapon gets dull, you sharpen it. It's not costly, it's unobtrusive and even though it's quick and easy to do your DPS is punished for not doing it.

That, in my opinion, is the best kind of immersion; disciplinary but not punishing.

Troublesome Lagomorph

The Deadliest Bunny
May 26, 2009
I like the concept, but it generally isn't implemented well. For example, it was a really bad mechanic in FarCry2 that had so much potential. Had they made the weapons degrade at a better rate and have dropped weapons in decent condition (in addition to making it harder to get brand new ones) it could have been a really cool mechanic.


Elite Member
May 31, 2012
Omega500 said:
I like how it was done in far cry 2.
Were as the weapon got more and more worn out it would jam/misfire more often and you would have to wait a while, while it got unjammed. the longer you used that weapon without replacing it it would break and you tossed it away. that in a survival horror film would be awesome adds a whole new set of tension. Would also be sweet if they had panic reloading were it took you longer.

I like it in fallout games not so much in skyrim as it got old very fast.
But the weapon degradation in Far Cry 2 was absolutely awful. You play as one of several hardened mercenaries who have absolutely no idea how to do even basic maintenance on their guns, not to mention that the guns themselves are apparently made out of tissue paper and tinfoil. I've seen pictures of type II AK-47s (manufactured 1949-1954) that have been kicking around various warzones for decades that look better than an AK after an in-game week of use in FC2.


New member
Dec 4, 2012
This reminded me of Diablo 1, the first time I encountered this type of thing. I didn't mind it then, and still don't. But there were one thing about it that I found interesting. The warrior class had a skill that could repair items anywhere, but the total durability was cut in half whenever you did it. Makes sense really, that in a pinch you can slap something toghether, but won't be as good as your local blacksmith.

As people say, it's all about how it's done. I like it for the most part, but would like to see it be more important, and not a pointless goldsink.


New member
Sep 1, 2007
Fallout 3 has it half right, you start off with a weapon at 30% max HP, say max HP is 4000 have a 50% chance to damage your weapon with every attack(IE you have 1500-2400 attacks at 30% max HP of a weapon before hitting), at 50% max its a 30% chance to damage it with each attack at 100% its a 15% chance to damage it with each attack. Critical hits never damage your weapon. Also at 100% your weapon dose 125% damage and has roughly 12000 attacks at 25% it dose 50% damage.

Also a weapon should never break rather it falls to 25% where it dose 50% damage and has a 30% chance of hitting and doing little to no damage or if a range weapon it misfires.

ggaahhh the numbers are jumbled up in my head but you get the idea....

I also believe in 3 to 6 tier levels for HP maxs, IE copper=4000,silver-10000, gold = 25000. Fallout 3 lack tiers for weapons and random stat rolls for drops which annoyed me to no end.


AccursedT- see you space cowboy
Jun 6, 2013
Well, I despised having a rare or unique weapon in New Vegas, only for it to break and cost 5000+ bottlecaps to fix. That was unforgivable. Fallout 3 handled it better. I loved it in TLoU because it made every encounter tense, and forced mo to think of every fight as a puzzle. "Alright, I can use my machete twice to kill two clickers, but there are still eight runners, and I only have two bullets left..."

Username Redacted

New member
Dec 29, 2010
endtherapture said:
So...weapon degradation, are you in favour of it or against it?
I'll go ahead and finish that sentence for you:

Weapon degradation in games can (usually) fuck right off.

If there's a system where the weapons become less effective over time and can be repaired than I'm mostly OK with that (see also: Fallout 3 and FNV). If the weapons degrade over time but if not sufficiently maintained can break completely that just makes the game a worse experience without IMO adding anything of value. I'm thinking of specifically Dark Cloud 1 where I very nearly ended up with an unwinnable situation as my characters primary weapon broke during the final dungeon because I got mobbed and didn't have an opportunity to repair it prior to it breaking. I was scrambling like mad to see if
I had an earlier save file. Very obnoxious to deal with that.


Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
I'm not sure I liked it in Fallout, really, and the only other game I ever had it in was Dark Cloud. Now, these are make-sense gimmicks in the games that work, but I could just as easily do without 'em. For instance, the next Fallout should have weapon quality maybe, with a degree of backfire or misfire dependent on how good it is, but it shouldn't turn to shit in your hands unless damaged by force, and you should still be able to effect repairs.


Ate My Neighbors
Oct 10, 2007
Depends on the game. Weapon degradation is a core part of Dead Rising and I don't think the game is poorer for it. It's part of the challenge.

It worked fine in Fallout 3 too. And it kind of made sense in that game so I wasn't opposed.

It's all relative to the situation and game at hand. I wouldn't want it to be the norm though. I don't want my Halo assault rifle to need patching up after every firefight.


Senior Member
Aug 7, 2011
I enjoyed it in Fallout 3 and NV. If you play as a scavenger, you go through old buildings or camps to find the parts to repair your weapons. Some mods added weapon jamming that occured more often. Granted it's not "OH BOY MY WEAPON JAMMED!", but it adds another layer of tension and variety in the fights. Granted there are wrong ways to do it. Just having it as a money drop every time you go into a town gets a bit old. Permanent weapon breaks, such as in minecraft don't sit too well with me and the repair cost is a bit high early on.


New member
Dec 17, 2012
RandV80 said:
I think it can work but you have to put some thought into it. What are you trying to achieve with it, gameplay? realism? If it's realism, daily maintenance is probably a bigger factor than repair. In literary fiction and real history as well any good adventure/soldier should take time around the camp fire to oil & sharpen their sword. So the Oblivion method of carrying around dozens of smith hammers to occasionally stop and tinker at your weapon is nonsense.

So for realism it should be some combination of daily maintenance keeping your weapons in top shape, this can simply be part of camping and various skill sets and points can increase the effectiveness. If the weapon breaks, you take it to town for a smith to repair.

Now how does fantasy set in? Taking one fictional literary setting for example, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series (and my user name is merely a coincidence), the 'magic' swords are unique because they don't break and never get dull. Wouldn't that be an optimal way of making your games magic weapons unique? If you're in a medieval setting and magic is real, the first thing a crazy wizard would do is make a sword that's freakin on fire! Then practicality should set in and you start making swords that keep their sharpness and don't break. And to me an enchantment seems like something that's best degraded by time, not use. So if you're adventurer is raiding some old tomb and pries a big ass sword from an old corpse in a coffin, then maybe you need to bring it to and pay an enchanter for a one time restore but after that it's good for the life span of the hero.

But all that is a whole lot of work and planning to put into a game. So if the only feasible choice is a crumby oblivion style thing or nothing for a game like Project Eternity then the latter option is probably best. Though I still think it shouldn't be too hard having mundane weapons that break and unique magic weapons that don't, since the game is called Project Eternity and all.
I like your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Non-enchanted weapon upkeep should probably require you to have some equipment that would be used for it. A whetstone, weapon oil, scabbard and... rag? Every night you'll use a bit of oil so I guess you could run out.

The mechanics surrounding proper weapon degradation requires a total overhaul of most games. It's not just weapons, it's also armour. Dents, rust, leather cracking... I want to see a game that when a poorly equipped enemy hits you in the chest you take ZERO damage, your steel breastplate absorbs the whole thing but the internal durability has taken a small immeasurable decrease to that region of your armour. Maybe your character staggers for a bit, loses some "endurance" but otherwise you're good. It'd open up to all sorts of situations - weapons that flat out penetrate armour, weapons that do a lot of damage to armour or maybe a weapon that does a bit of both.

Balance issues? Make the stuff as expensive as it always was. A full set of plate armour is supposed to cost more than 10 peasants could earn in their lifetime.

I feel games are missing some interesting concepts or considerations when engaging in combat in medieval settings.


Sometimes known as CaitieLou
May 27, 2009
endtherapture said:
I don't mind weapon degredation IF gathering and using resources and scarcity is already a significant part of gameplay. I don't think I've ever heard anybody complain about weapon degradation in Minecraft because that's what Minecraft is all about--gathering materials, building things, and fighting scarcity. The system has to be intuitive and satisfying to use, not just a hurdle the player has to keep jumping over for no reason. Though I'm mostly speaking in theoretical terms, as apart from Minecraft I haven't really played any other games with weapons that degrade, at least as far as I can recall.