I think it would both improve the gameplay and also make the game more RP-friendly at the same time if there were some system for capturing essences, rather than simply picking them up in loot drops. I'd suggest something like the "soul gem" system in The Elder Scrolls, not just because it was used in that game, but because soul gems or soul prisms also have a history in Ultima games, and borrowing from those games, they would potentially also have a range of uses; for example, in creating automatons. From the Ultima wiki, Soul Prisms are first encountered in Serpent Isle. The process to create them is thus: First, a worm gem is crafted using 3 worm hearts. Ducio can do this, and says it’s simple once you know how, but doesn’t elaborate. After the gem is created, you must cast "Create Soul Prism", which turns the worm gem into an empty soul prism. A soul prism that captures the soul of a once-living warrior is called a living gem, which is what grants an automaton 'true life'. Soul prisms will not be able to hold a powerful spirit for long unless they are treated appropriately. For instance, in the case of the Banes of Chaos the Avatar must treat each prism with water from the Shrines of Order to be effective (Batlin skipped this part). * * * * * Wiki page here, and similar page here on Ultima Codex. Soul gems also showed up in UO in some form, as seen here. There are also similar uses of the concept in Ultima. The Blackrock Sword used an "ether gem" to hold a daemon, The Ether Gem is a gem capable of trapping spirits, such as Daemons. This is why it is so valuable, especially to mages. Erethian originally possessed the gem, but Dracothraxus stole it from him (Erethian was thinking about getting it back, but nothing came from it). In Ultima VII, the Avatar was told about the Ether Gem by Arcadion, who thought that it could free him from his mirror. Erethian however knew, that it would only transfer him to a more mobile prison. The Avatar retrieved it from Dracothraxus after defeating her for the first time, and used it to bind Arcadion to the gem, fusing it into the hilt of The Black Sword. It stayed in the hilt of the sword, but was damaged when Arcadion left it in Ultima VII Part Two. Repairing it with the Flux Analyzer, the Avatar used it to trap the Banes of Chaos. * * * * * Wiki page here. Page on Ultima Codex here. The daemon Exodus also had a psyche once attached to an object called the Dark Core. The Dark Core is essentially the hard disk for the machine portion of Exodus. Every piece of information Exodus collected was stored in this core. ... The Dark Core wasn't seen again until Ultima VII when the Isle of Fire resurfaced. Erethian was studying it to gain its power, but the core was trying to re-attach itself to Exodus' psyche, which had been bound to a gargoyle shrine. * * * * * As suggested before, SotA could potentially have skill trees for creating and hacking into automatons like shock monkeys. Here is the thread on that. Tinkering/artificing skill trees. As described, tinkering would be an adventuring skill tree mimicking the "rigger" class in Shadowrun. You would be able to hack into automatons, turn them into pets, repair them, and deploy them. There would be other skills in the tree, like setting and disarming traps, and dealing with locks, etc. On the other hand, artificing would be a crafting tree, that lined up with the same kind of skill set; creating automatons, traps, and locks. At any rate, as mentioned above, in Serpent Isle, a soul prism was used to give an automaton life, and it could be used the same way in SotA. It was a way to link magic and technology, and the same device would fit SotA perfectly. But it would also be a more RP-friendly solution to getting essences for dungeons, since getting a bunch of "elf essences" off of an elf is kind of weird, you know? Getting "bandit essences" off of bandits would be even weirder, and I think underlines the problem. How do you even explain what "essences" are to new players once they've gathered a bunch in their inventory? If I'm a new player and I get some stuff called "elf essence" off of an elf, I have no clue as to what's going on. Things that aren't RP-friendly aren't new player friendly either. Besides the immersion aspects, I think there are several other ways it would improve gameplay, too. It would also allow players to manage their inventory better according to their gameplay choices. A lot of people are tired of getting stuff they don't need piled up in their inventory. So, someone who doesn't want elf essences would just not pack soul gems. Someone who does, would. It would also give another component for alchemists to craft and provide another layer to the player economy. Either the soul gems would have to be "used" to capture the essences (maybe by themselves, or with a scroll), or they could made to automatically pick them up; or whatever system the devs decide is best for the game. * * * * * A similar mechanic for patterns, Salvage for Pattern, suggested in response to threads about item pile-up here and here. You would have two recipes; Salvage and Salvage for Pattern. Salvage for Pattern might require some tool like a pantograph, caliper, or protractor angle finder (already in the game), to commit the design to paper, since patterns in game resemble technical drawings. Items with Eternal Patterns would always use the Salvage for Pattern recipe, so people don't accidentally trash it. But a specific option to salvage for a pattern would both prevent pile-up of patterns for people who don't want them, and also make patterns something that would be more RP-friendly. Rather than a pattern simply dropping out of a salvaged object, a player would now have to retrieve it.