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Multitude of crafting

First and foremost, I love crafting in MMORPG's.  Granted I have only played two in my entire life, it is something that I like to do.  Creating something is a huge lift in my life, which is one of the reasons I chose the career that I did with Software Development.

Anyway, I have been thinking of quite a bit about the two crafting styles that I have been exposed to.

Star Wars Galaxies or SWG

Yes, I was one of the few, the proud, the pissed, who had a lot of fun playing Star Wars Galaxies.  It had it fun times, it had its bad times, and now its pretty much dying out.  Anyway, this games crafting system was all about hoarding, at least that is what it felt like, you went out onto one of the 9 worlds, gathered resources from the ground via manually sampling (boring), or plopping down a Harvester to do the work around the clock.  This is where the first variables came into play.  You had to find a high enough percentage of that resource to make your time worth while gathering the resource. Next, the second variable. The amount of resources you gathered depended on your skill, or quality/type of harvester you used. Which then had another possible variable. How good the player created harvester's resources where when it was constructed.

Finally, after gathering one of about 200ish different types of resources, you could start putting some things together.  Some items required generic types, like organic or inorganic, some more particular like gemstone or hide, and even further specific would be your Dolomite Iron or Ventrium Crystaline Gemstone.  Generally the more complex the crafted item, the more specific the resources. Now, if that wasn't enough to drive your insane, each resource had quality ratings on it, such as "Overall Quality", "Conductivity", and "Potential Energy".  These stats varied from generally 300-1000.  The higher the number, the better the quality, which should make sense.  Now the real kicker was that every 2-7 days, the resources would "shift" and the resource qualities would change.  So if you found a really good resource, you would gather as much as you could and hoard it for another day.

Ok, so you have all the resources you need, it took you about 2 years to get that perfect set of iron and steel to make a sword, now you got even more technical.  What crafting skill do you have?  Did you get enhanced skill tapes to put into your clothing for higher assembly and experimentation rates?  Did you eat some skill enhancing food to boost up your assembly roll percentages, are you in a research center that even further boosts your assembly bonus, did you get next to a high quality player crafted crafting station, did you check the moon and stars for perfect alignment while jumping on one foot?  If all that is met, and you are lucky, you could get a critical success on your assembly.  Which puts your product generally around 25-50% of what it can be.  Next you get to experiment.  You get a variable amount of points based on your skill level and skill tapes to experiment into the crafted item.  In most cases you got 30 slots to fill with 12 points.  Each one of those points has the potential to get a failure (lose points) up to a critical success (jump points). So how you chose to spend those points and how lucky you where you could get a really nice customized weapon, or a piece of junk.

The complexity even gets further down when you start looking at the fact that 90% of the stuff worth making requires sub-components that require the same steps.

Lord Of The Rings Online or LOTRO

Now, lets jump to the other end of the spectrum can we?

You choose a profession, lets say "Tinker", a tinker is a combination of 3 professions, Jeweler, Cook, and Prospector.  In LOTRO there are 3 gathering professions, the Farmer who can find veggies around the world, the Forester who can find and gather wood, and the Prospector who can find and gather ore.  Generally each profession has at least one of the three, some have 2.

So, you go out into the world, turn on your "locate resource" ability, and while you are running around you get icons on your map indicating the resource you are looking for if it is in range.  You walk up to it with the correct tool equipped in a non-combat slot, and you use it.  After a few seconds of watching a progress bar, you get 1-5 of the item, and sometimes a little extra, like gems, powder, etc...

You take these items back to a city, go to a crafting area, and you refine it into usable items.  Like ore to an ingot, or wood into treated.  You can also loot hides from animals and boil them in the same manner.

When you are ready to craft, you simply go up to the bench, forge, or stove, open up your crafting window, select an item, and click on make.  It shows green if you have the stuff with the amount you can make, and white if you don't have the right stuff, as well as being able to see the amount and type of items you want to make.

You gain skill by making items, as in SWG, but instead of unique items, you get the same item, no matter what.  Once you master a level of crafting, you can add loot items to get a higher chance of "critical success" with an item, which produces a statically higher version of that item, usually giving it a slight bonus to stats and raising the required level one or two.



So, you have the most complex, and the least complex. What I can't wait for is some place in between.  You use your skill to go out and gather resources that the quality is based on the difficulty in acquiring it, you use a static process without guess work to create the items, and you get a random outcome of the result.  For instance, you go to the new player area and you gather some copper, the copper's quality is pretty much crap, but when you go to create that level 5 sword, you get a critical success and end up with a decent weapon.  Now you go to the highest level area, you gather some copper that is flawless, you create that level 5 sword and get a critical success and it is an exceptional weapon that does about 3 more damage per second then the previous one. On the lower end of the spectrum it wouldn't be worth it to make a level 5 weapon with flawless resources, but making a level 50 weapon might have up to a 20 damage per second difference.

Anyway, that is just some of the thoughts I have had floating around in my mind, I love crafting, I hate hoarding thousands of resources, but I also hate cookie cutting the same stuff over and over.  Nothing about that is unique to my wares.

Published Friday, November 9, 2007 5:37 PM by Tom Anderson


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