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Reader Comments (14)

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 8:37AM (Unverified) said

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I think risk is essential if we want crafting to become a more important feature of these games. There should certainly be ways of minimising risk, and the varying quality of output makes complete sense. I've never liked the simple nature of the correct ingredients guaranteering the desired output. I think this is an area in which games can go much further.

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 9:14AM (Unverified) said

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I understand having risk but losing the item is just ridiculous. I can see losing mats or schematics, but not actually losing the item being modded. In Tabula Rasa which is some of the worse Crafting I have seen implemented in an MMO, if you fail you lose EVERYTHING... Mats, Patterns, Items. All of it... which makes one think, why waste points on raising skill if I may lose it all. I actually liked the crafting in WOW due to not having to "Worry" when I play a game to have "Fun" in the first place.

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 9:46AM Steven Wong said

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I think the act of crafting should be absolutely straightforward and painless, because you want as many people contributing as possible, thereby strengthening the in-game economy and overall gameplay. Obtaining rare materials is rough enough, so there's no need to add in the insult of suddenly losing it all on roll of the dice. I thought Vanguard had a well thought out crafting system (where things could suddenly go wrong) until I discovered that things still went wrong after I completely mastered the recipe and no longer gained experience from it. If you're still messing up the basics, then you're not a master crafter - breaking the fantasy.

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 9:48AM Skruff said

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When I played the original Everquest, I actually enjoyed that there was a bit of risk in my crafting at earlier levels. If I lost an item due to a failure to craft a certain object, it was usually no big deal to go back out and farm for more.

Where it got frustrating, though, was when I lost a particularly rare item when crafting.... an item that might have taken me a few hours or a few platinum just to find. Once that happened more than a few times, I just kind of got frustrated with crafting.

While I don't necessarily want the hand-holding of WoW crafting, I'd like to see a balance of that and the EQ crafting. Perhaps there would a risk of losing common or slightly hard to find items when crafting, but it would be extremely unlikely that you'd lose a rare item.

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 7:06PM (Unverified) said

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I love crafting in MMOs. But it can also be a pain.
I've played the extreme: WoW with easy craft and instant gratification, Lineage 2 where you could literally hunt for MONTHS (playing hardcore) to gather enough mats for 1 craft and fail it... losing everything.

A system in-between would be nice. Also crafting shouldn't be as easy as being a mindless click on an icon and *poof* you got your item, it should be a well thought-out system which involve player skills in a way. If done right, it could even be a class on its on, and not only add a lot of depth to the world but also a strong player driven economy. For that I think EvE is the closest of what I would expect a craft/trade system to be in a MMO.

You also have the extremist crafting game, A Tale in the Desert, where there is no combat at all and the whole game is about crafting. If you really like crafting in game, then you have to try it. It's an unique concept and the most developped and complex crafting system you can find in any game. It wouldn't work if implemented in a MMO because it's way to complex, but the basics are good and should definately be used by the devs who are looking for a n indepth crafting system for their game.

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 10:19AM (Unverified) said

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I prefer the WoW system. I like having the CHOICE of risk (i.e., should I "waste" materials on a yellow recipe, knowing I might not get a skillup, even though I might be able to sell it?) as opposed to the force of risk. It's hard enough to get motivated to farm some of these mats, but at least knowing if I'm farming for an orange recipe that I'll get a 100% guaranteed reward is a good motivator. To go through all that then get nothing would be annoying. Like I said, at least I can choose to do so if I want on a yellow/green recipe.

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 10:33AM Scopique said

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When I first heard that crating could kill in EQ2, I laughed my ass off.

I think that allowing everyone to craft, and to allow them to only press 2 buttons is minimizing the imact that a tradeskill systems has in a game. Supposedly, crafting is meant to play a large part in the world, where player goods are generally better then store-bought ones. In some cases, player goods run the economy.

When everyone can craft, and everyone can craft easily, then there's no reason for anyone NOT to craft their own stuff. At that point, the finished goods used to drive the market are bascially worthless, as a populated guild can move their good internally, and be basically self sufficient.

I'm for a more robust, limited crafting system where players need to WANT to craft as a portion of their playtime, not as something that people can quickly do, or do just to pass the time.

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 12:04PM (Unverified) said

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I have to say I've always enjoyed the EQ2 style of crafting. Keep in mind that there's a lot more to it than just saying there's risk involved - it's not like you press a button and either succeed or fail based on skill level. When you craft you are constantly choosing from a large number of crafting abilities that affect your craft - emphasizing durability or progress, etc. You can get critical failures, but you always have the chance to use your (RL) skill in crafting to recover from it, and that makes it a much more interesting system than the automatic-success ones.

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 10:48AM (Unverified) said

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Failing crafting and losing mats on the roll of a dice isn't fair to the users. I think most people don't like farming for hours for another chance to roll the dice.

Having a system that actually requires input/skill from the player (like crafting mini-games or something) and costing them mats when they fail is perfectly fair and would be a good way to add risk to the crafting system.

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 10:57AM (Unverified) said

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I'm going to travel sideways on this one and say that crafting needs to be more of an interactive game and less of a UI chore. Crafting in WoW feels the same as say, transferring files on my harddrive sometimes.

The first MMO to make crafting as interactive as combat will probably put these abstract discussions to rest.

That being said, the current state of crafting in MMOs could be simply stated as this. If you want to create a no-risk item of your crafting level, you shouldn't have any penalties, and probably shouldn't even be able to fail. But if you'd like to take a risk and gamble to create something better than your crafting level, sure there can be a tangible loss. It makes taking the risk and succeeding all the more rewarding.

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 1:02PM Oneiromancer said

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First of all, for those who are going to tl;dr the rest of this post, on the combines using rare materials in EQ2, you can't lose the rare item if you fail. You will lose the other components, but the cost of those compared to the rare is very small.

Anyway, the description of crafting in EQ2 above is a bit too high-level for those who aren't familiar with it. Let me go into a little more detail than Anakh did, to set the stage for being injured while crafting.

Every "tick" of the crafting sequence increases your progress and decreases your durability. With recent changes to tradeskilling, you "fail" the combine if at the end of the sequence your durability falls below the highest tier of 4. (For provisioners it is below the third, but it's not worth going into those details.) All tradeskillers get abilities that increase progress, and also ones that increase durability. Therefore the tradeskilling "minigame" is to use your abilities to finish the item quickly (especially if you are on a timed tradeskill quest) and to keep the durability high enough to not fail. This isn't necessarily just button mashing because of the three types of abilities in each group (progress vs. durability), one takes power to use (a certain fraction of your max power), one reduces the other quantity, and the last decreases your success chance.

Every "tick" your progress and durability change. Normally progress goes up by a decent chunk and durability goes down by a small bit. Sometimes you get a "critical success" and both go up by a good amount. Sometimes you get a regular failure and both go down, durability more than normal. Sometimes you get a "critical failure" and both go down by a significant amount...this can really screw you over if you were close to finishing the combine.

Every tick there is also a chance for an "event" to show up. The "event" matches the symbol of one of your abilities, so if you use that ability, it will "counter" the event. This countering is supposed to prevent failure of that tick, you will only get a normal result or a critical success. That is the only benefit of countering an event, except that sometimes there are super-rare events that will give you a buff or substantially increase your progress and durability. Once I even got a rare tradeskill component, but it only has happened to me once in almost 70 tradeskill levels.

If you fail to counter the event, usually nothing happens. However, each event has 3 levels of "severity". If you fail to counter the highest level, you are normally penalized. But this is different for every tradeskill class...or at least different for the crafting station you are at. If you fail at the forge, you will take damage...dropping molten metal on your foot isn't a good thing. If you fail at the desk for making spells, you just lose some power. I've never lost either health or power at the cooking station, so each one is definitely different.

The only way you can die at tradeskilling in EQ2, that I can tell, is if you fail to counter multiple severe events in a row, on a forge or other health-damaging station. I don't know if the damage is a percentage of your max health, but if it isn't then the only way you'd die is probably if you have a very high tradeskill level and a very low adventuring level.

Now that I've typed that all I know it's more than anyone really cares about, but dammit I took the time and I'm not going to erase it now.

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 1:13PM (Unverified) said

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I have no interest in either crafting model, because they're still both merely a game of numbers. Grass + Shroom = Potion...boring. Even if there's a risk of losing the item.

SOO BORING; it's not crafting, it's collecting.

Crafting will be fun for me once it requires actual skill with the anvil, crucible, etc, and from which I can establish a valuable presence in the game. I want to actually string up a skin and scrape the fat from the hide. I want to actually swing a hammer at a hunk of steel and sculpt it in to the blade that I desire. And if I allow my unique alloy to cool too quickly, the metal should go brittle and shatter upon my next strike.

When I bake bread, I want to actually measure out ingredients, mix them according to recipe, and bake at the optimum temperature. And if I mix in too much salt, I should lose the bread and throw it out back to the birds.

And then with that crafting system, there should be very little in-game items. I want the crafting posession to be highly valued by players because they can't get items from any where else. I want to build a reputation for having the best "x" in the land. I want to be able to setup my own shop and distribute to other stores. I want to be able to employ other crafters to work in my shop and expand my network. I want to pay the adventurers for raw materials and establish my own list of "quest" items and the prices that I'm willing to pay for them.

I want skill and reputation points to develop from my efforts.

And I would love to fully architect the above ideal crafting system for anyone that is willing to cut a check. ;)

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 1:34PM monkeybones said

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I hate failing when using expensive items! But I do think that some risk must be involved. Explosions - that just too cool!

I think that your crafting level should go up with use. If you never crafted something and get a new recipe, it should probably fail. As you craft you success rate and bonus rate on the crafted items would increase.

So I believe in usage based crafting levels (or any other skill for that matter).

Posted: Jan 24th 2008 2:54PM (Unverified) said

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I like the idea of creating classes exclusively for tradeskills. If you choose to be a blacksmith for example, then your entire goal with that character is to level up your smithing skills, gain money, and make better and better items. There could even be a store front feature that starts as a small booth with the ability to purchase property and buildings as you gain money.

Under this system crafters can't engage in combat at all. If you need materials that drop from a mob, then you have to commission a combat class to go get it for you. This paves the way for player generated quests to a degree. Instead of an NPC telling you to bring him 12 rat intestines that cease to exist when you turn in the quest, you bring them to a player who actually crafts something out of them.

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