Forums » Crafting

Crafting - Failure to Engage

    • 655 posts
    February 20, 2020 3:34 AM PST

    In every MMORPG I have played, crafting has been a 2nd or 3rd class game element.  Invariably it was viewed by the developers and the community as something which was VERY optional.  The developers often paid more attention to crafting as a mini-game, rather than focus on the outcome of the process.   It seemed to be more of a time sink and perhaps to fill a checkbox for the marketing of the game.

    Most important, the best items for adventurers in all of these games were rare drops from boss mobs or extremely rare spawns.  Very little player-made equipment was of any value as you approached end-game content.  This seems to be the expected norm for any release:  kill / loot / upgrade gear.

    VR talks about community as being the "prime directive" for the design of Pantheon.  It is my opinion that they are missing out on the opportunity to break new ground and truly link the adventuring and crafting communities together in an extricable manner.

    Rather than have dragon loot as best in slot items, have the dragon drop rare components.  Pass these rare items to your guild or community crafters from which they could create the ultimate sword/breastplate/ring/etc.   The recipes for those BIS items would have to be discovered.   Perhaps that BIS level 30 sword requires crafting component drops from 3 different bosses in disparate regions.

    From a lore and story telling perspective, it makes far more sense that we go out and kill a dragon for his scales, fangs, claws or organs than having him drop the same "Lost Sword Of Vanquishing" week after week.   Perhaps he's sitting on a trove of treasure, but rather than BIS items, let there be gold, ore or other materials which can be looted/harvested/salvaged for crafting materials or to be sold back to other community members. 

    I'm not saying Pantheon should be devoid of items as loot, just don't make the BIS gear something that's looted in it's finished/final form.

    Making crafting and crafters integral to the successful progression into new content ties the community together.   Guilds will be recruiting crafters with the same zeal which they seek out tanks and healers.

    This loot model slows down the ravenous consumption of content and encourages people to explore and experience more of Pantheon than simply hacking and slashing their way through yet another dungeon.  The bottlenecks to taking down the toughest of encounters could be your guild's ability to level up your crafters and help them locate key components/recipes.

    What are the implications of this for Pantheon's development efforts and/or release date?   We don't need mini-games or fancy animations.  What we do need are quests, recipes and the commitment from the devs that our efforts are REQUIRED aspects of advancement.   As a small development team, this would seem to pose an opportunity to strengthen community interaction with minimal effort.  This is essentially a philosophy change - unless the plan was just to pay lip service to the crafting community all along.   

    Nor should this be seen in any way as something which penalizes the hard-core adventurers.  You are already going to grind "something" to advance in level and get gear upgrades.  If the game is well designed, going after star metal ore for your new breastplate in The Cauldron of Doom can be just as much fun as killing some unsuspecting boss mob and hoping for a drop.   I believe this overall concept refocuses players on the adventure of getting there, versus the inevitable zeroing in on power leveling to end-game.

     


    This post was edited by Celandor at February 20, 2020 10:16 AM PST
    • 1679 posts
    February 20, 2020 4:37 PM PST

    They have mentioned linking adventuring and crafting at the high end with things like being able to harvest a skin from a raid boss that is used in high end recipes.  We know there is a special forge in Halnir cave that you have to acclimate yourself to scorching to go near it.

    I still expect crafting/harvesting to be 2nd class systems compared to adventuring.  They are looking at it from the perspective of it being optional.

    • 1225 posts
    February 21, 2020 5:26 AM PST

    @Celandor

    Neph, Barin and I have talked about this topic a lot both here and on Pantheoncrafters.  The life cycle management of items and itemization plays a huge role in game design.  How crafting then fits into that life cycle directly sets how important and integral crafting is to the game.

    Different life cycles:

    Drop only – No Decay:  Players kill mobs to find upgrade.  Duplicates and hand me downs stay in game driving demand and value down due to near infinite supply.  Only BIS items (level dependent) retain value over time.

    Drop only – Sacrifice:  Basically the same as above but if properly motivated to sacrifice unneeded items then the supply will go down and non BIS items will retain some value.  The sacrifice reward needs to be about the same in game value as an appropriate leveled character can afford to pay for it without outside funds which itself becomes part of the cash/item life cycle.

    Drop only – Decay:  This basically makes all items temporary.  Can become very problematic for rare items as replacing them may be impossible before the original version breaks.  Games like this would need to have a higher abundance of items of a more generic design so that replacement is easier.  Also tends to cause a lot of inventory bloat as you need to keep spares.

    Drop and Craft – No Decay: Basically the same as Drop only but you also have an influx of items from crafting further bloating supply.  The only valuable Crafted items are the ones that can be considered BIS

    Drop and Craft – Sacrifice:  Crafting becomes both a direction to sacrifice too and a way to value target specific sacrifice goals.  This really just adds more options to how to sacrifice adventuring rewards to improve your character.  Crafting becomes another source for quality items but is not required unless there are areas where Crafted BIS items are far superior to Dropped BIS items.

    Drop and Craft – Decay:  Adding Crafted items into the Drop Only life cycle smooths out the regearing  process as generic raw materials can be used to make specific items on demand so finding a specific drop becomes less important. (Dark Age of Camelot had roughly this system).

    Crafting Dominated with drops – No Decay:  This really just makes most non raw material drops worthless as crafted items are always better.  This system really doesn’t work on its own and the item bloat is stupid.

    Crafting Dominated with Drops – Sacrifice:  Dropped items effectively become a raw material source or a temporary upgrade if your current item happens to be far behind what you should have.  All BIS items pass through a crafters hands at some point.  This requires a very high level of Adventurer/Crafter interaction.

    Crafting Dominated – Decay:  This really just forces a constant cycle of crafted items that move from raw materials to new item to used item to salvaged item.  Crafting becomes a part of daily life for all players.  Starwars Galaxies had this before the special tickets were made that stopped item decay.  It is interesting but is better for an open world procedurally generated simulation game than a hand-crafted theme park game.

     

    For Pantheon I would pick a general “Craft and Drop – Decay” model.  Items that are soulbound would not decay but also can no longer be traded or salvaged for magical components.  Epics and Artifacts would innately be soul bound and some cost could be paid to have high quality items soul bound.  The life cycle then becomes 1) Craft or loot and item 2) Choose if you want to soul bind an item 3) Use it until decay drops the effectiveness too far 4) Salvage for magical materials for crafted items or sacrifice for some reward.

    This would force items out of the game economy over time but still reward players for using an item for a long period of time (salvaging a fully decayed item will yield a higher chance for upgrade quality magical materials).  Truly irreplaceable items can be protected but they effectively leave the game economy by becoming soul bound.  Crafting plays a heavy role in staying fully geared and upgrading your current gear but isn’t the only way to.  Each drop represents a minimum game value that is not dependent on a vendor cash value which would contribute to server cash inflation.

    The deliberate game cycle could be to get used equipment and wear it till it decays.  Have said items harvested to make better crafted items.  Either switch to a different item or use the new crafted item if the harvest and crafting were both successful.  Each tier can basically be upgraded by using an item of the previous tier to full decay, successfully harvest the magical component (chance of failure), gather generic materials of the next tier then successfully craft a new item (chance of failure) of the upgraded tier.  At some point you may choose to soul bound a set of gear so that you always have a minimum quality set of gear available that you are not deliberately trying to use.

    In some ways this represents items gaining experience through use and items with high experience salvaging for higher quality rewards.  Item upgrades come through play rather than just luck of the spawn/drop.

    • 655 posts
    February 21, 2020 8:37 AM PST

    Trasak said:

     

    Crafting Dominated with drops – No Decay:  This really just makes most non raw material drops worthless as crafted items are always better.  This system really doesn’t work on its own and the item bloat is stupid.

    Crafting Dominated with Drops – Sacrifice:  Dropped items effectively become a raw material source or a temporary upgrade if your current item happens to be far behind what you should have.  All BIS items pass through a crafters hands at some point.  This requires a very high level of Adventurer/Crafter interaction.

    In the first model, we really just have the inverse of what was in classic EQ where crafted items were worthless as drops were always better.  Bloat wouldn't be any different than EQ since you could essentially swap the item drop one-for-one with the material drop.   All BIS items also pass through crafters hands, making this a system with very high adventurer/crafter interaction.  Lesser items will still drop and be upgrades as you point out in the second scenario.   The only real difference is whether items decay, which is something I don't think the devs have indicated for Pantheon as of yet.

    I'm aware of the significance of itemization, but decisions on itemization/decay and the larger impact on the economy can be made independent of a decision whether to make crafting a first-class game element.

    What I hope to see is a world where crafters are integral to the game, as they were historically and in fantasy literature.  Else, Pantheon just becomes yet another MMORPG with distractions.   Crafters are more concerned with how much fun it is to craft, rather than whether their products are significant.  Add crafting to the list of in-game distractions along with Gems and player housing.

     

     


    This post was edited by Celandor at February 21, 2020 8:38 AM PST
    • 1225 posts
    February 21, 2020 10:21 AM PST

    I see what you are going for.  If instead of Grenix Mucktail dropping a Polished Granite Tomahawk he would instead drop a Berserker strength rune that a craft attaches to a 1 handed heavy weapon.  The raw materials can come from nodes or non-magical item salvages but what makes a PGT valuable is the rune.  If you control the rune it’s the same as controlling the drop.

    I personally like the idea of the granite hand axe look being harder to make than a standard metal so the PGT in its dropped form could have a viable unique look but over time the base item will become too weak.  Rather than just vendoring the PGT you salvage it for the rune and put it on a higher tier base item.

    Conversely I like the idea of studying many granite items to figure out how to craft items with stone materials rather than metal and getting an appropriate appearance change and material type bonuses.  You don’t need to salvage named items to learn the raw material manipulation.

    The first example would be without sacrifice and the last two would be with sacrifice though possibly would be equal balance between drop and crafted for power.  Where crafting gains the advantage is getting to pick the base item the magical effects are tied too rather than being limited to the as dropped pairings.

     

    I feel though the only way to make crafting a first-class game element is to tie it directly into adventurer character progression.  Unless it is part of the primary system it is by definition a secondary system and as such likely to get cut/short changed.  Due to crafting being about making items it makes sense for it to be a cog in the itemization machine and therefor at least needs a representative place holder in the initial itemization game design.

    It could actually be that crafting is not included with launch and players are just restricted to dropped items at first while the actual crafting minigames are created (as a way to not have crafting delay launch).  Once the structure is implemented then all those dropped items suddenly become materials for the crafting system and may or may not coincide with an increase in the challenge level of content to match the increase in character power that custom items can represent.  How crafted items will impact character strength will already be known before the game is launched and so can be designed around.

    • 4 posts
    February 21, 2020 10:50 PM PST

    If, and I freely admit my crafting craze peaked in WoW, I put my 2 cents in here.  I like a lot of what I read here and a few discussions on streams as well, but the itch I look to scratch for is like Legos.  I loved buidling sets as outlined in the manual, had fun times as a kid, but the real joy of Legos came after in my opinion, where I built whatever I could.  Some would work, some would be structural failures, and others I would be stunned when they came together.

     

    I doubt VR has that extensive of a plan, but essentially I would enjoy a bit of risk and surprise in crafting.  Example:

     

    Mid-tier item either crafted or dropped as loot has abitlity to be modified.  There is a known pattern to insert Rune A with Gem C, and then enchant it and yippee, you have an upgraded item near 100% of the time.  However, you can also, depending on crafting level, attempt other combinations where success rate is not known or simply rated.  Skills or mastery could increase success rate to get something like an "instinct response" to take an item and see what can be made.  Failure would happen, certianly, but that rare success and something NOT known in wikis or guides could be found.  

     

    That experience in an MMORPG would be a LOT of fun for me.  I ever find a game like that I may never go outside again!

    • 647 posts
    February 26, 2020 12:44 PM PST

    Trasak said:

    Conversely I like the idea of studying many granite items to figure out how to craft items with stone materials rather than metal and getting an appropriate appearance change and material type bonuses.  You don’t need to salvage named items to learn the raw material manipulation.

    I second that Idea. It seems like a nice and flexibel alternative method of learning/training/discovering. Possibly along side the standard method of progressive learning.

    • 248 posts
    March 19, 2020 7:24 PM PDT

    Regarding engagement for crafting in PRotF, consider what happens when crafting or crafted goods become required for progression.  Namely, everyone becomes a crafter, even the diehard adventurers.  Despite the hell of leveling up crafting (for those who don't enjoy it) it makes a lot more sense, fiscally, to spend the time and money to level up crafting so that getting access to those crafts and crafted goods costs nothing in the future.  Why pay a crafter 500g a bunch of times if you can spend 1500g once and be done with it?  With everyone being a crafter not only are the crafter's services in super low demand but they can't charge much for them either.

    It is actually better for the hardcore crafters if the system treats crafting as a secondary, optional thing to do.  Scarcity of crafters means they can charge more when the need arises.  But that need can't be integral to adventuring progression or we're back to the former scenario.

    Also, decay is &(*^@#$* unless it is so slow that an item is still useful after being handed down half a dozen times.

    • 647 posts
    March 19, 2020 10:57 PM PDT

    Akilae said:

    ... Namely, everyone becomes a crafter, even the diehard adventurers.  Despite the hell of leveling up crafting (for those who don't enjoy it) it makes a lot more sense, fiscally, to spend the time and money to level up crafting so that getting access to those crafts and crafted goods costs nothing in the future....

    It is actually better for the hardcore crafters if the system treats crafting as a secondary, optional thing to do.  Scarcity of crafters means they can charge more when the need arises.  But that need can't be integral to adventuring progression or we're back to the former scenario.

    This seems to come from the idea that crafting will not take as much time in the game then adventuring would. Aka like we're used to in other games, aka a secondary, spend less time level up feature. 

    Up to this point, this information has not shared. So the scenario where crafting will take as much (or even more?) playtime compared to adventuring, still holds as a possibility. 

    I can understand your argument. In case of the second scenario, you'll end up with players not being high enough adventurer or crafter as they choose to spend more time in one or the other while playing. If the game is designed so that you can't fully get both up at the same time, unless you're 5% of the playerpopulation who spends immense amounts of hours in this game, your mentioned scenario will not come into play. Unless of course, the gamedesign is flattened throughout the years of development after launch. This again can be seen in other games.

    In the long run, you will have a larger population of players that have an advanced degree in both, excelling in one or the other. However, that doesn't have to resort into a must grind towards leveling both. The advanced player population might be the largest on the server, however the population of players that are masters/experts in both could be much smaller. So small even that the influence of this population might not be that severe. Your scenario suggest that the biggest population of players is present in this category, let's just hope the devs design the game for this to be impossible.


    This post was edited by Barin999 at March 19, 2020 10:57 PM PDT