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Crafting and Adventuring in Pantheon (Part 2)

    • 1757 posts
    August 28, 2020 11:22 AM PDT

    Note:  Due to post length limits on the forums and the amount of ground that this covers, I'm splitting this into two threads - Part 1 and Part 2.

    This is an analysis based on the August 27th developer stream.  The original is posted on Pantheon Crafters.  I have cross-posted it here in case it helps spark new discussions and ideas among the community.

    Crafting and Adventuring in Pantheon (based on 8.27 stream) - Part 2

    Please make sure you've read Part 1 first.  Otherwise, this part may not make as much sense.

    Conclusions and Suggestions

    Overall, seeing these things in the stream last night was a welcome development.  Even though crafting was not directly discussed, a big concern that many community members have expressed was that the game would be designed with an emphasis on loot or rewards and that there would not be room for a fully-featured crafting system.  It was nice to see that, at least at a base level, things are being set up so that crafted items will be useful and desirable for players.  While there is certainly going to be much discussion throughout Alpha and Beta on fine-tuning that balance, it does at least seem like it is achievable.  It also seems like the design decisions around attributes and how they work will provide room for a larger variety of crafted items in general, and an economy where players are truly making choices about what they buy and use, and not simply following a “Best in Slot” meta.

    In the interest of providing early feedback to the devs, I did want to note some suggestions based on what we saw last night.  These suggestions are purely my own, but I feel confident that they would make the game better and more interesting for everyone.

    Creature Loot

    Rather than having massive amounts of creature parts drop as direct loot, it would be better to put these behind a “Skinning/Butchering” gathering profession.  This would accomplish three things:

    -  It would help keep materials rare where they needed to be.  Instead of every adventurer coming back with piles and piles of eyes, meat, flesh, wings, and so on, players would have to intentionally focus on gathering these resources.  Long-term this would be easier to balance for rarity than just having every mob randomly drop a selection of parts.

    -  It would allow players to focus on the type of resource they really wanted.  If players had a choice in which type of resource to gather, they might decide to focus on pelts (for armor), bones (for weapons), meat (for food), or reagents (for other consumables).  This helps both crafters and non-crafters because people could then work to fill specific needs instead of collecting some of everything.

    -  It would help keep players from overloading their inventory space.  Once players realize that something is useful, their tendency is to always gather that item.  Even though Roenick started with a small bag in his inventory, it was clear from watching him loot for a few minutes that inventory space will be something players need to manage.  While stacking can help this, the sheer variety of different creature resources will still overwhelm it.  By making these things a result of intentional gathering rather than just a default loot table, and by giving players a choice of what they are gathering, inventory space becomes much more manageable.

    Item Descriptions

    Depending on what games someone has played in the past, they may or may not make assumptions about the items that they gather from NPCs.  For example, they may assume that most loot drops are primarily for selling to an NPC merchant.  This is especially true if the player has not really done much in the way of crafting in previous games.  On the other hand, someone who has done a lot of crafting may assume that most of what they are picking up is a useful resource.

    While my preference would be that every potential drop or resource has a use in crafting, I also think it is important that the item description call this out.  This can be as simple as having the description include something like “Crafting Material”, or “Salvageable” in the item description.  Essentially there just needs to be a clue in the description so that people know what might be of use to other players when deciding what to keep in their limited inventory space.

    Customization

    Given the way attributes work, I think it is especially important that the crafting process includes a way to customize the results (when appropriate).  While most low-level equipment may not carry attribute boosts, mid- and high-level equipment should do so.  It should be possible for a crafter to choose during crafting whether to create a chest piece with a focus on strength or a focus on constitution, or whether to create boots with a focus on stamina or a focus on agility.  Ideally, this customization should be part of the crafting process itself.

    Allowing crafters to customize the goods that they make and sell will not only help provide more meaningful choices for adventurers using those goods but will also allow the economy to support more crafters in general.  If the resources needed to create equipment remain relatively rare, you can create a situation where crafters are either specializing their inventory or where they only have limited inventory to sell.  By doing this, there is more room for other crafters selling similar items to operate, and the economy is less prone to extreme over- or under-supply situations.

    This Isn’t Everything

    While everything that I’ve talked about here is very important for the Crafting and Gathering sphere in Pantheon, there are still many other things that will matter if we want Crafting and Gathering to truly be a co-equal form of gameplay in Terminus, and not simply a side system to support adventuring.  Likewise, even though there appears to be a good basis for balancing crafted items vs. other items based on what we saw last night, there are still many details that will need to be fine-tuned over the course of alpha and beta.  I am looking forward to more information from VR, more discussion by the community, and ultimately being able to test and provide targeted feedback when the time comes.

    I hope this analysis is useful or interesting to people and help spark further conversation between the community and the team at VR moving forward.