I was thinking about MMOs the other night while trying to fall asleep, which rarely is a good thing for me to do. What first popped into my head was how could players make a name for themselves among their server community. Eventually I got around to remembering back to Star Wars Galaxies and how different crafters of weapons and other knick-knacks essentially created name brand recognition for themselves. The ability to experiment and find higher grades of materials allowed for some variation in products so if you found out that Guy A made some great blasters then you would make sure to always swing by his shop first because you knew he made good stuff. This in turn got me thinking about tradeskills in general and how there isn’t really much variation nowadays. You have people that make weapons, armors, gems, potions, etc. It’s pretty much the same for all games.
So I tried to think of some possible new trade professions that incorporated the same kind of experimentation as SWG while keeping in mind my original thought of making a name for yourself. The first thing that popped into my head was Composer, like somebody who writes music. Imagine utilizing resources like creativity and inspiration to help you craft songs for bards. Maybe you could experiment around with them to increase their potency or tweak what they did. Then you name your piece something like “McNubbit’s Aria” or whatever and put it up for sale. Then players would actually be able to purchase your song skill and use it. I think that is a pretty appealing idea.
Obviously that profession is a little narrow in its scope and would really only work for a small percentage of classes like Bards and Minstrels but you get the idea. You could easily do the same thing for spell crafters. The first thing that popped into my head was Melf’s Acid Arrow. I mean, why the heck not let players craft at least some spells and skills? It doesn’t even have to be just spells either. Maybe there could be some kind of Swordmaster or Battlemaster profession that designs martial moves for melee classes. Same general concept and maybe you could even select from and combine any assortment of animations for your technique. I just think it sounds like a cool concept.
The hardest part in all of this is developing a system that can’t be abused by players while still allowing the wiggle room for customization. Spell making has been done in single-player games before like the Elder Scrolls series. Maybe that isn’t the best example, but I think that through a combination of different types of rare materials you could easily limit the potency on crafting combat abilities. To be honest, when it gets to this level of design it is quite beyond me. I’m just the idea guy who is kept up until 3 a.m. coming up with this crap.