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Should Everyone Craft Everything?

EverQuest Next Landmark’s recent Round Table question is one I am passionate about.  Before we get to it though, let’s watch this video.

Should one character be able to learn all types of crafting?

The real answer to this question is a firm “NO.”  I strongly believe in specialization for just about everything in MMORPGs.  People should have to choose a path and commit, and each path should be very unique.  People should have to seek out others in order to benefit from the skills and abilities they do not possess.

When everyone can craft everything, there is no need for a strong economy and there is no need to interact with others.  You can sit by yourself in isolation and do everything.  I know there’s at least one of you out there (you know who you are) who will say, “I like not having to rely on anyone.  I don’t like talking to or having to interact with anyone in a MMORPG.”  This may sound harsh, but have you considered a single player game?  I’m tired of massively multiplayer games having their design dictated by the needs of the entitled xenophobes.

The modern-era of MMOs, however, dictates the answer must be a “yes.”  

I’m not naive.  I know that now’days developers will dumb everything down to the least common denominator.  I know that somehow everyone can be every class, craft everything, solo everything, and never even have to see another person because they get their own little instance.  I think there’s at least a small way to address the crafting portion of this unfortunate reality.

A realistic solution!

Let everyone take every craft and make the most basic items, but have specialties.  I may have every craft, but I can choose to specialize in carpentry.  As a carpentry specialist I can make the same furniture you can, but since you didn’t specialize in carpentry you can’t make the awesome roofing, armor racks, or awesome looking doodads.  But you went weaponsmith specialization which means you can take the basic swords and make them glow, light on fire, etc.

Let people feel like they can ‘get by’ without having to specialize, but make them really think about and consider the benefits of choosing one particular path to improve.

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Comments

  1. Without the need to rely on others there can be no sustainability.
    Syncaine recently has a post regarding that matter (sustainability), and i cannot agree more.
    You (any dev) cannot hand out access to just about everything because you risk to make the game as boring as hell. Social hooks are a necessity and limited crafting is a excellent way to go on top of other things.

  2. I’d take it a step further and go like Ultima Online. Not only must you select a craft, but you do it at the expense of combat skills.

    It’s been too long since we’ve had an MMO where not everyone was a fighter.

  3. Devs these days cater too much to the solo player. And in a sense it is the opposite of what a solo character wants. I general call myself a solo first player. But I enjoy soloing because its a challenge. I want to struggle I want to work harder to do things on my own. Failing 30x makes the 1 success all the more sweeter.

    Games these days just let you do 70% of the content by your self. A true soloist does not want that.

  4. If players will be able to have multiple characters on each server, I say just let them be able to craft everything on a single character.
    The crafting system in the early days of Star Wars Galaxies was awesome, and the one-character-per-server rule created a dynamic, player-based economy which very few MMORPGs have come close to since. Being a part of it was a great experience and it really forced you to develop “supply chain” relationships if you wanted to make a serious business out of crafting.
    Unfortunately, if you let people have six, eight, or even ten characters on every server they’ll just get around the limits by rolling alts–making the limits themselves worthless.

  5. I’m generally in favor of a degree of specialization. Having a single character able to do everything mitigates against having multiple characters, something I’m very strongly in favor of. It’s also very enjoyable to share the crafting processes between friends, partners and, to a degree, guildmates.

    Where I become cautious, however, is when systems are so determinedly interdependent that no one person can progress beyond a basic level without the regular assistance of others. I saw this lead to several spectacular burn-outs in the first months of EQ2, including in-game rifts between players that were never mended and the permanent exit of others from the game as a direct result of the emotional pressure being exerted on them to keep making things long after they had lost interest in doing so just so that others could meet their self-imposed targets.

    There has to be a sweet spot somewhere between everyone soloing and making everything they need in isolation and toiling in a virtual sweatshop making 10,000 widgets a day to swap for 10,000 flanges.

    As for the economy, though, have SOE even said Landmark is going to have one?

  6. I generally agree, but players find their way around this and I see arguments on both sides. Players will make alts or even have multiple accounts. I mean, all you have to do is look at how big buff-boting was back in DAoC. As an aside, how much of a windfall was it for Mythic?

  7. I think one loses personal identity in a system where everyone can do everything. In Fallen Earth initially it seemed appealing as a solo player to be so independent, but over time it made my character feel generic.

    People need unique skill sets to feel unique > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U01xasUtlvw

  8. “When everyone can craft everything, there is no need for a strong economy and there is no need to interact with others.”

    The best economy and (arguably) the most interact MMO allows everyone to craft anything. (EVE).

    The key is, because of said economy, you have to know wtf you are doing to make crafting stuff worthwhile over buying it.

    Limiting crafting per character is artificial; having a strong economy that rewards smart crafters is a cleaner solution (that is much harder to get right for devs, hence the easy way of artificial limits)

  9. I had lot of social hooks in MMOs but none of them because of crafting system that was build in order to rely on others…People who want to be self efficient they will just create more alts just to have access to more crafting professions. In a recent poll in a famous MMO asking about alts, the majority of answers was tha people make alts to have all crafting professions.

    Social hooks must come from a difficult content not from stupid barriers. For example, someone can have all crafting professions but farming materials is way more efficient to do in groups or even make materials farming to be group activity.

  10. @SynCaine: EVE is pretty intense, though. The barriers to entry and level of commitment required are so high that even though you CAN do every one, you never, ever, will. Newer MMOs consider letting everyone do everything as an accessibility feature, not in terms of scope.

  11. TheeNickster says:

    That’s the second time you’ve asked why non-social people play MMO’s rather than a single player game. The answer is that companies only produced multiplayer RPG’s these days. Seems you can’t put a subscription and a cash shop on single player games. :)

  12. I think crafting took a dive in the WoW themepark model.

    You mine copper for ore and level up mining. You use copper to smith copper items to level smithing. Then never look back at copper ever again. At end game, every miner is all producing the same high level ore. Leveling is fast enough that no new player keeps a crafting skill up to date while he levels.

    It’s a pattern I see in every themepark. I’d like crafting where all metals and/or materials still have a place. Where a skilled crafter who put time into it can make better copper equipment then the magicore armor made by the low level.

  13. I thik people should have to specialise otherwise there is nothing special about what yo can craft. GW2 is a good example of where everyone can crat anything. And its become nothingbut an unsatisfactory and meabingless grind in that game. Use primarily to sell gems.

  14. Keen: EVE crafting isn’t intense because of game design though, it’s intense because it functions in a world with a real economy, and most people don’t get how an economy works. Games with ‘dumb’ economies remove the need to understand supply and demand, and instead red herring you with stuff like crafting mini-games or artificial barriers like one craft per character.

    A real crafter isn’t someone who is awesome at a mini-game, or can setup an AH bot and run it often. A real crafter is someone smart enough to corner a niche and exploit it, to get rich because of their ability to market and provide; because they know WHAT to craft and how to sell it, not because they got lucky or paid to know HOW to craft something and the rest is done for them.

  15. Gankatron says:

    It is also intense because of their elitist community that disparages questions from newbies asking “crafting” questions.

    Hehe…

    Q: “Is crafting in Eve pointless?”

    A:
    “Lol @ “crafting” GB2WoW”
    “What is this crafting you speak of? I don’t even”
    “Dude just wants to right click > sell and make billions like in WoW, don’t make fun of him!”
    “What is crafting? Is that like Minecraft?”
    “Can you craft me a potion of triple-fermented hops and barley plz?”
    “Craft pyerite claymore swords and sell them to the orcs en masse .”
    “Crafting? Are we making wooden chairs or something?”
    “Crafting can pay off very well. However, I think you need to have Exalted status with Stormwind or Ironforge to offset the costs.”

    I see EVE as an MMO anomaly comprised of proudly anomalous OCD players.

    http://oldforums.eveonline.com/?a=topic&threadID=1501477

  16. To be fair, asking “Is crafting in EVE pointless” is a pretty WoW-like question that more than deserves the responses it got. Someone asking that isn’t going to last in EVE anyway.

  17. JJ Robinson says:

    To compare the “Eve craft everything” model with your standard theme-park “craft everything” model is not realistic. Sure in Eve you can craft everything, BUT, and its a big BUT, to craft the high end ships etc it requires hundreds of hours of learning, which basically eliminates other options for that player. Unless of course they have been playing for years, literally.

    I much prefer the idea of specialization through total skill caps. The day a game can create a solo crafter, like UO and SWG, then I’d really get excited about crafting again.

    EQNL, seems to put the crafting focus on the player’s imagination to design a house, etc. This is great but does not really require me to be reliant on a community which is what makes MMO’s truly special.

  18. Gankatron says:

    @Syn:

    …I have no doubt about that, all their pompous snarkiness aside! ;)

  19. Definitely interested in your take on ArcheAge’s system once it gets out – What you describe sounds similar to their specialization system, and lots of need to reuse lower items across the board for vertical interdependencies as well. Best items are crafted.

    (15 skills with recipes out of 21 tracked vocations, you can only specialize to craft higher in a subset of the 15. But anyone can craft/advance the basics in any of them to a point.)

  20. @Scott: I have wanted to get my hands on ArcheAge for a while now. I’ve heard good things about some of the systems, like crafting, and would like to be able to comment on them from a position of understanding.

  21. Drop me an email? Can make sure our folks know to find you when we get there.