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Author Topic: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG  (Read 2840 times)

Offline Mark Jacobs

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Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« on: February 09, 2013, 01:19:02 PM »
Okay, what would you guys like to see in CU's crafting system based on the following assumptions:

1) It's a totally player driven economy (minus starting gear of course).

2) Crafters won't be going out into RvR to get their mats.

3) Crafters will be creating all items worn by the player (like I said, totally player driven) as well as luxury items for houses, gear, etc.

4) There will be territorial control and ownership of everything from mines to ruined castles.

5) There will be no auction house (still thinking about this one) for goods but there will be one for minerals.

6) I want people to be able to craft and do nothing else but craft if they choose.

7) Crafting is not intended to be carpal-tunnel inducing.

8) Crafting should tie into Realm/Server/Guild Pride as well.

That's it for now. Have fun! :)

Mark

Offline Keen

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 02:13:47 PM »
I'll kick things off with a few ideas.

Customization

  • Altering attributes of a weapon should provide increases and penalties, but the net change should always be a positive for someone. In other words, if I lower the durability of the weapon I can make it swing faster because it is lighter.  I can also alter the weight to make it slower and hit harder.  I can add more of one stat, but lose out on another.
Experimentation
  • Coming up with new combinations of ingredients or ways to craft are fun. I like SWG's method of adding in resources of differing qualities to provide more 'experimentation points' which allow crafters to seek the best materials.  The trade off being that the resources are more valuable and the weapons are more costly.
Resource Gathering
  • SWG's method of placing harvesters in the world was great.  This removed the tedium of going out and gathering, but added a 'time to wait' element.  THere was also the added benefit of giving the player more time to experiment (see above) and come up with new ways of crafting.
  • Another option is to send players out into mines like UO does and let the player actively find nodes on their own.
Crafters should contribute to territorial control
  • Repairing anything should require a crafter.
  • Upgrading anything should require a crafter.
  • If no crafters are available, these can be purchased from NPCs are a huge cost with lower quality than a crafter can provide.

General Ideas
  • Give crafters the control they need to make a name for themselves.  If I work hard at it, I should be known for what I do.  Maybe I'm the guy to buy swords from because I have perfected a technique that provides a great value.  Maybe my prices are lowest because I don't mind smaller margins since I enjoy going out and gathering resources vs. someone who hates it so wants more money for his/her time.
  • Make it about more than price.  A price war in crafting will reduce prices to zero.  Someone should be able to charge more and still draw customers because there's a value proposition supported by the game's mechanics.
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Offline Rorik

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 06:00:09 PM »
If being a crafter can take the place of someone's class, then it has to be detailed and involved, so that it rewards the time put into it and is still fun.  You may even want to get down to the level of having super specialties, like a swordsmith that specializes in polishing and honing blades, or making hilts, etc.  I know that Mark had an "ah ha" moment while watching the mining scene in The Hobbit.  To expand on that, do some research in how smiths in the middle ages across the world made weapons from raw iron.  The difference between a sword made from pattern welded bloomery steel, folded bloomery steel and one made from crucible steel may help give you some inspiration on how detailed you can get with crafting.

I'd also like to see crafters be able to make cosmetic changes to things they craft, e.g. different finished, inscriptions, gilding and etching.

Offline Gringar

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 07:53:14 PM »
If pure crafting is going to be a viable thing ideally there will be enough skills to back that up as well. I'd like to see the ancient system of Armorsmith, Weaponsmith, Jewelcrafting skills being all you level up go away. It would be cool to see a variety of skills to level up.

Bladecraft could increase your skill at crafting blades
Elven Craft could increase your skill at crafting elven items.

Creating an elven sword would draw from both skills.

Keen mentioned a level of customization. There should be advanced skills to level like Balanced Weapons which allow you to increase attack speed at the cost of some damage. The opposite could be Vicious Weapons which allows for more damage at the cost of speed. Solid Crafting could increase durability but require more mats. You could really just go crazy.

Enough skills so that a pure crafter can feel different from at least a good portion of other crafters.

Offline Thelg

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 09:40:13 PM »
This is one of those topics that I really feel no game did justice to that I played(I never played SWG and Keen suggestions look good).

First I hope that weapons and armor get damaged and destroyed with use.

Big question is how to make it really engaging, it is really fun in RL to work with wood or metal but how to pass that into the game? I am really not sure. I know I would love to be able to construct my own forge. What about the process of actually making steel, it would be neat to first have to construct structures needed for this. Each side can utilize different process some even being more advanced then others for example Blast furnace, Catalanian forge and others. With all of these you need multiple people helping a single master smith, so perhaps first one would apprentice with someone working on their forge raising the skill by loading coal etc helping out? Apprentice system for crafter could be really interesting I think.

The most awesome thing if physics and chemistry were changed somewhat but there was ability to progress. So on release you would have early dark ages stuff. Then with time you can release expansion where it will be possible to construct more advanced forges, tools and make more advanced weapon/armor/magic devices. If there was a background "science" to it that was hidden from players at the start but could be discovered later.. :o

I also think that Auction house is definitely not needed. Buying stuff from crafters face to face is much more fun. Even ore I think should be sold player to player, some guys will become wholesellers etc. this builds relationships and community

Not primary crafter should be able to be useful, so even if I do not apprentice maybe I can go help someone work the forge. Or make my own basic wood furniture(which would lead to me being able to fix doors to an ok level). Basically people should be able to pickup a lot of simple skills that are still always useful.

Offline Darkstryke

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2013, 09:51:53 PM »
NO Auction houses (in the traditional sense) please!

No magical mailing of goods across distances, no auctions. I wouldn't go so far as the archaic days of EC tunnel in EQ with people spamming /zone, but guild house vendors coupled with a local market listing ability to point people to the specific vendor would be great.

Buy orders, sell orders, trades, with a maximum number of orders list-able at once, but able to have a limit increase via some form of advancement system, that's what I would like to see. If people want to be a marketeer that should be supported just as much as any crafting ability - it's a whole specialization in of itself.

Offline Gringar

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2013, 10:34:18 PM »
@Thelg. Whoa, yes. Customizing workstations should totally be a thing. It would get crafters into the world of player cities too. And the option of "soloing" or "grouping" at a forge sounds really cool. A solo crafter should be able to get the same potential quality but a group could work faster and manage crafting events easier.

I'd like to see a system that builds on EQII's crafting gameplay where problems come up and you use crafting abilities to diffuse them and give side effects of +quality, or +progress. In a group any group member could handle the problems that come up.

Offline Rawblin

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 01:19:32 AM »
I personally always preferred hard caps on stats for the player. Exactly the way DAoC did it. It isn't ever fun for me when the eventual levels for a stat get up into the thousands just because.

DAoC's crafting was a give and take. If you wanted a whole bunch of Dexterity, you were going to have to take away something else. I really miss that realism and thought provoking type of crafting. (Not so much the "click, click, click...." forever part :P )

Just my two cents, but I guess mine is more of a request for hard caps on stats than it is for anything else.

Offline icedern

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 08:52:20 AM »
Mark,
I just want to say that I think it's great that you're out speaking to the players that want this game and are looking for input to make it something we haven't seen before.  I have no doubt that you'll make a distinctive game.

Crafting has always been one of those things I enjoy doing to break it up a little bit, but I've never been one that has had to have it be a focus.  My wife, on the other hand, LOVES crafting and when I was talking to her about this post this morning we went over a few things and ideas we thought would be really cool.  I'll just briefly go over some of the things.

1.  With your plans of a player driven economy, you need to make crafting a viable career.  It can't be something you can max out in couple hours if you have the money to do so.  When you pick a vocation it should be something you're committed to if you want to be good.  There needs to be depth to it not just a few recipes that you make over and over to level up.  I want to do research and write notes down on how to make that cool item.  I want players to say, hey you want an awesome sword, you need to go to "Billy" the sword maker.

2.  World Markets are ok for what they are for but it is not my favorite system.  By far, my favorites were SWG and DAoC.  Having a merchant at your house/store is a definitely a must for me with a new game.  It was so fun to decorate your store in SWG and have your merchants selling your wares.  People would come to your place and browse the shop.  Instead of a world market, you have a merchant board where players can go and post up their location and what they sell.  Players can then go shop around.  Players should also be able to purchase npc merchants that would travel into the RvR lands.  There would be risk doing this because of other realms killing the caravan, but players would be able to purchase in keeps without travelling back to their cities.

3.  Epic/Legendary weapons/armor is the next thing I want to see in this game.  These items would only be able to be created by the most dedicated of crafters.  For example, a player has gathered up all 4 named pieces of "The Sword of Tim." (Pommel, Blade, Haft, Jewel).  He would take these components to the crafter whom has specialized in the sword type and has mastered his skill.  He must also have a high enough "lore" skill to read the scroll that describes how to make the sword.  My initial thought would be that no other player could have this exact weapon, but I could see powerful guilds going out and just getting all the legendary stuff before anyone else would have a chance.  CSE would need to have a TON of items like this that would be super rare so as it's not very easy to see these items but when you do see someone with them, you're in awe.

4.  Cosmetic customization for items would be another thing I'd love to see.  How awesome would it be to look at someones armor and recognize the crafter just by the way it looks?  This sounds like a nightmare for the programmers but I think it's a super awesome idea that should be done if possible.  Any other types of customization (guild symbols, realm symbols etc) should also be done by the crafters themselves as another way to sell their services.

5.  Crafting materials should have a quality rating.  It's very boring when you just grab 1000 pieces of steel and just craft 100 swords to level up, but when you have a couple of pieces of 99% pure steel, you can experiment and make better quality items.  SWG was great with this idea.  You would survey and find the best materials you could find to make your items the best that you could.  The highest quality materials should be used to make the very best of items.

6.  There should be multiple specializations for people to choose from.  Not only should there be lots of crafting schools to choose from but there should also be multiple specs to choose to master.  This will help give crafters more of a name for themselves.  Instead of having thousands and thousands of master weaponsmiths, you have a thousand that spec in 1 handed swords.  Of that thousand, you have 100 that specialize in 1 handed swords of Quickness. 

What would be the point of having a player economy if everyone could just make whatever they need by themselves?  Crafting would just be another time and money sink like every other game is now.  My wife isn't one that loves to RvR, but she LOVES to craft and design and decorate her house and even though this game is based on RvR, she is excited at the possibility of being a crafter in this game and making items for our realm.  In addition, she should not feel like a lesser player just because she isn't out doing RvR.  There should be rewards and titles that speak of her great deeds for the realm or even Legendary crafting tools that crafters would quest for.  Crafters should feel just as important to the war as the people out fighting.  I know there are other people out there that want to do the same. 

 

Offline Argorius

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2013, 09:39:59 AM »
Here are some ideas that come to mind if I think about a full time crafter and a crafter that can be played full time. There might be drawbacks to some that I didnt realize. Some might be hard to implement but it is 2013 and if crafting is supposed to be a full time activity and specialized then it might warrant spending the resources to take crafting to a new level.

- Crafting temporary weapons: Last a certain amount of time (1-4 hours) and have bonuses and/or are stronger. Supplying the troops with weapons. Get gold in return for each weapon being used in RVR. Sponge of "realm points" or experience for kills made with your weapon in RVR. Realm points accumulated "level" the crafter to make more powerful versions.

- Crafting siege engines for the war effort

- Sole Ability or vastly improved ability to sell, market, advertise your wares. Running a business. be able to become the Weapon Wal-mart. Hire NPCs to sell your wares.

- Having an operation (like Harvesters) - run by prisoners of war. Depending on the current war effort, crafters are assigned POWs to work in the mines or wherever for the crafters.

- Individualized recipes: "Randomly" generated recipes for characters that are specific to a character. Item X needs A, B, and C...whenever you have A, B, C then it works...but maybe the order of A, B, C, and addition of other things can refine the process to make improved versions that a crafter needs to find. Problem: Exciting system based on discovery...but it might be tedious if you want to level up a crafter quickly and now you have to experiment endlessly (but crafters are supposed to be a real character and not a quickly level Alt)

- No carpal tunnel: Built in macros - it doesnt need to require a separate click. Automate the process maybe as you get more skill you can specialize in automation?

- Rare resources that you need to hunt down...maybe PvE critters that you need to hunt. Laying traps out in the wild and checking your traps daily. Example: Mining...rare high level ore spawns in a certain location...stays there for several days and then vanishes. That gives you motivatuon to find new ore sites, exciting if you find one because you know you can harvest it for several days, likelihood to keep it secret....it feels like it is yours.

- Random element in crafting - e.g. GM weapons. tedious if you have to make a bunch to get some GM ones but kind of boring if you cant do it. "unique" type of weapons.

- Weapon and Amror modifications - stuff that can grow with a character. Ability to customize to min-max

- Not sure what you have planned...are realms able to build keeps, castles, cities from the ground up? Incorporate crafters into the process.

- Design element: Weapons and armor with a certain stat limit can be visually designed and modified. You need to find the recipes to make certain designs and you need to put together a design specific to the item that you craft. This way, there is a style signature for crafters and you can make a name for yourself. People might like your weapons and armor better because they look better. the more detailed you can make this...and the more freedom you give the more can people distinguish themselves.

- Ability to craft custom designs - customer comes and says what they want it to look like and it is up to the crafter to design it.

- Implementation of a crafter's guild that has high ranking people voted into offices - have large scale decision making powers

Offline Lethality

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2013, 10:51:06 AM »
First of all, big props to Mark for being willing to get "in the trenches" with players at this stage of the design process!

There is much I could say on this topic, but I'd like to focus on one key principal:

The best Adventurers should not be able to do everything Crafters do, and the best Crafter should not be able to do what the best Adventurers can do.

To me, this means that my effort spent focusing on any one discipline (Crafting vs. Adventuring in this case) should draw the logical conclusion that I am better at that discipline than someone who hasn't exterted the same effort into it. Additionally, progression and mastery should come in the same form of statistical improvements. I know other games have done these "crafting stats", but haven't gotten it right, IMO.

In a practical example, this means that there's no way a "hard core" Adventurer can craft the best possible sword for himself. This also means that I, as a dedicated Crafter, cannot likewise acquire the dragon's teeth -- the rarest of ingredients -- needed to make the sword. The adventurer has to bring them to me.

I realize this is easier said than done, but if the intent is to allow people to do nothing but craft, then that means the adventurer types shouldn't be able to do the same things for any less of the effort.

As a side note, crafting should also never be a mini-game. If anything, one part of the progression and mastery process for a crafter should be the same as it is for an Adventurer - improve your stats on tools and gear you use to do your job. If it takes an Adventurer a month to gather materials to build his sword, then so should it take me for my new anvil.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 10:59:35 AM by Lethality »

Offline Keltar

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2013, 01:22:16 PM »
I always go back to UO because that game had a lot of good aspects.

  • Armor and weapons are not forever. They get damaged, or heck you lose them if you die. But then you need a system to ensure that players who die frequently in RvR can still "buy" new gear. The whole idea behind crafting 1000 platemail gloves before being able to make platemail greaves now makes sense though if a regular player goes through 3-4 sets of plate armor a night.



  • No auction house for crafted goods. I agree with you Mr. Jacobs that raw materials could be auctioned, however I'm not 100% sure it's necessarily a requirement to have a viable economy. Back to the auction house thing though, look at once again UO. Players have vendors tied to their houses. Heck you could have a vendor market that players can pay premiums to rent a spot, which the money would go to the realm's pockets. (This opens up the door to a political system, but that's not for today! :D) So back to UO, you can buy a set of platemail armor for 1k gold (fictive numbers) off of a vendor that's right outside of town. Go a little bit farther, you'll find one for 850! Well you sure wish you knew that guy was cheaper, but hey it's too late. And also like Keen said, maybe that cheaper armor does not have specific qualities to it, or even cosmetic attributes to it. If you can have a shield engraved with your realm's logo on it for a few more bucks, why not?



  • And on the topic of "bucks" or "gold" or whatever else currency... I think I read off of Mr. Jacobs' letter at some point that you'd need minters to make gold to have gold coins. That's such an ambitious but CLEVER idea. If you can offer 100 iron ingots to a crafter in exchange for a platemail gorget, rather than pay him, wouldn't it be a little bit more interesting? That way, a guild that is well setup will gather up all the materials for free for their crafters, and such crafters will then make goods for free for their guildmates. Why is money a necessarily evil if NPCs have little to no implication in the economy? Sure it always serves a purpose, specially for bigger objects like purchasing a house that looks more like a keep, but if the realm runs out of gold coins it won't necessarily be the end all of the game.



  • Maybe make it so you have a very varied home decoration system. That can be patched overtime, rather than be 100% available at release. You killed 100 imps, and off of them you salvaged 200 imp wings. Maybe those are reagents for casting spells, but maybe a crafter can turn 50 imp wings into a specific trophy if he pairs it with a few other objects like beeswax and lumber. Those would be things that you as a crafter discover. I believe GW2 had a similar system with crafting. I remember that when you were cooking things, you could pair up certains objects together and POOF you discovered a viable recipe. Of course after a while all those recipes would be on the internet, but there is no way to stop this. Those who will want to cheapen their play experience will find a way to do so. Those who will want to truly enjoy the system will not be interested in looking up those information bits.



  • Make it so you can have more than one character on a given server. Most games has that allowed. But what I mean here is you can have a crafter named Keltar, a RvR hero called Affy and a gather known as Affykins. You could be a bit more self sufficient that way, should you choose to invest the time to do that. If you really don't care about crafting, and just want to rip heads off, then you just have to make sure you can find a way to get gear from crafters. Kill an enemy tree hugger while carrying a few empty vials and maybe you just gathered a vial of tree hugger sweat. Said vial is extremely potent in the hands of a crafter who cannot get it in any other way but from RvR. So the crafter depends on the RvR hero, but the RvR hero also needs that crafter.



  • NPCs should have a role for quests, skill acquiring, and PvE storyline. That would be more or less it. Have an entire capital city filled with NPCs that just give you kill tasks, mostly RvR kill tasks or maybe add some gear tasks for crafters, and voilĂ  you have a vibrant city where players want to visit. Maybe make it so forges and anvils are very expensive to get as a player, so that most crafters need to go to the capital city to make their wares however a well organized guild could after a while make their own forge and anvil at their guildhouse thus facilitating the process for their guildmates.

Offline iLkRehp

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2013, 04:35:31 PM »

1) It's a totally player driven economy (minus starting gear of course).
-I'm all for that. . .how many alts are there?

2) Crafters won't be going out into RvR to get their mats.
-How about RvR nodes just being more lucrative then PvE nodes, risk vs. reward, give ppl more reason to be in the RvR zones. . .

3) Crafters will be creating all items worn by the player (like I said, totally player driven) as well as luxury items for houses, gear, etc.
-the more the better, look to UO, EVE, and even PotBS, the more complex, deeper the crafting system is the better.

4) There will be territorial control and ownership of everything from mines to ruined castles.
-you can own a mine thru RvR and can't mine in the RvR zone?

5) There will be no auction house (still thinking about this one) for goods but there will be one for minerals.
-1 AH was always a bad idea, it's even a bad idea just for resources.  If you can't get away from the AH idea then look to making regional based auction houses or at least a few NON LINKED ones that spread out the resources.  Don't do a 1 stop shop.  Say, 3 per realm at least, spread out geographically NOT near any fast travel points.  Geography can play a part in affecting prices if you let it.

6) I want people to be able to craft and do nothing else but craft if they choose.
-If you want full time crafters how will you discourage/control/limit everyone from having alt crafters that they have to compete with?  Why will I give my money to the full time crafter when I can save it by rolling my own alt crafter?

7) Crafting is not intended to be carpal-tunnel inducing.
-Worried about this, if everything's automated how is that fun and engaging?  Automation makes it easier for everyone to have a crafter alt and will actually make being a full time crafter more difficult. 

Offline rhykis

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2013, 06:59:41 AM »

- Most end game gear should only be attainable via crafting

- The components / materials for this gear should only be attainable in areas with risk of conflict with other players

- The gear should be highly customizable with supplemental materials of various rarity and quality

- The gear should decay or wear out in some way, and/or be potentially lost on death


I would envision a system where players, crafters or not, enter into conflict in order to obtain better resources, which can then be crafted (or given / sold to crafters) to make the gear used to enter into conflict. Said gear gets destroyed or lost in conflict, thus driving the need for continued crafting. Customization and variable rarity of materials gives crafters ability to have some uniqueness in what they create beyond standard 100 patterns.

But the conflict cycle is what is critical.  EVE does this very well.


Offline bartillo

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Re: Designing a crafting system for a next-gen MMORPG
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2013, 09:38:22 AM »
copy SWG pre-cu/ nge crafting.

harvesers, factories, players craft everything, hundreds of differnt resources with experimentation and such..

Yea just copy SWG crafting and you're good.

also make sure ALL gear breaks permanently and doesn't last forever. The only way to keep crafters in demand is to make sure your gear breaks and has to be resupplied.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 11:31:41 AM by bartillo »