MMO Crafting

MMO Crafting
Having your crew craft for you fits the setting really well, but the execution and implementation falls back on the waiting game mixed with WoW’s material combining simplicity.

MMO crafting hasn’t seen a lot of innovation for quite some time.  In fact, I think crafting has slowly been sliding to a worse state or neglected entirely by the latest generation. The complexity, depth, scope, involvement, and opportunity (I think most of those mean the same thing) of the SWG and EVE era are all but gone.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but that depth has been replaced with tacked crafting that is repetitive and mostly meaningless.

Crafting in a contemporary MMO falls into two categories: (1) Throw in the mats and press combine, and/or (2) Passive, waiting game.

WoW’s throw in the mats and press combine has been shared across everything from LotRO to GW2 and SWTOR.  The light mini-game style of Vanguard and EQ2 is only a variation on a theme.  Then there’s this fixation on ‘professions’.  If you want to be a Leatherworker you probably have to be a Skinner.  It’s very prescribed, very scripted (everyone makes x widgets before getting to the next tier).  Crafting is about leveling and ‘maxing out’ and obtaining recipes, and if you’re lucky they throw in some whack-a-mole gimmick to distract you for all of two seconds.

Crafting in almost every MMO for the last 8 years has been a selfish endeavor.  People craft for themselves because there’s one or two good recipes they hope to get one day.  Most of the time it isn’t about the items at all, but the bonuses associated with that profession.  Few people craft for others, and few games restrict people so that you can’t craft everything — do everything –  for yourself.

I’d like something new and more creative.  I want to see crafting involve more customization, more free-form individuality.  What if MMO crafting was more like Minecraft where we put things in and shaped the items ourselves? Why can’t we have a system where no two items are alike, and I can experiment and become well-known for the way I make the weapons?  I want crafting to impact the ecosystem.  I want the world to change because Legolasers crafted something magnificent and suddenly we find ourselves having to adapt.

Crafting can be about more than making items.  Trade can shape the world.  Someone should start innovating on what should be one of the most influential and powerful game mechanics rather than forgetting about it or tacking it on at the end.

  • Used to be where crafting was done by players that did only that. In UO, if you were a blacksmith, you likely weren’t also a warrior or mage, because you only had so many skill points to go around.

    I do think this is part and parcel with the degradation of the living world aspect of MMOs. Towns feel dead because there’s no functional reason for anyone to go there with AH/Mail/Bank Access spread everywhere, and crafting requiring no actual player trade. Stuff that’s considered modern player interface standard now, replaces the community building that came from things like item loss/damage requiring you to find your favorite blacksmiths shop in games like UO.

    I also would like to see things go to more item variety. Why does every Berkserkers Draconic Chestguard have to be the exact same statistics? There ought to be a range of possibilities for the stats, and crafting the highest stats possible should be rare and difficult with some RNG chance involved. A crafter should be able to prepare himself as much as possible, but still not be able to make that super/rare and valuable max stat combination but only every now and then, and thus it’s incredibly sought after when he succeeds. Sorta like how you’d spend an hour rolling a character for Baldur’s Gate with great stats. Crafting should be like that, where players are working to produce that holy grail of gear.

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  • I like crafting a lot in my games, both single player and MMOs and usually it what’s drives me the most to level alts. From the other side I am bored to use AH and sell things..I love crafting for my friends, my characters and my guild but I hate crafting for money.

    I want the crafting to be the core of the game..everything in the game should be only the result of crafting. From food and potions to armor and weapons. Dungeons should just reward you with more crafting materials or better quality ones. You cannot buy food from a vendor for example, only from another character that he is a “chef”.

    And of course, by choosing to be a crafter you sacrifise points(experience, talents, whatever the game calls them) from your character fighting power instead..

  • Crafting these days is a currency sink and thats all most times you get better from drops and yeah your right you may just want one or 2 items for yourself … i found out to my dismay in SWTOR that crafting just ate my money forcing me to grind to afford stuff skills and stuff. I would say the best crafting was the one in UO like Gali says in there you had to specialise you had to loose some skills to gain others .

    As for individuality and free-form in crafting its never going to happen they will never let it be done for one simple reason balance the all important and godly balance.

    Minecraft is the worst example my friend everything there is there because someone put it there its not freeform it just gives the illusion of that.

    But yeah its just a money sink and a way to keep you in the game longer now i just ignore it so i can just hit max level do everything and beat the game…

    Anyway I understand what your getting at and i do heartily agree with you on that.

  • The Repopulation claims to have a very involved and detailed crafting system heavily inspired by SWG. They just sent out their first wave of invites for the Beta so hopefully sooner rather then later I will get a chance to see it in action.

    Other then that I have to say that crafting is a pretty empty aspect of MMOs at the moment. Simply a time/money sink.

  • Isn’t this just another way to say you can’t wait until Camelot Unchained arrives? Crafting to support RvR seems pretty unselfish.

  • Firstly you have to limit everyone to 1 character per server if you want crafting to actually work. As you know alts ruin this whole concept as 1 guy will have an alt for every craft you can imagine. Limiting alts will cause a fury in the community.

    Perhaps the way to go there is if you choose to spec a craft then you are automatically forced to only have 1 char. That way crafters will truly be rare, the person who chooses to craft is making a conscious decision that this is his main objective in the game, to craft for himself and others. Demand will be high.

    Of course then people will 2 box accounts as usual to by-pass this issue. However this would be more of a minority in the beginning but as the game ages will become more of a norm with hardcore remaining players.

    The other issue is to add all that jazz you spoke about to make crafting the end all of goodies but make it difficult but still fun and a way to progress and get materials without necessarily hunting.

    In either case all these things are tough to do without pissing someone off and frankly crafting is the minority vs PVE and PVP player preferences.

    I dont envy game designers in these areas.

  • I don’t think a one character limit is a must have…you are right that in some MMOs crafter ALTS negate the idea of playing a crafter seriously because everyone does it However, as far as I can see this is not because you can have multiple characters per server but because it is too simple/easy to do crafting and you can do it on the side.

    Limiting you to 1 character is only a band-aid fix that treats the symptom but not the underlying problem (even though it may solve the problem – playing a WOW crafter in a 1 character per server ruleset would still be pretty lame because it would be too simple). The problem is that in those games crafting is not something that you need to dedicate your character to. If it is challenging, difficult, and not something you macro in a week then it doesnt matter how many crafter alts you can have – if the commitment to play a crafter is too high…you just wont play one…it is self selecting.

  • @Romble
    You haven’t seen a successful crafting system yet then. As long as crafting is the primary way to gear up, there is always a need for competition among crafters in an MMO economy. Crafting mastery should be a long expensive process, not stupid easy like GW2.

  • For me the love of crafting in Minecraft doesn’t come from how you actually perform the creation, but from the fact that everything you can make has a viable purpose. There are still only so many recipes that you can make they just aren’t laid bare in the user interface and you have to either discover them yourself or look them up online. Granted Wooden tools don’t get much use, if each material type had it’s own situational bonuses though that could be overcome easily.

  • Star Wars Galaxies was some pretty awesome crafting. It appears SoE has been talking lately about the importance of crafting to an MMO. Seems Everquest 3 is going to have a very large focus on crafting. So there is hope for 2013 as Everquest 3 is supposed to be released this year.

    The big reveal for Everquest 3 is early August in Las Vegas.

  • Mortal online has an extremely difficult.crafting system and you literally have to try 1000’s of items to be able to build a weapon with the stats you want. Great system too only a set amount of skill points you can use. Food and other items are not readily available. Ryzom is also a very good game where 7/8s of the world if entirely crafted.