New and Interesting Crafting Professions

MMO Song CraftingI 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.

  • I really love this idea. Some games like Vanguard have given Bards a lot of tools like the ability to combine song parts and effects, but I haven’t played a game yet that lets players craft song or abilities — and definitely not at the level of SWG’s crafting customization.

  • Skill and Spell making in one MMO has also been done, though not to this scope. Ryzom allowed players to piece together abilities using “stanzas” that they’ve unlocked with their skill levels.

    I think you could totally have a crafting system for that where you can use different types and quality of paper, ink, essence and stuff like that.

  • I think because of f2p it’s impossible for individuals to possess notoriety simply because of how diffused the communities have become.

    5 years ago i’d have one mmorpg on my hard drive and a couple single player games…like a rts and a rpg. These days I keep 4 mmorpg’s installed, 2 shooters, a sim, a sandbox, a turn-based…not to mention the casual facebook stuff I play with my wife.

    My gaming has become entirely what I want in the moment…what world and mechanic. It has ceased being about being a member of a community, because the communities have become so noisy and self absorbed I saw no reason to invest in them anymore…and so became self-absorbed myself.

    I don’t know if a player can make a name for themselves in a f2p casual sex gaming universe. F2p and cash shops and dungeon finders and cross realm have all need to be examined before we get to crafting ideas.

  • Remove or don’t implement macro making into your game and only let 1 or more (if you split it up) professions have the possibility to make them. So for example the macro that all warriors make in WOW being charge -> hamstring will now be one spell and called “random players owning blow”.

    If you want to make it more special you can always add visual effects in the mix that only can be made by getting a special item or only can be learned a special way or maybe both.

    And if that’s not enough let’s make it so that only the spells you have learned on this or another of your characters you can combine. Want to combine the above example … ok … but you will need to have learned charge and hamstring on one of your characters first.

  • I fear, we will never see something on the level of SWG crafting any more. Indeed, they were good times, i made my money by collecting ressources (mostly skins) for armoursmiths, and ran my business on basis of pushing new players.

    I regularily invited a bunch of players from a starport and took them to the planet where the corresponding animals just had very high quality skins. We did plenty of killing and make sure everybody skinned the corpses. New players got plenty of XP and thus skills this way, and by buying ressources from them for 75% of the price i was able to get from the armoursmiths they also earned the money for a really good start. (And while i “only” earned 25% of the money, the high ammount of ressources, after all i had up to 7 players gathering materials for me, also allowed me to make good money that way, so everybody profited. )

    This business concept fully depended on materials of different qualities being available at different times, in all the present days “one material of a kind” systems, this would never work. And the complex system in SWG went further, and there indeed were crafter celebrities! One interesting case was when a friend made me my new carbine. Proud and happy as i was, i posted a screenshot of it in a forum. It turned out, nobody on our server had a carbine of that type and quality on the server before, or if he had, he kept it secret. My friend later forbade me to ever post screenshots of weapons made by him again, his name suddenly was “the weaponsmith of choice” on the server and it took him weeks to just complete the orders he got on the first two days after i posted that screenshot. 😀

    So, i still have fond memories of those times. The system was complex and not suitable for everybody, but those who took the time and effort to actually understand the mechanics and work with them, indeed were able to create exceptional products and earned a reputation that way. Unfortunately today the philosophy prevails, that everybody and his dog have to be able to do anything, thus anything which might require a minumum level of brains and dedication won’t survive in todays MMOs. 🙁

  • Games are designed now with very, very strict rules to keep everyone’s play experience down almost the exact same path. Crafting is part of that whole shift. The idea that different people might do different things and produce different items, or different quality items, is absolutely out of the question in a world where developers strive to maintain absolute control over the play experience.

    The nail in the coffin is that the on rails experience they’re providing is designed for the lowest common denominator, so not only are you doing the exact same crap as everyone else, but you don’t even need to think while you do it. It’s so very tedious.

    Every time I read about SWG it makes me more sad that I missed it 🙁

  • The craft I always wanted added was Taxidermy. I used to lobby for it on beta forums but no-one ever put it in. It would be amazing to be able to hunt monsters then stuff and mount them and place them in your house!

    As for the idea that often comes up of being known for what you make as a crafter, I’d want that to be optional. I hate systems that add your name to things you craft. Sell on the market and get tells from strangers expecting you to make stuff RIGHT NOW, often with your mats, at your expense, for a tip if you’re lucky. Say no, politely, and get a sarcastic comment at best, more likely a whining argument about why your time is less valuable than a “customer’s”. No thanks. If I’m crafting I want to do it anonymously.