This one is really simple. I really, really like making things in games. I say “making things” because it extends beyond just crafting and tradeskills. I really like building bases and forts. I like making machines that work and accomplish tasks. I like making characters. I like making factories and assembly lines. I like making things come to life when given the freedom and my own imagination.
Minecraft, Dragon Quest Builders, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, Albion Online, etc. (there are many more), all share the common trait of giving me the freedom to ‘make things’ the way I personally want to make them.
Here are a few examples of these mechanisms and why I like them.
I like a crafting system with freedom. In order to satisfy the requirements, I have to be able to leave my mark on whatever I create. In SWG this was great because I chose the materials, their quality, and how I would experiment on the item. The result was two people could make the same set of armor but have it be entirely different. Certain people were sought after for having the best type of X armor.
This one ties in closely with crafting. When it comes to “making things,” I like to say money counts too. I like making money in games! I suck at making money in modern games because it has become tied up in the combat side of things. UO was great for me because I could choose to be a store owner. I found a piece of property in a great location, crafted weapons, and made money selling them to the people who would fight each other practically on my doorstep.
Block by Block
I love being able to take apart the world and put it back together. I love combining items into things which can then be combined with freedom to make something else unique. Space Engineers and Minecraft are two of the best examples of this. I also like Astroneer and Subnautica for this same type of “make my own stuff” adventure.
Making things in video games brings me joy. I was one the kid who had buckets and buckets of mixed up LEGOS and make something new out of them every day. I’ve never been great at making a masterpiece, but I can safely say I don’t have to be. It’s not about WHAT I make, but the process and going through the act of making things that simply find fun.
I made a huge decision for my character yesterday… I dropped Engineering and went Jewelcrafting.
My dream of being a Gnome Engineer came to an end when I was convinced by many that Engineering has no practical application in Legion.
It’s true. I really can’t see much practical use for me as an engineer.
When I realized how easy it is to simply make Gnomish Hanglider kits in my old Garrison, I quickly realized it was a no-brainer to drop it.
I took up JC and boosted it up to 700 within a few minutes (WoD mats on AH).
Then I took 200 Leystone Ore, prospected it, and turned what would have sold for 5600 on the AH (raw ore value) into gems valued at over 15k. I sold a few on the AH and kept the rest for making things.
My history with JC goes back to WotLK. I was playing my Druid tank at the time and used JC to make a good deal of money. I remember hitting 50k, which back in Legion wasn’t bad for a regular player like myself. I did so simply from buying low cost gems on the AH, cutting them into stats, and reselling them. Simple as that. I hope to do the same in Legion.
My new dream is to become a Gnomish Gem Tinker of sorts. I guess that makes some sense? Gnomes and gems? It could work.
I know that JC was recently (as in days ago) nerfed quite a bit. Gems were giving bonuses at like 250 or something and are now down to 180? I might have those numbers wrong, but the gist of it is that it was a huge hit. Still, stats are stats and people buy them.
Worst case scenario: Blizzard suddenly makes Engineering amazing in a future patch and JC dwindles into economic obscurity.
Best case scenario: I’ll finally make some money in Legion so that I can afford the ridiculously inflated AH prices.
When it comes to community, crafting, and virtual worlds you can consider me a super-fan. I have written post after post since we started blogging in 2007 about UO and SWG crafting, relying on other players, creating virtual economies, etc.
There’s a new game on the horizon — a tiny speck on the horizon — worth looking at: Crowfall.
There aren’t a lot of details. Lots of little tidbits of info are dropping out there, and some bigger announcements are being teased. Their interview on MMORPG.com caught my attention. Here’s a snippet:
There are a ton of lessons to be learned looking at games like Star Wars Galaxies and EVE Online which had and still have success with their crafting and economic loops. From a very high altitude, crafters need to be able to: craft unique items, explore new recipes and profit from the results of this exploration, and create customized items for all styles of play. Crafters must have an audience to buy their goods. The loop between crafter and combatant has to exist! And, ideally, crafters need to be able to “mark” their product so that they can build a social reputation and a following.
The very concept that players can and will lose their items at some point is required, otherwise the game loop breaks. It is a very controversial topic for those who don’t like the potential of losing their items, and we understand that. But sometimes you have to embrace ideas that may not be popular at first glance, because they open up amazing areas of gameplay that are otherwise not accessible.
They’re saying the right things. Some of the leads on the team have experience with SWG, UO, Shadowbane, and other older great titles. They’ve brought in Raph Koster as a consultant or sorts to weigh in on the project’s crafting side. Sounds to me like a team looking to hopefully make a game harkening back to the games these guys enjoyed — the same games I keep preaching about.
Luck plays all sorts of roles in MMORPGs. I’m wondering how much randomness we really need, and how much of this random luck based gameplay can be replaced with the player actually engaging with and doing something in the game.
There are those moments of luck when you crit that monster right before it kills you and you survive. I think those elements of luck are less avoidable and are generally ‘okay’. They add to the spice of life and the thrill and dynamic nature of combat. Sometimes twitch based play isn’t always necessary, and even most twitch gameplay has elements of random luck.
The kind of luck I want to see change mostly has to deal with items. I’ve experienced a variety of item drop luck. EverQuest monsters would often have a loot table, and one particular mob might drop a pair of pants I need. I could kill that monster 100 times and it might never drops the pants, but it could drop them twice on the 101 and 102 kill. Raiding in WoW is another type of luck. When 10-40 people go into a raid the luck factor becomes much more complex: Does the item you want actually drop? If so, are you the one to win it?
That kind of randomness leads to frustration and is purely “Did it drop? yes or no?” Almost no skill or active input is required from the player other than attending and making the kill. There are slightly better ways which I admit do not remove luck entirely from the equation but use it more as one tiny cog in a much larger system.
One of these forms of item randomness I did find workable was that in SWG. For example, Krayt Dragons on Tatooine could drop an item called Krayt Tissue. The Krayt Tissues would have stats like “Enhances: +30 (to 300) to Max Damage, -0.3 (to -2.0) to Speed.” The +30 was common and low end, and anything around 100+ was really good but pretty rare. This item was used in crafting by Weaponsmiths to make Acid Launchers, DH17 Carbines, and a couple of other weapons better. They would take the tissue, use it as a component, and rely on their skill levels, modifiers, recipes, etc., to output a weapon that itself could have a range of stats.
The difference between item luck in these examples (EQ/WoW vs. SWG) is significant. One is luck or “randomness” (call it whatever makes you sleep better at night) worked into a larger system and the other is simply ‘did it drop or not’. One feels integrated with the game, and the other feels lazy to me.
I want players to have more control over this randomness. It’s not enough to simply craft 100 swords and have 30 of them crit into pristine quality. What else can the crafter do to have control over that end result? Is there a way the crafter can use the materials or a skill he can acquire? It has to be more than whack-a-mole or combine and pray. It has to be more than “did it drop for me?” These all have to be combined into something more dynamic and complex.
I still think SWG was on the right track. The raw materials had variability in their quality based on several factors: Conductivity, Decay Resistance, Flavor, Malleability, Overall Quality, Potential Energy, Unit Toughness, etc., etc. Any combination of these could have a different quality, and it was up to the crafter or a supplier to find them in the world and harvest enough to be used. Crafters then combined the resources, used experimentation points, and crafted an item that itself had varying degrees of stats and qualities based on the outcome of the components and experimentation. Very few items were the same, and crafters could leave their mark based on their recipes — this is what made someone the “best weaponsmith on the server.”
Integrating this all into a crafting system seems to be the easiest way to remove the dumb or lazy luck factor. While I get that some people enjoy loot pinatas, it’s way too one dimensional for me and won’t ever lead to something new or better.
Two days ago I made a post about the MMO I want to make one day. From that post a ton of ideas have started to pour in about how certain features would work. I have been frantically taking notes as you guys expand upon my thoughts and even take the simple notes I posted and run with them in the exact direction I was wanting to go in-game.
One of our readers named Gringar hit the nail on the head with how I want mining to work. I mentioned that I want miners to actually have to go into caves and mine, and he already jumped to where my mind was going: Vast cave networks! Imagine if mining was done in massive mountains with tunnels and the deeper you go the better the resources you can find. I started thinking more on the idea.
I’m not big into the idea of this voxel stuff where the world itself actually breaks. I don’t like WoW’s (and all modern themeparks’) style of nodes either. I think I would stick to something a little more like UO where you you can interact with various surfaces of the cave and resources can dry up and randomly replenish and rotate. If you didn’t play UO, think like SWG.
These caves would be glorious to behold. I’m talking massive caverns, crystals, rare metals, super rare artifacts to uncover to be used by crafters to enhance weapons, etc. The better your mining skills the deeper in the caverns you’ll be able to go.
Here’s where it can get interesting. Imagine how deep these caves can go… in the words of Saruman: “You fear to go into those mines. The dwarves delved too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum… shadow and flame. “
Yep! I want there to be awesome enemies to stand in the way, traps and obstacles to overcome, and other horrors to frighten even the strongest miners away. What if certain areas of the cave could randomly be uncovered as a certain amount of ore or stone was withdrawn from deep enough in the caverns. Imagine after a few weeks the caves have been mined deep enough that suddenly a door appears at the bottom with glowing runes.
The miners open the door and a massive winged abomination comes crashing through. Adventurers would have to come and save the miners, or else the miners would have to retreat to a less deep and less rewarding tier of the cave. That might be a neat way to get both gatherers and miners working together since the adventurers want what the demon guards, and the miners want the resources.
So many awesome ways to take simple systems like gathering and make them into a huge features. Keep the ideas coming guys, this is great!