This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "Why even have crafting in every game?" by Gintoh. In the thread, Gintoh wonders why MMO developers feel obligated to include crafting in their games:
Obviously in sandbox game it's a must as you're supposed to feel you're in a world.
But some people complain that the crafting sucks in a themepark game about gear grinding, and it's like why does it matter if you can get way better gear from raiding? Why really even bother having drafting in say WoW or a better example DDO? Why is it a must?
lizardbones addresses the WoW portion of the OP's question, and touches upon the purpose of crafting in Rift as well:
In WoW, you need something to break the monotony of what you're doing. Even if the thing breaking the monotony is more monotonous that what you were trying to break up. There are very few crafted items that are better than what you can get from drops. I think Inscriptions are the only player supplied items in the game.
In Rift, it's a source of quests and XP, along with some gear that's better than what you'd get from quests, or it fills in gear slots that you don't get from quests.
ericbelser feels that if a developer doesn't feel the need to add depth to their game's crafting system, they may just be better off not doing it at all:
I have to agree that if you aren't going to do a crafting system with any depth then there is little reason for every game to include it. Many of the current themeparks seem to have a crafting system tossed in just, "because they had to have one".
Personally, I'd rather have a sandbox type game with a serious crafting system, but I know I would find some of themeparks more enjoyable if they just got rid of the wasted systems. Toss out all the "junk" loot that serves as nothing but cumbersome coin tokens; get rid of crafting that has no depth or personality.
I agree that crafting isn't a necessary feature to be included with every MMO. If it fits, sure, there is a segment of MMO gamers who enjoy nothing more than a good crafting system and I wholeheartedly believe that those gamers should be catered to when appropriate, the issue is its not always appropriate for every game to have such a crafting system. MMORPGs as they were traditionally defined were a lot easier to describe, but today that definition is changing constantly and there are tons of different games that are categorized as MMO that don't necessarily fit within the typical MMO mold, but this doesn't make them any less of an MMO.
Take DC Universe Online, for example. Many users are commenting that the game has no crafting and so really combat is the only activity available in the game. To that I say: so what? It's just not that kind of game, you jump in, kick some heads in and get out. There is room for all sorts of games in the MMO market, and developers shouldn't all feel the need to include crafting. Cryptic Studios tried to design Champions Online with an MMO bullet list (including crafting) and many things really didn't fit the game. No use in trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
What are your thoughts on the necessity of crafting systems in MMOs?