In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Will we ever see complex crafting again?" by bigsmiff. Bigsmiff asks:
I started crafting in SWG and I am now ruined with all other MMO's. After dealing with the complexity of SWG's system, I can't find anything else that is even close. In SWG, I would spend a whole day doing nothing but scanning for resources, putting down harvesters, checking my factories, crafting items and then doing my vendor work.
Do you think we will ever see anything like it again?
How's the MMORPG.com community feel about this issue? Read below for some highlights!
i hope so. one of the best i have seen for crafting was a game called Horizon. game was bad but crafting was awesome. not only could make anything but there was no auction house. All the bigger cities had a local consignment/market house. So to make money you made different items for the different races then went around and stocked your markets. some things sold better in different towns then others. you made every thing all the way up to and including the houses, buildings. there were masons. carpenters roofers all needed to finish a building to you had to do a lot of bartering with skills unless you made lots of gold. adventurers made good gold just harvesting drops from kills for crafters or you could make a dedicated harveter to gather and make money. to bad the game suxed when trying to adventure / fight.
Rydeson isn't too optimistic:
I honestly doubt we'll see another game with crafting detailed and challenging.. EQ2's was fun, as was SWG.. Both were steps in the right direction, however both had some major mistakes as well.. From where I sit, more and more of this MMO genre just wants simple arcade hack and slash, and couldn't care less about fishing, cooking and crafting of any serious level.. As with another thread, a complex or serious crafting profession is more in line with creating a WORLD, not a game.. The content locus seem to prefer games moreso then worlds.. In fact, if done right, a solid mmorpg would be almost almost impossible for a locus to devour, because the world would be everchanging.. :)
theAsna makes the case that 'complex crafting' isn't necessary for a variety of reasons:
I don't understand the point in crafting (actually I do, as a non-combat activity). Thus I doubt there will be a need for elaborating such game aspects in the future. Especially with all those contradicting requirements/expectations different players have.
Let's face it. In a themepark MMO this is just a waste of dev and player time. With all those restrictions on tradeability it's mainly useful to the crafter himself. Additionally better equipment can usually be found while doing group content and pvp. Anything you can possibly sell for a profit is a nice perk, but it will not last forever (this is hardly the case because of a high competition between crafters).
I understand the rationale behind rising resource requirements for higher level crafting recipes. In the beginnings it might have been used to keep stuff rare (which doesn't work in an MMO environemnt in the long run). It was always a timesink. Later it turned more into a moneysink, which is a remedy for a big flaw. Namely being able to increase in-game wealth indefinitely (leading to mudflation).
How does crafting look like most of the time?
1) You have to acquire crafting recipes.
2) You collect ingredients
3) You craft the items for which you know the recipes (requires steps 1 & 2).
4) Repeat step 3 to increase your skill with the crafting profession and raw material gathering skills.
There is nothing creative in this process (except for trying to optimize the crafting process). You can't experiment (i.e. use alternative ingredients and see what happens then). You can't determine how the crafted item looks like.
The creators of MMOs used equipment as an additional motivational factor (carrot on a stick). By this they made crafting obsolete, especially since other in-game activities offer better rewards. Equipment doesn't really last a long time. After gaining a few levels you usually can throw away your old stuff. Why craft at all under such conditions?
If equipment would last longer it would help. Of course some players would start to moan that they don't get rewarded as often as they'd like for playing a game. Crafting doesn't really need to be complex or difficult or time consuming. It would suffice to make standard equipment (with the chance on a few extra traits while experimenting with ingredients). Other in-game activities should also give standard equipment as reward. Why not allow the players to design the looks for their items themselves? Fashion trends change over time. So players would be constantly engaged in crafting (at least the dedicated crafters). Trade restrictions are really getting ridiculous in those games as well.
Developers complain that they don't have the resources to create all the content that players crave for. Why not let the players care for such in-game aspects themselves?
I honestly used to hate crafting, even back in Star Wars Galaxies. Oddly enough, over the years my interest in crafting has grown considerably and now I pine for the days when crafting was actually interesting. I was really hopeful that BioWare's spin on crafting with Crew Skills in Star Wars: The Old Republic would end up being useful, but it really didn't. Most developers seem to add crafting as an afterthought these days, often with the sole purpose of giving a particular class something to do to add value to his character. I'd like to see crafted gear and items fill a real purpose in an MMO and serve as the backbone of a vibrant MMO economy.
Will we see that again in an AAA MMO? Maybe. There are games like Firefall, which place a significant emphasis on crafting. So perhaps it may be true that the notion of 'complex crafting' is down, but it just may not be out -- not yet!
Let us know your thoughts on complex crafting in the comments below!