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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] Elder Scrolls Online: Crafting a Community

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Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16248

OP  2/04/13 2:26:40 PM#1

Crafting in The Elder Scrolls Online seems to be shaping up to be something very special and quite unique in the MMO space. In today's Elder Scrolls column, we take a look at a recent conversation with Creative Director Paul Sage and his thoughts about crafting and community. See what we gained from the discussion and then leave your thoughts in the comments.

One thing that’s plagued a great many themepark games over the years is the notion that all the best items must either a.) be obtained through group-centric encounters or b.) through arduous grinding or c.) all of the above. In recent years, there have been a handful of games which try to break this stodgy old mold: The Secret World comes to mind. In that game you can make some fantastic stuff, but even then the best items are still obtained through the dungeons and other group content and I hear reports that crafting is actually falling behind.

Read more of Bill Murphy's The Elder Scrolls Online: Crafting a Community.

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


Advanced Member

Joined: 1/15/11
Posts: 1202

2/05/13 2:29:31 PM#2

Good read, I love crafting and hope they do something great with it. I have a feeling they will probably go with something you talked about in the article about gathering pieces from other crafters to make the best item, its really the only way to go to make crafting a community type effort.

I like progression though, and the first part of your two-fold, three part theory I don't agree 100% with though. I don't see a problem with recipe, I really didnt think GW2 discovery system was that great and I hated the mystic forge stuff. I like combining different items to get a different result though, but after you do it once you know to do it with every other item out there. I don't see how you can remove levels and keep progression, I know you can say your increasing skills in your craft but it still leveling it. Someone just picking up blacksmithing tools should not be able to throw together a masterpiece armor set.

I really hope they put tags on your crafted items, that would require them to have different grades of quality in each item. You can have for example Copper Sword in maybe 5 different qualities, and being able to make the better quality items will come from having more experience in Blacksmithing/Swords. So if you were say an master in Swords and you try to make an Axe, it will be lower quality since you never have made an axe before. From what I can remember about the crafting in DAoC, its been years, it was along the lines of this style of crafting. I thought it was great, and people would seek out certain expert crafters to make a certain peice of armor or weapon and you knew you had the quality stuff when you seen the crafters name on the items. 


Advanced Member

Joined: 9/18/04
Posts: 392

2/05/13 2:45:37 PM#3

Just awful.  Probably written by a person who never seriously played a crafter in any game.

The entire point of Themepark MMOs is that you do something and get a reward.  Do a quest, get a reward.  Run an instance, get a reward.  In themepark MMOs, there is no point in doing any instance if the loot is not desirable.  Be it a raid, or a full group instance, the content is totally abandoned.

Which is why these games generally turn into barter fests, where instead of getting a reward you get faction coins or marks or the content becomes doable but the end rewards are the same. 

The end result is the same.  Item loot is always going to be better than crafted loot.  That is the whole point of a themepark MMO.


What developers do not understand, and what they have NEVER understood, is that there are players (and quite a lot of them) who only want to play crafters.  For them, crafting IS the fun part.  They are making items people desire.


The only themepark MMO that has ever gotten that part right was Vanguard.  Every other themepark crafting system is a total and utter wast of time and money to develop.  Not because it is not used, but because it is not needed.


Crafters could not care less about removing crafting levels or the tedium involved.  They are CRAFTERS....the work involved in making items is what appeals to them.


Make the players figure out the recipe for themselves....what exactly does that do?  Just find a website with the recipe.  The developers simply do not understand that the majority of people playing as crafters already HAVE their crafting website opened.  EQ Traders anyone?


If you want to be serious about crafting and make it a core part of the game, just copy and paste one of the successful crafting systems.  SWG had a great one for a sandbox type of game, Vanguard has a great one for a themepark.  Eve has another one, Horizons also had a great system.


Don't pretend you want to put in the effort for a great system and then just half ass it like most of the games.  All you are doing is insulting the players of the game.


Just come out and say the following.  "Crafting in TESO is going to be like WOW" because we all know that is how it will probably turn out.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

2/05/13 2:50:01 PM#4
Yeah but they've already made statements that it won't be like wow.

Such as "pve, pvp and crafted gear will be equal in quality"

If they were doing a wow it would be pve gear is better than pvp gear is better than craft gear.

Elite Member

Joined: 5/23/06
Posts: 5259

2/05/13 3:27:27 PM#5
I really hope crafters get 1-3 gear slots that only crafters can fill, or at least best in a few slots is player made. Its about time that best in slot came from player made for at least some items

=-D Only on a forum can optimism be called the bad thing and pessimism is the good thing =-D


Novice Member

Joined: 7/11/12
Posts: 53

2/05/13 3:46:39 PM#6
I just hope crafting won't be what it was like in Skyrim. Not sure why they allowed items to be so overpowered. 

Novice Member

Joined: 3/07/11
Posts: 588

2/05/13 4:15:05 PM#7

Tbh I would happy for all good gear to come from crafters, but have the best gear require materials from end game content, that way to get the best you either have to do everything, know people that do the things you dont or buy from strangers. It's a win for economy, social and progression imo


Novice Member

Joined: 11/10/12
Posts: 1338

2/05/13 6:21:14 PM#8
i wish it will be a little bit like SWG which had the best crafting/trading imho

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Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 525

2/05/13 7:23:29 PM#9

" remove recipes and make players discover them on their own"

I'm not sure I understand that quote.  Do you mean like Alchemy in WoW, where when you craft something you have a random chance of discovering another recipe?  Or do you mean trial and error?  I got the impression it was the later, but that would be pretty silly.  Because trial and error in this day and age isn't really trial and error, it ends up being just look it up on the internet.  And frankly that just breaks immersion and doesn't really add anything to the game.


Also boxing a player into only one type of crafting doesn't sound very Elder Scrollsy to me.  Elder Scrolls games are all about flexibility and the fundamental idea that you can become proficient at just about anything given enough time.





Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/25/12
Posts: 1166

I'm only playing the role chosen for me. Who you supposed to be?

2/05/13 7:24:48 PM#10

Some good ideas Bill.  It would be nice if Crafting 'mattered' again.  Most of the recent MMOs felt like it was a tacked on subsystem.  I dont like to craft just to do it.  I like to craft because I want to either create something USEFUL for myself to use or to sell to others.

If loot items are consistently better than player crafted ones how do you have a community?

I hope TESO takes this seriously.   I would love for a developer to bring back the virtual world MMO.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/10/06
Posts: 127

2/05/13 7:28:07 PM#11

In SWG, in order to make the best specialty gear, you needed drops brought to you by grinders and raiders, or you needed to go get it yourself. Krayt membranes anyone?

I always had standing buy orders for krayt scales, because it was a cheap way to plug the kinetic hole in Maberi armor, which was great mid level-no buff needed- faction grinding.

However, to make such a system viable, it means item decay that cannot be repaired beyond a certain point. Otherwise, less than max level gets flooded with everyone's old gear, or we are stuck with bound armor. Item decay gives a use to less than perfect weapons and armor, as they become the trash items you grind with, saving the best stuff for difficult content.


Novice Member

Joined: 2/15/04
Posts: 1056

"" "" "" ""

2/05/13 7:32:05 PM#12
Why not have it be like skyrim you know that elder scrolls game we know and love. The daedric weapons and bone armor I crafted myself is better than anything I've been able to get to drop anywhere. I had to hunt down the materials for it after skilling up my crafts and picking the correct path to get the desired result. If it's not broke why fix it?

Novice Member

Joined: 9/07/04
Posts: 82

2/05/13 8:02:32 PM#13

Ok, I may be hopelessly dreaming here but bare with me and please i'd like to hear some constructive critisism on this outside the box idea:

Turn crafting into a sort of mini-game. I take blacksmithing as my example. Tired boring old way is you open up your blacksmithing window and choose the armor or weapon you wish to make in which case your character standing at the forge will simply hammer indescriminately on an anvil and WAHLA! Like magic, the space of nothingness you were hammering becomes your item in your bag slot. BLEH been done before, BUTTTTTT

New Idea:

I liked how in skyrim the camera would pan out and show your character actually hammering an item or stoking the fire. Now lets take that alittle further and why not actually have the player enter a first person view mini-game state where you  actually put the piece of armor or weapon in the fire and wait for  the color to change within about 7 seconds from a red to orange until eventually a white hot spot forms on the piece in one of about 12 different pre-coded areas of the armor or weapon. Then you actually pull the armor out and try to hammer as dead-on to that spot as possible as you compress the metal as much as possible. Now this process is rinse and repeated about 5 times at 7 seconds roughly to have the color change take place and aobut another 5 seconds of hammering. Then dip in cold water and WAHLA! much better immersion and crafting actually can turn out to be quite fun. All the while the computer keeps track of how dead-on your aim was in hammering the white spots and averages out the fives times then depending on the accuracy their could be a slight difference in stats between the same crafted piece by two seperate different crafters. 

Just something that popped in my head after reading all the posts above ^_^


Novice Member

Joined: 4/28/10
Posts: 48

2/05/13 8:11:24 PM#14
@ruku because once a couple thousand people get screwed by lag and/or a disconnect and their mini game gets their item fuxed theree will be mass rage

Novice Member

Joined: 5/28/08
Posts: 110

Good Gravy!!

2/05/13 8:18:21 PM#15

Maybe it will be more like you get items and things like you would in most games....but with high enough craftign skills you can improve the item a bit more.


Sort of like how it works in Hellgate Global.


Though i think maybe they should have a degradation thing that if you are not constantly crafting you could go down in values.....sort of like Ultima Online.

That way it will keep people crafting if they want to keep the high skills.



Novice Member

Joined: 1/28/13
Posts: 9

2/06/13 12:52:23 AM#16

2 koboldfodder :

Well, I guess you just not a big fan of crafting, because all your statements are more emotional then argumentative. Actually logic is broken, especially when you saying about collision between end-game and crafting. I think it will be solved easily with rare materials, that drop only from end-game bosses.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/08/13
Posts: 112

2/06/13 5:09:51 AM#17
Item decay or it's a worthless endeavor. All items even raid loot.

"Not even a cray super computer can make this game run well. Thats what happens when you code an MMO in pascal. " - miglor


Novice Member

Joined: 2/15/04
Posts: 1056

"" "" "" ""

2/06/13 8:13:22 AM#18
Originally posted by Plageron

Maybe it will be more like you get items and things like you would in most games....but with high enough craftign skills you can improve the item a bit more.


Sort of like how it works in Hellgate Global.


Though i think maybe they should have a degradation thing that if you are not constantly crafting you could go down in values.....sort of like Ultima Online.

That way it will keep people crafting if they want to keep the high skills.


That's kinda how skyrim crafting works currently. I can find armor and weapons not in the tree I picked but because my smithing is 100 and I have gear enchantments that improve my smithing I can improve the weapons and gear I find significantly even if I can't craft them.

I'm not sure how I feel about item decay in all honesty though. I've played games with and games without and I've always found it more of nuissance than a benefit. Mainly because even though I always craft in games I don't level all the crafts so it becomes an issue for gear not in the craft I picked.


Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 18485

2/06/13 8:36:52 AM#19
Originally posted by koboldfodder

Just awful.  Probably written by a person who never seriously played a crafter in any game.


I would say that though I agree that there are people  who don't find crafting tedious I think he has a point.

Sorry to say but crafters really aren't all "that". They collect items, have a recipe and if their level is sufficient they press a button. Repeating this raises their level. this is horrible. I do agree that Vanguard was a step on the right direction.

There should also be skill involved as well as actual creative input.

I personally despise crafting. Hate it. And then one day I was fooling around with a neverwinter nights character creator mod which allowed the player to create and color all sorts of gear based upon the parts that were available in the game. I found myself doing this for hours. Hours! I was actively creating and experimenting. And loving it.

My from the hip crafting system would allow for that to be the drivign thrust of the system. Part of what makes an artist an artist is experimenting with what he/she knows and growing as a creator.

I think players should discover recipes and should discover new ways of creating items from newly found parts. But just knowing the recipe isn't enough. Have it so they need to work and get proficient with materials and make it so that they need to, in real time, be an active part of the process as opposed to pressing a button.

Maybe create a mini game where various materials have differnet properties and it's up to the player to create and combine those materials based upon his knowledge and perhaps knowing when to change a factor or add a component.

Allow crafers to experiment with items and discover secret properties. Anyone who creates or builds will tell you that knowing what ingredients, parts, etc is only part of the equation There's actual skill and talent involved.

Otherwise I'd be a world class chef. And I'm not.

I guess what I'm saying is that ti's ok to remove tedium. Crafting shouldn't be about personalities that revel in tedium. It should be about creators and artisans.



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Joined: 2/15/04
Posts: 1056

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2/06/13 10:25:20 AM#20

Yeah crafting can be extremely tedious and boring at times. The only game that I've played with a mini game for crafting was FFXIV. Didn't play it much but gave the crafting a try just to see how it worked and for the little I did do it seemed to add new level of depth to it. I can imagine playing the same mini game over and over a couple thousand times can get tedious too though.

If i remember correctly based on how you performed in the mini game effected either overall completion rate, skill gain rate, or high quality rate. So you could aim for a specific goal instead of just put in recipe, hit enter, and hope for best. There were also various tools you could acquire to help as well. For example I think if you had a steel needle for cloth craft it would be better than an iron needle. Something similiar to that for skyrim would be cool with me.

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