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Just One Moar (formerly: How To Lose Your Life To An MMORPG)

Part diary, part commentary, part news reviews and editorials covering the world of MMORPGs Among many MMORPG:I feature Runes of Magic and World of Warcraft

Author: giantsquid

Crafting Is A Niche Too: Give Us Our Game!

Posted by giantsquid Monday June 29 2009 at 3:21PM
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Recently I read Tobold’s post on “Mainstream and Niche Games“, and saw some Twitters from crafters wanting better crafting and it really started me thinking about crafting oriented games.

PvP really is a niche market. Any simple look at a few game’s server lists will show that there are more PvE players than PvP. I’m not really a PvP player but I always pick PvP servers, if given the choice. I view PvP from a sandbox point of view. If it’s available, I want it, because to me it’s another addition that adds more fun to a game. I mostly play Runes of Magic right now, and chose the international Smacht(PvP) server even though I hardly PvP. I want to have the option, even if I hardly participate.

There are some great PvP niche games, and many are free. Shaiya is perhaps my favorite of the PvP niche. Great graphics, smooth server uptime, and a fun massive PvP system pitting up to hundreds against hundreds. Although it is a very serious grind oriented system of leveling, it is still fun.

So why not a crafting oriented niche MMORPG? This has me feeling very left out as a crafter. I can only assume that a crafting niche would be even smaller than a PvP niche. So small in fact, that no one has found it economically viable to produce such an MMO.

However, just like Shaiya and it’s very PvP centric gameplay, it’s not the only thing to do in the game. Shaiya has loads of solo grinding, dungeons, party, and raid content. In fact the PvP zones are separated so one need not ever participate in PvP while playing Shaiya.

Why can’t we have something like Vanguard with its crafting, only the crafting is bulked up, more involved and the rest of the game takes second stage to it? Even if it were to be produced in the free to play market, which would make it a lot smaller than Vanguard?

I would love to try a game that had a craft system like Vanguard or EQ2 that was the center of the game. An MMORPG like that could be quite fun and still contain other elements like questing, leveling, and all that jazz.

Wow, imagine a game that took crafting to an extreme. With hundreds of more recipes and items to be made, enhanced, and sold on a beefed up auction house.

As I currently have limited knowledge on Vanguard and EQ2’s craft systems, I will start with a basic form of WoW’s or RoM’s.

I would first come up with more resources to be gathered.


* Wood
* Food plants
* Flowers
* Ore
* Stone
* Minerals

Even more types, if I thought about it longer. Then I’d add a system of grades of each, so you could have:

* Brass: Poor
* Brass: Okay
* Brass: Good
* Brass: Better
* Brass: Best

That grade system wood go for every kind of ore, herb, wood, etc…

I wouldn’t forget Skinning to get leathers from mobs either, along with types and grades for each type as well.

That covers a lot for gathering resources. For refining, I’d use a system like EQ2 or Vanguard that I only read a bit about. So during the crafting system enhancements of different types could be added based on a craft skill point system. Enhancements could be added with another large set of ingredients like:

* Salts
* Oils
* gems

Don’t forget yet another set of grades for the enhancement ingredients.

Maybe even a system where currency(in-game gold) could play a part.

Different sets of tools that apply skill increases to help you get better quality resources when gathering too, and maybe even different quality workstations that helped increase your chances of better quality crafted items.

Of course we’d have to have an in-game housing system so we could build the houses. Maybe start with a base one-room house and you can “build” extensions, floors, additional rooms. Thousands of pieces of furniture, maybe you could find or earn better recipes to build the better tools to increase a % chance of getting better grades of resources and refining better items.

Group Crafting or: "Craft Party"

I’ve been talking a lot about crafting(well, why not? I love it). I wrote a post on making a crafting-centric MMORPG, and even followed it up with another small post to flesh out some ideas a bit more.

This post is more of the same, but concentrating on an idea that came while I was drifting off to dreamland.

I thought of trying to integrate(or replace) current gaming elements with a crafting based element. I started by thinking of how a player party works.

If you could have a special group(or party) recipes that would be complete with level requirements and profession requirements but also require 2-5 players being in a party to craft.

* 2-5 players formed into a party
* each player in party requires a copy of special party recipe, and the required craft skill(s)

Let’s start with a basic 5-man party and run down some ideas I came up with

So you have your party and your all gathered around the correct station and you all have a copy of the recipe and meet the skill level requiremen(s).

* Anyone in the party can start the process by opening up your profession/tradeskill window. Simply clicking on the recipe will run a check to see if you are actually in a party and everyone meets the requirements. Where a new Craft Party window will open for everyone in the party.

I think it’d be neat to have a craft skill point system like in EQ2 or Vanguard, so let’s say that’s already in this imaginary MMORPG.

* With the Craft Party window open you will need to check with all party members to coordinate your efforts. Once everyone is ready, you can hit a button that says “start”, on the window.
* One the process is started a bar appears that slowly fills up depending on the difficulty and/or level of the item being crafted.
* Let’s say, for this example, you are working on a mid-level chest armor, that would result in a blue piece, thus the timer for this would be one minute.
* The timer starts to tick across as the party is now “crafting” the item. As the timer progresses, there will be a percentage change of difficulty which will open up a new smaller window randomly for one or more of the players.
* This new window would represent complications, and will only give you, one of the other players, or even multiple players at the same time, a few seconds to click a button to overcome the complication
* The complication will require a certain amount of extra “craft skill points” from each member that is required to overcome it. If they do not have enough points, then the complication stays and the item will have flaws(it could still be a good item). In addition to extra craft points, some of the complications may require additional numbers of one of the indgredients(so make sure to stock up)
* There will be an opportunity, toward the end of crafting to add any enhancements based off of players professions(if 1 or more players have a profession that allows gem making or alchemy, this part of the progress bar will give you a small window of opportunity to click to get enhancements added)
* Enhancements will be treated the same way, with random complications throughout that need all players attention.

Now this was a basic thought I had. I know it’s not that original or complex, or maybe not even as fun as it could be, but I like the idea that I’m shooting for and just need to flesh it out a bit more.

Also, I know what you’re thinking. Who gets the item? or does each member get the item. Well, I thought about it, and so far my idea for fun, risk, gambling, and so forth was that only 1 item gets made, unless all party members have enough of the required resources, and craft points.

So here is where I’d backtrack and say as soon as the craft party window opens, and before you click start, each player will have a small box to input a “bid” taken from their pool of craft points.

This leaves a fun gambling aspect. You need to guess how much you can bid to win, and still have enough points to actually get through the process and any unforeseen complications.

What about if you only have 2 people, or 3 people in the party, instead of 5?

I was thinking there could be a grade scale to determine the outcome. Say you have 5 grades. So the item will only be grade 2, if 2 people craft, etc….

Sure it would drive people to only want to do it with 5 people, but I don’t think it would stop smaller parties from crafting. You just need to make all items worthwhile.

I mean, as it is, there are better drops than others, but not everyone goes for them? Player psychology, time restraints? I’m not too sure but if craft party recipes are special to begin with, a lower grade one will still be better than a lot of solo crafted ones.

Oh, how I can dream…

    -Jeremy Stratton

How To Lose Your Life To An MMORPG

nickwjm writes:

well thought out post. Like you I am a crafter and agree with many of your points. Will game developers take notice? who knows, i certainly hope so though.

Vanguard was a step in the right direction and has to have the best crafting system to date. Unfortunatley low pop means little market. Vanguard also had a great way of dealing with the problem of the market getting flooded by lots and lots of grind items.

I get disappointed time and time again when I play MMO's which advertise crafting, the latest being WAR. Although in general a great game, crafting isnt. If you have not played it then the idea of cultivating was certainly more entertaining than the actual practice. It made WOW's crafting seem good!

The problem were in is for a game to really have great crafting it will need to have great PVE and good PVP. Most crafters (and if not certainly me!) make goods to make money. I guess its the business side of things i like just as much as everything else. If the world is full of other crafters then noone will buy our gear.

The only other things id add to your post are.. (and sorry if these ideas are in your post as I must of missed them!)

SWG - Resources. SWG is the only game I know of where the resources had stats. I dont just mean poor, avg, good etc I mean actual stats which effected the quality of the item produced. These resources also changed. It introduced the ability to get a resource on a server which may not appear for months again, making itemsmade by it extra special and rare.

Another SWG idea I liked was the ability to display your items in your own house. I was a armoursmith and it was great to be able to place suits of armor around my shop that people could see when they came to visit.

Crafting maybe a niche market, but I think many developers and publishers would be suprised quite how many of us there are. World of Crafters Unite!

Lucius Blackdragon

Freetrader, POTBS
Master Armoursmith, SWG, EQ2
Outfitter, Vanguard
Taylor/Enchantor - WOW
Plantpot - WAR!


Mon Jun 29 2009 5:05PM Report
Death1942 writes:

Wurm online is about as close as you can get to a niche crafting game.  A tale in the deasert is 100% crafting but to be honest, i don't feel like making ancient Egyptian devices.

Mon Jun 29 2009 6:14PM Report
giantsquid writes:

@nickwjm Thanks for the info on SWG.  I knew it has a great system, but never looked into exactly how its crafting used to work.  It sounds like I would have really enjoyed it.

@Death1942 I've looked into those games a lot.  I may download them to try the gameplay out.  But after seeing how low the populations are and the graphics, I'm turned off a bit.  Like I said, I'll probably download them.  I'm a sucker for the free games, I've gotta try 'em all.

Mon Jun 29 2009 9:04PM Report
nickwjm writes:

im not sure what the SWG crafting is like now, I played in the pre NGE days. I look back fondly on it but am sure it had its faults. Its the resource thing that stuck in my mind the most. Always thought that was cool =)

It would just be agood to have a game where the crafting system took skill into account, so to craft you really would have to want to get good at it, not afk mash buttons.

Wed Jul 01 2009 3:35PM Report
Midare writes:

Like a freak, reading back entries.

While I like the group-crafting idea, I think it would only make sense for certain items. Basically large-scale things... like building wagons, houses, and seige weapons.

Needing to group up to make a suit of armor, or other smaller things would actually turn me off significantly. I see group-building more like barn-raising. For those big projects.

Sat Dec 12 2009 12:39AM Report writes:
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