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Community Spotlight: Crafting: Does Every MMO Need It?

Posted by MikeB Thursday January 13 2011 at 3:59PM
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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?

Rohn writes:

While I don't think that every single game MUST have crafting, because it might not fit in some types of gameworlds, but I believe they do need to have some type of viable alternate activities that flesh out and create the atmosphere of a worthwhile virtual persistent world.  They help provide depth and breadth to the game world.

Defending DCUO's lack of crafting by saying it doesn't "fit" the IP is probably a stretch, in my opinion, especially in a game that's using soda as a healing potion.

As stated above, perhaps not every MMO needs crafting, but they should have worthwhile alternate activities.  Using DCUO as an example again, if they decided not to provide crafting, they should have provided some other types of systems.  To me, such a system could have been a fairly sophisticated Secret Identity system, which could have provided some alternate activities.

Alas, secret identities, which ABSOLUTELY fit the IP, are conspicuously missing.  Lore doesn't seem to have been a concern here, does it?

Thu Jan 13 2011 4:34PM Report
bamminc writes:

For many people the question is not what fits a particular game, rather what value does a game have.  The perception of value is enhanced with quality time-sinks like crafting and mini games.  The major problem with games that do not have an economy of any type or significant crafting is that the game play becomes one dimensional.  In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with that, but when you are talking about the cost of the game and a subscription fee, then value dictates there be more than one "adictive" quality to a game.  That is the weekness of games like DCUO, they are a blast to play; but at some point you want more.  Content is nice, but the same mechanic applied repeatedly to a slightly different background can get mind numbing.


All of that being said, nearly every Call of Duty, Sports and Battlefield game has a line of people waiting to pay $60 a year to see the new "content".  Only $5 a month.

Thu Jan 13 2011 6:34PM Report
maplestone writes:

Everyone's tastes differ, but personally I'd rather play an MMO without combat than an MMO without crafting.

Thu Jan 13 2011 9:39PM Report
Nesrie writes:

I am a lot more likely to consider a game with crafting than one without it.

Thu Jan 13 2011 9:53PM Report
Samhael writes:

If the crafting is as abysmal as STO's was, then I'd say hold it for release at a later time to allow it to be reworked. The devs tend not to really pay attention to crafting feedback in beta (at least in the ones I've participated in) and of course the open beta is way too close to launch for anything to be changed other than server stability/performance issues.  If done properly, crafting can add a lot to a game.  However, I think it would have fit right in for a comic book MMO (what would a game be without Batman tinkering with gadgets, Reed Richards/Dr. Doom dabbling with something scientific, or Tony Stark working on a new suit?).  This was just another place that DCUO missed the mark with me and one of the (many) reasons I cancelled my pre-order.

Fri Jan 14 2011 7:54AM Report
Mors-Subita writes:

Champions online had great crafting at launch... and we thought it would just get better.... then the devs went "oops, that isn't working as intended, it shouldn't be that powerful" and nerfed it to hell.


The problem isn't that devs can't put in robust crafting AND/OR crafting you care about. The problem is that if they allow crafting to be powerful enough to matter, the incentive to run treadmills in other parts of the game is reduced. Game devs in themeparks are putting out crappy crafting on purpose, as retarded as that sounds...

Fri Jan 14 2011 8:52AM Report
Zeus.CM writes:

crafting should be fun not frustrating!

Fri Jan 14 2011 8:56AM Report
Athcear writes:

A robust, crafting-based economy can be cool and help build community.  A lame, token crafting system is barely more than another grind.  It's not a strict necessity of an MMO, though it fits well in the fantasy MMORPG setting.  I don't miss crafting in DCUO.  What kinds of things could you possibly make?  Does Batman go on an adventure to get the special thread to make a better cape?  No, he has Lucius make him something.  A superhero's equipment is usually tied to their origin, not their advancement.  Crafting in DCUO would probably be token, and not particularly thematic.

Fri Jan 14 2011 9:02AM Report
TUX426 writes:

Yes. IMO, every MMO needs it.

Not just because it's a 'traditional' MMO activity, but also because without crafting, you're slave to the cash shop.

Fri Jan 14 2011 10:06AM Report
NeerDoWell writes:

If it wants my $15 a month it does. And a major plus to games with player driven economies.

Fri Jan 14 2011 1:56PM Report
battleaxe writes:

Dump crafting - I hate it.  Crafting requires a gear based game.  I'm tired of gear grind games where the skill of the player counts for less than what the character is wearing.  I don't want to play in  Kardashian-land.

Fri Jan 14 2011 2:03PM Report
Eladi writes:

Crafting is rather boring, but it add's gameplay. whit crafting comes componets and trade. this creates interaction and this is what makes crafting apealing. if a MMO has no crafting but other forms of social interaction and or competition other then plain combat crafting would not be missed at all.

Even the best FPS become boring after a while, course all it offers is combat. make people interact and build a strong friend and enemy list and the game will live way past its gameplay value thanks to interaction.

Fri Jan 14 2011 5:07PM Report
mCalvert writes:

MMOs dont always need it. Many MMOs do it poorly.

Fri Jan 14 2011 5:19PM Report
darkedone02 writes:

I love crafting, I like to make massive amounts of items and get an achievement of them and make the most powerful weapon out there in the world, that what I wish, but many mmo out there like to differ and only let dungeons get the most powerful and ancient item then the ones that you just craft.


In Everquest 2, you do need to craft if you want to get the best current gear when you level up, when I've gone to around level 20-30 during my time, I've been crafting alot. To level up my crafting skills to learn more crafting, and to get the right gear for my character that requires a certain rare item called Blacken Iron and Steel. I love the crafting in Everquest 2 cause it's feel more like your actually crafting with a chance of failure and a chance of success and a chance of gaining something rare and stronger then what I just crafted.


However most mmorpg games out there, the developers are too lazy to develop a unique crafting system, and I'm looking at the korean mmo games out there that just do "Let's just add in some useless crafting recipe that will do any benefits whatsoever to the player". Which I really dislike, and that is why I play less games that is the samn generic game with hardly no uniqueness, yeah, I'm looking at you Ijji, Netmarble, Atlus, Perfect World, your crafting sucks ass!


I've yet to see the day when developers think and execute a game that has the best crafting system of all time that rivals Everquest 2 impressive crafting system. Nothing that is a "click and wait" like WoW's, Aion, and many other mmorpg games, but more that feel like a mini-game or a challenge. A crafting system that allows me to craft furniture for player's housing that give that player some benefits like increase inventory or increase the movement speed for a limited amount of time, Craft the best shiny armor that sparkles with awesomeness, and many nice things, and each and every crafting of a trade is different.

Fri Jan 14 2011 6:09PM Report
jusomdude writes:

I like crafting in some games like EQII and Vanguard but I really don't care for it in other games like WoW.

I don't think an MMO absolutely needs crafting but a nice crafting system couldn't hurt.

Fri Jan 14 2011 7:04PM Report
EveJunkie writes:

Saga of Ryzom had a great crafting system and it was deeply integrated into the game play.

Fri Jan 14 2011 7:44PM Report
Jakf00 writes:

If an MMO has a player driven economy then it needs a great crafting system. PotBS and SWG had great economies and thus great communities.

If the gear from drops is better then what a crafter can make then an auction house is the crafters worst enemy.

Fri Jan 14 2011 8:11PM Report
huskerman34 writes:

I think they should add crafting to evry mmo. Players driven economies are way better than having mob drops and npc given you gear. Lotro crafting is deep but is rendered useless since every mob or npc quest gives you good gear and armour. I wish turbine would  fix this part of the game and give middle earth an economy.

Sat Jan 15 2011 12:24PM Report
jihashi writes:

 Just to counter huskerman34, there already is a player run economy in place, also. The items a player makes is by far still better than what you get from quests and drops. Which, of course, is the nature of the beast. If you want good gear, craft it yourself.

 Now, back on track. I agree with alot of you that MMO's should have a crafting system in place. It gives players something else to do other than the run here, kill this, gather this, deliver this type of quests. It's also a great way to slow down, relax, and enjoy the scenery while your gathering materials for your chosen profession. Plus, you can always compete with other players for the same node.

Sat Jan 15 2011 9:34PM Report
dirlok writes:

Why not have crafting? I personally will not play an MMO without crafting. I guess I got spoilt with the crafting system and player driven economy in SWG in the early days.

I'm still searching for a game with a crafting system like SWG. Having crafting and a player driven economy is like having 2 games in 1.

Crafting is needed!

Sat Jan 15 2011 10:42PM Report
Wepsy writes:

I'm still waiting for a game with a crafting system like SWG. Tbh games like COH, Champions Online and DCUO do not merit crafting ingame. Did superman ever craft a new gun or armour peice after he finished kicking Lex's butt atround town ? So some would argue Ironman crafts new armour pieces for himself but not everyone would be like ironman though. Wouldn't make sense if everyone was in that position. In a superhero MMO i'd rather have player housing/apartments and secret identities and more content to compensate for loss of crafting.

Sun Jan 16 2011 4:04AM Report
Roccprofit writes:

 I think that the equation is something more like a game that wants to survive and be open to the most players it can be needs a good crafting system. Why ? because not everyone enjoys the combat.

 In SWG we had entire cities made up of people that did nothing but crafting while the hard core pvpers and dungeon crawlers would never admit it cities like this are where they got there gear. Composite armor was a big deal for awhile where did you get it ? crafters. Bounty hunter armor another hot item again you need crafters, Jump To Light Speed you needed crafting for every part of your ship right down to the droid.

 SWG had a awsome base what they lacked was devs that knew how to build on it. Many of the big items that required a raid came in the form of a scematic that you then had to take to a crafter. Then that crafter had to put in some work to make that item for you so there was something for both styles of play the combat guy could  do his thing and the crafters and non combat folks could do theres.

 I like the idea of a player run economy the problem is that most of the players have a really broken view of how an economy works. For instance in SWG to keep it simple for this discussion lets say you had a uber item needed 3 ingrediants, the item it self only needs say 500 units of each so you go to the ore guy buy the three types say 1 million each you know have enough to make 500 of these items so in an economy you would make as many as you could and devide the cost between the number of items and then pad it a bit to make a profit, not most in SWG most there would pay that 3 mil and although they could make 499 more, that one item they would charge 3-5 mil for if not more and then they complain about the economy which they ruined with that idiotic priceing.

 I think crafting is essential if you want to reach the most people you can but, for player based economy that actually works people need to learn how it works or it ends up like the out of control priceing in games like wow, SWG and even STO where the crafting was not great but the priceing was insane.

 I really do miss the skill and thought that went into the crafting in SWG there is a reason why there were not many skilled crafters it was hard work to make a fully loaded ship, or to make that perfect weapon, or that perfect armor. To bad SOE had no clue how to keep the game good and are now just trying to suck what they can out of the game before they close the servers and toss in the towl.

Sun Jan 16 2011 10:12AM Report
dreamscaper writes:

Yes. We already have far too few things to do that don't involve whacking things over th head until their health bars vanish.

Sun Jan 16 2011 2:13PM Report
UnsungToo writes:

I don't think I really care anymore... I like crafting but it's not a neccessity. Seems as though all crafting is anymore is a way to suck our wallets dry.

But a subscription for less features doesn't work either. I just wish it was really about having fun again.

Sun Jan 16 2011 2:55PM Report
G2GTech writes:

Personally, I enjoy crafting a great deal, especially when an element of chance meets with skill.  SWG had an awesome crafting system, but given that it's bots online now, something more is needed.

ATITD has perhaps the best crafting system out there, but unfortunately, that's about all the game has.  Without combat, it failed to keep my attention, and the bots on it are almost as bad as SWG.

Eve Online has a multi-tiered crafting system which really works well, but is point-and-click like so many other MMOs.  At least you can choose T1, T2, T3, Rigs, PI, et al for your crafting focus.

I'm hoping a game comes out that has a deep crafting system with player ingenuity giving rewards.  Right now, the closest thing to that is Eve, if they ever fix the mechanics.

Tue Jan 18 2011 12:54AM Report
boincman writes:

I never waste my time crafting, though I do like games with crafting in it.  Normally I gather materials and sell them to the crafters.  This usually makes me enough money to buy all my stuff.

Mon Jan 31 2011 4:28PM Report writes:
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