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What makes an MMORPG good?

Well certainly there are a number of characteristics that would allow me to classify any MMORPG as good, but of course, we must remind ourselves that this is mostly opinion and opinions are relative (as WoW constantly reminds us). With that done, let's go

Author: theguru22

The Crafting System: What not to do

Posted by theguru22 Monday December 22 2008 at 6:28PM
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Hoooolyy shit do games manage to create utterly worthless and agonizing crafting systems. Let me just say that the best crafting system I've seen (besides pre-cu SWG) is that of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. But damn if that isn't boring and slow as well. So here are some great ways for developers to make their crafting system as coma-inducing as possible (which they seem to employ everywhere):

1) Harvesting "nodes": We've all trecked from node to node watching our pickaxes swing for hours on end, but I wonder why more people don't realize that this is a horrible system. First of all, this goes hand in hand with the detestable levelling system in that the "higher level" nodes are placed in higher level zones with higher level mobs and the only way to get there is to be higher level, so really you're just encouraging grinding some part of the game people may not be interested in in order to access another part of the game altogether that should be completely available from the start. Secondly, farming nodes is about as exciting as watching paint dry, and don't tell me there aren't better ways to do it because that's just fucking lazy. I could think of 5 better ways to manage resource gathering than harvesting nodes right now in my skivvies at home, without even having put much prior thought into it! This also creates the problem of respawning nodes which makes no sense and allows people to time the respawns and node locations to a T. When has moving from node to node ever been interesting to anyone? Scrap it and start over.

2) Linear Leveling system: This is always a bad idea anywhere *period*, and in crafting it's an exceptionally bad idea because crafting is supposed to be creative and inspiring, not a dull grind to max level that a chimp could do with his eyes replaced with baked beans. That might be a bit what you feel like when you grind out your crafting skills because first of all you're producing hundreds of clone items that everyone else also has to produce and therefor the market is utterly flooded with and are deemed completely useless and secondly when you do finally achieve max level there's usually hardly anything worth making. Sometimes the stuff that is worth making takes you a month to make because you have to go grind for drops or keep hitting nodes until you get enough of that special rare drop that you need. It's fucking boring and pointless and those two qualifications cause me to avoid the linearly leveled crafting systems as much as possible because in the end it's just another label to tack onto your character that serves no purpose in game whatsoever.

3) Permanent Items: Alright, I'll say it. I fully support item degredation for several reasons: 1) It's more fucking realistic, 2) It creates an item sink so that crafters actually have something to do, 3) It makes sense as a way to encourage players to interact, 4) item sinks are absolutely nessesary to achieve an evolving game, 5) It balances the economy and keeps inflation in check, 6) It allows weaker characters more opportunity to be on par with stronger characters and overall creates a more dynamic game and player interaction. Don't tell me causing items to "bind" is a better system because it's not. Binding items makes no sense and it doesn't encourage player interaction or allow the game to evolve for characters within it. Only a real economy in which items are created, used, traded, repaired, destroyed, dismantled, and augmented by the players will allow players to have the immersive and enlightening experience they want from MMORPGs.

4) Having Small Pools of Craftable Items: Why can I only craft 1/30th of the total amount of gear in the game, and frequently I am also unable to augment it or add personal touches? What's the point of being a crafter if every other crafter in the game can make the exact same items the exact same way? This is not a system that allows individuality or creativity. Only allowing players to craft a small pool of select items with select usage is a sure way to deter crafters from even considering your system. If there's no reason to craft because better items can be found, then why do it at all? Most of the gear players use should be made by players, not dropped by wolves, which brings me to my next point:

5) Allowing Random Drops: Does it make sense to find a +12 Sword in the gullet of a wolf? No. This system is crap and it's the primary reason crafting utterly falls flat in most MMORPGs. Why craft if you find weapons dropped off of random woodland creatures that are almost as good/just as good? It's a giant wasted effort.

Allowing players to scavange everything they find (pelts/swords/shields/armor/etc) and bring it back to crafters to augment or dismantle makes loads more sense and will balance the economy, make crafters essential to the game, and encourage player interaction. Why do modern MMORPGs insist on shoving crafters into such a small corner?

Dustenbagy writes:

Not a bad assessment. More substance and less ranting is always welcome

Mon Dec 22 2008 7:40PM Report
Squal'Zell writes:

what do you think of the EVE crafting?

1- every one needs the basic materials found in empire space

2- not linear leveling, can you craft it? no? learn to craft that! period

3- everything goes boom at some point or another

4- you can craft anything

5-no ramdom drops

Mon Dec 22 2008 9:38PM Report
Egamst3k writes:

So, in other words... you actually want crafting instead of manufacturing. I agree, I'd love an in-depth system which actually offers unique creations - but you did come off a bit rant-ish.

I'm not entirely sure if there are any MMO's in the pipe-line that offers something like a half-decent crafting system that isn't basically an electronic recipe book, but I can hope.

Mon Dec 22 2008 9:48PM Report
Death1942 writes:

1 is exactly the reason why i hate ALL crafting.  why cant i go into a god damn mountain and spend a couple of hours harvesting ore (where it naturally occurs in RL)?

change that and i might actually like crafting

Tue Dec 23 2008 12:44AM Report
findarato writes:

I really wish Horizons didnt die like it did.

Tue Dec 23 2008 1:08AM Report
ghstwolf writes:

For everyone mentioning the "rantish" presentation, re-read it blanking out the ranty bits.  If you can, I think you'll find it horribly dull.

Egamst3k- Earthrise sounds like it'll have a good crafting system.  I'm willing to take it as a good sign when any Dev talks about crafting pre-alpha and not just as "of course there'll be crafting".

Tue Dec 23 2008 1:19AM Report
Kordesh writes:

 I agree. Honeslty, I miss the UO way of doing things. The Eve way of doing things is nice, but then again, it's created such an overhead to actual battle that it is essentially spreadsheets online. 

Tue Dec 23 2008 3:59AM Report
sanchesius writes:

atlantica online crafting system isnt so bad either )

Tue Dec 23 2008 4:18AM Report
cobbsie writes:

agreed with Kordesh the UO crafting system was good in some of the ways that the OP put forward.

Vanguard crafting idea was good...but like pulling teeth grinding the damned levels.

WOuld love...absolutely love a cratfing system that tackles all the points above from the OP....a great assessment of whats not out there at the moment IMHO

Tue Dec 23 2008 4:46AM Report
grimfall writes:

1. If you can think of five better ways, why didn't you list one?

2. So, if I were to give you some iron ore and coal, today, you would be able to make a 500 folded samurai sword?  It is realistic that you start with easier things and move on to more difficult things - just like you don't take physics and calculus in kindergarten.  It does make sense, however, to start on making component items and then later to be able to build more complex items with them - many games feature this.

3. I agree that item deterioration should be more widely used and better implemented. If a sword breaks (like in WoW), maybe a smith can put it back together once - but not infinite times. Binding comes from AD&D cursed and artifact items, but it's primarily used to limit gold selling and item farming.

4. This idea is not workable.  Players are going to min/max.  If someone figures out how to make a better sword or spaceship, everyone else is going to copy that player.  Again, it's not realistic that you can be a master blacksmith and jeweler and tailor.

5. I think your basic supposition is that players should have to get gear from other players.  It's OK if that's what you think, but it's definelty not a 'must' for a MMORPG.  Crafting or NPC drops or a combination of both can be used to good effect.

Tue Dec 23 2008 12:39PM Report
KrystDaymen writes:

Well I had written a reply to your blog but for some strange reason had logged me out and it was lost.

It boils down to there being three types of players and only one type of game.

Player type A is from the fast food, I want it now, instant gratification class. 

Player type B is from the - I've got time to immerse myself into an mmo I want a sandbox world where I and others affect absolutely everything in the world.

Player type C is really a subclass of A or B they just may not have as much time because of r/l concerns. 

Unfortunately for type B's such as myself...devs only develope games for type A atm.

Please...let's hope that Darkfall or Mortal Online will live up to the hype and FINALLY give segregation to the A's and B'

Tue Dec 23 2008 1:49PM Report
Juissi writes:

well i like ryzom and eve crafting system

Tue Dec 23 2008 11:47PM Report
Eluwien writes:

 Darkfall, 22nd January 2009.

-No level limits, no linear world.
-You need wood, you go cut some. You need ore, head for the mountains.
- You obtain resource areas, protect them, move the resources manualy to cities or alike to be crafted from.
- Crafting is as realistic as it gets. 100% of the itempool can be crafted, items decay, no binding systems.

As KrystDaymen so nicely puts it, current wave of new generation MMO's has been indeed built to serve the player archetype A. But now then the value of MMO's has been realized and they make huge coin, the genre is free to grow to different directions and not least to serve the type B.


Wed Dec 24 2008 4:54AM Report
Venger writes:

Pretty much spot on.  I think a crafting system that mixes UO and Ryzom would rock.

Wed Dec 24 2008 7:42AM Report
theguru22 writes:

@Grimfall: Just quickly responding to your #1; please read the title of the blog post.

Thu Dec 25 2008 11:14AM Report
Faitu writes:

Darkfall's crafting won't be anything fabulous, it will just be good enough from what has been stated. I wouldn't expect anything different from it.

Sun Jan 25 2009 1:47PM Report writes:
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