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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?