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Exclusive Developer Blog: Harvesting!

Thomas Blair Posted:
Developer Journals 0

Key Harvesting Stats

There are multiple ways in which a player can modify the results of a harvest.  The goal of this design is to create a fun (and distinct) progression path for players who choose to specialize in the harvesting of particular materials. Most of the stats modify what we call a loot table. Those of you who have never played a pen and paper RPG might not be very familiar with loot tables, but the name should make the meaning pretty obvious: a loot table is a list of items with a corresponding percentage chance to roll (and drop) that item. Many of the harvesting stats in Crowfall manipulate the loot tables in fun and interesting ways, such as:

  • Harvest Critical Chance – This is a percentage base stat (similar to a critical damage hit in combat) which only rolls on node destruction. If successful, the player has an additional bonus loot table added to the harvest result.
  • Harvest Critical Amount – This stat adds the potential for additional loot into the critical harvest bonus loot table when you have a critical harvest.
  • Plentiful Harvest – Perhaps the most powerful stat in the harvesting lineup, this stat shifts the harvest loot tables into more powerful versions of the loot tables for that type and rank of resource node. All players start at version 1 of the loot tables.

…and, of course, these are just examples.

Loot Table Example

Here is an example of a loot table for a rank 10 copper node. The player only rolls on one row on this table when they destroy a resource node. Which row is chosen is determined by the player’s plentiful harvest stat for that type of node (each node type has a specific plentiful harvest stat, like ‘plentiful harvest: copper’, which only applies when you are harvesting copper nodes). As the plentiful harvest stat increases, this will shift the row selection into loot tables that have better potential rolls.

Some additional interesting harvesting stats include…

  • Tool decay rate – This stat decreases the amount of decay a tool type takes each time it is used to harvest.
  • Beneficial Harvest Chance – Each time a resource node is destroyed the player has a chance for a “Beneficial Harvest” to occur. This stat increases that chance. Initially, this stat restores stamina when a Beneficial Harvest event is triggered. As the player goes deeper into the harvesting skill trees, Beneficial Harvest events will also add short duration buffs to the player.
  • Beneficial Harvest Power – This stat increases the amount of stamina restore and the power of any buffs granted from Beneficial Harvests.
  • Beneficial Harvest Duration – This stat increases the duration of any buffs granted via Beneficial Harvest.
  • Plentiful Dust – One of the byproducts of harvesting resources is Gold Dust. Gold Dust can be smelted into coins to produce a currency for players to use in trade. This stat increases the chance for additional dust loot table rolls at 75%, 50%, 25%, and 0% destruction stages.

Skill Trees

In order to gain all those wonderful stats, players now have access to 5 harvesting skill trees in the Exploration skill tree. Since the player is limited to 1 generic skill training at a time, these skills compete directly with combat and crafting skills for player attention, forcing the player to make meaningful choices as to how they want their characters to advance.

Group Interactions

As mentioned earlier, one of our goals with this design is to encourage harvesting as a group activity.  Well, not just harvesting, really – all of the activities that surround harvesting, including exploration, harvesting, collection and the transportation and protection of resources. The first part of enabling group coordination is to make it beneficial: if multiple people all start harvesting from a resource node, they will deplete the health of the node much quicker than if they were doing it alone! 

When you have multiple people harvesting together in a group, ideally the group leader has trained the harvesting skill line in the Leadership skill tree (which is a child tree of the Vessel Skill tree). This is where the final point of Beneficial Harvest can be found, and it is only active when harvesting in groups.

In order to encourage group harvesting, when we calculate which loot table to use it is based on the stats of the player with the highest Beneficial Harvest stat who contributed damage to the node. This means players of all skill levels can harvest together and create a sea of resources. The resource(s) produced scale in terms of inventory size – meaning that transporting them becomes challenging, and will require the use of one or more pack animals. (And presumably, players on hand to protect them.)

The goal, here, is to drive player interaction.  We want these activities to become “noisy”, meaning that they are more likely to generate attention from other (potentially hostile) players.  To counteract this, you will want to have a few players on hand who are more equipped to defend the caravan in case of player or NPC attack.

As I mentioned earlier we are also prototyping other types of resource nodes, such as nodes that regenerate their health faster than a single player can damage them (meaning you need 2 or 3 players to break them open) or motherlode nodes that don’t respawn and are intended to draw multiple large groups (and potentially a large number of combatants!)  There are a number of ways we can build on this foundation, and we are excited to see how we can use it to facilitate co-operative (and competitive!) activities in the world.


This is a massive system that touches many aspects of Crowfall. It leverages a lot of the systems we have already built, and enables a huge amount of player-driven activity and emergent behavior that we consider vital to our vision for the game. 

The system is setup to auto-scale resource amount and qualities based on the Campaign bands, which reinforces our core premise (that higher risk leads to higher rewards) – as well as to encourage players to harvest (or ambush other players’ caravans!) as a group.

We have had a great time building this system, and we look forward to getting it in front of you for feedback/tuning as part of our next major deliverable for player testing!

As always, please feel free to leave comments on the forums, and we’ll see you in game!


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Thomas Blair

Thomas is the Design Lead on ArtCraft's upcoming MMORPG Crowfall. He's been in the industry for over 14 years. From EverQuest to SWG and DCUO, he's also patented the SWG Beastmaster and the Entertainer's "Build-a-Buff" systems.