Crafting is Good. Could it Be Better?
Crafting has been lost in the muck lately in the gaming industry. I had found myself in conversations with friends about what would make a good crafting system for a game. Shortly after these conversations, I stumbled upon this game called Fallen Earth. It touted an impressive crafting system.
I tried it and found out that suddenly Fallen Earth has given crafting gameplay a new lease on life. With 95% of the items in game being created with player crafting, this means that there is a large crafting system in effect, right?
While this is true in a sense, it seems that the crafting system in Fallen Earth has fallen short of the proverbial "Crafter's Dream" crafting system. Don't get me wrong, it has more depth and capabilities of other systems that I have seen in other games, it just lacks in the polish and luster department.
The crafting system in Fallen Earth is known for helping the characters become self sustaining and also for the AFK crafting system that crafts the items that have been queued up even while the character is logged out of game. Yes, this means you can craft on one character, log out and play on another if you so choose.
Most people in the game can make the starter armor, weapons and gear needed for day to day game play. Making your own ammo while fighting is extremely handy due to the queue system they have in place. It is also handy that you have the option to craft your own transportation (if you want to go the way of a crafter).
The controversy surrounds a single question: Should this crafting system allow the wide array of self sufficiency that the players have seen in this game? Let's explore both sides of this issue:
Most people get the idea that since you are a crafter, you are someone that barters your crafted goods to people that don't craft. While this is not always the case, this is what a crafter's life really is and makes for a good game experience. Pure crafting means that you have the ability to craft items of some benefit to yourself or others. So this means that the current system is focusing on self sufficiency, which the team at Fallen Earth has stated in some of their early interviews.
With this in mind we'll go back to the answer for the original question. With the in game economy (or lack thereof as some would argue) the way it is, crafting self sufficiency is ok. Players can buy most items from vendors. There's no wear and tear on weapons that can't be repaired by those same vendors.
Now the questions become: What does the game community want? How deep of a crafting system do we really want? Do we want to see player item repair and player shops?
Here are some of the things that I have seen in my time in game and on the forums on MMORPG.com and FallenEarth.com:
- Some form of armor degradation that can only be repaired by a crafter. This one item is the key to making crafting viable as a means of money making and creating a base economy. One option that has been brought up is the option of making the armor repair kits crafter use only and removing the repair option from most merchants.
- Removal of crafted items from the vendors or limits to what the vendors sell. Some players believe this will drive up the market due to limited availability of items. I do see the point. Why purchase from someone that can make it when you can just go buy the same item at a vendor for a predetermined price that can be modified by your social skill?
- Adjust the prerequisites for each of the different types of crafting to different stat based skills. Instead of being able to craft everything with points in intelligence and perception, make it so that each type of crafting is based on separate stats. This would prevent every character in the game from making absolutely everything in the game. This would lead to the start of a player based economy instead of the complete control economy.
- Let the players be the vendors. Let the players offer their goods in a bazaar style environment or by setting up their own shops that they can purchase for a price. (Added with player housing anyone?) While I can see how this would work it would take some coding to allow this.
These are only a couple of the major changes the game's community is currently calling for. There are many other add-ons and changes to the crafting system that could be done and may be in the works that we don't even know of yet.
My hope for this crafting system is that it doesn't die off. I love crafting personally and knowing that 95% of the items in this game are created by players is wonderful. I work my full nine to five job and am a casual gamer. I like to come home from a stressful day and see that my crafting queue has completed the items that I had queued up yesterday and now I can use them, give them to my friends or sell them for a little in game cash.
I have never understood why the best equipment in most MMOs is available through raiding and is boss loot. I've always believed that the bosses should drop components to make the great armor and weapons. The die-hard raiders would have to depend on crafters and vice versa. This is the heart of economy. It also leads to building a strong game community.
I have to say thank you to Fallen Earth for renewing my hope that crafting may not be as dead as once was thought. Fallen Earth crafting has a large amount of potential and I personally cannot wait to see what they have in store for us in regards to crafting. I hope that the mad scientists at Icarus and Fallen Earth Studios continue to develop this crafting system to be the crafting system of the future (no pun intended).