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gaunsaku

Crafting As The Center Of Crowfall

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TL;DR version - The concept of making crafting unique, engaging, and worthwhile is an important one.  Not many games succeed in all three of those areas.  However, to go down the path of making crafting central to the game, you more than likely will focus on the wrong area.  A game of strategy and PvP needs to focus on that first and foremost, much like strategy and warfare IRL needs to focus on skill instead of gear (not taking weaponry greater than .50 cals into account).  I strongly urge caution if you're going down the path of crafting as the center of Crowfall.  If you truly feel this is the right path to take, make the crafting really "worthwhile." through customizations.  

 

Long Version; Read Below--

 

With the release of all kinds of amazing information this week, Crowfall has taken hold of my attention and the attention of many LotD members.  Many of us are committing to early alphas and eagerly await the opportunity to help forge the game into that jewel we old-schoolers desperately want.  Questions remain, of course; there is plenty more content that we're still in the dark about.  But one thing isn't sitting well with me and, honestly, hasn't since it was posted.  Raph's post on crafting is what I refer to, specifically this (emphasis added)

 

You get the idea. Basically, it's a lot easier to decide to do this sort of an economic game, and then design everything else on top of it, than it is to try to glue or cgraft one into a traditional quest-and-level sort of approach. It has lots of implications about stuff like item turnover, crafter importance, what your loot tables look like, etc, and it completely changes stuff all the way down the basic data structures of the game.

 

I can't help but feel this is the wrong approach for the game, not if the game is meant to be one of PvP skill and PvP strategy.  Let me explain first with some comparisons.

 

Ultima Online and Shadowbane are the closest to what I think is trying to be accomplished.  I'm going to throw ArcheAge into the mix as well.  UO and SB were branded as games of strategy and PvP- you played, you killed, you conquered.  Both games also offered buildings, housing, etc.  Both games also had easily acquired gear.  This made crafters and the economies non-factors, to a degree.  AA, on the other hand, seems to do what CF wants to do.... but AA does it extremely poorly.  In AA, PvP is supposed to be a primary motivation to play the game, but the land plutocracy, the need to farm, craft, trade, and participate in the economy (if not personally, then with others who do) is tremendous in order to remain competitive.  Of course, AA also has P2W with apex and other such systems, but imagine the game without that.  Getting good gear requires crafting which requires mats and farming and land use/resource gathering, etc.  

 

This is not what CF should become.  UO/SB are one end of the spectrum, AA is at the other.  CF needs to be towards the UO/SB side if you really want to make a game about strategy and PvP.  However, doing that and making crafters worthwhile is a chore, much like Raph stated in his post.  

 

Before I go on, let me define "worthwhile crafting."  To me, in a PvP focused game, worthwhile crafting is crafting for gear that allows PvP to continue.  It's quick, it's somewhat easy, fairly painless, and is easily replaceable.  UO bone armor, plate, etc served this exact purpose.  SB shops could build weapons and armor quickly as well.  No one was OP due to their gear.  But, while I consider that worthwhile crafting- that is, crafting which is pragmatic and functional- in a gaming world with human beings playing a game, that is not considered worthwhile.  Human beings want to accomplish something, no matter what the setting- PvP, PvE, crafting, socializing, etc.  To fulfill that sense of accomplishment, you need to make a task difficult (beating Ghost & Goblins on the original NES), long (Thunderfury from WoW), or expensive (building a racecar in AA).  

 

And this is where the hangup lies.  

 

If the game is going to be PvP focused and include rulesets that allow for partial/full loot drop, gear needs to be worthwhile to have, but not "worthwhile" to create.  If it's "worthwhile" to create, that means it provides extra advantages, advantages that devs say they want to avoid with gear discrepancy.  If the best possible spear you can craft took you 3 weeks to farm resources for, a day to craft, and hours studying complex tomes only to give me +3% damage bonus to avoid OPness, then most human beings would not find that to be worthwhile.  And 3 months into the game when all crafters can make the same items?  Even less worthwhile.  

 

Something tells me certain pieces of gear will be significantly more powerful than others.  The thrall binding, for example, will likely be OP at first in order to make that worthwhile (also, nice association of Elric and the "Eternal Champion" series with CF ideas).  Swords made from ore from that mine on the other side of the map also a bit more powerful.  Should either of these be strong enough to hide behind in PvP?  IMO, no.  PvP skill and battlefield strategy need to be first and foremost in mind.  

 

So how do you balance this?  How can you possibly give human beings playing a game with desires to do something worthwhile in the crafting department the means to achieve their goals without ruining it for everyone else in the PvP/conquest arena?  The answer is simple:  customization.  Simple.... but most assuredly not easy.  Customization of item looks through an in-game modeling engine would be amazing (don't need to go full on 3DS Max).... and probably won't happen.  Likewise, customization of gear bonuses or effects could be useful.  It's one thing to make a sword that does fire damage and armor that gives fire immunity compared to a sword that does +50% damage and armor that does -35% damage.  These customizations could follow a self-discovery and self-invention recipe pattern.  I'm assuming the devs have a regex (regular expression) expert on staff.  Putting together a nice set of regex rules for materials/resources and crafting possibilities for hundreds or thousands of unique possibilities could do wonders for the game.   

 

Customization, to me, is critical to making crafting "worthwhile" and simultaneously keeping it pragmatic/functional.  It would allow for the player interactions desired ("I need ore from this hellspawn mine!"); it would expand PvP strategy and combat awareness ("That group is full of fire weapons, ready the frost spells!"); it would give crafters purpose, allowing them to really discover and then create unique gear if you implement a regex type crafting system.  That would definitely be "worthwhile."  This kind of customization can cater to the entire crafting sub-culture that exists, a culture treated as an afterthought in many, many games.  They deserve such a system as much as PvPers deserve a real PvP game that requires real skill and combat awareness.  

 

No matter how much I think about this, the customization approach is the only way I think CF can balance out crafting with PvP.  Any other approach leans too far in the PvP realm (ie, crafting is typical tedious crap) or too far in the crafting realm (ie, gear being too OP or too much time required to farm/craft in order to be competitive).  If others have different approaches, by all means, share!  Just remember that we're looking for a system that is both "worthwhile" and balanced with PvP.  

 

Like the devs say:  meaningless trophies are meaningless.  Meaningless crafting is meaningless.  Game dynamism is critical to balancing all aspects of the game (PvP, PvE, and crafting).  Please be cautious as you go forward with crafting as the central component to the game.  


Gaunsaku

Elder, Lords of the Dead

lotd.org

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Well, you have to consider that one hand washes the other.

 

You PvP to take over land and resources, these resources help you make better gear to in turn take over more land and resources. The systems play off each other, and aren't mutually exclusive endeavors.

 

I am hoping that some basic armor and weapons are easy to obtain (either through crafting, or hell - just spawning with super basic gear). But my hope as well is that (to your point) gear upgrades serve more as a means of specialization rather than making people straight up death machines.

 

For example, perhaps your character will stack Life on Hit to make you survive longer - which makes you stronger against non-spell casters who can't debuff self healing. Or maybe you increase your critical chance, but Plate armored Tanks take reduced damage from critical strikes - so they're more effective against you than a spell caster. Again, these are just examples, but it shows how you can make a character stronger in specific circumstances without making them incredibly overpowered across the board.

 

MMOs always make people want to be the 'haves' versus the 'have-nots', but I feel this game will need to lower the vertical progression as much as possible to keep it fun, balanced, and intriguing.

Edited by Teekey

UkBSCr2.png


CF.GG


Your primary source of Crowfall news, guides, and information.

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 A game of strategy and PvP needs to focus on that first and foremost, much like strategy and warfare IRL needs to focus on skill instead of gear (not taking weaponry greater than .50 cals into account).  

Do you know what made WWI and WWII possible? A whole lot of people toiling over "crafts" 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, for many years even before shots were fired in said wars.

 

There is more to "PvP combat and strategy" than beating people over the head. I strongly urge you to grasp "the bigger picture".

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In reference to the OP I can't say anything about the value of regular expressions, but I think you make an interesting point in that centering the crafting around the PvP could make crafting a more interesting activity.  

 
The example about using frost to counter a fire group isn't what I think I'd be looking for.  That's kind of just paper/scissors/rock.  Really at that point you just have if they use x then use y, if they use y then use z, etc.  You've also mentioned just finding ways to min-max an individual piece of gear, but that has some inherent problems in that you're just pointing people to a clear choice in gearing for a particular class/build.

 

You have a good basic idea though, and I think I can elaborate; if your general theory crafting can be based around a large spectrum of ways for classes to compliment each other, then the crafter assumes a higher position in the game-knowledge totem pole because he's actually making significant decisions about what sort of composition and classes you can run and get to work together effectively.  He's not just the guy who gave you the best stats; he gave you stats that work together when used in a certain way that's appropriate and tailored for the skill of your group and how your group wants to fight.

 

I'd suggest instead something that was focused on the positive interactions between different sets of gear in a raid.  For instance amberite gloves would allow for greater healing co-efficients (in so far as there's a limited amount of healing) if used on someone wearing bloodstone armor, and wearing bloodstone armor gives a reduction to ranged damage but an increase in melee damage, while those amberite gloves reduce the effective range of your support abilities, giving you a melee comp that has a not-immediately-obvious advantage when going into something that looks like a yolo push.  But hey, you know that your group gets ahead of itself so you might as well do what you can for that.

 

There are still potential hard counters to that, but they're deeper than x beats y and who has an advantage is a lot less clear; it prioritizes the immediate awareness a commander has in a fight and makes your crafter think about how to make his crafts, when considered as a whole between a large raid, better than someone elses; preferably the system is deep enough that the crafter needs to be doing immediate analysis of what he thinks he's going on in fights.

 

The struggle is having a pool that's not so small that the interactions don't take some thought, and not too large that the choices are daunting, or that min-maxing is too easy.  You also want to have some information advantage gained from crafting that the crafter has over people who don't craft-- this is easier in the resetting universe since the properties of materials can change from campaign to campaign and can't just be listed on a wiki somewhere.

 

e: i no good english someone make smaller for me.

Edited by Zoel

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So I will save the long wall of text as well as my desire for pvp to be true at heart revolving around skill and tactics than gear.  What Gaunsaku has posted hit home on many levels up this really hit home:

 

Customization, to me, is critical to making crafting "worthwhile" and simultaneously keeping it pragmatic/functional.  It would allow for the player interactions desired ("I need ore from this hellspawn mine!"); it would expand PvP strategy and combat awareness ("That group is full of fire weapons, ready the frost spells!"); it would give crafters purpose, allowing them to really discover and then create unique gear if you implement a regex type crafting system.  That would definitely be "worthwhile."  This kind of customization can cater to the entire crafting sub-culture that exists, a culture treated as an afterthought in many, many games.  They deserve such a system as much as PvPers deserve a real PvP game that requires real skill and combat awareness.  

 

 

 

 

Customization to add stats to easily obtainable items could be a easy way to fix the whole crafting vacuum.  I am by no means going to appeal to the crafting gurus out there, but in the big picture PvP based games really like to feel fun.  No one wants to log in to only get owned by the guy with "the sword of a thousand truths".   It may have been fun for the guy who used it or even the person who made it.   They probably had a sense accomplishment for creating something so awesome that only a few people have done but if the fun of PvP could being taken away then we are ruining the user experience.  That would be a shame all because of crafting and who as the better gear.  

 

In this game people are looking for the complete package which is an extremely difficult task.  Its like creating several different games then integrating them perfectly.  I think what Gaun has stated specifically in this quote is an option to really look into.  Key word of this thread, "Customization"  We can dive into the options or depth involved around this and come up with some really amazing ideas.  It can easily satisfy the PvP and crafting side of the house without making crafting too impactful to take away from fun, but offers options PvPs would like and the possibility of the complexity involved.

 

I think crafting should feel impactful enough for players to want to do it and want the best of the best crafters on their team.  I just also want the game to have some really fun pvp.  It's a tough balancing act and in a perfect world I would love everyone to be happy and kill each other in the FFA mode which would be an endless cycle of fun for years to come!  However, gear power has been a problem in many pvp based games or even MMO's that have PvP attached to them and it has created tons of unhappy customers that enjoy battling in an arena based on skill.  I know its a hard job which is why you get paid the big bucks  ;)

 

what's good for the goose may not be good for the gander

Edited by lakez

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Excellent post.

I think crafting being the basis of the economic system actually adds realism and depth to the game. Your Customization and dynamism concepts are spot on, IMHO. 

Don't worry, PvP and combat will still be central to CF. I see it like our world in wartime. Technology leads both economics and warfare, and economics governs strategy even more than tactics do; but soldiers mostly only see the tactics, and leaders, who are involved in the strategic process, balance tactical advantage with logistics without normally even thinking about the economic system because it is implied in all we think and do. And the player-driven economy keeps chugging along; until you can deny resources to the enemy and strangle him. Let's just hope that combat engine can handle all the diversity without much lag or involuntary disconnections.

Edited by chancellor

I think the K-Mart of MMO's already exists!  And it ain't us!   :)

 

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I second Vanguard crafting.  Best crafting in an MMO to date.  By far.

 

It had SWG complexity plus the absolute best crafting strategy/minigame ever created.

Edited by Mat'hir Uth Gan

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If I read that right, you are suggesting that gear be relatively easy to make, and that visual customization's be the challenge part. This doesn't really sound fun to me. Sure, for a Tailor. Not so much for a weaponsmith. Or a Chef.

 

You're premise is that gear needs to be easy enough to get that the pace of PvP is not slowed down. And that people who have extra real-life cash or access to in-game wealth (via a big guild or a 20-hour-a-day grinder) not get an extra advantage of the more casual player. Both good desires. But you shouldn't try o ensure those two worthy goals by making the entire crafting sphere into a system that is easy to do UNLESS you want shiny red handlebars on your sword pommel, or glitter dripping from your wand tip. DOn't get me wrong, I'd love to be able to do this sort of thing, but not if the base level crafting is factory-line simple.

 

What you might be suggesting is that crafting take a back seat to PvP. Where it's not very hard to do. It can be done by a lot of people (to provide the needed gear to satisfy the churn). And it's cheap enough to stock up in advance. All of this supporting the dominant playstyle of PvP.

 

Instead I'd like a system where crafting is engaging, deep, varied, and pervasive in the world. I'd like combat types to want to PARTNER with me as we play the game. They support me with resources and protection, I support them with the gear they need to fight. I do my best to make sure they have the best gear I can make, and they do their best to keep me alive and bring me the resources I need to craft at the highest level possible.

 

The loot rules will certainly stir things up. But as much stuff as you lose in defeat, you will hopefully be making back when you win.

 

I don't believe we are headed toward a game where crafting is "the center" of the game. I think we're headed toward a game where PvP is the center, but that relies heavily on a foundation of player support and interaction outside of combat.


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Having played albion online recently, I can say that crafting can be an annoying roadblock if it's mandatory to play the game.

 

What are the requirements to use higher tier gear? Can I viably get to top tier hear having never crafted a thing? Does pvp earn currency to trade with crafters for gear?

Edited by Jestahr

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Do you know what made WWI and WWII possible? A whole lot of people toiling over "crafts" 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, for many years even before shots were fired in said wars.

 

There is more to "PvP combat and strategy" than beating people over the head. I strongly urge you to grasp "the bigger picture".

 

For sure.  However, that "crafting" was worthwhile, not "worthwhile."  It was quick, easy, and tedious assembly line type crafting for munitions and the like, not crafting to build the SR-71 or F-117A or anything like that.  Actually, from a gear perspective, when one side did become OP with gear (America with the atom bomb), that broken combat.  

 

If CF is meant to be more Civilization than PvP skill game, then yes, you are very much on the mark.  No one takes "number of bullets" into account when they think of combat.  MMOs and movies makes us think those things are near infinite, which reality tells us they are not.  So while crafting can be the center of the game and worthwhile in that it's necessary for someone to do and do a lot of, I don't think all those who wish to see an amazing crafting system want that kind of tedious setup, even if it is worth it by providing gear.   Demand will always be there, but if no one wants to make the supply, that will also ruin the economy, no?

Edited by gaunsaku

Gaunsaku

Elder, Lords of the Dead

lotd.org

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Having played albion online recently, I can say that crafting can be an annoying roadblock if it's mandatory to play the game.

 

What are the requirements to use higher tier gear? Can I viably get to top tier hear having never crafted a thing? Does pvp earn currency to trade with crafters for gear?

You never have to craft anything, of course. You can buy or trade for everything you want. And since Crowfall apparently does not have "levels", you should be able to wear or use anything you have the the skill for, regardless of it's stats. I don't think they've talked about currency yet, but if there is "gold" in game, it will most likely be gotten through looting other players, and selling resources and crafting components. Lot's to learn about this though.


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I don't think the OP really understands the focus of the game. The focus is fighting over resources. Those resources are used both to create structures and to craft gear. The structures and gear help to make characters stronger, more able to survive and win the campaign.

 

If getting gear is easy, then the primary motivation for the game takes a hit and crafting becomes less important. 

 

There needs to be a co-dependence between crafters and non-crafters. Without that, the game won't work.

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So how do you balance this?  How can you possibly give human beings playing a game with desires to do something worthwhile in the crafting department the means to achieve their goals without ruining it for everyone else in the PvP/conquest arena?  The answer is simple:  customization.  Simple.... but most assuredly not easy.  Customization of item looks through an in-game modeling engine would be amazing (don't need to go full on 3DS Max).... and probably won't happen. 

 

I think cosmetics is a major driving force here.  I didn't really appreciate the power of this until GW2.  The grind for Legendaries was... well legendary... and the increase in stats was pretty darn minor.  It was primarily a cosmetic upgrade, and when someone walked by with a Twilight people noticed.

 

And dyes are always in high demand in any game, especially Black, White and Red.  (Hm, btw those are LotD guild colors - thanks for the hit to my ingame bank in game after game!)

 

So without any stat changes at all, there is the ability to react to a hierarchy of desirability, while adding rarity through costs of fabrication:

Dull plate -> Shiny plate -> Spiked plate -> Black spiked plate -> Glowing / Flaming plate

 

Add in the ability of items to retain makers marks, and the history of Ownership, and you have a trophy system.

Edited by ren

rSHxVEY.gif

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I am hoping that some basic armor and weapons are easy to obtain (either through crafting, or hell - just spawning with super basic gear). But my hope as well is that (to your point) gear upgrades serve more as a means of specialization rather than making people straight up death machines.

 

For example, perhaps your character will stack Life on Hit to make you survive longer - which makes you stronger against non-spell casters who can't debuff self healing. Or maybe you increase your critical chance, but Plate armored Tanks take reduced damage from critical strikes - so they're more effective against you than a spell caster. Again, these are just examples, but it shows how you can make a character stronger in specific circumstances without making them incredibly overpowered across the board.

 

 

Some important statements here.  I'll link the metal/alloy chart for reference.

 

Crowfall_AlloyChart.jpg

 

It's possible that crafting an item doesn't have a pure DPS value attached to it.  It looks like using a metal/alloy adds to STR, which is likely to determine DPS (essentially a character's STR relates directly to damage output).  But I think the main aspect is the gold colored additional effect of each alloy, such as bonus weapon damage, harvest critical chance, life on hit, quality crafts bonus, etc.

 

These gold effects are what will let you tailor and specialize your character for specific tasks.  When you want to gather materials, put on your sterling gear.  Crafting may require some plated tin or sterling bronze (or maybe that's for city building?).

Edited by Arkamedeez

 

Sorry you turned into a two-bit carebear whose feelings get hurt over forum banter.

 

 

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The complexity of Koster's resource system sounds engaging.  But I HATE the fact it looks like it's a "click to combine" crafting mechanic.  What the hell.  How boring and lazy is that?  C'mon guys, get your crap together.

 

Since you aren't "leveling" up crafting like a game such as EQ2 where you have to make a bazillion crafts to make level cap, this game has even more of an incentive to make the actual crafting process FUN.

 

Design a mini-game, make it strategic, challenging, and fun (Again, I point to Vanguard as a reference point).  Now, you would have Koster's deep and intelligent resource accumulation and crafting system, AND you'd be partnering it with an actual crafting mechanic that further promotes strategy and challenge.

 

I can't believe anyone with a lick of sense thinks a "click" to craft system is the route to go.  Click.  Done.  Click.  Done.  Oh....what a challenge.  Wow.  What a way to differentiate one crafter's skill from another.  Oh, what's that?  The accumulation of the resources is the challenging part?  So, that means we can make the actual crafting process and mechanic as simple and dumbed down as possible?  Oh....okay....not.

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The complexity of Koster's resource system sounds engaging.  But I HATE the fact it looks like it's a "click to combine" crafting mechanic.  What the hell.  How boring and lazy is that?  C'mon guys, get your crap together.

 

Since you aren't "leveling" up crafting like a game such as EQ2 where you have to make a bazillion crafts to make level cap, this game has even more of an incentive to make the actual crafting process FUN.

 

Design a mini-game, make it strategic, challenging, and fun (Again, I point to Vanguard as a reference point).  Now, you would have Koster's deep and intelligent resource accumulation and crafting system, AND you'd be partnering it with an actual crafting mechanic that further promotes strategy and challenge.

 

I can't believe anyone with a lick of sense thinks a "click" to craft system is the route to go.  Click.  Done.  Click.  Done.  Oh....what a challenge.  Wow.  What a way to differentiate one crafter's skill from another.  Oh, what's that?  The accumulation of the resources is the challenging part?  So, that means we can make the actual crafting process and mechanic as simple and dumbed down as possible?  Oh....okay....not.

 

 

I don't see anything wrong with making crafting fun, but thinking about how crafting the same things in 6 months, will you want it to be a simple click to craft or a 10 second mini-game?  Once the game isn't brand new and shiny, will people want to do that minigame over and over?

 

I got tired of it in Fable.

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