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Short Article On Crafting By Isarii


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Crafting with Variable Stat Materials

Just a link to the outside world.

 

After the widespread popularity of my Crowfall overview, I thought the natural thing to do would be to follow-up with something niche and wonkish that only like, three people will care about – so let’s get to it!

As you are all likely already aware, back in 2003, Star Wars Galaxies set the bar for what an MMO crafting system could do, and that bar hasn’t really been raised since then. Today’s topic is just one of the many crafting mechanics that made the game’s system great that I’d like to see reborn in Crowfall - variable stat material use...

 

Edited by Cirolle

 

This game looks like a larger scale version of marvel heroes so far with forts.  - nephiral marts 7 2015

 

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Bob and Steve are playing Crowfall together. They start at the same time, create Knights, and choose the same promotions and disciplines. Their characters are identical in every way. When they fight o

Cracking up.   OK - so here's the thought process that my lil pesky brain went through while crafting.  I don't know how to explain the joys of SWG crafting any other way truthfully.   "So what ar

I understand your goal.    In order to make a crafting system where someone can be better based on their skills, those skills have to be based on brainpower.  You have to make better decisions than

Quite an interesting article.

Might be a good thing to discuss at some point.

 

Thank you for the post, good sir.

Edited by suckingdoge

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

A solid quote, I'd say.

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ThomasB posted that variable resource quality probably won't be feasible in Crowfall due to the much stricter inventory/stacking rules we'll have.

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I'm hoping for a more refined SWG system.

 

Weapons stats are going to be a flattened curve. This would mean that trying to find better materials would be an exercise in diminishing returns. 

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I think the Reddit post that was added to that article is very important. If I can double my time ti live in three ways I have eight times the TTL if they all stack. Throw in hit point regeneration or flat damage reduction and it can easily blow out to infinite TTL. ACE should be very careful about what they let gear do and how good the best possible can get.

David Sirlin's Balancing Multiplayer Games should be mandatory reading for all gamers.

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The crafting system in The Repopulation fixes a lot of the issues that SWG had, while still maintaining varying quality resources. Every resource and crafted item has a quality level, from F0 to A9 (No E levels). That's 50 total quality levels per resource/item. No matter the quality of the resources or items used to craft something, the finished product will always fall within that same band. Using better materials just means you have a better chance of hitting the highest quality levels. There are no exponential power increases.

 

As far as stacking goes, they stack like items together regardless of quality level. On the back end, it's more overhead for the game because the game has to remember the quality level of every individual item, but for player inventory purposes there is no impact. Players can use any combination of quality levels they want. If a particular recipe requires 5 iron bars, those 5 bars can be all different quality levels. Behind the scenes, a calculation is done to determine how those quality levels affect the quality of the finished product.

 

Crowfall can do something similar, though maybe limit everything to 10 quality levels instead of 50. 

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I like the idea that ores are highly replaceable and benefit the item differently.

 

Further, I suggested this mostly as a joke at some point in one of the threads, but I think I said that players should play Bejeweled to craft. While that in and of itself is a joke, the idea was not. Player crafting should be tied to some sort of challenge besides just having the recipe, resources and skill level.

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I like the idea that ores are highly replaceable and benefit the item differently.

 

Further, I suggested this mostly as a joke at some point in one of the threads, but I think I said that players should play Bejeweled to craft. While that in and of itself is a joke, the idea was not. Player crafting should be tied to some sort of challenge besides just having the recipe, resources and skill level.

I don't know if you saw it, but I provided a pretty detailed example of how crafting might work as a Bejeweled-type puzzle. My preference would be that they used a different puzzle, but I felt it made a good example of how to integrate a puzzle into crafting. It's in the "MMO crafting, the Bane of my Existence" thread.

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Personally, I really dislike the idea of inserting a mini-game into crafting. The goal should be for crafting to be a rewarding experience on its own, without the need to inject an arbitrary roadblock into the system like a puzzle. 

 

The key is for every level of crafting to be involved. Gathering involves looking for the best spawns, and transporting the gathered materials back to safety. Choosing the right materials can be complex if a system like variable mat crafting is adopted. Add in dedicated crafting gear to boost the crafter's efficiency, and a SWG-esque experimentation system for item improvement, and you have a really in-depth system already without an artificial-feeling barrier being put in the way. 

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I"m torn in the mini-game aspect.

 

If done right then I"m all for it. It makes the actual ct of crafting fun instead of endless drag and dropping. 

 

They need to either mitigate the drag and dropping so that you can "spam" a recipe if you have the ingredients for it. Or they can make the mini-game worth while, such as having it only be able to improve chances of higher quality and never lower quality. Maybe the minigame can add extra effects, and the game changes depending on the extra effects you want.

 

The mini-game should also be short. Like 5 seconds max per "process". If longer it should allow you to auto-repeat the results AFTER you find out the results (even if its just the odds for a quality of the product and not necessarily the product).  This auto-repeat should be allowable a number of times. 

 

Personally i enjoyed Wildstar's systems for crafting even though it wasn't worth it in the end. I also liked EQ2's crafting because it added tension to the proceedings, but came with too harsh a penalty. 

 

 

All this is off the top of my head. I'll probably make a post about crafting minigames later.

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Please please no minigame.  If you did not craft in SWG and you're looking for a minigame to make crafting more interesting then please just stop.  It's like making a cross country runner stop mid run, knit a scarf, then start running again. 

 

An artificial barrier in the crafting process to pad it out/make it more interesting is not necessary when the crafting process itself is already compelling.  If all you've ever done is either "find node, fill slots, hit craft" crafting or a version of same with a minigame popped in there then you don't have experience with great crafting. (Wow - that there is strong words from this lil snowflake!  I know, but the only reason I can think of for folks to go the minigame route is if they don't have any clue what crafting can be like.)

 

As for SWG unique resources and whether Crowfall will follow that level of diversity, I don't think they will.  By the time SWG got a few years in they had thousands and thousands of resource stats stored in their database and it was a recipe for failure long term.  I do hope they aim for something mid range however, as the resource diversity was a major part of SWG crafting.

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Please please no minigame. If you did not craft in SWG and you're looking for a minigame to make crafting more interesting then please just stop. It's like making a cross country runner stop mid run, knit a scarf, then start running again.

 

An artificial barrier in the crafting process to pad it out/make it more interesting is not necessary when the crafting process itself is already compelling.

This. Crafting is an abstract task and really is rewarding by itself. Mini games are really annoying. I'd rather have time to chat.

 

If devs want to add something special to crafting, then animations are pretty neat.

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An artificial barrier in the crafting process to pad it out/make it more interesting is not necessary when the crafting process itself is already compelling.  If all you've ever done is either "find node, fill slots, hit craft" crafting or a version of same with a minigame popped in there then you don't have experience with great crafting. (Wow - that there is strong words from this lil snowflake!  I know, but the only reason I can think of for folks to go the minigame route is if they don't have any clue what crafting can be like.)

Strong words, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit they were exactly what i was thinking as well.

 

For people that have never experienced a good crafting system with all of the engagement that SWG's included (variable stat materials, crafting gear sets, experimentation, player shops, the list goes on), the concept of a system where crafting is a primary activity can be hard to grasp. If crafting is done right in Crowfall, there won't be any need to 'spice it up' with something like a minigame. 

 

Plus I hate minigames.

Edited by isarii
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Please please no minigame.  If you did not craft in SWG and you're looking for a minigame to make crafting more interesting then please just stop.  It's like making a cross country runner stop mid run, knit a scarf, then start running again. 

 

 

For people that have never experienced a good crafting system with all of the engagement that SWG's included (variable stat materials, crafting gear sets, experimentation, player shops, the list goes on), the concept of a system where crafting is a primary activity can be hard to grasp. If crafting is done right in Crowfall, there won't be any need to 'spice it up' with something like a minigame. 

 

Plus I hate minigames.

 

I so agree with this.

 

A mini-game that is solely to expend (waste) my playing time, or simply to reduce my production abilities, is a detriment to crafting and undermined the Dev's stated goals of making crafting relevant and important to the game.  If there is a mini-game in Crowfall Crafting, then it needs to be used for improving crafting results.  Not as a time-sink/attention-lock.  Any crunchy bits in crafting should be aimed at bettering the outcome, not merely preventing failure.  Of course, failure should be a possible outcome, but how we get to engage with the crafting system shouldn't just be an exercise in not failing.  We need to be able to win crafting (and gathering, by the way) just like we can win at combat.

 

I guess, for me, "mini-game" has a negative connotation.  As something that was added as an afterthought to make something more complex for complexities sake alone.  Not to actually improve the experience, but an artificial gate to progress. That's why I don't like the idea of "mini-games"

 

If the moving parts in crafting feel like they are impactful and deliberate, if we must make choices that change our results rather than just click the correct picture when the bell rings to get our reward, if it improves our crafting experience overall, then I'll be happy with the crafting system and won't think of it as a mini-game, but simply crafting.

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As for SWG unique resources and whether Crowfall will follow that level of diversity, I don't think they will.  By the time SWG got a few years in they had thousands and thousands of resource stats stored in their database and it was a recipe for failure long term.  I do hope they aim for something mid range however, as the resource diversity was a major part of SWG crafting.

 

 

People go one at length about how great SWG crafting was. Yet whenever they talk it really just seems like get highest quality resources, click craft. Are you guys bad at explaining or is that really all it is?

David Sirlin's Balancing Multiplayer Games should be mandatory reading for all gamers.

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People go one at length about how great SWG crafting was. Yet whenever they talk it really just seems like get highest quality resources, click craft. Are you guys bad at explaining or is that really all it is?

We're just bad at explaining.  SWG had a deep, indepth crafting system with many moving parts.  It seems to me when one of us talks about SWG it is usually about one aspect of it.  Which can lead to an unclear partial image of SWG crafting.

 

There are three distinct aspects/activities involved in SWG crafting:

 

1) Gathering.

  • First you had to find the materials you needed to craft with. You did this with a kind of radar survey system which told you what the % concentration of what you were looking for was where you are standing. the higher the % the more/faster you could extract the material.
  • Gathering by hand was slow, so you'd want to find a location with maybe 95% concentration and drop a harvester. All the while hoping it's not next to a Rancor nest.
  • There were six resource types, not counting creature resources which had to be harvested from dead mobs. (not looted, harvesting was an additional step) and each of these had dozens of sub categories, which themselves had variable resource types under them.
  • These resources where scattered out among all the worlds of SWG.
  • The resources available changed at regular intervals (both type available and quality of material)
  • Sometimes the resource you wanted did not exist at any given cycle.

2) Crafting

  • Of course you need to acquire the materials needed, and also an appropriate crafting station.
  • There were, I think, 10 different crafting professions (after NGE only four?)
  • Pick the resources with the most advantageous modifiers for what you were trying to building
  • Build whatever sub-components you needed to build your item (none for a belt, several and varied for a house or a harvester)
  • If you want, you can experiment when crafting an item, to hopefully get a better end product (the higher your skill the more experimenting you can do)
  • Finally you have a finished product
  • Or you could make a blueprint to mass produce an item (but you are locked into the exact materials you used to create the blueprint)
  • Also you could change the name of the items you made when making them (for self promotion or quality references)

3) Merchant (or selling your stuff

  • Now you have to sell what you made!
  • Set up a house/store. hopefully somewhere with good foot traffic
  • Set up Vendor Machines/NPCs within your store (they require upkeep) Also you can dress them in whatever you feel is appropriate attire for your establishment.
  • Stock (and restock) your vendors
  • Set up floor displays of your merchandise (and make your home attractive because your customers will walk around and look at everything)
  • Make a reputation for yourself so customers seek you out or message you directly.

Now, this is just an overview from what I can remember. (it's been years for me since SWG)  There was definitely more to SWG Crafting than just this.  I hope this helps you when one of us refers to an aspect of SWG crafting without fully explaining ourselves.

 

 

I miss SWG Crafting, but I'm not looking for Crowfall Crafting to be SWG Crafting.  I hope and expect Crowfall to be it's own thing.  Learned from, and improved upon what came before.  And from what I've inferred so far it should be very enjoyable for me.

Edited by Reliq
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2) Crafting

  • Of course you need to acquire the materials needed, and also an appropriate crafting station.
  • There were, I think, 10 different crafting professions (after NGE only four?)
  • Pick the resources with the most advantageous modifiers for what you were trying to building
  • Build whatever sub-components you needed to build your item (none for a belt, several and varied for a house or a harvester)
  • If you want, you can experiment when crafting an item, to hopefully get a better end product (the higher your skill the more experimenting you can do)
  • Finally you have a finished product
  • Or you could make a blueprint to mass produce an item (but you are locked into the exact materials you used to create the blueprint)
  • Also you could change the name of the items you made when making them (for self promotion or quality references)

 

 

So, narrowing it down to just the crafting phase, because thats what I mean when I think crafting.

 

If a recipe is two iron and a gold what reason is there to use anything other than the highest quality iron and gold you have?

David Sirlin's Balancing Multiplayer Games should be mandatory reading for all gamers.

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So, narrowing it down to just the crafting phase, because thats what I mean when I think crafting.

 

If a recipe is two iron and a gold what reason is there to use anything other than the highest quality iron and gold you have?

I suppose if you'd rather save the higher quality pieces for another item? If you ignore the complexities of the SWG crafting system, them yes, it would seem very simple. But still less simple than other games.

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