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TenThousandsuns

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Now I understand that this is very complicated and time consuming to finish items. But some people like that.
I suppose I should ask a question also:
What do you think about this kind of system if you are a crafter, would you play a game based on this crafting theory?
I don't expect too many responses, but I've noticed that even one useful response is worth quite a lot. I have posed this question and information on mmorpg sites in general and dev sections and gotten maybe 50-100 useful responses so far. It seems that those sorts of venues generate more discussion than a purely dev location, possibly because devs work on many many kinds of games besides mmorpgs and mmorpg focused sites have more interested posters for this kind of topic. Still perspectives from other developers produce somewhat different information, I got one person explaining to me that using exponential equations was bad for server resources, and other useful information like that, although because I am producing the game as text based, I suspect its not as big an issue as a graphics game.

Here is a somewhat clear explanation of the crafting system I plan to implement:

So, I have essentially filled out all the crafting mechanics in my game, its very complex and some things might be changed but this is what I am going to start programming:

Resources:

Resources will spawn over time SWG style.

Players can initially mine/gather/harvest by themselves but later may be able to run mines/farms. There will be thousands of kinds of resources which will spawn with varying quality.

Resources will go through various processing to become usable mats. Metals will need to be refined. Metal will be formed into ingots after this process. Metal can be formed into many shapes: rings, wires, coils, plates. Wires may wrap around staffs, be used in jewelry and other such things. Herbs may need to be dried or powdered or cut. Wood may be planked or poled.

Then items will be "crafted" or put into their basic final form. Metal will be made into blades and armor pieces, wires and pendants put together for jewelry, wood will be shaped for staffs or bows. Blades and guards and pommels will be put together, or tangs and handles, or hafts and heads, arrow head and wood and so forth. These items will be in usable form. So you could sell them to players and they could be used in battle or crafting. However there are still many steps to refine and improve items.

Enhancements can take many forms. Inscriptions to hold enchantments can be carved, you can align the matrix to allow weaker items to hold more magic. You can sharpen blades, polish wood, add gems, change item skins and so forth. You could wrap wire around a staff to make it pretttier and possibly allow more spells and magic to be used. You can actually cast the permanent enchantments or add the temporary spell buffs at this stage as well. This is the end stage.

You can revise carvings and enchantments and spells on weapons post production, and you can change gems and metal wires and recolor and like any other step an entirely different crafter from the original can do this.

This intense and some would say excessive customization is only part of the system however. At every stage of the crafting process it is possible to get small random bonuses to quality, essentially these bonuses are similar to initial resource bonuses and they stack.

Another aspect of the game that is somewhat novel and important are the crafting skills themselves.

Firstly there are no classes. Any single player can learn all the skills, use magic, learn fighting skills and so forth.

Further skills level in a somewhat unique way. There are no conventional levels per say. Firstly many things that can be crafted are in themselves used for crafting. Tools can be crafted and are used in production. The arrival area, as players "arrive" through a gate from another world, allows players to have access to incredibly basic crafting tools. Later the best crafting will be done with entirely player produced items. All tools have a value which corresponds to a % bonus to crafting value. Resources have these values also.

Now on to skills specifically:

Skills level by experience, so instead of having levels at certain amounts of experience, players just have that number. Experience is filtered through an equation to produce the bonus to the crafted item. Different experience is filtered through different equations. There are pseudo levels because some materials require a certain amount of experience to work with. They also require superior tools, for instance to use a higher level metal you may need a better smelting furnace to use the higher temperatures required to melt the metal. However the bonuses from experience produce the same bonuses regardless of the material used.

There are parent crafting skills and subskills and subskills of subskills. An example of all the skills affecting an item follow:

You are making a longsword:

A longsword is a weapon->sword->longsword

The material is metal->steel

You have 10000 experience in metal, and 6400 in steel

You have 10000 in weapon, 10000 in sword, and 2500 in longsword

The equations are :

+mexp^.25+stexp^.5+wexp^.25+swexp^.5+lexp^1/10

that means +10+80+10+100+250=+450% so the item is 550% better than 0/0/0/0/0 exp

obviously these numbers are a little too high, so the numbers would be messed with to lower the bonus.

the essential point is that the more specific the skill in relation to the product, the more valuable the exp. So if you want to be the best longsword maker on the server you might want to focus most of your crafting on longswords made of steel. Now I think that the specific material skill bonuses might be a smaller part of the total possible, because if you are making metal longswords you should be able to make iron ones nearly as good as your steel or bronze weapons similarly well.



The upside of many aspects of this system is individuality, uniqueness, mastery and customization. Players can easily create a brand with these options. You can be known for your mastery of a material, and/or of an item type.

Further the improvement is very fluid. There is no break moment when bam, you suddenly become much more powerful than a player one level lower, and neither is their a level cap because the equation works no matter the number, further the square root based system means that even a player with 1mil experience would not be amazingly more powerful and godlike. It takes more and more experience to get the same effective improvement.

Magic is made to be very powerful however. Magic is formed with words of power found in ruins around the world. Words of power fall into different categories. There are many parts of a spell and they affect different parts. Element/type of power, range, accuracy, speed, range, power, mana and so forth. All of these can be moderated by changing the spell construction. Spells are cast with a keyword, so if you want to give a person a spell but not have access to the keywords you can just sell them a grimoire with keywords. They can use the spell but they can't make their own. You can choose to sell actual words of power.

My goal is to try and convince players to form sorcerous guilds and have different schools, as opposed to a single player learning all the magic alone.

Possible systems involve community spell word knowledge, a guild system where leaders or higher members are given any spell words members have and distribute grimoires to each player member so that one player can't join an enemy guild as a spy and learn all the words, as they would only have access to the grimoire and not the words, and they couldn't just copy the grimoire and spread it around either. Of course players are welcome to wield the magic system however they damn well please as well.

(Separate post)
Very well, I will go into detail about a hammer. Some items have fewer steps than others. For example enchantments and spell buffs are more for fighting gear.



You want to make a hammer. You need 3 parts. You need a head, you need a handle, and you need a weight on the other end for balance. You would need several skills:

Metalworking

Smelting

Carving

Gathering skills related to metal and wood

You could use your personal skill in each of these areas. With the lowest quality materials and this being your first item you would produce a hammer at the same quality as is purchasable at the npc shop. However, maybe you farmed some relatively good metal and wood. So your hammer will be a bit better.

The base quality value is 100 for all items.

Materials have a value of 1+x.

So your metal is 1.5, or base+.5.

Your skills are additive multipliers and they are all base 1.

So if your smelting is 1.5 that means you multiple the metal value by 1.5, which gets you 2.25.

Then your metal working is 2 so that means you multiply the new value by 2, which gets you 4.50.

Your wood is 1.5.

Your wood carving skill is 2, so your wood value is 3.

Then you put add the values together and average.

Your values are 3 and 4.5 so your final value is 3.75.

You also get bonuses to your skills from tools. And the system works the same way, it just modifies your base skill.

If your tools were from npcs which are default value 1, and your materials are default value 1 and your skills are default value one then your production value is 1 becasue multiplying by 1 always returns 1.

Is that specific enough? Remember that these are example values simplified to explain the concept.



The reason to specialize is because the more time you spend using a skill the better your skill so a player who specializes in metal will generally have a better smelting skill and a better metalworking skill. Further you have skills for different items, so hammers and tongs, and for specific materials, steel, iron, bronze. Those provide multipliers in the same way.

So if you spend all your time crafting steel longswords you will accumulate the skills needed for steel longswords, metalworking, steel, weapons, swords, longswords. That means that given an identical amount of crafting time, you are going to make better steel longswords than players who make copper battle axes, or iron breast plates.

You can harvest your own iron and coal, and smelt your own metal also, but you maybe get better steel bars for your sword by having one player who searches out the best iron and coal, and one player who searches out the best coal, and one player who smelts the best steel. You may also have a craftter who makes the best tool for any of these classes.

Keep in mind that these bonuses are not incredibly large per say, so the difference between the best steel longsword and the second best steel longsword may only be 65 damage to 70 or 75 damage. Further even a player who spends all day crafting steel longswords may not be as good as a different player who uses better iron or better tools.




(Separate post)

If you think that is math geekery you don't even know. If you ever see several math crafters geeking out about a math heavy client side game your brain will explode. Sometimes even I am just cast adrift in a see of numbers and symbols that is so wide I can't see the shore. Arguing over the ideal equation for longevity of 100 different mechanics covers pages and pages with higher order math. Shit is nuts.



For instance let us talk about the relatively simple mechanic where we derive our the multiplier value of a single skill from experience without static levels:

I start with division:

Exp/100

So at exp 0 it is 0/100, at exp 1 it is 1/100 at exp 10 it is 1/10 and at exp 100 is is 1. at exp 10000 it is 100. That is way too high. So if we raise the denominator to 10000. That means at 10000 exp you get a bonus of 1or 100%. Consider how much that is. The improvement per exp early on is so small.

Now we move to radicals:

x^.5 is the square root of x.

At exp 1 you have value 1. So you get 100% at level 1. Seems like such a lot at a low number. At exp 100 you have value 10. An item 10x as good as base? Insane you say! At exp 10000 you have value 100. An isnt that a lot of value at such low exp, when games normally go to millions? At 1million exp w e have 1000 times better. That means that a player at 1mil exp makes a sword 1000 times better than 0 exp player. Sure you want someone who has been there a while to make better stuff, but 1000?

But what about this, we will use both!

Let us use the equation (exp^.5)/10

Now at exp 1^.5=1 and then /10= .1. So your item is 10% better.

At exp 100 we get 100^.5=10 /10= 1 Now your item is 100% better.

At exp 10000 we get 10000^.5=100 /10 =10 So now your item is 1000% better.

At exp 1mil we get 1mil^.5=1000/10=100 1000% or 100x better than 0. Isn't that still too high though?

What if we use this equation (exp^.5)/100?

Now our values for 1/100/10000/1mil we get:

+.01:101%, +.1:110%, +1:200%, +10/1100%

The numbers all have 100% added because the base value is 1, and skills are contributing extra value.

So you see we had to try many possible options to determine our value. But are we done? Suppose our players gets:

2mil exp: That means we have 1414/100=14.14. For 10millon exp its something like, 3162/100=31.62.

If default does 1-4 then we are doing 32-128. If it does 2-3 then we are doing 64-96. That is fine no?

However we have many skills that add to a weapon to consider. If that is the bonus for longsword, what is our bonus for sword experience?

What about this equation:

(exp^.5)/500

That means that generic sword experience, which is earned by on longswords and other swords is 1/5th as useful. Consider that if we set it the same you would exxentially get 2x as good. And really does making a broadsword really involve the exact same knowledge as a long sword? No. Further, suppose you can't have a whole crafter just making longswords. Say you make katanas, scimitars, longswords, shortswords, and broadswords. If you make them all equally, and thus have 5x as much sword experience as longsword then you will be twice as good.

Now, what about weapon experience in general?

Lets look at this equation:

(exp^.25)/100

That is the 4th root, or square root of the square root.

The interesting thing about this equation is that at earlier levels your experience in making any kind of weapon would give you a somewhat larger value for general knowledge than later on. In this case early levels of weapon give a relatively similar increase in stats compared to the equation for longswords. But at much higher levels being the 4th root and /100 is much more of a drop than square root and /1000.

Lets look at 1 and 10000.

At 1 the 4th root is identical. to the square root.

Both equations give a bonus of .01 or 1% quality at 1 experience.

At 10000 we get 10/100. Look, isnt that the same number we got from (exp^.5)/1000? wasnt it 100/1000? Those are both .1 or 10%. From here on out generic sword experience becomes more useful than weapon experience.

Now we could have done the cube root for swords, but the cube root uses different numbers that are harder to visualize than just diving by 500 instead of 100. It may be that I use the cube root in the real game. In fact I may use many additions besides the roots and 1 division. Who knows?

But do you see that roots offer the best way to create diminising returns in crafting? Wouldn't a linear growth, that is 1 exp=100% or 1exp/x=x% allow players who had played a long time to be just impossibly far ahead of a new crafter, or players who bought their items to be untouchable against a player who bought an item from a crafter who was only half as experienced? But it is still worthwhile to keep crafting in one area instead of branching out because players will play good money for even the smallest boost, and further, crafting an item takes the same time regardless of experience, so making two kinds of items will diminish the per second value of your labor.

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o.O Well, as a player I love crafting, but that sounds seriously over-complicated. I could, maybe, see an MMO having 500 crafting ingredients and making it work, but not thousands, especially not if they can all vary in quality. Reminds me of Ryzom - that game was more or less built around it's crafting system, but the crafting didn't really work as fun gameplay.

My personal opinion is that the way to design a fun crafting system is not to have players crafting anything in bulk, but instead focus on the player crafting one of each item for themself and lots of customization supplies e.g. paint/dye.

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o.O Well, as a player I love crafting, but that sounds seriously over-complicated. I could, maybe, see an MMO having 500 crafting ingredients and making it work, but not thousands, especially not if they can all vary in quality. Reminds me of Ryzom - that game was more or less built around it's crafting system, but the crafting didn't really work as fun gameplay.

My personal opinion is that the way to design a fun crafting system is not to have players crafting anything in bulk, but instead focus on the player crafting one of each item for themself and lots of customization supplies e.g. paint/dye.


Well, varying quality is a mechanic from SWG which was immensely popular within the hardcore crafting demographic. My crafting system is the only method of obtaining items, I am trying to avoid a faucet drain and raid gear focused economy, and as such it needs to produce the same variety of items as diablo style loot drops. Its also inherently a cooperative system. It sounds like you prefer an srpg style system with loot enhancement within a themepark mmo.

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[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1322787706' post='4889648']
o.O Well, as a player I love crafting, but that sounds seriously over-complicated. I could, maybe, see an MMO having 500 crafting ingredients and making it work, but not thousands, especially not if they can all vary in quality. Reminds me of Ryzom - that game was more or less built around it's crafting system, but the crafting didn't really work as fun gameplay.

My personal opinion is that the way to design a fun crafting system is not to have players crafting anything in bulk, but instead focus on the player crafting one of each item for themself and lots of customization supplies e.g. paint/dye.


Well, varying quality is a mechanic from SWG which was immensely popular within the hardcore crafting demographic. My crafting system is the only method of obtaining items, I am trying to avoid a faucet drain and raid gear focused economy, and as such it needs to produce the same variety of items as diablo style loot drops. Its also inherently a cooperative system. It sounds like you prefer an srpg style system with loot enhancement within a themepark mmo.
[/quote]
Close, actually I prefer a sim/rts style system within a themepark MMO. You are the "peon" who chops trees and mines, and you work your way up a personal tech tree to become a wizard/king/rancher/etc. Like the MMO A Tale In The Desert plus monsters and story/NPCs/quests, basically. But I do agree with the idea that all usable/wearable items and even new spells should be crafted, never dropped, especially from raids. (I don't raid, it melts my brain to try to work with that many people; I barely tolerate 5-man dungeons.) Monster drops should be primarily crafting ingredients and money, maybe also monster captures or eggs or plant seeds.

I consider myself a hardcore crafter, having worked my way to high levels of crafting in several MMOs. But I've become very disenchanted with the way low levels of crafting tend to be a pure loss of money because you can't produce anything people want to buy. Partly this is because about 50% of the people in any game want to craft unless difficulty and expense drive them away, so that means each of them really only has a market of themself plus one other person, and they can't compete for that one person with higher level crafters who can produce the best items for any level player the most efficiently. It's totally unsatisfying as a crafter to grind my way through 10 of an item I can't use then sell them all to an NPC for less than I could have sold the mats for in the market. It's moderately satisfying to craft myself a weapon or gear that's an upgrade on mine, but only as long as I can't buy it better or more cheaply in the market. It's way more satisfying to craft myself a little shack, then upgrade it every 10 levels until I have my own castle, and have none of that be buyable or sellable. It's way more satisfying to make buckets of blue dye and dye my mount and clothes all blue so I can make an instant visual impression on other players.

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[quote name='AltarofScience' timestamp='1322794164' post='4889660']
[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1322787706' post='4889648']
o.O Well, as a player I love crafting, but that sounds seriously over-complicated. I could, maybe, see an MMO having 500 crafting ingredients and making it work, but not thousands, especially not if they can all vary in quality. Reminds me of Ryzom - that game was more or less built around it's crafting system, but the crafting didn't really work as fun gameplay.

My personal opinion is that the way to design a fun crafting system is not to have players crafting anything in bulk, but instead focus on the player crafting one of each item for themself and lots of customization supplies e.g. paint/dye.


Well, varying quality is a mechanic from SWG which was immensely popular within the hardcore crafting demographic. My crafting system is the only method of obtaining items, I am trying to avoid a faucet drain and raid gear focused economy, and as such it needs to produce the same variety of items as diablo style loot drops. Its also inherently a cooperative system. It sounds like you prefer an srpg style system with loot enhancement within a themepark mmo.
[/quote]
Close, actually I prefer a sim/rts style system within a themepark MMO. You are the "peon" who chops trees and mines, and you work your way up a personal tech tree to become a wizard/king/rancher/etc. Like the MMO A Tale In The Desert plus monsters and story/NPCs/quests, basically. But I do agree with the idea that all usable/wearable items and even new spells should be crafted, never dropped, especially from raids. (I don't raid, it melts my brain to try to work with that many people; I barely tolerate 5-man dungeons.) Monster drops should be primarily crafting ingredients and money, maybe also monster captures or eggs or plant seeds.

I consider myself a hardcore crafter, having worked my way to high levels of crafting in several MMOs. But I've become very disenchanted with the way low levels of crafting tend to be a pure loss of money because you can't produce anything people want to buy. Partly this is because about 50% of the people in any game want to craft unless difficulty and expense drive them away, so that means each of them really only has a market of themself plus one other person, and they can't compete for that one person with higher level crafters who can produce the best items for any level player the most efficiently. It's totally unsatisfying as a crafter to grind my way through 10 of an item I can't use then sell them all to an NPC for less than I could have sold the mats for in the market. It's moderately satisfying to craft myself a weapon or gear that's an upgrade on mine, but only as long as I can't buy it better or more cheaply in the market. It's way more satisfying to craft myself a little shack, then upgrade it every 10 levels until I have my own castle, and have none of that be buyable or sellable. It's way more satisfying to make buckets of blue dye and dye my mount and clothes all blue so I can make an instant visual impression on other players.
[/quote]

Ah okay. That is much more detailed. My game is specifically targeted towards crafters. However there are several complex decisions I had to make.

Allowing all players to craft anything easily removes the market for crafter items even in a non loot or npc world. Now many people will try their damndest to do all their own crafting. If you run a standard grind to cap crafting system unless you set the cap arbitrarily high they can do it. The way I set it up makes it essentially possible to craft all your own gear but its going to be inefficient to a huge degree. I also removed the value of alts because if you wanna multi craft you can't do it any faster on an alt. This is an aspect of design that only works for a 2d-3d world though.

One problem is as a text game, because I am not financially capable of making a game with graphics, instead of forcing a person to be logged in all the time to run around and harvest and craft, which prevents alting unless a player's first character is capped, most text games use timers for travel and crafting rather than having the player physically run around. Timers present an easy way to exploit with multies because you can multi while waiting for a timer as opposed to having to actually do something like in most AAA MMOs. I still haven't solved this problem, I'm not sure I can in a text based game.

I also ran into some other problems. Level restrictions are useful for a variety of reasons. If everyone can craft adamantium from the get go, why even bother with inferior metals? Level restrictions force you to deal with this. Of course without a steady stream of newer players eventually you will move all the way to the top resource. I made levels perfectly fluid, but I managed the straight to ideal res problem with crafting requirements that are less arbitrary. You need to build all your own crafting gear. You need a hotter smelting furnace to get higher level metal bars. You also need hotter fires to actually craft an item. Still, even though early on low level metals will be useful, eventually enough crafters will have moved to the top level metal, which actually isn't adamantium, and lesser metals will be irrelevant. I am working on ways to delay this stage, but it is better to make it so that lower metals are always valuable. One issue is crafting time. Assuming that it takes longer to both smelt and shape higher level metals at least if there are players who can't afford higher level metals yet, selling them a lower level metal item would be viable. Otherwise you might as well give them a higher level weapon because it takes the same time to make. Another issue is scarcity. If higher level metals are progressively rarer, which also limits their general variability by providing less chances for a really good spawn, this will limit the entrance of higher level materials into the game, even once the whole world is explored. Further, because you can go on forever improving any item through the level system, even if you can craft higher metals than say, steel, its still valuable to spend time crafting steel, because better metals are so scarce and your still skills will keep improving this allowing the construction of better weapons. This system isn't perfect, but its the best I could do.

Since in my game you are virtually required to either craft, or gather, or adventure to gather rare mats to sell, most everyone will be a crafter. Some players may benefit just from exploring and gathering. For instance as a dedicated explorer, you may be able to locate much better resource spawns far out in the world where others don't go. You can either sell the location of the spawn, or you can harvest the spawn, whatever it is, yourself and then sell the high quality res for huge prices because if one person doesn't buy, someone else will. Even if you don't have access to better spawns you may profit strictly from gathering, since paying you to gather allows crafters more time to stay in town and craft. Or more time to go adventuring or w/e they want to do. So the essential roles in the game will be crafting, gathering, exploring, and adventuring.

You can also be a mage or enchanter which uses a special system. Mages collect words of power gained through exploring the world and use those to construct new and better skills. Although I am considering running magic all through words, this is by having words with specific element, range, power, and mana tags. However either creating or using a lot of spells may make you more proficient in that area, for instance you may gain larger aoe range or fire damage from using or making those spells alot. I haven't decided which side to put it on. Now my goal is to produce mage guilds essentially. A group of players headed by an archmage or a council or w/e, where all members give the leadership their words of power, and the leaders craft spells and dispense grimoires to all members of the guild. Leaders might give out different grimoires based on the number and value of words of power a player contributes. The guild would ideally hoard its power from others, selling only grimoires but not words of power, and selling grimoires with powerful spells only for huge values. Obviously players often do something a designer never even considered, for instance one player might sell loads of girmoire for small prices or players may be too afraid to form guilds in case one of them is screwed over. There are however many other viable magic groupings I would love to see. Partnerships where two mages trade each other all of their words and work together, larger such groups would also be cool. The risk here would be a spy getting in, learning all the words, and then running back to his guild or something. These kinds of things would be very interesting to see.

My game is in fact a sandbox rpg/4x/rts/tbs hybrid game. I am probably going to allow hiring of NPCs to run farm or mines or woodcutting shops and such. Players could be hire for wages or a portion of their produce and players harvesting would be way more efficient compared to npcs. Further the world is supposed to be massive, so instead of a player gathering their own res they might hire other players to gather it in the wild, discover new spawns, and transport it back. There may be an npc based caravan system through which players can set up automatic transports of goods. Since gold is circumscribed in a certain way, ie gold comes into the system only through new players getting their starting 10k gold, npcs are paid in % of production. So you may pay a 10% or 20% fee for npc caravans. Caravans may also be attackable, as builds probably will be, so you can hire npc guards on buildings for another % of production, and also hire player guards, who would be much more useful against an organized attack. There will be player owned and built shops, and housing, and possibly renting of both shops and housing.

Alchemy is a somewhat special profession, there are way more plant resources than other kinds, and as opposed to wood or metal crafting, or even construction, alchemy recipes must be discovered through gathering many kinds of res and experimenting, so no matter what your res, you may be the only player to know a certain recipe. Further potions can be used in both battle and other kinds of crafting, as well as for health, mana, poison, and other uses in combat.

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Oh a text-based sandbox, I see. I'm probably not qualified to make design suggestions for that type of game since I don't play them. Closest thing I've played is a browser-based game that is text supplemented by lots of 2D icons, a 2D paperdoll avatar system, flash minigames, and an in-game forum. Or on the other side, the closest thing I've played is a sandbox 3D MMO that the whole time I was wishing it wasn't a sandbox, because I just don't like that genre.

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Oh a text-based sandbox, I see. I'm probably not qualified to make design suggestions for that type of game since I don't play them. Closest thing I've played is a browser-based game that is text supplemented by lots of 2D icons, a 2D paperdoll avatar system, flash minigames, and an in-game forum. Or on the other side, the closest thing I've played is a sandbox 3D MMO that the whole time I was wishing it wasn't a sandbox, because I just don't like that genre.


Well, any kind of crafting like that is sandbox crafting. You can't have that crafting in a themepark because raid gear has to compete with player made gear and raid gear always wins. Interesting crafting is inherently sandbox. I've never seen a game with deep crafting in a themepark. Minigames don't really count as depth, just a twitch add on. I suppose sandbox isn't really an accurate term, since I am putting in 4x elements to create my game. 4x/rpg hybrid may be more accurate.

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Well, any kind of crafting like that is sandbox crafting. You can't have that crafting in a themepark because raid gear has to compete with player made gear and raid gear always wins. Interesting crafting is inherently sandbox. I've never seen a game with deep crafting in a themepark. Minigames don't really count as depth, just a twitch add on. I suppose sandbox isn't really an accurate term, since I am putting in 4x elements to create my game. 4x/rpg hybrid may be more accurate.

What? That's definitely not true. A themepark MMO does not have to have raids at all, nor do its dungeons have to drop gear at all. The core of a themepark MMO is that it is organized around a story/quests that function to give the player a guided tour of points of interest within the game. Themepark MMOs are rooted in the concept of story-focused jRPGs which have precreatued unique settings while sandbox games are rooted in storyless western RPGs which have generated non-unique settings. Whether crafting is deep or not is unrelated to whether the game is sandboxy or themeparky because crafting has nothing to do with story. (Well you can have crafting quests, but that's an unimportant minor detail.)

It sounds like you haven't played any good minigames, or seen them well integrated into a larger game.Consider a Zelda game for example, that series has traditionally had minigames that add a lot of depth to the game. Consider any farming sim where the farming activity is a speedpuzzle or time management minigame the player repeatedly plays. Consider any MMO where a multiplayer mount or pet racing minigame is a popular or thematically important part of the game.

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[quote name='AltarofScience' timestamp='1322863635' post='4889931']
Well, any kind of crafting like that is sandbox crafting. You can't have that crafting in a themepark because raid gear has to compete with player made gear and raid gear always wins. Interesting crafting is inherently sandbox. I've never seen a game with deep crafting in a themepark. Minigames don't really count as depth, just a twitch add on. I suppose sandbox isn't really an accurate term, since I am putting in 4x elements to create my game. 4x/rpg hybrid may be more accurate.

What? That's definitely not true. A themepark MMO does not have to have raids at all, nor do its dungeons have to drop gear at all. The core of a themepark MMO is that it is organized around a story/quests that function to give the player a guided tour of points of interest within the game. Themepark MMOs are rooted in the concept of story-focused jRPGs which have precreatued unique settings while sandbox games are rooted in storyless western RPGs which have generated non-unique settings. Whether crafting is deep or not is unrelated to whether the game is sandboxy or themeparky because crafting has nothing to do with story. (Well you can have crafting quests, but that's an unimportant minor detail.)

It sounds like you haven't played any good minigames, or seen them well integrated into a larger game.Consider a Zelda game for example, that series has traditionally had minigames that add a lot of depth to the game. Consider any farming sim where the farming activity is a speedpuzzle or time management minigame the player repeatedly plays. Consider any MMO where a multiplayer mount or pet racing minigame is a popular or thematically important part of the game.
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Do you not consider WoW LotR, SWTOR and such themeparks? Those are the games I am comparing to. Zelda is not an mmorpg. So how is it relevant. I have played many games with minigames, and many games that are minigames but not in a larger game. Name some mmorpg themepark games without raid/mob drops trumping crafting. I have never seen one. Examples of sandboxy games with deep crafting are EVE, SWG, and Vanguard.

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Given that your post is about theory, does it really matter if there is an existing MMO demonstrating any given bit of design theory? It would be absurd to say one was only going to design things that other games had already done; game design would hardly be interesting if one wasn't doing something a bit original. And it certainly doesn't pay well enough to bother doing it if it's not interesting, lol. Stat-balancing on gear is so arbitrary in relation to the rest of the game that for any given MMO with both dropped and crafted gear if you had your own server of the game and changed just a few numbers it could completely alter which kind of gear was better. As far as what I'd consider themepark MMOs, if I can do nothing but quest and not run out of level appropriate quests (at least for the first 20 levels) it is a themepark. Otherwise it isn't.

The vast majority of MMOs have awful crafting and lousy or no minigames so it is difficult to point to any MMO which has a good example of either feature. Dofus not what I would consider a theme-park MMO, but it is an MMO where the majority of all gear, especially high-level gear, is crafted and maged (a secong crafting process to improve stats). And the game has no raiding, it has dungeons where the max party size is 8. Even if you do manage to drop gear you need to mage it to get it up to snuff stat-wise. Ryzom I only played for a few days because it bored me, so I couldn't tell you if it is a themepark or not, but it certainly has a deep crafting system. A Tale In the Desert has cool crafting and a few minigames but no combat, so it doesn't really have gear. Wizard 101 has interesting crafting but it's not the way to produce the most powerful gear in the game. Perfect World is a Wow-clone where the standard level 70 and 80 gear must be crafted, but I don't offhand know if better gear was droppable at those levels; overall crafting in that game was a money pit. Of all the MMOs I've played, the ones listed here (and WoW, and Runescape which is another Wow-clone) are the _only_ ones that had interesting semi-functional crafting systems. So it's a rather pathetic pool to try to find examples from.

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