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riuthamus

Crafting System [ What is ideal ]

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So we all know that thousands of creations exist for what is known as "Crafting" systems. I wanted to know what your thought was on the best systems and what is your thought on the worst. Things to keep in mind:

Game Name:

  • Most entertaining aspect of the system
  • What could have been done better
  • Most annoying aspect of the system
  • Was the system tedious
  • Was the end reward worth the effort
  • do you craft in games normally ( used to gauge your opinions value )
  • In your mind, what would be a good system


    example:

    World of Warcraft:

    • Honestly, there was not anything that stood out as entertaining.
    • The entire system. Lacked intuitive design as well as entertaining factor
    • Making more than one of any object. Time consuming as well as repetitive.
    • Yes, the system is very tedious
    • The reward was only found if you had a profession that was commonly needed. Bottle necking players
    • I have crafted in every game I have played, MMO, RPG, and any other that allows it.
    • The best system is one that entertains the player, while providing decent rewards for doing so. I hate how in mmos crafted items are nowhere near as good as the end boss ones.
      Edited by riuthamus

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I haven't seen this "in the wild" but an idea I thought up and developed a little bit uses a component model.
For example, say you want to make a sword, you know it takes 1 handle, 1 leather wrappings, and one medium blade. Thats all the recipie specifies, you could use any leather, wood, or metal for the parts, and each material could give a different effect. Each component could also be made with an additive that would also add an effect.

Continuing the sword example
Handle
Make the handle from Ironwood, to give the sword more durability,

Wrappings
Just normal cow hide, no special effect.

Blade
Forge the blade from Skysteel, which makes it lighter and attack more quickly.
Quench the blade in Dragon's Oil, which will add fire damage to it's attacks.


With a few dozen base materials and additives you could have thousands of unique weapons as a result. And the player's skill while making components (and assembling the finished product) would also contribute to the effectiveness of the weapon. A system like this would really add some depth to crafting, I think.


You could also make crafting more fun by turning it into a skill based minigame. Take forging a blade, you could have X times to reheat the blade, and while the blade is cooling you have to quickly hammer out impurities. Sort of like whack-a-mole. The better you do, the higher quality the resulting blade is.

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I haven't seen this "in the wild" but an idea I thought up and developed a little bit uses a component model.
For example, say you want to make a sword, you know it takes 1 handle, 1 leather wrappings, and one medium blade. Thats all the recipie specifies, you could use any leather, wood, or metal for the parts, and each material could give a different effect.

Ryzom is/was an example of this kind of crafting system.

This thread topic is very relevant to my interests and I'll respond at length this evening when I have more time.

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Personally depend's on "why" the game has crafting.

In my own opinion I enjoyed the Crafting from Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, because it has a purpose, though do not get me wrong it could have a lot more added to it, in the way of diversity.

worst crafting system I have seen would have to be WoW, I didn't see a purpose in it what so ever...

If I was to make a crafting system that would keep me coming back, it would have to not be based on a recipe system but rather random material's are flung together to give you a chance at making X-Sword. though if you have a specific amount of one mat, it will make X-Sword become the Hyper-X-Sword.... (excuse the naming)... I am not putting this across very well.

I will go see if I get note this down and come back with a proper explanation XD

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Saga of Ryzom (or just Ryzom) probably has one the best crafting systems which I have seen. Havnt played it in a long time (which is a shame)

Most entertaining aspect of the system -
The worthwhile feeling that comes from using something that you made and actually its really useful.

What could have been done better -
I remember initially I had no idea what to do. Ie better instructions.

Most annoying aspect of the system
Takes a lot of time/investment to level it up. However the time fells like an investment which makes it up.

Was the system tedious
The feeling from leveling it up and learning more how to use didnt make it feel tedius. You could see the next level of possible things to craft which made it worthwhile to hurry to the next level if bored.

Was the end reward worth the effort
Yes

Do you craft in games normally ( used to gauge your opinions value )
Yes, at least try it out when playing a new game.

In your mind, what would be a good system
Ryzom's comes to perfection in my opinion. A good system shouldnt feel like a gimmick and actually add something to the core experiance of the game.

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I often craft in games, and when I look for a new MMORPG or single-player sim, I look for reviews of which ones have the best crafting (and/or pet breeding/plant growing, which is mechanics-wise a form a crafting but not usually labeled as such).

Ideal properties of a crafting system IMO:

- It is not possible for a crafting attempt to fail in a way that destroys materials. Worst feature of crafting systems like those of WoW and Dofus.

- The player is encouraged to craft one of each item for their own use, rather than try to craft in bulk and sell to other non-crafting players. Soulbound or bind-on-equip items are good for this, as well as restrictions on trading captured/bred creatures. The core concept is that each player should be encouraged and rewarded for being a "do-it-yourself-er", not for being a factory, and players should definitely not be discouraged from crafting by unfavorable economics.

- Crafting is not based on grinding crafting XP. Instead the player unlocks new types of crafting by crafting appliances which allow new processing techniques to be used. For example, crafting a stone crucible allows metal ore to be melted and refined. Then crafting an anvil and a hammer allows metal ore to be cold-hammered into poor blades. A Tale In The Desert is one example of an MMO with this sort of crafting tech tree.

- Additionally or alternately, crafting should be influenced by minigame play. For example, getting a high score on a tetris-like game simulating mining would be the only way to get a rare gem needed for special crafting recipes. Or a familiar example is an MMO or RPG which includes a skill-based fishing minigame, then the fish are used as crafting materials and more skilled play results in more rare and valuable fish. Or an item such as a sword (stats portion not looks portion) could be selected as the subject of a minigame, then the score in the minigame would give the sword a stat bonus. Beating the previous score on that item would raise the bonus, but scoring worse would have no effect. The main point of including minigame/sim play is to replace/eliminate grinding of boring crafting gameplay, such as loading ingredients into a gui and pressing GO then waiting for a progress bar - ew. Both realtime sim play and turnbased sim play have great potential for fun crafting. This is where trading is really useful in an MMO, because players who are good at one minigame can swap their prizes for those of a minigame they are bad at or simply dislike. The Harvest Moon series and the Plant/Fish Tycoon series are examples of sim gameplay to create crafting mats (the fish and plants aren't used as craft ingredients in that game, but it's easy to compare to another game where fish are used as crafting ingredients, such as Gaia Online).

- Crafting recipes are at least 40% focused on aesthetic customizations - clothing and jewelry, clothing dye, hair style patterns, hair dye, tattoo patterns, tattoo ink, dragon dna used to cause your character to grow dragon wings, mount dye and customizations, weapon shapes, metal and wood types affecting weapon color, weapon engravings, magic SFX like glowiness, etc. These are superior to gear which is all about stats because appearance is relevant to players of every level and players will happily work hard for a long time to make themselves look awesome. The recipes/patterns themselves make great quest rewards.

- Stat-based gear or recipes for it should never be droppable, instead the mats to craft it should be what's dropped. No droppable mat should be ridiculously rare, and anything dropped only from a dungeon boss should have a 100% drop rate. Stat-based gear need not have any appearance, it should be visually covered up by statless clothing. Edited by sunandshadow

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These are wonderful suggestions and comments. I agree with many of the ideas presented here.

- It is not possible for a crafting attempt to fail in a way that destroys materials. Worst feature of crafting systems like those of WoW and Dofus.[/quote]

This is a perfect example of what I hate most about these types of systems. If i was to go out today and attempt to make a sword I would not just have it poof, and fail. Rather, the sword would come out messed up! I still would have something, right? It is my goal to create that in my system, when you create something you never fail and you always get something. It might be a sword that is bent as fuck but it is still a sword that could be used in the game. Imagine... somebody running at you with a bent sword of -2 dmg!! :P Imagine the shame and horror if they killed you with it!

- Additionally or alternately, crafting should be influenced by minigame play. For example, getting a high score on a tetris-like game simulating mining would be the only way to get a rare gem needed for special crafting recipes. Or a familiar example is an MMO or RPG which includes a skill-based fishing minigame, then the fish are used as crafting materials and more skilled play results in more rare and valuable fish. Or an item such as a sword (stats portion not looks portion) could be selected as the subject of a minigame, then the score in the minigame would give the sword a stat bonus. Beating the previous score on that item would raise the bonus, but scoring worse would have no effect. The main point of including minigame/sim play is to replace/eliminate grinding of boring crafting gameplay, such as loading ingredients into a gui and pressing GO then waiting for a progress bar - ew. Both realtime sim play and turnbased sim play have great potential for fun crafting. This is where trading is really useful in an MMO, because players who are good at one minigame can swap their prizes for those of a minigame they are bad at or simply dislike. The Harvest Moon series and the Plant/Fish Tycoon series are examples of sim gameplay to create crafting mats (the fish and plants aren't used as craft ingredients in that game, but it's easy to compare to another game where fish are used as crafting ingredients, such as Gaia Online).[/quote]

Not sure I fully agree, I like what fable did... it was new and interesting but it got old really quickly. If i ever had to mass produce items for a shop or store I wanted, i would really hate that shit. We had the idea of doing a crafting event for making an item what we call "master crafted". I don't want to go too much into the concept since it is the first time I have seen a system like it ( that i know of ) and I kinda want it to be a surprise when we release the game. The general idea is that when you wish to take an already crafted item ( or a random item you buy or find ) you can attempt to make it a master crafted item by actually going to the forge and reworking with the weapon. This would also work for armor and maybe some other objects like potions.

In your mind, what would be a good system Ryzom's comes to perfection in my opinion. A good system shouldnt feel like a gimmick and actually add something to the core experiance of the game. [/quote]

I have never played ryzom, but I just read how the entire system works and I feel like whoever made it was made from my same mindframe! That is exactly how i explained my system to my coders... they looked at me and said "you are crazy riu". Now I can show them what I want to do and we can go from there.

- Stat-based gear or recipes for it should never be droppable, instead the mats to craft it should be what's dropped. No droppable mat should be ridiculously rare, and anything dropped only from a dungeon boss should have a 100% drop rate. Stat-based gear need not have any appearance, it should be visually covered up by statless clothing. [/quote]

I agree with this 100%. In our crafting system there is no such thing as a recipe that you can pickup. The concept of crafting should be based off of exploration and learning. You should reward the player for attempting to do that, rather than hindering them with strict guidelines. If they want to make an iron helmet with only 3 ingots of iron instead of 10 let them... reduce the chance of success though and see what happens. This is the exact system that would foster people to work at trying to find the most effective way to craft items and would give them the freedom to explore different and new ideas. I am not sure I agree with stat based gear at all. I hate the concept that a man is defined by his clothes! :) I understand the need for better gear but shouldnt crafting be about making the best armor for yourself/others rather than you dungeon crawling to obtain some? Hell, i know if i kill a 5000 lbs boss his armor is in no way going to fit me. If i wanted armor like his I could take parts of his and give it to a crafter to make me some! Least, that is my idea.

All in all, thanks for the comments, please feel free to keep them coming.

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If a bent sword can't be taken apart to recover mats, I'd personally count that as a fail that destroys mats. But it might be okay if the player could only recover some mats but could choose which ones. It's common to be crafting items where one ingredient is way more of a pain to replace than others, and you wouldn't really begrudge the loss of half the ingredients if you got back the important ones.

When I played Ryzom I didn't actually find the crafting system that fun - I immediately realized that keeping track of what ingredients contributed what stats to what crafts was going to be a big pain and the game didn't provide me with much in the way of motivation to explore the crafting system OR much in the way of motivation to kill monsters. I think Ryzom's system would need to be remodeled quite a bit to make it fun: have fewer crafting mats available in each area so the player can plausibly try all possible combinations, make it obvious what ingreds contributed what to the finished item, give the game some kind of journal to help you keep track of what you learned by crafting experimentation, and have quests/achievements rewarding the player for making one of the best few items possible from that area/level's mats. Then it might be cool.

As far as the issue of weather to have gear with stats, my opinion is that if you have characters with levels, you might as well have gear that levels up too. Levelless MMOs are an interesting concept with potential for being great for PvP, but you would lose the pacing, organization, motivation, and identity functions of character levels which would be difficult to replace.

Fable, I'm not 100% sure what it has to do with minigames since I don't remember it having any fun crafting-related minigames. I'll agree that it got old really quickly, but I thought it was because it felt like the game world was populated by robots rather than anything resembling real people with interesting stories for the player to participate in. The main story was quite cheesy, and the locations within the world failed to tell little side stories, except for two or three which seemed to have been made by a more skilled/artistic level designer.

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Fable, I'm not 100% sure what it has to do with minigames since I don't remember it having any fun crafting-related minigames. I'll agree that it got old really quickly, but I thought it was because it felt like the game world was populated by robots rather than anything resembling real people with interesting stories for the player to participate in. The main story was quite cheesy, and the locations within the world failed to tell little side stories, except for two or three which seemed to have been made by a more skilled/artistic level designer.


In fable ( not the original but 2 and 3 ) you would craft by having a small indicator bar move back and forth while you tried ot get it in the center. The harder the crafting was the smaller time you had to do this in. It was an interesting concept but again the gimick fell apart once you had to do it for more than 10 times. The concept should be around focusing the intertaining and fun factor on discovery. An example of an enjoyable craft system ( although very very basic ) was Vagrant Story. I remember being interested in what was going to be crafted and taking the time to collect the materials needed. We have a "minigame" of sorts in mind, but that would be for superior weapons only and thus would not be used for common everyday crafting. For those types of items we have a more unique idea in mind that fosters productivity through creative thinking and exploration. I dont mean exploring caverns and such ( which you will have to do for materails ) but I mean the exploration of what materials, when combined, make up something else.


If a bent sword can't be taken apart to recover mats, I'd personally count that as a fail that destroys mats. But it might be okay if the player could only recover some mats but could choose which ones. It's common to be crafting items where one ingredient is way more of a pain to replace than others, and you wouldn't really begrudge the loss of half the ingredients if you got back the important ones.


What I was saying is that there should be no such thing as a failed attempt. You should always get something. Be it a bent sword or scrap metal that can be smelted into usable parts for further crafting. Either way, the idea is to reward the player for attempting to craft rather than hindering them from doing so. This acutally goes well with our exploration concept because with the model I have working now, you can get away with crafting an item with less materials if your crafting skill is high enough. Much like a master would need to use much less than a normal beginner would because he has done it a thousand times and knows exactly what to do. This will let the player decide if they want to waste a chance on getting it with minimal materials or if they want to play it safe and get it every time. We have a % for success and every choice you make with the crafting process either adds or reduces that % value.

We are also working with the concept of master worked items. Assume that you are the max skill, you do everything you are suppose to do with the crafting process 100% correct, your skill and the mats you choose can add to your %; which can end with a final result of 120%. That 20% goes to the chance of crafting a masterworked item ( a +1 to all of its primary stats ). Furthermore, Superior items require you have a masterworked item to start off from. Superior items have a special crafting system all together, that i dont want to into at this point. ( still hammering it all out, pun intended )


As far as the issue of weather to have gear with stats, my opinion is that if you have characters with levels, you might as well have gear that levels up too. Levelless MMOs are an interesting concept with potential for being great for PvP, but you would lose the pacing, organization, motivation, and identity functions of character levels which would be difficult to replace.


I agree that you need to have a level seperate from fighting and questing. I like the concept of a blacksmith simply being a blacksmith, or an alchemist being nothing more.... why force them to fight and run out ( other than making them play the game longer ). You should create game world content that fosters crafting, live auction houses, player ran stores, stuff that generates an economy.


When I played Ryzom I didn't actually find the crafting system that fun - I immediately realized that keeping track of what ingredients contributed what stats to what crafts was going to be a big pain and the game didn't provide me with much in the way of motivation to explore the crafting system OR much in the way of motivation to kill monsters. I think Ryzom's system would need to be remodeled quite a bit to make it fun: have fewer crafting mats available in each area so the player can plausibly try all possible combinations, make it obvious what ingreds contributed what to the finished item, give the game some kind of journal to help you keep track of what you learned by crafting experimentation, and have quests/achievements rewarding the player for making one of the best few items possible from that area/level's mats. Then it might be cool.


Agree with this as well. Ryzom was far to complex for what a person wants to play with in a game. The concept of it was spot on... but you want to keep things like that simple. Make the system intuative and let the player explore and expand from there. I will admit creating a system like that is a lot of work, but the end result provides you with a robust system that is fairly unique and entertaining.

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Oh, the stupid bouncing bar. I didn't play the later Fables because I found the first one underwhelming, but I've seen that poor excuse for a "minigame" other places too. Every time I run into it it strikes me as about the laziest possible choice the developer could have made. It fails at being a "minigame" because they are supposed to be fun little games in their own right, such as a tetris, a solitaire, a match-three, a galaga or space invaders clone, etc.

If you're interested in looking at crafting systems in other MMOs, Wurm Online is one to check out. It's kinda halfway between Ryzom and A Tale In The Desert. I found Wurm difficult to get started with though and this seems to be a common problem, so if you actually try to play it instead of just reading about it you might want to look for a getting started guide of some kind to smooth the process.

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