Home > Design, MMO > I can rant just as well as you can, Dmitri!

I can rant just as well as you can, Dmitri!

Openedge1, never a stranger to bubbling, hissing, cauldron-fed polemic, has made a post guaranteed to get crafting players like me frothing at the mouth. Better yet, he does it with wit, which is always essential to any good rant. Never one to pass up an opportunity for ready-made response content, here I am.

merkin

I have only one thing to say to that post, as well as to the various responses cropping up. By all means, remove crafting from games! Actually, remove the damned combat, the stupid item grind, the ridiculous BS that is grey/vendor loot, the repetitive life- and soul-sucking inanity that is raids, and just leave me to craft away in peace.

{Here, have some popcorn. I just made a batch, because I’m a CRAFTER.}

Why exactly is it that stuff one doesn’t like has to disappear off the face of the earth?

Oh yeah — tolerance makes for boring blog posts, and it’s useless for rants. So.

DOWN WITH ADVENTURING AND ADVENTURERS! Kick em all in the nads and send the murdering, pillaging, razing bastards to jail — or to the eastern front — which is probably where that whole bunch of psycopathic bastards belongs in the first place.

(PS: Customers? Pfft. Given the choice between the end of the whole “ZOMG crafting sux take it out take it out take it out!!!!” whinge and having adventurers for customers, I’ll pick the peace and quiet. After all, crafters need stuff made too.)

Categories: Design, MMO Tags: , , ,
  1. July 31, 2009 at 1:51 pm | #1

    Then play a Tale in the Desert if you need crafting.

    There are games made for “crafting” if that is your forte’.

    But, see, I do not play ATITD because I KNOW it is a crafting game, thus I do not go into ATITD and say…”Get rid of crafting” and make it more “combat” oriented.

    Kinda makes your post look silly…

    Lets look at it this way. Why remove combat for example, when the game clearly has shown me that “combat” is where the game is at? Thus, I play that game for…

    You guessed it….combat

    When I start up Age of Conan, I see blood, guts and swords and axes swinging, etc…thus, why should I be standing in a corner waving my hands around as I fiddle myself into making a potion?

    Or how about, I start up Guild Wars, and the awesome cinematic shows the fire, destruction and anger of the warring factions as the main NPC states…find me “Heroes”…but, make sure he can use a pick to get stone out that rock..and he must spend 10 levels doing this to be powerful enough for the next type of rock.

    You see…my argument is not AGAINST crafting as a whole.

    Why not make a “class” that is a crafter? Thus when that person plays the game that wants to craft, they can CHOOSE to do it, and not combat…but no game does that, as crafting is thrust upon us, and we have no choice if we wish to have certain items without paying an arm and a leg for it.

    So, by all means…leave crafting in, but do not make it such a “need”, and make it a want (EQ2 took some steps to do that, and of all crafting in MMO’s, I commend SOE)..

    Or just go play ATITD.

    • July 31, 2009 at 4:39 pm | #2

      I’m impressed. I never thought I’d hear “go back to WoW” only with ATITD inserted.

      I’ve played ATITD, thanks. It’s not exactly an MMO, and the crafting there is idiosyncratic to say the least.

      And of course it’s not the same thing, because combat is what this is all about! Silly me.

      Yeah. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  2. July 31, 2009 at 2:03 pm | #3

    SWG crafting is how it should be done. The quality of the resources you use affects the end product.

    You also have crafting classes. No such thing as BoP for what they produce if I recall correctly.

  3. July 31, 2009 at 2:18 pm | #4

    Point from Openedge’s Post: “A lot of times though, I never get anything that useful from crafting that a reward from a quest or drop from a boss has not been able to outdo.”

    Counterpoint from Openedge’s comment above: “crafting is thrust upon us, and we have no choice if we wish to have certain items without paying an arm and a leg for it”

    Seriously, I think it is worth marking a distinction between a game like EQ2 that has taken a serious effort to make crafting a free-standing entity and a game like WoW.

    Blizzard has literally turned its crafting system into a universal timesink by adding self-only perks that force every single player to max two professions or be forever gimped. WoW also does not have a system of crafting for NPC’s like EQ2 writs and LOTRO crafting guilds, so all those players who are obligated to level a pair of professions have no choice but to craft actual items and flood the market with them. Perhaps this is what the Edge-y guy is griping about in his comment here, as top end crafted gear in WoW is effectively raid loot – both the recipes and the materials required to make them are raid-only drops. There is no niche for the independent crafter.

    That all said, both crafters and non-crafters are better off with each other. I have yet to see an MMORPG where a non-crafter could not get all of the crafted goodies they wanted by bartering rare materials through the AH for cash. Meanwhile, you could make a game where crafters need to depend on buying things they could craft on their own from other crafters, but I would venture a guess that a market based entirely on comparative advantage would not be fun for many players.

    Perhaps the main murky middle ground is how to avoid making players feel like they have to do both. I made a deliberate decision NOT to make my Warden into a sage, precisely because I did NOT want to feel pressure to constantly keep my crafting up to par with my adventuring level. Instead, I went tailor, only to figure out that now I don’t need to be up to par all the time, but I DO need to be level X9 when my adventuring class hits X0 if I want to be able to equip all my armor on time. Maybe I should be more like you and Mort and juggle half a dozen alts at once, so I can switch to a different adventurer while I wait for my crafting to catch up.

  4. July 31, 2009 at 2:49 pm | #5

    @Green Armadillo

    Thanks for pointing that out about my counterpoints…thus you see my conundrum.

    I can get some really good rewards from quest givers, that crafting say a sword or armor makes you feel like saying..”why do it?”..

    Yet, I can get some really good potions from crafting, and if I do not keep up? I have to pay someone else to get it…and pay handsomely.
    And there is no market of mass undercutting from a majority of MMO’s I have played, like a normal economy.
    I may get lucky once in a great while…but not enough to make me feel like I should be crafting to make my own money even.

    You go on to state at the end where this all falls apart though

    “I did NOT want to feel pressure to constantly keep my crafting up to par with my adventuring level.”

    THIS is why the crafting side feels tacked on all the time. It is taking away an aspect of the game I want to do (adventuring)…while games like Guild Wars did not pressure me to have a level…I did it on the fly whenever I felt like it.
    Thus, I am not against crafting totally, just the pressure of crafting…

    It’s not fun to me is all.

  5. July 31, 2009 at 3:05 pm | #6

    ” if I do not keep up? I have to pay someone else to get it…and pay handsomely.”

    This is very true if you are relying entirely on adventuring for your income. Most games that are currently on the market give higher gold drops from killing/questing/etc as players reach higher levels, and the market price for purchasing finished goods is based on what the bored max level player can pay, rather than what the level 20 player can make by questing. What gets back to the point I mentioned with harvesting is that the bored max level player ALSO sets the market prices for the raw materials.

    I don’t know how AOC works, but I have had NO problems using the auction house to convert harvest materials into gear for my character in WoW, LOTRO, or EQ2. This does mean that crafting can be optional, but harvesting generally is not. On the other hand, the inflation issue would exist even in a game with no crafting at all, so having the ability to catch up via harvesting is still a benefit, rather than a drawback, for the non-crafter.

    (The secondary issue in EQ2 is that there are 24 adventuring classes, each of which needs at least one spell upgrade every level, so you’re talking about literally hundreds of spell scrolls that might not happen to be in stock on the broker. That’s more of an issue with spell upgrade design compared to server population than it is with the underlying crafting system.)

  6. July 31, 2009 at 3:13 pm | #7

    For all its faults (and there were myriad) SWG is the only MMO I’ve played that did it right, and one of the ways they did it is by allowing non-combat professions (classes, for the sake of argument).

    There were a lot of housewives in my guild, and on my server, who either had no time or interest (or both) in the adventuring/combat content of SWG. But they could craft or entertain while watching their kids, all the while chatting with us and having a good ol’ time as well as providing much-appreciated buffs or gear for all us adventurers.

    Ysh, however, has to roll an adventurer class to craft with. And if EQ2 is *anything* like any other generic DIKU MMO she probably has to gather (on her own through adventuring or from other players) tons of materials and craft tons of useless stuff just to “level” her crafting in order to make something that may actually be useful or valuable.

    If adventuring is my full time “job” in the world, does it make sense that I should also be a master craftsman in one or more trades? Doubtful.

    I’ll be happy if someone comes along and makes a great game first and foremost, with a real economy and meaningful crafting from crafting-only classes. Perhaps they can rely on adventurers to take them places. Adventurers can even gather/harvest/salvage basic items to sell the crafters if they want to, but it should be voluntary. Most games these days shove crafting down our throats and make us feel like we *have* to craft, whether there’s truth to that or not.

    The other side is that crafting-only is, let’s be honest, boring. A handful of games have tried various attempts at having a more entertaining or at least in-depth crafting mini-game but if someone is serious about taking crafting to the next step then the crafting sphere (to borrow Vanguard’s term) needs to be a full game unto itself, not just some mini-game we do during downtimes while we’re chatting and LFG.

    We claim to love MMOs for, among other reasons, the “massively multiplayer” aspect. Yet look how we avoid that at every turn. Many games try to encourage interaction (dare I say “social?”) by having crafting professions require items produces by other professions. But rather than interact what do most players do? They’ll roll an alt and grind up more crafting professions so they can essentially “solo” the entire crafting leveling and end-game.

    • smakendahed
      August 1, 2009 at 6:11 am | #8

      Are you calling Ysh a simple “housewife”? *gasp* Not that being a housewife is simple.

      I agree with Scott’s second to last paragraph. Ultimately, it’s the same minigame over and over.

      Oh wait! It’s the same thing for adventuring, right? I mean you get into combat, cast some spells, use some combat arts usually in the same pattern, right? That’s not all that different from EQ2′s crafting, right?

      Do I need to point out where it is different?

      Ysh already knows that I love crafting and how I feel about fluff like companion pets, housing and furniture in a game that is supposed to be about questing and adventure. :P (EverQuest != EverCraft)

      She also knows not to take me too seriously.

      Go ahead and make a game that is all about crafting and has no combat or adventure to it. I won’t go near it, it’s that simple.

      (btw, I’ve never touched or even considered having Second Life any where near my PCs – would that fit the bill of a Crafting focused MMO?)

  7. July 31, 2009 at 4:54 pm | #9

    (Edit — oh crap, you know you’re foaming at the mouth when your reply to comments is longer than your original post. I’m going to find a nice quiet nook, get out my tinfoil hat, and take my dried frog pills.)

    Another irony. I’m hearing shades of the “I don’t want to raid but I want raid-quality gear!” argument. People jump ALL over that all the time as though it’s self-evidently pap (which for the most part is it. MMOs are built around a very strong risk/reward paradigm).

    So why is it ok to want craft-quality gear without crafting? Yes yes, I know, you want crafting eliminated entirely — just give me the same stuff through some long-ass, head-explodingly boring so-called epic (by which they mean the epic number of mobs one has to wade through) quest. Because time spent doing repetitive things while swinging a sword is self evidently superior and nothing like time spent repetitively doing a crafting action. I must not be subtle enough to see the distinction.

    @GA – I understand how this crafting gap can frustrate a very achievement-oriented player as you seem to be. But it’s a matter of perception to a large extent. My chars aren’t actually decked out in rares and they don’t have rare versions of any of their spells. They also, of course, don’t have phat dungeon and/or quest loot. Still, I get by just fine out and about./end @

    On a more general level: I craft because I enjoy it, which means that most of the time my OWN characters aren’t wearing bling from the Norrathian equivalent of Harrods. They could, if I could be arsed, but I do just fine without it. I don’t craft to make myself more competitive on the adventuring front, I craft because I enjoy the activity. I guess this is what some folks absolutely will not and do not want to understand, because that would mean they have to spend a few minutes considering a way of doing things that’s unlike how they do things. When you have to be right all the time, it’s difficult to put yourself in anyone else’s place.

    Sure, there are situations where crafted stuff is needed. There are situations in most MMOs where raided stuff is needed. But according to Openedge & other haters that’s ok because he likes combat, whereas needing stuff from an activity he doesn’t should lead to the complete removal of said activity.

    That’s facile.

    That crafting is a designed as a time- and money-sink (as it is in WoW and as the devs openly admitted a few months after launch) is a design fault, not a fault in the activity itself. I find the mechanics of combat deadly dull in many cases, but when I’m not polemicising I’m rational enough to admit that it’s not COMBAT that’s at fault, it’s the way in which it’s implemented.

    Can’t you people who rag on crafting as boring stretch far enough to consider that it is not self-evidently boring? That because it bores *you*, it doesn’t by natural extension bore the entire universe? Every time this tired old kill crafting thing crops up I get puzzled all over again. I thought once we left the 3-5 age range behind, we actually started understanding that our perception of the universe doesn’t encompass the entirety of that universe. (Or if it does, that’s a philosophical question for another day.) Let me put it simply: I don’t like certain foods / activities / colours / songs; that doesn’t make me fanatically convinced that everyone else should hate them too.

    Seriously though. How can one claim to raise a debate when only one point of view is seen as REAL, let alone valid?

    I sometimes forget myself and think that blogs are platforms for debate and discussion, when that’s probably the last thing they are. Sooner or later I will learn better. ;)

  8. July 31, 2009 at 7:00 pm | #10

    Oh pish, tish and fliffle flaffle, removing combat from a game is just a silly idea, don’t be so ridiculous.

    Moving, though. I’m bloody sick of moving in games. Do you know how much time I’ve wasted moving around? Talk to some buffoon in a village, spend forever running off to find some boars or whatever, kill one, then you have to run off and find another one, and another one, eventually run all the way back… it’s stupid. When I start up Age of Conan I see swords and axes and stuff, not running shoes. I demand that my character should be allowed to remain entirely immobile while a procession of boars are brought, by conveyor belt, within sword range to be slaughtered (followed by a tea set and a cuddly toy that I get to keep if I remember them).

    • July 31, 2009 at 7:52 pm | #11

      Sounds like a great idea for a game. Couch Potato Online – where the entertainment comes to you!

      The funny thing about this whole get rid of crafting debate is that it’s just dumb. If OpenEdge (or anyone else for that matter) doesn’t like crafting, well, they don’t have to do it.

      If they don’t want to buy what someone else has crafted, they don’t have to buy it.

      The gear that drops in the game is more than adequate to allow a player to progress through to the level cap. Sure, the level appropriate Master Crafted gear can be better, but they can do without it.

      If they don’t mind buying the gear, well money is plentiful in these sort of games. Despite the normal money sinks, it’s almost impossible not to accumulate in-game currency. Unless the player is role playing a virtual Scrooge and hoarding all his cash, there’s no reason not to drop a bit of play on MasterCrafted gear.

      But I still wonder why folks like OpenEdge don’t want other players to enjoy crafting in a game like EQ2 or AoC when the existence of crafting doesn’t affect them in the slightest.

  9. July 31, 2009 at 9:16 pm | #12

    Back when EQ2 launched I remember a lot of debate on where gear should come from. The crafters felt top-end gear should be player-made. Raiders argued that it should drop from raids.

    In the end, like most decisions in EQ2, they kind of fudged it and tried to please everyone.

    Crafting systems work best when they are uniquely and distinctly valuable. In Eve just about everything is player crafted and has to be physically transported to or made at the place customers buy it. That in turn feeds into the combat side because all those fat haulers full of valuable equipment are an opportunity for pvp players to finance their lives of crime.

    In AoC the architects making the player cities were an example of doing it right. It was very interesting to be the guild architect and lay out your guild’s city. They botched other elements of crafting though. Jewelcrafting was horrible for me my jeweller quest simply bugged and I couldn’t progress, eventually being a major factor in my cancelling.

    I think crafting is at its worse when they expect everyone to do it. In order for everyone to be a Master Swordsmith then that mastery has to be borderline useless so that players who can’t be bothered with it aren’t hopelessly gimped. I much prefer a system like SWG where being a Master Weaponsmith means most of the server has you on their Friends list but you don’t do much else with that character except craft.

    EQ2 has a crafting system I really like. However their economy is terrible. They have never got to grips with botting and every player being able to collect wheelbarrows full of crafter resources every time they step outside the door is a terrible mechanic.

    One of the big strengths of EQ2 is Dominix, their lead crafting developer. She is an exceptional listener and keeps the crafters informed of what they hope to do from the development side. Her great relationship with the community has made that sub-forum an asset to the development team and a very encouraging source of news to crafter players.

    One of the very interesting things about EQ2 and SW:G is that an entirely new category of crafter has arisen out of player interactions: the interior designer. On any EQ2 servers trade forum if you look at the ads you will see interior designers sought and offering their services. These are just players with a good knowledge of the game’s furniture and decorative loot drops and a keen sense of aesthetics who will come and decorate your house for you.

    So in a sense, Oepn Edge, your analogy about watching paint dry is already a feature in some games and players are loving it.

  10. Longasc
    August 1, 2009 at 12:37 am | #13

    I am all for crafting. But what we currently call crafting is the sad result of a lack of love on part of the designers and having a meaning at all.

    POSITIVE example of crafting: Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies did have an impact of the player and the world.

    1. create weapons/armor that actually gets used.
    Most players only used grandmaster smith level weapons and armor with increased durability that get used.

    2. items must decay, get lost, etc.
    Nobody creates cars if nobody buys them. Oh wait, GM does, but let’s think of MMORPGs. Item decay is important, as it creates demand and some kind of virtual economy, very important for virtual worlds, not so much for “game” style MMOs – which are many MMOs nowadays.

    3. create more than weapons
    Ultima Online allowed me to create trophies of slain creatures, chairs, tables, chests. Filling your house with some furniture was what crafters where needed for! Social clothing is also an idea

    4. The process of gathering permanently and using every resource node on your path almost becomes manic. Some games do it better than others. I find LOTROs gathering process much more tedious than WoW’s, closely followed by Aion which also becomes a bit ridiculous and boring quickly.

    5. crafting works very bad in zone and progression based games
    Ultima Online had a fixed power limit, EQ and WoW are in constant progression, and so are the crafting recipes. The problem is that low level zones and their materials suddenly become rare or uninteresting to players who harvest only in the final max level zones.

    This means I have to go back to the Wetlands and farm for some rainbow pearls or tell the newbie he needs to do this or that. I can rarely craft him stuff that he really needs, or lack the materials. I cannot be competitive in price with better quest rewards.

    So yeah, we might be stuck with the interior designer – a good thing, but besides EQ2 only UO/SWG designs outside of the usual DikuMUD mud (haha) have more involved crafting.

    So I say a general rant about crafting being PURE SHITE is quite warranted. Crafting needs to be more than putting together stuff in complicated ways that is crap, expensive to level and mostly useless or only for one person.

    Yeah, I hate WoW crafting. And this is bad, as WoW is often used as the template for new MMOs, for better and/or worse! They improved it a bit in WOTLK, but it is still inherently flawed and far away from being really good.

    Basically, if people just collect with 2 gathering professions, they are better off in WoW.

    Alchemy and Enchanting are somewhat viable, other professions have more serious problems, especially smithing, leatherworking and all other professions that create permanent items instead of potions that get used up (you get the idea, this creates demand) and item enhancements. Jewellers suffer from the problem that they create so many more gems than they can sell.

    So yeah, crafting in general sucks, and it could and should be better. And not every game needs crafting, especially if they cannot come up with something better than that.

    I do not know if EQ2 crafting sucks, but I am not sure if crafting can save a game (runs for cover)! :)

  11. smakendahed
    August 1, 2009 at 6:12 am | #14

    p.s. I was an armorsmith in EQ2 back when you needed to make about 20+ combines for one piece of armor. I think that might have been what pushed me over the edge.

  12. August 1, 2009 at 7:16 am | #15

    @SmakenDahead: Eeek! No, I’m not calling Ysh a housewife! Did it read that way? I was just lamenting that games don’t have those non-combat professions anymore that attract a whole crowd of non-gamers as well. They may not have went Rancor hunting with us or whatever, but they sure made for some interesting and fun conversations that brightened our moods. And because of their buffs, etc. they were also very useful to adventurers. I guess I just appreciate when a game has aspects that attract people out of the norm because that can really enhance the overall community. (Then again, a crafting/social heavy game with hardcore PvP could attract the Darkfall/Halo type of nasty asshats…)

    You’re correct that the combat game is very repetitive as well, but at least we have various venues for that repetition as well as learning multiple skills to deal with multiple situations. Crafting lacks that. Crafting is a totally solo activity and it’s always the same thing: click OK and stare at the progress bar, or worse, go AFK. If “leveling” crafting meant learning new abilities in addition to new recipes and there were different ways to craft other than always standing next to some station. What about group-required crafting? Ya can’t raise a real barn solo, after all.

    I want to say (but I’m not positive) that EQ2 (or some other title) has taken baby steps to this effect, so good for them.

    @Ysh: Of course *I* mean “for me” when I say anything is [insert descriptor here] or in this case “crafting is boring.” Again, I have no experience with EQ2′s crafting but in the majority of games the so-called “crafting” is just sitting by a station watching the progress bar count down the crafting queue. That isn’t fun (for me). Perhaps I had fun in the gathering stages, or whatever, but gathering != crafting. I may have a lot of fun chatting with friends and guildmates while my progress bar ticks down, but chatting != crafting either. It’s the actual, literal process of crafting that I dislike in the average MMO, especially when I’m doing nothing but grinding it away then vendoring the useless results.

    Again I’ll refer to SWG for coming the closest to “fun” crafting just because the actual crafting process was its own mini-game as well. I’ve heard EQ2 is as well, though quite different from SWG’s implementation. Vanguard’s crafting was interesting, but very grindy in terms of the sheer number of mouse clicks required, but it was also too reactionary. It gives no warning that a problem is imminent, letting me try to correct it beforehand, only that I can hope I have enough action points to correct something once the problem occurs.

    I will say that one enjoyable part to SWG’s crafting were the public stations in town. At the time my server was very busy and Mos Espa (if I’m remembering the name correctly?) was jam-packed with players 24/7 and it was enjoyable to watch what was happening in town while I was working through the crafting process. While actively crafting (and it was an active process not a passive progress bar) I also got to be social and chat or even RP in town or I could just observe what players were doing. Sometimes the Empire would send Stormtroopers into town and we’d have to pack up our crafting and run (or fight). Once I installed a better crafting station in my personal house, the in-my-face social aspect was lost, and I tended to craft less often as a result despite being able to have better results when I did.

  13. August 1, 2009 at 9:14 am | #16

    I think if crafting had more of an impact on game economy than it currently does (like a completely player run economy, no NPCs, players set up trade routes, run market places, hock their wares and made it more like a live, functioning system) people would respect / accept it more. Combat doesn’t really need to be appreciated as it’s the cornerstone of a lot of MMOs. It’s there, you know it’s there, you know you’re going to kill / defeat things.

    The kind of crafting I would like to see in a game is one where players can make ANYTHING. Players can train animals to be sold as pack / riding animals. Players can create siege weapons for war and help roll them out. Players create trade routes between cities, help build marketplaces in the middle of town and place themselves there or hire help to run their stores. Adventurers buy their adventuring items from the players and the quests / raids give items with which to AUGMENT those items.

    Of course you can always find spoils in hidden treasure troves or deep scary caverns or by wresting the item from a lich or what have you, but the item acquisition isn’t the main point of the game.

    I mean, what if killing bosses in raids meant something OTHER than gear acquisition. Maybe the dragon cave you clean out one week is infested with squatter kobolds the next week and they’re playing havoc with your trade routes. Whereas before you had a dragon burning down buildings every so often (which crafters can repair) you now have to route the kobold army / squatter village to keep your town running.

    MMOs need to start being less about pure combat and have a real point to logging in aside from gear. Allow players to build their own towns. Have 2 starting cities and that’s it. A free, open frontier on which to settle and build.

  14. Longasc
    August 1, 2009 at 6:47 pm | #17

    Asheron’s Call 2 tried something like that, but they did not do it too good, unfortunately.

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