Difficulty in Crafting

I’m going to be talking about difficulty in crafting and to do so I’m going to use two of my favourite MMOs as examples and then come up with some ideas that are only relevant to Pantheon.

Difficulty is a subject that comes up quite often in games. Sometimes it is satisfying just to do something and get a reward at it but that soon wears off. The real reward is working hard on something that you have failed at a few times and then eventually succeeding. That tends to give people a good feeling and a sense that they have achieved something.

In the original EverQuest crafting was quite a simple system. You have containers which held a certain number of items and once you had put the correct items into the container you hit combine. Then you either succeeded or failed at the combine. You continued this process until you had reached maximum skill points in that profession.

While a lot of people loved the original EverQuest its crafting system was neither complex nor difficult but it was time consuming. It did some things well but I think if we are looking for a new crafting system in Pantheon copying the EverQuest would be a bad idea.

Then we move onto Vanguard. This was more like a crafting system I would like to see. It had a sort of mini game that could result in failure to create an item if you didn’t pay attention and it allowed you to use dusts I believe to give your items special stats.

But we can go one step further in Pantheon. On the official forums, I started a thread saying that crafting an item should take a long time but after thinking about this for a bit I decided that perhaps that wasn’t the best way to go about things as people had real life schedules and perhaps couldn’t spent that much time in one sitting playing Pantheon.

Instead I think that people should have to work together to create items of special strength and the fact that you need to go and find crafters with different skills to your own should result in a good community between people on the same server.

When a crafter is making an item, it should probably take 2 – 3 minutes to craft but there should be multiple ways that the combine can fail meaning that the economy is never flooded with items. Furthermore, any finished player item should require items from other crafters which again should be easy to fail in multiple ways. That way the whole process will have a high degree of built in failure.

So how do we make the crafting system hard? For a start, we should remove the idea that crafting is just putting items in a container and hitting combine. That is neither hard nor particularly fun. What we need is a process that keeps a player engaged while making an item but isn’t guaranteed to be successful. The ways I see this going is sort of like a much more complex crafting style than Vanguard.

The fact that the developers of Pantheon have already said that there will be experimentation adds another layer of depth to the game because crafters will be trying to make new items with all kinds of items and won’t know until they find something successful whether they have made something good and worth making again. This combined with perception in crafting could create a very complex system that would require crafters to dedicate quite a lot of time crafting to learn all its ins and outs.
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