Finding Recipes

An often-overlooked part of crafting in MMORPGs is, I believe, the most fundamental part of crafting. Before you can even craft an item, you need to know how to make it in the first place.

A lot of the time finding recipes is rather boring in MMORPGs. You either get new recipes by levelling up or you get them from simple quests. I’d like to see the act of finding out how to craft an item be an integral part of the crafting game.

Let’s look at some of the ways a player could discover recipes:

· Get new recipes by levelling up
· Get new recipes by completing quests
· Get new recipes by experimentation
· Get new recipes based on your skill level in a certain skill
· Finding new recipes in the world, either on the ground, by killing NPCs or buy finding some rare merchant somewhere
· Get new recipes by practicing a certain recipe until you reach “master” level in that recipe unlocking a better version which is only available to players who have spent significant amounts of time crafting certain items

I’ll go over each option and give some ideas on why I either like or dislike that way of getting recipes.

Levelling Up
This is the bog-standard way of getting recipes and is, by far, the most boring and unimaginative. As a crafter this is the least interesting option and personally I think it should be limited to small recipes that are used in bigger recipes. Things like nails or making planks of wood or perhaps smelting ore.

Personally, I think this option should be avoided as much as possible because it really doesn’t add anything to the game.

Completing Quests
I like this option because it is so flexible. A quest could be anything and might need the help of players who maybe do not do crafting such as raiders or plain adventurers. I’d be inclined to avoid simple quests such as kill X of Y type quests and instead try and make the quests make sense in the context of crafting.

Perhaps some NPCs are trying to add extra defences to their main city and need some crafters to provide them some materials and in reward they will supply them with some new crafting knowledge. Or perhaps a quest could be based on Pantheon lore such as going into wild and finding a rare NPC who hides away in the wilderness who can impart some rare and hard to find knowledge to crafters. Of course, the crafter might need to gain the appropriate faction before the NPC will talk to them.

This is the one I really like as it allows crafters who invest a significant amount of time in crafting to find items that no other crafter knows how to make. It is all very well being able to craft a sword, but what about a sword that can inflict extra damage on a certain type of NPC?

These will obviously be more desired by players in certain areas opening even more customising options. In EverQuest a player generally had one set of gear that they used for adventuring and only upgraded rarely once they hit max level. What about if players had to decide on the gear they were wearing based on the location they were headed towards?

That would add an extra layer of depth to the game and one that would allow players a lot of flexibility in their options. Of course, it would also drive up demand for good crafted items which I am very keen to see happen.

Furthermore, it would be easy for the developers to add new recipes mid expansion cycle as it would just require variations on a theme which will keep crafters guessing as to what is available to craft. It is always boring if you can just go to a database site and see a list of all the available recipes and I’d like to avoid that if possible.

Skill Based
This is kind of linked the levelling approach to gaining recipes but is better in a couple of aspects. First it isn’t automatic. You’d really have to practice crafting certain types of items to progress and secondly it could mean that crafters could specialise in different aspects of the same profession. For instance, you could have one blacksmith who is an expert in make slashing weapons and a second blacksmith who is an expert in making blunt weapons. Both are of the same profession but because they have spent longer working on a certain type of item their abilities are drastically different.

Finding Recipes
I like this option mainly because it adds some mystery to the world of Pantheon. There should always be a reason to visit somewhere you have never been to before and I think this will keep players exploring long after the initial rush of the game. It is boring to play a game where you just move from one area to the next without any need to explore. I think people refer to this type of game as being “on rails” and I hope Pantheon tries to avoid this way of doing things as much as possible.

I can imagine finding a recipe lying on the ground in a random part of a dungeon that would take a skilled crafter to decipher. Perhaps the people doing the dungeon are not crafters and don’t know what they have found until they get back to town and let some other people investigate it. Again, this keeps the mystery in the game and the feeling that anything that you find could be valuable even if you have no idea what it does.

Also in the same vein new recipes could be found by killing certain NPCs or by speaking to certain NPCs which might require a faction grind to get them to talk to you further increasing the mystery in the world. It would make sense that if you killed an NPC who had certain skills perhaps their body would contain some instructions for items based on their knowledge. It could even allow player crafters to make items that were originally only on NPCs. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to make items that no other player had access to? You would become famous on your server for being able to craft items that no other crafter has access to.

Mastering A Recipe
Finally, we have the option of mastering a recipe. In the real world it is often true that the more you practice a certain discipline the more you see ways to improve and change the process involved in creating it. I can see that happening in the crafting world.

Perhaps you have been making swords for 20 levels. In that time, you have become so skilled at the process that you have found a new way to make swords that is either faster, cheaper or more effective than other crafters on your server.

It would mean that crafters would have to decide. Do I want to concentrate on making only a specific type of item and then hopefully become a master or do I want to be a jack of all trades and make all kinds of items?

Each has advantages and disadvantages and it would require that each crafter really sit down and think about their progress and goals.

I’d love to see Pantheon have an in-depth crafting system that requires players to think about more than just about the next item they plan to make. Players should be thinking about things a month or more in the future. Plans should be required.

A crafter should be famous on their server if they can make a certain item but even if a player is only a low-level crafter they should still be useful. I want crafting to be almost a game inside of Pantheon. Something that is not just a simple grind but something that requires thought, planning and intelligence.
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