Crafter's Roundtable: Death, Durability, and Repairs

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
Yesterday (July 25th), Joppa surprised everyone by describing what Visionary Realms is looking to use for Pantheon's death penalty in the community's unofficial discord channel. Here is what he said:

When you die:
- Return to your bind spot
- Lose X% of current experience towards next level
- Large durability hit to worn equipment (if we implement durability, which we probably will)
- Respawn with the gear you were wearing when you died still equipped.
- All general inventory remains on corpse, must be looted to retrieve. This includes money.
- Resurrection abilities will return an amount of lost exp. All priest classes will boast the same exp return for their rezzes.

For this special Crafter's Roundtable, we want to hear from everyone out there. How do you think durability should work in Pantheon? How do you think the stats of the items should be affected by it? How do you think repairs should work? How do you think that crafters should be involved?
 

Barin999

Journeyman
What a tasty subject!

Certain npc's could be able to repair items. Where these npc's are located...at civilized areas or at the occasional safe spot.
I much rather see, deserted workstations, makeshift workstations or deserted repair tools laying around in the world.
So you'd remove the npc's doing the repairing, but really leaving it all up to crafters or players with repair skills.

It pushes players towards each other and you turn them away for the quality of life features that makes them solo players instead of mmo players. If you catch my drift here.

1) All crafters can repair all items to a certain degree.
2) Specific crafting classes, can repair related items to a higher degree.
3) Npc's could repair all items, but to the lowest degree.
4) A full durability repair is possible BY a crafter AND during an EXTENDED repair session at a workstation.
5) A none crafter, could have picked up some repairing techniques/skills and can manage a repair greather than an npc could, but lower than a crafter.

This fourth one could be explained as followed: a quick fix might just require common goods or no goods at all. Just a crafting/repairsession. (in the sense like a normal crafting session would be). But the durability might not be to 100%. To get to 100%, a crafter requires a different technique that takes more time. Or the crafter needs actual resources to succesfully repair it to their pristine form. And this last one isn't possible out in the open, but requires commissioning within villages, cities and at decent workstations.

Durability of items should be linked to the stats on that item. When you remove this link, the factor of durability is lessened. It's just an annoyance, instead of a really impactfull penalty when dieing. A player should want to prevent wearing items with a decreased durability.
Therefore, it's linked to the stats of that item. A loss of durability due to death (or a spell?) should result in a decrease of:
1, several or all stats.
If you want to get complicated, you could factor in the cause of death to determine which stat is decreased. I doubt you'll want to go into that.
But in general, yes, you could have stats lowered with each death aka with each durability hit. I find that it makes sense, people will really think twice about where they go or want to risk dieing.
I can imagine that corpse runs will be impacted by this aswel. You might want to get your inventory after the first few deaths/durability hits. But as the gear worn by your character decreases each time...the cost of failing that corpse run becomes greater and greater. Up to a point where you might need to cut your losses and just go repair and start over.
Overall, this seems severe enough for me.

The decrease of stats by this process, doesn't have to be too punishing. A decrease by a few points, would probably already be felt by the player or by the group. Everything will be slower, more difficult but also more rewarding when you succeed in getting your corpse back.
At the point of corpse retrieval, you might reconsider going further before repairing your durability.
Again, it can determine how far you dare to go in this game, how high your risks are etc.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
I would even be ok if repair items and tools could be found and picked up to your inventory.
That way, you have something extra to spawn in the world but also it has a sense of value linked to it based on the abundance and the necessity of them within an area.
A player with repair tools/resources in their inventory would be highly motivated to retreive their corpse, in order to repair everyones gear.
I think that little circle, could make sense in a world.

I always disliked how you could click on a permanent feature in a game and get instant repaired. It really decreased the experience of an impactfull death. If you see what I mean? You quickly forgot your whipe as if you were removing the dust from your shoulderpads.
So to prevent this from occuring harvestables and consumables that relate to repairing, makes more sense.
It also means that the second corner to the right in a dungeon, isn't an automatic repair spot. It might just be a safer area, but the repair resources might always be laying there.
 

vjek

Apprentice
"A Dying Tax"
If you allow players to opt out, bypass, minimize, or otherwise avoid the entire reason for the existence of the mechanic, that's objectively poor design followed by poor implementation.
In this case, if players can opt out, bypass, minimize or otherwise avoid losing coin to recover durability, that would be poor design and poor implementation. Why have it if players can bypass it?

So, just so it's been enumerated, if you accept that premise, it's poor design and poor implementation if:
-the player can opt out of losing coin to recover durability.
-the player can bypass losing coin to recover durability.
-the player can minimize losing coin to recover durability.
-the player can in any other way avoid losing coin to recover durability.

In summary, if the entire purpose of durability is to remove money from the economy, any ancillary features of the durability mechanic that work against that goal are illogical. Then, it's just varying amounts of badly done.

Here's a primary design problem; It can't be a fixed coin cost. Otherwise, you punish the lower level players and the higher level players ignore it.
Another primary design problem; If certain enemies drop coin, directly, then while consuming those enemies, you have no durability loss, because income is simply a factor of time, no matter how many times you die.
^^ This is part of a larger problem, economically, but that's about as succinct as I can be regarding enemies dropping coin, directly.
A further primary design problem; The mechanic is 100% punitive in some implementations. It's all stick and no carrot. Positive social interaction? Nope, unless you permit bypassing the coin cost by having another player repair YOUR gear, which can enable all sorts of other bypasses.
Yet another primary design problem; Customized equipment is bound to the player, prohibiting trading to repair. (based on the last public information regarding related design topics) Yes, you can get around this via a unique "interact with someone else's inventory" UI, but it's more work and/or more risk.
More design problems;
If 'large' means 10% per death, then all new content must be consumable in 9 attempts or less, without unduly frustrating your paying customers, unless frustrating your paying customers is a public design goal or you want to drive entirely different emergent behavior, such as leaving the group and/or having the entire group leave the adventure loop.
If gear effects are negatively affected before gear is at 0%, then entirely new emergent behavior will become normal. (and it's not good behavior, from a social cooperation perspective)
If gear can be lost at 0% durability, as in, lost forever, gone from the game, then the entire economic model has changed and the scope of the discussion is broader.
If crafters can create and/or apply repair kits that cost less than the NPC repair cost, this feature works against the overall goal of the mechanic. (less/no money is removed from the economy)

Overall, removing a percentage of infinity has no tangible impact. If coin generation is simply a factor of multiplicative action channeling of the adventure loop over time, removing an insignificant percentage of that means nothing to the overall health of the economy, unless that percentage approaches 100%, which is unacceptable to the target demographic. Put another way, unless it hurts enough to drive away paying customers? It's just a tedious annoyance that offers no value in any economic model, when faced with guaranteed runaway inflation through infinite currency generation.
Also keep in mind.. as far as I know, no other unavoidable coin sinks have been enumerated for Pantheon. This is the first and only publicly mentioned, to date. All consumables are (so far) optional. There haven't even been any carrots discussed to drive positive emergent behavior in the economy. It's not like there's a huge long list of money sinks. The on-going money sink list has 1 potential entry, today.

Moving on, if you want to guarantee the player must lose coin to recover durability, then the interaction must involve an NPC that takes the coin from the players inventory to provide them with a product or service that restores durability.
If it's a product, then you have to deal with potential trade-ability issues. If it's a service directly, there's no dealing with that, it just happens. Money gone, durability restored, done.
A no-trade product would allow players to restore their durability in the field. A service would not, you would have to come back to town, or to a repair NPC. Both would permit either.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
I will read your reply a couple of times @vjek .
I'll get back to it.
Somehow the idea crossed my mind that your suggesting to add in a coin loss on top of an xp loss (aside of your coin dropped on death). So if you don't have any cash on you, you might get into a situation where you (temporarily?) are in a coin depth. Recovering your corpse could automatically recalibrate this depth. So you'll end up with less coin than your corpse had dropped initially, due to paying that depth.

To have repair cost differ depending on the level, seems like stating the obvious. But it's good to have it mentioned at the very least.
Like I mentioned earlier, I would step away from npc's doing the repairing full stop.
Commissioning doesn't seem like too much hassle to design in a game tbh. After all, we are still in development.

If repairing should cost coin, resources or just a skill service, is something that can be discussed in detail here.
The idea of having materials in the world that are required to repair, seems to make the most sense.
Please no handfumbling magic to repair items.
Repairing items should have consumption/sink factors in it. Buying repairmaterials could be one of those. The price of those materials could vary as a whole or independently. So they might be more expensive near danger and vice versa.
The process of repairing can be further discussed as wel. Where it might take time to repair items or might not be possible without some sort of structure or safe area.
Another option to really make dieing be impactful is to up the price of repair materials the more you buy them. So if you give a global price to repair materials, but as you buy more and more of them, the price goes up. And you can still have an increase of price based on the proximity of danger. So in short this means, low level less risk but high prices for repair kits, but perhaps more people willing to help on your corpserun. The closer you are to danger as low level the more you'll pay for repair materials and consecutive times. As levels increase things get even more pricy.
This coin sink is just one aspect of the impact of dieing experience.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
"A Dying Tax"
If you allow players to opt out, bypass, minimize, or otherwise avoid the entire reason for the existence of the mechanic, that's objectively poor design followed by poor implementation.
In this case, if players can opt out, bypass, minimize or otherwise avoid losing coin to recover durability, that would be poor design and poor implementation. Why have it if players can bypass it?

So, just so it's been enumerated, if you accept that premise, it's poor design and poor implementation if:
-the player can opt out of losing coin to recover durability.
-the player can bypass losing coin to recover durability.
-the player can minimize losing coin to recover durability.
-the player can in any other way avoid losing coin to recover durability.
Is there any dispute about this?
In case when players can repair durability. That player can minimize their cost by repairing all their own gear. (if that is even possible) Still, there would be a cost for that player. Or at least, I would pressume there would be. Since there isn't anyone challenging this.

Or have you gathered other information that speaks of questioning all the above ?
 

Barin999

Journeyman
"A Dying Tax"

Another primary design problem; If certain enemies drop coin, directly, then while consuming those enemies, you have no durability loss, because income is simply a factor of time, no matter how many times you die.
^^ This is part of a larger problem, economically, but that's about as succinct as I can be regarding enemies dropping coin, directly.
If the coin dropped by the mobs is less then the amount of coin (or other investment) it takes to maintain an acceptable stage of durability on worn gear, I don't see a problem in that. You will experience a struggle and you'll notice a drop in your cashflow and bankaccount.
In case you know which mobs drop coin and which do not. One could start to farm for cash before moving on to more challenging content. The question here is, would that be worthwhile and would the majority of players think the same. If so, the farmed mobs will become rare and the coin they drop aswel. That would undermine the entire farm-routine.
This could be mitigated by a change in loottable by the devs along the way.
Some adventuring trips in other games, end up with players' pants bursting with coin. I highly doubt that VR is designing the game to be the same. As they've stated the opposite.

It can be an issue if the coin scale is tipped the other side. That is true in every game however. Unrelated to how durability is presented within that game.

Looted coin and the rate of durability loss of gear on death tie in to each other intensely. That's one of the reasons why, I wouldn't be ok with 10 deaths before my gear becomes un-equippable. It should be less than that.
And like others stated in other threads: One could only fully recover durability on an item by a specific process which isn't an option on the fly. Full repair/recovery of durability should take you away from the place of risk.
Perhaps even cost you a gametime of 15-20 minutes to go back and forth to do just that. So it becomes more likely that you'll only fully repair when you end your playsession or when you're about to start a new one.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
A further primary design problem; The mechanic is 100% punitive in some implementations. It's all stick and no carrot. Positive social interaction? Nope, unless you permit bypassing the coin cost by having another player repair YOUR gear, which can enable all sorts of other bypasses.
That's a good unless. Take away the npc menders.
A repairskill can require being a crafter. Or at the very least a large amount of investement from that player in order to get skilled in repairing.
The skill can relate to what items you plan to repair. But also several skills combined could aid in the repairing process, where depending on the skill you'll require fewer specific materials.
I would really focus in on the being a crafter requirement. It really helps tie in, yet another reason, to bring a crafter with you in your group.
The basic repairs could be made by the crafter in your group. Specific or improved repairs could be done on certain gear that align with the speciality of that crafter or the chosen skills.
I don't see this as a bypass. Either the crafter/player needs materials and they repair for free. Or the crafter is willing to repair, if the other person is willing to pay for the materials and an extra fee or the work that crafter is doing for them.
In order to mitigate having friends that work for free. You could bring up the prices or the rarity of repairmaterials. So only the wealthiest among the community would work for free. The overall community however would be impacted by this designed indirect and direct coinsink.
I would move away from repairkits.
But I'm curious to find out what kind of bypasses you think of, @vjek .
 

Barin999

Journeyman
If 'large' means 10% per death, then all new content must be consumable in 9 attempts or less, without unduly frustrating your paying customers, unless frustrating your paying customers is a public design goal(sarcasm hopefully?) or you want to drive entirely different emergent behavior, such as leaving the group and/or having the entire group leave the adventure loop.
I find this really difficult to assume or to define this as strict as you make it.
If a player dies, it's up to the player to consider, do I want to go at it again or try somewhere else.
When a group reaches that brick wall (figuratively), leaving the adventure loop, isn't a bad thing per se.
It could just mean; "Well, that's as far as our current abilities, skills and gear can take us." Nothing wrong with that, they can come back later or approach it from a different angle with another strategy.
We are still talking about a game that has an increased challenge and thus a higher probability of players bumping into brick walls more often than they are accostumed to in other games. The player's expectations and attitude in this game will determine if it's a game for them or not. You can't please everyone here, especially not with stating if you can't do it 9 times, you'll certainly be successful a 10'th time.

If you can imagine for a second here, a different attitude, where players who hit that brick wall decide to part from the group to allow a replacement to come in. Or that the group is kind enough to shift their focus because of a brick wall. And then there is of course the entire Limited Action Slot to take into consideration. Yes, we are talking about a different behavior from players. I'm not advocating that players need to leave because their gear is broken. I'm merely stating that group communication and realistic goals would become a real thing in this game. And you might see different behavior emerging from players who want to progress or priorities loyalty. This is no other than in other games.

So when it comes to 10% per death. I, personally wouldn't call that a big loss unless it directly influences the stats you have on that gear aswel. 10% durability = X% stat loss on overall gear. You'll want to recover your corpse, but perhaps reconsider going further. This emphasises the importance of keeping that durability as high as possible within your current circumstances. If anything, I believe it will push the prices higher when it comes to services or price of repair requirements. Nothing bad about that.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
How do you think repairs should work? How do you think that crafters should be involved?
When I think about the situation where a group of adventurers has died, this means if there was a crafter in that group who was skilled in repairing. They would have lost all their inventory aswel.
Whatever was needed to repair durability would still need to be on that crafter. And for that I'm thinking about the seperate harvesting bags. Or consumable bag.
Heck, crafters might produce an entirely unique repairbag. Which they can place in the same place as the harvesting bag. So this means, when the crafter goes harvesting they'll switch to the other bag. And when they are joining the fight, they'll swap to a repairbag that can only hold repair materials.
This would mean that if a crafter and/or their group has died, he'll still be able to deliver the service. Based on the available resources in that "Bag of Mending".
Since those resources are consumed after the process, it stands to reason, that the crafter could demand a price for it or some other service in return.
Later on the crafter returns to town or whatnot and they'll need to resupply their Bag of Mending with those specific repairmaterials.
How they obtain them, can be by many means: harvesting, scavenging, salvaging, simply buying, crafting the materials themselves (or parts thereof depending on their tradeskillclass?) but also from doing crafter related quests or tasks. Or even more specific they might need to consume Mender related content to obtain more of these materials. So what this means, is that although they've gained some cash from those adventurers needing a mend, the crafter will need to invest time or coin to get new materials.
I find that a reasonable sink. And as long as it's not super easy or too much of a drag, it would be ok content for me. As I would experience being valueable and my trade would be a beneficial factor in an adventurer group. So I'd be proud to be able to obtain and wear those materials with me.
 

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
Going to throw out a crazy idea for discussion. Disclaimer: I haven't really thought this all the way through yet, as it kind of just came to me this morning while reading people's opinions on durability.

Background:
Durability as an across-the-board money sink tends to be boring and players view it as a "tax" (which it is). Systems that try to involve crafters in repairing items tend to end up feeling gimmicky (tiered versions of repair kits) or lopsided (crafters repair items "better" than NPCs do). In some cases they can make people feel required to take up crafting just to repair their own gear, which doesn't really help social interaction.

Crazy idea:

- There is no durability number or percentage.

- Each time a character dies, worn items have a very low percentage chance to become "damaged".

- A "damaged" item loses some of its effectiveness. Think of the damage condition as a debuff on the item itself.

- Example damage conditions: "Nicked blade". "Dented". "Chipped". and so on.

- Damage conditions can be removed in one of two ways:

1) Visit an NPC repair person and pay them a sum of money. How much money depends on the power level of the item and the damage condition applied to the item.

2) Have a player crafter repair the item. To repair the item, crafters need the appropriate repair material which is consumed during the repair. Repair materials needed depend on the power level of the item and the damage condition.



Examples:

- At level 12, Brian gets clobbered by some orcs and his heavy bronze shield is damaged, gaining the "Dented" condition. Brian can visit a repair NPC and pay 30 silver to have it repaired (moderately expensive, at level 12). Or, his guildmate Jessica (a blacksmith) to fix it. In order to fix it, Jessica will need a Bronze Plate as a repair material.

- At level 34, Brian gets in over his head in a dungeon, and his wyvern skin cloak acquires the "Shredded" condition. Brian can visit a repair NPC and pay 7 gold to have this repaired (a little pricy), or his friend Bob (an outfitter) can repair it. To repair it, Bob is going to need 3 pristine wyvern hides, which are not necessarily easy to come by.

- At level 50, Brian is tanking for a raid and, unfortunately, the raid wipes. After the wipe, Brian's weapon (a rare item named the Star Hammer) suffers the "Shattered" condition. Brian can visit a repair NPC and pay 110 platinum to have this repaired (ouch!). Or, he can ask his guildmate Jessica for help again. Because Brian's weapon is a powerful rare item, Jessica needs a list of items to perform the repairs: 3 lumps of adamantine ore, 1 vial of distilled ice giant blood, and 1 bar of Phantom Steel.



I think I like this better than a "traditional" durability system because instead of there being generic repair kits, player crafters need specific repair materials in order to fix items, and since the different conditions are specific to item types and thus to crafting professions, players still have to rely on others from time to time even if they are crafters themselves. This also acts as a form of content generation (getting a bar of Phantom Steel might be an adventure in and of itself). Players can bypass the social requirement or the crafting "content" of obtaining the repair materials by participating in the money sink, but that can get very expensive at higher levels. There are some potential downsides to doing it this way, one of which is that someone could get unlucky and have a critical piece of gear damaged in a way that severely hinders them until they get it fixed. But I feel like if we're going to have durability and actually have it matter and not just be a tax everyone pays, that's acceptable.

It's not my thoughts that matter though. Feel free to pull this one apart, everyone :)
 

vjek

Apprentice
If you allow other players (or you yourself to do it) then where's the guaranteed coin loss? The mechanic works against itself.
If you require a crafter with your adventuring loop, then you can't have pure dedicated crafters who don't adventure.
Players will not tolerate having to rely on other players for repairs. NPCs will be required. What happens at 3am?
The emergent behavior will be: everyone will become insanely cautious, and death won't just be avoided, it will NEVER happen. To the point where people will grind greens for their entire adventuring life, just to ensure they'll never have to pay or face the overly punitive consequences. Especially in PUGs.
And the easiest coin-dropping mobs become the primary/only target, too. Just like EQ1. Why fight animals when you get no income? Thus, people only fight humanoids. It creates a negative bias towards all content in the game that doesn't drop coin when either through use or death, durability drops.

This all goes back to either it being an item or a service or both. If it's an item, then the bypasses are: coin, faction, fame, reputation, possibly more. The moment someone else can get or make it for you, then you don't have to get, buy or make it. Even something as simple as CHA affecting prices would be a partial bypass of the mechanic, if it's a product. All of that works against the core purpose of the mechanic: a money sink.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
Going to throw out a crazy idea for discussion. Disclaimer: I haven't really thought this all the way through yet, as it kind of just came to me this morning while reading people's opinions on durability.

Background:
Durability as an across-the-board money sink tends to be boring and players view it as a "tax" (which it is). Systems that try to involve crafters in repairing items tend to end up feeling gimmicky (tiered versions of repair kits) or lopsided (crafters repair items "better" than NPCs do). In some cases they can make people feel required to take up crafting just to repair their own gear, which doesn't really help social interaction.

Crazy idea:

- There is no durability number or percentage.

- Each time a character dies, worn items have a very low percentage chance to become "damaged".

- A "damaged" item loses some of its effectiveness. Think of the damage condition as a debuff on the item itself.

- Example damage conditions: "Nicked blade". "Dented". "Chipped". and so on.

- Damage conditions can be removed in one of two ways:

1) Visit an NPC repair person and pay them a sum of money. How much money depends on the power level of the item and the damage condition applied to the item.

2) Have a player crafter repair the item. To repair the item, crafters need the appropriate repair material which is consumed during the repair. Repair materials needed depend on the power level of the item and the damage condition.

Examples:
- At level 12, ...- At level 34, ...- At level 50,

I think I like this better than a "traditional" durability system because instead of there being generic repair kits, player crafters need specific repair materials in order to fix items, and since the different conditions are specific to item types and thus to crafting professions, players still have to rely on others from time to time even if they are crafters themselves. This also acts as a form of content generation (getting a bar of Phantom Steel might be an adventure in and of itself). Players can bypass the social requirement or the crafting "content" of obtaining the repair materials by participating in the money sink, but that can get very expensive at higher levels. There are some potential downsides to doing it this way, one of which is that someone could get unlucky and have a critical piece of gear damaged in a way that severely hinders them until they get it fixed. But I feel like if we're going to have durability and actually have it matter and not just be a tax everyone pays, that's acceptable.
Ok, it seems we're now looking into the fluff of durability. You wouldn't call it durability but "insert name here". That's fine, I don't have a negative conotation with the word or the mechanic either way.
But I do understand what you and Vjek say about "boring, sink, gimmick, tax, lopsided". Let's face the facts here, why is this mechanic in place and what do you conclude when weighing the pro's and con's of the implementation of this mechanic.
I find it's one of those necessary things to have in game and people just have to accept that it's there and go on with their ingame life.

Returning to your suggestion. I didn't suggest it in that many words, but thats quite similar to one of my suggestions above aswel. So you're ideas are not that uncommon and might be more acceptable to a broader audience that you'd think. Which is a plus, of course!
Your example made it quite clear. And this really seems like a good way to go at it. One issue that might turn up is when those "hard to come by" goods become farm status. When the challenge or the rarity is shifting based on the lifetime of the server/game. Goods might become less rare and more abundant and coin reserves per player will grow. At that point, your mechanic will only influence the newest or most challenging content. Everyone else will get a close-to-free-repair.
I still like the stimulus towards reaching out to other players.

Why you leave in that npc repairing things, I do not know. What is the necessity of that? To prevent players from turning self-repair (soloplayers?). With or without those repairnpc's you'll present that option for players. Some might not choose it but that's in the first scenario also the case. So it levels itself a bit there. Now you're left with the added value of npc'menders.. The money sink. Why can't you have a money sink that doesn't include an npc repairing your gear for you? You could choose to allow repairs to be done ONLY by npc's. That seems like a weak proposal that decreases the consequences of death.
You nearly offered the solution yourself. Repairmaterials, not all but the base material, could be sold by an npc. Buying those materials might not result in an immediate repair. The next step would be to approach another player or repair it yourself.
Example: Your broken shield requires; nails, coal, bronze plate.
The npc sells nails and coal.
A player can provide you with the bronze plate.
Only a player (might be yourself) can repair your shield.

You can price the nails and coal as you see fit, relating to the level or uniqueness of your Dented gear. So you'll still have that increasing moneysink. Your rare repair materials can still be a factor here, so I would definately not take that out of your design there. The bottomline here is, you can remove the instant-mender-npc out of the design.

Which brings me to, how do you learn to repair things.
I've talked about this earlier.
1) You can stick it into a specific tech tree of crafters. Meaning that crafters really will have to make that choice to spend time (and points) into becoming a mender. De facto, you're already severely cutting into the solo repair playerpopulation. Players might feel the need to be a crafter like this? It will depend on what it takes to become a crafter in Pantheon, if they would even consider taking up a trade. If it takes a long time and time away from adventuring, many will not choose it and willingly pay for their repairs done by another player. As far as I know, this was still the design for crafting in Pantheon, that it will require a serious investement and it's not an add on/second occupation.
2) Which items you can repair might depend on your tradeskill class.
3) To what degree or to what level you can repair items could depend on your points spent, your level, your tools or a combination thereof.
4) A repair tech could be available to a broader audience. So you're including none-crafters aswel. (why you would do that...beats me as it makes A LOT more sense that a crafter can repair the things they can craft) Still, you can have it in like this.
4.1) How they pick up this knowledge could be another thing. And even here you could offer the player choices. So when a direlord (none-crafter) want to learn about repairing things. They still need to choose, which items they can repair. As you can't choose to be able to repair all kinds of gear.
4.2) The direlord can pick it up as a skill. They can repair all items. Each time they repair an item, their skill increases. As the skill grows, more and more items become repairable by that direlord (on par to their level of content?).
5) Repair things is not about learning or using a skill, it's just about buying the materials and clicking the button. (aweful idea, but not new) This allows every player to have a moneysink and still be able to repair goods. It's less hassle, but more towards a tax, I guess.

The tech tree of repair could be based the ID characteristics of the item:
headpiece, maul, bronze ring, primary melee weapon, wands.
This could allow players to repair certain items, but they won't become self sufficient either. So in a way, you're trying to mitigate the solo-player factor here while still allowing self repair in fashion.
I find that a good compromise. As most players will lean towards specific gear and have their own preference of what piece of gear is listed highest on their priority list of importance.
Later on it might be possible to change your repairexpertise. But you won't be able to take up another. So here again you can't have it all. But I can see a wizard switching from wands to staffs. (A raidloot for example, could influence this.)
 
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Barin999

Journeyman
Players will not tolerate having to rely on other players for repairs. NPCs will be required. What happens at 3am?
*Just a funny side note: I read this as: "What happens at 3 am? We need npc's to replace the players."
In a group focused game. With different servers on different continents.
Food for thought, food for thought.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
The emergent behavior will be: everyone will become insanely cautious, and death won't just be avoided, it will NEVER happen.
And this is due to the fact that you allow players to repair gear? Or because gear looses durability due to dieing?
Could you elaborate a bit more here?

To the point where people will grind greens for their entire adventuring life, just to ensure they'll never have to pay or face the overly punitive consequences. Especially in PUGs.
If you feel safest grinding greens, why is that a problem? Low risk, little reward. Little risk of dieing. And that's fine. Want to take it up a notch? You better prepare yourself and surround yourself with capable people. You want to join pug, unlike most other games, even in pug you'll need to communicate, strategize and set goals. Let us mature in our PUG behavior.
Do players stay in the green area because they fear losing durability? Or because you allow players to repair gear? I don't see players sticking to green zones because there is a mender npc available.

"Let there be no doubt, on Terminus you will quickly learn from your mistakes. And not only your avatar will evolve into greatness. (I believe VR should post this sentence, or something similar, somewhere load and clear.)"

Let's face it, the majority want to game to not hold hands, to return the challenge into the game. I won't be the first to complain before even testing it. Even for me when it comes to games, it's time to lose some lazybraincell fat and increase the thrill of a playsession.
 

Barin999

Journeyman
And the easiest coin-dropping mobs become the primary/only target, too. Just like EQ1. Why fight animals when you get no income? Thus, people only fight humanoids. It creates a negative bias towards all content in the game that doesn't drop coin when either through use or death, durability drops.
...I'll get into that later.
 

vjek

Apprentice
And this is due to the fact that you allow players to repair gear? Or because gear looses durability due to dieing?
Could you elaborate a bit more here?
If durability damaged gear has negative effects (was +2 STR, now +1 STR) or there is greater durability loss due to fighting more difficult creatures, or if max durability cannot easily be recovered, or if gear at zero durability can be permanently lost, or if you're fighting creatures that don't drop coin to offset repair costs. Any of those will drive the emergent behavior of ultra-caution.
 
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