Cromulent

Finding Recipes

Cromulent

Administrator
Staff member
Cromulent submitted a new resource:

Finding Recipes - Why finding recipes should be more than just a simple system

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...
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Maybe, every recipe has a component that is only obtained off a mob. It might need some creative thinking for some skills, but do-able.

Then use intuition to figure out what else would be needed for the complete recipe. Upon creating something, you then unlock that recipe.
You would know what tier it is, because the mob you killed would be that tier too.

Unfortunately, everything has a boring aspect to it, that boring aspect in crafting is harvesting. It will always be a grind.
 

Cromulent

Administrator
Staff member
Maybe, every recipe has a component that is only obtained off a mob. It might need some creative thinking for some skills, but do-able.

Then use intuition to figure out what else would be needed for the complete recipe. Upon creating something, you then unlock that recipe.
You would know what tier it is, because the mob you killed would be that tier too.

Unfortunately, everything has a boring aspect to it, that boring aspect in crafting is harvesting. It will always be a grind.
I'm not sure it would make sense to have every recipe require an item off a mob but it would certainly be a good for some recipes.

I'd like crafters to have to really think hard about their profession and how they are going to go about things. If every crafter can obtain every recipe then that removes some of the depth in the crafting game. If a crafter had to make a decision which would result in them missing out on certain recipes but also gaining other recipes then that would be an interesting dynamic.
 

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
As promised, here's my thoughts on what you posted Crom :)

First, overall I like the way you laid things out and so really I just want to add some concepts that I think/hope will be represented in Pantheon's crafting system. To make that easy, I'm going to try to use a consistent example of a blacksmith working on making weapons such as daggers and swords, to walk through the different methods of recipe acquisition. Please note: This is going to go a little outside of just the recipes themselves.

So, my example implementation:
Starting out as a Blacksmith, I automagically know how to make a Basic Dagger. The Basic Dagger is a simple recipe that only needs a few classes of material components - a lump of metal (for the blade) and a wood/bone material for the hilt. Both are easily enough found near where I learned to be a blacksmith in general. While the quality of the materials used will impact the stats of the weapon, ultimately, they're all very similar (a dagger is a dagger is a dagger. Coldark steel daggers just hold their edge a little better than iron ones)

As I make my first few daggers, I start to get better at it to where it becomes automatic. This also means however that I get less advancement from each consecutive dagger in a diminishing returns formula (tieing into something else from my post here). Let's say that the experience/skill gain goes away entirely after the 10th basic dagger that I've made (I have learned all I can from making daggers).

However, along the way, I have automagically learned the recipe for a basic sword. It's a little more complex than a dagger, but it uses the same concepts. (Recipe unlock by leveling/skillup)

However, let's say there's a market for daggers, and so I keep making daggers even past the point where they're giving me experience. As I make more and more daggers, there's a chance that I might unlock a recipe for an "advanced dagger". This more complex recipe results in a superior dagger than the basic one, but is more complex in terms of material requirements. For the sake of example, let's say that this recipe is a 2% chance on every dagger I make, once I've gotten to the point where daggers no longer give me experience. (Recipe acquisition through skill/inspiration)

Awesome, I can now make advanced daggers (if I can get the extra materials). Yay me! But wait... one of those materials is a gemstone that can grant special properties to the finished item. Those things are rare, and drop from monsters in dungeons, and the effects can be somewhat random. Some gemstones add bane bonuses, others impact weight, damage, or other stats, and the really rare ones might add elemental or other effects. The new recipe I learned can use the most basic kinds of gemstones - to use more advanced gemstones, I would need to learn some kind of legendary recipe. (specialization through materials)

As I make advanced daggers, I unlock more specialized and unique versions of them through the same method as before (mastery/inspiration). This enables me to eventually make everything from stilettos with an innate bonus against armor, to parrying daggers which offer defensive benefits. They're not really more powerful than the normal advanced daggers I can make, but they're more specialized.

Anyway, I continue on my blacksmith career for some time. Along the way, I learn about an old master swordsmith who lives in a remote part of the world. I pay him a visit and he won't talk to me, but his daughter says that to earn his respect, I need to fashion a masterwork level item and present it to him. Masterworks themselves come from special recipes that must be "researched" by breaking down high-quality looted items of the same type, and use exotic materials and advanced gemstones that are more difficult to obtain. Needless to say, the act of acquiring a masterwork recipe in itself is a challenge that takes time and potentially lots of money (recipe acquisition via researching/item destruction).

I decide that I really want to see what this swordsmith will teach me, however, so I put in the time to learn how to make a masterwork. As luck would have it, I learn how to make masterwork axes first, just because those were the drops I was able to break down and analyze most quickly. If I wanted to put the time in, I could eventually learn masterwork versions of all the various weapon types.

Masterworks being what they are, just because I have the recipe doesn't mean I can make the item. I still need the exotic materials the recipe calls for, *and* I need some pretty advanced tools to do it - that basic anvil in the town square is not going to do the job for something like this. But I persevere and over the course of further adventures, I eventually create a masterwork axe. My warrior buddy looks at it and flat out offers me 300 platinum for it, because it's just that cool.

Now I have a choice - I could sell the axe to my warrior friend, and try to go get all the materials again to make another one, which might take weeks. Or, I could take that axe I have and give it to the swordsmith and see what he teaches me. Because I really want to know the secrets of the swordsmith, I go ahead and deliver the axe to him instead. The swordsmith gives me a choice: He will teach me a recipe for a single legendary weapon of my choice - it could be a sword, a dagger, an axe, a mace, or any other weapon type I would normally make. However, he will only teach me one of these secret techniques. (Recipe acquisition via quest)

I choose to learn how to make legendary swords - because, swords are cool. I could just as easily have chosen to learn about daggers, axes, scythes, or whatever. As a result I gain a really complicated recipe that makes masterworks look easy in terms of its requirements, but produces something that can truly be called legendary at the end.

Time goes on, and I cement my reputation as a blacksmith of some renown. I make several more masterworks and a couple of legendary weapons for people, and life is good. Then one day, I'm on a raid, and we kill the ancient shadowbeast of doom after a long fight. In its treasure pile, there's an untradable scroll, with the single requirement on it: Blacksmith skill 250. (recipe acquisition via drop)

Deciphering this scroll means learning the language it's written in, which is a mini-quest in its own right. But once I've traveled half the world to learn that language, I'm able to use that scroll to learn a recipe - possible the most complex recipe I've ever seen. Not only does it need exotic materials, most of which come from raids, but it needs special components created by other specialist crafters as well. And to make matters even more interesting... it's a one-shot recipe as the scroll itself is magical and will be used up when I craft the final item. If I wanted to make another one after the first, I'd have to somehow acquire another scroll with the same recipe. The result, however, is a named weapon of immense power, the sort of thing that due to its rarity is nearly unique. And honestly, combined with the super-rare drop rate of the scroll, this might be the only weapon of this caliber that I craft for months.

So there you go - hopefully this spurs further thought and discussion. :)
 

Cromulent

Administrator
Staff member
I love the ideas.

One thing I'm very keen on is that crafters should be seen as being a totally unique sphere like in Vanguard. I certainly want rare crafting material to come from hard group and raid content but perhaps a crafter has spent so much time perfecting their skill at crafting that they haven't had the time to level up their adventuring sphere. This does mean there is a little problem. In games like EverQuest most of the high end items were NO DROP which was a shame.

I'd like to see more items be tradable because bringing along a low level adventurer (who happened to be a high skill crafter) on that legendary raid would be a liability. Perhaps then players who raid would be able to beat raid bosses and hard single group content and discover items that they are not sure of their purpose.

The only way to find out what that magic scroll is for is to take it to a scribe who can then work on it for a time until finally they figure out its meaning. This then tells the player what type of crafter can then use that scroll. Only then can the player who took part in the raid can take it to someone who can actually turn it into a usable item.

Of course a legendary item like that would require the work from multiple high level crafters of different crafting classes to produce all the ingredients needed for that recipe and some of those ingredients would require items that drop in raids or hard single group content. By working together as a team these crafters can then produce something that is truly unique.

Each crafter would have to go through the whole process of mastering certain items. Perhaps there are only a few crafters with enough skill on each server to create these powerful items but they got there because they spent hours and hours perfecting their craft. Thus high end raid guilds would have to ensure that not only would they require a powerful raid force but they would require a group of powerful crafters as well to turn the raid drops into items of amazing power?

I've gone a bit off-topic with this but you made me think of this. I'd like to see crafters become a community of their own on the servers that they play on which means that they know which crafters can do what so that if they need their services they know who to ask.
 

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
I am 100% in agreement with you here. I think crafters should need adventurers in order to reach their full potential in terms of being able to craft items. That works both ways though - in order to reach their full potential as adventurers, those adventurers should need the items crafters make.
 
Well, some of the things you mention were announced as development intentions! I didn't go and cross reference dates or anything, but I know that some of that stuff was talked about.
In an example of the alternate ways that a player in Pantheon could acquire gear, they explicitly mention using Crafting to add Bane to weapons. They explicitly mention that players will require specific gear to survive the adverse environments they find themselves in (such as intense cold or heat), and mention crafting as a principal way of getting that sort of gear.
They imply during one question that some material may only be craftable in specific places, mentioning a forge called The Anvil inside the scorching Amberfaet region, which is surrounded by frigid terrain.

On Quest recipes: I think a good way of acquiring recipes would be to be given a recipe in order to complete a quest. "I need a few extra pikes for the guard, the damn rhinos may die but they don't have the decency to keep the damn things intact. What, you don't know how to make a pike? Here, take this, it'll tell you everything you need to know. Now get to the forge!" Using this system would require, of course, a penalty for failure, likely a faction hit. They give you the recipe, but if you run off without making the pikes they'll remember that. Can't make the time limit too onerous though, just long enough that you eventually have to come back and make the pikes if you care at all about that city's faction. You can even make it so that they can't get another recipe-granting quest until they finish that one, lest you get a reputation as a crafter that doesn't keep promises.
 
Good write up, Cromulent.
If I may add a few suggestions,
1) Combining parchements of recipes.
Parts of recipes that need to be combined/collect... than translated by a sage/scribe and rewritten in your tongue on a fresh paper. Ones that is completed you'll know what the recipe says and you can scribe it.

2) Specialized workstation required recipes.
Perhaps different kind of workstations are found in the world, so that not all smithing recipes can be made on the same anvil. Discovering a new kind of anvil in the world, might unlock the ability to use recipes one has already found but was not able to create due to not having the appropriate work station. This will encourage travelling and making local recipes and crafts even more distinct and valuable for other players in the region. With all the economic and social benefits that go with that.

3) Back to basic build up recipes.
Basic recipes should be build ups to actual items, not yet items themselves. This is situated at the first few steps of a crafting carrier. Where you can forge a blade out of a bar of metal or a combination thereof. But you also need to create other things, such as the guard, hilt and pummel of the blade. Perhaps later on when you 'mastered' it or after X-amount of combines you learn to make all those things at ones. But leaving these steps in would allow for a nice option to personalization and costumization. Similar to your specialization of blacksmiths, you could choose to not skill up on those part of the blade and use common/plain bits and pieces to finish of the blade. But these small items could be the bridge between the full item and having the resources. More recipes, more diversification. More players, more economy opportunities etc. The other cool thing is, that one might be able to skill up on making hilts, without leveling up as blacksmith as a whole. (for example you only become a full on outfitter if you mastered all the different part to a certain skill degree, same goes for becoming a blacksmith). This could open up the high level-low level interaction.

4) Starting crafters should have a common learning experience.
Later on, they should be able to choose from there. This means offering the same recipes to all players at the start. I'll refer to a crafting design that starts of with being an artisan, then outfitter than blacksmith and I'll welcome the point you were suggesting about specialization blacksmiths in later stages.

Not a fan of grinding the same item to unlock new things. Ones the news is out on those things, players will just grind away and the value of the grinded item becomes 0 and the market will either be flooded or it would just be sold straight away at the nearest npc.
 
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