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Default My Dream Crafting System

March 14th, 2018, 22:15
One of the fundamental problems with crafting in games are these arguments:

What's the point of finding new gear while adventuring and/or killing bosses when I can craft the best gear?

What's the point in crafting when you can only find the best gear while adventuring and/or killing bosses?

There's been a lot of good discussion on this but there's one idea I've had rolling around in my head that I haven't yet read anywhere else and thought I'd throw it out here to see what some of you might think.

My solution attempts to answer both of the questions above, but is just a start for a conversation and not necessarily a complete solution.

I've always thought a good solution would be to allow players to craft gear and adventure for gear as they do now. But in addition to those two methods of gearing your character(s) there would be a 3rd mechanism, let's just call it "Enchanting" for now.

The idea would be that you could take gear you find while adventuring and "combine" it with gear you craft, to create a final unique piece of gear that is superior to gear obtained in either of the other two (2) methods (adventuring and crafting).

What do you guys think of this fundamentally. I'd be excited by a game that implemented something like this in that it would motivate me to find gear and craft gear without feeling like one method or another is a wasted effort.
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March 14th, 2018, 22:48
My dream?

Roleplaying a smith, sure, gimme whatever equips crafting.
Roleplaying an alchemist, sure, gimme pots variety.
Roleplaying a tailor, yea, gimme fancy clothes.
Roleplaying an enchanter, of course, gimme a power to imbue magic in stuff.
Gimme gimme.

Roleplaying a jack-of-all-trades master-of-all-crafts? Gimme a break!

Let me please specialize in one craft or none at all and that's it. If I need something from other "school" crafted, allow it but make me pay. It's still okay if I can recruit a sidekick that's expert in something my protagonist can't do.

Master of everything is MMO rubbish and I cannot understand how it took roots also in singleplayer RPGs.
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March 14th, 2018, 22:57
Personally, I never thought a crafted item should come anywhere near the power of an artifact that has been used by some malignant creature to beat other beings to death, perhaps for years/centuries. I get the appeal of crafting the items, but I always assume them to be of "lesser" quality/desirability.
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March 14th, 2018, 23:20
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
Personally, I never thought a crafted item should come anywhere near the power of an artifact that has been used by some malignant creature to beat other beings to death, perhaps for years/centuries. I get the appeal of crafting the items, but I always assume them to be of "lesser" quality/desirability.
I agree with you. But there is that side of me that likes to craft but when I feel like crafting gear is sort of a waste of time I don't really engage in it. But the idea is to create new unique items one from something you found and the other from something you craft, where you could perhaps selects specific stat-boosting effects for a brand new piece of gear that can only be obtained by a crafted item being combined with an "adventured" item.
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March 14th, 2018, 23:55
I think that you can break it down further, whether you call it enchanting or crafting doesn't really make a difference.

All items in a game need to have a purpose.
So items you find or receive as quest reward have to have some benefits like crafted items.

One of the easiest solutions would be to design artificial gaps.
So you get a Sword Level 1 as quest reward.
Level 2 has to be crafted (or skipped)
Level 3 is a loot
and so on.

If you can always enhance items via crafting, the crafting has to be really simple, so that people who dislike crafting can get over it anyways.

I think a solution could be in customization, though that's also kind of dangerous if there is a way to customize "the right way".
What I mean is that you could either live with the standard values of an item, e.g. with a sword doing 9 dmg on a swing which takes 3 seconds, and with crafting you can make it a 12 dmg hit taking 4 seconds. This system breaks if slower weapons are always the better choice for example. But in some cases you can throw in really hard to measure impacts, where it rather comes down to playstyle. Like the shape of your scope on your rifle.

I actually think Fallout 4 did a somewhat decent job with the crafting system. Combining easy to use crafting system, which even non loving crafter can get through, together with some more playstyle choices.

But in the end, I think that in "best case" games offer a decent crafting system. In worse case it's horrible. But I can't think of any game with an awesome crafting system.
Why? Because crafting in essence is nothing else than equipping or buying an item.
There is no involvement in the crafting processes.
Clicking on a "craft item" to forge a sword out of rare materials is nothing different than handing in a token to an NPC who gives you a reward for it.
I mean just imagine that this token is a piece of ore and you are giving it to a smith.
Yeah, it works and we are used to it. But the system itself isn't really "fun", is it?
It's the satisfaction of having a useful reward for something else you did. Like doing a quest for a great reward, or climbing into a volcano to get a super hard to get metal to craft a new sword. Essentially it's the same. With or without crafting.

I can't think of any game which actually puts lots of emphasis on the crafting process itself. Where the process of crafting is actually fun. My guess is that attempts to put this into a mini game will most likely suck. But I think this is the correct direction of crafting. Make the process of crafting fun.
Kingdom Come Delivernace actually does a somewhat decent job when you are brewing potions. It feels like you are actually doing some alchemical procedures. It's somewhat fun for a few times. And you can automate it later on. And mostly ignore it if you don't drink a lot of potions. Personally I avoided it most of the time anyways, though I give it some credit.

As mentioned before: If the process itself isn't fun, the crafting system can be decent as best (needs to be unintrusive and balanced), and really horrible at worst (boring, repetitive, bad interface, inbalanced).
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March 15th, 2018, 00:54
Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
I've always thought a good solution would be to allow players to craft gear and adventure for gear as they do now. But in addition to those two methods of gearing your character(s) there would be a 3rd mechanism, let's just call it "Enchanting" for now.
<sandal feddic>Enchantment?</sandal feddic ;> Actually, isn't that similar to how Dragon Age did it?

Yeah, that can work. But I'm not so sure it will solve your problem because now people who like crafting systems are going to be higher powered than those who don't. So how do you balance the game? Or are you expecting crafting not be optional?
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March 15th, 2018, 01:10
[QUOTE=Kordanor;1061496362]
One of the easiest solutions would be to design artificial gaps.
So you get a Sword Level 1 as quest reward.
Level 2 has to be crafted (or skipped)
Level 3 is a loot
and so on.[\QUOTE]

Your description reminds me sort of how crafting was done in Two Worlds II. You could break down current equipment into materials and then craft better gear from it. Not the same as what you describe but still has a similar outcome.

I'm with you on keeping crafting simple and to not overly complicate it.
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March 15th, 2018, 01:21
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
<sandal feddic>Enchantment?</sandal feddic ;> Actually, isn't that similar to how Dragon Age did it?
I never crafted in Dragon Age Inquisition (if that's the DA game you were referring to) because I never felt underpowered. Being underpowered is what compels a player to look into other resources to boost power. G2 NotR did a good job in that regard.

Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
Yeah, that can work. But I'm not so sure it will solve your problem because now people who like crafting systems are going to be higher powered than those who don't. So how do you balance the game? Or are you expecting crafting not be optional?
I should have pointed out in my original post that I have this idea of crafting in mind for single player games. In single player, there's no worry or concern that you might create better gear than somebody else playing the same game on their computer.
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March 15th, 2018, 01:24
It can still be an issue in single player games. If the difference is too big or too obvious it can easily demotivate players who dislike crafting.
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March 15th, 2018, 02:47
Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
Your description reminds me sort of how crafting was done in Two Worlds II.
Your "enchanting" reminds me of how it was done in Two Worlds 1.
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March 15th, 2018, 03:55
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
Your "enchanting" reminds me of how it was done in Two Worlds 1.
Really? I never played the first one. I might just check that out then.
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March 15th, 2018, 04:03
Best one? That's easy: Morrowind. Just do whatever you want with spell effects, comically unbalanced though and could use some restrictions to give a sense of char progression ( tied to player skills).
Tyranny was also pretty good with mixing sigils and accents.
Overall, it works better with systems that have more "flexibility" to it,
With equipment, ehh, not a fan of it. Just use weapon/armor mods and balance it with each "tier" ( more higher rank<->Less upgradeable). This way you trade customization for raw power or more unique properties.
You'd think that after 20 or so years, developers would have figure this out.
It was refreshing to play Shadowrun games: no loot, crafting, junk hoarding, or inventory rumbling. Choose a gear load out and you're good to go.
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March 15th, 2018, 16:38
I don't think killing monsters for loot and crafting need to be completely separate mechanics. Instead of killing the ancient dragon and finding a magic flaming axe that you may or not be able to use, it works well if the game has you cut out the dragon's heart and use it to craft a flame based item of your choice that you need. I find crafting works best when it gives you options that static loot drops would not.
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March 15th, 2018, 16:57
What irritates me most about crafting is that it has practically become a mandatory feature for RPGs. I don't see it a necessary feature and would rather developers focus more on making really fun & challenging combat, a good dialogue system, and of course loot that is actually interesting. So many other features to improve that IMO are inherently more fun than crafting (and potentially make a game unplayable if they are neglected).

The one exception I can see is in an post-apocalyptic setting where stores are very limited and finding special loot might not even make sense in a world where people are scavenging to survive. I thought Dead State had a pretty nice crafting system, which worked well with the scavenging gameplay & gave you an incentive to bring people into your base who weren't great at combat. Wasteland 2 had modifications thing like adding a scope to a gun to improve accuracy, which worked well for the PA setting.

But in your typical fantasy RPG, I don't see the need. I like the idea of finding a rare legendary, long lost artifact, or perhaps finding some great wizard who can enchant an item for me as a reward for a quest. Having a party member who can crank out magical junk just makes it seem less magical to me.
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March 15th, 2018, 17:50
Great idea. Love the concept.
I'm a huge fan of the ability to craft, whether or not I actually use anything I craft is a different story. I like the option.

As for the rotating design mentioned where best item alternates between crafting and loot.. the problem is that games that do that don't do it well. Example is some of the witcher games. You could finish the game with a level 1 sword.

Balance in RPG is always tough with loot as well. If you place UberSword in a hidden cave, does it make the game too easy? What if characters choose not to go into cave, is game bow too hard? Progression is often handled poorly in RPGs based on decisions and exploration. Strangely I think DOS did a good job of artifact vs vendor vs loot reward vs crafting.
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March 15th, 2018, 17:53
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
My dream?

Roleplaying a smith, sure, gimme whatever equips crafting.
Roleplaying an alchemist, sure, gimme pots variety.
Roleplaying a tailor, yea, gimme fancy clothes.
Roleplaying an enchanter, of course, gimme a power to imbue magic in stuff.
Gimme gimme.

Roleplaying a jack-of-all-trades master-of-all-crafts? Gimme a break!

Let me please specialize in one craft or none at all and that's it. If I need something from other "school" crafted, allow it but make me pay. It's still okay if I can recruit a sidekick that's expert in something my protagonist can't do.

Master of everything is MMO rubbish and I cannot understand how it took roots also in singleplayer RPGs.
I'm a player that wants them all. I don't replay a lot of games so i want to experience it all in on't playthrough. Combine that with a completionist mentality i really don't want to find out halfway through a game that some crafting class is locked to me.
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March 15th, 2018, 21:57
Originally Posted by daveyd View Post
What irritates me most about crafting is that it has practically become a mandatory feature for RPGs. I don't see it a necessary feature and would rather developers focus more on making really fun & challenging combat, a good dialogue system, and of course loot that is actually interesting. So many other features to improve that IMO are inherently more fun than crafting (and potentially make a game unplayable if they are neglected).
Exactly, I see many superfluous systems in current RPGs at the moment. Many of which I think are not fun at all, some of them could be improved but I wouldn't mind if they were just axed so focus could be given to the right features.

Loot in general is not fun to me. +1 that, -0.33 this and +50% fire damage. It's more of a bother to switch out equipment every level and compare all 1000 items to find that one that improves 1%. It is just unnecessary as it is brainless stuff, tedious, and a too visible number system brings me out of the roleplaying. I'm more into the artistic side (sound, art style), puzzles (!), combat, exploring cool environments, etc.

Regarding the crafting, if you would remove the overdone loot and only have 10 weapons in total. You could have less grindy crafting (with a meaningful backstory + quest chain) with hand-placed ingredients etc.
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March 16th, 2018, 04:19
Originally Posted by ilm View Post
I'm more into the artistic side (sound, art style), puzzles (!), combat, exploring cool environments, etc.
I'm with you on this, especially when it comes to exploration, discovery, and interactions. My original post is directed at games where developers have decided to implement crafting.

Originally Posted by ilm View Post
Regarding the crafting, if you would remove the overdone loot and only have 10 weapons in total. You could have less grindy crafting (with a meaningful backstory + quest chain) with hand-placed ingredients etc.
You sort of describe Gothic 2 NotR. Very few weapons/armor (relative to most modern cRPGs) and minimal crafting. In G2 NotR I really enjoyed the smallish amount of gear you could find and that better gear was really noticeable - and upgrades come infrequently (a good thing). I think I like that more than cRPGs that have endless trash gear where there is very little incremental difference between gear you find.

But the trend in cRPGs is Diablo-like gear and lots of it. Since that's the current reality, I think a bit on how this style of gear implementation could somehow be made more interesting, hence my post.
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