Global Chat: Crafting is just the worst, Britta!

    
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stuff

Advance warning: If you like crafting in MMOs, then you best not read the latest post from Contains Moderate Peril, who is not quite as enamored with this system as are some others.

“The effort to reward ratio is often insufficient and I have yet to find a crafting system that is engaging and fun,” Roger argues. “However, for me the biggest sin that crafting can commit is being deliberately arcane and obtuse ‘with malice of forethought,’ if I may invoke legal analogy […] I frequently find that crafting in MMOs is just like Fizzbin. Except they’re not amusing or ironic, just tedious and irritating.”

Like many of the posts we share here on Global Chat, at the very least it’s a discussion starter! Read on for more essays, including ones about purity in MMOs, EverQuest II, Ultima Online, and more!

Everwake’s Internet Adventures: Ultima Online — The tale of one MMO

“It’s almost impossible to come at UO in a vacuum. At its heart, its a game where one slowly clicks on their screen while watching numbers slowly go up. This inherently describes just about every RPG ever made. But the spice is always in the details of how one surrounds that formula, and Ultima Online (at least from the several hours I’ve now put into it) is as bland as Minnesota cooking.”

Misdirections: Purity is overrated

“Since the day Legion was introduced, I have thought Blizz was making a huge mistake by turning every spec into its own virtual class. From a practical standpoint, managing 36 separate classes is simply not possible. I think that is shown by the wildly oscillating class balance chaos we have endured now since Legion.”

Straight outta wherever.

Inventory Full: A monumental success in EverQuest II

“The 15th anniversary event for EverQuest II has turned out to be one of the best I’ve enjoyed in any MMORPG. It didn’t look like much on paper but in the game itself it has been popular, compelling and well-received. Any event that runs 24/7 for a full month and can still draw a crowd just a few days before it ends has to be reckoned a major success. When those crowds are still upbeat and positive even after hundreds of repetitions that’s pretty much a miracle.”

ECTmmo.com: Anniversaries

“I haven’t gotten around to doing a post on SWTOR’s new expansion, Onslaught. It is very quick for the story but I enjoyed it. There were changes to lower companion power and it makes it a bit of a slog through some content, not a fan of that so I haven’t played much since finishing the story and hotting the cap, which go hand in hand. Overall it is worth subbing for if you like the story, past that it seems a bit light on content but maybe I just missed some stuff. There are a few returning companions, all of which anyone can add to their roster regardless of class, which is awesome.”

GamingSF: Gaming moments of 2019

“For my last scheduled post in International Picture Posting Month 2019 I’ve decided to highlight a few of my favourite gaming moments from this year. This post has some story spoilers from the get-go so if you’re not playing any MORPGs at the moment you might want to skip this post.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.

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zuldar

Very few mmos have crafting, usually is’s just a vendor screen where you put in some random currency and get your item in exchange. Occasionally the clerk will have to go into the back to get it but there will be a handy bar that shows how long that will take.

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IronSalamander8 .

I generally don’t do much of it. It can be extremely dull and even annoying like in EQ1 where you could fail and lose valuable components. Games focused on crafting like Minecraft and Astroneer can be fun, but they have a different dynamic.

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Baemir

Agreed. Always skipped it in every MMO I’ve played, always ended up doing myself a favor. It’s quite literally a waste of your time.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

The original Guild Wars had just about all the crafting I can stand in a game. That is to say that I collected materials just through adventuring and simple salvaging of materials, then brought them to an NPC vendor to exchange for an item I wanted.

Anything more than that is a waste of studio resources to develop, and any system that requires me to have to go to a player controlled crafter just to stay relevant in a game is pure garbage.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

tl;dr – Crafting isn’t fun but I don’t really care.

Long version: You can’t just let people make the best stuff right off, it has to take lots of time and effort to make the best stuff. So because of that it’s something you need to do instead of adventuring. So it ends up being more of a hardcore activity in most MMORPGs.

It’s for people who have huge amounts of time in-game. It’s not fun, no. There have been a few games that tried to make it fun (making you need to do all sorts of different button presses during the crafting to affect the quality of the stuff) and I like those systems okay, but the people who want to be super into crafting all day seem to think that just slows them down and is more of a hassle than something they seem to enjoy.

Crafting is for people who have much more gaming time than I do, and so I don’t usually try to have much input on it or try to do it myself. I’d have to miss out on the stories and stuff I truly enjoy to do crafting instead, and I don’t want to do that.

Should it be a hardcore activity? Should it be that tedious and boring? It is what it is. It can’t be too easy or else it would become about pointless. Everybody would just dabble in it and get the best stuff from dabbling in it. Without a reason to do it on a larger scale and it would take a huge part of the game away from people who have huge amounts of gaming time.

I guess I’m fine with it being an all or nothing activity for people with less time and something to take up great amounts of time for people with all day to play. Crafting is alright in survival type games where the output is pretty quick to get stuff you need or the entire game is based on the stuff. I wouldn’t say it’s especially “fun” there either though but it’s not horrible or anything. The part where you build things or use what you made is fun, the actual crafting of it is just a time and effort delay to get to what you need.

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BalsBigBrother

Crafting in mmos

oh you mean watching a bar go across the screen before you get bored and go make a hot beverage of choice while it finishes. That engaging mechanic.

Yeah no thanks.

Nephele
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Nephele

There have been credible attempts at doing justice to crafting in MMORPGs. Unfortunately, in most cases, those games failed for other reasons.

For example: A lot of people agree that Star Wars Galaxies had one of the best crafting systems ever designed. Unfortunately, because LucasArts/SOE kept changing other core parts of the game to try and compete with WoW, the only place you’ll find that crafting system these days is on one of the emulators, and depending which “era” the emulator is running, your experience will vary. However, even in the Legends emulator, which is arguably the least crafting-friendly of all of them, crafting can still be a very valuable and rewarding activity, at least for some types of crafting.

In the world of Fantasy MMORPGs, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes had a deep, challenging, and robust crafting system that (like everything else in Vanguard) had a ton of raw potential. If Sigil hadn’t imploded and if SOE had been willing to invest more in Vanguard after they picked it up, it’s likely that it would be one of the few MMORPGs where crafting and adventuring really were balanced against each other properly, all the way up to (and including) raid tier items.

Finally, it’s probably worth noting that a lot of MMORPGs start out with decently meaningful crafting systems. Sure, there are some where it’s a tacked-on side game from Day 1, but most AAA titles have tried to make crafting actually matter in their launch implementation. That usually lasts up until the first or sometimes second expansion and level cap increase when new stuff gets implemented with no regard for maintaining balance or keeping old things useful. Over time, crafting becomes a mostly-unrewarding activity, especially as things get “streamlined” to allow people to advance faster and the game population becomes increasingly top-heavy.

Nephele
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Nephele

I forgot to mention but it’s also worth noting that almost every single item in EVE Online is made by players. Granted, EVE is a harsh game where losing a ship generally means losing everything you had fitted or were carrying in it, and the gameplay is very different from pretty much every other MMORPG out there, but it still counts in some ways.

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Pandalulz

It’s required sure, but is it fun?

Nephele
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Nephele

LOL, well, that’s a question you could ask about any part of any game. Personally, I enjoy dungeons and alliance raids in FFXIV. However I know many gamers who can’t stand the “DDR-ness” of the AOE telegraphs. If you want to play that game it’s required that you avoid the telegraphs, but is it fun? It’s a personal question. I can’t answer for someone else.

As far as the three games I mentioned, I found crafting in all three of them to be fun, personally. That fun came in different ways though. In SWG, crafting was very much a numbers puzzle and you had to put a lot of time and effort into gathering the right resources to really become good at what you were doing. For me, that was fun, because it a) made me think and b) rewarded me for putting in more effort. In EVE, crafting was more about making things at very large scale and being strategic. Was it fun to make a single batch of missiles? Not really, it was just kind of a thing. But working together with my corpmates to supply entire regions of the galactic economy and build up our own capital fleet at the same time? That was fun. For Vanguard, crafting was in some respects much like trying to solo a monster in combat. You had your abilities and you had to “beat” the crafting station. I enjoyed the challenge as well as the wide variety of things I could make. However, not everyone found that to be as enjoyable as I did. Some people thought it was too hard to make things.

So, is crafting fun in any game? We each have to decide that for ourselves, I think. Some people really like WoW’s or SWTOR’s crafting systems, even though I find them simplistic in the extreme (and ultimately meaningless).

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Robert Mann

Crafting isn’t a system in MMOs. It’s a phoned in afterthought. “Yes, you can craft, because we always have crafting.” But will… “No, it won’t really be worth much unless you want consumables without playing the market, or want to play the market.”

ANY game that goes beyond the most basic of crafting basics is exciting at this point. For crying out loud digging ore in Life is Feudal is 100000000000 times better than the node system in most games, and that’s a tedious chore that takes grinding, time, and some mechanic learning before you even really begin. The point being that literally anything with more effort than the crappy standard is astounding.

Of course, it CAN be made worse. See things like rng mechanics on upgrades, degrading, destruction on rng failure, and other things made for no reason other than abusing people with a cash shop.

It’s sad, because crafting as a system has a lot of potential. It could be a deep set of mechanics which drive an entire industry barely noticed by the adventure focused… but adored by those who would enjoy such things. Not all games need go there (there’s room for simple consumable crafting where nothing else matters for those who like that in games too). But when things that make grinding the same mobs for three days straight look enjoyable are a strange boon to part of the game, you know that part of the game is a right P.O.S. “Hello crafting! I love you (for what you could be), and I utterly despise you (for what you are).”

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Ashfyn Ninegold

The problem for MMOs is that they can’t make end game crafted weapons and armor worthwhile. Because then–who would raid?

To make the “you will raid end-game” dictum even more apparent, many MMOs put required end game crafting recipes or ingredients in raids, which puts yet more money in the pockets of the “elite” raiders, who are already showered with perks from the devs.

So crafting is purposely either tied to raiding or pointless at end-game because nothing should distract from raiding.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

In SWG post the NGE weapons dropped by a boss could be re-crafted to be even better :)

Lots of great stuff in SWG that was never taken up in MMO’s

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TomTurtle

Of the crafting systems I’ve experienced, I’ve seen a problem with how little thought is involved, which is exacerbated by repetition, and how they struggle to be rewarding enough to do.

I’ve liked crafting in Minecraft due to the immediate tangible purpose it has. And while the grid-based crafting isn’t super complicated, it’s at least a minor step up from the usual MMO crafting checklist design.

I imagine games that have gear decay make crafting feel that much more compelling since the armor and weapons you make are actually desirable. It brings to mind why I often see consumable-based crafting professions like alchemy stay relevant much more than others since there’s a constant demand rather than a one-and-done type of deal.

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Robert Mann

Usually in the games with item-decay crafting, the crafting involved is so easy, due to necessity, that it is the same issue as with any standard MMO (except you actually use the stuff, since there’s usually nothing else).