Massively OP’s 2019 Awards: Best MMO Crafting

    
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Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2019 awards continue today with our award for Best MMO Crafting, which was awarded to Final Fantasy XIV last year. Once again, we’ve opted to include pre-2019 MMOs, as long as they were actively maintained in this calendar year (and are legally operated). Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

And the MassivelyOP staff pick for the Best MMO Crafting of 2019 is…

FINAL FANTASY XIV & EVERQUEST II

Andy McAdams: I went with both EQ2 and FFXIV for crafting. Side note – it seems sad that I nominated a game originally released in 2004 for a “Best in” category in 2019 – and it actually won! That’s more an indictment of the current gaming market than anything especially profound that EQ2 did. Anyway, these are the only two games that actually have crafting as more than a stapled-on system, just there to check a checkbox kind of thing.

Brendan Drain: Still EverQuest II! I’d love a new MMO to come out with as strong a focus on creativity and crafting as it has on combat, but nothing this year has really taken over from EverQuest II for me.

Brianna Royce: I admit I’m in a weird spot on this award, as I’m very particular about my crafting – so particular that I am literally playing a rogue server for a dead game to get my crafting fix. However, since that game’s not remotely eligible, I’d say EverQuest II is the next best thing – and for good reason, since it came from a lot of the same minds. Nod to Lord of the Rings Online, too, for consistently making me want to go back to it to do nothing but craft. Eliot has also tried to convince me in the past that FFXIV has crafting comparable to SWG’s, and I have no reason to doubt him. I’d really like to nominate Guild Wars 2 here as well since the gathering and crafting mechanics are incredible, but the vast majority of the crafting production in the game is pointless because of the economy, so I just can’t do it. I’d even be happy seeing EVE Online win this since its crafting actually matters to the game.

Chris Neal: FFXIV. I hate this game’s crafting, but I give this my vote purely because every other MMORPG’s crafting is objectively worse. Devs, please, make crafting awesome again. Please? Pretty please?

Colin Henry: FFXIV, EQ2.

Eliot Lefebvre: Final Fantasy XIV makes crafting a huge portion of the game, added a big chunk of crafting content to the game this year, and actually had major debates about letting people jump in on crafting due to the popularity of that crafting content. I’d say that I’m sorry for not voting for something else where the crafting is “press a button and watch a bar go up,” but I’m not sorry at all.

MJ Guthrie: For me, it is still EQ2. Unless SWG or Vanguard come back!

Tyler Edwards: ESO feels like the clear winner to me. There’s a lot more depth to its crafting than you usually see, and it’s actually a viable path to top tier endgame equipment. Virtually everything all of my characters wear is stuff I crafted myself.

Final Fantasy XIV and EverQuest II won our award for Best MMO Crafting of 2019. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: Which living MMO offered the best crafting in 2019?

  • Final Fantasy XIV (25%, 138 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (12%, 67 Votes)
  • EVE Online (5%, 29 Votes)
  • LOTRO (4%, 22 Votes)
  • Black Desert (3%, 15 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (2%, 13 Votes)
  • RuneScape (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (13%, 71 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (4%, 23 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (2%, 11 Votes)
  • Wurm Online (4%, 24 Votes)
  • SWTOR (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Shroud of the Avatar (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Project Gorgon (2%, 9 Votes)
  • Ultima Online (2%, 9 Votes)
  • Path of Exile (2%, 9 Votes)
  • A dead game beats all these! You know the one. (14%, 75 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (2%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 474

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How does MassivelyOP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together over the course of a few weeks to nominate and discuss candidates and ideally settle on a consensus winner. We don’t have a hard vote, but we do include written commentary from every writer who submitted it on time so that you can see where some of us differed, what our secondary picks were, and why we personally nominated what we did (or didn’t). The site’s award goes to the staff selection, but we’ll include both it and the community’s top nomination in our debrief in January.
How does MassivelyOP populate this poll?
Poll options include all games nominated plus other games we thought should and would be in the running.
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K8 D

Crafting is amazing in FFXIV, and it’s really the reason I played as long as I did. Being involved in the actual crafting process is great, but also the fact that crafting an item requires items from a few others jobs. It keeps the economy flowing. As much as I dislike the rest of the game, you can really tell a lot of care and detail went into the crafting system.

Reader
Loyal Patron
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elenie

As a relative FFXIV newbie, I’ve been really loving the crafting in this game! I love the mechanics and trying for high quality results, as well as the story quest lines for each craft. All my crafting and gathering jobs are much higher level than my main combat job because I like the crafting game so much :-)
Not sure if this will hold up later on but for now I enjoy how fleshed out and substantial the gathering/crafting side is.

Reader
GreatOogly

I enjoyed the Alchemy storyline a lot.

Though we’re in phase one of complete redesigns of crafting and gathering at the moment. It has already encouraged thousands to take up crafting when they weren’t interested before, or were too intimidated by it.

That’s a win in of itself for a game that’s been out this long.

Random MMO fan
Reader
Random MMO fan

I really don’t get the rationale of selecting FFXIV as game with best crafting. And I still pay subscription for this game because I love most parts of it. Have you people never played other MMOs? FFXIV’s crafting is not only most boring and simplistic (this is proven by the fact that it can be fully automated with crafting bots which do exist, I will not give links but anyone can find these) but it is also essentially unnecessary. By unnecessary I mean the fact that you don’t need to ever buy crafted items especially since your armor and weapons do not permanently break and cannot be looted from you, same goes for your housing items and decorations (if you even manage to get a house) or mounts.

It really makes me sad how narrow-minded the audience of this site is.

Reader
GreatOogly

“And I still pay subscription for this game”

“By unnecessary I mean the fact that you don’t need to ever buy crafted items especially since your armor and weapons do not permanently break”

Desynthesis — Permanently destroy item for a chance at rare crafting materials.
Spiritbinding / Converting — Permanently destroys an item that has bound to you for a chance at high tier materia
FC Turn-ins — Permanently destroys an item to give you seals and your FC influence, may also be used to get FC Specific materials for building free company projects
Deletion — Stated
Locked — No one is ever able to use this besides you. It is not longer a part of the economy (every item that you equip and gain experience in at least once).

Personally, I bought thousands of items for desynthesis to level it up and benefit, as well as had dozens of the same sets made to spirit bind both casually and efficiently. A lot of people still do this as you can make a lot of gil selling during new raid tiers and new crafter gear tiers. To say nothing of alt jobs, FC members, retainers and other gear needs. Or the fact that crafted accessories were the BIS in Stormblood for some, or nice entry into savage now for some as well.

“…bots which do exist”

I never would have thought an MMO would have bots.

Though crafters that are worth their salt wouldn’t use them. I’m not sure where you got that information, or if you are confusing gatherers. If you do play and you’ve seen people with methodical rotations, it is due to macros. While the last couple months or so they are in a weird spot with updating the system and making it more accessible (thus an explosion of interest in it and a vast amount of new crafters, which in itself is a feat for a game of this age — though I have came across complaints that the crafter storylines are still difficult), macros typically required very specific preparations. Best in slot gear, penta melds, specializations, tea, food, etc. Meeting criteria and potentially having an HQ item here and there if you really want to make sure you HQ succeed. In the past, it was more reactionary, and their new savage recipees will make it such again.

“…same goes for your housing items and decorations (if you even manage to get a house) or mounts.”

I’m sure someone who worked their ass off getting the final bird or wolf in a series would love to have their mount killed. Or their house set on fire. In a MMO themepark.

Honestly, you have the air about you as a type that enjoys the UO / DAoC / Shadowbane / Mortal Online / Crowfall etc. subset of the MMORPG genre. Applying those standards in a completely different genre — the mainstream one no less — says a lot about this comment. I also like how you phrased “still pay for the game”, not mentioning you play it or understand it — as seen by you not knowing basic item destruction features. Which are item destruction features, even if they’re not forced on you. We don’t get to pick what is fact and objective with personal preference just because they’re not what we want or expect.

I’m an old Ultima Online / DAoC / Shadowbane person myself. Personally have a Mountain Citadel in Crowfall, as well as a couple of castles, keeps and forts. Over a hundred tax free farmland parcels, Investor parcel, 5 of each mountain, creek and woodland. Maybe a dozen Nightmares (from different years, starting from Kickstarter), a couple packing pigs from the store and so on. When I bought the package, it said I would have the title of Arch Duke. I know their status quo of wanting almost everything to have a lifespan, even your mounts and especially your items… to likely even your very vessels. But you’re talking about an open world PvP system with full loot, of which FFXIV does not have. Of which most of those listed do not have.

“…and cannot be looted from you”

Potentially not even knowing the game or genre you’re talking about and referring to something that isn’t even related to it or have the same audience, yet calling people narrow-minded.

“It really makes me sad how narrow-minded the audience of this site is.”

Narrow-minded dictionary:

1) having or showing a prejudiced mind, as persons or opinions; biased.
2) not receptive to new ideas; having a closed mind.

Nobody said there isn’t a market for games like Crowfall (as an example I am most familiar with at the moment), but you are going after people who prefer one style by inferring they’re not experience in the genre just, as the above shows, because they don’t like what you, the apparently non-narrow minded person likes. I am personally supporting it (crowfall and shards / Legends of Aria / Camelot / etc.) more than others and love those style of games. But I also don’t try to compare apples and oranges. Trying to do such is the online dictionary definition of narrow-minded.

I could talk a lot about Crowfall or UO’s crafting. It’s (Crowfall) still not done, though. I could also type a few hundred pages just talking about FFXIV and how everything connects and what there is to do, and how to do it. As well as all the little things. Heck, dozens of those will be on just patch 5.1 as a whole.

Reader
Arktouros

Every year Black Desert Online gets snubbed in this category and it’s an absolute travesty that shows a complete lack of experience or familiarity with the system.

Black Desert is one of the few games out there where it’s actually possible to play the entire game as nothing but a crafter. It’s robust lifeskill system has gathering, farming, processing, trading, bartering, fishing, cooking, alchemy, horse training, sailing, and hunting. There’s a ton of cross over and just about every system ranges from basic level activities to deep and complex synergies and strategies and overlap. Some of the biggest members of the game community on twitch are almost exclusively lifeskiller/crafters. Crafting is huge in this game.

And it got even better this year with the Lifeskill Mastery system. There’s huge expansions on nearly every lifeskill where the more mastery you have the more you gather, the faster you process or the more things you can cook at once, etc. So now there’s huge benefits and bonuses to dump your money into you earn while playing a crafter that actually make you an even better crafter. They also released a whole new lifeskill called Bartering where you sail around island to island trading goods for trade items that can then be further traded and upgraded into really valuable items. Just you, the open sea, and your wares for trade.

Like really? ESO? Common. Even a game like EVE where literally the entire economy is backed by hardcore crafted stuff is miles beyond the basic bitch crafting in most of the modern titles.

Reader
Bryan Cole

2 dead games beat this: SWG and Vanguard

MJ Guthrie
Staff
MJ Guthrie

Absolutely. Wish I could still craft there…

Reader
Robert Mann

Crafting, as it stands, is like PvE dynamic content. It’s nothing more than a timer, and maybe a little RNG.

That’s not to praise either part of the status quo, but instead to lambast the people who think that is acceptable somewhere in a business office or a few dozen.

TheDarthStomper
Reader
TheDarthStomper

Wait, you’re awarding this to a game that’s spent a decade marginalizing crafters? One that hasn’t had any level of consistency and competency in its tradeskill content for three years now since its old keeper departed? You must be joking!

Once upon a time, I would have agreed regarding EQ2, but now this feels more like an indictment of everybody else…

Reader
Robert Mann

It IS an indictment of the rest of the genre…

Reader
Bruno Brito

Loved FE’s crafting, but SWG is a good one too.

Reader
Utakata

Can I abstain? :(

Reader
Toy Clown

Even though ArcheAge has taken a lot of the complexity out of crafting, I probably find it more fun in its current iteration and adore crafting things from things I grow or work on my land. AA crafting reminds me a lot of SWG’s, but without the shifting of minerals around the galaxy.

I’ve just started getting into FFXIV’s crafting and nearly have my 2nd craft at 80. In the past I’ve struggled with FFXIV’s crafting, so never really got into it. It was convoluted in a way I couldn’t wrap my head around it. They’re working on the crafting system now, getting rid of the bloat, and I’m liking it right now. The reward here is being able to craft high end gear for my gatherers and crafters, as well as make my own glamours. I had no idea how much crafters were gouging players for! I’m getting me some’a that!