Massively OP’s 2020 Awards: Best MMO Crafting

    
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MassivelyOP’s end-of-the-year awards for 2020 continue today with our award for Best MMO Crafting, which was awarded jointly to Final Fantasy XIV and EverQuest II last year. Once again, we’ve opted to include pre-2020 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 in 2020 is…

FINAL FANTASY XIV

Andy McAdams: Either Elder Scrolls Online or EverQuest II. FFXIV’s crafting is…  OK. It’s fine. It’s fine. Just fine (to paraphrase Eliot). It’s not exceptionally inspired and… it’s fine.

Brianna Royce: We all know the best crafting in an MMORPG is in Star Wars Galaxies, which exists only in rogue server format now and is therefore ineligible. Consequently, I send in my nominations for Final Fantasy XIV, Lord of the Rings Online, or EverQuest II as usual because they are the next best thing. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here being a full-time crafter in my SWG emulator. Who wants some Fizzy Pudding?

Carlo Lacsina: I’m not a crafter. So I’ll just give it to FFXIV because it looks like it deserves it. It’s still a stretch though. I don’t understand how a game can go so deep in its story, but never goes out of its way to give crafters a chair or something. It kills immersion.

Chris Neal: I’ll say that this is merely “best” purely because every other game is doing crafting objectively worse, but I still have to dig on how Final Fantasy XIV’s Restoration of Ishgard brought up new reasons, new ways, and new rewards to make crafting and gathering feel impactful. Especially in a game where item level heights are barred behind raid content.

Eliot Lefebvre: Final Fantasy XIV. This coming year, I have resolved to get Bree to actually try Final Fantasy XIV’s crafting because I know she’ll love it. Wish me luck, fam.

MJ Guthrie: EverQuest II. I am sure I sound like a broken record by now, but I haven’t really enjoyed any currently live game’s crafting more than EQII. (Only SWG and Vanguard beat it.) After that, I’d say FFXIV. I know FFXIV has good crafting, but it never really clicked with me personally; if I delved deeper into the game so that crafting felt useful it might resonate with me more.

Tyler Edwards: Elder Scrolls Online. Not a lot of other games let you craft yourself full legendary gear in every slot, and it’s actually… kind of fun? Ish?

Final Fantasy XIV took our award for Best MMO Crafting in 2020. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: Which living MMO offered the best crafting in 2020?

  • Final Fantasy XIV (26%, 120 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (9%, 43 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (16%, 74 Votes)
  • LOTRO (4%, 20 Votes)
  • EVE Online (6%, 28 Votes)
  • RuneScape (2%, 10 Votes)
  • Black Desert (5%, 22 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (5%, 24 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Wurm Online (4%, 18 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (2%, 11 Votes)
  • SWTOR (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Ultima Online (3%, 15 Votes)
  • A dead game beats all these! You know the one. (13%, 59 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (2%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 397

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How does MassivelyOP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together to nominate and discuss candidates and hopefully 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 MMOs nominated plus a few others we thought should be included.
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Ysayle was right

Because EVE isn’t a game, it’s a punishment.

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Kickstarter Donor
Peregrine Falcon

Because in these reader polls most people just vote for whatever MOP has picked.

Not joking. Go through all of the reader polls for the last couple of weeks. All of the winners of the reader polls are the game that the article author picked.

Reader
kjempff

The more players a mmo has, the more votes it will get in any category – Generally speaking, exceptions apply.

Also EVE is a big divider, and pve players will not know or even care about what systems EVE has or how good or bad they are, because they will never play EVE – Afraid I am one of those, but there it is.

Also, don’t take any polls here as having any statistical truth. Those are just meant for discussions and attention holding.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Maybe the readers have the same opinion?

Couldn’t be, right? It has to be that we all just follow blindly.

I mean, how could anyone not like EVE?

Nephele
Reader
Nephele

My list of previous games is SWG and Vanguard. I’m not sure any current live game has what I would consider a “good” crafting system. Sure, some of them have some good parts, but they’re missing other things that would put them in that category for me.

I think there’s a lot of things that have to be in place in a game to make crafting “good”:

– Crafted items have to all be meaningful and useful at all levels. It can’t just be “until raid level” and it can’t just be that only 10% of them are useful and the rest are garbage.
– The act of making items needs to be interesting and engaging, and yes even fun in its own right.
– The game’s economy for crafted items needs to generally work – players need to have a reasonable opportunity to sell stuff they can create to other players, and not just when the game or the expansion is new either.
– Scarcity needs to be an implemented concept, and there needs to be a decent level of challenge involved in progressing as a crafter, where you have to do more than mash a macro to grind up your level or skill or whatever.
– Crafting needs to have a place alongside adventuring in the game world – at least as a starting point there needs to be content involving crafting, and NPCs should recognize/need help from player crafters just as they do adventurers.

To be fair, many games have made a serious attempt at these things when they got started. But as they’ve aged, they’ve abandoned some of this stuff or failed to address problems to the point where it really hurts the meaning and usefulness of crafting in their games today. That’s probably one of the reasons why people like me point to “dead” games as examples of “best crafting”.

Fortunately, I think some of the games currently in development are working hard to make crafting an important and integral part of their worlds – and that’s a good thing. There’s no perfect way to do anything but more games making the attempt means more chances for games to get it right :)

Reader
kjempff

Dead crafting system (not game), the original eq2 crafting..
Current system is maybe still the best, it is just that it used to be better.

creationguru
Reader
creationguru

For me it was UO and SWG as well it’s the only games I ever liked crafting in and I feel the main reason as there is a usefulness to crafted items in the games over just here is my temp stuff till raid gear I also like the concept of having to keep a stock of something as you have a chance to lose what you have and have to replace it.

Reader
Vincent Clark

My vote was for FFXIV, especially because of the work the devs have done for the current expansion. The crafting and gathering systems got major, continuous updates and linking the creation/building of our next housing area was a brilliant move.

Also, if you wanted to just simply craft and gather and nothing else…there is enough content available to keep you occupied. That much investment–especially when you compare it it other MMORPGs–is definitely something to be acknowledged.

cambruin
Reader
cambruin

I’m surprised LotRO even made the list. They haven’t given any care or attention to crafting since their independance day. Had the game been in the financial state we thought it was in, had the dev team been the size we all assumed it was, we’d have understood. We’d be disappointed still, but at least we’d have understood. But looking at the figures recently released, they should have done way better in pretty much every regard and crafting specifically.

Even if the MMO world consisted of only 10 games total, the entries to this list should be limited to 9. LotRO in it’s current state should never and not ever be on it.

Reader
2Ton Gamer

Yeah, LOTRO’s crafting is nothing great and barely useful. Cooking and farming are nice as a Hobbit to do in the Shire for that RP feel, but that’s about where it ends. For crafting to feel worthwhile to me, I like for there to be meaningful use, and a meaningful way to make money and for money to be something that is really needed in order to keep doing it. I literally afk farmed while working at home earlier this year in LOTRO and capped my gold on a character doing nothing but that and selling the rare shards that would drop. What did I do with said riches? Absolutely nothing.

Reader
Arktouros

Not even sure why you bother having this category. As someone who plays primarily as a crafter in games every year you give this to a themepark game it’s completely and utterly bad. Crafting systems in every themepark game are about crafting a few useful items and then ignoring the system entirely. That is not a good crafting system. It’s a garbage system there added only because “Well it’s an RPG it has to have crafting.” checkbox.

Every year we see Bree wax on about how great SWG was as a crafting system and how you can play a full time crafter as if that doesn’t exist in the market today. It does and it even exists in massively successful game titles today. Creating useful items does not make a crafting system good. Your ability to engage in it as a fully supported play style is what defines being good in a crafting system is.

Again as someone who is primarily a crafter in most games, the answer is clear as always that Black Desert Online currently has the best crafting in MMOs. The lifeskill system offers multiple avenues for entry into the system and it’s completely viable to play the whole game as nothing but a crafter. Why I think it has an edge over other sandbox games is because the devs actually fully support their crafting system, expand upon it and even add new professions where as most other sandbox style games tend to be more static. Even then they would be a better choice than this.

Reader
2Ton Gamer

Cool and all, but BDO crafting is just so boring. I love crafting and simply did not enjoy it and I had people like you tell me that I should go to BDO specifically for it. I’m not knocking your knowledge, just saying that as a player I did not like it.

Gipfeli
Reader
Gipfeli

i love swg’s crafting and thought that BDO’s crafting was just boring. maybe i didn’t give it enough time but it just didn’t click with me :(.

always looking for a game with good crafting (even single player) but nothing even got close to swg for me.

Reader
Arktouros

Personally I avoid recommending games to anyone and certainly would never recommend Black Desert to anyone especially.

Most of the crafting certainly was not “peak” excitement unarguably. Sitting there processing thousands of metal for hours or crafting thousands of meals/cooked goods in 20 minute batches (station durability) isn’t ever going to really get the blood pumping or be exciting in any capacity. If that’s the kind of system you’re looking for, the EverQuest 2 is probably the closest as it has random pop ups you have to “whack-a-mole” hit properly to make better items.

Personally however I prefer my crafting systems to have substance over flash. What got my blood pumping or was “not boring” was after a month of processing materials and having my workers produce crates for me and transporting those crates across the world seeing the big turn in for billions of silver. Those huge pay days just feel great and like all the boring downtime was worth it.

Reader
Bruno Brito

Yeah, but that would force me to play BDO, and i would rather get shot between my knees.

Reader
SmiteDoctor

I picked ESO, GW2, and UO (because the Golden Oldies are the best).

Reader
starbuck1771

Conan Exiles had the best crafting :)