Author Topic: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs  (Read 2327 times)

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Offline Yokto

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Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« on: January 01, 2016, 06:36:23 pm »
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I am not sure if this is the right section for it. But hay the topic can allways be moved. And I see this is a sort of experiment on how well a topic about game design would do on the forum. Hopefully quite well.

Objective
So I set my self this challenge. A lot of MMORPGs have crafting systems. But almost all of them boil down to some form of rescepy crafting system. And it well... Not the most engaging system I. There is little to no real player skill involve. If you do not think girding is a playing skill that is. I want to go further. A lot further. To get people more invested. And to have some form of skill to crafting. Be it twitch of smarts. Something at least. At the same time the complexity need to be manageable. It can not be a simulation that cost way to much to develop. Some form of abstraction is likely needed. But capturing the feel of crafting I think is a must.

Hypothetical setting
First lets decide on what sort of setting this is. While it should not be tailored to much to a specific setting I think going with the classical high fantasy background we see in games like Guild Wars and World of Warcraft is a good start. Just to have some form of familiarity when we talk about crafting. So in such world we would see Armssmithing, Armoursmithing, Alchemy and so on. We have freedom but also some expectations. If we want to retool the system for a other setting then we can do so.

Random ideas
Just to get the creative juices flowing.
  • To make the choices you make while crafting matter for the end product. Make every Item unique.
  • Ether make a task depended on twitch or smarts or both. make a task in to a game and not just a dice roll
  • Possibly break down one big task, like crafting a sword, in to smaller tasks
  • Skills and tools give you abilities to effect the process. What you have on had makes it easy for you to preform it something or open up new way to tackle problems
  • A risk reward system. High risks leads to better rewards. But go safe and you have a easy time
  • What you craft should matter. Best gear should be player crafted. Make the player economy matter.
  • CCG style Deck building?
  • The build?

I plan on going in to greater detail in all parts. But I though I post it now. I have already lost a work copy of this that I had before (Computer crashed while I was wring notes) and I have been procrastinating to much already about trying to tackle this problem. Better get it down now while I still remember the whole thing. Any input ideas are of course welcome. I did not make this post just to my own amusement after all. So all are welcome with critiques or there own ideas. And of course if you know of a game with a awesome crafting system just say so.


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Offline Celdur

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2016, 09:04:20 pm »
Of all games that do the standard themepark mmo crafting fare, ff14 probably does it the best.
but its still far from interesting.
you get skills like any fighting class, and then you try to manage stamina of a sort while trying to up the quality and finish %, so you have to trade off quality for actually finishing the thing, or risk some rng moves that might fail on you.
It doesnt help that the overall differances for making something top tier quality doesn't really change much, but it could be interesting if it was expanded upon.

Another game that does an OK job at this is puzzle pirates, where the crafting games are literally just minigames like bejeweled and whatever they came up with on their own.
But the interesting part about puzzle pirates is that you had people who just were sword smiths, or had made ships, or whatever.
In most mmos you have to be an adventurer, you gotta be the guy, and even if you focus on being a crafter or what have you, you're still going to kill dragons anyway.
But in puzzle pirates, a lot of people stop doing the meat of the game, which is pirating npc ships, and focus on setting up a little shop instead.
And that's not because they have to make a choice, they could still go out there and do the pirate stuff, but its because they want to.
And I think the biggest factor in that is the complete player based economy, EVE is much the same way but in EVE all crafting is automatic so that's not really relevant here.

I think the first step you need to make to make crafting interesting, is to make the entire economy player based, and make it local only, not some magical omnipresent marketplace.
Because that will make people want to set up a business, and they will feel like they are relevant and important, because they are.
I mean who else is going to provide folks with armor and weapons and potions etc.
In most theme park mmos it feels absolutely useless to craft anything, because you aren't contributing to anything, and all the best items are found in dungeons anyway.

After you establish that, then you can start on making the actual crafting interesting, but yeah, I think thats for another wall of text.

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Offline dndfreak

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2016, 12:47:18 am »
Mabinogi doesn't take this to an extreme, but finishing any craft item uses a precision based minigame which impacts the resulting item quality. Different crafting skills all use different minigames and the minigame difficulty is based both on item level and your skill rank.

Personally, I'd like to see a system akin to Mabi's except you can gather materials through minigames as well rather than normal play (akin to puzzle pirates), or at least all materials are gatherable en masse via low-level instances. Perhaps there needs to be a small entrance fee to the alternate minigame gathering in order to curb economic oversaturation, but essentially the goal is to make crafting success and efficiency based more around manual dexterity and player skill than RNG.

Offline Pixxel

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2016, 06:30:35 am »
I want MMO crafting to be like Iron Master and Cooking mama.
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Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2016, 08:21:57 am »
I think there are a few problems that are hard not to run into when trying to make crafting systems interesting.

The first, is if you make crafting a subgame or minigame then it needs to actually be fun, and that's rather difficult. You're basically tasked with creating a whole new game, and if you do manage to make a fun puzzle game then why no just make it a standalone? Either you make a boring or semi-passable mini-game that nobody really wants to play except as a means to an end, or you've made the next Tetris or Lumines and you'd be better off just releasing it on it's own and making a fat stack of cash.

The other issue I think generally relates to how the crafting mechanic is balanced against the rest of the game in terms of time, effort, risk/reward, and costs in the game economy.

Like Celdur said, I think for crafting to be fully developed and rounded you need a game economy which has real scarcity and supply issues. In most games crafting is an alternative way (maybe cheaper) to get items, or it's a transaction you make with the game which is fundamentally similar to buying the items from an in-game store, but more complicated.

So as many items as possible in the game need to be made by players. They need to decay at a reasonable rate so scarcity as maintained and inflation is avoided. Raw resources should be limited and where appropriate non-replenishing. It makes sense for plant and animal-based resources to regenerate, but they should be subject to over-harvesting and depletion if improperly managed. Non-organic resources should never replenish naturally in order to prompt exploration and expansion, but in most cases these shouldn't be excessively scarce. All of these resources should require some investment of player time (at least time, maybe also effort and ingenuity) to extract.

This means you may also need to make mining and lumberjacking fun, but I guess that's another story!

So, with that background, crafting itself.

I think as much of the process as possible should be skill based rather than contingent on stats or random rolls. If there needs to be a stat-contingent or tool-based RPG-like aspect to it then it should manifest in the form of increased information available to the player in order to make decisions during the process or the ability to perform more complicated actions in a more automated manner.

I actually think any sort of game-like crafting system would be much easier to implement convincingly in a scifi setting where people craft high-tech machines as it would allow the incorporation of space-chem like minigames and would generally lend itself better to the interfaces we're used to dealing with. Turning the forging of a sword into a puzzle is sort of weird because the whole process is so innately physical and tactile. The efforts I've seen involving hitting bits of a glowing sword with a hammer or what have you are never fun because the feedback is bad and the actions and puzzle-like elements seem arbitrary.

 
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Celdur

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2016, 09:12:56 am »

I actually think any sort of game-like crafting system would be much easier to implement convincingly in a scifi setting where people craft high-tech machines as it would allow the incorporation of space-chem like minigames and would generally lend itself better to the interfaces we're used to dealing with. Turning the forging of a sword into a puzzle is sort of weird because the whole process is so innately physical and tactile. The efforts I've seen involving hitting bits of a glowing sword with a hammer or what have you are never fun because the feedback is bad and the actions and puzzle-like elements seem arbitrary.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSThWVbFSFI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSThWVbFSFI</a>

This is how puzzle pirates does it, its a bit arbitraty like you say but it works alright. I think the guy turned the sounds off, but you get the idea.
Its very skill based too, one of the better games in pp. You have to tick off each piece 3 times to clear it, and the piece you hit indicates what kind of ches based move you can make, if you can't make a move anymore you end the game, and the quality of your work depends on how much % you can clear.

Though I still think the skill ceiling of this example is a bit too low, I always like the idea of having certain people on servers who are famous for their crafting work, and they'll get all the high grade super rare **** to make into amazing weapons, instead of the more average crafters that just do basic stuff.
Mabinogi actually has something like that, but it has little to do with skill, its more about how you need to rougly spend 80mil in crafting supplies and about 3 months of your time to get to the max level to allow you to make the high grade ****, and that just turns it into another grind to deal with.

One way would be to have no cap as to how good a player can get, kinda like a high score.
It never ends and only the best people will be able to get to really high levels consistently.
But then you risk having insanely overpowered items on the market.
I guess that wouldn't be too much of a problem if the items have some sort of limited durability, but no one likes durability.

Mabinogi sort of does something to keep people getting new stuff as well.
You have durability that goes down at a decent rate, and when you repair it, based on the repairers skill, there is a % chance to lose maximum durability.
So eventually at some point your items will have pathetic durability to the point where its useless.
There are items that can raise the max durability, but they are really rare and only raise it by 1 point (to be fair, 20 durability is already a lot).
Not sure if thats the best way to do things, but you might need it to prevent people from getting all the best stuff and stifling demand completely.
Another way would be perma death with item loss, but thats a whole other story.

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Offline Hydromancerx

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2016, 12:43:17 pm »
As someone who has been working on a crafting mod for a year now I can say that I try to be true to real life but still have more simplified versions of recipes. I take a lot of inspiration from Haven and Hearth but I select out the fantasy stuff and add in post-apocalyptic stuff. On a side note if you game is into food such mods can get crazy in the amount of food crafting you can have.

Note the biggest task for be in balancing it for both a single player game and a muliplayer game. Since in single player you need to be a jack of all trades, but in multiplayer finding resources is much harder because they have already been taken. Both can be hard to survive though since in single player you have no one to back you up while in multiplayer you can have people who want to rob and kill you (in addition to zombies).

Yokto if you ever want to help out with my Hydrocraft mod for Project Zomboid please let me know.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 12:49:08 pm by Hydromancerx »

Offline Pixxel

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2016, 12:51:01 pm »
I want MMO crafting to be like Iron Master and Cooking mama.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuHbbUvbvIs" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuHbbUvbvIs</a>

Something like this.
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Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2016, 01:34:58 pm »
FEEL THE THRILL OF MANAGEMENT!
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline martyk

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2016, 02:07:55 pm »
By far Star Wars Galaxies had the best crafting system I've ever seen, because it had a really advanced resource system.  At the earliest levels, you'd just need something like "Mineral" to craft something.  There were many types of metals and low level players would often use whatever was most convenient.  However, more complex blueprints would require more specific materials, requiring Copper, or even one of several specific kinds of Copper only found in certain areas that gradually changed over time, so you'd have to keep looking for new sources.  Each of these hundreds of specific materials had different stats that would affect a finished product differently depending on where in the schematic you used it.  While any crafter could just slap resources in anywhere they fit, the best crafters had a wide selection to work from, and knew exactly how to use them to maximize their effect.

In addition to this, many higher level schematics required sub-components from other specializations, for instance a Droid Smith might need certain weapon modules only craftable by a Weaponsmith.  This encouraged interaction between crafters and created a thriving economy where players didn't just have to act as end market merchants selling guns to adventurers, but as parts suppliers for other crafters.  Alternatively, one could even make a living exploring and setting up harvesters in hard to reach areas to get rare resources for selling.  The result was a dynamic and tightly knit community of crafters, forming guilds and business relationships.  Certain crafters were well known by name for having exceptional quality goods and would have several shops set up on several planets.  There were also those that built solid, well rounded gear for customers with less money, churning them out by the hundreds in vast fields of manufacturing plants.  There were even those who simply acted as wholesellers of other crafter's goods, able to get better rates on the market thanks to Mercantile specializations.

Finally, there was one last aspect to the crafting that could allow for gear that went above and beyond the norm.  Depending on the skill level of the crafter, and the quality of the resources used, they could have a chance to experiment with the final product.  They could allocate some points into stats they would like to try to increase, and would have certain odds to bump those stats up a bit, creating truly unique equipment.

The end result was a crafting system that encouraged exploration and interaction with other players.  One that was dead simple to get into, but offered an exceptional amount of depth at the higher levels.
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Offline dndfreak

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2016, 03:09:28 pm »
For a recipe system, I'd like to see something which revolves around reverse engineering. You can break down any item for a chance to discover requisite parts, and whenever you do this with a new item you also reverse-engineer and learn its recipe. Or it might take breaking down multiple copies of the item, based on skill levels or item rarity or something.

Offline Yokto

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2016, 03:35:42 pm »
I have been wanting to check out Star Wars Galaxy. Never go the chance.

Celdur brought up one of the aspects I really would like to see. High skill sealing. Being a famed fighter (PvPer) in a MMORPG is not unheard of after all. But the only MMORPG where I have heard of famed crafter is Star Wars Galaxy (tough that was from someone who regarded them self as a famed crafter. So it might have been a bit of boasting from them)

Sam bring up a other point. When adding such a system at what cost should it be at? Some crappy puzzle games do not really add to much to the game does it? On the other had I think that crafting should provide a other experience then you typical combat adventuring. I do not think people are drawn to this sort of mechanic because of there really in to the combat and adventuring. They want something different. So the style can actually be quite different. But I feel I need to actually ask people what they want to get out of such a system. Personally I want something that is more of a planning endeavour and hopefully something with some artistry to it. (The artistry is a aspect I have not talk about before I know. But that would be a great thing I think if you could get that in the system.)

And on that. I think that one actually could lay down a lot of resource to make a good crafting system and have it pay off. Yes it would be a game parallel to other games. But this is sort of the nature of MMORPGs. They have may different depths. It could also potentially be a add-on system. Would not be the first time a MMO do there crafting in this sort of fashion.

Martyk bring up the social aspect of the game. I think he is right. MMORPG needs to have a social dimension to them I think. Have it so people can collaborate on crafting. And what I know is that this is often a very big factor why some are drawn to crafting. Why I also think that it might be good to have the crafter be a Artisan that get a order for something very specific. The weapon that fits the needs of the adventure.

I would also like to mention that as it is not in Star Trek Online some of the most hot items in the game is crafted items. Player items are better then anything can be gotten from loot drops. But there is no item degradation not resource depletion. So I am not sure if it fully needed. But then again with time we should expect the prices to drop. So I am not fully against degrading items (But I think that maybe having a repair option is a good idea in that case to. Naturally also tired to player skill) Naturally in any game where you spawn resource you also need sinks of some kind.
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Offline PatMan33

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2016, 09:24:56 pm »
I want MMO crafting to be like Iron Master and Cooking mama.

Topic over.

I want MMO crafting to be like Iron Master and Cooking mama.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuHbbUvbvIs" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuHbbUvbvIs</a>

Something like this.

What did you guys not hear him? He said it twice.

Get your ears checked, plebs.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2016, 01:43:34 am »
I want crafting to be like ****ing Pat's mama.

Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline Yokto

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Re: Desigining a new crafting system for MMORPGs
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2016, 02:03:28 am »
I want MMO crafting to be like Iron Master and Cooking mama.

Topic over.

I want MMO crafting to be like Iron Master and Cooking mama.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuHbbUvbvIs" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuHbbUvbvIs</a>

Something like this.

What did you guys not hear him? He said it twice.

Get your ears checked, plebs.

That is one way to go if you doing it minigame like. I seems to be a pretty good model. Though in this I can not see a connection of your smiting to the MMO world at larger. Not that one could not build on it.
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