Darren over at Common Sense Gamer has sparked more conversation on a new topic. This time it's on crafting in an MMO. I've posted my thoughts on the issue there, but I liked em so much, I thought I'd repost them here. Let me know what you think.
I think the IDEA of crafting is great. It just needs as much attention as dungeons and combat get, is all. It needs to be made more dynamic and more interesting. Let’s back pedal a bit 1st.
I was playing LotRO the other day, and I’m also playing EQ2 on and off right now. Both have similar systems in just about every way. But one thing, and it’s about harvesting, that stood out to me in LotRO’s crafting was that no matter what I harvest I get something back. No failing to mine something. No failing to gather wood. No failing at all really when it comes to harvesting. Then I played EQ2, and often times you don’t get squat from what you’re harvesting.
My point with this is that there are lots of little things that can be done to make the current crafting game better. Things like the afforementioned gathering fix. Or say that you could name your crafted gear (with filters of course) so that you could make it unique and truly your own. Right now, most of what one makes in a game can be made by just about anyone, making you feel about as “cool” as line manufacturer. But give one the option to name their shiny sword the way they see fit, and suddenly you can put a little character into it.
Going one step further, give a broad range of options for the look of a crafted item. The better someone’s skill at crafting an item, the more options they can choose from for the looks of the item. They could change the hilt, the shape of the blade, or whatnot. More ways to make a crafter feel like they’re actually “crafting” the item would be superb.
And going in a gameplay direction, why not put a little skill into the action of making something? Instead of just a click and point window-based procedure, why not put a little gameplay into it.
My proposition would be to make it somewhat of a rhythm game. Timing the beat of your smith’s hammer with an onscreen display. Harder rhythms for harder items. Special items could be made when a player nails the beats perfectly, with added stats persay. When sewing a robe, the same interface could be used, or even mixing potions. Suddenly what was once a very non-interactive “activity”, becomes a very interactive game. That *gasp* can take a small bit of skill to be good at, not just diligence in harvesting or buying mats.
Those are just a few of my ideas. What have you to say?