I hate crafting (usually)

This days Twitter topic is Crafting in MMO games. Jack Emmert from Cryptic said that “not all online multiplayer games need to have…crafting”. I cannot agree more with that statement. Pretty much every MMO game needs to have crafting this days and in 90% of them this feature is mainly time and money sink.

Every article about MMO needs to take World of Warcraft as one example, so let’s take it as first. The system is painfully simple. You get few materials, you get the recipe from vendor and smash Create button. There is nothing more in it, the only challenge here is gathering the materials and obtaining the rare recipes. Some of the items that you can create during leveling are useful, but in most cases there are a lot better items available as drops in dungeons. At maximum level situation changes a little. There are few items made by crafters that are essential for raiding and other activities. The rest stays the same. You gather reagents and obtain recipe. Most of useful recipes are obtained as drops from dungeons/raids or are rewards from reputation factions (another time sink here).

I’ve never had patience for crafting in WoW. I knew that even if I struggled through leveling I would not have patience or luck to get right recipes. For me it’s more fun to just get the materials and then buy it from some guy who endured the process. He is happy because he got some coin. I’m lucky because I haven’t lost time. Everybody wins.

There are also games with very complicated crafting systems. EVE-Online immediately comes to mind. Almost everything in this game is created by players. From ships and ship modules to space stations. System is intricate and involving, and market is very competitive. I can fully understand people who play EVE for few years and haven’t learned any skills related to combat. There’s just so much to do in production department. The problem here is, as with everything in EVE, that if you want to be any good at crafting you need to be perfect. That puts many players (me included) in position where they don’t care to dabble in it, because they know how much time and work they should put into it to be competitive.

The thing I’m still searching for is middle ground. System that’s meaningful for gameplay, comprehensible and actually FUN to play with. I hate time sinks. I hate virtual obstacles. If you really have to do the crafting system in your game make it meaningful (like in EVE, SWG). Even if it won’t be fun, people will have some incentive to use it. I really don’t want to see another wow-crafting clones.

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~ by koori on 09/09/2010.

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