Crafting for $100

Okay. Just shoot from the hip on this one. A simple scenario and a simple question:

“WTF Studios, a leader in the interactive blah blah blah, is proud to announce the development of its flagship MMORPG Title – Grynd : Legends of the Shadows of Fantasy and Ancient Wars with Vampires and More Stuff Online…”

And so on. You go through the usual bulletpoints and see what it’s all about. You check the screens. You may or may not look at beta videos that may or may not have been leaked. Standard Operating Procedure, basically. Some features you like, some others you don’t, some others you’re indifferent about. Until it comes to crafting, which essentially boils down to the following:

Players can only have one character designated as crafter per account, per game server. There are no limits to the number of alts, however only one character per account and server can be a crafter.”

How does something like that tickle your game bone? Yea? Nay? Doesn’t even tickle? What’s your reaction as a hip-shooter? Utter lunacy, or an effective way to inject a little bit of common sense into an online economy?

18 thoughts on “Crafting for $100”

  1. I can imagine systems where that would be a second-best bandaid, but why would you plan around a bandaid? It sounds a lot like, “Our game’s economic and crafting system is so screwed up that we must artificially limit you from participating in it.”

    One character per server, who can participate in all skills, is potentially hot. In A Tale in the Desert, you would not want an alt, since you can do everything with the one avatar.

  2. This is a good idea. Not being able to make a dozen craft-bots to outfit your character will make the economy a lot less stupid.

    However, this is like finding a guy with allergies who was just in a car accident and giving him antihistamines. Sure, you get rid of the allergies, but he’s still bleeding from his everywhere.

    Crafting alts are not what break game economies. Lack of money sinks and item-based character advancement break game economies.

  3. Runescape also let you level any and all crafting skills up to max. It was skill based too, so anyone could learn any combat style, and switch at any point. You didn’t really need any alts.

    The point is, it worked pretty well back then. I wonder if it could work in the post-WoW setting?

  4. “Our game’s economic and crafting system is so screwed up that we must artificially limit you from participating in it.”

    Eh, that is one way of reading it, for sure.

    Another one is: “In real life you don’t have an army of clones, skilled in every tradeskill that could possibly exist, whom would gladly make for you whatever you want at no monetary cost as long as you give them the materials. In meatspace you’re forced to contact other people to get your needs met, and exchange currency/barter for that service because one person cannot do it all. We’re simply trying to replicate that here.”

    I’ll be the first to admit it’s a simplistic reading, but there’s a kernel of truth in it.

    As far as “limiting”, I think with the exception of ATITD mentioned above, limiting the amount of tradeskills that can be active at any given point (one way or another) is also limiting in the same sense. But I don’t think it comes from an own admission that the economy was designed around suckage, but instead a limit that attempts to emulate real life rules. In real life there’s nothing, a priori, that prevents me from learning how to perform every possible human tradeskill other than time and my own eventual mortality. Since mortality is barely an issue in virtual words, and the times we’re talking about in-game are way compressed, it makes sense sometimes to have that limitation as a mimic of real life.

    I think if we can accept one, we could think about accepting this other one. But I do have a beer in me at the moment, and sometimes that’s all it takes ;)

  5. I’ve always wondered why people care so much about “economy” in games, is it because of RMT? So far in games my favorite loot systems were before economies, City of Heroes and DDO. DDO doesn’t have crafting, but i love how you don’t have to fight over who gets what, and still get some reward for the adventure. CoX isn’t too bad, drops seem to be pretty good and nothing is “needed”. I think of crafting as something that should be fun and allow you to customize your character. With economies it seems to me that when the fun of getting the items is less than needing the item, it is done badly. I hate grinding and farming though, i do enough of that in real life.

  6. That is a game I would not pay to play. I’m sure they would have some other artificial restriction that I would despise even more.

  7. Well, I guess the idea is to limit the number of items that come into the world, which is a good idea, but its not a very player friendly way to go about it. It would be far better to just prevent all the crap items crafters are forced to generate to level up from flowing into the economy.

  8. Hip-shooter reaction? I would not play it. Cos I’m one of those disgusting soloists who want to do everything by themselves in an online game (and are thereby ruining the multiplayer relationships of the world…)

    Now it doesn’t mean it has to be -easy- or spoonfeeding. I just want the potential to be there. There’s the potential to grind solo in LOTRO every single alt to be a crafter (even if I don’t actually have the time and patience to do that.)

    Or the potential to see nearly all the story missions in Guild Wars without having to run around in a big group (maybe just beg a friend to duo for certain missions at most).

    From a game-design standpoint, it might make sense. It’ll at least set up some enforced supply and demand.

    I wonder though if the problem isn’t really crafting, but also about how trading of goods work?

    Speaking personally, I rarely trade direct with anyone vendoring items and spamming channels with LTS or LTB. Guess I’m a people hater or just simply mistrust them.

    I’m also not a fan of the standard auction system where highest bid wins, simply because I don’t actually have the patience to sit there and bid in increments and wait for a ‘maybe’ sale.

    ‘Buyout’ features are an improvement. At least then I can look at it, decide if it’s worth that amount, and pay or not pay immediately.

    City of Heroes has an interesting reverse bid system that takes a while to get used to, but is actually quite encouraging for people to sell. ‘Course it helps that higher levels have been rolling in dough for years before any semblance of an economy went in.

    Guild Wars has an automated trade vendor NPC that handles things like dyes, materials and so on.

    Come to think of it, one of the above posters has a point. Maybe if the crafting system doesn’t produce ‘worthless’ mid-tier items that nobody wants, then you might not even need the limit.

  9. It really depends on whether crafting is a viable primary play-style (a la Vanguard, to some extent) or just supplemental to a hack-and-slasher. If the former, great, it will make anyone who dedicates the time to a crafting character invaluable. If not, it’s probably economic control. Re: army of clones; unless you put cooldowns on most items or a capacity on how much crafting a person can do in a day, you just end up with people mailing their materials to the one guildie who has that skill.

  10. What problem is this trying to solve?

    Is this a game in which you can play multiple alts simultaneously? If not, why does it matter how many characters can craft if only one can do so at once?

  11. Such a rule depends on how exactly crafting is done. If crafting and gathering resources is done with “harvester” structures like in SWG, and doesn’t require much time and effort of the player, limiting it makes sense. If crafting is an activity which needs time and skill to perform, you don’t need artificial limits.

  12. Wow what a horrible stupid stupid idea!
    Who comes up with this stuff? Did game companies go out and hire a bunch of planners from failed communist countries?

    Fewer crafters means less demand for raw materials, which will mean fewer characters will bother harvesting. Which will mean the price of raw materials will STILL stabilize above the price the finished goods can be sold for, and crafted goods will probably STILL suck compared to dropped and quest rewards if the game is like most others, meaning their value will not go up at all even with fewer crafters, because there is simply no demand, that demand will be satisfied by more people selling drops they find.

    I don’t buy the “rea life rules” argument, since they let you have tons of alts, who will go out have have other “skills” that are non-crafting (like blowing stuff up!) and those characters will go out and farm for goods too.

    This solves nothing. It just makes it that much more painful for anyone who wants to try crafting. Most don’t do it to make money for their characters.

    Why not just not have crafting at all? It’s simpler and better than the craptastic crafting afterthought most games have, including this idea.

  13. Sometimes I wonder if everyone I play with has two WoW accounts. Seriously, this isn’t going to really stop the people who would take advantage of more than one crafter, and just make things annoying for people who just want to make their own stuff for each character.

  14. Yeah, limits per account just encourage people to get multiple accounts, further splitting the haves and have-nots; this kind of unenforceable rule just causes ugliness.

    If there were a limited number of crafting licenses (allocated through whatever game system you prefer) that’d at least prevent people from buying their way in. Directly.

  15. I wouldn’t play it. I have several characters who are ‘real’ to me and who I take with me from game to game. Each has a personality; with that, comes a ‘standard’ class, and a ‘usual’ tradeskill. As an example, Serenya/Serrennial is a dwarf who likes to cook and brew while Lemilynia is a ranger who crafts her own bows and arrows. I’m unlikely to play a game with crafting where they could not both craft.

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