Best Crafting Ever!

Ok, I’m curious…what MMO has the best crafting system ever? What do you like or dislike about the various systems out there? Tell me what you think from gathering resources and components to selling (or using) the final product of your hard work!

I’ve been in a few discussions lately and the responses have been all over the board…What do you guys think? What would you do differently? What really annoys the hell out of you?

24 thoughts on “Best Crafting Ever!”

  1. I have my usual two citations there. First is A Tale in the Desert. Besides have the largest, most rich and complex crafting system out there, it incorporates player skill. Blacksmiths start with a blob of metal. You have been able to work out exactly how to make certain types of wine. There is some ridiculous number of herbs for all the cooking, crafting, and smoking.

    Second is what Horizons was supposed to have been. What it actually was, in terms of crafting (at release, no idea since then), was close in terms of the resources and their use. You can/could see something similar in Ryzom.

    So what does that sum to? I want a system that is based on player skill, like A Tale in the Desert, with the standard baseline harvesting for participants who do not want to master the mini-game of glass-blowing (or whatever). I want the items incorporated to be meaningful, so that you can make a sword from bronze or iron, with a quality value set the same way you would check the quality of the sword based on its crafting. I want no or few pre-set items of the standard sort, where you mix three blackberries with seven wooden braces to get Achmad’s Black Braces; instead have templates within which we work, with specific values and effects set by the materials used and the quality of crafting. Start with a single “pants” template that tailors use, then let it be used with assorted cloth and magic and whatnot.

    Have a look at the old Horizons plan for housing, communities, castles, and artifacts. At least the outlines made it live, and the ideas were great. That is how I want housing to work.

    Alternately, you can go entirely in the other direction. No crafting, just NPCs you hire and direct. Think EVE Online, Shadowbane, or Age of Conan. That is another perfectly viable approach, where players make management decisions rather than being the blacksmith. It will appeal to a different sort of player, but if we are going to use time as the limiting factor, I would much rather have an NPC smith than watch a blue bar fill up repeatedly for 45 minutes.

  2. A Tale in the Desert. Mix of one-click, easy minigame, and hard minigame crafts, mix of known/straightforward/shareable recipe and unknown/personalized recipe crafts, mix of easily collectable, hard-to-collect, and need-lots-of-luck-to-get raw materials, moderate demand for newbie products in advanced craft (or ability for advanced players to give newbies carefully-controlled access to advanced means of production). Heck, just the existence of a means of production is definitive, and helps shape the game: at the beginning of a telling, pottery is HARD, since pottery wheels require cut stone (if I recall correctly), which is rare. But midway up the tech tree, that particular input product becomes a waste product of some other popular and important process. So early on there may be a concerted effort to build shared pottery wheels (builds community); players who join the telling later will find them easily accessible, and so can vault up the tech tree faster. This limits the “level” spread.

  3. Clearly EVE Online: almost fully player-driven economy, with all the rules of supply-and-demand, no tedious crafting, considerble money to earn, complex supply-chains, you name it.

    ATITD was just boring and horribly repetitive.

  4. Hands-down, the winner is A Tale in the Desert. It does have it’s issues, mainly that with each new technology unlocked, the hardcore players are immediately on top of it, taking up new resources. A lot of the more complex stuff involves lots of number crunching. Luckily, the playerbase is relatively mature and helpful.

    The interactivity of the crafting process is phenomenal. And specialization is another plus factor. Only those who practice and work on it can make the highest quality blacksmithed items, but those who just approach it casually can still make useful products. Player skill is actually required rather than just grinding through materials until your crafting level maxes out. Also, due to the wide variety of materials and products in the game, many of which are locale specific, trading and group effort is a huge part of the crafting process. The learning curve for the more complex types of crafting can be a huge barrier for some, but there are enough options, many of them very simple, that anyone, no matter their age, intelligence or motor skills could find some niche for themselves.

    The ‘Collect Materials, Hit the Create Button’ type of crafting seen in WoW, DAoC and other games is boring and unimaginative.

    Vanguard had an interesting take on interactive crafting, but it was still just a material grind to gain crafting levels, and the amount of mouseclicks it took to make a single item was ridiculous! Talk about promoting carpal tunnel syndrome!

    UO’s original crafting system was great. You used crafting tools on various items to make other items. It was relatively intuitive and allowed the players to discover things for themselves. They’ve since moved over to a more bland crafting window interface, which is a big loss, IMO.

    Wurm Online’s crafting system is similar to old school UO, but the interface is awkward and non-intuitive (I have to ‘equip’ my hand to make a clay bowl?!) But the variety and complexity, as well as the need for players to specialize makes for a fun and interesting system.

    Shadowbane – One of the lamest crafting systems of all, if you can even call it that.

  5. Depends on what your goal is I guess. Is crafting a means to an end that you want to be efficient, a sub-game that you practice while waiting for your friends or your primary career in-game?

    IMO, EQ2 lauch system; mind you, this is different from the current system. Although tedious (which I enjoyed), the crafting felt logical. The crafting was so intricate that you had to make a binary tree of components, ingredients, intermidiates and final product in order to make a single item. That system kept me plenty busy as a crafter.

    Vanguard’s system had potential (like all things Vanguardian); for instance, harvesting was actually a mob battle in early beta (you ‘fought’ against the tree using tools as weapons and skills to counteract ‘spells’ such as ‘knotted wood’), but their actual crafting to me felt illogical (wth is attuning dust…)

  6. I don’t know about one that has what i want, but here is what my dream crafting would be:

    Let me determine the look of the item at least. Say if i’m making a staff, let me pick between heads/shaft/end/details/colors/glow or effects/and stats. If i want to make a bright pink broadsword that has hearts dripping off it and looks looks like the bastard child of hello kitty and a warlock, i would love that option. Have as many options as you can fit in, with each part requiring certain items or skills, and if you don’t know what you want, you can just take what you do have and try to make something and what comes out is kind of random depending on what you have. Make it possible to level with only the crafting, no need to fight. Maybe you would be less tuned to fight mobs, but you could still gather what you needed and survive in the areas that these things are.

    I know, it’s a pipe dream, but that would be my dream system.

  7. Obviously, I can only speak of personal experience…

    One of the widest crafting systems I’ve ever seen is in Horizons. It is – depending on finished product – a two- or three-stage process. First you gather raw resources craft them into processed resources; next there may be an intermediate stage where you combine processed resources further; and finally you combine these into finished product. Further, you could add extra modifiers to equipment items during crafting, called Techniques. These covered a scope of functions from crystal slots to stat and skill bonuses and special offensive effects.

    You also had the option to tweak the visual look of an item, with top-tier crafting offering – I recall – up to five, six different blades and shafts to weapons (armor sadly had just one look per tier). Dyes could be added during or after crafting, as well as certain special techniques received from quests.

    All in all crafting had a powerful place in Horizons as -everything- beyond starter shop items was player crafted. Even rare special weapons came as recipes and weapon parts, and you needed a crafter to memorize the recipe and then craft a finished item from the looted parts.

    And I haven’t even touched house and dragon lair crafting… suffice to say, the process was similar except construction items were applied to in-world structures that, once having received enough construction items, would “finish” and become useable. You also could decide yourself what kind of structures (or lair rooms) you would place onto your plot/lair. My tier 5 hall with that massive perch for my dragon to rest upon was my pride and joy. ;)

    Well… I intended to say something about Ryzom’s crafting, which was likewise complex and offering even more item variety than Horizons’, but this post is already long enough. I’ll leave extolling its virtues for some other poster.

  8. Honestly, I loved the heck out of the SWG launch craft system. Yes, there was definitely a ton of repetition and tedium to get the high levels. But honestly, there were so many variations, 50 kinds of steel, etc. I loved that. I loved harvesting, searching for good spots, getting power, etc. All of that was just completely awesome in my book.

    And then the factories and such made stuff fun too when you got to higher level and made sense in a lot of ways.

    As with any game without real level limits on stuff though, it sucked because at some point, people all want only one kind of weapon in each category, and that gets boring.

    Oh what also made it fun was that while I was an architect and could make buildings, I could also do furniture and got hired out to actually decorate people’s places.

    All in all, thinking about that crafting system still makes me drool 5 years later (or was it 4?) Too bad the rest of the game wasn’t enough to keep my guild there. If it had been, I’d still be there today.

  9. As others have already mentioned, A Tale in the Desert had one of the richest crafting systems I’ve ever seen. It also had the added advantage that higher ‘level’ crafters still needed the goods produced by folks just starting out.

    I remember spending an evening grinding harvesting grass and making straw for someone who wanted to catch a camel (iirc), in return I was paid a male and female sheep. I’d already built my sheep pen, and was able to drop them in to start getting frisky.

    The only skill I could never get right was making charcoal.

  10. A tale in the desert – because it’s basically about crafting. My second would be Ultima Online. Like previously mentioned, their crafting revolved around a lot of different aspects (gathering materials, converting them into tools or items to put together).
    My last opinion is somewhat similar to tfangel in which Sword of the New World somewhat does, although not as detailed. You have armor, which is different from your characters appearance. Nice touch. Unlike WoW or other games, your armor doesn’t represent your look, which is cool. I like having level xx armor and able to look like a Jester or in a lovely dress (for those who play WoW) person. Bottom line, some people really like what their avatar looks like. Sorry, that went beyond crafting, but somewhat related. Might be a cool topic =)

  11. SWG is my clear winner, still is. I haven’t played ATITD despite searches for the same. The ability to fine tune your items stats and never knowing what the next resource spawn will be like fueled an every growing and fluxuating economy like there should be instead of just inifinite endless resource nodes where time will eventually let you gather the resources you need. Skill, planning and math allowed players to get ahead in the game and the entry level was low as long as you were willing to figure out what the players wanted.

    EQ2 would have been my second choice. I like the new style, but I would have prefered more customization like the old style but with more influence on varieties in the final item.

  12. WoW – Easy to learn, easy to gather mats, better than some raid instances rewards at high lvl.

  13. I can go either way on this one.

    On the one hand, more complicated crafting ala SWG or VG can (I guess?) give the player the feeling he’s accomplished something after getting through the “mini-game” of it all.

    On the other hand, isn’t my character the one with the crafting skills being leveled up, not me, the player? In that respect, the easier WoW or LOTRO style crafting makes more sense. It’s also more convenient knowing I can just run to a station, queue up, click craft and then go do stuff while my character does his thing.

    I may change my mind in ten minutes, but right my take is:

    For the adventurers who also craft here and there, the “easy mode” is the way to go.

    If a game ever gets made again like SWG where you could strictly create a crafting character who never had to adventure, for those professions have the crafting be a compelling and fun game unto itself as well as letting those players craft items far beyond the scope and level anything the adventurers could ever hope to craft.

  14. I loved the Ultima Online crafting, it was simple, lots of different types and you created practical and wanted items.

    While it was hard to work out SWG had the best crafting system as there was so many options with resources so as a gamer who loves crafting it was fun.

    I’ve played WoW and currently playing LOTRO and have found the crafting in those games a waste of time and effort unless you are crafting something that you cannot buy from a vendor (eg potions). To craft some armor or weapons in those games that someone would want is a waste as you can find better from a monster drop.

  15. SWG also had the ability for crafted items to be better than anything you could find (unless you were a Jedi). 99% of other similar MMOs are a waste of time since all your crafting skills aren’t worth jack once players start getting rare or uber items. In these games especially, I don’t understand why they level limit your item creation especially since by the time you can create better items, you’re 5-20 levels too high for that item being useful.

  16. I haven’t played SWG or ATITD, both of which sounds like they have great crafting systems.

    My personal favorite would be Neocron. My character was a constructor and I made a pretty good living constructing other players’ items. It didn’t require any kind of skill, but making a 5-slot weapon was very rewarding.

  17. @Stuart: Players do end up crafting the best stuff (so far) in LOTRO, unlike WoW which was truly nothing but a time (and gold) sink. Not sure what will happen when more raids get introduced, if Turbine will keep the crafters on top of the gear totem pole or if they’ll be eclipsed by gear drops. Prior to level 20 though, yeah drops are vastly superior to crafted items.

  18. I just wanted to say thanks for all the mentions of ATITD–I looked through it’s wiki at and it is interesting enough that I’ll probably give it a few months of play. I also loved the possibilities of Horizons, and used to dream of being a major crafter in Eve.

  19. Ya know, I was always curious about Horizons but was too involved with other games and changes at my job to get into it, plus it’s had so many problems. It seems a new group made up of most of the original devs have now re-acquired Horizons and are already pushing out new patches and content. Might check into it now after all…

  20. I’d like to mention Puzzle Pirates, which has an interesting crafting system too. You open a shop, and provide the materials, queuing up work orders. Other players can come and work for you, by doing puzzles in your shop. Hard to make items require some people to be rather good at the puzzles they do for you. You compete for good puzzlers by offering higher wages.

  21. SWG has the best crafting system I’ve seen in an MMO, if you disregard the one biggest problem with it: Items made by a less-than-master crafter are pretty much worthless. This, though, is at least acknowledged by the game, which gives you the option to craft in “practice mode” ie. use up the resources but not actually create the item, in exchange for a 5% crafting XP bonus.

  22. EQ2 when it was first launched had, by far, the best crafting system of any MMO I’ve played to date. Granted, EQ2 was the first MMO that I’d ever played at that point, it was still an incredible system, and one that I wished I’d gotten into much sooner. I never progressed far enough into the system to see just how interdependent it may have been, but at least on the Isle of Refuge, I was the crafting lord, giving out pristine backpacks and weapons to all those that needed them. What’s more, I had a ton of fun with it. Even though I never left the Isle, I didn’t feel I had to to enjoy the game. I went out and killed wolves for hours, got tons of leather, mined ore, and so on. I even got a few “Killer of” titles. Good fun, to be sure.

    World of Warcraft’s crafting system is pathetically simplistic. And, though I get a small amount of joy from simply seeing my skill maxed out (hey, I’m human; and as such, numbers govern my life), that was essentially all I had to show for it.

    So now I’m trying EVE Online. And so far, it seems like a pretty neat system. It gives me a chance to play a game without sinking too much time in it, as I can’t just learn skills right on the spot.

    I think I may go back and see what EQ2 has been reduced to, but I have a feeling that I’m not gonna like what I find.

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