[GW2] A Crafting Recipe

Game Designer Andrew McLeod wrote up the crafting system preview for Guild Wars 2 on the ArenaNet blog. The system starts with the vanilla MMO crafting system premise, but ArenaNet has given it a few twists both good and bad.

First off, anybody can gather. There is no miner profession, herbalist profession, etc. If a player sees a mining node, the player can get at it. These nodes are “phased” for each player. So I might see a rare node spawn in the distance, but believably a nearby player won’t, or it might be his own version of that node. In other words, no more node racing and ganking. The node gathering is further supplemented by the Guild Wars gathering mechanics, such as normal loot drop, and my favorite salvaging. I love going through a bag of loot after a run in Guild Wars and deciding which items to salvage. I am glad that mechanic jumped the sequel gap.

The second key difference is in the personal crafting profession decisions. There will be 8 crafting professions, and each player can have two active crafting professions. Three are dedicated to the various weaponry, three are dedicated to the different armors, one for jewelry, and one for cooking. I am slightly unhappy with their crafting profession choices because like in a vanilla MMO, there is little beneficial reason for a light-armor wearing necromancer to learn to be an armorsmith, capable of only making heavy armor, or a warrior to learn to be an artificer, in order to create staves and scepters she can’t even use. Then of course, jewelcrafting and cooking are beneficial to all. Personally, I almost always lean towards the “beneficial to all” crafting professions, but I always have a longing to selfishly craft stuff only I need.

ArenaNet thankfully applies a much needed change to the vanilla MMO exclusive crafting professions. While players can only have two active crafting professions, any crafting professions “unlearned” will have experience level and recipes retained. The penalty is built in to the cost of changing back to a known crafting profession because the more experienced a player is, the more it will cost to change back. I think this is a fine compromise. I want the Crafted Sword of Awesome, which I used to be able to make, but it will cost a tidy sum to switch back and make it. Perhaps it might be better to just check out the Auction Hall instead. The penalty and tradeoff is much more reasonable than unlearn and retrain everything.

The part of the reveal I didn’t like deals with the recipes. Some recipes are automatically learned, some are trained, and some are found as drops, yet it appears that most of the recipes will be “discovered.” The premise is that crafters can distinguish themselves from one another because there is no static list of recipes. The details of this discovery system were lacking, but it appears that a player will fill the four material slots and pull the lever to see if the combination is an actual recipe. The player then  can craft the item, and the newly found recipe and item are retained forever.

In the times of walk-throughs and wikis, I think this “distinguishing” feature is superfluous unless the discovery system is personal for each player. It’s pretty cool for the small amount of players that want to try the millions of combinations to be the first to discover an item, but I think that this discovery system is going to give way to the wiki recipe list for the majority. Ultimately, all the crafters are going to roughly be the same, as the distinguishing recipes are likely going to be disregarded. The “good” recipes are going to be known by all the dedicated crafters anyway.

I really like two of the big changes they made to a vanilla-MMO crafting system, and while I think the “discovery” system is superfluous, at least it really won’t have much impact on the system as a whole. I would like to learn more about this discovery system though, and why they are adding it in lieu of the wiki recipe lists. It will be available for play during the PAX East demo, so hopefully we’ll learn a lot more when tha news starts filtering through.


EDIT: ArenaNet answers some of the community concerns and mis-assumptions.

34 thoughts on “[GW2] A Crafting Recipe”

  1. “We decided to go with a discovery system for learning recipes so as to allow crafters to distinguish themselves.”

    …from people who don’t use the Wiki.

    Sounds to me like somebody’s really missing Dungeon Master but forgetting that we’re not in 1987 anymore.

    1. On the forums I saw a lot of people bring up Minecraft, which is a good example of a game where a lot of people like “discovering” recipes on their own. Except that in Minecraft there is no economy per se, and you can’t waste items by using them on a non-recipe.

      Plus, I have to say this is one area where I’ve seen players not care if they are distinguished from others. They want to craft the best things, the end.

      Finally, the system seems blind. In WAR, there was at least some “formula” to follow. This really just seems to be add 1-4 ingredients, pray, and pull. Seems about as much discovery as a slot machine.

      There was just so little information on this. /sigh /endrant

      1. I just wanna know if it is

        a)Discovering by trial and error


        b)Discovering by a chance of recipe added to your list as you level your crafting skills

  2. The blog post was really light on details, I kinda wish they backed up the aims with a few specifics. He talks about acquiring experience, but doesn’t say how many points each item would give, whether there was extra points for discoveries which I think would be a nice way to encourage players to make different items, if making the same item gives the same points each time or there is decay in the points gained. More detail about what the various levels of crafting mean, if it’s just extra bonuses or if certain recipes can ony be made at the required level. It would have been nice also to see how crafted gear lines up against gear from other sources.

    I like that salvaging is back but I’m not convinced that this crafting system adds much more than the original game. I’ve always like the idea that the player is an adventurer and the NPC crafters remain in the cities and outpost plying their trade. Players just need to bring the materials and get whatever they want made by the NPCs and not have to worry about crafting levels.

    1. And What about people who like to Craft?
      Why is it that most people who write on this crap, besides being heavily misinformed are also selfish.
      You don’t want to craft? DON’T! then buy what the Crafter’s make and put on the Auction House (Market Place as they are going to call it in Guild Wars 2)

  3. “..we wanted gathering nodes to be sought after by every player, so that when players are grouped together they don’t need to feel guilty by making the group wait for them while they run off after an ore vein on the side of the road..”

    I assumed by this statement, they meant everyone in the group will running off to the same ore vein? (So you wont be feeling guilty)

    So how does that coincide with the following statement –

    “These nodes are “phased” for each player. So I might see a rare node spawn in the distance, but believably a nearby player won’t, or it might be his own version of that node.”


    1. they could be phased for the group together. I didn’t get the phasing part either! But i don’t exspect they make a game where finding a rare node is going to global chat and create a tidewave of collecters!

      1. Yeah, or a situation where a guy quad-boxing is running around picking up four nodes at a time on four accounts. That would be a gold seller’s dream.

        1. The phasing does really change the economy of crafting materials. Where before you had a fixed number of nodes that everyone was competing over. Now you have a number of nodes per character.

          Unless ArenaNet makes nodes more/less rare depending on the number of people gathering them, then how flooded the market is, is dependent on the number of players.

          I honestly can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not.

  4. thanks for a great post :)

    my sentiment exactly – discovering recipes only make’s sense if it’s player-unique (“Doodle God”, “Alchemy” style) and is only annoying if it’s a shared list which can be found on a website in no time after release (“Horadric Cube” style)

  5. I just came here from reading the McLeod post. On the surface it sounds like an attractive system. The longer I play MMOs, the more important crafting becomes to my enjoyment. Once I actually resented crafting being in my MMO at all, whereas now it’s close to being the main driver of my gameplay.

    I was most happy to see that GW2 isn’t going with any kind of “mini-game” approach to crafting. I much prefer the gather-and-combine systems to any form of mini-game. If I wanted to play Bejewelled, I could actually play Bejewelled.

    I’m also very much in favor of the Discovery element, although I hope it will be a logically defined one, where the items needed will make sense. As for reading it on the Wikis, I don’t see that as problematic in any way. It’s not compulsory to look at out-of-game sources of information. I have sufficient self-control to avoid doing this if it reduces my enjoyment or to do it if it enhances it. What others do with the information is up to them.

  6. It sounds like higher-level crafting recipes will be unlockable like skills are now. It wont matter if you throw stuff onto an anvil beyond a certain point because you haven’t learned how to put an edge on obsidian, for example.

    I am okay with unlockable recipes. I have a concern about needing to grind up crafting skills or engage in alt-oholism.

  7. I’m not sure the “discovery” system will be superfluous. I played Final Fantasy XI back in the day and, although it was never the most fun or grind-less system around, it had a lot of depth and made you feel like you were mastering your field. Take the fact that you can discover new upgrades to add to your equipment, add in that you have to find out how to actually make it rather than just buy recipes and grind it out. Even with wiki recipe lists, a great deal of research and time will have to be put into mastering that given profession, it will not just be given to the player. Your recipe list will grow as you need things and want to look for different upgrades.

    1. I admit I don’t see a great deal of difference between “click on trainer, learn recipe” and “alt-tab to browser, click on Wiki link, learn recipe” in terms of the amount of research and time that has to be put into mastering a profession.

      Unless, of course, everybody’s recipes are different and randomized, which will be a horse of a differently-disastrous colour.

  8. I’m really unimpressed with what we’ve heard about this so far, since I’m on the opposite end of things from Bhagpuss; I want a minigame, I want to craft because doing it is actually fun and interactive and challenging – otherwise I can’t be bothered.

    The “discovery” seems like it will either be completely irrelevant – Wiki – or if actually unique to each player, a huge hassle. Again, I want a logic puzzle or some sort of other rational mini-game, not a slot machine.

    Anyway, It’s such a vague article I don’t really feel like I’m any wiser for reading it. We’ll see if we can get more details come PAX.

  9. I felt this was a fairly straight forward blog post on ANet’s part. It had the details it needed to convey – and it conveyed them. Thats not to say I didn’t like what I heard, I just wasn’t totally wowed by it.

    Considering GW2 is pushing the boundaries so much in other areas, this is a very bland crafting system.

    And you’re right Ravious, the discovery system will quickly be superseded by guildwiki.

  10. Re-posting dev updates from GW2guru, for folks not keeping abreast. ^_^

    “Hi everyone,

    We’ve relayed some questions that have been asked around and here’s what our Lead Designer Eric Flannum has to say about them:

    Do you need to learn recipes from trainers and drops, or can you copy a recipe you’ve learnt from another player?
    There are three ways to gain recipes, the first is that you automatically get some for basic components as you advance. The second and by far largest category are things that you discover by putting materials into the slots and seeing what happens. If you do this successfully to make something then the game will “remember” that combination for you as a recipe. The last way is that there are some rare recipes that are sold on karma vendors or drop in the game but this is the smallest category. You rarely learn recipes from a trainer. Learning a recipe from a friend is just that friend telling you, “hey put x y and z into the first three slots and it will make something cool”.

    Will the crafted items be identical from the ones dropping or obtained from dungeons?
    They will not be identical in appearance but in many cases are identical in terms of power.

    What’s the role of the crafting skill points during the crafting process?
    Crafting skill is used to help give a sense of progress and achievement to the crafting process. As a player advances in skill they will automatically learn how to make certain basic components which will then allow them to discover new recipes through the normal crafting system. We will also use crafting skill to distribute things like titles and base achievements on.

    Are crafting attempts going to depend on randomness, e.g., possibly fail?
    Crafting and gathering attempts never fail and if you try a combination of items that doesn’t make anything then those items will not be consumed. There will be critical successes but they do not result in a better or different product. That sort of thing often results in it feeling like you’ve failed in crafting if you don’t get the critical success. Instead, on a critical success we will give the player a higher skill raise or “refund” some fo the materials used in creating the item.

    Will it make much difference time wise if you craft one or let’s say 50 items?
    No it won’t, although this is not how it currently works in the game.”

    “Game Designer Andrew McLeod has some additional information to provide about the crafting philosophy, so here are the details:

    Many people have had misconceptions in regards to how the discovery system will work. You will not need to find the recipe for an item before you can discover how to make an item, and experimenting with different materials will not consume the materials that you’re testing with. If you put in the correct materials to craft a discoverable recipe, you can craft the item and discover the recipe. The level of crafting skill you have in that discipline does restrict what you can discover – if you just learned how to craft weapons, you can’t immediately create legendary swords – you need to hone your skills by making more mundane swords first. However, you shouldn’t have to make twenty bronze swords before you can learn to make an iron one.

    If you level your crafting disciplines up as you level, your crafting skill should be raised simply by crafting useful stuff for yourself. Making yourself some new level-appropriate gear should earn you enough crafting experience to be able to craft the next set of gear when your character gets to that level. Since you don’t have to craft a lot of extra “junk” items simply to level your skill, crafted items should retain more value in the player economy. If you wait until you’re high level before you start crafting, you’ll need to make some items that your character won’t have a use for anymore. Even so, you should be able to recoup your costs by selling those items without having to compete with a bunch of other players crafting hundreds of throwaway items.

    We do realize that external resources will document the recipes and make it easier for players to discover them. If we dropped the recipes from monsters, or if players had to discover some hidden nook in the world in order to learn recipes, it is still easier for players using external resources to find the recipes, while making it more frustrating for the crafters who don’t go out of the game for the information. If a player wants to be able to keep themselves outfitted in gear, but doesn’t care about the rest of the crafting system, we don’t want to lock that player out or make them grind – they can find the specific recipes they want, and craft the items for themselves. Our goal is for the crafting system to be enjoyable and rewarding for players that enjoy crafting, without requiring players who don’t like it to have to spend a lot of time crafting, or feel that they need to learn a crafting discipline. These external resources can be used by players to bypass the discovery system, but if the player doesn’t actually enjoy crafting or discovering recipes on their own, we feel that this is a good thing.”

    1. so it’s sealed – it’s horadric cube style (all recipes are the same for every player and thus – thotbottable), but they don’t care much about it. hm.

  11. I do not agree with most people’s reading of the post that the discovery system involves losing resources (that is, if you do not count time as a resource).

    This quote:
    “When the correct items for crafting an item are added to the interface, the resulting item can be crafted.”

    My reading of this is that you will only be able to attempt crafting “when the correct items for crafting an item are added to the interface”. In other words, from the wording, it seems like the “Combine” button will just be grayed out if what you have in the window does not create something.

    I really hope for more details on this soon, because so far the whole discovery mechanic sounds like it could just be pointless and bland.

  12. “Instead, on a critical success we will give the player a higher skill raise or “refund” some fo the materials used in creating the item.”


    1. I always hate when games put quality on items and give you little to no control over what quality you get. I agree this is an awesome way to do it.

  13. I keep seeing the same Wiki argument against the Recipe Discovery system…as in “well what is the point of discovering if i can just go to the wiki and read the list there”…YOU DON`T HAVE TO GO TO THE WIKI PEOPLE.
    If what you want is a pre-made list, then go ahead use the wikis, like some have said, it wont be any different than talking to a crafter npc and seeing the list there…but self control is a wonderful thing, try it out sometime.

    1. I don’t think the actual ability to look on the wiki and “cheat” is the real problem – just a symptom. The underlying issue is that you’re left with a choice between looking at the wiki to “cheat”, and sitting around randomly trying different combinations until you find one you like. In short, neither option is fun or engaging.

      It’s just confusing to me that ANet said “combat in MMOs isn’t exciting enough, let’s make it more interactive!” Yet with crafting they said “crafting in MMOs is… Rather inconvenient! Let’s make it more convenient but still bland and passive – only now you have to try hundreds of seemingly random component combinations to “discover” new recipes!”

      I guess the point is, whether or not you choose to look up the recipes, if this list on the wiki is pretty much the extent of your crafting system’s innovation and novelty, I think you could have tried harder.

      1. Why do you think the recipes are completely random. If you don’t find fun in discovering recipes, look them up online and suit yourself.

        But what are people and you actually complaining about?

        – do you want to discover and not have the recipes online?
        – do you don’t want to experimand and search the recipes online?

        Do whatever suits you but it’s strange to think the discovery & recipe system will be random. I’m sure there will be some “logic” behind the recipes for people that whish to -think- for themselves, discover, and not look it up online.

        Once again, I can’t understand that people complain about an extra feature, that’s cool for people that want it, and easily worked around if you don’t want it. Plus saves money for everyone because you don’t need to buy overpriced recipes from the auction. Without mentioning any other constructive feedback or idea of a system that would be innovative and suit everybody.

        My opinion: They are walking the best road they could walk with a crafting system.

  14. I’m excited about the crafting system and eager to try it out. I appreciate the dev updates Vulturion; they helped to clarify things quite a bit. I for one am planning on spending more time with discovery than with wiki. That’s not to say I won’t use the wiki, but I hope to reach max level on my character, discovering all the way to make my own equipment, before I check out the wiki to make the cool stuff.

  15. Hmm… well at least those new quotes have allayed some of my fears regarding material consumption during discovery.

    The first few months of GW2, of course, will be the most exciting – when everything (crafting and otherwise) is still just being discovered. I hope it turns out to be the kind of game which continues to surprise us years down the line.

  16. The wiki argument brought up against a recipe discovery system is realy stupid.

    How would you do it different?
    – Buy recipes from a trainer = just another goldsink that isn’t fun at all…
    – Drop recipes from monsters with rare drop rate = mindless grind and the locations will be shared on Wiki as wel + rare designs will be so expensive that only people who grind for gold will be able to craft those items (!= skill based crafting)

    The pro’s of recipe discovery system:
    – if you WANT to discover you can, nobody says you need to look it up online
    – your materials aren’t lost when you experiment
    – if you DON’T WANT to discover and just take the shortcut, look it up online
    – the recipes are more affordable to anyone, no need to grind gold just to unlock a recipe (this makes it more accessible to everyone)
    – there’s always that idea that there might be something out there of which the recipe hasn’t been found yet
    – unlocking recipes through discovery gives way more sence of accomplishment then just buying them for gold from auctionhouse or a vendor (even if you look them up online… lol)

    So, I don’t understand these people who don’t like this system? Any other alternative I have seen is either unfair & unlogical (personal discovery system with unique recipes to each person) or even worse (buying recipes for gold or making them a grind to collect from mobs). And even these alternatives are included, but not so much.

  17. As I see it, wiki is part of the plan.
    We know that there are 4 slots for mat, but how many types of material are there? How many combinations? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? Millions?

    It may easily be that no single player can in his lifetime try all the combinations.
    It may be reduced by some logic in combining mats, or there may be hints from NPCs around the game world, but still, there may be too many of them.

    So, here comes to play wiki. That way, whole playerbase can share individual discoveries.

    Some recipes may not be discovered for years, some may be added later and stay unknown for months.

    Wiki will be part of the game, so it’s no point in not using it.

  18. The real question is: why? If dungeons drop stuff and crafting makes stuff and it is all relatively equal, what is the point? Crafting needs to either create unique skins or powerful items to help you get through the dungeons to be worthwhile. I think that is what people were kind of waiting to hear: if I pack around dozens of random items and work through dozens of combos, will it eventually be worthwhile? How?

    1. Well they have said in response to community outcry that many crafted items will have [near] identical stats to [dungeon] drops, but they will indeed have different skins.

      Ultimately, though, it’s access. You worked on crafting to gain access to different skins, upgrades, etc. Plus you would now have the option to craft a high-level sword instead of trying to beat a very difficult dungeon for nearly the same sword.

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