ArenaNet came back and clarified some of the mis-assumptions and issues people are having with the crafting system reveal in two forum posts, which Vulturion graciously copied in to the comment’s on yesterday’s post. First, given that so many ArenaNet employees were mid-flight to PAX East, or preparing for the journey, it was pretty awesome of ArenaNet to so quickly respond. In lieu of the response, I want to hedgingly retract my position from calling the discovery system to learn recipes “superfluous.” I am still going to grill whoever gives me a demo at the NCSoft Meet and Greet, but at least I see where ArenaNet is trying to come from.
Stupidly enough, I think they added the discovery system not so much for their initial reason, but for fun. I mean really, how often do you compare your recipe list with another crafter’s to reinforce your self-worth as a crafter? You know what’s scientifically proven to be fun? Surprising rewards. Mess around with a few materials, and surprise, you found a new recipe!
In the case of the “discovery system” within Guild Wars 2 crafting they’ve removed seemingly every punishing aspect of a vanilla MMO’s crafting system. Experimenting will not waste crafting materials. Leveling up to get access to new recipes does not require creating boat loads of items nobody wants, and if a player does create an item through experimentation that she feels is vendor trash, she can salvage it instead to get some crafting material back.
I was so conditioned to crafting, which I do “enjoy” in vanilla MMOs, being an achievement-based chore that I viewed ArenaNet’s offering with extreme prejudice. The stupidly part comes in that I did not even consider that they were trying to add a bit of fun. Crafting in those vanilla MMOs is like running a long marathon, plodding along for quite some time. Except for A Tale in the Desert and Puzzle Pirates, I have never had actual fun crafting in MMOs because it’s watching a progress bar complete hundreds of times. The “fun” came from watching raw materials get turned into more salable items while my crafting skill slowly rose.
So, ArenaNet took a vanilla MMO crafting system, fixed many problems, and then tried to add something fun. It won’t be fun for everyone, and for those people there will be the wiki. However, with so much of the system geared towards accessibility, there should not be as big of a pressing need to have all the recipes. In other words, it might be a lot easier to just lighten up and enjoy crafting since my character will not have to churn out a village’s GDP worth of copper swords. So many people, including myself, were viewing the Guild Wars 2 crafting system through the dirty lens of a vanilla MMO crafting system, that this point was pretty much lost in the article.
There are still many, many questions, and many, many assumptions. Hopefully we get many more of those answered at PAX East, but I feel until we have time for an in-game economy to form, much will remain unknown.