Crafting to mini-game or not to mini-game.

So I was planning on releasing my next post as one on Rogues that I have been working on but after seeing a few things in my blog reader I changed my mind.

Ok so I read Tobold’s post about Design principles for crafting and economic systems.  In general he has a nice summary of some of the things that need to be considered when designing a crafting and economic system in a game.  I have thought about the subject at length over the years that I have been playing WoW.  In Tobold’s post he mentions another blogger’s post about crafting interfaces.  Now I looked around Ixobelle’s site a bit and read most of the post that Tobold mentions.  I say most because as soon as I got about half way through I immediately wanted to post here about the subject.

Ixobelle has some very good ideas for a crafting system and an interface for crafting.  I just don’t think they would fit into WoW unless there were major and I mean major overhaul of all crafting and market systems.   While I see the possibility of large changes coming to crafting in Cataclysm I don’t think the changes will be that drastic.  I can also say with 100% certainty that if the crafting system was changed to something like Ixobelle suggests then I would not craft at all.  Not saying that the system would not be a good one, just that it would be a system that was so time and concentration intensive that I would not want to deal with it.

Now I now the question that some may ask is how do you know that you would not want to use such an involved crafting system.  The answer to that is simple, been there done that, thanks but no thanks.  Vanguard boasts about being able to level up as a crafter.  There are 3 facets to your character that can all have independent levels: Adventurer, Diplomat, Crafter.   The system and process that Ixobelle describes is much like Vanguard in the grind-fest that is the crafting process.

The Marketplace

Now one thing that I can agree with between the 2 posts is that WoW needs a new market system regardless of any crafting changes coming.  Also when it comes to the market place be it vendors and or the AH we need to get away from the stack concept.  What I mean by this is that items in the AH are no longer sold in stacks or as individual items.

  • You list items as a total number of items sold of a given type buy a player at a given price.  No more of 3 pages of infinite dust in stacks of 1 sold by the same person.  Yes I have done it to make gold, it is a prickish move I hate everyone that does it even myself when I do it.
  • All AH actions should be queued and on a 1 minute basis all in game mail is sent at once.  This will allow the AH to bundle items into a single mail of up to 12 items or multiple emails 12 stacks at a time.
  • When you buy or sell items to set the number you want to buy.  You then buy that many from that user or as many as they have left.  Since someone may have been able to buy from them at the same time.
  • The auction house is no longer a system of only sell orders.  Users are able to put gold in escrow with the AH to auto buy X items at Y price if a user selects their buy orders.  See EVE-Online’s market.
  • All named static items are now statically listed in the AH whether there are any on the market or not.  Only thing not able to have Buy Orders placed in advance are for random generated items.  So all BoE world and Dungeon drops that are not random (of the bear) types are enumerated in the AH, additionally all crafted unbound reagents, materials, and crafted Items should also be enumerated.  Players are then able to set buy orders.
  • A buy order contains – Player A will buy N Number of Items X at Price Y for the next Z hours(days).

This somewhat involved change would go a long way in improving WoW’s ingame economy.  Currently there is only a trend that over time will deflate prices into absurdity.  However with the buy side of the equation added there will also be inflationary forces in the market.  This will eventually act as a stablilizing force where the buy and sell order price will approach the same value.

Crafting System minor upgrade

Before WoW gets anything like a more involved crafting system it needs to have a bit of a general overhaul first.  The following things I would hope get considered before anything overly drastic is done with how we craft.

  • Full itemization on what we craft.  All slots of a character’s gear should be assigned to a crafting profession.  Not a proposed system that will be implemented 2 expansions from now.  But all slots and item times allocated to one or more professions.
  • Renormalization of crafting materials required. The items we need to craft with are the resources available at the levels we would normally be encountering them and the gear crafted is useful to characters that are actually leveling the profession.  I finally get enough Thorium to buy and craft the chest piece when I hit 60 not the level 52 that the item may be.  You would now level past the point of usefulness just by gathering the resources yourself.
  • Add an intermediate crafting material stage to all professions, similar to Engineering making parts first then crafting an item later.  Blacksmithing  could have Scales, Wire, Rings, Rivits, Hilts, Guards, ect that are crafted first and then combined with other raw and processed resources.

New Type of Pattern

One of my pet ideas when it has come to crafting was the concept of Meta Patterns, given more recent terminology in WoW a Heirloom pattern.  It creates an item where the ILevel of the output is based on the ILevel of the input.

If we are going to approach a mini-game requirement added to crafting I would rather it be an intellectual exercise like a puzzle than an interactive grind-fest like Vanguard.

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