Games

Where’s Dan Akroyd When You Need Him?

posted: June 27th, 2006


aykroyd.gif
(Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series. Before reading it you should at least read the Role of Crafting in Massive Multiplayer Games, Synchronicity, and Crafting: My Argument Against Synchronicity. Optionally you might want to read Something for Everyone, Crafting in MMO’s (or Can’t We All Just Get Along?), and Craft This.

There will be a quiz.)

So I’m reminded of the old Saturday Night Live sketch with Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain where they would do their ‘Point-Counter Point’ during the Weekend News update. It’s got nothing to do with Ryan or what I think of his ideas. Just one of those random connections that my brain tends to make.

I’m a big fan of crafting. In enjoy it a lot. In fact I do a fair amount of crafting-like activities in the Reality MMO (are they ever going to come out with Reality II? It feels like I’ve been waiting for it forever) including the painting of miniature figures, the brewing of beer, and the fletching arrows, among other things. So I suppose it isn’t at all unexpected that I have different views of crafting than Ryan.

Crafting is, in most games, a secondary system. This isn’t really surprising since people aren’t too likely to lay down big bucks at the box office to see Conan the Agrarian. The majority of people are interested in being the hero of their particular story and the hero typically jumps ship and gets the heck out of Dodge the first chance he gets rather than spending his life tending to moisture evaporators for his Uncle.

As a result crafting has a tendency to be more of a ‘filler’ activity in MMO’s, something to do while you aren’t adventuring. The thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way. While most people out there prefer to adventure there are plenty of people who enjoy crafting a lot. Enough to make it a completely viable activity in and of itself, assuming that the system is fleshed out.

One of the biggest problems, in my opinion, is that there is no real equivalency between crafting and adventuring. Crafters can usually grind out items much faster than adventurers can loot them while adventurers can loot items far more powerful than what crafters can make. Adventurers often complain that crafters charge too much since crafting is safe but tedious while crafters complain that adventurers don’t appreciate the effort that is spent in making the items.

So why not make the two more equivalent? Make it so that crafters and adventurers spend about the same amount of time and energy to make or loot items of compatible value and so that they share the same risk.

Risk? But crafters can’t die from crafting. This is true, but when a player tackles a mob they aren’t really risking dying, unless the game has permadeath. Instead what they are risking is the loss of time (xp debt), money (equipment damage), and possibly some self esteem. There’s no reason at all why crafters can’t risk similar losses.

In a similar vein it has been accepted for a fairly long time that some mobs are simply too tough for individuals and have to be taken on as a group. These mobs typically drop better loot because of the extra energy involved in putting a group together to take them on. Similarly certain crafting tasks could be defined as group tasks.

While it is certainly true that some individuals prefer to do all their crafting by themselves the same thing can be said in regards to adventuring. There are plenty of people who prefer to adventure solo which is why we keep that option available. However because they are not willing to group up with others their rewards are decreased slightly. So it would be (and I think should be) with solo and group crafting.

But who gets the final product? If you have a group of people making something how is it fair that only one of them gets the item? Well, how is it fair that when a group kills a mob and a rare item drops only one of them gets it? That’s simply the way it is. In fact with group crafting the results would be more equitable since at the beginning of a project the group knows exactly what the ‘drop’ will be and who will get it, as opposed to random chance. Certainly in the short run such a system may seem unfair but just as most adventuring groups will not form just to kill a single target most crafting groups will probably undertake a series of projects so that there’s rewards for everyone.

Likewise it is even possible to envision ‘raid’ level crafting that takes multiple groups to complete. Following the same model as adventuring raids such projects might have multiple products which could be spread among the players, though unfortunately there would still not be item rewards for everyone. What is the incentive for crafters to try and undertake such tasks? The same incentive that adventurers have, knowing that they will possibly (even probably) not receive a raid level item as loot. They may do it for the camaraderie. They may do it because although they don’t gain anything this time perhaps they will the next time the same group ‘raids’.

Of course many players may find such a concept not to their liking. The idea of gathering together and sitting around while groups are formed and reformed and roles are assigned is not something lots of players will want to do, but then the same thing holds true for raiding. Lots of players do not engage in raiding, yet raid content is still created for the upper end players.

Which brings us finally to ‘gating’. I have to say that like Ryan I’m not a big fan of artificial restraints. However, to preserve balance between adventurers and crafters it may prove necessary. If adventuring raid content is gated (and it usually is) then the comparable crafting raid content should be gated as well, and for the exact same reason. Without such things you would have crafting raids form that would produce multiple products again and again, flooding the market. While I can certainly appreciate the desire not to gate content, if adventurers are willing to accept it happening in limited cases I would suspect crafters would accept it as well. So what’s a crafter to do when they’ve been ‘locked out’ of content for a period of time? The same thing an adventurer does; move on to other content.

As a final note on gating content, I’m not really proposing whether it should or shouldn’t be done. All I am saying is that it is possible to do it for crafters as well as adventurers and if it is being done for one then it should be done for the other.

In the end adventuring and crafting are very similar for balance. If they undertake the same risks they should be able to earn the same rewards, and conversely they should not be able to achieve the same rewards without undertaking the same risks. Balancing the randomness of loot drops against the greater predictability of crafting may be tricky but it is far from impossible. Statistics will give designers a good idea how long it takes a player or group of players to loot a given quality of item, on average, and adjust the crafting times appropriately, perhaps with some variance to accommodate the fact that the crafters have more control over what is produced, not just how often.

Of course it is theoretically possible to balance the two without group crafting, raid crafting, or lockouts. Increasing the length and difficulty of the crafting tasks and the possible loss of coin could be used to make up for the missing expenditure of having to put together a group or raid, but such a thing would, in my opinion, be much harder to balance.

Finally, as for the personality of people who craft it is true that many of them enjoy completing projects on their own. Of course given that nearly all crafting systems are designed around that model that is probably to be expected. To be a good crafter in most MMO’s requires a sort of mindset that lets you sit for large amounts of time focused on specific tasks without interacting with others (though to be truthful a lot of time crafting channels have far more chat than adventuring channels). With a system that supports group tasks perhaps we would see a new category of crafter emerge. Certainly not every crafter will take to it, but for those who don’t there should still be plenty of solo content.



16 Comments »

Gating: You could have an NPC merchant that had a very limited supply of the project starter for a raid-level project.

You may or may not be aware that some MMOs actually do have group and raid crafting – Horizons required community crafting projects to open new content. Dark Ages of Camelot required active and skilled crafting to build siege engines and other equipment to break a keep’s defenses. In DAoC guilds, in particular, having the right crafters along was every bit as important as the right adventurers.

I can’t agree with the feeling of most that crafting is a “stay at home” activity. NPC crafters stay at home, but players should never feel their best action is to imitate an NPC. Crafters should be as important an adventurer class as warriors or healers.

Imagine a weaponsmith along on an adventure. An axehead breaks off in a monster’s bony skin. Weaponsmith quickly fits a new one, adding a very short buff that lets it cut through bony armor while he’s at it. Draws life essence from the critter to make some ephemeral magical arrows for the ranger to fire.

Craftsman starts looking more like a support class, essential to a group, than someone sitting solo in front of a forge somewhere.

Crafters want to see all the content the game offers, too. Who decided crafters would rather sit in a room and do nothing? Crafters are currently forced to be adventurers, but that’s not how it has to be.

Comment by Tipa — June 28, 2006

The only problem that I have with the NPC merchant idea is that it is a contested gate, which is really bad in a lot of ways. While uncontested gates don’t provide an absolute limit to how often items enter the game since there are no limits on the number of crafters who can use it contested gates can lead to enormous player frustrations. The merchant will be camped and often the person who gets the limited supply will be the person who figures out some way to cheat, such as a macro program, so that they are able to snap up the required goods as soon as they spawn. Even without the cheating factor you have the simple frustration of people unable to begin a task simply because they aren’t the first or the fastest.

Given that these gates are to control very special content (a sword so wondrous it took the efforts of a dozen craftsmen) I would think you could create better gating events through things such as the alignment of the stars or basically ‘lockouts’ created through the expenditure of some inner energy (your manna has not yet recovered sufficiently to begin such a mighty task).

As for making it so that crafters every bit as important to a group as other classes, that is a really delicate issue. While the example you gave seemed fine I think you would need to balance content very carefully so that adventuring groups don’t feel like they must have a crafter or they are seriously gimped. You also run a danger of designing your system so that crafters end up being forced to adventure. Certainly creating a place for a crafter in a group is a good thing so that crafters can go out and contribute, if that is what they want to do. Designers just need to be sure that doesn’t get away from them and prevent people who want to play ‘stay at home’ crafters from enjoying the game as well.

Comment by Evan — June 28, 2006

FFXI sold rare crafting components for very cheap on certain in-game days. People would begin gathering early to grab them, then at the stroke of sunrise, madly buy them. That sort of competition is just part of the game. I don’t believe there is anything really wrong with c**kblocking. Sure it makes people mad. It makes them competitive. It makes people want to be better. And when they win, it makes that win sweet and well-earned. Instancing makes the high end game boring. Competition is exciting. Rant for another time, I guess.

As far as making craftscritters vital to a group; I believe every class should be vital to a group. EQ2 tried to make it so that no one class was vital – they went the other way. Forming a group should be easy – the best of all possible worlds would be that any group of five or six or whatever could go do useful things – but each class should bring something to the group that brings a unique benefit.

WoW does this by severely limiting the number of classes, such that they are largely unique. But making the problem artificially easier in this way isn’t the best solution.

I’m reminded of Sheri Tepper’s “True Game” nonology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_True_Game), where nearly everyone had powers that corresponded to a class. There were over a hundred of them, each unique (or a hybrid of others) and gathered in poems that described their powers. But each one had their role in the wars of that world, and you formed your strategy with the forces available.

We need to expect more from our MMO devs, and that includes rethinking crafting away from the common tropes. Crafters were an important and vital part of medieval armies, and while their best works were at home with all their best gear to craft, they were essential to keeping things rolling in the field. While their roles in raids, like DAoC, could be clear, why not start considering the role of the dedicated crafter in a group?

Vanguard proposes having people wear crafting hats or adventuring hats in the field, but why make this distinction? It’s artificial. If people want to be crafters, then let them, but don’t say, if you want to see the whole of the game, you will need to become a soldier as well.

Not saying crafters shouldn’t be able to stay at home and work on their best stuff solo. Just as adventurers should be able to solo to a certain extent. Give crafters roles in groups so if they want to help kill the Horrid Creature, they can be right there devising temporary items from local materials to help the group be as effective against the monster as if they had brought a DPS class instead.

Comment by Tipa — June 28, 2006

I agree that competition is exciting but it’s my belief (and I could be wrong on this) that most players prefer a form of indirect competition, at least most of the time. In a well made crafting system where the quality of the items produced varies by the skills and fortunes of the crafters that indirect competition would be to see who can make the best items.

Obviously there are those who prefer more direct competition, such as yourself. I wonder if there is some sort of ‘something for everyone’ solution. Possibly something with shard rules.

I’m not really sure I understand what you mean when you say that every class should be vital, however. You say that, then say that in the best of all possible worlds any group of five or six should be able to do useful things, I assume regardless of the classes in the group. This doesn’t sound as though any class is vital; useful, but not vital.

I do agree that every class should have the capability of bringing something to the group. No one should feel as though they are unable to contribute by virtue of their class and I find the idea of ‘adventuring craftsmen’ intriguing. It still allows for people who prefer to be stay at home crafters without making either group feel forced into a certain style of play.

Comment by Evan — June 28, 2006

[…] Where’s Dan Akroyd When You Need Him? (Evan Sampson) […]

Pingback by IGDA SAN DIEGO » Crafting in MMOs — June 28, 2006

I’ll give a little background. I have both a high level raider and a high level crafter in EQ2. I have always invested some time in crafting because it helps make my adventurers more self sufficient. It has also provided an alternate revenue stream that I can use to raise funds to further equip my toons. Thus I have some appreciation of both worlds.

I will agree with you that in many MMO’s crafting plays a secondary role to adventuring. I will also agree with you that it does not have to be that way. If a whole team is dedicated to end game raids that a select few will ever access, why can’t a team be dedicated to end game crafting that a select few will achieve? There will always be those few that will take full advantage of what is offered and many who won’t. If crafting becomes a viable way to get some of the best items, people will spend the time to get it.

I like the idea of having a viable pure crafting progression that parallels a pure adventuring path. However, it would seem to me that the ultimate items should require a combination of both paths. There are many different ways of implementing this. Key components might be dropped by mobs or adventurers have to defend the crafter in a dangerous location or any other combination. I guess this would fall under risk versus reward.

Speaking of risk, the only real risk I feel as a crafter is that I might lose money on my investment when buying rare components to make items for sale. This is a very different kind of risk when compared to the risk adventurers usually encounter. One way to increase risk as you say is to increase the amount of effort required. The time factor is an interesting one. I have often seen people advocate equal time for equal reward however I don’t think they realize what that means once you normalize values.

For example, someone would ask for equal reward in one hour of solo play versus one hour of raiding. However, they fail to factor in the fact that in a raid there are multiple people so the reward is actually a fraction of what drops equal the the number of drops divided by the number of people in a raid. This would result in 24 hours spent to get the same item that a raid of 24 gets in one hour. The same could be said about crafters in that people fail to factor in the amount of time and or money required to gather components.

One thing I do disagree with is the idea that crafters can determine ahead of time what the reward is while adventurers can not. Randomness is part of the charm of MMO’s while at the same time being one of its banes. I would prefer a system where the reward for a crafting quest or instance is a randomly selected set of hard to get components. The crafters that get the components then choose which items to make with them. Part of the fun is being able to bring back that rare item and contemplate what you will do with it. Another reason to keep randomness is to avoid the cheese factor. Players will always try to find the easiest path uber loot.

Finally I would like to address gating. I think part of the problem is finding a way to let the player suspend disbelief. Lockouts and tasks that must be completed need to be woven into the game world in such a way that it does not seem out of place. This is why I bring up the idea of an npc approaching crafters with a quest to help out in an instance that was recently cleared by adventurers. This makes sense, why shouldn’t enterprising crafters take advantage of the fact that adventurers are trying to clear dungeons every day?

Comment by Zygwen — June 28, 2006

The problem I have with requiring crafting and adventuring to get the very best items is that while you, as a crafter and adventurer, might not mind having to do both activities those players who don’t like crafting (or adventuring in the case of crafters) will feel forced to progress through content they really dislike in order to get the ultimate prize. MMO’s are games, first and foremost, and as such they have to be fun. Some exceptions can be made for forcing people to do things they aren’t interested in, such as grouping or raiding, if the time investment on their part isn’t too great but a player who detests crafting and who has to grind through 60 levels of crafting to get to the prize is going to be seriously unhappy.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have things that require a combination of crafting and adventuring. There is nothing wrong with the idea. It is just that you have to offer similar rewards through other paths so people won’t feel compelled to undertake tasks that make them unhappy and consequently make the game less fun.

As for risk verses reward and using EQII as the model, aside from XP debt what do you risk in adventuring that you are not risking in crafting? Yes, in adventuring your character can be killed, but what is the effect of that? Wear on your equipment, which translates to money spent for the most part, the aforementioned XP debt, and possibly some inconvenience (possible lockout of a zone, resurrection sickness, maybe some travel issues). If Crafting tasks had the possibility of XP debt and similar inconveniences what would really be the difference (there’s already a risk of money loss).

You are basically right about the issue of raid content, but to prevent any imbalance, real or perceived, I wouldn’t advocate a method of allowing a single person to make the equivalent reward of a 24 man hour long raid by spending 24 hours themselves. Doing such a thing would create a divide as crafters argue that an adventurer only has to spend and hour as long as he gets other people to help him while adventurers would argue that crafters don’t have to deal with the headaches of coordinating a raid and can get their content solo.

Now concerning crafters determining the product ahead of time, that is a little bit of a shorthand. Ideally the crafting system should be set up so that it is nigh impossible for a crafter to craft a perfect version of a product. Instead there are always rolls along the way that guarantee the product will always be less than perfect. As a result every item produced would have some variation, resulting in crafters not having absolute control over the final product. However, they still would have more control over the product than an adventurer since they would choose to work on a sword or a shield or breastplate while the adventurer has practically no control over what the loot table will drop.

Comment by Evan — June 28, 2006

“I don’t believe there is anything really wrong with c**kblocking. Sure it makes people mad. It makes them competitive. It makes people want to be better. And when they win, it makes that win sweet and well-earned.”

When they win? _When_ they win?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh, ow, my sides.

What makes you think anybody is going to win except the gold farmers and their ilk? Airship engine, 50 dollar, you want?

–GF

Comment by Glazius — June 29, 2006

“The problem I have with requiring crafting and adventuring to get the very best items is that while you, as a crafter and adventurer, might not mind having to do both activities those players who don’t like crafting (or adventuring in the case of crafters) will feel forced to progress through content they really dislike in order to get the ultimate prize…”

The ultra hardcore will do it because they know it is the best. Some people will do it because they think they have to, keeping up with the Jones so to speak. Others because they truly enjoy the challenge. The number of permutations of personal preferences are limitless so to base design decisions on the whims of players is difficult at best. 😛

My guild leader tells me that as far as he knows, only 18 guilds have beat Tarinax. Assuming that each guild had on average 50 players that is only 900 players world wide that have beat Tarinax. Does that mean we should remove locked end game content because such a small minority profits from it? Should we make Tarinax easier because only 900 players have beat it?

I might be overly optimistic but I was hoping that a system that promoted interaction between adventurers and crafters could be built. The adventurers would not necessarily be present then the crafters do their part. It could be two separate instances that involved two sets of non-mutually exclusive people. Let the players figure out how to organize themselves to defeat your challenge or not. I do not expect high level crafters to max their adventure levels and vice versa in order to reach the pinnacle. The majority of players may try to approach the problem this way but that does not have to be the only solution.

“As for risk verses reward and using EQII as the model, aside from XP debt what do you risk in adventuring that you are not risking in crafting? Yes, in adventuring your character can be killed, but what is the effect of that?”

I may have a rather ironic view of risk versus reward. I raid to be part of a group and the share in their achievements. This is part of the reward. I also raid to improve my gear to raid better. Well actually no I don’t, it’s way to expensive to use my raid looted gear on raids. 😛 I raid to improve my gear to solo and group in small groups better.

The risk? Is partly measures in damage to gear but I think a larger part of the risk is the time spent in getting ready to raid. Gearing up, camping contested and doing access quest. Worse of all, staying up till 4am because that boss just won’t give up the ghost.

Compared to that, as a crafter I feel very little risk. The only risk I have is losing money. The only reward is making money. My success as a crafter is determined by the total in my bank account. However, if we set up crafting instances that are challenging and did require specialize equipment and other hoops to jump through to achieve, you could match the risk vs reward of adventuring by giving it a similar feel. A cynic might say that by doing this you turned crafters into adventurers that spend time killing obstacles instead of mobs though.

“I wouldn’t advocate a method of allowing a single person to make the equivalent reward of a 24 man hour long raid by spending 24 hours themselves.”

Truthfully, I wouldn’t propose that solution either. It is very hard to balance no mater how you cut it because some raids can finish in an hour what takes another raid 5.

Comment by Zygwen — June 29, 2006

Competition is good. Gold farmers can only block you from getting something if you decide you want those pixels that much. Even in FFXI, you could get that same cheap wood by taking an axe to the right tree.

Comment by Tipa — June 29, 2006

The ultra hardcore will do it because they know it is the best. Some people will do it because they think they have to, keeping up with the Jones so to speak.

My issue isn’t that players won’t do a combined adventuring/crafting task if they don’t like crafting. My issue is that many of them will do it but having to go through all the work to level up something they really dislike will be unenjoyable for them. This is turn means that part of the game in unenjoyable, and that’s bad. First and foremost games should be fun.

This doesn’t mean you have to make things ‘click here to get a Fiery Avenger’. There’s nothing wrong with challenging people but making them go through unenjoyable content (for them) doesn’t constitute a challenge. It constitutes a lack of enjoyment. That’s why I say that it’s OK to make something that is combined crafting and adventuring, just as long as there are alternate paths to get to the same or similar goals. People who really dislike crafting can take the alternate path. The don’t skip over the crafting, rather they complete some other action which is just as challenging but enjoyable to them.

My guild leader tells me that as far as he knows, only 18 guilds have beat Tarinax. Assuming that each guild had on average 50 players that is only 900 players world wide that have beat Tarinax. Does that mean we should remove locked end game content because such a small minority profits from it? Should we make Tarinax easier because only 900 players have beat it?

Hopefully I answered this up above. If not, let me reiterate that I’m not proposing that the crafting be removed so the task is easier. I am proposing there be an option to replace it with another task so that it is just as difficult but more enjoyable for those who don’t want to craft.

I might be overly optimistic but I was hoping that a system that promoted interaction between adventurers and crafters could be built.

That’s what everyone wants, I think. I really like Tipa’s suggestions about crafters who are part of the group. If crafters had some ability to bestow short term buffs on equipment as well as construct items I think you could get something close to that. Of course in such a system you wouldn’t allow people to be both adventurers and crafters as in EQII or else many adventurers would feel compelled to an unenjoyable activity in order to be effective at their class and crafters still wouldn’t be needed for groups.

The risk? Is partly measures in damage to gear but I think a larger part of the risk is the time spent in getting ready to raid. Gearing up, camping contested and doing access quest. Worse of all, staying up till 4am because that boss just won’t give up the ghost.

How is this different than the risk from a crafting raid in which pretty much the same time has to be spent setting up? My proposal is that if an adventuring raid has to camp a contested spawn then the equivalent cast raid would have to as well. Likewise if there was an access quest for the adventuring raid the same would hold for the crafting raid. And just as in the adventuring raid the crafting raid has the potential for a catastrophic failure (total wipe for a raid) or a project that continues to 4 in the morning because the lead has to keep halting the final step.

A cynic might say that by doing this you turned crafters into adventurers that spend time killing obstacles instead of mobs though.

In fact that is the model I am trying to use. By keeping the models similar you are able to balance the two much more easily. Killing mobs is replaced with completing tasks. By keeping the risks and rewards balanced you are able to let the crafters make items that are useful to adventurers without devaluing loot.

Comment by Evan — June 29, 2006

[…] Anyway… crafting! Aggro Me, Moorgard, and Blackguard (the members of the Round Table) kicked off the tradeskill discussion with Craft This, Crafting in MMOs (Or, “Can’t We All Just Get Along?”), and The Role of Crafting in Massively Multiplayer Games respectively. With Synchronicity and “Where’s Dan Akroyd When You Need Him?” MadScientist negates the Round Table’s postulate that mob loot must be made better than crafted items. Wondrous Inventions (”me”) then chimes by posting Crafting in Today’s MMOs just before Blackguard returns to further debate Synchronicity. To finish, West Karana dumps The Crafty Adventurer on the rest of us, who by that time I am sure are just about sick of reading about tradeskills. […]

Pingback by Wondrous Inventions » On Crafting, Linkage, and Gold Selling — June 30, 2006

Apologies for commenting on this two weeks later…

My issue isn’t that players won’t do a combined adventuring/crafting task if they don’t like crafting. My issue is that many of them will do it but having to go through all the work to level up something they really dislike will be unenjoyable for them. This is turn means that part of the game in unenjoyable, and that’s bad. First and foremost games should be fun.

I don’t think Zygwen was ever suggesting of tasks that required one character to be both the adventurer and the crafter. It is indeed undesirable to have such a requirement.

The scenario Zygwen originally laid out (in Synchronicity) actually specified that a party of crafters would enter an instance with no mobs to carry out some set of related, simultaneous tasks. The concept of the instance being devoid of mobs as a direct result of adventurer activities came later. Neither of these ideas requires a doubly-advanced character.

Multiple examples of combined crafting/adventuring tasks already exist in EQ2. The original, and probably best, was the crafting of Wyrmsteel weapons. The recipes were only available to members of a high level guild, and would only work at a specific forge hidden deep in a high level dungeon, where the adventurers had to protect the crafter. The crafter in this event was not required to be a high level adventurer. It was a wonderfully designed event, but the products were undesirable. At some point, it was intended for Wyrmsteel to be a requirement to defeat Darathar, but that fell by the wayside at some point.

Another crafter/adventurer example would be the crafting of the Symbol of Lect’Mun Sul in the Gates of Ahket Aten. Again, adventurers protect a crafter from waves of mobs as he crafts an item within a dangerous area. The chief difference here is that the crafted item was a one-charge item with a specific purpose within the zone, instead of a set of resellable, undesirable weapons. The crafter here would ideally be one of the high-level raiding adventurers, but it isn’t strictly a requirement.

Finally, the last major examples of combined crafter/adventurer activities in EQ2 are the two Heritage Quests within KoS that require the questing adventurer to also be a high-level crafter. Require. I saw that you’ve commented on Mr. Jennings’ concept of ‘social whittling,’ but I’m curious what you think of his comments a few paragraphs later about Coldain Prayer Shawl-type quests. I think I could predict your stance, based on the text I quoted above.

If I had carte blanche to design some kind of crafter/adventurer activity for EQ2, I’d probably wind up with something awfully similar to Zygwen’s scenarios. I don’t think it’s necessary to have all crafters cooperating on one shared recipe; it should be enough to have each completing their own recipes towards one goal. Most importantly, it seems more feasible under EQ2’s systems. If some crafters finish their tasks early, perhaps they could perform some other task. Or they could do some social whittling.

kono

Comment by kono — July 14, 2006

No worries on the time. I’m not really planning on any sort of statute of limitations on these discussions. 🙂 Also, I’ve obviously not been able to post as much as I would like to myself due to work deadlines and other elements of life interfering.

Hybrid crafting tasks like Wyrmsteel are definitely much better than hybrid crafting tasks like the Coldain Prayer Shawl. Unfortunately while I think that the concept has merit I think in most cases the execution probably leaves something to be desired. I have to admit I’ve never done the Wyrmsteel crafting task but my guess is that it can’t be done by a pure crafter because the occasional mob slipping through or just the ‘splash’ damage from AOE’s cast by the mobs would drop anyone without a lot of adventuring levels, but I have to admit I could easily be wrong about that. Even if I’m right about it that is more of a failure of a specific example rather than proof of a flawed concept. I have some concerns about it because of the danger of requiring a specific class for a raid/group activity, which I tend to want to avoid, but again that may be more of an example of failure of a specific example rather than proof of a flawed concept (and I’m not even certain how strongly I should adhere to the idea of not requiring a specific class).

Now, as far as the Coldain Prayer Shawl quest is concerned, I’m less enthusiastic about that. My primary reason is, again, my objection to forcing players to conduct activities that they simply find unpleasant rather than challenging. This isn’t to say that everyone will find the crafting unpleasant but some undoubtedly will and unless there is a comparable item that they can obtain without such activities I think they will feel compelled into activities that are simply unenjoyable rather than challenging. The detrimental effects to the crafting economy that Scott Jennings mentions are also a serious concern.

Comment by Evan — July 17, 2006

I have done Wyrmsteel. It was not the greatest experience. We did take a low adventure lvl toon with a high weaponsmithing skill and she did die a lot but that was not the main issue with the instance. Forcing 20 other people to come along to kill endless number of spawns of little or no value was not fun. The only reward for spending several hours killing mobs that had no real loot was sub par legendary items that happen to deal a bit more damage on certain mobs. Needless to say it was difficult to get people to return a second time since the novelty wore off.

I did not do the Symbol of Lect’Mun Sul but watched someone else do it. That one worked better. The raiders got a reward for defeating the named on top of the item crafted that helps later on. However the next time they went I found out they where missing a jeweler and could not do that event which sorta sucks. Being a jeweler myself I felt a bit guilty that I was not able to show up for that raid.

I rather enjoyed doing The Wurmslayer. It was the uberest weapon for a Swashbuckler at the time. However, many people complained about that quest for a number of reasons.
1. It requires crafting.
2. It requires raiding.
3. It required killing a contested raid mob.
4. What do you mean it doesn’t have a (insert weapon type) version?
5. For an item that had so many requirements, it wasn’t as uber as it could have been.
See, I think such rewards should make you want to do the quest. Now Wyrmslayer rots in my bag while I use this spiffy Qeynos Rapier (RE: there is no one handed version of wyrmslayer).

That being said, I think Wyrmslayer and Bone-Clasped Girdle are great examples of combining tradeskilling and adventuring into optional quest that require both.

With Respect to Coldain Prayer Shawl, I loved that quest. The same with the Earring Of The Solstice quest. I did not like the Coldain Ring Series though. However, the reson for liking one and not the other might seem strange. The reason was that I knew I could get the Prayer Shawl done but not the Coldain Ring. What it means is that perception of how good a quest is maybe dependant on ones ability to attain the final goal.

To misquote an old saying, You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not please all of the people all of the time.

So I’d say don’t worry about some people finding things un-fun. There will always be those that find whatever you do un-fun. Instead, try to make things that some people do find fun even though others might not and weave such things into your world in a way that it fits and hopefully does not turn it topsy turvy, that is unless it is meant to in a good way.

Take the new Tailored dress clothes that just came out with LU 25. Some people went bananas over them. Other accused SoE of wasting their time on trivial things when they could be doing important things like fixing XYZ that matters most to said poster. All I can say is that every person I gave a dress to was happy and we had fun. 😛

Comment by Zygwen — July 19, 2006

With Respect to Coldain Prayer Shawl, I loved that quest.

Yes, but in fairness you have to remember that you also enjoy crafting. My stance on this isn’t that people can’t enjoy something like the Coldain Prayer Shawl and that you should never have such a quest. My stance is that some people will really detest the crafting aspect so you need to give them another option.

That option could be to complete a separate quest with a comparable award or to simply branch the quest at some point so that players who don’t enjoy crafting can still complete the quest with a similar amount of effort but without the part they find unpleasant.

It’s very true that you can’t please everyone all the time but that doesn’t mean you should just accept a design that you know will make certain people unhappy.

Comment by Evan — July 20, 2006

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