posted: July 11th, 2006
Under a previous post Lost asked the question:
The real question/debate could be in evaluating each system on their own merits for the entertainment value of the player (which I attempted to touch on in my â€œRMT and game designâ€). While there certainly does need to be a â€œspeed limitâ€ to protect parts aspects of the game, such as the economy, are we trying to build a road with speed bumps or a 50 degree incline mountain road to climb? What value does long crafting/item creation times add to the entertainment value of the player? While it could be debated that it adds realism value, but that is hard position to support when the time it would take to make a sword in the real world would be much longer (even when converted into accelerated game world time).
This is a good question and I’ve had to spend some time thinking about it.
Now obviously it isn’t really a question of speed bumps or a 50 degree grade. In both instances the same goal is reached, so to me it seems to be an issue of speed bumps to slow down progress at specific points or a general lowering of the speed limit, hence the title, Speed Bumps or Turtles?.
To me long crafting seems to be the turtle. It moves along slowly and methodically, but it always moves. Instant, or quick, crafting on the other hand will zoom forward whenever the magic button is pushed, spitting out a new item or component, but what then? Since we’ve already determined that there needs to be an overall limit to how fast players can hurtle down this road players are now forced to sit and wait, doing nothing until the red light changes and they can leap forward again. Since they are bound by the same rules the ‘speed bump’ method will actually have to wait until the turtle catches up before zipping ahead again. It’s true that the speed bump method may be able to leap ahead through several tasks until it’s finally forced to stop, but the further ahead it jumps the longer it will have to wait, and waiting isn’t fun at all.
Of course it is possible to make it so that so much time piles up that players will be able to go off to do something else while they are waiting, but doing this runs into the problem of balance between adventuring and crafting. If it takes an average of 10 minutes of work for an adventurer to loot an item how will they react if it only takes 2 minutes of work for a crafter to make one, followed by 8 minutes of hanging around talking with people at the local tavern before the item is complete?