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Crafter's Roundtable: Itemization Balance - Loot vs. Crafted

    • 1430 posts
    September 18, 2018 7:22 AM PDT

    It's time for another Crafter's Roundtable, brought to you by Pantheon Crafters.

    For this week's discussion, we want to hear from everyone about how you think loot and crafted items can coexist in the game and both be viable without one eclipsing the other. Let us know what you think works to achieve a good balance, and what doesn't, and why!

    • 100 posts
    September 18, 2018 7:41 AM PDT

    Equal result for equal difficulty...

     

    Thus crafted gear can be slightly better than drop gear IF the pattern and/or materiel requires similar difficulty to obtain due to the extra step(s) involved.  A pattern dropped by a level 40 encounter that requires materiel found in level 40 zones should NOT be comparable to gear dropped in level 60 zones but if the pattern and mats require those 60 zones its fine if it is comparable or even slightly better.

    • 216 posts
    September 18, 2018 8:20 PM PDT

     

    In most games, even EQ, it seems like dropped gear always eclipses crafted by leaps and bounds. 

    In some rare circumstances crafted items are more desired. 

    From the EQ perspective, tinkered items and focus items come to mind as those crafted items that would be desired, but also there was no equivelent drop for such a thing.  EG: Shrink/Grow machines, focus effects for extended range.  In the gear department quivers come to mind.  But really very little in the way of crafted armor or weapons leaves an impression. 

    For crafted weapons and armor, typically their good during the leveling process but are quickly discarded once you hit raid content, or even if you happen to get some good drops from normal named mobs. 

    I do believe the two can co-exist, but I think dropped needs to be 1. upgradeable and 2. destructible

    1. Upgrade able - to allow crafters to enhance the stats or ornaments attached thus customizing the look of a base model.  Perhaps 1 or more aspects of item upgrades (stats - wis, int, sta, look) could be performed only by certain types of crafters.

    2. Destructilble - to allow crafters to gain materials that might go into crafting various dropped items.  Perhaps re-combining them to make interesting combinations. 

    On interesting combinations (Warning Though Experiment in progress) ---- it would be interesting if say an enchanter with some skill in plate armor smithing and spells to enchant armor, could combine the properties of two items to make a new item.  The combination might mean that one or more stats would suffer slightly but the combination with another item makes it more powerful in other ways.  I pick this combination, because generally not many that would make an enchanter, would alsobe interested in plate armor - it would make this type of crafter more rare IMO. 

    For an example: Image two breast plates

    1 - AC: 20 HP 10

    2 - AC: 5 WIS 20

    As a very simple starting point you could smiply take the average of each stat and combine it with the other to get the new stats. Perhaps as skill, spells etc become available to you you get better than the average when doing the combine.

    Given the above two plate breastplates, after recombination you might have 1 breast plate AC:15, HP 5, Wis 10 - so as a cleric I might want that rotting brestplate that all the tankes just passed up and combine it with a healer version to get some more tanking stats. 

    If the crafter that does the combine is very skilled, then perhaps you can pick 1 or 2 stats that add instead of average and get an AC 25, HP 5, WIS 20 BP.

    As for what model comes out? Maybe you get to pick 1 of the source models or have other options TBD for the look of the item. 

    (thought experiment ended)

    But essentially, to make both crafted and dropped relevant, then both need to be represented in both spheres. IE: Dropped crafting components and modifications to dropped gear.

     

    -Az

     

    • 49 posts
    September 18, 2018 8:49 PM PDT

    I personally believe that all items should decay, and perhaps break (even magic ones- although at a reduced rate, perhaps).   But even if we don't agree on that, crafting can become a viable way to reforge, repurpose, repair, combine or somehow IMPROVE items.

    To provide an anecdote: 

    The Shards of Narsil Reforged as Andúril from The One Wiki to Rule Them All:

    In The Fellowship of the Ring, [the Shards of Narsil] are carried by Strider. He uses the fact that he is carrying "the blade that was broken," mentioned in All that is Gold Does Not Glitter in Gandalf's letter, to try to convince Sam Gamgee that he is truly Aragorn. The shards are also mentioned in the poem Seek for the Sword that was broken that Boromir and Faramir hear in their dreams. In the book, the shards are reforged at Rivendell before the Fellowship of the Ring leaves, and Aragorn renames the sword Andúril.

     

    So players can garner some magic item from a mob and a crafter might be able to improve it.  I would urge everyone to think beyond adding stats and increasing damage/DPS.

    In addition to increased stats or damage modifiers, improvements might include:

    1. A proc of some sort
    2. A visual effect
    3. Color customization
    4. Transmogrification
    5. A "sense" (example: "glows blue when orcs are near")
    6. An increased faction of some kind 
    7. An increase in a faction - with each kill of a certain type of monster
    8. Resistance to something environmental
    9. Treasure finding 
    10. Specific mob tracking ("There are no orcs nearby" when clicked on)
    11. Decreased need for food/drink
    12. Decreased wear and tear on the item itself

    But I REALLY like hard choices, so... 

    1. Increased damage towards certain mobs, decreased damage towards others
    2. Decreased need for food, increased need for water
    3. Increase in a faction and perhaps a corollary decrease in another faction
    4. Vampiric- decreased wound regeneration with an accompanying life drain when afflicting damage
    5.  Increased chance to stun mobs during combat, with an accompanying increase in the chance to be stunned by mobs
    6. and ... The ability to turn invisible, but be chased by undead wraiths who can see you no matter what and who will very likely kill you

    This post was edited by Wyvernspur at September 18, 2018 8:56 PM PDT
    • 331 posts
    September 25, 2018 12:27 PM PDT

    Make crafting items dependent on the quality of the mats and the skill of the crafter. The more stats you want to add the more difficult the item to make. This way if a master crafter wants to make this uber weapon with great staff make it a small % of success to craft and if successfull make it equal to drop items of the same level as the crafted. 

    • 235 posts
    April 1, 2019 12:34 PM PDT

    Some interesting thoughts in here. Would like to add another. What do you think about cosmetic modifications? Maybe you like the look of an elven helm, but you're an ogre. Should that be possible? And, if so, what kind of limits should there be?

    Back to the original topic, I'd like to see comparable quality. This is a bit tricky, because some items may take 24+ people to get, while the crafted items might only take 3-4 (or 1, depending on which other trades are required), but I guess that's the trick to balancing. I think raid quality items should be among, if not the best items, given what it takes to actually get them. How much better? That is the $64,000 question. If the game is designed around strategies and teamwork rather than just raw item level/gear requiremets, there shouldn't be an enormous desparity between raid drops and player made things, but I still think raid loot should be a bit better than things we can make. Other than that, player made gear should be better than common drops, imo.

    • 1 posts
    April 1, 2019 8:46 PM PDT

    This may not work, but why not have specific stats or combinations of stats only available to crafted items and vice versa for dropped?  

     

    For instance, crafted jewelery could have some sort of modifier for HP or MP that say, dropped items do not, since it wouldn't work to simply have crafted have MP but not dropped items.  But you could have an amplifier or something on crafted and dropped items alike, and certain ones only available via crafting.

     

    I think it would be cool to say have an enchanter make magical jewelery that could augment mana far superior to any other method available, and a earthen boss mob could drop gauntlets that have a resistance augment far superior to anything else, and so on.

    That may be too complicated and change the mechanics of the game in general, but it would be cool, and validate crafters!

    • 1710 posts
    April 2, 2019 10:41 AM PDT

    VR has stated on innumerable occasions that item decay is not going to be in Pantheon and there has been no hints at all from VR they are changing that stance.  Where I think that craftable items (specifically armor/weapons) will keep a needed role in the game because of a few simple design choices:  1) Leaving large gaps in what drops out in the world at any given leve, 2) requiring different sets of gear based upon the environment and/or atmospheres.

    How these work together is that you find a nice dropped helm at level 10 that is perfect for your class and works best in hot desert environments.  There might not be another such dropped helm for that particular environment until level 30. It is the crafters that fill the gap.  You then go into a frozen environment but there are no dropped helms at your level so you hit up the crafters to fill the gap till you find one at level 17.  As you level up you are trading back and forth between dropped and crafted always wearing a combination from both realms no matter where you go or what you're fighting.

    Then you have the various accessories you need such as food, drink, potions, arrows, poisons...the consumables.  Nobody wants to eat the dropped Orc rations that are all moldy and rotten giving you barely any boost to you at all or even the simple NPC sold fare rather you want the good quality crafted foods.

    It should never been one is always better than the other but it should be more dynamic, more fluid where it all depends upon what class you are, what level you are, what you are fighting, where you are fighting.  Each variable changes which you want..dropped or crafted.

    • 165 posts
    April 2, 2019 1:02 PM PDT

    I will be the odd one out here and disagree with the premise. In DAoC, crafted gear was superior in many ways to dropped gear. This had a direct effect of ensuring that there was no term called "end game" and the WoW style focus on end game. Even when the Trials of Atlantis expansion came out - (the one the PvPers hated) -because they now had to raid for a few BiS type pieces, crafted gear still mattered greatly due to the ability to overcharge stats onto items (greater the overcharge the greater the chance of loss of gear). Eve was pretty much all crafting and marketing. There is a bit of precedent here.

    I would be all in on a system where crafted was king and "end game" raid drops actually dropped rare dyes, both riding and taxidermy mounts, rare materials, rare furniture and other items for your housing project, and gear that was almost as good as crafted.

    Using your premise though, I must first ask a question. If Blood Fire (EQ sword) has a specific graphic that all in the game will recognize; by adding +1 Dex to it is it still a Blood Fire or is it entirely different? If it is now a different item, a crafter could change the look but only after a stat was added/swapped/subtracted or a proc etc. This potentially resolves a few disagreements within the community about cosmetic vs the actual look of an item. I can see crafting augmenting raid drops if high enough of a skill level. More of an interdependant thing. Maybe raid gear that drops has the same stats as crafted gear but they all have one blank attribute box that a crafter can utilize to add a proc/resist/stat/green fiery glow to (gem it). In this way, raid gear stays king but only because crafters make it so.

    Zyellinia mentioned equal results for equal difficulty and I fully agree with this. A raider should not be forced to be a crafter to get BiS items nor should a crafter be forced to raid to get materials to make their BiS items. Equal difficulty can mean anything from time, money, to finesse. It can incorperate faction and faction hits upon successful craft of an item. It may involve the perception, weather, and acclimation system for that added +1% chance of success. It may require materials that decay in a short period of time so you are in a crafting time crunch. Crafting should be on an equal but separate footing from end game raiding. For Pantheon though, I feel the concept getting BiS gear only from WoW style end game raiding should be avoided.


    This post was edited by Dashed at April 2, 2019 1:05 PM PDT
    • 973 posts
    April 2, 2019 1:55 PM PDT

    Dashed said:

    I would be all in on a system where crafted was king and "end game" raid drops actually dropped rare dyes, both riding and taxidermy mounts, rare materials, rare furniture and other items for your housing project, and gear that was almost as good as crafted.

    You are my hero Dashed.  I whole heartedly agree but I was pretty sure I would get linched if I suggested it.  The slight compromise would be that the best crafted items would require optional components from the hardest(read 24 man raids) content but otherwise would be a step better than the already completed items dropped by the same content that the materials come from.  After all the crafted items require killing multiple difficult targets and harvesting rare materials rather than just killing a named mob once.

    • 347 posts
    April 2, 2019 9:28 PM PDT

    Dashed said:

    I would be all in on a system where crafted was king and "end game" raid drops actually dropped rare dyes, both riding and taxidermy mounts, rare materials, rare furniture and other items for your housing project, and gear that was almost as good as crafted.

    Zyellinia mentioned equal results for equal difficulty and I fully agree with this. A raider should not be forced to be a crafter to get BiS items nor should a crafter be forced to raid to get materials to make their BiS items. Equal difficulty can mean anything from time, money, to finesse. It can incorperate faction and faction hits upon successful craft of an item. It may involve the perception, weather, and acclimation system for that added +1% chance of success. It may require materials that decay in a short period of time so you are in a crafting time crunch. Crafting should be on an equal but separate footing from end game raiding.

    I fully agree. In the long run you'ld risk devaluation of the crafting design if raiding is primarely oriented around a BiS loottable. With some extra brainstorming one could come up with plenty of alternative designs that allow for usefull variation on that part of the game. There is no reason why crafters or crafting-oriented content can not be on par with raiding dungeons. Each their own will have their own challenges and reliability between the two worlds is very much an achievable goal. 

    Just think about raiding in lines of time (and space: parts in the world to travel to) invested to obtain certain items. It quickly becomes very comparable and with that, one could design plenty of opportunities for both playstyles to make them both feel epic and have parallel loottables that intersect one another.

    • 3 posts
    April 12, 2019 3:57 PM PDT

    Nephele said:

    It's time for another Crafter's Roundtable, brought to you by Pantheon Crafters.

    For this week's discussion, we want to hear from everyone about how you think loot and crafted items can coexist in the game and both be viable without one eclipsing the other. Let us know what you think works to achieve a good balance, and what doesn't, and why!

    I have been a long time watcher of this website, but highly desired to want to pipe in on this discussion.

     

    In my opinion, it is so essential to have ALL professions relevent and desirable at every stage in the game. They are also a tool to help identity you as your own unique character. I love how some of the character class concepts in this game give such unique perks to each and every class, and I beleive craft professions should work the same way.

    As far as balance, a worldclass armorsmith should be able to craft the best armor in the game(Wouldn't that be an armorsmiths ultimate desire?). Lets say, the best armor boss drop is X and the best crafted armor in the game is Y. Y should be slightly better, only slightly, because if the difference is too great, you throw off the balance of all the professions. If an indivdual is a complete min/maxer for gear, they should become a someone who crafts gear. Now, the effort to craft Y, should have the same difficulty as X, but factoring in the time and effort it takes to gather all of the resources. 

    We should all have to make the tough decision when making the choice of our primary profession, should I go weapon smithing to be able to get this amazing unique craft sword? Or should I just get a sword that is almost just as good(only a couple stats off) and instead have access to consumables a lot easier for use and money? Or whatever unqiue perks each and every other proffession gives.

    The biggest flaw most mmos have with professions is that is that it is VERY clear what professions are best for Min/Maxers and what aren't or some or all are completely useless for various stages of the game. I think you should make them all enticing and good, so it is a dificult decision for everyone. 

    • 23 posts
    April 24, 2019 9:27 AM PDT

    The equal effort for equal gear is great in theory.  Hard to balance game wise.  To get even dungeon grade gear requires the combined effort of a group of adventurers working together as a team.  So if the crafting system is robust enough that it requires a collaboration amongst a group of crafters to produce dungeon equivelent gear then awesome all for for it.  The same with raid tier, if the system is robust enough that it REQUIRES a collaboration of 12 to 24 crafters working together to produce raid quality, again all for it.  I haven't seen a game with such systems in place yet though.

    So outside of haveing a system robust enough to allow the above happen, I view as a matter of realistic game design that a crafters spot is to fill in the weak spots during gearing and leveling, and providing adventuring supplies.  Every trade should be able to produce some sort of supply that is regular demand.  Be it repair kits for armors, and weapons, components for spells, potions, ammo, adventuring gear such as climbing tools, lockpicks, torches, etc, food and drink, feed for animals, .... alot of things could be used here.  All these things can keep trade skillers relevant in the player economy.

    • 3 posts
    April 28, 2019 11:18 PM PDT

    Belzavior said:

    The equal effort for equal gear is great in theory.  Hard to balance game wise.  To get even dungeon grade gear requires the combined effort of a group of adventurers working together as a team.  So if the crafting system is robust enough that it requires a collaboration amongst a group of crafters to produce dungeon equivelent gear then awesome all for for it.  The same with raid tier, if the system is robust enough that it REQUIRES a collaboration of 12 to 24 crafters working together to produce raid quality, again all for it.  I haven't seen a game with such systems in place yet though.

    So outside of haveing a system robust enough to allow the above happen, I view as a matter of realistic game design that a crafters spot is to fill in the weak spots during gearing and leveling, and providing adventuring supplies.  Every trade should be able to produce some sort of supply that is regular demand.  Be it repair kits for armors, and weapons, components for spells, potions, ammo, adventuring gear such as climbing tools, lockpicks, torches, etc, food and drink, feed for animals, .... alot of things could be used here.  All these things can keep trade skillers relevant in the player economy.

    I actually think crafted gear should have a slightly higher potential than raiding and dungeon gear.... rather than being even, or less. All you have to do is require the crafted items to need Raid/Dungeon reagents, or an obsurd amount of other items as well.

    It's every blacksmiths/armorsmiths/jewel crafters dream to be able to craft the most powerful items in the game... or at the very least enhance the most powerful items in the game. 

     

    This also doesn't necessarily have to force people into a loot crafting proffession to be viable, all you need to do is make the other proffessions have just as good perks, where yeah, you may not have the best weapon in the game, but you have the 2nd best weapon and are able to make consumables at your leasure and make a lot of money. 

    What I've seen in actual practice, your concept loot crafting proffessions often makes them take a backseat to everything else. I see this with tons of games where they aren't even worth the trouble to put your effort into. That has been the reality for most games. I have not seen a poor example of where there was a nice mix of good crafted items and good loot items. 

    I also don't see how it is any more of a bad thing that crafted items completely better, or loot items end up being completely better. It's the same issue, different problem....

    • 53 posts
    April 30, 2019 1:05 PM PDT

    In my opinion the only real way to make Crafting 100% desireable and at the same time make drops 100% viable is to make EVERYTHING craftable with all loot being ingredients.

    The rarer the drop the better the craftable made with it.

     

    This way loot does not compete with crafting but supports it.