Forums » Crafting

Masterwork items & hidden potential unlocked using perceptio

    • 127 posts
    December 28, 2018 2:48 PM PST

    So I've been watching a fair few pantheon videos on youtube of late since the game piqued my interest, and something that came up in relation to crafting were situations where the perception system allowed crafting skill to come into play. I believe it was crafting a wheel for a wagon to help a traveling merchant get moving again, or something to that extent.

    In my opinion, one of the weaknesses of crafting systems in any CRPG is that it's always just a means to make equipment that's completely generic. Some games like to slap random stats on the items you create, but that doesn't really give the crafted items any sense of uniqueness. It just becomes a grind where you mass produce the same item over and over until you get the stats you want. So the idea to involve Pantheon's perception system somehow seems interesting, and it got me thinking.

    What if equipment made by crafters had a small chance of being masterwork and only gave a small mundane bonus to your damage or armor rating or whatever at first glance (nothing revolutionary yet I know, it's straight from D&D). Now what if these items also had hidden properties that can only be discovered by going out into the world and using them?

    For example, a masterwork cloak made of an enchanted fiber could have a hidden property that grants a slowfall effect in Wind Shear environments. Instead of making this an item or an enchantment you can simply select from your crafting UI and mass produce as long as you have materials, whomever wears the cloak and goes adventuring with it can only uncover this ability if they happen to reach the peak of the world's highest mountain. Another masterwork cloak of the same material might have an entirely different hidden property that's affected by a different trigger (like turning you invisible if you pray in front of an altar of the god of shadows). Some of these masterwork items would never have their true potential unlocked simply because they weren't used in the right situation, which is fine too. They would still be sought after items because the stats are better than average and people know there is always the possibility that they'll uncover its secret. Some might even make a sport out of finding hidden properties of crafted masterwork items, and then reselling them for a profit.

    What this effectively does is make crafted items feel far more unique through emergent gameplay in a way that's usually restricted to traditional quest rewards. There would be stories to tell about how you uncovered an item's secret powers, and the name of the person who originally made the item could also be displayed in the item's description, further adding to the crafter's legacy. More than anything a system like this would result in crafting and crafters enriching the experience of playing Pantheon even if you don't engage in crafting skills yourself. And not just being a means to and end.

    • 49 posts
    December 28, 2018 5:03 PM PST

    Kaeldorn said:[...]

    What if [...]

    I, for one, very much like the idea of such critical successes- especially in minor, unconventional ways such as increased item durability.

    It doesn't always have to equate to increaed damage output.  Another example: What about a "well balanced" weapon trait that reduces the endurance used by attacking with it? 

     

    I would go even further and say that critical failures should also be on the table.  

    • 17 posts
    December 28, 2018 9:01 PM PST

    If anyone has ever played Star Wars Galaxies, I would love to see a crafting system as in depth as that. VR does have some members on the team who did work on SWG as well. There was a specific added line of "experimentation" which yielded various results and the unknowing was half the fun. The whole game economy was completely player driven. 

    • 127 posts
    December 29, 2018 3:11 AM PST

    Wyvernspur said:

    I, for one, very much like the idea of such critical successes- especially in minor, unconventional ways such as increased item durability.

    It doesn't always have to equate to increaed damage output.  Another example: What about a "well balanced" weapon trait that reduces the endurance used by attacking with it? 

     

    I would go even further and say that critical failures should also be on the table.  

    Certainly, masterwork items or critical successes on crafted items could have a variety of different stat or effect bonuses that are minimal. Extra damage or armor values was just the first generic example that sprung to mind. I'm not sure what critical failures would bring to the table though unless their deficiencies are also hidden and don't come into play until they are unlocked when a player meets certain conditions through the perception system. In case of the example with the cloak of enchanted fiber, it might be a 'cursed' item that makes you more vulnerable to heat upon entering a dragon's lair (and keep the acclimatization penalty even after you leave). But again, you wouldn't know this until you wore it there. If you did - and could see its deficiencies immediately - the item would just be instant vendor trash for which there's no demand, so they might as well make a critical failure result in no item being produced at all, wasting the materials.

    The whole idea behind perception-based unlocking of hidden properties on items plays into the fantasy of magical objects with a story of their own. Like how Sting starts glowing when orcs are nearby in Lord of the Rings.

    Berlock said:

    If anyone has ever played Star Wars Galaxies, I would love to see a crafting system as in depth as that. VR does have some members on the team who did work on SWG as well. There was a specific added line of "experimentation" which yielded various results and the unknowing was half the fun. The whole game economy was completely player driven. 

    Have to admit I haven't played it. Could you elaborate how the experimentation worked?


    This post was edited by Kaeldorn at December 29, 2018 3:19 AM PST
    • 1522 posts
    December 29, 2018 9:37 AM PST

    How would you add something like a "masterwork" concept to crafted items in the game and ensure that non-masterwork crafted items are still desirable and used by players?  Not just at launch, but three-four years down the line?

    Serious question.

    In SWG, after a while, it got to where only items made by crafters with 11-12 experimentation points would really sell.

    In Earth and Beyond, after a while, you could only sell items that were at 200% quality.

    In EQ2, early on, only Grade A or "Pristine" items would sell in any quantities.  Later, only pristine items made with rare resources would sell.

    In FFXIV, it's truly not worth selling anything that's not "HQ".  You might get a few people buying non-HQ stuff for cosmetic purposes, but you'll get peanuts for that.

     

    I love the idea of masterworks, but I feel that from an economy perspective they would need to be so rare that they don't destroy demand for anything that's not a masterwork.  That's rare enough that an individual crafter might go months without making one.  Is that fun?  Is that worthwhile?  And if so, how would you set it up?

    • 127 posts
    December 29, 2018 3:59 PM PST

    Nephele said:

    I love the idea of masterworks, but I feel that from an economy perspective they would need to be so rare that they don't destroy demand for anything that's not a masterwork.  That's rare enough that an individual crafter might go months without making one.  Is that fun?  Is that worthwhile?  And if so, how would you set it up?

    If masterwork items have hidden properties as described in the OP that are not found on other items in the game, then yes I do believe extraordinarily rare 'critical successes' to craft one could be worthwhile. Since the perception system is involved in making such items reach their true potential already, we don't necessarily need to stop at a single perception check either (though that would be sufficient for masterwork items with simpler hidden bonuses, such as a bane against a certain enemy type). There could be a longer questline similar to EQ's Epic weapons to unlock the hidden bonuses for them, or make it extremely difficult to reach the conditions for the associated perception check, such as having to defeat a dragon in max level raid content with said masterwork item equipped. Even players capable of accomplishing such a feat might decide not to use the masterwork item to MAYBE unlock any hidden special powers, because the basic masterwork item without any additional bonuses is probably not going to be best in slot to begin with.

    Pantheon's perception system also allows different types of limitations to be applied to the unlocking of an item's hidden bonuses that crafting systems in other games don't have. For example it might only be possible to unlock a specific hidden property only once in the character's entire lifetime. Once the perception check is marked as completed it will no longer be available to you. You would need alts or other people to go unlock them for you, but since the property is hidden, you wouldn't even know if the perception check required is a check that you've already passed. Because all masterwork items of the same type look the same even if their hidden properties are different.

    Just to clarify, because I'm not entirely sure if the system I'm describing was defined well enough..

    You'd have a basic craftable item:

    Enchanted Fiber Cloak (5 armor, +1 CHA)

    The masterwork items, created on a critical success roll:

    Masterwork Enchanted Fiber Cloak (6 armor, +1 CHA) (hidden tag: Windwalking)

    Masterwork Enchanted Fiber Cloak (6 armor, +1 CHA) (hidden tag: Shadows)

    Masterwork Enchanted Fiber Cloak (6 armor, +1 CHA) (hidden tag: Dragonslaying)

    And finally the various masterwork items with unlocked hidden properties:

    Enchanted Fiber Cloak of Windwalking (6 armor, +1 CHA, Slowfall buff in Wind Shear environments)

    Enchanted Fiber Cloak of Shadows (6 armor, +1 CHA, Become invisible for 5 minutes if wearer /prays in front of altar of God of Shadows)

    Enchanted Fiber Cloak of Dragonslaying (6 armor, +1 CHA, Absorb all damage from a breath weapon once per minute)

    Each Masterwork Enchanted Fiber Cloak that's crafted actually has one of 3 hidden tags that are used to identify what version of the masterwork cloak it truly is (this is used for the perception check, to tell them apart), but to the players they all look the same when we inspect the item. They all look like a regular Masterwork Enchanted Fiber Cloak (6 armor, +1 CHA). It's not until the necessary perception check(s) is/are successfully made that the masterwork cloak is replaced with a version that has the hidden powers enabled. When a player completes the secret quest to upgrade the item, if you will.

    Eventually, when the required perception checks become public knowledge, players could make a checklist and try to match the conditions for said checks to find out what hidden powers it has. However, nothing stops the devs from adding more possibilities to the pool as time passes to keep things interesting.

    What's important for the economy is that the masterwork cloak by itself is just a very minor improvement over the regular item. But because it's rare and might have much greater (albeit situational) potential, it's going to be valued much higher when trading. People on a limited budget who just want a cloak that gives a charisma bonus would be better off buying the basic item. That extra point of armor isn't going to be that great for your average Enchanter anyway (might be better for a Paladin focused on certain charisma based abilities I guess, but still nothing too spectacular).

    Either way I think it'd be good if Masterwork items of this caliber in their fully upgraded state have a value that's similar to drops from top level raid content, and have a similar rarity as well. What we should be aiming for is to have masterwork items be something truly special. A valued possession that might even have some sentimental value if you fulfilled its quest yourself, and not something that's so common the regular item it's based on will entirely lose its value.


    This post was edited by Kaeldorn at December 29, 2018 4:32 PM PST
    • 1522 posts
    December 31, 2018 8:34 AM PST

    Thanks for the response Kaeldorn :)  A few more questions for you:

    1) Exactly how rare do you envision the chance to produce a masterwork item to be?  1 in 100?  1000?  10,000?

    2) Do you feel that the crafter should have any ability to influence their chance of producing a masterwork?  ie, using rare materials or special tools/skills gives them a better chance?

    3) Do you envison the trigger to unlock the special on the item being completely hidden from the user, or should they be able to get a hint from the item descriptiothomehow as to what the special is or how it's unlocked when deciding whether to purchase?

    4) Should masterwork items be tradable once their special is unlocked?  (Keep in mind that at least initially, the devs are thinking that all items will be tradable and reusable, whether looted or crafted)

    • 127 posts
    December 31, 2018 9:07 PM PST

    Nephele said:

    Thanks for the response Kaeldorn :)  A few more questions for you:

    1) Exactly how rare do you envision the chance to produce a masterwork item to be?  1 in 100?  1000?  10,000?

    Tough question. First of all it depends on how rare other items of similar quality are intended to be and how difficult it is to get the resources required for the crafting itself. Crafting recipes with resources that are limited in supply could stand to have a higher critical success rate (like maybe one in 500 or so on average) whereas items that are dirt cheap to make should be in the thousands (5k+) at least. Or maybe masterwork crafting only be restricted to higher level items with rarer materials to begin with, to keep it simple.

    One thing I feel like is worth considering is not having a flat chance for a critical success, but starting out with a very low percentage and gradually increasing said percentage for an indivual player who keeps getting unlucky. Similar to how 'pity timers' work with Hearthstone card packs (where you would on average get one legendary card in 20 packs, but if you've just gotten one, your chance to get another on the next is almost zero. While on the 40th pack without legendaries, you are guaranteed to get one). This makes it a lot more unlikely that one person gets several critical successes while another gets none with the same number of attempts. Obviously the numbers would be bigger here. For example the expected critical successes could be one in 500 crafts, but after 999 'failures', the next one is a guaranteed critical success. Not only does this feel more fair to the players, it also makes it so that the devs have more control over the actual rarity of criticals because it becomes more like a bell curve type distribution.

    2) Do you feel that the crafter should have any ability to influence their chance of producing a masterwork?  ie, using rare materials or special tools/skills gives them a better chance?

    If this were a single player game I would like to say yes to this because it'd feel good and make sense from the crafter's perspective, but it's simply not necessary. With better materials you can just make a better base item and still share the same perception triggers to unlock hidden masterwork properties. Like a Fancy Enchanted Fiber Cloak would give +2 CHA instead of +1. And those recipes would require higher skill levels or special tools to produce. The payoff for being a more advanced crafter already exists without increasing the chance of critical successes and more factors to determine the chance just make it so that players are better off crafting as little as possible to skill up as fast as possible and saving resources until they hit 'max level' and crafting without the best possible tools would be shooting yourself in the foot which would be completely undesirable.

    There's only one way I can see to incorporate something like this with few downsides. That's applying special tools with a limited number of charges before they break, while also pushing forward the aforementioned 'pity timer' so the tools aren't wasted even if you get no critical successes with them. Pity timers aren't something that should have to be communicated to the players though, because players shouldn't have to worry about the math behind bell curves. So yeah, there's still a downside there.

    3) Do you envison the trigger to unlock the special on the item being completely hidden from the user, or should they be able to get a hint from the item descriptiothomehow as to what the special is or how it's unlocked when deciding whether to purchase?

    Immediately hinting at what needs to be done to unlock the hidden properties completely opens things up for anyone to look it up on a website and immediately know exactly what's required after the properties are initially found. That would not only take too much of the magic of the discovery away, but I expect it would also impact rarity of unlocked items. In addition, if you do get a known hint, it rules out any new properties that might be added to the pool right away.

    I do think it would be neat to have strictly optional perception checks that specifically hint at what's needed to actually perform the unlock. For example with the cloak of Slowfalling, perhaps the second highest and third highest mountain top in the game might tell you "This high up, you could almost drift like an eagle on the powerful air currents. But you discard the thought, feeling silly to even consider such a thing."

    4) Should masterwork items be tradable once their special is unlocked?  (Keep in mind that at least initially, the devs are thinking that all items will be tradable and reusable, whether looted or crafted)

    Yes, I see no harm in it. It seems fine if an item with a powerful situational use can be passed on to others. Rarity should be kept in check in other ways. The perception system itself seems ideal because you can impose all sorts of limitations on it (like maybe the Cloak of Shadows can only be unlocked by Rogues, maybe you need a second rare item in your inventory to unlock the Dragonslaying Cloak, etc). No trade/bind on pickup properties need to be kept to a minimum.

    • 1816 posts
    January 2, 2019 9:52 AM PST

    Nephele said:

    How would you add something like a "masterwork" concept to crafted items in the game and ensure that non-masterwork crafted items are still desirable and used by players?  Not just at launch, but three-four years down the line?

    Serious question.

    In SWG, after a while, it got to where only items made by crafters with 11-12 experimentation points would really sell.

    In Earth and Beyond, after a while, you could only sell items that were at 200% quality.

    In EQ2, early on, only Grade A or "Pristine" items would sell in any quantities.  Later, only pristine items made with rare resources would sell.

    In FFXIV, it's truly not worth selling anything that's not "HQ".  You might get a few people buying non-HQ stuff for cosmetic purposes, but you'll get peanuts for that.

     

    I love the idea of masterworks, but I feel that from an economy perspective they would need to be so rare that they don't destroy demand for anything that's not a masterwork.  That's rare enough that an individual crafter might go months without making one.  Is that fun?  Is that worthwhile?  And if so, how would you set it up?

    This is a huge concern when crafted items can vary beyond the baseline form.  Once people realize that better options are available, only those will be desirable.  Crafters working on their trade will find it hugely difficult to sell anything other than the best version.  So what to do with all the non-best items you've crafted?  Vendor fodder?  Maybe, but that will necessitate a net loss as selling for the cost of materials or higher would unbalance the economy.  Recycle? Again, there would need to be loss introduced such that you always need to 'top-off' your materials either by harvesting or buying.

    I would much prefer a system whereby items have augment slots akin to what LDoN introduced in EQ1 but with a twist:  Crafters can decide in the crafting process what types of augments are allowed.  You could decide while making a Steel Breastplate to allow for an AC augment slot or for a stat boost slot.  The players could also have access to crafting some augments while others are only found out in the world.