Forums » Crafting

What if crafting had no vertical progression?

    • 1522 posts
    October 18, 2019 8:34 AM PDT

    In all of the conversations that I have had with other Pantheon supporters about the economy, one concern keeps coming up - the number of items that get dumped into the economy by people grinding their skill/level up in crafting.  This creates oversupply situations, often forces low-level crafters to operate at a loss, and leads to the economic frustrations that most people seem to incorrectly blame on their game having an auction house.

    Sidebar:  Auction houses, or any sort of consignment-based system, don't cause economic problems on their own.  They allow more people to participate in the economy as sellers, and in most games force competition solely on price, and allow people to react faster (or even automate their responses) to market conditions, so they can make problems that were already there (like oversupply) appear worse because they make those problems more visible.  But the problems were always there in the game's design, well before the auction house ever entered into the equation.  The real problem is almost always either over- or under-supply in the market.

    So, what if Pantheon did something crazy, and eliminated vertical progression for crafters altogether?  No grinding whatsoever.  No skills to raise, no experience to earn.  If you make an item as a crafter, you're either making it expressly for the purpose of selling, trading, or using it, or you're making it so that you can hand it over to an NPC for a quest or quest-like thing.

    This would remove the primary driver of oversupply situations in the market, especially at low levels.  As a new crafter, you could jump in and start selling items alongside everyone else and not be as worried about people dumping things on the market for less than the cost of creating them.  Oversupply situations would undoubtedly still exist - because in most MMOs with crafting, there are always more people making items than using them - but they wouldn't be as pronounced at lower levels since you wouldn't have all the added grind items showing up.  Plus, you wouldn't have to do that ugly grind we're all so familiar with to become a viable crafter.

    In terms of gameplay objectives, this would shift the emphasis from "becoming a better crafter" to things like acquiring resources and recipes.  You would still presumably have plenty of things to go and do in order to be recognized as a master of your trade, but the objectives would be more horizontal than vertical.  If you happened to have everything you needed already on hand, or people willing to give it to you, this would enable you to make those "top" crafted items right off the bat, as soon as you pick up your profession.

    Still, it at least partially solves the oversupply problem that plagues most MMOs that have crafting systems.

    As a note, if it were me designing Pantheon, this is *not* how I would personally set things up.  But it is a viable option.  And as such, I wanted to throw it out there for people to discuss.

    • 340 posts
    October 18, 2019 8:54 AM PDT

    If the "oversupply" problem at the starting gring could be eliminated by making the items usefull in constant adventuring or in other spheres then maybe the development of crafting would take a different turn. Neat concept but it may turn off the crafterd that want something more familiar to the norm but with a better result oriented economy. 

    • 1816 posts
    October 18, 2019 9:29 AM PDT

    Nephele said:

    So, what if Pantheon did something crazy, and eliminated vertical progression for crafters altogether?  No grinding whatsoever.  No skills to raise, no experience to earn.  If you make an item as a crafter, you're either making it expressly for the purpose of selling, trading, or using it, or you're making it so that you can hand it over to an NPC for a quest or quest-like thing.

    What you get instead of higher skills to make more difficult things is a reduction in manufacturing time the more often you make certain items.  When I first went into culinary school years ago, my knife skills were mediocre at best. Precision cutting an onion, potato or other vegetable took time.  The more I did it the less time it took. Did I 'skill up'? In a sense I did, yes, but what I got better at was doing it quicker and more accurate.  My 'failure' rate decreased.  As I tackled more complex creations, the multiple base components too much less of the overall time to complete the dish.

    Tradeskills in a game could function the same way in that the more you perform a particular type of combine or recipe the quicker you can do that very same task in the future.  So you could jump right in and attempt a very complex recipe consisting of a dozen subcomponents but the time to complete all those would be extraordinarily long. Potentially hours just to complete a single complete recipe.

    What this misses though is how to introduce failure rates and the possibility for failure is a necessary partof keeping the risk/reward in balance.  If no chance for failure existed, you could just jump to that one item you wanted to make, deal with the incredibly long build time, and get the item you wanted.

    It is the numerical skill of the player matched against the skill level of the recipe that accomplishes this.

    • 340 posts
    October 18, 2019 9:40 AM PDT

    Vandraad said:

    Nephele said:

    So, what if Pantheon did something crazy, and eliminated vertical progression for crafters altogether?  No grinding whatsoever.  No skills to raise, no experience to earn.  If you make an item as a crafter, you're either making it expressly for the purpose of selling, trading, or using it, or you're making it so that you can hand it over to an NPC for a quest or quest-like thing.

    What you get instead of higher skills to make more difficult things is a reduction in manufacturing time the more often you make certain items.  When I first went into culinary school years ago, my knife skills were mediocre at best. Precision cutting an onion, potato or other vegetable took time.  The more I did it the less time it took. Did I 'skill up'? In a sense I did, yes, but what I got better at was doing it quicker and more accurate.  My 'failure' rate decreased.  As I tackled more complex creations, the multiple base components too much less of the overall time to complete the dish.

    Tradeskills in a game could function the same way in that the more you perform a particular type of combine or recipe the quicker you can do that very same task in the future.  So you could jump right in and attempt a very complex recipe consisting of a dozen subcomponents but the time to complete all those would be extraordinarily long. Potentially hours just to complete a single complete recipe.

    What this misses though is how to introduce failure rates and the possibility for failure is a necessary partof keeping the risk/reward in balance.  If no chance for failure existed, you could just jump to that one item you wanted to make, deal with the incredibly long build time, and get the item you wanted.

    It is the numerical skill of the player matched against the skill level of the recipe that accomplishes this.

    I like the time to manufactue concept, as far as the failure rate is concerned maybe a subpar creation could determine the value. You try to make a 6 slot bag but end up with only 4 slots because the other two fell appart so now its still usefull but of lesser value.

    • 1816 posts
    October 18, 2019 10:00 AM PDT

    Yaladan said:

    I like the time to manufactue concept, as far as the failure rate is concerned maybe a subpar creation could determine the value. You try to make a 6 slot bag but end up with only 4 slots because the other two fell appart so now its still usefull but of lesser value.

    Thinking more on it, the manufacturing time could be the key to failure and not be tied to a skill level. We all know that when you hurry something you are more likely to get it wrong.  So when you begin making something, you made a determination on how much time you want to take to make it.  The longer you take the more likely you will create a better quality product.  Time = quality. 

    So with your first attempt on something, even a sub component, you want to take more time in its manufacture.  What you would have for UI elements are a time slider and a quality bar.  You set the point on the time slider that you want to spend making the item and the quality of the item gradually decreases inversely proportional to the time you set.  The quicker the time, the faster the quality drops. 

    For items with a single combine, it is a simple determination of final quality. For items with many sub components, each of their final qualities determine the overal quality of the final item as each then affects the speed at which the final product quality drops.  So you could spend little time on the sub components where each has a low quality and decide to spend the maximum time on the final combine but, because you're starting with poor quality components your final build quality plummets quickly. Your fnal build quality cannot be higher than the best quality of your sub components.

    You now have the real world econonmic equation of time+quality being your expenses subtracted from your desired sale price to determine your profit margin.  How low you want to push your final quality vs how much profit do you want from your sale price? What is the quality level the consumers  are expecting? Are they willing to pay more for higher quality?  How much more?

    • 269 posts
    October 18, 2019 4:00 PM PDT

    @Nephele I am not a fan of this idea as it seems to replace one problem with a new set of problems. If the goal is to help limit the # of items introduced into the market place then I would shift the leveling of crafting from creating X# of items to more crafting quests and writs completed for NPC's.

    • 1019 posts
    October 25, 2019 7:57 AM PDT

    Neph and I have been talking about this back and forth for months with different approaches and reasons.

    One of keys here is that a successful crafting of an object should always be a value-added process on both the player and vendor markets.  I would like to highlight the concept of “successful crafting” for later discussion.  Value-added just means that on the player market the finished item always has a purpose that is more valuable then selling raw materials to a crafter and from a vendor perspective the sell value of the completed item is greater than the net value of raw materials.  The time to create an item will be the factor that says how much the vendor value of the finished item can increase over the vendor value of the raw materials.  If making an item takes the same amount of time as a typical even level fight then the item can be worth one mob drop more than the raw materials.  If it takes 5 times as long then the increase can be 5 mob drops worth but if the process is instant then the increase can only be 0.

    All successfully crafted items should have both a player equipment value and a sacrifice value.  If the player has nothing better then they can choose to equip a random piece of gear but most likely this will only happen in the first couple of months after the server launches as mob drops will outpace generic pieces pretty quickly.  After mob drops have flooded the market then there should be some way to sacrifice successfully crafted items to gain something that players cannot get in any other way.  This could be temporary buffs, faction boost, rare materials for magic items, maybe even rent on their housing could need to be in the form of equipment for the city guards.  The relative sacrifice value will be scaled to the rarity of the materials and the recipes.

    The second concept is “successfully crafted”.  I don’t think it would be good to have zero vertical progressions.  Rather than having a core crafting class level be the vertical progression I would break each material, sub component, mini-game ability and primary recipe template have their own skill ranking.  The average skill ranking of all the contributing traits effects your chance at receiving one of 6 different quality levels of output from the recipe.  Your chance can be further modified by crafting equipment and points in the crafting skill tree.

    To facilitate keeping crafting a value-added process even for novices I would introduce a rework process for failed or under performing craftings.  A true failure can be recycled for most of the raw materials with a loss of the “fuel” component of the crafting process.  This way the same stack of copper bars can be reworked until you eventually end up with 20 poor quality copper daggers.  The novice crafter will have spent a lot of time reworking those bars and in the process would have gotten skill ups in copper, small blade, one handed hilt, dagger template, copper forming, tempering copper and polishing.  Those daggers could in theory be used, sold to a vendor for a small profit, or turned into the nearby church as a donation for a buff (though not a great one).

    Trying to increase your quality will require salvaging the crafted item which will yield a lower level of raw materials than reworking an out right failed piece but not as few as salvaging a dropped item that has been used in battle.  This will allow crafters to try repeatedly for a higher quality, see higher item level, result from the same base materials and recipes.  At some quality level magic properties can begin being added to the items to move them from the vendor trash/sacrifice item pool into the player desired item pool.  These magic properties would require materials from rare nodes or mob drops and these special materials would be lost when salvaging an item for its raw materials.

    In this way there is a system without a central vertical progression giving you access to higher and higher item levels at the expense of mountains of materials waste.  Instead there is a very broad base with each vertical progression peaking with access to a single high-quality item that would need to be repeated for each different material/recipe combination.  The material can easily be recycled to decrease the total amount of raw materials lost to the skilling up process before beginning to add special materials that transform a generic item into a player desired magical item.

    • 422 posts
    October 30, 2019 5:43 AM PDT

    You've become better at ....

    What's wrong with having that in a game? I'd still have to meet the first player that complains about: pff I've become better at something while playing my character. 

    No xp to gain, no skill to raise, (no levels?)..Why? Can you envision that for the adventurer? You killed a mob. First thing players will look for: how did that improve my character. 

    I can see the potential in horizontal progression and specializations. Don't get me wrong here. But why remove those little pads on the back along the way?

    Consume content as you obtain it, that sounds ok to me. But what do you do in between? Just produce for coin? How is that not impacting the economy, item fluds. 

    In a way you're creating a fast travel highway...where as long as you're obtaining new content, your character is "growing". But if you stand still for too long, you'll gain nothing at all. (other then coin possibly, if the market isn't saturated already) So this could be a very high pace consumption design here, that you are suggesting. Horizontal you say? Fine, but you still need to obtain those steps in your horizontal progression and keep looking. Or experience the feeling of a stand still with your character. Don't forget, if it's not new I'm not improving my character. How long do you think players can be entertained during this stand still?

    You can say, well they just need to design more items and content instead, so it will level out when you're looking at time required to get through it all. Here, however you're putting a strain/pressure on the devs. Instead of, let's create 10 items each level, one would need a lot more items as there no vertical progression. Now, I can be quite creative but I can understand that because this specific design demands for a lot of individual items/products/resources/recipes, one might get a writers block more quickly. And one can only pull X amount of rabits out of their hat before it starts to downgrade the quality of the game as a whole. (If you catch my drift.) 

    A point with leveling, xp and skills is that it allows the dev some breathing space between release of content. You might have found all recipes faster then I can create content, but you still need to have the skillpoints or level to make it usefull. This is a timewindow for the devs in a way. I wouldn't say it's a bad thing or illogical thing to take into consideration.

     


    This post was edited by Barin999 at October 30, 2019 6:15 AM PDT
    • 422 posts
    October 30, 2019 5:43 AM PDT

    @Vandraad, I like your take on skill points. It's a similar mechanic, just another coating. It could feel more subtle to a player and they might not be as obsessed with the amount of points on their stat window. It's not called skillpoints here, but decreased crafting time. As in..."I've got a decreased crafting time for smithing of X." Or.."My decrease crafting time is Y."

    Although, it might not be what Nephele was aiming at, I'll quickly dive in on it. 

    A skill could have different abilities, some decrease crafting speed others increase quality. An item can have a set production time, but as a player uses the decrease crafting speed a lot and thereby gets better at this ability, the product might be finished quicker. However, not every product benefits from a decreased crafting time (a stew is better when it's been cooking longer, for example). The player is able to consume/produce items quicker, but it's not always providing the best quality. His preferred crafting abilities however, made that crafter evolve into a fastcrafting player where quality (or other factors: coinvalue, mitigation, quality, weight?) might be decreased. Other crafters might choose a different path. 


    This post was edited by Barin999 at October 30, 2019 5:45 AM PDT
    • 422 posts
    October 30, 2019 6:01 AM PDT

    I'd like to put another reply in for you Nephele. Based on eq2 years after launch. The game had a lot of new players. The low level items however got decreased in value in such a dramatic way, that the new players hardly put it on sale anyway. What gained value over time or stayed valueable over time (in a sense)? Common, rare resources as wel as transformed products resulting from interactions with mobloot. 

    The way the new players at that point progressed through the first levels, was by consuming crafting content. As the game had shifted the xp gain or rewards in such a way, that it was most beneficial to consume designed crafting content in order to progress through those stages. (Sadly, they also designed a grind content in it with repeatables at early level, which undermined their other created content. But my point still stands.)  The players consumed the content that the devs designed..quests for example or tutorial-like content. 

    Looking at the market itself, it seemed most players got the clue and didn't spend time trying to produce and sell items at low level. (other then unique items that remained valuable no matter what level you were) The newby crafters just went along with the content provided. If a player doesn't like crafting or questing, they will still experience it as a grind, but the question there is, why the heck are you doing it then? Sadly, also in eq2, crafting became a necessity for players, but many things occurred that ruined that game along the way, so I won't go into that. The experience of it being a grind, is mostly up to the player's choice of playstyle. The devs can only anticipate at what point the players might encounter the feeling of a grind and act proactively by producing sufficient content to try and mitigate this possible negativity.

    Content is key. Npc's can consume a lot of player made items, even to a point where it can influence the bulk on the player driven economy and still have a positive influence on a crafter's feeling of progression.

     

    • 1232 posts
    October 30, 2019 7:13 AM PDT

    Yep, supplying the demand of NPC's should reward crafters so much, and keep crafters so busy that other players are competing with NPC's for crafters time.
    As far as progression goes, if raws are only limited by time, then the acquisition of recipes via whatever mechanism is the only real limiting/gating factor, beyond time investment.

    • 422 posts
    October 31, 2019 12:28 AM PDT

    I've given it some more thought and I'd like to suggest an altered version of yours @Nephele.

    A historical production progression -timeline.   (you can make up another more catchy name for it, I don't mind)

    Instead of having players work towards maxing out /200 skill points or gaining /10000 xp points to hit Y level. I'd have them comparing each other based on what they've produced so far.

    Their personal stats would display various skills (smithing, harvesting, outfitting) and as the player clicks or inspects that skill a line pops up. The line will display a point where they are at that time. The line itself however has no scale, so there is no reference to where the "end of the line" is. This can give each starting player (not matter how many years after launch) a proportioned sense of progression and development without the obvious view of the "grind" ahead.

    Inspecting the history before that point, will allow the player to get a view of the items they've crafted using that skill. So instead of being obsessed with hitting that level or max point, they are looking back at what they've done so far. 

    For each player that can be different, as recipes, used abilities or resources can differ based on their personal preference and/or region.

    It's up to the player to explore, discover and experiment new content and advance their timeline. Other then possibly initiatal/exemplary content, the players will not progress at the same pace. There is no point in their timeline, where all players are the same. But specialization will have to be broadcast and crafters will have to work to become known in the world. One can not simply search all level 100 crafters anymore, instead you'll have to look at crafters with special ingame rewards or more commonly, fame based on their trackrecord. Quite literally, in this suggestion.

    I've given a more detailed description on the forums of pantheon crafters:

    https://www.pantheoncrafters.com/threads/zoom-in-progression-a-different-take-on-no-vertical-progression.307/

     


    This post was edited by Barin999 at October 31, 2019 12:35 AM PDT
    • 72 posts
    November 8, 2019 4:41 PM PST

    I think this is a horrible idea.  For a lot of crafters,  getting to the top and being known as one of only a few that can make an item is what it is all about.

    Honestly I think that it totally makes sense for a sword maker to have to make a ton of swords to be good enough to make that super awesome sword.

    If you are worried about people making 2500 swords and dumping them on the market then offer other things to do with those 2500 swords you made.

    Salvage them to re-gain materials (like a ton of MMOs), Study them (which destroys it) for extra exp gain, Turn them in for faction reward to swordcrafting NPC,

    donate them for favor reward to NPCs  etc etc etc.

    But anyone being able to make that Flaming Vorpal Sword of Gnoll Slaying is just bad idea IMO

    • 112 posts
    November 8, 2019 8:22 PM PST

    i think i got this correct. no skill, no exp, no lv for crafting.

    pick a craft and you can craft whatever your heart desire?

    This idea will only make the market even more flooded because im gonna craft whatever sell the most mid-high value items and some low lv items but then again why would i even buy the crafted item if i can crafted myself hench ive been bless by VR all my craft profession dont need no lv, skill ups, exp, as discribed above. then there would be no need for said market.

    The only thing thats worth $$$ would be the farm material to craft said items.

     

    I can turn in my crafted item to npc as a quest but that stuff becomes a chore and not fun after awhile. faction, guild, npc, tribal, etc..not my type of fun when the dev goes overboard like ff14 :/

     

    i rather have crafting, grindy so the market dont get flooded by everyone at once but on the bright side the item you need is cheap because of overstock.

    never the less thank you for sharing you idea with us