Thursday, July 5, 2012

[Design] My Ideal MMO: Part 3 - Crafting, Player Land and Quests

Crafting, Player Land and Questing (in my ideal MMO)

Crafting has always been, in EVERY mmorpg I have played, my biggest pet peeve.  The systems are boring, meaningless and don't impact game play all that much.  You can be a master craftsman, making the highest level armors available and... well... they are completely pointless compared to raid/boss loots.

For my ideal MMO, a wild rat monster wouldn't drop you a cloth armor.  For one, that makes no effing sense.  And for two, by removing armor drops from monsters, bosses, demons, etc., you make crafting very, very important.  And you can make it fun too!  What I will do is go through the crafting segments and what they do, and then talk a little bit about how you use crafting, the importance of crafting to this fictional game, and how it would involve the player in something more than just click to make 100 boots!

First, let's break the entire crafting skills page into 3 sections:  Gathering, Production Skills, and Other/Social.

Here are the crafting skills I envision for this game:

Gathering: (mainly deals with attaining items from nature)
  Herblore:  The discovering and identifying of types of plants, herbs and shrubberies.  Also includes deducing uses for those herbs and attributes of the herb.  Higher levels allow the harvesting of better herbs.

  Woodcutting:  The cutting of trees to gain logs via woodcutting axes.  Higher levels allow the use of better wood axes and the cutting of rarer trees.

  Mining/Smelting:  The mining of metals, rare metals and gems via pick axes.  Also includes the smelting of these metals into usable bars at a forge.  Higher levels allow the use of better pick axes and the mining of rarer  and more valuable metals.

  Butchering:  The scavanging of skins, meats, bones and teeth from animals and wild beasts that are slain.  Also includes tanning of hides into leather.  Leveling increases the types and levels of beasts you can butcher.

  Fishing:  The ability to fish from lakes, rivers and oceans via fishing rods.  Also includes the ability to track and locate hot spots for fishing and the ability to craft rods and lures.  Higher levels allow the use of better fishing equipment and the chance to catch and locate rarer fish.

Production Skills:  (mainly deals with making new items from essences learned)
  Mixology/Alchemy:  The creation of potions, poisons, elixirs and antedotes using vials and ingredients.  Includes the ability to grind bones and teeth, turn herbs into extracts, pastes and oils and use of alchemical equipment.  Higher levels allow access to more powerful essence patterns. (**explained after the listing of skills**)  

  Carpentry/Wood Working:  The creation of wooden items, houses, housing furniture, docks, boats, handles for weapons and tools, fishing rods and poles and other wooden equipment.  Allows the ability to create boards from logs as well.  As with all production skills, higher levels allow the access to power powerful pattern essences.

  Armor Smithing:  The creation of metallic (plate and chain) armors and shields using hammers, anvils and other smithing tools.  Also includes the creation of studs for leather working, and other metal items on armor.

  Weapon Smithing:  The creation of metal weapons:  Swords, Axes, Maces.  Includes wood axes, pick axes, arrow heads, and other metal weapons and tools.

  Sewing/Stitching:  The creation of cloth and cloth armor.  Includes making various types of cloth from plants, animal products and other materials.  Also includes all other cloth items such as bags, packs, and strips of cloth.

  Leather Working:  The creation of leather armors made from tanned hides and leather.

  Farming:  The planting of seeds in a tilled area of land to grow food, trees and herbs.  Farming is only available on either owned property or public farming land.  Includes the tilling of land, harvesting and planting higher level goods and other farming maintenance skills.

  Fletching and Bowmaking:  The creation of bows, strings, arrow shafts and arrows from a variety of resources.  Includes the assembly of arrows and bows as well.

  Cooking:  The creation of various foods made from herbs, meats, and other goods from farming and collected in the wild.

  Jeweler:  The molding of rare metals and gems into rings, brooches, necklaces, and charms.  Includes the cutting of uncut gems and polishing and refining of rare metals.

  Enchanting:  The creation of magical enchantments to place on jewelry and the assembly of magical weapons such as staves, books and wands.

Other / Social Skills:  (other skills not in gathering or production)
  Pick Pocketing:  Allows stealing from humanoid NPCs or (PVP servers ONLY) from other players with the risk of being flagged as a PKer for a while.

  Lock Picking:  Allows picking of locked chests and doors found in NPC villages.

  Outdoorsman:  The creation of campfires, tents, animal traps and fishing traps (fishing traps level up fishing as well as outdoorsman).

  Cartography:  The creation of maps for other players to use.  Maps can show popular fishing locations, monster locations, other gathering spots that have been discovered and other exploration information as level is increased.  **will talk about this a bit below**

  Taming/Breeding:  The ability to tame and breed non-demonic wild beasts as either combat or non-combat pets.

Those are some of the skills that I would like to see in the game and let me address a few important notes of information about the skills here.

Essence Patterns: Skills wouldn't be learned from a trainer. Rather as you level up a skill, when you are out killing monsters, you have a chance to gain an essence pattern, which would give you a production pattern that you are able to use. Certain monsters would have rare patterns able to drop off them and part of the fun would be finding massive boss monsters with your guild to go find really good and rare patterns to make. This way it would make players who explore and go out a lot have a better chance of finding cool patterns to sell.

Cartography:  Basically, each player wouldn't have a free map of the world.  As players explore, their map and mini map will light up in the immediate areas around them, but a cartographer can craft a map for players with information showing where certain things are located and those maps can be put as overlays on the player map, able to be toggled on and off.  Certain skills would be required for certain map designs.  For example, a fishing map would require a certain level of fishing skill to make that map for people.

Carpentry/Fishing:  Carpentry would allow the creation of boats, which could be ridden to travel from island to island, skimming across the tops of the ocean.  Boats would be able to be fished off of and driven with passengers to take people around the world.  They would be free moving boats, with players able to jump off at any time, as well as fight or jump to an enemy boat.

Now, onto my big pet peeve with crafting.  It's so dang boring!  And pointless!  Well, in this MMO, there are NO drops from monsters to give you phat lewtz.  Rare essence patterns would drop off raid style bosses (detailed in the last post) as well as rare materials used to make those items.

The other part about crafting is making each and every crafting skill a mini-game.  Now the idea here is to make it worthwhile to craft and more fun.  This changes it from people who just buy massive amounts of material and max crafting to a system where people who invest the effort will see the results of their work.  They will have to work at making quality items, and by making skill based mini games, you can have an item have a quality reflective of the players ability to craft well.

For instance:  How you do Armor Smithing:  You would go to your anvil (either one in your house or in the local blacksmith's shop) and open up your armor smithing menu.  From your bag you bring out the correct materials and put them into the slot for crafting and select the item to make.  From here, a mini game pops up with a hammer and a sheet of metal.  On the metal hot spots or icons would show up that you have to click on as fast as you can to hammer out the metal.  A short, quick skill based mini game would give the feeling of actually crafting something.  The result would depend on how well you did in the game as well.  For example: You missed 3 out of 4 hammer hits and the result of what you were making is:  'Shabby Iron Bracers'.  But the next time you hit 3 out of the 4 and the timing was okay on all of them.  The result would be:  'Good Iron Bracers'  and if you nail every hit with perfect timing you would get:  'Perfect Iron Bracers'.  Each would have a different armor value reflecting the quality of work put into them.

In this manner, each and every Production skill would require both time AND effort on the player's part to make good items.

Also most every item in the game would be made by players, so people who make quality goods would be known and trading would be a very important and social skill to have.  I would honestly shy away from an Auction House as well.  This would force players to barter and spend time finding good deals and trading goods and money for things they need.

Now onto our next topic:

Player Owned Land:  (and the creation of a town)
One thing I would like to see as well is the ability to purchase land from a set out area and own personal property.  This could be achieved by setting out large plots of land throughout the world that are able to eventually be settled.  The first players would be able to buy land from the Servant of Zoan and start making the first town.  As more players buy land in an area, special quests would show up at the servant to begin making other NPC buildings in the town such as:  A blacksmith, a forge, a bank, walls, etc etc.  These quests would be to collect  massive amounts of resources and special items to improve the town.  Also as the town grows, you would be able to have guards, and other NPCs defend the town with the players.

Once a player has bought a chunk of land, they would be able to begin collecting resources to build a house with construction the land.  Houses would take massive amounts of lumber and materials to make, but would be a place that you can upgrade later, furnish, and have to yourself.  Also owning land would allow you to farm on your land, defend it with walls, and have other neat items on your land such as a personal forge, an alchemy lab, and other crafting stations.

There would have to be a cap on how much land each player could own, and there would have to be enough space throughout the world to be able to colonize other parts.  Also if a player is gone from the game for months on end (say 6 months or so) their property would be put up for sale, and another player could buy that property, and the money would be sent to the player for whenever they return to the game.

This would give players an INVESTMENT in the game.  It would keep them playing and working to both improve their character's combat ability but also their home as well.

Each major settling area (in fields and other areas around the world)  there would be a servant of Zoan to assist the player in their development of that area.

This idea would take lots of planning and would take lots of programming to implement, but I think it would be tremendously fun.

Questing in a player created world:
Well, you are probably thinking:  Well if this is a player created world essentially, with towns forming around wherever players build their houses and buy land, will there be quests?

Well the idea I had for questing would be a very non linear type quest.  There would be monster slaying quests as your town developed to go out and hunt down the Demons plaguing the world.  Quests would be tailored to the players current combat level and you would assist both in helping create your town and defeat evil demons.  Rewards for quests would most likely be rarer materials, special tools, items and potions, whatever fits a decent reward as well as gold rewards.

Gold would be gotten by selling items to the servant of Zoan, completing quests, and killing enemy NPC humanoid characters.  (Such as tribal villages and stuff)  The gold sinks would be:  Housing, town building and other tools/items bought from the servants of Zoan.

Questing would certainly be more free form and exploring / killing monsters out in the world would be the biggest thrill as well as creating your own land, developing new towns and defending those towns from demon raids.  The world would constantly be filled with Daemonica's slaves, demons sent to destroy the Empowered Ones so there would be periodical server wide events as well.

Well, this is one of my favorite topics:  Crafting and Player Owned Land.  And I think games just try to fit the mold too much to do some of these things.  But I would love to see them in some of the MMOs that will come out in the future.

Hope you enjoyed this (pretty long) post about crafting, questing and player owned housing in my Ideal MMO.



Post 4:


  1. Try Wurm Online, has all that; still technically in beta.

    It may not have the greatest fighting system out there, but as far as the crafting goes and making it nails everything you mention above.

    1. I'll have to check it out. I've still got 2 posts left in this series of posts, but crafting is only one part of the kit.

      Most games with good content, combat, game play, etc etc... fail on the crafting part, and it seems games with good crafting systems just fail every where else. The point between this post series is to show what I want from a WHOLE game. Ignoring development costs mostly.