Crafting is a staple of most MMOs, but many single-player games make an effort to allow players to generate their own items with varying degrees of success. Hours upon hours can be devoted to tinkering around or to cap skill levels in the hope of producing that one object that could fetch a small fortune. Today we will be looking at the various crafting systems from games past and present.
World of Warcraft
The crafting in World of Warcraft could be described as run-of-the-mill, but it is a great example of a solid system. All the appropriate materials required to craft an item can be found in zones of the same level range; whether it is a drop from an enemy or harvesting the various nodes found in each zone, it is easy to guess where materials can be found. End game recipes often drop from raids and require drops off bosses in the same raid to craft them. With three gathering, eight production and four secondary professions, this is what all MMOs should be setting as a baseline.
Rogue Galaxy features a weapon synthesis system simplified from the Dark Cloud series, in which powerful and effective weapons can be created. All weapons gain experience from battle until they become maxed. Two maxed weapons of the same type can be synthesized to create a new weapon of that type. Although weapons can be purchased from vendors, the best are only available through this system.
Also of note is the factory found in the game. After acquiring blueprints by talking to NPCs, new items can be created in the factory. The factory layout is a puzzle in which the player must layout equipment, conveyor belts and power cables in an attempt to make sure materials are processed properly, and combined at the right time in the manufacturing process. Upon completion of an item, a sample is given to the player and can then be purchased in the appropriate stores.
The Atelier series of games focuses around the use of alchemy. Players collect materials from fields and monsters in order to create new objects, including equipment, recovery items and cooking ingredients. Synthesized objects are often used to create more powerful items. Many of the games also feature a method of transferring properties from ingredients to the final product.
This series would be perfect for lovers of crafting if the act itself did not use up in-game time. Events happen at specific points, including the ‘end’ of the game. Having a great crafting system, but being unable to explore it fully due to time constraints should be a crime.
Star Wars Galaxies (Pre NGE)
This was a dream game for anyone who enjoys to craft, before the developers changed to the New Game Engine (NGE). Everything a player crafted required a certain type of material, ferrous metal for example, and each material had properties attached to it. A recipe would produce a better quality product if the materials used had high values for the properties it favoured. It was not hard to find the specific type of material required, but given that resources ‘shifted’ frequently, sought after materials with high values were rare to come by and commanded decent prices on the auction house.
Increased proficiency in a given profession would unlock new recipes and allow the use of experimentation. The experimentation system allowed a player to improve an item when crafting it at the cost of potentially making it worse. Talented (or lucky) people could make a fortune from top-of-the-line goods.
There are many more games out there than those I have touched upon, but I have not had personal experience of them. Do you know any games with revolutionary crafting systems? Can you suggest a system similar to Galaxies that I should try? Let me know in the comments!