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Thursday, October 25, 2007

If You Build It….

Beyond the resource system is the crafting system. This allows players to combine raw materials to make useable items. Whether they are making a toy or a weapon, it is something made by their electronic hands. The crafting system is becoming more and more common among MMORPGs. Like the resource system, there aren’t strict types of crafting systems. Each system is different.

The crafting system of World of Warcraft is pretty simple. When you start a crafting profession, you are given a small amount of recipes in your crafting repertoire. As you gain levels in the crafting skill, you can buy more advanced recipes. Higher skill also lets you learn higher looted recipes. With this crafting system, there is no experimentation, there is no creation of a unique item. If you set our to craft a pair of Copper Pants, they will have the same stats regardless of your skill level (though there is a chance they will have +1 more stat here or there, but that is luck based, not skill-based). Crafting resources have no quality, and if you make 10000 of the same item, they will all turn out roughly the same. This makes a relatively simple crafting system that is easy to use.

Final Fantasy XI on the other hand has a very complex crafting system. In it, you use crystals to combine materials to make items. You don’t have to buy patterns, but have to discover them (or find a database of them online). If your skill isn’t high enough, you will fail a lot, or not be able to craft at all. If your skill is high enough, you might get an exceptional High Quality result, and have a +1 item that is better than it’s normal version. The hardest part about this is leveling your skill, as there is a random chance that it will level if the item you are crafting is within a certain difficulty level (theories have it that the day and direction you’re facing has an effect on this as well). Overall, this is a more adventurous type of crafting, but still not that difficult. It is tedious to grind out skill levels, but not hard if you have resources or money.

Finally, Star Wars Galaxies. This game has THE best crafting system I’ve ever seen. As stated in the last post, SWG resources have qualities. In crafting, these qualities are used to determine the stats of the final product. In addition to the qualities, the skill of the crafter, luck, experimentation points, quality of the crafting tool, and quality of the crafting station all come into play. It is extremely rare that two items, even made with the same resources and player, would have the same stats. This crafting system is extremely complex and has players fighting over the best resources to use. You gain new blueprints as you gain skill automatically, but there are some limited use blueprints available as loot. This system is not for the faint of heart, and is intended for advanced players.

Each crafting system brings something to the table. Whether it’s simplicity of use and design or being a game in it’s own right, crafting systems are vital parts. Up next: A top 5 list of MMORPG elements.

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