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Consumption of Crafted Items

Consumption of Crafted Items

I absolutely LOVE all the talk of crafting and how important it will be in Ashes… And I'm sure there will be plenty of threads filled with awesome ideas, hopes and dreams about how it will all work. BUT! 

There’s one aspect of crafting that isn’t getting a ton of attention, though I think it’s maybe even more important: consumption of the goods we as players produce!

The Story So Far...

First, we know that Steven and Jeff talked about item decay and breakage, so it would seem there is a continual need for crafted items. Or at least, crafters. Depending on how this is implemented, I’d be interested to know if this means an item “can” break, or an item “will” break. I think the answer to that has big implications for crafting. Even if players can repair these items to a certain extent, and to a depreciating degree, it prolongs the existence of the item in the economy (meaning it doesn’t have to be replaced very often, which is typically the crafter’s purpose in life :) In either case, I think we can assume all items will at some point exit the economy.

Not Everyone Needs the Sword of Doom!

Maybe even more than that, though, is the potential breadth of consumption. This has always been the problem with MMO crafting - you make 100 swords no one wants, because there simply aren’t that many players that need them! Even on a server with 10,000 players where 10% of them make swords, there’s a whole lot of swords that sill go to waste. 

There is never going to be actual player demand that the players themselves cannot easily keep up with (unless breakage occurs so frequently that it becomes a different kind of gameplay all together, and potentially putting some fun at risk.)

But I Still Want to Make a Sword of Doom!

To mitigate this, I feel like there almost has to be some sort of simulation behind the scenes… in simplest terms, players can’t be the only consumers of crafted items. We need NPCs buying goods, too. Even if they’re not physically present in the game world, there should be NPCs that exist at the simulation level to make sure there's a demand for our items.

Let’s do a quick example - In the case of a Metropolis, there might be several hundred NPCs (or more) present. But even at that number, it would only be a representative slice of the actual population of consumers that live and work in the metropolis. It feels like a metropolis might hold a "real" population of at least several hundred thousand. So that many NPCs — even it they don’t physically exist — would have to be served by crafters of all manner.

In another example, let’s say an inn in the city (maybe there are 5 or 6 inns for the whole metropolis) would have daily needs for supplies based on the population of the metropolis. Perhaps an inn needs a standing order of 50 cases of corn each day. They also need 10 kegs of beer a day, each… and so on. Player crafters and merchants can fill these work orders, so beyond just crafting and trying to sell to players, there’s a real need to supply the world on every front. And not rely solely on supplying players.

It would really seem the Ashes node development system would be the perfect place for such an underlying set of mechanics. The better arms we provide for our soldiers, the better they can protect the node!  The tastier the soup, the happier the citizens :)

Looking For Inspiration

There are a few other games in development doing I'd like to mention. There are no doubt many more, and I believe many more to come, how that we're entering the golden age of massive persistent virtual worlds. (We are, honest!)

Star Citizen - This is the mother of all economic simulations, at least on paper. For every player, there will be 9 NPCs in the world, to say nothing of the "invisible" populous of the simulation. These NPCs will behave just like players - they can even take missions from the same mission boards players do. If a work order for Ore comes in from a shipmaker, then that NPC just might be the one to fulfill it. This assures the economy runs even if there are no players present.  Revival (though now being developed first as a PnP world under the name of Theleston) had very similar plans.

Albion Online - In the consumable item department, they've implemented something cool called the Black Market.

"How do you have cool item drops in a game where the items are supposed to all be player crafted? Have players craft the drops themselves!"

I added a link to the video, but in a nutshell, players will be crafting items to sell on the Black Market which will turn up back in the economy as drops form mobs - how cool is that?

Fin

I'm just spit-balling here, and this may be more than Intrepid can bite off. But I hope they are considering ways that the economic system is driven by players, and there's enough of a market there to consume what we want to gather, make and sell!

About Lethality:

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10 Replies
  1. #1

    HappyHansel

    Member12 Posts

    I wonder if the maintenance required to keep a node leveled up will only require taxes and maybe chopping down thousands of trees and mining ore, or if the node might require weapons, armor, food, and such. I only remember a vague mention of "tasks" that will be part of day-to-day play. 

  2. #2

    Antharas

    Member10 Posts

    Its an interesting topic. I think It is quite complicated and hard to give consistent value to low tier items (the only ones experiencing crippling shortage of demand, I would argue). The problem is that as long as a crafter can sit in the safety of a town and do their thing consistently (like crafting a hundred regular swords), it is unlikely to be very profitable. With the system you propose, people would most likely buy the cheap swords off the market and sell them to the npcs, right until the market price goes slightly above npc price. The value of the components required would rise accordingly, and therefore you cant even restrict the npc selling to crafters (people would raise the price of the components until its no longer profitable).

    Of course, there is the fact that markets are local, meaning you could meet npc demand in other areas of the world and play it that way, but at that point what you are doing is essentially moving resources about, which is already presumed to be one way to make money, and not really exclusive to crafters.

    It really depends on what youre actually trying to do with the system though. If youre trying to raise immersion and give crafters something to do throughout the day, then Im on board, sounds good. But if youre trying to solve the problem of low demand of basic items, then I think its a much harder thing to address.

    One idea I had while thinking about this:

    Tie all crafted items to the same basic resources, such as Iron (dont make iron -> super iron -> ultra iron, unless they can be interchanged in some way). Then give crafters the ability to break down items into a fraction of the resources the item contains. This should in theory tie the demand of low tier items to the demand of high tier items, and give items of all tiers some value. It has been ages since I played it, but I believe lineage2 had such a system, minus the breaking down of gear for resources, and I am sure other games have done similar stuff, though I am ignorant as to its effect on present topic, unfortunately.

  3. #3

    Lethality

    Member6 Posts
    Antharas wrote on July 16, 2017, 10:22 a.m.

    The problem is that as long as a crafter can sit in the safety of a town and do their thing consistently (like crafting a hundred regular swords), it is unlikely to be very profitable. With the system you propose, people would most likely buy the cheap swords off the market and sell them to the npcs, right until the market price goes slightly above npc price. The value of the components required would rise accordingly, and therefore you cant even restrict the npc selling to crafters (people would raise the price of the components until its no longer profitable).

     

    In my head, what would prevent that is that crafters in a particular metropolis would have motivation to craft the *best* versions of those needed supplied and weapons for the NPC army. It's just like equipping your raid team, if everyone ends up with just +10 more agility, that's a lot more agility across the team! 

    The NPC army would be that much stronger by crafters electing to make better "guns" when the request for "guns" goes out. 

    So the motivation sits above profitability... the crafter has to earn a living wage, but, if they can protect their way of life by supplying their army with the best they can, isn't that worth something as well? 

    Really this doesn't have anything to do with low level items... this has to do with high-level crafters and creating a demand that is actually realistic per the number of crafters there will actually be vs. players that need their goods. There will never be enough players. 

    And beyond that, simply supplying food supplies to restaurants, brews to taverns, grains to bakeries, etc. There are lots of options for the players to "supply" the cities and towns. As I said above, the problem with player-only economies is there can never be enough players to support it vs. the number who are supplying it.

    World-class indoorsman.

  4. #4

    Antharas

    Member10 Posts

    Yeah I think I understand you better now, so it would essentially be a way to improve a node in various ways, I like it.

    The reason I assumed low tier/basic items is because you mention having a large surplus of goods, which really only happens with such items. I got into the profitability and financial problems because you do mention that it could alleviate problems with player-run economies.

    Im still concerned about what the reward should be. Its certainly worth something to upgrade your city in various ways, but to the individual player, is it worth the value of what you are supplying? Seems like guilds in charge of a city would be very interested in using such a system, of course. Perhaps the mayor/whatever could offer rewards; so if an attack from another guild is imminent, then he could post high rewards for weapons for the army, and if the city is at risk of decaying to a lower tier (does city decay happen?) then he might offer rewards for auxiliary stuff such as food, beer kegs and so on. One sort of reward that wouldnt interfere too much with the economy, but still be attractive, I think, is perks in relation to citizenship. So perhaps you would gain access to cheap housing in the barracks, or you could become an honorary citizen with yet more perks, stuff like that.

    I think you can definitely make a cool system one way or the other, but I think it would be more accurate to describe it as a money/item sink, rather than an economy.

  5. #5

    Atropos

    Administrator153 Posts

    I suppose that the simplest use for un-desired crafted items would be to allow players to break them down or salvage them to fuel future crafting endeavors. 

    Creator of Ashen Foundry and Tamriel Foundry. Former guildmaster of Entropy Rising. Economist and MMO enthusiast.

  6. #6

    Isarii

    Moderator81 Posts

    When I have a blade I wish to rid myself of, I find the body of an elf to put it in!

  7. #7

    Sythril

    Member1 Posts

    I have been in a few MMO's over the years and so far the single best crafting system I have come across (at least from my perspective) was in Star Wars Galaxies which in a way relates quite nicely to Ashes.

    I have seen a variety of posts on forums talking about how gear degrades but will not break forever, how broken or damaged gear can be repaired and arguments for/against this type of a system. My thoughts on this would be that I would love a system that takes queues from SWG, crafting gear should have impact, it should be dependent on both the skill level of the crafter and the resources being used. 

    If anyone recalls it in SWG, you had to mine resources using extractors (machines that cost fuel to run and in game credits to purchase), every X number of days (forget if it was 7 or more) these nodes reset and randomised to a different location on a planet (SWG had multiple planets with unique resources on some). Each time they reset the stats of the resource changed slightly so that the XX ore you mined last week might have had better stats than the one you mine this week. Part of the crafting system was to determine which ore was best for the item type you were trying to make and the stats you wanted to receive.

    The looting system has already been shown (whilst it needs improving and tweaking imo) to not be click and grind, you have to find it without the massive glowing icon telling you click here to gather. Imagine a system where the resources you gather/farm/mine came back with slightly different stats based upon the area you are in, RNG (cos thats always there) and your level as a crafter/gatherer/farmer (etc). 

    For example your a blacksmith and want to create a Fire Sword of Doom, you are likely to need a form of material for the blade, material for the hilt and grip, perhaps a special crystal (its a fire sword, seems like some magic crystal here would be appropriate) or magic enchantment during/after creation (blacksmith and enchanter working on the same item at the same time perhaps!!). Each of these could have different stats to them which affect the overall outcome of the item, along with this your level of crafting ability will determine how good you are at managing the crafting process which in turn factors into the end result.

    Repairing an item could have diminishing returns so it can only be done a certain number of times, the better at the craft you are the smaller the degradation per repair (this was how it worked in SWG). This would mean players seek the best crafters, making an item has meaning since it takes skill and time as well as good understanding and knowledge of the different stats each resource and material brings to the process and when an item is created its not just number 19,283,847 of BroadSword type 20 with stats the same as all the others. 

    I remember an episode of SOA (Sword Art Online) where the main character wanted a stronger sword, this required getting a rare crystal that only came from a specific dragon way up in the mountains (in this case it was a crystal dragon and the resource was its poop :D). The only way to get this resource was if you had a master level armoursmith with you, can you imagine the possibilities if a dynamically changing world in Ashes also had this type of feature. As new areas and aspects come to life and are unlocked, new and higher quality resources become available (perhaps within boss rooms or special caverns) that greatly improve the crafting process but require certain levels of crafter skilled players to be there for it. As nodes diminish, vertain resources might become unavailable, this would not only encourage people to fight for nodes that have particular resources but also have a huge impact on the economy when certain resources are no longer available anymore until that node expands and opens again.

    For me, one of my biggest disappointments in almost every MMO since SWG is that the crafting has no impact. Everything crafting almost always has unlimited life, very generic and basic stats that are almost 100% predicable and repeatable. This leaves crafting and gathering in a very simple state - you want this weapon? get me these materials and its yours, guaranteed 100% the stats you want since they never change.

    I would love to see crafters getting more love and a much deeper, varied and richer system in place. Make use of the ever changing and dynamic world states to mean resources come and go depending on what is open and available and where you are.

    Thats my 2 cents (or 2 pence since im English ;))

  8. #8

    Isarii

    Moderator81 Posts
    Sythril wrote on Sept. 8, 2017, 1:16 a.m.

    I have been in a few MMO's over the years and so far the single best crafting system I have come across (at least from my perspective) was in Star Wars Galaxies

      My man!

    I could spend all my time talking about Star Wars Galaxies and its crafting system, and I have a habit of doing just that on certain podcasts, lol. Unfortunately, I don't really think Ashes of Creation is going in that direction with its crafting system. While there are some similarities at least in terms of sandboxiness, the requirement that a crafter really dedicate themselves to the profession and the ways they were able to differentiate themselves through crafting progression and gear were a big part of what allowed crafters to make themselves a community fixture, where even ten years later I could still tell you exactly where the player's shop that I bought ship parts (in JTL) was located.

    In Ashes, they're going for something a bit more WoW-esque - at least based on what we know so far. Everyone will be able to level crafting in addition to their combat skill, and the main differentiator for who is able to make the best gear will be whether or not they can acquire the rarest mats from the toughest bosses. It's not what I'd hope for, but there's still the opportunity for it to become a somewhat compelling system regardless.

  9. #9

    Atropos

    Administrator153 Posts

    Great post @Sythril, and welcome to Ashen Foundry!

    Sythril wrote on Sept. 8, 2017, 1:16 a.m.

    For me, one of my biggest disappointments in almost every MMO since SWG is that the crafting has no impact. Everything crafting almost always has unlimited life, very generic and basic stats that are almost 100% predicable and repeatable. This leaves crafting and gathering in a very simple state - you want this weapon? get me these materials and its yours, guaranteed 100% the stats you want since they never change.

    I would love to see crafters getting more love and a much deeper, varied and richer system in place. Make use of the ever changing and dynamic world states to mean resources come and go depending on what is open and available and where you are.

     Totally agree that some degree of randomization combined with progression and skill would be far more enjoyable than predictable recipes which are guaranteed conditional on having the materials and a crafter of the prerequisite ability. I think the world systems and dynamism of those systems that will exist in Ashes give a great opportunity to make crafting less predictable and more impactful, so I hope Intrepid is able to deliver on that potential.

    Creator of Ashen Foundry and Tamriel Foundry. Former guildmaster of Entropy Rising. Economist and MMO enthusiast.

  10. #10

    Makinoji

    Member24 Posts

    I will just have to take everyone's word on crafting, I'm not into crafting. I'll keep my eye on this page as the game progresses. 

    Makinoji 

    Producer of Anthology Series

    Member of Sons of the Seven


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