Today’s topic is something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a little while. Today, we’re going over the crafting system that is found in some games, usually mmo’s. Remember that this applies for all crafting specialties in games, I’m just referring to Weapons and Weaponsmithing because that’s what I have the most experience with. Now with that out of the way, we can begin. Crafting is something of an oddity in gaming, that is both hated and loved, sometimes at the same time. I hate leveling my weaponsmithing because it’s expensive, and it just involves standing at a forge making what ever weapon uses the lest ingredients and get’s me the highest chance of leveling. And yet, my rogue was creating level 50 weapons when she was in her 30’s. I hit the max smithing level of 300 at level 39 and am close to already buying an epic recipe. At level 40. I can’t even use any of the stuff I’m now making or working on until I hit the level cap of 50. So how did this all go down?

Two words: Damascus Shiv. While I was leveling before, it was a common thing for me to use my marks, the currency you buy recipes with from doing dailies, when I noticed something odd. For one, this recipe was almost 5 times more expensive than it’s counter-parts. A normal recipe around this point cost me 13 or so marks. The Damascus items cost 68 minimal. I was intrigued by this odd recipe, and it was closed for me when I found out it was a blue, and a beautiful dagger too. I had to have. I began hording marks, doing every single daily to get as many of them as I could, until I could finally buy the recipe.  A more hidden reason for why I wanted the Damascus Shiv, it’s crafting materials were nothing special. Some planar dust I had kicking around, a piece of leather I already had for my warrior’s armorsmithing, and then the steel. Steel was the weird thing, I couldn’t make steel yet. Until I went out to mine a little…. and got the quest within a few lodes to learn how to create it. Now, the Shiv is a beautiful weapon. I’m level 40 and still using both of mine. They are relatively cheap and easy to make, and equip-able by level 32. It’s a wonderful item that really got me set and the fires of the forge burning for a long time. Finally around the high twenties, I was done. I had forged my own Damascus Shivs…

DragonmawAs you can tell from the side of the page, I didn’t just make a Damascus Shiv. Oh no, I went a step beyond, pushing my smithing skills to the limit. I increased the critical hit chance on this dagger by including a special item with the materials when I made the first dagger. There was something special to it, a sense of anticipation and dread as the progress bar filled. The material I had included was to high in level for me to be sure it’d work. Would my weapon be born empowered? Or would the crafting fail and I lose the augment, but be free to try again with the same materials? And then the bar completed, and the weapon you see here was created. I was ecstatic. A personalized Damascus Shiv, just for me. Why don’t more games do this? Allow you to boost aspects of a weapon before it’s made? World of Warcraft introduced reforging, but that’s editing a weapon after it has already been made. And all you do is talk to a guy to have it done. While the WoW method allows for more flexibility and multiple reforges, I prefer the way Rift does it. Once you make an item, it stays that way. However, if you are skilled or lucky enough, you can create a better weapon through the use of augments. The only thing you can’t change when forging the weapon is it’s attack speed or raw damage, and everything else is open for you to choose. Do I want more dexterity? Or how about less dexterity than that, but from a hybrid item that also gives attack power? Or giving it more endurance to protect myself in battle? The possibilities are massive and allows for the player to custom build their own equipment to suit their needs. Why isn’t this ability in more games? The ability to create and better your creations though skill and powerful augmentation items.

Faebane This gives way into my next little request/idea. The ability to rename items that the player forges. A few games in the past have done this, though I’ve sadly forgotten most of them outside Final Fantasy XI. Some games just let you add your name to the item, changing it to be ‘Kana-Chan’s Damascus Shiv’ which is alright. Even better is when it integrates in the amended title, ‘Kana-chan’s Ruthless Damascus Shiv.’ But the best option is one where you give the player control over what to name the item. The naming feature isn’t in rift, which makes me a sad little assassin. I’ve already given both my weapons affectionate names as I used them in my journey through Telara, which only makes me wish I could name them all the more. Ruthless Damascus Shiv I’ve taken to calling Dragonmaw because it was forged with draconian scales and has vicious teeth running up the sides of the blade. Nimble Damascus Shiv has earned the name Faebane for the fae’s annoying tendency to dance around just quick enough to dodge a normal blade. And yes, there would be people who would abuse the ability to name their own weapons, but I believe the pros of giving the players a clearly defined goal and reward of customized equipment vastly outweighs the cons.

I’m ending my little wishlist/crafting rave by asking, why don’t more games do this? The potential to get people to care about what they create only stands to draw them further into the game, creating a more immersive world. Crafting is an integral part of mmo’s and a few other games, but most players look at it as a grind to reach the max level and start working on the really big epic items. But why not give them something to work for before that point? Give the player a Damascus Shiv, a rare item that isn’t too hard to make and let them off. Give them a tangible reasons to enjoy crafting, a goal to work forward to beyond epics that only the max level crafters will enjoy. Then reward the player further when they work on this goal, give them a means to make it just a little bit better. A different version of the ‘normal’ item they worked so hard for. Let the player reward themselves for a job well done with an optional name for their equipment. Something to invest the player with. A feeling of accomplishment, of “I made this.” for their finest work. Yeah, it’ll hurt when the item is eventually replaced, so just give them a new goal to work for. I’m level 40 and still loving my weapons that I made myself, but I know our time is limited. Soon, we will have to part ways as I find better equipment…

Good thing I saved up all those marks and bought the Ebony Hatchet Recipe for level 44, isn’t it?