Monday, 25 November 2013

What Will We Make of the Crafting Revamp?

Now that the latest upgrades of the three renovated dungeons have hit the live servers, it seems that the new tradeskill system might be the next chunk of content to be implemented on test live.  If Funcom can actually get the revamp to test live this week, that would allow the devs to test the new code for about a month and hopefully release it just before the December holidays.  And what a nice gift from Santa (or Satan, or Xotli ... or whoever) that could be for players!

Noobs in Tortage waiting to try the forge.

With the assumption that it’ll be on the test servers sooner rather than later, in this post Murd will recap what players do and do not know so far, and conclude with an early Yuletide wishlist to the jolly round man himself, Game Director, Joel Bylos.
For the few new AoC players who may not ready be aware, the forthcoming trade-skill system has been designed to wholly replace the current one and, as such, it will re-conceptualize crafting progression and materials gathering.

From the press and forums players have been expecting several specific things:

  1. Removal of the crafting system’s quest-based progression and requisite recipes; with the exception of those for architects: these will still be required for building guild cities.
  2. Many new crafting materials (e.g. resin) will be introduced and hence, nodes and other sources for mats  (e.g. loot drops and vendors) will too
  3. A limited selection of existing in-game materials will remain: presumably ones which are needed for architect recipes
  4. Some kind of trade-in vendor/system will be implemented to recoup the value of legacy materials.
  5. Crafting will begin at much earlier levels (level 20). Progression will be acumulated through crafting-experience, and lead to higher-level crafting expertise
  6. Items will be created by fabricating and assembling physical components (e.g. hilts, blades, etc.) and then using other components, likely to be gems, to imbue the resulting item with statistical aspects.
  7. These stat-effect gems will imbue different item-stat bonuses depending on their order, variety and possibly number when installed into the UI's 'gem' slots.  There will be considerable experimentation required to understand the desired way to make the most of the many permutations.
  8. The extent of a stat’s value (viz. how high it can be) appears to be tied to the material (gem) used.  The tooltip (in yellow square) on the following screenshot suggests that materials are classified by colour “Effect: Strength (Green)"
    Vid cap of new system's elements (from  2012 video)
  9. Crafting blue and purple items will be now possible at lower levels.
  10. The creation of an item will not be the short and sweet assembly-action it currently is; some time constraints (either via a cool down or a crafting energy resource similar to sprinting or both) will be in effect
  11. Presumably the higher a player’s tradeskill level, the more frequently things can be crafted; possibly through production queues
  12. Players will somehow acquire additional design 'templates' that allow them to produce items of differing visual appearance
  13. A set of basic item skins (i.e. appearances) will be available from the get go: some of the basic armor set visuals will be new (see the following vid caps)
    New basic light armor set (vid cap  from )
    New basic heavy armor set (vid cap from )
  14. Most of the in-game items visuals can be acquired (clearly some with ease and some with tremendous effort or time investments) … this is done to address the absence of vanity weapons (which were apparently hard to implement, as the animations and fatalities for weapons differ widely).  In part, creating a large variety of visuals for this aspect was responsible for the long delay (reported in late March), as many in-game items had to be converted from an earlier game-engine format to the newer Dreamworld versions created in, Gaia, the developer’s content tool. 
  15. As part of the final steps for crafting an item, there’s a chance a player can roll a critical bonus, that will further boost the final statistical bonuses of an item.
  16. PvP activities will definitely produce PvP oriented crafting mats and some provision will be available to help players who are exclusively PvP oriented to acquire materials that PvE players otherwise gather in PvE activities (so PvP hardcore players don’t have to do a tonne of PvE stuff to make PvP items)
  17. Crafting critical success chances might be buffed by using in-game workshops found in cities and guild cities and for a time after completing a major goal (e.g. killing a raid boss etc.)
  18. All items (e.g. world drop greens, blues, etc.) will be able to be dismantled to retrieve some of the materials via a “salvage” function.
  19. Existing crafted items will remain as legacy items, but no longer be newly created
  20. Finally, crafting will continue to support the Guild Renown system.

What remains unclear …

Most of the press to date has focussed on the creation of armor and weapons.  Murd's curious.
  • Will there be an alchemy system?  And if so, other than the standard stamina, mana, etc. bonuses from the current system, will players be able to make potions that buff things such as the sprint resource, exp bonuses, AA Exp bonuses, or core game stats like strength, critical damage, unholy protections etc. 

  • Will new guild buildings be required to do crafting in guild cities?  Murddock would actually prefer to see a new set of guild buildings or structures be introduced just to re-inject some communal goals for long established guilds.  These would also prevent the young guilds from being disadvantaged because they don’t already have the guild facilities in place.

  • How frequently can one craft an item?  There’s a suggestion that there’ll a production queue and, with more progression, that additional queues can be started.  But how long a production will run or cool down is not known … nor is the ultimate number of production queues one player cab have running at one time.

  • How could the in-game shop affect crafting?  Will we be able to buy item design skins? Will we be able to buy crafting bonus potions? Murd would never support FC selling potions that give  crafting-stat bonuses (e.g. improved critical chances)  unless far superior ones were available through game play (e.g. as drops in Raids or PvP minis) but he could get behind  the selling of potions that boost the speed of production. Those would allow serious crafters to learn the permutations and sell items a little more rapidly.

  • There’s been mention of set bonuses; but as to how this would work, it’s hard to say (e.g. when wearing a full set of gear created by the same crafter, bonus X or Y goes into effect.)

  • How will Shards of the Exiled God be relevant? It's seems they might be retained, even though Ibis crafting will be gone.

  • Will players assign names to the items they make, or will that be done automatically by an algorithm?

The ol' abandoned market in Old Tarantia: an ideal spot for new crafting facilities!

What’s not likely to be possible … 

  • Players won’t be able to affect the colour of items.  The Dreamworld engine does have the ability to do mask-tinting (to allow players to create different coloured versions of items (c.f. using dyes in Guild Wars), but it’s not likely to be implemented in AoC, as it requires items to be designed for this from the ground up, and isn’t possible to implement retroactively.

  • There will be no in-game means to record gem combos, so players will have to memorize or keep detailed notes to learn the nature of the effects and permutations of objects.

Disused market stalls: a venue where Alchemists could trade materials.

Bearing all this in mind, Murd's been able to scribble his hopes for the holidays on a piece of whorled leather (a soon to be worthless commodity) and hopes that it will catch the glance of the capricious powers that be as they toil in the hyperborean wilds of North  ... uhm Carolina.

Wishlist …

Dear All-Father Joel Bylos,

Murd's been a good 'toon all year: promoting the game and helping noobs and being fair to Funcom and to other players ... and paying subs without complaint! ;)

For the holidays this year, he would appreciate some new seasonal content.  Additionally, kindly make the new crafting system even more engaging. 

So please stuff Murdy's festive sabatons with the following:
  • New AAs that boost crafting actions: in the starting tier, add one Prowess perk to support the crafting of PvP items; one for Mastery perk for PvE crafting; and one Expertise AA that boosts critical success crafting chances (after level 80). In the class tier, an AA ability that boosts crafting stats when making accessories like rings, necklaces, cloaks. (e.g.  PoM can boost heal rating or holy damage).

  • Allow us to have a new top tier of loot for which crafters can aim; call it 'legendary' (or 'Awesome' or whatever).

  • Holidays sometimes involve special libations, hence it would be very welcome if alchemy crafting empowered players to create potions that boost the crafters own crafting stats a little; and with more work let player-crafters make potions that buff critical success chances for a few hours.  Murd's not greedy, so these potions shouldn’t stack against similar potions but could against other crafting buffs.  If a player is willing to put in the extra time and energy to harness some recursive boosts, why not?
  • Allow players to craft clothing and items that also add small buffs to the crafter's efforts (e.g. aprons, caps, hammers, tongs, mortars, and pestles).

  • New trader search options to search by stats and also the option to search by character-crafter.  Ideally, searches could be cross-indexed with 2 or 3 stats.

  • And, because all these new crafting-gifts could leave each player's hovel stuffed to the rafters, kindly give players more inventory space, especially in the trade-skill resources but aslo in store-and-sell, and gear bags.
If these are just not possible, kindly just leave Murddock a tin of all-butter shorbreads, a rasher of maple-smoked bacon, and a bottle of Lagavullin!

What will Hyborians get this year?

P.S. Oh yeah, one more thing ... Can you do anything to make the mayor of Toronto resign? 

Til next time ...

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