Afaik crafting is meant for those who like it, and you can trade for any item that it gives that you might want.
It was worse in Dungeons and Dragons Online. In DDO you had to create prefix and suffix crystals. And you needed a certain crafting level to make certain crystal shards (basically item mods). On top of that, items had their own max enchantment level, and each crystal increased that level of the item with unpredictable leaps till it could go up no more. Which meant you had to craft a special crystal that would increase the max enchantment level of the item as well, so you could apply higher level shards.
On top of even that, items had a minimum level restriction, and adding crystals to an item could unpredictably raise the minimum level requirement to wield the item to the point where you suddenly had an item you could no longer use. And to make things even more complex, you could never quite tell which crystals were suffix and prefix crystals. Each item could have only one prefix and one suffix on it after all. As you grinded your crafting levels by making countless useless items, the crafting recipes would become more and more repetative, and require more crafting materials. So everyone was making bids on the auction house for crafting materials. And quite often there would be someone offering a large amount of crafting materials for a very low price, and you would make a low bid, and just before the auction closed on the bid, the jerk would cancel the auction. Sure, he would suffer a very minor fee for cancelling his auction, but it was minor enough that people kept cancelling till they got a high enough bid.
Oh, and there were also a zillion different collectables. So many, that you'd quickly run out of inventory and bank space. So you'd have to sell some, only to find out that you just needed that specific collectable to craft one of the crystals. And of course all the really good crystals could not be crafted till you grinded your way up to crafting level 100! So yeah, have fun crafting useless item after useless item till you finally are high level enough to craft a vorpal crystal or a crystal of divine righteousness, or maybe a death ward. It will probably not even matter any more at that point.
And crafting a high level crystal on your high level character and mailing the modded weapon to one of your low level alts? Forget it! That thing will send the item's minimum level requirement through the roof! I wouldn't say crafting was useless in DDO. In fact, I thought it was quite helpful. But once you hit character level 15 it became a meaningless grind, because none of the items you could craft at that point were of any use to your much better equiped character. Why waste so much time crafting, when you can buy a perfect item with the right minimum level from the auction house?
I got as far as recipe discovery system, where admin adds number of items with predefined names and possibly part of recipe being hard set (think new kind of tool that has to contain wood, but other recipe slots could be anything from certain resource group), then players just try to discover something new and fail.
After combination x (not: total number of fails using different combinations) reaches certain number of global fails, it becomes the recipe for the item.
I don't however have an idea for truly free item creating, as there need to be assets in the game files for the item to exist before it is created for the first time - that entails items being pre-programmed to certain extent.
Well, since my game is an adventure game, crafting has everything to do with puzzles and exploration. I wanted crafting to have a purpose, and not just be a tacked on gimmick. So here's how it works:
As the player explores the world, crafting materials will randomly spawn on random screens. The idea behind this is: collecting items is fun. But in order to craft items, you also need a blueprint. These blueprints are hidden throughout the world, and the player must search for them, and solve puzzles to get them. Finding a blueprint, is like finding an item in Zelda. It feels awesome! *insert epic item music here*
Once you have a blueprint, you can take it to the hub (a central warpzone that connects all areas of the world, and which you visit frequently), and insert it into a crafting machine. The crafting machine shows you all the collected blueprints, and the materials needed to build the item for each of these blueprints.
Since all the craftable items kind of share simular materials (but in different quantities), the player must make a choice which one to craft. Cryptic descriptions are given for each item, and upon crafting the item, it bestows some kind of unique benefit upon the player that makes solving certain puzzles easier. I call these items "relics". Again, creating a relic feels epic. It is intended to be a very rewarding process. It is simple, quick, and makes you feel awesome!
So to summarize: You collect randomly spawned ingredients, and solve puzzles to get blueprints, which craft into relics, which help you solve other puzzles.
It all comes full circle, and all revolves around the central concept of solving puzzles. But the crafting system also has the added benefit of providing players with something to do in between solving puzzles, and it provides a solution in case you get stuck. I want players to craft stuff, and not reach for a walkthrough online.
Last edited by Rob Van Der Sloot; 25-05-2012 at 22:59.