Date: Feb 15, 2012  |  Written by Qseyu  |  Posted Under: Article, SideBarArticleList  |  DISQUS With Us: 9 comments

Rift‘s crafting system has a lot of positive features. It’s fairly simple, easy to level, and (most importantly) enhances the in-game economy by providing a means to create a lot of items other players actually want. This last is the main reason I like the Rift crafting system so much. I’ve played a few games along the way in which crafting appeared to just be tacked on with no real notion of how the things I could make fit into the overall itemization scheme and it was always unsatisfying.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. The three main ways Rift crafting needs to be updated are: (1) more customization; (2) more items, particularly at endgame, where craftable gear hasn’t kept up with drops from high-end content; and (3) more integration into the game as a whole.

I played a game for a long time in which the crafting system was opaque. Pretty much the only way to learn recipes was to experiment with mixing items together and see what, if anything, happened. Rift eschewed the total guessing game approach and I’m profoundly grateful for it. Most players are naturally going to prefer knowing what they’re making and how, and Rift‘s system probably suits them just fine most of the time. But there is value in opening up the system somewhat for people who like to play around and discover things. I do it some within the existing system; it’s fun to cook up some non-obvious item combo and maybe get a shard first out of it. It’d also be fun to take some of the items sitting in my bank (or some of that grey loot that just wastes bag space until I get a chance to click one button and dump it all for a negligible amount of gold) and just combine them to see if anything happens. Player-discovered recipes would make the Rift crafting system a lot more varied and reward “explorer” types who like figuring things out. Eventually, most of the truly valuable recipes will become known, but the players who discovered them would get an edge (and some bragging rights) until they became more widespread. An achievement for discovering a new recipe (and/or a few of them) would be an obvious extra bonus to include.

Making crafting more interactive would also promote the player-to-player interactions Trion emphasizes so much in other aspects of the game. I feel confident Trion will soon open up a new tier of endgame craftable items as more high end content comes online. It makes good sense to include items that have to have multiple professions work on them. Since no character can have more than three, and most people don’t have multiple toons covering every possible profession, that would require the crafter to seek out help.

I’m thinking of a system that works like this: I start an Outfitter item on my main. The item I make is perfectly useable once I make it. A Deathbringer, for instance. As it stands, item customization is limited to the augment included when it’s crafted and a small number of runes that can be applied to it. How about, instead of (or in addition to) slapping the standard augment on it to make a Nimble Deathbringer and throwing it in the Auction House, I give it to my guildmate who has Runecrafting? He runs the item through another recipe (i.e., one that infused it with extra Physical Crit, something there’s no one-handed weapon Rune for). I can stop there, or give it to another friend with Apothocary. And so on. The sky’s the limit. I can see a lot of room for customizable leveling gear to make crafting more interesting throughout the process and promote player interaction. And, of course, this would be a means by which players could make raid-comparable gear without undermining the utility of actually raiding. Trion has spent a lot of time and effort revamping itemization to make gear progression smoother. This is a way to give the crafting community more options, fill in more itemization gaps, and avoid the need to revamp scores of items again down the road. Also, these items and the materials used to make them will necessarily be expensive, providing a new money sink.

Finally, crafting needs to be better integrated with the rest of the game. Crafting rifts, crafting items that drop from mobs, and recipes that require a minimum amount of reputation with a faction are great ways Trion has used to include crafting in the overall game. But crafting quests are sorely lacking. Apart from the quest items that drop for each profession and the dailies, there’s not much there. An obvious improvement would be to add questable recipes. The previous suggestion could be implemented that way, for instance: A small- to medium quest line a player would have to complete to get access to the multi-player recipe options. Add in the first suggestion and let players take augments that aren’t of much use and discover combinations that make better ones, perhaps with the help of an NPC. Give us another use for all those Plaques of Achievement we’re collecting and let us buy new crafting items, lures, and recipes. Greater Marks of Ascension eventually start piling up in the Currency windows of high-end raiders; relic gear recipes buyable with these would be an attractive option. Having those recipes include items that only drop in raids would ensure that players can’t just skip raiding (some sort of restriction on equipping them–i.e., having a specific raid Achievement–would also be advisable). I said in my post about an expansion that player cities need to be implemented. Buildings including special crafting tools can and should be an option for them.

Rift has a pretty good crafting system. It’s easy to learn, not unduly burdensome to level, and provides a pretty broad range of craftable items to players who put in some time and effort. But it’s time to expand and improve it. Players who aren’t all that interested in it won’t have any more obligation to expend effort on it than they do now, but those of us who really like crafting will have more things to do and more stuff we can make. Plus, there’s still a lot more room to make it more interactive between players and the game as a whole.

  • Serafyna – Faeblight

    I have to respectfully disagree with some of your ideas. I love crafting, I have every profession.  I’ve been a crafter since UO.   I agree that crafting needs a way to stay relevant, I don’t think the answer is “make uber things expensive.” 

    Something I’ve seen in my past decade+ of gaming is single use recipe drops.  I *love* this idea.  Your character finds a rare recipe, takes it to a crafter to have it made.  The drops can be from various locations – matching the quality of drops off that boss.  This keeps crafting relevant without letting anyone with enough cash get into raid gear.  These recipes can be rewards at the end of quest lines, drops from dungeons/raids/events, etc.   Alternatively – have recipes where the ingredients are rare drop from raid bosses/invasion bosses, etc.  The same idea. It is simply not fair and balanced to have a recipe — where all it takes is money to get gear that takes others weeks or months or raiding/invasions/etc.I’d also like to see some changes, but within a balance for how easy crafting items are to get.  There is nothing more painful then having a new 50 in 4 piece crafted raid gear, showing up in a PUG with his level 34 source engine and blue 39-48 gear.  The last thing I want is more easymode, “I can skip to raiding because I am good at making money.”  

    • Stickler

       I agree with all your points, but real quick – you meant to say planar focus*, not source engine, as your point applies to Guardians as well.  Source engine = Defiant, Sigil = Guardians, planar focus = overall term for both.  Yours truly, Stickler :P

      • Serafyna

        Pfffffttt.  Guardians, shmardians.   ;)  

        • Stickler

          Don’t hate on our holy swag!!

    • Dodd

      Since it apparently isn’t clear from my post, I largely agree with you (hence my suggestion that raid-equivalent gear have some sort of gateway like a raid achievement to equip). Crafting should no more replace raiding in an updated system than it does now; balance needs to be maintained. But to keep crafting relevant and fun, it has to grow with the game. We crafters need to be able to keep learning new things and making better stuff. At all levels.

  • Serafyna

    *sorry if my response was unclear* I did want to stress that I love the questing idea, and recipe rewards.  I just despise the current set up where “with enough money” you can get 4 pieces of entry raid gear. 

    • Dodd

      See, now that doesn’t necessarily bother me. As currently implemented (and balanced as I would more or less like it to continue to be), the best way to make money is to craft items players want. But for players to want them, they have to have utility–which means they have to be at least equal to whatever I can get from NPCs and dungeons, preferably a bit better. Otherwise, I’m making stuff just to level my skill and the only thing I can do with it afterward is break it down for components.

      Personally, I like it that a lot of the best Expert-level gear is player-made. It opens up good gear that can be used for a long time to everyone, not just raiding guild members, and since we can only have a couple/three crafting professions, requires us to buy from each other. For instance, I made the Leather and Dagger pieces for my Rogue’s Deathbringer set, but I had buy a Ring from another player when I wanted to upgrade one of them without losing the set bonus until I could complete a 4-piece Durnes set. That interdependence makes the economy work for all professions. If the gear wasn’t useful enough, only the consumables professions would be viable for endgame characters.

      I don’t think that simply having money should replace having to raid. But the problem with crafting as of right now is that once players get into 20-mans, there’s nothing left that they need that gear crafters can make. Newer 50s still need craftable gear but we want to make better stuff and have a market for it. As long as one can’t just buy one’s way into HK-equivalent gear without ever doing HK, crafting should be available for gear at or around that that level. Requiring an achievement to equip it is one way (that can easily be tied to the storyline, too). Recipe drops in high-end raids are pretty much a necessity now. Raid drops that provide a quest that needs a crafter (perhaps more than one) is another to get a good piece of gear is another. George’s idea of partial recipe drops that start questlines is one I hadn’t thought of that I really like. All of them can be implemented to improve crafting without allowing players to just skip raiding.

  • Insanefuzzball

    Very valid points, but i always thought that the restriction to the number of professions is a silly concept, granted it promotes player interaction but at the end of the day very few players would bother progress along all professions to end player interaction, but for a select few who dont really want to raid this would be a nice outlet. Another nice addtion would be to add crafting module to the mobile app! Ahh to end the losing Out on the cooldown items while away from the game for a few weeks.

  • George Lolas

     I would like to see a different crafting leveling system. For instance, you find a piece of a recipe that gives you a quest (which is a quest series). As you complete quests and talk to people (in and out of dungeons), you get more pieces of that recipe, along with (lets say) crafting experience. When you at last get the whole recipe, you are able to craft the item, but not the best version of it. As you level up crafting and you craft the “X” recipe, you get expertise with that kind of recipe and eventually, you will be able to craft an “excellent” version of the item with extra stats.

    I think that system (or a similar one) would be better to have, rather than buying tons of materials and put a crafting queue until you level up your profession. There is also room for exploration here. Random recipes can be found at random places, similar to artifact hunting.