There was a time in mmorpg games where a crafter was as revered just as much as a stout warrior or a fast-casting healer. The best items were only attainable by having players create those items and sell them to a player base that was hungry for them. Crafting was not some minor facet of a character or something to do just to earn a little bit of extra coin. Crafters in games like Star Wars Galaxies or Ultima Online were necessary for guilds to go on raids, and those players who worked as craftsmen focused on that activity almost exclusively. Other players knew who made the best gear on their particular server, and players who specialized in crafting could easily find themselves as rich as Midas within the game. However, the emphasis on crafting has fallen dramatically as games have focused on loot drops instead, but Crowfall is looking to change that. Let’s take a closer look at crafting in Crowfall.
The developers of Crowfall have released some information on crafting within the game, and it appears to be a mix of old and new ideas. While some players may not be happy with their decisions (weapon decay being the most obvious example), I think most players who are looking for a challenge are going to enjoy the system.
The first feature of Crowfall crafting that stands out is how important it is to the game. In most mmo games, the best gear is found by going on raids and defeating bosses. This does not appear to be the case in Crowfall. The best gear is made by crafters, and the developers have stated that they’re emphasizing on gamers being able to play as a crafter full time. This means that a player won’t focus on being a warrior or mage and then do some crafting in their spare time. A player who goes into crafting can focus on crafting as their main identity and goal within the game. Crafting will be vital within Crowfall as all equipment decays and eventually becomes useless. Crafters can repair items to a degree and extend their longevity, but the fact remains that all players will have to find new gear from time to time. This is a bold choice, and I think it’s a good one as it gives players an incentive to just play as a blacksmith or potion maker. A player does not have to craft at all and instead just go adventuring, but they will have to purchase items from a crafter to stay equipped. Freedom of choice in how you play a game is always a good thing.
Another interesting feature of Crowfall crafting is that recipes are fluid. A plate helm does not necessarily require three bars of iron, two hard leather straps, and one bar of steel to manufacture. Instead, recipes in Crowfall are more general. A plate helm in the game may require three metal, one cloth, and one leather to create. What particular components that the player chooses will determine the final product. This cuts down on the number of recipes within the game and allows for a lot more leeway. There are also additive elements that can be added to alter the item in a particular way. The components can also vary, such as ore being broken down into a pure metal or an alloy. Each particular type of ore adds something different to the final mix, so you can see that an item requiring three metals can lead to a lot of decisions on the part of the crafter on what combination of metals to actually use.
Another facet of Crowfall crafting is that many recipes will require components created by other crafting disciplines. An armor craftsman may need components from a leatherworker or tailor. This helps foster the player-generated economy that the online rpg is looking to create. The sense of community in online games has plummeted over the last decade, and crafting is a means to bring that sense of community back. Players will have to interact with each other to gain needed components, much less buying crafted gear.
A player’s skill in their crafting will determine how successful they are in crafting an item. I can foresee players seeking out particular crafters because it’s known that they make the best high-quality gear. The greater the skill, the less chance of a mishap happening. Even if an item is not made correctly, the player can salvage it and regain some crafting components. Crafters will have to be active in seeking out components as there are no vendors to buy stuff from. Again, I have to say that I really like this feature as it really encourages players to be active and take charge of the game’s economy.
Finally, there are a couple more features of Crowfall crafting that I find appealing. The first is that since all items decay, players may no longer be concerned with trying to get the best of everything. If they plan on assaulting an enemy keep (and knowing that dying puts a big hurt on items), they may opt for buying decent quality gear as it’ll do the job and not worry about having to be loaded down with epic or legendary items. There is also no auction house in the game. Players can set up shopkeeper Thralls to man buildings to sell items for the player, and it’s possible that a player may open up their personal Kingdom to act as a marketplace. Buying and selling an item becomes much more personal in this system rather than just using vendors or an auction house. Players will have to shop around to find the gear that they want.
In the end, Crowfall crafting is a mix of both the old and the new. Players will be able to once again just play as crafters like they did in older games like Star Wars Galaxies. Yet the game has put a lot of flexibility into the crafting system by allowing for a wide latitude of components to be used in the same slot. Crafting will be a vital part of the game as everything will eventually decay into nothingness, and it will be refreshing for players to seek out specific crafters to purchase the best gear possible. Not to mention that crafting will serve to bind the community even closer together. All in all, the crafting system in Crowfall sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun for the players to mess around with.