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Crispy™ Brainstorming an actually good crafting system

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Rabbity_Thing, Sep 25, 2021.

  1. Rabbity_Thing Cipher Wumao

    Rabbity_Thing
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    Help me out here, because try as I might, I can't formulate an idea. Few of my thoughts:
    • Crafting system should not necessitate horrible itemization, id est no massive amounts of containers containing miniscule amounts of junk to be collected for use in crafting. Constant need to scavenge all sorts of clutter breaks the continuity of the core gameplay loop, thus detracting from the fun.
    • At the same time crafting needs a limiting factor to the amount of stuff crafted and it needs to be something other than money.
    • Game should be balanced around the use of crafted gadgets and consumables in combat - it should be a valid means of defeating enemies or solving quests. Why bother with swordplay when you can just craft a grenade? Why go on a dangerous excursion into the mountains for a rare ingredient to make medicine when you can synthesize one on your own?
    • Crafting or modifying weapons should enable new tactical options and maneuvers, rather than being a simple boost to effectiveness.
    • Some specific unique or elite "recipes" be they for equipment or consumables, should be locked behind complex quests to learn recipe/gather rare ingredients to make acquiring new options on the battlefield feel like a deliberate effort with substantial reward. Such quests should be spaced out throughout the game.
    • No consumable or a gadget should be an outright superior version of another. The ones unlocked in the late game shouldn't just invalidate the others.
    Do share your thoughts.
     
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  2. Naharcito Novice

    Naharcito
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    I don't want to play blacksmith in a game designed primarily to be an adventurer going back and forth to different places doing my quests, tasks and combats. Crafting is big decline in rpg's, period.
     
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  3. Gregz Arcane

    Gregz
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    I shill this a lot, but there's a reason. I have never seen a better crafting system than the one in Median XL. Anyone with a serious interest in the OP's topic should play it through just to be exposed to the intricacy and elegance of this crafting system.
     
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  4. Thac0 Time Mage Patron

    Thac0
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    I have not seen a better one than the one in Rad Codex games, Voidspire Tactics, Alvora and Horizons Gate yet.
    Crafting needs only two things, an ore and a recipe. Recipes are medium rare loot, and do not get consumed. If you have an armor recipe you can craft bone, iron, steel, mythril, fire armor from it no problem. If you want to do something else with your ore just chuck your mythril dagger into a forge and it becomes mythil ore again, conversion is 1 to 1.
    Both gaining ore and recipes is very satisfying in this game, and every new piece of ore makes you rethink your build, as you can upgrade a weapon with it and then smelt in the old weapon to make a shield or an armor.
     
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  5. Blackshirt Learned

    Blackshirt
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    Fuck crafting all my homies hate crafting.

    If you absolutely got to include it for kickstarterbux, at least have it produce somewhat plausible results. Like, don't have me tape a large pipe to a rifle and somehow make an elephant gun. At the very least have me be an actual gunsmith, who needs to go to a gun shop with the proper equipment to make an elephant gun.
     
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  6. RNGsus True Neutral Patron

    RNGsus
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    Crafting is dumb.
     
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  7. cepheiden Educated

    cepheiden
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    What's the issue with crafting? Why do you dislike it?
     
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  8. d1nolore Learned

    d1nolore
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    MMO style crafting for RPGs is horrible. I liked Arcanum crafting, because it was simple, fun, and thematic. Not some life sink ones and zeros spreadsheet.
     
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  9. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    The best crafting system I've seen was, funnily enough, in Two Worlds. You simply merge low-level equipment together to get higher-level equipment. Like, take five 1st-level swords and make one 2nd-level sword out of them. Silly and unrealistic, but very efficient and solves the trash loot problem to boot.
     
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  10. Peachcurl Learned

    Peachcurl
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    Agreed. On the question of how to do that: My first solution would be to have an entirely different process for acquiring materials, instead of gathering them the same way as equipment via looting corpses and containers (C&C). C&C is still important for getting your weapons, armor and so on but NOT crafting materials. Instead, devs could take a hint from strategy games, i.e., materials are produced in 'buildings' that the player can gain control over.
     
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  11. Harthwain Cipher

    Harthwain
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    I am OK with simple crafting of useful items.

    In Conscript you can make various healing items (bandages and its better equivalents) and ammo (pistol ammo, rifle ammo, shotgun ammo, etc.) by combining the limited resources you find along the way. This way you can get what you need at the moment. Also, crafted items can share components required to make them, meaning you do have to think carefully and commit to your choices, because crafting item A will prevent you from crafting item B until you find the required materials (which is done by progression/exploriation).
     
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  12. Sabotin Scholar

    Sabotin
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    If you strip away the "crafting" sticker you're just describing a standard rpg model. Gaining xp, leveling up, learning/using new abilities, quest rewards,... In that case might as well reverse the roles and have equipment be the main character progression and have levelups just as a restricting mechanism.

    I generally don't like crafting in my games at all, it devalues other equipment too much. Having a Rusty Knife +23 you made be better than the Holy Radiant Sword of Deity Slaying you get at the end of a long-ass questline just doesn't it right with me, even if the effort required is the same. Renaming doesn't feel any better either, it's still just a random adventurer making something in his free time that rivals the lifetime work of a grandmater. If there is crafting I prefer it be minimalistic. Like in BG, find 3 pieces across the game and make a weapon. It doesn't clash with the rest of the game, there's no clutter to collect and you can still have some options by having multiple recipes using the same component.

    Consumables I often just ignore anyway, but I have to say when difficulty requires it and you have some (meta)knowledge it feels really good (ab)using them. Even the boring basic stat boost ones can bring fun if utilised properly. For example, if the game difficulty requires that you have a number of them active at all times it can be a natural way to encourage players to go back to town to restock but still allow them to grit their teeth and squeeze a few more areas out of their current expedition. A good use for cafting here would also be to just increases the quantity, e.g. there's 5 megapotions in the game but with crafting you can make 2 extra.

    The number of carried components and crafted items and even their power could be just limited by rarity. I don't think it would be a problem if there's "Bomb +1" that's strictly better than the standard, but you're only able to use them 10% as often. You could also just drop the whole idividual material things and have various groups (I think Witcher had everything collected turn into just a few reagents?). Rather than collecting random grasses you could just have your alchemy lab have a certain amount ready and have that replenished via money/quests/packs/other labs etc. Not to go on a tangent here but I have a bigger issue with save/load for farming purposes than metagaming choices, but this seems to be commonly accepted?

    Modifying things could be a good alternative/compromise, I think Deadfire took a pretty good crack at it with its equipment customisation/upgrades and their requirements.

    TL;DR Extensive crafting only fits if the game is based around it, otherwise let it be simple and unintrusive.
     
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  13. Cosmic Literate

    Cosmic
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    Crafting is never fun from my experience and I'd rather not see it in the games I play in any way, shape or form.
     
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  14. Alt Panda Scholar

    Alt Panda
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    Arcanum already had an actually good crafting system.
     
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  15. Darth Canoli Arcane

    Darth Canoli
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    Expeditions: Viking has a decent crafting system, Arcanum is even better with the downside of having too many ingredients to hoard but without going way too far like Underrail.

    Wizardry 8 was good enough, working like a gathering quest, once you get all the ingredients, a NPC does it for you, it's probably the best compromise for a low effort crafting system.

    KotC 2 crafting system isn't bad either, on top of ToEE/KotC system, it adds gems requirements to balance the system and removed the ability to craft wondrous items which was way too powerful.
     
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  16. ItsChon Resident Zoomer Patron

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    Underrail has the best RPG crafting I've ever seen. It literally hits the mark on every single one of the bulletpoints OP listed in some shape or form. The conversation is closed as far as I'm concerned. I've always disliked crafting and actively annoyed it in every RPG before Underrail, so I'm not someone that likes crafting on principle. Underrail's crafting is just so good and the core gameplay loop of gathering high quality components to finally make that extremely powerful weapon or set of armor with the specific modifications that unlock/cater to your build is sooo fucking satisfying. Finding that electronic or mechanical component at quality 150+ feels just as good as beating a difficult boss fight, clearing a hard dungeon, or completing a quest.
     
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  17. Silverfish Learned

    Silverfish
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    I'm a big proponent of Nioh's approach. Go to the blacksmith, break down the junk weapons and armor you acquired during the last mission into their basic components and use those to make something worthwhile. Easy, linear, and nothing built is so overwhelmingly powerful that you won't need to go back and do it all again later.
     
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  18. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    I'm not a fan of crafting, but Evil Islands made it fun.
     
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  19. fork Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    fork
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    Oxymoron right there if I ever heard one.

    Crafting is one of the worst mechanics ever conceived, ruining one game after another. It's a typical mechanic designed for the skinner box, in order to stretch out content and ration the dopamine hits. Why not place items in the world? It's not exciting to find fucking crafting materials—at all! Especially since we're so far down the rabbit hole that the mats are probably only good for crafting other mats, which can be refined, combined and then refined again, to build an oven, which needs coal, which then somewhere down the line might allow us to craft a sharp stick or some potion we'll never use. If we're lucky. Just as likely the mats will clutter our inventory and rot there for the remainder of the playthrough.

    No thanks.

    The most I'll tolerate is something like combining herbs in Resident Evil for example. Anything beyond that is shit design.
     
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  20. Generic-Giant-Spider Arcane

    Generic-Giant-Spider
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    It should be limited, only done by very few key NPCs with real skills and the shit you get is amazing and unique. It's not even a true system, it's just some big flex you get. "Yeah I killed that faggot ass red dragon, took his scales and made myself a fine piece of cuirass."
     
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  21. Butter Arcane

    Butter
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    Look at The Magic Candle. The player's party can do more than just kill things, but there's a tradeoff because crafting characters aren't going to help you much in combat. You recruit them so they can do jobs and earn money for you instead. That's where crafting has a home in RPGs.
     
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  22. Alex Arcane

    Alex
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    As far as I know, Arcanum and Underrail are the games that best used the crafting system for something. Arcanum for making them part of the setting and interesting and Underrail for making crafting actually give you interesting options of how to use your materials.

    Can you explain a bit what you mean? I've never played Median XL.
     
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  23. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Shoving crafting of complex items in every cRPG is stupid. It makes sense in post-apoc games for obvious reasons.
    It doesn't make sense in a lot of fantasy games because there are career blacksmiths, same deal with modern/futuristic settings.

    It makes more sense for an adventurer to be collecting supplies for a skilled artisan who can then expand their available stock of items. OTOH, crafting supplies is a more mundane thing that an adventurer should probably be knowledgeable in.
     
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  24. Bloodeyes Arcane

    Bloodeyes
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    I don't mind crafting in a survival style game. But it's annoying in an RPG. Just pay a blacksmith to make your weapons. Buy your potions from an alchemist. You're there to have an adventure, not roleplay as a commoner doing a menial job. You can have item customization by paying a blacksmith to make you custom items. But you shouldn't have to go collect them for him. I can also see that finding a rare monster part/metal and taking it to a smith to make you something could be cool. But just have it be one thing, not 20 of that thing. If it becomes the focus of gameplay it's just tedious.

    But yeah, say you kill a minotaur in a boss fight, you loot its horns and then the smith makes you a helm decorated with them, or a horn-handled dagger. That's fine. That would be a cool moment, provided the mechanic wasn't overused. Also you shouldn't be given a list of things to find by the smith to make item x. Just if you find one special item you can take it to him. Otherwise the smith should just make normal items and not mention anything exotic.
     
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  25. Gregz Arcane

    Gregz
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    Carefully examine the skill synergies, procs, and other powerful mods on each piece of equipment in this guide. Font in red:

    https://forum.median-xl.com/viewtopic.php?t=304

    Almost all of the values available to equipment are RNG determined across a certain range. Meaning that crafting an item with desirable stats becomes a very intricate minigame, depending on what you are trying to make. Many powerful builds rely heavily on these items for viability in certain advanced areas. You'll notice that some "Endgame gear" grants the abilities of other classes. This can synergize in very interesting ways.

    Also notice the unusual mods that boost surviveability but also accelerate DPS. Mods like:

    50% CtC lvl 1 Teleport when Struck
    10% CtC lvl 3 Blink when Struck
    1% CtC lvl 16 Cataclysm on Striking
    1% CtC lvl 13 MIRV when you Kill an Enemy
    Here is a crafting guide, just for the mercenary. Mouse over some of the gear links:

    https://forum.median-xl.com/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=3078&sid=dae4a94814c9710efe9fa355a575120d

     
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