Friday, December 01, 2006

On Freedom of Crafting

Why limit the crafting capabilities of players to pre-defined items? In times of yore, when Ultimas and Everquests dominated the market, one could understand the limitations imposed on items; but with ever-increasing computational power, there is no reason to stick to the pre-defined items, even in a highly-sensitive domain of massively multiplayer games. I say break the shackles of single-item limitations and let the players decide what they want! How?

First, a simple idea of crafting. Instead of making a Scimitar of parrying, why not let the players decide what parts they want? A scimitar-style blade, with large guard and short hilt would make a decent weapon for parrying. Let the player decide to have a longer hilt, and they can wield their scimitar like a bastard sword.

Before anyone complains of the inherent difficulty of creating a completely free item creation system, let us think of what is really needed. The crafting system itself would be simple enough; a series of select-next decisions, or perhaps a few drop-down menus would create the item, and the player would have information on the final item before accepting the creation. Displaying the item is just as easy, with different parts being displayed separately. A good amount of testing would be necessary, of course, to make sure that more complex creations still function properly, but with a decent foresight, problems shouldn't be overwhelming.

But why stop at a three-parts weapon? Let's make it 6 parts, then: Point, blade, edges, guard, hilt and pommel. The combination of the point, the shape of the blade, and the edges, would decide what kind of sword it is. The guard would define the defence capabilities (or lack thereof) of the sword. The hilt would define the grasping possibilities, while the pommel would be used for counter-balance, pommel attacks and, perhaps, a magical gem or two.

A similar system can be used for practically any creation. A shirt would be defined as the sleeves, shoulder, collar and finallly chest parts. Colors and styles can be used at the creator's discretion, to create the most elegant attires or the most frightful horrors.

Of course, not all types of blades, sleeves, shaft or frosting can be used at any time. One has first to discover or invent it, by gaining enough skill points in a skill, finding a competent master, or undergoing quest for lost knowledge or self-development (Hey, quests!). Earning skills and undergoing quests are the basics of MMORPGs, so I will assume that anyone who takes interest in these humble rantings already has thorough knowledge of those. Teaching, however, is a rarely-used concept, and one that I believe requires further development than this weblog post can offer to it.

1 comment:

Zubon said...

Going back to 2002 for a promised system that was never delivered, this sounds a lot like what you are talking about.

Yes, I want it, too. We might also look to the original Asheron's Call as a model of how that works for diverse items in dropped loot; apply the same variety to crafting.