Monday, January 01, 2007

On Tradeskills

Trade skills are often tedious and boring in MMORPGs. Players are forced to wait for a progress bar to fill up, possibly more than once per item, while being unable to as much as move from their current position. This doesn't have to be the case. Various MMORPGs have implemented minigames, with usually a pretty good response from players. You only need to think of Puzzle Pirates to know one example of such successful minigame implementation.

Crafting minigames can have a variety of effects, from increasing the quality of the item to decreasing the time it takes to craft; in the latter case, the minigame could be optional, so players who don't want to play tetris with armor parts can skip it entirely.

If minigames are not implemented, there are other ways to make crafting less boring. One of these would be to make the actual crafting taking place while the player decides what to craft (via an elaborate crafting system, making deciding on the item to create longer). Players wouldn't lose time choosing what to make, since the actual crafting time is done while the item is choosen; waiting only happens if the choosing time is shorter than the crafting time.

Players short on materials could also decide to scrap them from old, no longer needed items. Smelting swords or disenchanting magical items could yield some of the materials from the crafted items, allowing old or unwanted items to be of some use besides vendor fodder.

Finally, finding buyers and sellers for items, especially items of such complexity as those in the suggested crafting system, can also be made easier, via a skill auctioning system; a player enters the marketplace and posts a want-ad for a certain item which they can't make themselves; a crafter comes later, sees the want-ad and decides to make the item. This is a lot more convenient for both the buyer and the seller, making the game more fun for both of them. Because players do not like to sit in front of their monitors, waiting for an item to be finished before starting the process over on the next item.

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