A road towards overhauled crafting system
Hope you're having a blast playing Ascension and all of it's content.
What's this about?
World of Warcraft offers a wide spectrum of crafting professions and while this is already a lot, it could be – in my humble opinion – much more.
The depth of a certain mechanic does not only rely on the wide range of possibilities. It is also based on things such as complexity and how customizable and versatile things can become in the hands of a player.
With that in mind, I present you the idea of upgradeable qualities of craftable items. In order to provide players with deeper, more meaningful experience during their leveling process as well as early endgame, it is – I believe – good to let crafters decide the quality of the crafted item.
Take a look at this picture. A simple Green Iron Helm obtainable through low level blacksmithing.
Now, what if our crafters could also choose the quality during the crafting process, sacrifice more resources and get the following outcome:
Or, with the highest craftsmanship devotion, what if one could provide himself and other players with this piece of equipment?
Bear in mind that these numbers are merely a framework. They're not representative as the process of implementation would require a thorough balancing effort. In case of Green Iron Helm I picked 35% stats bonus for blue item and 70% stats bonus for epic item. Such crafted items should NEVER make dungeons obsolete. Later, I will explain all the issues that this overhaul can lead to and I will also suggest how it should be dealt with.
How would it work specifically?
The idea behind such mechanic is to give players more customizable crafting along with higher materials requirements. It is not supposed to merely increase the base materials requirements such as Iron Bars or Thick Leathers. It is, in my opinion, necessary to force players to invest in other crafting-related items such as grinding stones (to polish an armor), gems (to increase armor's fidelity). These crafting materials should be obtainable through normal means such as mining, skinning and tailoring.
Green Iron Helm requires 12 Iron Bars, 1 Citrine and 1 Green Dye.
Upgraded (rare – blue) version could require 18 Iron Bars, 2 Citrines, 4 Heavy Grinding Stones, 1 Jade, 1 Green Dye.
Perfected (epic – purple) version could require 24 Iron Bars, 4 Citrines, 6 Heavy Grinding Stones, 2 Jades, 1 Green Dye
What items and professions should be affected by this?
In WoW there are few types of items.
– Consumables, which divide into edibles (food and potions) , applicables (enchants, weapon reinforcements, armor reinforcements) and usables (such as throwable dynamite and some buff stones from jewelcrafting).
In order to maintain balance, it is necessary to apply the overhaul only to Armors, Weapons, Jewelry and some Usables. Why in that particular way? Trinkets aren't craftable in a first place. Secondly, craftables such as enchants, weapon and armor reinforcements can be already applied on powerful items, so making these even stronger would throw off the game's balance. Same applies to Edibles. Items such as potions and various foods are already providing decent buffs. Making them stronger will cross the line of balance. That is then unacceptable.
However, Armors, Weapons and Jewelry are to be found everywhere. They come in different forms and qualities. Adding more rarities of the same item (like "Green Iron Helm") won't ruin the balance. It'll merely expand it further and let the players experience their game however they want. Same goes for Usables such as dynamite. Having an epic, 70% stronger than normally dynamite or crafted mine won't ruin the balance as there are in-game skills that can become much more dangerous than a simple explosive. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable to craft such things.
Professions affected by the overhaul
Professions NOT affected by the overhaul
– First Aid
How to execute such overhaul
Execution of such idea will be, I assume, a lot of complex work. Nevertheless, I believe it is entirely possible to achieve a satisfying for everybody. Considering how this overhaul looks like, it will require:
– Crafting interface modifications to let players choose the rarity of a crafted item along with a script that would dynamically change the visible information about material requirements.
– Technical implementation of the idea will require few things: either to manually input all the new items into Ascension's craftable item database or update the database with an algorithm. Firstly, such algorithm would have to cover upgraded item stat increase for every item (assuming that such value will be in flatlined percentages, making it something like +30% for blue and +60% for epic would seem like a quick way to solve the problem). Secondly, the algorithm would have to cover a few "ifs and thens" (implications) in order to make it recognize which item from the database should be duplicated once (such as craftable blue item – to make a duplicate for it's epic variant) and which should be duplicated twice (such as green item, in order to get it's blue and purple variants). By no means I am not a programmer, thus sadly I cannot provide our dear developers with any valuable coding at this or any point, unless you guys can teach me your craft.
Issues that will emerge
With all bigger overhauls, there are issues to be dealt with. Here are some issues that most likely will come in the process of implementation.
What to do with craftable purple items?
Make their retrograded versions – that is, blue and green.
Such overhaul can render dungeons useless, how to solve this?
Yes, it can. Especially if craftables quality will exceed the rarity of items that we can find in dungeons. As such, it is unacceptable. There are two ways of solving this problem. One would be to apply a naturally occurring threshold among items' rarity. Up until level level 20 (with some exceptions such as Assassin's Blade) there are no blue items. Up until level 40, there are no purple items. In order to balance things out properly, threshold should be applied accordingly to the naturally occuring item rarity threshold in WoW. Second way that doesn't exclude the first method is to create blue and epic variants of items that can be found in dungeons. With this in mind, balance isn't a problem anymore. People visit dungeons very often. They repeat them over and over again. Rewarding them with better items that can drop from time to time is a great form of gratification.
Wouldn't that mess up the economy?
On the contrary, it won't mess it up, it will nourish it. Higher demand for materials mixed with rewarding gear will drive the economy furthermore. That especially applies to early-game and mid-game economies which tend to stagnate after the realm's demand is fulfilled. Moreover, such overhaul is a perfect chance to include previously rarely used items into the game. Multitude of gems, grinding stones, semi-finished products from various different professions would finally become useful. With the given overhaul, the economy would boom and heal quickly as crafters would have to support themselves with the work of other crafters in order to achieve their crafting goals. Naturally, in order to provide a logical crafting materials requirements, an extensive effort is necessary. Nevertheless, if the project would be accepted, I am willing to provide Ascension's developers with my creativity in that field.
What about professions that aren't included in the overhaul?
They will be passively affected by the overhaul as well. There are no reasons not to include certain half-finished products or finished crafts of Alchemists, Enchanters and Herbalists into affected professions. Modified crafting materials' requirements would cover that up pretty nicely.
If implemented, wouldn't it make early-game and mid-game too easy?
Not necessarily. It all comes down to the fact of how well balanced this overhaul will be. If it will allow players to seamlessly aquire powerful gear then certainly it will create a major balancing issue. Nevertheless, if such overhaul will be an addition to already balanced game, then I see no issues whatsoever. Why? Because multiplying the possibilities that are already there won't ruin the balance. It will merely open up the game to players who prefer crafting and adventuring instead of hack and slashing through dungeons. WoW was always balanced around collecting blue items around level 25-30. Because of high experience rates, the speed of leveling is higher than gear aquiring process. By that logic, my overhaul won't mess things up, it'll revert them on the right position that was there all along.
I hope that this very long post didn't make you sleep. Anyway – tell me what you think about this idea.
Have a great time folks, good luck!