Crafting sucks?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by V_Aero, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Instead of trying to tear down this wall like Mr Gorbachev, let me just say that the Epic Battle Fantasy series handles crafting (in the form of weapon upgrading) really well in terms of farming materials vs buying them outright. In 3-5 of the series, you can walk into the material shop and buy any of the crafting mats, but you can also find them out in the world, both hidden as treasures or as drops from foes.

    "But players will just do whichever is more efficient!"

    Only if they know exactly what drops from which foes or otherwise where everything is found. Buying things from a shop sure is convenient, and if I just need 1 more Widget, it's a lot faster to buy it from a shop than it is to venture across the world to find the foe I need to kill to get one to drop.
     
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  2. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Aesica : Haven't played it, though I think Epic Battle Fantasy 4 is on my wishlist so I might check it out. But that does sound like a decent compromise. Or maybe you can get the items a little earlier via drops then buy them later.

    For instance, say you need 3 Iron and a Jewel to make an Enchanted Sword. You could reward the player with items to make them sooner than they can buy Iron or a Jewel, but maybe at the next town for anyone who missed it they can buy it.

    That would also prevent them from having to look up a guide to know where to grind and get the items, which is always my issue with crafting and why I ignore it, as I don't want to have to resort to a guide to know where you hid the one spot I can get the rare item x I need to craft my sword. Worse still if it has a 1% drop chance and maybe I've already been there but I didn't know it only spawns some of the time.

    @Tai_MT : From what I gathered in your earlier posts it seems the main issue is when the item only has a low chance to spawn or drop that you need, and then it turns into a grindfest until you get it. And yes, I agree that is an issue too, especially as I don't know how the player would even know to grind there without a guide anyways.
     
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  3. Touchfuzzy

    Touchfuzzy Rantagonist Staff Member Lead Eagle

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    @Tai_MT

    No the problem is that you completely and utterly fail to actually read what I'm writing. Which is amazing considering that you expect me to read novels for all your replies. Be concise. There is no reason to turn every post into a dissertation.

    Also, I think you don't understand that your audience and my audience might be very different people. You say I misunderstand my audience, but you seem to have the idea that there are no people who play RPGs and like the mechanics. I know tons of SMT fans are huge fans of the mechanics, mechanical character growth, and strategy of the games. You seem to think the only audience in RPGs is people who play just like you.

    According to you, a game like Dragon Quest IX is a garbage game. Yet it was a critical and financial success. How do you reconcile your belief that RPG fans only want story/characters/exploration when Dragon Quest IX focuses on none of these really and is still a giant success both with critics and sales?

    Or how about Pokemon? No way Pokemon is surviving on Story/characters/Exploration cause that is not what the series is about. It's about catching em all, and building up crazy powerful monsters. How do you explain all those people who know about EV and IV and personality and how to manipulate them all if "RPG Fans care about story/characters/exploration".

    You seem to have these very dogmatic beliefs about what RPG fans want, and anything else outside of that is trash, but I've never found that to be the case. RPG Fans are not a monolithic entity, and what they like in the genre can vary wildly. Just check out the thread on what is more important, story or gameplay on the forums here. People answer very differently.

    EDIT: Also @Aesica, while I'm not a fan of selling all materials (because of my comment that people will only grind gold to do everything unless you put it high enough that no one will ever buy anything), I do think that you do need to solve the "where do I find x" thing. Dragon Quest XI does a good job in that you can go to your menu, open a database of materials you've come across, and it will tell you where to find it/what drops it that you've encountered.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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  4. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    I think there's a fair balance between "only farming gold for materials" and "the materials are too overpriced to buy." Like, if 15 minutes nets me 25 Magic Rocks as drops, but I can only buy 15 of them after 15 minutes of farming gold in the most lucrative place available, I'm going to choose to farm the item directly. If later, I can farm a spot that lets me buy 40 Magic Rocks after 15 minutes, then...that's actually fine. Just like I'm earning more gold to buy outdated weapons, I'm now able to buy an outdated crafting material more easily later in the game.

    Edit:

    Try EBF5 instead if you can. It adds a lot of really cool things, including a lack of MP in a very balanced way. It kind of does what you mentioned about earlier as drops, later as buyable.

    I should add that the one thing it does that I really don't care for is it uses captured monsters as materials for certain things. This would be fine normally, but you can only ever have one of a certain monster (as in, 1 slime) so once you use it to upgrade something, you have to track down where you caught it and bag another one.
     
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  5. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @bgillisp The problem is that nearly every crafting system is like this. You need a guide to know which enemies drop what, where specific materials drop from, etcetera. On top of which, the sheer amount of crafting resources you need to produce an item for every member of your party means you are engaging in a lot of "busywork" just to keep up with the stat curve of the game you're playing.

    So, you either design a crafting system in which it is absolutely vital you use it in order to keep up with the stats of the monsters... or you design a crafting in which it is so unnecessary to use, that it becomes a tumor on your game and you've wasted a lot of dev hours to design something nobody is going to use.

    I simply propose a myriad of ways to fix this issue. The issue of crafting systems being overbearing on players or absolutely useless to players. Ways to have a crafting system reach a "middle ground". Where it is something useful, but not necessary. Where players who don't enjoy the grind, can still participate. Players who don't enjoy rote memorization of which monster drops what, can still participate. Turning the system of crafting into one of "exploration" rather than "necessary accumulation of power to progress".

    I, personally, think Crafting Systems would be better received that way and would be less hated.

    @Touchfuzzy

    I don't like writing a long post any more than most people enjoy reading them. Alas, when people aren't paying attention, or ask 3 dozen questions (like you did with the last post I replied to, which forced me to reply to every single random errant thought you had in your head), I have to make a lengthy reply.

    Okay, from now on, to refute anything you've said... I'll refer you to my first post. Because it's the one I've been using to refute you since we started talking. I've simply had to keep making those explanations lengthier and lengthier because you keep failing to understand what I'm saying.

    Or would you just prefer I write, "You're wrong."? I can be as concise or as verbose as I need to be. Every time you seem to need more explanation of what I'm talking about, you get a longer post. Which means, if you just paid attention to what I was saying to begin with, my posts to you would've been pretty short, 'eh?

    For that matter, I do not expect you to read anything I write. I only expect you to read what I wrote if you reply to it. If you reply to me, I expect you to have read what I wrote. At any time, you are free to no longer reply to me and not have to read what I wrote. Nobody forces you to read what I write. Nobody forces you to reply to me. It is very simple to say to yourself, "I do not want to read this, so I won't, and I won't reply since I didn't read it".

    That's the mature thing to do.

    If you don't want to read it, don't reply to it. This is the basic respect I afford anyone I reply to on these forums, and is the only basic respect I expect of anyone else on these forums. I do not get offended by being ignored.

    And yes, I read your entire post. Often about a dozen times as I replied to it. I probably know your posts better than you do at this point. Don't project yourself onto me, please. Thank you.

    I'm not talking about my audience and your audience. I'm talking about the audience who picks up and plays RPG's. What they are typically playing an RPG for.

    I have likewise never said that there are "no people who play an RPG for the mechanics". I said that that number is pretty low and isn't typically the reason an RPG is picked up. This is something you'd know if you'd read my post. Or any of the 3 posts I mentioned it in.

    You misunderstand the audience who picks up RPG's and plays them. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I also have no idea what "SMT" is, so please explain the acronym to me.

    I would also like to meet the "tons of fans". Who are they? How many? Can I get a ratio? How many do you know personally? Are they from reviews of the games? What kind of data are we talking about here?

    It's the internet, anyone can claim anything here. If we're going to dispute data, I prefer we have a starting point to work from on what is considered "acceptable" and where I should be looking to see the same results you're reporting.

    I know nothing about Dragon Quest IX as I've never played it. In fact, I haven't played a Dragon Quest since the first one on NES. Never purchased a single one.

    I don't even believe I ever said it was a garbage game. I think my wording was, "Sounds like terrible game design that's easily fixed. Shouldn't we strive to fix bad game design?" in response to your complaint about the endgame.

    Likewise, a game can be good despite its flaws. It does happen. Doesn't mean it does everything 100% good. Earthbound. Chrono Trigger. Final Fantasy 7. Pick a game, and I bet we could find a dozen or more flaws that if fixed, would make the game even better than it is. Yet... critical successes. Does that mean we shouldn't ever work on getting rid of bad game design? Because games can succeed despite it?

    Destiny was a critical success. Destiny 2 was as well. But, it's got a ton of bad game design and receives a ton of criticism and hate.

    Do sales automatically translate to "good game"? I guess I'm not sure what metric you want to use here. Popular things can be terrible. People can spend a lot of money on badly designed things.

    As for Dragon Quest IX being really popular with critics and sales... I don't know what to tell you. I haven't picked up one of those games since the first one. I continue to not pick them up because there is practically no advertising for them, and what advertising does exist talks nothing about the story, the characters, or exploration. I'm not the only one who likely thinks this way. Why does the game not do better than it already does? Why is it not played by more people than it already is?

    How much of the market for RPG players is it even capturing?

    I'm not even sure of its actual popularity since I could tell you more about the Persona series than I could about Dragon Quest. I've actually played a Dragon Quest game, and I've never played a Persona game.

    What sort of metric are we using here?

    Pokemon isn't surviving on those things, no, but yet it has them. Every game has a story. Cutscenes. Characters that are recurring. Exploration is actually exceptionally prominent as it ties into the main mechanics of "catching them all". The Pokemon themselves are actually characters, so the game actually revolves around characters.

    But, the primary reason people play Pokemon these days is due to the fact that it uses "Collect-A-Thon" mechanics. It feeds into the same desires people have for collecting bottle caps, stamps, hot wheels cars, etcetera.

    Though, if we're honest, the first two gens of games focused pretty heavily on story, characters, and exploration. Moreso than the newer games like Sun and Moon.

    Probably why there's been a fairly large outcry in the series for a return to the way Rivals used to be in the series. Wanting them to be more like Gary and the criminal thief guy instead of like Hau and what's-her-name.

    How do I explain the EV/IV thing? Simple... The game has a competitive element. Do you think people would care about that stuff if there were no multiplayer in the game? Seriously? No, they wouldn't. Pull multiplayer out of Pokemon and all the junk about the battle mechanics fades away. Basically, Pokemon is tapping into another market with these features. The market that doesn't care about Story, Characters, Exploration, or "collecting them all". It's the same market of people who play fighting games or Call of Duty. People just looking to be competitive with each other and get the rush of winning against another person.

    Frankly, it's amazing one genre can tap into the market of another genre like that. Most of the time, doing something like that results in a feature falling absolutely flat or a game getting panned. It's an interesting case study that probably deserves its own topic.

    But, even then... These people aren't the majority of the people who buy and play Pokemon anyway. If you compare sales of the games compared to how many users there are battling online... or even how many users frequent websites like Smogon… You're looking at about 5% of the playerbase.

    The vast majority of players don't even engage in the "Battle Tower" mechanics or ever go online to play against other people. They play the main game, collect their Pokemon, then put the game away until the next iteration.

    Oh? What are those dogmatic beliefs? Tell me, see a lot of Crossover between Call of Duty and Final Fantasy players? Candy Crush and Dragon Quest players? StarCraft and Persona? We get a lot of people buying both sets of games from opposite ends of the spectrum?

    No, I'm telling you that when people buy a specific genre of game, they are doing it for the main mechanics and expectations of that genre. People do not buy Call of Duty to stealth for 90% of the game. Do you understand what I'm saying yet?

    People, by and large, are not buying an RPG to engage in combat and forget about everything else. Why do you think Final Fantasy 13 failed so hard? A game with convoluted story, unlikeable characters, and a complete lack of exploration? But, it had a "deep" combat system! Go look at the reviews for that game sometime. You'll see a lot of complaints about the 3 core features of RPG. Story. Characters. Exploration.

    As for your comment about the topic on story vs gameplay...

    I think you're forgetting something quite crucial.

    Not all of us on this website are designing RPG's. There's a good portion of us who also design horror games. Or strategy games. Or Dungeon Crawlers. We're not all RPG Fans. We're not all using the engines to design RPG's, despite the product being called "RPG Maker". It amazes me that you can miss something so important and interesting about our community here.

    In short, the topic is asked to people who don't just make RPG's. It's asked of people who make all sorts of games. So, it uh... tends to skew the results a bit.

    But, we also have to take into consideration that some of us also have skewed points of view based upon our own abilities. Those who have issues writing a story or characters tend to focus more on gameplay elements. Thus, they would tend to think that gameplay is better than a story, if they can execute it well. Those of us who can execute a story and characters well, but who can't do gameplay worth a crap... would tend to think that story and characters are far more important than any gameplay mechanic ever would be, especially if we can execute it well.

    I think if you want to make that comparison, you should probably go to a place where people don't design games and where we're talking only to people who are playing RPG's.

    Personally, I think both are important and neither is more important than the other. After all, my argument in this thread has been on improving a gameplay element, and if you refuse to, leaving it out of your game entirely to improve the quality of your game.

    As for RPG fans... That's all they are. Fans of RPG's. It's not difficult to figure out why they enjoy an RPG. Or why they pick one up. One need only listen to criticism of RPG's across the spectrum. Or praise of them. Reading what's there and reading what isn't there. It isn't some "monolithic entity". It is a group of people who enjoy a specific style of game, and thus are looking for those core mechanics in those games.

    I claim only to have listened to those people.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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  6. Touchfuzzy

    Touchfuzzy Rantagonist Staff Member Lead Eagle

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    Why do you think RPG fans are a monolithic group that all like one style of game?

    Also, if you are saying crafting is bad because you believe that it is mostly disliked by RPG fans, how can you then turn around and state that you can't use that same metric to say "quality by populism" is incorrect when addressing DQIX. (Also note, that I'm talking about two different games DQXI is much more story and character based, DQIX on the other hand is very much mechanics based. Hell the majority of the endgame is massive grinding of exp/gear/crafting in order to take on legacy bosses, and that game did VERY well, and lots of people report putting 300-500 hours into it, which is impossible for story only playthroughs.)

    And hell, even within the DQ community, opinion on IX, is pretty split. Everyone likes it, but some people think it is a weaker entry in the series, while others think it is the best (I think it is top tier, along with IV, V, and XI).

    And if you really think Pokemon has EVER had anything more than a mediocre excuse plot you are deluding yourself. The first games plot is as lame as every other plot they've ever had. It's just never mattered because no one plays Pokemon for the story.

    Also, there are huge mechanics guides for tons of games that aren't competitive. I can tell you tons of stuff about the way FFT's combat mechanics work for instance.

    You again, are SO CERTAIN that you know exactly what RPG Fans want out of a game, as though they are monolithic, homogeneous entity.

    Why do some people prefer Final Fantasy and some prefer Dragon Quest? Why do some like neither but love SMT? (also for someone who seems think they know so much about what RPG fans want and don't want, its amazing you don't know the common abbreviation for Shin Megami Tensei).

    Even within the RPG community, tastes vary wildly.

    You can't make the statement that RPG fans care about X, Y, Z and don't care about A, B, C, because that isn't how any fan community works. If it was, then fandom drama wouldn't exist, and man have I got news for you...

    Also, if you don't love making long posts, STOP. It takes way less words to say what you want than you are taking.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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  7. Dreadshadow

    Dreadshadow Lv 38 Tech Magician Moderator

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    [​IMG]
    TL; DR;

    At least, use Spoiler button?
    There are people using mobile devices.
     
    #67
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  8. Touchfuzzy

    Touchfuzzy Rantagonist Staff Member Lead Eagle

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    And on to your actual points, the whole "Every crafting is like this" isn't even true. DQXI has near perfect crafting in a game.

    Most materials are purchasable, but not all of them, and not all of them are purchasable as soon as you can necessarily use them. The ones that are not are ones that are for very high end pieces of equipment, and the idea that you need to work for the best stuff in the game is kind of a given imo. (And one material that you can't buy is a story deal for the story crafting you need to do for the sword of light, which is needed for the plot of the game, it makes you have to go to a certain place to get it for the story).

    You almost never have to HUNT for where a material is. Most materials are harvestable on the world map, and you should be revealing the nodes as you play through the game as they are very clearly visible on the map as you walk through. Once you've harvested from a node once, it is labeled on the map for the rest of the game as what that node is. Every monster you fight is put in the beastiary and includes what it can possibly drop. Also the game includes an item catalog where you can go in, highlight what material you need and it will tell you which maps it can be harvested on, and what monsters drop it. Unless you skipped almost every monster and skipped examining all the nodes, usually finding a material you want is as easy as going into your menu and checking how to get it.

    Farming from monsters does mean relying on drop rates... but it doesn't really. Because Steal in Dragon Quest XI uses the same tables as the drop tables, so you can steal spam to get the items instead (And get one from a drop possibly, and there is a pep power that lets you get guaranteed drops but that can't be used as often). It is probably a bit goofy that you can steal bat wings off bats (how are they still flying), but it makes getting materials much faster than relying on drops alone.

    And then on to actual crafting: Forging isn't just "combine items poof item" it has a minigame associated with it. So I'll explain let's look at a graphic of the minigame.

    DRAGON-QUEST-XI_-Echoes-of-an-Elusive-Age_20180823185433.jpg

    So here is someone who has pretty much finished up a really good job on a whip. See the bars. They all start empty. You have Focus (he is out of focus, notice the 0/0), and with focus you can use Bash (which hits one spot a certain amount). Based on what the temp is, it raises higher or lower (high temp is higher), and there is a bit of variance as well. You can also crit. A crit does double the amount of fill on the bar, but it will stop on the Gold Diamond that means that part is perfect. There are also flourishes, that you learn as you level. They cost varying amounts of focus and do other things. Some will let you hit two parts simultaneously. Some will let you hit one spot double hard. Or one spot half as strong. Some will even raise or lower the temperature. Temperature naturally goes down every time you use a Bash or Flourish.

    The goal is to get everything as close to the gold diamond perfect as possible, failing that you want to get within the green part of the bar.

    Based on how good you do it, your item will be the item +0 - +3 and you receive some perfection pearls. Didn't get the max +3? You can use perfection pearls to reforge the piece of equipment (you can also use these on bought or found equipment), and repeat the minigame to try again. The closer you already are to +3 the easier it gets. So a +0 item you have to get more perfect on the minigame to get a +3 than a +2 item. So you can always slowly get it up there if you get halfway decent at the minigame. Also, Perfection Pearls are buyable about a 3rd into the game, so you don't have to grind them making stuff.

    Recipes have to be found, so there is no "guess stuff and put it in the pot" which is usually either a time waster or a "look it up in the guide" situation.

    As I said, I think this style fixes almost every issue you have:

    1. It is really only necessary to do to progress a few times in the game, you could beat the game without doing it at all, and honestly I only bothered when I was hitting bosses that were getting a bit too hard and at endgame when I was working on endgame equipment outside of just opening it occasionally to see what I can make.
    2. It isn't an endless grindfest to do.
    3. Making stuff is actually a fun puzzle game, and it gets pretty complex later on when certain ones start doing stuff like healing certain spots halfway through.
    4. It not only makes new equipment, it lets you improve bought equipment.
    5. In most cases you can buy the materials, and in those cases you can't its high end equipment that usually requires going to high end dungeons to harvest mats, so it isn't a waste of time.
    6. Unless you are avoiding ever checking nodes and avoiding all enemies, you will never have the "where do I get that?" situation.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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  9. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @Touchfuzzy

    I'm going to ignore your first post here. It's largely a personal attack against me as I read it and has little relevance to the topic at hand. It also uses personal subjective opinion as a basis for fact (for example, I enjoy the story of Gen 1 and Gen 2 of Pokémon, others do not, you find it lame, thus nobody plays Pokémon for the story! We could argue that all day to no objective and tangible conclusion).

    I will ignore it save for one thing, which you misunderstand. I am not saying crafting is bad because lots of people don't like it. I'm saying "crafting is bad, and here are all the reasons it is". Namely, objective measures for why it is. Some of those objective measures have been mirrored by other users. Which means, it is likely a persistent problem.

    As for your crafting system example...

    Yeah, sounds pretty robust. Pretty interactive for those that want it. It doesn't quite tackle all the problems I have with a crafting system in general, though it does make some pretty good strides to mitigate those issues.

    But, again, I've only been for advocating mitigating the issues with crafting if you intend to put it into your game... and if you don't intend to fix the obvious and glaring issues with a crafting system... don't bother putting it into your game, 'cause it's going to be terrible, nobody will like it, nobody will use it, and your game will probably get some flak for it. There's a reason my criticisms come with possible solutions.

    Namely, if you're going to include a crafting system... You need to do it WELL and not like all the most common ones on the market. You need to fix issues these systems have. Need to make it as minimally grind-tastic as possible and as engaging as possible.

    I do not pretend to hold all the best solutions to any given problem. If someone has a better solution, I'd rather theirs be used than mine.

    I, personally, however, would not use the crafting system in the Dragon Quest game. To me, it looks and feels like it'd be a lot of "Guide-Dang-It!" and "Busywork". I'd honestly just probably pull up a Walkthrough to tell me exactly how to get the 100% version of the endgame equipment and not worry about it (especially since given the system involved, there is going to be a 100% optimal way to crafting every single item in the game).

    To me, it doesn't look like that much fun. But, maybe that's personal preference. The material gathering has a lot of nice conveniences, but I still wouldn't want to be dinking around gaining a bunch of levels for crafting materials. I wouldn't also want a system in a game that can be 100% ignored, as it means there's the possibility that creating such a system was an entire waste of time. A waste of dev time that could've been spent somewhere else. Even in your personal opinion on the crafting system that you said you enjoyed... You used it at the end of the game. Which means, there was likely little difference to whether or not you actually crafted the items or whether or not you simply got the items at the end of a dungeon or quest or as a monster drop.

    Anyway, it sounds like the game addresses a fair bit of concerns and works towards eliminating grind. It's pretty commendable. It just doesn't really solve many of my personal issues with crafting (it mitigates like... one? solves none of the rest?) and so I wouldn't enjoy it and would personally think it a waste of time. Whether other players would or not... Well, I can't speak for them.

    In any case, it's likely easier just to "agree to disagree" since you seem to be getting fairly heated with me. You're free to design your game the way you want. I'm free to dislike games with crafting systems and be unwilling to forgive the pitfalls those systems fall into.
    ---
    For everyone else, who had complained about the lengthy post I made yesterday... I added a TL;DR for you. Should save everyone some time. Especially since most of the post is only relevant to a single user and not to the topic at large.

    I hope it helps. :D
     
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  10. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Tai_MT : I've seen some that don't require a guide, though usually that requires both of the following to occur to prevent that.

    1: Make crafting items drop at 100% rate every time. That way there is no RNG to whether or not you get the item, and you don't end up with what happened to me in Atelier Escha where I had a 0% drop date for an item I needed after an entire RL day or trying to grind it.

    2: Tell the player in something they can reference in game what drops this item, and where they can find the item that drops it. So if you tell me that the Gold Slime drops the ore I need, you should tell me where the Gold Slime is too. And it better not be a really rare monster either, else we are back to problem #1 here.

    At least that is what I see.

    Now I'm curious too....how would you make a crafting system, if you were to add one to your game?
     
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  11. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Think of it as good wrist exercise in a family-friendly sort of way. :D
     
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  12. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    While, I'm not sure it would be very effective, since I don't work with Crafting Systems all that much... and a lot of what I do is "buck the trend" for the sake of bucking it... What I would do is probably along these lines:

    1. Players have a "Crafting Level". This level determines the strength of the "special abilities" on each crafted item. Raising the crafting level would be through two methods. The first... crafting stuff. I'd probably implement a formula that tied in "amount of items needed to craft" as well as "rarity of items included in the craft" to give you XP. If you made an Iron Sword and an Iron Lance, and used the exact same ingredients, you'd get the same XP. The second method to gaining Crafting levels is that if you were under a certain threshold, you'd automatically gain those levels. I'd probably settle on one fourth of your current level. I'd probably cap it at Level 50, with each Level giving a specific multiplier bonus for each type of "special ability". Like say, every four levels, you'd get 1% more "Critical Hit Rate" while you could get +1 Defense on any crafted weapon for every 2 levels. Something like that. I'd have to make a big Excel Spreadsheet for the abilities and how those would look during crafting.

    2. I'd split the crafting interface into probably three sections: "Major Material, Minor Material, Bond". The "Major Material" would be what something is made of. Say... the Sword Blade would be the "Major Material", while the "Minor Material" would be the hilt of the sword. The "Bond" would just be how you stick the two materials together. Rivets, magic, leather bindings, whatever. Each crafting material could fit into one or multiple slots. You could make a completely Iron Sword... Iron Major Material, Iron Minor Material, Iron Bonding. However, you would not be able to make a "Leather Sword" as Leather couldn't be used as the "Major Material" on a weapon. Likewise, depending on where you put specific materials, you would get the "special abilities". Say... Magic Steel as a Major Material would give an MP Stealing Ability or something. A chance to steal MP. Making "Magic Steel" the "Bond" might instead grant a bonus to Magic Attack.

    3. Drop Rates on materials would never be less than 25%. There would be some resources that could be gathered as "bonus" resources out in the world as well. These wouldn't replenish, but would include things like herbs for potions, iron ore, etcetera. Akin to getting them from a treasure chest. Now, to avoid the "Grind" that this might invite in areas where I might have 6 or more different monsters to fight, I would also include a vendor in the nearby town who would sell all the crafting materials nearby (they wouldn't sell old materials or materials you could not yet obtain). I'd set the prices so that they would be "about" even with the drop rates. So, let's say there are 4 monsters in an area and they all have a 50% drop Rate. Monster A drops 5 gold, Monster B drops 8 Gold, Monster C drops 3 Gold, and Monster D drops 10 Gold. A drop from Monster A might cost 20 Gold. A drop from Monster B might cost 24 Gold. A drop from Monster C might cost 12 Gold. A drop from Monster D might cost 40 Gold. In this way, even if you have a run of bad luck, each kill gives you money you can put towards buying the ingredients you need/want.

    I would probably settle on each monster having a 100% drop on one material and then a variable drop rate on another material.

    Likewise, "Major Cities" would sell all crafting materials up to that point in the game, but not beyond it. Probably at a 10-15% markup.

    I'd have to run playtests to get the right balance on it, depending on what content is in the game, but I think that's a good starting point.

    4. Players would need to gather "Blueprints" to craft items. Once they had a "Short Sword" Blueprint, they could craft it all day long, every day. But, it's stats will be dependent on what items are used in it, as well as what your crafting level is. I'd probably award blueprints for boss kills... certain treasure chests... maybe sell some in shops... Even "Specialty" Equipment would be as a Blueprint. Want a "Fire Sword"? There's a Blueprint. You'll always craft a "Fire Sword" with it, but what materials you use to make it, determine its abilities.

    5. Players could always buy "baseline" weapons. You can buy a regular sword. It has no bonuses, just a flat attack power. Granted, these would be immediate power boons. Far better in terms of raw Attack or Defense or Magic Attack or whatever than a crafted item. Probably about a 30% bonus to those stats. However, depending on what you drop into crafting your own Sword, the extra abilities could be far greater. It would even be possible to craft a sword with far greater attack power than the 30% bonus the baseline equipment has, by using only a single material in a single slot. But, in this way, Crafting would be a means to Specialize your gameplay. A way to attain "side-grades", essentially.

    6. The tutorial would give the player two different sets of armor blueprints and 6 different weapon blueprints. It would also give the player roughly enough materials to craft two of each item. However, the player would be free to experiment with the materials given, to see how they work and interact on each piece of equipment. I'm thinking somewhere along the lines of 5 materials at about 35 pieces each. All baseline stuff. The player could likely use it all to gain the first 5 levels in crafting if they wanted to. Or, maybe 8 levels. Probably depends on length of game. But, at least if they "level up", they can directly see the impact each material has as you gain level and their bonuses get larger.

    7. Crafted items would sell for very little to avoid "Money Bloat". Namely, using a ton of free resources to craft things, and then sell them, and then buy more crafting materials to create infinite money gain. I'd likely create some kind of "in universe" explanation.

    8. Crafted consumables would work the same as anything else. Major Component, Minor Component, Reactant. The difference being that the player doesn't need to gather a "reactant", they would just choose the method based on what is available in a crafting station. Heat, Alchemical, Chemical, Magical, and maybe a fifth if I thought of one. The Reactant would simply control what the baseline consumable does. Say, if you use Alchemical Reactants, you always create Poisons. If you use Magical Reactants, you always create Healing Items. If you use Chemical Reactants, you create consumables that remove states or debuffs from you. If you use Heat Reactants, you always create positive states or buffs.

    9. I'd also likely include some sort of "Mini-Game" for the procurement of Materials. I don't mean like traditional RPGs. I mean, I'd probably have a colosseum or "Traveling Gambler's Association" where the player could pay for procurement of specific monsters (but not bosses... and who cares about bosses as they don't drop any unique Mats, only large chunks of other farmable mats). The fights would be against large groups of the enemy "procured" to guarantee at least one drop (I'd probably have it hover between 6 and 8 of the same enemy) and would cost a "one time payment". However, the Mini-game portion of it would be the "gambling". The player could choose to engage in it or not. But, it would work like this: You are given a list of "Challenges" you could undertake. You could undertake only one per battle. But, should you succeed in completing that challenge, you get whatever reward would be on it.

    As an example, it might look like this:
    Fight Naked - If all party members have nothing equipped on them and win the fight without a single party member going down, all obtained drops are tripled.
    No Healing - If no party member is healed during combat, Rare Material Drops are doubled.
    Penalty Ring - If all members of the party wear a ring that reduces all stats by 75%, you are guaranteed 50 of the basic drop and 25 of the rare drop, should you survive.
    Unhealthy - All party members are given every bad state in the game. If they win combat, they obtain 3x Experience Points.

    I would also allow players to pay exorbitant amounts of cash for "permanent" monsters to fight. The standard fights would be "pay each time". The "permanent" ones would be, you pay a one time fee (usually about 20x the cost of fighting a standard time) and you are given a list of options you can choose from to fight for free each time after that. HOWEVER! The player could not "place bets" in fights with the "Permanent" enemies. They'd be stuck with whatever the natural drop rates are for those enemies and no way to improve it.

    Maybe I'd put some crafting recipes behind it or something as well. Or a unique material that adds unique things to your items.

    Probably seems a strange idea coming from me, considering that I hate mini-games in RPG's... But, I think it'd be an interesting "aside" that ties in to the Crafting System itself.
    ------------------------------
    Anyway, that's likely how I'd put a Crafting System together. I'd probably have something like 400 materials in total. Maybe less, depending on game length and how broken the "Betting" was.

    I'd probably also throw in a Quest where the player can obtain "Legendary Weapons" and use them to beat the big bad... Or they could take them to a Legendary Crafter of some sort and get them broken down, examined, studied, and turned into "Blueprints" so you could craft them yourself, with whatever materials you had on hand.

    Just my ideas. Probably require actually creating and running some playtests to get the right "mixed and matched" amount of things. A little bit of balancing. I'm not sure they'd work 100% since they're sort of... ideas that I've not really seen people implement together.

    But, that's just the way I think. I go to fix one thing and I end up rewriting pretty much anything associated with it in order to make it work and make it unique.
     
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  13. Touchfuzzy

    Touchfuzzy Rantagonist Staff Member Lead Eagle

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    I don't get in any way how the DQXI crafting system would feel like a guide dang it? You never needed to use a guide to find the materials, recipes were all found in world, and the mini game is never that complicated, you may get surprised by a special ability of a recipe a couple of times, but most of the time it is obvious. Also there isn't a perfect method, because crits can throw off the pattern you are going to use, so you have to learn to adapt as you go. It's a neat efficiency exercise.

    Also, yes, you can mostly ignore it, sort of. When I say ignore it I mean ignore GRINDING with it. Like, just mostly just check to see what you can make with materials you've found naturally rather than actively attempting to use the system. In addition, when I say it is optional, I mean, "You can always just level some instead" when you run into roadblocks, while crafting will still be the faster option, which is why I generally used it when I hit roadblocks.

    And if you are playing on the "Stronger Monsters" Dragovian Mode option, you probably need to use it a hell of a lot more. But if you are playing on hard mode, you should probably expect to have to use everything in the game. If you are the type to only care about story/characters/exploration, you probably aren't the person turning the difficulty up.

    I just think also that your problem in how you think of games is in thinking that there aren't subgroups within genres' fans. RPG fans are pretty diverse. I think you are missing a lot of things that RPG fans like. I think that "A sense of accomplishment" is a big motivator in RPG fans in general, and that motivator being fairly common in video game fans as a whole is why the rpg progression mechanics are becoming incredibly pervasive outside the genre.
     
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  14. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @Touchfuzzy Maybe you just didn't explain it right, then?

    I dunno, it sounds like a "Guide-Dang-It" activity to me. Perhaps not finding the items, but the crafting mini-game certainly sounds like it is. I'd probably just skip as much of the "extraneous" portions of that as possible. I'd grab a guide, let the guide tell me what to do, and then just do that. "What is the optimal order to do this particularly strong item in?".

    Oh, I know there are "subgroups" within a genre. The problem is, they're typically niche. There's a subgroup of RPG players who want zero combat in their game altogether. Do we cater to that niche? I mean... we could if we wanted to. But... when designing a video game, and they're a small sub-division of the overall potential market... Do you really want to cater to a single sub-division?

    Likewise, even the sub-division expects specific things from the genre anyway. They just want other stuff tacked onto it for their own personal preferences.

    In general (because all we can really ever speak on is generalities. We cannot know every persons' opinion and preferences in the entire world, we can only use the information most commonly observed while taking note of outliers and exceptions), those who choose to play an RPG are looking for the 3 Core Tenants I spoke of. You can put other stuff on top of those things, sure. But, hindering those three things is usually a "do it at your own peril" sort of affair. Thus, it is exceptionally important that when you are designing a game, you know the expectations of the genre you are designing in.

    Otherwise, you get the sort of situation that happened with X-Com 2. Namely, pretty much everyone who enjoyed X-Com or Turn-Based Strategy games literally ripped the timers out of the entire game for the missions.

    Because the people who were designing X-Com 2 didn't understand what genre they were making their game in.

    EDIT: Sorry, I was going to speak on this, but I forgot. I think the whole "A Sense of Accomplishment" thing translates across all games. It tends to translate across all of life. It's sort of built into the human condition. It isn't really exclusive to RPG's.

    As for Progression Mechanics? Yeah, sure. They're in a lot of stuff now. Probably because of the psychological thing that "numbers getting bigger feels good" and "the higher my numbers, the more accomplished I feel". It's a simple system that translates pretty effectively across most genres.
     
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  15. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Tai_MT : Again with the assumptions. I was fine with the timer, it just added some urgency to the missions as I couldn't turtle or take 50,000 turns now. And most who play those games probably played Jagged alliance 2 too where if you take too long enemy reinforcements can arrive and make it worse. So in an indirect way there was a timer in that game too. Or the final mission if you take too long the boss escapes and you got to chase her down. I don't remember anyone getting upset at that timer when the game came out and I was on forums back then too.

    And there are other turn based games with timers too. Some don't come out and say it, but it is there in many. Sometimes it is more enemies arrive if you take too long. Sometimes it is even Game Over (in the harshest case).

    Also by your reasoning Bravely Default or Octopath Traveler should have never been made, as they catered to a niche.
     
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  16. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @bgillisp Please point to exactly where I said the timers were the problem with X-Com 2.

    Also point to exactly where I said games should never be made because they cater to a niche.

    Don't worry, I'll wait for you to pull your words out of my mouth.
     
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  17. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Right there, thank you very much in your references to niches and catering to them. Well if Square hadn't catered to a niche they would have never made Bravely Default. And your line about XCOM2 why bring it up then and the devs supposedly forgetting what crowd they made a game for?

    Edit: Speaking of putting words in mouth, you might want to not put words in our mouths either, as I didn't say you said timers were the problem with Xcom2. I was only stating I had no issue with them. Though it might be interesting to survey who did and didn't have an issue with them and see if those who didn't have an issue where those who played the older 90's turn based strategy games which had...guess what...timers. My examples of that are in my previous post, I am not going to repeat them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
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  18. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Yep, got me there. It certainly does say, "Don't make a game that caters to a niche".

    It does also certainly say "X-Com 2's Timers were the problem".

    It most certainly does not say "Should we cater to a niche?" and then in a completely different thought, unrelated to catering to a niche, does not say "If you aren't aware of what genre you're designing in, you end up with what happened to X-Com 2 and people ripping out all their timers".

    It most certainly doesn't say those things at all. :D

    And yes, you made an entire post on the assumption that timers were the problem. Hence the two paragraphs regarding the fact that you thought you were playing "Gotcha!" by listing games with timers that are strategic and that you didn't have problems with it.

    EDIT: The actual problem wasn't the timers. The problem was the timers were so short that they forced a single playstyle, so the half who played Strategy Games for the "take your time and manage your resources" ripped the timers out of the game. Likewise, the punishment for running out the Timers in X-Com 2 was pretty severe and harsh.

    The way the Timers were implemented was completely contrary to the types of people who typically play those games. Or at least... enough of a chunk of them, that there was a controversy and they PATCHED THE TIMERS for the game.
     
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  19. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    And there's no problem with posting that as I was pointing out that your point on XCOM2 being modded out didn't apply here. Now it might again be worth looking to see if those who did mod it out didn't play those earlier games I mentioned, but that is neither here nor there (though it might be a neat study to conduct sometime too!).

    Though even slightly off-topic, was it really a big issue at release? I played the game like almost 2 years later after release so I missed anything that fans hated or were in arms about on that one.

    Incidentally I deleted the lines that didn't apply as I wasn't going to copy/paste that quote 2x just to get it in a neat order. Don't overread it, I was just putting the lines there to see what I was referring to. There was no gotcha attempt there, it was just a statement that I was an exception so maybe you don't want to assume so much. Sure, it's one data point (I haven't checked for more on this one) but it was to say there are exceptions. Nothing more. So don't overread it.

    Edit: I saw the edit now, I probably played after patch then as I played it in 2018 which I think is 2 years or so after release (see above). Now I understand your point.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
    #79
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  20. Touchfuzzy

    Touchfuzzy Rantagonist Staff Member Lead Eagle

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    I'm honestly confused though as to why you think you are the authority on what RPG fans want in games.

    Like, Dragon Quest is one of the most prolific RPG series of all time, yet you admit you've only played one of them. Why do you hold yourself as an authority on the fans of RPGs, when you have completely ignored such a wildly popular series in the genre?

    Also, on the comment of the logic puzzles of crafting in XI... Ok, so do you use a guide every single time you see a puzzle in a game? Are all puzzles for you guide dang its? Did you look up the ideal approach to every single battle in the Persona series? Cause battles in the Persona series are also basically puzzles.

    If your response to any point in the game where someone has to use their brain is "Oh, that is a guide dang it moment" then basically every point in every game where a player has to make a decision is a guide dang it moment.

    You are given all the information and tools you need. It takes thinking for 2 minutes to do. There is nothing hidden from you. Do you think Sudoku is a guide dang it?

    Like literally you are arguing that ANY PUZZLE EVEN IF ALL INFORMATION IS PROVIDED TO THE PLAYER is a guide dang it moment, and that is insanely misusing the term. A guide dang it is when there is no way to possibly know or intuit the answer with the information you are provided by the game itself.

    On top of that, fans of games can play 2 different games for different reasons. EVEN IN THE SAME SERIES. The reason I play DQIX is different than the reason I play DQXI, and what I enjoy in each is different. The idea that what we enjoy is concrete and not fluid is inaccurate. Two games can be wildly differently designed and still both appeal to a wide audience in the genre, sometimes with a lot of overlapping audience, because gamers can care about different things depending on the game and what it does well and presents itself as.
     
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