Uplink Analysis: Tradeskills

Written by David "Scooter" Bass on August 17, 2012

WildStar Uplink is a weekly conversation we hold with our fans about MMO design, philosophy, and news. The main goal of these conversations is to gauge how important certain issues are to the WildStar community. More than just a simple conversation, we ask questions about topics that are important, and we share your responses with the development team directly. Want to participate? Follow @Team_WildStar on Twitter for the weekly question, participate using #WSuplink, and keep an eye on the community team (@CRB_Atreid, CRB_Aether, and @CRB_Scooter) to interact with us throughout the discussions.

This week's topic was about crafting systems in MMOs, and what players feel are the right and wrong ways to go about creating such a system:

What are the best and worst parts of tradeskill systems in MMOs?

Crafting systems are fairly common in MMOs today, but there are a large variety of implementations that have been used in the past, so we were very interested to hear what you like and dislike about those systems:

deuscain: Making useless items just to skill up
cirby: Tradeskill predictability. Recipes should be procedural - each ingredient modifies the result, so there aren't "canned" outputs.
dulfycleric: I really disliked the EQ2 crafting system that forced you to play a minigame each time you want to craft something. It was tedious, boring, time consuming especially if you wanted to make a large batch. Alot players used bots.
MyrddinDE: Absolutely loved the SWG Tradeskill System - Survey the land for HQ Nodes, best materials for best outcome
AdamZwakk: It's always really rewarding to make something yourself vs buying it. Customization like that is key.
belghast: currently my favorite crafting system is the "grindless" minecraft-esc system from The Secret World.
WonderPenguin: Best: making gear that looks awesome. Worst: making 50000 useless items first.
ValkavGaming: The best part is an active economy. The worst part is making items that are useless as you level, if implemented poorly.
JTWrenn: Large time investment with little no late game payoff. Boring mechanic no just click and wait. Need minigames!!
lethality_mmo: I'd like a system that might also consider NPCs as customers for more mundane goods, not just players.
Gazimoff: its also great for characters to earn a reputation: "x is a good weaponsmith"
grieger: Best is when you can experiment/discover recipes. Better yet an experimental bonus based on skill relative to what you're making.
starspunoid: The best part of tradeskill systems in MMOs is... fun. Mini games like in Free Realms (iirc) are pretty neat.
Wiggl1es: best = an alternative way to advance your character. Worst = grinding crafting as necessity to min/max for endgame
AgentNardz: Oh and for the love of everything: if the mats are in my bank or an alt, just let me craft, don't make me mail it.
Lawlypop_: heres a idea, why not add a feature to crafting to incorporate the housing system such as i have the mats on me, i can craft from anywhere but its sent to my house.
TishToshTesh: Best = alternate advancement, self sufficiency, depth to world design & economy Worst = grindy, poor pacing, grindy, abstract
nohelixws: Most important of all is that crafting is predictable. If its 20% chance make it scaling so that there is a cap against bad luck.
Frozenoak: It's be nice if you craft something from Mat's in guild vault then Item is deposited in guild vault. Could reduce storage overhead

While the focus of the discussion was about tradeskills, some of you wanted to discuss how that could tie into the economy and keep players engaged with each other:

Gazimoff: I like systems where you're forced to trade with others because one character can't make everything.
nohelixws: Along those lines a built-in/secure commission system = nice. Also, place an order on AH that needs filling.
Gazimoff: Yeah, I like the "place an order on the AH" system. Then one click and you can build to meet that order. Heck, tie it in with the Housing, you could have a factory that takes X mins to build and ship, upgradeable
nohelixws: It would also help gatherers meet crafter's wants. Nothing more frustrating than needing an item not on AH.

This week, we asked Economy Team Lead Jeremy Wood to respond to your comments above. Here's what he had to say:

First, I'd like to thank everyone for their input. I see two main themes in your feedback: remove the tedium from crafting systems and ensure crafting is useful. We have created an item system with complex and meaningful modification built in, which directly applies to crafting. When you craft an item, there is more to it than collecting materials and pushing a button. You will be able to customize the gear you are making as you make it, often mixing and matching parts from other items in the process. I wouldn't necessarily describe it as a minigame, but it's certainly more engaging than the usual crafting systems. Our item customization system also allows us to ensure crafting is always viable. You can collect powerful components through various game activities, and then use them in your crafting to make items of comparable power.

I wrote a devblog about our economy earlier this week, and if you have any more questions, I'll be answering some of your questions in a future update. Thanks again for your thoughts!

Got any more thoughts about crafting and tradeskills? Let us know on Twitter at @Team_WildStar and keep an eye on the #WSuplink hashtag for a heads up when we begin a new topic on Monday. Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's discussion, and have a great weekend!

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