Thomas "Blixtev" Blair here, and today I’m going to chat with y’all about some updates coming to the crafting system. In the past year, we haven’t had time to go back and revise it much, but since crafting is one of the core features of Crowfall® (the economy kinda sorta relies on it, after all), we've always known we eventually would have to restructure things.
These changes will add some significant aspects to gameplay as we're shifting game development from building many standalone systems to adding features that will mesh the systems together. It’s also a signal of where we are headed as we revisit each system to add depth and polish for launch.
What is a crafting station? In the simplest sense, it is an object at a physical location that unlocks and enables the crafting of specific recipes. These are themed as “workspace areas”, like a blacksmith’s forge or an alchemist’s lab table.
On the location-locking front, we did some prototyping a while back with the idea of requiring the player to be in a specific area to craft something. You may have seen this on the surface via the Survivalist food recipes that required you to be standing in range of any campfire. If you weren’t within range of a campfire, the recipe simply wouldn’t allow you to craft. The prototype did what it was supposed to, i.e. requiring you to stand in a spot, but it didn’t grant access to any new recipes.
We recently picked up that prototype and added a few new pieces to it. These center mainly around:
1) Retrofitting it to use our now-standard interaction model, “F to interact”, 2) Allowing the limitation of recipe types that can be crafted by a particular station type, and 3) Giving us the ability to unlock or show recipes based on skills the player has trained.
We have also created different versions of the same station so that various levels of recipes can be made at a particular station type (i.e. “only Intermediate recipes can be made here”, or “Intermediate and advanced recipes can be made here”).
TYPES OF RECIPES
Wait, did you say intermediate recipe unlocks? What’s this strange magic you speak of?!
Now that we've broken the recipes into types, we can grant them based on player progression through the Skill Trees. We’re also using that designation to determine where the player can use each recipe. For example:
• A starting player will have access to all of the basic recipes, and can use them “in the wild” by opening their crafting UI (via the J key.) Basic recipes encompass all recipes that produce the beginner's crafting tools, weapons and armor. These recipes typically require very basic materials like Slag and Knotwood.
• Intermediate recipes are a new type of recipe. While they appear for all players (of any skill level), they can only be accessed when the player uses a crafting station of the correct type. The intermediate recipes will require named resources such as Copper and Iron, as well as allowing some kinds of experimentation; however, these recipes don’t allow the crafter access to imbue their goods with the complete spectrum of stats. The purpose of intermediate recipes is to give players some type of upgrade they can do themselves (without a high degree of dedicated training) and to show the player what crafting stations are and how to use them.
• Advanced recipes are available only to those who have progressed to a specific spot in the Skill Trees. (Hooray, we can allow recipe usage based on Skill Tree advancement now!) In the case of advanced weapon recipes, the player must train the first skill node in the Blacksmithing Basics Skill Tree before they can access the advanced recipes when they use a crafting station.
Not all recipes will have both intermediate and advanced versions. Some crafting types (Necromancy, Jewelcrafting, and Alchemy) will have recipes that can only be crafted as an advanced recipe.
Part of this update means adding these new crafting stations to specific strategic locations in the map. Every Beachhead will have a limited number and selection of crafting stations, but only intermediate weapon and armor recipes will be available through these. For more advanced recipes, crafters will have to venture out to Forts and Keeps that their team or faction may own.
As you can imagine, this one addition to gameplay gives teams a pretty big reason to take over and maintain Forts and Keeps (which means we have some work to do on the Capture and Siege mechanics, as well).
NOT DONE YET!
That’s right, this is only the first step of our significant overhaul of the Crafting system! You can expect a lot more in this area, similar to the overhaul we did for Skills and the Spellbook. As a teaser, here’s a quick shot of a new crafting project UI to show you where we're headed.
In addition, we’ve got other Crafting-related systems in the pipe, too, like player-owned vendors and gold… all of which falls broadly under the umbrella of “player-driven economy”. Once we get past that, we’ll turn our attention to stuff like the factories and caravans that will really make the system shine. Oh, and we’re also going to fix the experiment and crafting failure loop to be not so damned painful.
Deeds have been added for all the stations, and attachment nodes have been added inside the Pavillion Tent, Cottage, Villa and Manor buildings to allow players to place these stations. Recipes for all of these buildings are now available, so you can start crafting in the privacy of your Eternal Kingdom once you get the resources you need to do so.
Adding crafting stations to the game has opened up large swaths of gameplay for both crafters and combatants. Crafting stations give significant purpose to all the Forts and Keeps. We aren’t done with our revisions of the Crafting system (by a long shot), but we think you’ll agree that this is a solid first step!
As always, please feel free to leave comments on the forums. We’ll see you in-game!
Thomas “Blixtev” Blair
Design Lead, ArtCraft Entertainment