Moo Tang Clan: Queued & offline crafting?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Queued & offline crafting?

In Fallen Earth you can queue up crafting activities, and this all goes on while you're off doing whatever it is you do in Fallen Earth. Admiring sunsets and running from hermit crabs, apparently.

In EvE, character skills are also learned in a similar way. You queue up skills to learn, time passes, and you get the skills.

In WoW, crafting and learning are done first person. You have to be there, you can't queue anything (without mods), you can't go off and do something else during that time, and you certainly can't log off and expect any progress.

The discombobulating thing with Fallen Earth's crafting is just how the heck does your character manage to craft their thingy while they're busy admiring sunsets and running away from hermit crabs. Similarly with EvE, just how are you managing to do all that homework while dodging missiles from rats and concentrating on that oh so tricky mining operation (ahem).

So, here's a different take on queued crafting: your character doesn't do it, you instead hire NPCs to do it. You install them in your player or guild housing, you buy them equipment, you pay them a weekly wage, you send them materials. They stay back at base doing the boring crafting while you galavant about the countryside slaying dragons and wooing princesses.

They could also be designed to sell their spare stock to others, at prices you choose. And purchase the materials he needs as well. With not too much effort you could even set them up to take build orders from others, if you so wish.

Now you also have a resource management mini-game - if you don't queue up enough tasks, and don't queue up enough crafting materials, your expensive crafting NPC just sits there building nothing.

If these crafting NPCs are geographically dispersed, you've also got support in the game for players to act as traders, seeking out goods at competitive prices and taking them to the local market/auction house.

The NPC wage would also act as a gold sink for the economy.

Hmm ... what happens though if you don't pay the wage?


Glyph, the Architect said...

I'd had a similar idea, but instead of just hiring NPCs to do crafting, you could hire them to do a large number of other tasks as well.

Guilds could control resources like mines or farms that are captured through PvP play (or perhaps in some other way) and NPCs can be hired to harvest resources or defend your territories.

They could be hired to tend to your character's land in the case of player housing.

They could be hired to sell your wares in the marketplace (an idea I find to be more immersive than having an Auction House you just throw crap up on to sell).

Basically, any task which isn't "complete quests", you could hire an NPC to do for you. Of course the rewards wouldn't be as good as if you'd done them yourself. NPCs that craft items for you produce lower quality than your own maximum skill. The ones that harvest and mine do so at a slower rate or they gather lower quality goods than you could. NPCs that are hired to defend your properties and guild holdings would do a worse job than a player by default, no special programming required.

Though I like the idea of not having to do these tasks yourself, I still think there should be some incentive to do them personally and that the feature should be used as a supplement to playing the game instead of a straight up replacement. Otherwise, you would just have a Facebook game.

Garumoo said...

I love the idea of resource farms/mines - a small area with a high concentration of nodes - much better than having resource nodes evenly scattered through an entire zone. Provide multiple nodes in the space and multiple players then have game options to share, cooperate, or to try running off the other players. It's a great excuse for PvP, while still leaving the option for a temporary truce. (Contrast this with the common WoW design of having to win control of a master resource, which unlocks all the resources).

I'm still not sure providing players the option to do their own crafting is good though - there would be constant pressure from players to dumb down, simplify, and shorten the effort/time required, and then you've got a situation where if you want something crafted you just shout out in /trade, and 30 seconds later you've got it.

By the way - I'd make it such that crafted results can be used to upgrade your NPCs (vs an artificial system of upgrading Rookie Guard to Grunt Guard to Veteran Guard, each with different built in armor/weapons). Let me, as player, instruct my blacksmith to craft steel longswords which I then distribute to my troops.

Thus, when you go raiding my base you might encounter a dozen rookie guards with cheap ass leather armor, bronze short swords, and no helmets / shields ... Or you might find them decked out in magic plate with auto-fire crossbows and worse. They'd still be rookie guards.