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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Darkfall introduced an unique "crafting orders" to help new players and those who dislike crafting

In Darkfall every single armor and weapon above junk level (R00) are player crafted.  Unlike other MMORPG mobs or boss will not drop any weapon or armor that player can wear.  Also there are no repair system, so eventually all gear durability will reach zero and break (disappears) as you use them.  On top of that it is a full loot PvP game so if you lost in a fight, you enemy will gank you and take everything you carry with your (anything kept in the bank is safe).  Therefore crafting is fundamental and very important for all players.

Crafting is also a very difficult to level (skill up to make higher tier gear) because it requires players to craft hundreds of items.  It is a massive task to gather many types of basic materials, rare essences to make refined materials which are then used for making mastery level weapon and gear.  Before player can make mastery level gear, they have to purchase these "crafting abilities" which requires player spent prowess or "Experience Points" in traditional MMO terms. This becomes specially difficult for new and casual players because they need to choose to invest prowess (XP) between "buying spells to get stronger and useful" or "buy crafting abilities to craft good armor and weapons".

 There are players who love to craft and sell/trade the crafted finished products. There are also players who just wants to play the PvE/PvP game and don't want to bother with crafting.

So Darkfall developers introduced Crafting Orders.Here is a brief description provided by lead developer "Thanasis"

Crafting orders is a system that can allow crafting in Darkfall to become a profession rather than something that everyone has to do.

Also it will hopefully give access to higher tier armor and weapons to new players.

A player can place an order on any recipe of any skill requirement (even masteries that he does not have). The order is local only and stays on the crafting station it was placed on.

When an order is placed, the required materials are removed from the players backpack. The orders can be removed if the player changes his mind and the materials will be returned to his backpack.

A player with the appropriate skill level can fulfill orders for any recipes that have been placed on a crafting station.

Orders are anonymous and are processed in the order they were placed(first come - first served).
Crafting an order will provide a player with the same amount of skillup and prowess as if crafting the same item for themselves.

The crafted item or the returned materials(if the crafting failed) are placed on the station.

The player that placed the orders can at any time access the station and retrieve the resulting items and materials to his backpack.

Clan crafting station bonuses will work for crafting orders as well. If a clan crafting station is destroyed or lost the orders are not lost.

Next time a player can access the station, he will be able to retrieve his orders.
This system is widely welcomed by the larger community based on conversations on official forum but some players also raised some interesting concerns.

Concerns are that it will make the Auction House/Marketplace less important because crafting stations are going to become a trading medium for Armor and Weapons. In Market Place there is a listing/buying fee (gold sink) and it is not clear if there will be any for this system.

Some players also wants to add extra incentive for both parties.  A good amount of prowess (XP) can be attained by crafting so those who can already craft will not have a reason to use this system.  Similarly if prowess (XP) is not important for a crafter, he/she may not spent time crafting other players gears for free.  It is not clear if it will be possible for either party to "tip" each other for service rendered.

Other major issue is when a player does crafting in a player own holding (instead of crafting in safe zone) to get bonuses added to the crafted gear (less gold, more durability, damage, etc) there is a risk of getting killed during the long crafting process and loose all the materials to an enemy player.  This new system significantly reduces that risk. 

Aventurine maker of Darkfall can adjust the system to address some of these minor issues raised by players.  Developer already mentioned that they may exclude Mastery ship building from this system because it will trivializes an activity that required team work.

Overall I think this system is an important change in the right direction because it will close the gap between Vets and New players.  The game all of a sudden becomes more accessible without the need to skill up crafting first.  This system solves an issue where in most MMORPG it becomes increasingly difficult for new players to catch up to veteran players and new/casual players often looses the motivation before reaching endgame.

"Crafting Orders" will be included in the patch for this week (May 19th ~ May 23rd).

Edit: Since the patch went live on May 21st,  few players told me they are actually using the crafting order system to level their crafting since its free. Previously  they didn't wanted to go through the grind, but now they can level using other players materials.  Looks like Crafting Order is really working as intended.

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