[MUD-Dev] Blog about GDC implies changes to MMORPG population

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Sat Jun 18 03:12:19 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

Craig Huber writes:
> Amanda Walker wrote...

>> No game except for Second Life (which is arguably not a game)
>> supports "real" crafting, though.  Most MMORPG crafting has about
>> as much "craft" as putting nickels into a soda machine and
>> pressing the button.


> (Sorry: I generally prefer to lurk, but I'm just so -glad- to see
> someone besides me actually say it.)

> I actually prefer to use the "slot machine" analogy, though:
> insert coins, pull lever, get a prize?

> It may not be entirely fair to paint the entire industry with the
> same brush, however.  Both EQ2 and Horizons made at least a token
> attempt at adding "game-play" (using Costikyan's definition of
> game, which includes decision-making as a key component) to the
> overall crafting model... they didn't go anywhere near far enough,
> IMO, but they tried.

A Tale in the Desert was pointed out to me recently as a game where
crafting involves actual crafting.  I've spent the last few days
tinkering with it, and they do, in fact, have a kind of primitive
crafting game.  Primitive, but miles ahead of the big graphical

Gem Crafting (visit http://wiki.atitd.net/tale2/Guides/Gemcutting)

You mine (vending machine with waits) to obtain large uncut gems
that can be placed on a gem cutting table.  By controlling a set of
cutting blades, you can whittle down the uncut to produce one of a
dozen different gems.  The trick is in examining the uncut for
defects and identifying the best gem that can be cut from it.  We're
talking some funky shapes here, not classic gem shapes in the real

Cut gems are then used in various recipes for other objects in the
world.  Many, if not most, of those recipes are simple 'combine'
operations that produce the results either instantaneously or after
a delay.

The gemcutting link includes a picture of a gem cutting table with
an uncut gem on it.

Blacksmithing (visit http://wiki.atitd.net/tale2/Blacksmithing)

You mine to obtain rock with various ores in it.  By smelting the
right ores (a 'combine' operation on a delay), you obtain a useful
end product.  For example, silver or iron.  Take the raw materials
and place them onto an anvil and then select the type of item that
you're trying to smith.  A rough slab for your object appears on the
anvil, which you then employ tools on to shape.  You're working
towards an 'ideal' that you can see on the anvil at any time.
Switch back and forth between ideal and your lump until you figure
out how you want to shape it.  You also control the force of blows
with the tools, so you can move a lot of metal or only a little.
Blows are landed with a click of the mouse on the 2D surface of the
object being crafted.

The closer your work in progress gets to the ideal, the better
quality your item, and the more effective it is.  At my first
session at the anvil, I made a shovel blade.  They become useable at
quality 3000, and are very good at quality 9000, being perfect at
quality 9999.  I crafted a 6000 in about 10 minutes of dinking
around with the interface.

The shaping of metal in their crafting system is a novel first step
towards actual blacksmithing, which is where I'd like to see things
go.  The metal doesn't behave like metal, but it can be 'worked'
into various forms, and practice with their system makes the player
a better crafter.  The *character* is uninvolved in the crafting
process from what I can see.  My success at the anvil was a
reflection only of my own choices as a player.

The blacksmithing link includes a further link to some animated
GIFs, showing the hammering process.  The little yellow dot in the
animations is not part of the game interface and only serves to show
where the player clicked.

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