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Skills, Crafts, and the Trade Meta


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I wanted to make a broad suggestion regarding the skill system, as it applies to crafting, and hence to the trade dynamics of the game.  This suggestion stems from my experiences with TFC in SMP, specifically the lack of any real trade incentive between players.  My experience was that everyone just makes everything, and nothing has any value.  Charcoal was as close as there was to money, only because it was tedious to make.  Rare items like sequoia saplings were also tradeable, and sometimes large quantities of building material.   This largely stemmed from the fact that anyone could make anything relatively easily after putting in the time.  Prospecting and the various smithing skills were the most important arguably (especially tool and weapon), and yet its only benefit was durability.  The net result was that people would reach the peak metal, and then vanish, presumably because they had nothing else to do or accomplish, if they weren't into building.  I'm sure VS will improve on this, but I would specifically like to address how skills and crafts interact, and how that might support a richer and more stimulating experience.


The genesis of this suggestion is in machinery, which is for another post, but the result is that I think there should be exceptional finished goods, similar to Dwarf Fortress.  Quality levels might be good, fine, excellent, masterful, exquisite, and legendary, just as examples.  These quality levels will grant durability bonuses, and perhaps other bonuses where appropriate (light radius for lanterns, etc).  They could also affect 'machinery'.   For instance a masterful cast iron stove/steam engine will use much less fuel than a regular one, as well as lasting longer.  These quality levels would replace the simple skill bonus to durability, like TFC had.  

The chance to produce a given quality of item relates to two things:  player skill, and enhancement items.   Player skill is the simple rank.   Maybe a rank 0 player has a 10% chance to produce a 'good' item, 5% 'fine', and no chance to produce anything above that.   But, depending on the trade there could be any number of enhancement items.  So for instance if the player is using a normal anvil to produce a sword, no bonus.  good?  +1% chance.  Excellent +3%, and so on.  This is in addition to the anvil having higher durability due to it's quality (if anvils get durability).  If their hammer is masterful, it might provide an additional 5% bonus.  At the iron and above level, there could be huge arrays of enhancement items - trip hammers, planishing hammers, keyway cutters, gear hobs.  The sky is the limit really.  And some might only provide their bonus to certain items.  A planishing hammer is not going to help with a pickaxe after all.    When the good is finished, it checks within a certain radius of the player, talllies up the enhancements, rolls the dice, profit!   In this way, you can give the player an entire shop full of tools to set up, without having to make up some actual use for each one (though you can still do that if you want). 

The goal here is to create goals for players to seek, in terms of item quality.  Rather than making one stove, and it acts the same as all other stoves and so the player never needs to look for a stove again, well maybe merchants sometimes have exquisite quality stoves for sale, which the player might want to buy, rather than spend time trying to make.  There could be a host of loot books in dungeons - this one gives a 10% bonus to good swords, this one a 1% bonus to exquisite bows, this one gives a .5% bonus to good through masterful melee weapons of all kinds.  You could use this mechanic to tie in-game stories to actual bonuses, making them more than just scenery.   The bonuses are probably most obvious for metal working and its derivatives, but I think other trades could use a similar mechanic.

At the same time, this mechanic does not disadvantage someone who does not pursue these things.  They can still make normal versions of all equipment, use it and tech up.   They don't *have* to grind for these quality goods, or hunt for enhancement items.   Yet it's still a surprise and a rush if they happen to produce one themselves, find one in dungeon loot, or find a merchant selling them.  I think it would extend the game interest beyond just reaching top-tier metal, which is entirely controllable and so does not give that rush of surprise and fortune.  Once the player reaches top tier tech, they still have all kinds of items they can try to max out, for prestige or gain.  Since they do not have direct control over these things (I'm imagining legendary chances topping out at maybe 1% or less with max player skill and enhancement items)


I believe a system like this would benefit both single-player trade via mob merchants, and more importantly, SMP inter-player trade.  In single player, you'll be very interested in merchants because you might be able to get nice gear without grinding for it.  Merchants deal in silver and gold, (and gems indirectly - meaning you have to sell the gems for silver and gold to then trade to other merchants) so these metals will have purpose outside smithing, unlike TFC where gold was one of the more worthless metals.   On SMP servers, it should be impractical for one player to grind for the upper tier stuff (there needs to be a very low return on melted items, to discourage smithing, melting, re-smithing, etc - this can be configurable though, so single player players can set it up however they want).  What this should do in an SMP environment is make it so that players can produce durable goods that are actually worth something to other players, because it is not simply a matter of just going and making an exquisite item.  You need high skill but also some luck.  So a player that lucks into such an item (whether via loot, craft, or trade) can then hopefully put it in their own store, and other players may actually be interested.  There may be a trade in enhancement items - some players may focus on smithing, others may focus on other trades, and they may trade enhancement items they don't need for their preferred profession.  Again, in order to provide for the desired experience, the broad chances should be adjustable, so a single player can set them to a level they see as reasonable, while a server admin can set them more rare to increase the trade value.


One of the unfortunate things about TFC was that they spent all that effort on alcohol mechanics, but in the end it was worthless to the game.   I think this system could help make semi-worthless trades a viable thing for players to do.  At the simplest level, some merchants would buy higher quality goods.  So if the player produces exquisite alcohol or jewelry, they can sell if to merchants, and then use the gold and silver to buy other stuff.  Maybe some merchants only accept a certain minimum quality of good.

But even beyond that, I think merchants should have tiers, and the player has to work to attract them.  In Dwarf Fortress, your fortress is visited periodically by traveling merchants.  I think this would be a good mechanic to adopt for VS.  I know there's plans to have a spawn merchant soon, but hopefully that can later become travelling merchants.  So the player has to set up a market stall or other space where the merchants arrive.  And, they have to have a chest there with trade goods in it.  Depending on the quality of the space and the goods, better merchants are attracted.  A basic chest of normal gear under a canopy in a grass field is just going to attract hunter-gatherers selling meat, hides, bone, etc.   But if you have a nice trade hall, and chests of exquisite goods, then you'll attract merchants that have a chance to bring exquisite goods.   The trade goods in the chest are only the 'bait'.  After the merchant arrives the player can then trade the goods in this chest (or not) with the merchant.  Perhaps the merchant sometimes or always will only sell goods to the player after the player has sold them some of the highest quality items in the chest - to prevent the player from hoarding top quality gear as a lure, but only trading lesser stuff.   But beyond the chest of trade gear, you can increase the chance the merchants will have better merchandise by having nice beds with exquisite paintings, statuary, and lights.   Perhaps the player can give them gifts (alcohol, jewelry) and have a chance to get a discount on their goods (but with alcohol, maybe the merchant also just falls asleep drunk and raises his prices due to a splitting headache). 


So in summary, I think it would help players get a lot more thrill and mileage from the game, to have a crafting system in which they do not have 100% control over the creation of high quality goods.  I think this mechanic would help give  players many more goals to work toward, and help give purpose to otherwise marginally useful crafts and skills.  I hope it all made some sense!

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I think you should have a choice: Be mediocre at everything, or really good at one, maybe two things (or some mix of the two). A player with really high skill should be able to produce better than average items consistently.

This way it encourages specialization, and gives everyone a reason to either a) trade or b) work together in groups.

However, the effect cannot be too strong, or single player and low-population servers become too boring. It would probably need to be adjustable.

In short: I like this idea.

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Oh ya, I'm all for specialization, though I'm not sure others would be.  I know a lot of players like to be able to do it all so it'd definitely be good to give configuration options.  Single players can rank many or all skills if that's what they want, while server admins have the option to limit playes to encourage broad specialization.  Also configurable multipliers for speed (youtubers of course will want to do all quickly)

So perhaps the higher a player gets in on skill, other skills have their leveling multiplier increased?  Eventually if the player tries to be high level at everything their progress grinds to a halt as all their multipliers become extreme?  You end of jack of all trades master of none.

Or, characters have rpg-style stats, with point gains on leveling (this is the general xp level bar we have now which currently has no use).  Being different levels in different skills requires a minimum stat, and you don't gain stat points fast enough to level it all?

Or, skills decay over time if not used.  But the player gains 'skill points' on general xp level, and can use those skill xp points to 'lock in' a skill tier so it doesn't go down.  In this way you allow the player to pursue several skills via use if they want, but in the end if they don't use them all continually, some will decay.   This does of course risk a bit of gaminess in that I might pump those rank points into skills I've leveled but don't actually use much, while the skills I use most I just let them float, because I use them often enough to keep them up. 

And you could of course combine them.  skill decay with grain multipliers, and maybe rank points to lock in (but locking in also locks in a certain amount of multiplier).


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5 minutes ago, Milo Christiansen said:

I personally hate skill decay, you should not lose progress just because you need to do something else for a bit.

Well, in theory with configuration of decay rate, the player could set it very low, or maybe even to 0 so that no decay in fact happens.  Thereby allowing for different desires.  But, I like to play games 'as intended', meaning with minimal changing of the way it 'ships', and I can understand if you're agitating for the game to 'ship' without decay. 

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In order for there to be trading there needs to be a flow of goods and services. In order for there to be a flow, there needs to be an imbalance of resources. Players with resources and players who want them. In order for me to trade, the items I am giving must be worth equal or less in play time, than the items I'm receiving. If nothing is too difficult to get or I have to go down the same progression anyway there's no point in trading. Right now VS is set up in such a way that very few materials ever leave the economy. Therefore the only time there needs to be an input of items in the economy is when a new project is underway. A new building, someone working on skills, etc. More stuff needs to leave the economy in order to create a demand for new resources.

Items getting bonuses on creating based on tool quality, player skill, and luck does well when thinking of the legendary crafter making legendary items. When there are very few useful crafts to be legendary in it doesn't quite work. In WoW there were some professions people didn't go into because they weren't useful endgame. I propose that each time an item is repaired it has a chance of getting a bonus and the cost to repair increases each time it is repaired. This makes repairing items desirable as an item that has been repaired many times will have a high bonus. This makes high bonus items worthy of trade and also helps remove resources from the economy by effectively converting them into bonuses on tools. 

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I agree that more things need to leave the economy.   That's why I am always agitating for things to wear out.  Anvils, crucibles, machines, parts of machines, clay molds.   I always saw it as a great flaw in TFC that you desperately desired graphite right until you found some, then you didn't care anymore because everything you made of it lasted forever.  I think that no resource should have a demand plateau like that.  No resource should be obsolete after the stone or bronze age.  As many items as possible should be useful right to the very end, that will enhance the ability for markets to form.  I'd agitate for clothes and containers to wear out but I doubt that would be acceptable to the large majority of people. 

That said, I fail to see how repairing is more efficient at removing materials from the game vs just crafting a new item, especially if repairing does not take as much material as crafting anew.  And that's the reason most people I've seen suggest it, want it, just like those who want broken tools to leave some metal scraps - to reduce the material burden.  I would argue that adding bonuses via repairing takes away the 'jackpot' thrill, and just reduces it to a controllable grind again.  Predictable and kind of dull.  I also think it doesn't present the opportunity for the wide array of additional loot and workshop accessories in the form of enhancement items.  But, maybe you have details in mind you haven't talked about yet?

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Idea: Professions

Professions are skill-sets.
The player is able to learn/improve up to three professions.
Some professions can only be acquired, if the player has a specific profession.
Professions are permanent, but there may be some secret/resource intensive
way to unlearn all your professions and start from scratch.

At the start of a new world a player gets to choose his first profession.
Professions can be acquired in a multitude of ways:
    Finding a profession book in loot (very rare).
    Learning a profession from a villager with said profession.
    Learning a profession from a player with said profession.
Professions would give bonuses to players, like 10% more damage 
with blade weapons, 10% faster mining, etc. 
There are also profession specific crafting recipes. Some
professions would allow you to create more firewood from logs,
others might even allow crafting of improved variants of machines.

This system is not as role-playing dependent, making gameplay still
very relevant, while also forcing player specialization.

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I like that idea a lot, Eric. Although I'd say double down on it: One or maybe two professions only, but the benefits are better. Maybe just passive benefits, but potentially something active as well. Having profession-specific crafting would also encourage trade amongst players or villagers. And maybe those profession books could be for professions that aren't otherwise available. 

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I think one would need to be careful about such rigid limits on professions.  It's a little bit counter to the sandbox nature of this type of game.  The system would need to be very carefully crafted if you want to avoid everyone taking the exact same stuff.   Also I'd guess that players may not love having progress blocked if they can't find the right villager or loot book.

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Progression wouldn't be locked under professions, they would only extend progression by a bit. When there would be twenty professions and anyone can only take three, players on servers would probably adjust to the needed professions, because of the profession-specific wares they provide. On singleplayer, this would be more problematic, but villagers could take the roles of other players and trade stuff from various professions.

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What do you mean, everyone taking the exact same stuff? Like, the same profession or the same materials? That's a good point about potential progress limiting. I wasn't thinking about making it essential for progression, however. More like, each profession would have something nice they could make. For instance, a blacksmith might make a special weapon, like a halberd or something, but they wouldn't be the only ones who could make an anvil. I suppose that could still be limiting to some people, though. I do think it's important to consider the sandbox elements of this game, but the game isn't entirely sandbox. There's already plenty of design in place that focuses the player's actions. Also, it may worth noting that this is just brainstorming on my part. Not necessarily something I'd try to put in the game.

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By progression blocked, I meant that if the player wants to be a farmer, but can't find a farming book or teacher.  Sure they can still farm, but it's the psychological frustration of the game not providing the opportunity to go down 'the path' they want.   Make it too easy and you may as well let them select it at generation with their clothes.  Too hard and they're frustrated, possibly jealous of other players with better luck.

By 'taking the exact same stuff' Luk, I meant same professions.  On the balance, I think  you could be guaranteed that 90% of people would take mining and combat (and smithing?).  They're just absolutely huge parts of the game, you'll get more mileage out of them.   This is what makes me ask, in the example of a firewood bonus, at what level of return will you have to make that perk, to equal the mining and combat perks?  200%?  500%?  Everyone else can still make firewood, so you have to outstrip their rate by such a degree that it becomes attractive.  I think the best way to up the attractiveness is by providing unique gains. Fishermen can catch fish nobody else can.  Farmers can farm crops nobody else can.  Then it's not matter of efficiency.  It's either/or.  You can  or cannot.  The benefit is more clear cut.  Which isn't to say you don't have bonuses of degree, but they should be one of many benefits.

You may need to split them into 'major' and minor professions.  You get 1 major (combat, mining, smithing) and 1 or 2 minors, in order to make sure the minors get used.

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8 hours ago, redram said:

That said, I fail to see how repairing is more efficient at removing materials from the game vs just crafting a new item, especially if repairing does not take as much material as crafting anew

The idea is that over time an items repair cost will be higher than that of a new item but the player is willing to pay that because they are invested in that item. Also if you are looking at it in an input-output model, with the crafting bonuses you get.


1100 iron in -> 11 shovels of various quality out with no repair option.


1100 iron in -> 1 shovel repaired 8 times out.

100 to make + 50 repair + 75 repair + 100 repair + 125 repair +150 repair +175 repair + 200 repair + 225 repair


At the end of the first scenario, you have 11 shovels of various qualities able to do 11 shovels worth of work. Say you bought the highest quality of the shovels. When your shovel breaks you feel that loss but you move on and get another shovel of lesser quality and use it until it also breaks. This repeats until you have 3 shovels left of so low quality no one wants them.

At the end of the second scenario, you start out with a nameless shovel. When it breaks you are happy because it can be repaired and has a chance of getting a bonus. True eventually the costs get higher but the shovel becomes even more precious, more irreplaceable so you are willing to pay the high cost of repair. This repeats until at the end you have one shovel still of tremendous worth. 


8 hours ago, redram said:

I would argue that adding bonuses via repairing takes away the 'jackpot' thrill, and just reduces it to a controllable grind again.  Predictable and kind of dull.  I also think it doesn't present the opportunity for the wide array of additional loot and workshop accessories in the form of enhancement items.

You don't necessarily know if you'll get a new bonus when repairing the item or what bonus so there's still a 'jackpot' thrill. As to the controllable grind, I do not see how crafting tons of items to raise skill or to luck out on the bonus is not a controllable grind. In fact, I'd say it takes less work as one with enough resource available can mass produce items where items that get bonuses when repair have to made, then used until they break. With the creation bonuses, you'd have shovels of varying quality on display, with the repair option that'd be replaced with piles of raw material for repairs. In repair jobs, you can still have workshop accessories that increase the chance of getting a bonus when repairing an item and a chance to get a better bonus on the item. Plus it makes you keep coming back to the smith to get the item repaired encouraging player interaction, as opposed to buying 5 shovels and not returning in a long time.

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Missed the 'chance' for bonus part, and didn't realize you meant the repair cost would eventually exceed the cost to make the original item by a large amount.  Seeing the numbers is good.  I'd call that more an upgrade than a repair.  But regardless I get what you're saying now.  And once you've done the 225 repair, you can repair it forever at a cost of 225? 

It's interesting, the notion of encouraging the player to come back to the smith over and over. I do like the sound of that inter-player dynamic.  It's easy to have scheduling mismatches on SMP servers, but the player can always just repair it themself if they need it.  Some might develop some kind of in/out system where a player can drop off items to be repaired if the smith is not there, the smith comes on and repairs them, the player picks them up.   It's doable, though just buying the high quality shovel would be simpler.

But does this mean the smith is going to have nothing but ordinary shovels for sale, unless he himself is using and repairing up the shovels?  Kind of makes his store unimportant for the initial purchase.  The player may as well make their own initial shovel in that case.  So the economy has less incentive for stores, more for repair shops? 

Also, how does this translate to items that don't have use meters and so don't need repaired?  You can immediately try to upgrade them?  They simply don't exist in differing qualities?  I'm thinking lanterns, beds and other furniture, jewelry, alcohol.  All of which in my proposal could also have meaningful quality levels.  A hybrid of yours and my proposals?  Use items can be upgraded, non-use items simply have a random starting quality?

With regards to 'controllable', 'predictable' may have been a better word, but regardless in your scenario, the shovel is everlasting, and it only goes one direction: up.  In the system I proposed, even a legendary shovel eventually goes away, and you don't know when you'll get another.   This is inherently less predictable.   You've made yours less predictable than it might have been, with only the *chance* at upgrade, but it's still predictable that it's going to go up.   And it also will eventually cause all players to have the same maxed out gear, because again, it lasts forever.  So eventually that legendary shovel is not very impressive.  Because you're never going to lose it.  As opposed to single-use items, where even when you do get the really nice stuff, you won't have it forever. 

That is, unless in your system there is also a random chance the smith botches the repair and downgrades the shovel.  Though I'm sure on the balance the chance will be much more positive than negative - it has to be or players won't like it. 

I think our systems have a fundamental philosophical difference, in that you seem to think it's best to let the layer have 'pet' tools they're secure in, while I think it's better to have nothing be infinite, so that the player is always 'hungry' for their next great item.

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Items getting better when repaired is a bad idea as far as an economy is concerned. In other words, I agree with redram here. Allowing items to be repaired for less than the cost of a new item is a good idea, but I think quality should go down each time it is repaired, meaning that higher quality items can be repaired more, and allowing a market for second hand tools sold by richer players and/or tool trade-ins...

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Just going to say I'm a fan of tinkers construct and iguana tweaks. Being able to customize your tool with different materials and then have it upgrade over time is awesome. You really get attached to your stuff and will risk a lot to get it back when you die. In Lord of the RIngs, they come across some awesome legendary swords that are legendary because of what was accomplished with the blades(on top of awesome crafting/rare materials). IDEA!

Smiths have a chance to botch up when crafting an item. The chance to botch is higher when working "higher" quality materials. The chance is lowered the higher your skill level is. When you botch up you end up with scrap that can be remelted down to recover a portion of the original cost. If you botch a repair job it'll remove a bonus. On top of that items can come out in different qualities. The chance for quality is as you describe above with higher skilled players working with lower tier metals having the highest chance for a quality item, and a low skilled player working with a high tier metal is guaranteed to botch. Higher quality items have better starting stats for unrepairable items. For repairable items, it increases how many times the item can get a bonus. The bonus has a chance of being applied when the item is repaired. Each time it is repaired the cost of the next repair goes up material wise this continues until the item is at its maximum amount of bonuses at which time the costs will stop going up. Though if a repair job is botched it'll go up again.

Botching is another way to remove material from the economy. Players will want to buy from a skilled blacksmith to avoid botching and getting higher quality items. They will want to keep bring the item to be repaired by the skilled blacksmith because they will have a higher chance of getting a bonus for the repair, in effect lowering the repair cost cap. It makes for much greater diversity. Do you go for the epic item made with rare materials with a really high repair cost because it was repaired by amateurs? Do you buy the low repair cost item of high quality and great bonuses but lower tier materials? Do you purposely botch the repair job because you didn't like the first bonus? Maybe you'd like to make your own legacy item buy starting off with the new item of high quality and decently high tier materials.

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Ok now we're getting more interesting.  Now the player has a real decision to make because the upgrade may actually turn out a downgrade. 

With regard to: 

3 hours ago, Stroam said:

For repairable items, it increases how many times the item can get a bonus.

Why not just let the player have the chance to initially craft it at a higher level?  I still rather dislike the mechanic (as I understand it) that for weapons and tools, the smith is only making normal ones to start, and you have to use them up before you can upgrade.  It's going end up with this weird situation where players who are builders or miners or fighters will in fact have the best tools and weapons to sell, not smiths, because the non-smiths are the ones actually using and upgrading the stuff.  So blacksmiths are just selling 'starter kits' in those items.  I think a lot of players may also rather dislike having to wait.

Now when you say:

3 hours ago, Stroam said:

Do you purposely botch the repair job because you didn't like the first bonus?

This implies there are several types of bonuses.  Durability, obviously.  Damage speed for weapons, mining speed for tools.  Were you thinking of other stuff?  I'd honestly prefer to have weapon speed and tool damage improved by smithing.   But if the bonus is the *opportunity* for smithing in a bonus, maybe that's the best of both worlds?

Overall this is definitely getting interesting.  Though the whole encouraging you going to the best smith is only a thing in multiplayer.    I'm still not sold on the everlasting aspect either.  I think it would be more interesting for players to keep a variety of weapons and tools, all finite, but maybe they keep an 'everyday' sword for regular mobs, and their 'uber sword' for big battles.   More dramatic than toting around the same thing for every situation, to me - although I guess not probably that applicable to tools.   What about you can continue to repair it until it accumulates X botches, at which time its no longer repairable?  Botch max is determined by innate quality?

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Do you think anyone who has spent time leveling an item will want to trade it away if it developed the bonuses they were hoping for? I certainly never traded away high-level tinker items and it was rare one was ever traded. Bonuses for picks can be increased durability, stone hardened(chance to avoid damage when mining a particular stone type), luck, haste/efficiency, water affinity, and more. Same with weapons. I'll admit this only works if you can replace the material the item is made of. Wouldn't do to have a copper blade on your carefully leveled sword. Maybe each time you replace the blade it downgrades the weapon?

It's not everlasting, it's ever repairable for more material than a new pick. Do you wash your dishes every time or use paper plates that you throw away after each meal? One certainly feels a lot cheaper. I don't really like the throwaway culture that has existed since the industrial revolution. Before that, items were passed down in the family for generations more likely to be repaired than replaced. Zelda breath of the wild has durability on items, but you'll notice that the master sword (the weapon everyone wants) recharges instead of breaks. I feel like that was a very calculated design choice. As for players not wanting to wait, I feel that if instant gratification is the players fix, then maybe this isn't the game for them.

Of course, the best smith is a multiplayer thing. If it's single player then there is no trading and the point is moot. Though eventually NPC's could fulfill the lack of other players role. As for carrying around multiple specialized tools, I feel your inventory is very limited in this game and you probably wouldn't want to carry around too many extra tools. I certainly don't carry my hoe around on me except in the garden.


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Your builders and fighters and miners could end up with many high level items, keeping the best for themselves and selling the others.  There's no rule that you have to use your best thing all the time. 

If it never breaks, it's everlasting.  Just sometimes there's small gaps in your ability to use the item.  If the item never goes away, then it lasts forever.

For your plate analogy, I mean if you really want to make rl comparison, that's more like excellent vs regular.  Of course I use excellent (except when disposable is more convenient).   You know what happens when I break my excellent china plate?  I get a new one.   The original cannot be repaired to be as good.  I think that's just as true of a sword, though not necessarily a mace or similar.  But this is a game after all, so how much use is the comparison anyway?  Nobody is trying to sell me the experience of upgrading from a paper plate to a china one irl.  They're selling me a durable good vs a disposable one.

The multiple tools would not necessarily be carried everywhere.  You'd hang them on the wall and bring the right one for the job.

It's very true that letting players have pet weapons is a valid design choice.  Tons of games do it, or something similar.  Most even.  But then, most games don't involve lumberjacking to make piles of charcoal.  I get where you're coming from.   And I can agree to disagree.   It just really strikes me as counter to the smith-heavy focus of the game, that a smith isn't going to be able to have a shop full of good items.  They're just going to be repair people. 

Ultimately, the devs will have to choose which strategy they want to go with.  Safe and secure pet tools and weapons, or keeping the player hungry via limited item life.  Forcing the player to earn their tools by grinding through use and repair, or giving them the opportunity to find great stuff as loot, or in a shop.  Everyone ends up with pretty much the same type of gear in the end, or a constant flux of power levels.   That is assuming they don't dislike both plans, of course.



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I think things like skill regression and permanantly botching your rare artifacts are pretty harsh gameplay mechanics.  Limiting every player to certain professions is as well.  The most successful sandbox franchises like The Elderscrolls don't attempt to limit what you can do in the game in such ways.  If you want to put the time in and become a master of all trades, I think you should be allowed to.  Unlike in linear story driven games, there is no need to restart.  You can play in a sandbox forever.  Some people like to settle down, farm and tend crops, some people like to strip mine, some like to smelt and knap tools and someone don't like to grind more than once and go off in search of loot.   If I had to spend the rest of the game making charcoal I wouldn't play it.  I hate making charcoal in the beginning but I suck it up because I only have to do it once.  If I like mining but not farming I can sell my ores to one merchant to buy food from another and vice versa.  If I just want to explore dungeons, I can sell my loot for all the things people typically grind for.  If I want to be cheap I can craft all the basics and avoid merchants.  Some things of course wont be craftable though and will require a merchant or a degree of exploration.  

There will be so many in depth things to do in this game and many will enjoy doing some and want to avoid others.  Thats where merchants come in.  

Merchants can be of more use if they provide things that aren't easily obtainable.  Of course they would be useless if they only sold stone tools.  But if they had more advanced stuff and you didn't want to grind up to the bronze or iron age you could spend your time mining and trade for those things.  If villages always spawn a far distance from spawn then a certain amount of initial grinding and progression will still be needed to survive your trip to the nearest road.  Roads lead to villages.  Thats the problem with having a living world and ages of progression.  Is everyone throwing stones until you build your first copper sword?  Does the world reach bronze age when you do?  Or is extreme survival only needed until you can reach civilization, if you choose to reach civilization.

I personally thing it will help the in game economy if biomes are farely large.  If biomes are large then it might be easier to buy a cactus or desert style furniture from a village or traveling merchant then actually travel several game days or weeks to the desert itself.   The merchant of course will have random and limited stuff though so you will still have to travel there eventually if you're a 100% style collector.   While you're there you can pick up an extra set of biome specific things to sell when you get back to pay for traveling expenses like food and sleeping at inns or camping gear.  If you you've found or bought the recipe you can simply craft the deserst style rug, or you can just buy it for a huge sum of coins in your arctic biome, or as I said you can travel to the desert and obtain it cheaper but have to survive the long trip.  Sandbox games, unlike linear story driven games should allow you do really do whatever you want if you're willing to put in the work because everyone like to do things differently.  Some want to focus on specific things and some like to do everything in one game.  

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I like the ideas expressed by DMKW. I would like to add that the game would be more enjoyable if a player can have all the basics by himself without needing anyone else. 

But I also think special stuff should be available to the player that likes or just decides to dedicate himself to a specific area of the game. 

Some examples: ( those are just simple ideas to justify the point):

Animal husbandry: In the case, we have animal domestication added to the game, it should be in a way that makes sense. For example we would find chicken nests in the wild and steal their eggs. Them we have to raise the little chicks and for the common player, it stops there. Once he has enough chickens he will have a supply of eggs, meat, and feathers.

The player that really wants to spend time and effort can go a step further and use selected breeding to get better chickens. Those would lay eggs more often and produce more meat and feathers.

In the case of horses, it would be the same. Any player can track a foal, steal it from his parents and raise it to an adult horse. Again with a lot of time and effort those domesticated horses can be selected breed to produce a horse with more speed, stamina, and higher jump.

So now the player that likes to this work has something of value to trade.

For smithery, we could have a system where anyone can make tools and weapons, but a player that wants to make superb tools and weapons need to make his forge in a special place with special implements. ( Here I do not really know what would work so just throwing ideas.) Maybe the forge needs to be on the top of a Mountain or a Volcano. Maybe he needs to use charcoal from some tree that only grows around certain Latitude. maybe he needs to add some minerals to the alloy recipe when mixing it. Also maybe just needs to have a lot of experience making those tools and weapons.

The important thing is that if I don't like smithing and just want to farm, I can still make my own tools and weapons and they are functional. But if I am a successful Farmer I should have something that I can trade for better weapons and tools made by a professional Smith.

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1 hour ago, DMKW said:

The most successful sandbox franchises like The Elderscrolls don't attempt to limit what you can do in the game in such ways.

Just want to point out that those are single player power fantasy games. Meaning you can do what ever you want because it doesn't intrude on other people's fantasies. As soon as you add another person it breaks the power part of the power fantasy. You both can't be head of the mages guild, and head of the assassins guild, and be the chosen one, and head of thieves guild, and you get the picture. Actually one of the most debated subjects on the TFC forums was finding a balance between single player and multiplayer because what is good for one game mode can be horrible for the other. I prefer mechanics that bring people together because it's more difficult. You'll notice even on the public server people currently go their own way and don't really work together, myself included. Though if I could get someone to mine for me...

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