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Smithing Hammer Durability Changes


Onsdag
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In it's current state whenever you are doing blacksmithing the hammer loses durability based on how many clicks or strikes of the hammer you use. One strong blow which moves a handful of voxels is the same as one tiny precision strike that just moves one voxel which is the same as a misclick where nothing is moved. In any case you lose 1 durability on your hammer per click of the mouse. This makes it better to use strong blows whenever you can to move as much material around as possible (so long as it doesn't negatively create more work) before honing in on finer detail work.

 

In reality doing heavy blows is going to wear out your tool more than a bunch of smaller blows. Furthermore, there are at least two other factors which are even more important to tool durability that are not currently implemented in the game (that I can tell). They are:

  • Material Type
  • Temperature

In regards to material type, this may be implemented in the game, albeit slightly abstracted (i.e. an iron hammer has more durability than a copper one). However, what is not implemented and what I would like to see is that using a softer metal (e.g. copper) hammer on a harder metal (e.g. bronze, iron, steel) to create a pickaxe is going to reduce the durability of the hammer more than say an iron hammer on a copper or bronze pickaxe. In both cases you're using a hammer to create a pickaxe, but the type of material used matters and greatly affects the durability of the tool.

The other one thing that greatly affects tool durability and the ability of the smith to craft something is the temperature of the metal. It is far easier (and less demanding on your hammer and body) to shape an ingot that is glowing yellow than one that is just red hot. The hotter the item you're crafting the easier it is to move the metal.

 

So, my suggestion is to:

  • Change mouse-click based durability loss to voxel based durability loss. A hammer strike which moves more metal is going to reduce durability similar to how a scythe loses durability based on how much grass is cut.
  • Material type affects durability loss. Current item durability levels are good in representing that harder metals last longer, but that's only half of the equation. Also add a higher % chance to lose durability the harder the metal is that you're striking.
  • Temperature is key. There is a reason why you see blacksmiths in real life returning items to the forge as they begin to cool too much - it makes it easier to work when the metal is hot. Therefore make it so the lower the item temperature the higher %chance to lose durability.

Just a few thoughts I've had to make smithing a bit more enjoyable. I love the attention to detail of many aspects of blacksmithing - the change in color as temperature changes is a personal favorite! I just wish a few other aspects were also in line with such amazing attention to detail.

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While this suggestion would make the game more realistic, I don't really see such a great gameplay benefit to to, in fact quite the opposite. It would make the already quite useless heavy hammer strikes even less appealing to use and make moving one voxel at a time, the most tedious way, the optimal way to play.

Making the temperature also have an effect on durability will increase the tedium even more, as the player is encouraged to reheat the piece all the time.

I'm quite indifferent to the material vs material system, I don't think it add much from a gameplay perspective other than encouraging players to upgrade their hammer sooner, but it also doesn't really take away anything

Thought, I feel you might be onto something. Hammer durability could and should be used as a reward for more skillful smithing imo. Maybe some "perfect strike" timing based mechanic where the glow of the hot metal slowly and periodically pulses and hitting the metal when the brightest will make the hammer not lose any durability and produce a unique sound effect. It wouldn't be that realistic, but it would add a small element of skill to smithing.

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Thanks for your comments.

I actually don't think temperature would alter it too drastically. Just heat up the item as hot as it'll go before working on it. Usually it doesn't take long to craft the item in game and so temperature change would be minimal. The exception to this would be large projects that require multiple ingots, like the anvil, in which case it can and should require reheating the item multiple times and your hammer would wear out faster as well.

As for the already useless heavy hammer strikes, I agree. At least in its current state. I would like to see a revamp of that skill, but my idea for it would likely require character progression to be implemented first. My idea is that at low levels of smithing the heavy hammer blow works much like it currently does - voxels are scattered randomly and is not very efficient for detailed work but can still be useful under the right circumstances. However, under the hands of a skilled blacksmith who has lots of experience they should be able to more efficiently direct the heavy hammer blow such that the metal (voxels) more often than not go where they are supposed to go, similar to how the helve hammer automatically hammers voxels into the right location.

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i suppose i can see how onsdag's suggestions might make blacksmithing so detailed as to be tedious, but 'extremely detailed possibly to the point of tedium' is already how a lot of the crafting mechanics work (pottery, flint knapping, leatherwork) and most of us are playing this game because we don't mind that. i think it'd be cool to have more detailed smithing mechanics (especially the heavy hitting and durabilities of different materials)

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I do think some restrictions and details could make it better, but they could also just add some tedium for no other benefit. Something like roasting ores to enable breaking them up for the nuggets would just be more tedium in my opinion (place ore in fire, use more fuel, leave for so long, get roasted ore and continue with smelting). Introducing more forming methods like using dies or mandrels, welding, bradding, packing, or 'steeling' would add more complexity, which wouldn't really do much for fun (it's just extra, less optimal options). However, if the time it takes for the workpiece to cool down is massively shortened and if these methods could offer a shortcut to experienced smiths, then I think there would be some depth for players to explore.

There could also be a "hardcore" mode where you have to pay more attention to the craft so you have to plan out what you are doing (metal cooling faster and a chance of breaking if hammered at "only warm" temperatures). There could also be some "upgrades" or equipment limited by materials (bellows for the forge, which already have a model, to control the forge temperature; Borax as a flux for welding operations; mechanized bellows; etc.) There could also be some 'external' factors to reward smarter play, such as weight/block limits similar to the way the game Eco handles inventory (meaning you would want faster roads to your mines to counteract the limit, and your workshops would be more clustered if not already).

Right now I think smithing is the best 'industry' in terms of engagement; There are multiple tasks to juggle to make working multiple metal items efficiently a fun challenge (fill crucible with nuggets and light fire, warm up two ingots, make first work piece, start second work piece, place and warm up two ingots in forge, pour 4+ ingots, so on). Making armor and lots of plates are probably the most fulfilling thing to do imo in terms of crafting. Most other 'industries' like cooking and ceramics are just repetitive in my opinion, probably because they lack the complexity and depth that smithing has.

If there are to be additions to the game's crafting, they should be to make the player use less materials, be faster, or something to reward better skill or management. Just adding more boxes to check in a perquisites list won't make the game anymore fun, it will just take longer (delayed gratification not withstanding, but we probably have enough of that already).

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