Exhibit 3 – Disciplinary Action

Posted: November 18, 2011 in The Evidence at Hand

Crafting is a very important part of MMO’s, primarily for economic reasons. I’m no economist, but I do know that with only limited things to spend money on inflation would get ridiculously out of control as the game aged making it impossible for new players to afford a boot nail, let alone a new sword. Crafting gives players something to spend money on (buying materials and crafted goods) and something to make money with (selling materials and crafted goods) thereby redistributing the wealth somewhat. It also provides players with an alternative to killing things or exploring the world if they happen to feel like a quiet night in. Guild Wars 2 is going to feature 8 crafting disciplines, each with a distinct niche.

The disciplines are:

Weaponsmith – Weaponsmiths craft melee weapons, such as swords, axes and hammers.
Huntsman – Huntsmen craft ranged weapons like bows and pistol, as well as torches and warhorns.
Artificer– Artificers craft magical weapons such as staves and sceptres.
Armoursmith – Armoursmiths craft heavy armour pieces.
Leatherworker – Leatherworkers craft medium armour pieces.
Tailor – Tailors craft light armour pieces.
Jewelcrafter – Jewelcrafters craft jewellery, such as rings and necklaces.
Cook – Cooks can prepare food which characters can eat for temporary combat buffs.

Notice anything missing?

Yes? No? Maybe, but you don’t want to guess in case you’re wrong?

There are no gathering disciplines. Anyone can harvest anything regardless of the crafting disciplines you have chosen (you can have two active at once, more on that below), or even if you haven’t chosen any. As of the most recent demo build at G*Star in Korea it appears that gathering will require tools such as pickaxes. This could possibly be a replacement gold sink given that potions were removed from the game some time ago.

Crafting materials can be gained in several ways – buying them off other players via the marketplace, getting them as a mob drop, using a salvaging kit on another item or by going out into the big wide world and finding them yourself. In keeping with ArenaNet’s goal of cooperative, accessible gameplay resource nodes are going to be phased on a player-by-player basis. This means that if four people all spot the same ore vein in a rock that happens to contain 20 units of ore every player will be able to mine 20 units of ore from the rock. As each player takes their ore the rock will phase in appearance for them until all the ore is gone. If another player happens along in a few minutes they’ll also be able to mine 20 units of ore. No more node camping for resources, no need to share.

Crafting itself will be carried out at crafting workstations located around the world in cities and major outposts. Nearby Master Crafter NPC’s are able to teach their particular discipline to a player for a fee. Players are free to change disciplines as often as they wish, as crafting levels and all known recipes are retained and reinstated when switching back to a previously known discipline. The only caveat is an increasing fee to switch disciplines as the skill level for the given discipline increases.

The crafting window itself consists of two tabs, one for Discovery mode and one for Production mode. The Discovery window lists all available ingredients for the workstation the player is interacting with down the left hand side, with the main portion of the window taken up by four staggered ingredient slots. As the player drops an ingredient into a slot the lower portion of the window advises whether an item can be crafted or if any recipes are discoverable by the addition of further ingredients, and if so how many. Ingredients may freely be added and removed until a recipe is discovered at which point the player can click the ‘Craft’ button. Clicking the ‘Reset’ button will clear all ingredients from the grid. To help players out as they try to discover recipes all ingredients incompatible with those already in the work grid are greyed out, while items already placed in the work grid have a white box around them in the ingredients list.

When a new item is crafted for the first time a window will appear over the crafting workstation UI to display the newly discovered item and the ingredients that went into making it. A glowing circle will also briefly appear around the Production tab on the left hand side of the ingredients list. Remaking an already discovered item is as simple as switching to the Production tab and finding the item you’re after. The list is arranged into categories and features a sorting system of some type which we haven’t seen demonstrated yet. Selecting an item will display the item’s name with a list of the ingredients and associated quantities below it. If you happen to lack the required amount of an ingredient for a recipe that ingredient will be highlighted in red. Hovering your mouse pointer over the item’s icon will display a pop-up window with the items name, usage instructions (if it’s a weapon or armour mod), the item’s properties or stats and its vendor sell value.

Once you have selected the item you want to produce, making it is as simple as choosing the quantity you want and clicking ‘Craft’. Crafting multiple copies of an item takes the same amount of time as crafting a single item. There is also a ‘Craft All’ button which will create as many items as the quantity of ingredients allow for (the button tells you how many). As I briefly mentioned earlier, crafting has levels. Experience is gained every time you refine a raw material (such as green wooden planks into a weapon haft or copper and tin ore into a bronze ingot) or create an item.

Some ingredients can even be crafted into multiple items. Green wood planks for example can be crafted into at least three discoverable items – a small green haft, a large green haft and a basel mace haft. Similarly, bronze ingots can make a bronze sword hilt and a bronze harpoon head. As experience is gained in a discipline, higher level recipes are unlocked for discovery. To aid in this progressive discovery higher quality resource nodes (such as iron ore for steel) will be rarer than common nodes (such as copper and tin ore) and won’t be found until further into the game.

In a step away from crafting in many other MMO’s there is no chance a recipe can fail. Every single time you craft something, be it an interim item such as a sword hilt or the whole sword, you will get a usable item that can be crafted with or equipped right away or in a matter of levels. Critical successes do exist, but again they differ from many other MMO’s in that they don’t produce an extra special item but instead reward additional experience or refund some of the ingredients used in making the item.

All items produced by crafting will be on-par stat wise with items from vendors, mob drops and dungeon tokens – the only difference will be item skins. One player may choose to dive into crafting wholeheartedly while another may choose to ignore crafting completely if they have no interest in it. Either way, neither will be at an appreciable advantage or disadvantage gear wise for having chosen to craft or not.

For the TL;DR version you can view the video below, just keep in mind the guy driving it tries repeatedly to add ingredients together which aren’t compatible so it can get a little frustrating to watch after a while. Still, it’s the best demonstration of crafting we have to date and should give you a pretty good idea of what it will be like when the game releases (see disclaimer).

I’m happy to take suggestions for future post topics if there’s something you’re dying to know more about. Also happy to answer any questions you might have about crafting if I can do so.

Disclaimer – everything written above is true to the best of my knowledge when it was written. ArenaNet have an iterative design policy in place so features are always open to adjustment, tweaking, reworking and/or scrapping. Please keep this in mind should something turn out to be different or completely missing once Guild Wars 2 launches.

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