Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
How useful is crafting in Wildstar?

I had some comments in previous discussion of Wildstar crafting where people said that it sounded exactly like World of Warcraft. So in this post I would like to highlight some important differences in crafting between Wildstar and WoW, and explain why I think that crafting is more useful in Wildstar.

Items in both games, and in fact in most games today, have a minimum level that your character needs to have in order to wear that item. The times of Everquest, where your main could farm high-level items and then equip your alt with them is over. The items a level 40 character finds are not usable by a level 10 character. In the context of a leveling process, where the level of your character goes up constantly, sometimes several times in one session, this minimum level of gear has important consequences: You constantly "outlevel" your equipment. You might have received at level 10 at the end of a long quest-line a very good "blue" item of minimum level 9 or so, but you'll find that when you hit level 12, even a bog-standard green item with minimum level 12 is better. And you might or might not find one in the process of questing and looting.

In this context the usefulness of crafting comes down to whether it can provide you with a constant stream of items, so that you can always equip yourself with items whose minimum level corresponds to your level. And Wildstar does that a lot better than World of Warcraft. In Wildstar you have recipes with minimum levels that are rather close together, usually not more than 2 levels difference between one tier of item and the next. Furthermore the materials you need are easy enough to gather at the level that you need them. If you spend time at level 10 for example to gather iron, you can make heavy armor or weapons with a minimum level of 10, and even 12 or 14. Do a crafting session and the next time you'll go adventuring you'll already have the gear for the next couple of levels in your inventory.

The other thing which Wildstar does better than World of Warcraft is that there is more variation regarding stats. In World of Warcraft you would craft a bronze dagger (or many of them to gain crafting skill), and every single bronze dagger in the world was totally identical. For different classes these standard items are of different degrees of usefulness, because maybe the paladin wants different stats on his heavy armor than the warrior. And even for different builds of one class some items are more useful than others. In Wildstar the recipe does not fix all the stats. Instead when crafting a specific item, you get a pool of points (and you can increase that pool by using more expensive cores as components). You can then decide at least one, sometimes several, stats that you want to put into that item, and increase those stats based on a color code and point cost. In the end two crafted items with the same name can have very different stats in Wildstar.

Personally I plan to play a warrior with weaponsmithing in Wildstar. Not only is weaponsmithing profitable if you just craft stuff and vendor it. But it also virtually guarantees that I will always wield a weapon with a minimum level equal or not more than 1 level away from my character level, and with the stats I want. I consider that a crafting system which is quite useful.

In WoW the lvl 9 minimum requirement dagger is worse than the lvl 12, but this difference is merely cosmetic as you can continue to level with the worse dagger as most of your time will be consumed by going to the quest mob and returning the quest, the time loss from killing the mob in 4 swings instead of 3 is irrelevant.

So my question is: if you wouldn't craft anything at all and had to use random drops, would the monsters kill you or at least make your leveling significantly harder?

If not, isn't crafting itself a cosmetic profession and provides nothing but another achievement to be completed like "kill 1000 critters"?
I'd say combat is harder in Wildstar, or at least you meet more non-trivial mobs. But then of course your performance in combat is not simply determined by your stats, because it is part action combat.
Actually, you make it sound exactly like WoW crafting, i.e. more or less useless....

The fast replacement of gear has to be one of the most irritating trends of modern MMOs. Following your topic yesterday about fast leveling, two levels is a ridiculously fast turnover. Even five levels would be annoying.

Gevlon is quite right to point out that these are effectively cosmetic changes anyway. In GW2 I could, if I was crazy enough to do it, upgrade all my armor and weapons every level. Instead I just carry on adventuring until I notice a significant slow-down, which is generally around every 8-10 levels and replace it then.

I would much prefer to only to have upgrades every ten levels but have them be meaningful, so that there was a cycle of feeling very powerful, then about right, then slightly weak, t which point an upgrade would start the cycle over again.
I think professions should provide an upgradable accountbound item. The materials needed to upgrade should be available through professionbound sidequests that integrate into the leveling zones.

So a weapon smith could always have a level appropriate weapon while leveling, and when you are at max level have a series of quests (like classic WoW dungeon set upgrade) to convert the weapon into an accountbound for your next char.
Bhagpuss has the right of it. No matter the crafting system, it's almost never worth the trouble. You could create the items but then you either have to carry them in invariably too-small bags, or leave them in your bank and then interrupt your actual gaming with basically useless travel time.

Games level you too fast, and provide too small of a challenge, to make it worth keeping up with gear. In almost every game you can just wear the same crap until it goes grey, make one run to the market and pick up all the dirt-cheap crafted and/or quest stuff that no one can sell for a profit, and then go back on your way.

So far ESO is *mostly* like this, although item wear is high enough that I've found myself replacing items that aren't far out of level, but are broken to the point of uselessness. It's generally more worthwhile to get a bit of crafting xp and save the gold than pay the surprisingly steep repair costs.
It sounds like a nightmare to get the stats you want from crafted gear on the auction house.

Does allowing you to choose which points go into gear allow really create more choice or does it mean that you end up with everyone using the same optimal stat weightings for each spec?

These games are all about quickly replacing gear yet unless it is something that sticks around for a while, crafted gear can essentially be ignored. Your discription makes it sound a lot like WoW, except the gear levels are closer and gear stats are specified instead of random.
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