Trade Skills have always been an important part of MMORPGs. Most games tie them into combat though, and the higher end boss drops are usually more desirable than crafted items. Throw in the auction system and increasing those crafting skills is often just an unnecessary time sink. Many level based titles also tie combat levels into crafting levels, and then restrict how many trade skills you can have on a single character.
A goal of ours from the very beginning was to provide the opportunity for crafters to be productive, without forcing them into combat roles. Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies (pre-CU), and Vanguard are great examples of this. Players were able to exist completely as a crafter, harvesting their own materials and then using them to create things. We have designed our system in a mold similar to those games. If players do not wish to partake in combat, they can still be a successful crafter.
Crafting and Recipe Basics
The bedrock which our system lies on is the grade system. Every single item used in crafting or resulting from a crafting recipe has a grade attached to it. Grades range from F (worst) to A (best) and also have a sub-grade ranging from 0 to 9. Combining both of these values you get a Grade value from F0 to A9. If the end result is something that can be used, such as a Fitting, it impacts the actual stats on that object, as well. If you are just beginning to make a certain recipe you will find yourself creating F to C grade results based on the ingredients. As you increase your skill level, you'll achieve better results. Additionally, everytime you create an object through a recipe you also have a chance to increase your mastery of that recipe. Receiving the higher grade results will require both high quality components, and much practice with that particular recipe. We hope that this system rewards specialty crafters.
An important part, as mentioned before, is the quality of the ingredients in the recipe. If you use poor quality ingredients the result is going to be poor itself. Ingredients come from sub component recipes, store purchased ingredients, and extracted resources.
In most MMOs crafting is done by selecting a recipe, hitting a button, waiting on the progress bar, and then collecting your result. Since you must increase skill by doing easier recipes, you generally produce many of the same items repeatedly. Because these items do not have much demand, they wind up getting sold to a vendor, or even destroyed. While a typical crafting tree might have 100 recipes in most games, most of those recipes are the same as the previous tier, just with a higher tier ingredient. For example, rather than using Copper Ore and a Pants Pattern you now use Silver Ore and a Pants pattern.
Our goal was to provide a robust crafting process that is easy to learn, but at the same time allows crafters to differentiate themselves from one another. You may obtain a recipe within your first few minutes of gameplay, and that same recipe could still be useful two years down the road. This works by requiring a generic ingredient such as Tissue, and then allowing players to fill its requirement with any of dozens of types of Tissues, each producing different results. The recipe might focus on creating a damage fitting, but based on the ingredients it could adjust how balanced the fitting is, add certain types of damage, or adjust the level required to use the fitting. Results can also change based on the grade result, allowing for a totally different result from C to B, or B to A as well.
Recipes are made up of one or more Ingredients and one or more Agents. Ingredients are the main "filters" for creating a recipe. The result of the recipe can change based on the Ingredients used. Ingredients are not consumed until after the whole process is finished. Agents have a smaller role in the process, but are burned through on each step. Agents primarily impact the quality of the end result in a minor fashion, where ingredients have a larger effect. Each recipe has a set number of steps, and during each step there is a chance for an event.
Events occur randomly during a crafting session and can have a positive or negative affect. You can alter the result based on how you respond to these events. Crafting tools come into play here. Crafting tools impact which events will occur, and how you can respond to them. All events have a 'no consumption' option where no item is consumed and the event is skipped over. Each event has at least one other option that requires an item to be consumed. This will produce two different results based on if it succeeds or fails. Some options require a specific tool of a certain quality to successfully chosen, as well. Crafting events can be positive (such as an increase in total grade), or negative (reduction, lost a step, or even a total failure). Players are presented with risk/reward options, and can make their own decisions on if the rewards outweight the risk.
Great crafters aren't born overnight, and there is a need to hone your skill, just like any other game. People may not be lining up to purchase your D grade results, and that's where crafting missions come in. Crafting missions allow you to fill work orders from NPCs by crafting the items they require. Your reward for the mission will vary based on how difficult the recipe was to create.
As mentioned in our mission system overview, tasks can be generated based on your skills levels, and this includes your trade skills. Crafting missions can be tailored to your specific skill set. This is a good way to learn how to create different recipe results, and get a little more out of your sub-par results while you skill up. These missions are completely optional.
The crafting board can be best thought of as a reverse auction system. Instead of putting your results up on the auction house, someone places a request for a certain result along with a level and grade restriction and sets a price. Once the request is placed, everyone gets a fair chance to fulfill the order. By providing an option like this we can allow 'on demand' needs of resources to be posted and hopefully filled in quickly by someone in game that has the appropriate materials and skill to do so.
Crafting itself is kind of pointless if you don't have materials to feed into the recipe. Harvesting is the common process of getting resources and it comes from both combat and non combat oriented interactions.
This is the most effective form of harvesting and requires the player to go into the world and interact with harvesting nodes in order to extract their resources. An example of this is using a Spear Gun on a fish, or a Power Saw on a tree. It should be noted that only objects marked as resources can be harvested in this manner.
Harvestable nodes spawn in harvesting regions, which are located throughout the world. Each region has a supply base of harvesting nodes. Nodes will respawn at a faster pace when an area has been underharvested and at a slower pace when it has been overharvested. If the supply becomes depleted then no new resources will respawn until an area has a chance to replenish. The hope is that this mechanic will reward players for seeking out more remote locations.
Manual harvesting is the most effective form of harvesting for two reasons. First is that the harvesting speed is limited by the number of resource nodes available. If one can find a large supply of resource nodes they can amass resources quickly. Most importantly though, manual harvesting of nodes is the only way that you can receive Rare harvests. These resources are rare and are very valuable because of that. Some of these resources are required for advanced Recipes or can be used in Missions or Bounties.
Materials gathered from manual harvesting also have a wide range of quality values based on random chance. Sometimes you might find some C grade results and other times you might get lucky and get A grade results that are going to be sought after by veteran crafters looking to make high quality products.
Structure Based Harvesting
There are numerous types of harvesting structures. These structures will extract resources in an automated fashion and the player will receive these resources each day, so long as the harvester remains operational. Structure based harvesting provides a slow, steady supply of resources to a player with a hands off approach. The main downfall of this method is that you cannot receive Rare harvests. Finally, the quality of the harvests is based on the area where the resources are being pulled from and higher quality harvesting areas will, of course, be in higher demand.
In most MMOGs, crafting components such as blood, skin or pelts are often looted from the corpses of monsters. In Repop, you do this with the Corpse Extraction system. Every time you kill a certain species or extract from its corpse, you gain knowledge of that species, which we refer to as Species Mastery. You have a separate mastery level of each of the species in the game. This mastery level affects the grade of the components you can extract from their corpses, the type of materials you can extract, as well as giving you a bonus against that species in combat. If you aren't very skilled yet, you will only obtain low quality resources. As your skill increases you will gain higher grade components.