The crafting conundrum

So as I’ve made several references to on stream, I would really like to see the crafting system really changed. So what I’d like to do today, is discuss where crafting is, and where I would like to see it go. I am aware that crafting is a thing that is to be worked on, but I am also aware that software development take a lot of time to implement and given the patch history of this game I could be waiting a while for it to be rolled out.

In real terms there are 3 basic ways that a player can craft, the in station crafters who are based purely on RNG. You have no control over the items available to craft, and no control over the rarity. There’s the crafting from blueprints. These are drops from various enemies in game, however outside of some named bosses they are extremely rare to drops and produce a blueprint for a singular item. Again much like above you cannot control the stats of the item, but at least you know what you’re getting before you get it. As far as I am aware BPs are not currently sellable through the Consignment House, but are tradeable. Useful if you have extras for things like the Dark Master ring, but if you get a bad roll on the stats, you can’t really do much about it.

Lastly is THE CUBE. The OG of mythic creation, the place of crafting for most people, the Transmogrifying Cube. This has a lot of crafting options, absolutely none of which are really that manipulatable and there’s a literal wiki page dedicated to the various recipes.

Now I know I’m a bit weird for my love of crafting in games, but considering that 90% of all items after gaining the Piecemaker usually become crafting resources, it would make sense that crafting should perhaps become where late game players make the biggest choices. As well documented in my multi-part streams of “BawBag” the Engineer, I love the Bladesaw but even with me kicking the absolute arse out of Buzz’s Frightgear (probably the best Bladesaw) I found it very difficult on endgame stuff even with a CCM for demons. This also informs as to why certain items perpetuate the meta builds, as only some items have “right” skills to maximize damage while also buffing the player’s abilities.

Before we go any further. Any game having a meta is okay. Just because I actively avoid the meta does not mean I don’t value that any game will have an optimal strategy, there will ALWAYS be an optimal strategy.

Ahem. With the above disclaimer given, let’s talk about what I would propose as ways to improve the crafting system and how this could lead into other game balance challenges. For context as well I’m only going to be talking about crafting new items. Not improving ones. I have ideas for that topic but I need to spend more time thinking about those and I feel like the improvement side of things is a slightly more complicated topic than just the mod choice and Augmentrix at the moment.

  1. Just ripping up the whole thing and creating something new - No. Any changes to the crafting system is most likely going to involve sitting on top of the existing system as unless there are very big (ergo very long to create) changes the base crafting components are fine. The dedicated crafters are not inherently bad (but we will come back to them) BPs aren’t a bad idea (and is already in the game) and who doesn’t like the cube. So before someone comes in and thinks I’m redesigning the wheel here, what I am suggesting is what I expect could be fitted in within the existing framework of those 3 crafting systems.

  2. Double Edged items. Something I personally commented on with Bryan on stream, is the idea that the current double edged items are at best niche and at worst down right awful to your very limited inventory space. As the piecemaker has it as a separate item category seemingly above Legendary, setting them to be auto crunched can screw you over from other legendary items that you may wish to use before heading to the endgame, and that can be less than fun. So I propose the following, much like I did on stream, that double edged items could be “purified” into actually useable ones. This would allow them to still be on drop tables while also making them useful. Many double edged items don’t currently scale well and have usually much lower stats compared to items of the same level, making them a less than optimal choice for players, while also only really benefitting players who really like the Luck stat (obviously the true patrician choice for players of merit) which has limited use for loot grinding and sadly little else. Perhaps purified items could have their own status in the game, either as player created gear with semi-customisable stats or mod slots (who doesn’t want a sword that takes ammo) or potentially customised gear that is at least of an appropriate level. I would suggest that it be done through an NPC who is a dedicated crafter of this “purified” merch, and since his OnlyFans is still waiting on the inevitable swimwear calendar (Do it Bryan), Murmur could earn his keep by doing this. He’s in most stations, and outside of a few quests he has very little to do. Obviously there would be a cost of sorts for this, but that could be something hashed out at a later date. My suggestion would be a cost of essences as you frequently can be sitting on stacks of them with only Stonehenge being the place to spend them.

  3. The crafters. Most stations have a dedicated crafter, who currently doesn’t get much love. I personally love running between stations to reset their stock but it’s not exactly optimal right now. Frequently the stock can be of rare quality, a quality that after I acquire an equivalent legendary item for, I never use again, and while I have not polled on this, seems to be the same for most players. I understand that there are niche times where you may want a lower quality item to buff up using the Augmentrix 3000 (something that I also have issue with) but still its a part of the game which isn’t seeing much use and could do with a bit of love. My suggestion for this would be still to have a dedicated NPC, but to perhaps allow the player to influence the items available to craft. Perhaps allowing the player to pick what type of items that vendor has at the time you talk to them it would make it easier. Also it still allows a table of stock of that item to appear. So if you’re really into rare fuels, being able to go up to a crafter and ask to see their fuels would certainly make it easier. I understand I’m being vague with this suggestion but this is down to me being a) not a dev so I don’t know how hard some of this is to do, and b) me not being a coder of any kind. I can do html, A bit, but outside of a college course I had to do, I haven’t really used it much since, so I am aware there can be limitations.

  4. Blueprints. I actually like BPs, I’m a long time player of Warframe which is built on the damn things. For context to make most warframes in that game requires you to get 3 blueprints for the Neuroptics, Systems, and Chassis (all of which requires 12 hours in the crafting bench to get made) and then an additional BP for the 'Frame itself which in addition to requiring all the other parts, usually needs another resource and then 72 hours to make. Hellgate has a faster crafting system and I am glad for it. I would want to see the BP system expanded and this might even tie into the above point with the crafters. Perhaps sacrificing (or giving, which ever is more dramatic) the crafters could gain knowledge of the item type or perhaps a specific ability which you could later apply to other items during crafting. This is kind of like how Inquisitor: Martyr works, but rather than a singular crafter it would be one that your player “network” knows. Because otherwise buffing up your Charing Cross crafter to know late game items but they only craft them at level 34 would be a bit embarrassing. Also repetitive if you have to do it for each station.

  5. Lastly Mods. I know I said I don’t want to cover improvements, but mods are in a weird state right now. For one the amount of mods that can fit into a weapon can get one item declared “trash” despite still putting out a lot of damage, and for two some weapons just get screwed (I’m not salty about Bladesaws, shut up) with a lack of slots to begin with. Hard caps on the amount of mods in an item is understandable, God help us all if Blademasters started getting 3+ mods per weapon in all builds, but creation of mods is even harder to do than weapons or armour as outside of the crafters maybe having the mods you want to craft, the only other way to consistently make mods is collecting 6 of them, a bunch of crafting gubbins, and using the cube to make a singular better one. Great if you’ve got a lot of mods (especially of Legendary quality) you don’t want or can’t sell, awful if you want to have any degree of control over any part of the crafting process. Don’t get me wrong I know that the cube is very random and I don’t want that to change, but as getting a mythic mod through the crafters is at best rare as all hell (I think I’ve seen like 3 total ever) maybe this should be updated to give some element of control, perhaps instead of just a random mod at least allow us to chose what type of mod it is, either through a drop down list or just what items you put in. For example if you put in 6 relics you currently could end up with an ammo, or a rocket. Just what every discerning Evoker wants, but perhaps making it be the case that assembling 4 relics and 2 of any other kind will get you another relic, but this time of mythic quality. Please note that if the cube is still to be used for crafting in the future, I personally believe it should keep the random aspect to it, as it’s supposed to be a hellspawned cube of magic that eats resources and spits out stuff.

  6. Conclusion - I hope that some of this catches the attention of those who work in the code pits of this game’s equivalents to gaming purgatory that this game lives in, as there’s a lot of potential in this game, and I hope that some day that the devs can actually start charging for this game, if for no other reason than I know how hard it can be to code at the best of times, and significantly harder when this game seems to actively resist development. I know that I have experience in game running albeit more of a TTRPG background, but the core system is just the same, it all comes down to tables and numbers, and that. That I have a background in.

Thank you for reading this long post.

3 Likes

I would love a better crafting system. If for no other reason than it might actually encourage me to use it.

I have never used a station crafter, I have no idea how they work, and I’m marginally scared of touching them.

I’ve made a handful of blueprints but mainly just to get them out of my inventory. Personally the blueprints I’ve gotten haven’t been great.

However, I do use and love the cube. Mostly I just use it to upgrade health and power packs and to craft rings, but that’s only because I need to have a closer look at the wiki page.

I like crafting in games and I think it would make you a bit more attached to or prouder of your gear. As you’ve mentioned we get so many resources after the Piecemaker quest (and thank god for the addition of that). I would also love to be able to rename items.

I am not a fan of the double edged item system as it stands, for me the negatives are never worth it. I would love to see the whole thing overhauled because I do like the concept but I feel it needs to be implemented better.

The idea of purifying items is interesting but I don’t know whether you would need a fully dedicated npc for it. You already effectively purify rings in the cube, I could see more things like that being added.

I love you for these. And others, but these are worthy of chef’s kisses.
In seriousness, these are great intermissions and jabs to keep the reader interested. This is a very broad topic, so they’re useful.

I too don’t think one needs to “reinvent the wheel”; there’s a good enough foundation in place. Say, unlocking recipes could be tied to faction standings. Blueprints could simply see boosted drop rates, like Global did, and precise revisions to have them fit our game’s ecosystem. Station crafters could become more player-centric (although this doesn’t fully address the mod issue - locking foci to Cabalists works, but mod types overlap somewhat). DE items could see a purification system, exactly like our Abyss rings do. And the Cube could see expansions, like it has in both versions of the game (excluding the FSS version because it’d be unfair to judge its expansions when it strived to stay afloat).

So this will definitely fuel some internal discussions. We’ve postponed revising the crafting system for a while, since there’s always something pressing on the table, but this will be fantastic feedback to juxtapose with our own notes and thoughts.

Definitely. I love the RNG aspect, and do fear that extremely precise crafting could invalidate that, but it doesn’t have to with proper execution. Say, Uniques will remain Uniques, and Mythics could remain more accessible through drops than crafting items with Mythic affixes. Better yet, selecting a Mythic affix could require Mythic scraps, so the two systems are tied together.

This likely also entails a “crafted” grade. I think it would be much more readable to have a different grade for such items, so they’re immediately visible and not dismantled/discarded on accident. It also opens up resource management, so they don’t yield identical scrap materials as other grades.

I love crafting ideas. I will throw some feedback and recipes for the cube that I think can make it more useful for early game.

Some material reductions (maybe by a third 1/3) for BP’s for items with levels lower than 10. You don’t really get materials in the range which these BP’s are expecting at these levels, making them useless by the time you do have the mats.

Reduce amount of basic materials from recipes from Anjuna in Covent Garden Station by a quarter. The rare material requirements seem fine with her. Her items also seem to be around lvl 10 and below. Successive upgrades in the nanoforge become cost-prohibitive in nanoshards.

10 resistance consumables + 1 rare mod with added % damage + piece of equipment with an open enhancement = Added resistance towards that status effect.
10 Essences of the same type + 1 basic mod with +damage % towards the same enemy class + 1 nanoshard + weapon with an open enhancement = added enhancement with the same stat as the basic mod.
10 Adrenaline pills + all types of Basic resistance consumables = 10min consumable that grants 750 resistance across all status effects.
2 Double-Edged items of the same item = 1 new item with rerolled penalties.

I agree with some of these things. I thing that crafting (at least early on) can be very punishing to players, and as you rarely get something of greater worth than the drops, disincentives crafting over drops. I think that something in the future that would be nice to have is the idea that yes, drops will generally be better, but that crafting allows a lot of control, so that if you’re unlucky in rolls you don’t have to drop hundreds of thousands of palladium on buying what people are selling. Prices in the Consignment House can be a bit nuts, and if they’re the only option without high levels of grind people will take the path of least resistance. I may on a future season of my HG playthroughs on stream, sell all the items I don’t grind, just to test how much I may be missing out on IGC (In Game Currency) compared to selling stacks of resources.