Author Topic: Custom Crafting  (Read 1180 times)

sleepyhead

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Custom Crafting
« on: June 21, 2018, 12:04:50 PM »
This didn't seem to exactly fit with the existing topics, but I think it's an important discussion to have. Or at least, it's important to me. I personally always end up dying or storing before I can CC something, but it's still often part of my greater vision for a crafter character. Writing up and getting excited about future concepts is one of my favorite things to do, and this definitely affects some ideas that I had. So I'm going to list the basic facts plus some possible pros and cons. Note that some of these pros and cons are more opinions or predictions than others, and everything's up for debate.

THE FACTS:

- None of the new guilds will inherently receive the ability to custom craft. That includes Heavy Mercantile.

- There will be a new 0-karma subguild (we'll call it custom crafter) added that includes only one skill, toolmaking, to an unknown level. It will also unlock the ability to custom craft any of your main guild's crafting skills up to the level that you have in that skill. So someone with journeyman stonecarving and the subguild will be able to submit new stonecarving crafts up to the journeyman level.

- In addition to the 0-karma custom crafter subguild, there will also continue to be extended (1-karma) subguilds like master potter, master tailor, etc., that grant the ability to custom craft in that one skill.

- There is discussion about letting GMH crafters submit custom crafts just by virtue of being GMH crafters. This would be the only non-subguild-reliant way to custom craft.

- Brokkr has said he has not considered whether or not people will be able to special app the ability to custom-craft along with a non-custom-crafting subguild.

POSSIBLE PROS:

- Since light and heavy mercantile both achieve master level in various crafts, tying it to subguild instead will limit the number of custom crafts submitted, thus preventing staff from being overwhelmed by custom craft requests.

- The custom crafter subguild will allow people with only middling crafting skills to make new custom crafts, possibly encouraging people to custom craft less fancy and pristine items.

- The limitation ensures that people don't try to "have their cake and eat it too." No one can be great at everything, and if you want the ability to produce your own designs, you're going to have to give up something.

- According to Brokkr, custom crafting isn't immensely popular to begin with. Many merchants never submit a custom craft. All this change will do is limit custom crafting to the people who care about it enough to dedicate their subguild to it. Most people will not be affected, even if they think they will be.

- Brokkr has also said that one of the benefits of this change will be to make subguild choice matter.

- You won't have to master your craft skills to be able to custom craft them.

POSSIBLE CONS:

- There are players whose main interest in the game is the ability to produce custom crafts, and it may not be fun to severely limit their choice of subguild.

- Mercantile guilds, particularly heavy mercantile, may look less attractive to some when custom crafting is not inherently part of their skillset.

- No Elementalists or sorcerers will be able to custom craft unless they join a GMH (to do GMH-related crafts), which means there are unlikely to be any ritual magick-related RP props added to the game from now on. No gemmed or tribal magickers will be able to custom craft whatsoever.

- Despite the versatility and anti-guild-sniffing power of the well-rounded new guilds, if you see someone produce even one non-GMH custom craft, you instantly know for a fact that they are not any kind of magicker.

- One of the stated intentions of the new system is to encourage more mid-level, less "fancy" crafts. However, only the 'mixed' guilds seem to get lower-capped crafts, and even they reach advanced, which can create some pretty fancy items. I have not found a main guild that has any journeyman crafting skills.

- In that same vein, it may not be very attractive for a 'mixed' guild to sacrifice their subguild to become a custom crafter. If custom crafting is the player's focus for the character to the point that they are willing to give up their subguild for it, I expect they may want to pick light or heavy mercantile, which get far more crafting skills and at a higher level.

- Player-created MMHs, which are already difficult to get off the ground, may become more difficult, since custom crafting is required to progress through the stages, and custom crafters may become harder to find.

-------

Thoughts? I am sure you can tell where I stand on the issue, but if you guys come up with more pros I'll certainly add them to the list. I don't think the idea is inherently bad at all, but my personal opinion is that it needs a bit of tweaking before it really solves all the problems it's intended to solve, and so that it doesn't create several new problems. I personally wouldn't mind it if heavy mercantile could inherently custom craft, and the rest have to pick the subguild.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2018, 10:00:41 AM by sleepyhead »

WithSprinkles

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Re: Public Discussion of Custom Crafting
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2018, 02:42:19 PM »
(glances over the OP's list)

This pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter. In more detail than I was going to go into.

Folks will probably disagree with me on this, but if the creation aspects of a text game are removed, stripped down, or made unappealing, you begin to drift closer to being a Hack and Slash. Text games don't have graphics, so these communities enjoy making things and prodding at the game world. In a Mud, this is strictly controlled, as opposed to a Mush where it can get a little crazy.

Maybe I am not quite seeing the vision of what staff wants to do here, but I was very excited that we were going from one mercantile class to three. All the others were combatants in some way. And HEY! If I was feeling adventurous, I was looking forward to being able to move a category over on the new chart and still having a little bit of crafting ability to play with while being a bit more buff. All of this appealed to my playstyle. Why would this subclass thing even be considered? Was it that much of a problem?

Delirium

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Re: Public Discussion of Custom Crafting
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2018, 03:50:53 PM »
As someone who loves submitting custom crafts to fill gaps or push plots, I naturally agree with OP. If the custom craft approval and creation system is burdensome, I suggest finding ways to code and streamline the system rather than discourage players by gating it with subguilds.
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sleepyhead

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Re: Public Discussion of Custom Crafting
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2018, 04:32:18 PM »
Yeah, I think some of the arguments in favor of the change have been oversimplifying things by implying that if we were to have 3 guilds that can CC, we would end up with 3 times the number of people playing those guilds than we had when we were limited to merchant. I seriously doubt that.

EDIT: I renamed the thread because when it got shortened, it looked just like the main guild class discussion thread, and I wanted to differentiate them.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2018, 04:40:03 PM by sleepyhead »

Lizzie

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Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2018, 05:05:41 PM »
Disclaimer: I play merchants fairly often, and I have only *fully* branched one of them. I'm not especially fond of "practicing" things just so you can branch something else.

What I would've loved to see is something more like this:

You pick the master-merchant main class.

You select a focus for your crafts: clothing/armor, stone/jewelry, weapons/tools, or other.

All the related craft skills that come with your selected focus will master, and be master-craftable.
All the OTHER craft skills will only get to the highest "point" of advanced.


I never really understood why someone who is an expert at making jewelry, would also be an expert at making clothes, and weapons, and tents, and armor.
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Brytta Léofa

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Re: Public Discussion of Custom Crafting
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2018, 05:06:19 PM »
If the custom craft approval and creation system is burdensome, I suggest finding ways to code and streamline the system rather than discourage players by gating it with subguilds.

Custom crafts would benefit a ton from some work in the Request Tool.

On the player side, it's way too open ended. The tool should guide you through the options (select item type from a dropdown, select material, options, etc. for that object type from a dropdown, type your description...). Ingredient sdescs should be validated by the tool. Special requests ("give a stealth bonus!") should have checkboxes and be gated in some way (you can make one bonus-giving item per RL year or whatever).

Make it so the the only way a player can screw up a custom craft request is by writing an unreasonable or incoherent description.

On the staff side, create a workflow for finishing the item inside the request tool, including number-generation and admin review. (I think I've heard that at one point creating a weapon required looking up values across multiple tables. This isn't a good use of staff time!). Make the damn code help you with ingredient lookup / disambiguation. And if it's not possible to actually modify the database from the request tool, it could still generate the staff commands to create the object.

Make it so your staff effort is mostly just reviewing item descriptions. Numbers, materials, levels, etc. should be enforced by code.

Getting this sort of system to 100% would be hard, but you don't have to do that. Automating almost any part of the pipeline would be helpful.
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WithSprinkles

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Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2018, 05:19:46 PM »
I see what you're saying there, Lizzie.

I obviously don't have THAT many merchants under my belt yet, but I pretty much fully branched one. My thought process for it went, "Alright, they obviously know how to do most things. I'm just going to specialize and have things that they LOVE to do." So that character focused on custom crafts in certain categories if I could help it and rejected most others, especially as I learned the game.

I don't think these things need to be hard coded, just encouraged. Because we're all supposed to be working toward a certain standard. If someone wants to do more things, that's fine, maybe their background supports that. I don't agree with making things that used to be options into constraints.

sleepyhead

  • Posts: 538
Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2018, 07:27:33 PM »
Maybe I'll try to figure out how to make a tool that makes submissions more foolproof on the player side. It'll still have the problem that not everyone will use it, of course, but maybe it'll help a bit.

Has anyone considered giving Builders the ability to put in submitted custom crafts? That might be another way to help with the workload. I think that if done correctly, custom crafting should not feel like a bunch of extra work for staff, but a way to outsource new game content to players.

Delirium

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Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2018, 07:28:44 PM »
I think that if done correctly, custom crafting should not feel like a bunch of extra work for staff, but a way to outsource new game content to players.

QFT
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Brokkr

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Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2018, 07:36:07 PM »
Shalooonsh illustrated the point yesterday on Discord (or maybe the day before) what the issue is with custom crafts.  Its not the copying and pasting descriptions.  It is all the other stuff.

sleepyhead

  • Posts: 538
Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2018, 07:40:28 PM »
What other stuff, if you don't mind my asking? I don't think I was present for that. Do you think it's something that could be made easier in some way other than the band-aid solution of severely limiting the number of CCs?

Brytta Léofa

  • Posts: 486
Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2018, 07:54:47 PM »
Quote from: Discord
[9:21 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: Here's, if I may, the issue as I see it breaking down
[9:22 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: Amos the craftdude wants a super awesome blue linen jacket.  He wants this super awesome blue linen jacket for himself, him.  So he writes up his super awesome blue linen jacket, but doesn't want it to be a one off... in case something happens to it, like it gets bitten by a dwarf in the Gaj or something
[9:22 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: so he makes it with blue linen, a sapphire, a piece of ivory, and some gold dye... because he wants it REALLY super awesome
[9:22 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: he sends it in.  It has all these extra features on the custom craft request
[9:23 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: staff reads it over
[9:23 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: staff then talks about it,... because we do talk about these things
[9:23 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: there's a lot of discussion about this particular blue jacket over 20 days of wait time
[9:23 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: then we go back and we say "okay, we need this to be toned down, and also button snaps aren't invented so those need to come out"
[9:23 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: Then he responds... comes back with some counter... he really wants the button snaps
[9:23 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: we go back and forth on it a bit
[9:24 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: then
[9:24 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: after all that... the final design is approved
[9:24 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: it gets made
[9:24 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: it goes through multiple levels of approval, it gets put in to the game
[9:24 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: he makes it once
[9:24 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: he dies
[9:24 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: AND NO ONE EVER MAKES IT AGAIN
[9:24 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: it adds nothing to the game on long term after all that work went in to it
[9:24 AM] Brokkr: I'd much rather someone submit and staff make a rinthi suitable club that any beginner in club making could make
[9:24 AM] Shal LeBooonsh: ^THIS^
then the father hen will call his chickens home

sleepyhead

  • Posts: 538
Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2018, 08:02:27 PM »
Ah, I did in fact see that, and that's a real problem, but I don't see how it's addressed in any way by tying custom crafting to subguilds. I know you want to see more low-level crafts, but as I've pointed out, none of the new main guilds has a cap in any crafting skill below advanced that I've seen.

Brytta Léofa

  • Posts: 486
Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2018, 08:14:26 PM »
A few ideas for getting more game content out of crafting recipes:

1. Easy indie discovery of new recipes:
Quote
> craft rock ?
Here are a few things you could craft with a small, rocky rock and one other ingredient:
 1. a greasy paperweight (stonecrafting, easy)
    from a small, rocky rock and a lump of fatty tallow
(etc.)

2. Promote widespread use of custom crafts. Overhaul the shopkeeper inventory code. If you sell multiple of a craftable item to a shopkeeper, there's a good chance he'll get additional suppliers and add it to his inventory rotation.
Quote
25. your custom craft (many are available)

3. Straight-up give master-level crafters and GMH employees commands to search the crafting recipe database with only minor restrictions. This could bring tons of forgotten content back into the game. (Which might be a problem in its own right, but hey, it starts us working through the problem.)

OTOH I'm not a player who enjoys the recipe-finding minigame; might be that some of you regular merchant players would hate this.
then the father hen will call his chickens home

sleepyhead

  • Posts: 538
Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2018, 08:21:46 PM »
Maybe there could be more seeding of shops with these items, too.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2018, 08:24:07 PM by sleepyhead »

azuriolinist

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Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2018, 12:00:19 AM »
I can see how, when custom crafts disappear into the abyss of the database, they might seem unnecessary. But instead of limiting submissions and gating access to it through specific subguilds, why don't we promote visibility for custom crafts? What sleepyhead and Brytta's suggested, above, are great ideas. Maybe the code could be re-worked so that a shopkeeper's inventory always includes a few randomly-chosen custom crafts appropriate for the shop.

valeria

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Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2018, 08:54:40 AM »
Pro:

You won't have to master your craft skills to be able to custom craft them.

This is kind of a huge deal for me (it was a takeaway from a Brokkr post I don't have time to find right now), but there will no longer be the wait period of getting everything to master in order to be able to custom craft it.

If you want to roll into the game and design crappy 'rinth knives, you'll be able to do that without having to be a master maker of knives.

Molten Heart

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Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2018, 09:42:07 AM »
When the new classes go live, will legacy guilds with a crafting subguild be able to submit custom craft items? (until they all eventually die at least)

sleepyhead

  • Posts: 538
Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2018, 10:03:31 AM »
Valeria: added that pro to the list. Though I personally think there are other ways to implement that definitely positive change without tying CCing to subguild only.

Molten Heart: Brokkr said that legacy merchants will be able to continue to CC even after the changes.

Insigne

  • Posts: 338
Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2018, 01:52:34 PM »
Between what I've seen here and on Discord, one thing that has me excited about this change is the ability to custom craft without being a master in your respective crafting skills (!!!).

I do have to echo the concerns of others in this thread because, compared to the new classes and custom crafting subguild, some changes seem like a step backward when the proposed solution for:
  • custom crafts disappearing into the database forever
  • what might become a heavy workload on staff
... is to shrink the options and versatility that mercantile classes have. I'm confused. Is there something I'm missing? :(

There are a lot of alternative solutions on this thread I can get behind: finding a way to streamline the approval process, promoting commonly available custom crafts by reintroducing old crafts into the game, while still giving mercantile classes the versatility that the other classes have. Is there a chance of considering these?

mansa

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Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2018, 03:25:42 PM »
Shalooonsh illustrated the point yesterday on Discord (or maybe the day before) what the issue is with custom crafts.  Its not the copying and pasting descriptions.  It is all the other stuff.

I've also heard that it's not in the theme to have twenty versions of the same 'a bone knife' type of dagger.


For us as players, we want to customize as much as possible the characters we play.  We get to do so with our mdesc and sdesc, and in the choices of the equipment we wear, and we want to customize more, which is why we request new types of items.

In my opinion, part of the problem is that what is possible already in the database isn't accessible to the players, so we submit items we think are unique, but are actually duplicates.

A way to solve this problem is to open up portions of the database so we could search for items instead of trying to duplicate efforts.  This requires code and maybe a large overhaul of code.

It could also be solved by creating a separate database of items and letting the players search through that, instead of the source files.  That also requires time and energy to set up and maintain, but using newer technology so it might be easier.

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sleepyhead

  • Posts: 538
Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2018, 04:46:57 PM »
I'm afraid subclass choice for crafters is going to be really boring with this change. Designing characters will be much more fun with combat characters than with merchants, who will be forced to choose whether to sacrifice the fun and versatility of a real, well-rounded subguild for a single ability they can only use once a month, but allows them their only chance to be truly creative with crafting. Combat guilds are forced into no such choice. Imagine if the parry skill was only granted through a subguild with only that skill and maybe one other. Or they'd be allowed to join AoD, the Byn, or the Garrison and get access to parry, albeit with the understanding that they'd lose it once they leave those clans.

People would feel that this was an unfair and restrictive choice, and I think it's the same for CCing.

Sure, a lot of non-warrior fighters never managed to actually branch parry, just like a lot of non-GMH merchants never got around to submitting CCs, but that doesn't mean that people shouldn't care if parry is taken away because they weren't using it anyway. In fact, the new classes seem to be geared towards making getting important skills like parry a lot more feasible.

Now, granted, CCing is different from parry because it requires player creativity and staff work, but I think the comparison still stands in some ways; parry is seen as an integral part of playing a fighter, just as CCing is seen as an integral part of playing a merchant.

If the crafting system was a little less awkward to begin with, I might be able to get behind a change like this. If there was a system with which a crafter could combine designs, materials, and ornamental details to automatically generate crafts with some level of customization, then severely restricting the ability to actually write up new items wouldn't be such a big deal. But right now, as I pointed out in the Discord, you can make an obsidian spider or a basalt braxat. If someone asks you to make an obsidian braxat, you have to look at them like they are insane. It's clunky and weird and the only way around it is through the custom crafting system.

If we want to see less fancy CCs and we also want CCs to be restricted somehow to reduce staff workload, I think there are more elegant ways to go about it. Here's one that I just made up off the top of my head:

- Either no class inherently gets the ability to CC, or perhaps only heavy mercantile. Maybe even only artisan. That's a balance issue that staff would know better than me how to make a decision about.

- Give everyone 1 karma by default. Expand karma to a 4-point scale. Of course, when players spend this karma, they have to wait to regenerate it, so it still has a function even if everyone gets it by default.

- Brand spanking newbies get access to extended subclasses, but not touched. Touched are bumped up to two karma. Elemental aspects are 3 or 4. Basically, everything but mundane extended subs are bumped up a karma point. Newbies are not inherently closer to magick subclasses than they ever were.

- 1 karma point can be spent on the ability to custom craft your main class skills. This will be in addition to the cost of your subclass. So if you want to play, say, a laborer/slipknife custom crafter, that'd cost you 2 karma, which you'd have to wait to regenerate.

- You can special app the ability to custom craft as long as the combination you want to play would cost only 1 more than the amount of karma you have.

- If you wanna play a mul, krathi agony/devastation, or whiran travel/illusion who is also a custom crafter, you'll always have to special app it.

- I'm not sure how the system would handle sorcerers or psionicists who want to CC. I love the idea of letting them do it (imagine the crazy crafts a sorcerer might come up with!) but I'll leave this one up to staff to handle. Maybe it could just be a matter of selling staff on your CCing sorcerer concept.

This system would solve a lot of the CC issues and be far more versatile, and would tackle some other problems while it's at it! Custom crafting would be limited, while still allowing newbies access to it. In addition, newbies would have access to extended subclasses right off the bat, but they'd not be able to play them every single character unless they learned to have a bit of longevity. This would help address a lot of complaints about newbies being locked out of extended subclasses, which have a bit more oomph but aren't inherently more challenging to RP. (Power-wise, I'm far more worried about extended subguilds in the hands of vets than total newbies who don't even know how to branch skills yet.)

As Brokkr has told us is important to him, subclass choice would matter, since you'd have to consider what you want to/are able to spend the karma for on top of your ability to CC. You might see more of a mix of regular and extended subguilds. Magickers who are crafters could continue to make their own magickal RP props, as long as their players are willing to spend the karma/put in the spec app for it. And I think with a system like this, you'd see a lot more 'mixed' classes such as laborer with lower crafting skill caps opting for the ability to CC if they don't have to give up their subguild for it, potentially leading to more of the humbler crafts staff has been after.

But this is just ONE idea, and I think there are many other potential systems one could come up with that incorporate all of the great PROs with fewer of the CONs. Anyone feel like improving upon my suggestions?

EDIT: I know all of this sounds complicated, but it actually isn't. It's really quite simple if you're willing to suffer through my bad explanation of it. Please bear with me; I'm not much of a writer!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2018, 04:50:41 PM by sleepyhead »

sleepyhead

  • Posts: 538
Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2018, 05:17:37 PM »
Just realized that with this system, the karma-thrifty might choose a non-extended crafting subguild (such as regular stonecarver, jeweler, tailor, etc.) along with the ability to CC. Which will lead to even more lower-level CCs. Sweet!

Basically, my idea is that at the end of chargen, if you have a karma point to spare after your race/subguild choice as well as eventual access to at least one CC-friendly crafting skill, Ginka would ask you if you want to spend 1 karma on this character to unlock the ability to custom craft. Perhaps it could even remind you which crafting skills you would be able to use to CC, if it would be simple enough to code that function, but it's not necessary.

Delirium

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Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2018, 07:41:18 PM »
While I mostly agree with Sleepyhead, to play devil's advocate, if you pick a subguild with customcraft like apothecary, armor crafter, etc, those would be, in roleplay terms, the things your character is best at, or focuses on, and therefore the things you'd come up with new recipes for. If you want the option to be able to custom craft everything you can craft, i.e. with a heavy mercantile guild, you pick the customcraft subguild. So it's not as bad as I initially thought. You just have to think over what you want to be able to custom craft. There's a much wider spread of skills now, too, so even merchant types aren't shoehorned into doing nothing but crafting, even without a fancy subguild. They even have a little bit of fighting skill - for example Dune Traders look survivable, though you wouldn't want to stick around too long in a real fight.
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sleepyhead

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Re: Custom Crafting
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2018, 07:50:03 PM »
Yeah, I like that, and that's great. That's definitely a pro. Unfortunately, that doesn't help magickers, though, and while I know it's unhealthy to fixate on gickers too much, I think we really will lose potential for some interesting crafts by declaring that they can't CC anymore. We opened up their ability to CC when extended subs came in, and then further so when they were subguilded. We wanted them to be more realistic, well-rounded people. Why take away from them now? It's not like magick + CCing is OP or something, after all.

I know personally of at least one amazingly creative ritual item created by a clanned tribal magicker. As an indie tribal gicker I almost MC'd an altar, although I ended up dying before it was complete. It's sad to see that potential taken away already. It's the superstitious/religious/spiritual side of CC's that is going to lose out here, unfortunately, and that's a side I feel really passionate about.