Crafting is the bit of each new MMO that I am screaming for somebody to get right. In most cases crafting boils down to little more than pointlessly grinding materials to make endless amounts of the same item that you can do little else with other than sell to a vendor for a nominal amount of money.
I’ve recently been playing Guild Wars 2 and that crafting system seems a little different. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to grind for your materials as with all the other MMO crafting systems and there is still that element of repetition in there, but among all that there a few differences which, for me lift their system out of the crafting dirge.
A bit of background, in Guild Wars 2 there are three gathering professions; mining for ore, logging for wood and gathering herbs and plants, and eight crafting professions.
- Armoursmith – metal plate and chain armour
- Artificer – magical staves and sceptres
- Chef – food
- Huntsman – Bows, guns, war-horns
- Jeweller – Jewellery (kinda obvious that one)
- Leatherworker – Leather and hide armour
- Tailor – cloth and linen
- Weaponsmith – Shields and Melee weapons
There is nothing overtly original there I grant you, but the rather brilliant part is that you don’t just have to choose two you can develop them all. Ok you can only develop two at any given time, but if you feel like a change pay a small amount of money and you can change your professions and any points you have accumulated within those professions will stay at that amount, ready for when you go back to the craft.
The second thing that I like is probably less specifically about crafting and more about the game as a whole, but the bank is shared among your characters. This has many practical uses but from a crafting perspective, no matter which of your characters you are playing with they can still gather materials for other characters without having to go through the endless charade of posting stuff to your alts. For example my main character, a human ranger was a huntsman and a chef but had accumulated crap loads of ore that she didn’t need. When I created my Charr warrior weaponsmith, there was all that ore ready for him to use from the get go.
The other element which I think is relatively unique among MMO’s is the discovery tab of the crafting screen. The discovery tab allows you to try to mix various crafting elements either in your inventory r the bank to try to create new recipes of your own.
It’s this part that I think has been missed from so many games. To me the fun of crafting is having that control trying to find your own recipes. That chance of mixing things together and coming up with something truly awesome has been missing since Star Wars Galaxies and that had the unfortunate side effect of being an absolutely mind-numbing grind-fest, yet it was an engaging and complex crafting system.
Funcom have tried to add that missing element back into the Guild Wars 2 crafting system. That level of control and chance that is inherent in any system of creation. Am I reading too much into this? Possibly. After all I know that there will only be a finite number of discoveries to be made. I won’t be able to just throw any items together and come up with an infinite number of weird and wonderful creations. However, If I stay away from wiki’s and only try to discover things for myself then this might well be the best crafting system out there as far as I am concerned.
What are your opinions on the Guild Wars 2 crafting system? Have I grossly over estimated it, or are there more treasures to come that I am not aware of.
P.S. I know the Eve crafting system is also worthy of note, but I hate the waiting hours for things to be made part. That’s probably a little too realistic for me.