The Game Monster – Ditto Gets Crafty

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?Crafting – some people love it, some people hate it, some people are completely indifferent.  Well I guess you could say that about pretty much anything, couldn’t you?  Except maybe chocolate pudding – I think that’s pretty much universally loved, right?  Where was I again?  Oh right…  If you ask twenty MMO Gamers about crafting you will get about seventy three different responses, based on factors like time of day, time until next game update, and that day’s horoscope for Virgo.  There are gamers that start playing an MMO because of the crafting system, there are gamers that refuse to play a game because of it, and there are many players who probably don’t  have a strong feeling one way or the other.

Crafting systems have been around since the very beginnings of MMO Gaming, with some early games like Asheron’s Call [singlepic id=3400 w=320 h=240 float=right]even dedicating whole talent trees to crafting skills like cooking and armor crafting.  Crafting can represent anything from small side quests to huge time sinks, it can be tedious and boring or simple, fun, and even exciting with the addition of features like ‘critical’ crafting success, giving you a chance to make far better equipment than the normal recipes would allow.

Personally I like crafting for one main reason – I have yet to find a game where if I fail badly at crafting it kills me or blows me up, and for someone who has been eaten by a giant snake while still on the character loading screen, that’s comforting!

Comfort Food
Crafting can be a very good ‘value-add’ to a game, adding opportunities for gaining excellent equipment and cash as well as significant amounts of playtime outside the normal quest lines the game offers.  It can also be a very relaxing escape from the day to day pressures of saving the world, defeating dragons, crushing the forces of good, or crawling through the deepest, darkest dungeons. Admit it, sometimes we’re just not UP for world conquest, right?  Sometimes we might not have four hours for a raid or to finish that great quest line, but sitting in the crafting hall perfecting that new crossbow, or plowing your fields to grow fresh ingredients for your famous ‘Agility Buff Stew’, that takes a lot of the pressure off, and there’s no shame in that!  Well, unless you play a dwarf, then maybe choosing farming over battle would be looked upon a little strange…  That’s why I try not to play dwarves.

What kind of crafter are you?
While players have many different opinions of crafting, they often fall under one of several ‘types’ of crafters that people tend to gravitate to and feel comfortable with, like the general roles of ‘tank’ or ‘healer’ that exist in most online games, no matter what game they happen to be playing.

First we have the ‘Power Seller’ type, who starts off crafting and resource gathering on day one, putting everything he can up for sale, usually with spreadsheets of data, cost analysis, and sales charts, trying to maximize profit. They tend to have lots of gold, or go completely insane after a few weeks.

There is the ‘Only When Required’ crafter who will only gather a resource or craft an item if it’s part of a quest or achievement, and then complain bitterly about it for a week or more afterwards.  Yes, these are often dwarves.

There is ‘The Hoarder’, who will fill bank slots and mules with every gathered resource they ever pick up, just knowing that some day they’ll need every one of them to craft something truly spectacular, like a dinosaur riding a shark…

There is the typical ‘Casual Crafter’ – this is definitely me – who will do a few crafting quests now and then and will gather a few resources if they’re handy or land in his lap, but will seldom go actively searching for them.

The casual crafter can sometimes transform into the completely crazy ‘Cool Widget of the Week’ crafter, who just HAS to build that house/sword/pizza slicer that was just added to the game, because it’s the coolest thing ever and would be awesome to craft.  I have to admit, I have also been this guy, yes.

There is the ‘End Game’ crafter who won’t even pick up a needle and thread or craft one bronze blade until they’ve hit level cap and find themselves between raids.  They usually become an instant master of crafting because they can pour mountains of gold and resources into it in a very short time.  This kind of crafter generally considers themselves an ‘expert’ about twelve minutes after they craft their first rubber chicken or bronze ingot or whatever, and will loudly proclaim this in the crafting hall, especially when they aren’t asked.

[singlepic id=3401 w=320 h=240 float=right]There is the ‘Guild Crafter’ whose entire game experience revolves around making sure his or her guild have the very best in crafted weapons, armor, commemorative t-shirts, and snacks.  This kind of crafter can sometimes become insulted or even enraged when a fellow guildmate is seen wearing store-bought armor or loot-dropped weapons instead of their own crafted goods.  This has led to many uncomfortable voice-chat exchanges like ‘I know the DPS is two points lower, but just look at that CRAFTSMANSHIP!’ followed by awkward silence.

Finally we have what I feel is the pinnacle of crafters, the ‘True Master’, the person who creates lengthy charts and spreadsheets and guides on how to craft every single thing in the game, with every percentage chance of anything that can have a percentage chance attributed to it, in every color, with screenshots.  These are the crafters that the game designers look to for clarification on what it was they actually designed and how it actually worked.  These are the people who will spend a week working on slaying a dragon, just because the dragon’s toenails may enhance the DPS on their new sword recipe.  Actually I think dragon toenails are used more for daggers, aren’t they?

Crafting – it’s what’s for dinner
Obviously (OK, obviously to most people) this article is one of humor and parody, meant to entertain, yes.  However, there is a real point to it.  Crafting in many games can be a fun, detailed, and rewarding addition to your overall gameplay and I definitely encourage it.  From reagent farming and treasure card crafting in Wizard 101 to the more complex crafting systems of Lord of the Rings Online or Saga of Ryzom, crafting can give you many rewards, from gear and gold to new friends or guildmates.

And you have to admit, sometimes you just don’t want to deal with the pressures of saving the world on some grand quest….

Unless you’re a dwarf, of course.


  1. These get funnier every week, I swear! I am definitely a ‘guild crafter’, in like four games now… Too funny, thanks Ditto.

  2. Awesome article Ditto! I agree entirely that some crafting systems are more tedious than others. RuneScape for example is a huge grind but totally worth the extra effort. Of course, with RuneScape it also involved the Smithing, Mining, Fletching, and Woodcutting skills. I think tying skills together in that manner really enhances the overall gameplay.

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