Update #58: Crafting with Tim Cain!

Discussion in 'News Comments' started by Dark Elf, Jul 3, 2013.

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  1. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    Update by Tim Cain, Senior Programmer and Designer
     

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    I have been working on a lot of different gameplay mechanics since my last update about monks (Update #52). All of the classes are in the game now, along with their abilities and spells up to level 5. This should give us a good basis to test encounters in the game's early maps. So I have turned my attention to some of the non-combat skills, including crafting.

    Crafting Basics

    Crafting is the skill that you use to make equippable items like armor and weapons, and consumable items like potions and food. To begin crafting, you must find an appropriate crafting location.

    • Forges – these blacksmithing locations can be used to make all of the equippable gear. From helmets to armor to boots, if you can wear it, then you can make it here.
    • Labs – these alchemical tables are used to make any enchantments, as well as all alchemical consumables like potions, scrolls or figurines (which let you summon a creature that will fight for you). If you want to improve your gear or brew a potion, you need to find one of these labs.
    • Hearths – these cooking spots are used to make food and drink that can give you long-term benefits when you ingest them. Many rest areas will have hearths, so crafting of this sort can often be done “in the field”.

    When you use the central object at these locations, such as the anvil at the forge, you will enter a crafting interface that displays all of your forge recipes, broken down into categories such as armor, weapons, boots, helmets, rings, etc. You pick a category and can see all of the recipes you know for that category. Each recipe has a set of ingredients needed to make its item (or items, as some recipes will make batches of items). Some recipes will have additional prerequisites, including requiring you or a companion to have a certain talent or ability or even skill at an appropriate level. Higher level recipes have more prerequisites and need rarer ingredients.

    You may be wondering where you get recipes. You get a few automatically when you level up your crafting skill, and you can also buy them from vendors. Sometimes you will find recipes in the world, as loot on creatures or as rewards for finishing quests. There will be a lot of recipes in Project Eternity for you to find, so make sure you explore every nook and cranny of this world, especially the crannies.

    Crafting doesn’t take any time. If you have everything the recipe needs and are at the appropriate crafting location, then you can make the item instantly. Usually the ingredients are used up, but sometimes they are reusable. And for recipes like enchantments, the main ingredient is not used up but is instead improved by the addition of a new bonus. For example, you might have a sword with high accuracy and a Flaming Sword recipe that adds fire damage to any sword. If you use that sword with that recipe, you will have the same sword with a high accuracy bonus but also with additional fire damage! Win win!

    Crafting can also be used to repair items, but first we should talk about item durability in Project Eternity.

    Item Durability

    Most items don’t degrade over time. This means that boots, rings, helmets, gloves, amulets, cloaks, and belts are not worn down by use. However, weapons, shields, and armor (that is, chest armor) do have durability values and are worn down by use. Specifically, every attack with a weapon degrades that weapon by one unit, and armor and shields are similarly degraded when the wearer is attacked.

    Items have lots of units of durability, and they do not suffer any negative effects until those units are completely gone. When an item has reached 25% of its maximum durability, it will become “worn” and appear that way in your inventory, but it will not behave any differently until the last unit of durability is lost. At that point, the item is “damaged” and the following effects will happen:

    • Weapons – damaged weapons do less damage and have less accuracy
    • Armor – damaged armor has lower damage thresholds and the wearer’s attack speed is slower
    • Shields – damaged shields lose part of their defense bonuses

    Items can never become worse than “damaged”. They will not break or become more damaged. They just stay damaged until you have them fixed.

    Vendors can repair items for money, so that’s a fast and easy way to keep all of your items in top notch condition. The cost of the repair is proportional to the percentage of the durability lost and the cost of the item, so expensive items tend to be more costly to repair than cheaper ones, especially if you let them lose a lot of their durability before repairing them.

    However, let’s see how you can save your precious hard-earned money by bringing this discussion back to crafting.
     
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    A typical Hearth where you can craft food and drink.

    Durability and Crafting

    You or any companion can repair items by using the crafting skill at a forge. More importantly, you can use materials instead of money, if you have the right ones. The higher your crafting skill or the more materials you have, the less money it costs to repair an item. Some items might even repair for free!
     
    But wait...there’s more!
     
    The crafting skill also decreases the rate of degradation on items used by a character. So if you have the crafting skill, when you hit someone, your weapon doesn’t lose a whole point of durability. Instead it loses a fraction of a point. And when you are hit, your armor and shield don’t lose a whole point each either. And the higher your crafting skill, the less durability you lose. We are assuming that if you know how to make an item, you also know how to use and take care of it.
     
    So a high crafting skill means your weapons, armor, and shields degrade more slowly and you can repair those items (and those of your companions) more cheaply than a vendor. That is such a win-win situation, how can you afford to NOT take the crafting skill?!

    I’ll answer that question in a future update about the other skills in Project Eternity.
     
  2. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    The whole recipes aspect seems pretty reminiscent of schematics in Arcanum, which is nice. I don't know what to make of the durability system, it seems unusual you can't break weapons and armour - though I suppose if damaged weapons and armour are much worse you won't end up using them anyway so it probably equates to the same thing.
     
  3. werozzi

    werozzi Member

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    Maybe it refers more to a mantain system; eg, your character gives care to weapons/armour after combat, and it get's reflected by "not damaging them"
    In TES: Arena the warrior class had that passive ability, so maybe they'll justify it likewise.
     
  4. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    Unbreakable items is good for me. Good middle ground between item degradation and the risk of breaking stuff. I don't care much for games where I keep several items in my inventory indefinitely, never using them out of fear that they might break apart.
     
  5. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    I agree, breakable items are both inconvenient and quite silly. I always bring about 5-6 balanced swords to the BMC, that obviously take up valuable inventory space, due to the annoyingly high breaking-rate. New Vegas is a pretty serious offender too, with guns being able to fire a ridiculously low amount of bullets before breaking (and the repair system is absolutely idiotic, tossing entire weapons for spare parts). This seems like the perfect balance between convenience and a valuable repair skill.
     
  6. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    It very much depends on the kind of game and what is supposed to be challenging. Breakable items and the like can definitely work, but is better suited for a game where survival is the main challenge. There is an old RPG called Realms of Arkania. Never got into it, but it's one of those games where not having enough blankets and good boots means someone is going to catch pneumonia and die. I don't want PE to be a game where I cross a stream and my best sword rusts to bits if I don't clean and grease the blade afterwards.
     
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