We had planned on a much more extensive look at the implications of the new gathering structure. If you aren’t familiar with the changes, Blair did a pretty length video and article recap on it. Basically it boils down to removing the typical MMO progression through materials (copper -> tin -> iron -> platinum -> unobtanium). This makes lots of sense, and we didn’t really see any reason to comment on it too lengthily. We still don’t, because the changes are still barely testable. Yet we felt commenting on the changes and revealing some early groundwork we did would be useful to the community in some way.
Our experimentation in the past with various crafting recipes showed that you may not want to use specific resources, even if they were chronologically superior in the previous resource progression system. For example, crafting +fire gear (to make your confessor extra spicy) requires that your metal bars be made of 3x Gold ore, 3x Gold ore, and 3x Iron ore. This yields a “Fiery Gold Bar” which will pass along inherited +fire damage into weapons/armor when used during crafting. Simply put, not every combination of resources yielded desirable traits.
So clearly a tiered resource system didn’t make sense. We want people to mix and match resources, without the stigma of feeling like they are making a bad decision in doing so. The gathering changes support and encourage this experimentation with your guilds crafters. So what we are left with is a system where only the “quality” of the node you are mining (or lumbering, or stoning) really matters. Higher quality nodes yield higher quality resources, as they always did. Its just that now the player ultimately decides which type of material they want to use to min-max their character with. This is a very good thing.
We went into the pre-alpha this last weekend not with a whole ton of expectations. Most of the week was probably spent preparing presentations for the live stream, and it was a shortened week to begin with considering the holiday. So our hopes of seeing some of this stuff in the regular weekend test were pretty minimal. Yet, some of it was in the test.
The tool changes were certainly in, at least in a partial form. Anhrez and I mapped out the sigil recipe variations and discovered a pretty obvious pattern; but also a pattern that is clearly not complete yet.
Basically, we can tell a few things from this. One, the promised +node type damage is not in the game yet. During the reveal, it was positioned that players would craft tools that are better at gathering specific types of materials. This meant that a player would not only specialize in mining silver ore (through skills), but could also craft a pick that would do more damage to silver nodes aka +silver damage (reducing the number of strikes necessary to mine it… and increasing gathering efficiency by an order of magnitude). Yet this wasn’t found in the game, instead we saw +5 mining or +5 gravedigging. These were NOT mentioned in the stream, but seem to have a place for the gatherer who doesn’t care what he comes across (its a general increase in efficiency to any type of material struck by it).
What we did see though is that the double up material recipes for all sigils are blank. This did make some sense to us because they are the likely destination for the recipes that offer specific +damage bonuses against the various specific material types out their. Gold + Gold could yield a pick that offers + Gold Damage (or + specific equivalent of stone/wood/graves/etc). This makes sense and fills in the chart pretty nicely, with some room left over to introduce other potential bonuses (or to leave blank so that general options exist).
How does this impact the rest of the game and how much more effective are their picks? We are going to hold off on doing that math till we see more of the sigil charts filled in. We have an inkling that specific +damage type gathering tools will be significantly more useful then generic +mining/+woodchopping ones. To what degree, and how this impacts the gathering rates of our prior work is yet to be revealed.
What you should take away from this all, however, is that the gathering changes make it easier for players to really laser-focus their guild’s production trees to specific materials and bonuses. This is also a fascinating change. Entire guild production and supply lines can be focused on the collection of a specific type of ore, wood, or leather (or whatever). The implications are also equally profound, as it may not matter where your guild’s city is placed, as long as its near “something” it should be able to be incorporated into a bonus that your guild could benefit from.
Very interesting. We’ll be back next week hopefully with some interesting numbers and the implications the gathering changes will make on your time spent in Crowfall.