The Crafting Game

In principle, I love Vanguard’s crafting system. It’s deep and detailed, isn’t click-and-walk, takes actual planning and forethought and lets you essentially design your own item bonuses to a large extent. On top of that, crafting in Vanguard is its own sphere, with its own level progression, gear, quests and abilities. It is an immensely rich part of the game.

In practice, I have never gotten all that far with it. This may be a function of having been in and out of the game along with a system that by its very depth discourages that kind of dabbling. I seem to recall reaching about Outfitter level 12 on the old pre-scrub Mnembao, but I may be inflating that number in my head. With the new version having reached adventuring level 8, I’d like to be able to craft him some decent gear before he outlevels it, and most of the desirable stuff is toward the top of the tier.

I’ve already harvested bunches of Jute and Hide outside of Khal, enough to top out my harvesting skills for the tier, and I’ve been systematically refining these into useful materials. Between that and the introductory crafting quests I’ve gotten him up to level 6, and I have more mats to convert. This has been fraught with peril; the crafting process can be punishing at times, and losing mats seems inevitable. It’s possible that I’m just bad at it, but it also seems certain that on some operations you’ll need four or five crafting tools when your toolbelt only carries three, or additional utilities that won’t fit on your workbench. And then there’s the chance of getting a ton of complications that burn enough action points that you can’t complete the combine at all. I think I’ve lost about ten units of mats to these issues. Some of these issues should be alleviated now that I qualify for the next highest level of crafting tools, which will be nice.

In any event, although I don’t see myself making especially rapid progress, the activity of crafting itself is kind of fun, much more so than the click-and-forget of WoW or LotRO or the twitchy, attention-hogging system of EQ2. Sometimes it seems obvious to me why Vanguard is as (un)popular as it is, and at other times it amazes me that it hasn’t attracted more people, when so many claim to want a crafting system very much like this.

6 responses to “The Crafting Game

  1. This is why you practice on work orders — no mats to lose. Then actually craft with mats after you’ve got your skill high enough to have a chance of making the thing.

    You can have 3 toolbelts full of tools. You can swap to a different toolbelt for . . .I want to say 5 sp. But of course then you have to swap back too, so that doubles the cost. After level 10 you can work your skills toward tool use or reagent use and then go with whichever you’ve trained for as well, but that does take a while to really work out.

    IMO, best crafting system out there. Love the depth to it, and especially love the work order system that lets you skill up/level up without wasting mats.

  2. Agh, I’ve been too immersed in EQ2’s crafting, where you have to provide both the materials and the reagents, that I’d forgotten that. I also flatly did not realize you could swap toolbelts – that makes a ton more sense.

  3. You may want to research into crafting macros too. They help a *ton* to make things easier, so instead of having to move the mouse around and click buttons, you’re pressing keys instead. At that point, you can really tear through construction.

    And stick with it! Crafting was a bear first starting out, but as you level things will get easier.

  4. I agree with your sentiments. It seems to me that the crafting and diplomacy spheres are missing just one special ingredient to make them awesome. They are deep, consist of something more than a Combine button or a Make All button. A bit clicky, but fun….for awhile.
    This last fall I took my main through the Artisan’s Saga which takes place mainly in NT. Those quests always gave me something to do, had a bit of a storyline, and a reason to make things, in small manageable chunks. That quest line pushed my crafting up into the 20s, which is much higher than my crafting skill previously. It’s a lot of running around, but it is certainly the best XP and gear for crafting.
    I can see where pkudude99 is coming from regarding work orders. It is a good way to level up and not have to worry about collecting materials. You can just get a WO and craft. My problem with the WOs is that I don’t feel like I’m making anything special that can be used.
    I think if crafters could immediately start making things that are of value, there is more incentive. VG does little to really promote making things based on your recipes. It may be the case that you can make some decent and useful things, but it’s not obvious. I needed to do a bit of research on third party sites to figure out how to make jewelry. At least for crafting, I think this is where VG could add the secret sauce. Make sure there are useful recipes at all tiers and give the players more of a tutorial for making those recipes. Some of the recipes require many crafting sessions to have finished products. (A counter argument may be the example of building houses and guild halls. Materials can be made by various crafters at various levels. The end product is useful and has incentive power.)
    I would also add that having some sort of helpful, consumable items that each crafting skill can make at each tier would also add incentive. I know the city diplomacy mechanic is there and that’s cool, rather creative in fact. But what if jewelcrafters, for example, could make some (consumable) gem at level 5 (and at level 15, 25, etc) that provided a buff for players in that level range. That would provide something useful to craft for fellow players and help the economy.
    In a nutshell, the crafting is interesting, deep and fun, but the benefits of crafting need to be experienced throughout the leveling, not just at end game. If crafting were a sentence, I’m saying to add the exclamation point.

  5. Vanguard crafting is slightly odd in that it can be very tough indeed at the beginning but it gets easier and easier the higher level you are. Back when i was leveling my Leatherworker I had the crafting channel on all the time and the frustration of people trying to get through the first fifteen or twenty levels was incredible. Many didn’t make it as they failed and failed and failed again.

    I can’t remember clearly now at what point it flipped, but at some point what was hard becomes straightforward and then easy. I tapped out at level 46, not because it was difficult but because by then it had become a very predictable and somewhat dull grinding exercise, and at that point there wasn’t anything left to make that I needed. Probably is now though.

    On EQ2 crafting it absolutely mystifies me when people say, as they often do, that crafting there requires you to pay attention. I have several level 90 crafters and a lot more in the 50s to 70s and to keep myself awake while crafting I have experimented with many styles. I’ve pounded the keys to keep all the buffs up all the time, I’ve worked them purposefully to build durability first, then progress, I’ve done nothing but counter complications as they appear and I’ve just sat back with my hands off the keyboard and watched.

    They all work apart from doing nothing at all, although even then, while you often won’t get to what used to be called “Pristine”, sometimes you will. Some styles are a little faster than others but not by much.The only reason I prefer to use the “pounding the keys” method myself is that it stops me falling asleep.