(N.B. I just lost this post to the old "internet not knowing what the browser session is doing" glitch... so besides being annoyed, I cannot guarantee this version will be as good as the first. I must remember to make a copy before submitting from now on... on to the show...)
I’m not sure whether this belongs under Crafting, PnP, or Suggestions, but we’ll see if the mods move it…
The above threads were instrumental in inspiring me start my own thread on the matter of expanding the crafting ability in this game. I have read/skimmed a number of threads now to see what has been said but by no means was it comprehensive research. I apologize if my ideas are redundant. But before I get into it I do realize that a large contingent might see this as something that if deemed a Good Idea (tm) would be relegated behind bug fixes, class balancing, new content, etc. There may be something to that, but I think that my idea would be low impact enough to slip in at whatever point.
It strikes me that this game has done a decent job of being true to PnP 3.5 rules as far as can be desired in an MMO setting. A game of sit down PnP D&D 3.5 it is not, nor should it be expected to be. However, as this game seems to have tried hard to stick with the core 3.5 rules for what it could, it does seem lacking in the crafting department. (I would speak to its regards for the Ebberon setting, but alas I've never played that setting in PnP.)
As many have said before me, probably also coming from a PnP background, the crafting in this game should be expanded, and expanded in such a way as to have some resemblance to the 3.5 crafting rules from which the game was based. But if I'm getting the general vibe from the community correctly, there are a few points to which this "new" system must adhere if it will at all be successful.
1) It ought to be grounded in 3.5 crafting rules. This means weapons are fully customizable within a given set of limits.
2) It should not require a huge shift in development resources. The "new" system should utilize current conventions already in the game.
3) It should not compete with nor unbalance current high-end, "end game" items such as Shroud crafts and certain Named. Indeed, it should not unbalance anything, but particularly not those.
I think there are probably other points that could be made here, but I think that will serve as a good platform for where I want to go with this. Now, onto some main points around which my ideas impinge.
1) I like the current "Eldritch Device" style of crafting. Maybe it is just the D2 in me, but I think the mechanic works well in the video game setting. In my mind, it helps to balance the disparity between PnP classes who are able to create for themselves magic items, and those classes that can only craft mundane items. I do not think that classes ought to have "inherent" crafting ability as in PnP for a few reasons but especially because the Eldritch Device type things in essence *are* the inherent crafting ability. Furthermore, in a PnP game, unless it is very RP intensive, most crafting is simply done by a "pocket crafter" and not by PCs. Either that or magic items are simply bought (in my experience at least).
2) I like the collectibles "thing". While some of the grinds in this game may or may not need adjustment in one way or another, much of video gaming comes down to working at something or a "grind" -- it's almost the nature of video games. Some turn out to be more fun for longer than others, but I don't think there's much escaping it; it's almost a necessary balancing mechanism. Regardless of the philosophy of the matter, I think current collectibles can be utilized toward the "new" crafting system.
3) I understand the need for level requirements. In a closed economy and micromanaged system of a D&D game, the DM has many options to balance the accidental, randomly rolled artifact weapon at level two. Not so much recourse does an MMO engine have. As far as I know though, there are no level requirements for items in PnP.
So with that in mind let's get down to the meat and potatoes (For the record this idea really only deals with weapons and armor -- I'd have to think about it a little bit more to include other items. In my example I focus on weapons.):
0) The current system of randomly dropping only a single prefix and/or single suffix item will not be changed.
1) Any randomly rolled item can be used as a basis for crafting as long as it meets the 3.5 requirement for doing so: it is of at least masterwork quality. A store-bought Masterwork item would be acceptable.
2) All crafting would take place at the stone of change or similar ritual altar.
3) Collectors would gain an additional role. Each collector would sell, for a certain price in addition to a certain amount of the collectibles they seek, crafting materials. For example (this does not portend to be game balanced but is for the sake of argument), the shroom collector down by the docs in the harbor (I forget her name) could sell the "+1 enhancement" upgrade for 3000g, 15 sweet whitecaps, 6 deadly feverblanches, and 2 pale creepers. (In PnP a +1 would simply be 2000g on top of a masterwork weapon, the price hike would serve to balance the power of customizability and also help not to break certain other means of obtaining magical enhancements like the vendors, questing, etc.) Giles Goodman could sell flame enchantment, Goldscuttle shock, etc. Some collectors might sell more than one if they were an upgradeable sort of enhancement ("plus" enhancements, flaming/burst, shattermantle/improved, etc.).
4) Prefixes and suffixes would be broken out into tiers based on there plus enhancement equivalent. So, Flaming, Frost, Shock, Maiming, Keen, etc. would be in the +2 tier. (The reason these are considered +2 is because even though in themselves they only increase the total enhancement bonus by one, the lowest possible non-race-required weapon they could be on would be a total of +2.) All tiers would be priced accordingly. In PnP, to go from a +1 to +2 would be 6000g more; if we keep the 50% hike, that makes it 9000g plus whatever collectibles. (it doesn't have to be 50%, it's just for illustration purposes)
5) Regular "plus" enhancements (+1, +2, +3, etc.) would have to build upon each other. To go from a +1 to a +4, you would have to purchase and upgrade to +2 and +3 before doing the +4. Similarly with other graded enhancements, flaming then flaming burst, shattermantle then improved shattermantle, etc.
6) "Adaptor" crafting materials would be necessary for crafting above the "tier" of the enhancement you are crafting with. Let's say instead of making a flaming from a +1, you upgrade first to +2. Well, now you want to upgrade to flaming, but the cost of the flaming is still only a +2 upgrade cost. Getting a "+2 to +3 adaptor" would fill in the price gap. In PnP going from a +2 to a +3 is an additional 10,000g, so to continue our example you'd have to buy a Flaming craft material for 9000g plus a "+2 to +3 adaptor" for 15,000g to upgrade the +2 sword to a +2 flaming. Some collectors might sell these instead of a particular enhancement, although they would probably be grouped, like all +1 jumps (2 to 3, 3 to 4, etc.), all +2 jumps (2 to 4, 3 to 5, etc.), etc.
7) The highest effective enhancement bonus of non-race-required items crafted in this way would remain at +10. The highest for race-required items would remain at +11. The Adaptors will be "smart" enough to handle this. I'm not sure what to do with the first jump to +2 for race-required items but it could just be that you get that for "free", meaning no extra Adaptor at that point. On the other hand there could simply be a
8) All items crafted in this way will be bound to account at least, if not bound to character.
9) Since bound, the level requirements can be lessened by maybe one or two levels -- maybe by one for +5-7 equivalent and by two for +8-10. This is somewhat of an optional point.
10) No special metals will be craftable with this system. (Granted there is already the Eldritch Adamantine upgrade(s), but really, isn't that already kind of a joke?) This gives another reason for finding weapons of simply crafting them.
11) Some enhancements, such as +5 equivalents (vorpal, etc.) may even not be available in this system making it important to find a base weapon with that enhancement. Maybe even +4's would fall under this (metalline, etc.). This point is somewhat optional though as they will still be quite an expensive purchase an could easily be given very rare collectibles for balancing purposes.
12) Special enhancements, such as clickies (everbright being a *possible* exception), will simply not be considered for crafting (again, making it important to find certain weapons to craft onto).
13) These crafting materials I propose (including Adaptors) could be bound to account/character.
And there I think is a pretty balanced, and fairly easy to implement way to allow an item to grow with a character. Even one of these crafted items taken to a +10 (or +11 race-required) enhancement bonus will not be able to do everything needed by a toon, nor will it overshadow the awesome bonuses of green steel. I think this general outline might also be extended to other body slots with a little thought, if desired.
Anyway, there it is, tear it up!