Crafting in MMORPGs has always seemed lackluster to me. Even though it varies in exact nature from game to game, it can almost always be summed up as the following:
- Look up recipe.
- Get ingredients for said recipe.
- Press button.
- Receive finished product.
While this process has its benefits (it’s straightforward, for starters), it doesn’t really seem all that interesting. In fact, the only excitement to be had (aside from any endeavors to gather the ingredients) tends to stem from elements of randomness - apprehension of random failures, or excitement about the possibility of random bonuses. This seems hollow at best, since there’s no real player involvement - the “excitement” is a completely passive reaction to events beyond the player’s control.
What happened to the idea of master artisans, the idea of spending real time, real effort in creating masterpieces? Masterpieces that would be valued not simply because they only had a 0.0001% drop rate off the mob that spawns once a year, instead because it took the dedication and vision of a skilled crafter to produce it? Right now, the closest one could get to being a “master crafter” in MMOs would be mastering the art of mass production, because there’s no real artistic depth to crafting. It’s one of the relatively untouched frontiers of MMORPG design, a pristine wilderness that’s waiting to be explored - and the potential results could open up a whole new sense of depth in a genre that many consider struggling for new ideas.