HARVESTING REDUX

Discussion in 'Crowfall Public Chat' started by Kyoji, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. Kyoji
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    HARVESTING REDUX

    Heya everyone,

    Thomas “Blixtev” Blair here, and I’m going to do a bit of a postmortem and discuss our next iteration steps on one of the larger gameplay systems that the Crowfall® team put out a few weeks ago with the launch of Big World, resource harvesting!

    In traditional game development when developing a large-scale system there are generally several iterations or even wholesale scrapping of systems that the players never see or know about. In this era of crowdfunded games, our backers get to see, play and offer feedback on systems pretty much right as any system is built. On the positive side, it allows us to eliminate early flaws; on the downside, sometimes those flaws are only flaws because a parallel system hasn’t been built yet. In the case of harvesting, we had some problems we wanted to address now.

    Resource Fundamentals

    What I said weeks ago is still true and bears repeating: The most important aspect of resources in Crowfall is that every resource type is important in the crafting system. We are not making a standard resource progression where copper is replaced by a higher tier material, thus turning copper into a low- end trash resource only useful for new players. That isn’t to say there are more or less difficult resources to harvest, just that we want to ensure all resources have a use beyond “use this to make 12,324 of this widget to level up and never use it again!

    If you remember back to a crafting post I did a couple of years ago where I unveiled the alloy system, crafters will combine multiple resources types in meaningful ways to produce crafting components or items with interesting stats. (For example, copper and gold smelted will produce rose gold metal, which grants a bonus to the critical hit chance stat vs. copper and silver which produces sterling silver that has a bonus to resource regeneration amount.)

    I am happy to say in the case of the crafting system the design survived implementation and seems to be working out great.

    Unfortunately we tiered our resources in a very typical MMO progression model. We also used a very typical tool progression model. In the most general description, these models are based on it being harder to harvest gold than it is to harvest copper and the player needs a gold pick to harvest gold. This tends to work in games that have a corresponding crafting model of iron being better than copper and tin is better than iron and up.

    In Crowfall, where all resources are used in combination to craft items, the traditional model didn’t make any sense.

    This is what the old progression looked like:

    [​IMG]

    Unless the player knows that chart it is very confusing as to why the copper pick doesn’t work on silver or gold nodes, or why it takes more stamina to harvest a tin node than a copper node, or why knives break so fast on boars.

    What did we tweak?

    We decided to attack the primary problem where the tier of resource was yoked to the type of resource. In the crafting system the quality of a resource is the key element. We decided we should emulate this aspect in the harvesting of those resources as well. Meaning that nodes should be more difficult to harvest based on the quality of the resource they can produce, not the type of resource they produce.

    The resource nodes already range from rank 1 to rank 10. The rank of a node is determined by the land parcel it is placed on, which is further modified by the difficulty band of the campaign.

    The rank of the resource node determines the quality of resources that can be harvested from that node. Rank 1 copper nodes will never produce any quality of resource except Poor (grey). Rank 10 copper nodes however can produce Rare (blue), Epic (purple) and–very rarely–Legendary (orange) quality copper.

    Mechanically, what we did was take the armor scaling of the node that was embedded in the tier and moved it into the ranks. (A rank 1 has 0% armor and a rank 10 has 90% armor.) Then we scaled the tools to increase the amount of armor they bypass based on the amount of a key harvesting stat on the tool. Ideally the crafter experiments this stat as high as possible during the crafting process. Since potential stat amounts are linked to experimentation, this creates a scenario where a blue quality tool should bypass more armor than a grey quality tool (unless you had the worst experimentation rolls ever).

    In the UI there will be a widget that shows the player a comparison of the rank of the node as well as the key harvesting stat on that tool.

    [​IMG]

    This should make it much more obvious why a node takes more stamina to harvest than another node. Because the node was higher rank.

    Tool Changes

    Eliminating the tiers on the harvest nodes also enabled us to eliminate the tiers on the tools as well. (To be honest, a gold pick wasn’t that much more interesting than a copper pick.) Each tool now has that key harvesting stat (mentioned earlier) that corresponds to the type of harvesting the tool does:

    • Picks – Mining
    • Hammers – Quarrying
    • Axes – Logging
    • Knives – Skinning
    • Shovels – Grave Digging
    By increasing the key harvesting stat during the crafting process (remember higher quality tools experiment higher), the player can reduce the amount of time and stamina used to harvest a node. Ideally a player will use around one stamina bar on a node where their tool is equal or better to the rank of the node. If the node is higher rank than the tool, it will take much more time and many more bars of stamina to destroy the node.

    Making only one kind of tool with one possible stat seemed a bit boring though. So we pulled in some of the crafting elements of the metal alloys so that tools can now have stats on them that make the player better at harvesting such as:

    All Tool Types Stats:

    • Beneficial Harvest Chance
    • Harvest Critical Chance
    • Plethora of Dust
    Specific Tool Type Stats:

    • Picks - Gem Harvest Chance
    • Hammers - Mineral Harvest Chance
    • Axes - Foraged Fruit Chance
    • Knives - Harvest Blood Chance
    Durability as a stat that can be increased remains and an unmarked wooden or stone runestone can be used in the crafting process to increase this stat. More durability means the tool will last longer.

    Basic tools still exist as a method to bootstrap the player into the Harvesting system; however, they remain very low durability, and the crafting recipe always produces low-quality tools (even if the player uses high-quality resources). They also do not have the key harvesting stat nor the potential for the more exotic stats.

    TL;DR Summary

    We made our first big iteration pass on harvesting. Node difficulty is now based on the rank of the node. How easy nodes are to harvest is roughly based on the quality of the tool. Crafting of tools is more important. New crafting recipe combinations to make tools with magical stats. All available in the next big update to Big World!

    As always, please feel free to leave comments on the forums, and we’ll see you in game!

    Thomas “Blixtev” Blair
    Crowfall Design Lead, ArtCraft Entertainment
     
  2. Eumaeos Romanus
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    Clever. I suspect this is going to create an economy where so many crafts are interdependent that it will take large numbers of players working together to make top end gear with any consistency. Of course, the short cut to that is to gank the shit out of anyone attempting to do things that way and take all of the resources they just harvested. Especially if you can full loot their inventory and nothing is lost in the death.
     
  3. Ironjaw
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    Hows the market system? will i be able to make bank being a worker bee and not actually providing finished goods ala EVE/wow?

    I could use a fun gathering game with pvp :p
     
  4. Varitas
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  5. White Rabbit
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    They haven't talked much about the market system, but they have specifically stated that the crafting system is so important and so deep that it forces guilds to work together to be able to get the better gear, even to the point that one person may focus solely on sword hilts. Not swords, just a component of the sword. Harvesting is completely different from crafting too, so I think only doing like skills can be very lucrative, especially since crafting is the main (or only, I think) source of equipment.
     
  6. PersonalRiot
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    I remember Warhammer Online talking about the crafting system being so deep and complex and it ended up being a meh pile of garbage. The importance of crafting isn't in the system itself - it is in the economy of the game. How the materials, components, and resources are gathered/moved across physical space. I doubt we will see a crafting/economic system as good as EvE Online for example.
     
  7. White Rabbit
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    The market system is going to need to be solid for this game, especially with the heavy emphasis on gathering and crafting. EvE by far has the strongest market system. If this game can come close to EvE's market, it'll be great.
     
  8. Ironjaw
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    EA gutted that whole project when they saw how far off the beaten path mythic had gotten. look at what happened with the capital cities
     

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