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This is a thought I would like tho share, feel free to give your opinion on it.
First, this idea would work best in a non-level based game, but the concept could be tweaked for one like WOW, it just won't have as much impact until end game.
One of the crafting concepts I never liked was that in most games they seem like the crafter is an endless factory of whatever tier of crafting they are on. So long as they have a good supply of the material they need, they can produce any quality of sword in about 5-10 seconds, and then another, and another, and another..... In the end, the basic sword is useless both to the playerbase, and to the crafter. The crafter can't sell it because the market is so flooded that the price isn't worth it.
The reality is that when dealing with one guy, the difference in a good sword and a bad sword is the amount of time the swordsmith puts in it. To this end I propose this system:
To craft an item, the player plays a mini-game. This mini-game can be designed to be whatever you want, from something like EQ2's to Vanguards, the type of game doesn't matter so long as difficulty is scalable, and the game can be lost. When complete the crafter has made a single base-line item. The crafter now has the option to finish, or continue forward. If he finishes, he's finished sword is complete.
If he chooses to go on, he plays a slightly harder version of the mini-game. When this game is one, the items level increases by one, and its stats increment up. He can continue to do this with each increase slowly increasing the stats by a small increment each time. My thought is to have the baseline provide some level of diminishing returns, until it reaches a point where each level's increment is about 1/10 the increment from lvl 1 to lvl 2, but remains steady. This means that someone could concievably create the best sword in the world, but it would take him a while to do so.
A loss at the game causes a reduction in the items stats. My thought is that a loss results in a stat drop of a lvl 1-2 increment, and the process stops, item complete. This of course means that the crafter must carefully weigh his ability to complete the next level before choosing to do so.
Enchanting an item would work roughly the same way. With the stipulation that an Item can only hold as many levels of enchantment as an item has levels. The only difference the enchantments start reletively weak, and increase in power with each level of enchantment, greater returns instead of lesser ones. Of course a loss at enchanting loses 2 levels of enchantment, and the process stop.
This system would still use item decay. If a weapon is repaired there is a chance 5% that it drops one level (Regular and enchantment) However, if a weapon is broken, It will drop 1 level, and have a 10% chance of droping another. (Regular and enchantment).
I use the term enchantment, but this crafting system could be used for any genre, you'll just need to change the name to something else.
What do you think?
So long, and thanks for all the fish!