Welcome to the 1,046rd Edition of Loading...

In this issue, we take a good hard look at how decent MMO crafting systems have evolved, or really haven't evolved at all. Is simplest best, or does a binder full of stats and spreadsheets a true crafter make? Links to an EVE Online The Mittani "guide" to infiltrating a hostile alliance, the final GDC '09 exclusive blog from WAR's Paul Barnett, and three other new and original articles in today's Loading... Getting Crafty!

The Pulse

First, you vote with what you view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the result is the Ten Ton Hammer Pulse (What is Pulse?). Here's the top 5 MMORPGs today:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. EverQuest 2
  3. Warhammer Online (UP 1)
  4. Age of Conan
  5. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

Here are the biggest movers in the Top 20 today:

  1. Guild Wars (UP 6 to #19)
  2. Lineage 2 (down 3 to #17)
  3. Earthrise (UP 2 to #14)

Loading... Daily

Loading... the e-peen enhancement email that's not spam.

GDC 2009 is in the books, and as I look over the coverage on other websites I'm pretty glad we kept our distance. The highlight of the show was probably a first-ever reveal of The Secret World, Funcom's fantasy horror MMORPG set in the present day, but TSW coverage is under a Eurobargo until the second week of April. Discounting future coverage of TSO, the most interesting tidbit I found was about crafting - yes, crafting - in Fallen Earth.

Crafting has the distinction of being the one non-combat system that just about every MMO worth thinking about has in place. Like player housing, it's close to indispensable, but in a conciliatory way: players notice its absence or mediocrity but tend to forget about it entirely when it's well done. I have heard plenty of you say, "I'll never play a game that doesn't have decent crafting," but I've never once heard any of you say, "Oh man, crafting really pushed that game over the top, you absolutely have to check out the crafting in game XYZ."

Gathering and crafting are also the least iterated-upon system in MMO gaming; good crafting simply hasn't changed much. It's always skill-based - learning comes by repetition - you can always get through the novice levels with a relatively small investment of time and treasure by selling your finished goods to buy or gather raw materials at a meager profit. Crafters should always be able to make slightly better stuff than you can buy, and eventually (in most games at mastery levels with rare ingredients) make better stuff than you can loot or quest for. Usually there's set recipes to follow. Open-ended crafting (crafting in Warhammer Online, for example) is confusing in that games utilizing such a system typically don't do a good job teaching you how to make a better product, plus the puzzling variety of ingredients and reagents just clogs up your inventory with very little upside.

Some games have tried to spice up crafting and, in my opinion, failed miserably. Vanguard was one, with its combat-based gathering and crafting that bordered on the absurd. Apparently Telon had its share of tree-spiking environmentalist radicals because my first attempt at gathering wood left me with 3/4 health, wondering how a tree kicked my ass harder than a typical baddie my level. Crippling interdependency within LotRO's crafting professions remains a hot topic (i.e. you depend on another player crafter's finished good to make your finished good in many instances), and in a recent Loading Live dev chat (I'll get it posted early this week, promise!) Exec. Producer Jeffrey Steefel stated that ironing out this growing wrinkle was definitely on the radar for the Turbine team.

What's your opinion on crafting? Is simplest best, or do you enjoy needing a spreadsheet and planogram to climb the tradeskill ladder? Share your thoughts in the Loading... forum, or feel free to email me.

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our Tavern of the Ten Ton Hammer Forum

[WoW] Girl Saved from Meeting Child Predator

normally post an off-topic or flames thread to kick off our weekly run
of epicness. Today's topic is neither O/T nor flaming, but it does have
a certain eeeww factor that seems sufficient for Monday fare. Annatar
posted a news story about a California man who used World of Warcraft
to attempt to lure a 13 year old Utah girl to meet him...complete with scary picture.

Ever the opportunist, I forwarded a link to this forum thread
to my kids with a message saying, "If the person you're talking to
online is not someone you know in real life, then it's someone
just like this guy."You can never be too careful. And, to quote Annatar, "Parents, get your key loggers ready."

Epic Quote from the Epic Thread

just realized that ugly freak's expression: 'Duuuuuuuude, you're
harshing my mellow...' or perhaps: 'Damn, I was so close too!'"

I ever, by some fluke, become a judge...there will be a lot of castrations."

- kitsunegirl

Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell us!

5 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 122 in March! 382 in 2009!

New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today [Thanks Phil Comeau for links and Real World News]

  • Sins of a Solar Spymaster #5: How to Infiltrate a Hostile Alliance

    War in EVE Online is fought on many different fronts. Direct conflict can take a heavy toll on both sides in terms of not only ships, but the resources to build them and even corporation loyalties. The latter in particular can wreck havoc on an unsuspecting enemy, especially when cleverly executed espionage is employed. In the most recent edition of Sins of a Solar Spymaster, the Mittani provides a unique insight as to how surprisingly easy the espionage game can be played, and how sometimes it’s best to keep things simple.
  • Paul Barnett's GDC Blog #3 - Elvis is in the GDC

    For the third straight day, the Ten Ton Hammer staff is proud to present Paul Barnett's exclusive blog from GDC '09. If you haven't read all the articles, make sure you do. In today's iteration, Paul explains how video games have etched a mark on his soul, much like what many of us experience with music. Using that analogy, Paul was lucky enough to meet his own personal Elvis. Read more!
  • Ether Saga Dev Diary #2 - The Quests

    Following up last week's Transformation System dev diary, the Ether Saga Online team has taken the time to jot down some basics on their quest system. With over 12,000 quests, there's definitely plenty of adventures to experience in the world of ESO. Interested? Check it out!
  • geeked: "Paul Sitting"

    Ten Ton Hammer's very own satirical webcomic on all things geek-related is here with an explanation to the reasons EA always sends a task force of PR reps with Paul Barnett. Also, remember kids... don't talk with strangers!
    Be sure to catch up on any issues of Geeked you've missed by visiting our Comics Portal. Don't forget to rate your favorites while you're at it!
  • World of Warcraft: Getting Ready to Raid as a Death Knight

    Getting ready to raid in World of Warcraft is something that most players struggle with when they reach 80. Wrath of the Lich King made raiding much easier to get into than previously, however it still takes some planning to be ready for it. Find out what you need and how to get ready to start raiding as a Death Knight in our Getting Ready to Raid guide.

Hot Content - Or, what I took a fancy to:

  1. Warhammer Online: Paul Barnett's GDC Blog # 2 - WAR Pants
  2. Beginner's Look at Darkfall - Or, How to Get Ganked
  3. Vanguard: State of the Game
  4. World of Warcraft Comic: Gooob & Begud - "May Cause Leakage"
  5. Exclusive Game Update Q&A with Aion's Brian Knox from GDC 2009
  6. Exclusive Interview with EverQuest 2's Ryan Favale
  7. EVE Online New Player Experience Revamp
  8. How can Champions Online integrate Playable Villains?
  9. Exclusive Gatheryn GDC '09 Interview - Creating an Advanced Casual MMOG
  10. geeked: "Naivety"

Real World News

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

-- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.