Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Player-Centered Crafting Design 2

I've previously suggested that we distinguish between "manufacturing"-type crafting for the Achievers (which is the only way it's conceived in most MMORPGs) and "creative"-type crafting for the Explorers. A game with a crafting system designed with that distinction in mind would, I think, be an improvement over existing games.

But we could take this even further. What if we could design a single crafting system with four integrated emphases:

GuardianAchieverGamistmanufacturingmass-produce items to compete in economic sub-game
Artisan[Manipulator][Experientialist]craftsmanshipvirtuoso use of tools to enhance aesthetic or functional properties of items
RationalExplorerSimulationistcreativityexperiment with crafting system to invent new kinds of items
IdealistSocializerNarrativiststory-tellingtag item types and some individual items with backstories for roleplaying

(Note: These are just suggestions for gameplay that would expose the non-manufacturing and non-sales aspects of crafting that are attractive to other kinds of gamers. I'm sure there are other possible crafting features that could do as good a job or better than the gameplay ideas I've tentatively proposed here.)

Current MMORPGs make all would-be crafters play through the Achiever-oriented crafting features in order to get to the limited amount of creative or artistic or dramatic gameplay that they actually prefer. In a crafting system like the one I've outlined above, players would be able to specialize their characters in the modes of play that are fun for them.

Of course there'd be a cost to this "additional" development. The question is whether those costs would be offset by the revenue from the non-Achievers looking for a more balanced gameworld.

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