15.5.13

Re: The JC Penny's Effect

Hello all. Sorry for the long wait, but as usual real life has butted into my internet time. Today's post is actually a transcription of an e-mail sent to the folks down at Extra Credits in response to their most recent episode. Just felt like sharing. I'll have a new redbox review up soon for Dishonored. Until then, enjoy. I have always found something more rewarding about crafting gear than about collecting random loot. Still, I think a hybrid of this system might be the best possible option. I would propose keeping the component drop system, but add specific quests/marks that would result in special "legendary" items. In this way, you can continue building your own arsenal, but the idea that if I work hard enough I can acquire something so incredible, it doesn't happen every time I play. I say this because I've ended up playing tons of rpg's where I would collect a disgusting amount of loot that was either not of interest to me, or completely useless for my character. In times like this, I found that I wouldn't even look at most of the loot I gathered and would instead just sell off my lootsac and buy whatever I wanted. This is why I was so pleased when crafting systems started becoming more prevalent. By building my own gear, I felt like I'd put something personal into my creation. The only thing I would emphasize for a system centered around crafting is to make sure that the crafting options allow for a great deal of customization with each build. Take Skyrim as an example, yes not an mmo, but still valid. In Skyrim the crafting options were nice and fit well into the game, but in the end, I was only making the same stuff that I could find out in the world. Now, if I could've crafted (without modding) a suit of daedric armor that was tinted green rather than red, or a suit of mail with a unique surcoat over it, that would've made it feel so much more personal. This is important to players. It's why we spend so much time playing with the character creation screens of our favorite rpg's and get so upset when the dozens of sliders barely alter anything at all on screen, knowing full well that we'll most likely be covering up all of that work with the first helmet that we find. Taking the time to make the crafting system highly customization focused is perhaps the best way I know of to transform a system where the player thinks "all I got was this stupid ore" into one where she thinks "oh yeah, now I'm going to make that golden armor with the giant horns on it just like I pictured!" In either case, I haven't studied this position, but I am a gamer and an anthropologist so this is my somewhat informed opinion. YMMV. Thanks for the chance to add some input to your study, guys, and for always having a great insight for us every week. Game well, -Strormer

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