Greedy Goblin

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why should the crafting system NOT change?

Graylo wrote that milling and crafting should be automated to decrease the boring repetitive grind for gold making. However I completely disagree. Automating these tasks would both be "unnatural" and very much casual-unfriendly.

"Unnatural" means "bad simulation of RL". Of course you can ask why a game should be a good simulation of RL, but if an activity teaches no RL skill, it's pointless. The PvE teaches the importance of reading up, preparing, theorycrafting. Grinding teaches "work = result". PvP teaches that you are not a special snowflake, no one will lose against you just to be nice, you have to take every rating point by force. But what would an AFK crafting system teach?

The AH game is half PvP and half grinding, just like the RL economy. The common resource in both is time. In RL obviously your time is your time. On the other hand in WoW, your character is not you. While you would never send yourself to clean toilets for $2/hour, you can easily send your character (your ingame avatar) to grind for 50-100G/hour if it's AFK. It's not your time, not your sweat, not your health. To force people to manage their time, it must be made sure that "character time = their time". In real life to make some grinding work done without your own time, you must employ people or buy machines. In WoW you'd just have to download an addon.

Secondly, AFK optimizations would make the difference between an established player and a newbie huge. Since I play AFK, marginally small profits are great for me. How could a new player who has no optimized system compete with that?

Of course the boring grind needs a solution, but I have a much better, and much more natural one: paid work. A system which allow me to offer jobs to other players. They do the grinding for paid hours.


Erik said...

I completely agree. Anything we don't have to work for becomes cheap, and automated crafting would absolutely deflate the economy. Nothing would sell for above the vendor price.

Klepsacovic said...

Crafting should have less purely repetitive grind, but automation wouldn't fix that. Crafting should be more interactive and less spammy.

Anonymous said...

In this view, Blizzard should also disable the option to select how many of something you want to craft, and off course the "craft all" button. Crafting 100 Netherweave Bags should require 100 clicks and not just one.
Imagine the uproar that would occur if they actually did that.
Since a "craft all" is in the game, it should be possible to "prospect all" or "mill all" in the same way. After all, it's still a game and not real life.

Dàchéng said...

Why on earth should a game we play for fun have to be a simulation of real life, and why should it teach real-life lessons or be pointless? The premise behind your argument is flawed, so the argument itself is meaningless.

Firstly, the game is not designed as a simulation of real-life and does not base its success on how close to real life it is. If that were the case we'd be playing Second Life, not WoW. There are no dragons in real life, no lich-king, no magic glyphs and no portals to other worlds.

Secondly, we don't play to learn skills that would be useful in real life. We play to have fun, pure and simple, not to take on a scond job after we've finished doing the one that actually pays real-life money and which teaches real-life skills more usefully and succinctly.

An AFK crafting system does not need to teach anything.

nonameform said...

I agree about paid work in WoW. Had a similar idea about a year ago. Many times I've been in a situation when item is simply not available on AH, so I either had to wait for it to appear (often, overpriced) or farm it myself. In some cases if the item I needed was from current expansion, I farmed for it myself, but if I need an item that is dropped by level 50 mobs, it's not interesting at all (chance to receive a world drop BoE epic to make that farming profitable is quite small). However, if there was a "bulletin board" system in WoW, I could have placed an offer to other players and show them my interest in goods and offer gold in exchange. Trade spamming can be good at times, since there are people out there who are sitting on stacks of old mats, but if those people are not on, it's a waste of time. If it was possible to place an offer on a board (say, "WTB 20x Elemental Earth, 80g") and for someone else to take that job (he farms first, then posts item on bulletin board in response to your offer and gets the gold immediately), that might help lowbies to have enough gold before they reach level cap. Many times I've seen warlocks ask in trade for Robes of Arcana, but they rarely can offer a big tip for crafting it. However, I had the pattern while I was leveling, so I guess someone else might be able to craft it cheaper and make it more interesting for both to play (one gets an item easier, other gets the gold he wants).

Anonymous said...

There exists such system in EVE Online - contracting. I would be very much for it.

Okrane S. said...

Interesting points. However crafting and milling are easy to automate.

An auto-clicking tool is simple to code (like 20 minutes if you know what u are doing), and virtually undetectable. so there you go.

should they be automated? meh.. who cares... the crafting system is pretty dumb as it is in wow right now... If all that crafting professions bring to the table are consumables, I'm for the automation of it all. Dumb ppl will still fail to do it and the smart ones will have less of a hassle (not like pressing auto-click and going AFK is too much trouble anyway)

Dàchéng said...

And by the way, you can already employ people in WoW. Most farmers are more than happy to be employed on a piecework basis today (i.e. they are paid per piece of work they perform - ore mined or smelted, herbs picked or ground).

If you want to pay your employees by the hour instead of by the piece of work done, you'll have problems ensuring that they are actually working during the hour you are paying them (rather than skiving off, posting comments on blogs).

Pazi said...

And while we are at it, opening a mail should have a castbar of at least 5 seconds to make it more realistic (10 seconds if the content of the mail ist heavy (i.e. motorcycle)).

@Erik: Please eloborate why nothing would sell above vendor price.

Anonymous said...

Interesting idea about the paid work. However, if something like that were to be implemented, isn't it going to mess with the economy? I mean, you'd obviously not pay the same amount of gold for all raw materials, as some are harder to farm. Wouldn't something like that create a more stable market? I mean, since, e.g., I get paid 50g/h to farm for Frost Lotus and the average farm/h is, say, 1 stack. Granted, the offer of employment doesn't necessarily mean the availability of a material, which could lead to inflated prices.
Of course, I may be taking out of my ass here. Interesting post however.

Christian said...

There's afk-crafting on one side.

There's removing stuff that almost solely serves to annoy people on the other side.

To me, Prostpecting, Milling and Disenchanting are about the same as making bolts of cloth - no reason not to automate it.
(Though honestly, I'd rather see a system where you can mill/prospect/disenchant/whatever an entire bag at the same time.)

Anonymous said...

I would prefer a crafting system that attempted to simulate RL more than what exists in game now. The "skill" of all crafters is equal along as you have done the grind and bought your training -your product is just as good as the next guy. I do not favor a more AFK style of crafting that would make things easier for mass production. I tried out the one in the Everquest II game. It is much more challenging. More like a mini game in itself in that if you do not respond with the correct actions during the process you fail to craft the object. It may take you several trys before you are successful. I believe also that there may be some variation in quality of the item depending on how well you the player actually completed the task.
It left me with more of a sense of accomplishment after completing something than you get crafting an item in WoW. It would be interesting if it took some greater level of involvement of the players to create items of epic values that would have better stats - rather than simply gathering materials and clicking a button. And of course then you could potentialy make more gold crafting superior quality epic weapons.


TheGrumpyElf said...

I agree that hitting Mill or Prospect over and over is annoying as hell but I do hope they never make it automated.

That is the reason I am never broke and everyone else around me always is. I make the effort. I make the money.

What is next?
Just automatically give me a huge stash of herbs and ore and leather each day because collecting it myself is boring?

How about starting my characters at 80 with maxed skills already?

How about just giving me the top 25M ICC Heroic gear now because doing the same dungeon over and over again to get past it and earn the gear is repetitive?

Making things automated is a horrible idea on many levels. If everything is automated for you then why even play the game?

Whether it is using your time to gather things, your time to process things, your time to create things or your time to buy cheap and sell high it is your time and the effort you make that makes you money.

As much as I hate the repetitive grind of things I love the fact that others hate it too. Because I am the one willing to do it and they are not, I make the money. I deserve to make that money because I earned it by doing the grind.

Graylo said...

I think you are over estimating the impact of my changes and the value of mindless work.

Let me ask you this. What would happen if these things were automated as I suggested? Would people just make tons of gold by going afk? I doubt it because that ignores the core principles of Supply and Demand.

The first thing that would happen is that there would be more sellers, because the barriers to entry would be smaller. The big barrier currently in game is time. With the time restriction gone few people would leave the market and competetion would go up. This would result in the price of most glyphs going down to the material's cost. Therefore the Glyph market would be come unprofitable for the mindless grinder. The lesson learned would be that nothing comes easy.

This would leave the AH players with a choice. Do I use my brain and find the good markets, or do I go and grind herbs and daily quests. Automation wouldn't change AH game you discribe. I would still be somewhat PvP and some what Grindy. Instead of being who can spend the most time in Exodar grinding glyphs it would be who could spend the most time on the AH. For the people that won't do that, the grinding becomes farming instead of crafting. The AH pvpers would still be there too looking for deals and capitalizing on mistakes. Automation might alter the structure of the AH game but it wouldn't alter its nature.

Second, I find it laughable that you think this would create a bigger gap between the established player and the newbie. You've said multiple times you use multiple addons to manage your business. At the very least you use Auctioneer to price and post your auctions. You also use several addons to make picking up your mail easier so that you can AFK through the process.

How is the newbie going compete with you currently? The gap between the established player and the newbie is already huge. If anything automation would close the gap, because the newbie wouldn't have to go find 3rd party addons to create his business.

Tonus said...

Anyone who wants to remove "craft all" options must not have done crafting in Everquest. Like just about every other aspect of the game, they made sure that crafting was a boring, expensive and painful grind.

You had to place each of the materials you needed into a container (such as an oven for cooking) one at a time (click, click, click) and then click the create button. And that would be one attempt at crafting. If you wanted more than one attempt, you repeated the process.

And note that I say "attempt" instead of "item" or even "skill point." EQ trade combines could fail (even if you were at max skill level) leaving you with no item for your efforts. Skill increases were also never automatic. Skilling up meant gathering the materials for 50-100 combines (which could be extremely expensive as you got into the higher skill levels) clicking until your hands ached, and hoping to get a few skill points out of it.

WOW's crafting system is awfully easy, probably too easy. And I think it's the result of the pain that EQ put crafters through.

warcraftlife said...

"I have a much better, and much more natural one: paid work. A system which allow me to offer jobs to other players. They do the grinding for paid hours."

The system is already in place, and you mentioned it several times in the post. Auction house. They grind, or "do the work" for you, and you pay them for the items.

Lee said...

Case in point. Crafting Arrows in Asheron's call. Would impede any group outing you were contemplating.

It took a good 15 minutes before anyone using bows could be ready. Then the travel time to get to the location after that.

WoW does have a time sink in crafting. I agree with GG. It is fine and could be much worse.

Eaten by a Grue said...

This makes no sense. If you remove button clicking, you increase potential to optimize afk time, while if you require the crafter to click to mill/prospect each time, then you remove the ability to afk.

Since you have expertly been able to use your afk time during your crafting/AH scanning/whatever queues, why couldn't you extend that expertise to milling, and thereby gain even a larger competitive advantage over your peers.

csdx said...

"Of course you can ask why a game should be a good simulation of RL, but if an activity teaches no RL skill, it's pointless."
Isn't that usually the 'point' of games and entertainment. Watching movies is pointless, I don't learn anything useful in RL, but I'm entertained, which is the point of 'entertainment'. If I wanted something useful, I'd look up something 'educational'. Not to say the two must be mutually exclusive, but sometimes people want to do pointless things, like sleeping in an extra 15 minutes. You might as well argue that having sex for any purpose other than to have babies is a pointless activity and should be avoided.

But yes, if blizzard made everything so easy that you could kill Arthas while AFK, no one would want to play. Not because it's pointless (in the sense of teaching real world stuff), but because it isn't fun, (and therefore pointless because the point of the game is to have fun).

Jana said...

New AH item: "500 milling charges". Someone really presses mill 500 times and then you can buy the item and apply any amount of charges from the item instantly.
Sounds interesting.

Anonymous said...

I agree that if you allow automation of 100% of the process then it will result in prices which approach material cost. I would argue that is very much what is happening already today on well developed servers, especially for professions like inscription and alchemy.

However, even if they completely automate all crafting professions, there will still be parts of the process which are not automated: the acquisition of materials and the selling of the goods. That is where today's goblin makes his really money anyway by hiring farmers and streamlining his posting.

In a fully automated crafting system this would just be amplified.

Taemojitsu said...

brb, afk crafting 3750 potions in Aion

*I tried getting people to craft for me by paying them for their skillup and experience gain, but it was too much work :(

Alex Cresswell said...

I would like standardization among the different professions. Right now, JC, Inscription, and Enchanting have monotonous tasks that other professions do not. That is milling, disenchanting and prospecting. All other professions pick a number of items to produce and click create and go afk while they are created, then come back and craft the final product the same way. What I ask for is standardization. One click can trigger a disenchant, mill, or prospect on multiple items. If that's not the way that Blizzard wants to go(and I'm OK if they go either way), then remove the ability for other classes to make more than 1 thing at a time so everyone has to click for each item.

If Blizzard wants to make things cheap, they will go with automating milling, prospecting and disenchanting, which I think is the best choice for them to make. This lowers the investment of time into crafting, and will generate more competition.
If Bliz goes the other way and makes intermediate crafting materials one click each, then there will be massive QQ, etc, but it would effectively raise the prices of all the crafted items from all professions. This would make crafting attractive to more people and it would cut down on the amount of items that an individual can craft in a given time.

I see benefits on both sides, but I really don't see Blizzard expanding the 1-click per item system. I think the choices are to leave it as is, or make it automated.

What I am really interested in is a revamp of the low level crafting items. There are tons of useless items spread across many professions right now, and from what I understand from Blizzard's news releases so far, we should expect to find more useful low level items available to crafters, so that it may actually become a meaningful decision between disenchanting and selling them on the AH.

Anonymous said...

How much cheaper would my labor be if I could click 'mill all,' rather that pressing 'mill macro' once every 3 seconds? Or rather I teach my pet hamster that his wheel gives him a treat, so he mills for me? I don't see the downside (aside from technical difficulty) to a mill all option.

Anonymous said...

Also, there are those of us who choose to automate our milling and Skillet queue processing anyway. Building it into the interface would level the playing field for all AH mass crafters. Sure, prices would plummet, but that's just another adaptation to the market for a goblin.

As far as the grinding bit goes, smart businessmen either leverage other people's time to do manual work or they contract automated systems to do the work instead. In the case of WoW, even if crafting/milling was automated, your character's attention is taken during that time.

Azzur said...

I actually think Gevlon's motivation is to protect his monopoly. For those unaware, making gold is a very tedious process. I got to 70k once but gave up due to boredom.

Because Gevlon also values his AFK time differently (i.e. his AFK time is worth nothing, but my AFK time is time I could spend playing WoW), Gevlon will be able to beat a lot of wannabe Goblins.

dragonassasin said...

its because people like me would love it, and use/abuse its economic implications, I prospect ~5-800 stacks of saronite ore a week,(thats 10-16k ore for you sad people without math) and mill some 5000 herbs a week for glyphs, Its incredulously profitable, but takes enourmous amounts of time, i basically spend an entire day every week just prospecting/milling. and then another 2 days cutting gems/rings and making glyphs. That said i do all of this more or less afk.

TBTSan said...

WOW lacks 1 thing: BUY Auction House.
Let's say I'm willing to buy 100 items for X price but AH has only for more expensive. Some random people realy will sell cheaper than AH price to get rid of item FAST.

Gevlon said...

@Graylo: the entry barrier is start money. Remember they are broke. If the profit rate is 5%, he is much less likely to farm for start gold than for 50%

Eaten by a Grue said...

I would propose a simple solution for you guys that want automated milling.

The Nostromo keypad (and I am sure it is not alone) offers a macro feature. For any key, you can record a macro, and you have the option of having the macro loop every however many seconds.

So in WoW, create a milling macro and bind it to a key press. Then you can use this in conjuction with the Nostromo loop functionality and you have what you need, assuming you set auto-loot to on.

This is probably technically against the TOS, but I don't really care about that, since the odds of being caught doing this are near zero.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of being able to hire people.

But as people stated above,

the first obvious step it to add buy orders to the AH. If someone can sell a Blood Queen Neck or Nobles deck on the AH, then why can't I put in my buy order? Or at least for commodities: Buying 2,000 lichbloom at 1g each. The current system rewards the more frequently ingame.

As always, EVE is significantly more sophisticated: one idea is contracts. The other is that AH trading can be a profession: you can skillup to reduce your transaction costs.

I would so love a contract with collateral; I put up a contract with the mats plus a "tip" and then someone in a different time zone can accept it, pay the collateral, craft the piece, and when they send it to me the contract system gives them the fee and their collateral back. The win for me is that I did not have to read trade chat or have to spam looking for a crafter. Plus, we did not even have to be on at the same time.