Greedy Goblin

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ghosts of the islands

This is about my dream video game that I've been thinking about for years. The plans finally reached a coherent stage where I can present them, in hope that someone grabs elements of it (which is free of course), as I have no hope to ever implement it myself. It's a very ambitious plan:
  • A highly competitive game which can be enjoyed by very uncompetitive casuals.
  • A PvP game where you can lose everything you owned in PvP, yet it lacks griefing, ganking and PvE players can enjoy it.
  • An economy-centered game without botting, no-life or goldselling.


When you create your only character (no alts, unless you buy extra subscriptions), you find yourself as a shipwreck survivor on a small island, with a packaged tent, a few crude tools and food for a few days. You'll be alone in this island unless you play with real-life friends and choose to join their "family" during character creation. The Island will be protected by fog for a few days, keeping unwanted visitors out during your first days. You are greeted by 4 ghosts who are forever trapped on the island. They will be your NPC guides during "tutorial phase" and then crucially important resources. They hand you a few "ghost essences", an important resource.

You are first tasked to find the only suitable location for a base in the island which will always be by the sea. You'll be asked to plant your tent, becoming the lvl 1 Town Hall of your base. One ghost offers to empower the Town Hall, creating an unbreakable barrier around your "town" that keeps out enemies, monsters and players alike. He'll ask 1 ghost essence per day to be able to empower a building. Then you are tasked to gather resources (wood and skins) to upgrade your Town Hall, as on lvl 1 it supports zero more buildings and every levels add two more building slots to your town. The max level is 3 on a small island, allowing 4 buildings + Hall.

To get resources, you must venture to the land and chop down trees and kill monsters for their skins. While doing so, you encounter the combat system which is pretty much industry standard: target baddie and press hotkey. The spells and skills are available from the start, there is no leveling or skilling up, you can increase character power only by playing better and by getting better gear. Gear is available in only few tiers, so maxing it out is available for everyone (not always a good idea though as you lose it on death). You also encounter with the unique crafting/working system: after finding the tree or killing the animal, you give the order to chop into planks or skin for pelt and then drag to the town and your avatar gets to work. He'll work for a long time, depending on the difficulty of the task and while doing so, you can log off. Everyone else will see your avatar working on the task and can attack it (not during newbie fog of course). This part makes botting pointless and no-life impossible as most of the time of the avatar is spent working anyway. In the tutorial phase, this will be bypassed by seeding a few materials to use instead, not to interrupt the first hours of play.

If you log in after the work is done, your avatar will be in the town and spent the extra time resting in the Town Hall. Resting is an important mechanic, you must rest 6 hours a day in the town or 10 in the wilderness or become tired, losing power until rest. Then you are asked to give the order to upgrade the Town Hall. You could queue this job (and any amount of jobs) before but as a new player you didn't. After lvl 2, you are told to get more resources to build 2 buildings, one of them being the Spirit Shrine which can resurrect you if you die. Without a spirit healer or a family-mate on your island, you lose everything on death and need to start over. With healer, you lose only the gear and items you had on you.

From there, you will build buildings, upgrades, gather resources, get food for yourself and ghost essences for your ghosts, terraform your island to build roads that makes travel easier, beautify your island and so on, and so on till eternity if you do not wish to play competitively. You can do it in a mentioned "family", a small group of RL friends who share a small island. Or you can find a clan, join them on a large island and start to fight other players for resources and glory. As I've said, the Town Hall provides an unbreakable barrier for your Small Island town, which means that you can only lose your island by not refilling the Town Hall with spirit shards for its ghost, despite warnings. Buildings can store 7 spirit shards, enough for a week. You can put your small island to "vacation mode" which stops all work, but also decay and spirit shard usage. This ends if you log in again, or if 2 months passed. If you don't log in for a week without or 2 months with vacation mode, your barrier goes down and anyone can claim the abandoned island. Of course the barrier only protect the town, tou can still be killed outside, losing the gear and possessions on your person, but your stuff in the Town are safe.

To travel to another island, you must build a port and a shipyard with a ship. Using ships you can visit any islands. The travel takes several hours for neighboring islands and several days for far ones, so random ganking won't be a problem. Not many will travel a day just to find the locals hiding in their Town. Also, if they die, they resurrect in their town, being able to regroup and kill the ganker, reclaiming their stuff. If the ganker dies, he he resurrects at home with no means to get back to his gear and ship.

As I've mentioned gear and tools and even buildings aren't "permanent" in the sense of "build it once, have it forever". They all lose durability on usage and especially on death. To repair them, you need a bit of the resources used for creation. Among usual conditions an item that costs 50 units of resources needs 1 unit of resource per day to maintain, creating a constant resource sink and need for new resources.

Resources and items have weight, you can't run around carrying 10 tree logs. You can only carry what you can bear and the weight slows you down. For heavier items you need multiple avatars, mules or carts. Terrain affects your speed and ability to carry stuff. You can't use a cart without a road, so terraforming isn't a vanity, but a necessity.


Below you can see all the buildings of the game. All buildings need either a ghost or a player avatar to be on duty to operate. You must either assign one of your ghosts or your avatar to work there. All buildings have 7 levels. They can't be higher level than the Town Hall, and small island Town Halls can't go over 3. Higher level buildings have more HP, work faster, have more powerful effect or have more building slots.
  • Town Hall: basic building of any town, allowing 2 more buildings in town per level.
  • Spirit Shrine: resurrects dead players. Higher level decreases resurrection sickness (a temporary power penalty).
  • Watchtower: looks out for incoming ships and "visitors". If enemy comes, it raises alarm, making working (offline) avatars flee to the base. Higher levels increases detection speed.
  • Kennel: trains combat pets that act as NPC escorts to help you fight monsters and players. Resurrects dead pets. Higher level provides more pets to choose from.
  • Stables: trains mules and mounts that act as NPC carriers to help you carry resources and travel faster mounted. Higher levels mean more more mules and mounts.
  • Essence focus: collect the ghost essences for you. Ghost essences are needed for your ghosts to operate buildings. Extra essences are used to boost performance. A small island provides 5 essences per day which you can farm manually or let the focus get it at the cost of one of the ghosts being locked into the building (and one building slot). This is not just convenience, it's great to keep operational under siege. Large islands get 20 essences. Every level of the building gets 2 essences, so you still have to farm on a large island with a max level focus.
  • Port: allows you to build and use ships. Higher level: more ships.
  • Chicken farm: the chicken eat what they find in town. You get eggs daily and can slay the chicken for food without having to leave the base, which is both a convenience and great during siege. Higher levels: more chicken and eggs.
  • Warehouse: stores items and resources and protects them from decay. Things left outside are considered "in use" and decay.
  • Flight master: trains flying beasts to carry you to other flight masters. You can only fly between towns owned by your clan in the same island. Can only be built on a large island. The flying beasts need to rest after travel. Higher level means more beasts on duty.
  • Blacksmith: builds metal tools and weapons in a much faster rate than an avatar would with crude tools outside. Higher level adds more building slots where an avatar or ghost can work.
  • Lumber mill: builds wooden tools, weapons and building blocks from logs in a much faster rate than an avatar would with crude tools.
  • Butcher shop: creates food and skins from dead animals in a much faster rate than an avatar would with crude tools.
  • Bakery: creates food from collected edible plants in a much faster rate than an avatar would with crude tools.
  • Masonry: builds stone building materials in a much faster rate than an avatar would with crude tools.
  • Siege tower: a huge weapon that fires on enemy towns on the island. Can only be built in large islands. More than one can be built.
  • Shield tower: Creates a magic shield the capital city of a large island.
  • Vault: keeps your resources safe, even if your town is captured. "Safe" means they can't take it, but it won't magically transport to you. It'll remain "deadzoned" until you recapture the town or reach a diplomatic solution.
  • Pirate cove, Trading post, Demonic portal: special buildings for large islands, see below.
  • Guard tower: greatly increases the range and significantly the defense and offense of avatars fighting in it. They can't use or attacked with melee skills, but the tower itself can. More than one can be built in a town. Higher levels allow more avatars to be inside. Ghosts assigned to it fire magic bolts to random enemies.

Clans and island siege

After finding a clan, you can organize an attack on a large island. While small islands are available in endless numbers, emerging and disappearing in the fog on demand from the player base, the large islands of the game world are static and in limited supply in the middle of the game map. In large islands, there are more than one town locations and the Town hall barrier is unbreakable only 21 hours a day, giving a 3 hours window for attack. One town is the owner's capital, which can have a Town Hall over lvl 3. Other locations can be occupied by any clan, owner or not with a maximum lvl 3 Town Hall. The attackers first take one of these towns (if they can), to use it as their base. Since it cannot have a shield tower, it's attackable by the owner or any third party during the 3 hours period. Since you don't own the island, you won't have ghosts, player avatars must operate every building.

The capital of the owners is usually protected by magic shield and it must be broken by siege towers which are expensive to build and easy to destroy. They can fire one shot a day. A level x siege tower does x HP damage to the shield. A level x shield tower regenerate x HP per day, so one siege tower does nothing. The shield has 10x total HP. The shots and regeneration happen at the end of the barrier-window (regeneration first), so you can't surprise-attack the enemy. If you break the magic shield today, you can proceed to attack tomorrow. Of course you need to protect your base during the siege phase. While your town has its town hall barrier, you can't set its vulnerability window, it's the same for all the towns on the island, set by the capital. So you need to adjust to the timezone of the defender.

After the shield is down you engage the defenders in direct PvP while they have the advantage of guard towers (you can have guard towers in your base against counterattacks too). The battle goes until the Town Hall is destroyed. Then the rest of the buildings go offline and will become part of the town of whoever build a Town Hall here. Since this includes spirit shrine, the dead defenders can't resurrect in that town anymore. They resurrect in another town owned by their clan or on their personal small island if it's still operational. If a player didn't bother to maintain a home small island and his clan is out of towns with spirit shrines, he lost everything and gets back to the start. This forces a decision: if you play safe, then you must sail home from the large island of your clan time and time again to your personal small island losing time. If you don't, you risk losing everything if your clan is evicted. No, you can't have a family and a clan at the same time.

One clan can have one capital. If they capture another capital, they must choose which they keep, the other is downgraded to normal town. While they can have as many towns on as many large islands as they please, only the capital have shield, so the other towns can be pillaged and razed by enemies or pirates if there are no avatars at home to defend it, making empire holding impossible. Practically a clan will have one island only. There will be no way to formally ally with another clan, you can of course ally informally, but they will be considered hostiles by your town barrier, shields and ghosts in guard towers.

There will be no way for "betrayal" of your clan unless you are the sole clan leader. A spy can't let defenses down, destroy buildings or steal any items that aren't his own. There can be multiple leaders and this case they need a majority vote before every potentially harmful decision (for example if there are 3 leaders, to destroy a building, 2 must click destroy). Spirit shards can't be removed from the building cache so no one can turn them offline this way either. Resources and gear are all personal and not clan owned, you can't steal from your clanmates. You can of course trick them to give it to you, but they need to be dumb to let too much stuff owned by one guy. Clan leaders can be removed or elected by 2/3 vote over a 24 hours period. The point is that clanmates can trust each other as a bad egg or spy can't make much damage.

Special resources, piracy and trade

There are 5 basic resources in the game: food rations, wood planks, stone blocks, animal pelts and mineral ore. These are made from quickly deteriorating raw materials (picked plant parts, dead animals, logs and rocks). The resources don't lose durability while kept in the warehouse (the Town Hall has a little warehouse compartment too). Outside or during transport they lose durability. While "90% power" makes sense for a tool or weapon but not for a wooden plank, they must be "inspected" before use (eating, using to craft a tool, weapon or building). If it had 90% durability, then the inspection has 90% chance to find them good and 10% to be useless, which case it's destroyed. The basic resources are available on all islands.

There are 4 special resources (diamond, oil, mana berries, huge planks) which are needed for higher level buildings of large islands. The islands also have 4 versions (jungle, desert, temperate, nordic) which is merely cosmetic for small islands. For large islands they all have one type of special resource: diamonds can be found in ore mined in jungles, oil comes from desert oasis olive trees, mana berries can be picked in temperate forests and the huge pines of the nordic forests provide huge planks. It doesn't matter which type of island you live on, you can farm one and you need all four to operate a high level base.

One form of getting the other three is piracy. For that, the special building "pirate cove" is almost necessary. It needs 5 ghosts to operate out of the 10 available on a large island. It doubles the speed of your ships and provide intel about the barrier and shield statuses along with approximate avatar number of the towns and capitals of the nearby islands, increasing range with level. This instant information devalue spying by infiltrating other clans. The raiding party can hit the undefended islands and pillage the warehouses, destroy buildings for raw materials, kill avatars for their gear.

The other form of getting items is trade. For that, the special building "trading post" is necessary. It also needs 5 ghosts to operate. The owners can set any barter offers (like 100 planks offered for 50 diamonds) and these offers are visible from nearby islands, small and large. Then anyone can sail to the trading capital city and use the NPC interface to trade without actually entering the city.

The lack of currency means goldselling is extremely hard. You can only give resources to someone who isn't your clanmate by letting him pirate it from you (while neutral pirates can do the same) or by accepting bad trades on his trading post, which will clearly raise flags at GMs.

The endgame: the demonic plane

Owning a large island is a competitive action on its own. The amount of large islands is limited and adjusted to let about 20% of the total players live on large islands. Please remember that all islands have a limited daily resource respawn, you can't stuff thousands to an island without starvation. So more people will want a large island than get it. However there is an even more competitive play which needs a demonic portal on the island. This building can't co-exists with a shield tower, so building it allows anyone to attack you instantly in your 3 hours vulnerability period.

Secondly, once in the same vulnerable period it allows you to teleport a fixed-size raiding party to the demonic plane, engaging a random deadly raidboss and its minions. If anyone dies in the party, he must be resurrected on the field, providing a nasty resurrection sickness. A total party wipe means they can only resurrect at home, leaving their gear behind, which hurts since raidbosses need top level gear. Also, they can only teleport out once a day, so a wipe means the end of the raid today. Living avatars can retreat to the entry portal to teleport back to their island.

If the raiders don't wipe and don't have to abort because nasty pirates are landing on their island to steal and raze everything they have, they manage to kill the boss and collect its essence. The essence need to be shattered at home, creating a fixed number of shards that must be given to clan members by the leadership, no more than one to each. These can't be further traded and will disappear in a few hours, but while they last can be banished, for vanity points that are listed on the official toplist of the game under their name. Please note that the clan itself is not credited just the members, who need to earn the shards. Since the shard number is fixed, it puts a natural limit on clan size, as the rest can't be rewarded. The clan also need a healthy balance of PvE and PvP players and reward them properly as without raiders they get no shards, without PvP players they keep no island.

Have fun!


Stan vanderVille said...

A lot of well combined mechanics.
I miss a little bit long time motivation goals, but, I would give this game a try!
And also a good set of rules, objects and objectives which easily could be expanded later on.
And now? Crowdfunding?

Anonymous said...

The basic idea is good I think, but it has a few flaws:

The problem is that for the end game the PVP-er gets nothing, and the end game PVE-er must be very good at PVP.

A player and his clan HAVE to be a top PVP-er, to hold a large island, and THEN he can do PVE and kill a raidboss, thus getting points in the hall of fame.

But for a player who is intersted in pure PVP what is the endgame? Constant sieging with no reward? Or they could somehow capture the shards from the players who killed the raidboss? Then the pure pvp-er has an advantage, because he only have to excel in PVP to get points and not in PVE.

Or the notion is that a clan has to recruit both good PVP and good PVP players? Then the mechanic that only gives point for the raidboss killers is not good again.
Or the whole idea is that the game only rewards the players who are both good PVPers and PVEers? If pve players can't do endgame pve content they won't stay in the game. (Just like Wildstar, people could not even do the dungeons before raids, so pve players left the game, because they could not raid and got bored, and pvp players left because pvp was aweful)

If you plan to hold a playerbase, the things you can do besides the endgame have to be "fun," and that is the hard part of game making I think; filling it with content. I played a lot of mmos with the same group of players, and it always came down to things we could do after/before raiding.
- In WoW after raids we went PvP or explore
- In LotRO we did not even care for end game PvP or PvE, you could do so much in the game we were only doing raids because we declared ourselves a PVE clan, but most of us would rather went exploring or growing pipeweed etc.
- SWtOR pve end game was horribly bugged, but we were patient, because PvP was awesome, questing was incredibly good so everyone had lot of alts to get the stories from more classes
- Wildstar failed, because most players could not even get into Raids, and PvP was aweful, and you could do NOTHING else (off course there was housing, but you spent an afternoon making what you wanted and thats it).

I think an idea on its own is a very fragile thing. Crowfall's idea looks very promising too (and similar to yours), but the idea itself wont make it a good game. Filling it with things to do will.

Gevlon said...

@Anon: great point, I fixed the reward for the PvP-ers.

For casuals there is the endless "minecraft" of beautifying their islands. This is possible even in a large island. For somewhat casual PvP-ers there is always piracy for the sake of piracy. For the hardcore there is the raid+raid base defense.

Finally "filling with things" is something that you can shamelessly steal from WoW. For example some essences could come from daily quests and you can decorate your town hall and whatever sillyness you can steal from random games.

Anonymous said...

I was planning to make a lot a comments similar to anon, but they've been made. A few quick points:
What will be the plan for expansion? Will it be horizontal? i.e new bosses but same gear and islands. You may not need expansions (eve doesn't get new titans), but there will eventually be repetition.

You've described combat, but will there be dexterity involved? I hate pvp because I'm a slow keyboard turner and I get flustered a bit by the pace, but I love PVE and boss fights. If pvp is required to end game pve, will the combat be similar, or different styles per scenario. I ask because if they play out the similar, you'll run into the repetition problem sooner, if they are different but easy, there wont be a challenge.

I like that the concepts do not need to be specifically tied to an 'island'. the theme could be a lot a things (spaceships).

Just like eve is a pvp game, but many do not pvp but pay subscriptions, how far ahead have you thought about pve content? This will require either huge customization or exploration to keep the pve's paying. This ties into the expansion question above.

Gevlon said...

There is no need for traditional expansions (that obsolete old content), rather EVE-like patches that fix unbalances, beautify graphics, maybe add variations. After all, you can still undock the same ship you flied 5 years ago and it will be still useful (even if not optimal).

Like in EVE, PvP and PvE is tied. Also, people still mine in EVE which is fundamentally the same activity as 10 years ago, so the "you must give lot of new content" is maybe false.

Anonymous said...

I think we can agree that mining isn't fun repeatable content, but rather something that most drones feel like they need to do. Apart from ranking with the shards, there is no other way to demonstrate progression. Is it possible that people will just go on to disregard rank like they continue to disregard their failure in other games? I don't believe you should weaken your idea to pander to the people you probably don't want paying, but there is obviously a large middle ground.

Gevlon said...

No other progression is intentional (and inspired by EVE). You should do something extraordinary to be glorified, simply doing your daily tasks should be rewarded by making the ends meet (your buildings are running, your belly is full and your warehouse holds a bit more stuff).

Anonymous said...

Ok, that's fair enough. I think I'm just trying to fit my Dark Souls 2 NG+7 play style into your game. Flipping that thought on it's head, would you be better off reducing the 'filler' pve/explorer content to narrow the focus of the game and 'get it right' so to speak?

maxim said...

I guess the actual thing i'm trying to get at here is that ideas are worth next to nothing in gamedev.

Games are made and broken by implementations and if you relinquish control of implementation, then you really are not contributing anything useful.

Gevlon said...

@maxim: by simply disallowing PvP in EVE, we'd get a very different game from EVE, despite all the implementations are the same. The EVE playerbase wouldn't like the new game and players who'd like this "mine and rat together so everyone has a titan" game wouldn't like EVE.

So I disagree that games are made by implementations. I agree that most games are broken by implementations. However I don't see why can't this be made as a modification of an existing MMO.

Anonymous said...

First anon commenter here:

I really like the design, where pvp and pve players are forced to cooperate.
In the design 20% is the top playerbase, but to be succesful and maintain the servers and developing more things you need to keep the 80% too (not 80 percent becuase some will contend to be in the 20% but the majority will be casuals).

You make it sound easy to fill a game for casuals, but I think it is the hardest, and needs a lot of money. For example Crowfall is making fixed race-class combos, because it is a lot of money to animate all the races for all the classes. The developers has a good idea for the game mechanic but has to balance between making that idea as good as they want, and filling the game for casuals, and making it to "meet the standards of an mmo". Because when a new player sees that he cant be a centaur rogue, he will say "Ok, i will make an elf rogue but the game has to be really fun or the end game really challanging!"

Anonymous said...

Polished design, a very good mix of PVE and PVP, making them both accessible, but still providing a fair challenge.

As far as I understand the ships are mainly for travel and/or scouting other islands.

Would you consider naval combat? E.g. you spend five times the resources of a siege tower to build a ship with cannons. It has the same strength as a siege tower, but it is mobile and can be re-deployed to other large islands. It always needs people to operate. Small islands have too shallow water around them so their cannons can't reach them. In exchange the ship is a bit more durable, but susceptible to the firebolts from the ghosts in the defense tower.

Special buildings named quarters could be build into the framework to provide different bonuses (navigator's room for better scouting, blastmaster's quarters for more powerful cannons, shipwright's quarters for better endurance etc., storeroom for more cargo,), increasing the variety of ships roaming the seas.

However no shrines could be built on the ships. If my ship is sunk I have to resurrect on my island and revisit the location where my ship was. If the wreck was not looted, I could scavenge some of the cargo left by pirates/other clans.

Additionally, ships can only be maintained by avatars, no ghosts could be placed on the ships.

Gevlon said...

Naval combat can't be combined with asynchronous gameplay. A player should not suffer serious losses while offline as forcing them to be online 24/7 will drive out everyone but no-lifers.

In the large islands the towns are safe outside the 3 hours period which can be increased by shields. The small island towns are always safe. Avatars working outside risk little possessions (some low level gear) and can be relatively safe with a watchtower.

Ship travel is long, therefore must be done offline. You see that it will take 6 hours, you come back 8 hours later and find your ship to be "just outside island range" and initiate landing which will take a few minutes to allow locals to respond to the incoming ship. If you could come back to see your ship, gear and supplies sinked, it would be pointlessly frustrating.

Lag said...

I like most of those ideas and would love to see them implemented. I'm under impression there is some depth lacking in some of the gameplay, but that is to be expected seeing how it's still just an idea. To elaborate, it seems endgame payoff doesn't look very rewarding/meaningful copared to amount of effort it requires, but this could be perception issue, as eventually the difficult stuff becomes meaningful purely because it's difficult - as long as the gameplay itself is enjoyable.

Thanks for sharing!

Marek Zaborowski said...

The idea seems nice and dandy, but as far as I am concerned we will never know if it is really -cool- unless implemented. Good game devs (or just these, that are driven by rationality not emotions) demands from new game to be playble and fun in very early -demo-. They basicly build game with none polishing with only REALLY necessery elements (f.e demo for Mario wouldnt include stars or coins, cause it is jumping over obstacles that is main activity of the game) and see if its fun or not. If its not, then there is either someone in core-idea that have to be altered OR the idea is simply good on paper but in reality sucks.

If You think about it, good devs works pretty much like good traders. Notice good oppurtunity, check it, if its good -> exploit, if its not -> bails out.

But it is also cool to see that even being like Gevlon gots their dreams (no offense), its -socialize- or I should say -humanize- them somehow.

Harusame said...

If you could, would you support the production of this idea into an actual playable game. Do you think that this game would be worthy of your real world money production support?

maxim said...

Game design is not Lego and really doesn't work the way legos do - with replaceable parts and all. Games are coherent systems, where everything affects everything and even adding a bit of DLC can turn annything upside down, much less a change so fundamental as to add/remove PvP.

Maybe a few years down the line, when i finally get to build my own MMO from scratch, i'll find some worth in these posts of yours. Until then, your only hope of seeing these ideas happen is to make them happen (or pay someone to do it for you).

Anonymous said...

My major issue with this is "the hook", it feels like a mobile game not a MMO. This is usually the first hour or so of gaming on a new title. So a player creates their character, goes through movement tutorials etc, builds a tent start and goes to harvest some resources to build up.

So they chop a tree and go to harvest and then what....? Have to log off/sit and wait an age. It is a brick wall, a sudden cliff in play.

Gevlon said...

Good point, but can be solved by having a few resources in "hidden cave" and "wrecked ship" which need exploring and combat with monsters instead of offline work. This way the player can spend the first few hours actively. He'll be stopped while waiting for the building upgrades instead which he can spend with more exploring of his island.

But I clearly want to remove "farming", doing repetitive, simple actions that are constantly rewarded, because it encourages botting and no-life play. The main problem with todays MMO is that you are uncompetitive with a guy with more free time. Which is also an economic disaster since the guy with more free time will likely have less money to spend on the game, so the game constantly punishes paying customers and cater to freeloaders.

maxim said...

Regarding MMO vs mobile - if you never played Hay Day, i suggest you do. This is easily the best example of competitive supply chain management in the mobile farm genre. It also easily gets around the "hook" issue without having to introduce a whole other set of mechanics to do while the craft is happening.

Weirdly, though, the best way to make money in that game remains the equivalent of spending a lot of time mining veldspar.