An idea had been explained to me by a friend. The basic idea, which is from a different game, is that in addition to amassing unique components to make craftable items (Augments and Refinements), there might also be a timer placed on the crafting such that a certain item might take several days to craft, but that timer might be made shorter in a number of ways. This idea is not new, nor is this post (I've mentioned it before). This is just me thinking out loud, to some extent, since I have Memorial Day off. :)
So for example, below is what I am envisioning, just as I kick the idea around in my head:
In order to make a specific augment, for example, you need to first acquire the "recipe" for it. CoX term being used here, I doubt CoT will call it a recipe per se, but I'm still envisioning that there will still be a drop-rate randomized thing you have to acquire somehow to make any specific thing you want to make, I feel that having a robust auction house free market depends on this, at least for rare and very rare stuff. You may also need various amounts of different "salvage" type stuff. You might also have to pay some up-front IGC to get started, not to mention needing a workshop (probably in your personal lair) in which to craft the thing.
Okay, all of that is same as CoX so far.
Then, in addition to that, you also have to put a certain amount of "work" into making the item. Work being defined in terms of the amount of XP you gain while you have the item on the workbench in your lair. So you get a recipe, set it up it on the work bench in your lair, and thus start a project to make a thing. Work doesn't commence until you get all the necessary components, so you try to have those in place from the beginning. You get all that set up, pay the IGC cost to get started, and what appears then on your screen somewhere is a progress bar showing your current progress toward finishing that item. The progress bar will tell you how many Work Units (TM) you need to complete the item. Then you go out and do missions etc to earn XP. As you earn XP, every so much XP you earn counts as so many Work Units for you toward your item. Note that you still gain XP in the conventional sense, so your leveling is not slowed by this in any way.
You could also pay additional IGC, maybe, to get that "work done" bar to increase, and you could probably use Stars toward this as well.
Maybe you can have more than one project active at a time, maybe there's limit on that set by various factors (i.e. subscriber or not, character level, crafting badges, type of work bench being used, etc). Maybe the number of Work Units each project needs is different based on how many active projects you have going, such that if you do three projects in parallel, they all require considerably more Work Units, but you get some amount of triple-dipping of the XP there too. So doing three projects in parallel might be better than doing three in series, or it might not, depending on the projects, the work bench used, your badges, subscriber status, etc.
Since IGC and Stars could be used here, the conversion rate you get in the market and the relative effect they both have on your crafting might be a question. Maybe the Star method always provides some amount of work that is a percentage of the remaining work you need done, i.e. spend a few Stars, and your required work remaining on that item gets cut in half, the second Star purchase for that same item maybe costs more Stars and only cuts the remaining half in half, etc such that there's always a point of diminishing returns for that, whereas IGC might work on a linear basis. That is, maybe every 1,000 IGC spent buys you 1 work unit, where different projects require more or fewer work units to complete them, based on rarity and level, or something.
So like, low level players who just started out and have Stars from their first 3 months free Subscriber status might want to sell those Stars for IGC so as to finish more items faster, because their projects are likely smaller, meaning they take fewer Work Units to complete, thus the percentage deal that the Stars give is bad compared to the IGC deal that you get if you sell Stars for IGC on the Auction House. On the other hand, older veterans might want to acquire Stars more, because their projects are much "bigger" in the sense that they require higher amounts of work to be done to get finished, thus the Stars help them more than the IGC does, to a point.
That way, some people (low level newbies) would want to sell Stars for IGC while leveling up and some (veterans) would want to sell IGC for Stars while at the cap and working on getting totally kitted out with the best (and most work-intensive) stuff.
Maybe IGC-purchased Work Units should have the diminishing returns factor and Stars-purchased ones should not. Or, maybe both methods should have diminishing returns. I don't know.
Maybe you can locate an appropriate NPC willing to take IGC from you and provide the "service" of working on your item for you, and maybe there are exchange rates to had there that differ from one NPC to another, based on any number of things, like alignments, missions you've successfully done for the NPC, faction loyalty, etc. Maybe Dr. Science wants to charge you a lot because you didn't do any missions for her, but Ezmerelda the Witch will do you a solid because you saved her dragon familiar from a fate worse than death, etc.
The details are fuzzy to me still, but I think I'd want this system to encourage people to acquire and spend Stars, I'd want it to be a viable IGC sink, to a point, and I'd want it to still make people want to go out and do missions in order to complete work on items, because that adds to the "rewards" you're getting for doing missions and stuff, and as such encourages people to play, and makes content more repeatable.
Maybe User Generated Content gives less XP or a not as favorable XP-to-Work Unit conversion if it needs that.
Maybe different Work Benches you might have provide different amounts of efficiency in making different rarities of stuff. Maybe some are better for Refinements and some better for Augments. Maybe the number of things you can do in parallel is dependent on how many Work Benches you have access to. You own lair, your SG, public ones, NPC-controlled ones they might let you use, etc.
Maybe your crafting badges give you some kind of break on crafting Work Unit costs, allow you to craft in parallel more efficiently, or reduce the costs in some other way.
I feel like really common stuff, like the SO in CoX ought to be craftable by anyone without a specific "recipe" but maybe it still needs some generally not-hard to find "salvage" and some IGC and XP, etc.And maybe those are easier to craft in parallel whereas the uncommon stuff is a little harder, and the rare stuff is a lot harder, making you almost have to do it in series. Maybe Very Rares can only be done in series and even then take up more than one Work Bench while being crafted, somehow.
Maybe the game pays out fewer Work Units after you've been on for like 12-16 straight hours, thus encouraging people to get some sleep and have a life instead of just grinding non-stop for like a whole weekend.
I feel like adding in this one new wrinkle that CoX didn't have, the crafting progress bar, adds a whole universe of new possibilities. To me this is an example of how adding in a limitation can cause the game to gain something. This one thing, could, maybe, give the game an IGC sink, if it needs it, a use for Stars, and a reason to play more of the same content over again, hence replayability. That's like, BETTER than a win-win, it's three things. It's a win-win-win, or at least maybe COULD be that, if done right.
R.S.O. of Phoenix Rising