time is money

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Radiac
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time is money

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

Sand_Trout
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Not a terrible idea to add

Not a terrible idea to add some sort of timer/delay on crafting, but I'm not too warm-and-fuzzy on using XP earned as the measure. The main reason being that such a system would not encourage a behavior that is (IMO) negative with regards to player behavior. There is already incentive by the leveling system for players to take the shortest path to Max Level, and adding more strength to that incentive may cause more players to miss the fun of the journey as it becomes overridden by "I need my new Shiney."

Instead of making progress dependent directly on XP, set a timer (might vary by item) and players then have a limited number of manufacturing slots.

Purchasing and "assistant" with IGC, adding more crafting slots with Stars, and maybe certain random-drop items that can boost crafting efficiency for a given job are good aspects of the idea you're bringing up here, and would add depth to the system.

One concern that will need to be addressed is whether or not these crafted items are level-agnostic or not. If I get a Super-Rare (TM) recipe that takes 2-3 days to complete, will the item have a Level, and if it does, will that level be determined on Drop, Start of Construction, Completion of Construction, Claim, or Slot? In 2 or 3 days of game-play, it's plausible that you've out-leveled that Super-Rare that you spent multiple days of craft-station availability on if the item level is determined at Drop or Start of Construction. That is likely to trigger a negative emotional response in most players, I figure.

Of course, if the crafting time is low enough, the items are Level Agnostic, or the item level is determined at Completion of Construction or later, this is less of a concern.

In general, I think Crafting Time is a valid method of introducing an IGC sink or Star incentive.

Edit: Secondary idea that would drastically affect how Crafting is treated in the game: If the item level is determined at drop and does have an extended crafting time, then the designers need to focus on crafting from the aspect of market, as the people making these items will likely out-level them before they are completed. This means that Crafting becomes a means of Senior characters supplying Junior characters rather than players crafting only for themselves. This has the potential of having a very positive social effect as players benefit from the Crafting system most only if they're selling to other players.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Fireheart
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One of the Devs suggested

One of the Devs suggested Puzzles, or some other form of mini-game, as a measure of 'effort' expended in Crafting. If the character runs off to smash foes, that's not effort applied to crafting, at all.

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Radiac
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That's true, but it does, to

That's true, but it does, to some extent, convey the idea of time passing in the game. If you run progress off of real time, people can presumably just set stuff to craft and then they have to wait. If you base int on logged-in time, you get people remaining logged in doing nothing in order to run the clock faster and craft while they sleep or go to work. If you base it on mob defeats since the job was started, you at least have an incentive to actually do missions and stuff, and you get progress proportional to your actual game play since the job started. I also like that it doesn't create a distraction that pulls you AWAY from doing missions and stuff like marketeering can do and like a complicated puzzle game would do.

I mean, I like Iron Man because he fights crime and super villains and stuff. Nobody reads an Iron comic to watch Tony Stark fiddle around in the lab and make himself richer for a whole issue.

I wouldn't want the game to turn into City of Crafting Puzzles.

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Sand_Trout
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I think Real Time might be

I think Real Time might be the best option because it gives incentive for brief logins, which will enhance player engagement.

This is a bit of manipulative psychology, but the idea is that if you give players a reason to log in every day, even briefly, you ingrain a habit of playing the game, and reduce the rate at which they get distracted by other games without placing overly much burden on the player and giving him some sort of reward.

An adult working a full-time job probably wont have time to dedicate a couple hours every night to CoT, but they might have time to log in and move around their crafting jobs for 5 or 15 minutes so their new items are ready when they really have time to play on the weekends.

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Radiac
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I hear you, but I think if

I hear you, but I think if you make it work off of mob defeats or XP earned or something like that, you allow the grinders who might not be apt to pay a lot of real money a way to work harder and earn more IGC, and thus get better items for themselves, while the rich fatcats like me would log in for fewer hours and do less grinding and then probably end up paying those grinders to do jobs for us. Like if I'm paying a sub and have some Stars, I might make a deal with you to make an item or two for me, or else maybe you just buy Stars for IGC on the auction house and use them to craft items for your own toons, or to sell for more IGC.

I like the idea of a grindy, free-to-play player going out and doing missions and stuff to complete jobs and becoming IGC-rich (and/or high-end-item-rich) in the process, while probably trading IGC for Stars to the high-rolling subscribers, who have less time, more money, and Stars to sell.

I'm envisioning a world where the free-to-play player who plays a lot can use their drops and IGC to buy some components of the AH, craft a thing, then sell it for more IGC than it cost to make, (because the work required to make it is a thing, so people ought to pay extra for the value added), which would then allow that player to buy more components and make more stuff, thus ending up with more IGC. If the crafting can be accelerated by spending Stars, and if the Stars can be bought off the AH with IGC, the player might be able to make some decnet IGC and/or Stars for themselves by free play alone.

If actually playing through content more doesn't advance your progress in any way, well, I mean, I lazy subber like me can wait a week for a thing to be produced, and I can pay Stars to make it happen faster, but I'm not actually required to do any content to move it along, which is good for me but that bypasses the free-playing grinder entirely, as I see it.

Edit: I think a system like this, if done right, could end up serving BOTH the more-money-then-time rich kid and the more-time-than-money poor kid to the point where they both end up, eventually, with the items and stuff they want for their toons' builds, whereas the person who spends BOTH time AND money eventually ends up with more crafted items than they need and a big pile of IGC to boot. I would prefer it if the game required both of those things (hours spent grinding away on missions and stuff AND money spent) to get to that level of in-game wealth, while still allowing the others to be able to eventually get to the point of "build is done" after some amount of time (months?) spent grinding or paying a sub.

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Quote:
Quote:

I think a system like this, if done right, could end up serving BOTH the more-money-then-time rich kid and the more-time-than-money poor kid

That's valid, but it is kind of based on a false dichotomy (trichotomy? w/e) where a player will have either plenty of time, plenty of money, or both. It's important to keep players that don't necessarily have a lot of either a lot of time or money at the moment, so that once they do have one or the other they have a connection to the game rather than breaking from the game entirely.

People's financial and time obligations can vary wildly over the course of this game's lifetime, so I don't think it's reasonable to expect players to always have the time or money to spare. However, if we can keep them connected, even when they lack time or money, we will have them participating once they do.

It's my opinion that we cannot completely disregard the "casuals" that won't necessarily invest themselves fully into the game off the bat, either due to preference or necessity.

I think I'm just repeating myself now, so I'll shut up. Thanks for pushing forth the idea in any case.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Radiac
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I don't understand how or why

I don't understand how or why a casual player who spends very little money and very little time on a game should be expected to have all the best high-end items when there are other players grinding and paying cash for that stuff. I mean, if I were only casually interested in a game, I think I'd assume that the best gear would only be available to me if I worked or payed for it, which I'm not going to do, so I'm not going to get most of that stuff. I think at some point the devoted players need to be rewarded, and rewarded MORE than the casual players, for the time and money they spend. Also, I don't think any casual player would really care all that much about how "uber" their build is or isn't, as the case may be. As long as those players are able to play the game, find people to team up with, etc, I don't think they're going to miss the ultra-good gear in and of itself. They're casual, after all. They don't really care about that stuff, or if they did, they wouldn't be casual. I think the very definition of a casual player is one who doesn't want to bother to spend the time or money to get their character fully kitted out with all the best stuff. And in CoX you could be a level 50 with all Single Origin Enhancements in your powers and do Task Forces and stuff and nobody knew or cared what your gear was like, and I would expect CoT to be the same. Players will, I hope, not issue ultimatums about what gear you have to have to do the TF with them, etc, except maybe in the most extreme cases where the team is trying to get some rally hard to get badge for completing the thing in a super speed run or something. I think the casual player will be fine, if it's anything like CoX, where you have sidekicking and exemplaring and content difficulty settings you can fiddle with, etc.

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blacke4dawn
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Radiac wrote:
Radiac wrote:

I think at some point the devoted players need to be rewarded, and rewarded MORE than the casual players, for the time and money they spend.

I'm not so sure about rewarding "devoted players" in such a way but that depends on the exact system used. Care to elaborate on your vision for one such?

The biggest issue to me is what makes a player "devoted" to the game and what statistics you can use to accurately measure it.

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Radiac wrote:
Radiac wrote:

I don't understand how or why a casual player who spends very little money and very little time on a game should be expected to have all the best high-end items when there are other players grinding and paying cash for that stuff.

They won't have as much top end stuff because they won't have the IGC and materials from playing the game which are presumed necessary for the crafting system, as well as not being as high level. It just gives a way for casuals not to feel overly pressured.

Quote:

I mean, if I were only casually interested in a game, I think I'd assume that the best gear would only be available to me if I worked or payed for it, which I'm not going to do, so I'm not going to get most of that stuff.

I don't think most people can be expected to have that particular mindset. I think most people will see it as a game where you either devote yourself to it, or you don't play it. That is a destructive ultimatum.

Quote:

I think at some point the devoted players need to be rewarded, and rewarded MORE than the casual players, for the time and money they spend.

They will be by the nature of how XP, IGC, and Materials are generally generated. Not every mechanic in the game needs to feed this particular aspect. That's probably my big hangup on this; there are already mechanics that necessarily reward a player that is dedicated to the game, while this is a mechanic that will not hinder that reward, and can still be used as a hook for players that can only login infrequently.

Quote:

Also, I don't think any casual player would really care all that much about how "uber" their build is or isn't, as the case may be. As long as those players are able to play the game, find people to team up with, etc, I don't think they're going to miss the ultra-good gear in and of itself. They don't really care about that stuff, or if they did, they wouldn't be casual.

I disagree, and this is an incredibly narrow viewpoint. "Casuals" simply don't have the time and money to dedicate to that stuff due to other priorities. As I stated above, this may be due to any number of external factors in real life (new job, new kid, car wreck, medical condition) or simply not being familiar enough with the game to invest themselves in yet. If you put in a mechanic that overly differentiates the power of Hardcore vs Casual players, you prevent Casuals from participating either explicitly or by implicating that they don't matter. Casuals are where new Hardcore players come from, as a person is not going to randomly decide to dedicate themselves to a game they know nothing about.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Radiac
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Okay, but I think the player

Okay, but I think the player that logs in only once a week for like 2 hours and doesn't spend any money is already not going to have a lot, based on the fact that IGC, items drops, etc are all based, one assumes, on how many mobs you defeat, as you (Sand_Trout) said. I don't think the crafting ideas I've floated makes that problem any worse than it already is. The game is already one where you have to do stuff to get stuff. The less you do, the less you get. The ability to simply wait out a timer on a crafting project isn't necessarily going to change that, because the rate limiting step isn't the crafting, it's the acquiring of IGC and item drops, for them.

I would rather give people who are willing to put in more effort more crafting progress than simply make it a timer that you can ONLY shorten with Stars, for sure. And anyway I think it's a matter of degrees. You could set it up such that it works okay for everyone without totally losing the casual players, I believe.

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alewolf
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There is some real potential

There is some real potential in the over all idea, the method of implementation is always the trick... Something to note in the process and I am not sure it was mentioned. If you build items by component, it actually creates a market for more casual players to sell quickly made items, saves the higher level from using any of his precious crafting time. So basically you would acquire or create two or more components then combine them using a time formula. This if I only logged on twice a week, but used some of that time to make widgets, there might be a market for them and ultimately I might be able to buy the item I want by selling enough widgets. Of course all systems are going to have weaknesses and abuse potential.

alewolf
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There is some real potential

There is some real potential in the over all idea, the method of implementation is always the trick... Something to note in the process and I am not sure it was mentioned. If you build items by component, it actually creates a market for more casual players to sell quickly made items, saves the higher level from using any of his precious crafting time. So basically you would acquire or create two or more components then combine them using a time formula. This if I only logged on twice a week, but used some of that time to make widgets, there might be a market for them and ultimately I might be able to buy the item I want by selling enough widgets. Of course all systems are going to have weaknesses and abuse potential.