Tonight I popped back into Vanguard to do the crafting intro quests. I’d forgotten how complex the crafting system is. Basically its a turn-based mini-strategy game where you have a finite number of Action Points to create an item. You can spend these points to progress the item towards completion, or to try to improve the quality of the item. Sometimes bad things happen, and then you need to spend Action Points to counter the bad things. That’s a very, very brief overview.
I’ve been doing a lot of crafting in EQ2 recently and the differences & similarities of the two systems are interesting. EQ2’s system is a lot simpler (the current system…at launch it was quite complex) but happens in real time. You fire off skills to improve progress and durability. Durability goes down as progress goes up and the goal is to keep durability high while progress climbs from zero. Sometimes bad things happen, and then you need to cast a skill to counter it.
So in both systems you need to get Progress to 100%. Both systems use raw materials to start the creation process. In Vanguard, you do what you can to improve Quality from Grade D to C to B to A. If you run out of Action Points, you fail to make anything. But there’s no timer… you can stop and ponder your next action for as long as you like. Some actions use various additives which are consumed in the process of crafting, and you can only bring a finite number of these additives into the crafting mini-game.
In EQ2, you strive to keep the Durability meter high. There are 4 ‘tiers’ of Durability and the quality of the finished product depends on what tier the Durability meter is in. At lower Tiers you’ll create nothing but might get some components back. At Tier 3 you’ll get a basic item, and at Tier 4 you’ll get a Pristine item (this varies with what you’re making..sometimes you’ll get a higher quantity rather than better quality). The limiting factor here is your mana, since casting skills use that up. And the clock is always ticking. You aren’t limited in the amount of time you take, but you are limited in the amount of time you have to react to bad things happening.
The EQ2 process quickly becomes fairly routine and doesn’t take much thought. It’s a good unwinding exercise; something you can do while chatting or just kind of zoning out and letting the cares of the day drain away. It’s very rare that you fail to make a Pristine item once you have the system down. And you can churn out item after item pretty quickly.
It’ll be interesting to see how Vanguard compares to this experience. Running through the newbie quests, I was fairly bewildered, and things are very simple at the start. Apparently the number of Actions available rises as you get to higher levels of crafting. At this stage, it’s more fun and interesting than crafting in EQ2, but I’m not sure if that’ll hold up when it comes time to grind for levels. One nice thing is that you can get Work Orders that don’t seem to require raw materials (and don’t produce anything usable) just to skill-up on. Of course, EQ2 has Work Orders as well, but they require raws. On the other hand they generate status for you and your guild, so there’s an added benefit to them.
Anyway, I just find the two systems from two SOE games to be similar in some ways and yet very different. I’m not sure how far I’ll get crafting in Vanguard for now, but I hope some time to be able to return and take it to higher levels.
Honestly, the lure of adventure is pretty strong right now. So many bizarre creatures out there to hunt!
EDIT: Or not… logged back in to Train (because I know me, otherwise I’d forget) and got caught up in a bunch of crafting quests and did almost no more fighting!! Fun crafting quests, too. Helping build defenses for a village under attack by Hobgoblins. 🙂