Vanguard crafting

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!
Vanguard Moon

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. πŸ™‚

6 thoughts on “Vanguard crafting

  1. Work orders do seem like a nice idea. Does it actually have an effect on the city you craft them for? Are you able to sell crafted goods, or is vendoring more likely?

  2. Work items were supposed to make a difference to the major cities, but I can’t remember if they do in practice — what *does* happen with work orders (or did, it’s been a year since I played) is that you get rep with the faction giving the work orders. Since there used to be 3 sets of continental recipes (Thestran, Qualian, Kojani) *and* IIRC faction-based recipes within the three continents, you’d have to do the rounds if you wanted access to all the possible recipes. Learning how to make a Thestran house, for instance (which is what you have to build on Thestra) can’t be learned on any other continent, so you need to build faction with them through work orders.

    All of which may be quite quite different now.

    I don’t want to sound like the parade-pisser, but it’s a *fascinating* system to begin with that gets very, very old in the long run. That said I believe they’ve made some changes (especially to how certain non-trained recipes are obtained, thank god, because that used to be a crappy luck-based lottery) for the better.

    My main beef with Vanguard’s crafting is that it went from a central system to a “not quite as good as most loot” system in the last few weeks of development. I have a few other issues with Silius, who used to be crafting lead and is now lead designer, I think. But that’s all in the past. πŸ˜‰

    The crafting won’t drive you nuts for quite some time, especially if you don’t do it as full-on as I did — I was primarily a crafter. I also got really mad at grinding work orders for recipes that never dropped and that weren’t quite as “optional” as the crafting team claims. (When all the players think Item A is a must-have, it’s not really optional to have that recipe.) Only my bard ever got anywhere near 50 (and that was on the test server with double xp ;)) in adventuring, though I had crafters of every stripe. Some crafts will need you to level or have very helpful friends (or used to require — the housing quests for higher tier housing bits were in *tough* areas).

    So uh, yeah. I knew a bit about VG, as did Genda since he used to run VanguardCrafters (whose forums may still be around?). If you need to know anything, just holler!

  3. @Ysharros “but it’s a *fascinating* system to begin with that gets very, very old in the long run.” I was afraid that might be the case. I remember the original system in EQ2 was pretty great too, until you had to do it thousands of times in the course of your career. πŸ™‚

    @Werit I honestly haven’t made anything “for me” yet (!) so dunno what my options are with finished goods; its all been quest and work-order stuff so far. I’m on the Isle of Dawn right now, which seems to be an extended tutorial area (and where trial accounts play). People are always giving away dropped loot to each other (in itself a pleasant surprise) and the only thing I’ve seen crafted being sold via chat is bags.

    Honestly I haven’t found a bank or any kind of auction house yet. But hopefully Ysh answered some of your questions!

  4. Hopefully someone more worldly will answer, but from what I’ve seen, you can do the Work Orders without ever leaving town. I picked Artificer and I have to harvest stone and wood out “in the wilds”. Early levels are pretty easy to get to, but I’d assume later on you have to head into more dangerous terrain to harvest.

    But in theory it seems like you could ‘level up’ via work orders and then buy the raw materials when you actually wanted to make something to keep? I dunno how realistic that is, though…

  5. There’s harvesting — so skinning, mining, quarrying, tree-cutting… I can’t remember what else or what they may have added since. Now while technically those aren’t level-limited, the *nodes* are in higher and higher areas, as is the case with WoW, EQ2 and so on — heck, even SWG technically, where the nastier planets tended to get slightly better spawns (and still do, e.g. Dathomir). You don’t have to be level X to have a skill of Y, unlike WoW, but you do have to be able to survive in these places to get your good — or have enough money to buy the raws off other players.

    Work orders produce nothing that players can use — it’s a purely player–>NPC system. To make real items you have to use real harvested materials and yes, some of those did used to drop off mobs, and I think the plan was to have some of the really high-end stuff drop off raid mobs.

    Basically Vanguard was going to have a mostly-independent, mostly-player based crafting/economy system, but lost out to the Almighty Loot not long before release. Crafted items were chopped down in power, loot was brought up, and then for a while they even made all the crafted stuff BoE while the looted stuff wasn’t. I can still hear my rants from those days. πŸ˜‰

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