Brackish Waters

how my gaming and life coalesce.

Locking professions

A couple days ago I posted my woes with the Everquest 2 crafting professions and how IPadlock accidentally chose the wrong profession when I was going through the quest dialog. Now, I owned up to the fact that it was my error and that SOE did place in front of me three distinct choices for the paths I could follow, and it was clear on which was which. This was my fault entirely and I took my punishment for the inattention I showed the game by redoing the previous 10 levels of crafting and spending atleast 15 gold in payments to the broker. Not a bad penalty.

But is it necessary?

I believe that I would have had a better experience with the specialization quest if I had been routed to a NPC that was in the profession I was interested in playing. In fact, the first thing I did before hailing the NPC outside of the crafting instance was head to the NPC in which I had talked to when I did my class armor quest. I think atleast in regards to the EQ2 system, giving a player a small quest to do for the specialization, might give them enough of a chance to realize their possible mistake but also open up the game to allow soft locks on professions.

Soft locks are what I think of as barriers that are easily overcome through a series of quests or trials. These locks wouldn’t really bar a player from experiencing the content or options available to them, they would just block out the unnecessary information unless the player chose to take the time to open that content.

Why is it that some MMO designs are created to hard lock players into crafting professions. I don’t understand why this is and I have been trying to think of the various benefits and drawbacks to a world if every player has the chance to be everything they want to be. I am just talking about crafting professions here, not adventuring.

As a crafter free to learn every profession:

  • I have the freedom to further define my character’s abilities.
  • I am more self sufficient if I choose to invest the time.
  • I can personally use more of what I find.
  • I am online with one character instead of alt_tailor, alt_chanter, or alt_smith.
  • I become a supplier that can offer my customers a larger selection.

As a crafter limited to a single profession:

  • I cannot corner multiple areas of the market with one character.
  • I am forced to make multiple characters and use the mail system to transfer items between them.
  • customers are forced to learn the name of my alts when they want something specifically made.

From a community standpoint, I would rather have players on more with their one character than multiple alts. It would allow veterans to rise to the top and continue to be known by the population at large throughout their career. Its better for the player and does little to change the economy from what I can see. Why is it then that we are locked in these decisions?1

1 I did a search through Google Reader on this topic and it seems that the function is still not really up to the standard of the regular Google Search. I apologize if this topic has been beaten like Private Pyle at blanket party.

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October 10, 2007 - Posted by | Brainstorms, Crafting, EQ2, Rants | ,

6 Comments »

  1. Killzum is the only toon I have ever crafted on past level 10, and he hopped past 10 way back when the system was different. It is because of the very things you have mentioned (and my lack of patience) that I have never really got into it. I wish I had the perserverance to do it, but it just seems (like you said) they seem to make it intentionally difficult and restrictive.

    Comment by Killzum | October 10, 2007 | Reply

  2. Thanks Killzum for the comment. Although I specifically targeted this rant to EQ2, it definitely doesn’t just apply to Everquest. WoW, LOTRO, Vanguard, many had this restriction and I’m really not sure as to why.

    Is it because developers feel we need the structured advancement in order to stay interested in the game?

    Comment by brackishwater | October 10, 2007 | Reply

  3. I’ve never really understood this either. In EQ1, you could work on all tradeskills, but you could only master 1… that is, proceed past a certain level in 1. Eventually, they opened it up to where you could max all tradeskills out on a single character if you wanted.

    MMO’s like to force interdependency. Being “multiplayer,” I don’t think want players to be self-sufficient in any aspect of the games. While I can understand that reasoning, I certainly don’t agree with it. If I want to just do my own thing in my own way, I think I should be allowed to do it.

    EQ2 has eliminated some of the interdependency though. From what I remember of launch, there were recipes in every tradeskill line that required subcombines from other crafting professions. I have ALWAYS disagreed with that practice and, from what I understand, it has been removed from EQ2.

    The only reason I can think of now for it is to attempt to control the economy. Of course, it doesn’t work. I always have to have multiple alts that can craft what I need/want because I damn sure can’t afford the prices that people charge for stuff.

    Comment by rao | October 10, 2007 | Reply

  4. One of my annoyances with LotRO is that I am locked into not one but three professions.

    The games you listed are class-based games, which lock your character into being a hunter or a druid or whatever. Seems logical they’d treat professions the same way.

    How do skill-based games handle professions?

    Comment by Link | October 10, 2007 | Reply

  5. Hey BD,
    Well in Ryzom, I remember that being open ended in professions but for some reason I think there was a cap on exactly how many you could max. Yeah LOTRO… I forgot you had three you were locked into. Sometimes they were all crafting professions, sometimes mostly harvesting, either way you were usually dependant somewhat on other players.

    @Rao – yeah they did eliminate the interdependency from I can tell. I’m just now on Tier 3 crafting and starting to get into some actual material I can use.

    Comment by brackishwater | October 10, 2007 | Reply

  6. You know I would really really really really love to be able to have all the tradeskill professions on one of my girls. I have filled all of my character slots just making alts for tradeskilling.

    I would love it if my Kilanna could adopt all the tradekill levels of her alts, they are all in at least T4.

    Comment by Kilanna | October 10, 2007 | Reply


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