Taking Pride in your Craft
Ignoring the character model there for a minute (they’re getting revamped, eventually) one of the things I absolutely love about Vanguard, is the crafting. Why? Because it’s hard, and not hard to the point of impossible, but hard enough. In WoW everything is an instant combine, you can make batches (so long as you have the materials on you, also just called “mats”) and EQ2 has slowly been moving away from complicated by introducing various new things through the years. How many people remember (and miss) subcombines. Then everyone was given the ability to make everything (when we started, if you were a sage, you had to find an alchemist to make ink, a woodworker to make quills, an alchemist to make the WoRTs (washes oils resins tempers) and so on and so forth). Now it even sets up your entire crafting UI for you, and uses far less power then it ever used to. There’s also no craft below pristine any more, in stead you just get the item back.
Such is not the case with Vanguard crafting. Pictured above is my artificer (level 6 /flex) working away. Literally. It sort of feels like you’re playing the sims when you craft because everyone does little auto-emotes like “Hmmm” Or “ARRRGH!!” and then stomps their foot if a process has gone bad. Quite amusing (though if you’re crafting in long batches it can get tiring). Crafting is basically a management of points – gear – fuels – and tools. Number one, you have an entire tab for it since it’s a sphere. You get crafting clothes (and attributes where you can designate points later). I’m not going to try to explain the entire complex process, but I will try to explain basically what it’s about. It’s all about getting from point D to point A (hopefully) before running out of points. You also get complications showing up along the way – more frequently if 1. Your gear sucks. 2. Your gear needs to be mended (that’s right, you need to repair even crafting gear, not just adventuring gear) and 3. Tools suck 4. Recipes are just too far over your level.
There are 4 processes basically to every item you make. There’s finishing (a complete item that would be ready to wear afterwards) and refining (making those sub components). You use points for everything, and crafting has grades, A of course being the best. Or rather – 100% A. Since you can be into the A zone and not be at the end of it. That’s the green bar along the top left of the crafting UI (says I’m at C grade, I’m doing a work order here and I try to aim for C-D depending on the difficulty). Name of the game is to make the item and not run out of points before the end stage (or else you have to stop the process – and you loose everything.
You load your “table” with items – fuel, raws, and then items to counter complications. Most of the time you have to guess, and you only have a limited amount of table space. So you could have fuel, raws, and then bandages and water. Then a complication comes up that uses something you don’t have on your table, and you’re screwed, you have to craft through it. Which can of course damage the piece you’re working on. In the screen shot, Faralithe is using bandages and stretching to stave off a complication (which is the weird icon on the far right of the crafting UI).
Anyhow. The point was – I love crafting in Vanguard. It’s complex. There are guides for it – there’s crafting quests. There are crafting styles. If I want to go craft in Thestra, I’d have to earn faction with their tradeskillers, and then learn their style of recipes. This is really pronounced in ships as well. If you buy a Kojan sloop it has a different graphic then the Thestra one. Gear has different effects based on where it was crafted. It’s the first time since EQ1 where I’ve actually felt some pride in my work. In EQ1 you had hefty chances to fail at combines completely and loose your materials (though they did start ‘changing’ that with a large amount of aa you could put into your crafts to prevent failing and losing materials). What Vanguard realized early on is that there’s a niche of players out there who LOVE crafting. They take hefty pride in their work, and complicated (now granted, not TOO complicated) is a good thing. It’s a timely sphere to level up but well worth it. It’s also one of the best examples at relationships between crafters and adventurers. There is a huge market of people who don’t want to put in the time it takes to level a craft – which is great, they’ll harvest, and sell to crafters. Who in turn, sell back to adventurers. A nice little path. Now, there is some complaints of course, of people who feel crafters charge too much, that crafters are making far too much coin – but you can still make a good amount from selling your resources alone, especially rare ones.
On a non-crafting related note, I joined “Safe Haven” last night, which is one of those guilds who span across multiple games (they’re also located on Antonia Bayle in EQ2). I applied a few days ago, just looking for a simple home with some quiet chatter from time to time. They’re nice and friendly and plan out guild events, about 11 of us on constantly last night. Most of the people I’ve seen so far range from level 30-40 or so, even though I’m quite a bit smaller it was nice to feel welcome.