Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Live Update 24 - Tradeskills

Live Update #24 is the most significant LU we've seen in a long time. In this post, I'll look at the changes to tradeskilling:

  • All of the tradeskill recipes in the game are moving to a "no sub-combine" system. In order to improve the availability and reduce the tedium of the tradeskill system, we are removing refine and interim recipes from the game. Instead you will be able to craft final combines with just raw components. It will now take less time to craft a cup of coffee in game than in your kitchen!

    We knew this was coming because the the changes to T7 and T1-2. I've spent a little time crafting in World of Warcraft, where the combines go faster, never fail, and don't require intervention. I kind of miss all that component making, but on the other hand, I haven't done much tradeskilling for months. The payback seemed so small.

    The in-game economy depends on tradeskillers, they are needed for the game to work right, so they are making it more rewarding.

    What I appreciate most about this change is that making something of a lower tier for a guildie now becomes much faster and easier. Instead of messing about making wort, and doing refines on gray recipes, they give you the items, you do one combine. Done!

  • Tradeskill-related harvestables now have a chance to give multiple items in a single harvest. As your skill increases over the maximum skill for that 10 level range, you increase your chances at getting rares and multiple item harvests.

    The new tradeskill regime uses resources a lot faster. So they need to be more plentiful. Furthermore, on my server the middle tiers experienced real shortages and high prices for raw materials, which is a barrier to leveling up a tradeskiller. This should address that.

    UPDATE: I'm level 67 now, with my harvest skills mostly maxed out. In about an hour's worth of harvesting yesterday in Sinking Sands, I got one rare, that came along with 10 normal drops. In that one harvest. Frequently I would get 3 drops from one harvest and sometimes 5. Nodes are scarcer, though. Some of that may be due to the harvesting frenzy that is currently underway.

  • New harvesting tools are available that reduce the time it takes to harvest. Speak with your local woodworker to acquire these items.

    This is a great idea. The game had tools which affected your success percentage. But nobody used them much, they took up slots. I saw a tool in-game yesterday that reduced harvesting time by 2 seconds. TWO SECONDS!!!!! That's maybe half the time. Wow! Of course, this will mean that if you don't have one, a poacher could move in on your node after you start harvesting and steal the harvest from you, so watch out.

  • Crafted items will now be referred to either as Handcrafted or Mastercrafted, the latter of which denotes rarer items.

    This is important, as they are moving away from the idea of making the player crafted items the best available. They are also changing a lot of the crafted items. Existing items, ones that have already been crafted, are not being changed, but the new items will not be as good, though they may have more specific uses. I haven't got a good fix on just what they've done with armor yet, though the player reaction seems to be that the old style cobalt armor is even more valuable now.

  • Newly crafted items will often have different stats or effects. Note that existing crafted items will not change, just items crafted using the new recipes.

  • Crafted potions and poisons will be now will follow a uniform pattern in naming and effects, which should make their functionality easier to identify quickly.

    Alchemists need some help since WORT disappeared. Poison is a decent seller for them. This will make it easier for folks to figure out which poison they want, from the name.

  • Level 50-60 rare carpentry recipes have been added to the game. You might be seeing some of your favorite requested furniture pieces that are no longer sold on merchants.

    These never got done for Desert of Flames. And then Kingdom of Sky was rushed to market to launch the PvP stuff, so they never had time to go back and pick this up. Finally, though, its fixed. I'll bet the dev team feels relieved, and I'm interested to see what new items I can put in my house.

  • Due to rising economic pressure from the larger crafting guilds such as the Ironforge Exchange and the Coalition of Tradesfolke, the smaller societies within the districts and villages have consolidated their operations in order to continue to compete.
    • Players can now enter any of the tradeskill instances at any time.

    • All your tradeskill society status you have ever earned (not just in your current society) has been converted into personal status points (this will not add status to your guild).

    The society status stuff never really caught on. Nobody really understood what it was for, or what you could get from it. These places used to be crowded, and now they are not, as most people don't like tradeskilling and have given up on it. So they've been cosolidated. There are new quests available, too.

  • With the new changes to recipes no longer requiring subcombines, the cities of Freeport and Qeynos have been forced to do inventory and sell or reforge many of their overstocked supplies. Until this is finished, they will not be giving out any new work orders for crafted items. Both Lucan and Antonia apologize for the inconvenience this may cause some business owners and thank you for your patience until this matter is resolved.

    No writs, either. They would be entirely too fast and easy.

  • The tradeskill trainers have been moved outside each of the tradeskill instances. These trainers will give new crafters their initial training and first set of recipes if they did not learn their skills on the Outpost of the Overlord or the Queen's Colony before sailing to the city.

    This has definitely been confusing since the new starting experience was put in place.

  • Harvested items that are no longer used in recipes can be used in place of raw components.

    Hmm, which harvested items are no longer used? I can see interim items no longer used, but harvested items? Sounds like some of the recipe lists have been seriously changed, not just edited for effect and to remove intermin and refine recipes.

  • UPDATE: There are no more fungus nodes. Alchemy recipes now use other items. These nodes will no longer clutter our paths. And alchemists should have an easier time buying what they need on the markets.

  • All interim and refined components can now be used in place of raw items.

    This is how it worked for tiers 1 and 2, though it required experimentation, to see just what could be used. Ink is obvious as the replacement for primary component of a spell upgrade. Other things are less obvious.

  • Merchants outside each tradeskill instance will sell recipe books for all artisan classes. The recipes that appear will depend on your selected tradeskill and level.

    The second sentence there is well worth noting. It tripped me up last night; I examined a recipe book that appeared to have no recipes. But this means that it merely had no recipes that I could learn, since it was, I think, an alchemy book. I'm not sure I like this, actually. Knowing the recipes in the book would help you establish a selling price.

  • You will no longer fail to find something when you harvest in an area that is trivial to you.

    I can't tell you how many times I've seent he message, "Harvesting in this area is trivial to you, you can not gain any skill points by doing so," followed by, "You have failed to harvest anything of value." Irritating, that.

This was a major overhaul and rethink of tradeskilling and items. Presumably, making the next expansion not raise the level cap has freed up some game design resources to do fixes like this, so that's good. The art people, and the encounter designers are probably turning to the expansion now, after pushing the adventure pack out the door. But there's still 4 months till the expansion. What else are they working on?