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Massively goes to WAR: Insights into Warhammer's crafting system Pt. 2

Michael Zenke

So not only do the gathering skills work with the crafting skills, but they also overlap with each other?

Yeah - there's a little bit of overlap all over the place. Like earlier on, when I was saying Scavenging mostly helps you out with Talisman-making; there are edge conditions and all sorts of weirdness that we put in. Hopefully players will find it interesting, particularly like killing someone and finding they had a leech on them. Then you loot the leech and you say "Oh, this can be used to make healing potions, because it's a leech!" Stuff like that. So apothecary is a potion-making system. As a skill level one player I learn this skill from a trainer, and then I go to this guy here and he can give me some stuff. First thing I need to do is put it in a container, and then put in my main ingredient, and then there's a little thing that tells me whether the mixture is stable or not.

So it's completely stable with these new additives. I press 'Brew', and we get a potion out at the end. It's real quick to make something as an Apothecary. Now the really cool thing about the system is we have a main ingredient which goes in that slot, which basically can determine what kind of potion we're making. In this case, you can check on the tooltip and know that this guy always makes intelligence potions. However the problem with the main ingredients is that they're very, very unstable. So as soon as you put them into a container, you are going to have a battle to make sure the overall stability of the concoction is positive. So, to do that, I've just used the three basic ingredients that I know have good stability. Other ingredients can also do other things, like the two basic other types which I'm going to show you today can increase the length of an effect on a potion, and increase the number made. It's a little bit difficult to be designing potions early on. Once you get into the swing of it, and you are starting to find more gatherables and you also have more money, you can buy stuff and you can can trade from players. It enables you to start designing the sort of potions that you want. Mark used a really good example in his podcast where he said "I'm going to make some potions for my guildmates ...

What are we doing tonight?" "Well, we're just going to run a bunch of scenarios. We're going to be doing RvR." In RvR, you don't survive very long, it's just a fact of life. You die every five minutes. It's fun, but you die every five minutes! So, it would be pointless for me to use my ingredients that lengthen the effect. Every time I revive, I take another potion. So, instead I'm going to concentrate on adding extra potency in, or maybe, concentrate on adding ingredients that will make more potions. Conversely if I'm going to solo, if I'm going to try and get a couple of levels tonight, do a couple of quests, maybe join some other people in PQ. I'm not really expecting to die all that often - it's PvE! So, I might concentrate on my ingredients that super-lengthen the length of the effect. Instead of making intelligence by ten, for ten minutes, I might make intelligence for ten, for two hours. In which case, I only need to drink one, and I can save all my ingredients for when we go RvRing and make the short powerful ones.

Is there a similar mechanic on the Talisman-making side? You mentioned breaking down materials based on their item bonuses, but is there any sort of balancing that goes on there?

It's similar, but it's... it's the same system, but there are some differences. For example, for apothecary - apothecary is all about managing your stability, making sure your overall stuff is stable, and we give the players a little bar on the side. For Talisman-making, it's all about making this minor object of power as potent and powerful as they can possibly make it. So there's no real stability involved in that, it's just brute force power. Conceptually it's very similar, you're sticking four things into a container, pressing a button and hopefully awesome pops out the end. The types of things you need to make a talisman is a fragment, which is the thing you get from Magical Salvaging. Presumably as a player you've already made the choice about which bonus you're trying to make. Then you need some gold essence, gold in Warhammer is traditionally the color of hedge-wizardry, talisman, magic, that kind of stuff.

We're going to require you need some gold essence. Gold essence is the thing that is created by apothecary people. We'll allow you to have some really crappy gold essence probably from the store or from some early on PQs. That said, to get the superpowerful talismans, you're going to want to have a friend that's into apothecary. Talismans thematically are kinda like good luck charms. It's funny ... in the Warhammer world, they're not necessarily inherently magical themselves. They're magical because you believe they're magical - which is kind of a weird concept to get your head around initially. The Empire soldiers will nail two brass pennies to the front of their shield as a good luck charm. Are the pennies actually magical? No, they're not, but because they think they are, they become magical. It's like a lot of trust and belief and all kinds of nonsense.

So talismans work a bit like - thematically they're a bit like that. If you believe all this stuff's going to be magical, you can make something cool. So the third things you need, we call them curios, they're things you get from Scavenging. Like you Scavenge some player races, they might have in their pocket a lucky charm - a rabbit's foot pendant or a four-leaf clover. The third ingredient for making a talisman is something that someone considered to inherently have some power to it. Then the fourth thing is another magical type of essence that predominantly occurs as a byproduct of Salvaging. Take all this stuff, squish it together, and if you have the best versions of each one of those four things, you get a really good talisman at the end of it. If not, you get a crappy one.

What kind of support does the Auction House offer for people who want to offer their goods and services from these kind of products? Is there an easy way to run down a potion based on the length of time?

Yes. Our Auction House functions like you think it would. However, we have extra levels of filtering available that you can use to search for. There's not just a pulldown that says "Potions" and it will show you all the potions in the Auction House. You can actually get down to the level of clarity that you would need, given that the crafting systems themselves can create stuff of that level of granularity.

This is obviously a question looking out a bit ... do you guys see adding in more crafting elements as the years go by?

I think we would be foolish not to!

It seems like you're aiming to launch with a very tight, very core element...

We wanted to concentrate on - I don't want to use the word 'consumable', it's not an all-encompassing term - wanted to focus on the things that are the most going to help players out in RvR. Viscerally. Like - drink a potion, and suddenly you become stronger on the battlefield. That's the kind of effect you want to have. One thing about talismans is I'm not sure if it's been mentioned - is while some of them last forever, some of them don't - and that enables us to put better abilities in them because we know they're not going to last. They're not going to stick around for that long. So, with that respect, they're also consumables. We want to give players as much ammunition for augmenting and specializing their characters for RvR.

The choice to not include a weaponsmith or armorsmith is interesting. Was that based on just how the designers wanted to itemize the game, or was it so you didn't have people doing really passive activities in the game?

I think every game I've ever played, I've always been a little bit upset with how blacksmithing / weaponsmithing works, in that they never give me the end results that I really want. A lot of games there'll be the discussion whether crafted stuff should be better than the stuff I get elsewhere. Not necessarily even high-end content, but just my normal, going about my business doing quests kind of thing. I don't remember ever playing a game where I thought that mix was "right". Personally, I'd love to put in a system where you could do crafting and that was the pinnacle of stuff in the game - but there are other aspects to take into account. I'm not sure the main reason why we didn't do it. From my point of view, being in charge of the team that had to do it, we know we have this awesome exploratory system of apothecary and Talisman-making. We have the associated gathering skills, and we just want to knock those out the park first. We'll give you the tools that impact your initial RvR experience the most, early on in your lifetime in the game. After that, we'll see what happens. We're probably going to be around for ten years, it's going to be five or six expansions ... we've got to hold something back!

Thank you very much for your time, sir.

You're very welcome!

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