I was fortunate to grab a bit of time with ArtCraft Entertainment’s Design Lead, Thomas “Blixtev” Blair, to talk about the Crafting and Harvesting information that has been shared as of late for their upcoming MMORPG, Crowfall.

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Anhrez: So after your dialog with Raph …. Let’s head to the white board. If there are 6 different grades of each resource are you saying that for a simple set of Life Stealing (rose gold) gloves there would be 36 * 36 metal configuration of 2 bars of rose gold (Metal configuration) what are the possible controlled stat outcomes by the crafter? Assuming each of the additional mats have the same possible complexity? 

Blixtev: There definitely is a ton of possible combinations when you factor in the quality levels! However I think it is a bit less than your numbers. We have 6 different quality levels for each resource which follows the industry quality model everyone knows these days; Poor, Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, Legendary. While potentially many inputs the output is still fixed to the standard 6. Rose Gold being a combination of copper, gold, gold, is 6 * 6 * 6 potential inputs. That being said Rose Gold (which is now critical hit amount statistic) will have a unique amount of stats based on the level of success the crafter has at the experimentation phase, which of course is gated by the quality of the Bar. No two bars will be alike! (unless you use a blueprint)

Anhrez: On the concept of incentivizing or de-incentivizing those with little or no skills in harvesting to attempt to gather … What about Econ pvp? Can a node be destroyed by a non-crafter?  If there are no miners in our group and we hold an area that has a level 9 Copper mine does that mean I have no option to slash and burn if it seems we are going to lose the area?

Blixtev: The backbone of the economy is the acquisition of resources from the worlds. I have a feeling most folks will dabble in some form of harvesting in some manner. Even if it is combatant characters accompanying players who are harvesting to offer some form of protection. As to “slash-and-burn” tactics, it is certainly possible to harvest and destroy the output before it is taken, however there isn’t any way for you to prevent those resources from respawning over a period of time… yet!  It wouldn’t be hard to add to our system, and seems like a great idea that could eventually be added to certain disciplines (Crowfall’s equivalent of a sub-class).  The idea of burning down a forest to deprive an enemy of food, or destroy a quarry to make it harder to repair walls is pretty cool.

Anhrez: In the discussion on resource quality the phrase “throw away the white” caught my ear. Inventory is a real thing that we know but are gathered resources bind on harvest in the it unrefined form?

Blixtev: Resources are not bound to the player in anyway. That comment was more in the form of a in world of limited inventory, players are more than likely to want to discard lower quality resources in favor of having room for more higher quality resources. That being said: there are fuel components used in certain recipes where the quality of the fuel doesn’t count against the player. So you might as well use the lower quality resources on fuels when possible.

Anhrez: Can’t I just have some thick bodied Centaur carry my extra resources if I get full? I can use my pack pig but they are part of ‘my inventory’ so I’m curious about after harvested resource status. If Guilds needing crafters are going to be a ‘thing’ having non-crafters carrying resources might be away creative players can get around inventory weights, etc

Blixtev: It is certainly ideal for players to harvest together, multiplying productivity and increasing carrying capacity (your inventory and the storage space on any beast-of-burden you bring with you)! Since we haven’t started fine tuning inventories yet, we aren’t settled on stacking rules, inventory sizes or use of containers.  We may also vary inventory size by strength, which would means that the bigger archetypes will likely be able to carry more (and the smaller ones will be  more reliant on pets and companions).

Anhrez: Tool Decay? The runestone option intrigues me as it adds some options to the gatherer. Will we see some critical success on harvesting … If so could these critical success accelerate the critical chance of a higher decay?

Blixtev: There are all kinds of cool outcomes that can happen as a result of harvesting! Not only is there critical hit chance which gives you more resource, there is critical hit amount which gives even more resource when you do land a critical. There is also a Beneficial harvest effect, which restores stamina and give short duration buffs. We just added the survivalist recipes last weekend, which gives you access to additi

onal food harvesting and campfires, which can be set up when you are out ‘in the wilds’ to give you and your companions better recovery of stamina, health and your food bar.

Anhrez: Group Hangout Activity – can I circle back to fishing for Necromancy, bone and scales for jewelry and of course the food? Just think how much fun the fishing could change as the hunger takes the land.

Blixtev: Fishing can definitely be a fun mini game that produces a variety of useful resources and is a staple in many MMO’s. That being said, we really didn’t think it was a core component we needed in the launch product… so while we will certainly get to it eventually, it probably won’t make the cut before launch.

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Anhrez: Loot piñata – all of the video examples I have seen show a ‘white’ halo. With 10 different grades how will players see the value in the items from the loot piñata. Or are the levels of value on seen in the ‘refining’ stage?

Blixtev: Each level has a unique outline so you can recognize the various resources by quality level when they spawn. They also make different sounds when you pick them up, so you can tell when you got something of higher quality.

Anhrez: From the recent video Series of ‘opportunities’ / run the experiment – Skill and quality or resources can adjust the outcome RNG for crafter creation. Is there anything a guild can accumulate to help their crafters outcome? A specific thrall, a better crafting station, etc? Could this be leveraged at the EK, or in a town for long term use or in campaign for direct impact? 

Blixtev: There are multiple things a guild could do to help their crafters. The most important would be the acquisition of high quality resources. Followed by high quality crafting stations in a safe location, and possession of great crafting thralls. We haven’t started building the crafting stations yet, as it’s part of a much larger… it’s tied into the overall city management system, which includes parcel placement (and ownership), administration rights over the parcel itself, lot assignment to vassals, building placement, and finally placing crafting stations and thralls into those buildings. We have all of that mapped out and designed, but we just haven’t gotten to implementation yet. It’s pretty close to the top of the priority list at this point, though, so hopefully we’ll start talking about it soon.

Anhrez: Blue Print…. Could a crafter add a ‘gate/limiter’ of their choice to their items? Example: Anhrez is the most amazing sword maker in the game. Could he add a limiter to a class, a pantheon, etc to the blue print or one off creation? 

 Blixtev: It sounds like you would like to be able to add equip criteria to a crafted item. Something like only you must be a “Follower of Kane” to be able to equip this sword. Right now we only have plans to gate equipping an item based on archetypes and disciplines. It might be interesting to allow something like this at some point! We already have the ability to add “additives” to any recipe; having specific additives that added pre-requisites to item use would be a pretty easy thing to add.

Anhrez: Blue-Print …. So Anhrez sets up a Thrall factory to create an awesome sword. How do those items make it into his campaign or his guilds campaign? Import rules, etc? Could you give us an example of a useful blue print leveraging in the different campaign styles you have already declared to the community? 

 Blixtev: When you leave a world, you can place items into an “export container” that will move them out of the world to your Account Bank, which exists in the Lobby. When you enter a new World, that world can have an import, which is an “import” container that you can move items into from your Account Bank. Different worlds have different import rules: “how many” and “what kind” of items can be brought into that world. Some worlds don’t allow for any import (at all).   This is important for the more competitive worlds, to make sure that all of the players start on the same footing (we call that ‘terminator rules’, where everyone basically shows up naked.) Other campaign rules, like the 3-faction campaigns, will typically allow you to bring in one or more sets of gear, and a collection of harvesting tools to get you started.  Deciding what to bring into a new Campaign can be a critical decision. As for blueprints, they are just another type of inventory item, so if you have room for them in the import they could be brought in.  Remember, though, blueprints don’t do you any good unless you have the necessary resources (or components) to use them.  Bringing a set of blueprints in, and giving up import slots to do so… seems like that might be a risky bet. Choose wisely.

Anhrez: After seeing the Crafting video (great by the way) it is known that potions to increase skills, etc are in or will be in game. There is not a defined Crafting skill called Alchemy as of yet. Is the creation of a potion tied to the basic skill you want to enhance? (ie I have blacksmithing, one of the blacksmithing skills is to create potion to make me a better blacksmith for a time?)

 Blixtev: Right now we are in a super early “does it work” phase of testing for both the harvesting and crafting system, you should expect a lot of things to change before launch! (In fact, I think it only takes 2 ore to craft any potion at the moment? Kind of an odd recipe for a potion, right? Think of the current recipes and resources as a test-run of the system.) That all being: yes, we plan to include Alchemy as a Discipline in the future. We are still working out the nuances of how Disciplines work, i.e. how do you acquire one, train them, etc. We’ll know more in the next few months as we start to build out that system and get to test our initial assumptions.

Anhrez: In the Crafting video we saw 3 ore convert into one ‘bar’ of copper. The inventory shift is quite drastic in ore versus refined bars. Is that intentional? If so what in game mechanic or in game philosophy does it help? If this is the format does this help or hurt social game play?

Blixtev: As you know the inventory model we have gone with is based on objects having different sizes and shapes like a Tetris board. We have a few standard shapes and sizes. Body armor and weapons for example, are all 1×2 icon sized. Now with crafting components that are bigger as you have noticed they are 2×1. This is really nice for visual distinction when you view your inventory you will observe that equipment is tall, and components are wide. We’ll be adjusting this stuff as we go, too, but the key takeaway is that we want to enforce the idea of making hard choices. You can’t carry everything, all the time, and that means sometimes making tough decisions. We want that philosophy to hold true, in big and small ways, across the whole game.


Crowfall has entered its Open World testing phase, and I have been fortunate to log some hours testing out some crafting and harvesting. Even though the game is early in its alpha stage you can feel both the complexity of its system and the amount of options and choices it is providing it’s crafting players.

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James "Anhrez" Burke-Frazier

Staff Writer at MMO Central
James Burke-Frazier, or Anhrez to his frenemies and enemies alike on Auction Houses across the MMO spectrum, has been actively playing and talking about games for the last 10+ years. Accumulating wealth in games is as much of a passion for him as clearing a raid boss or gaining a fancy title in PvP. In the real world he works in Financial Services software (think Bob from Office Space) and is quite possibly the worst FPS player you’ll ever find.
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