Hey Guys -- Since crafting is back on the docket for one of the future seasons, I thought I'd resurect my old thread from back in the day talking about some possible ways to revamp the crafting system.
As mentioned in my previous Item Classification thread here, I present to you the PanicSwitch Crafting System Idea Thread.
This comes about as an amalgamation of crafting mechanics I've seen in various games...with some methods which could be of value to the STO universe. Please read my thread above so you can get an idea of how I hoped to incorporate a special classification of items just for crafting (Experimental Design). These items would not be available through any other means other than crafting or purchasing a crafted item via the exchange (or trading).
TL;DR Point 1) I wrote a thread earlier on Item classification. This is part 2, explaining one of the specific classes I had in mind.
The best analogy to the crafting system I have in mind would be the Horadric Cube from Diablo II. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Horadric Cube, it was an Item you would acquire in Diablo II which would then be used to craft items. You would open the cube, and place Looted Items such as a Sword, and then various other ingredients like potions, runes and gems (and possibly other items) based on a specific recipe. You would then hit a button and a new item would be generated with special properties and usually better than the items that were put in. I'm using this as a baseline for my crafting proposal since it kept a few constants and was intuitive while providing a surprising amount of depth.
A device of this nature already exists in Star Trek Lore....The replicator! Using some kind of work station you could use it to scan the provided devices, then break it down for materials (because they break things down into rations), and then use it to replicate your new components!
TL;DR Point 2) Given a certain set of items (as per a recipe), you will receive an item with a guaranteed set of properties.
In STO, we already have a sizable list of item types. The depth of these types are not necessarily that deep, but that will change in time. For crafting purposes, we can use the currently in place "Data Samples" as they provide a useful but generic set of things you would find in the galaxy, and can easily search and gather given time and patience. Other ingredients would naturally be the equipment being used to create new items or upgrade existing ones.
TL;DR Point 3) The core crafting materials are already in game...we're pretty much set here.
The Recipes -- General
In order for this system to work well, a large number of recipes would have to be generated. Some basic formulas could be used to determine which type of item you'd create, and then additional "specialty" recipes could be created as needed. Now one of the big things I would like to emphasize here, I would prefer that the recipes not be an item or something that you could just pick up to use. One of the awesome things about the Horadric Cube was that if you knew the recipe yourself you could use it in the cube as long as you had the ingredients.
So for fun, Cryptic could publish a few of the recipes while theoretically having hundreds of recipes that were NOT published to the community. Players could then explore and find these recipes and either horde these secrets for themselves OR publish them for the world to see. This adds an "unseen" level of depth to the crafting system. Personally, I feel this adds a lot of mystery and fun to the search for new items.
TL; DR Point 4) Recipes should not be some item you pick up. They should be left to the community to discover, with a few teasers posted by Cryptic.
The Recipes -- Sample Formula
We can go over some sample formulas here to get an idea of how we can generate more in the future.
Weapons -- Say for hypothetical purposes there was a Phaser with a special bonus that would provide a small shield bleedthrough damage bonus. We can generate this item from a Recipe that Includes a Phaser Array, a Phaser Cannon, a few Frequency Modulation samples, and a Science Deflector console of some sort. This would generate a Phaser Array with a specialized frequency that would perform 3% of its damage directly to the Hull of the enemy ship.
TL;DR Point 5) The general formula for this would be -- 1 Base item + 1 Modifying Item + # Data Sample(s) + 1 Console
Using the above, you could generate quite a few weapon modifications. Hell, mix up the formula for a higher level item and possibly throw in 2 consoles, maybe a Deflector dish itself, etc.
This is part of the system where you get the MMO feel to it. There would be a variety of skills and disciplines here. In Star Trek there are all manners of scientific disciplines ranging from Weapons Specialists to Warp Field Theorists. These can very much be incorporated and provide even more depth to player builds. Adding some unique skills while adding crafting bonuses to already existing skills would provide a solid foundation for "crafters". Crafting skills would be used to determine bonuses to crafting and possibly help unlock tiers (though I would prefer the tiers to be left open ended).
TL; DR Point 6) Add some new skills, put some crafting bonuses on old skills...make your items bonuses better in general.
This is something I'd consider a somewhat unique attribute of my proposed system. The Crafting Skills mentioned above would be obtained through your character skills page. You would invest points in doing so. The Crafting Ratings would be somewhat more abstract. You would build these up over a longer period of time. The more crafting you do the better these ratings get (possibly with no upper bounds).
You couldn't just grind lower level recipes to build this up very high...each recipe would give you diminishing returns...after building it a few times, it would no longer boost your rating. You would have to move on to other recipes and experiment in order to keep your rating on the rise.
These ratings would be used for a variety of things. Primarily these ratings would be used to determine the modifiers of the items being built. Say a person with a Beam Weapons Crafting Rating of 100 builds our Hypothetical Phaser above, He would be able to create it with a Bleedthrough bonus of 0.5% to 1.5%. Another crafter of much more experience of skill (say CR of 250), would be able to craft the same item with a bonus of 1.5% to 2.0%.
Additionally CR's can be used to determine failure chances. A failed attempt has a percentage chance that ingredients used could be destroyed (calculated per item in the recipe). Failures add to your crafting rating, while successes add more.
By keeping the upper limits unbound (hard cap the bonuses themselves but allow higher craftings to allow the player to imbue additional benefits onto the item), this allows players to gain reputation through out the game. If there is a player who has worked hard and specialized in building shields. You can seek him out to arrange a deal so that he can craft a shield for you (with nice bonuses).
TL;DR Point 7) Give players uniqueness and flexibility in item generation using the Crafting Ratings
The Created Items
The whole goal of the system is to create desirable and coveted items within the game. Using the Recipes and the discovery process, players should be able to create these items, or gather the ingredients and have someone make it for them...or buy it from the exchange from an entrepreneurial player. Using an open-ended Crafting Rating System with Skills, you could create a very deep base of items beyond that which could necessarily be created by the developers on their own.
To go further into what could be done, I have come up with 2 special types of crafted Experimental Design items which were received well within the IRC channel.
1) The Double Edged item -- These items would give you a higher than usual bonus, say an extra 10% damage, or 15% more capacity on a shield. This comes at a price...it may draw extra energy, or cause feedback damage to your own ship... A shield may regenerate slower, or have a higher bleedthrough.
2) The Named Item -- These would be reserved for the best of the best in the crafting community. These are the users who have built a wide variety of items and have honed their item crafting to the level of fine art. At a high cost (of both merits, ingredients,etc), the crafter could stamp their name on the item with an additional "Signature bonus" which they can take as accolade. These items would be hard to make, expensive, and very unique. I.E Phaser Beam Array Mk X (Feedback) with an Item Type of "Signature Edition -- Keyrin Hawke"
TL;DR; Point 8) We all want PHAT LEWT!
What Happens to Memory Alpha
Ideally we'd replace the "vendors" at Memory Alpha with a variety of Worktables / Labs of various Tiers and Types. Additionally, as a future ship area, it could be possible to have special labs added, either as a personal ship space or as a fleet asset!
More coming as I think of it. Stay Tuned. Tell me what you think so far!