Today I’m going to continue with my series on how to rework the Profession system. Last Monday we talked about cutting down on professions to make things easier. But this was only the first step towards a new profession system. Today we dig a little bit deeper.
(This is from SAO Abridged. Good Series. A must watch!)
Leadership gets closer tied to the world!
In case you were wondering: We are going with mini-games for our new set of professions. But let’s first look at Leadership, because it will actually be the only exception. It will come with some changes and improvements however. In my proposal Leadership would be tied to existing areas in the game. Certain area tasks unlock for Leadership at the same time the area unlocks for your character. For Icewind Dale for example, the profession could offer “Retrieve Black Ice” that nets some Leadership XP and Black Ice. If you then participate in activity (questing, heroics) in that area, both you and Leadership will benefit. Your character gets an XP bonus and for every successful activity the corresponding running tasks get a small speed bonus.
Guild members can also choose to support their guild instead of the profession. In that case you won’t earn speed bonuses towards your Leadership tasks, but create resources for the guild. More areas and tasks unlock as your guild levels up. It is basically a small catch up mechanic for smaller/lower ranked guilds, but doesn’t leave out bigger guilds as well.
The overall task structure remains similar to what we have today. Your craftsmen are sent away for several hours and you gain XP for Leadership by successfully completing these tasks. New ones are added on each level.
Let’s play some mini-games!
All other professions as said will have some variant of a mini-game attached to it.
The core element of Alchemists is experimentation and a certain randomness that comes with it. So the mini-game should properly reflect that. Whenever you put an ingredient/resource into your Alchemy pot, it shows a stability meter which serves as a rough indicator whether or not a potion will come out of it. Then you can add various other ingredients to it. The description of the ingredients should be a bit vague so the players must figure out what it does by themselves. Some help to stabilize the potion while others destabilize it but increase the potential power. In this system your profession rank would add more base stability. As soon as you discover a new potion by mixing and matching ingredients, it will be added to your profession tasks and you gain experience points that rank up Alchemy.
I personally would also like to add some cool effects. An utter failure of an experiment should actually result in a big explosion and send the character flying or something.
Enchanter infuse existing items with magical energy to enhance them. One of their main ingredients are resources with magical (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Demonic and Holy) power. The items which are enhanced come with various slots depending on their quality. In all of these slots one resource can be added. To succeed in the enchanting, the player has to solve a puzzle grid within a certain time limit that connects the resources with each other. There are some rules however. You can’t cross lines on the grid and you aren’t allowed to connect two magical sources with their opposite element or they will destroy each other.
Otherwise the Enchanter progresses similar to the Alchemist. The effects are based on what kind of element you slot and how you connect them. But it should be way easier to figure out because each element or a certain combination of elements grant specific stat increases. Fire for example always increases power etc.
For the Garment Maker I currently miss a mini-game idea. I looked on the internet but a lot of games connected to tailoring and clothing are Tetris variants. We could actually go with something like this, because in the end it’s about mixing different fabrics in a meaningful manner. While certain companies make big money off adults connect different kinds of sweets (yes I am looking at you Candy Crush!), I personally think the idea lacks some character. So I’d be interested to hear some ideas from you guys in the comments.
To come up with a mini-game for the Blacksmith was way easier. We can basically make something similar to fishing. Left and right clicks let you control the heat. If the metal is too hot it will melt, if it is too cold it will break. The encounter powers represent different kinds of hits on the metal. They show up just like in the fishing mini-game, but you only press them once. For correct pressing you gain action points and each hit reduces some stamina. This would make it a battle between the action point and stamina bar. You either hit 100% AP first, and succeed, or run out of gas. Plus at all time you need to stay on top of the correct heat.
Why mini-games at all?
You might ask yourself why I want to rework profession in this way. In my opinion they should be way more interactive and present more fun than starting tasks once every 14 hours. Other games do focus more on gathering the required materials, but then a simple click gets the task done. That’s also too easy and boring. I think mini-games could present a fun mechanic, in which interested players get the items quicker and rank up faster. This also means professions could become useful while leveling and are instantly available to help with progression on the max level.
The current routine of waiting a full three or four months for Leadership is less enticing. I generally don’t like doing most of the ranking up once your character is at 70 anyway. Also four profession mini-games seems to be a doable task for Cryptic if they are really interested in making professions unique.
You might have noticed that some professions like Black Ice Shaping and the event ones are still left out. This is actually the topic of the last part of my design proposal, which will be all about “Workshops”. In the meantime make sure to post your feedback in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board.
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