Now that the player has someplace to live and keep their horses, well, they’re own little farm. They need something to do on their farm. That’s right. Crafting.
In combat MMOs, crafting is now considered one of the basic features of the game. It doesn’t matter that in a combat MMO you’re probably just getting materials to make new armor or put together some potions, crafting is there and part of the experience. In Mystic Riders, crafting is part of what drives the story as the character chases after the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”
As the player unlocks camp locations, they can choose to learn new skills. In the beginning, they can learn 3 different skills, one racing, one ‘craft’ skill and one ‘arts’ skill.
The racing skill they choose is determined by their district and the answers they gave to the quiz. (If they don’t like that type of skill, they can always take the quiz again to get a different district.) And then once they are at camp, they can choose two other skills from the different activities offered.
The Craft skills are hiking, running, swimming, gardening, cooking, photography, archery, and fishing. The Art skills are cloth crafts, leather crafts, wood/paper crafts, ceramics, and lastly, metal crafts. As the player uses their skills, they’ll get better at them. The more they craft, the better they’ll be at it. (Exactly the same mechanic used for riding, jumping, or caring for their horse.)
Some of the craft skills and all of the art skills have trees of knowledge that increase in difficulty. When the player first start sewing for example, they’ll be learning to make curtains and pillowcases, but when they become more advanced, they can make tailored clothes! As the player increases in skill, new quests to learn more advanced techniques will open up for them to play, and new items will be available for them to make.
After the player learns to hike, they can learn orienteering and eventually go onto geocaching and archaeology. Running leads to the skills of yoga, dance, and fencing or martial arts. Once they learn to swim, they can learn to row a boat. After they learn to garden, they can learn how to take care of animals, and mine responsibly. (I’d consider gardening to be the most basic skill to take and strongly urge players to get it started first.) Once they learn to cook, they can learn to bake, make candy, and brew things such as potions, lotions, and perfumes.
After the player learns to sew square things, they can learn to make clothes, and then advanced more tailored clothes and knitting. In leather crafts, first they make belts, handbags, and shoes, and then they can learn to make bridles and saddles. In woodcrafts, they first learn to make paper items, and things such as picture frames. Then they can learn to make furniture and musical instruments. In ceramics, first they learn poured ceramics (like plaster) and slab style ceramics, and then they can learn the pottery wheel, and eventually go onto glass making. In metal crafts, they learn to make jewelry and simple things like nails and decorative objects, then later forging.
Some of this obviously is going to need to be worked out and is subject to change.
The crafting system is meant to tie in with the story, the professions, the My Farm/My Stable, and even the factions in Mystic Riders. During the story, the character will be asked to use certain skills. And how easily they manage them is going to depend on how much time they’ve put into that skill.
If they want to take part in a certain profession in the game and get the special items, they’re going to need skill and reputation with the groups related to that profession. The more work they put into their skills, the bigger and better their farm and stable can become. If they want better horse shoes, it’s going to be much cheaper to learn to forge their own than to buy them. And there are certain items they can only make if they’re with one faction or the other.
The items they make and grow can be food for them or their horses, it can be clothing or gear, or jewelry to help with their magic abilities. They can create items to decorate their My Farm/My Stable inside and out.
As the player runs around the world and does the quests and as they level up in their skill levels, they’ll discover, be given, or can buy different crafting recipes or patterns. These they can keep in their library at their My Farm/My Stable for reference later.
They can grow the items they need at the My Farm/My Stable, forage them from the world around them, or be able to buy items in shops if they’re pressed for time. Just because one player is going to want to make their outfit from growing the cotton to finished product, doesn’t mean another player is going to want to do that, and we can accommodate both.
Because crafting is going to be a large part of the game, we have set some limits on how long things will take to grow in the garden for instance. Nothing should take more than fifteen minutes and when the server resets, everything will be instantly ready. We don’t want to frustrate our players or make them babysit the game waiting for things to finish. Certain areas of the game will have items the player can forage. The items will be refreshed when the player leaves that area and returns. And so it’s not all drag and drop mechanics, we hope to use different mini games to liven up the experience.
For instance, in sewing they could trace the pattern on the screen. For forging, there could be a slide bar mini game where they need to hit the mouse at a certain time. For cooking, they could take the ingredients and make sure each row of ingredients has the right number of them and possibly in the right order.
We want people to have fun and hopefully relax during the game. Farming and crafting and using the items that result to decorate their My Farm/My Stable can be very relaxing activities! Crafting is yet another way we want to give the players more control over their experience to enjoy the game they want to enjoy it without making it a grind or tedious and mind numbing.