A detailed critique of the crafting system:

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by DragonRider, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. DragonRider

    DragonRider Member

    After having had some time to experiment with different character builds, I can say that most of the skills in Dungeons of Dredmor do a really good job of providing the player with something interesting and useful. However, the crafting system in general is kind of a mess at the moment.

    The basic problem stems from the fact that there are just too many different crafting components, many of which are so incredibly situational that only a single recipe even uses them. Not only is this a nightmare in terms of inventory management, but it means that the odds of finding the ingredient you actually need instead of one of the dozens which are completely useless to you are very low. Compounding the issue further is the fact that there's no way to mine or otherwise acquire your own resources; you have to rely on them being randomly generated on the dungeon floor just like anything else. And to top it all off bookshelves have a bad habit of giving you a recipe that you can't possibly use two out of every three times.

    Alchemy is probably the worst. First of all, you need an acid to serve as the base of a potion. Unfortunately your odds of finding alchemical acid instead of some metal or whatever other worthless crafting component isn't that great. And even if you DO get some, since there are four different kinds of acid, only a quarter of them will be worthwhile for whatever potion you're trying to make. And all the acid in the world won't do you any good if you don't have the right secondary ingredients. What's that? The dungeon decided not to randomly generate rust specifically out of the hundreds of other equally likely possibilities? Oh well, no health potions for you, ever! The more complicated the recipe, the worse it is. There's always something to bottleneck production. Maybe instead of spending the entire game praying for rust or aluminum dust or salt or whatever to drop so I can brew a potion, I drop Alchemy, take a way better skill, and spend that effort praying for a health potion to drop fully-formed instead! It's no less likely! I don't think I've ever managed to successfully brew more than two potions total in the entire lifetime of an alchemist. To add insult to injury, anyone who takes Fungal Arts can get healing, mana-restoring, and invisibility items by the bucketload very reliably and without all that much effort.

    Smithing I can't vouch too much for, since I've never really used it. It just requires too many skill points for my taste. In terms of resources, I guess it's a little better than alchemy in that the recipes are at least straightforward: item + 2 metal = better item. Of course you have to pray that you find the right kind of metal as opposed to all the stuff too strong or too weak to be useful, plus all the effort is wasted if you happen to find a nice artifact for the same slot. Personally I'd rather keep it simple and just take Archaeology instead if I want to spend a skill slot to make the most of my equipment. I've heard a few people in the forums swear by it though, so maybe it's not as bad as it seems.

    Tinkering is about halfway towards being a really fun skill. Okay, so you can pick up traps on the dungeon floor and place them later to kill your enemies. Pretty cool! The problem comes into play when you want to craft traps stronger than the ones you can find. Oh man. So here I am, an up-and-coming tinkerer weary of boulder and blade traps, and I decide I want to make a Toxic Gas Sprayer Mine to up the ante. First I need a piece of brass to make a mechanism. Then I need ANOTHER piece of brass to make a second mechanism plus a piece of copper (assuming I didn't already smelt away all my copper just to make the damn brass to begin with) to make a pressure plate. (The other 80% of metals you find, like tin and gold and platinum and whatnot? Completely worthless. Copper, zinc, and brass only!) Now I need both a Verdant Poison and an Empty Flask. The odds of EITHER of these things dropping isn't particularly good, and the odds of getting BOTH is even worse! By the time I had accumulated enough components to complete the recipe ONE TIME for ONE single-use item, I was on dungeon level 3 and could just pick Toxic Gas Sprayer Mines up off the ground. Ugh. You can also make bombs, which is all well and good except your odds of finding more than two units of black powder over the entire lifetime of your character are pretty much nil, so so much for that.

    Here's an idea. How about you drop the idea of metal as a resource for Tinkerers entirely? Pick up traps off the dungeon floor. Deconstruct traps in your tinkerer's kit to generate Perfectly Generic Trap Components which stack from all sources. Maybe have disarming traps you can't pick up generate them too. Combine a couple of trap components to build basic traps. Combine a completed trap and more trap components for better traps. Shoddy Dwarven IEDs become the basic component for thrown explosives. Just think of how much simpler and more fun the skill would be if it worked like this!

    I think that's the direction that crafting in general needs to move in for it to become fun and valuable compared to the other skills. Fewer, more generalized resource types, and a controlled means for the player to generate modest amounts of these resources rather than just forcing them to wait until they just so happen to come across some specific component on the floor. Maybe there could be special veins you could mine for lots of metal or alchemical minerals. Maybe smiths could take crappy equipment and melt it down into scrap metal, or alchemists could filter handfuls of magical essences from mushrooms and fountains to use in potions. There are probably a bunch of different directions you could go with it. But something needs to change if crafting is ever going to work well.
  2. Embolus

    Embolus Member

    I don't know about Tinkering or Smithing, but Alchemy for me has been useful since the get-go. The stock solutions of Alchemy don't need to be found, they can be made; and the main one (Aqua Vitae) is easily distilled from any alcoholic beverage (which in turn could be distilled from fruits, etc). The secondary ingredients aren't common, but they aren't exactly rare either: in any case, at level 2 Alchemy one Aluminium ingot translates to four Mana potions, which is not bad at all. As for buffing potions, you usually don't need that many anyway: just one or two handy for sticky situations.
  3. Snicker

    Snicker Member

    The hardest thing to make in this game is steel. Chalk is nigh impossible to find. Other than that, most crafting feels very secondary, and not really viable for serious runs.
  4. trucane

    trucane Member

    Have to agree. I really like crafting skills but they are just no worth it most of the time. The recipes are too few and as you said finding the correct ingredients is usually very painful. Plus the limited space makes it almost impossible to have the correct ingredients at hand because you will run out of space very quickly.

    Now I'm not gonna say I have the perfect solution to this but personally I think that some or all of the following should be implented.

    1. New type of vending machines selling different ingredients
    2. A special extra bag being able to hold just crafting ingredients (10-16 slots should do)
    3. More recipes scattered throughout the dungeon
    4. A random recipe granted on each skill increase in crafting skills
  5. Bakyra

    Bakyra Member

    They need two main things for each crafting profession:
    - Disenchant proffession related items (Break down an iron sword to get iron bar/ore)
    - Mine / Harvest / Salvage points where you can get ores/ingredients/parts for each profession.
    Also it would help if the bookcases gave you recipes that you have a skill for. My last warrior run (damn you hp bug!) had one recipe for blacksmith and 7 for alchemy, 5 for tinkerer. So unfair...
  6. Tacroy

    Tacroy Member

    You don't actually need a recipe to craft a thing, fyi; as long as you-the-player know the recipe, you can do it. This makes the Disposable Ingot Press invaluable for anyone, because you can make deep omelettes in it (60 hp over time) pretty easily.

    I totally want a crafting specific bag, though, but it needs to be limited - I'd say even six or eight slots would be enough, as long as it was inventory-transparent (that is, things stack directly from your inventory into the bag, without you having to put them in there manually)
  7. Zzinged

    Zzinged Member

    Regarding tinkering and crossbows... I went 2 levels without finding any metal I could use to make bolts. Made me sad.
  8. Kyrate

    Kyrate Member

    To me, crafting would be fine with a bit of expanded inventory or bank system, plus a crafting store for the more common ingredients needed like brass or copper and/or recipes.

    To help you with alchemy though, It takes Rust/Aqua Vitae to make a health pot and Aluminum Powder/Aqua Vitae to make a mana pot.You can make rust and aluminum powder by using an iron/aluminum ingot with an ingot grinder. The other ingredient, Aqua Vitae can be distilled from several types of alcoholic drink so those two extremely useful pots are easy to make and almost worth taking alchemy just to make them.

    The other potions do rely on some stuff you can't make but alchemy would be a bit too powerful if you never had to rely on rare drops to make some of those potions.
  9. Incendax

    Incendax Member

    I will swear by Archaeology. It's probably the second most powerful skill in the game (after Fungal Arts).

    Also, your suggestion for Tinkering is brilliant and I endorse it completely.
  10. Bakyra

    Bakyra Member

    Tacroy but some recipes have repeated ingredients, and the only way to properly craft your desired item is to double click from book.
  11. trucane

    trucane Member

    Also I personally consider crafting things I don't have the recipe cheating as it makes no sense that my character would know the recipe that one of my older characters found out
  12. DragonRider

    DragonRider Member

    I forgot that you could grind iron down into rust. That makes alchemy somewhat less bad, I guess. Making anything more complex than a basic health or mana potion is still prohibitively difficult, though, so there's still a ton of room for improvement.
  13. Hmm-Hmm.

    Hmm-Hmm. Member

    Kyrate: Sure.. but then you still need to find an ingot grinder.
  14. picklecannon

    picklecannon Member

    When I was an alchemist with 2 alchemy I was getting 2 rust/aluminum powder per iron/aluminum ingot which translated into 4 potions total (make 2 at a time for each powder). Aqua vitae were extremely easy to come by as all of my sewer water was distilled into dwarven gut rot. Apples and pears were also distilled, so I had tons of water and the potential for tons of aqua vitae had I come across any iron/aluminum. I ended up killing myself because I attacked Brax but I had 60+ health pots and around 40 mana pots.

    Right now I'm playing a tinkerer and I somewhat agree that traps should take less, but bows and bolts are perfectly fine. At 5 tinkering I'm getting 4 steel bars per smelt which translates into 60 tipped steel arrows. Even though the recipe shows low level bolts, it actually makes stronger versions. However, I do agree that getting chalk for steel is probably the hardest crafting material to find.

    Overall the crafting is generally pretty good, but there just doesn't seem to be enough uses for like 90% of the mats. I think that if every crafting profession had more uses for most of the ores that would greatly increase the value of investing points into a profession.
  15. zaratustra

    zaratustra Member

    You get more ingots/mechanisms/etc per craft if your crafting level is high enough.
  16. Buana

    Buana Member

    I took smithing but after taking it to Forgekeeper and making the aluminum armor, helm and boots and two fine steel swords it became pretty useless, I never used the skill again.

    At the end (lvl 14) I had some 60 iron ingots and about 5-20 ingots of the other metals. Having no skill in tinkering the few arrows I made all sucked, so I just didn't bother.

    Though, going back up to level 1 and using all the saved anvils on my newly forged equipment was quite fun. Only at level 8 or 9 I found a sword and some boots which were better than my own gear.
  17. Irish

    Irish Member

    I think it would be nice if there was a salvage system in place - turn old items into scrap, distill potions into alchemical fluids, etc.

    The amount you get from salvage will depend on the item, your skill and a bit of luck (you might just dismantle something and get nothing from it)
  18. Paidprinny

    Paidprinny Member

    The additions to grinding in 1.03 are very telling. 700 extra lines were added to the crafting .xml, a portion of those being a source of rust in the Grinder.
  19. Sunhawk

    Sunhawk Member

    I would like some salvage possibilities, yeah - makes items not quite worthless if you can't use 'em.
  20. Ria Hawk

    Ria Hawk Member

    I'd also like to be able to salvage stuff. It would give me something to do with all the weapons I can't use besides just feeding them to Brax. Would also make crafting the wrong thing slightly less painful. As it is, one misclick can cost you your entire supply of a hard-to-procure resource. Like steel.

    Also, I know you can find the Ingot Grinder in the dungeon. Can you use it without the Tinkering skill? It's a nice thing to have with Alchemy, for the rust and aluminum powder.