[Discussion] Let's fix the crafting system!

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Yippers, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. derpyderp

    derpyderp Member

    To stay on topic:
    (6) It would be nice to find just the recipes for your class or none at all ("nothing useful was found" or what's the line). Having basicaly four options when searching a bookcase: smithing, alchemy, tinkering and nothing, means an average 1-craft-skill hero with 1.75 bookcases per floor (based on my experience) will find way too few recipes.
  2. Kaoy

    Kaoy Member

    Eh, its not hard to get about 10-15k by the end of the first floor when you are doing a none crafter. Just pick up everything and back track to a shop to sell everything you don't want.
  3. TheDiscordian

    TheDiscordian Member

    After playing for a couple weeks it seems like there's an easy way to fix all of the crafting skills. Currently, the main disadvantage of crafting is that combat skills are sacrificed for the potential to gain better weapons and equipment early on instead of relying on random drops for gear. Inevitably, the best gear does drop, and often long before the materials have been gathered or the recipes found to make the best items. If all characters were given rank 1 in each crafting ability (characters taking the crafting skill would start at rank 2) and an additional final level were added with new recipes for powerful items that did not drop or show up in shops then crafting would be more appealing. Change the multiplier so that only points spent in a crafting skill give multiple bolts/ingots/potions and it should balance nicely. In addition to recipes from bookcases, add recipes to the random drop tables and to Brax's inventory. The better an item the lower the drop rate should be for that recipe. If a character doesn't have the crafting skill to learn a recipe (no alchemy but they found a level 3 potion recipe) then they can sell it instead. In addition, have each level of a crafting skill include a stat boost, much like tinkering has for traps.

    Another possibility might be to give Brax some specialty shops. Rather than just shelves full of random stuff, some of the smaller shops could carry only one type of item. Only armor, only wands, only weapons, or only crafting supplies. Finding four or five steel ingots in a shop would make much of the crafting easier and more reliable.

    Lastly, more items like the Tinker's Goggles could be added. Trading an inventory slot for the ability to craft at a higher level is something most people find to be a reasonable trade-off.
  4. competentfake

    competentfake Member

    1. What is the current crafting system like? Is it broken? If anything, what do you like about how things currently are?
    -I would not say the crafting in the game is broken, it's just cumbersome and generally the reward of having a crafting skill isn't worth the bag space you have to sacrifice to carry a bunch of mats around with you. For instance, my current character has Smithing, and all I've ever made for him that was better than what he had was a Heroic Aspis shield, and I'd like to make a second one, but I have seen zero gold bars since level 3, so...​

    2. How can the crafting skills--Alchemy, Smithing, Tinkering--be buffed to be as valuable as the other skills? Players have to give up a skill slot to pick them, so is that skill slot worth it?​

    There needs to be a way for the crafting materials to synergize better across different crafting skills. Take Alchemy and Tinkering.​

    Tinkers need Aqua Regius for Acid Flask, Acid Sprayer Mine, and Acidic Rhizome Trap, which along with Xbow bolts, are arguably three of the most useful recipes in the Tinker repertoire, as only Blobbies are resistent to Acid.​

    Think of the mats required to make 1 Aqua Regia (assuming it's being made by a non-alchemist):​
    -2x Saltpetre + 2x Brimstone -> 2x Oil of Vitriol​
    -Salt + Oil of Vitriol -> Acidum Salis​
    -Oil of Vitriol + Salt + Chalk + Bituminous Coal -> Aqua Fortis​
    -Aqua Fortis + Acidum Salis -> Aqua Regius​

    That's 2 Saltpetre, 2 Brimstone, 2 Salts, and a Chalk. SEVEN of the rarest items in the game- the powders, items that themselves cannot be crafted, they must be found. What do Alchemists use Aqua Regius for? To make Solution of Gold, which is only used to make Potion of Midas (or you can drink it to poop out less gold than you would get by selling it). The Potion of Midas is a silly item, I sell 'em for more than I get by using 'em.​

    Conversely, Aqua Vitae can be made out of a single piece of fruit (albeit through a tedious process of Pear->Pear Wine->Pear Brandy->Aqua Vitae), and is used for sixteen Alchemy recipes.​

    Take Mud Wen. Useless unless you are an Alchemist and can make Verdant Poison out of it. Who also uses Verdant Poison? Tinkers, who have to find the wretched stuff, they can't make it, even if they have the wholly unreasonable mats required to do so, unless they are also Alchemists, and to take more than one crafting skill, to me, is to gimp your character and make it harder to complete the game. After all, what use is it spending time crafting a bunch of stuff if your ability to craft it is going to increase your chances of dying, after which all your crafting work is just wasted time. Crafting skills should be a means to an end, and that end is the death of Dredmor.​

    Solution: Aqua Vitae seems to be the equivalent of a pure alcohol distillation, as it can be made out of any booze. Make Aqua Fortis, Aqua Regia, Oil of Vitriol, Acidum Salis and Verdant Poison Distillery recipes, level 0. Have them all include Aqua Vitae + ONE other ingredient, then substitute them for Aqua Vitae in the actual Potion Recipes, in whatever way makes sense, but as evenly as possible.​

    Also, I find it ridiculous that a single Pear can be distilled into a whole bottle of wine, which itself can be distilled into a whole bottle of brandy. Aqua Vitae should still be craftable from any liquor, but it should take a few Pears to make wine, and a few bottles of wine to make brandy. Distillation isn't a 1 to 1 process, it's a concentrating process.​

    (questions 3 and 4 answered above)
    5. Does the crafting system scale well through the levels compared to the other systems like the shop, Inconsequentia quests, Anvils, etc? If not, how can it be fixed?​
    -As has been exhaustively stated in this thread, no. They get you through the first part of the game, but are relatively useless past level 6.​

    6. How should the bookshelves and recipes be handled?​
    -I found that to be an odd system. Why are there bookshelves at all when the hidden recipes can be made anyway? Also I find the crafting 'recipe book' interface clunky and difficult to work with. There need to be tooltips showing you the stats on the item you're making, and all of the recipes should be unique. When I was first starting out in Blacksmithing, I tossed two iron ingots in the box to make a shield, and got a cruddy knife for my efforts. It's too many steps: Open toolkit, click on book, find recipe, alt-tab to wiki to make sure that this is what you want to make, double click, click auto-fill, click craft. And if you have an auto-fill recipe programmed into the toolkit, that's all you can make with it unless you choose another recipe or exit out of it and re-open it.​

    7. How should ingredients be handled? answered above, in respect to alchemy and Tinkering. Don't have enough experience with Smithing yet to make an objective commentary.​
  5. dbaumgart

    dbaumgart Art Director Staff Member

    Regarding the acid recipes:
    These are the way they are because they're the real (in a loose sense) recipes to make the actual acids named. I get a bit of a Dwarf Fortress kick out of having some slightly-accurate chemistry chains. The problem, I think, is that the raw materials are just exceedingly rare -- perhaps they could be spawned in piles with an amount of 1 to 4 or something. I really do want to have more raw ingredient input in general at the bottom of the crafting trees without cluttering up the dungeons with extra items too much.

    The distilling kit has two inputs, so I could perhaps have 2 pears -> 1 pear wine, 2 pear wine -> 1 pear brandy, 2 pear brandy -> 1 aqua vitae. This would call for a rebalancing of the values of all the alcohol, but I don't object to this. Shall consider it.

    Level scaling of ingredient distribution:
    Ingredients are distributed through the dungeon without regard to dungeon level, basically. I may consider changing this mechanics, and I think there are some good ways to do it, but it'll require code changes -- and there's a huge pile of code changes already waiting. Could be handled by dropping more ingredients of a certain type in random rooms in later levels, and this is done to an extent with the larger-sized blacksmith and smelting rooms you find lower down. Maybe I'll do more with that.

    Crafting UI:
    Is just crude. It needs love. This is hard-coded, unfortunately, so getting it fixed is a bit more trouble than I'd hope. Frankly the whole thing could use a revamp into something far easier to use, something along the lines of Terraria's click-to-craft, perhaps.

    Craft skill bonus items:
    I have some ideas for these and they will happen; should be a good way to open up low tiers of crafting to players who don't take them as a base skill. At the same time, I'd like to add more fun stuff to the higher levels of craft skills to reward players who do take them.

    Crafting ingredient shops:
    We want to add a crafting vending machine in one of these patches ...
  6. Vykk Draygo

    Vykk Draygo Member

    Perhaps make the stills found in level produce a number of a random acid? This wouldn't clutter the ground, at least.

    I enjoy the crafting system, but I wouldn't mind seeing it tweaked, and expanded. Smithing, especially!
  7. Derakon

    Derakon Member

    Regarding distillation, IMO the biggest problem isn't pear -> wine -> pear brandy, it's pinot noir -> 2x brandy. The fruit-based brandies are basically "every fruit item you find is worth 25MP", but the normal brandy recipe is "every bottle of wine you find is 50MP". That's a significant difference.

    I like the idea of the alchemist being able to upgrade booze via distillation, even if it doesn't make logical sense, but the pinot noir recipe is a bit excessive.
  8. competentfake

    competentfake Member

    Oh, another couple of ideas that struck me afterwards:
    -For some reason, crafting kits stack, and on a playthrough I personally wind up with ten or more of each, simply because I can't help but pick up sparklies. :confused: Perhaps instead of stacking, adding a crafting kit on top of another one could increase the quality of that kit- not for the purpose of adding crafting levels, that would be OP, but perhaps a better kit comprised of several other kits would yield more product from raw materials than a single 'Beginners' kit. In this way, a Tinker, for instance that collected several Alchemy kits could make his own acids in twos or threes, instead of hoarding precious materials for a measly return. Untie Distillery, Grinder and Ingot-Pressing kits from other skills and make their respective yield based on the cumulative amount of kits that have been collected.

    -Also, while I too enjoy the realism of the crafting recipes (when I found rust and aluminum powder, I mixed them together, hoping I would get Thermite, even though I didn't have the recipe, and was pleasantly surprised!), there is a point to where crafting systems begin to interfere with game enjoyment (a la Final Fantasy XXIV), or are too much of a pain in the arse to bother with, despite the advantages. The seeming purpose of DoD's crafting system is to allow one to somewhat overcome the RNG factor in loot aquisition, and funnel resources into making specific items rather than hoping to find superior loot in a chest somewhere, as well as a slight increase in associated stats. In order to balance it so that it's useful enough to be considered a utility skill, the items available have to be tailored to several different types of character builds, as well as a consistent degree of quality. For instance take these three shields:

    -Kite Shield: (2 Steel ingots->Battered Kite Shield + 1 Steel ingot, Lvl 2 Smithing)
    +1 Piercing Resist/-1 Nimbleness/-2 Magic Power/+4 Blocking/+2 Absorption
    -Iron Skjoldr: (2 Iron ingots->Rough Iron Skjoldr + 1 Iron ingot, Lvl 3 Smithing)
    +2 Piercing Resist/-2 Nimbleness/-3 Magic Power/+5 Blocking/+2 Absorption/+2 Counterattack
    -Bronze Aspis (2 Bronze Ingots->Rough Bronze Aspis + 1 Bronze ingot, Lvl 2 Smithing)
    +1 Piercing Resist/-1 Nimbleness/-2 Magic Power/+6 Blocking/+2 Absorption

    I think we can all agree that the Kite Shield (made of steel) is the worst of the three. The Bronze Aspis has the same stats with +2 Blocking. The Iron Skjoldir, while having more negatives to Nimbleness and Magic Power, has 1 more Piercing Resist than both the others, as well as 5 Blocking (one less than Bronze, one more than Steel), and an additional +2 to Counterattack. I fail to see the logic behind these stat allocations. At the very least, in my mind, Steel>Iron>Bronze, not Iron>Bronze>Steel, as is represented here, in respect to sheer mitigation (with the assumption that 1 Piercing Resist > 1 Blocking). Although you could say the Iron is best for pure Melee characters, I can't see a reason to use the Steel shield over the Bronze if you're worried about driving your Magic Power down too far, especially when adding a couple of gold bars to the Bronze shield gets you the Heroic Bronze Aspis (+2 Pierce Resist/-1 Nimble/-2 Magic/+10 Block/+3 Absorption), making it arguably the best caster/melee hybrid shield in the Smithing repertoire, as the tier 3 Steel Shield, the Heater Shield, is just terrible compared to the Heroic Aspis and the Runed Skjoldr. Bronze is never better than Iron, and Iron is never better than Steel, in terms of realism, and I have never known it to be thus in RPGs.

    -And please let us melt down our equipment in the forges we find in the levels so we can accumulate scrap metal instead of hundreds of thousands of zorkmids we're never gonna need. <3~Fake

    PS: @Derakon I agree completely about the pinot.
    LonePaladin likes this.
  9. J-Factor

    J-Factor Member

    Regarding the shields - I'd like the highest level of each shield to be relatively balanced against each other while covering their own niche. E.g:

    Heroic Bronze Aspis: Best Block
    Runed Iron Skjoldr: Best Counter
    Heater Shield: Best Armour Absorption
  10. competentfake

    competentfake Member

    Ideally that paradigm would be applied to all crafted weapons and armor.
  11. 123stw

    123stw Member

    I think the current distillation is fine, I don't see the abuse in it anymore.

    If you are brewing 8 -> 4 -> 2 -> 1, then it almost seem like a waste of time to even brew anything.
  12. LonePaladin

    LonePaladin Member

    I've gotta agree with Fake here, crafting at the moment just doesn't bring that satisfaction one would expect. The feeling that you just trashed an entire dungeon without ever buying something (which is, basically, removing the 'minus' from your loot accounting).

    It's hard to tell what items are truly improvements, because the UI doesn't do comparisons; you have to switch between your character sheet and your inventory several times to see where the difference lies, and you can't tell what a crafted item will have for stats until it's in your pack. Browsing recipes is hampered as well: if something requires multiple copies of an item, you get check-marks across the whole set if you have even one (this has been brought up elsewhere).

    The current method of gaining materials for crafting (especially smithing) makes you even more vulnerable to the RNG than you would be without it. And any properly-made roguelike comes with the caveat that the RNG hates you.
  13. competentfake

    competentfake Member

    @123: Ideally, a way will be introduced to allow characters to increase the yield of distillation irrespective of other craft skill levels, and there's no reason why the brandy/vitae ratio would be less than 1/1 to begin with (I doubt the acid vials are the same volume as the brandy bottles). So it would be 4 Pears -> 2 Wines -> 1 Brandy -> 1 Aqua Vitae. With my suggestion of increased yield based on, like X = (# of kits / 3), once you've collected 9 Porta-Stills, 1 Brandy -> 3x Aqua Vitae, with a near 1 to 1 Pear to Vitae ratio. This would reduce early-level characters' ability to abuse the system by having all the brandy they can swill (and thereby all the Aqua Vitae they could ever need), because they'd have to save up four pears or apples to get a brandy/vitae, instead of instantly converting them with Alchemy 2. This would also allow non-Alchemists to take advantage of Porta-Stills to concentrate their booze later in the game, when bag space is scarce.

    The Sewer Brew to Gut-Rot ratio is also redonkulous. A lvl 1 Alchemist can turn a mug of cruddy 5MP Sewer Brew, which is probably a step down from Grog (which is commonly severely watered-down rum or beer, so Sewer Brew probably refers to the type of water used) into a bottle of 22MP Gut-Rot (rotgut is what you get from making moonshine from bad, old beer). It makes more sense (especially given the prevalence of sewer brew) that the booze-to-booze distillation ratio be 1 to 1 in respect to MP, i.e., 4 Sewer Brews to a Gut-Rot. You get an extra couple MP, but also a terrible hangover; that's just what you get for drinking beer you can chew. In the same vein, 2 15MP Pear Wines should distill into 1 30MP Pear Brandy, and so on and so forth.
  14. Derakon

    Derakon Member

    But then what's your incentive to perform distillation? Basically none -- sure, you save a turn when it comes to actually drinking it, but otherwise the only incentive is to make aqua vitae.I have no problem with Mr. Eyebrows getting more of a kick from a snifter of fine brandy than a bottle of wine; it makes no logical sense but it's an incentive to actually use the crafting system, and it's not like the rest of the game makes sense either.

    I'm also not such a huge fan of the "more kits = better output" concept, mostly because it encourages hoarding ingredients even more than the old system of "more skill = more ingots" did for smelting. What problem is this trying to solve? Just the fact that additional kits are currently useless?
  15. competentfake

    competentfake Member

    As far as I can tell, only a character with 1 level of Alchemy can distill, but anyone can pick up an Alchemist's Kit and make acids. You gonna tell me that any fool can use an alembic to distill hydrochloric acid (a.k.a acidum salis, made from salt & sulfuric acid, a.k.a. vitriol) and nitric acid (a.k.a. aqua fortis, made from saltpeter & sulfuric acid/vitriol) and combine the two to make aqua regia (a.k.a. nitro-hydrochloric acid, a highly corrosive compound capable of dissolving PLATINUM) without melting a hole in the floor or turning his nasal membranes into ooze, but a journeyman degree in Alchemy is required to make brandy? :|

    The incentive (besides increasing your aqua vitae yield, and only Alchemists should be able to do that) would be the luxury to condense your booze in order to save bag space (and turns- saving a turn by drinking brandy instead of two bottles of wine can make a lot of difference in the right situation). As to hoarding, only aqua vitae production would be affected by the # of kits you collected, booze is booze is booze, distill it up when you get it. If people will hoard their resources and sacrifice bag slots to do it, more fool them. I keep copper/tin/bronze/iron/steel ingots on my blacksmith just in case I need to make another piece of gear on down the road. I keep all the coal I find in case I happen across chalk. Does that make me a hoarder?

    What problem would this solve? Not a problem as such, more of a streamlining of the current system, and adding the option for non-Alchemists to condense booze for convenience's sake. Maybe a certain degree of kit would be needed to turn fruit/sewer brew into wine/rotgut, and a 'master kit' would be needed to make brandy (unless your alchemist level was high enough). It's a small matter, really- I haven't ever had to keep much in the way of booze cause by and large if my character is going to be casting even occasionally, he'll have blood mage or ley walker. The 'more kits = better output' concept would possibly even out the RNG later in the game- it's not a perfect idea, just a thought.

    ...and yes it is irksome a bit that additional kits stack, but for no benefit. Additional kits improving the original would be less incongruous.
  16. 123stw

    123stw Member

    I can save bag space by not picking alchemy completely if it sucks so hard..... I think most people will do the same.
  17. J-Factor

    J-Factor Member

    Distilling is already balanced by the RNG - Merlot / Pinot Noir only start showing up in high quantities later in the dungeon. Fruit aren't amazingly common with the exception of the Fruitful Staff (which is a bit too easy to craft for how good it is).

    Regarding unskilled distilling: the devs have mentioned adding additional crafting-boost equipment similar to the Tinkerer's Goggles. For example, an Alchemists Apron would give any player the ability to distill.
  18. 123stw

    123stw Member

    The blue potion/zinc is not "that" easy to get.

    I think the first stave upgrade should be swap with the second (bent staff need aqua fortis, while kobby need spatial instability infusion). The later staves should be harder (by making Staff of Crystal from Staff of Immaculate Conceptualization).
  19. J-Factor

    J-Factor Member

    Bad luck with the RNG aside, Staves are still ridiculously easy to craft compared to every other weapon type - even with that suggested change. The Spatial Instability Potion is the only bit of RNG you have to rely on. Every other ingredient that you need to craft the best staff in the game are just gems and Aqua Vitae.

    Compare the ingredients you need for the best crafted staff (19 damage, +5 magic power) with the best crafted flail (19 damage, artifact random stats):

    • Hefty Stick
    • Spatial Instability Potion
      • Or Zinc + Acidum Salis
    • Aqua Fortis
      • You start the game with this!
    • 5 Gems
      • 1 Black Pearl, 1 Pyrite Sun (to craft a Potion of Steeling), 1 Ruby, 1 Sapphire, 1 Emerald
      • You can transmute gems!
    • With the proposed harder recipe: +2 Gems, +1 Powdered Aluminum
    • 3 Iron
    • 1 Steel
    • 1 Platinum
    • 1 Zodiacal Wand
    • 1 Pyrite Sun
    The Flail requires the RNG to cough up a specific wand, a specific gem (no transmutation in smithing) and a reasonably rare ingotfairly common ingot. All of these rely on the RNG. The Staff just uses common ingredients and the Transmutation ability.

    I admit Alchemy is slightly harder at the very beginning of the game if you plan on rushing Alchemy 1-5. After that it's a joke.

    EDIT: As a test I tried rushing Alchemy. Had all the ingredients for the Staff of Crystals before I even reached level 5. Found a Spatial Instability Potion, 2 Zincblendes and an Acidum Salis. That's the RNG for you.
  20. competentfake

    competentfake Member

    @123: I don't get where you think I was saying anything about saving alchemists' bag space. My main suggestion was a way in which non-alchemist Tinkers could make their own acids at higher than a 1-1 yield, thus giving a purpose to the multiple kits available to be found. Early-level alchemy, as you said, is only really advantageous if you're dual staves and can get your hands on some zinc (which, as J-Factor pointed out, is probably to reduce the chances of players getting badass staves early on by rushing Alchemy).

    @J-Factor: In my original post, I mentioned the incongruity of the 1 Pear = 1 Brandy distillation process almost as an an afterthought- it was hardly the main thrust of the post, and as I said, once enough kits were collected, the yield of Pears to Brandy would be a bit less than 1 to 1. As the system exists currently, players can rush to level 3 Alchemy, and turn Pears and Apples into high-level booze on Floor 1 (and fruit is pretty common even without the Fruitful Staff, after which point the player can make enough Brandy to almost be permanently boozed for the rest of the game), and thereby have all the Aqua Vitae his eyebrows desire throughout the rest of the game.

    At the end of the day, balancing the crafting system is a parallel issue to making the crafting skills as competitive as the rest, and I believe that lies in changing the recipes to more consistently target certain character niches (melee/hybrid/caster or block-absorption/dodge-counter for armor). Making it so that the base ingredients used to craft the base materials for many recipes (acids/powders/ingots) would improve irrespective of specific craft level, but instead based on the steady accumulation of crafting kits is a side issue, and I'm not really sure if that would add balance or not, except in regard to booze distillation, because as it is, a Tinker can only get 1 acid a craft- his Tinker level determines the yield.