Immersive Details #6 – Why can’t I repair?

Garbrac July 31, 2013 1 Comment » Share

immersivedetails2“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“… had the knowledge, ability and even the tools somewhere in his little sack of munchies to repair my weapon”Crafting is a part of an MMO that some people either enjoy or avoid like the Black Death. For those who thoroughly enjoy the crafting aspect and spend a lot of time doing it, myself included, we’re the ones who experience, in my opinion, a very large immersion breaking aspect to the game. In this issue of Immersive Details we’re going to take a look at something that has always bugged me when I play MMOs.  Why can’t I repair my own armour?

Immersion is a relative term. What I find immersive someone else might not, but one thing stays the same, if you ask “Why can’t I …” in most cases your level of immersion has just decreased. This topic is one of those “Why can’t I” moments.

Typically in MMOs the armour/weapons have what is known as a durability stat. This stat will be a number from one hundred percent to zero, and when hitting zero the item becomes useless and is in dire needs of a repair. Not only does this act as a bit of realism, but it is something the economy needs, a currency sink, a way for the player to spend their hard earned money. An economy is a very finicky system, something that if not properly balanced can easily destroy a game. But currency sinks aren’t the only thing that effect the in game economy, crafters do as well. They provide a service that other players will want to take advantage of. Anything from a Weaponsmith forging that epic item you’ve been dying to have, to an Armoursmith putting that final rivet into your new heavy armour, or an Enchanter siphoning the essences from the elements to imbue those new pieces of gear with powerful abilities.

Elder Scrolls Online is creating a game that puts a heavy emphasis on the crafting system. Not only will they be able to create some of the best items in the game, but they will also have the ability to improve the weapons you find throughout the world. But what happens when these items lose their durability and need repair? Well since the crafter has the skills and knowledge to forge and create these mystical pieces of armour or weaponry, they’d have the skill and ability to repair them right? No. Sadly, in every MMO I have played the crafters never has the ability to mend broken items.  In order to fix the items you have to take them to a repair merchant, some NPC who has the ability to repair the item.  In some MMOs I have played, these NPCs are any merchant that sells items. I’ve even had my weapon repaired by a traveling vendor that sold milk and cookies. Yup, someone who travels the land selling milk and cookies had the knowledge, ability and even the tools somewhere in his little sack of munchies to repair my weapon. Even though I mined the ore, smelted it, and forged it into my weapon, I still lacked the ability to repair it.

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With Elder Scrolls Online putting a focus on the crafting economy, this feature of letting crafters repair their own, and even other players’ items (for a price of course we’re not a charity organization) would fit in perfectly.  It would also be a new step forward for the MMO genre and for crafters as a whole.

Armoursmiths and Weaponsmiths would be able to create a repair kit, an item that can be used by them, but if used by a crafter of that type would yield a better result.  If you’re not a Weaponsmith and your weapon is on the verge of breaking (15% durability), you pull out a repair kit and apply it to your weapon it would repair the item (restore 20% durability), enough to allow you to keep fighting.  This would allow a non-crafter to utilize a crafted material, but due to his lack of knowledge in the area of weaponsmithing the repair kit wouldn’t be as effective. If a Weaponsmith applied it to his weapon it would restore the item, again not fully (say perhaps restore 50% durability). The Weaponsmith if at a forge would be able to repair his item 100%, as he would have all the tools required to do a full repair.  And this would go the same for all types of crafts that offer an item with a durability stat (Armoursmith, Enchanter for Staves, etc.).

We still do not know what type of system Elder Scrolls Online will utilize if they do decide to go with the typical durability system, I hope that this small (yet immersion filled) feature isn’t forgotten.

What are your thoughts? Do you think a system like this would belong in an Elder Scrolls game?

1 Comment

  1. DeathsprintGuru August 1, 2013 at 5:25 am

    This entire point is valid and genius.

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