The demise of the guild crafter

ghost

Crafting skills were designed into games like WoW, EQ2, LOTRO etc to keep crafters busy and encourage players to interact. That’s why players are limited in how many tradeskills they can take on each character, to force some trading and interaction.

Enforced interaction has never been popular with the playerbase, but has given us some great community payoff. For example, in DaoC, crafting was such a dull grind that most players didn’t bother. The ones who did were very likely to be adopted as guild crafters, supported by the guild with materials in return for crafting items for the guild. Although I always liked this as an idea, it never really worked brilliantly (especially in games that didn’t feature mailboxes and auction houses). What if the guild crafter wasn’t around when you needed them? What if they were *gasp* busy? What if creating a masterpiece item took several hours in real time and a variable, unpredictable amount of materials, and you were tenth in the queue to have yours made?

Crafters felt wanted, but also stressed and hassled. Players felt frustrated. It was definitely an interesting experiment, but no great surprise that later games made things easier.

Now it is almost irrelevant that tradeskills are limited, because high level players often have alts with all the tradeskills that they need (this is as true in EQ2 as in less crafting friendly games). They just mail items around between their crafters when they need something done.

I wonder how much of a niche there can be for different crafters at endgame if bored players will level one of each craft anyway. Is it possible to make crafting itself into a more fun minigame, as opposed to the gathering/collecting side of levelling the skill.

Do you use guild crafters? Or do you prefer to level crafting alts yourself?